Nineteen candidates for Oak Ridge City Council, School Board

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

Ten candidates have qualified to run for Oak Ridge City Council in the November 4 municipal election, and there are nine candidates for Oak Ridge Board of Education—a total of 19 candidates.

It’s the largest field of candidates in recent memory, and it’s not immediately clear when, or if, there has been a field as large.

The deadline to qualify as a candidate in this fall’s municipal elections in Anderson County was noon Thursday.

There is a mix of incumbents and newcomers in Oak Ridge, Clinton, Rocky Top (Lake City), Norris, and Oliver Springs.

Oak Ridge

In Oak Ridge, two incumbents, including Mayor Tom Beehan and Mayor Pro Tem Jane Miller, are not seeking re-election. Meanwhile, the other two incumbents whose terms expire this November, Anne Garcia Garland and David Mosby, are running for another four-year term.

In addition to Garcia Garland and Mosby, the other Oak Ridge City Council candidates are:

  • Kelly Callison,
  • R.G. “Rick” Chinn,
  • Warren L. Gooch,
  • Gary L. Love,
  • Pedro J. Otaduy,
  • Aditya “Doc” Savara,
  • Ellen D. Smith, and
  • Eric Tobler.

[Read more...]

Snappy Tomato Pizza closing Friday

Snappy Tomato Pizza

After almost four years in Oak Ridge, Snappy Tomato Pizza in central Oak Ridge is closing Friday.


After almost four years in Oak Ridge, Snappy Tomato Pizza will close Friday, the owners said Thursday.

“We have really tried to hang on; however, things appear to continue to go downhill for us both financially and personally,” franchise owners Frances Gross and her daughters Misty Gross Robbins and Cindi Robbins said in a message to supporters and the Oak Ridge community. “Unfortunately, the sales have not been what we need to keep the business going while the new and upcoming retail centers continue to draw business toward the other end of town.”

The family said they have struggled during the past two years grieving the loss of their son and brother Robert Gross Jr., who was also a co-owner but died in August 2012, and battling with cancer surgery and extensive radiation treatments for husband and father Robert Gross Sr.

Now, they’re facing cancer again, only with a more radical surgery, the family said. In a telephone interview Thursday morning, Frances Gross said the last year has taken a toll on the family, and they’ve struggled to stay busy as new restaurants have opened across town, drawing customers away. [Read more...]

ORPD: Intoxicated man poses as ORHS student

William Edward Lay

William Edward Lay

A 25-year-old Sunbright man who was intoxicated tried to “pass himself off” as an Oak Ridge High School student in at least two classrooms last week, the first week of school, before being stopped in a second floor hallway during a class change, authorities said.

William Edward Lay had obtained a student’s classroom schedule, but he had no identification and continuously gave School Resource Officer Sherrill Selby the wrong birth date, Social Security number, and other identifying information, according to arrest warrants filed in Anderson County General Sessions Court.

Selby, an Oak Ridge Police Department officer, said Lay was unsteady on his feet and fell into the wall several times. She had been called to investigate a report of a suspicious male walking around and into classrooms at ORHS.

“Defendant’s eyes were red and glassy looking,” Selby said. [Read more...]

Mayor Beehan won’t seek re-election to City Council

Tom Beehan and Gary Wade

Oak Ridge Mayor Tom Beehan, left, is pictured above earlier this month with Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Gary Wade at Razzleberry’s Ice Cream Lab and Kitchen. Beehan will not seek re-election to Oak Ridge City Council in November.


Oak Ridge Mayor Tom Beehan, who has served on the City Council since 2001, will not seek re-election in November.

Beehan said he has been considering whether to run “for some time,” and he announced his decision to not seek re-election on Wednesday. Before making the decision, Beehan said, he wanted to be sure that quality candidates with a vision for the city’s future were ready to run.

“It’s clear that there are candidates who have the vision and ability to serve the community on City Council,” Beehan said in a press release. “I have enjoyed serving Oak Ridge as mayor and as a City Council member, but I think it is time for new leadership to take a fresh look at moving Oak Ridge forward.”

