MARCH 2021
VOL. 7, ISSUE 3
What's Happening in Oak Ridge!?
City of Oak Ridge facilities will continue to be operated as detailed in the link below for the safety of our employees and social distancing for our customers. Visitors may receive a temperature scan and inquiry about their current health. Please call the City Manager’s Office or department offices on the City’s website for further information.
In the interest of helping our local seniors, the City of Oak Ridge is assisting local pharmacies with efforts to vaccinate those who are eligible under current state guidelines.

As the vaccine becomes more widely available in Oak Ridge, more information will be released.
After a long year of coronavirus and renovations, Oak Ridge Public Library is excited to announce that it will begin a phased reopen on March 29.

The first phase, from March 29 through May 29, will allow patrons to browse the main library and Children’s Room, use public computers, and enjoy the newly renovated library space. Library hours will be limited to Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Curbside pickup will continue during this first phase. Curbside hours, however, will change to Monday through Saturday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

The Oak Ridge Room will be open by appointment and all programming will remain virtual. The auditorium will remain closed to the public. Public restrooms will be open, but water fountains will not be available.

Because COVID-19 is still a concern, everyone visiting the library will be required to wear a mask that covers both the mouth and nose. Temperature checks, health screening, and social distancing measures will be in place. If you are not able to wear a mask, please let us help you either through our curbside service or over the phone at (865) 425-3455.

Anyone who received a digital access card to use the library over the past year is invited to come into the library after March 29 with a picture ID and proof of address to transition their digital access card to a full privilege library card.

Regardless of phase, both library staff and patrons will be required to wear masks until the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance changes. This plan is dependent on COVID cases continuing to decrease in our community and is subject to change.

For more information, contact the Oak Ridge Public Library at (865) 425-3455, visit ORPL.org or follow the library on Facebook and Twitter: @OakRidgePubLib.
City of Oak Ridge officials will join the Oak Ridge Environmental Quality Advisory Board (EQAB) at Oak Ridge’s 36th Annual Arbor Day Observance on Friday, March 12, 2021, at 10 a.m. at Linden Elementary School, located at 700 Robertsville Road.

The ceremony also marks the 33rd year that the City of Oak Ridge has been recognized as a Tree City USA.
Tennessee residents are invited to beautify their properties and their communities by planting trees on “Tennessee Tree Day” on March 20, 2021, and the Healthy Waters Program would like to help Oak Ridgers get involved.

If you reserved your trees by March 7, tree pickup is set for Friday, March 19 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or Saturday, March 20 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Your local pickup site is located at the Oak Ridge Central Services Complex, 100 Woodbury Lane, Oak Ridge, TN 37830.

Everyone is encouraged to plant their tree on their property on Saturday, March 20, as part of America’s largest single-day tree planting event.
The City of Oak Ridge, in partnership with the Oak Ridge Rowing Association, will host the 2021 Oak Ridge Louisville Cardinal Invitational Regatta on March 13 and 14, 2021.
This invitation-only event brings elite college Women’s Rowing teams to compete in one of the first events of the season.

In accordance with ACC and Big 10 COVID guidelines, this is a “No Spectator” event.

As a result, the parking lots at Melton Lake Park will be closed to the public during the regatta.

Melton Lake Greenway users and other visitors to the park are asked to observe social distancing guidelines and to wear masks when in the vicinity of regatta activities and participants.

“Working together, we look forward to hosting a safe and successful event,” Recreation and Parks Director Jon Hetrick said.

For more information, contact Oak Ridge Recreation and Parks at (865) 425-3450.
Due to confusion caused by incomplete information issued by the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), City of Oak Ridge leaders would like to make sure it’s clear that the $57.5 million contract the agency executed with Nuclear Fuel Services (NFS) for uranium purification and conversion would move the work to a site in Erwin, Tennessee.

On Feb. 26, 2021, City of Oak Ridge officials received an email from NNSA notifying them that NNSA was publishing an Advanced Notice of Award to issue a 3-year, sole-source contract with Nuclear Fuel Services (NFS) for the final design and demonstration of highly-enriched uranium (HEU) conversion and purification capabilities at the Y-12 National Security Complex (Y-12). The information was subsequently provided in a press release issued by NNSA on March 1, 2021.

