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presidents_day2.jpg A reminder that City offices will be closed on Monday, February 20, in observance of Presidents' Day.

Household refuse and recycling pick up will operate as scheduled.
If you drive by the Main Street Oak Ridge construction site on a regular basis, you've probably noticed just how quickly things are changing. Concrete is being poured, new building sites are prepped and vertical construction continues to move forward.

Last month, we showed you the newest development: the exterior walls of what will be T.J.Maxx and Dick's Sporting Goods. You can see below the difference just a few weeks of work has made. The photo on the left was taken in late December, while the photo on the right was taken during the first week of February. Both stores are slated for a spring opening. T.J.Maxx will feature two entrances, one facing the new Belk parking lot and the other on the opposite side with the Dick's Sporting Goods main entrance.

A new development for the month of February is the start of construction on the building that will house PetSmart and Electronic Express, both of which are expected to open in late spring. You can see the steel frame going up in the photo below. It's hard to see from the roads around Main Street, but the building is even further along now. Crews have already started to work on the roof.

In addition, four new stores are about to go in right next to Belk. The site has been prepped and vertical construction should begin any day (see photo below). Those stores are Ulta, Rack Room Shoes, Rue 21, and Maurice's. They also have a projected opening date of late spring.

All this construction, and of course the massive demolition that had to occur first, has happened in less than seven months. We held a groundbreaking ceremony back on July 20, 2016, just as demolition started to get underway.

WATE 6 On Your Side reporter Stephanie Beecken was in town on February 7th to get an update on Main Street Oak Ridge. You can see her story online, just follow the link on our Facebook page by clicking here.

Belk, along with JCPenney, has remained open throughout the demolition and construction process.
A detailed map provided by RealtyLink (below) shows what the project is expected to look like once it's finished. More updates are expected as the project moves forward. Visit our City of Oak Ridge Facebook page to see updated photos and videos  of the Main Street project, as well as many other events happening around town. 
"LOI" stands for Letter of Intent.
For a larger and clearer image, visit RealtyLink's website.
Construction on the 8th lane at the Melton Hill Lake rowing venue is nearly complete, with crews expected to wrap up before spring training begins later this month.

The project required a portion of the waterway to be widened, allowing for the addition of an eighth lane to the course. Most recently, crews have been pouring and finishing concrete on a pathway that had to be relocated for the upgrades.

Explore Oak Ridge and the Oak Ridge Rowing Association expect more than 30 different teams to come to town this year for spring training, with up to 50 rowers on each team. Spring training officially begins February 25th and runs through April 22nd. Those numbers make this one of the longest spring training seasons with the highest number of participants we've seen in many years.
Crews work on path to reconnect greenway along Melton Lake.
8th rowing lane project work as seen from Calhoun's restaurant.

The Oak Ridge rowing venue is nationally recognized, but the eighth lane brings the course to a new level, attracting regattas and other rowing practices and events that require eight lanes. Rowing already brings an estimated $2 million dollars in economic impact annually to Oak Ridge and surrounding communities.

The University of Michigan will be the very first team to arrive on February 25th.

The spring event schedule consists of seven regattas:


  • University of Louisville Cardinal Invite
    • March 11-12
  • Atomic City Turn & Burn
    • March 25
  • SIRA Championship
    • April 14-15
  • Dogwood Junior Championship
    • April 29-30
  • Big 12 Championship
    • May 14-15
  • Dogwood Masters Classic
    • May 20
  • USRowing Masters Nationals
    • August 17-20
Dogwood Juniors and SIRA are expected to bring in 50+ teams and they are both two-day regattas. 

The Fall 2017 schedule consists of one head race regatta in October called the Secret City Head Race.
We'd like to thank everyone who participated in our City Blueprint Kick-Off Meeting on January 26, whether you were able to attend, send in comments and suggestions on social media, or represent a board and commission while speaking with citizens. It was an amazing turnout with an estimated 500 people stopping by during the three and a half hour event.

The feedback we gathered before, during and after the meeting was invaluable and will give us a great start on a new City Blueprint. We collected 669 comment cards from citizens and logged 775 suggestions from those cards. If you include the roughly 100 suggestions we received via Facebook, that brings the comment total up to a whopping 875.

Those attending the meeting were given booklets that outlined our various boards and commissions and what they do. Every time they visited a table for one of those boards to ask a question or offer a comment, their booklet received  a stamp. Those stamps made them eligible for some awesome door prizes, which we drew names for the next day. 

