Formerly USEC, now Centrus Energy, company emerges from bankruptcy

American Centrifuge Technology Manufacturing Center

The American Centrifuge Technology Manufacturing Center in south Oak Ridge is pictured above. (Photo courtesy USEC/Centrus Energy Corp.)

Centrus Energy Corporation announced this week that it has satisfied all the conditions to emerge from a Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The conditions were outlined in a reorganization plan approved by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware on September 5.

The plan became effective Tuesday, and Centrus, formerly known as USEC Incorporated, emerged from the restructuring in a “stronger position to supply customers with nuclear fuel and support the energy and national security needs of the United States,” a press release said.

Centrus stock was expected to begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday under the ticker symbol LEU.

“Throughout the restructuring process that began March 5, 2014, the company has continued to meet all of its obligations to customers and vendors and will not require external exit financing upon emergence,” the release said. The company had maintained its NYSE listing throughout the Chapter 11 process. [Read more...]


ORAU donates to new foundation for fallen, injured officers

ORAU Donates to Scott Foundation

ORAU Executive Vice President Eric Abelquist, left, and ORAU Senior Associate Director for Scientific Assessment and Workforce Development Tony Lester, right, present ORAU employee Jody Crisp with a $1,000 check to help her new nonprofit organization that supports local police officers and their families, the SCOTT Foundation, named in honor of her late husband. (Photo courtesy ORAU)


SCOTT Foundation provides support to area police officers and their families

Oak Ridge Associated Universities donated $1,000 to help jumpstart a new nonprofit organization, the SCOTT Foundation, founded by one of its employees in honor of her late husband.

After Jody Crisp’s husband, Scott, died in 2013 following a swimming pool accident, she said she wanted to make something good come of it. She founded the Sharing Compassion for Officers Through Tributes, or SCOTT, Foundation, named in honor of her late husband. Established in 2013, the SCOTT Foundation provides financial assistance for various expenses of fallen, seriously injured, or ill police officers and their families throughout East Tennessee.

Allen “Scott” Crisp spent his career in law enforcement. He served with the Clinton Police Department, Anderson County Sheriff’s Department, U.S. Air Marshal, and B&W Y-12 as a special response team security police officer. [Read more...]

Still time to sign up, sponsor Acorn Classic golf tournament for MMC Foundation

ORHS Cheerleaders Decorate Hospitality House

Cheerleaders from Oak Ridge High School helped to decorate the Hospitality Houses of Methodist Medical Center for Christmas last year. The houses offer temporary lodging to patients and families who must travel for extended care at Methodist, even during the holidays. (File photo)

Player spots and sponsorship opportunities are still available for the Methodist Medical Center Foundation’s 2014 Acorn Classic. The annual golf tournament will take place on Monday, October 20, at the Oak Ridge Country Club with a 1 p.m. shotgun start. Registration is open for individual players and teams, and a limited number of sponsorship opportunities are also available.

The Acorn Classic is a four-person scramble tournament open to 120 amateur players, a press release said. The entry fee is $150 per player or $600 per team of four, and it includes green fees, cart, lunch, four contest holes, and a dinner awards banquet. Proceeds will benefit the Hospitality Houses of Methodist Medical Center, which provide free lodging to cancer patients who must travel for treatment, as well as other outpatients and families as space allows.

“Join us and help the Hospitality Houses provide a home away from home to patients and their families when it’s needed most,” Acorn Classic Chair Tom Hilton said. [Read more...]

Sponsored: Dunk your insurance agent to help nonprofits

Dunk Your Insurance Agent

Three local insurance agents are volunteering to get wet in a dunking booth on Saturday to raise money for local nonprofits.

The agents are David A. Vudragovich, Matt Libby, and Melanie Heiberg. The Saturday event is sponsored by Pellissippi Rowing, and and it will be at the Clinton Park behind the ball field from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Besides the dunking booth, it will include food, horse rides, and good community fun, organizers said.

“Buy your tickets from your favorite nonprofit and trade them in for balls to dunk your insurance agent,” organizers said. [Read more...]

ORNL staff help students prepare for FIRST LEGO League competition

ORNL First Lego League 2014

Brian Peters, right, a design engineer for nuclear systems with US ITER at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, works with Jessey Yang, left, and Victoria “Tori” Mullins during a FIRST LEGO League practice session at the National Transportation Research Center. (Photo courtesy ORNL/UT-Battelle)


About 30 students ages nine through 14 are gearing up for the 2014-15 FIRST LEGO League competition with weekly training sessions at the National Transportation Research Center in West Knoxville. NTRC is part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and ORNL operating contractor UT-Battelle co-sponsors the LEGO League tournament.

“This year’s theme is ‘World Class Learning Unleashed,’” said Claus Daniel, an ORNL researcher who’s coaching one of three teams meeting at the NTRC. “Part of what the students are doing is defining a question, research, how people learn about the question nowadays and then original ideas to improve the learning process.” [Read more...]

More sewer rehab work under way week of Sept. 29

More rehabilitation work of the city’s sewer collection pipes is under way this week, the week starting Monday, September 29.

