Mayor, superintendent, others participating in JMS ice bucket challenge

Thom Mason Ice Bucket Challenge

Oak Ridge National Laboratory Director Thom Mason took the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge on Wednesday afternoon. He then challenged Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Director Paul Alivisatos, and Los Alamos National Laboratory Director Charlie McMillan to do the same. Afterward, Mason said the experience was “bracing.” (Photos by Carlos Jones)


ORNL Director Mason took the challenge Wednesday

Oak Ridge Mayor Tom Beehan and Oak Ridge Schools Superintendent Bruce Borchers are participating in an ice bucket challenge at Jefferson Middle School on Friday.

Members of the JMS cross country team will administer the ice buckets.

“You are no doubt aware of the social media-fed phenomenon sweeping the nation in the past couple of weeks: the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge,” coach and JMS teacher Steve Reddick said. “As of today, the challenge has raised $41 million. Many of us have received challenges from friends and foes alike, and we’ve decided to stage a Mega-Ice Bucket Challenge at 4:15 p.m. after cross country practice tomorrow (Friday).” [Read more...]

Nineteen candidates for Oak Ridge City Council, School Board

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Note: This story was last updated at 2 p.m.

Ten candidates have qualified to run for Oak Ridge City Council in the November 4 municipal election, and there are nine candidates for Oak Ridge Board of Education—a total of 19 candidates.

It’s the largest field of candidates in recent memory, and it’s not immediately clear when, or if, there has been a field as large.

The deadline to qualify as a candidate in this fall’s municipal elections in Anderson County was noon Thursday.

There is a mix of incumbents and newcomers in Oak Ridge, Clinton, Rocky Top (Lake City), Norris, and Oliver Springs.

Oak Ridge

In Oak Ridge, two incumbents, including Mayor Tom Beehan and Mayor Pro Tem Jane Miller, are not seeking re-election. Meanwhile, the other two incumbents whose terms expire this November, Anne Garcia Garland and David Mosby, are running for another four-year term.

In addition to Garcia Garland and Mosby, the other Oak Ridge City Council candidates are:

  • Kelly Callison,
  • R.G. “Rick” Chinn,
  • Warren L. Gooch,
  • Gary L. Love,
  • Pedro J. Otaduy,
  • Aditya “Doc” Savara,
  • Ellen D. Smith, and
  • Eric Tobler.

[Read more...]

Updated: Man charged, waives extradition in Corwin death

Christopher Lee

Christopher Lee (Photos courtesy San Bernardino County (California) Sheriff’s Department)

Note: This story was last updated at 9:30 p.m.

Information from WYSH Radio

The man arrested for killing a woman originally from Oak Ridge and dumping her body in a southern California mine shaft has been charged in her murder.

Christopher Brandon Lee, 24, was arrested Sunday night in Alaska in the death of 19-year-old Erin Corwin. The charges were announced Tuesday by the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s office in California, which also filed what is called a special circumstance allegation of “lying in wait,” increasing the potential penalty to life without parole or death.

The decision on which penalty to seek will be made after prosecutors review all the evidence in the case.

Authorities also said Tuesday that Lee had been looking into how to dispose of a human body. Investigators also say .22-caliber fired casings and rebar were recovered with the body of Corwin and that the head stamp from the casings matched those on casings found in Lee’s vehicle and residence. [Read more...]

TBI: Roane officers justified in using deadly force

Information from WYSH Radio

An investigation by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has concluded that the shooting of an armed burglary suspect in Harriman on Tuesday was justified. Officers shot and killed 28-year-old Miranda Michelle Guy inside her home on Fairchild Street on Tuesday afternoon.

According to a joint press release from District Attorney General Russell Johnson, the Roane County Sheriff’s Office, and the Harriman Police Department, Guy pointed a handgun at the officers and was advancing on one of them when they opened fire. The preliminary autopsy showed that Guy was hit multiple times in her right arm, which was holding the gun, and her front torso.

