Anderson County has fireworks Saturday night

Fireworks at Alvin K. Bissell Park in Oak Ridge on July 4, 2017. (File photo by D. Ray Smith)

There are fireworks in Anderson County for Independence Day this evening.

The fireworks are funded by Anderson County with help from private donations from businesses and residents.

Anderson County commissioners debated last month whether to have the fireworks because of the COVID-19 pandemic. They also debated how much to spend, with potential amounts ranging between $12,000 and $20,000. The goal was to get to a total of about $20,000.

The fireworks show will start at 9:45 p.m. today (Saturday, July 4) at Anderson County High School. The high school campus will be closed to the public.

Anderson County High School is at 130 Maverick Circle in Clinton, close to Exit 122 on Interstate 75. The Anderson County mayor’s office recommended that anyone watching the fireworks from public areas around Exit 122 use social distancing, which generally means staying six feet away from people who don’t live with you.

There are normally fireworks in cities such as Oak Ridge, but those displays have been canceled this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year, in what could be a one-time event, the county is hosting and helping to fund the display.

[Read more…]

Anderson: Barker elected sheriff; incumbents win in Oak Ridge

Russell Barker

Russell Barker

Note: This story was last updated at 10:30 a.m. Aug. 3.

Russell Barker, a Republican, won the race for Anderson County sheriff on Thursday, beating Mark Lucas, a Democrat, in a race decided by about 2,000 votes, according to unofficial results.

Meanwhile, four incumbents were re-elected in two Anderson County Commission districts where there was a challenger in Oak Ridge.

Barker is a detective sergeant with the Clinton Police Department who has served as director of the Seventh Judicial District Crime Task Force in Anderson County. Lucas is chief deputy of the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department.

Barker had 7,684 votes (57.79 percent), compared to 5,613 votes (42.21 percent) for Lucas, according to the unofficial results posted after all 27 precincts had been counted Thursday night.

Anderson County Sheriff Paul White is retiring at the end of his third four-year term, and he did not seek re-election.

In another contested race, Regina Copeland, the Republican director of the 911 center, defeated Ebony Capshaw, a Democrat, by a 69.74 percent to 30.26 percent margin (8,981 votes to 3,987). The last elected trustee, Rodney Archer, is now executive director of the County Officials Association of Tennessee, and Myron Iwanski, a former county commissioner and commission chair appointed to the trustee job through this August election, did not seek the job in the election. [Read more…]

Twenty-nine qualify to run for 16 seats on Anderson County Commission

Twenty-nine candidates have qualified to run for 16 seats on the Anderson County Commission in the county general election in August.

There are also three people running for the Tennessee House of Representatives in District 33, a new appointed Oak Ridge school board member running in a special election in August, and a Democratic challenger to Tennessee Senator Randy McNally, an Oak Ridge resident who is also lieutenant governor.

The deadline to qualify to run in the August 2 election, which will also feature contested elections for Anderson County sheriff and trustee, was noon Thursday.

Anderson County has eight County Commission districts, and there are two commissioners per district. The offices are non-partisan, meaning that, unlike some other county offices, they are not part of the Democratic and Republican primary elections on May 1. [Read more…]

New Charter Commission meets Tuesday

The new Anderson County Charter Commission will meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday in Room 312 in the Anderson County Courthouse in Clinton.

Agenda items include a consideration of rules, according to an agenda submitted by Charter Commission Chair V.L. Stonecipher.

The Charter Commission members are Stonecipher (District 1), Mark Alderson (District 2), Steve Emert (District 3), Tim Isbel (District 4), Jerry White (District 5), Steve Mead (District 6), David Stanley (District 7), and Bob Smallridge (District 8). [Read more…]

Seven of eight term-limit candidates defeated in Charter Commission race

Bob Smallridge

Pictured above is Bob Smallridge, a District 8 candidate who received the most votes of any candidate for Anderson County Charter Commission. (Photo by John Huotari/Oak Ridge Today)


Steve Emert

Pictured above is Steve Emert, a District 3 candidate who received the second-highest number of votes in the Anderson County Charter Commission election.

Seven of the eight candidates who said they will support term limits if elected to a new charter commission lost in the Tuesday election, according to unofficial election results posted by the Anderson County Election Commission.

In District 1 (Claxton, Bull Run), V.L. Stonecipher, a former director of Anderson County Schools, defeated Floyd Grisham, the term-limit candidate, by 1,500 votes to 1,292. A third candidate, Tim Risden, had 412 votes.

In District 2 (Clinton), Anderson County Commissioner Mark Alderson beat Jim Cooper, the term-limit candidate, 1,954 to 1,340.

In District 3 (Andersonville, Norris), Steve Emert, the Anderson County Commission chair, earned about 300 votes more than former commissioner Dusty Irwin, the term-limit candidate. Emert had 2,157 votes to Irwin’s 1,846.

