Hackworth seeks former Tennessee House seat

Jim Hackworth

Jim Hackworth

Former Tennessee Rep. Jim Hackworth has officially announced he wants to take back his old seat in the Tennessee House of Representatives.

Hackworth, a Clinton Democrat, is running against Rep. John Ragan, an Oak Ridge Republican, in Tennessee’s 33rd District, which includes most of Anderson County.

Running for his first political office, Ragan beat Hackworth, a four-term legislator, two years ago in the November 2010 election, when Republicans gained power across the country.

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B&W Y-12 donates to STEM Academy lab

B&W Y-12 and STEM Academy

B&W Y-12 Senior Vice President and Deputy General Manager Bill Klemm, center, speaks to Knox County School Superintendent Jim McIntyre, left, and Tennessee Commissioner of Education Kevin Huffman at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on April 17 at the L&N STEM Academy in downtown Knoxville.

B&W Y-12 recently donated the second $100,000 of a $400,000 commitment to support the B&W Y-12 Chemistry Laboratory. The laboratory, which has been named after B&W Y-12, is located at the L&N STEM Academy in Knoxville.

This donation is meant to help address the growing demand for technical skills and is to be used to set up the school’s lab.

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Community Share Day on Saturday

The 10th annual Community Share Day, called “Scarboro Pride”, will be held from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday.  This event will be held at the Scarboro Community Center. There will be fellowship, games, hands-on activities and free food.

The Scarboro Community Center is located at 148 Carver Avenue in Oak Ridge.

Special Council meeting tonight on school debt, EPA settlement

Oak Ridge City Council tonight will discuss an agreement that could resolve a months-old dispute with the School Board over debt payments for the city’s $65 million high school renovation.

At issue is the amount of money the Oak Ridge school system should transfer to the city to help cover the payments. The dispute primarily centers on the use of money raised by a half-cent sales tax increase approved by Anderson County voters in 2006.

One school board member has argued that the schools have overpaid the city by $1.4 million, while others contend that the school system owes the city hundreds of thousands of dollars and must pay it.

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Big Ridge State Park celebrates anniversary

Loyston Community before reservoir clearance

Loyston Community before it was covered by water after Norris Dam was built in the 1930s.

The Union County Chamber Tourism Council is celebrating the 75th anniversary of Tennessee state parks at 2 p.m. today. The event will be held at the former Tea Room at Big Ridge State Park and officials will be unveiling the map of the Norris Lake area from Tennessee Valley Authority.

A digitalized copy of the 1935 TVA Norris Reservoir Land Map has been released and includes the plats and names of the families who were displaced by the creation of the lake when Norris Dam was built in the 1930s. This map includes the entire Norris Lake area, and includes the counties of Anderson, Campbell, Claiborne, Grainger, and Union.

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Anderson County committee discusses no-tax-increase budget today

An Anderson County committee this afternoon will consider a budget that doesn’t include a tax increase or an additional $2 million requested by the Sheriff’s Department.

Anderson County Mayor Myron Iwanski said the extra $2 million requested by Sheriff Paul White would increase his department’s budget by 20 percent in the fiscal year that begins July 1. The sheriff’s budget has already doubled during the past six years, Iwanski said.

The mayor said the sheriff could make minor adjustments in his $10 million budget and the assignments of his 175 authorized employees. Those adjustments would allow the dormitory at the overcrowded jail to be staffed until a new pod is built. That pod will have extra beds that can be rented to produce the revenue to hire more jailers, Iwanski said.

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ORPD accepting old prescription drugs on Saturday

Oak Ridge Police Department is accepting old and unused prescription drugs on Saturday, April 28. The medications can be dropped off from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 200 S. Tulane Ave.

This event is meant to help prevent pill abuse and theft and is being done in conjunction with the Drug Enforcement Administration. This service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.

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U.S. Rep. Fleischmann votes for Sportsmen’s Heritage Act

Congressman Chuck Fleischmann recently voted for the Sportsmen’s Heritage Act of 2012.

The Sportsmen’s Heritage Act, which is supported by the National Rifle Association and more than 35 conservation groups, removes restrictions on hunting and fishing on public lands.  This act also prevents the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from barring the use of certain types of traditional ammunition.

“As a member of the NRA, I fully believe that Americans should be able to hunt and fish recreationally free from the overreach of government bureaucrats,” said Fleischmann, whose district includes Oak Ridge. “From the founding of our nation to the settling of the West, the right of citizens to hunt and fish on wild land has been a hallmark of our American identity.”

Planners and protesters participate in Thursday forum

PlanET Group Discussion

Emily Woodle, City of Knoxville Community Development project specialist, left, and Jim Dickson, YMCA of East Tennessee president and chief executive officer, help rank top regional issues during a PlanET forum Thursday.

Their mission challenged by protesters, several dozen regional leaders who met in Oak Ridge on Thursday said poor air quality, drug abuse, and the large number of low-skilled jobs are among the issues that ought to be addressed as a new five-county plan is developed.

Other top-priority issues include improving regional school quality, reducing the obesity rate, and providing access to affordable housing and more transportation alternatives.

A protestor at the April 19 PlanET meeting

Knoxville resident Kevin Desmond protests outside a PlanET meeting at Flatwater Grill on Thursday.

Thursday’s forum was organized by PlanET, and about 75 people attended, including an estimated 30 protesters inside and more outside. The protesters were concerned about property rights and wanted to know, specifically, what PlanET might propose.

Some also tied the planning process to Agenda 21, a United Nations resolution passed in 1992 that was designed to encourage nations to use fewer resources and conserve open land by steering development to already dense areas.

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