Sewer rehab work continues week of July 21

More rehabilitation work of the city’s sewer collection pipes is scheduled to continue this week, starting Monday, July 21.

The work is being done by Hurst Excavating and Morgan Contracting under contract with the City of Oak Ridge. It includes rehabilitating sewer collection pipes within city easements in yards and in roadways, a press release said.

Residents should already have received color-coded letters and door hangers (orange for Hurst Excavating and purple for Morgan Contracting) providing general information and each contractors’ contact information.

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...]

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...]

Anderson Commission Chair Fritts seeks re-election

Chuck Fritts

Chuck Fritts

Chairman Chuck Fritts is seeking re-election to the Anderson County Commission, representing District 1. District 1 includes the Bull Run and Claxton precincts.

“It has truly been an honor and a privilege to represent the residents of District 1 on the Anderson County Commission,” Fritts said in a press release. “I take very seriously the trust that you have placed in me, and it is my desire that you will allow me to continue to serve you and, working with my fellow commissioners, to move Anderson County forward.”

First elected in 2002, Fritts said he brings valuable experience, knowledge, and leadership to the Anderson County Commission and has worked hard to represent the residents of District 1.

“He has taken this position very seriously and has worked long hours to do the job he felt he was elected to do,” the press release said. “He is not only well-known throughout Anderson County, but also throughout the state of Tennessee.” [Read more...]

Officials discuss Veterans Court, docket in General Sessions Court

Veterans Court Docket

From left to right are Anderson County Veterans Affairs Officer Leon Jaquet, General Sessions Judge Ron Murch, and Assistant Commissioner Don Smith. (Submitted photo)

Judge Ron Murch recently met with Anderson County Veterans Affairs Officer Leon Jaquet and Tennessee Assistant Commissioner of Veterans Affairs Don Smith to discuss the implementation of a Veterans Court/Docket in the Anderson County General Sessions Court. Smith has been visiting judges in East Tennessee to discuss the commencement of veterans courts, a press release said.

The Veterans Court/Docket would operate within the framework of the existing Sessions Court and would identify veterans within the court system, the release said. It would coordinate services available to them through the VA that would assist with drug and alcohol problems, stress problems, and other needs such as housing, education, job training, medical services, or any other services or VA benefits available to them. The Veterans Court/Docket would involve mentors, who are also veterans, that would assist veteran defendants in getting to court and to any scheduled appointments for services, and working with the County Veterans Office to coordinate available benefits. [Read more...]

After Dark movie ‘The Goonies’ moved to Civic Center due to rain, storms

The Goonies


The location and time of the Oak Ridge After Dark event tonight has been changed due to rain and storms expected to remain in the region this evening. The event will now take place in the gymnasium of the Oak Ridge Civic Center, and the movie will start promptly at 7 p.m. No chairs can be brought into the facility, but blankets are allowed and the bleachers will also be available for seating.

“Although the weather poses a threat, we plan to keep the momentum of Oak Ridge After Dark going,” said Sam Jones, Oak Ridge After Dark coordinator. “The plan to host the event inside the Civic Center gym will ensure safety and comfort for all attendees. We hope a large crowd will come out to support the second installment of the series.”

The theme of tonight’s After Dark event is Pirate Night. Children are encouraged to dress as their favorite characters in conjunction with each theme. Themed characters will be on hand for photo opportunities. Visit the Historic Oak Ridge Facebook page or for a complete list of scheduled films.

The After Dark series also includes a Comedy Night on Friday, August 8, followed by Hero Night on Friday, August 15. [Read more...]

New After Dark series continues with Pirate Night, ‘The Goonies’ on Friday

Oak Ridge After Dark

Note: This story was updated at 3:15 p.m. July 18.

Almost 1,000 people attended the first-ever After Dark event in Oak Ridge last week, and the summertime entertainment series continues again this week, with Pirate Night scheduled for Friday, July 18.

The movie, “The Goonies,” will be be shown indoors in the Oak Ridge Civic Center Gymnasium because of the rain. It’s expected to start around 7 to 7:30 p.m. The Civic Center is at– 1403 Oak Ridge Turnpike.

Call the Oak Ridge Convention and Visitors Bureau at (865) 482-7821 or visit the Historic Oak Ridge Facebook page for details or questions.

Children are encouraged to dress as their favorite character in conjunction with the movie, a press release said. Characters from the movie will be on hand for photo opportunities.

“So, bring your blankets to sit on the gymnasium floor or you can sit on the gymnasium bleachers,” the press release said. “Get out of the rain and enjoy a movie with your fellow Oak Ridgers!” [Read more...]

Anderson Commission, School Board candidates at Thursday forum

Candidates in contested races for Anderson County Commission in Districts 6, 7, and 8 in Oak Ridge, and for Anderson County School Board in District 7 have been invited to take part in a Thursday evening forum.

The candidates are expected to speak and answer questions. The unopposed candidate for School Board in District 6 will be introduced.

