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, Renee 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...]

City to apply for state grant to build roundabout at ‘Malfunction Junction’

Malfunction Junction at North Tulane Avenue in Oak Ridge

The Oak Ridge City Council on Monday agreed to apply for a state grant that could be used to help build a roundabout at the five-way intersection of North Tulane and Pennsylvania avenues, Providence Road, and East Pasadena Lane. Though city officials don’t like the name, the five-way intersection is sometimes referred to as “Malfunction Junction.”

 

The city of Oak Ridge plans to apply for a state grant to design and build a roundabout near Oak Ridge High School at a five-way intersection sometimes referred to as “Malfunction Junction.”

The Oak Ridge City Council unanimously approved the grant application on Monday. If approved, the Tennessee Department of Transportation grant would be used to build a roundabout at the intersection of Providence Road, Pennsylvania Avenue, East Pasadena Lane, and North Tulane Avenue.

The total cost of the project is estimated at $748,113. Tthe grant funding would come from the Transportation Alternative Program. TDOT funds 80 percent of those projects, excluding design, and a 20 percent local match is required.

The city’s cost would be about $150,000, and the city would pay for the design, officials said Monday. [Read more...]

Anderson committee to consider tax agreement for OR mall redevelopment

Oak Ridge Village Area Rendering

 

It’s already been approved by the Oak Ridge City Council, and a 10-year extension of the $13 million tax agreement that could be used to help redevelop the former Oak Ridge Mall will next be considered by Anderson County officials.

The agreement will be considered by the Anderson County Operations Committee on Monday evening. It could then be considered by the full Anderson County Commission later this month.

Like Oak Ridge officials, Anderson County officials will consider extending the tax agreement for the 59-acre project by 10 years—from 20 years to 30.

Officials have described the proposed redevelopment, named Main Street Oak Ridge, as an $80 million project that could fill a “hole in the heart” of Oak Ridge, bring new retail life to the city’s downtown, and build a lasting legacy. [Read more...]

Fallen tree branch causes small electric line fire

Electric Line Fire on North Seneca Road

A fallen tree limb knocked down a power line on Friday night, starting a small fire in a yard on North Seneca Road.

 

A fallen tree limb knocked down a power line from a utility pole on Friday night, starting a small electric fire in a yard at 150 North Seneca Road.

The Oak Ridge police and fire departments blocked the road until the Oak Ridge Electric Department was able to respond and shut off the power.

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The fire was reported at about 11:30 p.m. Friday. It burned for about an hour but did not spread, and firefighters and police officers kept an eye on it while they waited for the power crew.

See another picture here:

[Read more...]

Wildcats defense sets tone early in 62-7 win over Karns

Oak Ridge Wildcats Football Helmet

Note: This story was last updated at 3 a.m. Oct. 11.

KARNS—The Wildcats defense set the tone early in the 62-7 win at Karns on Friday night.

Less than one minute into the game, senior linebacker Ricky Chitwood picked off a Beavers pass and returned it 52 yards for a touchdown. The Oak Ridge defense went on to score twice more in the first half, once on an interception by senior Ted Mitchell early in the second quarter and the other on a fumble recovery by senior Tommy Kaczocha as time expired at halftime. Both plays covered about 25 yards.

The offense added five touchdowns of its own in a flurry of scores—including two touchdown catches by sophomore Tee Higgins in the second quarter—and the score at halftime was 56-0. That’s the most ever for an Oak Ridge football team in the first half, according to David Clary of PrepRadio.com.

The six-yard and 38-yard touchdown passes to Higgins came from junior quarterbacks Logan Fadnek (8-for-11, 85 yards) and Gavin Warrington (2-for-3, 48 yards). Warrington also scored on a 23-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter, while junior running back T.J. Allison scored on a two-yard run near the end of the first. Later, Fadnek connected with sophomore Caleb Jackson on a five-yard pass play to make it 42-0 at 2:16 in the first half. [Read more...]

Lincoln’s able to sell beer again while appeal pending

Lincoln's Sports Grille

Lincoln’s Sports Grille on South Illinois Avenue is pictured above on Monday evening.

 

They weren’t able to sell beer for more than a month, but an agreement reached with a city board in September, modified on Thursday, and approved by a judge on Friday allows Lincoln’s Sports Grille to resume selling the alcoholic beverage for now.

The Oak Ridge Beer Permit Board revoked Lincoln’s beer permit on August 28. The revocation went into effect immediately.

But Lincoln’s has appealed that decision and had asked that the revocation be put on hold while the legal case is pending. On September 16, the Beer Board agreed in a 5-2 vote.

The board’s agreement was initially conditioned upon a list of 13 items. One of the conditions, which would have required an owner to be present at all times, has since been removed. (The board approved the removal in a 4-0 vote on Thursday after a pair of split 2-2 votes.) [Read more...]

Oak Ridge relies on two running backs in near-shutout over Campbell County

Oak Ridge Wildcats T.J. Allison and Campbell County Joseph Elkins

Junior running back T.J. Allison (#6) of the Wildcats runs behind the blocking of senior tight end Ryan Waddell (#86) as senior Joseph Elkins (#5) of Campbell County tries to strip the ball away. Allison ran for 107 yards and two touchdowns on Friday. (Photos by Julio Culiat)

 

Note: This story was last updated at 2:15 p.m.

Wildcats shut down big passing gains for Cougars

The running game was working well and burning up the clock, so Oak Ridge coach Joe Gaddis stuck with it.

Two running backs, juniors T.J. Allison and Jaylen Nickerson, racked up more than 100 yards each and led the Wildcats to three touchdowns in the first, second, and third quarters. Kicker Brandon Nickle added a field goal in the fourth.

The 24-8 victory was an important district win for the Wildcats, who are now 6-0 overall and 4-0 in District 3-AAA. The only other undefeated team in the district is Anderson County (7-0, 6-0). The two teams will face off in the season finale on Thursday, October 30.

Oak Ridge came close to picking up its fourth shutout of the season on Friday night at Blankenship Field, preventing the Cougars, who had averaged 42 points per game, from scoring until late in the fourth quarter.

“Our defense played really well,” Gaddis said.

[Read more...]