BOE: Fix lead paint now, prepare for new Preschool by 2016-2017

Oak Ridge Board of Education and City Council

The Oak Ridge Board of Education, seated at right, and City Council, left, are pictured above during a Jan. 15 work session on the Oak Ridge Schools’ Preschool, among other agenda items.


Finding a new preschool might not happen as quickly as some would like, but the city’s school board on Monday recommended a few first steps that could have children in a new building by the 2016-2017 school year.

The main concern now: Fix the lead-based paint on the decades-old home of the Preschool on New York Avenue. That repair could cost an estimated $150,000. A remediation plan could be submitted to federal officials and Anderson County education officials by March 4.

There had been some hope that a new home for preschool students might be found as early as this August. [Read more…]

Lunch Rotary donates to memorial garden at Emory Valley Center

Oak Ridge Lunch Rotary and Emory Valley Center Bob Craig Memorial Garden

Pictured above from left are Cindy, Emory Valley President Jennifer Enderson, Kim Moore, Judy Craig, Cassie Russell, Jack Bailey, and Bill Martin. (Submitted photo)



Emory Valley Center recently dedicated the Bob Craig Memorial Garden outside of the Adult Enrichment Classrooms in the Daniel Arthur Building. Bob Craig was a longtime community advocate actively involved in the Oak Ridge Lunch Rotary, the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce, and a variety of other area business and organization committees and boards.

Through a donation from the Rotary, Emory Valley was able to purchase a park bench and two raised flower beds, making it easier for people with disabilities to participate in planting items.  Several people participating in the Emory Valley Enrichment program, staff and volunteers painted the fence, weeded and mulched the area, and created beautiful birdhouses for the garden. There is also a picnic table in the garden for everyone to enjoy. [Read more…]

Reminder: Clinton, Oak Ridge Christmas parades tonight

Clinton Christmas Parade First Place

A float by Second Baptist Church featuring a large sleigh and reindeer won first place in the Dec. 1, 2012, Christmas parade in Clinton. (File photo courtesy of Janet Hawkins)


The Oak Ridge and Clinton Christmas parades are both scheduled to start at 6 p.m. today (Saturday, December 13).

The Clinton parade is organized by the Anderson County Chamber of Commerce. Floats and parade vehicles will follow a route from the old train depot on Market Street through Historic Downtown Clinton, then left on North Main and continue on just past the Anderson County Courthouse, and make a right onto West Broad Street.

Several downtown area streets will be closed during the parade activity. If you are planning to travel through Clinton on Saturday evening, your best option would be to stay on the four lane Charles G. Seivers Boulevard. [Read more…]

Oak Ridge Christmas Parade on Saturday

Santa in Oak Ridge Christmas Parade

Santa Claus and helpers ride on an Oak Ridge fire truck during the 2013 Christmas Parade. (File photo by D. Ray Smith)


The Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce’s annual Christmas Parade starts at 6 p.m. Saturday, December 13. More than 100 entries have registered to participate.

The parade will start at Corporate Center on the corner of Lafayette and Laboratory Road. From there, the parade will travel down Lafayette to the Oak Ridge Turnpike. It will continue west on the Turnpike to Oak Ridge High School. The judge’s stand will be located in front of the Chamber. [Read more…]

Mall redevelopment close to goal line

James Downs of Crosland Southeast Retail Update

James Downs, Crosland Southeast partner, gives an update on the redevelopment of the former Oak Ridge Mall during a Tuesday morning Rise and Shine, sponsored by the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce, at The Courtyards Seniors Living on Briarcliff Avenue. (Photo courtesy Kathy Gillenwaters)


Ray Evans

Ray Evans

Note: This story was last updated at 1 p.m. Nov. 3.

If it were a football game, the long-awaited redevelopment of the former Oak Ridge Mall would be in the “red zone”—not across the goal line yet but close enough to score, a project executive said Tuesday.

Seventy-five percent or more of the new retail space has been leased or is under negotiation, said James Downs, partner of Crosland Southeast, the North Carolina commercial real estate firm that has proposed the project.

The company could have a groundbreaking in the spring of 2015. Construction work, which will include demolition of areas between anchor stores, could be completed by the summer of 2016, making it available to retailers by the fall of 2016. [Read more…]

Chamber’s Christmas Parade to be held Saturday, December 13

Santa in Oak Ridge Christmas Parade

Santa Claus and helpers ride on an Oak Ridge fire truck during the 2013 Christmas Parade. (Photo by D. Ray Smith)


The annual Christmas Parade organized by the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce is scheduled for Saturday, December 13. This year’s theme is “Holiday Homecoming,” and it promises to provide spectators with plenty of music, lights, and beautiful floats, a press release said.