The work is being done by Hurst Excavating and Morgan Contracting under contract with the City of Oak Ridge. It includes rehabilitating sewer collection pipes within city easements in yards and in roadways, a press release said. [Read more...]

Ruby Tuesday closes in Oak Ridge

Ruby Tuesday Oak Ridge

Ruby Tuesday in Oak Ridge announced in signs posted on its front doors that it has closed.


Ruby Tuesday Closed Sign

Signs posted on the two front doors at Ruby Tuesday on Tuesday night announce that the Oak Ridge restaurant has closed.

Note: This story was updated at 8:25 a.m. Oct. 1.

Ruby Tuesday in Oak Ridge has closed. The restaurant announced the closure in two signs posted on its front doors.

The signs invite diners to eat at other local Ruby Tuesday restaurants in Knoxville and Lenoir City.

The front doors of the Oak Ridge restaurant were locked Tuesday night, and a worker leaving the restaurant declined to comment. A Ruby Tuesday media representative wasn’t immediately available for comment Tuesday night or Wednesday morning. [Read more...]

Mall project clears critical hurdle Monday

Oak Ridge Village Area Rendering


Tim Sittema

Tim Sittema

Council, IDB approve TIF extension, grant, roadway work

The proposed redevelopment of the Oak Ridge mall cleared a critical hurdle on Monday when city officials agreed to extend a property tax agreement for the 59-acre project, authorize $2 million in roadway and other infrastructure work, and offer a $500,000 grant if some federal funding is not approved.

Officials 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.

Monday’s moves were meant to reduce the risk for four local lenders that could combine to offer $13 million in loans to part of the redevelopment under a tax increment financing, or TIF, agreement. That incentive would use new property tax revenues generated at the mall site and 120 surrounding acres included in the TIF area to repay those loans. Officials said the loans could be repaid in 18 years, according to financial models.

David Bradshaw

David Bradshaw

But in two separate special meetings on Monday, the Oak Ridge Industrial Development Board and Oak Ridge City Council agreed to extend the TIF term from 20 years to 30. That extra 10 years is meant to act as a “shock absorber” and help make sure that the banks are repaid if there is a “glitch” in the project that would push the repayment past the previously approved 20-year term, officials said.

“This is not a ‘home run’ project for us as financial institutions,” said David R. Bradshaw, Oak Ridge president of CapitalMark Bank and Trust, one of the financial institutions that could participate. But, he added, “It is the right thing to do for the community.” [Read more...]

ORHS evacuated after chemistry experiment sets off smoke detectors

Oak Ridge High School Chem Lab Evacuation

Oak Ridge High School students were briefly evacuated Tuesday morning after a chemistry lab experiment in LC212 set off smoke detectors. The students were let back in about 20 minutes after the 10:30 a.m. call.


Students at Oak Ridge High School were briefly evacuated Tuesday morning after a chemistry experiment set off smoke detectors, authorities said.

A small amount of zinc chloride and water created water vapor that set off the smoke detectors, which then shut chemistry lab hoods, Oak Ridge firefighters said. The Oak Ridge Fire Department manually opened the vents in the room (LC212) until the smoke detector system reset. Firefighters checked the air, making sure it was safe to breathe, Battalion Chief Jody Durham said.

There was no fire, no damage, and no injuries, firefighters said.

“No student was ever in any real danger,” Durham said.

[Read more...]

ORNL FCU starts major facilities projects; demolition under way

Chris Johnson and Marcy Catro at ORNL Federal Credit Union

ORNL FCU President and CEO Chris Johnson and Board Chair Marcy Catron are pictured above. (Submitted photo)


ORNL Federal Credit Union on Monday announced that it has started its major facilities projects in Oak Ridge with the demolition of its location at 215 South Rutgers Avenue. That location was the Credit Union’s sole branch between 1969 and 1987, before housing the Operations and Imaging departments for the last 27 years.

Business operations at ORNL FCU’s main branch located at 221 South Rutgers Avenue will not be affected by the ongoing work. [Read more...]

IDB, Council to consider longer tax agreement, road improvements for mall project

Main Street Oak Ridge Site Plan without Tenants

A Main Street Oak Ridge site plan from Tuesday, without tenants shown. (Submitted image)


Oak Ridge Village Area Rendering

In two special meetings today, local officials will consider adding another 10 years to a tax incentive agreement for the long-awaited redevelopment of the Oak Ridge mall, and they will also consider authorizing improvements to public infrastructure, including the rebuilding of three private roads: Main Street East, Main Street West, and Wilson Street.

The tax incentive is known as tax increment financing, or TIF. It would use new property tax revenues generated at the mall site, which will be renamed Main Street Oak Ridge, to help pay for development costs.

A 20-year, $13 million TIF and economic impact plan were approved by the Oak Ridge Industrial Development Board, City Council, and Anderson County Commission in November, and by Tennessee officials in January.

But the IDB and City Council will now consider extending the TIF term to 30 years. The extension would also have to be approved by the Anderson County Commission and Tennessee officials. [Read more...]