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Today's News

  • Do the crime, be ready to do the time

    Eva Hallene McNelley wasn’t a passive participant in the Roane County drug conspiracy that netted more than 200,000 oxycodone pills.

    The Rockwood woman had such a key role that the feds listed her second on the 23-person indictment that led to the pill ring’s demise.

    “She actively participated in the conspiracy on her own accord, and did so for a length of time,” Chief U.S. District Judge Thomas Varlan said at McNelley’s sentencing hearing last week at the federal courthouse in Knoxville.

  • Assessor employee terminated

    Cheryl Laxton said she knew it was only a matter of time after her husband confronted Roane County Property Assessor David Morgan.

    Laxton had been Morgan’s chief of staff until he abruptly fired her on Thursday.

    “We know why he fired me,” she said Friday. “There’s no doubt.”

    The termination came eight days after Charles Laxton went in Morgan’s office to confront him about the treatment of his wife and other female employees.

  • Rockwood teacher still in classroom after arrest

    Matthew R. Jones, a science teacher at Rockwood Middle School, is char-
    ged with felony aggravated stalking in the Middle Tennessee city of Dickson.

    Roane County Director of Schools Gary Aytes is aware of the allegations and expressed confidence that Jones will be exonerated.  

    “It happened to be filed by the husband of his ex-wife,” Aytes said.

    “Matt’s been to work for us every day,” the school director added, “so we feel pretty certain that it will be dismissed.”

  • Schools needing $3.5 million to balance budget

    The Roane County Board of Education heard another gloomy finan-cial report earlier this month.

    Eric Harbin, the school system’s business manager, said the budget is out of balance by $3.5 million.

    “We need $3.5 million more of revenue or $3.5 million less expenditures,” he said.

    Harbin suggested the board start having budget work sessions to discuss the issue.

    “This budget will not work,” he said. “We can’t use this budget, so we got a lot of work to do.”

  • Who’s going to clean up sludgy mess?

    In addition to wanting to know who was responsible for dumping gray sludge that ended up in the lake, Kingston officials also have questions about who will be responsible for cleaning up the mess.

    “Is that something TDEC (Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation) will do and then go for reimbursement from the company?” City Manager David Bolling asked during a Jan. 20 meeting.

  • Rockwood officials to ponder various permit fees today

    Rockwood leaders will consider several ordinances on first reading today — Monday — that may lead to establishing new fees or updating old ones related to construction and property maintenance.  

    During the City Council’s monthly meeting at 6 p.m., Council members will consider and possibly take action on an ordinance establishing a permit fee for temporary occupancy of a single-wide mobile home or travel trailer.

  • Railroad crash survivors sue

    Survivors and the family of those who died when a car was hit by a train near Harriman are suing Norfolk Southern Railway Co., Norfolk Southern Corp. and three railroad employees.

    The suit alleges the railroad failed to provide adequate audible and visual warning of an oncoming train at the crossing on Mountain View Road, where two young people died last May and two others were injured.

    Darius Gallaher, a former Roane State Raider basketball player, was driving a 2000 Nissan Maxima through the crossing when it was struck by the train.

  • Dumping incident may draw charges

    Kingston Police Chief Jim Washam said his department may bring criminal charges against the people responsible for dumping gray sludge that ended up in Watts Bar Lake.

    “The one we found closest to covering what has happened is aggravated criminal littering,” he said.

    The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation is working with local officials as they look into what happened. No one had been charged as of press time Thursday.

  • NAACP speaker offers involvement tips

    Rockwood native Jennifer Hill said she knew immediately what she would talk about when Roane County NAACP President Joe Eskridge asked her to speak at the organization’s Jan. 17 Freedom Fund Banquet.

    “Activism through social media,” she said.

    Hill was one of two people to give an address at the event, which was held at Roane State Community College. The other was Gloria Jean Sweet-Love, a native of Fayette County and president of the Tennessee NAACP Conference. The theme of her speech was living for a cause greater than yourself.

  • Wanted-woman picked up after Kingston police call

    A woman who Kingston police say is wanted by the U.S. Marshals was arrested on Wednesday at 533.5 Greenwood St. The call came in as burglary in progress.

    Megan Nicole Lowe, 25, was found inside the residence when police showed up.

    “She was trying to unlock the door and couldn’t get it open, so we made entry,” Police Chief Jim Washam said. “The homeowner’s son had dropped her off. Supposedly this is the homeowner’s son’s girlfriend.”