Progress PAC endorses three each for City Council, BOE

Kelly Callison

Kelly Callison

Ellen Smith

Ellen Smith

Warren L. Gooch

Warren L. Gooch

 

The new Progress PAC political action committee has endorsed three candidates each for Oak Ridge City Council and Oak Ridge Board of Education.

The three candidates endorsed in the City Council race are Kelly Callison, Warren Gooch, and Ellen Smith. The three endorsed in the School Board race are Bob Eby, Paige Marshall, and Laura McLean.

“PAC board members feel these candidates best support exceptional schools and jobs in Oak Ridge via teamwork between the Board of Education and City Council,” a press release said. [Read more...]

Letter: Urges voters to meet Callison, a ‘proven strong leader’

To the Editor:

I want to personally invite you to come to Razzleberry’s Ice Cream Lab and Kitchen in Jackson Square on Wednesday, September 24, from 5 to 7 p.m. to meet and support Kelly Callison, who is running for Oak Ridge City Council in the upcoming election.

I’ve worked personally with Kelly on the Oak Ridge Municipal Planning Commission and on several boards in Oak Ridge. Kelly is a proven strong leader who understands the problems facing Oak Ridge. He is results-focused and has shown his ability to work with and lead teams of leaders to solve problems. Kelly is chief operating officer for Information International Associates here in Oak Ridge.

I’m convinced that Kelly will be a great asset for the City of Oak Ridge as a Council member. I urge you to come spend some time with Kelly on September 24, and I think you too will find him to be just the kind of Council member Oak Ridge needs.

I look forward to seeing you on September 24!

Austin Lance

Oak Ridge

Business executive, community volunteer running for City Council

Kelly Callison

Kelly Callison

Business executive and community volunteer Kelly Callison is running for Oak Ridge City Council in the November 4 municipal election.

Callison is chief operating officer of Information International Associates Inc. He is also vice chairman of the Oak Ridge Municipal Planning Commission.

In a press release, Callison said he thinks his community, business, and military experience will enable him to bring a cooperative and positive approach to city government. Callison said he will focus on “maintaining our great schools, improving housing, and increasing retail and commercial business.”

Callison and his family came to Oak Ridge seven years ago and have been active in the community from the beginning, the press release said. Besides serving as vice chair of the Municipal Planning Commission, Callison is a member of the East Tennessee Economic Council, a member of the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce Advocacy Task Force, a board member of Contact CareLine, president of the Oak Ridge Breakfast Rotary Club, and a member of the Oak Ridge Chapter of the League of Woman Voters. [Read more...]

Nineteen candidates for Oak Ridge City Council, School Board

Vote Logo

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...]

Thursday deadline to qualify for municipal elections across Anderson County

Vote Logo

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...]

IIa wins major U.S. Patent and Trademark Office contract

Information International Associates

Pictured above is the headquarters of Information International Associates on Union Valley Road in Oak Ridge.

Five-year contract could be worth $135 million

Information International Associates, or IIa, has been awarded a major 100-person, multi-year contract with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to provide a wide range of information technology support, a press release said.

The USPTO is headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, and it is an agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce. Its mission is “to promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writing and discoveries” and to support the federal registration of trademarks.

“IIa continues to grow and to be recognized as a leader in IT services,” said IIa owner and Chief Executive Officer Bonnie C. Carroll. “In the past year alone, we have been awarded multiple new IT contracts in addition to our ongoing support to the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Scientific and Technical Information operations in Oak Ridge and at DOE Headquarters in Washington, D.C., and our contracts for IT infrastructure at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in Maryland.”

In September 2013, II was awarded a U.S. Department of Defense contract to operate the DoD Homeland Defense and Security Information Analysis Center. In January 2014, IIa won a major, basic ordering agreement with Oak Ridge National Laboratory to provide a wide range of IT support to the laboratory during the next five years. [Read more...]

Information International wins major ORNL IT support contract

Information International Associates

Pictured above is the headquarters of Information International Associates on Union Valley Road in Oak Ridge.

