Donations of $25K given to start AC animal shelter

Anderson County Animal Shelter Eagle Bend Donation

Ed Steinebach, right, general manager for Magna International’s Eagle Bend Manufacturing plant located in Clinton, announces a $10,000 donation to start an animal shelter in Anderson County. Also pictured are Anderson County Commissioner Robin Biloski, left, and Mayor Terry Frank, center. (Photo by John Huotari/Oak Ridge Today)

 

CLINTON—A total of $25,000 in donations was announced on Monday to help start an animal shelter in Anderson County.

The first donation of $10,000 was announced by Ed Steinebach, general manager for Magna International’s Eagle Bend Manufacturing plant in Clinton. Steinebach said his company is number two in the world for automotive manufacturing, and it is very important to give back to the community.

A matching donation of $10,000 was announced by Eileen Slater from her and NOAH Companion Animal Center in Marlow. Slater said it is very urgent to set up a holding facility at Blockhouse Valley Road.

The third donation of $5,000 was announced by members of S.A.R.G. (Shelter Animals Rescue Group), a nonprofit organization. [Read more…]

TDOT: Long-term lane closures on SR 61 at I-75 start Wednesday

The long-term lane closures on State Route 61 at Interstate 75 are scheduled to start Wednesday, July 22, officials said.

One lane will be closed in both directions for bridge repairs, the Tennessee Department of Transportation announced on Twitter.

This is the bridge that crosses over I-75 in east Clinton on the way to the Museum of Appalachia and Norris. [Read more…]

Moody’s upgrades Anderson County’s rating, removes ‘negative outlook’

Terry Frank

Terry Frank

CLINTON—Moody’s Investors Service announced from New York that they have affirmed the Aa2 General Obligation, or GO, rating of Anderson County and have upgraded Anderson County’s rating by removing the “negative outlook,” officials said.

During bond issuance for rural elementary and rural high school bonds, as well as tax anticipation notes, Moody’s assigned Anderson County an Aa2 “negative outlook” rating in the 2010/2011 budget year, a press release said.

Highlights from Moody’s rating report of July 9, 2015, noted that the company lifted the negative outlook and that “improved financial performance” led to “reserve and liquidity growth,” the release said. [Read more…]

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Roane reappraisals show 3.47 percent assessment drop; OR tax rate calculated at $2.52

Jason Mumpower

Jason Mumpower

Note: This story was last updated at 5 p.m.

Roane County properties showed an overall 3.47 percent drop in assessed values in the five-year reappraisal process taken over by state officials this year, and the tax-neutral property tax rate in the City of Oak Ridge has been calculated at $2.52, the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office announced Thursday.

The tax-neutral rate is up from the current $2.39 per $100 of assessed value, a 13-cent increase.

Separately, the Oak Ridge City Council has been asked to consider a tax rate increase of up to eight cents, with a one-cent increase requested by the municipal staff and a seven-cent increase requested by the Oak Ridge Board of Education. The one-cent increase would help maintain city services and allow for a 2 percent pay raise for city employees, and the seven-cent increase would help cover a deficit and add money for salaries and staff, including a 3 percent pay raise.

Any tax increase, if approved by city officials, would be in addition to the tax-neutral rate calculated by the state. Each additional cent on the property tax rate generates about another $90,000 in revenue. A one-cent increase would cost the owner of a $145,000 house another $3.63 per year. An eight-cent increase could cost that homeowner another $29 per year. [Read more…]

Synchronous fireflies found in Oak Ridge Wildlife Management Area

Synchronous Fireflies

In the foreground: Predatory Photuris sp. which is recognizable by the red on the pronotum (head shield), larger size, and stripes on the wings. The firefly in the background is the Photuris frontalis (a.k.a. snappy sync). (Photo by TWRA)

 

By Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency

Paul Shaw, a TWRA fisheries creel agent, has taken an interest in fireflies this summer, which has led to an amazing discovery.

Intrigued by the synchronous fireflies at Elkmont in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and learning that Lynn Faust, the premiere synchronous firefly researcher in the GSMNP had them on her property near his own, Shaw set out on a mission to find other populations in east Tennessee.

His initial search in early June produced a healthy but isolated population on his densely forested property, which lies about a mile north of the Oak Ridge Wildlife Management Area.

During the next few weeks, Shaw—along with ORWMA Manager Jim Evans, former TWRA employee Wade Gefellars, and several others—formed a group called the “Firefly Team” that began visiting sites around ORWMA with hopes of discovering other synchronous fireflies. Their research areas consisted of about 30 sites, which were not arbitrary, random locations but were carefully calculated by biological factors similar to those at Elkmont. [Read more…]

Norris Bulletin provides detour ideas over I-75

Information from WYSH Radio

With traffic over Interstate 75 on Highway 61 down to one lane in either direction for bridge repair work, drivers can expect delays now through October 31, but our friends at the Norris Bulletin have a couple of alternate routes you may want to consider.

