AC Chamber Council starts discussions on educational resources, workforce needs

Randy Boyd

Randy Boyd

Submitted

CLINTON—Leaders from business, local, and post-secondary education across Anderson County gathered at the Hollingsworth Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership on Tuesday for an Anderson County Workforce Development Training Resources Luncheon hosted by the Anderson County Chamber of Commerce Education and Workforce Development Council. The council plans for this to be the first of a series of in-depth county-wide discussions about how to ensure that our educational resources are focused at meeting the businesses workforce needs in Anderson County.

Randy Boyd, Governor Bill Haslam’s special adviser on higher education, spoke about Tennessee’s “Drive to 55” initiative and the five main aspects to this statewide initiative: get students ready, get them into school, get them out of school, finish what we started with adult students, and tie education directly to workforce needs.

“There are nearly a million Tennesseans that have some college credit but no degree—that’s an untapped pool of people that we can get to complete a certificate or degree,” Boyd said. [Read more...]

Oak Ridge fire chief selected to serve on state commission

Darryl Kerley

Darryl Kerley

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam has announced the appointment of Oak Ridge Fire Chief Darryl Kerley to the Commission on Firefighting Personnel Standards and Education as a representative of the Tennessee Fire Chief’s Association, the Tennessee Fire Safety Inspectors Association, and the Tennessee Fireman’s Association.

The appointment is effective immediately and runs through July 31, 2020, a press release said.

Kerley has more than 37 years’ experience in fire and emergency services, serving in various capacities for several East Tennessee agencies, including fire chief for the Seymour Volunteer Fire Department, rescue technician and diver for the Knoxville Rescue Squad, and fire chief for the U.S Department of Energy at the K-25 Gaseous Diffusion plant in Oak Ridge.

In a letter to Kerley, Haslam stated: “I consider it very important to ensure that Tennessee’s boards and commissions are filled with the most dedicated and qualified citizens. I believe your participation is certain to leave a positive impact on this board and the work it does.” [Read more...]

Oliver Springs, Rocky Top receive grants for water, sewer system improvements

Governor Bill Haslam

Bill Haslam

State officials announce 80 Community Development Block Grants

Oliver Springs received a $525,000 grant for sewer system improvements, and Rocky Top (formerly Lake City) received a $360,840 grant for water system improvements, Tennessee officials announced last week.

Oliver Springs and Rocky Top were among the Tennessee communities that will receive funding after Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam and Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty approved more than $28 million in Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) to help with infrastructure, health and safety projects, and downtown improvements, a press release said.

The Oliver Springs grant will be matched with $225,000 in local funding (for $750,000 in total funding), and the Rocky Top grant will be matched with $27,160 in local funding for a total of $388,000. [Read more...]

Lunch with League: tnAchieves paves path to higher education

Graham Thomas, tnAchieves director of community partnerships, will be the guest speaker at Lunch with the League at noon Tuesday, September 16, in the Social Hall of the Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church, located at 1500 Oak Ridge Turnpike.

tnAchieves, a partnering organization to Governor Bill Haslam’s Tennessee Promise, serves primarily first-generation, low-income students in an effort to increase this population’s likelihood of earning a college credential. While the funding provided by Tennessee Promise is critical to increased post-secondary access, tnAchieves data confirms that working with a mentor further enhances a student’s likelihood of entering the post-secondary pipeline, a press release said. In fact, the University of Tennessee’s Center for Business and Economic Research found that students participating with tnAchieves are nearly 21 percent more likely to enter college. [Read more...]

Lunch with League: tnAchieves paves path to higher education

Graham Thomas

Graham Thomas

Graham Thomas, tnAchieves director of community partnerships, will be the guest speaker at Lunch with the League at noon Tuesday, September 16, in the Social Hall of the Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church, located at 1500 Oak Ridge Turnpike.

tnAchieves, a partnering organization to Governor Bill Haslam’s Tennessee Promise, serves primarily first-generation, low-income students in an effort to increase this population’s likelihood of earning a college credential. While the funding provided by Tennessee Promise is critical to increased post-secondary access, tnAchieves data confirms that working with a mentor further enhances a student’s likelihood of entering the post-secondary pipeline, a press release said. In fact, the University of Tennessee’s Center for Business and Economic Research found that students participating with tnAchieves are nearly 21 percent more likely to enter college. [Read more...]

