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…]

Guest column: IRS warns of continuing scam phone calls

NASHVILLE—The IRS continues to warn the public to be alert for telephone scams. The callers often claim to be with the IRS and usually demand money.

Based on the most recent figures released, there have been at least 90,000 complaints about these phone scams and about 1,100 victims who have lost an estimated $5 million.

“Be suspicious of anyone who calls demanding your money or your private information,” said IRS spokesman Dan Boone. “These con artists can sound very convincing and will probably try to intimidate you into giving them what they want.”

Boone said the callers may know a lot about you and usually alter the caller ID to make it look like the IRS is calling. They use fake names and bogus IRS badge numbers. If you don’t answer, they often leave an “urgent” callback request. [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…]

Guest column: Burying the facts

In his guest column on July 4, Tennessee Representative John Ragan requests us to cast our ballots to hold government accountable. This is an excellent idea!

Hidden in Mr. Ragan’s rhetoric about IRS tyranny is the underlying economic policy he espouses: the notion that cutting taxes will lead us to prosperity in all circumstances. Our nation’s experiment with that fanciful notion has been a miserable failure for the last 30 years, causing incredible hardship on our people. It is now overwhelmingly discredited by economists from both sides of the aisle.

Mr. Ragan would likely be good enough with mathematics to have studied economics, but he seems to not have done so. In fact, it appears he learned his economics, not from the best in the field, but from politicians and the media. This has been greatly to the detriment of Tennessee.

In his 400-word column about government, Mr. Ragan mentions God four times—lest anyone be in doubt about his theory of governance. Despite the fact he lives in Oak Ridge and must surely know that this region is blessed by the diverse people drawn here from around the world by the scientific facilities, he chooses to represent only those who share his exact beliefs. [Read more…]

Anderson County Commission approves budget, tax rate unchanged

Anderson County Commission in June 2014

The Anderson County Commission is pictured above during a June meeting. (Photo by Sara Wise)

CLINTON—The Anderson County Commission approved a budget for Fiscal Year 2015 during a special meeting Tuesday. The budget will not raise property taxes in the county.

Commissioners Tracy Wandell, Rick Meredith, Zach Bates, Jerry White, and John Shuey did not attend, but the other 11 commissioners voted unanimously to approve the budget. Commissioners had called the special session during their June meeting.

Under the budget approved Tuesday, the Oak Ridge property tax rate will remain at $2.347 for every $100 of assessed property value, while property owners in Clinton will continue to pay $2.50 per $100 value. All other property owners in Anderson County pay $2.529 for every $100 of their assessed property values. [Read more…]

Letter: Marsh a man of integrity who seeks to help community

To the Editor:

Michael Marsh is a man of integrity who seeks to assist his community in developing new initiatives that will bring about opportunities for economic growth through encouraging small businesses and less taxes due to careful budgeting and spending of existing revenue. The results would mean more money for the citizens and community for their investment into creating more jobs, more affordable housing, and greater protection through service agencies. Michael and his wife, Wanda, have operated a successful and award-winning auto service business in the District 7 for over 25 years. Their positive service and customer satisfaction testify to their loyalty to this district as well as the entire Anderson County.

Michael and Wanda are involved citizens in the community and Oak Ridge Schools and have the largest Wildcat banner in the world over their business. [Read more…]

Auto repair business owner running for Anderson County Commission

Mike Marsh

Mike Marsh

Michael Marsh is running for Anderson County Commission in District 7 in the Aug. 7 county election. His District 7 voting precincts include Glenwood, Pine Valley, and Highland View.

In a press release, Marsh said the commission has made many contributions during the last 28 years.

“I feel with an open seat in District 7 now is the time to bring fresh ideas and new strategies to our county,” he said in the press release.

Marsh said county officials must work together to reduce taxes and attract new jobs and affordable housing, tourism, and opportunities for small family-run businesses. [Read more…]

Guest column: Oak Ridge—a city teetering—which way will it go?

Bob Eby

Bob Eby

By Bob Eby

Friday, June 20

This week, I experienced great joy and significant sadness. The joy was being with my daughter and son-in-law as she birthed our first grandchild and we brought her home from the hospital in California. It was because I was with them during this joyous time that I missed last Monday night’s City Council meeting, but I did watch it live through Internet streaming (technology is great!). It was during that time that I felt sadness and disappointment. I realized that this wonderful community I have known for 50 years now balances on a tipping point, to fall on a downward spiral or gradually move forward with a great and dedicated effort toward prosperity. Why do I say this?

Last year, the Board of Education hired a new superintendent who brought with him much energy and a vision to re-establish the Oak Ridge Schools to its premier status as not only the number one school district in the State of Tennessee but also the premier district in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) in the country. The Board fully supported the vision, though we were recommending a three-year roll-out, which we felt was more realistic and would allow opportunity to adjust the implementation as we and the staff worked together to achieve our goals.

With their recent action, the City Council not only chose not to support this vision, but they very likely have failed to provide our teachers and associated staff the recognition they so deserve with any funding for their first raise (2 percent) in four years. City Council does plan to provide city-employeed staff with a raise. I think it is only right that all employees of our community receive a raise. All school staff and city employees are equally deserving of this recognition of their value to Oak Ridge. [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…]

Myra Mansfield running for County Commission in District 8

Myra Mansfield

Myra Mansfield

Myra Mansfield has announced she is running to serve as an Anderson County Commissioner for District 8 in Oak Ridge. The district includes the Emory Valley, Hendrix Creek, and Woodland voting precincts.

Mansfield is a native Oak Ridger who grew up in the district where she is asking to serve, a press release said. She attended Woodland Elementary School, Jefferson Middle School, and is a graduate of Oak Ridge High School. After high school, she received an associate degree in accounting and a bachelor degree in business management. Later in life, she returned to school to receive her master’s degree while studying counseling.

The release said Mansfield has invested her adult life in business and nonprofit leadership, government and community service, parenting, writing, and public speaking. As a hobby, she has been involved in numerous multimedia projects. She loves history and historical research. Over the years, she found herself being offered a series of opportunities to use her leadership skills to bring positive transition to organizational structure, the release said. [Read more…]

2014 Election: Frank says she’s kept her promise; Bates wants to focus on retail, housing

Terry Frank

Terry Frank

Zach Bates

Zach Bates

CLINTON—She says she’s kept her promise to protect Anderson County from higher taxes and worked to make government more efficient while improving customer service.

He says the county needs a more targeted approach to bringing in new retail and rebuilding the housing market.

The two candidates, incumbent Terry Frank and her challenger Zach Bates, face off in the Republican primary in Anderson County on Tuesday.

Frank was first elected in a special election in August 2012. She is the first female mayor of Anderson County and running for her first four-year term. She is completing the unexpired term of former mayor Rex Lynch, who resigned in January 2011.

Bates is a one-term Anderson County Commissioner who is not seeking re-election to that seat. [Read more…]

Guest column: AC Commission needs to stay involved with mall project

Declining DOE Residency Hurts Anderson County

In 2003, the Anderson County Commission approved a county subsidy for a revitalization project at the Oak Ridge Mall.

Had that project succeeded, it would have generated a substantial increase in county revenue, allowing tax rates to be lowered. A successful mall project would have also helped stabilize the U.S. Department of Energy payroll gap with Knox County. Stabilizing this gap would have generated nearly $100 million more in DOE payroll for the Anderson County economy—in this year alone.

Obviously, the potential economic benefit from a successful mall project is huge.

To give the project the best chance for success, the Commission needs to couple the requested mall subsidy to four key Commission actions: [Read more…]