Meet mayor, sheriff candidates at AARP today

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The local AARP chapter has organized an event today that will allow voters to meet candidates for Anderson County mayor and sheriff.

It starts at 1 p.m. at the Oak Ridge Senior Center. Those who attend are encouraged to bring a snack.

Candidates for mayor include the incumbent, Terry Frank, a Republican first elected in August 2012; her GOP opponent, Commissioner Zach Bates; and Democrat Jim Hackworth, a former state representative. [Read more...]

Anderson County receives $64,600 in funding to reduce tobacco use

Tennessee Commissioner and Anti-Tobacco at Anderson County Health Department

Anderson County has received almost $65,000 in funds to support initiatives that reduce tobacco use. Local officials recently received the check from Tennessee Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner. (Photo Courtesy of Anderson County Health Department)

CLINTON—Tennessee Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner visited the Anderson County Health Department on Friday to present $64,600 in funding as part of the Tennessee Tobacco Settlement Program.

Dreyzehner was in East Tennessee last week to present tobacco settlement checks to the Roane County Health Department ($38,860) and the Loudon County Health Department ($38,103) as well as the check to Anderson County.

Each county in Tennessee will receive funding annually during the three-year program to reduce the burden of tobacco use in the state.

Locally, the Anderson County Health Department is using the funds to support a new “Baby and Me—Tobacco Free” program as well as a partnership with Allies for Substance Abuse Prevention (ASAP) of Anderson County and the Coordinated School Health programs in each of the three school systems in Anderson County. [Read more...]

NNSA awards $25 million nonproliferation grant to group that includes ORNL

Oak Ridge National Laboratory Sign

Federal officials on Wednesday announced they had awarded a $25 million nonproliferation grant to a consortium that includes ORNL.

The National Nuclear Security Administration on Wednesday announced a $25 million nuclear nonproliferation grant to a consortium that is led by North Carolina State University and includes Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

The grant from the NNSA’s Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Research and Development is for research and development that will enable nonproliferation capabilities, a press release said. The consortium will receive $5 million per year for five years. The grant is in response to a funding opportunity announcement issued in May 2013.

“This grant will provide the U.S. government with cutting-edge research and development to identify and address multi-disciplinary and cross-functional technology and research needs that are critical to detecting foreign nuclear weapon proliferation activities,” the press release said. “Specifically, the research projects pursued by the consortium will include technologies to enhance simulation capabilities, algorithms, and modeling; new test and evaluation models for detection sensors; new remote sensing capabilities; and applications of data analytics and data fusion to better characterize and detect special nuclear materials.” [Read more...]

Review team develops UPF alternative, sends report to NNSA

Thom Mason

Thom Mason

The projected cost had passed $10 billion and the completion date pushed back to 2038, so federal officials were looking for an alternative approach to the proposed Uranium Processing Facility at the Y-12 National Security Complex.

Earlier this year, the National Nuclear Security Administration asked Thom Mason, Oak Ridge National Laboratory director, to lead a team—a so-called “Red Team”—that would develop an alternative approach.

The team’s task was to find a faster, more efficient solution, NNSA Acting Administrator Bruce Held told a House subcommittee on April 3.

On Tuesday, the deadline for submitting a report, Mason said the team has identified a possible alternative and provided information on how the proposal could be implemented if the NNSA adopts it. The next step will be up to the NNSA. Y-12 is an NNSA site.

The goal is to still allow workers to get out of Y-12’s aging Building 9212 by 2025 and keep the cost within an approved range of $4.2 billion to $6.5 billion, Mason said late Tuesday afternoon, when the report was being polished before transmittal. [Read more...]

Anasys licenses ORNL nanoscale mass spectrometry imaging technology

Heated Atomic Force Microscope Cantilever Probe

A heated atomic force microscope cantilever probe touches a surface to be analyzed with vapor from surface material that is thermally desorbed. The heat is drawn into the ion source of the mass spectrometer, ionized, and then detected and analyzed by a mass spectrometer. (Submitted photo)

Anasys Instruments Corp. has licensed an Oak Ridge National Laboratory technology that allows for simultaneous chemical and physical characterization and could lead to advances in  materials and drug development.

The technique, which combines the power of atomic force microscopy and mass spectrometry, fills a void and streamlines analytical processes that are vital to science and industry, said Roshan Shetty, chief executive officer of Anasys Instruments. He also noted that the technology improves the current spatial resolution of ambient methods for mass spectrometry imaging by a factor of more than 100, resulting in imaging resolution as small as 250 nanometers, or 1/400th the thickness of a human hair.

“This capability could have a tremendous impact on a broad field of applications in materials and life sciences ranging from single-cell imaging to polymer composites,” Shetty said. [Read more...]

ORAU, DOE seeking students, grads for EM internships, research

ORAU Logo

Oak Ridge Associated Universities and the U.S. Department of Energy are currently seeking students and recent graduates for paid internships and research opportunities in a variety of disciplines through the Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management Science Education and Internship Program.

The mission of OREM is to remove environmental legacies resulting from decades of uranium enrichment activities and energy and scientific research. Students and recent college graduates will learn about this mission and receive specialized training and practical experience in the safe cleanup of environmental projects.

This workforce development program offers internships and research opportunities in disciplines ranging from chemical, nuclear, and other engineering fields to environmental and physical sciences, information technology, and occupational safety and health. The goal is to give participants a chance to explore a federal career with DOE and to create a pipeline of highly qualified professionals to support critical DOE missions for years to come. [Read more...]

Two arrested in robbery after posing as female on meetme.com, sheriff says

Shawn Dillon Summers

Shawn Dillon Summers

A 19-year-old Knoxville man was robbed and assaulted with a hammer and baseball bat in a mobile home park in Marlow on Tuesday morning after responding to a fake female profile on the social networking site meetme.com, authorities said.

