With help from neighbors, woman escapes home fire as attic burns

Riverview Drive Garage Fire

An east Oak Ridge woman who uses a walker was able to escape this duplex fire on Riverview Drive on Tuesday afternoon, thanks to help from her neighbors. (Photo by Bob Nuspliger)

 

This story was last updated at 6:40 p.m.

An east Oak Ridge woman who uses a walker was able to escape from her home as her attic burned Tuesday afternoon thanks to help from her neighbors.

The woman, Barbara Osborne, was not injured, although two firefighters who were overheated were treated, Oak Ridge Fire Department Chief Darryl Kerley said. He said the firefighters, Captain Mike Friley and firefighter Casey Payne, were working close to the fire, near a lot of radiant heat.

Firefighters were also looking for a female cat, Honey, that belonged to the Osbornes.

The duplex they live in on Riverview Drive was destroyed, Kerley said.

The cause of the fire, which appeared to have started in the attic in the garage area of the home, wasn’t immediately known. It took between 16 and 18 firefighters about 45 minutes to extinguish the fire, which burned intensely over the garage on a windy Tuesday afternoon. [Read more…]

Photos: Building demolition near Magic Wok

Magic Wok Building Demolition

The demolition of the commercial building next to the Magic Wok restaurant is pictured above on Sunday, March 29. The area to the left most recently housed the Tienda Nony grocery and Appalachian Frame Shop (both stores have relocated in Oak Ridge), and the area to the right housed the Classic Cleaners. (Photo by Julio Culiat)

 

The demolition of the commercial building next to the Magic Wok restaurant started earlier this month.

Pictured above to the left of the Magic Wok is the demolished portion of the building that once housed the Tienda Nony grocery and Appalachian Frame Shop. (Both stores have relocated to new locations in Oak Ridge; Tienda Nony is in a shopping center off Bus Terminal Road, and Appalachian Frame Shop is at Grove Center.) The area to the right of Magic Wok once housed the Classic Cleaners.

In November, a city board ordered the building demolished within 30 days. The demolition order, which was issued earlier this month, does not apply to the Magic Wok, which is in a separate diner on the western side of the building. [Read more…]

School board to consider balanced calendar, budget timeline

The Oak Ridge Board of Education will consider a balanced calendar for the 2016-2017 school year during a regular meeting tonight. The school board will also consider an updated budget timeline for the fiscal year that starts July 1.

The Board of Education could consider salary proposals from the Oak Ridge Education Association and principals during the meeting tonight (Monday, March 30). It starts at 6 p.m. at the Robert J. Smallridge School Administration Building at 304 New York Avenue.

The school board approved a balanced calendar for the 2015-2016 school year in a meeting in April 2014. This fall will be the first time that Oak Ridge has had a balanced calendar. [Read more…]

See Main Street Oak Ridge plans here

Main Street Oak Ridge Master Plan March 26, 2015

Here is the master plan for Main Street Oak Ridge. See a larger version of the plan in the first link below.

 

Several readers have asked for higher resolution versions of the plans for Main Street Oak Ridge, the development that could replace the former Oak Ridge Mall with a mix of retailers, restaurants, residential units, and possibly a hotel.

Here are copies of the plans provided by Oak Ridge Community Development. One is the master plan, and the other is a pedestrian connectivity and conceptual landscape plan. [Read more…]

CNS donates $25K to Boys, Girls Clubs; others match the gift

CNS Donation to Boys and Girls Club

Boys and Girls Clubs of the Clinch Valley founder and Executive Director Emeritus Lawrence Hahn, center, discusses the history of the organization with CNS President and CEO Jim Haynes, left, and the club’s Chief Volunteer Officer Gerald Boyd. (Photo courtesy CNS)

 

Consolidated Nuclear Security LLC has donated $25,000 to Boys and Girls Clubs of the Clinch Valley, and that gift has been matched—for a total of $50,000. The money will be used for a new roof at the Oak Ridge facility.

CNS President and Chief Executive Officer Jim Haynes presented a symbolic $25,000 check to the Oak Ridge unit during a ceremony on Thursday. Representatives of some of the 16 organizations that matched the CNS donation were also present.

