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Oak Ridge High School is pleased to announce its official Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Certification from AdvancED. This accomplishment means that Oak Ridge School district is the first entire district in Tennessee and just the second entire district in the world to be STEM Certified by AdvancED. 

Oak Ridge High School is also the first comprehensive high school in the state to earn this distinction as an entire school as opposed certifying a single STEM program area.

"This STEM certification validates our longstanding commitment and investment in public education," Oak Ridge Mayor Warren Gooch said. "The commitment to excellence, which sets Oak Ridge apart, begins every day with public education. It is fitting that our school system has been awarded this certification during our 75th Anniversary year."

AdvancED implements a research-based framework and criteria for the awareness, continuous improvement, and assessment of the quality, rigor and substance of STEM educational programs in Oak Ridge Schools. The certification process clearly defines the qualities and components vital to creating and sustaining superior student-centered K-12 STEM teaching and learning programs, as well as clear expectations for student outcomes and mastery of 21st century skills. The certification process comprises two days of intensive communication with school stakeholders, classroom observations to see students in action, and an exit presentation of the findings from the review team.

"The Board of Education appreciates the collaborative efforts of all of our staffs and administrators," Oak Ridge Board of Education Chairman Keys Fillauer added. "Their hard work and dedication made this significant accomplishment happen. Because of the certification, our schools continue to offer outstanding educational opportunities for all of our students."

The Oak Ridge School district has always been committed to the advancement of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in quality education for its students. The district has augmented this focus with an emphasis on preparing students for future STEM occupations and fostering 21st century skills for collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking utilizing interdisciplinary problem-based learning. A critical part of this process has been the pursuit of recognition by and recommendations from AdvancED STEM certification, which will authenticate and build upon our current curricular practices for infusing STEM-based learning in daily instruction.

In the spring of 2016, three Oak Ridge elementary schools earned AdvancED STEM certification: Glenwood, Linden, and Woodland Elementary schools. In the spring of 2017, three more schools in Oak Ridge received this distinction: Willow Brook Elementary, Jefferson Middle, and Robertsville Middle. With the addition of the high school certification, our entire district is now STEM certified. Our desire is to prepare our learners for the careers of tomorrow by perpetuating their enthusiasm for STEM disciplines today. Our focus on STEM demonstrates our continued commitment to ensure every Oak Ridge student is prepared for college, career and life success.

"Oak Ridge's success depends on our skilled workforce and future successes will be dependent on how we train the next generation," Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson remarked. "We've been training a highly technical workforce for 75 years and we'll be successful in training the next generation. This announcement solidifies that philosophy."
All City of Oak Ridge administrative offices will be closed on Monday, January 1, 2018, in observance of New Year's Day.

Additionally, offices will be closed on Monday, January 15, 2018, for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. 

Household refuse and recycling will be picked up as normal.
The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) National Nuclear Security Administration's (NNSA) electrical substation project that seeks to clear-cut 2.1 miles of mature trees along the top of Pine Ridge has been delayed for 45 days, though some logging activity will reportedly still occur during this time.

The Oak Ridge City Council formally requested a 30-day delay during a special-called meeting on Friday, December 8, to give the NNSA an opportunity to comply with its statutory obligations pursuant to the National Environment Policy Act (NEPA) and to allow the City of Oak Ridge to receive additional technical information used in the decision making process to locate the transmission lines on Pine Ridge. The City also strongly encouraged the NNSA to conduct a public meeting in the Scarboro and Groves Park Commons neighborhoods during this time.

In a letter from NNSA dated December 11, Dale Christenson, Federal Project Director for NNSA's Uranium Processing Facility (UPF) project, stated that NNSA would extend the discussion period to 45 days given the holiday season.

"During this time," the letter stated, "NNSA will take no action that commits to any particular approach to the siting of this transmission line. Although initial logging operations will begin during this period, they will occur on a point furthest from the City and will not prevent NNSA from acting on any reasonable mitigation approach that may be suggested."

