Clinton woman charged with attempted murder after shooting at husband

Cheryl Ann Freels

Cheryl Ann Freels

Note: This story was updated at 3:10 p.m.

A Clinton woman has been charged with attempted first-degree murder after she allegedly shot at her husband with a 9mm handgun Sunday night, authorities said.

Cheryl Ann Freels, 32, of 226 North Slope Lane, allegedly tried to fire a second time, but the gun jammed, according to arrest warrants filed in Anderson County General Sessions Court. Freels’ husband was able to take the gun from his wife after it jammed and leave the home with his juvenile son.

Her husband told Anderson County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Samuel Ogburn that he had been watching television in the upstairs living room when he saw his wife standing with the handgun pointed at him. He said his wife fired at him after he stood up. He said he was able to move out of the way of the gun, and the round hit the wall behind him, according to the warrants. [Read more...]

Council member asks for removal of city board member over e-mail ‘contempt’

Oak Ridge City Council

Pictured above, the Oak Ridge City Council on Monday will consider removing housing board member Joe Lee, not pictured, because of a critical e-mail he wrote after a 4-3 vote on the controversial traffic camera contract in March.

Note: This story was last updated at 2:30 p.m.

An Oak Ridge official wants the City Council to consider removing Joseph Lee from a city housing board because of his criticism—she called it contempt—for the council members who voted against renewing the controversial traffic camera contract in March.

The City Council will consider removing Lee, who serves on the Oak Ridge Board of Building and Housing Code Appeals, during a Monday, April 14, meeting.

“I was not at all surprised by the 4-3 vote,” Lee wrote in a March 28 e-mail to Council member Anne Garcia Garland, who made the request to consider removing him on Monday. ”After all, it was not about safety or the money, it is about the votes. Take the fact that your entire campaign to be elected to city council and combine that with the nut jobs that you are aligned with and cater to, it has been obvious for a very long time that we were never going to hear the end of your whining until you got another shot at this issue. [Read more...]

City board to consider demolition of homes on Wade Lane, West Outer Drive

An Oak Ridge board on Thursday will consider ordering the demolition of five homes that could be bought by the city. The homes are at 105 Waddell Place, 101 and 117 Wade Lane, and 335 and 363 West Outer Drive.

The homes on Wade Lane and West Outer Drive are owned by Carden Rentals Limited Partnership. The Waddell Place house is owned by Rex Gass. The owners are interested in selling the properties to the city, the municipal staff said.

The Gass property is a vacant single-family dwelling, and the Carden homes are vacant multi-family residential units.

The city staff has recommended that the Oak Ridge Board of Building and Housing Code Appeals declare the homes unfit for human occupation or use, and order them demolished within 90 days to possibly allow the city to acquire them. The board meets at 3 p.m. Thursday in the Municipal Building Training Room. [Read more...]

Most Anderson commissioners seek re-election, six running in District 7 in OR

Anderson County Courthouse

The Anderson County Courthouse on Main Street in Clinton is pictured above.

There are six candidates running for Anderson County Commission in District 7 in Oak Ridge in August, and a Democrat has joined the race for Tennessee House of Representatives in the 33rd District.

Meanwhile, an Independent, Bradley S. Rickett, has joined the race for Anderson County mayor, competing against Democrat Jim Hackworth and the winner of the May 6 Republican primary, either the incumbent, Terry Frank, or her challenger, Commissioner Zach Bates.

Fourteen of the 16 Anderson County commissioners are seeking re-election to a four-year term. But Bates, from District 4 in the Lake City area, is not. And neither is Commissioner John Shuey. Shuey is one of two commissioners in District 7, which includes the Glenwood, Highland View, and Pine Valley precincts in Oak Ridge.

District 7 is the most competitive in terms of number of candidates. In addition to the incumbent, Jerry Creasey, other candidates include Jimmy Bouchard, Michael Marsh, Denny Phillips, Kevin Rice, and Theresa Scott.

