Anderson schools could rescind rejection of Oak Ridge Head Start application

Oak Ridge Schools Administration Building

The Oak Ridge School Administration Building, which houses the Head Start and Preschool program, is pictured above.

Note: This story was updated at 4:50 p.m.

They rejected a Head Start application from Oak Ridge a few weeks ago, but Anderson County school officials could rescind it during a special meeting on Tuesday.

Officials from the two school systems have met and developed a 10-point plan that could be put into place for the 2014-2015 school year. The agreement would allow Oak Ridge to continue to receive funding for the city’s Head Start program through Anderson County, said Keys Fillauer, chair of the Oak Ridge Board of Education.

The agreement will be considered by the county school board during Tuesday’s meeting.

On April 10, the Anderson County Board of Education rejected Oak Ridge’s Head Start application over concerns about the falsification of federal data, specifically reports on the motor skills of children. [Read more...]

School board considers balanced calendar on Monday

Christopher J. Marczak

Christopher J. Marczak

The new “balanced” school calendar has twice been endorsed by a majority of Oak Ridge parents and school staff, and the school board on Monday is expected to consider whether to use the new calendar, which gives students about nine weeks of classroom instruction at a time, in the 2015-2016 school year.

The first vote was conducted through the Skylert callout system in February, and the second vote was in March. Parents and staff were asked whether they favor the traditional or balanced calendar.

The new calendar would apply to all schools, including Willow Brook and the PreSchool for the 2015-16 school year. The first vote callout took place Feb. 10.

The traditional calendar is the calendar that most of the Oak Ridge Schools have had for quite a while. Students come to school in the middle of August, have a one-week fall break, two weeks off for winter, a one-week spring break, dismissal at the beginning of June, and an 11- to 12-week summer. [Read more...]

Staff size at Y-12, Pantex could be reduced through voluntary separations

Y-12 National Security Complex Aerial View

The Y-12 National Security Complex is pictured above.

The staff size at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge and Pantex Plant in Amarillo, Texas, could be reduced as a new federal contractor takes over. Officials expect the staff reductions to be less than 5 percent, and they say that most, if not all, of the staff reductions could come through voluntary separation programs.

The voluntary separation programs, or VSPs, were announced on April 15 by B&W Y-12 President and General Manager Dave Richardson and B&W Pantex President and General Manager John Woolery.

In his message to Y-12 workers, Richardson said the National Nuclear Security Administration had directed the plants to conduct the VSPs as part of the implementation of the staffing plan for Consolidated Nuclear Security LLC, the new contractor at the two nuclear weapons plants in Tennessee and Texas.

The Y-12 VSP will be targeted to specific job classifications and roles identified by CNS, Richardson said. Only employees in those specific classifications and roles will be eligible to apply for the VSP.

“Currently, B&W Y-12 is in the process of putting together a VSP plan that is in alignment with CNS’ staffing desires,” Richardson said last week. “We will submit our VSP plan later this week. Once this plan is approved by NNSA, we’ll communicate more details to you; specifically, each person eligible to participate in the VSP will be notified.” [Read more...]

Oak Ridge building bathrooms, changing rooms at Melton Lake Park

Oak Ridge Marina Bathrooms

Workers build a block wall, patch and texture the ceiling, and hang drywall for new bathrooms and changing rooms in part of the former New China Palace restaurant at Melton Lake Park.

One section of a former Chinese restaurant at Melton Lake Park has already been converted into a rental shop for kayaks and bikes.

Now, another part of the city-owned building at the Oak Ridge Marina is being converted into public restrooms and changing rooms for big events. The bathrooms, which will be open to the public, could open next month.

It’s one of the steps in implementing a waterfront development plan approved by Oak Ridge City Council in December 2009. That plan included such features as a new picnic pavilion, walking trails, new playground, permanent restrooms, enhanced lighting and landscaping, outdoor casual dining, and recreational equipment rental.

The bathrooms will include multiple stalls, and the city will open the changing rooms for large events, such as regattas (rowing races). That will double the restroom capacities, said Pat Fallon, operations and maintenance manager for the Oak Ridge Public Works Department. [Read more...]

Adventures Outdoors rents kayaks, bikes at Oak Ridge Marina

Kayaks under Melton Lake Drive

Above, kayaks from Adventures Outdoors are taken through a tunnel under Melton Lake Drive. (Photos courtesy Karen Lloyd)

Adventures Outdoors is open again, renting kayaks, bicycles, and stand up paddle boards at the Oak Ridge Marina.

The company has a new, larger, remodeled home inside part of the former New China Palace restaurant on the waterfront and a new five-year lease with the city, said Karen Lloyd, Adventures Outdoors owner.

Adventures Outdoors has 20 kayaks, including boats for one and two people, a new kayak launching dock, and five-person pedal boats. The rentals includes bikes for adults and children, as well as Trikkes, which are three-wheeled “carving vehicles.”

Lloyd said Adventures Outdoors opened for the season on April 1 and will remain open through Oct. 31. [Read more...]

County Commission candidate proposes drug testing for elected officials

Lynn Byrge

Lynn Byrge

Note: This story was updated at 11:25 p.m.

CLINTON—A candidate for Anderson County Commission has proposed drug testing for county commissioners and other elected officials.

“They should be sober-minded,” said Lynn Byrge, one of four candidates for two seats in District 5, which includes Marlow, Dutch Valley, and Oliver Springs. The incumbents are Jerry White and Robert McKamey. Carl D. Beaty is also running.

