Oak Ridge receives $237,000 air quality grant for traffic signal timing

Stoplight

Oak Ridge has received a $237,500 air quality grant that will be used to coordinate the operations of traffic signals at 26 intersections on three main roads: Illinois Avenue, Oak Ridge Turnpike, and Lafayette Drive.

The grant will improve the management of current and future traffic flow and reduce congestion and vehicle idling, according to a project summary posted by the Tennessee Department of Transportation.

It was one of 31 grants totaling more than $27 million announced in 11 communities across Tennessee on Friday. The Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement, or CMAQ, grants were announced by TDOT Commissioner John Schroer.

The grants are meant to reduce congestion and improve air quality. Funded projects include expansions of the TDOT HELP truck program statewide, improvements in traffic signal timing, cleaner transit buses and alternative fuel vehicles purchases, and protected bicycle lanes in Chattanooga. The grants also include a multimodal river port in Clarksville, and expanded transit service in several areas. Another project will include the addition of a bicycle-pedestrian trail on the Harahan Bridge in downtown Memphis. [Read more...]

Swearing-in for county’s elected officials to be broadcast on ACTV

Robin Biloski

Robin Biloski

Officials elected or re-elected in Anderson County on August 7 will be sworn in on September 2, and ACTV, the county’s television station, will broadcast it for residents.

The swearing-in ceremony is scheduled for 9 a.m. September 2 in the Criminal Courtroom on the third floor of the Anderson County Courthouse in Clinton.

ACTV is “pleased to play a part in this special event and provide our citizens a first-hand look at this official act by their government officials,” Anderson County Commissioner Robin Biloski said in a press release.

“Our ACTV Committee wanted to provide our residents an opportunity to see actually how important the oath of office is for those who were elected in the August 2014 election,” said Biloski, chairwoman of the Anderson County TV Committee. “ACTV is always looking at new ways to educate and inform our citizens of what actually happens in government, and we thought this was an exciting way to begin our new terms of office.” [Read more...]

Nineteen candidates for Oak Ridge City Council, School Board

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Note: This story was last updated at 2 p.m.

Ten candidates have qualified to run for Oak Ridge City Council in the November 4 municipal election, and there are nine candidates for Oak Ridge Board of Education—a total of 19 candidates.

It’s the largest field of candidates in recent memory, and it’s not immediately clear when, or if, there has been a field as large.

The deadline to qualify as a candidate in this fall’s municipal elections in Anderson County was noon Thursday.

There is a mix of incumbents and newcomers in Oak Ridge, Clinton, Rocky Top (Lake City), Norris, and Oliver Springs.

Oak Ridge

In Oak Ridge, two incumbents, including Mayor Tom Beehan and Mayor Pro Tem Jane Miller, are not seeking re-election. Meanwhile, the other two incumbents whose terms expire this November, Anne Garcia Garland and David Mosby, are running for another four-year term.

In addition to Garcia Garland and Mosby, the other Oak Ridge City Council candidates are:

  • Kelly Callison,
  • R.G. “Rick” Chinn,
  • Warren L. Gooch,
  • Gary L. Love,
  • Pedro J. Otaduy,
  • Aditya “Doc” Savara,
  • Ellen D. Smith, and
  • Eric Tobler.

[Read more...]

Mayor Beehan won’t seek re-election to City Council

Tom Beehan and Gary Wade

Oak Ridge Mayor Tom Beehan, left, is pictured above earlier this month with Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Gary Wade at Razzleberry’s Ice Cream Lab and Kitchen. Beehan will not seek re-election to Oak Ridge City Council in November.

 

Oak Ridge Mayor Tom Beehan, who has served on the City Council since 2001, will not seek re-election in November.

Beehan said he has been considering whether to run “for some time,” and he announced his decision to not seek re-election on Wednesday. Before making the decision, Beehan said, he wanted to be sure that quality candidates with a vision for the city’s future were ready to run.

“It’s clear that there are candidates who have the vision and ability to serve the community on City Council,” Beehan said in a press release. “I have enjoyed serving Oak Ridge as mayor and as a City Council member, but I think it is time for new leadership to take a fresh look at moving Oak Ridge forward.”

