Follow-up: ORPD investigating suspicious ATM device that could be card ‘skimmer’

Oak Ridge Police Department Logo

A suspicious device found on an ATM machine on Sunday could be a “skimmer,” and detectives are working with bank officials to determine if any debit or credit cards were compromised, the Oak Ridge Police Department said Wednesday.

A customer found the suspicious device on Sunday at the SunTrust Bank at 1188 Oak Ridge Turnpike, the ORPD said in a press release.

Police think it was a debit or credit card “skimmer.” A “skimmer” is a small device that is usually placed over the card slot of ATMs and gas pumps to steal debit/credit card information. “Skimmers” are sometimes accompanied by small cameras or keypad covers to steal PIN numbers associated with the cards. [Read more...]

Council approves $1 million contract for Jackson Square parking lot project

Jackson Square Plaza Improvements Map

Note: This story was updated at 11:35 a.m. Oct. 29.

The Oak Ridge City Council on Monday awarded a $1 million contract for a project funded with help from a state grant to rebuild the Jackson Square parking lot area.

The contract was awarded to Rich Construction Inc. of Lenoir City. Oak Ridge officials will have a pre-construction conference in 10 days, and they are hopeful that work will start in late November, City Manager Mark Watson said.

He said the project could take 180 days, or about six months. That means it would be done before the Lavender Festival in 2015.

The work will include a landscaped pedestrian plaza with parking, an interactive fountain, stone pavers, curbing, asphalt paving, utilities, benches, sidewalks, and upgrades under the American with Disabilities Act. There will a slight increase in the number of parking spaces. [Read more...]

ORPD investigating auto burglaries, offers prevention tips

Oak Ridge Police Department Logo

The Oak Ridge Police Department is investigating a series of motor vehicle burglaries that have occurred throughout the city since August, and authorities are warning residents that vehicle break-ins increase during the holiday season, from late October to the new year.

The ORPD said there have been more than 25 reported auto burglaries from August through last week.

“The common thread is unattended vehicles left in fairly secluded parking lots, (with the) majority occurring around parks along Melton Lake Drive (and) Edgemoor Road,” the ORPD said last week. “The most current location is along Outer Drive. Time of day for each of the burglaries has varied, ranging from broad daylight, dusk, and dark. Items stolen from vehicles appear to have been in plain view.”

The most-stolen items include purses, cell phones, iPads and tablets, laptop computers, GPS units, other electronic items, and cash. [Read more...]

No one injured in apartment kitchen fire

Wakefield Road Apartment Fire

No one was injured in a kitchen fire on Monday evening at an apartment complex on Wakefield Road. The fire was reported at about 5:48 p.m. Monday in the apartment at 103D Wakefield Road, which is on the far right of the building pictured above.

 

No one was injured in a kitchen fire on Monday evening in an apartment on Wakefield Road.

The fire was reported at 5:48 p.m. Monday, Oak Ridge Assistant Fire Chief Josh Waldo said. No one was home at the time.

Waldo said firefighters are still trying to determine the cause, but the small fire might have started on the stove. It destroyed the stove and damaged a few cabinets, but was confined to the kitchen and caused minimal smoke damage, Waldo said. He estimated the total damage at about $2,500. [Read more...]

Despite championship loss, coaches tell Rams to ‘hold your head high’

Chris Jackson of Robertsville Rams Makes CAK Tackle

Chris Jackson (7) of the Robertsville Middle School Rams makes a tackle against the CAK Warriors during a TVAC Championship game at Blankenship Field on Thursday. (Photos by Luther Simmons)

 

RMS Ram Football Coach James Branson

Robertsville Middle School Rams head coach James Branson with the TVAC Middle School Runner Up trophy.

It was a painful loss, a tearful way to end the season.

But the Robertsville Middle School Rams coaching staff tried to console their football team after a 20-16 championship loss to the CAK Warriors at Blankenship Field on Thursday night.

If you put everything you had into the game, the coaches said, then “hold your head high.”

The Rams finished the year with a 6-2 record. They lost one game in the regular season to Rhea County, and they beat CAK 14-8 during the regular season, said first-year head coach James Branson.

“This whole season, I don’t think there was a lot expected of them,” Branson said. “They compete. They came ready to play. [Read more...]

Van Druff, McGhee finish No. 4, No. 8 in state cross country meet

Jordan Van Druff

Jordan Van Druff, an eighth-grade student at Jefferson Middle School in Oak Ridge, finished fourth in a state cross country meet in Knoxville on Saturday. (Photo by Nicholas Rhodes)

 

KNOXVILLE—It wasn’t the result that Jordan Van Druff wanted.

He trained diligently at the beginning of the season for this state cross country meet, hoping to finish first. Van Druff also put in extra miles, running up to 25 to 30 miles per week at his peak.

On Saturday, the eighth-grader at Jefferson Middle School led all runners near the one-mile mark in a two-mile boys race during the Tennessee Middle School State Cross Country Championships at Victor Ashe Park in Knoxville. But then, one by one, three runners passed him.

“I didn’t get what I wanted,” said Van Druff, who was undefeated in all of Jefferson’s regular season races during his three-year middle school career. “I wanted to finish first.”

Still, it was an improvement from his fifth-place finish last year and a sixth-place finish the year before, said his mother, Reneé Van Druff.