In District 4 (Briceville, Rocky Top), Tim Isbel, an Anderson County commissioner, defeated Dennis Hashbarger, the term-limit candidate, 1,567 to 1,024. [Read more…]

Term-limit candidates trail in early voting

Bob Smallridge

Bob Smallridge


Note: This story was updated at 1:30 a.m.

Seven of the eight candidates who said they will support term limits if elected to a new charter commission are behind in early voting, according to unofficial results posted on the Anderson County Election Commission website on Tuesday evening.

In District 1 (Claxton, Bull Run), Floyd Grisham, the term-limit candidate, trails V.L. Stonecipher by 1,019 early votes to 831. A third candidate, Tim Risden, had 286 early votes.

In District 2 (Clinton), Jim Cooper, the term-limit candidate, is behind Mark Alderson, an Anderson County commission 1,430 to 922.

In District 3 (Andersonville, Norris), Steve Emert, the Anderson County Commission chair, leads former commissioner Dusty Irwin, the term-limit candidate, 1,541 to 1,323.

In District 4 (Rocky Top), Tim Isbel, an Anderson County commissioner, is ahead of Dennis Hashbarger, the term-limit candidate, 773 to 620. [Read more…]

Letter: Iwanski endorses Smallridge for Charter Commission in District 8

To the Editor:

Choose your charter commissioner wisely.

As noted in a recent Knoxville News Sentinel editorial “Voters must take care with charter commission picks” in the upcoming Anderson County election. They note further that a home rule charter has “options for improving county government, but also ample opportunity to make government worse.”

A charter abolishes and replaces the constitutional form of government. The charter form of county government is an option that completely restructures county government in a way that could affect almost every elected office and the citizens they serve.

It is important that we elect members to the charter commission that will take on this important task with an open mind and willingness to study the options carefully in a way that looks out for the long term interests of Anderson County. It is important that those selected have a proven history of successful experience in county and city government. [Read more…]

Letter: Anderson Charter endorses candidates based on survey responses

Organizers of the Anderson County Charter movement have announced their endorsement of candidates who will support term limits, as well as announcing the formation of their Political Action Committee “Anderson Charter.”

To help Anderson County voters make informed decisions in the upcoming November 8 election, sent the 19 Charter Commission candidates a questionnaire soliciting their views on a charter form of local government for Anderson County.

Only nine candidates returned the questionnaire, eight of which agreed or strongly agreed to the formation of a charter and to support term limits for the members of County Commission and the Office of Mayor. Concerning these issues, candidate Marjorie Lloyd responded “Don’t Know.” Verified candidates in support of term limits, as well as candidates supporting citizen speech and transparency in government are: [Read more…]

Charter Commission candidates debate term limits, reducing County Commission, electing law director


Seven candidates for Anderson County Charter Commission sparred over term limits, cutting the Anderson County Commission almost in half, and electing the law director during a public forum in Oak Ridge in October. The candidates, all from three Oak Ridge districts, are pictured above. They are, from top left, top row, Marjorie Mott Lloyd, Steve Mead, Kathy Moore, Theresa Scott, and from bottom left, bottom row, Bob Smallridge, David Stanley, and Hugh Ward. (Photos by John Huotari/Oak Ridge Today)


Candidates for Anderson County Charter Commission sparred over term limits, cutting the Anderson County Commission almost in half, and electing the law director during a public forum this month.

There was also a heated exchange over whether two candidates—both county commissioners, including one in her first term and another halfway through his second—are permanent officeholders.

The seven candidates are running for three seats on the eight-member Anderson County Charter Commission in the November 8 election.

The debate over term limits has focused on whether the limits are necessary, whether they would encourage more young people to run for office, and whether Anderson County voters already have the right to impose term limits through elections, among other arguments for and against.

As proposed during the campaign, there could be a two-term limit on county commissioners and the county mayor. However, nothing will be official until the Charter Commission is elected next month, and the Charter Commission is not obligated to consider the proposal. Whether the commission even considers term limits could depend upon which candidates are elected. Any changes proposed by the Charter Commission will be considered by voters in November 2018. If approved, they would go into effect in September 2019. [Read more…]

BBB-TV posts video from Anderson County Charter Commission candidate forum

BBB-TV, Channel 12 in Oak Ridge, has posted video from the candidate forum for Anderson County Charter Commission candidates in districts six through eight. Those three districts are primarily in Oak Ridge.

The candidate forum was September 20 at the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce.

See the forum in the video below. [Read more…]

Forum for Anderson County Charter Commission candidates on Thursday

A Thursday forum will feature candidates for Charter Commission in five districts in Anderson County.

The forum starts at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, October 20, in the “Big Room” at Clinton Community Center, which is at 101 Hicks Street in Clinton, a press release said. The forum is hosted by

There are 19 people running for eight seats on the Anderson County Charter Commission. Only one person from each County Commission district will be elected to the Charter Commission.

Organizers of the charter effort hope to give residents the ability to have more input and involvement in their local government, the press release said. [Read more…]