McNally, Powers, Ragan have community conversation in Clinton tonight

John Ragan

John Ragan

Tennessee Senator Randy McNally and representatives Dennis Powers and John Ragan will have a community conversation in Clinton tonight.

The event starts at 6 p.m. Thursday, August 27 at the Clinton Community Center, 101 Hicks Avenue.

Commerce secretary to tour UT partner IACMI, ORNL manufacturing facility

Penny Pritzker

Penny Pritzker

KNOXVILLE—On Thursday, August 27, Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker and Department of Energy Assistant Secretary David Danielson will visit the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation in Knoxville.

The visit is part of a two-day tour of the institutes make up the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation. Governor Bill Haslam, U.S. Representative Chuck Fleischmann, Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero, and Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett will join Pritzker for portions of the day’s activities.

The group will tour the U.S. Department of Energy’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility and National Transportation Research Center at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The University of Tennessee in Knoxville is a key strategic partner of IACMI and led the proposal efforts with ORNL.

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden announced the new institute in January during a visit to East Tennessee. The White House initiative aims to strengthen the global competitiveness of America’s manufacturing sector and the workforce. The NNMI now has six institutes, and three more are being formed. [Read more…]

U.S. attorneys, law enforcement target heroin, opioid trafficking, overdoses

Bill Killian

William C. “Bill” Killian

DETROIT—U.S. attorneys and leaders of federal law enforcement agencies from across six states met in Detroit on August 26, 2015, to share strategies to combat the heroin and prescription pill epidemic across the region.

U.S. Attorney William C. Killian of the Eastern District of Tennessee was among those who attended.

The summit was called in response to the national epidemic of heroin and prescription pill abuse that has hit Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, particularly hard. Heroin overdose deaths in the United States have tripled from 2010 to 2013. Nationally, the number of deaths from all drug overdoses exceeded 43,000 last year, more deaths than from traffic accidents. Heroin use in the United States has doubled from 2007 to 2012.

In the Midwest, opioid deaths have increased 62 percent. The summit seeks to target this national and regional problem by dismantling drug trafficking organizations that distribute heroin and prescription pills and by increasing prevention and educational efforts. [Read more…]


Roane County Budget Committee meets Sept. 14

The Roane County Budget Committee will meet at 5 p.m. Monday, September 14, in the Qualls Commission Room at the Roane County Courthouse in Kingston.

The Budget Committee includes County Executive Ron Woody and County Commissioners Steve Kelley, Bobby Collier, Randy Ellis, and Ron Berry.

Major water main break could be repaired by 6 p.m. Tuesday, city says

West Outer Drive Water Main Break

The major water main break on West Outer Drive near Johnson Road is almost repaired, officials said late Tuesday afternoon. Here City of Oak Ridge crews work in front of 650 West Outer Drive. (Photo by John Huotari/Oak Ridge Today)


The major water main break on West Outer Drive near Johnson Road is almost repaired, officials said late Tuesday afternoon.

Late Tuesday morning, the City of Oak Ridge said residents at 646-664 West Outer Drive would be without water for about six hours, or possibly longer, while crews worked to repair the line. In the meantime, residents in the surrounding area were advised that they could encounter lower water pressure and possibly be without water for a short time as well.

At 4:40 p.m., the city said the water main break should be repaired by 6 p.m. Tuesday. [Read more…]

U.S. commerce secretary to tour ORNL Manufacturing Demonstration Facility

Penny Pritzker

Penny Pritzker

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker will tour the Manufacturing Demonstration Facility at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Knoxville on Thursday. It’s a trip to tour the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation, part of the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation.

President Barack Obama created the NNMI to strengthen the global competitiveness of America’s manufacturing sector and our workforce. The NNMI currently has six institutes, and three additional institutions under competition, each of which is focused on the development of a different 21st century technology.

The Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation works to develop lower-cost, higher-speed, and more efficient manufacturing and recycling processes for next-generation materials, including advanced polymer composites for vehicles, wind turbines, and compressed gas storage, a press release said. In addition, IACMI’s research, development, and demonstration programs are focused on reducing technical risk and developing a robust supply chain to support a growing advanced composites industry. [Read more…]

Sewer line inspections using sonar machine continue in Oak Ridge

The Oak Ridge Public Works Department continues to use state-of-the-art technology to perform inspections of the city’s sewer system, a press release said.

