New tax revenues plus cuts will fund pay raises in Anderson schools

Rachel Minardo at Anderson County Commission

Rachel Minardo, president of the Anderson County Education Association, had advocated for a 4 percent pay raise for county school teachers and staff. Above, she talks to the 16-member Anderson County Commission in Clinton on Monday, July 20, 2015. (Photo by John Huotari/Oak Ridge Today)


CLINTON—New tax revenues of about $700,000 plus about $100,000 in cuts will allow Anderson County Schools to fund 2 percent pay raises for teachers and staff, the county budget director said Wednesday.

The Anderson County Commission approved a 10-cent increase in the property tax rate on Monday, July 20, and eight cents of that was for schools. Anderson County Schools will get about $700,000 from the tax rate increase, but at last week’s meeting, school officials said they still had to come up with another $100,000 or so to fund the 2 percent raises.

Chris Phillips, Anderson County accounts and budget director, said the school system was able to do that in a revised budget submitted to the county government on Wednesday. [Read more…]

Clinton alumni propose multi-sport facility

Clinton High School Multi-sports Complex

A group of Clinton Senior High School alumni have proposed a better facility for current and future student athletes. Pictured above is a proposed 12,000-square-foot modern sports facility. It would include universal access for all student athletes, with enough room for multiple teams to practice at the same time. (Image courtesy CSHS Legacy)


Alumni from Clinton High School have proposed a better facility for current and future student athletes. They have plans for a 12,000-square-foot multi-sport complex that could be used as a practice facility for several sports and host volleyball matches and wrestling meets.

The facility would include a weight training area, and artificial surface practice field for football, band, cheerleaders, and dance teams. A second story would have office space for coaches and a film room, according to plans posted on the website CSHS Legacy.

WYSH Radio in Clinton reported that the Anderson County Board of Education has given officials at Clinton High School the go-ahead to start exploring the possibility of constructing the new multi-sport facility at no cost to taxpayers.

WYSH said the proposed project would also renovate the existing, but aging, football field house. A second and separate part of the proposed project would also renovate the Don Lockard Gymnasium. [Read more…]


UT-ORNL nuclear expert Wirth honored in Washington, D.C.

Brian Wirth, Ernest Moniz, and John Kotek

UT-ORNL Governor’s Chair for Computational Nuclear Engineering Brian Wirth, right, receives a plaque from U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, center, honoring him as an Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award recipient. John Kotek, acting Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy, is at left. (Photo courtesy University of Tennessee)


Nuclear energy expert Brian Wirth, a joint appointee at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, received the Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award from U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz at a Washington, D.C., ceremony Thursday night.

Wirth serves as the Governor’s Chair for Computational Nuclear Engineering, studying aspects of nuclear environments and materials related to nuclear energy.

That expertise led to his honor, one of nine the DOE bestowed during the evening.

“The ceremony was really nice,” said Wirth. “I was thrilled that College of Engineering Dean Wayne Davis, department head Wes Hines, and Steve Zinkle attended, along with Alan Icenhour from ORNL.” [Read more…]

Oak Ridge High School Band has free preview show today

Oak Ridge High School Wild Band

Members of the 2015 Oak Ridge High School Wild Band are pictured above. (Submitted photo)


The Oak Ridge High School Band has a free Fall Preview Show at 6 p.m. today (Friday, July 24) on Blankenship Field.

“The students have been going strong during the past week from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. in preparation for ‘The Music of Bond,’” a press release said. “Come pick out your favorites from the ‘Bond Medley,’ which includes tunes from ‘Goldfinger,’ ‘Skyfall,’ ‘Live and Let Die,’ and of course Bond’s signature tune from ‘Goldeneye.'”

Due to parking lot construction at the lower ticket booth, entrance to the stadium will be only through the upper ticket booth on Kentucky Avenue. But no tickets are required, the press release said. [Read more…]

Oak Ridge Schools releases bus routes

Oak Ridge Schools has released bus routes for the 2015-2016 school year.

Here are links to the routes: [Read more…]

Oak Ridge Schools start Aug. 3

Oak Ridge Schools start Monday, August 3. It’s the first year under a new balanced calendar.

The first day of school, August 3, will be early dismissal for all students. The second day, Tuesday, August 4, will be early dismissal for elementary and middle school students.

