Merchants frustrated with progress at Jackson Square; protest sign posted

Jackson Square Parking Lot Renovations Sign

There has been some frustration among merchants at Jackson Square about not being able to use the partially paved parking lot while they wait for renovations to be completed. This protest sign saying “Free Our Parking Lot!!” was posted on Wednesday.

 

Merchants have grown frustrated with the pace of renovations at Jackson Square, and on Wednesday a protest sign was posted. “Free Our Parking Lot!” said the sign, which has since been removed.

For now, the parking lot inside Jackson Square remains closed off behind construction fencing as work continues on a $1 million renovation mostly funded by a state grant awarded in 2012.

But merchants wonder why they can’t use the parking lot since it was used for the Lavender Festival on June 20.

Compounding their frustration is the closure of the lower parking lot at Blankenship Field. It’s one of two lots on the north side of Broadway Avenue and Jackson Square. Employees at nearby businesses who used to park in the Blankenship Field lot are now using the second lot, the one used by the Farmers Market, reducing the parking spaces available there, one merchant said.

The Blankenship Field work, which was approved by the Oak Ridge City Council in June, is also causing concern for the Farmers Market. The Farmer Market’s vendors set up in the second parking lot on Wednesday afternoons and Saturday mornings, and they now don’t have parking available at either the Blankenship Field lot or inside the Jackson Square lot. [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…]

Anderson County teachers disappointed as commissioners delay vote on budget, pay raise

Anderson County Budget Committee and Rachel Minardo, Chris Phillips, and Connie Aytes

Rachel Minardo, right, a first-grade teacher at Claxton Elementary School and president of the Anderson County Education Association, asks for a 4 percent pay raise for county teachers and school staff during a May 28 public hearing on the county budget. Also pictured are Chris Phillips, left, director of accounts and budgets for Anderson County, and Connie Aytes, deputy budget director.

 

CLINTON—Anderson County teachers were disappointed as they watched county commissioners postpone a vote on the budget and a possible 4 percent pay raise on Tuesday.

But they’ll be back on Monday, June 29, for the next meeting of the Anderson County Commission, said Rachel Minardo, a first-grade teacher at Claxton Elementary School and president of the Anderson County Education Association.

It’s not clear if the 16-member Commission will agree to fund the school system’s request for a 4 percent raise for all teachers and staff. That’s what the Anderson County Board of Education unanimously recommended last month. The request could require the equivalent of an 18-cent increase in the property tax rate.

But during debate over proposed pay raises for some county employees on Tuesday, several commissioners said they want to be consistent and fair to all workers. [Read more…]

State announces $347K grant to improve sidewalks in Norris

TDOT Norris Grant

Among those pictured above during a TDOT grant ceremony in Norris on Friday are, third from left, Senator Randy McNally, an Oak Ridge Republican; Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam, fourth from left; Norris Mayor Chris Mitchell; Representative Dennis Powers, a Jacksboro Republican; and partially obscured, Representative John Ragan, an Oak Ridge Republican. (Photo courtesy TDOT via Facebook)

 

NORRIS—Tennessee officials announced Friday that they have awarded a $347,760 transportation alternative grant to the city of Norris for a project known as East Norris Sidewalk Improvements.

The grant was announced by Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam and Tennessee Department of Transportation Commissioner John Schroer during a Friday visit to East Tennessee that also includes stops in Rockwood and Knoxville.

The Norris project includes a six-foot-wide concrete trail starting at the intersection of East Norris Road and Dairy Pond Road extending approximately 2,000 feet to Andersonville Highway, a press release said. At the end of the trail, two crosswalks will be constructed to provide pedestrians with safe access to Sycamore Place and a nearby shopping center. The project will join existing sidewalks along East Norris Road, providing the final connection to area schools, recreational facilities, the local business district, and shopping. [Read more…]

Haslam to announce grants in Norris, Rockwood, Knoxville on Friday

Bill Haslam during Presidential Visit at Pellissippi State

Governor Bill Haslam is pictured above during a visit by President Barack Obama at Pellissippi State Community College on Friday, January 9. (File photo by Rob Welton)

 

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam will announce grants during stops in Norris, Rockwood, and Knoxville on Friday.