Beehan said he has spent 20 years as an elected official in local government in Oak Ridge and in Covington, Kentucky—before his family moved to Oak Ridge.

“I consider this a retirement from public service as an elected official, but I plan to continue to be engaged in community activities,” Beehan said. [Read more...]

Woman escapes injury, drives away from fake officer with knife

Anderson County Sheriff Logo

A 49-year-old woman escaped injury on Monday night when she drove away from a man who pretended to be a police officer but pulled a knife after stopping her on Yarnell Road near Clinton, authorities said.

It’s the second report of a police impersonator in Anderson County this month.

The woman was pulled over by the man at about 9:45 p.m. Monday on Yarnell Road off East Wolf Valley Road, Anderson County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Mark Lucas said.

“He approached the victim and asked for her driver’s license,” Lucas said. “He then pulled a knife, and she immediately drove away and called 911.”

In this case, the descriptions of both the suspect and his car are different from the previous incident. The suspect in the Monday night incident was described as a white male in his mid- or late-20s to mid-30s, six feet tall, 200 pounds, clean-shaven, with a muscular build and short dark brown hair. He reportedly spoke with a soft voice. The suspect was well-dressed wearing dark civilian clothing (not a uniform) and had a badge on his belt. The victim did not see a firearm, Lucas said. [Read more...]

Erin Corwin’s body found in Calif. mine shaft; suspect arrested in Alaska

Erin Corwin with Horse

Erin Corwin, who was from Oak Ridge, was an animal lover who volunteered at a horse rescue near Twentynine Palms, California.


The body of Erin Corwin, a pregnant 19-year-old Oak Ridge native who had been missing in southern California since late June, was found 140 feet down a mine shaft on Saturday, authorities said Monday.

Corwin’s body, found with the help of video equipment at about 4:30 p.m. Saturday, was identified at 9:30 p.m. Sunday using dental records, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said.

A half-hour later, at 10 p.m. Sunday, Christopher Brandon Lee was arrested in Anchorage, Alaska, for the murder of Corwin, the Sheriff’s Department said. An autopsy has determined the death was a homicide.

The Desert Sun of Palm Springs, California, said Lee is a 24-year-old ex-Marine who lived next to Erin and her husband, Marine Corporal Jonathan Corwin, who is also from Oak Ridge, at a desert base in Twentynine Palms, California. Detectives believe that Lee and Erin Corwin were having an affair, and that Lee may have been afraid that his wife Nichole would discover his infidelity, the newspaper said.

Corwin vanished June 28 after telling her husband that she was going to Joshua Tree National Park south of Twentynine Palms. [Read more...]

Miller, mayor pro tem, won’t seek re-election in November

Jane Miller

Jane Miller

She’s been on the Oak Ridge City Council for more than a decade, and on Sunday, Mayor Pro Tem Jane Miller said she will not seek re-election in November.

Miller was appointed to City Council in October 2003. She successfully ran for the office in a special election in August 2004 and was re-elected in 2005 and 2009.

Miller was elected by the City Council to first serve as mayor pro tem in July 2007, presiding over meetings when the mayor is absent, and she has continued since, having been re-elected by Council in 2009, 2011, and 2013.

“It has been a great honor and privilege to work with and for the citizens of Oak Ridge as a member of City Council and mayor pro tem,” Miller said in a press release. “I have been humbled to represent you as a common sense, pro-business leader and to work for responsible solutions to improve our city and pursue a better, brighter future for our citizens. This is a bittersweet decision, but after much discussion with my family over the last few weeks, it is time for me to pass this responsibility to others.”

Eleven years is enough, Miller said. [Read more...]

Anderson County Commission to consider pay raise proposal tonight

Chuck Fritts

Chuck Fritts

They haven’t had a raise in more than two decades, and on Monday night, Anderson County commissioners will consider whether to approve a salary increase for the new commission that starts in September.

Commissioners now receive $537.59 per month, or $6,451 each year. That’s what they’ve earned since Fiscal Year 1995-96.