Along with handing out hundreds of comment cards, we gave out map pins that citizens could use to mark where they live on a giant map in the center of the room. You can see some of those pins in the photo above. Judging by the pins and the data we collected at the meeting, almost every residential area of Oak Ridge was represented.

The last year has been an exciting period in Oak Ridge. New commercial buildings are being constructed in the City Center, improvements in our parks and trails are on the horizon and the National Historic Park is beginning to take shape.

With the vast amount of information collected at the initial meeting, we are confident that the input and interests of all our citizens will be at the heart of the City Blueprint, which will guide the City in future decision-making. There will be more meetings in the future and we encourage the community to keep providing feedback, especially if you were unable to attend the kick-off meeting. As we move forward, meetings will become more focused and the top concerns for citizens will be identified. Be sure to monitor our Facebook page for updates.

For more information on the City Blueprint, contact the Community Development office by phone at (865) 425-3531 or visit the planning website.
In honor of Black History Month, the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce will be hosting "Atomic Integration," a photography exhibition focusing on African-American life during the Manhattan Project in Oak Ridge. 

The month-long exhibit will open on Thursday, February 23, with a reception starting at 4:30 p.m. The photo exhibit is sponsored by the National Park Service, Department of Energy, Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce, and Explore Oak Ridge.

The images displayed in the photo exhibit illustrate the experiences and contributions of African-Americans during the Manhattan Project period during the 1940s in Oak Ridge. Often overlooked in our remembrance of one of the world's largest scientific undertaking that produced the atomic bomb are the works of a people who, in spite of discrimination, met the challenge and changed the course of history.

The photographs were taken by James Edward Westcott, a renowned photographer who worked for the United States government in Oak Ridge during the Manhattan Project and the Cold War. Westcott was one of the few people permitted to have a camera in the Oak Ridge area during the Manhattan Project.

The Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce is located at 1400 Oak Ridge Turnpike. For more information, please call the Manhattan Project National Historical Park at (865) 567-6767.
The Oak Ridge Police Department, Oak Ridge Fire Department and East Tennessee Children's Hospital Safe Travels program program are hosting six Child Passenger Seat Checkpoints in 2017.

These events are held for parents and caregivers to receive education material about car seats, have their car seats checked for any manufacturer recalls and also have the seats examined for proper installation. The Child Passenger Seat Checkpoint is open to the public and it is free to attend.

All events will be held at Oak Ridge Fire Station #2, 609 Oak Ridge Turnpike (near Home Depot), from 10:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. The dates are as follows:
  • January 14th (completed with 24 seats checked!)
  • March 11th
  • May 13th
  • July 8th
  • September 9th
  • November 11th
East Tennessee Children's Hospital advises anyone planning to attend a car seat inspection to be sure to bring your child restraint seat instructions and vehicle owner's manual. Also, to make the process more efficient, please install your child restraint seat to the best of your ability before attending the inspection. You can find more child passenger safety information on the  Safe Travels section of their website.

The January 14th car seat check was a big success. Oak Ridge Police and Fire Department personnel, along with representatives from East Tennessee Children's Hospital, were able to check 24 car seats in just three hours. 

At one point, both fire engine bays at the station were full of cars. Of the 24 car seats they inspected, ten of them had to be replaced because of a defect, expiration or recall.

Thanks to everyone who participated!
Ellen Smith, Oak Ridge City Council member, has been appointed to the National League of Cities (NLC) 2017 Energy, Environment and Natural Resources (EENR) federal advocacy committee. This committee has the lead responsibility for developing NLC's federal policy positions on issues involving air quality, water quality, energy policy, national wetlands policy, noise control and solid and hazardous waste management.The appointment was announced by NLC President Matt Zone, council member, Cleveland.
Oak Ridge's heritage of research and development in energy technology, particularly nuclear energy, give members of Oak Ridge city government special knowledge and perspectives to share in discussion with city leaders from around the country. The late Jerry Kuhaida, former Oak Ridge mayor, and former Council member David Mosby both served on this National League of Cities committee in years past.
Ellen Smith
"With degrees in geology and water resources management and a long career as an environmental scientist on the research staff of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Ms. Smith's professional background is closely aligned with the scope of the committee's activities," Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson said. "Like other communities, the City of Oak Ridge often encounters unique technical challenges and mandates related to community environmental protection. Local representation on this committee by Ms. Smith will help city officials at a national level garner attention to these concerns and encourage national resources for assistance."
As a member of the committee, Smith will play a key role in shaping NLC's policy positions and advocate on behalf of America's cities and towns before Congress, with the new administration and at home.
The leadership of this year's committee consists of Chair Salvatore Panto, Jr., mayor, Easton, Pennsylvania, and Vice Chairs Hattie Portis-Jones, council member, Fairburn, Georgia, and Cynthia Pratt, deputy mayor, Lacey, Washington.
For more information on NLC's other committees and councils, visit their Federal Advisory Committees page
The Healthy Waters Program will be hosting a pick up location for 100K Tree Day on February 25, 2017, and there's only a few days left to register!

