Local News

  • Rockwood may abolish water board

    Rockwood City Council has been called into special session on Tuesday to deal with the abolishment of the city’s water, sewer and natural gas board.

    The meeting is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. in Rockwood City Hall.

    The council approved an ordinance on first reading Sept. 20 that calls for the disbandment of the board that governs the three city-owned utilities. Second and final reading of that ordinance, which stipulates the board’s duties would be turned over to council, is among the business on Tuesday’s meeting agenda.

  • Austin asks for citizenship rights back

    A corrupt Roane County judge who went to prison after pleading guilty to federal extortion charges says he has officially paid his dues.

    Now Thomas Alva Austin is looking to having his rights as a citizen restored.

    If approved, Austin would be able to vote, hold public office, handle other people’s money and enjoy every other right afforded to citizens — with the exception of the Second Amendment right to own and possess firearms.

  • Earick and Overstreet want school board seat

    A retiree from Roane County Schools and a former Roane County Board of Education member are under consideration to fill the school board vacancy left by Kim Nelson’s resignation.

    Nelson represented District 5/6 on the board. She gave up her seat after a legal opinion about her holding the school board position and her new role as Roane County Circuit Court Clerk.

    Marjorie Earick, a former schools child nutrition supervisor and school board secretary, expressed her interest in the seat during a Roane County Commission work session on Thursday.

  • Budget in spite of no tax rate

    Roane County Commission will consider approving its budget today, in spite of the fact the county may not have a certified property tax rate after a grueling land reappraisal that’s been contested by a number of residents.

    Roane County Executive Ron Woody joked during a Thursday work session that Property Assessor Teresa Kirkham had promised there would be one by today’s meeting.

    “I promised to have the data entered so the state board can calculate the certified tax rate,” corrected Kirkham.

  • Collector dishes dirt on joys of antique tractors


    Everyone has their guilty pleasures — simple indulgences that add a little kick to their daily lives.

    For Tony Whalen of Harriman, it’s all about antique tractors.

    Whalen beams when he talks enthusiastically talks about his passion of collecting and restoring antique tractors.

  • Tempers fray over Rockwood utility issues

    Rockwood Water, Sewer and Natural Gas Board is relying on an almost-18-percent hike in water rates to balance the utilities’ budget.

    The increase, contingent on approval from Rockwood City Council, will affect ratepayers who use at least 1,500 gallons monthly.

    It’s among the budgeting tactics water officials used to bolster the bottom line of the struggling utility that has recently come under state scrutiny.

  • Rockwood officials' unseen letter excuses have hole

    Out of sight, out of mind? Or ignorance is bliss?

    Whatever the reason, a number of Rockwood officials claimed Monday to have neither seen nor received a Tennessee Comptroller’s Office letter rebuking officials for interdepartmental loans between three city-operated utilities and ordering a repayment plan within 60 days.

    “You’ve got about 45 days left to do something,” said Glen McCuiston, a Rockwood Water, Sewer and Natural Gas Board member during that body’s regular meeting on Monday.

  • Abbi's wild ride: Drug reaction helps save chid's life

    A Walnut Hill Elementary student is recovering from spinal meningitis, but ambulance mishaps didn’t help situation.
    Eight-year-old Abbi Byrd of Fiske Heights on Thursday complained of a headache and had a fever.
    By Friday, she was vomiting.
    She was first diagnosed with walking pneumonia on Friday night at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital and released.
    However, on Saturday night, her mother, Amanda Beard, found her unresponsive and an ambulance was called.

  • Kingston hotels oppose Roane State proposal

    A proposal by Roane State President Gary Goff asking for area lodges to help fund the  Henry-Stafford Exposition Center is already meeting opposition.

    A letter from Kingston hotel owners said Goff plans to ask to raise the hotel occupancy tax in Harriman and Roane County in order to help fund the center.

    The letter to Kingston City Council members and the Roane County Commission says the Expo is an asset to the community. but its benefits are to Harriman lodging, not Kingston’s.

  • Nonprofit allocations raise commissioner eyebrows

    Roane County employees who don’t work for the school system might not get a raise for the second year in a row.

    With that in mind, the county’s plans to give $127,450 to nonprofit organizations during the 2010-11 fiscal year isn’t sitting well with some commissioners.

    Former budget director Alva Moore said it would cost about $103,000 to give a 1-percent raise to employees.