Local News

  • 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.

  • ‘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.

  • Inmate walks off work detail

    A Roane County Jail inmate with a lengthy rap sheet walked off a work detail at the Roane County Courthouse on Thursday around 8 p.m.

    Adam Dewayne Phillips had earned “trusty” status at the jail, even though he was sentenced to 13 years in state prison in July on charges that included aggravated robbery, theft, burglary and vandalism.

  • Dream’s reality heralded in Oak Ridge

    Roane County Executive Ron Woody was in Oak Ridge Thursday as a guest speaker to celebrate the formation of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park.

    The park was officially established last week with the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement by Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell and Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz.

    “We are excited that you have joined us today to celebrate the planning, creation, and operating of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park,” Woody said.

  • Arby’s truck out of Roane

    The Arby’s food truck has made its last visit to Roane County — for now.

    Arby’s Chief Financial Officer Carrie Gandy said Walgreens management informed them on Friday afternoon the truck — a Wednesday mainstay in the store’s parking lot for more than a year — is no longer welcome.

    “We will not be returning anytime soon,” she said.

    Gandy said Walgreens management told her company’s officials they had received complaints from customers because the company does not pay Roane County sales taxes.

  • Roane feeling pinch of late tax bills

    In her five-plus years as Roane County’s budget director, Kaley Walker can’t recall a more challenging time financially.

    “This is the worst that it’s been, but it’s not to the point of not being able to pay bills,” she said.

    Local governments depend heavily on property tax revenue.

    It’s now more than four months into the fiscal year, and none has come in yet because the 2015 tax bills have not been sent out.

    In normal years, they go out the first of October.

  • Probation issues go to committee

    The ad hoc committee that will study probation issues was named and approved at Monday’s Roane County Commission meeting.

    Those tapped to serve were District Attorney General Russell Johnson, General Sessions Court Judges Dennis Humphrey and Jeff Wicks, Sheriff Jack Stockton and Commissioners Mike Hooks, Todd Fink, Greg Ferguson, Stanley Moore and David Bell.

    “We look forward to them working on the probation situation that we have and bringing us back a good report on how to proceed,” Commission Chairman Ron Berry said.

  • Little Guy, Big Thanks
  • Tweaked fire call policy a better fit

    Harriman officials would like to see one key piece of wording in an agreement to have both its and Kingston’s fire departments responding to structure fires in each city.

    That wording would be that the nonjurisdictional agency would start responding if called, but it would not run emergency traffic — with lights and sirens — to the scene unless the first-responding agency notifies that it’s needed.