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Today's News

  • JULY23 EVENING UPDATE: Body armor wouldn't have saved Jones' life

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    rclawrence@bellsouth.net

    Bill Jones was not wearing a bullet-proof vest the day he lost his life.

    Even if he was, the body armor still wouldn't have saved him. A medical examiner testified on Wednesday that two gunshots Jones suffered to the head were not survivable.

    “Either one would be immediately disabling and fatal,” Darinka Mileusnic-Polchan said.

  • WEDNESDAY NOON UPDATE: 'There was gunshots flying everywhere'

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    rclawrence@bellsouth.net

    Life has been difficult for Mildred Anne Watts since she witnessed a shootout on May 11, 2006.

    “I walk around with that fear every day of my life still,” Watts said.

    Two of the participants in that shootout are dead. The other two, brothers Rocky and Leon Houston, are facing life in prison on charges of first-degree murder and felony murder.

    Watts continued to recall her memories from that day during testimony in Leon's murder trial Wednesday morning.

  • Strickland done at Oakdale

    By BRIAN LANGLEY

    Morgan County News

    Oakdale will have a new football coach when the 2008 high school football season kicks off next month. Chip Strickland resigned back on July 9 after only one season as head coach.

    Strickland went 0-10 in his lone season at Oakdale, but cited a once in a lifetime opportunity and lack of support from the administration, as reasons for his departure.

    Strickland was hired as the athletic director at Knoxville Christian School. He is working with former OHS head coach Willie Childers, who serves as principal at KCS.

  • Lady Bulldogs focus on offense

    By BRIAN LANGLEY

    Morgan County News

    Wartburg got offensive this summer working on their game for the 2008-09 basketball season.

    Bulldog head coach Joe Layne said his team focused on a few new wrinkles on offense during their off-season work.

    “We had a good summer and we got a lot better in the areas we wanted to. We’re doing some things differently offensively and our halfcourt offense is really coming on,” explained Layne.

  • State's top softball 'teacher' here in Roane

    By GOOSE LINDSAY

    rcsports@bellsouth.net

    Diamond Softball Academy owner Darrell Williams was extremely proud when the Ten-nessee Sports Writers Association released its 2008 All-State Softball Team.

    Four of his students — Monterey’s Taylor Adkins, Midway’s Hannah Colyer, Coalfield’s Lindsey Fadnek and Oliver Springs’ Kim Hall — were all named to the Class A team.

  • Storms rumble through county

    By JENNIFER RAYMOND

    rcraymond@bellsouth.net

    Heavy storms that roared through Tennessee Monday hit hard in Rockwood.

    The storms started around 4 p.m. and brought high winds, hail, a downpour and lightning.

    It also left about 4,000 Rockwood Electric Utility customers without power at the peak of the storm.

    “That’s about one-fourth of our system,” General Manager Kendall Bear said.

    Areas that saw a significant amount of outages were Eagle Furnace, South Rockwood and the mountain above Rockwood.

  • County ready to set tax rate

    By JUDY UNDERWOOD

    Morgan County News Editor

    The county’s budget committee has reached an agreement on the budget for Fiscal Year 2008-09, according to Morgan County Executive Becky Ruppe.

    Ruppe said Monday night that the committee has completed its work and will publish the proposed budget in next week’s Morgan County News prior to the county commission meeting planned for Aug. 11. Commissioners are expected to adopt the budget and set the tax rate at that time.

  • Early Voting ends Saturday, Aug. 2

    By JUDY UNDERWOOD

    Morgan County News Editor

    Early Voting for the August General Election and the Democratic and Republican primaries will continue until Saturday, Aug. 2.

    Just for Early Voting, the Election Commission office will be open a half-day on Saturday, according to Administrator of Elections Minnie Armes.

    The county’s only Early Voting site will be in the Election Commission Office located on the first floor of the Morgan County Courthouse.

  • HOUSTON UPDATE: Eyewitness says Brown fired first

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    rclawrence@bellsouth.net

    rclawrence@bellsouth.net

    “It's on now.” Mildred Anne Watts said she heard Rocky Houston utter those words when he saw a patrol car approaching his brother's home on May 11, 2006.

    Moments later a shootout erupted with Rocky and his brother Leon on one side. The occupants of the patrol car, Roane County Sheriff's Deputy Bill Jones and friend Mike Brown, were on the other.

  • JULY 21: Houston friend said deputy made thinly veiled threat

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    rclawrence@bellsouth.net

    Hours and hours of testimony have come from TBI forensic scientist Robert Daniel Royse since he took the witness stand in Leon Houston's double murder trial last Thursday. He offered more ballistic evidence on Monday.

    However, despite his expertise and volumes of evidence, the state's key witness still can't conclusively provide the answer to one important question. Which party fired first in a shootout that left a sheriff's deputy and his friend dead and Leon facing life in prison?