Alexander Inn, Family Pride to receive historic preservation award

Guest House Senior Living Concept

Artist concept of the Guest House/Alexander Inn Senior Living Center. (Images courtesy ORHPA)

The company converting a historic two-story hotel in Jackson Square into an assisted living center will receive a historic preservation award on Thursday. The award presentation will be held at the front door of the Guest House/Alexander Inn at 12:30 p.m. Thursday.

“When Rick Dover and Family Pride acquired the property in May 2013, it was in total disrepair,” a press release said. “A $6 million investment will restore this beloved icon to its former glory.”

“We’re going to faithfully restore this building to its original look, from the soda-fountain bar in the lobby to the beautiful wide porch out front,” Dover said.

The building is on the National Register of Historic Places and is included as part of the proposed new Manhattan Project National Historical Park in Oak Ridge. It’s been removed from an annual list of endangered places in East Tennessee published by the East Tennessee Preservation Alliance.

Top military leaders and scientists once stayed at the Alexander Inn. The renovation by Family Pride started in July 2013, the culmination of a years-long preservation effort. [Read more...]

Food, music at Taste of Oak Ridge to benefit Free Medical Clinic

Taste of Oak Ridge

 

The format will be the same, but this year’s Taste of Oak Ridge will be held at the new Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church on Oak Ridge Turnpike—instead of in Jackson Square. It was moved because organizers weren’t sure when construction work might start on a revitalization project at Jackson Square.

Taste of Oak Ridge features food from Oak Ridge restaurants and performances by local musicians.

The sixth annual festival, scheduled from 4 to 10 p.m. Saturday, will raise money to benefit the Free Medical Clinic of Oak Ridge. The Free Medical Clinic provides free medical care to residents of Anderson, Roane, and Morgan counties who don’t have insurance and can’t afford to pay for care.

Area restaurants will showcase some of their finest food in small portions. The price range for the “tastes” from each vendor will be $1 to $4 per item. Tickets will be available for purchase at entrances to the event. Attendees can buy as many tickets as they want for $1 each. In addition, beer and wine will be available to buy.

This year’s Taste of Oak Ridge will be held in the parking lot of the Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church at its new address at 809 Oak Ridge Turnpike, north of the Joe L. Evins Federal Building. [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...]

Letter: Rice wants to cut taxes, recruit high-tech jobs, push for tourism

Kevin Rice

Kevin Rice

To the Editor:

I am Kelvin Rice, your candidate for Anderson County Commission District 7. My parents M.L. and Mary Sue Rice moved to Oak Ridge in 1943, and I was raised on Georgia Avenue. As a lifelong resident of Oak Ridge, I have enjoyed being a part of America’s Secret City.

I attended Cedar Hill, Elm Grove, and Jefferson Junior High School. I graduated from Oak Ridge High School in 1979. I previously worked at Armstrong Rubber Company as a drop mill operator and then went to Atlas Van Lines as a truck driver. I have served our community as a reserve deputy at the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department and have served on the Anderson County Jail committee.

I now serve on the Anderson County Beer Board. I enjoy volunteering as our Neighborhood Watch block captain and serve as the district leader for the Watch Group in the Jackson Square area. Trying to stay involved in many areas of our community, I am a member of the Oak Ridge Quarterback Club, Football Boosters, and the Underage Drinking Task Force.

One of the main goals I will strive toward as your next commissioner is to cut taxes. I would encourage our city and county to recruit high-tech jobs, encourage small businesses to locate in our area, and push for tourism that would not only benefit our restaurants and businesses but would also help our hotel industry. The tourism in the city and county is abundant; added attractions would be beneficial to the city in many ways. [Read more...]

Photos: Lavender Festival

Lavender Festival Overview

The 16th annual Lavender Festival was Saturday in Jackson Square in Oak Ridge. The Oak Ridge FARM Market is in the foreground, and the festival is in the background. (Photos by Ray Smith)

 

The 16th Annual Lavender Festival was on Saturday in Jackson Square in Oak Ridge. The herb fair included more than 100 vendors, exhibits, and demonstrations featuring products and information related to gardening, cooking, health, aromatherapy, and all things herbal. 

