School board could make Preschool recommendation tonight

Charlsey Cofer and Oak Ridge City Council and School Board

Principal Charlsey Cofer, left, discusses the Oak Ridge Schools Preschool with Oak Ridge City Council members and City Manager Mark Watson, seated at table, during a Jan. 15 work session with the Oak Ridge Board of Education.


Note: This story was last updated at 11:45 a.m.

It’s been on the city’s wish list for decades, but city and school officials now appear closer to finding a solution to repairing or replacing the city’s preschool.

Officials said they’ve “kicked the can down the road” for years, but the discussion gained urgency after lead-based paint was found on the exterior of the 70-year-old building during a routine inspection in the spring of 2014. It could cost up to $150,000 to make repairs. Officials have characterized that as a Band-Aid or “last investment.”

“We’re going to have make a decision now, unfortunately, because of the paint,” said Keys Fillauer, Oak Ridge Board of Education chair. “The bottom line is: How are we going to pay for this?” [Read more…]

Oak Ridge Fire Department wants to check your smoke alarms

Josh Waldo

Josh Waldo

The Oak Ridge Fire Department wants to check your smoke alarms and has now made it even easier for them to do that, a press release said.

The Oak Ridge Fire Department has provided a new link that people can use to schedule a time for firefighters to come and check their smoke alarms. Citizens can visit the Oak Ridge Fire Department website here and click on the smoke alarm program link on the right of the page or they can use the QR code provided below and then click on the smoke alarm picture. [Read more…]

CNS helps provide housing to homeless veterans

Helen Ross McNabb Veterans Housing Project

This eight-unit apartment building on Coster Road in Knoxville was built to house homeless veterans who have mental illness or a behavioral health disability. The first four veterans moved into their new apartments before Christmas. By springtime, the Helen Ross McNabb Veterans Housing Project will provide permanent apartment homes to 23 veterans, who will also receive ongoing case management. (Photo provided by Helen Ross McNabb Center)


Donation contributes to new housing and care through Helen Ross McNabb Center

Consolidated Nuclear Security’s donation of $25,000 to the Helen Ross McNabb Center’s Veterans Housing Project served as one of the final building blocks in the $1.83-million effort to provide permanent housing to homeless veterans who have mental illnesses. On December 15, the ribbon was cut on the first apartment building, and the first four homeless veterans moved into their new homes in time to celebrate Christmas.

The CNS donation helped fund the newly constructed Cedar Crossing apartment building on Coster Road in Knoxville, which provides eight one-bedroom units. The second phase of the project is rehabilitating a former apartment complex off Washington Pike that will provide another 15 apartment homes. The three-building Washington Oaks renovation is expected to be completed by March 2015. [Read more…]

Boy battling brain cancer receives more than 100 pounds of birthday mail, gifts

Joseph Dillman and Brian Bruce

Joseph Dillman, right, is battling brain cancer for the second time, and he received more than 100 pounds of mail and gifts for his 10th birthday. Above, family friend Brian Bruce helps Dillman open gifts during Joseph Dillman Day at Claxton Elementary School on Saturday. 


CLAXTON—A Clinton boy battling brain cancer for the second time received more than 100 pounds of birthday mail and gifts on Saturday from well-wishers across the country, including Peyton Manning and Johnny Majors. Joseph Dillman, who turned 10 on Thursday, also got to sit in a Dukes of Hazzard car, enjoy a visit from Claxton firefighters and a monster truck, and sit court side to watch a youth basketball game.

His favorite part of the day?

“Everybody coming to my birthday,” said the fourth-grade basketball player, who has attended South Clinton Elementary School but is now homebound. “Thank you to everyone.” [Read more…]

Haslam announces winners of LEAP competition, including Roane State

Governor Bill Haslam

Bill Haslam


Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam in December announced the recipients of the Labor Education Alignment Program, or LEAP, competition, a state effort focused on increasing opportunities for Tennesseans to obtain a certificate or degree beyond high school that is aligned with the needs of the workforce in their communities.

“These types of intentional partnerships between local agencies and their colleges or TCATS are what we want to see across the state as a significant piece of the Drive to 55 initiative,” Haslam said. “Tying the training and skills that our colleges are teaching directly to current workforce needs will help more Tennesseans qualify for good paying, high quality jobs.”

The communities and colleges selected as LEAP recipients exemplify the collaboration and alignment between workforce needs and higher education that are at the core of the Drive to 55,” Haslam said. [Read more…]

Breakfast with Legislators kicks off Monday

Randy McNally

Randy McNally

John Ragan

John Ragan

This year’s Breakfast with the Legislators kicks off Monday.

Breakfast with the Legislators is a monthly morning meeting with state legislators from Oak Ridge and Anderson and Roane counties. It’s held the first few months each year while the Tennessee General Assembly is in session in Nashville.

