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Local News

  • Knoxville woman killed on I-40

    BY DAMON LAWRENCE

    Roane Newspapers

    A Knoxville woman died after crashing her car on Interstate 40 in Roane County on Tuesday. According to the Tennessee Highway Patrol report, Laurel Parks was traveling west on the interstate around 7:30 a.m. when she ran off the left shoulder. The car over corrected, according to the report, and crossed both lanes before striking a concrete barrier.

    No other cars were involved in the accident. Parks, 21, was not wearing a seat belt. It wasn't immediately known if that might have made a difference.

  • Unwelcome march of the fire ants

    By JENNIFER RAYMOND

    Roane Newspapers

    An invader is changing the landscape of Roane County, and some residents who have seen their work firsthand are worried.

    Kingston residents are beginning to see concentrated mounds of them.

    Doug Brown, said he has just recently noticed the significant numbers — especially in areas in Roane County Park and near the Watts Bar Belle.

    “We are rapidly becoming infested here in Kingston,” Brown said.

  • Copper thieves strike 911 site

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    Roane Newspapers

    Businesses and homeowners aren’t the only ones being affected by copper thieves.

    Roane County E-911 Director Mike Hooks reports that a 911 installation on top of Mount Roosevelt was damaged by copper thieves.

    The 911 phone service was never lost, but Hooks said the fact that copper thefts can impact the system concerns him.

  • Role of constables questioned

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    Roane Newspapers

    The Roane County Commission selected Kingston police officer Caleb Strayer to fill the constable vacancy in the 6th District.

    The decision was made at Monday night’s commission meeting.

    The discussion turned out to be more about the validity of constables and how to get rid of them than filling the vacancy.

    Five commissioners passed when it was their turn to vote.

    One of the most outspoken was commissioner David Olsen.

  • Boy friend, not bike wreck killed Oliver Springs teen

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    Roane Newspapers

    Thomas Ray Johnson, accused of killing his pregnant girlfriend in 2005, pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter this week in Roane County Criminal Court.

    Johnson was originally indicted on second-degree murder in the death of Pamela Nicole Williams of Oliver Springs.

    Johnson, 25, was scheduled to go to trial on Tuesday.

    As part of his plea deal, prosecutors recommended a five-year sentence on the voluntary manslaughter charge.

  • Alexander visits Harriman

    By CINDY SIMPSON

    Roane Newspapers

    U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee made a special visit to the Fairmont Head Start program in Harriman Monday.

    Alexander played a role earlier this month in the reauthorization legislation for the Head Start program nationwide as a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

    Alexander praised the Fairmont facility.

    Alexander said one of the reasons he came to Fairmont was to “call attention to one of the outstanding programs in the state.”

  • Dunn Center matches jobs to skills

    The most visible part of what Michael Dunn Center does for its service recipients shows in the workplace.

    The nonprofit Michael Dunn Center works with disabled children and adults.

    One of its missions is to give adult clients the opportunity to work, and it is often successful through its Dunn Diversified Industries arm.

    “It all starts from their desire or their family’s desire to have them productive in a work setting,” Michael Dunn president Mike McElhinney said.

  • School to start week later next year

    Summer has been over for almost two months, but it was a hot topic at last Thursday’s meeting of the Roane County School Board.

    “I think this heat thing, maybe not to this extreme, but I think it’s going to continue,” board member Mike “Brillo” Miller said.

    Because of that and a wave of air conditioning problems at schools opening this year, Miller offered a counter proposal to the 2008-09 school calendar.

  • Ruppe mulling bid for senate

    Morgan County Executive Becky Ruppe may very well attempt to become State Sen. Becky Ruppe.

    Since a poll was conducted several weeks ago that shows Ruppe as a viable candidate in the district to replace Sen. Tommy Kilby in 2008, Ruppe said she has been overwhelmed by the number of people encouraging her to run.

    "I must admit that this is one of the toughest decisions I have ever made. I love my job. I love Morgan County and the people I serve,” Ruppe said.

  • David Road remains closed

    When county commissioners voted last week to restore Davis Road to the county road list, members of the Pleas McCartt family were overjoyed. But their joy has now turned to dismay.

    They had hoped the road would be opened before Thanksgiving but it is looking like that will not happen.

    Road Superintendent Roy Smith had planned to send a crew to the Mill Creek community to open the road on Monday but held off once he was informed by counsel for Quenton Henry that an injunction was going to be filed to prevent the county from opening the road.