Man charged with attempted first-degree murder in March 23 shooting

Asante Devon Harris

Asante Devon Harris

Note: This story was last updated at 11:42 a.m.

A 23-year-old Oak Ridge man has been charged with attempted first-degree murder for an alleged shooting in the Scarboro neighborhood on March 23.

Asante Devon Harris allegedly used a handgun to shoot at his ex-girlfriend on South Dillard Avenue at about 9:45 a.m. Monday, March 23, according to an arrest warrant filed in Anderson County General Sessions Court.

The warrant said the ex-girlfriend was not hit, and the Oak Ridge Police Department said last week that no injuries were reported. [Read more…]


Spring Jamboree at Windrock to include ATVs, side-by-sides, music

Windrock Spring Jam Mud Bog

The mud bog at a Spring Jamboree at Windrock Park. (Submitted photos)


This year’s Spring Jamboree at Windrock Park north of Oliver Springs will include rides and competitions for ATVs and side-by-sides, and concerts, including one featuring Janelle Arthur, a top five performer on American Idol’s Season 12.

The Spring Jamboree is scheduled from April 16 through 18.

“The Spring Jamboree is a weekend full of adrenaline-pumping fun for everyone,” said Kira Smith-Ludwig, marketing manager for Windrock Park. “The jamboree’s numerous competitive events and guided rides are geared toward ATV and side-by-side riders, but anyone can come and watch the competitions and check out the shooting range and the concert.”

The competitive events include the ATV Rodeo; Windrock Wide Open, which is a three-lap race; drag races; the Windrock Challenge, which is an obstacle course race; a mud drag; a poker run; and a dash for cash just for the ladies. The competitive event rules can be found at under events. [Read more…]

Substance abuse the topic of Tuesday health lecture

Melody Morris

Melody Morris

Substance abuse comes in many forms. It can be the abuse of legal substances, such as alcohol or prescription drugs, or it can be illegal, such as the abuse of marijuana, cocaine, or methamphetamine. And it affects more than just the person using the drugs. Substance abuse can break apart families, ruin personal relationships, and make it difficult to keep a job.

Learn more about substance abuse when Methodist Medical Center partners with Ridgeview Behavioral Health to discuss this important topic during Health Night on the Town on Tuesday, March 31, at 7 p.m. in the Ridge Conference Room of Methodist Medical Center, located at 990 Oak Ridge Turnpike.

Staff from Ridgeview will discuss substance abuse and its co-occurring mental health issues as well as an innovative treatment for expectant mother’s who have used or are at risk of using drugs. [Read more…]



ORNL-led team demonstrates desalination with graphene membrane

Nature Nanotech Pores

Researchers created nanopores in graphene (red, and enlarged in the circle to highlight its honeycomb structure) that are stabilized with silicon atoms (yellow) and showed their porous membrane could desalinate seawater. Orange represents a non-graphene residual polymer. (Source: Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Department of Energy)


By Dawn Levy

Less than 1 percent of Earth’s water is drinkable. Removing salt and other minerals from our biggest available source of water—seawater—may help satisfy a growing global population thirsty for fresh water for drinking, farming, transportation, heating, cooling, and industry. But desalination is an energy-intensive process, which concerns those wanting to expand its application.

Now, a team of experimentalists led by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory has demonstrated an energy-efficient desalination technology that uses a porous membrane made of strong, slim graphene—a carbon honeycomb one atom thick. The results are published in the March 23 advance online issue of Nature Nanotechnology.

“Our work is a proof of principle that demonstrates how you can desalinate saltwater using free-standing, porous graphene,” said Shannon Mark Mahurin of ORNL’s Chemical Sciences Division, who co-led the study with Ivan Vlassiouk in ORNL’s Energy and Transportation Science Division.

“It’s a huge advance,” said Vlassiouk, pointing out a wealth of water travels through the porous graphene membrane. “The flux through the current graphene membranes was at least an order of magnitude higher than (that through) state-of-the-art reverse osmosis polymeric membranes.” [Read more…]

Charges upgraded in Roane shooting

Jeremy Alexander Gambrell

Jeremy Alexander Gambrell

Information from WYSH Radio

The former police officer accused of shooting his ex-wife Saturday, March 21, has had the charges against him upgraded from aggravated assault to attempted second-degree murder, according to Roane County District Attorney General Russell Johnson’s office.

Jeremy Alexander Gambrell, who goes by “Alex,” will still face an aggravated assault charge in connection to him allegedly firing a gun at a second person at his ex-wife Jenny Gambrell’s home. That person was not struck by the gunfire, but Jenny Gambrell was hit several times and, as of last week, was recovering in the hospital.

Alex Gambrell—a 41-year-old former Lenoir City and Tennessee Valley Authority police officer—remains in custody on a $50,000 bond, but that amount is expected to increase following his arraignment on the upgraded charge.

School board to consider balanced calendar, budget timeline

The Oak Ridge Board of Education will consider a balanced calendar for the 2016-2017 school year during a regular meeting tonight. The school board will also consider an updated budget timeline for the fiscal year that starts July 1.

The Board of Education could consider salary proposals from the Oak Ridge Education Association and principals during the meeting tonight (Monday, March 30). It starts at 6 p.m. at the Robert J. Smallridge School Administration Building at 304 New York Avenue.

The school board approved a balanced calendar for the 2015-2016 school year in a meeting in April 2014. This fall will be the first time that Oak Ridge has had a balanced calendar. [Read more…]

ORFD: Sign up for CodeRed Severe Weather Alert System

Oak Ridge Fire Department

The Oak Ridge Fire Department is encouraging home and business owners to commit to being a leader for weather readiness by signing up on the CodeRed Severe Weather Alert System.

