Boys and Girls Club Memorial Scholarships announced

Boys and Girls Club of Oak Ridge Scholarships 2015

Pictured above from left to right are Ann Likens, Boys and Girls Club unit board
chair; scholarship recipients J. Lynn Dillon, Zach Kassner, and Ragan Anderson; Lawrence Hahn,
executive director emeritus; and Adam Wilson, unit director. (Submitted photo)


The Boys and Girls Clubs of the Clinch Valley recently awarded its scholarships for 2015.

The 2015 Boys and Girls Club of Oak Ridge Memorial Scholarships are in honor of Mike Anderson, Charles Burger, David Hahn, Kevin Hurt, Charles Kennedy, Baxter Underwood, and Jim Vines.

The 2015 recipients are J. Lynn Dillon, Zach Kassner, and Ragan Anderson.

Opposing views on gay marriage: ‘Equality’ and ‘biblical values’

Melanie Heiberg

Oak Ridge resident Melanie Heiberg organized a celebration at Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church on Friday, June 26, after a 5-4 U.S. Supreme Court decision made gay marriage legal in all 50 states. “This is about equality,” Heiberg said.


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

There was a range of reactions in Oak Ridge and across the state this week after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision on Friday, June 26, that the Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage. That decision made gay marriage legal in all 50 states.

Some said the decision made them proud to be Americans, while others worried about whether the country is straying from biblical values.

Melanie Heiberg and others celebrated the decision at the Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church last Friday. Heiberg said she was raised by two dads—her father and his partner—when she was in high school.

“This is about equality,” Helberg said. “Everyone is as important as the next person.” [Read more…]

Patterson, Dodson to lead United Way fundraising campaign in 2015-2016

Gene Patterson

Gene Patterson

Art teacher Jim Dodson and Gene Patterson, a former television anchor who now works at Y-12 National Security Complex, will co-chair the 2015-2016 fundraising campaign for United Way of Anderson County, a press release said.

It’s a period of transition and change, the release said, and Dodson and Patterson will “lead the charge as UWAC kicks off its fresh campaign to raise money for local agencies.”

Patterson has been delivering local news for more than 30 years, as an anchor at both WBIR and WATE. He also served his community as deputy to the Knoxville Mayor Victor Ashe, focusing on city initiatives and facilitating community task forces. In 2015, Patterson joined the communications team at Consolidated Nuclear Security at Y-12 in Oak Ridge.

Dodson has taught art in the Oak Ridge Schools system since 1987, and has been recognized as both the Tennessee Art Educator of the Year and the National Middle School Art Educator of the Year. In 2015, Dodson received the Distinguished Educator Award and was appointed to the Humanities Tennessee Board. His efforts to establish student art exhibitions all over Tennessee have earned more than $7 million in scholarships for his students. [Read more…]


Oak Ridge recognized as 2015 Playful City USA community

Oak Ridge Playful City

241 communities exhibiting playability to be recognized

Oak Ridge is being honored with a 2015 Playful City USA designation for the fourth time. In partnership with the Humana Foundation, KaBOOM! is honoring cities, towns, and counties across the country for making their communities more playable. Oak Ridge was selected again this year because of the commitment to excellence in all parks, greenways, and play-spaces, a press release said.

“Several years ago, we embarked on an effort to make our city have more fun,” Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson said. “The structured activities have brought our community together and allowed new avenues of play to be by our children and our ‘adult children.'”

Neighborhood play spaces, city-wide play days, and fun special events are all ways in which these communities are appealing to residents, and attracting and retaining residents. [Read more…]

Community Band concert followed by fireworks on Saturday evening

Oak Ridge Community Band

The Oak Ridge Community Band performs during the July 4, 2014, concert. (Photo by Larry Perry)


The Oak Ridge Community Band will play in a free concert before the fireworks show at A.K. Bissell Park on Saturday.

The concert starts at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 4. Fireworks start at 10 p.m.

“Because the July 4 program traditionally attracts large crowds, come early and bring lawn chairs or blankets for good seating,” organizers said in a press release.

The concert is free, although donations are welcomed to offset band expenses. Refreshments will be available for sale. [Read more…]

Area lawmakers announce $72,190 in Anderson County arts grants

Tennessee legislators announced Friday that seven arts grants worth $72,190 have been awarded to six organizations in Anderson County.

The recipients include the Children’s Museum of Oak Ridge, Oak Ridge Community Playhouse, Oak Ridge Civic Music Association, Oak Ridge Community Art Center, Tennessee Mountain Writers, and Appalachian Arts Craft Center.

The grants include two grants with a combined total of $20,800 for the Children’s Museum of Oak Ridge in the categories of Arts Education-Community Learning and Partnership Support.