Beehan said he has spent 20 years as an elected official in local government in Oak Ridge and in Covington, Kentucky—before his family moved to Oak Ridge.

“I consider this a retirement from public service as an elected official, but I plan to continue to be engaged in community activities,” Beehan said. [Read more...]

Corker travels across Tennessee, with stop in Oak Ridge on Friday

U.S. Senator Bob Corker

Bob Corker

U.S. Senator Bob Corker, a Tennessee Republican, is traveling across the Volunteer State this week, and he’ll be in Oak Ridge on Friday morning.

Corker is scheduled to talk to the East Tennessee Economic Council at 7:30 a.m. Friday. The speech is in the Homer Fisher Room at the University of Tennessee Outreach Center at 1201 Oak Ridge Turnpike.

Starting Wednesday, Corker, who is in his second term in the U.S. Senate, will also visit Hamilton, Sevier, Sullivan, Greene,and Knox counties. This week’s visits follow a seven-county swing through Middle and West Tennessee last week, a media advisory said.

Miller, mayor pro tem, won’t seek re-election in November

Jane Miller

Jane Miller

She’s been on the Oak Ridge City Council for more than a decade, and on Sunday, Mayor Pro Tem Jane Miller said she will not seek re-election in November.

Miller was appointed to City Council in October 2003. She successfully ran for the office in a special election in August 2004 and was re-elected in 2005 and 2009.

Miller was elected by the City Council to first serve as mayor pro tem in July 2007, presiding over meetings when the mayor is absent, and she has continued since, having been re-elected by Council in 2009, 2011, and 2013.

“It has been a great honor and privilege to work with and for the citizens of Oak Ridge as a member of City Council and mayor pro tem,” Miller said in a press release. “I have been humbled to represent you as a common sense, pro-business leader and to work for responsible solutions to improve our city and pursue a better, brighter future for our citizens. This is a bittersweet decision, but after much discussion with my family over the last few weeks, it is time for me to pass this responsibility to others.”

Eleven years is enough, Miller said. [Read more...]

City Council hosts Aug. 25 public meeting on Clark Center Park

Clark Center Park Picnic Area

One of two large picnic areas at Clark Center Park. The park also includes a small playground, two ball fields, boat ramp, fishing trails, and beach.

 

The Oak Ridge City Council will have a public meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, August 25, to collect community input regarding the possible transfer of Clark Center Park from the U.S. Department of Energy to the city. The meeting will be held in the Municipal Building Courtroom, and it will be in lieu of the regularly scheduled monthly work session.

The DOE’s Oak Ridge Office is in the process of reviewing the agency’s land holdings across the Oak Ridge Reservation. The reservation is located within the city limits of Oak Ridge, and it includes Clark Center Park.

Clark Center Park (formerly known as Carbide Park) is an 80-acre parcel under consideration by DOE for possible transfer from federal ownership. The park area includes a swimming area along Melton Hill Lake, and incorporates two picnic areas, a playground, restrooms, a boat ramp, two ball fields, and also provides access to the Gallaher Bend Greenway. DOE spends about $300,000 per year to maintain the park.

In an August 4 letter to the city, DOE Oak Ridge Office Manager Larry Kelly said, “Given the park’s benefit to the citizens of Oak Ridge, the option we currently favor would be to transfer ownership to the city at no cost, provided that the property remains a recreational park asset for the public.” [Read more...]

Anderson County Commission to consider pay raise proposal tonight

Chuck Fritts

Chuck Fritts

They haven’t had a raise in more than two decades, and on Monday night, Anderson County commissioners will consider whether to approve a salary increase for the new commission that starts in September.

Commissioners now receive $537.59 per month, or $6,451 each year. That’s what they’ve earned since Fiscal Year 1995-96.

Commissioners last received a salary increase in FY 1992-93, when their pay was raised 1.5 percent to $599 per month, or $7,199 each year.

But their monthly salary was then cut to the current level of $537.59 a few years later, in FY 95-96. There has been no change since.

A resolution to be considered by commissioners tonight (Monday, August 18) would give the new commission that starts in September the same pay raises awarded to all other elected officials, Commission Chair Chuck Fritts said. It would put commissioners on the same “playing field” as other elected officials, said Fritts, who made the proposal. He said commissioners ought to be included when those elected officials receive a raise. [Read more...]