This technology employs a sonar machine that emits a repeating series of tones, similar to a musical scale. In open areas, it can be heard over long distances. While harmless, the tones emitted by the machine are low enough in frequency that residents nearby may be able to feel and, in some instances, hear them.

Testing is ongoing, but it will be concentrated to certain areas depending upon weather constraints and other factors during the week of August 24. This includes the area in and around Claremont Road, Clifton Circle, and Chestnut Hill Road. [Read more…]

Sewer rehab continues in August, with manhole repairs starting Monday

Sewer rehabilitation continues in August, and starting Monday, August 24, Portland Utilities will be back in town doing manhole repair, primarily in the Central City Sewer Shed. Portland Utilities will notify residents by knocking on their doors on a case-by-case basis. They will be working for about three weeks, deepening upon the weather, a press release said.

The sewer rehab is being done Morgan Contracting, working under contract for the City of Oak Ridge. They are rehabilitating the city’s sewer collection pipes within city easements in yards and in roadways, the release said.

Residents should have already received letters on colored paper (green for Morgan Contracting) and door hangers providing general information and the applicable contractor’s contact information. [Read more…]

Airport could cost $30-$40 million, construction could start in 2018

Oak Ridge Airport Property Transfer Session

Oak Ridge resident and pilot Jerry Depew, center, talks to Billy Stair, a consultant for the Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority, during an information session on Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2015, to discuss a proposed property transfer for a general aviation airport at Heritage Center, the former K-25 site. (Photo by John Huotari/Oak Ridge Today)


Note: This story was updated at 4:36 p.m.

Conditions are subject to change, but current plans call for starting construction on a general aviation airport at Heritage Center, the former K-25 site, in 2018. The current estimate range says the airport could cost between $30 million and $40 million, officials said Wednesday.

Work on an airport master plan is just starting, and it could take 12 months to complete, said Bill Marrison, president of the Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority. He said that plan will provide more details on subjects like cost and schedule.

The Oak Ridge airport would the third for the MKAA, which would own the site. The other two are McGhee Tyson in Blount County and Downtown Island in Knoxville.

Marrison said the Oak Ridge airport would be a reliever airport and help relieve congestion at the other two airports. He said McGhee Tyson is at capacity and there is no hangar space available, and Downtown Island has 100 people on its waiting list. [Read more…]

Chief Deputy Lucas to speak to Democratic Women’s Club on Aug. 24

Mark Lucas

Mark Lucas

Chief Deputy Mark Lucas of the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department will be the guest speaker when the Anderson County Democratic Women’s Club meets Monday, August 24. The meeting will be at 6 p.m. at Shoney’s Restaurant at 2405 North Charles Seivers Boulevard in Clinton.

Lucas, who has been in law enforcement for 37 years, will discuss “Duties and Responsibilities of the Office of Sheriff,” a press release said.

He has served as chief deputy for 21 years with three sheriffs, and he is now second in command to Sheriff Paul White. He began his law enforcement career in 1978 as a reserve deputy with the Knox County Sheriff’s Department, joining the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department in 1979. He attended Basic Police School in 1980 and served as a patrol deputy and sergeant. [Read more…]

FBI offers reward up to $20,000 for info on kidnapping, extortion at Y-12 FCU, SmartBank

Oak Ridge Police Department at Y-12 Federal Credit Union

Oak Ridge Police Department officers were at the Y-12 Federal Credit Union in Oak Ridge on Tuesday morning (April 28, 2015). The branch will remain closed Wednesday, although the credit union’s headquarters will be open. (File photo by John Huotari/Oak Ridge Today)


Note: This story was updated at 12:10 a.m.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is offering a reward of up to $20,000 for information leading to the identification and arrests of the suspects in the kidnappings and extortions involving Y-12 Federal Credit Union and SmartBank.

The FBI, Knoxville Police Department, Knox County Sheriff’s Office, and Oak Ridge Police Department are asking the public to help identify and locate the people responsible for the kidnappings and extortions.

The FBI said that on April 28, at approximately 8:15 a.m., a Y-12 Federal Credit Union employee and his family were kidnapped from their residence and held hostage at gunpoint.

While the family was held hostage, the employee was coerced to attempt to remove money from the Y-12 Federal Credit Union at 501 Lafayette Drive in Oak Ridge. [Read more…]