Throughout the square, vendors offered live plants, herbs, art, crafts, herbal products, jewelry, baskets, pottery, wooden utensils, and more. Sample foods made with herbs were available, and there was also grilling with herb demonstrations by local chefs.

The Oak Ridge FARM Market was open across the street from the festival, local musicians were featured throughout the day, and children’s activities were available.

Vendors said they were very busy at the well-attended festival on Saturday morning. An afternoon storm dampened the activities, but many festival-goers continued to shop and enjoy the music. [Read more...]

Lavender Festival in Jackson Square

The 16th Annual Lavender Festival will be held on Saturday, June 21, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Oak Ridge’s Historic Jackson Square. This herb fair is a perennial favorite of folks from all around and focuses on all that is fresh, healthy, and good for the body and soul.

The Lavender Festival transforms Jackson Square into a hub of activity, information, fun, and of course, lavender. More than 100 vendors, exhibits, and demonstrations will offer products and information related to gardening, cooking, health, aromatherapy, and all things herbal.

The Lavender Festival doesn’t just celebrate lavender. It also features the International Herb Association’s “Herb of the Year,” which this year is Artemisia. Artemesia isn’t just one herb, but a species which includes Tarragon, Mugwort, Wormwood, and Sweet Annie. Gardeners, cooks, and nature enthusiasts can be sure to find useful information about how to use Artemesia in healthy and beautiful ways. Visit the booth in front of the Jackson Square fountain to learn more about Artemesia this year.

Throughout the square, vendors will be offering all varieties of live plants, herbs, art, crafts, herbal products, jewelry, baskets, pottery, wooden utensils, and more. Sample foods made with herbs will be available from 9 to 11 a.m., with grilling with herb demonstrations by local chefs from 1 to 3 p.m. [Read more...]

Reminder: Lavender Festival on Saturday

Lavender Festival

The 16th Annual Lavender Festival will be held on Saturday, June 21, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Oak Ridge’s Historic Jackson Square. This herb fair is a perennial favorite of folks from all around and focuses on all that is fresh, healthy, and good for the body and soul.

The Lavender Festival transforms Jackson Square into a hub of activity, information, fun, and of course, lavender. More than 100 vendors, exhibits, and demonstrations will offer products and information related to gardening, cooking, health, aromatherapy, and all things herbal.

The Lavender Festival doesn’t just celebrate lavender. It also features the International Herb Association’s “Herb of the Year,” which this year is Artemisia. Artemesia isn’t just one herb, but a species which includes Tarragon, Mugwort, Wormwood, and Sweet Annie. Gardeners, cooks, and nature enthusiasts can be sure to find useful information about how to use Artemesia in healthy and beautiful ways. Visit the booth in front of the Jackson Square fountain to learn more about Artemesia this year.

Throughout the square, vendors will be offering all varieties of live plants, herbs, art, crafts, herbal products, jewelry, baskets, pottery, wooden utensils, and more. Sample foods made with herbs will be available from 9 to 11 a.m., with grilling with herb demonstrations by local chefs from 1 to 3 p.m. [Read more...]

Lavender Festival Herb Luncheon

The 16th Annual Lavender Festival will be held on Saturday, June 21, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Oak Ridge’s Historic Jackson Square. This herb fair is a perennial favorite of folks from all around and focuses on all that is fresh, healthy, and good for the body and soul.

An Herb Luncheon will be held the day before the festival, on Friday, June 20, under the festival tent. This is a peaceful event that features quiet harp music by Beck Hook, a wonderful herbal lunch, and a guest speaker, Jim Brown of Honey Rock Herb Farm, who will speak about “The Herbs and the Bees.” For luncheon reservations, call (865) 483-0961. The cost to attend is $20.

See this story for more information on the Lavender Festival.