The first stop is in Rockwood at 9:15 a.m. Friday, June 19. The governor will announce a Tennessee Department of Transportation grant at 1360 Pumphouse Road in Rockwood.

The second stop is in Norris at 10:40 a.m. Friday. The governor will announce another TDOT grant at the Pavilion across the street from the Norris Museum, 1 Norris Square.

The last stop is at 1100 Liberty Street in Knoxville at 12:35 p.m. During that stop, Haslam will announce a grant at Tennessee College of Applied Technology-Knoxville.

Emory Valley Early Learning Center receives ‘Gold Sneaker’ designation

In front row, left to right, are Nina Vasquez, Kwan Davis, Brock Smith, and Tommy Meredith. In back, from left to right, are Patty Campbell, Anderson County Health Department nutritionist; Terry Frank, Anderson County mayor; Terry Peek, director of the Emory Valley Early Learning Center; and Jennifer Enderson, president of the Emory Valley Center. (Photo courtesy of Anderson County Health Department)

In front row, left to right, are Nina Vasquez, Kwan Davis, Brock Smith, and Tommy Meredith. In back, from left to right, are Patty Campbell, Anderson County Health Department nutritionist; Terry Frank, Anderson County mayor; Terry Peek, director of the Emory Valley Early Learning Center; and Jennifer Enderson, president of the Emory Valley Center. (Photo courtesy of Anderson County Health Department)

 

The Emory Valley Early Learning Center in Oak Ridge recently completed all requirements to be considered a “Gold Sneaker” facility by the State of Tennessee.

And on June 10, Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank and employees of the Anderson County Health Department presented Emory Valley Learning Center with its Gold Sneaker incentives. The Gold Sneaker Initiative designation, developed by the Tennessee Department of Health, is an enhanced certification for daycares in Tennessee and requires that these centers maintain rigorous standards of physical activity, nutrition, and a tobacco-free campus, a press release said.

“The team at Emory Valley Center was so proud of their recognition, as they should be,” Frank said in the press release. “A focus on health and wellness during the early years is assuredly an investment in a healthy adulthood. I congratulate their wonderful team’s hard work and commitment meeting the standards of the governor and the Department of Health.” [Read more…]

Report: Haslam in Norris on Friday

Bill Haslam during Presidential Visit at Pellissippi State

Governor Bill Haslam is pictured above during a visit by President Barack Obama at Pellissippi State Community College on Friday, January 9. (File photo by Rob Welton)

 

Information from WYSH Radio

According to the Norris Bulletin, Governor Bill Haslam will be in Norris on Friday to announce that the city has been awarded a $347,000 grant by the Tennessee Department of Transportation to build a new sidewalk along East Norris from Dairy Pond Road to the intersection with Highway 61.

The grant will also provide financing for a new crosswalk that will permit easier pedestrian traffic and easier access to the existing retail shops on the other side of the highway.

Officials told the Bulletin that a significant amount of preliminary engineering and design work will be required before construction on the project can begin and said it is likely that no actual work would begin for at least a year. [Read more…]

Oak Ridge, Clinton teachers appointed to first Governor’s Teacher Cabinet

Cathy Ginel

Cathy Ginel

Teachers in Oak Ridge and Clinton have been selected to serve on the first Governor’s Teacher Cabinet.

The Oak Ridge teacher, Cathy Ginel, is a seventh-grade science teacher at Robertsville Middle School. The Clinton teacher, Abbey Kidwell, is a fourth-grade teacher at South Clinton Elementary School.

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam announced the appointment of the 18 teachers to the cabinet on Tuesday.

