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...]

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...]

Thursday deadline to qualify for municipal elections across Anderson County

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Thursday is the deadline to qualify for municipal elections across Anderson County, and so far, there appears to be a mix of incumbents and newcomers in Oak Ridge, Clinton, Rocky Top (Lake City), Norris, and Oliver Springs.

Eleven people, including the four incumbents, have expressed an interest in running for four seats on Oak Ridge City Council in November, and seven candidates have qualified so far.

Meanwhile, three people, including one incumbent, have qualified to run for three seats on the Oak Ridge Board of Education. A total of nine potential candidates, including the three who have qualified, have picked up petitions to run for Oak Ridge school board.

The November 4 election is the last in a series of three elections this year. The deadline to qualify is noon Thursday, August 21. A candidate needs 25 verified signatures on a nomination petition to qualify.

Those who have qualified to run for Oak Ridge City Council are: [Read more...]

President declares disaster for Tennessee, including Anderson, Roane

Passtime Garage Storm Damage

Passtime Garage on South Main Street in Clinton was damaged by a fast-moving storm and severe winds in early June. (Photo courtesy WYSH Radio/WGAP Radio)

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency announced Wednesday that federal disaster aid has been made available to the state of Tennessee to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the area affected by severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds and flooding from June 5-10.

The action by President Barack Obama makes federal funding available to state and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds, and flooding in Anderson, Bledsoe, Carroll, Decatur, Henry, Hickman, Houston, Lawrence, Lewis, Madison, Marion, Maury, McNairy, Moore, Perry, Roane, Sequatchie, and Tipton counties, officials said.

Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide, FEMA said in a press release.

W. Michael Moore has been named as the federal coordinating officer for federal recovery operations in the affected area. Moore said additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further damage assessments. [Read more...]

Pioneer man faces vehicular homicide charge in fatal crash on Hwy 61

Shawn Earl Wright

Shawn Earl Wright

A Pioneer man has been arrested on a half-dozen charges, including vehicular homicide, for the October death of an Oneida man in a crash on Highway 61 at the on-ramp to I-75 North in Clinton.

Christopher Strunk, 32, of Oneida, died in the fatal crash on Friday morning, October 4. The Clinton Police Department reported that Strunk was a passenger in a Honda Civic driven by Shawn Wright, now 27, of Pioneer, WYSH Radio in Clinton reported at the time.

Wright now faces six charges: vehicular homicide, criminally negligent homicide, reckless aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, reckless driving, and failure to stop at a red light. He was indicted by an Anderson County grand jury on August 5 and arrested Tuesday. He remained jailed in the Anderson County Detention Facility in Clinton early Wednesday afternoon. [Read more...]

Toddler hospitalized after apparently falling into swimming pool

Note: This story was updated at 12:26 p.m.

A toddler who apparently fell into a swimming pool on Tuesday morning reportedly remained in an intensive care unit in Knoxville, authorities said.

The Clinton police and fire departments were dispatched to a home on Melton Hill Circle in Clinton at about 8:40 a.m. Tuesday, the Clinton Police Department said in a statement.

“A 911 caller told dispatchers that a two-and-half-year-old boy had, apparently, fallen into a swimming pool,” the statement said.

The CPD said the boy was first transported to Methodist Medical Center in Oak Ridge.

“At last report, the child remained in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at East Tennessee Childrens Hospital in Knoxville,” the statement said.

More information will be added as it becomes available.

Clinton’s Scarbrough named ‘Police Chief of the Year’

Clinton Police Chief Rick Scarbrough

Rick Scarbrough

Information from WYSH Radio

Clinton Police Chief Rick Scarbrough has been named the 2014 “Police Chief of The Year” by the Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police.

The award was presented Friday night during an awards banquet at the 44th Annual TACP Conference. The event was held at the Marriott Hotel in Chattanooga.

The association is made up of chiefs and command staffs throughout the state.

Scarbrough was selected by his peers to receive the honor.

Clinton gives land to SL Tennessee for expansion, will receive fire station donation

SL Tennessee

SL Tennessee is on Frank L. Diggs Drive in the Clinton I-75 Industrial Park.

Note: This story was updated at 2:30 p.m. July 29.

CLINTON—The Clinton City Council voted unanimously Monday to make an exchange with SL Tennessee.