As stated in previous City of Oak Ridge communications on this issue, the electrical project includes plans to clear-cut trees and vegetation along the crest of Pine Ridge in order to install more than thirty 79-foot transmission towers. The power lines would service the UPF, which is being constructed inside the Y-12 National Security Complex on the other side of Pine Ridge.

The substation project has been under development by DOE for at least two years. The City was only informed of the plan a few weeks prior to the expected start of the logging operation. This postponement will allow the City and DOE to have a more meaningful dialogue about this segment of the project's impact on the community, both short and long term.

The City of Oak Ridge has consistently voiced their support for the UPF project, recognizing its critical importance to our nation's security.
The City of Oak Ridge has two drop-off locations available for citizens to recycle their Christmas trees after the holidays. 

Signs are already posted in both locations. 
The drop-offs are:
  • Big Turtle Park, 2525 Oak Ridge Turnpike (parking lot)
  • Solway Park, 205 Edgemoor Road (parking lot adjacent to the boat launch)
Trees will be accepted any time through January 28, 2018. On Saturday, January 13, and Saturday, January 20, Recreation and Parks Department employees will be on site to assist with unloading trees at the Big Turtle Park drop-off location from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Please be sure to remove all tinsel and other decorations from the Christmas trees before dropping them off for recycling. Wreaths and garland will also be accepted, but no brush.

For more information, contact the Recreation and Parks Department by phone at (865) 425-3450 or visit their departmental website at
The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) has approved a $496,000 Local Parks and Recreation Fund grant that will be awarded to the City of Oak Ridge for the purpose of renovating Blankenship Field. The grant will receive an equal match from the Blankenship Field Revitalization Foundation.

The funds, totaling roughly $1 million, will be used to make a number of upgrades to the facility, including, but not limited to: installation of synthetic turf, concrete walkways, synthetic track, new fencing, signage for the Cedar Hill Greenway trail head, and additional restrooms. On December 11, City Council voted to amend an earlier resolution to include all the enhancements specifically outlined within the grant contract. The expected date for project completion is June 1, 2018.

"Blankenship Field is a true landmark, part of our City's remarkable and fascinating student athlete history," Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson said of the facility. "This is our opportunity to make improvements that will be enjoyed by all for many years to come. We are targeting to have the upgraded field and stadium open for the class of 2018's graduation ceremony. For now, this is a welcome Christmas gift for Oak Ridge!"

The TDEC grant includes a stipulation that the entire facility be open for public use during non-event times. As per that requirement, Blankenship Field and its amenities will be operated like a City park, meaning it will be open to the public from dawn until dusk every day. The only exception would be during scheduled sporting events or other scheduled community activities that may take place inside the facility throughout the year. The City has coordinated with the Oak Ridge Board of Education to create a joint operational agreement for management and maintenance of the stadium facilities moving forward.

"It's important to remember the goal of this project - creating a gathering place so the Oak Ridge community can use the field for much more than football," Recreation and Parks Department Director Jon Hetrick said. "These changes will essentially be adding another City park to an already impressive list of green spaces in Oak Ridge. The entire City will benefit."

The City applied for the TDEC grant in 2016 and was notified of acceptance and approval earlier this year. The contract, received on November 28, was thoroughly reviewed by City staff and signed by Oak Ridge Mayor Warren Gooch. The document was then returned to state officials in early December. TDEC estimates that the fully signed contract will be sent back to the City within four weeks. Work is expected to begin in January once the document is received.

About Blankenship Field: For over 70 years, Blankenship Field has been the home of the Oak Ridge High School Wildcat Football team. The facility, named after former superintendent Alden Blankenship, is located on Broadway Avenue near Historic Jackson Square. After opening in 1943, it quickly become the largest gathering place for Manhattan Project workers and their families. Learn more online:
CodeRED, the emergency notification system utilized by the Oak Ridge Fire Department, launched a new short code for SMS text messages and Weather Warning messages earlier this month. Notifications will now come from 76993. 