Byrge made the proposal during a Monday morning Anderson County Commission meeting in Clinton.

“I think that’s appropriate not only for county commissioners, but for all elected officials,” Byrge said. [Read more...]

No one injured when part of concrete ceiling falls in Y-12 building

Y-12 National Security Complex Sign

No one was injured when chunks of concrete weighing up to 20 pounds fell from the ceiling in a roped-off area in a building at the Y-12 National Security Complex in March.

No one was injured when chunks of concrete weighing up to 20 pounds fell from the ceiling in a roped-off area in a building at the Y-12 National Security Complex in March.

That area of Building 9204-2 in Y-12‘s production area had been roped off to restrict worker access. The controlled area has been in place since 2009, said B&W Y-12, the plant’s managing and operating contractor. Access to the area was controlled with marker tape and boundary markers.

When the ceiling fell in that part of the building, large chunks of concrete rebounded into a frequently used walkway and an adjacent welding station, the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board reported in the week ending March 21. Workers had used the welding station earlier in the day, the DNFSB said.

B&W Y-12 said chunks of the concrete fell to the floor and struck a portable welding exhaust unit located inside the controlled area. Some small pieces of the concrete also scattered outside of the area. Personnel in a nearby area heard the noise, discovered the problem, and immediately notified the shift manager, per procedures, the contractor said. [Read more...]

Woman, two children escape Easter morning grease fire


An Oak Ridge woman and her two children escaped an Easter morning grease fire at this Wade Lane home. (Photos by Tom Scott)

Note: This story was last updated at 8:20 p.m.

An Oak Ridge woman and her two children safely escaped an Easter morning grease fire that started in a pan on a stove while she was preparing to fry chicken in a Wade Lane home.

But their home, one of four units in a two-story building, was likely destroyed, Oak Ridge Fire Department Chief Darryl Kerley said.

Still, resident Dee Crumm said she is just glad that she and her 13-year-old son Seth and 10-year-old daughter Shelby are okay.

“As long as the kids are okay, that’s what counts,” Crumm said. [Read more...]

Photos: SIRA Regatta at Oak Ridge Marina


The 2014 Southern Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championship Regatta was at the Oak Ridge Marina on Friday and Saturday. Here are photos from the regatta on Saturday.

It was the 46th annual SIRA regatta. Results from the Friday and Saturday races are available on the SIRA website.

A video of Friday’s races are available on the USRowing YouTube channel here, and Saturday’s races are available here. [Read more...]

Myricks to be honored for ‘lifetime of commitment’ on April 29

Tim Myrick and Volunteers with Habitat for Humanity

Tim Myrick, back row second from left, is pictured taking a lunch break during a build with college students who come during spring break every year to participate in Habitat builds. (Photos by Habitat for Humanity of Anderson County)

He’s helped build every one of the 58 homes built by Habitat for Humanity of Anderson County since it started in 1992 and served on the board. He helped plan and oversee renovations at the Oak Ridge High School, been a member of the Red Cross Disaster Relief team, and along with his wife, grown thousands of Christmas trees that were donated to the American Cancer Society and Holiday Bureau for fundraising.

In recognition of their work, Tim and Teresa Myrick will be honored this month for their “lifetime of commitment to the people of Oak Ridge and Anderson County.” The reception will be hosted by Habitat for Humanity, and it is scheduled from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 29, at the New Hope Center at Y-12 National Security Complex. [Read more...]

Close to 800 vote early in Anderson County in first two days

Anderson County Early Voting

As represented by three signs here, the Anderson County primary election includes three candidates for mayor, the incumbent, Terry Frank, left; her Republican opponent, Commissioner Zach Bates, right; and Democrat Jim Hackworth, center, a former state representative.

Early voting started Wednesday in Anderson County, and close to 800 residents cast ballots in the first two days, according to WYSH Radio in Clinton.

The early voting is for the May 6 Democratic and Republican primaries in Anderson County.

WYSH said 410 people voted Wednesday, and 378 voted Thursday. The two-day total was 788.

The Republican primary has been more popular, with 645 votes cast so far. That primary features four contested races: mayor, sheriff, chancellor, and juvenile court judge. About 82 percent of the ballots cast have been in the GOP primary.

There is only one contested race in the Democratic primary, and that’s for juvenile court judge. One hundred forty-three voters, or about 18 percent of them, cast ballots in the Democratic primary on Wednesday and Thursday, WYSH said. [Read more...]

Review team develops UPF alternative, sends report to NNSA

Thom Mason

Thom Mason

The projected cost had passed $10 billion and the completion date pushed back to 2038, so federal officials were looking for an alternative approach for the proposed Uranium Processing Facility at the Y-12 National Security Complex.

Earlier this year, the National Nuclear Security Administration asked Thom Mason, Oak Ridge National Laboratory director, to lead a team—a so-called “Red Team”—that would develop an alternative approach.

The team’s task was to find a faster, more efficient solution, NNSA Acting Administrator Bruce Held told a House subcommittee on April 3.

On Tuesday, the deadline for submitting a report, Mason said the team has identified a possible alternative and provided information on how the proposal could be implemented if the NNSA adopts it. The next step will be up to the NNSA. Y-12 is an NNSA site.

The goal is to still allow workers to get out of Y-12’s aging Building 9212 by 2025 and keep the cost within an approved range of $4.2 billion to $6.5 billion, Mason said late Tuesday afternoon, when the report was being polished before transmittal. [Read more...]