The forum starts at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Oak Ridge High School Amphitheater at 1450 Oak Ridge Turnpike. It’s been organized by the League of Women Voters of Oak Ridge. [Read more...]

Anderson County Commission approves budget, tax rate unchanged

Anderson County Commission in June 2014

The Anderson County Commission is pictured above during a June meeting. (Photo by Sara Wise)

CLINTON—The Anderson County Commission approved a budget for Fiscal Year 2015 during a special meeting Tuesday. The budget will not raise property taxes in the county.

Commissioners Tracy Wandell, Rick Meredith, Zach Bates, Jerry White, and John Shuey did not attend, but the other 11 commissioners voted unanimously to approve the budget. Commissioners had called the special session during their June meeting.

Under the budget approved Tuesday, the Oak Ridge property tax rate will remain at $2.347 for every $100 of assessed property value, while property owners in Clinton will continue to pay $2.50 per $100 value. All other property owners in Anderson County pay $2.529 for every $100 of their assessed property values. [Read more...]

Roane approves ‘In God We Trust’ signs

Roane County Courthouse

The Roane County Courthouse in Kingston is pictured above. (Photo by Sara Wise)

WYSH Radio/Oak Ridge Today

The Roane County Commission voted 13-1 on Monday to place the words “In God We Trust” at three locations in the Roane County Courthouse in Kingston. The signs will be similar to those placed above all four entrances at the Anderson County Courthouse last year and the one placed above the entrance to the Oak Ridge General Sessions Court building.

The Roane County proposal was made earlier this year, but commissioners initially balked at approving it until it made its way through the property committee.

The black granite signs will be placed above the north and south entrances to the Courthouse. A bronze plaque inscribed with “In God We Trust,” which is the national motto, will also be placed in the Commission meeting room, which also serves as a General Sessions courtroom. As in Anderson County, the signs will be paid for by private contributions. [Read more...]

Guest column: Anderson County election ballot explained


The August 7 ballot for the state primary and local general election will be an important and complex ballot. You will find three main sections to the ballot.

First will be the state and federal primary, second will be the county general election, and third will be the retention questions for Tennessee Supreme Court judges and appellate court judges.

The first eight offices on the ballot are the contests for the state and federal primary election. They are governor, U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives, Tennessee Senate, Tennessee House of Representatives, and state executive committeeman and committeewoman. These eight offices are the ones a person must declare whether they are voting in the Democratic or Republican primary.

After these eight offices come the candidates for the Anderson County general election. It does not matter which party primary you selected to vote in, Democrat or Republican, you are now free to vote for the candidate of your choice no matter to which party you belong. The county general election offices are: [Read more...]

Oak Ridge first EPA green power community in Southeast

EPA Green Power Community

Oak Ridge has been recognized as the first Green Power Community in the Southeast by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Pictured above from left during a Monday night Oak Ridge City Council meeting are Oak Ridge Mayor Tom Beehan; Tennessee Representative John Ragan, vice chair of the House Energy Task Force; Robin Manning, executive vice president of external relations for the Tennessee Valley Authority; Marlene Witt, Oak Ridge business office manager; and Oak Ridge Electric Director Jack Suggs.


KNOXVILLE—The Tennessee Valley Authority has been recognized as a Top 10 utility leader in green power program sales, and Oak Ridge has been designated the first Green Power Community in the Southeast by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

TVA was recognized by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory. In the first NREL Top 10 ranking in a decade, TVA landed at No. 9 nationally with green power sales of 199,067 megawatt-hours in calendar 2013, thanks to TVA’s Renewable Energy Solutions programs and participating local power companies, a press release said.

Oak Ridge is one of the participating communities, and it received the EPA designation based in part on TVA green power purchases. TVA and Oak Ridge officials had a brief ceremony to celebrate during a Monday night Oak Ridge City Council meeting.

“TVA is proud to be recognized nationally for our strong and growing support of renewable energy,” said Patty West, director of TVA’s Renewable Energy Solutions. “Cost-effective, renewable energy is an important part of TVA’s diverse portfolio of energy-generation sources.”

A key to TVA’s renewable energy sales has been Green Power Switch, or GPS, which TVA launched on Earth Day 2000 with local power companies and members of the environmental community as the first-of-its-kind renewable power purchase program in the Southeast, the press release said. [Read more...]

State lawmakers seek photos of fallen Vietnam-era soldiers

Randy McNally

Randy McNally

From WYSH Radio

Three local state legislators are seeking photos of Vietnam War veterans from Anderson County who were killed in action in order to honor the fallen heroes at a new facility that complements the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C.

The photos are being sought by Tennessee Senator Randy McNally and Representative John Ragan, both Oak Ridge Republicans, and Dennis Powers, a Jacksboro Republican. The photos will be part of a multimedia display at the new facility, which will be built between the existing Wall and the Lincoln Memorial. The effort is part of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, or VVMF.

Senator Mark Green, a Clarksville Republican who is heading up the effort statewide, enlisted the help of the local lawmakers in trying to locate missing photos of local veterans for the memorial. [Read more...]