More than 80 businesses and community organizations have already registered their entries for the parade. Sponsors of this year’s parade are Mullins Wealth Management and The Cowperwood Company.

The parade will start at 6 p.m. December 13, and it will begin at Corporate Center, on the corner of Lafayette and Laboratory Road. From there, the parade will travel down Lafayette to the Oak Ridge Turnpike. It will continue west on the Turnpike to Oak Ridge High School. The judge’s stand will be located in front of the Chamber. [Read more…]

Letter: Eby a valuable resource to schools, community

To the Editor:

Bob Eby has served as both a member and chairman of the Oak Ridge Board of Education. During most of his time on the Board, I was employed as superintendent of the Oak Ridge Schools, which gave me the opportunity to work closely with Bob on many school-related issues.

Bob was a tremendous help in responding to problems and decisions facing the Oak Ridge Schools at the time. His leadership and guidance were invaluable to the Board and certainly to me as superintendent of schools.

Bob has strong private-sector experience including excellent organizational skills which were, and continue to be, very helpful in analyzing and deciding issues facing the schools. [Read more…]

Traffic Safety, Environmental Advisory board member running for City Council

Aditya "Doc" Savara

Aditya “Doc” Savara

Aditya “Doc” Savara, a member of two city boards, is running for Oak Ridge City Council in the November 4 municipal election.

In a press release, Savara said he has been involved in local politics during the past two years and served on the Traffic Safety Advisory Board and the Environmental Quality Advisory Board. Savara said he has attended and commented during public comment periods at City Council meetings, is knowledgeable about the issues facing the city, and has been vocal about them.

“In 2012-2013, an ordinance came before Oak Ridge City Council regarding whether property owners Jack and Myra Mansfield could build a single home on their property in a neighborhood zoned as R1, for single-family dwellings,” Savara said in the release. “Adjacent homeowners asserted property values would drop if the Mansfields were allowed to build a home on the open space. I pointed out that the neighbors could have bought the open property themselves if they wanted to keep it as open space. I stated that the neighbors didn’t want to buy the cow, but wanted to have the milk for free, and that it was not too late for the neighbors to make the Mansfields a fair offer. [Read more…]

Chamber Primetime networking event is Thursday; public invited

Parker Hardy at Primetime

Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce President Parker Hardy cooks hot dogs at a Primetime business-to-business exposition in October 2011. (File photo)

The Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce Fall Primetime networking event will be held on Thursday, October 23.

More than 60 Chamber-member organizations have already reserved exhibit space for the event titled “Primetime Tailgate Party,” a press release said. The event will be held from 4:30-6:30 p.m. under the tent in the parking lot of the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce at 1400 Oak Ridge Turnpike.

Primetime is one of the Chamber’s biggest networking events of the year. Anyone—Chamber member or not—is encouraged to attend. [Read more…]

Guest column: Smith responds to Progress PAC endorsement

Ellen Smith

Ellen Smith

By Ellen Smith

I was surprised and gratified by the recent news that the Progress PAC (the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce political action committee) endorsed my candidacy for City Council. To my dismay, several citizens have told me that this endorsement indicates that I have somehow “sold out” to the Chamber of Commerce. I am writing to respond to their allegations.

The Progress PAC endorsement was a surprise to me because I have never been aligned with the Chamber, I have strongly opposed some Chamber initiatives in the past, and I am not shy about my support for principles like conservation of publicly owned open space and putting the interests of existing residents and owners ahead of the interests of new business development.

However, I respect the Chamber as the main representative of and advocate for a very important element of our community—and a group whose members and volunteers who are passionate about the future of Oak Ridge. We share many common goals and interests for this community, and if we are going to make progress as a community, it’s necessary for government, the business community, our nonprofit sector, and (ideally) all citizens to try to understand each other’s interests and needs and work together for the benefit of all. [Read more…]

Guest column: Progress PAC helps broaden conversation of community issues

By Progress PAC

We are very proud that the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce has entrusted us to serve as the members of Progress PAC, the multi-candidate political action committee created by the Chamber and focused on our upcoming school board and city council elections. Though we are appointed by the Chamber’s Board of Directors, we operate independently from that same board.

Some people in the community have questions about how Progress PAC will operate, who we might support, and how endorsements might be made. Some have criticized the timing of Progress PAC’s establishment, and we acknowledge it could have been better. However, our primary goal is to have a positive impact in this election cycle.


Now that Progress PAC has been created, we are largely autonomous. The Chamber’s Board may not approve or disapprove of any endorsement decisions we may make; the Chamber’s Board cannot approve or disapprove of contributions that Progress PAC either receives or distributes. The Chamber contributes no funds to PAC operations; we are supported by donations made directly to the PAC and we must report those to the appropriate election commissions. [Read more…]