Commissioners last received a salary increase in FY 1992-93, when their pay was raised 1.5 percent to $599 per month, or $7,199 each year.

But their monthly salary was then cut to the current level of $537.59 a few years later, in FY 95-96. There has been no change since.

A resolution to be considered by commissioners tonight (Monday, August 18) would give the new commission that starts in September the same pay raises awarded to all other elected officials, Commission Chair Chuck Fritts said. It would put commissioners on the same “playing field” as other elected officials, said Fritts, who made the proposal. He said commissioners ought to be included when those elected officials receive a raise. [Read more...]

Wildcats need to play tougher, more aggressively, Gaddis says

Oak Ridge and South-Doyle Scrimmage

Sophomore Damarea Whitt of the Oak Ridge Wildcats, right, breaks up a pass intended for senior Chad Barksdale of the South-Doyle Cherokees during a pre-season scrimmage at Oak Ridge High School on Thursday.

The regular season starts in two weeks, and the Oak Ridge Wildcats need to play tougher and more aggressively, Coach Joe Gaddis said after the team’s second pre-season scrimmage on Thursday.

The Wildcats played the South-Doyle Cherokees at Ben Martin Track at Oak Ridge High School. It was also the second scrimmage for the Cherokees.

The South-Doyle varsity team scored three times to Oak Ridge’s two. The Wildcats played better as the scrimmage progressed and the team made adjustments, but the Cherokees “drove down the throat” on their first two possessions, Gaddis said.

“That’s not good,” he said. “We’ve got to play tougher, more aggressively, more physical.” [Read more...]

Thursday deadline to qualify for municipal elections across Anderson County

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Thursday is the deadline to qualify for municipal elections across Anderson County, and so far, there appears to be a mix of incumbents and newcomers in Oak Ridge, Clinton, Rocky Top (Lake City), Norris, and Oliver Springs.

Eleven people, including the four incumbents, have expressed an interest in running for four seats on Oak Ridge City Council in November, and seven candidates have qualified so far.

Meanwhile, three people, including one incumbent, have qualified to run for three seats on the Oak Ridge Board of Education. A total of nine potential candidates, including the three who have qualified, have picked up petitions to run for Oak Ridge school board.

The November 4 election is the last in a series of three elections this year. The deadline to qualify is noon Thursday, August 21. A candidate needs 25 verified signatures on a nomination petition to qualify.

Those who have qualified to run for Oak Ridge City Council are: [Read more...]

After two days in hospital, toddler dies from drowning, CPD says

Anthony Hampton

Anthony Hampton (Photo courtesy Brenda Hood)

The two-year-old boy who apparently fell into a swimming pool at his grandparents’ home in Clinton on Tuesday morning died Thursday morning at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, authorities said.

Anthony Hampton had been in the neonatal intensive care unit, or NICU, at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital in Knoxville, the Clinton Police Department said.

The CPD and Clinton Fire Department responded to the near-drowning on Melton Hill Circle in Clinton at about 8:40 a.m. Tuesday. Hampton was first taken to Methodist Medical Center in Oak Ridge and then transported to Children’s Hospital. He died at about 4 a.m. Thursday. [Read more...]

President declares disaster for Tennessee, including Anderson, Roane

Passtime Garage Storm Damage

Passtime Garage on South Main Street in Clinton was damaged by a fast-moving storm and severe winds in early June. (Photo courtesy WYSH Radio/WGAP Radio)

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency announced Wednesday that federal disaster aid has been made available to the state of Tennessee to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the area affected by severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds and flooding from June 5-10.

The action by President Barack Obama makes federal funding available to state and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds, and flooding in Anderson, Bledsoe, Carroll, Decatur, Henry, Hickman, Houston, Lawrence, Lewis, Madison, Marion, Maury, McNairy, Moore, Perry, Roane, Sequatchie, and Tipton counties, officials said.

Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide, FEMA said in a press release.

W. Michael Moore has been named as the federal coordinating officer for federal recovery operations in the affected area. Moore said additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further damage assessments. [Read more...]