The other grants include: [Read more…]

Battle of the bands helps Hospitality Houses at MMC

Doc Rock Check Presentation

Local physician band Second Opinion donated $2,211 to Methodist’s Hospitality Houses, the band’s health charity of choice, when they competed at Doc Rock. Pictured from left are Sandra Jernigan, Knoxville Academy of Medicine Alliance member; John Jernigan, MD, Second Opinion drummer and retired otolaryngologist; Kim Maes, Hospitality House coordinator at Methodist Medical Center; and Ken Luckmann, MD, Second Opinion band member and retired gastroenterologist. (Photo submitted by Covenant Health)


Second Opinion, an Oak Ridge-based physician band, has donated $2,211 to the Hospitality Houses of Methodist Medical Center. The donation was from the band’s participation in Doc Rock for Health, an annual battle of the bands, which was hosted by the Knoxville Academy of Medicine Alliance at Knoxville’s Old City earlier this year.

On June 19, Kim Maes, coordinator of the Hospitality Houses, was presented with the check. The houses have been the band’s longtime charity of choice for the event. Their participation has helped raise more than $10,000 for the Hospitality Houses.

Methodist’s Hospitality Houses primarily provide free lodging to families and patients who travel to Methodist for cancer treatment, as well as other outpatients who require extended treatment. [Read more…]

ORUUC has free community meal on Friday, June 26 

The Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church is inviting everyone to a free community meal on Friday, June 26.

The Stone Soup Ministry team will serve a summer menu that will include three bean salad, pimiento cheese sandwiches, ginger snaps, and fruit. Dine-in or take-out will be available in the ORUUC Social Hall from 5 to 6 p.m. The church is located at 809 Oak Ridge Turnpike in Oak Ridge.

Some nonperishable family friendly groceries will be available for free to anyone in need, a press release said. [Read more…]

UT Arboretum Society presents Geocaching Workshop on July 28

The University of Tennessee Arboretum Society is sponsoring an Introduction to Geocaching Workshop for rising fifth- through eighth-grade students on Tuesday, July 28, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the UT Arboretum.

The cost is $15 and is payable in advance. Advance registration is required, with a limit of 16 participants.

Students will learn the basics of using a GPS device, determining location, inputting waypoints, following a short course, hiding a cache, and finding caches hidden by others, a press release said. The Arboretum Society will provide the GPS devices for the class to use.

Janet Bigelow, a UTAS board member, will teach this workshop with help from other UTAS members. She is a semi-retired middle school teacher with 41 years of indoor and outdoor classroom experience. [Read more…]

Independence Day Fireworks Celebration at A.K. Bissell Park

July 4, 2012 Fireworks

The Independence Day fireworks show in Oak Ridge has been scheduled for 10 p.m. Saturday, July 4, at A.K. Bissell Park. (Photo by Charles Samuels)


The fireworks display sponsored by the City of Oak Ridge will begin at 10 p.m. on Saturday, July 4. The display will be shot from A.K. Bissell Park.

The fireworks will be accompanied by music played live on-site by Merle 96.7 FM. Radio host Jack Ryan will be transmitting live from the park beginning at 6 p.m. and will conclude the live broadcast with a patriotic medley as the fireworks are shot.

The countdown to the fireworks begins at 9:30 p.m. Listeners can tune their radios to 96.7 Merle FM and enjoy the show.

The Oak Ridge Community Band will perform its annual Fourth of July concert at the A.K. Bissell Park Pavilion beginning at 7:30 p.m. [Read more…]

Secret City Festival growing, evolving, but not ending, officials say

Secret City Festival World War II Re-enactment 2015

A Flak 88 firing during a Battle of Normandy re-enactment at the 2015 Secret City Festival in Oak Ridge. (Photo by Rob Welton)


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

A rumor that circulated widely this month said this was going to be the last year for the Secret City Festival.

But city officials said it’s premature to say that.

It is true that a Special Events Advisory Task Force has been studying changes to the annual festival, including moving it from June and making it into an expanded celebration in the fall, starting in October and continuing through Veterans Day (November 11). It could be renamed the Secret City Celebration, implemented by a new nonprofit expected to become self-sustaining within five years, and add events while continuing to include the Secret City Festival.

At a Wednesday evening meeting, Task Force members said many of the current festival activities could continue, including music, World War II re-enactments, historical displays, and children’s activities. But they also said there could be opportunities for new partnerships with other organizations, including Wounded Warriors and Oak Ridge Playhouse. And it’s not clear that the Secret City Festival would continue to be a two-day event.

Task Force members say they’re hoping to help create something bigger and better. [Read more…]

NAACP has forum on voting rights restoration on Thursday

Tom Marshall

Tom Marshall

Have you been convicted of a crime and are now unable to vote, or having trouble getting a job?

On Thursday, the Oak Ridge/Anderson County chapter of the NAACP will present the first in a series of public forums designed to help you. The forum starts at 6 p.m. Thursday, June 25, at Spurgeon Chapel A.M.E. Zion Church at 100 South Benedict Avenue in Oak Ridge.

Tom Marshall, District 7 Public Defender, will provide information on how people having served their sentence can potentially get their voting right restored and their record expunged, a press release said. Additional agencies are providing information. [Read more…]