Ruby Tuesday closes in Oak Ridge

Ruby Tuesday Oak Ridge

Ruby Tuesday in Oak Ridge announced in signs posted on its front doors that it has closed.


Ruby Tuesday Closed Sign

Signs posted on the two front doors at Ruby Tuesday on Tuesday night announce that the Oak Ridge restaurant has closed.

Ruby Tuesday in Oak Ridge has closed. The restaurant announced the closure in two signs posted on its front doors.

The signs invite diners to eat at other local Ruby Tuesday restaurants in Knoxville and Lenoir City.

The front doors of the Oak Ridge restaurant were locked Tuesday night, and a worker leaving the restaurant declined to comment. A Ruby Tuesday media representative wasn’t immediately available for comment. [Read more...]


Mall project clears critical hurdle Monday

Oak Ridge Village Area Rendering


Tim Sittema

Tim Sittema

Council, IDB approve TIF extension, grant, roadway work

The proposed redevelopment of the Oak Ridge mall cleared a critical hurdle on Monday when city officials agreed to extend a property tax agreement for the 59-acre project, authorize $2 million in roadway and other infrastructure work, and offer a $500,000 grant if some federal funding is not approved.

Officials described the proposed redevelopment, named Main Street Oak Ridge, as an $80 million project that could fill a “hole in the heart” of Oak Ridge, bring new retail life to the city’s downtown, and build a lasting legacy.

Monday’s moves were meant to reduce the risk for four local lenders that could combine to offer $13 million in loans to part of the redevelopment under a tax increment financing, or TIF, agreement. That incentive would use new property tax revenues generated at the mall site and 120 surrounding acres included in the TIF area to repay those loans. Officials said the loans could be repaid in 18 years, according to financial models.

David Bradshaw

David Bradshaw

But in two separate special meetings on Monday, the Oak Ridge Industrial Development Board and Oak Ridge City Council agreed to extend the TIF term from 20 years to 30. That extra 10 years is meant to act as a “shock absorber” and help make sure that the banks are repaid if there is a “glitch” in the project that would push the repayment past the previously approved 20-year term, officials said.

“This is not a ‘home run’ project for us as financial institutions,” said David R. Bradshaw, Oak Ridge president of CapitalMark Bank and Trust, one of the financial institutions that could participate. But, he added, “It is the right thing to do for the community.” [Read more...]

ORHS evacuated after chemistry experiment sets off smoke detectors

Oak Ridge High School Chem Lab Evacuation

Oak Ridge High School students were briefly evacuated Tuesday morning after a chemistry lab experiment in LC212 set off smoke detectors. The students were let back in about 20 minutes after the 10:30 a.m. call.


Students at Oak Ridge High School were briefly evacuated Tuesday morning after a chemistry experiment set off smoke detectors, authorities said.

A small amount of zinc chloride and water created water vapor that set off the smoke detectors, which then shut chemistry lab hoods, Oak Ridge firefighters said. The Oak Ridge Fire Department manually opened the vents in the room (LC212) until the smoke detector system reset. Firefighters checked the air, making sure it was safe to breathe, Battalion Chief Jody Durham said.

There was no fire, no damage, and no injuries, firefighters said.

“No student was ever in any real danger,” Durham said.

[Read more...]

ORNL FCU starts major facilities projects; demolition under way

Chris Johnson and Marcy Catro at ORNL Federal Credit Union

ORNL FCU President and CEO Chris Johnson and Board Chair Marcy Catron are pictured above. (Submitted photo)


ORNL Federal Credit Union on Monday announced that it has started its major facilities projects in Oak Ridge with the demolition of its location at 215 South Rutgers Avenue. That location was the Credit Union’s sole branch between 1969 and 1987, before housing the Operations and Imaging departments for the last 27 years.

Business operations at ORNL FCU’s main branch located at 221 South Rutgers Avenue will not be affected by the ongoing work.


This initial step is part of the Credit Union’s larger facilities plan, which involves relocating its main branch into a high-efficiency, “forward-looking” work environment that will be built on the 215 South Rutgers Avenue location and retain the original building’s address.

The current main branch/headquarters building at 221 South Rutgers Avenue will be remodeled and redesigned to consolidate the Credit Union’s back office operations. [Read more...]

IDB, Council to consider longer tax agreement, road improvements for mall project

Main Street Oak Ridge Site Plan without Tenants

A Main Street Oak Ridge site plan from Tuesday, without tenants shown. (Submitted image)


Oak Ridge Village Area Rendering

In two special meetings today, local officials will consider adding another 10 years to a tax incentive agreement for the long-awaited redevelopment of the Oak Ridge mall, and they will also consider authorizing improvements to public infrastructure, including the rebuilding of three private roads: Main Street East, Main Street West, and Wilson Street.

The tax incentive is known as tax increment financing, or TIF. It would use new property tax revenues generated at the mall site, which will be renamed Main Street Oak Ridge, to help pay for development costs.

A 20-year, $13 million TIF and economic impact plan were approved by the Oak Ridge Industrial Development Board, City Council, and Anderson County Commission in November, and by Tennessee officials in January.

But the IDB and City Council will now consider extending the TIF term to 30 years. The extension would also have to be approved by the Anderson County Commission and Tennessee officials. [Read more...]

Cadre5 wins Small Business Subcontractor of Year award

SBA Small Business Subcontractor of the Year Award

Pictured above from left are Chris O’Neal (Cadre5), Gina Holman, Steve Hicks, Walter Perry, and Ken Lowery (Cadre5). (Submitted photo)


KNOXVILLE—Cadre5, a software engineering firm specializing in custom software development, was recently presented with the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 2014 Small Business Subcontractor of the Year Award for Region 4, which includes Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Cadre5 was nominated by Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where it has worked on more than 20 projects that met or exceeded its cost and schedule performance goals.