“On behalf of our 5,000 employees at Y-12, we are extremely pleased to contribute to an Oak Ridge organization that makes such a difference in young peoples’ lives,” Haynes said. “Y-12 employees have a long history of serving this community, and we are honored to continue that tradition. The Oak Ridge Boys and Girls Club has served the community for decades, and we are proud to contribute so that it can continue to serve for decades to come.” [Read more…]

Firefighters train in controlled burn at home on Waddell Place

Waddell Place Fire

Oak Ridge firefighters trained at a controlled burn at a city-owned home on Waddell Place on Friday. (Photo by Kevin Rice)

 

Oak Ridge firefighters trained in a controlled burn in a home on Waddell Place on Friday.

It’s the second house that firefighters have burned on Waddell Place this year. The first, which was burned in January, was the first that the Oak Ridge Fire Department has burned for training.

The city has one more blighted city-owned home that it could burn on Waddell Place.

The fires require state approval, and they help the city by training firefighters and burning materials that would otherwise have to be demolished and hauled away.

More information will be added as it becomes available.

Council rejects ORPD investigation proposals, approves MTAS review

Oak Ridge City Council on Feb. 9, 2015

On Friday, March 27, the Oak Ridge City Council agreed to use the Municipal Technical Advisory Service at the University of Tennessee to conduct a 30-day review of turnover, morale, and administrative policies in the Oak Ridge Police Department. (File photo)

 

Note: This story was last updated at 12:30 p.m. March 30.

Despite calls for an investigation, the Oak Ridge City Council on Friday approved a proposal from a University of Tennessee agency to review—rather than investigate—the Oak Ridge Police Department, focusing on turnover, morale, and administrative policies.

A series of motions by City Council member Trina Baughn, who has pushed hardest for an investigation of the ORPD and its police chief, were rejected. Among other things, Baughn’s proposals would have required all Police Department employees to spend at least 10 minutes with the investigator, regardless of whether they wanted to say anything; sought to interview all former workers who have left since May 2011, when Police Chief Jim Akagi was hired; given those interviewed a chance to participate in a “no confidence” vote against the chief; and look into Akagi’s previous history, including his prior employment with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Council also rejected a motion by Baughn to investigate the allegations included in a grievance filed by a former police officer and claims made in letters by former officers.

The 30-day review that was approved Friday was first proposed as a general concept by Oak Ridge City Council member Kelly Callison during a February meeting, with more detail added since then.

[Read more…]

Planning for national park, Park Service tours Jackson Square, K-25, ORNL, Y-12

Vic Knox of National Park Service

Vic Knox (Photo by D. Ray Smith)

Note: This story was last updated at 12:37 p.m.

Planning for the new Manhattan Project National Historical Park has started, and federal officials this week toured Jackson Square, the former K-25 site, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and the Y-12 National Security Complex.

Stops included the Alexander Inn, Chapel on the Hill, the former K-25 Building site, the Graphite Reactor at ORNL, and two buildings at Y-12: Building 9731, a pilot plant, and Building 9204-3, also known as Beta 3.

“Several of those sites are just amazing,” said Vic Knox, associate director of park planning, facilities, and lands for the National Park Service in Washington, D.C. “They seem like they are just the way they were in 1943. It seems like they take you back in time.”

Oak Ridge was built as part of the Manhattan Project, a top-secret federal program to build the world’s fist atomic weapons during World War II. Besides Oak Ridge, the new national park includes Los Alamos, New Mexico, and Hanford, Washington. [Read more…]

Council to consider reviewing, investigating ORPD in special meeting Friday

Oak Ridge City Council on Feb. 9, 2015

The Oak Ridge City Council on Monday, Feb. 9, agreed to a third-party review of turnover and morale in the Oak Ridge Police Department but rejected requests for two other probes. On Friday, March 27, the Council could consider reviewing or investigating the ORPD—there has been a dispute over which term to use—placing the police chief on administrative leave, or accepting a proposal from the Municipal Technical Advisory Service to conduct a 30-day review. (File photo)

 

The Oak Ridge City Council will consider whether to review or investigate the Oak Ridge Police Department during a special meeting on Friday, March 27. The Council will also consider whether to place the police chief on administrative leave during the investigation, if one is conducted.

