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...]

Roane Chamber has candidate forum Tuesday evening

Roane State Community College Harriman Campus

The Roane County Chamber has a candidate forum on Tuesday evening at Roane State Community College in Harriman, pictured above.

The Roane County Chamber has a candidate forum on Tuesday evening. It will feature candidates for Roane County executive, sheriff, Roane County Commission in District 4 (Oliver Springs), and Democratic and Republican candidates for Tennessee House of Representatives.

The forum will also feature candidates for County Commission, School Board, and City Council in Harriman, Kingston, and Rockwood.

The forum starts at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Roane State Community College’s O’Brien Theatre at 276 Patton Lane in Harriman. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., and the forum is expected to last until about 8:30 p.m. [Read more...]

Inspired by her son, Neergaard runs for state House

Misty Neergaard

Misty Neergaard

Inspired by her son’s efforts to shed light on the effects of bullying, Oak Ridge resident Misty Neergaard is running for the Tennessee House of Representatives.

Neergaard is unopposed in the state Democratic primary in District 33, which includes most of Anderson County, on Aug. 7. She will take on the winner of the Republican primary, which pits Rep. John Ragan, the incumbent, against newcomer Caitlin Nolan.

In a press release, Neergaard said her focus is on the need for Anderson County voters to have a voice in the Tennessee House.

“All too often Tennessee and its citizens are portrayed in a negative public light, Neergaard said in the release. “I know the people in Anderson County are kind and hard-working. They deserve a government who cares about them instead of scoring political points. Our family has been through some tough times, and the people of East Tennessee have been wonderfully supportive. It is time I give back.”

The release said Neergaard has been a dedicated mother and housewife for 18 years. Last summer, her son Marcel Neergaard created an online petition to help bring the effects of school bullying to light, the release said. [Read more...]

Senate approves Lake City’s name change to Rocky Top

Lake City Council Approves Rocky Top Name Change

The Lake City Council votes 4-0 in November to change the town’s name to Rocky Top, and Rep. John Ragan said he had draft legislation to approve the name change to introduce in the Tennessee General Assembly. (File photo)

WYSH Radio/Oak Ridge Today

A bill that will allow Lake City to officially change its name to Rocky Top was unanimously approved in the Tennessee Senate on Thursday, three days after the state House of Representatives also unanimously voted to support the measure.

Lake City Council members approved the name change, seen as a vital first step toward developing a Rocky Top theme park in the former coal mining town, in November. The bill will now go to Gov. Bill Halslam’s desk for his signature, then the Lake City Council must ratify it by a two-thirds majority.

The name change is seen as a necessary first step toward turning the former coal mining town into a tourist destination, taking advantage of its two exits off of I-75. Plans call for an interactive 3-D theater, a restaurant, a water park and a hotel, as well as other attractions. [Read more...]

Nolan, a state House candidate, has meet-and-greet on Thursday

Caitlin Nolan, a candidate for the Tennessee House of Representatives, has a meet-and-greet on Thursday in Clinton.

It’s scheduled from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday at 364 Market St. in Clinton.

Nolan is challenging the incumbent, Rep. John Ragan of Oak Ridge, in the Aug. 7 Republican primary in the state’s 33rd District. The 33rd District includes Oak Ridge, Clinton, and most of Anderson County.

Visit www.caitlinnolan.com for more information.

Nolan, a state House candidate, has meet-and-greet on Thursday

Caitlin Nolan

Caitlin Nolan

Caitlin Nolan, a candidate for the Tennessee House of Representatives, has a meet-and-greet on Thursday in Clinton.

It’s scheduled from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday at 364 Market St. in Clinton.

Nolan is challenging the incumbent, Rep. John Ragan of Oak Ridge, in the Aug. 7 Republican primary in the state’s 33rd District. The 33rd District includes Oak Ridge, Clinton, and most of Anderson County.

Visit www.caitlinnolan.com for more information.