District 3—which includes Andersonville, Fairview, Glen Alpine, and Norris—has five candidates, including the two incumbents, Steve Emert and Dusty Irwin. The other three candidates are Josh Anderson, David Farmer, and Philip Warfield. [Read more...]

Lightning strike may have caused house fire on Graceland Road

Graceland Road Fire

A lightning strike may have caused a house fire on Graceland Road on Thursday morning. (Photos by Tom Scott)

A Thursday morning fire possibly started by a lightning strike likely destroyed a home in west Oak Ridge and caused a few hundred thousand dollars in damage, authorities said.

The residents of the home at 118 Graceland Road knew their home had been hit by lightning at about 4:30 a.m. Thursday, Oak Ridge Fire Department Chief Darryl Kerley said. They heard the strike and found siding blown off the side of their house. They used a ladder to climb on the roof and check the home. Then, they re-checked it later before the man who lived there went to work.

But at about 7:45 a.m. Thursday, neighbor Chris Wetherall reported the roof of the house was on fire. The female resident, Yvonne McClellan, remained asleep inside, Kerley said.

Wetherall went to the burning home and banged on the door until McClellan woke up and answered the door, Kerley said. Wetherall moved a pickup truck out of the home’s garage and turned off the power. He took McClellan next door to his house, where she was evaluated by the fire department and Anderson County Emergency Medical Services. [Read more...]

Several hundred compete in Ben Martin Middle School track meet

Ben Martin Invitational

Several hundred students from five regional middle schools, including Jefferson and Robertsville, competed in the Ben Martin Middle School Invitational track meet in Oak Ridge on Thursday.

Several hundred students from five middle schools competed in the first-ever Ben Martin Middle School Invitational track meet in Oak Ridge on Thursday.

The meet was named after Ben Martin, a legendary Sports Hall of Fame coach who won seven state championships as track coach at Oak Ridge High School. Thursday’s meet was at Ben Martin Track at the high school.

Martin was the first ORHS track and football coach, and he won championships in both sports and began the entire athletic program at the high school, ORHS Cross Country Coach Allen Etheridge said.

“I talked with longtime Oak Ridge coach Winston Russell today, who told me that he remembered coach Martin as the guy who was always there, the guy who would coach anyone at any time,” Etheridge said Monday. “(Martin) was an assistant football coach and was head basketball coach.”

Athletes from Cherokee, Jefferson, Karns, Rhea County, and Robertsville middle schools competed in Thursday’s meet, which included events ranging from relays and hurdles to long jumps and high jumps. [Read more...]

Featured at Obama speech, Sleek SuperTruck saves fuel, money

David Koeberlein SuperTruck Cummins Engine

David Koeberlein, director of advanced engineering for Cummins and principal investigator on the SuperTruck project, says the prototype tractor-trailer uses exhaust heat that would otherwise be wasted to help power the crankshaft. (All photos courtesy ORNL/Genevieve Martin unless indicated otherwise)

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

Tractor-trailer prototype uses probe developed by ORNL for better gas mileage, cleaner exhaust

It’s a sleek, aerodynamic freight-hauling machine. With its wide tires, rounded edges, and body parts that hug the ground, this million-dollar prototype looks like it could be at home on a race track.

It’s already achieved celebrity status, serving as the backdrop for President Barack Obama during a February speech on greenhouse gas emissions and fuel efficiency standards.

But the SuperTruck is more likely to end up hauling meat and potatoes from Boise to Boston.

SuperTruck at ORNL

The fuel-efficient SuperTruck, the result of a four-year collaboration between the trucking industry and the federal government, made a pit stop at Oak Ridge National Laboratory on Tuesday.

Still, researchers have reason to celebrate. On Tuesday, they said the high-tech tractor-trailer has increased fuel efficiency by 75 percent. Fully loaded, the SuperTruck can drive 10.7 miles on a gallon of gas. That compares to an industry average of 5.8 to 6.5 miles per gallon.

“This is a really big deal,” said Claus Daniel, deputy director of sustainable transportation projects at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where the SuperTruck made a pit stop on Tuesday.