City Council members Trina Baughn and Rick Chinn called for the special meeting earlier this month, and it was set for this Friday, March 27. Baughn and Chinn asked to set the parameters of an investigation and possibly select an investigator during the special meeting. They also asked to discuss and possibly vote on placing the police chief on administrative leave during the investigation.

Once it became clear that the special meeting would be called, Council members Ellen Smith and Charlie Hensley asked to consider selecting a reviewer to conduct the police review, as opposed to an investigation, approved in February. [Read more…]

Main Street Oak Ridge signs first anchor lease, other leases could follow

Main Street Oak Ridge

Main Street Oak Ridge would redevelop the former Oak Ridge Mall as a mixed-use project that could include retailers, restaurants, residential units, and possibly a hotel. The existing space between the two remaining anchors, Belk and JCPenney, would be demolished, although those two stores would remain.

 

Note: This story was last updated at 10:15 a.m. March 27.

The developers who want to convert the former Oak Ridge Mall into Main Street Oak Ridge signed their first anchor store lease last week, an executive said Thursday.

And three to five more leases could be signed in the next month or so, said Tim Sittema of Crosland Southeast, the North Carolina company that has proposed the roughly 60-acre redevelopment.

Main Street Oak Ridge would redevelop the mall as a mixed-use project that would include retailers, restaurants, residential units, and possibly a hotel. The existing space between the two remaining anchors, Belk and JCPenney, would be demolished, although those two stores would remain. [Read more…]

Big day: Main Street Oak Ridge, Manhattan Project Park on Thursday’s agenda

Main Street Oak Ridge Presentation

Pictured above during a presentation on Main Street Oak Ridge last week are Crosland Southeast partner James Downs, right; Barry James, Crosland Southeast senior vice president, center; and Houston E. Daugherty, Cannon and Cannon vice president.

 

A vote that could help Main Street Oak Ridge, the redevelopment of the former Oak Ridge Mall, is on Thursday’s agenda. So is an open house on the new Manhattan Project National Historical Park.

They are among two of the biggest projects in Oak Ridge in years, and both are considered key parts of an economic renaissance that also includes new business development along Oak Ridge Turnpike and South Illinois Avenue, a new Kroger Marketplace shopping center, the proposed multi-billion-dollar Uranium Processing Facility at the Y-12 National Security Complex, and the announcement by metal powder manufacturing company CVMR this month that it will move its operations from Toronto to Oak Ridge, investing $313 million and adding 620 jobs.

A rezoning has been requested for Main Street Oak Ridge. It will be considered by the Oak Ridge Municipal Planning Commission during a meeting that starts at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, March 26, in the Oak Ridge Municipal Building Courtroom. The Planning Commission will also consider a planned unit development, or PUD, master plan for the project. [Read more…]

Planning to preserve history of K-25, which could be part of national park

K-25 Building Aerial View

Now demolished, the former mile-long, U-shaped K-25 Building, pictured above, was once used to enrich uranium for atomic weapons and commercial nuclear power plants. Located in west Oak Ridge, the site could become part of a new Manhattan Project National Historical Park. There is a separate effort to preserve K-25’s history; that work could be incorporated into the new park. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Department of Energy)

 

It was once the world’s largest building under one roof and part of the one of the largest industrial projects ever, a top-secret program to build the world’s first atomic weapons in World War II.

Today the building is gone—demolition was completed in December 2013—but the stories of what took place inside the former mile-long, U-shaped K-25 Building could live on in a replica equipment building, viewing tower, and history center.

And K-25 could become part of a new Manhattan Project National Historical Park approved by Congress in December and signed into law by President Barack Obama on December 19. The 14-page bill was the culmination of 15 years of work, said Colin Colverson, Manhattan Project Park lead in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Office.

The law recognizes the Manhattan Project as one of the most significant events in U.S. history, with assets and history that must be preserved. It’s considered one of the top scientific achievements of the 20th century, and Oak Ridge residents still marvel at how quickly the three local sites (K-25, X-10, and Y-12) were built and began operating in all-out race to build an atomic bomb before Germany. [Read more…]