Short-term rentals are no vacation for government officials

Short-term summer rentals — those properties you can rent for a week, or a weekend — are putting Anderson County government in an awkward situation when it comes to enforcing existing resolutions and regulations.

The subject came up Monday night during the Anderson County Commission’s monthly meeting — in particular one summer rental listed on Vrbo, located in the Henderson Bend subdivision.

In 2018, the state legislature passed a law that effectively pulled the rug from under county and city governments when it comes to enforcing any alleged violations on the use of the property.

“In 2018 the state of Tennessee, dealing with this issue all across the state, has something known as the Short Term Rental Act,” Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank told the body.

“In many states, there was so much tourist revenue being generated [that] state legislatures went in and pre-empted all local prohibitions and regulations on short-term rentals.

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A crew installs a fence along the Charles G. Seivers Boulevard bridge over Market Street in Clinton on Monday, July 19. The bridge work is almost finished and traffic flow on both sides has been reopened. The fencing on both sides is designed to keep vandals from throwing objects onto cars — and trains — below the bridge.

Can you see the light?

Rocky Top council approves ordinance to regulate lighting

The Rocky Top City Council gave final approval Thursday (July 15) to an ordinance that would strictly limit “light pollution” and “hazards from poor lighting” for new commercial and multi-family residential developments.

Among other provisions, the ordinance forbids nuisance lighting such as “flickering or flashing lights,” “neon or LED lights [used] to outline doors, windows, architectural features and building facades,” and “any light fixture that can be confused with or construed as a traffic control device.”

Outdoor recreation fields are exempt from most of the ordinance, but must follow certain rules, including a requirement that all lights be aimed at the field of play, and that they be extinguished within 45 minutes after the event ends.

Additionally, the ordinance requires that a proposed “light plan” showing compliance with the ordinance be submitted to the Planning Commission along with other documents for approval of a new development.

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Suspect still sought in break-in, ATV theft at Tommy’s Motorsports

Tommy’s Motorsports posted these images on its Facebook page taken from its security cameras of this man who broke into the business off I-75, Exit 122, on Thursday morning, July 15, and stole a side-by-side all-terrain vehicle. The ATV was recovered, but the suspect got away from police after a chase that ended in the woods off Norris Freeway.
The suspect in the break-in at Tommy’s Motorsports and theft of a side-by-side all-terrain vehicle from the store just off Interstate 75, Exit 122, remained at large this week, despite a massive manhunt shortly after the event last Thursday.

Clinton Chief of Police Vaughn Becker said the suspect wrecked the ATV in a creek just off Norris Freeway while being pursued by police Thursday morning, and escaped on foot into the wooded area south of Andersonville Highway.

Clinton and Norris police officers and Anderson County sheriff’s deputies joined in the search, but were unable to locate the man, who reportedly was barefoot and shirtless as he escaped into the woods.

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ACSO awarded mental health transportation grant

The Anderson County Sheriff’s Office has been awarded the state’s Office of Criminal Justice Program’s Mental Health Transportation Grant of $153,000 for the second year in a row.

The grant does not require a county match and will solely be used by the Sheriff’s Office.

Under state law, the Sheriff’s Office is required to transport mental health patients to facilities across the state once they are evaluated and committed by a physician at Methodist Medical Center.

After receiving the grant last year, the Sheriff’s Office contracted with Amerimed, an authorized subcontractor, for mental health transports.

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Pantex and Y-12 employees honored with excellence awards

Employees at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and the Pantex Plant in Amarillo, Texas, recently received the National Nuclear Security Administration ‘s Office of Safety, Infrastructure, and Operations (NA-50) excellence awards.

This year’s awards recognized five Pantex teams and eight Y-12 teams for their exceptional accomplishments during fiscal year 2020.

Consolidated Nuclear Security Chief Operating Officer Bill Tindal said of the award recipients, “We are here today because you found solutions to some of our toughest problems. We are proud to recognize your demonstrated excellence.”

Jim McConnell, NNSA associate administrator for safety, infrastructure and operations, told the recipients, “Your insistence on excellence, your tenacity in doing the job right, and your understanding that teamwork is often the best way to a solution are being recognized by NNSA. You were among the best of the best across the Enterprise in 2020.”

Revitalizing the infrastructure

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Downtown event Friday to celebrate Clinton’s ‘TN Main Street’ status

A special event this coming Friday afternoon on Market Street will celebrate Clinton’s recent designation as a Tennessee Main Street Community.

The festivities begin with an official “ribbon cutting” ceremony at 4:15 p.m. at the new Maude W. Brown Park at Market Street and Freddie Fagan Way, conducted by the Anderson County Chamber of Commerce.

That will be followed by an evening of activities that include a cornhole tournament at 5:30 p.m., live music with the Seals Family Band beginning at 6 p.m., a kids’ watermelon-eating contest at 6:30 p.m., and the passing out of T-shirts, frisbees and cups with the Historic Downtown Clinton logo at the park, according to Katherine Birkbeck, program director for the Historic Downtown Clinton Merchants Association.

Market Street will be shut down from 4 to 10 p.m. for the activities, and Hoskins Drug Store will be serving root beer floats in the park.

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TBI releases ‘2020 Crime in Tennessee’ publication

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has released its 2020 “Crime in Tennessee” publication, which details the volume and nature of crime, as reported by the state’s law enforcement agencies.

The report compiles data submitted to TBI through the Tennessee Incident-Based Reporting System.

Among the report’s findings:

• A total of 506,558 Group A (typically the most serious) offenses were reported in 2020, decreasing 5 percent from 2019.

• Some 136,407 Group A arrests were made in 2020, of which 6.8 percent were juveniles.

• The crime rate per 100,000 for Group A offenses was 7,355.5.

• There were a total of 18,167 DUI arrests in 2020, a decrease of 7.1 percent from 2019.

The state’s 2020 crime data was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, as workplaces, schools, and other community venues were closed, the TBI said. The data analysis and the numerous graphs and charts in this year’s publication illustrate the sharp decline in reported crime.