Information International Associates has won a five-year contract worth up to $24 million to provide information technology support to Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

The contract includes a one-year base and four one-year options. IIa will lead a team that includes Science Applications International Corp. and other partners with special capabilities, including Qbase, CADRE5, and EMC2 Corp., a press release said.

The work will include application development, systems administration, cyber security, help desk support, and data center management.

 

[Read more...]

Shutdown ends: Oak Ridgers relieved, but frustrated with Congress

Dean's Restaurant and Bakery

Dean Russell, co-owner of Dean’s Restaurant and Bakery in Jackson Square, has put up a sign expressing frustration with Congress over the government shutdown. Pictured above are restaurant servers Cassandra Prater, right, and Andy Tatum.

The end of the government shutdown last week brought relief to Oak Ridge, especially at the Y-12 National Security Complex, where up to about 3,600 workers were expected to be furloughed starting last Thursday unless a deal was reached.

Chuck Spencer, general manager of B&W Y-12, which manages and operates Y-12, told workers on Thursday that a shutdown to minimum staffing had been averted and the furloughs would no longer be necessary. There had been reports that only about 900 workers might have remained starting today.

Spencer said the nuclear weapons plant, which started an orderly shutdown two weeks ago on Monday, Oct. 7, will begin planning to resume normal operations.

Normal operations resumed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory on Thursday, Director Thom Mason said in a message to staff. ORNL had enough funding to continue operating through October and into November, but officials had started preparing for a possible temporary shutdown and unpaid furloughs in case the shutdown continued.

Oak Ridge residents remained frustrated even after Congress and the White House reached a last-minute, short-term spending agreement late Wednesday night that averted the shutdowns and furloughs, just hours before a deadline to raise the nation’s debt ceiling and after some local businesses had already reported that the shutdown had affected their operations. [Read more...]

IIa pledges $5,000 to Education Foundation grants program

IIa and ORPSEF Grant

Bonnie Carroll, left, Information International Associates CEO and owner, and Kelly Callison, right, IIa chief operating officer, present Oak Ridge Public Schools Education Foundation Executive Director Lila Metcalf with a check for $1,000 for the “Making the Critical Difference Campaign.” (Submitted photo)

Information International Associates Inc., or IIa, has pledged $5,000 to the “Making the Critical Difference” campaign conducted by the Oak Ridge Public Schools Education Foundation. Bonnie Carroll, IIa chief executive officer and founder, and Kelly Callison, the company’s chief operating officer, recently presented the foundation with a $1,000 annual payment toward the pledge.

The Education Foundation is conducting the campaign to raise $500,000 for grant awards to teachers throughout the Oak Ridge schools, aiming to present $100,000 in grants each year for five years. The Foundation’s board believes that these grants have a strong supporting role in sustaining the tradition of excellence in Oak Ridge schools, as well as rewarding teachers for innovative ideas. [Read more...]

Except for Smith, incumbents re-elected in Oak Ridge, state House

John and Liz Ragan

Tennessee Rep. John Ragan, an Oak Ridge Republican, pictured at right, and Liz Ragan, his wife, celebrate the legislator’s re-election to the Tennessee House at the Buffalo Mountain Grille on Tuesday night.

It was a good night for incumbents in five local races in Oak Ridge and the Tennessee House and Senate. With one exception, they were all re-elected.

Chuck Hope and Charlie Hensley had hundreds of votes to spare as they easily won re-election to Oak Ridge City Council. Keys Fillauer and Angi Agle, the two incumbents on the Oak Ridge Board of Education, also coasted to victory.

Tennessee Rep. John Ragan, an Oak Ridge Republican, won a narrower victory over former Rep. Jim Hackworth, a Clinton Democrat. Ragan received 699 more votes than Hackworth, according to unofficial results. He finished ahead by 51.4 percent to 48.6 percent.

The one newcomer elected Tuesday was Trina Baughn. She will join Hope and Hensley to serve on Council.