This is an event sponsored by the Tennessee Environmental Council (TEC) in which 100,000 trees are planted throughout the state in one hour. The trees are being provided at no cost by TEC for participants to plant in their community.

Trees help to absorb and filter polluted stormwater runoff before it reaches our streams. If you are interested in being involved in this great event, you can register online by February 19 and order trees (at no cost) to plant at your home, school or in your community, courtesy of TEC! 

After registering, make sure you pick up your trees on the date listed below.
  • When: Saturday, February 25th, 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
  • Where: Jackson Square, 223 Broadway Ave., Oak Ridge, TN
*NOTE:  We will only have trees for those who have registered in advance.

If you have questions, contact our AmeriCorps members Caitlin Craighead and Tina Ball by sending an email to

Every year, the Tennessee Department of Education recognizes outstanding educators in the state with awards for their meritorious service and devotion to students. The department applauds teachers who care, who devote their professional lives to enriching the lives of Tennessee children and who demonstrate exceptional gains in student achievement. 

Goals of the program are to:
  • Promote effective teaching practices by recognizing and rewarding outstanding teachers.
  • Engage regional teachers of the year in education policy making through the Teacher Advisory Council.
  • Encourage participation by every school in the state so that all Tennessee teachers may be recognized and rewarded.
  • Build a network of local and state corporate sponsors.
  • Provide a network for teachers to share effective practices.
  • Encourage a sense of professionalism in teaching.
  • Encourage greater participation in building a strong community-school partnership.
Each district in the state may submit one nominee for the state-level award. As part of this process, we seek teacher candidates from each school in the district. Oak Ridge Schools would like to congratulate the school-level winners nominated by their principals and peers.

Kristi Boruff

Glenwood Elementary

Principal, Pearl Goins

Teacher of the Year, Kristi Boruff


Kristi is a first grade teacher who has consistently helped students grow to proficiency in reading and math skills. Kristi enjoys engaging students in collaborative STEM activities that lead them to become problem solvers.  Incorporating STEM activities allows her to teach standards from all subjects in a lesson, and not simply in isolation. She and her colleagues at Glenwood have developed school-wide extended Problem-Based Learning projects with real-world meaning for all students. According to Kristi's principal and peers, she is a dedicated professional who fosters a solid academic foundation while making learning enjoyable to motivate students.

Glenda Bergener

Linden Elementary

Principal, Roger Ward

Teacher of the Year, Glenda Bergener


Glenda is the seminal leader of the Fresh Start elementary alternative program housed at Linden. Glenda takes a unique approach with students in which she models coping strategies based on her own life situations. One of her favorite lessons included a request she made of her supervisors to reprimand her for a slight infraction. She reacted for her students, and allowed them to coach her with proper replacement skills. Her principal and peers agree that what yields success in Glenda's classroom is that student goal achievement includes more variables than performance on tests. Parent involvement, social well-being, and student perceptions play key roles, and she consistently expresses to students their inherent value so they  will not give up. 

Ashley Branson

Willow Brook Elementary

Principal, Sherrie Fairchild-Keyes

Teacher of the Year, Ashley Branson


Ashley is a fourth grade teacher who capitalizes on a variety of learning modalities to ensure all students succeed. Her favorite lessons include differentiated activities that allow students to learn from their mistakes, and refuse to give up regardless of how hard it is. Ashley sets goals with her students both for academics and for positive behavior. She emphasizes they are receiving behavioral "Bear Bucks" not for making 100%, but for being responsible enough to put forth the effort to achieve multiplication fluency, for instance. Her principal and peers agree that what sets Ashley apart is her changing impact on both students and colleagues, instilling a learning contagion and growth mindset.

Amy Brewer

Woodland Elementary

Principal, Nancy West

Teacher of the Year, Amy Brewer


Amy is a first grade teacher whose differentiated instruction keeps students engaged and enthusiastic through hands-on STEM-based learning that includes writing, reading, problem solving, and technology. An example she shares is an economics lesson based on reading the book The Lemonade War. Students constructed mini-lemonade stands from popsicle sticks, tape and index cards. Real lemons were the "ink" for secret messages. Students completed research with technology to determine whether lemon seeds would grow in East Tennessee in the winter. Students planted seeds to test the results. Amy's principal and peers agree that her strengths lie in her love for quality reading, writing and STEM instruction, as well as bringing out the best in everyone.

