Local News

  • Tax hike gains favor, but not everyone’s a fan



    Both proponents and opponents of Roane County’s proposed tax increase spoke up loud and clear at a public hearing last week.

    Roane County is looking at a 30-cent tax increase for county residents and 29-cent increase for those who live in the city.

    Twenty cents of that would go to the general purpose school fund, and 2 cents to the education capital fund.

  • Pelfrey-Milsaps checking out of ‘Barbara’s library’



    Harriman Public Library will always be “Barbara’s library.”

    That is what library director Tammie Edwards said Thursday when she gave Barbara Pelfrey-Milsaps a plaque for her years of service.

    Pelfrey-Milsaps, longtime director of the Harriman library, retired at the end of last year. It’s been a long ride — she had been a member of the library since 1975, when she was 16 years old.

  • Heydel never forgot roots in Rockwood



    June Heydel, a former Rockwood resident who went on to help her husband, Bill Heydel, start Aflac insurance, died on June 3 after battling cancer.

    The pair had been together for 67 years after meeting and becoming sweethearts at Rockwood High School.

    “They were the loveliest couple you’d ever meet,” said Kenneth Heydel, Bill’s brother.

    “What Bill did June did,” he said. “In his career and whatever he did, she was part of it.”

  • Courthouse security better, still flawed

    Roane County has done a lot to improve security at the courthouse in recent years. The building now includes a vehicle sallyport, which allows officers to pull into a secure location and unload prisoners.

    There’s also a walk-through metal detector and surveillance cameras both inside and outside of the building.

    Despite the enhancements, Roane County Sheriff Jack Stockton said security flaws still exist. He pointed out two rooms where inmates are kept before entering the criminal courtroom.

  • Ren fair a success

    The Tennessee Medieval Faire kicked off its inaugural three-weekend season successfully, drawing crowds from across the region to the grounds.

    From jousting, fire whips and puppetry, there was something for all ages at the festival, which had about 3,280 visitors on Memorial Day weekend.

    Barrie Paulson, vice president, manager and entertainment director for Darkhorse Entertainment LLC,  is optimistic about the feedback they’ve received and what that means for the future.

  • Unsteady drug suspect keeps officers on toes

    Courtney Stevens Roddy had trouble standing when he was being detained by police at the Rocky Top on Bluff Road on May 28.

    Roddy, 32, passed out and hit his head on the pavement.

    Police took off his handcuffs and called for help. A Roane County ambulance and a Kingston Fire Department crew responded.

    He was treated for bleeding from his head.

  • Commissioner’s DUI video not released

    The Tennessee Highway Patrol has declined a request to release video of Roane County Commissioner Greg Ferguson’s March 2 traffic stop in Midtown.

    “It is evidence and subject to discovery,” Lt. Bill Miller said. “Also, we cannot release until it has been adjudicated because we cannot risk tainting a possible jury.”

    Ferguson was charged with DUI following the traffic stop.

    Trooper Alexander Evans said he smelled the odor of an alcoholic beverage emitting from Ferguson’s vehicle.

  • Swan Pond ballfields being readied

    Children could soon start playing on the new ballfields TVA has constructed in the Swan Pond community.

    Roane County Executive Ron Woody said the county could take possession of the fields within 60 days.

    “We’ve been working with them over there, watching what they’ve been doing and how they’re doing it,” Woody said.

    Last week, workers were still putting down sod on the new fields.  

  • Certified tax rate ‘60 days out, at best’

    The fiscal year for Roane County ends on June 30.

    When the county might adopt a budget for the new one is still unclear.

    “We’re not going to be able to adopt a budget in June,” Roane County Executive Ron Woody said. “We know that.”

    That hasn’t stopped county officials from moving forward with the requirements to set a budget for the 2015-16 fiscal year.

    A public hearing on the proposed budget is scheduled for Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Roane County Courthouse in Kingston.

  • Obstacles in cleanup keep maze in place

    Roane County may make progress this month in the cleanup of the old Miller & Brewer building site and demolition of remaining structures on that block.

    However, progress doesn’t mean people should look for falling buildings and heavy equipment just yet.

    County purchasing agent Lynn Farnham recently told Harriman City Council they were set to open bids June 4, but that doesn’t mean someone will be out there starting work on June 5.