Snappy Tomato Pizza closing Friday

Snappy Tomato Pizza

After almost four years in Oak Ridge, Snappy Tomato Pizza in central Oak Ridge is closing Friday.


After almost four years in Oak Ridge, Snappy Tomato Pizza will close Friday, the owners said Thursday.

“We have really tried to hang on; however, things appear to continue to go downhill for us both financially and personally,” franchise owners Frances Gross and her daughters Misty Gross Robbins and Cindi Robbins said in a message to supporters and the Oak Ridge community. “Unfortunately, the sales have not been what we need to keep the business going while the new and upcoming retail centers continue to draw business toward the other end of town.”

The family said they have struggled during the past two years grieving the loss of their son and brother Robert Gross Jr., who was also a co-owner but died in August 2012, and battling with cancer surgery and extensive radiation treatments for husband and father Robert Gross Sr.

Now, they’re facing cancer again, only with a more radical surgery, the family said. In a telephone interview Thursday morning, Frances Gross said the last year has taken a toll on the family, and they’ve struggled to stay busy as new restaurants have opened across town, drawing customers away. [Read more...]

Habitat for Humanity selling building, plans to relocate

Habitat for Humanity of Anderson County ReStore

The Habitat for Humanity of Anderson County ReStore is located in Grove Center.


Habitat for Humanity of Anderson County is selling its building in Grove Center, and officials said they want to move into a more economical facility.

“We have a 70-year-old building, and the cost to maintain the property hinders us in fulfilling the Habitat mission,” the nonprofit organization’s board of directors said in a statement. “Habitat for Humanity International recommends not owning real estate, with the exception of properties on which to build houses.”

The board said many customers have been concerned because they have seen the “For Sale” sign on the Habitat ReStore and office in Grove Center.

“We are not going out of business!” the board said. [Read more...]

Oak Ridge Chamber to host customer service workshop Oct. 9

Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce

The Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce is pictured above.

The Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce will host a customer service seminar led by Bill Drury on October 9 from 8:30 a.m.-noon at the chamber.

Entitled “A Passion For Service,” the seminar will focus on how to win customers and reduce lost sales, a press release said. A discount is available for chamber members.

From 1985 until 1990, Drury was the national training consultant for the Zig Ziglar Corporation. He speaks, trains, and travels extensively, and he has proven to be one of the most effective and entertaining speakers in the industry, the release said.

Subjects that Drury will cover include the following: [Read more...]

Honors: PCUD wins distinguished SOAR Award

Matt Ballard and Rob Neil

Matt Ballard, chairman of APGA’s board of directors, presenting the APGA SOAR award to PCUD President Rob Neil. (Submitted photo)



At its 2014 Annual Meeting, the American Public Gas Association presented Powell-Clinch Utility District with the prestigious APGA System Operational Achievement Recognition, or SOAR, distinction, which recognizes excellence in operating natural gas utilities.

Public natural gas systems are entrusted by their customers to deliver clean and affordable natural gas through a safe and reliable distribution pipeline system. To accomplish this mission, a forward-thinking natural gas utility constantly strives to improve its operating capabilities, overcome challenges, and adapt to its changing environment.

Out of over 700 APGA members nationally, PCUD was the only gas system selected in East Tennessee and was one of 21 selected for SOAR distinction by its peers on the APGA Operations and Safety Committee. The SOAR award is based on demonstrated excellence in the four areas of system integrity, system improvement, employee safety, and workforce development. [Read more...]

ThreeStar status awarded to 85 counties, including Anderson, Roane

Bill Hagerty

Bill Hagerty


93 out of 95 counties meet audit committee requirement

NASHVILLE—The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development on Thursday announced that 85 out of 95 counties, including Anderson and Roane, have been awarded ThreeStar status. In addition, since the ThreeStar community development program began requiring eligible communities to create and maintain a County Audit Committee in January 2013, the number of counties with Audit Committees has increased substantially. As of March 2013, there were 32 audit committees around the state; as of July 2014, there are 93.