Emily Haverkamp

Jefferson Middle School

Principal, Phil Cox

Teacher of the Year, Emily Haverkamp


Emily is a Library Media Specialist who utilizes multidisciplinary learning strategies infused with technology. One of her favorite lessons is one she created in November (picture book month) with 7th grade English students who were learning how to create citations. Students read biographical picture books and built their citations in picture-book format. Students enjoyed the format so much that many created more than one, simply because it was fun. In January, when their research projects were due, they remembered the process and replicated it with ease. Emily's principal and peers attest to her collaborative professionalism and desire to reach all students, staff and families. Her inviting maker space environment is the backdrop of many creative STEM activities that occur in the Media Center, the hub learning at Jefferson.

Julie Kinder-MacMillan

Robertsville Middle School

Principal, Garfield Adams

Teacher of the Year, Julie Kinder-MacMillan


Julie Kinder-McMillan teaches 8th grade reading/language arts as well as journalism and yearbook. One of her passions is to educate students about the Holocaust using the Diary of Anne Frank as a learning platform, as Anne is close in age to her students. It provides an entry point and puts a face on the nameless numbers of victims. Julie has participated in numerous trainings to enhance her teaching, and had the pleasure of bringing in Holocaust survivor Mira Kimmelman to meet her students. Julie's principal and colleagues agree that her commitment to teaching inside and outside the classroom benefits all students academically and socially. She has a welcoming presence that fosters confidence in her students and elicits camaraderie among staff members. In the minds of students and staff alike, they say that Julie has "always been their Teacher of the Year."

Tom Froning

Oak Ridge High School

Principal, Martin McDonald

Teacher of the Year, Tom Froning


Tom teaches Algebra 2, Advanced Placement Statistics, and an accelerated course for Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II called AGATE that allows students access to honors and AP courses. Rather than a favorite lesson or strategy, Tom identifies three core beliefs that yield his student achievement. 1) The word LOVE is most often spelled TIME; 2) People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care; and 3) Be a life-long learner. Recommendations from peers and students past and present echo his commitment to these principles. Time invested and genuine care for the well-being of the people Tom mentors are the hallmarks of his success.

Lars Hondorf

Secret City Academy

Principal, Christopher Scott

Teacher of the Year, Lars Hondorf


Lars teaches Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, and math interventions at the Secret City Academy. He says the strategies that define him as an educator are productive struggle coupled with leading questions. Often, students just want an answer in math. They arrive believing that the right answer is the goal, and learn that the journey, generalizations and methods to solving problems are more important. He believes that the development of the student-teacher relationships over the course of multiple lessons is a key to evolving better leading questions. Consistent themes from his principal and peers are Lars' commitment to differentiating instruction for his students of diverse abilities, his patience and his firmness while remaining fair and friendly. His peers appreciate his commitment to leadership as a Professional Learning Community coach and technology leader in the academy.

As have so many across the country and throughout Tennessee, students and teachers from Jefferson Middle School express their sadness by the recent fires that burned through Gatlinburg, destroying a number of buildings and homes. 

JMS ski and snowboard club members have been taking after-school trips to Ober Gatlinburg for over 20 years on Wednesday afternoons each winter. This year, to show support for the area and those who are working to rebuild, the students are wearing Smokies Strong t-shirts for their ski trips to Ober Gatlinburg. 

The shirts were a gift from an anonymous donor who provided the club with 50 shirts. Allison Myers, a 7th grader said, "When our club showed up in our Smokies Strong shirts on our first trip of the season it had an impact on the workers up there, and I'm just really glad the club could play even a small part in helping lift their spirits." The Red Cross, the Dollywood Foundation, and Friends of the Smokies will benefit from proceeds of the sales of the shirts. 

The club was also able to present Pete Jucker, the Director of Instruction at Ober Gatlinburg with a "Heal and Rebuild at the Heart of the Fire" flag that was signed by the students. Pete and his wife Joy, who lost their home and possessions in the fire, designed the flags. Property owners who have suffered similar losses and are rebuilding will each receive a Heal and Rebuild flag on their home sites. Each flag flies as a symbol of hope. 

"I pray for the families who lost their homes or even a loved one, but I urge them to have courage in this time of rebuilding," added Christopher Thornburgh, an 8th grader in the club. 

