Roane sheriff seeks help solving Rocky Top robbery

Rocky Top Midtown Robbery

The Rocky Top Market in Midtown was robbed on December 7, and the Roane County Sheriff’s Office is asking for help solving the crime, authorities said.

A man entered the Rocky Top store at about 2:35 a.m. Sunday, December 7, and demanded cash, a press release said.

The suspect is considered armed and dangerous, the release said. Anyone with information is asked to call the Roane County Sheriff’s Office at (865) 717-4722 or the anonymous tip line at (865) 717-4217, or contact authorities through the sheriff’s website at or through a private message on Facebook.

Update: Y-12 spill involved less than one gallon of flammable solvent

Y-12 National Security Complex Scarboro Road Entrance

The Scarboro Road entrance to the Y-12 National Security Complex is pictured above in March 2014. (File photo)

Note: This story was last updated at 3:34 p.m.

The chemical spill at the Y-12 National Security Complex on Tuesday morning involved less than one gallon of a flammable solvent, and the substance has evaporated, a federal official said Tuesday afternoon.

The spilled solvent was acetonitrile, and it’s used in chemical processing at Y-12’s Purification Facility, said Steven Wyatt of the National Nuclear Security Administration.

It spilled onto the floor at about 10:24 a.m. Tuesday. The cause is unknown. The spill was detected by sensors. There was no fire and no injuries.

Wyatt said the acetonitrile was not involved in uranium enrichment work at Y-12. [Read more…]

Update: Y-12 chemical spill contained; less than 10 workers in building at time of spill

Y-12 Aerial Photo June 2012

The Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge is pictured above in June 2012. (Photo courtesy NNSA)


Note: This story was last updated at 1:12 p.m.

The Purification Facility at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge was evacuated Tuesday morning after a chemical spill, officials said. Fewer than 10 people were in the building at the time of the spill, and none were in the immediate area.

There were no injuries, and federal officials and Y-12 staff have accounted for all workers, the National Nuclear Security Administration said.

The spilled material is acetonitrile, a liquid solvent used in chemical processing operations, said Steven Wyatt of the NNSA.

Everyone was evacuated from the building, which is on the east end of the plant, Wyatt said. The spill was reported at 10:24 a.m. Tuesday.

[Read more…]

Hibachi Pizza open in Oliver Springs

Hibachi Pizza Ribbon-cutting

Hibachi Pizza owners Michael Pfeiffer and Darian Crossno recently celebrated their grand opening with an Anderson County Chamber of Commerce Ribbon Cutting and Business After Hours. (Submitted photo)


Hibachi Pizza owners Michael Pfeiffer and Darian Crossno recently celebrated their grand opening with an Anderson County Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting.

Hibachi Pizza is located at 526 East Tri-County Boulevard in Oliver Springs.

The restaurant opened July 16 where Mountain Pizza used to be. It’s affiliated with Hibachi Burger in Oak Ridge and specializes in Japanese and American cuisine such as hibachi, burgers, sandwiches, and pizza.

The restaurant is open from 3 to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and from 3 to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Hibachi Pizza is closed on Sunday. [Read more…]

Remembered as a model community volunteer, Myrick died Sunday

Tim and Teresa Myrick with ADFAC Bow Tie Award

Tim Myrick, left, received the 2014 Bill Wilcox Bow Tie Award from ADFAC on Oct. 30. Pictured with Myrick at Y-12’s New Hope Center is his wife Teresa. (Photo courtesy ADFAC)

Note: This story was last updated at 3:30 p.m.

Tim Myrick, one of the area’s most active community volunteers, died Sunday morning. He was at home with his wife Teresa by his side.

Friends are remembering him as a model community leader and volunteer. Myrick, who had been battling prostate cancer, had provided decades of service to the church and to Aid to Distressed Families of Appalachian Counties, or ADFAC, as well as to Habitat for Humanity of Anderson County. He played a key role in the renovation of Oak Ridge High School and modernization work at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. In 2012, he and Teresa pledged $25,000 to the Oak Ridge Public Schools Education Foundation’s “Making the Critical Difference” campaign for grants and scholarships.

“We sure lost a strong advocate for our community,” said friend D. Ray Smith, who serves on both the ADFAC and Habitat for Humanity boards. [Read more…]

Alexander: Spending bill includes $440 million for ORNL supercomputer, UPF at Y-12

U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander

Lamar Alexander

The $1 trillion spending bill passed by the Senate on Saturday night includes more than $400 million in funding to support two Oak Ridge projects—building the world’s fastest supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Uranium Processing Facility at the Y-12 National Security Complex, U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander said.

The appropriations legislation avoids a government shutdown and funds most of the government through September. The Senate approved it in a bipartisan 56-40 vote, and it now goes to President Barack Obama, who is expected to sign it into law.

The spending bill cleared the House on Thursday. Liberals sought to strip out a policy provision that eases a Wall Street regulation, and conservatives tried to slow action on immigration. [Read more…]

Senate passes Manhattan Project park bill that includes Oak Ridge

Manhattan Project Park Sites

Note: This story was last updated at 11 a.m. Dec. 14.

House approved bill last week; legislation now headed to President Obama

After years of work, the U.S. Senate has passed a bill to set up a Manhattan Project National Historical Park that includes Oak Ridge, a once-secret city that played a key role in ending World War II. The legislation passed the U.S. House last week, and it now goes to President Barack Obama, who is expected to sign it into law.

