Honors: Hicks named Roane State paramedic student of year

Terry Hicks Roane State Paramedic Student of the Year

Roane State paramedic student of the year Terry Hicks (center) is congratulated by his mother, Tangiela (left), Dr. Roger Brooksbank with TeamHealth Emergency Medicine (back), and Roane State paramedic program director David Blevins (right). (Photo by RSCC)


Terry Hicks of Robbins was named Roane State Community College’s paramedic student of the year.

Dr. Roger Brooksbank with TeamHealth Emergency Medicine presented the award to Hicks during Roane State’s annual Knoxville paramedic program luncheon. Students completing the paramedic program were recognized at the event, which was sponsored by TeamHealth.

Hicks started as a volunteer firefighter. As he worked his way through the ranks, he became interested in pursuing education in emergency medicine.

“It’s been long, committed hours,” Hicks said of the year-long paramedic program. “You have to stay in the books, stay studying, and stay on top of your clinicals. My teachers at Roane State are fantastic. They make sure we are ready, and they do a fantastic job.” [Read more...]

Honors: Mehta awarded Food City scholarship

Monil Mehta of Oak Ridge was recently awarded a $1,500 Food City Scholarship Award from the Tennessee Grocers Education Foundation.

Mehta was recognized on June 14 at the annual convention of the Tennessee Grocers and Convenience Store Association held at the Music City Center.

A graduate of Oak Ridge High School, Mehta attends the University of Tennessee and majors in biochemistry and molecular  and cellular biology. Monil is an employee at Food City, and he has spent close to 500 hours volunteering in his community with fundraisers and youth outreaches, a press release said.

The Tennessee Grocers Education Foundation presented 148 scholarships this year valued at $161,300 to students in the food industry. Eligible recipients are either employed by TGCSA member firms, or have parents who are full-time employees of a TGCSA member firm.

Roane State professor develops online course he will teach while living under the sea

Bruce Cantrell

Bruce Cantrell

Roane State Community College biology professor Bruce Cantrell has always wanted to teach a course on living under the sea.

He developed a fascination with the sea years ago while serving in the Navy. Books about undersea exploration line his office shelves. A promotional poster for the famed Jacques Cousteau-directed documentary “World without Sun” hangs on his wall.

This fall, Cantrell will finally have a chance to teach Roane State students about living and working under the sea. And he’ll do it while he actually lives and works under the sea.

Cantrell and faculty member Jessica Fain will live and teach from an underwater habitat for 72 days this fall. While they live in a space the size of a college dorm room submerged about 25 feet, Cantrell and Fain will host weekly shows titled “Classroom Under the Sea.”

The shows, presented in partnership with the Marine Resources Development Foundation in Key Largo, Florida, will feature scientists and explorers and will cover topics such as underwater archeology and ocean exploration. [Read more...]

New elementary, middle school students register next week

With the exception of students at Willow Brook and the Preschool, all students who are new to Oak Ridge elementary and middle schools need to register at their schools from 9 a.m. to noon Monday, July 28, to Wednesday, July 30, a press release said.

Parents who pre-registered kindergartners in May also need to complete the registration process on those dates.

Registration for new students in grades 9-12 will be made by appointment only. For more information regarding high school registration, contact the registrar at (865) 425-9524.

The information necessary for new student registration includes the following: [Read more...]

Students explore engineering, design during robotics camp

ORAU Robotics Camp

Marise Wilson, a student at Kenner Discovery Health Sciences Academy in Louisiana and Anna Keim, a student at Knoxville’s West High School, use a robot they created to place tennis balls into a container during a week-long Oak Ridge Robotics Camp presented by ORAU and held at its Center for Science Education. (Photo courtesy ORAU)

A recent week-long robotics camp at Oak Ridge Associated Universities was designed to help excite students about careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, or STEM.

The robotics camp was presented by ORAU and held at its Center for Science Education.

The free day camp allowed teams of middle school students to design, build, program, and test their own robots, a press release said. Students also spent the week competing in various engineering challenges and had the opportunity to speak with robotics engineering research scientists while touring Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s research facilities.

The camp was one of various ORAU-sponsored or administered programs designed to excited students about STEM subjects with the goal of inspiring them to pursue STEM careers, the release said.

Willow Brook Elementary announces new lunch, breakfast program

Willow Brook Elementary

Willow Brook Elementary School is pictured above in May 2012. (File photo)

Willow Brook Elementary School has announced a new breakfast and lunch program.

The school is implementing a new option available to select schools in Tennessee that participate in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs, an Oak Ridge Schools press release said. It is called the Community Eligibility Provision, or CEP, and it starts this school year. This is the same program that has allowed breakfast to be offered to all students at no cost.

In a CEP school, all students receive a nutritious breakfast and lunch at no cost, regardless of family income. Willow Brook is currently the only school in the Oak Ridge School District that meets the qualifications for the Community Eligibility Provision, the press release said. [Read more...]

Reminder: Roane candidates at election forum tonight

Roane County candidates have been invited to an election forum in Oak Ridge tonight (Tuesday night).

Candidates who have been invited include those in contested races in Roane County for county executive, sheriff, circuit court clerk, circuit court judge, public defender, and Roane County School Board District 3/4, which includes Oak Ridge, have been invited to speak and answer questions.

Unopposed candidates for county attorney, county clerk, trustee, register of deeds, chancellor, criminal court judge, district attorney general, general sessions judges, and County Commission District 4 will be introduced.

