Oak Ridge company wins $15.9 million contract

HME Minority Business Excellence Award

HME Inc. Co-Founder Henry Perry, right, with Tony Spezia, Covenant Health president and CEO, when HME was awarded the Knoxville Chamber Partnership’s Minority Business Excellence Award in May 2011. (Submitted photo)

An Oak Ridge company has won a $15.9 million contract to provide facilities operations and support services to the Center for Domestic Preparedness in Anniston, Alabama.

The contract was awarded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency, a press release said.

HME is a Small Business Administration-certified HUB (Historically Underutilized Business) Zone and economically disadvantaged woman-owned business headquartered in Oak Ridge. HME first received the contract to provide facilities operations and support services for the CDP facility in 2009.

The CDP is a national training facility that prepares state and local emergency response personnel to respond to terrorist attacks involving weapons of mass destruction by providing advanced, hands-on training. This national training program was developed for firefighters, law enforcement personnel, emergency medical technicians, E-911 operators, and other emergency response personnel, their trainers, and supervisors.

During Fiscal Year 2013, the CDP trained a total of 49,500 students, including 14,000 resident students, 2,500 non-resident, 8,000 indirect, and 25,000 Academy students, the press release said. [Read more…]

2014 Startup Day emphasizes startup-friendly culture, assets in ET

Startup Day Logo

KNOXVILLE—Knoxville’s second annual Startup Day kicked off Thursday afternoon at The Standard in downtown Knoxville. The event celebrated the success of Knoxville’s growing startup community and raised awareness about resources that support East Tennessee entrepreneurs.

Among the presenters were Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Tech 2020.

“When most Americans think ‘startup community,’ they think Silicon Valley in California, New York City, or Seattle,” said Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero. “It’s significant that East Tennessee is nurturing its startup culture, making resources available to startups, and generally creating a welcoming environment for entrepreneurs. Creating a startup-friendly city will keep and attract talent, capital, and more resources.” [Read more…]

Chamber’s Christmas Parade to be held Saturday, December 13

Santa in Oak Ridge Christmas Parade

Santa Claus and helpers ride on an Oak Ridge fire truck during the 2013 Christmas Parade. (Photo by D. Ray Smith)


The annual Christmas Parade organized by the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce is scheduled for Saturday, December 13. This year’s theme is “Holiday Homecoming,” and it promises to provide spectators with plenty of music, lights, and beautiful floats, a press release said.

More than 80 businesses and community organizations have already registered their entries for the parade. Sponsors of this year’s parade are Mullins Wealth Management and The Cowperwood Company.

The parade will start at 6 p.m. December 13, and it will begin at Corporate Center, on the corner of Lafayette and Laboratory Road. From there, the parade will travel down Lafayette to the Oak Ridge Turnpike. It will continue west on the Turnpike to Oak Ridge High School. The judge’s stand will be located in front of the Chamber. [Read more…]

Board orders demolition of Tyrone Road building, but Magic Wok excluded

Wender Building

A city board on Thursday ordered the demolition of this building on East Tyrone Road within 30 days. The Magic Wok restaurant, which is in a separate diner on the western side of the building, is not affected.


Note: This story was last updated at 12:55 p.m. Nov. 14.

Despite a plea for another extension, a city board on Thursday ordered that a commercial building on East Tyrone Road be demolished within 30 days. The demolition order does not apply to the popular Magic Wok restaurant, which is in a separate diner on the western side of the building.

The Oak Ridge Board of Building and Housing Code Appeals had previously given the building owners more time to develop a repair or demolition plan, including a five-month extension in June. At Thursday’s meeting, board members suggested they hadn’t seen enough work take place since then.

“I’m seeing very little progress,” said board member Joe Lee, who made the motion to demolish within 30 days, which is what the city staff had requested. “This has been an ongoing issue for a decade or more.”

The city staff said the partially occupied commercial structure has been declared unfit for human occupation or use because of code violations, and a demolition deadline expired Thursday. The staff said the estimated cost of repairs exceeds 50 percent of the building’s value, which is an important benchmark for issuing a demolition order. The staff has said the building is in a state of disrepair, lacks adequate fire and panic exits, and the roof and interior have not been adequately maintained for several years.

The motion to demolish the building at 123 and 135 East Tyrone Road was approved in a 6-0 vote on Thursday. Voting in favor of that motion were Chair Bruce LeForce, Vice Chair Philip Nipper, Secretary Amy Seiber, Lee, and board members Phil Yager and Leonar Vaughen. Board member Aaron Wells was not present. [Read more…]

Update: Repairs to Johnson Gap Road Bridge could begin soon

Information from WYSH Radio

Anderson County Commission Chairman Robert McKamey says he has been in regular contact with a project manager for CSX Railroad, and the repairs planned at the Johnson Gap Road Bridge are still expected to begin before the end of this month.

The bridge has been closed for almost a year and a half after state inspectors determined it was unsafe for travel. Residents and emergency responders have complained bitterly about the extra time that it now takes to get to and from Clinton from that part of Dutch Valley.

Earlier this year, the company gave the county two options for addressing the problem—replacing it at county expense or repairing it at theirs. The County Commission voted to let the company pay for repairing the bridge, and McKamey told WYSH Radio in Clinton that the project is slated to begin sometime in the second half of November and could be completed by the end of the year.

Small business workshop on government contracting on Dec. 2

The Tennessee Small Business Development Center will have a free workshop for small businesses on the basics of government contracting on Tuesday, December 2.