A short code is the five or six digit number sequence that appears on a mobile device when a message is delivered. This update means that any citizen who saved the previous short code in their phone as a contact will no longer see the name they designated (i.e. "CodeRED Alert"), but users will continue to receive messages just as they have in the past.

No action is required for users of the CodeRED system in light of this recent update. However, they are encouraged to program the new short code into their mobile phone or other device to ensure awareness of future alerts. Again, the new short code is 76993.

The community is encouraged to sign up for CodeRed alerts if they have not already done so. These messages can be a life-saving tool in an emergency. The process is simple; just visit the Oak Ridge Fire Department webpage for a link.

For additional information, contact the Oak Ridge Fire Department at (865) 425-3520.

How CodeRED works: If you have a land-line phone at your home or business through AT&T or Comcast, you will automatically receive a call from CodeRed alerting you of severe weather. If the city has a local emergency, the fire department will send an automated call to affected homes and business in order to provide information about the event. If you do not have a land-line phone, or if you would like to be notified even when you are not at home, you can sign-up on the CodeRed system using a cell phone. By registering a mobile number to your home or business address, you will receive emergency notifications regardless of your physical location.
On Wednesday, November 29, the City of Oak Ridge Youth Advisory Board (YAB) made a special delivery at the Holiday Bureau of Anderson County, dropping off an estimated $1,200 worth of toys just in time for Christmas.

The YAB, made up of 16 Oak Ridge High School students, purchased new items at a local retailer with funds raised at other board events. Items purchased include toys for all ages, as well as bicycles, clothing and sports equipment. The items were later distributed to low income families in Oak Ridge and Anderson County for the holidays.

"This generation of young people want to make a real difference in the world and I'm proud to be able to work with them," YAB City Staff Liaison Matt Reedy said. "YAB members voted unanimously to give back to kids who are less fortunate. Most of the money supporting this project was raised by students at the Children's Halloween Party, a City event at which they also volunteer."

After delivering and helping sort through the donated items at the Holiday Bureau's warehouse on Emory Valley Road, the students took a tour of the facility to learn more about the non-profit's mission and other ways they can help.

The Holiday Bureau is run solely by volunteers and operates year-round, though most of their efforts are concentrated around the holidays. They accept monetary gifts as well as donations of toys, books, games, bicycles, electronics, jewelry, Christmas decorations, small household items, and non-perishable food. None of the items are ever sold.

For details on volunteer opportunities with the Holiday Bureau of Anderson County, contact them by phone at (865) 483-7831 or visit their website . For more information on the YAB, contact Matt Reedy at (865) 425-3442 or visit the City's Recreation and Parks Department website .

About Youth Advisory Board: The City of Oak Ridge's Youth Advisory Board (YAB), created in 1991, serves as a liaison between City Council and the youth of the community. In the 26 years since its inception, the YAB has offered input on City issues and provided activities and programs that enhance the lives of young people in Oak Ridge. YAB meetings are held twice per month on Wednesday afternoons at the Oak Ridge Civic Center and are open to the public.
The Winter Farmers Market by Grow Oak Ridge reopens on January 6, 2018, after a two week closure for the holidays.

The market features a great selection of produce, baked goods and handmade items -- even bright red tomatoes -- all found indoors, away from the cold and harsh weather of the winter season.

Be sure to visit them from 10am-1pm on Saturdays inside the gym at St. Mary's School on Vermont Avenue. They'll be open through the month of February.

Don't forget - the market DOUBLES SNAP/EBT dollars! They also offer a free kids club.

To learn more about the Winter Farmers Market or for information on becoming a vendor, visit their website at
The citywide leaf pick-up program is still underway! City collection efforts will follow the proposed schedule as closely as possible.

The proposed schedule is a general guide and can vary considerably from the actual schedule due to weather conditions and the amount of leaves.

PLEASE NOTE: Streets will be swept approximately two weeks after leaves are picked up in each designated area.