It includes brief updates of the legislative session from local legislators and a question-and-answer session with those who attend. It’s open to the public. [Read more…]

Wildcats clinch district in rout of Anderson County

Oak Ridge Wildcats Darel Middleton and Anderson County

Oak Ridge junior center Darel Middleton (33) had 14 points and a dunk as the Wildcats clinched the regular-season district championship in a 73-51 rout of Anderson County on Friday night, January 23. (Photos by Melissa Livesey)


Lady Wildcats overcome halftime deficit to upend Lady Mavericks

The Oak Ridge Wildcats clinched the regular-season district championship against Anderson County on Friday, and the Lady Wildcats continued their fight for first place. Both teams won their match-ups against Anderson County at home in Wildcat Arena.

Foul trouble was a main factor in both games, and the ability to overcome that played a major factor for Oak Ridge.

Girls’ team

The ladies were the first up to play, and they did not disappoint. The Lady Wildcats came back from a 12-point deficit at the half to win the game 43-39. A late three and some extra free throws by Oak Ridge proved to be the dagger for the Lady Mavericks.

Anderson County seemed to be all over the Lady Wildcats early. The Lady Mavericks jumped out to an early 16-10 lead after one quarter of play. Oak Ridge (15-8, 10-2 District 3-AAA) would then come out in the second quarter and score only four points. [Read more…]

Report: Man fires gun into ground during parking dispute

Justin Kane Hornung

Justin Kane Hornung

An Oak Ridge man who allegedly fired a gun into the ground during a parking disturbance on Tucker Road on January 18 has been charged with two counts of aggravated assault.

Justin Kane Hornung, 37, told Oak Ridge Police Department Officer Christopher W. Wallace that he did not have space to park his vehicle on Tucker Road when he came home because guests of a neighbor had filled the on-street parking spaces, according to warrants filed in Anderson County General Sessions Court.

A discussion between Hornung and his neighbor about the parking situation reportedly escalated into a disturbance, and the victim allegedly told Hornung he was going to “kick his (expletive)” and yelled other obscenities, according to the warrants. [Read more…]

Warrants: Man armed with knife tried to kidnap two children

Justin Len Williams

Justin Len Williams

An Oak Ridge man allegedly broke into a home this month, assaulted the mother of his children, threw a five-inch kitchen knife at a man at the home, and tried to kidnap two kids, authorities said.

Justin L. Williams, 23, is accused of going upstairs at the Knoll Lane home armed with a five-inch kitchen knife and confronting the woman in the hall, shoving her against a door and to the floor, and assaulting her again outside while taking her car keys to get child seats, according to arrest warrants filed in Anderson County General Sessions Court.

The woman, who had a laceration to her right big toe, reportedly called 911 on her cell phone during the assault at about 4:18 a.m. January 14, the warrants said. [Read more…]

Free Family Symphony Sunday features guest violinist Hannah Shipstad

Hannah Shipstad

Hannah Shipstad

Special guest violinist Hannah Shipstad, 11-year-old winner of the Youth Aliyah competition in Oak Ridge, will play as a soloist with the Oak Ridge Symphony Orchestra during its free family concert at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Children’s Museum of Oak Ridge.

Hannah will join the orchestra in “Spring” from “Four Seasons” by Antonio Vivaldi. A small symphony orchestra will also perform the musical story of “Peter and the Wolf,” by Sergei Prokofiev.

The Children’s Museum, at 461 West Outer Drive, is offering free admission from 1-5 p.m. Sunday to support the concert. Children are invited to come early for paper puppet making and instrument making beginning at 2 p.m. at the museum. [Read more…]

UT-Battelle extends American Centrifuge agreement for uranium enrichment

American Centrifuge Technology Manufacturing Center

The American Centrifuge Technology Manufacturing Center in south Oak Ridge is pictured above. (Photo courtesy USEC/Centrus Energy Corp.)

UT-Battelle, the contractor that operates Oak Ridge National Laboratory, has added another six months to an agreement being used to develop new uranium-enrichment technology through operations in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and Piketon, Ohio.

The six-month extension was announced Friday by Centrus Energy Corporation, formerly known as USEC. UT-Battelle has exercised its option to extend the American Centrifuge Technology Demonstration and Operations Agreement, or ACTDO Agreement, by six months from March 31 to September 30, 2015, Centrus said.

ORNL had previously exercised an option to extend the agreement through March 31, 2015.

The six-month extension allows the continued demonstration and operation of the only uranium enrichment technology in the United States, Centrus said in a press release. [Read more…]

Sen. McNally reappointed chair of Senate Finance, Ways, and Means Committee

Randy McNally

Randy McNally

Tennessee Senator Randy McNally, an Oak Ridge Republican, has been reappointed chairman of the Senate Finance, Ways, and Means Committee.

Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey made the appointment during the General Assembly’s organizational session, which ended Saturday. McNally has led the committee as chairman since 2007.

“I am very pleased to be reappointed to this role in our Finance Committee” McNally said in a press release. “This will be another challenging year for our budget, and I look forward to working on solutions to the issues we face.” [Read more…]