“The ThreeStar program is a vital component to our state’s overall level of success, providing counties with a proven roadmap for continued economic and community strength, which in turn helps Tennessee win new investment and jobs,” Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty said. “Tennessee has been recognized as the number one state in the nation for economic development, and these audit committees support Governor Haslam’s overarching goal of making Tennessee the most efficiently run state on every level. I congratulate all of our ThreeStar counties and those communities who are taking the initiative to create Audit Committees and work toward achieving fiscal strength and efficient government.”

The Audit Committees are designed to help each county improve their financial management and reporting practices, and help ensure the implementation of good internal controls to prevent or detect fraud, a step towards achieving fiscal strength and efficient government. [Read more...]

Roane Alliance expands Chamber program, hires two, adds member benefits

Paulette Ray

Paulette Ray

The Roane County Chamber of Commerce now has two full-time employees, bringing more attention to members and adding member benefits through additional products and programs, a press release said.

Paulette Ray, director of Chamber operations, has returned to the Alliance to work “hand-in-hand with businesses to help them grow and succeed,” the press release said. Ray previously worked as the Chamber membership coordinator from 2007 to 2009 and has continued to work with the Alliance as a volunteer while running her own business, South Eastern Clogging Company, a dance and exercise studio in Kingston, which she owned for 28 years. A graduate of the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce Executives, she has also completed her first year of Institute for Organizational Management, and is a 2009 graduate of Leadership Roane County.

Ray is a longtime resident of Roane County, a 1990 graduate of Roane County High School, and she attended Roane State Community College. In her spare time, she continues to teach, judge, and choreograph clogging and is also a ZUMBA fitness instructor in the county. She resides in Kingston with her husband, Daniel, along with four of their five children. Ray also has a married daughter living in Ft. Bragg, North Carolina, with her husband who is currently serving in the Army. [Read more...]

USEC: ORNL extends American Centrifuge demonstration program into 2015

American Centrifuge Technology Manufacturing Center

The American Centrifuge Technology Manufacturing Center in south Oak Ridge is pictured above. (Photos courtesy USEC)

Oak Ridge National Laboratory has exercised an option to extend the American Centrifuge demonstration program into 2015, USEC announced Wednesday.

The announcement was included in a report on second quarter results, when the uranium enrichment company had a net loss of $28 million. USEC, which has operations in Oak Ridge, is undergoing a Chapter 11 bankruptcy and is turning over its gaseous diffusion plant in Paducah, Kentucky, to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Funding for the next-generation American Centrifuge activities was previously provided under a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy. Under that cost-sharing agreement, DOE provided 80 percent of the funding, and USEC provided 20 percent for research, development, and demonstration work performed from June 1, 2012, through April 30, 2014, when the agreement expired.

On May 1, USEC signed a new agreement with UT-Battelle, which manages and operates ORNL for DOE. The agreement was called the American Centrifuge Technology Demonstration and Operations, or ACTDO, agreement, and it allows for continued cascade operations and the continuation of core American Centrifuge research and technology activities and the furnishing of related reports to ORNL, USEC said in its quarterly report.

On July 31, ORNL exercised its option to extend the period of performance for the ACTDO Agreement by an additional six months to March 31, 2015. The agreement also provides ORNL with one additional option to extend the agreement by six months to September 30, 2015. [Read more...]

Walmart, United Way, ADFAC team up to collect school supplies

Walmart and United Way Fill the Bus

Pictured above, from left to right, are Brian Ferguson, First Student dispatcher; Maria Cacheiro; Marcus Cacheiro; Mateo Cacheiro; Diane Gibson, First Student location manager; Becky Hook, ADFAC school supply coordinator; Loraine Brown, Walmart front end zone manager; Liz Herbes, ADFAC social services program director; Annie Cacheiro, ADFAC executive director; and Rick Morrow, United Way of Anderson County executive director. (Photo courtesy ADFAC)



“Fill The Bus,” an initiative led by Walmart and United Way of Anderson County Inc., helped provide much-needed school supplies to the ADFAC School Supplies Program. ADFAC (Aid To Distressed Families of Appalachian Counties Inc.) provides grade and school specific supplies to an expected 2,500 K-12 students throughout Anderson County. Walmart stores in Clinton and Oak Ridge participated as collection sites for donations.