The following guidelines will help make the leaf pick-up process easier for crews and homeowners:
  • Residents should place their leaves near, but not beyond the curb. Leaves must not be placed on the sidewalk or in the street, parking spaces or drainage ditches due to posing a pedestrian or traffic hazard and possibly clogging the storm drains. Hazards that are created by improperly placed leaves will be removed by the City at the resident's expense.
  • Leaves must be free of tree branches and twigs as these can cause the leaf vacuums to clog. Because of their impact on production, leaf piles found to contain these items will not be picked up.
  • All leaves must be placed outside fenced areas. If there is no other location on your property to rake your leaves, then rake them to the end or side of your driveway. Leaves may be placed in plastic bags and will be picked up at the curb during the scheduled program.
  • Only leaves will be collected during this fall's program. Citizens are reminded that the citywide household trash and brush pick-up will be scheduled in April and May.
For more information, please contact Waste Connections of Tennessee at (865) 482-3656.
Last month, the 2017 Class of Leadership Oak Ridge completed a project to honor a beloved member of the community for his tireless efforts to improve the lives of those around him, both personally and professionally. 

A dedication ceremony for the Dr. Gene Caldwell Memorial Garden was held on the morning of November 8 at Emory Valley Center.

The group chose to build a raised-bed garden at Emory Valley Center for their class project and dedicate the garden in memory of Dr. Caldwell, a local pediatrician and citizen of Oak Ridge who helped raise the funds for Emory Valley Center's new location. The group agreed that this would be a wonderful way to honor Dr. Caldwell's legacy. He passed away in March of this year, just before the new center was set to open.

Since early spring, the Leadership class worked to develop and execute a plan for the garden. They utilized fundraising for the project as well as donations of materials and labor to make their vision a reality. Navy Junior ROTC cadets from Oak Ridge High School assisted with the build, which was finished in October. 

"I'm incredibly proud of what the 2017 Leadership Oak Ridge class has been able to accomplish," Leadership Oak Ridge Project Manager Dionne Harper said. "We set a significant goal and far exceeded our own expectations in creating something meaningful and beautiful for Emory Valley Center and the Caldwell family. This project has certainly left a lasting impression on each one of us. We'd like to thank everyone who helped make it happen."

Emory Valley Center is a non-profit agency that has been serving children and adults with disabilities in the East Tennessee area for more than 60 years. The mission of the organization is to enhance the lives of children, adults and families in an environment that promotes independence, dignity and respect. Emory Valley Center's new facility is located at 715 Emory Valley Road in Oak Ridge.

The November 8th ceremony included a special presentation by the ORHS Navy Junior ROTC program and remarks from several speakers close to the project before an official ribbon cutting was held to dedicate the garden to Dr. Caldwell. Members of his family were present at the ceremony.

The 2017 Leadership Oak Ridge class included: Misty Bittle, Aaron Buck, Kate Carter, Jordan Clark, Jackie Clay Dubose, Sharon Coleman, Steven Crowe, Betsy Cunningham, Davyda Hammond, Dionne Harper, Richard Hazuda, Myles Hebrard, Jeremy Hodges, Lisa Kendall, Craig Layman, Michael Manfredo, Marcia Mask, Susan May, Cynthia Morgan, Blake Overton, Jack Parker, Marisa Parkes, Amanda Purdy, Sarah Self, Mathew Stanke, Jennifer Walker, and Erin Webb.

About Leadership Oak Ridge: Entering its 30th program year, Leadership Oak Ridge is one of the longest continuously running community leadership programs in the United States. For the more than 1,000 graduates of the program, their Leadership Oak Ridge experience continues to make a difference in their personal and business lives. Most importantly, their experience continues to impact the Oak Ridge community.  For more information on the Leadership Oak Ridge program, contact Greta Ownby, Executive Vice President of the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce, at (865) 483-1321, ext. 101.
We are currently accepting applications for Customer Service Representative. This position performs customer service duties associated with receiving and posting all revenue transactions. 
Applications are due by noon on  Friday, January 12, 2018 .

The City is also hiring for an Electrical Engineer. This position designs modifications, extensions and improvements to high voltage underground and overhead electrical distribution systems, substations, and City buildings and electrical systems. Anyone interested in this position should immediately file an application with the Personnel Department.