The forum is sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Oak Ridge. It starts at 7 p.m. in the City Room (A-111) at Roane State Community College in Oak Ridge. The college is at 701 Briarcliff Avenue. [Read more...]

Students, teachers come to Oak Ridge for summer science learning, fun

ARC, ORAU, and ORNL Summer High School Institute

Participants of the 2014 ARC/ORNL/ORAU High School Institute. (Photo courtesy ORAU)


While the majority of young students were using their break from school to enjoy nice weather and a variety of summer activities, 34 exceptional high school students along with 13 teachers from across 12 Appalachian states chose to spend two weeks of their summer vacation participating in a hands-on institute focused on math, science, and technology.

The Appalachian Regional Commission, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Oak Ridge Associated Universities hosted the 25th annual High School Summer and Math-Science-Technology Institute from July 7-18, during which the students and teachers worked on cutting-edge science projects with mentors at ORNL and participated in a variety of East Tennessee tours and activities.

Students were nominated by their state governor and chosen to participate in the program by ARC. They were selected based on their potential to excel in math and science, to continue in higher learning, and to influence others in their communities as the leaders of tomorrow.

Since 2000, the program has provided a total of 542 students and 223 teachers with in-lab learning experiences at one of the nation’s premier national laboratories. In addition, they have had the opportunity to visit some of the area’s most popular educational and recreational attractions. [Read more...]

Steve Fritts seeks re-election to Anderson County School Board

Steve Fritts

Steve Fritts

Steve Fritts is seeking re-election to the Anderson County School Board in District 7, which includes the Pine Valley, Glenwood, and Highland View precincts in Oak Ridge.

Fritts, who has lived in the district since his youth, was first elected in 2010, a press release said.

Fritts graduated from Oak Ridge High School in 1967, and he was an All-State football player, the release said. He graduated from Vanderbilt University with a bachelor’s degree in history. Fritts also served as captain of the Vanderbilt Commodore football team in the early ’70s.

Fritts worked as a carpenter until his retirement and was a member of Local 50. [Read more...]

Guest column: Adapting to change

I can’t function without my…(fill in the blank)!

Cell phone? I survived into my early 30s without one, and never even realized it was a problem. I admit that now, having carried one for a number of years, it’s terribly disconcerting to be without. My parents can easily recall a time when most families had only one car—a concept that is unthinkable to most of us today. But faced with challenges, we adapt. We can, we must, and we will.

Families living in most communities outside Oak Ridge are accustomed to not having school bus service within a mile or mile-and-a-half of the school, so our current turmoil seems like no big deal to them. To us though, having to suddenly live without something we’ve always had (except for a brief period several years ago) feels like the end of life as we know it.

With the advent of social media, the volume of discontent and velocity of misinformation has grown exponentially. It is most unfortunate that a member of City Council chose to announce in Monday’s meeting that the School Board intended to cut transportation no matter how much money the city provided; that is incorrect, as evidenced by the fact that there was no reduction in transportation services in our budget passed on May 27 (first reading) and May 29 (second reading). [Read more...]

Parents protest ‘walk zone,’ expanded area with no school bus service

Kathie Creasey at Walk Zone Protest

Kathie Creasey, right, holds a sign during Thursday’s protest against Oak Ridge Schools’ expanded parent responsibility zone. The zone change eliminates transportation services for students who live within 1.5 miles of their school. (Photo by Sara Wise)


Critics of Oak Ridge Schools’ expanded parent responsibility zone protested Thursday morning at the intersection of Oak Ridge Turnpike and Illinois Avenue.

Laurie Paine, who lost her daughter, Ashley, at the intersection in 2007, joined almost 15 other parents and community members to rally for change.

“I don’t want anyone to go through what my family went through,” Paine said. She started a Facebook page to unite community members who were against the walk zone and used that website to spread the word of the protest.

Robertsville Middle School parent Kathie Creasey became emotional at the protest, saying that her own son was close to Ashley. She was protesting because she doesn’t want anything bad to happen to her kids. [Read more...]

Number of students affected by bus route changes down to 1,300

Keys Fillauer and Chris Marczak at Girls Inc.

Oak Ridge Board of Education Chair Keys Fillauer, left, and Oak Ridge Schools Assistant Superintendent Chris Marczak say a Wednesday change in how mileage is calculated could reduce the number of students affected by a new “parent responsibility zone” for transportation from 1,800 to 1,300. Marczak says his family is also affected by the expanded zone, where bus service is not provided.


The Wednesday change in how bus service is mapped could help about 500 students, reducing the number of children affected by expanded zones where parents will have to provide transportation to schools from 1,800 to 1,300, officials said.

Those students would have been in the expanded 1.5-mile “parent responsibility zone,” where bus service is not provided and parents have to arrange transportation. The expanded parent responsibility zone, which is also sometimes called a PRZ or walk zone, was approved by school officials in June.

Oak Ridge school officials announced Wednesday that they were changing how the 1.5 miles is calculated, switching from a 1.5-mile radius measured by air (also known as “as the crow flies”) to actual walking distance. That means the expanded no-bus service zone will now affect fewer families. Parents called the change a small but positive step.

Even with the modification, though, parents continue to have concerns. The protests kicked into high gear last week, and some parents expressed concerns during a Wednesday evening meeting at Girls Inc. Among the concerns were children who have to cross busy roadways or pass by the homes of registered sex offenders.

“We are paying property taxes, and our children’s safety should come first,” parent Beverly Heun said. “Our transportation should not have been cut.” [Read more...]