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Local News

  • Committee sees progress now in jail construction

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    rclawrence@bellsouth.net

    Roane County Executive Mike Farmer said he’s not happy with the state of the county’s new jail project.

    “I’ll be happy when (Sheriff) Jack (Stockton) locks up the first person,” Farmer said.

    Farmer made those comments at the end of a jail construction oversight committee meeting on Wednesday.

  • Dark horse or spoiler? Fenner runs for senate

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    rclawrence@bellsouth.net

    Ken Yager and Becky Ruppe might not be the only 12th District state senate candidates on the ballot in the fall.

    Christopher Fenner plans to give the voters yet another choice.

    The Roane County resident said he’s running for the senate seat as an independent.

    Yager, a Republican, and Ruppe, a Democrat, are the obvious frontrunners in the race.

    But Fenner has been a political underdog before.

  • Kingston proposed tax increase 7 cents

    By JENNIFER RAYMONDee

    rcraymond@bellsouth.net

    The trend this budget season seems to be aiming for a tight one.

    Kingston City Council discussed expected revenues and expenditures for the 2008-09 fiscal year and to determine which capital improvements are the most important for the city.

    The council, which met last week, was joined by department heads who approached council with their needs.

    Expected revenues are about $5.079 million, which is an increase of $673,985, or 15 percent over last year.

  • Budget Cut ... Advantage Center in jeopardy

    By JUDY UNDERWOOD

    Morgan County News Editor

    It’s a joy to be first in many things in life but if you’re Robert Griffith, lately it doesn’t feel so good.

    Griffith is the first local victim of a $200,000 state budget cut. The reason — he has a drivers license.

    The 47-year-old had been enrolled at The Advantage Center in Wartburg since it opened its doors in Morgan County in 1995. Prior to that he was enrolled with Emory Valley Center and rode a van from his home in Morgan County to Oak Ridge for services.

  • Board considers new filtration system for cafeterias

    By JUDY UNDERWOOD

    Morgan County News Editor

    Morgan County Schools are considering a new water filtration system for cafeterias.

  • Judge listens to Houston tape

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    rclawrence@bellsouth.net

    Rocky Houston doesn't trust the court system.

    He's made that point clear in the past, and he continued to reiterate it with some animated testimony during a motions hearing in Roane County Criminal Court on Tuesday.

    Rocky and his brother, Leon, are charged with two counts of first-degree murder and one count of felony murder. They are accused of killing Roane County Sheriff’s Deputy Bill Jones and his friend, Mike Brown, on May 11, 2006.

  • Rocky Houston can't be own attorney

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    rclawrence@bellsouth.net

    A request by murder suspect Rocky Houston to act as his own lawyer has been denied.

    Rocky and his brother, Leon, are accused of killing Roane County Sheriff's Deputy Bill Jones and his friend Mike Brown, in a shootout on May 11, 2006.

    During a hearing in March, Rocky repeated his request to Judge James "Buddy" Scott that he wished to represent himself in the case. Scott took the matter under advisement and issued a ruling last week denying Rocky's request.

  • Firm backs out of Pinnacle Pointe study

    By CINDY SIMPSON

    rccindysimpson@bellsouth.net

    The company that the city expected to do a study on the Pinnacle Pointe project is no longer interested.

    Harriman Mayor Chris Mason said he is unsure why the Vaughn & Melton engineering firm is withdrawing from the study.

    The Knoxville-based company had earlier agreed to take on the project using computer models to study the shopping center site to help resolve a conflict between the city and Prestige Land Co., a development company headed by Roane County businessmen Steve Kirkham and Jerry Duncan.

  • Hospital purchase agreement signed by all parties

    By CINDY SIMPSON

    rccindysimpson@bellsouth.net

    It looks like Harriman officials concerned about the financial situation at Roane Medical Center can breathe a sigh of relief.

    Harriman Mayor Chris Mason said Thursday that the purchase agreement with Covenant Health has been signed by all parties.

    He hopes the closing will take place next week before a large bond payment is due May 1.

  • Fatal accident kills driver

    By DAVID DOONAN

    rcdoonan@bellsouth.net

    A driver was killed in a one-vehicle accident at 167 Gallaher Road Saturday morning.

    According to the Tennessee Highway Patrol, the driver of a Lincoln Blackwood pickup was traveling south on Gallaher road a approximately 9:30 a.m. when the vehicle failed to negotiate a curve and hit a group of mail boxes. The truck ran off the road and flipped, landing on its roof in a creek on the property of Thomas Marlee.

    Marlee said he heard a boom, and was the first person on scene, and called police.