The workshop is being conducted in partnership with the University of Tennessee CIS-PTAC. It’s scheduled from 9 a.m. to noon December 2 at the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce at 1400 Oak Ridge Turnpike in Oak Ridge.

To sign up, call (865) 483-2668, email Jutta Bangs at [email protected], or visit www.roanestate.edu/tsbdc.

The Tennessee Small Business Development Center at Roane State Community College advises and assists entrepreneurs and small business owners in the area at no cost to them.

‘Dine and Donate’ to support ADFAC on Monday

Popeyes Sign

Popeye’s is a first-time Dine and Donate participating restaurant. Dedicated to providing “Louisiana Fast” food, Popeye’s menu takes a step outside the box, offering chicken and seafood prepared spicy or blackened. Side items range from freshly made biscuits and Cajun fries to red beans and rice and jambalaya. (Photo and caption by ADFAC)

“Dine and Donate,” a monthly fundraiser for Aid to Distressed Families of Appalachian Counties, or ADFAC, is back for November—and it features 11 restaurants throughout Anderson County.

“We are very fortunate to have wonderful representation in Oak Ridge, and are very pleased that November offers a broad range of restaurants that reach all corners of the county,” said ADFAC Board Member Cande Seay, who also chairs the Dine and Donate committee. “Over half of all ADFAC clients served live in these rural areas, and we hope residents will dine out to help their less fortunate neighbors.”

On Dine and Donate Mondays (the second Monday of each month), local restaurants donate a significant portion of their daily sales to ADFAC.

Restaurants participating on Monday, November 10, are: [Read more…]

City board to reconsider repair, demolition orders for Tyrone Road building

Wender Building

The deadline for the demolition of a commercial building that once housed The Oak Ridger newspaper on Tyrone Road near Jackson Square expires Thursday, and after a five-month postponement, a city board will reconsider a repair or demolition order for the building that day. Under plans announced in May, the Magic Wok restaurant, which is separate from the building, would remain, as would a small northwestern portion of the building.


The deadline for the demolition of a commercial building that was once home to The Oak Ridger newspaper and other businesses on Tyler and East Tyrone roads expires Thursday, November 13, and a city board could reconsider a repair or demolition order that day.

The partially occupied commercial structure has been declared unfit for human occupation or use because of code violations, the city staff said.

The Oak Ridge Board of Building and Housing Code Appeals previously tabled the repair or demolition order for five months to allow for partial demolition in preparation for the construction of the remaining building. The demolition deadline expires Thursday, and permit applications are to be submitted to the city by December.

The potential demolition and repair orders to be considered Thursday would not apply to the separate manufactured structure that now houses the popular Magic Wok restaurant. [Read more…]

Sponsored: Hibachi Pizza has Customer Appreciation Day on Saturday

Hibachi Pizza Customer Appreciation Day Oliver Springs, TN

Hibachi Pizza in Oliver Springs has a Customer Appreciation Day and official grand opening on Saturday, November 8.

The restaurant will offer a 12-inch one-topping pizza for $3.99.

Hibachi Pizza is at 526 East Tri County Boulevard in Oliver Springs. Call (865) 435-1881 for more information.

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Follow-up: AC Commission concurs with city’s mall TIF extension

Oak Ridge Village Area Rendering

Note: This story was updated at 10:02 a.m.

County’s part of agreement does not change

The Oak Ridge City Council has agreed to add another 10 years to the agreement that will be used to help redevelop the former Oak Ridge Mall, and during its regular meeting in October, the Anderson County Commission concurred with the change.

There were no objections, and the Commission’s concurrence with the city’s 10-year extension of the tax increment financing, or TIF, passed 15-0. The city’s portion of the TIF has been extended from 20 years to 30, and the county’s remains unchanged at 20.

The city’s TIF extension had also been approved by the Oak Ridge Industrial Development Board, and the County Commission concurred with that change as well.

Ray Evans, retail consultant for the City of Oak Ridge, told commissioners that Crosland Southeast, the North Carolina firm that has proposed the redevelopment, could close on the property at the end of the year. Demolition could start in the first quarter of 2015, and retailers could have space in the redeveloped 59-acre site by mid-2016, Evans said.

“We think we’re very close to getting across the finish line,” Evans said. [Read more…]

Secret City Pies re-opens in new location, adds 10 employees

Secret City Pies Staff

The staff at the new Secret City Pies location at Security Square at 979 Oak Ridge Turnpike is pictured above. Among those pictured are Leisa Hope, front right, and Terry Hope, back right.


Secret City Pies re-opened Monday, October 6, at its new location in Security Square. The new facility offers an expanded menu and dine-in seating.

Terry and Leisa Hope, who started the business two years ago in a take-out only location on the west end of town, are continuing their popular pies and desserts including pie-in-a cup, and bite-size pies, cookies, and their lunchtime favorites of chili dogs and a variety of sandwiches, a press release said.

“We will be adding pre-made salads, soups and stews, pinto beans and cornbread, and most of our sandwich meats will be cooked in house,” Leisa Hope said. Sandwich choices include, ham, turkey, roast beef, and bologna. Box lunches containing a sandwich, chips, dessert, and drink are also available.

“Secret City Pies can also cater lunches and brunches and can provide pie bites for all occasions, such as weddings, holiday parties, and more,” Hope added. The store would like a week’s notice on catering, but customers can call for shorter availability.

The new store is at 979 Oak Ridge Turnpike, across from the Methodist Medical Center entrance. [Read more…]