News

‘A teaspoon at a time’

‘Vision’ for South Clinton is not just about aesthetics


Numerous public meetings were held to get input on what the citizens of Clinton thought about a new vision for South Clinton — as part of the Clinton Vision process.
You may not realize it, but the future dynamics of South Clinton are already here.

The “Clinton Downtown Vision, South Clinton Plan” was released last month.

It came after several months of meetings that asked for input from residents, businesses, and the Clinton City School System.

The “South Clinton Vision” is complex. The final document is a heavy read, with various zones: River, Vista, Residential, Gateway, and Hiway Drive.

And like the original Clinton City Vision, there is an anchor to build upon.

As complex as it is though, two — the “River Zone” and the “Vista Zone” — are well underway.

No matter where you look, who you ask, or what you expect, Aspire Park is going to be the anchor in the vision for South Clinton.

Aspire is a game-changer. The park is the “ringer” in a pick-up basketball game. It’s an anchor and it’s a tone-setter for the future of not just South Clinton, but the city as a whole.

A $6 million grant has already been approved for the sidewalks to connect Hiway Drive to the new Clinch River Bridge.

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The chickens have come home to roost

Backyard chickens are now legal in Rocky Top as the result of an amendment to the city’s animal control ordinance last week.

But there are some strict limits and requirements. Only three “female chickens” – hens – are permitted on any lot of less than an acre, and a maximum of six are allowed on lots of at least an acre.

And to help keep them from becoming a nuisance to adjoining property owners, the chickens must be in an approved henhouse during night hours, and their pens must be enclosed to keep them from escaping, or from predators or vermin entering the henhouses.

Anyone wanting to keep chickens must apply for a permit, and pay an annual fee of $25 for the privilege. Violations of the ordinance carry a $50-a-day penalty.

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The Courier News brings home five TPA awards

The Courier News brought home five awards from the annual Tennessee Press Association Contest for the 2021 print year (Jan. 1-Dec. 21, 2021).

The awards ceremony was held Friday, Aug, 26, at the Sheraton Music City Hotel in Nashville.

The Courier News won one first-place award, a third-place award, and three fourth-place awards.

The contest was judged by Indiana Press Association members.

Ken Leinart took first place for “Best Sports Writing,” with a column he wrote about Anderson County High School’s Stone Cummins winning a state wrestling title, “Thank you.”

“Last year was a difficult year The Courier News. We were short a sports reporter all year long. Ken never complained about it; he just kept working and looking for ways to better serve our community,” Tony Cox, Publisher of The Courier News said.

The judge in Indiana wrote, “Just one sample to go off of, but Ken found an angle and worked it very, very well. Human interest stories should make a human interested to read it, and this column did just that. Well done.”

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Nov. 8 ballots finalized

No one filed to be counted in the Nov. 8 general election as a write-in candidate for any of Anderson County’s municipalities by the noon Monday (Sept. 19) deadline, according to the county Election Commission.

That means the slate of candidates who qualified for spots on the ballots in the election is now completely set, as the deadline for having a name removed from the ballot has also passed.

• In Clinton, Scott Burton and Zach Farrar are squaring off for the mayor’s position.

Clinton City Council candidates include David W. Queener and Vicki Violette, Ward 1; Brian D. Hatmaker, Ward 2; and Wendy Maness, Harper M. Maxwell, and Mitchell “Shoney” Wolfe, all in Ward 3.

• Rocky Top Mayor Timothy Sharp will face challenger Kerry Templin for a four-year term as mayor of that city

Sharp is seeking his fourth term as mayor. Templin has never held elective office.

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Dealing with Brookstone


At the Monday, Sept. 19, meeting of the Anderson County Commission, Commissioner Tyler Mayes, left, read a proclamation honoring Chuck Fritz, right, for his 20 years of service as a commissioner. - Pete Gwada
At its meeting this past Monday evening (Sept. 19) Anderson County commissioners dealt with a variety of issues including appointments to various boards and committees, traffic concerns brought about by an expansion of Brookstone Ridge subdivision, and a fee schedule for adopting animals from the animal shelter.

Commissioners proclaimed, Sept. 24 to be Commissioner Charles “Chuck” Fritz Day in Anderson County in recognition of Fritz’ 20 years of service to the county. “We did a lot to keep Anderson County moving forward,” Fritz said of the commissions he served on, adding, “I look forward to seeing what this commission does.”

The commissioners also proclaimed Oct. 1 to be Jennings Foust Day in Anderson County in recognition of Foust’s five terms as constable.

Anderson County Sheriff Russell Barker said “he was one of the best” in honoring retiring Deputy Steven Dale Abner for 30 years of service under five sheriffs. Commissioners proclaimed Sept. 30 to be Deputy Steven Dale Abner Day in Anderson County.

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Clean up your ‘record’ Oct. 29 at ‘expungement clinic’

The Anderson County Bar Association, the Oak Ridge-Anderson County NAACP, and the League of Women Voters are hosting a free “expungement clinic.”

The event is scheduled from 9-11:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 29, at the Oak Ridge General Sessions Courthouse, 728 Emory Valley Rd., Oak Ridge.

An expungement is a court order removing an eligible criminal charge from a person’s record.

The event is free and no pre-registration is required.

Make sure to bring a photo ID and any court documents for expungements. Volunteers will be completing court orders and other forms to remove eligible dismissed and “No True Bill” charges from public records.

Volunteers will also provide information on how to expunge qualifying convictions.

Due to legal requirements, the event can only serve people with charges in Anderson County.

Volunteers held similar events in the past in Clinton and Oak Ridge.

Since holding the events, volunteers have helped hundreds of Anderson County citizens remove eligible charges from their public records.

Rocky Top council extends city manager’s contract for five years


Rocky Top City Manager Michael Foster, right, addresses the City Council during last Thursday’s council meeting, during which the council approved a five-year extension of Foster’s contract. Looking on here is Councilman Tony Devaney. - G. Chambers Williams III
The Rocky Top City Council last Thursday night unanimously approved a five-year extension of the contract of City Manager Michael Foster, who has held the position now for more than seven years.

Terms of the contract include a $500 monthly allowance for Foster’s use of his personal vehicle on city business, along with a mileage allowance at the IRS’s published rate for single trips exceeding 50 miles each way.

Foster’s salary will continue at $69,000 a year, and he will receive raises only in the same percentages as are given to other city employees during annual city budgeting. Foster also serves as a District 2 Anderson County commissioner, a position he won in the recent county general election.

The Rocky Top city charter was amended by the state General Assembly seven years ago to change from a strong mayor/council form of government to a council/city manager arrangement, and Foster was hired as the city’s first manager.

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