UT Arboretum to have presentation on bats on Thursday

Bat at UT Arboretum

Northern Long-eared Bat (Photos courtesy of Middleton Photos)

The University of Tennessee Arboretum will host a presentation on bats—“Let’s Go BAT-ty”—from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday.

Gerry Middleton, a biologist who has studied bats extensively, will present a slide show at the Visitor’s Center to discuss his two-year study of Arboretum bats. Using his “bat detector,” he will take the group outside to look for the nocturnal creatures.

A biologist with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation in the U.S. Department of Energy-Oversight Office, Middleton promised that this will be an opportunity for all ages to learn more about the local bat population, a press release said. Middleton has an master’s degree in wildlife and fisheries from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. [Read more...]

Oak Ridge building bathrooms, changing rooms at Melton Lake Park

Oak Ridge Marina Bathrooms

Workers build a block wall, patch and texture the ceiling, and hang drywall for new bathrooms and changing rooms in part of the former New China Palace restaurant at Melton Lake Park.

One section of a former Chinese restaurant at Melton Lake Park has already been converted into a rental shop for kayaks and bikes.

Now, another part of the city-owned building at the Oak Ridge Marina is being converted into public restrooms and changing rooms for big events. The bathrooms, which will be open to the public, could open next month.

It’s one of the steps in implementing a waterfront development plan approved by Oak Ridge City Council in December 2009. That plan included such features as a new picnic pavilion, walking trails, new playground, permanent restrooms, enhanced lighting and landscaping, outdoor casual dining, and recreational equipment rental.

The bathrooms will include multiple stalls, and the city will open the changing rooms for large events, such as regattas (rowing races). That will double the restroom capacities, said Pat Fallon, operations and maintenance manager for the Oak Ridge Public Works Department. [Read more...]

Sewer rehabilitation work continues in Oak Ridge; schedule for week of April 21

Sewer rehabilitation in Oak Ridge continues for the week of April 21. Residents should have already received color letters and door hangers providing general information and the applicable contractor’s contact information. The letters and door hangers are orange for Hurst Excavating and purple for Morgan Contracting.

Motorists, pedestrians and cyclists are urged to use extra care and caution when traveling on the streets with sewer work areas, a press release said. Temporary road repairs will be made, and loose gravel should be expected until the patches are permanently paved.

[Read more...]

County Commission candidate proposes drug testing for elected officials

Lynn Byrge

Lynn Byrge

Note: This story was updated at 11:25 p.m.

CLINTON—A candidate for Anderson County Commission has proposed drug testing for county commissioners and other elected officials.

“They should be sober-minded,” said Lynn Byrge, one of four candidates for two seats in District 5, which includes Marlow, Dutch Valley, and Oliver Springs. The incumbents are Jerry White and Robert McKamey. Carl D. Beaty is also running.

Byrge made the proposal during a Monday morning Anderson County Commission meeting in Clinton.

“I think that’s appropriate not only for county commissioners, but for all elected officials,” Byrge said. [Read more...]

Register now for Graduation Celebration on May 29

Graduation Celebration 2013

Plans for the 17th annual Graduation Celebration on May 29 are well under way.

Graduation Celebration is an all-night, safe party for our city’s graduates from Oak Ridge High School, homeschool, or private schools.

The party began in 1997, after several tragic deaths during the graduation season, and today about 90 percent of ORHS graduates attend each year. [Read more...]

Alumnus of NASA program administered by ORAU wins presidential award

Josh Alwood and PECASE Award

Joshua Alwood in the Bone and Signaling Lab at NASA’s Ames Research Center. (Image Credit: NASA Ames/Dominic Hart)

Top presidential honor recognizes research initiated during fellowship, continued at NASA’s Ames Research Center 

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Joshua S. Alwood, a former participant in the NASA Postdoctoral Program, was awarded the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) at a ceremony in April. PECASE is the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government for science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers. Alwood received the award in recognition of advances in space bioscience he achieved at NASA’s Ames Research Center.

The NASA Postdoctoral Program contributes to national priorities for scientific exploration, confirms NASA’s leadership in fundamental research, and complements the efforts of NASA’s partners in the national science community. Oak Ridge Associated Universities has administered NPP for NASA since 2005. [Read more...]

Close to 800 vote early in Anderson County in first two days

Anderson County Early Voting

As represented by three signs here, the Anderson County primary election includes three candidates for mayor, the incumbent, Terry Frank, left; her Republican opponent, Commissioner Zach Bates, right; and Democrat Jim Hackworth, center, a former state representative.

Early voting started Wednesday in Anderson County, and close to 800 residents cast ballots in the first two days, according to WYSH Radio in Clinton.

The early voting is for the May 6 Democratic and Republican primaries in Anderson County.

