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…]

IDB to consider financing-related resolution for Main Street Oak Ridge on Monday

Oak Ridge Mall

The Oak Ridge Industrial Development Board will consider a financing-related resolution for Main Street Oak Ridge during a special meeting on Monday. Main Street Oak Ridge would redevelop the former Oak Ridge Mall, the L-shaped structure pictured at center above. (Photo by John Huotari/Oak Ridge Today)


The Oak Ridge Industrial Development Board will consider a financing-related resolution for Main Street Oak Ridge during a special meeting on Monday.

The resolution would approve documentation related to the tax increment financing, or TIF, for Main Street Oak Ridge. The $13 million, 30-year TIF agreement would use new property tax revenues generated within the economic impact area to assist in the redevelopment.

The special IDB meeting starts at 4 p.m. Monday, August 24, in the Oak Ridge Municipal Building Training Room. [Read more…]

Tourism revenues up 3.7 percent in Anderson County

Bill Haslam during Presidential Visit at Pellissippi State

Governor Bill Haslam is pictured above during a visit by President Barack Obama at Pellissippi State Community College on Friday, January 9. (File photo by Rob Welton)

Tourists spent a total of $115.77 million in Anderson County in 2014, state officials announced Tuesday. That was an increase of 3.7 percent compared to 2013.

The spending generated a total of $6.72 million in state and $2.47 million in local tax revenues, increases of 4.7 percent and 3.8 percent, respectively. A total of 905 Anderson Countians are employed in tourism-related fields.

State officials also said that tourism’s direct domestic and international travel expenditures reached $17.7 billion in 2014, up 6.3 percent, and an all-time high for the state.

The record-breaking numbers were announced in Nashville on Tuesday by Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam and Commissioner Kevin Triplett of the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development. [Read more…]

Corker: Bipartisan concern on Iran deal, no comment on Trump

Bob Corker Regional Business Luncheon

U.S. Senator Bob Corker, a Tennessee Republican, talks about Iran and fiscal issues before fielding questions during a lunchtime speech in Clinton on Tuesday. (Photo by John Huotari/Oak Ridge Today)


CLINTON—He ruled out running for president himself but declined to comment on Donald Trump, the Republican front-runner, and U.S. Senator Bob Corker on Tuesday said there is bipartisan concern over the Iran nuclear deal.

Corker, a Tennessee Republican, has been asked in the past whether he might run for president. He was asked again during a lunchtime speech in Clinton on Tuesday, this time by Clinton businessman Joe Hollingsworth.

“That ship has sailed,” said Corker, chair of the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee.

He said the campaign for the November 2016 election, which features an unusually large field of 17 Republican candidates, is the most entertaining contest he’s seen in a while.

Four of the candidates are senators, and two are on the Foreign Relations Committee, said Corker, who’s not endorsing anyone. [Read more…]

Council to discuss changes to Secret City Festival, selecting Charter Review Committee

Secret City Festival World War II Re-enactment 2015

A Flak 88 firing during a Battle of Normandy re-enactment at the 2015 Secret City Festival in Oak Ridge. (Photo by Rob Welton)


The Oak Ridge City Council during a work session on Tuesday will discuss proposed changes to the Secret City Festival and the process to select members of a Charter Review Committee.

See previous story on the recommended changes to the Secret City Festival here.

The Charter Review Committee is required by the Oak Ridge City Charter, Article Ill, Section 14.

Council could also receive updates on: [Read more…]

City creates co-ed adult dodgeball league

The Oak Ridge Recreation and Parks Department has created a co-ed adult dodgeball league that will start in fall 2015.

“This pilot program offers adult teams of eight players the chance to participate in an exciting, entertaining, and low-cost team sport to be played at the Oak Ridge Civic Center gymnasium,” a press release said.

Cost for participating in this new and exciting league is $150 per team, and all non-resident participants will be subject to a $20 non-resident fee, the press release said. Teams must consist of a minimum of eight players, and at least two of those players must be women.

There will be an organizational meeting and organized free play night on Monday, August 31, at 6 p.m. at the Oak Ridge Civic Center. [Read more…]

McNutt appointed to replace Biloski on AC Commission

Angeleque McNutt of Rainbow Florist

Angeleque McNutt of Rainbow Florist in Oak Ridge was appointed to the Anderson County Commission on Monday, replacing Robin Biloski, who resigned August 3. (Angeleque McNutt via Facebook)

Business owner Angeleque McNutt has been appointed to replace Robin Biloski on Anderson County Commission. Biloski resigned on August 3 because she and her husband Bill are moving to Madeira Beach, Florida.

McNutt, who owns Rainbow Florist in Oak Ridge, will represent District 8. That district includes Emory Valley, Hendrix Creek, and Woodland in Oak Ridge.

McNutt will serve until the August 2016 election, the next county general election. She told commissioners on Monday that she will seek re-election in that election.

McNutt was appointed in a 8-6 vote after a first-round 7-7 tie between her and candidate Phil Yager. [Read more…]