SL Tennessee was given more than 52 acres after the auto parts manufacturer announced plans to invest $80.5 million to build a 250,000-square-foot plant in the Clinton I-75 Industrial Park. The building, SL Tennessee’s fifth expansion since locating in Clinton in 2001, will manufacture automobile headlights and tail lamps for General Motors.

In exchange, after construction is complete, the company will donate between $200,000 and $250,000 to the city to build a new fire station in the industrial park.

Anderson County Economic Development Association Director Tim Thompson approached the council during a special-called meeting Monday morning to propose the deal. No one from the public came forward to speak on the proposal. [Read more...]

Clinton Council considers land transfer to SL Tennessee

The Clinton City Council will have a special meeting at 9 a.m. Monday. Agenda items include the transfer of 52 acres in the Clinton I-75 Industrial Park to SL Tennessee. The South Korean auto parts manufacturer announced an $80.5 million expansion that could generate 1,000 new jobs.

The details of the land transfer are expected to be finalized on Monday.

This special-called meeting will take the place of the regular meeting scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Monday.

“The public is invited to attend the meeting, and will be heard,” Clinton Mayor Scott Burton said.

State, SL Tennessee announce 1,000 new jobs in Clinton

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CLINTON—Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty, along with SL Tennessee LLC officials, announced Friday that the company will build a new 250,000 square foot building to join its two existing facilities in the Clinton/I-75 Industrial Park, a Select Tennessee Certified Site. The South Korean automotive parts manufacturer will invest $80.5 million and create 1,000 new jobs in Anderson County. Located in Clinton since 2001, this will be the company’s fifth expansion.

“I want to congratulate SL Tennessee on its latest expansion and thank the company for the 1,000 new jobs created in Clinton,” Haslam said. “SL Tennessee has been an outstanding corporate citizen in Anderson County for nearly 15 years, and we are grateful to the company for bringing us one step closer to our goal of making Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs.”

“Tennessee has the greatest concentration of automotive industry employment in the South and with the addition of 1,000 new jobs from today’s announcement, we continue to build on this momentum,” Hagerty said. “Upon completion of this project, SL Tennessee will more than double its workforce, making it the largest employer in Clinton and one of the largest in Anderson County. I appreciate SL Tennessee’s continued investment in our state and for providing quality jobs to our citizens.”

This is the second 1,000 plus jobs announcement in the past two weeks in the automotive sector. Last week, Volkswagen announced a $600 million investment in Tennessee and 2,000 new jobs being created in Chattanooga. [Read more...]

Atlanta burglary suspect jailed after high-speed police chase, CPD says

Victor Allen Webb

Victor Allen Webb

A 26-year-old Georgia man remained in jail on Saturday after a high-speed police chase on Friday that started in Clinton and ended between Oak Ridge and Oliver Springs, authorities said.

The suspect, Victor Allen Webb of Atlanta, is facing charges in connection with at least two local home burglaries, the Clinton Police Department said in a press release.

On Friday morning, a CPD officer on special neighborhood patrol spotted the suspect vehicle near the scene of burglaries this week, the release said.

“I had asked Patrolman Brian Galloway to keep an eye on homes in the western end of Clinton between Charles G. Seivers Boulevard and the river, due to recent burglaries,” Clinton Police Chief Rick Scarbrough said. “When officer Galloway attempted to stop the white Kia, instead of stopping, the suspect continued on.”

Reports indicate that the pursuit continued through parts of Oak Ridge, finally ending on Oliver Springs Highway (Highway 61), the CPD said. [Read more...]

Letter: Sheriff vows to continue crime-fighting, make county safer place

Paul White

Paul White

To the Editor:

Since I was first elected in 2006, the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department has implemented many changes and programs to better serve the citizens of Anderson County.

The Sheriff’s Department was reorganized to be more efficient and more effective. Emphasis has been placed on enforcement for the prevention, detection, and investigation of crimes. This reorganization has placed more deputies on patrol and investigating crimes, resulting in more arrests and crimes solved.

We have focused the efforts of the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department on drug enforcement and in reducing property crimes such as burglary and theft. These efforts have paid off as overall crime numbers have fallen and are continuing to decrease.

Crime prevention programs such as Neighborhood Watch were reinstated and a dedicated crime prevention officer works hand-in-hand with the community to help in reducing crime. [Read more...]