Enrollment open for Exercise for Fitness classes

The Oak Ridge Recreation and Parks Department is sponsoring Exercise for Fitness, an adult exercise program taught by Charlotte Hensley. The class meets at the Oak Ridge Civic Center on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

This class is for you if you are looking for a well-balanced program offering a variety of exercise routines, a press release said. The instructor incorporates the use of a variety of equipment including fitness balls, hand weights, steps, and hoops to provide a comprehensive workout for each participant. A modified workout can be provided for participants who have special physical needs or limitations.

“This is a great class for adults who have completed physical therapy following surgery and are ready for the next step,” the press release said. Participants should get clearance from their doctor before participating in any exercise class. [Read more...]

Haslam announces federal aid for 18 counties

Governor Bill Haslam

Bill Haslam

Counties receive disaster recovery funds for June flooding

NASHVILLE—Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam on Thursday announced President Obama has declared 18 counties as federal disaster areas as a result of severe weather on June 5-10. State and local governments and electrical utilities spent nearly $10 million in response to and recovery from the wind damage and flash-flooding impacts.

“This federal aid will help our communities in rebuilding and recovery,” Haslam said. “State and local teams worked quickly to survey damage in more than 35 counties to determine the impact of these storms, and we are grateful for this assistance.”

The counties that will have access to federal aid include Anderson, Bledsoe, Carroll, Decatur, Henry, Hickman, Houston, Lawrence, Lewis, Madison, Marion, Maury, McNairy, Moore, Perry, Roane, Sequatchie, and Tipton. They will have access to federal assistance that provides reimbursement for 75 percent of eligible costs. A presidential disaster declaration also includes FEMA’s hazard mitigation grant program on a statewide basis.

Three fatalities were attributed to the severe weather and flooding. Two deaths occurred in Lawrence County and another in Hickman County. [Read more...]

Five TN sites, including Norris cabins, added to National Historic Register

Norris Dam State Park Rustic Cabin Interior

The interior of a rustic cabin at Norris Dam State Park. (Photos courtesy Tennessee State Parks/Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation)

Submitted

NASHVILLE—The Tennessee Historical Commission has announced that five Tennessee sites, including rustic cabins at Norris Dam State Park, have been added to the National Register of Historic Places.

The National Register of Historic Places is the nation’s official list of cultural resources worthy of preservation. It is part of a nationwide program that coordinates and supports efforts to identify, evaluate and protect historic resources. The Tennessee Historical Commission, as the State Historic Preservation Office, administers the program in Tennessee.

“The National Register is an honorary recognition for time-honored places that enrich our communities and make them unique,” State Historic Preservation Officer and Executive Director of the Tennessee Historical Commission Patrick McIntyre said. “We hope this recognition helps generate and reinforce an appreciation for these special properties, so they can be retained for present and future generations of Tennesseans.”

Sites recently added to the National Register of Historic Places include: [Read more...]

ThreeStar status awarded to 85 counties, including Anderson, Roane

Bill Hagerty

Bill Hagerty

Submitted

93 out of 95 counties meet audit committee requirement

NASHVILLE—The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development on Thursday announced that 85 out of 95 counties, including Anderson and Roane, have been awarded ThreeStar status. In addition, since the ThreeStar community development program began requiring eligible communities to create and maintain a County Audit Committee in January 2013, the number of counties with Audit Committees has increased substantially. As of March 2013, there were 32 audit committees around the state; as of July 2014, there are 93.

“The ThreeStar program is a vital component to our state’s overall level of success, providing counties with a proven roadmap for continued economic and community strength, which in turn helps Tennessee win new investment and jobs,” Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty said. “Tennessee has been recognized as the number one state in the nation for economic development, and these audit committees support Governor Haslam’s overarching goal of making Tennessee the most efficiently run state on every level. I congratulate all of our ThreeStar counties and those communities who are taking the initiative to create Audit Committees and work toward achieving fiscal strength and efficient government.”

The Audit Committees are designed to help each county improve their financial management and reporting practices, and help ensure the implementation of good internal controls to prevent or detect fraud, a step towards achieving fiscal strength and efficient government. [Read more...]