Van Druff, who finished with a two-mile time of 11:42.55, was one of two Oak Ridge runners who made All State during the state cross country championships on Saturday. The other was Faith McGhee, a fourth-grade student at Woodland Elementary School. She finished eighth in the one-mile girls race during the Tennessee Elementary School State Cross Country Championships. McGhee had a time of 6:19.50. [Read more...]

After four years, Lincoln’s closes, cites economic conditions

Lincoln's Sports Grille

After more than four years, Lincoln’s Sports Grille on South Illinois Avenue has shut down, citing economic conditions.

 

Note: This story was updated at 1:30 a.m. Oct. 22.

Lincoln’s Sports Grille has shut down, citing economic conditions. The closure was announced in a sign posted on a front door of the four-year-old restaurant and bar on Monday and in a press release on Tuesday.

The popular restaurant and bar on South Illinois Avenue had had a series of five sometimes-contentious show cause hearings before the Oak Ridge Beer Permit Board. In the last show cause hearing on August 28, members revoked Lincoln’s permit.

Lincoln’s regained the permit after a temporary agreement imposing new conditions was worked out with the city and Beer Board and approved by Anderson County Chancellor Nicki Cantrell, pending an appeal of the Beer Board’s revocation.

But in an interview earlier this month, Scott Green, one of Lincoln’s owners, said the inability to sell beer between late August and early October had a substantial impact on the business. The restaurant and its staff had also been hurt by the bad publicity, Green said.

“It’s been a significant hit on us,” he said. [Read more...]

Two drivers injured in head-on, rollover crash on Turnpike

Oak Ridge Turnpike Crash at West Lincoln Road

Oak Ridge police say the westbound 2013 Ford Focus, left, crossed the median and struck a 1996 Ford Ranger head-on in the eastbound lanes of Oak Ridge Turnpike near West Lincoln Road on Sunday night. The pickup rolled over into the ditch on the south side of the Turnpike, and one of the back wheels of the upside-down Ford Ranger is visible at right.

 

Note: This story was updated at 3:13 p.m.

Two drivers were injured in a head-on rollover crash on Oak Ridge Turnpike on Sunday night.

The crash was reported at about 10:54 p.m. Sunday near West Lincoln Road.

The Oak Ridge Police Department said Jeffery Wooten, 40, of Oak Ridge was traveling west on the four-lane Turnpike in a 2013 Ford Focus when the car crossed the median and struck a 1996 Ford Ranger head-on. The pickup was driven by Dexter Selby, 19, of Crossville. [Read more...]

Council to discuss DOE funding, support tonight

Oak Ridge City Council

The Oak Ridge City Council has a special meeting tonight to discuss U.S. Department of Energy support and funding. (File photo/August 2013)

 

The Oak Ridge City Council will discuss U.S. Department of Energy funding and support during a special meeting tonight. It’s described at least in part as an “information-gathering session.”

The special meeting was called by City Council members Trina Baughn and Charlie Hensley. Hensley, in particular, has raised questions about whether DOE is paying its fair share to the city.

Here’s the language outlining tonight’s discussion:

“to discuss and possibly take action on a plan to engage DOE officials with regards to their obligations to the City of Oak Ridge and its citizenry. Let it [the special meeting request] include formally requesting, in writing, a DOE Community Assistance Review as allowed within AECA 1955, PL 84-221, DOE Order 2100.12A, and other supporting legislation, including those self-sufficiency plans dating from 1980 through a Council Resolution and other joint local government collaborative action to include a specific date for a response.”

[Read more...]

Car once owned by ‘Sound of Music’ actor catches fire in OR

Glenn Bell Car Fire Sound of Music

A 1965 Studebaker station wagon once owned by Dan Truhitte, who played the German officer Rolfe in “The Sound of Music” in 1965, caught fire in Oak Ridge on Friday. Above Oak Ridge Fire Department firefighter Steven London, left, sprays water on the bottom side of the four-door wagon. At right is ORFD firefighter Sandra Sila-Massengill.

 

A classic car once owned by an actor in “The Sound of Music” movie caught fire in Oak Ridge on Friday afternoon.

Oak Ridge resident Glenn Bell, who now owns the car, smelled gas as he left a doctor’s appointment at Jackson Square Plaza in the green 1965 Studebaker four-door station wagon early Friday afternoon. Bell decided to head home.

As he turned onto Tyler Road from Oak Ridge Turnpike, he saw smoke under the hood and dash, and he jumped out. The car rolled a short distance to the intersection of Tyler and Talmeda roads. [Read more...]

Public meeting Tuesday on proposed roundabout near ORHS

Oak Ridge Proposed Roundabout

 

The City of Oak Ridge has released a potential design of the proposed roundabout near Oak Ridge High School, and a city board will accept public comments on the possible intersection change during a Tuesday evening meeting.

The roundabout could be built at the five-way intersection of Providence Road, Pennsylvania Avenue, East Pasadena Lane, and North Tulane Avenue. City officials aren’t fond of the term, but many residents refer to the intersection as “Malfunction Junction.”

During the Tuesday evening meeting, the Oak Ridge Traffic Safety Advisory Board will discuss the city’s grant application for the roundabout under the Tennessee Department of Transportation’s Transportation Alternatives program. The discussion will include an overview of the project, and the public will be allowed to comment. [Read more...]