View all current job openings and find out how to apply by visiting the  Employment section of our website .

On December 9th, 65 cadets from the Oak Ridge High School Naval National Defense Cadet Corps braved the freezing temperatures and marched in the annual Oak Ridge Christmas Parade.

In partnership with TN Bank of Oak Ridge, a team of cadets, led by Cadet Jena Hogan, built a float with the theme of "A world away, but home at heart." 

The cadets were very excited to be a part of the parade for the first time representing Oak Ridge High School and the Navy.  

"It was cool, very cold, but cool to be a part of this", said Cadet Lindsay Ripley. When asked what she enjoyed the most about it, she said, "hearing the company sing Navy Colors was awesome."  

The cadets played an important role in the parade as the competition color guard, led by Cadet Lillie Mullins, led the parade while the Company Commander, Cadet Lieutenant Rhiannon Lucas, led a 10 flag color guard trailing the float and Cadet Myka Winningham led a platoon of 50 cadets following the flag detail.  

There were many accolades from spectators about the professionalism and excellent appearance of the cadets. Great job to all!


Congratulations to the Jefferson Middle School FIRST Lego League teams. They competed in the Knoxville Qualifier on Saturday, December 9, at Hardin Valley Academy. 

The JMS Master Builders received the 1st Place Core Values Trophy. The RadioActive Brix received the 2nd Place Champions Trophy. The Atomic Eagles received the 1st Place Champions Trophy and the 2nd Place Robot Performance Trophy. All three teams will advance to the East Tennessee Championship in February.

The team members are as follows: 

Atomic Eagles - Aaliyah Herron, Aaron Fiscor, Alex Shanafield, Amelie Nagle, Ben Dallas, Brian Qu, Lindsey Fiscor, and Marissa Kenworthy. Team coaches are Janie Shanafield and David Hundermark and team mentor is Harold Shanafield. 

JMS Master Builders - Adam Blanchard, Amelia Thomson, Jacob Mohr, Jessica Mohr, Matthew Alexander, Sadie Thomson, Sydney Blanchard. Team coach is Lexie Scott and team mentor is Dr. Jeff Thomson. 

RadioActive Brix - Abbey Ellis, Christopher Gorsuch, Colby Lawson, Eden Hatmaker, Henry Landau, Johnny Clark, Roxanne Farahi, Wesley Hitson. Team coach is Norma Franco and team mentor is Justin Lawson.

In addition, there are several JMS students on a local/community team called Team CATS. They placed third overall. Team members include: Anshra Ajaz, Ashley Godfrey, Becca Godfrey, Grace Godfrey, Iliana Spence, and Thora Spence. The team will be advancing to the regional championship tournament in February.

[Article and photos submitted by Janie Shanafield]
The car was packed and ready to go... but they had one last stop to make on the way out of town: their retirement party.

Pat and Susan Fallon retired from the Public Works Department last month. Their combined service to the City of Oak Ridge totals more than 58 years!

Susan began working for the City in 1989 in the Finance Department. During her career she served in many roles, including budget, grants, housing (CDBG administrator), contracts, purchasing and served as staff liaison for the Industrial Development Board. Susan worked in the Finance Department for fifteen years until 2004 when she transferred to the Public Works Department where she became the Administrative Manager and worked closely with the EPA Administrative Order and Infor software implementation along with her other administrative duties. Susan served the citizens of Oak Ridge for more than 28 years.
Pat began working for the City in 1987 as a drafter for the Engineering Division which was then part of the Community Development Department. He became an inspector and was promoted to Sr. Inspector upon completion of his degree from Pellissippi State Community College. He served as an inspector until 2010 when he became the manager of streets and facilities in Public Works. He was later promoted to Division Manager and assumed the management of the fleet maintenance and stormwater along with the streets and facilities. Pat served the citizens of Oak Ridge for 30 years.