During the week of July 26-August 4, at both entrances of the Walmart stores, customers were invited to donate school supplies. The concept was that, as customers were purchasing supplies for their own children or grandchildren, they could purchase a few extra for the ADFAC School Supplies Program.

During Tennessee’s sales tax holiday, August 1-3, Walmart in Oak Ridge invited First Student Inc.-Oak Ridge Schools to provide a “real” bus to be parked outside the store to help publicize and raise visibility for the campaign. First Student Inc.-Oak Ridge Schools also provided assistance in transporting the supplies from the donation boxes to the bus and to the storage facility. Several ADFAC staff and volunteers also assisted with the transferring of supplies. [Read more...]

Roane County Chamber has new board chair, members

Gail Lyke

Gail Lyke

The Roane County Chamber of Commerce board of directors has a new chair and members.

The board chair for the 2014-2015 year is Gail Lyke, vice president and branch manager at First Bank of Tennessee in Rockwood. Lyke officially took over July 17 from outgoing board chair Chris Ahler of Visionary Horizons Wealth Management at the Chamber’s first board meeting of the new fiscal year. Lyke previously served as the Chamber’s treasurer for the past two years and has served on the board since 2008.

Lyke was named the 2013 Chamber Woman of the Year. She is a graduate of Leadership Roane County and serves on the Leadership Roane County Alumni Association Board, as well as the Roane County Association of Women Executives, where she previously served as past president, and as a member of the Rockwood Civitan Club. Lyke also served on the Rockwood Planning Commission.

Lyke said her focus for the year will be to work with the board of directors and the president to “help facilitate the transition and changes that have been put in place to move the Chamber into a new value-added membership structure, encouraging both membership growth and retention.” [Read more...]

Council considers Clark Center Park, ORHS stoplight, Woodland development

Clark Center Park Water View

A view of Melton Hill Lake near a boat ramp and between two picnic areas at Clark Center Park in south Oak Ridge.

The Oak Ridge City Council on Monday night will consider the start of negotiations over the future of Clark Center Park, a new stoplight on Oak Ridge Turnpike in front of the high school, and changes, including rezonings, that could allow a small commercial development near Aldi grocery on South Illinois Avenue.

The meeting starts at 7 p.m. Monday, August 11, in the Oak Ridge Municipal Building Courtroom. See the agenda here.

A resolution to be considered tonight would allow Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson to discuss the future of Clark Center Park with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Office. DOE-ORO  has said it wants to transfer the park to the city at no cost as long as it remains a recreational park asset for the public.

The Oak Ridge Office now spends about $300,000 per year to maintain the park. One of the questions for city officials is whether Oak Ridge can afford to take over the 80-acre park, which is in south Oak Ridge on Melton Hill Lake. Also known as Carbide Park, it includes two ball fields, two large picnic areas, a small playground, a boat ramp, restrooms, fishing trails, and a beach. It also includes access to the Gallaher Bend Greenway. [Read more...]

State sales tax holiday under way

Information from WYSH Radio

Tennessee’s annual sales tax holiday began at 12:01 a.m. this morning, and it will continue through Sunday, August 3, at 11:59 p.m. There will be no sales tax charged on clothing and school and art supplies that cost less than $100 per item and computers that cost $1,500 or less.

Examples of items that can be bought tax-free during the holiday include: [Read more...]

Gold’s Gym acquiring The Rush, including in Oak Ridge

The Rush Fitness Complex

Gold’s Gym is acquiring 23 Rush Fitness clubs in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee, including in Oak Ridge.


Gold’s Gym announced Monday that it has signed a deal to acquire The Rush Fitness Complex, a regional gym chain that has 23 clubs in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee, including in Oak Ridge.

The deal is officially slated to close in the next month, Gold’s Gym said in a press release Monday.

As part of the agreement, the 23 Rush Fitness clubs will be rebranded under the Gold’s Gym name. The rebranding is expected to be complete by the end of the year. The clubs will remain open throughout the transition, the company said in the press release. All existing memberships will be honored at the new locations, automatically converting to Gold’s Gym memberships without any interruption to current members.

Current members will also be given the option to gain travel privileges to the Gold’s Gym network of more than 700 locations in 38 states and 28 countries, the press release said. [Read more...]