Local News


    Leon Houston walked into the courtroom Monday for his federal sentencing hearing having already served nearly three years behind bars.

    U.S. District Judge Pamela Reeves could have kept him locked up for another two years, but opted not to.

    She instead sentenced him to time served on his conviction for threatening his former attorney via interstate commerce.

    “Thank you,” Houston shouted, as Reeves was stepping down from the bench.

    Houston was being held at the Knox County Jail pending sentencing.

  • Hearing planned for mill cleanup

    The final stages of cleanup are progressing at the former papermill location on the banks of the Emory River in Harriman.

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently notified city officials about an estimated time frame for the work taking place.

    “They hope to be on site doing work in the March-April time frame of next year,” said Harriman City Manager Kevin Helms.

    Helms said city leaders are estimating a 30 day period to take public comment beginning Dec. 28.

  • Courthouse solicitor asked to leave lobby

    An out-of-town solicitor set up at the Roane County Courthouse on Thursday left some people sore.

    The solicitor wasn’t there long — County Executive Ron Woody asked representatives of Sam’s Club to leave when he learned they were in the lobby.

    “Apparently, they had done it in the past,” Woody said. “I wasn’t aware of that.”

    Employees of Sam’s Club had food available at the courthouse display while signing people up for the members-only warehouse.

  • Schools to keep districts

    The Roane County Board of Education has said no to redistricting.

    The three proposals under consideration all failed when they were put to a vote at last week’s meeting.

    “People had different ideas of what should happen,” Board Member Sam Cox said. “There wasn’t enough people to pass it.”

    The board voted on the following plans:

    • redistrict Skyline Drive off of Sugar Grove Valley Road from Oliver Springs district to Kingston district


    The people is what retiring Criminal Court Judge E. Eugene Eblen will miss most about his job.

    “I’m not going to miss anything about a child case or anything like that,” Eblen said. “But the routine, I’ll miss that.

    “I’ll miss going into the office, but mostly I’ll just miss the people.”

    The people came in droves on Friday to pay homage to Eblen’s nearly half century on the bench.

  • Leon Houston to be released from custody

    It looks like Leon Houston will be home for Christmas.

    A federal judge on Monday gave Houston credit for time served on his conviction of threatening to kill his former attorney.

    Though Houston was remanded back into the custody of federal marshals after Monday's hearing, the process for his release from Knox County Jail was in the works, and Houston reportedly will soon be back in Roane County.


    UT-Battelle’s $98 million appraisal could be the result of an error made by the Roane County Property Assessor’s Office.

    “They decided to finally go back and look at their paperwork, and from that standpoint they have determined that they have an error in their measurements,” Roane County Executive Ron Woody told the County Commission Monday night.

    “We are not sure of the extent. I am waiting on the assessor to reprint a tax card.”

  • Eblen’s last day on bench in Roane

    Thursday marked the final day of the criminal court term in Roane County.

    “I’ve got mixed emotions,” Judge E. Eugene Eblen said.

    Eblen has served as criminal court judge for the 9th Judicial District – which includes Roane County – for 37 years.

    He’s retiring on Dec. 31.

    His long career will be celebrated today – Friday – with a retirement party at the courthouse in Kingston.

    The party is scheduled from 1 to 6 p.m. on the second floor in the criminal courtroom.

  • In A Galaxy Far, Far Away ...
  • Harriman building inspector steps down

    Harriman officials are considering a contract for building inspector services with the county after the departure this week of longtime building inspector Maria Nelson.

    “She is going to work as a mechanical inspector for the city of Maryville,” Harriman City Manager Kevin Helms explained.

    “While she does many different inspections for us, mechanical is her specialty field.”