Colversons win 2013 Postma Young Professional Medals

Sherith and Colin Colverson were presented the 2013 Postma Young Professional Medals on Friday for their outstanding accomplishments at work and in the community, a press release said.

The Postma Medal was created by the East Tennessee Economic Council to honor the accomplishments of young professionals who have made an impact and fostered a community culture in the region. Former Oak Ridge National Laboratory director Herman Postma epitomized this spirit during his life, and his wife Pat continues the tradition of service today through her involvement in the Oak Ridge community, the press release said.

Pat Postma and Tim Myrick presented the awards to the Colversons at ETEC’s annual meeting on Friday at the DoubleTree Hotel. [Read more...]

Anderson County agrees to buy Lake City bank building for coal mining museum

Bank of America Lake City

The Anderson County Commission has agreed to buy this former Bank of America building in Lake City for a Coal Mining Museum, storage space, and satellite county offices.

CLINTON— The Anderson County Commission agreed in a 13-1 vote on Monday to buy the former Bank of America building in Lake City for a Coal Mining Museum.

The two-story brick building will be purchased using $100,000 from the sale of property in the David Jones Industrial Park. Lake City will own the former bank, and it could also be used to store excess county supplies and as a satellite office for county departments. Organizers hope to open the museum eight months after Lake City receives the building.

Most of the initial revenue for museum operations would come from Lake City’s lodging tax. The Lake City Council has agreed to use one-third of that hotel and motel tax for the museum for at least the next three years, said Stephanie Wells, director of the Anderson County Tourism Council. [Read more...]

Lake City picked for PlanET demonstration project

Information from WYSH Radio

It has already been a banner week for Lake City.

On Monday, the Anderson County Commission’s Operations Committee voted to recommend purchasing the old Bank of America building in Lake City for $100,000 using part of the proceeds of the pending sale of county-owned land to the Hollingsworth Company for $303,000. The remaining $203,000 would be used as seed money for the start-up Anderson County Economic Development Fund. Supporters of the bank building purchase foresee using it as the new home of Coal Miners’ Museum as well as for storage and use as a satellite office for some county government entities.

Now, PlanET, a regional partnership of East Tennessee communities in Anderson, Blount, Knox, Loudon, and Union counties, has selected Lake City as one of its so-called Demonstration Project sites. The program will be funded through the Plan East Tennessee Grant and leverage in-kind services from the East Tennessee Community Design Center, or ETCDC, and the University of Tennessee School of Agriculture. [Read more...]

Lavender Festival returns to Jackson Square on Saturday

Lavender Festival

Celebrating all things herbal in Oak Ridge, the Lavender Festival returns to Historic Jackson Square on Saturday. It’s the festival’s 15th year, and it’s scheduled from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

The free festival features food and music, and close to 100 vendors. They will have plants and herbs, and products related to gardening, cooking, health, and aromatherapy, in addition to fine art and crafts. There will also be booths for children, with crafts, a dinosaur exhibit, and street performers.

Festival-goers can sample foods made with herbs from 9 to 11 a.m. and watch a grilling-with-herbs demonstration by Market House chefs beginning at 1 p.m. Live music will be performed by local musicians throughout the day. Informative presentations and workshops will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. inside the CapitalMark Bank and Trust building next to the playhouse. [Read more...]

PlanET has greenway meeting in Oak Ridge tonight

A five-county regional planning organization will have a public meeting on greenways at the Oak Ridge Civic Center tonight.

It’s one of four regional meetings and part of an effort to expand and connect greenway systems in Anderson, Blount, Loudon, and Union counties, a press release said.

[Read more...]

PlanET forum in Knoxville on Saturday

A protest car at the PlanET forum in Clinton

Those who protest the drafting of a five-county regional development plan are concerned about losing their property rights.

There has been disagreement in East Tennessee over whether local governments and officials ought to be working on a five-county regional development plan known as PlanET.

A Saturday forum will allow residents to hear from both sides. Two officials helping to develop the plan are scheduled to take part and so are two speakers who plan to discuss the “pitfalls of central planning for sustainability.”

“What we really want is for people who are undecided about it all to come, and listen to the two groups on the panel presenting their views, then taking questions from the general audience,” said Oak Ridge resident Robert Humphries, who provided information on the five-hour forum.

[Read more...]