The JMS Ski & Snowboard Club wants to express thanks and appreciation to those who have supported the Gatlinburg rebuilding process. They also want to let Pete and other staff at Ober Gatlinburg who experienced loss from the fires know that the students and staff at JMS continue to think about them. 

Nick Dallas, an 8th grader and veteran of the club offered that, "In my years at Jefferson I have really enjoyed the ski and snowboard club and I especially appreciate everything that Mr. Jucker and the rest of the staff at Ober have done to help us become better skiers and snowboarders."  The school continues to stand with them, Smokies Strong. 

[Article and photos submitted by JMS teacher and club sponsor, Scott Linn]

The Robertsville Middle School (RMS) Technology Student Association (TSA) competed in the 2017 East Tennessee Regional Conference on Friday, January 27, 2017, at Roane State Community College in Harriman. RMS students began preparing for this competition in early fall.  The RMS regional team consisted of 22 6th - 8th graders.  
The following students placed top three in their events:

1st Place
  • Catapult (Jaxon Adams, Emily Cantrell, Garrett Cantrell, Brandon Hernandez)
  • Challenging Technology Issues (Joe Blair, Lauren Young)
  • Children's Stories (Joe Blair, Kira Palau, Caitlin Pendley, Savanna Rouse, Elana Sampsel, Claire Thornton)
  • Medical Technology (Lilah Brown, Camden Mlekodaj, Gabe Oldham, Evelyn Pendley, Aidan Seay)
  • Promotional Marketing (Tanner Brown)
2nd Place
  • Biotechnology (Brandon Hernandez, Gabe Oldham, Caitlin Pendley, Evelyn Pendley)
  • Digital Photography (Brian Fuson)
  • Prepared Speech (Lauren Young)
3rd Place
  • Forensic Technology (Lilah Brown, Gabe Oldham)
  • Prepared Speech (Emily Cantrell)
  • Promotional Marketing (Caitlin Pendley)
  • Tech Bowl (Emily Cantrell, Tyler Dunham, Aidan Seay)
Also Competing: Aidan Hilliard, Sam Livesay, and Abby Magee.

The continued success of RMS TSA would not be possible without the leadership of our Volunteer Advisor Team. These individuals give countless hours of guidance to Robertsville students. The Volunteer Advisor Team consists of Bob and Janet Cushman, Angi and Chuck Agle, Angie Palau, and Michele Thornton. The RMS staff advisor is Todd Livesay.

The RMS TSA chapter will spend the next several weeks focusing on preparation for the upcoming TSA State Conference in Chattanooga, April 6-8, 2017. 
Last month's Oak Ridge Neighborhood Watch Program Member Appreciation Banquet was quite a hit, drawing a large crowd to Central Baptist Church for a spaghetti dinner with a special guest.

Knoxville Police Chief David Rausch joined Oak Ridge Police Chief Jim Akagi to talk about the importance of citizen involvement in the community when it comes to safety and policing.

Neighborhood Watch Programs educate citizens on several important topics, including: 

  • techniques to reduce the risk of being victimized at home and in public
  • the importance of recognizing suspicious activities and how to report them
  • how to make homes more secure and properly identify property
A number of certificates were also handed out to Neighborhood Watch members at the banquet, including our own Lyn Majeski (right), the City's Accounting Division Manager. She was given the Financial Innovator Award.

There are approximately 150 streets in Oak Ridge that are active participants in the Neighborhood Watch Program. The groups are all over the city, from Rivers Run to the Preserve at the Clinch and West Outer Drive to the Scarboro Community. 

For more information about the program or how to start a Neighborhood Watch in your area, contact Community Resource Officer Barry Bunch by phone at (865) 556-6696 or by  email  at
Oak Ridge Mayor Warren Gooch (left) with Georgiana Vines (center) and Steven Wyatt (right) during a tour of Y-12's New Hope Media Center.
Writer and retired associate editor for the Knoxville News Sentinel Georgiana Vines spent a day shadowing Oak Ridge Mayor Warren Gooch on February 9th.

Vines toured the town and learned about it's diverse and important history. She was busy taking notes and asking questions of City leaders for an upcoming article about Oak Ridge.

Some of the events on the day's agenda included a visit to Main Street Oak Ridge and an update on a variety of other projects including the 8th rowing lane, Blankenship Field and the International Friendship Bell Peace Pavilion.

Vines also received a briefing on the Manhattan Project National Historical Park and Oak Ridge's role in providing mutual aid to Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevier County during the wildfires late last year.