It’s the result of a collaboration between the trucking industry and the U.S. Department of Energy. It’s not clear how soon the new technologies tested in the Cummins/Peterbilt tractor-trailer, which was built in Denton, Texas, will show up on the nation’s highways. [Read more...]

Human skull found near Norman Road in Claxton

A Claxton resident who lives on Norman Road in Anderson County reported finding a human skull on his property on Tuesday, authorities said. The skull was apparently carried there by an animal.

Investigators with the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department’s Criminal Investigation Unit, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, and Regional Forensic Center responded to the scene, Chief Deputy Mark Lucas said in a Tuesday afternoon statement.

“The skull was taken to the forensic center for examination to determine the age, sex, and race, along with how long the skull had been exposed to the elements,” Lucas said. “The area was searched by cadaver dogs from the Roane County Sheriff’s Office, but nothing else was located.” [Read more...]

Tennessee House gives Rocky Top go-ahead

WYSH Radio/Oak Ridge Today

On Monday, the Tennessee House of Representatives voted unanimously to allow Lake City to change its name to Rocky Top. The House bill sponsored by Rep. John Ragan of Oak Ridge passed 89-0.

The name change is seen as a necessary first step toward turning the former coal mining town into a tourist destination, taking advantage of its two exits off of I-75. Plans currently call for an interactive 3-D theater, a restaurant, a water park and a hotel, as well as other attractions.

The state Senate has yet to schedule a vote on the companion bill to the House version, which is being sponsored by Sen. Randy McNally of Oak Ridge. If the Senate approves the measure as expected, the Lake City Council will have to vote again on the name change to ratify the private act that was endorsed Monday by the state House. [Read more...]

CNS announces org chart, senior leaders for Y-12, Pantex

Y-12 National Security Complex Aerial View

The Y-12 National Security Complex is pictured above.

The new federal contractor at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge and Pantex Plant in Amarillo, Texas, has started announcing members of its senior leadership team.

Jim Haynes, chief executive officer for Consolidated Nuclear Security LLC, announced the leaders in a message posted on the company’s transition website on Saturday.

The executives are:

  • Jim Allen—chief operating officer
  • Darrell Graddy—senior vice president for mission support
  • Ken Freeman—senior vice president for safeguards, security, and emergency services
  • Rick Glass—senior vice president for mission assurance

“We will roll out our senior leadership team in phases, and over the next few weeks we will help you get to know the CNS leadership team through a series of articles, employee information meetings in Amarillo and Oak Ridge, and other opportunities for face-to-face interaction,” Haynes said. [Read more...]

Oak Ridge Today headlines restored

Oak Ridge Today experienced some technical difficulties while performing routine maintenance this weekend.

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K-25: Large, flat, close to ORNL, interstate—good for economic development

Gov. Bill Haslam Visits ETTP/K-25

Sue Cange gives Gov. Bill Haslam, right, an update on the almost-completed demolition of the mile-long, U-shaped K-25 Building. Cange is deputy manager of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management. Also pictured are Leo Sain, left, president of cleanup contractor UCOR, and Jeff Tucker, UCOR deactivation and decommissioning manager.

It was built during World War II to help enrich uranium for the world’s first atomic bombs. Then, it helped win the Cold War. Now, the former K-25 site in west Oak Ridge presents a giant opportunity for economic development in Tennessee, Gov. Bill Haslam said during a tour last Friday.

“We have a real interest in what happens here,” Haslam said in a short meeting with reporters before getting a brief update on the demolition of the former mile-long, U-shaped K-25 Building, which was once the world’s largest building under one roof.

The governor said the K-25 site, now known as East Tennessee Technology Park or Heritage Center, has 2,000 flat acres with infrastructure already in place, including roads and rails, and it’s three miles from Interstate 40 and seven miles from Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the U.S. Department of Energy’s largest science and energy laboratory.

“We don’t have that opportunity in a lot of places,” Haslam said. “Finding 2,000 flat acres in East Tennessee is virtually impossible.” [Read more...]