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Attorney: Police chief did not violate federal law by carrying firearm

James T. Akagi

James T. Akagi

Note: This story was last updated at 10:05 p.m.

Answer pending on question of state law; POST has no current investigation

Federal officials have concluded that Oak Ridge Police Chief Jim Akagi did not violate federal law while carrying a firearm during divorce proceedings several years ago, the chief’s attorney said in a letter received by state officials this month.

In April, the Tennessee Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission, or POST, asked state and federal authorities to investigate whether Akagi violated state and federal laws by possessing a firearm after being issued an ex parte order of protection during divorce proceedings in Blount County three years ago.

Tasha C. Blakney, Akagi’s attorney, summarized a conversation with Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven H. Cook about the inquiry in a June 12 letter that was copied to Ray Farris, assistant director of POST. On Monday, Oak Ridge Today requested an update from POST, which certifies law enforcement officers in Tennessee, and received a copy of the letter.

[Read more…]

Police search for suspects after robbery at check cashing store on Friday

ORPD Matthew Johnston, Brandan Sharp, and Ray Steakley at Manhattan Apartments

Oak Ridge Police Department officers set up a perimeter around one building at Manhattan Apartments on North Purdue Avenue after a robbery was reported at the nearby Check Into Cash on South Illinois Avenue on Friday afternoon. Pictured above from left are Matthew Johnston, Brandan Sharp, and Ray Steakley.

 

The Oak Ridge Police Department is searching for two suspects in an armed robbery at a check cashing store that led officers to set up a temporary perimeter at a nearby apartment complex on Friday.

The robbery at Check Into Cash at 361 South Illinois Avenue was reported about 3:15 p.m. Friday.

“Several officers and detectives arrived on scene within minutes of being dispatched and immediately initiated a search for two suspects described as a black male and black female, who were armed with handguns and had reportedly fled the business on foot,” the City of Oak Ridge said in a press release.

“Officers canvassed the area and talked with an eyewitness who stated both suspects were last seen running between buildings at the Manhattan Apartment complex in the 200 block of North Purdue Avenue,” the release said. “A section of North Purdue Avenue was temporarily closed while police established containment around the three apartment buildings the suspects were believed to have fled. No suspects were located, and the investigation is still ongoing at this time.” [Read more…]

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Ribbon-cuttings: Curves, Minuteman Press

Minuteman Press Ribbon-cutting with Oak Ridge Chamber

The Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce hosted a ribbon cutting for Minuteman Press on Friday, June 26. Minuteman Press is located at 110 Bus Terminal Road. (Photo by Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce)

 

The Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce had ribbon-cutting ceremonies last week for Minuteman Press and Curves of Oak Ridge. The Anderson County Chamber of Commerce joined the celebration at Minuteman Press on Friday, June 26.

Minuteman Press is located at 110 Bus Terminal Road, where American Reprographics used to be. David Fleming is the franchise owner in Oak Ridge. For more information, visit www.minutemanpress.com. [Read more…]

Explore ORNL event postponed to Sept. 23-24

Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Explore ORNL conference has been rescheduled until September 23-24 to coincide with a larger industrial outreach event at ORNL this fall. Explore ORNL was originally scheduled for July 14-15.

The September event will feature capabilities in building technologies, vehicle technologies, and advanced manufacturing, and will highlight new opportunities for small businesses to gain access to national laboratories, including ORNL.

Information about the September industry event will be released in the coming weeks.

Helium ‘balloons’ offer new path to control complex materials

Helium Atoms into Crystalline Film

Inserting helium atoms (visualized as a red balloon) into a crystalline film (gold) allowed Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers to control the material’s elongation in a single direction. (Submitted image)

 

Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory have developed a new method to manipulate a wide range of materials and their behavior using only a handful of helium ions.

The team’s technique, published in Physical Review Letters, advances the understanding and use of complex oxide materials that boast unusual properties such as superconductivity and colossal magnetoresistance but are notoriously difficult to control.

For the first time, ORNL researchers have discovered a simple way to control the elongation of a crystalline material along a single direction without changing the length along the other directions or damaging the crystalline structure. This is accomplished by adding a few helium ions into a complex oxide material and provides a never before possible level of control over magnetic and electronic properties.

“By putting a little helium into the material, we’re able to control strain along a single axis,” said ORNL’s Zac Ward, who led the team’s study. “This type of control wasn’t possible before, and it allows you to tune material properties with a finesse that we haven’t previously had access to.” [Read more…]

Oak Ridge recognized as 2015 Playful City USA community

Oak Ridge Playful City

241 communities exhibiting playability to be recognized

Oak Ridge is being honored with a 2015 Playful City USA designation for the fourth time. In partnership with the Humana Foundation, KaBOOM! is honoring cities, towns, and counties across the country for making their communities more playable. Oak Ridge was selected again this year because of the commitment to excellence in all parks, greenways, and play-spaces, a press release said.