City Manager Mark Watson and special guest Georgiana Vines watch a presentation updating the fundraising effort for the Friendship Bell Peace Pavilion during a noon Rotary meeting.
The day wrapped up with an overview of the community's waterfront development plans and a reception for the 2017 Leadership Oak Ridge class, with Vines as the special guest. While planning for her visit, we also discovered that at least two people on the list to help host Georgiana during her day in Oak Ridge were actually in a class she taught at the University of Tennessee.
On behalf of everyone with the City of Oak Ridge, we'd like to thank Georgiana Vines for her visit to learn more about our city, where great things happen every day!
The  Recreation and Parks Department  will be conducting turf maintenance at  Big Turtle Dog Park , 2525 Oak Ridge Turnpike, beginning in early March. The dog park will remain open to the public during the project. 

Areas of turf being renovated will be closed off with orange construction fencing. The fence will be removed once the new grass has become established. 

Department staff requests that park users and their pets stay out of the fenced areas while turf renovation is taking place. They also request that park users exercise caution while staff and equipment are on site performing work. 

Any questions regarding this maintenance project should be directed to the Recreation and Parks Department at (865) 425-3450.
Waste Connections of Tennessee announced late last year that they would suspend glass recycling for their curbside pickup program in an effort to remain "dedicated to maintaining a healthy and strong recycling program for all residents." 

That change took effect on January 1, and enforcement began on February 6. Bins containing glass will no longer be picked up at the curb. Residents with glass in their bins may receive a flyer from Waste Connections as a reminder about the recent change.

In a letter to City officials, Doug McGill, Municipal Marketing Manager for Waste Connections, Inc., explained that "markets for recyclable materials ebb and flow, and changes in glass markets have made this change in service necessary. By removing glass from curbside collection, we will preserve the overall integrity of our recycling program."

Mr. McGill went on to say that the processor of recyclables in Knoxville stopped accepting single-stream recycling glass after the first of the year, as did most processing companies across the country. "The reason for this is twofold," Mr. McGill added. "Their equipment is being highly damaged by broken glass and co-mingled with colored glass, which has no market anymore. This is not a local issue - it is part of a national trend due to the regional nature of glass markets and related costs."

It's important to note that all other recyclable material is still being collected in the same way. Residents can also still drop off recyclable glass (clear, green or amber) at the Waste Connections Convenience Center on Warehouse Road. Just be sure to sort the glass by color.

We appreciate the community's cooperation with this update to the program. For additional information, you can contact Waste Connections of Tennessee at (865) 482-3656 or visit .
The Oak Ridge Senior Center welcomed guests to its new temporary location with a free Chili Cook-Off on Monday, January 30th.

Around 70 people sampled chili and soup from area restaurants and assisted living facilities. Participants providing food included Brookdale Senior Living, Greenfield Senior Living, Canterfield Assisted Living, Morning Pointe of Clinton, The Soup Kitchen, Pizza Inn, and Razzleberry Lab.

Lunch guests were able to check out the Senior Center's new facility inside the Civic Center and register for door prizes before sampling and voting for their favorite dish. The winner was chili from Greenfield Senior Living, represented by Leah Dailey and Mark Roseberry (seen in photo below at left and right, respectively, with Senior Center Recreation Manager Linda McGhee at center).

The Senior Center would like to thank everyone who took part in the Chili Cook-Off for making this an excellent first day in the new location.

The Senior Center's move to the Civic Center Recreation Building is temporary. An architectural firm retained by the City is working on plans for a brand new Senior Center. The aim is to locate it on the same property with the Civic Center.

The City plans to approve and release the details of the new Senior Center's design as soon as they're complete. A possible timeline for the new center's construction is estimated at 18 months.


Free guitar lessons for senior citizens will begin with an orientation class on Friday, February 24, 2017, at 9 a.m. at the  Oak Ridge Senior Center.

Regular classes will begin the following Friday, March 3, and are open to area seniors ages 50 and older. 

All levels of guitar players are welcome. Beginner's lessons start at 9 a.m., with intermediate lessons following. Bass guitar lessons are also included.

Wendall Cook, who has many years of experience playing and teaching, conducts the lessons. Members from the class provide music for the Senior Center Christmas Party. They also play at various nursing homes, retirement centers and other venues from time to time.

For more information on this or any other programs offered by the Oak Ridge Senior Center, please call (865) 425-3999.