Gov. Haslam, Bredesen to discuss Amendment 2 at UT on Wednesday

Governor Bill Haslam

Bill Haslam

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam and former Governor Phil Bredesen will discuss a constitutional amendment that could affect the judicial system during a Wednesday celebration of Constitution Day at the University of Tennessee.

Amendment 2 to the Tennessee Constitution will be on the ballot in November. It proposes new checks and balances to the governor’s appointment of Supreme Court and intermediate appellate court judges. It also protects the rights of Tennesseans to vote to retain or replace those judges in retention elections, UT said in a press release.

Haslam and Bredesen will discuss the amendment at 2 p.m. Wednesday in the Toyota Auditorium of the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy. The discussion will be moderated by Doug Blaze, dean of UT’s College of Law.

It’s part of the Baker Center’s celebration of Constitution Day on Wednesday. Free and open to the public, the day’s events will also include: [Read more...]

Oak Ridge celebrates 200th anniversary of national anthem on Sunday

Star-Spangled Banner Day Oak Ridge

The City of Oak Ridge will celebrate the 200th anniversary of the national anthem on Sunday afternoon at the Oak Ridge Civic Center. (Submitted image)

Oak Ridge will celebrate the 200th anniversary of the national anthem on Sunday afternoon at the Oak Ridge Civic Center Amphitheater.

The Star-Spangled Banner Day celebration starts at 4:30 p.m. Sunday. The Oak Ridge Civic Center complex is located at 1403 Oak Ridge Turnpike.

A short program honoring the national anthem will begin at 4:30 p.m., and the national anthem will be sung at 5:00 p.m., a press release said.

“We’d like to invite families across Tennessee to join America’s Secret City in honoring this important national anniversary,” said Jane Miller, Oak Ridge mayor pro tem. “This will be a wonderful event as we celebrate the birthday of our national anthem and pay honor to the great United States of America.”

The event is jointly sponsored by the City of Oak Ridge, Anderson County, Roane County, the Oak Ridge Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Knoxville/Oak Ridge Staybridge Suites Hotel, and the Oak Ridge Heritage and Preservation Association. Everyone is invited to this community event, the press release said. Families are welcome to bring their own chairs and blankets to sit on. [Read more...]

New Roane State building has health science labs, high-tech classrooms

Goff Health Sciences and Technology Building

Roane State Community College officials will celebrate the new Goff Health Sciences and Technology Building during a Friday morning ribbon-cutting ceremony in Oak Ridge. Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam will be a featured guest.

 

This new $13.8 million building at Roane State Community College mixes high-tech amenities with new teaching techniques, and it eases overcrowding at the Oak Ridge campus. It adds space for health science classes and programs such as surgical technology, organic chemistry, and pharmacy technician students. It also incorporates environmentally friendly design features such as a reflective white roof, lights that adjust automatically, geothermal wells that help heat and cool the building, and rain gardens that capture storm water runoff.

The high-tech amenities include “smart dummies” that can be programmed with symptoms to train nursing students, full multimedia and wireless systems in classrooms, and more than 300 computers, including in five computer labs. There is a distance education classroom with microphones hanging from the ceiling, and an engaged learning, or “flip,” classroom, where students do homework before class and come prepared to collaborate and solve problems.

A new surgical technology program, co-sponsored with Walters State Community College, will be housed here. There is a new organic chemistry lab, and Roane State’s pharmacy technician program is moving to Oak Ridge from the college’s main campus in Harriman. There is also a “flex lab” that can be easily and quickly configured to suit the training needs of area industries. It has a high ceiling and bay door, plenty of power and conduits, and gas and ventilation.

The new three-story, 64,000-square-foot building—officially named the Goff Health Sciences and Technology Building—might be described as Melinda Hillman’s “baby.” Hillman, who is Roane State’s vice president of advancement and community relations, has spent thousands of hours during the past six years working on the project, from its inception in 2008 through the planning and fundraising stages to the end of construction. She will be among those celebrating during a Friday morning ribbon-cutting ceremony that will feature special guests, including Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam.

“It’s sort of ‘birthing a baby,’” said Hillman, who clearly has a passion for the project and hasn’t taken a vacation in a year. “I’ve worked on it so long.”