The information provided by NNSA in both the email and press release implied the contract work would be performed at Y-12, omitting the fact that the work would be conducted 125 miles away from Oak Ridge – in Erwin, Tennessee.

When the City asked NNSA for a clarification, NNSA responded that the confusion “was an error” on their part and that “the NFS work will not be taking place at Y-12.”

To provide a better understanding for workers and the community, Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson requested via email to NNSA’s Intergovernmental Affairs Specialist on March 3 that NNSA issue a correction or updated release to those who received the Feb. 26 distribution.

The request went on to state: “In addition, the NNSA press release issued on March 1 makes no mention that the work will be performed off-site. This oversight needs to be corrected as well. We believe this is important and relevant information that should be provided to stakeholders and the public.”

That request was not acknowledged nor responded to.

“It is deeply concerning that the release issued by NNSA misrepresented the contract work as being at Y-12. We remain strongly against pushing this through just hours before a new Secretary and executive team were confirmed,” Oak Ridge Mayor Warren Gooch said. “Chemical processing of uranium has been one of the core capabilities of Y-12, and it is clear that this work could and should continue to be performed at Y-12 where the highly skilled workforce and taxpayer-funded security measures are already in place.”

NNSA staff has sought to assure the City that this contract will not cause a reduction in Y-12 employment, but NNSA has not given the City any further explanation to confirm these statements.

Pending the results of Phase 1, NNSA said it will determine if a Phase 2 contract will be awarded for HEU conversion and purification.
As temperatures rise and sunshine returns, the City of Oak Ridge wants its residents to remember to continue to social distance even on the trails, at city parks, and in open spaces.

Oak Ridge has 48 greenbelt districts comprising approximately 1,566 acres of forested greenbelts that serve as buffers between neighborhoods and offer miles of shaded walking trails for residents. In addition to that, the City also has over 1,300 acres of public parks including the roughly 200 acres of the Centennial Golf Course. Trails are found in both parks and greenbelt districts.

So, before you hit the trails this weekend, you’re asked to remember the following practices:

  • Do not use parks or trails if you are exhibiting symptoms
  • Follow the CDC’s guidance on personal hygiene prior to visiting parks or trails 
  • Be prepared for limited access to public restrooms or water fountains 
  • Share the trail: warn other trail users of your presence as you pass and step aside to let others pass
  • Observe the CDC’s minimum recommended social distancing of 6 feet from other persons at all times

For information about Greenways or Greenbelts, call the Recreation & Parks Department at (865) 425-3450.
The City of Oak Ridge is proud to announce Electric Director Jack Suggs has been promoted to Deputy City Manager.

Suggs’ transition will allow for the internal growth of some of the City’s potential leaders, most immediately in the Electric Department. Ardo Ba, who is currently the department’s Electric Operations Manager, will serve as Interim Electric Director.

“The City is fortunate to have someone with a unique set of engineering, business and operations knowledge and experience who is able to step up,” Suggs said of Ba. “I am confident that I am leaving the Department in capable hands.”

Suggs joined the City of Oak Ridge in 1989 as Assistant Director of Public Works after having served in related professional positions in Texas. He moved to the role of Electric Director in 1991.

“I have been honored to serve the Oak Ridge community as part of the City’s leadership team for many years. During that time, I have developed meaningful initiatives and been entrusted with many projects both inside and outside of the Electric Department. Using this experience as a base, I look forward to working with the City Manager in addressing the wider organizational needs of the community, both project-based and programmatic,” Suggs said.

In his new role, Suggs will be able to work and facilitate several ongoing projects involving the City, including computer software implementation, a new water plant, economic development projects and the transfer of the Airport project.

“Jack and I have had a strong working relationship over the last 10 years, and I have always admired his professionalism and problem-solving skills,” said Oak Ridge City Manager Dr. Mark Watson. “With the growing workload the City is facing, having Jack in this new position will be beneficial to the community.”

Suggs’ history with the City as an effective, strategic planner and manager, supplements his experience with organizational management and supervision, measurement of employee performance, and the legal aspects of personnel administration.

