Snow dusts Oak Ridge; Anderson, Roane schools closed

Oak Ridge Snow January 27, 2015

A light layer of snow dusted Oak Ridge on Tuesday morning. (Photo by Sarah Johnson)


A light layer of snow dusted Oak Ridge on Tuesday morning, and schools were closed in Anderson and Roane counties.

The Anderson County Schools’ Central Office was following its bad weather procedures. The Roane County Schools’ Central Office opened one hour late.

Oak Ridge Schools opened on time.

Clinton City Schools reported that roads were clear in Clinton—”and school buildings are warm”—and schools would open on time. [Read more…]

BOE: Fix lead paint now, prepare for new Preschool by 2016-2017

Oak Ridge Board of Education and City Council

The Oak Ridge Board of Education, seated at right, and City Council, left, are pictured above during a Jan. 15 work session on the Oak Ridge Schools’ Preschool, among other agenda items.


Finding a new preschool might not happen as quickly as some would like, but the city’s school board on Monday recommended a few first steps that could have children in a new building by the 2016-2017 school year.

The main concern now: Fix the lead-based paint on the decades-old home of the Preschool on New York Avenue. That repair could cost an estimated $150,000. A remediation plan could be submitted to federal officials and Anderson County education officials by March 4.

There had been some hope that a new home for preschool students might be found as early as this August. [Read more…]

Oliver Springs teen killed in motorcycle-car crash

An Oliver Springs teenager riding a motorcycle was killed in a Monday morning crash with a car.

Aaron Gunter, 17, of Oliver Springs, was riding westbound on a 2005 Suzuki dirt bike on State Highway 62 near Coalfield when he was hit by a 2008 Kia Sportage at about 6:41 a.m. Monday, the Tennessee Highway Patrol said in a preliminary report.

The Kia was also traveling westbound and driven by Sharon Morton, 75, of Andersonville. [Read more…]

ORPD: Charges pending against hit-and-run suspect

Oak Ridge Police Department Logo

A suspect in a Friday night hit-and-run in Oak Ridge is in custody in Morgan County, and more charges are pending in Oak Ridge, authorities said.

The hit-and-run involving a pedestrian was reported at about 8:34 p.m. Friday at West Outer Drive and North Illinois Avenue, the Oak Ridge Police Department said. [Read more…]

School Board could make Preschool recommendation tonight

Charlsey Cofer and Oak Ridge City Council and School Board

Principal Charlsey Cofer, left, discusses the Oak Ridge Schools Preschool with Oak Ridge City Council members and City Manager Mark Watson, seated at table, during a Jan. 15 work session with the Oak Ridge Board of Education.


Note: This story was last updated at 12:25 p.m.

It’s been on the city’s wish list for decades, but city and school officials now appear closer to finding a solution to repairing or replacing the city’s preschool.

Officials said they’ve “kicked the can down the road” for years, but the discussion gained urgency after lead-based paint was found on the exterior of the 70-year-old building during a routine inspection in the spring of 2014. It could cost up to $150,000 to make repairs. Officials have characterized that as a Band-Aid or “last investment.”

“We’re going to have make a decision now, unfortunately, because of the paint,” said Keys Fillauer, Oak Ridge Board of Education chair. “The bottom line is: How are we going to pay for this?” [Read more…]

Oak Ridge Fire Department wants to check your smoke alarms

Josh Waldo

Josh Waldo

The Oak Ridge Fire Department wants to check your smoke alarms and has now made it even easier for them to do that, a press release said.

The Oak Ridge Fire Department has provided a new link that people can use to schedule a time for firefighters to come and check their smoke alarms. Citizens can visit the Oak Ridge Fire Department website here and click on the smoke alarm program link on the right of the page or they can use the QR code provided below and then click on the smoke alarm picture. [Read more…]

CNS helps provide housing to homeless veterans

Helen Ross McNabb Veterans Housing Project

This eight-unit apartment building on Coster Road in Knoxville was built to house homeless veterans who have mental illness or a behavioral health disability. The first four veterans moved into their new apartments before Christmas. By springtime, the Helen Ross McNabb Veterans Housing Project will provide permanent apartment homes to 23 veterans, who will also receive ongoing case management. (Photo provided by Helen Ross McNabb Center)


Donation contributes to new housing and care through Helen Ross McNabb Center

Consolidated Nuclear Security’s donation of $25,000 to the Helen Ross McNabb Center’s Veterans Housing Project served as one of the final building blocks in the $1.83-million effort to provide permanent housing to homeless veterans who have mental illnesses. On December 15, the ribbon was cut on the first apartment building, and the first four homeless veterans moved into their new homes in time to celebrate Christmas.