Susan and Pat have now moved to Goodyear, Arizona, where Pat has accepted a position with the City of Glendale and Susan plans to enjoy retirement. Congratulations to you both and thank you for your dedication to public service in Oak Ridge!

Wachs Water Services, working under contract for the City of Oak Ridge, is currently conducting a leak detection survey on water lines throughout the City.

During the survey, Wachs Water crews will be listening to underground water lines in an effort to detect leaks and areas for potential water main breaks. The results of the survey will assist the Public Works Department in identifying areas of concern within the water system.

No digging is required for the survey, but residents may see workers in their yards. Surveying has already begun on the far east end of town and will continue to head west. Work is concentrated north of the Oak Ridge Turnpike to North Illinois Avenue and is anticipated to last until mid-January 2018.


The second phase of the Turtle Park Sewer Rehabilitation Project began during the first week of October. Hurst Excavating, LLC, is working under contract for the City of Oak Ridge to rehabilitate sewer collection pipes within City easements as well as in yards and roadways.

Work will be performed in the Turtle Park Sewer Shed (click to see full size map), located west of Highland Avenue, east of Newport Drive, north of Vanderbilt Drive, and south of West Outer Drive. Residents in the area should have received door hangers on orange paper providing general project details and contact information for Hurst Excavating, LLC.

Drivers, cyclists and pedestrians are urged to use extreme care and caution when traveling on streets within the sewer work area. Temporary road repairs will be made and loose gravel should be expected until the patches are permanently paved. 

The estimated completion date for the project is June 2018. All construction work is subject to change and is based on such unknowns as the weather, equipment availability and access issues.

Questions or comments can be directed to the City of Oak Ridge Public Works Department at (865) 425-1875 or via email:
Our 75th anniversary has arrived and the calendar is full of amazing events that will help us celebrate this milestone. Thanks to everyone who has taken part in the events so far!

FLASHBACK: Oak Ridge was born in 1942 and existed for seven years as a truly "Secret City." By August of 1945, around 75,000 people lived within the community borders. Visitors were only allowed in by special approval and guards were posted at all entrances to the city, requiring residents to wear badges whenever they were outside their homes. At the time, Oak Ridge was the fifth largest city in Tennessee, but didn't even appear on the map.

75th Anniversary festivities will continue into 2018.  Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Y-12 National Security Complex will celebrate the anniversaries of their respective beginnings as well.  Additional events will be announced as they are confirmed.
guitar-slider.jpg Free guitar lessons for senior citizens will begin with an orientation class on Friday, January 5, 2018, at 10 a.m., at the Oak Ridge Senior Center.

Regular classes will begin on Friday, January 19, 2018, and are open to area seniors age 50 and older. All levels of guitar players are welcome.

Beginner's lessons start at 9 a.m. with intermediate lessons to follow. Bass guitar lessons are also included. Mr. Wendall Cook, who has many years of experience playing and teaching, will conduct the lessons.

Members of the class provide music for the Senior Center Christmas party. They also play at assisted living facilities and retirement centers as well as other venues from time to time.

Anyone with questions about programs offered by the Oak Ridge Senior Center can call (865) 425-3999 for additional information.
The Oak Ridge Senior Center held its annual Holiday Reception on Friday, December 8, in the gymnasium of the Civic Center.  Staff reported record attendance this year with more than 200 people signing in at the party.

As always, local seniors were invited for a light lunch of sandwiches, chips and cookies, as well as holiday music and fellowship.  The senior center's guitar group played live Christmas music. The crowd also played bingo and a long list of door prizes and goodie bags were given away.

The event is sponsored by the Oak Ridge Senior Center and made possible by many generous donations from area businesses every year.

About Oak Ridge Senior Center: Oak Ridge senior citizens have had a facility dedicated to their needs since 1977. The Senior Center is now temporarily located at 1403 Oak Ridge Turnpike inside the Recreation Building of the Civic Center. You can learn more about them on Facebook, check out their website or give them a call for more information on programs.

City of Oak Ridge | |
200 South Tulane Ave
Oak Ridge, TN 37830