The cabinet will meet quarterly with Haslam and Education Commissioner Candice McQueen to share real-time information from the classroom, give advice on policy considerations, and provide a direct line of communication to schools and communities, a press release said. [Read more…]

Education: A path out of poverty

Chris Whaley

Chris Whaley

“Education: A Path out of Poverty,” will be the theme of an interfaith luncheon at First Presbyterian Church of Oak Ridge at noon on June 5. Chris Whaley, president of Roane State Community College, will be the guest speaker.

The cost of the noon luncheon is $5, payable at the door. The luncheon is open to the public.

Admission to the talk is free. To make a reservation, call the church office at (865) 482-1318 or send an email to [email protected].

In the international development community, it is well-known that education is one of the most effective ways to improve the economic growth and potential of a country, a press release said. UNESCO reports that an additional year of schooling will raise income by 10 percent. [Read more…]

Roane State participating in prestigious Achieving the Dream National Reform Network

Chris Whaley

Chris Whaley

Roane State Community College is now a part of the Achieving the Dream National Reform Network, becoming one of the first community colleges in Tennessee selected for this nationwide network working to improve student success.

The Achieving the Dream National Reform Network includes more than 200 community colleges. The network is led by Achieving the Dream Inc., a national nonprofit considered one of the most comprehensive, non-governmental education reform organizations in the country.

“We are honored to participate in the Achieving the Dream National Reform Network,” Roane State President Chris Whaley said. “Through our participation in the network, we will learn evidence-based best practices from other colleges and from the network’s team of experts. Participation in Achieving the Dream gives us an opportunity to learn from the best, and to bring those ideas to Roane State to help our students succeed.” [Read more…]

UT: Expertise in materials science, additive manufacturing helps draw CVMR to Tenn.

Michael Hargett and Kamran Khoza of CVMR USA

CVMR President Michael Hargett, left, and Kamran Khozan, chairman and chief executive officer, joined local, state, and federal officials on Friday, March 13, to announce they’re moving company headquarters from Toronto to Oak Ridge, investing $313 million and adding 620 jobs.

 

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam and Economic and Community Development Commissioner Randy Boyd announced last week that CVMR Corporation is relocating its global headquarters to Oak Ridge from Toronto, Canada. CVMR provides materials for additive manufacturing and announced it will create 620 jobs.

During recruitment of CVMR, University of Tennessee officials assisted the state and hosted the company at UT Knoxville to visit with engineering and chemistry faculty and learn about graduate programs, such as the Bredesen Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Graduate Education, as well as internships and co-ops for students, a press release said. UT System officials provided information about technology transfer, the UT Research Foundation, and Cherokee Farm Innovation Campus. CVMR also learned more about the University’s role in leading the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation, or IACMI, a $259 million partnership announced by President Barack Obama in January. [Read more…]

Metal powder manufacturing company investing $313 million in Oak Ridge, adding 620 jobs

Michael Hargett and Kamran Khoza of CVMR USA

CVMR President Michael Hargett, left, and Kamran Khozan, chairman and chief executive officer, joined local, state, and federal officials on Friday to announce they’re moving company headquarters from Toronto to Oak Ridge, investing $313 million and adding 620 jobs.

 

Note: This story was last updated at 12 a.m.

A company that manufactures high-purity metal powders and super alloys is moving its operations to Oak Ridge from Toronto, Canada, and investing $313 million here and creating 620 jobs, officials said Friday.

CVMR, which has operations in 18 countries, will use the former Theragenics building at Horizon Center in west Oak Ridge for its headquarters and research and development. The company closed on that building, which is on 21 acres, on Friday, but executives declined to disclose the sale price.

The first employee was hired Thursday, said Kamran Khozan, chairman and chief executive officer of CVMR (USA) Incorporated.

The company could expand that 65,000-square-foot building; infrastructure that is already in place allows it to be doubled. The company could put 218 people to work right away in its new headquarters and add 402 high-paying manufacturing jobs later, a state official said.

“I can promise you that this is the start of a wave,” said Randy Boyd, the new commissioner of Tennessee Economic and Community Development. [Read more…]