Gone will be incumbent Ellen Smith, who was soundly defeated. Hope and Baughn each finished ahead of Smith by more than 2,000 votes, according to unofficial results in Anderson and Roane counties.

Baughn first campaigned for a City Council seat in an August special election, when she lost to Hope. Hope was appointed to Council last summer after former member Tom Hayes resigned.

Baughn and Hope both said the August special election helped prepare them for Tuesday’s municipal election.

Midtown Polling Station

Andrew McCulloch, right, signs in at the Midtown Community Center polling station on Tuesday. Also pictured are poll workers Margaret Terrell, left, and Jim Young.

The training paid off. Hope finished first Tuesday with 6,887 votes, and Baughn was second with 6,739, according to the unofficial results.

Baughn, a communications professional, credited hard work and the efforts of some 20 to 50 volunteers making phone calls and visiting voters.

“We knocked on doors, and we went to the voters,” said Baughn, who is perhaps best known for her newspaper columns and work challenging city and school system spending. “The supporters that I have are elated that I won.”

Top priorities for the new council member are controlling spending, lowering the property tax rate, and reducing the city’s debt.

Hope, owner of Chuck’s Car Care, was not available for comment late Tuesday night.

It was a disappointing night for Smith, who served one term on City Council. She collected 4,624 votes.

“The results are surprising, and I don’t understand them,” said Smith, a research staff member at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. “I was pretty roundly defeated.”

A fifth candidate, business executive and Oak Ridge planning commissioner Kelly Callison, finished fourth in the City Council race, with 5,450 votes.

Campaign Signs at Midtown Community Center

David Hughes, left, supports presidential candidate Gary Johnson and Sherry Bath supports Oak Ridge Board of Education candidate Keys Fillauer at Midtown Community Center on Tuesday.

In the school board race, Agle and Fillauer both trounced Leonard Abbatiello, a former Oak Ridge City Council member, by more than 2,000 votes.

“I’m thankful that the people of Oak Ridge put the priority on students because that was the focus of my campaign and the focus of Keys’ campaign,” said Agle, who was battling for a third term.

Like Baughn, Agle credited door-to-door campaigning for her win, as well as her daily work during early voting and the newspaper articles she’s written during the past few years.

Now, she said, the first priority of the school board is to select a new superintendent, possibly on Dec. 8. Tom Bailey, the current superintendent, is retiring at the end of the year.

Agle said she also wants to continue making improvements in school curricula and student performance.

It was the second time Ragan and Hackworth ran against each other in the state’s 33rd District, which includes most of Anderson County. Ragan beat Hackworth in the 2010 election.

Midtown Community Center

Jake Phillips supports Tennessee Rep. John Ragan at the Midtown Community Center polling station on Tuesday.

This year’s contest between the two men was one of a half-dozen key races in the Tennessee House of Representatives, and it was expected to help Republicans gain a supermajority.

“I knew it was a close race,” Ragan said in a Tuesday night celebration at Buffalo Mountain Grille in Oak Ridge. “It was a hard-fought race.”

Ragan, a retired Air Force pilot, said Republicans in the Tennessee General Assembly have cut spending and taxes, and created a more job-friendly environment. Jobs and education will remain top priorities for him in the upcoming legislative session, Ragan said.

Another local incumbent who was re-elected was Oak Ridge City Judge Robert A. McNees III. He had no opposition.

Neither did Tennessee Sen. Ken Yager, who was re-elected in the 12th Senatorial District. Yager’s district includes Roane, Morgan, Rhea, Scott, Campbell, and Fentress counties.

In other elections, the vote on a liquor referendum to allow package stores to sell alcoholic beverages in Oliver Springs appeared to have been rejected, with 486 voting yes and 519 voting “no” in Anderson and Roane counties.

Three-quarters of Clinton voters agreed to move the city’s general elections from December of odd-numbered years to November of even-numbered years, when they will coincide with state and federal elections.

