Today's News

  • Houston found guilty in federal retrial

    A federal jury didn't take much time Wednesday afternoon to find Leon Houston guilty of threatening to kill the attorney who won him an acquittal on two murder charges.

    The jury left the courtroom for deliberations at 1:09 p.m. Less than 30 minutes later, Assistant U.S. Attorney David Jennings was informed that they had reached a verdict. The jury of seven men and five women walked back into the courtroom at 1:58 p.m. to announce the guilty verdict. 

  • Escapee may have taken county truck

    The inmate who escaped a work crew at the Roane County Courthouse on Thursday evening was still on the loose as of late Tuesday morning.

    Authorities now suspect Adam Dewayne Phillips, who was in custody on charges include severely beating a Kingston man during a robbery, made his escape in a county-owned truck that was parked at the courthouse.

    “We are still investigating every lead that comes in and have a few places we are keeping an eye on,” said Sheriff Jack Stockton.

  • No flu vaccines at individual schools this year

    Flu vaccines will not be provided at individual schools this year.

    Instead, The Roane County Health Department is offering two clinics  — from 4-7:30 p.m. Dec. 1 and 8.

    “The majority of vaccine may not be available until after the holidays, and by then the season will be half over,” said Patti Wells, school health coordinator.

    Roane County Schools first announced a lengthy delay on the flu vaccinations because of manufacturer shortages on the FluMist the Roane County Health Department brings to the schools.

  • Operation REACH donations falling off

    Operation REACH is hoping the holiday spirit comes through in a big way in coming days.

    With less than four weeks until its Dec. 11-12 shopping weekend, the organization that has helped thousands of needy children from Roane County over the years is coming up far short of its fundraising goals and is needing a late miracle to make sure Christmas 2015 is a good one.

    Operation REACH works with the Roane County School System to help disadvantaged school children.


    They call it the Forgotten War.

    But Howard Deitz and Clyde A. Jones will never forget the police skirmish that came to be known as the Korean War.

    “He was there when they tore loose,” said Deitz of his fellow comrade. “I was there when they signed the treaty.”

    The men and Flavius Hall were among the many called to arms to a foreign country that’s been historically described as the world’s coldest place in winter and its hottest place in summer.


    Defeated circuit court judge candidate Tom McFarland failed to convince the Tennessee Court of Appeals to reverse the decision that threw out his election complaint.

    In an 11-page opinion filed on Monday, the court affirmed Senior Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood’s ruling in the case and taxed McFarland with the court costs.

    “Costs on appeal are assessed to the appellant, William Thomas McFarland,” the court said.

    “The case is remanded for the collection of costs assessed in the trial court.”

  • Jury selected in Leon Houston federal retrial

    Leon Houston’s retrial on a charge of making a threat via interstate commerce got underway at the federal courthouse in Knoxville on Tuesday.

    He was found guilty of the charge on Nov. 19, 2013, but the verdict was overturned on appeal.

    The attorneys spent Tuesday morning on jury selection. Eight men and six women, making up the jury and two alternates, were picked to hear the case.

    Testimony had yet to get underway when court broke for lunch at noon.

  • OFF the CUFF: Pickpockets minor in wake of attacks

    My daughter received a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in the summer of 2014.

    An anthropology student at East Tennessee State University, she was able to go on a three-week archaeological dig at Université Blaise Pascal in Clermont-Ferrand, France.

    Leaving her at Tri-Cities Regional Airport for the first leg of her journey was one of the hardest things I’ve done as a parent.

    Have we done everything to keep her safe from pickpockets?

    My baby’s flying over an ocean! For a long time!

  • ‘There is hope out there’

    Those struggling with addiction may feel hopeless, but those facing the pull of substance abuse can escape its grips.

    Kingston resident Kim Bell knows that there is hope.

    She recently celebrated her ‘clean date’ anniversary on Nov. 3.

    “I was in addiction now it has been six years ago, and I came out and went back to school and became a productive member of society,” Bell said.

    “It’s possible. It’s not that you are always going to be an addict and stuck in addiction.

  • Qualls’ third schools chief search?

    Wayne Qualls, a former state commissioner of education, could once again lead the Roane County Board of Education’s search for a new director of schools.

    His name came up when the search was discussed during a work session on Thursday.

    “Do you all have any suggestions?” Chairman Darrell “Drack” Langley asked.

    “Just hire that same dude,” Mike Taylor said, referring to Qualls.

    “Mr. Qualls, I’m all in favor of that,” Mike “Brillo” Miller added.