The art display at Oak Ridge Public Library for February is entitled "Magnolia Lane," a collection of vibrant nature compositions photographed by Robert Forbes.
Mr. Forbes (seen in photo at right) grew up in the flatlands of the Midwest, but after following his family to East Tennessee in April 2001, he found inspiration in the majestic beauty of East Tennessee's landscape.
In this exhibit, Mr. Forbes concentrates on one species of flowering tree, the tulip magnolia.
This collection of 24 framed 8x10s and 6 large glossy prints glow with daylight. The deep pinks and purple hues reflect the hope and vitality of a warmer season.
Other examples of Mr. Forbes' art and inspiration can be found online here
A portion of any sale proceeds during this month will be donated to the Tennessee Arboretum. 
For pricing information, please contact the artist on his website.

Please visit Oak Ridge Public Library during the month of February to catch an early glimpse of spring!
The Library is privileged to house the photography collection of Ruth Carey, an original Oak Ridge resident and longtime photographer for the Oak Ridger from the 1960's to the mid-1990's. Her photo collection is vast and varied, including pictures of key political and cultural figures, community events, and weddings. Figures such as Alex Haley and Gilford Glazer, for instance, appear in several photos. 

Unfortunately, many of the photographs do not include notes about who is in the photograph or when or where it was taken. 

With the help of volunteers, Oak Ridge Public Library staff members Teresa Fortney and Jordan Reed have begun digitizing the collection. Some of the photographs that have been digitized are available for public viewing online. However, Mrs. Carey's collection was so comprehensive, only a portion of the total number of photographs have been digitized. 

As the library continues its digitization efforts, it is important that the people and places are identified so as not to lose this important part of our history.

If you would like to help preserve a part of Oak Ridge's history, please join us for one or all of three photo viewing days:
  • Saturday, February 25, from 2-5 p.m.
  • Wednesday, March 8, from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
  • Saturday, April 1, from 2-5 p.m.
On the above dates, the library will make the Ruth Carey Collection available for public viewing. If you would like to help identify the people, places and events in these photographs, please join us. 

All events will take place in the library auditorium. All are welcome and encouraged to attend. No call or RSVP necessary.

Need to polish your resume, complete an online job application or find the jobs that match your skill set? Mark your calendars! 

The Career Coach, sponsored by the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development Employment Security Division, will be coming to the Oak Ridge Public Library parking lot from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on the following dates:  March 16, April 13, May 18, June 15, and July 20.

Come by anytime during those hours and receive job assistance. For more information on the Career Coach, check out their website

This is a free service for the public, and library memberships are not required for participants.

Come to the Oak Ridge Public Library Auditorium on February 25th from 10 a.m. until 11 a.m. for coffee, refreshments, and to create an individualized plan for your success. 

Join Certified Life Coach, Yvonne Hart, and Morgan Stanley Financial Advisor, Josh Klinger, to mold your resolutions into a working personalized plan for your 2017 and beyond. 

Learn tips on how to reach your life goals, fulfill your New Year's resolutions and maximize your financial fitness into your future. 

This event is free and open to the public and a library membership is not required for participants. 

For more information on this or any other special program at the library, 
call (865) 425-3455.
Registration is now open for a Lifeguard Certification Course being offered by the Recreation and Parks Department over spring break.

The course will be held Monday, March 20, through Friday, March 24, at the Civic Center's indoor pool facility. The class begins at 10 a.m. each day and is scheduled to run until 2:30 p.m.

There are some pre-requisites for the course. Registrants must be at least 15 years old and be able to pass the pre-swim test for admission. The test will be held on the first day of class.

The cost of the course is $135, plus a $35 fee that will be paid online to the American Red Cross. People who do not reside in Oak Ridge can sign up, but they must pay an additional $10 fee. There is limited space available. The deadline for registration is Monday, March 13.

Attendees should remember to bring lunch, a snack and a drink. Those interested in signing up can register in person at the Civic Center's front desk or by calling (865) 425-3450.

If you'd like more information about this course or any other aquatic programs offered through the Recreation and Parks Department, please contact Vonda Wooten at .
Oak Ridge Preschool, East Tennessee Children's Hospital Safe Kids and the Oak Ridge Police Department teamed up last month to provide all students at Oak Ridge preschool a helmet for the remainder of the school year.

The helmets are being used during the students' outdoor activities, which include riding tricycles and scooters. At the end of the school year, the students will be allowed to take the helmets home with them.

The event, which was held on Thursday, January 12, at the Oak Ridge Preschool, was a lot of fun for everyone involved. Many students couldn't wait to try out their new helmets, insisting on a little playtime outside after their individual helmet fitting sessions.