Counselors and facilitators reported to work on July 13, and teachers will report on July 27.

The last day for students will be Friday, June 3, 2016. [Read more…]

THP releases report on ORHS football player crash

Authorities said the three Oak Ridge High School football players injured in a Tuesday afternoon crash were not wearing seat belts, and the driver has been charged after the car he was driving crashed into a utility pole in Blount County.

Preliminary information from the Tennessee Highway Patrol said the 2000 Ford Taurus was being driven northbound on U.S. 321, also known as Lamar Alexander Parkway, by a 17-year-old unidentified juvenile from Oak Ridge, when the male driver let the vehicle exit the northbound lane, where it then entered into the center turning lane.

“The driver then crossed over the turn lane and entered into the southbound lanes of Highway 321,” the THP said. “The vehicle then crossed over both the southbound lanes and shoulder, where it struck a curb before it entered into a grass field area. The vehicle then struck a high spot of earth in the field, which made the vehicle go airborne.” [Read more…]

Two ORHS football players listed in serious condition after car crash, hospital says

Oak Ridge Wildcats Jaylen Nickerson and McMinn County

Junior running back Jaylen Nickerson (29) scored two touchdowns for the Oak Ridge Wildcats at McMinn County on Friday, September 19, 2014. Nickerson was one of three Oak Ridge High School football players injured in a Tuesday afternoon car crash in Blount County. (File photo by Julio Culiat)


Note: This story was updated at 4:41 p.m.

Two Oak Ridge High School football players are listed in serious condition at the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville after a Tuesday afternoon car crash in Blount County, a spokesperson said Wednesday afternoon.

Jaylen Nickerson, who will be a senior this year, and DeVonta Mitchell, who will be a junior, are both at the hospital in serious condition, spokesperson Susan Wyatt said.

Davon Middleton, a third ORHS student-athlete injured in the crash, was reportedly taken to Blount Memorial, treated for a concussion, and released.

Nickerson is a running back, Middleton is a defensive back, and Mitchell is a wide receiver. Nickerson was one of two main running backs last year. T.J. Allison was the other. [Read more…]

ORHS teacher a state finalist for presidential teaching excellence award

Mary Elaine Vaughan

Mary Elaine Vaughan

Oak Ridge High School math teacher Elaine Vaughan has been named a Tennessee state finalist for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, or PAEMST.

The PAEMST are the nation’s highest honors for teachers of mathematics and science, a press release said. Awardees serve as models for their colleagues, inspiration to their communities, and leaders in the improvement of mathematics and science education.

Vaughan is one of five finalists in mathematics for the 2015 PAEMST in Tennessee. Awardees will receive a certificate signed by President Barack Obama, a trip to Washington, D.C., to attend a series of recognition events and professional development opportunities, and a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation. [Read more…]

ADFAC school supplies distribution under way

Clinton Fire Department and ADFAC School Supplies

Members of the Clinton Fire Department spend a morning packing school supplies, loading the fire truck, and delivering them to Clinton schools. (Submitted photo)


Since Thursday, July 9, volunteers from all over Anderson County have been sorting donated school supplies for Oak Ridge and Anderson County schools, packing them in bags and backpacks that are loaded into vehicles and distributing the packed items to classrooms.

Aid to Distressed Families of Appalachian Counties has been coordinating the collection, packing, and distribution of school supplies for 26 years. As a result, teachers aren’t obliged to spend their hard-earned money on items needed by their growing number of students from disadvantaged families.

Last year. ADFAC provided school supplies to more than 2,500 area students from disadvantaged families. This year, the local nonprofit service organization’s staff hopes to increase the number of school supplies by 12 percent with the help of ongoing support from the community. [Read more…]

Three ORHS football players taken to hospital after Tuesday afternoon crash

Three Oak Ridge High School football players were taken to two hospitals after a crash in Blount County on Tuesday afternoon, officials said.

The three were reportedly leaving Maryville to come to practice in Oak Ridge at the time of the crash, Wildcats Coach Joe Gaddis said.

He said two players were taken to the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville and the third was taken to Blount Memorial.

Gaddis said the three had apparently spent the night with a friend. [Read more…]