WYSH said 410 people voted Wednesday, and 378 voted Thursday. The two-day total was 788.

The Republican primary has been more popular, with 645 votes cast so far. That primary features four contested races: mayor, sheriff, chancellor, and juvenile court judge. About 82 percent of the ballots cast have been in the GOP primary.

There is only one contested race in the Democratic primary, and that’s for juvenile court judge. One hundred forty-three voters, or about 18 percent of them, cast ballots in the Democratic primary on Wednesday and Thursday, WYSH said. [Read more...]

Spotlight: UT designates Mayes as certified public administrator

Tyler Mayes

Tyler Mayes

CLINTON—The University of Tennessee honored Anderson County Circuit Court Clerk Tyler Mayes as a certified public administrator at a Capstone event at Montgomery Bell State Park on April 11, a press release said.

Mayes serves as clerk for the Criminal and Circuit Court, both General Sessions courts, and the Juvenile Court of Anderson County. He has worked and served in the Anderson County court system for more than a decade, the press release said.

To achieve the designation, Mayes completed 80 credit hours in the County Officials Certificate Training Program (COCTP). The program is administered by the UT County Technical Assistance Service and is available to every county employee in the state. [Read more...]

Norris Bulletin to host candidate forum at ACHS

Information from WYSH Radio

All of the candidates in the upcoming Democratic and Republican contested primary elections scheduled for May 6 are being invited to a public forum to be hosted by The Norris Bulletin and moderated by publisher Jack Mitchell. The event will be held next Thursday, April 24, from 6 to 8 p.m. in the auditorium of Anderson County High School.

Unopposed candidates are also invited and, after a brief introduction, will be given an opportunity to make a brief statement, but they will not participate in the question and answer session of the forum.

For each of the contested primaries, candidates will be granted two to three minutes for an opening statement, after which 20 minutes will be allocated to a question and answer session where the moderator will pose four questions to each candidate, who will have two minutes to answer. Opponents will then be granted two minutes for rebuttal. The moderator, at his discretion, may permit an additional one minute to the candidate who was originally asked the question. [Read more...]

Meet mayor, sheriff candidates at AARP today

aarp-sheriff-mayor-candidates-0414-300x250

The local AARP chapter has organized an event today that will allow voters to meet candidates for Anderson County mayor and sheriff.

It starts at 1 p.m. at the Oak Ridge Senior Center. Those who attend are encouraged to bring a snack.

Candidates for mayor include the incumbent, Terry Frank, a Republican first elected in August 2012; her GOP opponent, Commissioner Zach Bates; and Democrat Jim Hackworth, a former state representative. [Read more...]

Anderson County receives $64,600 in funding to reduce tobacco use

Tennessee Commissioner and Anti-Tobacco at Anderson County Health Department

Anderson County has received almost $65,000 in funds to support initiatives that reduce tobacco use. Local officials recently received the check from Tennessee Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner. (Photo Courtesy of Anderson County Health Department)

CLINTON—Tennessee Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner visited the Anderson County Health Department on Friday to present $64,600 in funding as part of the Tennessee Tobacco Settlement Program.

Dreyzehner was in East Tennessee last week to present tobacco settlement checks to the Roane County Health Department ($38,860) and the Loudon County Health Department ($38,103) as well as the check to Anderson County.

Each county in Tennessee will receive funding annually during the three-year program to reduce the burden of tobacco use in the state.

Locally, the Anderson County Health Department is using the funds to support a new “Baby and Me—Tobacco Free” program as well as a partnership with Allies for Substance Abuse Prevention (ASAP) of Anderson County and the Coordinated School Health programs in each of the three school systems in Anderson County. [Read more...]

Lee keeps seat on housing board despite Council member’s removal request

Anne Garcia Garland, Trina Baughn, and Chuck Hope

The Oak Ridge City Council on Monday rejected a request to remove resident Joe Lee from a city housing board. Pictured above at left is Council member Anne Garcia Garland, who made the request. Also pictured are Council members Trina Baughn and Chuck Hope.

Note: This story was last updated at 11:20 p.m.

Those who wanted to remove Joe Lee from a municipal housing board said he had shown contempt for Oak Ridge City Council members, insulted traffic camera critics, embarrassed the city, and bullied others.

But those who wanted to keep him on the board said Lee ought to be given a second chance. They said he had performed well on the board—the Oak Ridge Board of Building and Housing Code Appeals—particularly when considering the city’s code violation cases against the Applewood Apartments.

On Monday, the Oak Ridge City Council rejected the request to remove Lee from the board. The proposal failed in a 2-4 vote.

Voting in favor of the removal were Council members Anne Garcia Garland and Trina Baughn. Voting against it were Mayor Pro Tem Jane Miller and Council members Charlie Hensley, Chuck Hope, and David Mosby. [Read more...]