Officials said that while a Harriman Police Department officer was speaking to witnesses of a burglary at a storage building in South Harriman, a white pickup truck drove by that the witnesses identified as the vehicle that the suspect in the break-in had been driving. The release said the officer could see items in the bed of the truck that matched the description of some of the stolen items. The officer ordered the truck to stop, but the driver, who was identified as Guy, sped up and drove away.

The officer started a pursuit, which was joined by a HPD investigator and two Roane County Sheriff’s Department deputies. The four officers followed Guy to her house, where they saw her run inside. The officers split up, with two going to the back of the house while the other two followed Guy inside through the front door. [Read more...]

Woman accused of pointing gun at officers charged with aggravated assault

Anna King

Anna King

The Jonathan Lane woman who allegedly pointed a pistol at Oak Ridge police officers before they fired four shots at her was arrested on Tuesday night on three counts of aggravated assault, authorities said.

Anna Marie King, 46, remained jailed at the Anderson County Detention Facility in Clinton on Thursday morning. Her bond has been set at $50,000.

Officers were dispatched to 123 Jonathan Lane just before midnight on August 2 for a welfare check on King. Her boyfriend reported that she was depressed and threatening to shoot herself, Oak Ridge Police Department Detective Kevin Craig said in affidavits filed in Anderson County General Sessions Court.

The boyfriend also said there were weapons in the home, Craig said.

Three ORPD officers—Leslie Miller, Field Training Officer Christopher Carden, and Kenneth Prickett—responded. They said they confronted King in her front yard, and she was holding a handgun to her throat and head, according to the warrants. [Read more...]

Snappy Tomato Pizza closing Friday

Snappy Tomato Pizza

After almost four years in Oak Ridge, Snappy Tomato Pizza in central Oak Ridge is closing Friday.


After almost four years in Oak Ridge, Snappy Tomato Pizza will close Friday, the owners said Thursday.

“We have really tried to hang on; however, things appear to continue to go downhill for us both financially and personally,” franchise owners Frances Gross and her daughters Misty Gross Robbins and Cindi Robbins said in a message to supporters and the Oak Ridge community. “Unfortunately, the sales have not been what we need to keep the business going while the new and upcoming retail centers continue to draw business toward the other end of town.”

The family said they have struggled during the past two years grieving the loss of their son and brother Robert Gross Jr., who was also a co-owner but died in August 2012, and battling with cancer surgery and extensive radiation treatments for husband and father Robert Gross Sr.

Now, they’re facing cancer again, only with a more radical surgery, the family said. In a telephone interview Thursday morning, Frances Gross said the last year has taken a toll on the family, and they’ve struggled to stay busy as new restaurants have opened across town, drawing customers away. [Read more...]

ORPD: Intoxicated man poses as ORHS student

William Edward Lay

William Edward Lay

A 25-year-old Sunbright man who was intoxicated tried to “pass himself off” as an Oak Ridge High School student in at least two classrooms last week, the first week of school, before being stopped in a second floor hallway during a class change, authorities said.

William Edward Lay had obtained a student’s classroom schedule, but he had no identification and continuously gave School Resource Officer Sherrill Selby the wrong birth date, Social Security number, and other identifying information, according to arrest warrants filed in Anderson County General Sessions Court.

Selby, an Oak Ridge Police Department officer, said Lay was unsteady on his feet and fell into the wall several times. She had been called to investigate a report of a suspicious male walking around and into classrooms at ORHS.

“Defendant’s eyes were red and glassy looking,” Selby said. [Read more...]

Community forum: Not in Our Town

Valerie Hughes

Valerie Hughes

The founder and executive director of an Oak Ridge chapter of the national Not In Our Town organization will be the featured speaker at a community forum in September.

The “Not in Our Town” presentation by Valerie Holland Hughes will start at 11 a.m. Monday, September 8, at Grace Covenant Church. It’s sponsored by the Women’s Interfaith Dialogue.

Grace Covenant Church is at 320 Robertsville Road in Oak Ridge.

Hughes began working to establish the Oak Ridge group just over a year ago, a press release said. Her goal has been to ensure that Oak Ridge is a community that models “safety, acceptance, and inclusion as an effective method to address hatred, bullying, and violence.”