Tennessee House gives Rocky Top go-ahead

WYSH Radio/Oak Ridge Today

On Monday, the Tennessee House of Representatives voted unanimously to allow Lake City to change its name to Rocky Top. The House bill sponsored by Rep. John Ragan of Oak Ridge passed 89-0.

The name change is seen as a necessary first step toward turning the former coal mining town into a tourist destination, taking advantage of its two exits off of I-75. Plans currently call for an interactive 3-D theater, a restaurant, a water park and a hotel, as well as other attractions.

The state Senate has yet to schedule a vote on the companion bill to the House version, which is being sponsored by Sen. Randy McNally of Oak Ridge. If the Senate approves the measure as expected, the Lake City Council will have to vote again on the name change to ratify the private act that was endorsed Monday by the state House. [Read more...]

Rocky Top name change advances

Lake City Council Approves Rocky Top Name Change

The Lake City Council votes 4-0 in November to change the town’s name to Rocky Top, and Rep. John Ragan said he has draft legislation to approve the name change to introduce in the state legislature.

Information from WYSH Radio

A legislative proposal that would allow Lake City to officially change its name to Rocky Top will soon be debated by the Tennessee House of Representatives.

On Thursday, the House Calendar and Rules Committee voted to put the plan, also known as HB 1469, on the House’s agenda for Monday, March 31.

This comes after The House of Bryant Publications filed a lawsuit against the city to stop the name change. The House of Bryant owns the trademark to the song “Rocky Top.” [Read more...]

Lake City to Rocky Top: Bill clears first hurdle

Lake City Rocky Top Meeting

A standing-room-only crowd assembles to watch the Lake City Council vote 4-0 in November to recommend the town’s name be changed to Rocky Top.

Legislation that could clear the way for Lake City to be rechristened Rocky Top cleared its first hurdle on Tuesday as it was approved by the Tennessee House of Representatives’ Local Government Committee in Nashville.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. John Ragan of Oak Ridge, is a private act requested by Lake City officials as the first step toward developing Lake City and its two exits off I-75 into a tourist destination.

Developers say that without the name change, the project—which could include a theater, a restaurant, and other amenities—cannot move forward. [Read more...]

Sen. McNally part of effort to drug test judges

Randy McNally

Randy McNally

Information from WYSH Radio

Tennessee Sen. Randy McNally and Rep. Ryan Haynes will introduce legislation that calls for drug testing all Tennessee judges, the two legislators announced Friday.

McNally, an Oak Ridge Republican, made the announcement after meeting Thursday with Knox County Prosecutor Leland Price and the families of Channon Christian and Chris Newsom. Christian and Newsom were raped, tortured, and murdered by Lemaricus Davidson, Letalvis Cobbins, George Thomas, and Vanessa Coleman seven years ago.

“For a family to have to go through one trial where it involves the torturous murder of their loved one is far too painful for anyone to endure,” McNally said. “But, to have to go through two trials is inconceivable and inexcusable. This legislation addresses this so that no one will have to endure this kind of lengthy and excruciatingly painful court process again due to drug abuse by a judge.” [Read more...]

Nolan announces Republican candidacy for Tennessee House

Caitlin Nolan

Caitlin Nolan

She lobbied the state legislature for anti-bullying legislation as a high school freshman eight years ago, and now Republican Caitlin Nolan is seeking a seat in the Tennessee House of Representatives.

Nolan would challenge incumbent John Ragan of Oak Ridge in the Republican primary in the state’s 33rd District, presuming Ragan seeks re-election to a third two-year term. The 33rd District includes Oak Ridge, Clinton, and most of Anderson County.

The Republican primary is Aug. 7, 2014. [Read more...]

State Democratic Party chair to speak at chili supper Thursday

Roy Herron, chairman of the Tennessee Democratic Party, will be guest speaker at a Thursday meeting of the Anderson County Democratic Party.

It’s the party’s annual chili supper and potluck, and it starts at 6 p.m. Thursday in the Claxton Elementary School Cafeteria. [Read more...]