For more information visit www.JacksonSquareLavenderFestival.org.

Grand opening, ribbon cutting at New China Palace on Thursday

New China Palace Restaurant Interior

The interior of the New China Palace restaurant on Central Avenue is pictured above.

 

The New China Palace restaurant will have a grand opening and ribbing cutting ceremony at 4:30 p.m. Thursday.

The hour-long ceremony is sponsored by the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce.

The New China Palace, which has relocated from the Oak Ridge Marina, is now at 123 Central Avenue in the Jackson Square area. [Read more...]

Lavender Festival in Jackson Square on June 21

Lavender Festival

Submitted

The 16th Annual Lavender Festival will be held on Saturday, June 21, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Oak Ridge’s Historic Jackson Square. This herb fair is a perennial favorite of folks from all around and focuses on all that is fresh, healthy, and good for the body and soul.

The Lavender Festival transforms Jackson Square into a hub of activity, information, fun, and of course, lavender. More than 100 vendors, exhibits, and demonstrations will offer products and information related to gardening, cooking, health, aromatherapy, and all things herbal.

“I wouldn’t miss it,” said Betsy Prine of Knoxville, who has attended the festival for about five years. “I love gardening. I love to see so many vendors together, and I love that it’s all natural.”

The Lavender Festival doesn’t just celebrate lavender. It also features the International Herb Association’s “Herb of the Year,” which this year is Artemisia. Artemesia isn’t just one herb, but a species which includes Tarragon, Mugwort, Wormwood, and Sweet Annie. Gardeners, cooks, and nature enthusiasts can be sure to find useful information about how to use Artemesia in healthy and beautiful ways. Visit the booth in front of the Jackson Square fountain to learn more about Artemesia this year. [Read more...]

Kevin Rice running for Anderson County Commission in District 7

Kevin Rice

Kevin Rice

Kevin Rice, an Oak Ridge High School graduate, is running for Anderson County Commission in District 7, which includes the Highland View, Glenwood, and Pine Valley precincts, a press release said.

Rice has served on the Anderson County Jail Committee and now serves on the Anderson County Beer Board, the press release said. He also volunteers as a Neighborhood Watch block captain and as a district leader for the Watch Group in the Jackson Square area.

Rice is a member of the Oak Ridge Quarterback Club, Football Boosters, and Oak Ridge Boys and Girls Club Alumni. He is also a member of the Anderson County Underage Drinking Task Force.

Rice said his goal as a commissioner is to cut taxes by recruiting high-tech jobs, small businesses, hotels, and tourism.

“The potential for increased tourism in the county is abundant,” Rice said. “However, added attractions would be beneficial to the city and county in many ways. Our young people, as well as our treasured senior citizens, need a variety of activities to keep Anderson County the best choice to work and live, now and in the future.” [Read more...]

City to use traffic camera money for parking lot work at Blankenship Field

Red-light Camera at Oak Ridge Turnpike and New York Avenue

The Oak Ridge City Council agreed last week to use $180,000 in traffic camera money for improvements to the lower parking at Blankenship Field.

 

The Oak Ridge City Council agreed last week in a 5-2 vote to use $180,000 in traffic camera money for improvements to the lower parking lot at Blankenship Field, which is used for football games and high school graduation.

The request from Oak Ridge Mayor Tom Beehan was reviewed at a City Council work session on April 28.

The work could include resurfacing work at the lower parking lot and access to the lower levels and visitors bleachers under the American with Disabilities Act. The project has been reviewed by the city staff, and it could include resurfacing, ADA improvements, handicapped parking, and new pavement and striping.

The work would complement a project to replace the demolished visitors bleachers at Blankenship Field, a $455,000 project that was unanimously approved by the Oak Ridge Board of Education in March. The bleachers had been deemed unsafe, and school officials are hoping to replace them before the first home football game on Aug. 29. The school board agreed to use the school system’s fund balance to pay for the replacement bleachers. [Read more...]