Tennessee District Director Walter Perry and Procurement Center Representative Gina Holman of the Area III Office of Government Contracting, on behalf of Carol Thompson, Area III director, presented Cadre5 with the award at the East Tennessee Economic Council board meeting this month.

“Cadre5 is an outstanding example of how this Tennessee small business community can meet national laboratory mission needs and those of private industry,” Thompson said. “It speaks well of their strong performance in government contracting opportunities at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which has enabled growth in their business and creation of jobs in Tennessee.” [Read more...]

ORHS Homecoming Parade is Friday

David Bryant

David Bryant

The Oak Ridge High School’s annual Homecoming Parade is Friday, and ORHS Principal David Bryant is inviting the community to attend.

The parade starts at 6:15 p.m. Friday, October 3.

There is a new route for the parade this year. It will follow Central Avenue to Tennessee to Towne Road to Broadway and then to Blankenship, Bryant said. [Read more...]

The ABCs of giving—Y-12 donates school supplies to ADFAC

Y-12 School Supplies Donated to ADFAC

CNS Security Police Officer John Fellers, left, and Y-12 Site Manager Bill Tindal deliver school supplies to the Aid to Distressed Families of Appalachian Counties office. (Submitted photo)


Y‑12 National Security Complex employees donated more than $2,000 and numerous school supplies to ensure students in need are starting the school year with what they need. Working with Aid to Distressed Families of Appalachian Counties, or ADFAC, employees donated money along with some 144 wide-ruled notebooks, 132 packs of crayons, 111 packs of pencils, 80 packs of paper, and 66 packs of glue sticks.

“Employees once again shared their giving spirit with those in our communities,” Y‑12 United Way Chair Yvonne Bishop said.

While the event precedes the site’s formal United Way campaign kickoff, Bishop said site employees always are ready to respond. ADFAC volunteers use the donations to provide backpacks and school supplies to fulfill more than 7,000 requests for assistance. [Read more...]

Chamber has two candidate forums this week

Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce

The Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce is pictured above.

The Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce has two Election Selection candidate forums this week.

The first is Tuesday morning, September 30, and it will feature the 10 candidates for Oak Ridge City Council. The second is Thursday morning, October 2, and it will feature the eight candidates for Oak Ridge Board of Education.

The forums have been organized by the Chamber’s Pro-Growth Advocacy Committee. They are open to the public.

Doors to both forums open at 7 a.m. There will be 30 minutes of meet-and-greet time among the candidates, Chamber members, supporters, community members, and attendees, a press release said. [Read more...]

Children’s Museum awarded $137,108 grant by museum institute

Healthy Living Exhibit


The Institute of Museum and Library Services awarded $137,108 to the Children’s Museum of Oak Ridge this month.

The museum will use the grant funds to develop its new Kids in Action! Healthy Living Exhibit and programs. Children’s Museum of Oak Ridge will plan, develop, and construct “Kids in Action,” a healthy living exhibit and accompanying educational programs to support healthy nutrition, healthy activity, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education, and community wellness, a press release said. [Read more...]

Wildcats win, but game closer than score suggests

Oak Ridge Wildcats Malik Hardy at Gibbs

Senior Malik Hardy of the Oak Ridge Wildcats (15) ran for 47 yards on five carries at Gibbs on Friday. (Photos by Julio Culiat)


Note: This story was last updated at 9 a.m.

By Alex Myers/Oak Ridge Today

CORRYTON—The Wildcats visited Gibbs High School on Friday night and left with a hard-earned win.

The final score showed the Wildcats beating the Eagles 38-21, but that didn’t tell the entire story. Penalties hurt the Wildcats all night long and often helped to extend drives for Gibbs. The Wildcats were penalized 16 times for 133 yards, while Gibbs was penalized five times for 38 yards. Gibbs ran an options offense, which at times proved to be tough to stop. However, in the long run, the Wildcats were just too much for Gibbs.

Oak Ridge trailed the Eagles early on but tied the game up with a seven-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Logan Fadnek to receiver Tee Higgins, who made a jump ball catch, with 7:50 left in the second quarter. Kicker Brandon Nickle put Oak Ridge in front at halftime as his 42-yard field goal gave the Wildcats a 10-7 advantage.

Running back T.J. Allison was the workhorse in the second half for Oak Ridge. He got into the end zone with a nine-yard run that gave the Wildcats a 17-7 lead early in the third quarter. [Read more...]

Fifty evacuated, one treated after small fire at Callaghan Towers

Robert Burk and Jean Rivera Evacuation

Oak Ridge Fire Department firefighter and paramedic Robert Burk, right, evacuates Jean Rivera, a resident of the six-story Frank Callaghan Towers on Fairbanks Road after a small fire on Thursday afternoon. Burk is carrying Rivera’s dog Taco. Rivera, who can’t walk steps, said firefighters practically had to carry her downstairs. “I’m shook up,” she said. “I’m nervous.”


About 50 residents were evacuated and one person was treated for smoke inhalation after a small fire was reported in an apartment at Frank Callaghan Towers on Thursday afternoon, authorities said.

The fire appears to have been caused by an electrical short at an outlet in a second-floor apartment on the northwest side of the building, Oak Ridge Fire Department Chief Darryl Kerley said.

A clothes hamper full of clothes ignited, and the fire burned the side of an entertainment center, two lamps, and materials around a window, Kerley said.

“It was a fairly small fire, but it generated a lot of black smoke,” he said. The first three floors of the six-story building were evacuated, and two cats were rescued from the apartment that burned. The apartment resident was not at home at the time. [Read more...]