Today's News

  • Neighbor denies firing at Tiger Haven

    Toby Dean Rhynehart spent almost 24 hours in the Roane County Jail last week.
    “I shouldn’t have been in there to start with,” he said.
    Roane County Sheriff’s Deputy Michael Self charged Rhynehart with reckless endangerment on May 14 after rounds from his firearm allegedly went onto the property of Tiger Haven, a big-cat sanctuary in East Roane County.   

    Rhynehart denied the allegations in Self’s report and said he was merely exercising his Second Amendment right on his own property. 

  • Lady 'Cats roll to state, 25-3

    TSSAA Sectional games are supposed to be close and not decided until late in the contest.

  • Finished business, Tigers returning to state tourney


  • Tiger Haven neighbor accused

    A Roane County sheriff’s deputy said he had to scramble when shots were fired near the Tiger Haven big-cat rescue in East Roane County.
    Toby Dean Rhynehart, 535 Dogwood Road, has been charged with reckless endangerment in the incident Tuesday.
    Rhynehart’s property abuts Tiger Haven, which houses several types of large cats, including tigers, lions, leopards and cougars.
    For years, Rhynehart and other neighbors have accused the sanctuary of being dangerous and a public nuisance.

  • Aytes wants to give back $3,000

    Gary Aytes’ contract with the Roane County Board of Education calls for him to get a $3,000 raise this year.
    Aytes, the county’s director of schools, wants to forgo the pay increase.
    It’s an issue of fairness, he said. 
    The 2013-14 proposed budget the school board discussed during a work session on Tuesday does not include across-the-board raises for school system employees.
    “It’s really not fair for me to get a raise, and nobody else,” Aytes said.

  • Local Tea Party says it was IRS victim

    A report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration found the Internal Revenue Service improperly singled out Tea Party groups applying for tax exempt status.
    Officials with the Roane County Tea Party say their organization was one of those groups.
    “It’s upsetting that the IRS can be used in this manner,” local Tea Party communications director Chuck Smith said.
    The inspector general report said the IRS Determinations Unit would identify applications from groups that had Tea Party in their names.

  • Robinette case goes to grand jury

    The drunk driving case of Steven Robinette, a former candidate for Roane County property assessor, was bound over to the grand jury Monday.
    Kingston police charged Robinette with DUI and violation of the implied consent law last November. Officer Jerry Singleton said Robinette performed poorly on sobriety tests and refused to take a Breathalyzer test.
    With the case now bound over, Robinette could face a possible indictment by the Roane County grand jury. The grand jury is scheduled to meet on June 17.   

  • More crowded jail was praised, not threatened

    The Roane County Jail had more inmates when it was inspected in 2012 than it did when it was inspected earlier this month.
    However, the 2012 inspection resulted in a recommendation that the jail be certified where the one that occurred this month did not.
    The jail has a certified capacity of 174 inmates. According to Tennessee Corrections Institute records, the population was 200 when the jail was inspected on Feb. 6, 2012.
    Inspector Joe Ferguson marked “not overcrowded” on his report and recommended the jail be certified.

  • Ex-firefighter accused in threat to burn sister’s car

    Keith Lynn Hephner Jr., a former volunteer firefighter who was indicted for arson, is accused of threatening to set fire to his sister’s car.
    He faces two counts of domestic assault in the alleged incident, which occurred on May 12 at 1048 Dogtown Road.
    According to a Roane County Sheriff’s Office incident report, Sarah Connin told police that family had gathered to celebrate Mother’s Day when Hephner got upset and started using foul language.

  • GUEST OPINION: Graduation prayer fights a lost cause

    First Amendment Center
    School officials in Lake City, Arkansas have come up with a novel solution to the fight over prayer at graduation:
    No prayer, no graduation.

    On May 6, the school board voted to cancel sixth-grade graduation at Lake City’s two elementary schools.

    The action came soon after the district received a complaint letter from the Freedom From Religion Foundation objecting to prayers at previous graduations.

    Rather than drop the prayers, the district opted to drop the entire ceremony.