Besides Oak Ridge, the park will include Los Alamos, New Mexico, and Hanford, Washington. Those two cities were also part of the Manhattan Project, a top-secret federal program to develop the world’s first atomic weapons during World War II. [Read more…]

ORFD helps with Harriman trench rescue

Harriman Trench Rescue

The Oak Ridge Fire Department, Knoxville Volunteer Rescue Squad, and UT Lifestar were among the agencies that responded to a Friday afternoon trench collapse in Harriman. At right front is Oak Ridge Fire Department Chief Darryl Kerley. At center with his back to the camera is a Knoxville Volunteer Rescue Squad physician, and a UT Lifestar crew member is in the trench.


MIDTOWN—Rescuers from the Oak Ridge Fire Department were among the dozens who responded to a trench collapse in Midtown that trapped a sewer line installer in dirt up to his mid-chest for about four hours Friday afternoon.

The worker was estimated to be about 20 years old, and he had been helping to install a new Roane County sewer line next to Moses Road south of Interstate 40 and west of Kingston when a trench estimated to be about eight to 10 feet deep collapsed at about noon Friday. The worker, who wasn’t immediately identified, is employed by Danson Construction of Sparta, Tennessee. He was rescued at about 4 p.m. Friday, taken to a helipad in Midtown, and then flown by medical helicopter to the University of Tennessee Medical Center, said Scott Stout, deputy director of the Roane County Office of Emergency Services and Homeland Security. [Read more…]

DA: Criminal investigation under way in apartment death, but so far, no arrest, charges

Dave Clark

Dave Clark

A criminal investigation is under way in the death of a 29-year-old man at an apartment in Oak Ridge early Monday, but there has not been an arrest yet and no charges have been filed, Anderson County District Attorney General Dave Clark said Thursday.

Thomas Steven Thrasher Jr., 29, was found dead in a second-floor apartment when the Oak Ridge Police Department responded to a report of a possible intruder at about 4:40 a.m. Monday at 615 West Vanderbilt Drive.

Clark said an autopsy has been performed by the Anderson County medical examiner.

“As a result of the circumstances, the Oak Ridge Police and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation have been conducting a criminal investigation,” Clark said. “There has been no arrest or charges filed at this time.” [Read more…]

Heitman family wants death investigation re-opened

Alexander John Heitman

Alexander John Heitman

Note: This story was last updated at 11:45 a.m. Dec. 11.

The family of a former Oak Ridge school employee found dead of a shotgun wound in Cocke County more than three years ago wants authorities there to reopen the investigation of their son’s death, a press release said.

The family of Alexander “Alex” J. Heitman has also hired an attorney, retired Assistant U.S. Attorney Hugh B. Ward Jr. of Knoxville law firm Young Williams. Ward has Oak Ridge connections, serving on several local boards and as the city’s administrative hearing officer.

Heitman’s family asked for the death investigation to be re-opened after Cocke County Circuit Court Judge Ben Hooper on Monday ordered Coroner Terry Jarnigan to stay away from crime scenes and dead bodies in Cocke County. The Newport Plain Talk reported that Jarnigan allegedly compromised a corpse he was told would be sent for an autopsy in November.

WBIR-TV in Knoxville reported that Jarnigan resigned Tuesday. The Heitmans said the former county coroner oversaw their son’s crime scene.

The Plain Talk reported in June that the District Attorney’s office in Newport said it saw no reason to re-open the investigation of Heitman’s death, which has been ruled a suicide. [Read more…]

TBI investigating apartment death

Rolling Hills Apartments Building

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is investigating the death of a 29-year-old man found dead in a second-floor apartment at this Rolling Hills Apartments building in Oak Ridge on Monday.


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

State authorities are investigating the death of a 29-year-old man in an Oak Ridge apartment on Monday.

Oak Ridge police officers said Thomas Thrasher was dead when they arrived at a second-floor apartment at 615 West Vanderbilt Drive at about 4:40 a.m. Monday. The Oak Ridge Police Department, which had responded to a report of a possible intruder, said the death was “suspicious,” and they turned the case over to Anderson County District Attorney General Dave Clark.

Clark asked the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to investigate, TBI Public Information Officer Susan Niland said Wednesday.

Niland said the cause of death has not been determined pending an autopsy. She said it’s not clear how long the autopsy might take or how many tests have to be performed. [Read more…]

Driver stable with minor injuries after car rolls, hits tree

Oliver Springs Highway Crash

The male driver of this Ford Taurus was stable with minor injuries after going off Oliver Springs Highway, rolling down a drop-off, and hitting a large tree, authorities said. The driver had to be extricated and was taken by ambulance to Methodist Medical Center of Oak Ridge. (Photos by Tom Scott)


Rescuers had to extricate the male driver of a car that rolled down a drop-off alongside Oliver Springs Highway and hit a large tree Tuesday morning, and the man was in stable condition with minor injuries, authorities said.

The single-vehicle crash was reported at about 6:50 a.m. Tuesday on Oliver Springs Highway near Bill Key Lane.

The Ford Taurus was headed toward Oliver Springs when it rolled a few times down a 10- to 15-foot drop-off alongside the highway, said Stephanie Fox, assistant chief of the Marlow Volunteer Fire Department. The car stopped when it hit a large tree, she said. [Read more…]