Hillman and Owen Driskill, Roane State’s director of marketing and public relations, recently led reporters on a tour of the brick-and-coated-metal building, the last expansion that the 40-acre Oak Ridge campus can accommodate. [Read more...]

Gov. Haslam in Oak Ridge on Friday for Roane State ribbon-cutting

Governor Bill Haslam

Bill Haslam

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam will be in Oak Ridge on Friday for the ribbon-cutting at the new Goff Health Sciences and Technology Building at Roane State Community College.

The ribbon-cutting is at 8:30 a.m. Friday, after the East Tennessee Economic Council meeting, which starts at 7:30 a.m. in the new Roane State building, which is at 701 Briarcliff Avenue in Oak Ridge.

The governor will also be at the ETEC meeting.

Haslam announces federal aid for 18 counties

Governor Bill Haslam

Bill Haslam

Counties receive disaster recovery funds for June flooding

NASHVILLE—Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam on Thursday announced President Obama has declared 18 counties as federal disaster areas as a result of severe weather on June 5-10. State and local governments and electrical utilities spent nearly $10 million in response to and recovery from the wind damage and flash-flooding impacts.

“This federal aid will help our communities in rebuilding and recovery,” Haslam said. “State and local teams worked quickly to survey damage in more than 35 counties to determine the impact of these storms, and we are grateful for this assistance.”

The counties that will have access to federal aid include Anderson, Bledsoe, Carroll, Decatur, Henry, Hickman, Houston, Lawrence, Lewis, Madison, Marion, Maury, McNairy, Moore, Perry, Roane, Sequatchie, and Tipton. They will have access to federal assistance that provides reimbursement for 75 percent of eligible costs. A presidential disaster declaration also includes FEMA’s hazard mitigation grant program on a statewide basis.

Three fatalities were attributed to the severe weather and flooding. Two deaths occurred in Lawrence County and another in Hickman County. [Read more...]

ThreeStar status awarded to 85 counties, including Anderson, Roane

Bill Hagerty

Bill Hagerty

Submitted

93 out of 95 counties meet audit committee requirement

NASHVILLE—The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development on Thursday announced that 85 out of 95 counties, including Anderson and Roane, have been awarded ThreeStar status. In addition, since the ThreeStar community development program began requiring eligible communities to create and maintain a County Audit Committee in January 2013, the number of counties with Audit Committees has increased substantially. As of March 2013, there were 32 audit committees around the state; as of July 2014, there are 93.

“The ThreeStar program is a vital component to our state’s overall level of success, providing counties with a proven roadmap for continued economic and community strength, which in turn helps Tennessee win new investment and jobs,” Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty said. “Tennessee has been recognized as the number one state in the nation for economic development, and these audit committees support Governor Haslam’s overarching goal of making Tennessee the most efficiently run state on every level. I congratulate all of our ThreeStar counties and those communities who are taking the initiative to create Audit Committees and work toward achieving fiscal strength and efficient government.”

The Audit Committees are designed to help each county improve their financial management and reporting practices, and help ensure the implementation of good internal controls to prevent or detect fraud, a step towards achieving fiscal strength and efficient government. [Read more...]

Alexander, Fleischmann finish first in primaries

Lamar Alexander and Johnny Alley

U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander, left, a Tennessee Republican, campaigns at Dean’s Restaurant and Bakery in Oak Ridge on Wednesday, one day before he beat Tea Party challenger Joe Carr, a state representative from Middle Tennessee, in the seven-candidate GOP primary. Alexander is pictured above with Anderson County Property Assessor Johnny Alley.

 

U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander

Lamar Alexander

Ninth District judicial race close; Supreme Court justices retained

U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander finished far ahead of a Tea Party challenger in the Republican primary on Thursday, and Representative Chuck Fleischmann narrowly beat Weston Wamp, the son of former Congressman Zach Wamp, in the second battle between the two men.

Alexander’s top opponent in the seven-candidate GOP primary was State Representative Joe Carr of Middle Tennessee. Alexander, who lost in his home district of Blount County, had 329,929 votes, compared to 269,883 for Carr, according to unofficial results posted by the Tennessee Secretary of State.

George Flinn, a Memphis radiologist and radio station owner, finished a distant third, with 34,568 votes.

Alexander, a former Tennessee governor and University of Tennessee president, will face Democrat Gordon Ball in the November 4 general election. [Read more...]