Even students who were not present at the event had a helmet set aside for them. Teachers wrote names on the back of each helmet so they wouldn't get mixed up.

We posted a lot of photos on our Facebook page, but you can also watch a news report on the event thanks to WVLT Local 8 News, just click here.
Are you looking to do an environmental project in your neighborhood, school or community that has a positive impact on your local watershed? 

The Water Quality Forum will be awarding a grant of up to $1,500 to a group (school, church, nonprofit, homeowner's association, etc.) that is committed to improving the health of their community's waterways.

Grant applications are due by February 24, 2017, and no previous grant writing experience is required.

For more information and a link to the grant application, click here.

The Healthy Waters Program will be conducting an invasive plant removal on the Melton Lake Greenway underneath Edgemoor Road Bridge on Sunday, March 5, from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m.  

This is in an effort to restore a wetland along the greenway by removing non-native invasive plants, cleaning up trash and planting native trees, grasses and flowers. 

The AmeriCorps members serving with the Public Works Stormwater Department, Tina Ball and Caitlin Craighead, have received a grant through the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) to make this project possible. 

If you are in the area during this time, please be aware that brush and workers will be taking up part of the greenway for a few hours.

If you have any questions about this project please contact us at


The City of Oak Ridge will hold a public hearing to gain citizen input on the proposed program model, for the CDBG Entitlement Program for the period of July 1, 2017, through June 30, 2018 (PY17/FY18), the first year of the City of Oak Ridge CDBG Consolidated Plan 2017 - 2020. 

Suggestions for potential use of CDBG Entitlement funds will be solicited, both verbally and in writing, from all interested parties. CDBG Entitlement funds appropriated for PY17/FY18 are estimated to be $210,000. 

These funds must meet a HUD National Objective and benefit low/moderate income (LMI) individuals. Citizens are encouraged to attend the public hearings to provide suggestions to the City staff for uses of the CDBG Entitlement funds. If unable to attend the hearing, please submit written comments or provide survey submission online, no later than February 28, 2017. 

The first set of public hearings happened on Wednesday, February 8th. The second set of public hearings are scheduled from noon to 1:30 p.m. and then again from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017. They will be held at the City of Oak Ridge Scarboro Center (148 Carver Avenue) Community Room.

The CDBG Online Survey for both the PY17/FY18 Annual Action Plan, and the 2017-2020 Consolidated Plan can be found here:, or you can click the link "Take the 2017 CDBG Survey" on the Community Development Homepage here: 

Written comments and questions should be directed to: Sherith Colverson, City of Oak Ridge Community Development Department, P.O. Box 1, Oak Ridge, TN 37831-0001. Citizens may also call (865) 425-3581, fax (865) 425-3426, or email
The City is hiring for a Facilities Maintenance Specialist-Commercial HVAC. Primary job responsibilities include troubleshooting, maintaining and repairing commercial HVAC systems. Applications are due to personnel by noon on Wednesday, March 15, 2017.

The City is also hiring for a Senior Planner. Job duties would include coordinating with all affected departments for review of zoning proposals, PUD Plans, site plans, subdivision plats and making presentations to Planning Commission for approval. Additionally, this position would be responsible for recording documents in the Register of Deeds office and maintaining records for approval of all subdivision bonds and renewals as well as street acceptance recommendations by Planning Commission. Also maintains database of city land records. Applications are due by close of business on Friday, March 3, 2017.

The Electric Line Technician (Lineman) position also remains open. Primary job tasks include w orking with various electric department crews installing or repairing high voltage electrical distribution system components, electrical meters, traffic signals and controllers, and electric fixtures in City facilities. This position will perform both underground and overhead work.

The City is also looking for a  School Crossing Guard.  Applicants m ust be at least 18 years old and able to work 10 hours per week (Morning & afternoon shifts).

For more details on job requirements and instructions for how to apply to any of these openings, visit the City's website and click on Employment.
Income limits have been raised significantly to allow more residents to qualify for free home upgrades through the  Make Oak Ridge Energy Efficient (MORE2) program.

To spread the word, MORE2 organizers are hosting classes they hope will allow homeowners to look into qualifications and learn how the program works. The classes are also aimed at teaching cost effective ways families can make energy-saving improvements to their homes.

You can read success stories from some of the people who've received upgrades to their homes through the MORE2 program. Just visit the  website and click on the "Participant Stories" tab on the top right. 

A schedule of upcoming MORE2 classes and public meetings can be found  online . Walk-ins are welcome, but registration is also available on the website.

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