Republican Kent Calfee defeated Democrat Jack W. McNew by a 68.6 percent to 26.7 margin in Roane County for a chance to represent the 32nd District in the Tennessee House, according to unofficial Roane County results. The district includes Roane County and part of Loudon County.

Unofficial results showed Calfee, who beat the incumbent, Julia Hurley, in the August primary, had an even higher victory margin in Loudon County: 72.4 percent to 20.8.

Here are highlights of Tuesday’s unofficial results in Anderson and Roane counties:

 

Oak Ridge City Council

Hope—6,887

Baughn—6,739

Hensley—6,301

Callison—5,450

Smith—4,624

 

Oak Ridge Board of Education

Agle—7,738

Fillauer—7,495

Abbatiello—4,988

 

Tennessee House of Representatives, 33rd District:

Ragan, Oak Ridge Republican—12,825 (51.4 percent)

Hackworth, Clinton Democrat—12,126 (48.6 percent)

 

Oliver Springs liquor referendum (To allow retail package stores to sell alcoholic beverages in the city of Oliver Springs):

Yes—486

No—519

 

Clinton charter question (To move Clinton general elections from December of odd-numbered years to November of even-numbered years):

For—2,556 (75.7 percent)

Against—819 (24.3 percent)

 

Note: This story has been corrected to show new vote totals for Ragan and Hackworth.

Guest column: Oak Ridge on the ‘cusp of a renaissance’

Oak Ridge is on the cusp of a renaissance.

Seventy years ago, the federal government created Oak Ridge as part of the Manhattan Project. Today, they are investing in our city with the 10-year, $6.5 billion Uranium Processing Facility construction project.

In January 2013, Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s new carbon fiber facility comes on line. It can produce 25 tons of reinforced polymer that will help automotive and other manufacturers create stronger, more efficient products. Education and jobs are getting a huge boost with this new capability as Roane State Community College receives grants totaling $2.8 million to train workers to use the composites and operate the high-tech machines.

Taking advantage of these opportunities will require a City Council with a clear vision of the future and the skills necessary to make informed business decisions. What comes to mind is a series of big waves of opportunities—some will simply duck under and play it safe as they roll in, while others with vision will get on surfboards and ride the waves for all they are worth.

Now is not the time to duck under and cut back. Now is the perfect time to enhance the good things we have already built and to grasp the best opportunities for raising revenues and making investments for the future.

My vision for the future of Oak Ridge includes:

  1. Building on the current wave of new retail development including Kroger Marketplace, Woodland Town Center, and the redevelopment of Jackson Square, we should encourage mixed-use zoning. Our community development folks call it “Live, Work and Play” development. For example, retail on the first floor, commercial on the second, and residential above that. This kind of development creates real communities and can attract potential buyers to invest in currently languishing properties.
  2. Continuing to attract new families from outside the area by maintaining our outstanding schools. New employees of federal and retail projects will compare our schools to others in the area as they make decisions about where to live.
  3. Helping Oak Ridgers with well-maintained legacy homes by following through on the “Not in Our City” initiatives of proper inspection, and upgrading or eliminating the blighted homes that depress neighborhood values. Many of our potential new residents already find our tax rate attractive, but they want new or remodeled homes in well-kept neighborhoods.

It’s really up to you as voters. You can elect members to Council prepared to hold their breath and duck under the waves of opportunity, or you can elect members who have the vision, experience, and courage to seize opportunities.

This town has a legacy of doing extraordinary things. We can do it again. It’s time to move forward.

Kelly Callison is a candidate for Oak Ridge City Council in the Nov. 6 election.

Callison announces bid for Oak Ridge City Council

Kelly Callison

Kelly Callison

An Oak Ridge planning commissioner who sought an appointment to City Council last year is running for election to the seven-member legislative body this year.

The candidate, Kelly S. Callison, is vice chair of the Oak Ridge Municipal Planning Commission. He is also the chief operating officer of Information International Associates Inc.

[Read more...]