The press release said Hughes and NIOT members in Oak Ridge traveled to Billings, Montana, birthplace of the movement 20 years ago, to attend a national gathering of NIOT chapters from June 20-24. [Read more...]

Mayor Beehan won’t seek re-election to City Council

Tom Beehan and Gary Wade

Oak Ridge Mayor Tom Beehan, left, is pictured above earlier this month with Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Gary Wade at Razzleberry’s Ice Cream Lab and Kitchen. Beehan will not seek re-election to Oak Ridge City Council in November.


Oak Ridge Mayor Tom Beehan, who has served on the City Council since 2001, will not seek re-election in November.

Beehan said he has been considering whether to run “for some time,” and he announced his decision to not seek re-election on Wednesday. Before making the decision, Beehan said, he wanted to be sure that quality candidates with a vision for the city’s future were ready to run.

“It’s clear that there are candidates who have the vision and ability to serve the community on City Council,” Beehan said in a press release. “I have enjoyed serving Oak Ridge as mayor and as a City Council member, but I think it is time for new leadership to take a fresh look at moving Oak Ridge forward.”

Beehan said he has spent 20 years as an elected official in local government in Oak Ridge and in Covington, Kentucky—before his family moved to Oak Ridge.

“I consider this a retirement from public service as an elected official, but I plan to continue to be engaged in community activities,” Beehan said. [Read more...]

Habitat for Humanity selling building, plans to relocate

Habitat for Humanity of Anderson County ReStore

The Habitat for Humanity of Anderson County ReStore is located in Grove Center.


Habitat for Humanity of Anderson County is selling its building in Grove Center, and officials said they want to move into a more economical facility.

“We have a 70-year-old building, and the cost to maintain the property hinders us in fulfilling the Habitat mission,” the nonprofit organization’s board of directors said in a statement. “Habitat for Humanity International recommends not owning real estate, with the exception of properties on which to build houses.”

The board said many customers have been concerned because they have seen the “For Sale” sign on the Habitat ReStore and office in Grove Center.

“We are not going out of business!” the board said. [Read more...]

NAACP has candlelight memorial service for shooting victims

The Oak Ridge and Anderson County chapter of the NAACP will have a candlelight memorial service on Wednesday night to remember the young men and women who have died unnecessarily after being shot in American cities, a press release said.

The memorial service will start at 9 p.m. Wednesday in front of the area maintained by the Scarboro Community Neighborhood Watch at Wilberforce and Benedict avenues. It’s been organized by the NAACP Oak Ridge/Anderson County Branch #5607, and it comes less than two weeks after the death of Michael Brown, 18, an unarmed black teenager who was shot by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, sparking daily protests and tense standoffs.

“These young men and women had the potential of becoming the finest citizens in this great country, but their lives abruptly ended by the action of a gunman,” the press release said. “The tragedy in Missouri serves as a prime example, that we the people of God need to always pray for justice and peace in this United States of America.”

“Please bring a candle,” said the press release, sent by Rose Weaver on behalf of The Rev. Walter Ghosten, president of the Oak Ridge/Anderson County NAACP Unit. “Area ministers will be present.”

Woman escapes injury, drives away from fake officer with knife

Anderson County Sheriff Logo

A 49-year-old woman escaped injury on Monday night when she drove away from a man who pretended to be a police officer but pulled a knife after stopping her on Yarnell Road near Clinton, authorities said.

It’s the second report of a police impersonator in Anderson County this month.

The woman was pulled over by the man at about 9:45 p.m. Monday on Yarnell Road off East Wolf Valley Road, Anderson County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Mark Lucas said.

“He approached the victim and asked for her driver’s license,” Lucas said. “He then pulled a knife, and she immediately drove away and called 911.”

In this case, the descriptions of both the suspect and his car are different from the previous incident. The suspect in the Monday night incident was described as a white male in his mid- or late-20s to mid-30s, six feet tall, 200 pounds, clean-shaven, with a muscular build and short dark brown hair. He reportedly spoke with a soft voice. The suspect was well-dressed wearing dark civilian clothing (not a uniform) and had a badge on his belt. The victim did not see a firearm, Lucas said. [Read more...]