The system is designed to help spread the word about severe weather and make employees and members of the community better prepared, a press release said.

“Know the risks, take action, and be an example by signing up,” a press release said. [Read more…]

20th Anniversary Tennessee Valley Corridor Summit at ETSU May 27-28

Tennessee Valley Corridor Logo


The Tennessee Valley Corridor will hold its 20th Annual TVC National Summit in Johnson City at East Tennessee State University on May 27-28.

The Summit will be hosted by ETSU President Brian Noland, in cooperation with Congressman Phil Roe, with the theme “Education Fuels the TVC Economy.”

“From our region’s community colleges to our outstanding four-year universities, the Corridor has a strong foundation to prepare the next generation of the workforce,” Roe said. “As co-chairman of the Tennessee Valley Corridor Caucus, I look forward to sharing some of the work that is ongoing in Congress. The Summit will look at education from the business and industry perspective and discuss how to ensure the workforce has the skills they need to find quality jobs at home, and how our educational institutions can partner with businesses and organizations for better success, which is critical for us all to learn about.” [Read more…]

CNS donates $25K to Boys, Girls Clubs; others match the gift

CNS Donation to Boys and Girls Club

Boys and Girls Clubs of the Clinch Valley founder and Executive Director Emeritus Lawrence Hahn, center, discusses the history of the organization with CNS President and CEO Jim Haynes, left, and the club’s Chief Volunteer Officer Gerald Boyd. (Photo courtesy CNS)


Consolidated Nuclear Security LLC has donated $25,000 to Boys and Girls Clubs of the Clinch Valley, and that gift has been matched—for a total of $50,000. The money will be used for a new roof at the Oak Ridge facility.

CNS President and Chief Executive Officer Jim Haynes presented a symbolic $25,000 check to the Oak Ridge unit during a ceremony on Thursday. Representatives of some of the 16 organizations that matched the CNS donation were also present.

“On behalf of our 5,000 employees at Y-12, we are extremely pleased to contribute to an Oak Ridge organization that makes such a difference in young peoples’ lives,” Haynes said. “Y-12 employees have a long history of serving this community, and we are honored to continue that tradition. The Oak Ridge Boys and Girls Club has served the community for decades, and we are proud to contribute so that it can continue to serve for decades to come.” [Read more…]

Firefighters train in controlled burn at home on Waddell Place

Waddell Place Fire

Oak Ridge firefighters trained at a controlled burn at a city-owned home on Waddell Place on Friday. (Photo by Kevin Rice)


Oak Ridge firefighters trained in a controlled burn in a home on Waddell Place on Friday.

It’s the second house that firefighters have burned on Waddell Place this year. The first, which was burned in January, was the first that the Oak Ridge Fire Department has burned for training.

The city has one more blighted city-owned home that it could burn on Waddell Place.

The fires require state approval, and they help the city by training firefighters and burning materials that would otherwise have to be demolished and hauled away.

More information will be added as it becomes available.

Council rejects ORPD investigation proposals, approves MTAS review

Oak Ridge City Council on Feb. 9, 2015

On Friday, March 27, the Oak Ridge City Council agreed to use the Municipal Technical Advisory Service at the University of Tennessee to conduct a 30-day review of turnover, morale, and administrative policies in the Oak Ridge Police Department. (File photo)


Note: This story was last updated at 12:30 p.m. March 30.

Despite calls for an investigation, the Oak Ridge City Council on Friday approved a proposal from a University of Tennessee agency to review—rather than investigate—the Oak Ridge Police Department, focusing on turnover, morale, and administrative policies.

A series of motions by City Council member Trina Baughn, who has pushed hardest for an investigation of the ORPD and its police chief, were rejected. Among other things, Baughn’s proposals would have required all Police Department employees to spend at least 10 minutes with the investigator, regardless of whether they wanted to say anything; sought to interview all former workers who have left since May 2011, when Police Chief Jim Akagi was hired; given those interviewed a chance to participate in a “no confidence” vote against the chief; and look into Akagi’s previous history, including his prior employment with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Council also rejected a motion by Baughn to investigate the allegations included in a grievance filed by a former police officer and claims made in letters by former officers.

The 30-day review that was approved Friday was first proposed as a general concept by Oak Ridge City Council member Kelly Callison during a February meeting, with more detail added since then.

[Read more…]

Planning for national park, Park Service tours Jackson Square, K-25, ORNL, Y-12

Vic Knox of National Park Service

Vic Knox (Photo by D. Ray Smith)

Note: This story was last updated at 12:37 p.m.

Planning for the new Manhattan Project National Historical Park has started, and federal officials this week toured Jackson Square, the former K-25 site, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and the Y-12 National Security Complex.

Stops included the Alexander Inn, Chapel on the Hill, the former K-25 Building site, the Graphite Reactor at ORNL, and two buildings at Y-12: Building 9731, a pilot plant, and Building 9204-3, also known as Beta 3.

“Several of those sites are just amazing,” said Vic Knox, associate director of park planning, facilities, and lands for the National Park Service in Washington, D.C. “They seem like they are just the way they were in 1943. It seems like they take you back in time.”

Oak Ridge was built as part of the Manhattan Project, a top-secret federal program to build the world’s fist atomic weapons during World War II. Besides Oak Ridge, the new national park includes Los Alamos, New Mexico, and Hanford, Washington. [Read more…]