The victim was treated at a Knoxville hospital, and the incident was reported to the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department.

Kavonte Jamar Carson

Kavonte Jamar Carson

Two men were arrested on Tuesday afternoon in the alleged robbery, Sheriff Paul White said in a press release. The two are Shawn Dillon Summers, 18, of Joann Lane in Marlow, and Kavonte Jamar Carson, 19, who was  listed at the same address as well as at one in Rockford, Tenn. Both have been charged with aggravated robbery and criminal conspiracy. Carson was also charged with burglary to a vehicle. They are being held in the Anderson County Detention Facility with bonds pending their arraignments. [Read more...]

ORNL’s Payne to serve as AC chair for Children’s Hospital campaign

Terry Payne

Terry L. Payne

Each year, East Tennessee Children’s Hospital gets more than 148,000 visits from tens of thousands of children across 16 counties in Tennessee. In 2013, more than 7,300 children from Anderson County sought treatment at the hospital.

On Tuesday, officials announced that Terry L. Payne of Oak Ridge National Laboratory has volunteered to be the Anderson County campaign chair as Children’s Hospital, which plans to expand, seeks support to better serve the region’s children.

“I am pleased and honored to do my part in helping Children’s Hospital’s expansion project,” Payne said in a press release. “At some point while each was growing up, my son and two daughters received care from the wonderful Children’s Hospital staff. We are so fortunate to have a stand-alone hospital in our community that is dedicated to the well-being of our children’s health. I know that Anderson County will be proud to do their part.” [Read more...]

Oak Ridge man charged with Friday night robbery at Subway

Matthew Parker

Matthew Parker

An Oak Ridge man has been charged with the Friday night robbery of a Subway restaurant.

Matthew Parker, 25, was initially arrested Monday afternoon for driving on a suspended license, and he was taken to the Oak Ridge Police Department for questioning. After being interviewed by ORPD Detective John Criswell, Parker was charged with the robbery of the Subway, a press release said.

The robbery at the Subway at 1968  Oak Ridge Turnpike on the west end of town occurred at about 8:14 p.m. Friday. A man entered the Subway and gave the clerk a note demanding money, the ORPD said. The clerk gave the man close to $300, and he left in a silver Mazda sedan with a temporary tag, the ORPD said. The vehicle was then involved in a minor collision at the intersection of Louisiana Avenue and Oak Ridge Turnpike, the press release said. The drivers of both vehicles got out, checked the damage, spoke briefly, and then left. The suspect vehicle was then seen traveling east on the Turnpike. [Read more...]

Oak Ridge Schools seeks to become top STEM district in country

Bruce Borchers Introduces Discovery Education

Oak Ridge Schools Superintendent Bruce Borchers introduces Discovery Education to members of the PTA Council on Thursday, April 10. (Photos by Sara Wise)

Superintendent: ‘It’s a big deal nationally’

Oak Ridge Schools is attempting to become the premier district in the nation for science, technology, engineering, and math, or STEM, education. Superintendent Bruce Borchers has a $3.4 million plan to make that happen using Microsoft Surface tablets and Discovery Education. The money will be spent over a five-year period.

Borchers calls the needed changes a “digital transformation” that will, he hopes, bring a tablet to every student in the school system. This is especially important in Oak Ridge, a district with a free and reduced lunch rate of more than 50 percent. The digital transformation would allow every student in the district to have the same educational opportunities, regardless of income.

The first of three steps toward transformation is to create a technological infrastructure capable of handling all the tablets. Those improvements have a $1 million price tag that the Oak Ridge Board of Education and the city have already approved. Borchers hopes for the upgrades to be completed before students return to school in the fall. The upgrades are projected to last until at least 2022. [Read more...]

USEC centrifuge agreement extended, but future uncertain as workers receive WARN notices

Centrifuge Machine Manufacturing

In Oak Ridge, USEC workers take part in centrifuge operations, testing, and manufacturing for the American Centrifuge Project. (Photos courtesy USEC)

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

The American Centrifuge Project, a program that would enrich uranium for commercial nuclear power plants and has operations in Oak Ridge, got a little extra time this week.

Several billions have already been spent and funding was set to expire April 15, but USEC announced Tuesday morning that the research, development, and demonstration agreement was extended through April 30. That was done at no additional cost to the taxpayer through “prudent management of existing program funds by USEC,” the company said in a press release.

In the meantime, USEC said it continues its discussions with Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which could take over the management of the project for national security purposes. The DOE takeover was announced by Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz during a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing earlier this month.

The future of the project is not clear and several hundred workers have received notices that they could be laid off. On Friday, USEC Inc. spokesperson Paul Jacobson said the 60-day notices, which were effective March 19, were sent to 174 USEC employees in the Oak Ridge area and a total of 400 workers. Most of the other workers are in Piketon, Ohio, but there are also a few at USEC headquarters in Bethseda, Md. [Read more...]

Spotlight: ORFD officers receive national accreditation

Charlie Elliott

Charlie Elliott

The Center for Public Safety Excellence has notified three members of the Oak Ridge Fire Department that they have received national accreditation.

The Center for Public Safety Excellence Inc. is a nonprofit organization that, for more than a decade, has helped local public safety agencies around the world streamline and improve the services they provide their communities, a press release said. Through its individual commissions, CPSE provides a host of programs including accreditation for fire and emergency service agencies and professional designations for senior-level fire and emergency service officers.

Capt. Charlie Elliott, Capt. Brandon Payne, and Firefighter Engineer Jordan Alcorn have received notification from the Center for Public Safety Excellence that they have been approved for the designation of fire officer, or FO. [Read more...]