“Several years ago, we embarked on an effort to make our city have more fun,” Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson said. “The structured activities have brought our community together and allowed new avenues of play to be by our children and our ‘adult children.'”

Neighborhood play spaces, city-wide play days, and fun special events are all ways in which these communities are appealing to residents, and attracting and retaining residents. [Read more…]

Community Band concert followed by fireworks on Saturday evening

Oak Ridge Community Band

The Oak Ridge Community Band performs during the July 4, 2014, concert. (Photo by Larry Perry)

 

The Oak Ridge Community Band will play in a free concert before the fireworks show at A.K. Bissell Park on Saturday.

The concert starts at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 4. Fireworks start at 10 p.m.

“Because the July 4 program traditionally attracts large crowds, come early and bring lawn chairs or blankets for good seating,” organizers said in a press release.

The concert is free, although donations are welcomed to offset band expenses. Refreshments will be available for sale. [Read more…]

Historic day for same-sex couples: ‘Long, hard battle that love won’

Ann Spencer and Brandy Horn

Brandy Horn, right, and Ann Spencer discuss their wedding plans after a 5-4 U.S. Supreme Court decision on Friday made same-sex marriages legal in all 50 states.

 

KINGSTON—They didn’t intend to make history, but they did.

Two women, Brandy Horn and Ann Spencer, became the first couple to receive a same-sex marriage license in Roane County. They picked it up at about 3 p.m. Friday, just hours after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision that the Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage, making it legal in all 50 states.

“It was a relief,” Spencer said. “I was so happy I was about to cry. I was in disbelief. It was finally happening.”

Horn and Spencer live in Rockwood. They have been together for 16 years and worn rings for 15. They already considered themselves married. But now it will be legal.

“It has been a long, hard battle that love won today for all couples,” Horn said Friday. “It was also a proud moment to walk into our hometown courthouse and be given the same rights and privileges as any other couple would have.” [Read more…]

No same-sex marriage licenses issued in Anderson County yet

Jeff Cole

Jeff Cole

Note: This story was updated at 4:51 p.m.

The Anderson County Clerk received a few inquiries after the U.S. Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage on Friday, but the office hasn’t issued any licenses yet, an official said Saturday.

Tennessee officials had prepared county clerks for the landmark 5-4 decision. An email from the Tennessee Attorney General’s Office advised county clerks that Friday’s ruling made it legal for same-sex couples to marry. County clerks in the state’s 95 counties were advised to comply promptly, and implementing the federal court’s decision began immediately.

Anderson County Clerk Jeff Cole said residents could get same-sex marriage licenses starting at about 1 p.m. Friday (June 26), after county clerks received guidance on the issue.

“We had a few phone calls, but we didn’t issue any licenses yesterday,” Cole said Saturday. [Read more…]

Police investigate robbery at check cashing store, set up perimeter at apartment building

ORPD Matthew Johnston, Brandan Sharp, and Ray Steakley at Manhattan Apartments

Oak Ridge Police Department officers set up a perimeter around one building at Manhattan Apartments on North Purdue Avenue after a robbery was reported at the nearby Check Into Cash on South Illinois Avenue on Friday afternoon. Pictured above from left are Matthew Johnston, Brandan Sharp, and Ray Steakley.

 

Note: This story was last updated at 7:15 p.m.

The Oak Ridge Police Department on Friday afternoon was investigating a reported robbery at a check cashing and payday loan store on South Illinois Avenue, and officers set up a perimeter at a nearby apartment building.

The robbery was reported at about 3:15 p.m. Friday at Check Into Cash at 361 South Illinois Avenue. Officers said it wasn’t clear what was taken.

Police set up a perimeter around a building at the nearby Manhattan Apartments on North Purdue Avenue, and several officers were carrying AR15 rifles as they appeared to conduct a search in and around the three-story building. But it wasn’t immediately clear if they were looking for a suspect or something else. [Read more…]

Roane County issues first same-sex marriage license

Roane County Courthouse

The Roane County Courthouse in Kingston is pictured above. (File photo)

 

Note: This story was last updated at 4:30 p.m.

Roane County issued its first same-sex marriage license on Friday afternoon, just a few hours after the U.S. Supreme Court backed gay marriage in a landmark 5-4 ruling.

The Roane County license was issued to two women at about 3 p.m. Friday, Roane County Clerk Barbara Anthony said. She said she can’t identify the two women.

Anthony declined to comment on the Supreme Court’s decision, which was celebrated in some circles and criticized in others.

“We just comply with the law,” Anthony said. [Read more…]