Ten city boards, agencies discuss PlanET Wednesday

An unusual collection of 10 local boards and agencies will meet at the Oak Ridge Civic Center Wednesday to discuss a sometimes-controversial five-county regional development plan known as PlanET.

Boards and agencies invited to take part in the Wednesday evening meeting at the Oak Ridge Civic Center include the City Council, Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Municipal Planning Commission.

Officials helping to develop the three-year plan say they are asking East Tennesseans to share their vision for the future of the region, but opponents say they are concerned about losing their property rights.

[Read more...]

Union County mayor wants to withdraw from PlanET

PlanET Forum Oak Ridge

Regional leaders rank community issues during a recent PlanET forum at the Flatwater Grill in Oak Ridge.

Union County Mayor Micheal Williams wants the county to withdraw from a regional planning organization that recently held a series of public forums and drew some opposition from property rights advocates, including in Oak Ridge and Anderson County.

Named PlanET, the five-county organization includes Anderson, Blount, Loudon, Knox, and Union counties. Oak Ridge Mayor Tom Beehan is chair of its board of mayors.

“Union County is a rural county and is much smaller, as far as demographics are concerned, than the other counties which make up PlanET,” Williams wrote in a May 1 letter to the Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization. “I feel that Union County would be better served if we promote ourselves as an individual county instead of grouping with the larger ones and being left behind.”

[Read more...]

Survey: Lack of jobs that pay well a serious problem

The lack of jobs that pay well is the most serious community problem, Anderson County residents said in a recent telephone survey.

Fifty-five percent of those responding rated it as a major problem, according to a survey summary released Monday by PlanET.

But 76 percent of those surveyed in Anderson County said the quality of life in their community is good or excellent.

[Read more...]

Property rights advocates oppose five-county plan

A PlanET forum discssion group

Residents discuss their vision for a five-county region that includes Anderson, Blount, Loudon, Knox, and Union Counties during a Tuesday forum at Anderson County High School in Clinton.

CLINTON — Although the two sides appeared to engage in a civil discussion, a Tuesday forum again pitted planners and property rights advocates against each other.

The property rights advocates oppose the drafting of a five-county regional development plan known as PlanET.

“I am concerned more about freedom of choice and personal property rights,” said Lynn Byrge, an Anderson County resident and owner of Active Electric in Oak Ridge. He attended a PlanET forum on Tuesday at the Anderson County High School in Clinton.

A protest car at the PlanET forum in Clinton

Those who protest the drafting of a five-county regional development plan are concerned about losing their property rights.

Opponents of the three-year plan, funded with help from a $4.3 million U.S. Housing and Urban Development grant, draw a connection between PlanET and an international resolution passed in 1992 that was designed to encourage nations to use fewer resources and conserve open land by steering development to already dense areas.

“It’s Agenda 21, straight out of the United Nations,” Byrge said.

That resolution has drawn greater scrutiny as activists across the country tie it to a range of local and state efforts to control sprawl and conserve energy, according to The New York Times.

But the officials helping to develop the local plan, and currently collecting public input in a week-long series of forums, say they are only asking East Tennesseans to share their vision for the future of the region.

“We have no preset goal,” planner Rob Kerns said. He works for Wallace Roberts and Todd, a planning and design firm based in Philadelphia that was hired to run the PlanET project.

[Read more...]

Planners and protesters participate in Thursday forum

PlanET Group Discussion

Emily Woodle, City of Knoxville Community Development project specialist, left, and Jim Dickson, YMCA of East Tennessee president and chief executive officer, help rank top regional issues during a PlanET forum Thursday.

Their mission challenged by protesters, several dozen regional leaders who met in Oak Ridge on Thursday said poor air quality, drug abuse, and the large number of low-skilled jobs are among the issues that ought to be addressed as a new five-county plan is developed.

Other top-priority issues include improving regional school quality, reducing the obesity rate, and providing access to affordable housing and more transportation alternatives.

A protestor at the April 19 PlanET meeting

Knoxville resident Kevin Desmond protests outside a PlanET meeting at Flatwater Grill on Thursday.

Thursday’s forum was organized by PlanET, and about 75 people attended, including an estimated 30 protesters inside and more outside. The protesters were concerned about property rights and wanted to know, specifically, what PlanET might propose.

Some also tied the planning process to Agenda 21, a United Nations resolution passed in 1992 that was designed to encourage nations to use fewer resources and conserve open land by steering development to already dense areas.

[Read more...]