“Jack is an energetic and involved leader and will, without a doubt, engage in many improvements in the City in the next 2 to 3 years,” Watson said.

His first day in the new role was March 8, 2021.
The City of Oak Ridge has named Eric Rackard as its new Fire Marshal.

Rackard, who has recently served as an Oak Ridge Fire Department Battalion Chief, takes on the new role following Travis Solomon’s promotion to Fire Chief earlier this year.

“I am honored by this promotion and greater opportunity to serve the citizens of Oak Ridge,” Rackard said.

He began the new role last month.
Ray Burney has been promoted to Battalion Chief for ‘A Shift’.

Burney, who has recently served as an Oak Ridge Fire Department Captain, takes on the new role following Eric Rackard’s promotion to Fire Marshal last month.

“I truly do appreciate Chief Solomon for giving me this opportunity in my career, and I look forward to working with everyone,” Burney said.

In the role of Battalion Chief, he manages the daily operation requirements for the ‘A Shift’ including staffing, overtime, training, and logistics.
The Oak Ridge Fire Department is proud to announce two of its firefighters have recently received their Commission on Professional Credentialing (CPC) Fire Officer (FO) designation.
Fire Captain and Paramedic Richard Cox and Firefighter, Engineer, and Advanced Emergency Medical Technician Shay West are among only 548 Fire Officer (FO) designees worldwide.
Graduation Celebration has worked to protect and celebrate our ORHS graduates since 1997. On Thursday, May 27, 2021, the ORHS Class of 2021 will cross the stage after what has been a very challenging year.

Please consider making a donation to support the Graduation Celebration as we work to celebrate these young people.

To learn about this event or about how you can help, please visit www.graduationcelebration.org.

Click here to download a copy of this year's flyer. 50% of all proceeds at the S. Illinois Avenue Panda Express on April 1, 2021, will go support the ORHS Graduation Celebration.
Team registration for the City of Oak Ridge Department of Recreation & Parks’ 2021 Spring Softball season is underway.

A Men’s League will be offered on Monday evenings and a Co-Ed League will be offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Each league will consist of an 8-game season and an end-of-season tournament to determine the champion.
COVID-19 safety measures will be in place for the protection of players and officials.

Teams must complete registration paperwork and pay the applicable registration fee by March 20. Games are scheduled to begin the week of April 5.

For more information or to obtain the registration paperwork, teams may contact Matt Reece at (865) 425-3440 or players may inquire at the front desk of the Oak Ridge Civic Center.
The Healthy Waters Program would like to remind you of some simple tips for reducing water consumption at home. These changes can not only help you save money on your water bill, but also help to conserve our clean drinking water.
The Utility Business Office now offers AutoPay! AutoPay allows you to schedule recurring payments so that you can “set it and forget it”.

For your convenience, you can set up AutoPay using a Visa, MasterCard, Discover or American Express credit card or debit card. If you prefer, you can have your utility payment drafted directly from your checking or savings account.
To sign up, visit the Customer Self Service

For questions or more information, call my friends over at the Utility Business Office at (865) 425-3400.
REMINDERS!
The City of Oak Ridge Recreation & Parks Department will host free Community Egg Hunts around the city at Scarboro, Big Turtle and Cedar Hill Parks and Centennial Golf Course on Saturday, March 27, 2021.

At the same time, baskets will be available at a drive-through event at Bissell Park for those who prefer to stay in their cars. Families are asked to pre-register for one “family ticket” for one of the locations on www.eventbrite.com.

COVID-19 safety measures will be in place and registration will be limited to allow safe distancing.
Click here to view the City meeting schedule. To find February meetings, make sure you select February and 2021 and click select month on the right of the page.

If a meeting is virtual, it will be streamed at: http://oakridgetn.gov/online/streaming
If you're looking for full-time or seasonal employment, the City of Oak Ridge is accepting online applications!

Visit OakRidgeTN.gov and click the tab at the top right that says EMPLOYMENT.
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When you're out and about the City and posting about Oak Ridge, remember to tag us for a chance to appear on our featured story and maybe even in our next monthly newsletter.
City of Oak Ridge | 200 South Tulane Ave, Oak Ridge, TN 37830