Riverside Drive closed for bridge work

Terry Benjamin, with the City of Clinton Public Works Department, gets ready to close off the walking trail under the Lewallen Bridge Tuesday morning. Riverside Drive will be closed between South Seivers Boulevard (State Route 61) and Meadowbrook Street, as will the boat launch ramp beneath the bridge. — Ken Leinart
Blalock Construction has notified the City of Clinton that Riverside Drive will be closed between South Seivers Boulevard (State Route 61) and Meadowbrook Street, beginning early Tuesday morning Sept. 18.

For the next three years, motorists trying to reach the Riverside/Riverbend areas will need to use one of four alternate routes: Meadowbrook Street, Willow Street, Elm Street, or Redbud Drive.

Attempting to make a left turn onto any of these four streets may present a challenge during afternoon hours, when school and work traffic is at its peak.

To help accommodate this, the City of Clinton is currently upgrading the traffic signal at Willow Street/Sunset Road.

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The ‘heart and soul’ of Claxton closes its doors

Jo and Ken Williams sign the “Thank You” card for Dillis Freeman at last Friday’s ceremony at the Claxton True Value Store. — Ken Leinart
There were tears — quite a few.

There was laughter — quite a lot of that, too.

Friday afternoon the Claxton community said “Goodbye” to Claxton True Value Hardware Store — what many describe as the “heart and soul” of the community.

After 35 years Dillis Freeman is finally taking some time off.

Anderson County Commissioner Tracy Wandell and Chuck Fritts presented Freeman with a proclamation passed by Anderson County Commission. Cake was served and “Buy something” was shouted numerous times.

Dillis and his wife, Johnny, made the True Value store the center of the Claxton universe. Maybe not geographically, but in spirit and temperament the True Value store served as a weather bell for the community.

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Charter Commission back on

Mayor’s veto overridden

The Anderson County Charter Commission is back.

Forced back, it seems, by a lawsuit alleging the Charter Commission is not fulfilling its obligation.

Last month Anderson County Commission approved extending the Charter Commission.

That approval was vetoed by Mayor Terry Frank, leaving the body with no legal means to reconvene.

Monday night County Commission voted to override the mayor’s veto … So it can fight the lawsuit.

And here’s where it gets tricky: County Law Director Jay Yeager told County Commission that if the Charter Commission could not meet, could not face the lawsuit, who knows what could happen.

The plaintiffs, led by Mark DeVol, could win the suit and the county may be required to go through the whole process of electing another Charter Commission, or even be required by a judge’s order to draw up paperwork to begin the process of forming a charter government.

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Finding healing: Raising awareness for those who lose hope

The statistics are staggering: suicide is the second leading cause of death for students. There has been a 63-percent increase in deaths by suicide for girls since 1994, and a 40-percent increase for males.

Girls ages 10-14 had a triple increase in deaths by suicide since 1999.

“We’re only six weeks in,” said Anderson County High School’s Kim Guinn, “and there have already been six confirmed deaths {by suicide} of kids in school in Tennessee.”

In 2015, Guinn was brought on board to ACHS to head up their Advancing Wellness and Resilience Education program. The program is grant-funded, and only three schools in the state received the grant. The goal of the program is to bring mental health services to students, which includes education on suicide prevention, according to Guinn.

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Senate passes pay raise for troops

United States Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said the appropriations package passed by the Senate today establishes the nation’s military spending priorities, which include pay raises for troops at Ft. Campbell and important Department of Energy national security programs at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge.

“For the first time in nearly 10 years these appropriations bills are on time, and they are also within the budget. I’m glad we are restoring the practice of regular order for appropriations from start to finish.” Alexander said.

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Hallsdale-Powell receives USDA loan for projects in Anderson County

Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett today announced that USDA is investing $392 million to help rebuild and improve rural water and wastewater infrastructure in 42 states. Rural Development State Director Jim Tracy announced that over $30 million of those funds will be invested in Tennessee.

“Many times clean water may be taken for granted, but it is vital to the livability of a community,” Tracy said. “We are happy to partner with Tennessee rural communities to ensure they have the necessary water infrastructure to meet the needs of citizens and businesses.”

Hazlett announced the awards last week during the Water Pro Conference hosted by the National Rural Water Association.

The Hallsdale-Powell Utility District will use a $21.8 loan to fund a total of 36 projects in Knox, Union, and Anderson Counties.

The Hallsdale-Powell Utility District water system has aging infrastructure and many of the sections to be replaced are 30 to 40 years old.

Once these projects are complete, the overall reliability and performance of the system will be improved, in turn, improving the public health and safety provided by the system.

Emergency responders to take part in exercise in Oak Ridge

Emergency responders from the Department of Energy and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, along with state and local emergency management personnel, will conduct an emergency exercise on Wednesday, Sept. 19.

The public may observe emergency responders simulating response activities in the area surrounding the Oak Ridge Reservation. Additionally, low-flying National Guard helicopters will be performing training in the area. The helicopters will be flying in the Melton Hill Lake area near ORNL. These activities are part of the exercise.

The exercise will begin at approximately 8 a.m. eastern time and conclude around noon.

This event is one of a series of emergency exercises conducted regularly by the DOE facilities in Oak Ridge. The exercises test the ability of emergency personnel to respond quickly and effectively to emergency situations and ensure that the public, site employees and the environment would be protected in the event of an actual emergency at the facilities.

UT-Battelle LLC manages ORNL for DOE’s Office of Science.

As the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, the Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time.