In the Wednesday edition, the Bulletin said westbound drivers can get to the other side of the interstate pretty quickly by taking the back route via Alley Road off the Norris Freeway and then following Hillvale Road all the way to back to Highway 61, adjacent to Harrison’s, Waffle House, and WalMart. The Bulletin said that detour will work for westbound traffic trying to get to I-75 South or to Clinton, but eastbound traffic probably will not get much benefit from that route due to expected backups.

For eastbound drivers, the Bulletin suggested turning left onto Miller Road just before Ray Varner Ford and following that route until reaching Hillvale, where you would then turn left, and proceed to Alley Road back into Norris.

Another option, especially for those living in Andersonville or south on Norris Freeway is to take Mountain Road east across the interstate. To reach Mountain Road from Clinton, take Sinking Springs Road (you can either turn right after crossing the Clinch River Bridge just past the soccer fields and Hammer’s, or continue on to Bland Road) until reaching Irwin Mill Road. Turn right there and proceed to Mountain Road. Turning left on either Bethel Road, Cross Pike, or Norris Freeway will return you to Highway 61.

Large tree falls on power line, causes outage for about 7,150

A large tree fell on a power line in west Oak Ridge early Saturday morning, causing an outage that affected about 7,150 customers, officials said.

The tree fell on a subtransmission line that runs over the top of a ridge south of Oak Ridge Turnpike on the west side of town at about 12:15 a.m. Saturday, July 11.

The tree shorted out the feeds to two substations, which caused a power outage roughly from Tulane Avenue westward, the Oak ridge Electric Department said. [Read more…]

Oak Ridge upgrades courtroom media equipment for City Council meetings

Mark Watson

Mark Watson

With help from a contractor, the City of Oak Ridge has upgraded the media equipment in the Municipal Building Courtroom to provide a better viewing experience during televised City Council meetings.

The city contracted with M&M Productions USA of Oak Ridge in June to help with the broadcast upgrades, a press release said. Part of the upgrade included permanently mounting pan, tilt, and zoom (PTZ) high-definition, robotic cameras that would “provide for better viewing angles of City Council, city staff, and audience members during televised City Council meetings,” the release said.

This recent broadcasting upgrade further complements the audio and City Council voting equipment improvements that were completed in 2014 as a result of deteriorating equipment and Courtroom needs, the release said.

“The PTZ cameras provide for better area coverage and greater detail of City Council meetings,” Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson said. “Additionally, there have been several broadcast efficiencies experienced with all of the media upgrades, not to mention that the upgraded equipment has added to the professional composition of the City Council meetings and the Courtroom.” [Read more…]

Today’s Planning Commission meeting on Main Street Oak Ridge to be rescheduled

There will not be an Oak Ridge Municipal Planning Commission work session on Main Street Oak Ridge today (Thursday, July 9).

The city staff said the meeting will be rescheduled to a date to be determined later in July.

Main Street Oak Ridge is the $80 million, 60-acre project to redevelop the former Oak Ridge Mall. [Read more…]

Bridge repair project = lane closures

Information from WYSH Radio

A bridge repair project on Highway 61 will reduce traffic to one lane in each direction on the bridge over Interstate 75 beginning Tuesday, July 14, and continuing until the project’s scheduled completion date of October 31.

Mid-State Construction, based out of Livingston, sent a letter as required by the Tennessee Department of Transportation to the Clinton Police, Fire, and Public Works departments, the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department, Anderson County EMS, the U.S. Postal Service, and both the Clinton and Anderson County school systems. All of them could be affected by the project, so they were informed of the upcoming lane restrictions. [Read more…]

Construction: Part of Broadway to close on Saturday mornings for Farmers Market

Oak Ridge Farmers Market and Jackson Square

The Oak Ridge Farmers Market is pictured above with Jackson Square in the background. The section of Broadway in front of Jackson Square will be closed on Saturday mornings for the Farmers Market until more parking becomes available. (Photo by Julio Culiat)

 

The Oak Ridge Farmers Market will be set up differently at Jackson Square starting Saturday, July 11, and for the next six to eight weeks to provide additional parking for customers.

Because both Blankenship Field and Jackson Square parking lots are closed for repaving, the City of Oak Ridge will be closing Broadway Avenue every Saturday morning from 8 a.m. to noon in front of Jackson Square until more parking becomes available.

This will allow some farmers to set up on Broadway Avenue, while others will remain in a smaller area of the Farmers Market parking lot, allowing more space for customer parking. The Farmers Market will not block any sidewalks in Jackson Square, so that customers can still get to the shops and businesses there, a press release said. [Read more…]

Frank to host two information sessions to discuss county budget

Terry Frank and Connie Aytes

Mayor Terry Frank and Connie Aytes, deputy budget director, review Anderson County financial documents. (Submitted photo)

 

Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank will host two special budget discussions to give the public a chance to hear and see a financial snapshot of Anderson County’s health, and to provide the public an opportunity to ask questions, a press release said.

Both an evening and a day meeting are scheduled. The evening meeting is scheduled for Thursday, July 16, from 6:30-7:30 p.m. in the Club Room at the Oak Ridge Civic Center. The day meeting is scheduled for Friday, July 17, from 12-1 p.m. at the Clinton Community Center. The public is invited to attend. [Read more…]