The CNS donation helped fund the newly constructed Cedar Crossing apartment building on Coster Road in Knoxville, which provides eight one-bedroom units. The second phase of the project is rehabilitating a former apartment complex off Washington Pike that will provide another 15 apartment homes. The three-building Washington Oaks renovation is expected to be completed by March 2015. [Read more…]

Science: Warming could cause great loss of Great Barrier Reef corals

Coral Reef

The coverage of living corals on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef could decline to less than 10 percent if ocean warming continues, according to a new study. (Photo credit: Catlin Seaview Survey/Underwater Earth)


KNOXVILLE—Living corals covering Australia’s Great Barrier Reef could decline to less than 10 percent if ocean warming continues, according to a new study that explores the short- and long-term consequences of environmental changes to the reef.

The study was done by an international team of ecologists at the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis, or NIMBioS, at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. It is available pre-print online in the journal Ecology at

Environmental change has caused the loss of more than half the world’s reef-building corals. Coral cover, a measure of the percentage of the seafloor covered by living coral, is now just 10-20 percent worldwide. The Great Barrier Reef, once considered one of the more pristine global reef systems, has lost half its coral cover in the last 27 years. Overfishing, coastal pollution, and increased greenhouse gas emissions leading to increased temperatures and ocean acidification, as well as other human impacts, are all disrupting the delicate balance maintained in coral reef ecosystems. [Read more…]

Sewer rehab work continues week of Jan. 26

More rehabilitation work of the city’s sewer collection pipes is scheduled to continue this week, starting Monday, January 26.

The work is being done by Hurst Excavating and Portland Utilities Construction Company 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…]

Daughters of the American Revolution to discuss Underground Railroad Quilt Code

Clinch Bend Daughters of the American Revolution will hear about quilt codes used by slaves on the Underground Railroad during their escape to freedom.

The program, “Underground Railroad Quilt Code,” will be presented by Gwen Cole during a meeting of Clinch Bend Daughters of the American Revolution, a press release said.

The meeting is at 1 p.m. Saturday, February 14, at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Oak Ridge.

For more information, visit or call (865) 945-5605.

Democrats to discuss early years of Planned Parenthood in Monday meeting

A former president of the first Planned Parenthood in the Southeast will discuss the organization during a Monday evening meeting of Democrats.

Elizabeth Peelle helped organize and then served as president and volunteer executive director from 1969 to 1970 for Planned Parenthood of the Southern Mountains, the first Planned Parenthood in the Southeast, serving health care needs of women in Anderson County and surrounding Appalachian counties, a press release said. She drafted the first proposal for outside funding that led to a professional staff for the agency.

Peelle then organized Tennesseans for Choice in 1989 because Planned Parenthood could not lobby for the pro-choice view, and she served as its president for the first eight years, the press release said. [Read more…]

‘Fracking,’ the environment to be discussed Monday

Joanna McFarlane

Joanna McFarlane

A manager in the Fossil Energy Program at Oak Ridge National Laboratory will discuss the environment and hydraulic fracturing, often referred to as “fracking,” during a Monday meeting.

Joanna McFarlane, who has a doctorate, is a manager for the RPSEA (Research Partnership to Secure Energy for America) and Environmentally Friendly Drilling in the Fossil Energy Program at ORNL.

She will give a presentation on “Hydraulic Fracturing and the Environment” during a meeting at 11:30 a.m. Monday, January 26. It’s a luncheon meeting of the AAUW Oak Ridge Branch. The group will meet in the Activities Building of First Presbyterian Church at the corner of Oak Ridge Turnpike and Lafayette Drive. [Read more…]