Local News

  • Bus crash hero cited

    The memories of the Oct. 21 school bus crash haven’t faded for Eugene Garza.

    The Oliver Springs High School sophomore was one of 22 students on the bus that landed on its side in a ditch during an accident on Mahoney Road.

    “I was actually listening to music on my phone, and I just felt it start tipping,” he recalled.

    “My window just so happened to be open in the bus. I was sitting in the farthest back seat, and if it were shut, I probably would’ve got that same cut as one of the other students did.”

  • It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like CHRISTMAS

    Michael Walden is keeping up a long-time Christmas tradition, but he is not alone – he has a nearly 40-year-old blueprint to follow.

    Walden is the current owner of Rockwood’s famous “Christmas House” on Wheeler Street.

    He purchased the home in 2014 from Cotton Human, who had decorated his entire yard with a plethora of lighted Christmas décor for years.

    This tradition gave the house its name, and has been one children – and adults – eagerly anticipate every year.

  • Smoot roommate called on for evidence

    Prosecutors still have a chance to get some crucial gun evidence introduced at Shawn Smoot’s murder trial.

    They extradited his former roommate from Guam to testify at a pretrial hearing in Roane County Criminal Court on Nov. 20.

    Brett Melacarro said he saw a Kel-Tec P-32 pistol on the kitchen table of the condominium he and Smoot shared in Knoxville.

    “I walked up and I asked Mr. Smoot what’s this?” Melacarro testified. “He said it was a pistol he carries in his console.”

  • Rockwood taxes trickling in

    While Rockwood officials gave permission Monday to allow city officials to use capital project funds if needed, hope hangs on the horizon that property tax collections will start rolling in.

    Mayor Mike “Brillo” Miller said he's learned they should have the information, even if not the tax notices out, to be able to start collecting soon.

    “We had our first person pay our taxes today,” said city administrator Becky Ruppe Wednesday.

    “We have got the (data) in the system. They can come in and print them.”

  • RHS speed limits may change

    Speed limits may be changing around Rockwood High School.

    Rockwood City Council tabled for now first reading of an ordinance to designate portions of Hewitt Avenue and West Strang as a school zone.

    Officials instead are considering lowering the speed limit there from 30 to 20.

    “That way we don't have to go with the school zone (blinking) lights,” said Mayor Mike Brillo Miller.

  • Ode to “Brillo”

    Many a politician has their lovers and haters, but how many have poems written in their honor?

    Rockwood Mayor Mike “Brillo” Miller had an ode made out to him by Eddie Owens, a former Rockwood City Council member, who read the poem during delegations Monday.

    “When I think about our mayor, my mind drifts back to yesteryear,” starts Owens poem.

    The poem focused on the leadership Owens feels Miller showed early on, as a football player at Rockwood High School encouraging his fellow athletes.

  • Givens honored by City of Rockwood

    Editor’s note: While we’re all making our Thanksgiving menu preparations, we thought we’d ask some experts for new and unique ways to prepare the centerpiece of Thursday’s meal. You are, of course, welcome to stick to traditional methods of preparing your turkey. A special thanks to Midtown Elementary first-grade teachers Sue Wright, Lauren Simpson and Kayla Wadlington and their students for helping with this project. Happy Thanksgiving!

    Lauren Ballentine: 1. Get the turkey. 2. Put pineapple on it. 3. Bake it. 4. Eat it.

  • Who’s NOT open?

    A little over two decades ago, it was practically unheard of for restaurants to be open on Thanksgiving.

    Families traveled for miles to convene around tables laden with homemade dishes created through days of slavish kitchen preparations.

    Then, seemingly overnight, families shrunk, divorce split many holiday plans, and still others preferred not to forfeit hours to meals that were consumed in mere minutes.

    Restaurants have responded to these changes and, now, more restaurants seem to be open than aren’t on Thanksgiving.

  • Holiday comes early at church

    Dozens of visitors enjoyed an early Thanksgiving meal on Saturday, courtesy of Trinity Baptist Church in Harriman.

    “We wanted to connect with our community,” said Pastor Tim McMichael.

    “We, as a church, wanted to see our community,” he added. “... and let them know we love them.”

    McMichael was happy with the turnout for their first Thanksgiving offering.

    “We didn’t know what to expect,” he admitted. “These are precious people. It is really great to have them here.”