f e b r u a r y  &  m a r c h   2 0 1 8
v o l u m e  4 ,   i s s u e  2  &  3

ORPD Chief Jim Akagi speaks to a group of students at Robertsville Middle School and answers questions about safety and police response in emergencies.
With the increased discussion about student safety in the wake of the Parkland, Florida, school shooting and our own recent experiences with threats of violence in local schools, the Oak Ridge Police Department wants the community to know that we are working to keep our schools, our students, our teachers, and our community safe.

We certainly understand concerns among parents regarding school safety. Children and school staff are ORPD's top priority. We know students and their parents share concerns and fears after everything that's been in the news the past several weeks, including alleged threats by three different students in two Oak Ridge schools.

We believe those cases (two at Robertsville Middle and one at the high school) were handled swiftly and appropriately, and they are excellent examples of the strong partnership ORPD is proud to have with the Oak Ridge Schools.
We have received several questions about the School Resource Officer position at Oak Ridge High School. We regret that a permanent officer is not currently assigned as SRO due to unexpected staffing changes; however, we have come up with several solutions to ensure that a police presence is maintained at ORHS as well as other schools in Oak Ridge. Parents and students have likely already noticed an increased presence of officers.
In addition to stepping up presence at the schools, the ORPD's plan of action includes the following:
  1. Providing school staff with non-emergency numbers that can be used to get immediate assistance from ORPD.
  2. Directing ORPD officers to conduct random walk-throughs of all schools.
  3. Placing additional emphasis on patrolling school campuses and surrounding areas as call volume permits.
  4. Utilizing school property for static surveillance of facilities and surrounding properties.
  5. Maintaining daily and frequent contact with school staff and leadership to proactively identify and discuss potential issues.
  6. Initiate critical incident training of staff at all Oak Ridge Schools.
This plan will remain in effect until the SRO position is staffed, which will happen as soon as possible. We will continue to work with Oak Ridge Schools to address any concerns from parents, students, staff, and the community. 

As an additional effort to directly address the concerns of students in the classroom, I have visited small groups of students in our middle schools and the high school in recent weeks to make sure all of their questions are answered. There are two major points I want them to remember from our discussions. Most importantly, don't make jokes about violence. We are taking all threats seriously and a simple joke can have very real consequences. Also, i f you see or hear something troubling, say something. Tell a teacher, a parent or an officer. We will listen. We are all there for you.

Rest assured, school safety is always on our mind. Our officers are doing everything they can to keep you safe.

Jim Akagi
Chief of Police
The City of Oak Ridge Recreation and Parks Department will host the 2018 Egg Hunt on Saturday, March 24, at 11 a.m. Hundreds of children and their families are expected to participate in this annual spring event.

Over 15,000 candy and prize-filled eggs will be hidden in A.K. Bissell Park with a 1st, 2nd and 3rd place prize egg in each age group. This event will be held rain or shine, so participants should dress for the weather. If severe weather prevents hiding the eggs outdoors, they will be given away in the gym and prizes will be randomly distributed.

Families should arrive early and assemble in the Civic Center gymnasium prior to 11 a.m. Participants will be divided into separate age groups and will be escorted to their respective hunt areas. The hunt is targeted for preschool-aged children (4 years old) up to fourth grade.

Recreation and Parks Department staff will make a reasonable effort to provide appropriate accommodations for special needs. Parents of children who require a more accessible hunt area are encouraged to call ahead.

Adult volunteers (age 16 and up) are needed to hide eggs, supervise the hunt areas and assist participants. All volunteers should be prepared to work from 9 a.m. to 12 noon on the day of the event and should dress according to the weather. The first 50 volunteers to sign up will receive an event t-shirt. A pizza lunch will be served to all volunteers immediately following the event.

For more information, call the Civic Center front desk at (865) 425-3450 or visit the Oak Ridge Recreation and Parks website.

NASA has selected 11 small research satellites from seven states and Puerto Rico to fly as auxiliary payloads aboard space missions planned to launch in 2019, 2020, and 2021. One of them is the RamSat, a project by Robertsville Middle School students. 

The selections are part of the ninth round of the NASA  CubeSat Launch Initiative. CubeSats are a type of spacecraft called nanosatellites, often measuring about four inches on each side and weighing less than three pounds.

Launch opportunities include planned spaceflight missions led by NASA, other U.S. government agencies, or commercial organizations, as well as deployments from the International Space Station. The CubeSats were proposed by educational institutions, like Oak Ridge Schools, or nonprofit organizations.

The selected spacecraft are eligible for placement on a launch manifest, depending on the availability of a flight opportunity. After launch, satellites will perform technology demonstrations, conduct scientific investigations, or provide educational benefits.

Robertsville Middle STEM teacher Todd Livesay wanted to create a project that tasked students with designing and 3-D printing a small one-unit cube satellite, or 1U CubeSat. Once completed, the students presented their project at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, in front of a panel of engineers.

(NASA/Oak Ridge Schools)

For the mission, students chose a cause that is near to their hearts. In 2016, wildfires ravaged communities in nearby Gatlinburg, taking the lives of 14 residents and leaving more than 2,500 homes and businesses damaged or destroyed. To assist Gatlinburg and other communities impacted by wildfires, the students set out to develop a CubeSat capable of deploying a camera and radio in space to observe and communicate the regrowth pattern of vegetation after a widespread fire. This information can be used to help communities regrow after destruction. 

To date, the CubeSat Launch Initiative has selected 158 CubeSats from 39 states and launched 59 CubeSat missions as part of the Educational Launch of Nanosatellites (ELaNa) through NASA's Launch Services Program.

Read more here:  and here: 

On Thursday, February 15, the Robertsville Middle School gymnasium buzzed with unconventional sounds: the hum of a 3-D printer, whirs from small robots, exclamations about cube satellites, forensics, digital arts, and health sciences; and the Bond Theme belted out by the Jazz Band. That evening an estimated 350 students, their families, and members of the community attended RMS's first I <3 STEM (I Love STEM) Night to celebrate some of the exciting things happening in education at RMS. The event was funded by a grant from National PTA to support activities during their annual "Take Your Family to School Week."
STEM education is an interdisciplinary approach to learning that integrates science, technology, engineering, and mathematics across all disciplines, including English, Social Studies and the arts. In 2017, Oak Ridge became the first school district in Tennessee to receive an AdvanceED STEM certification, and Robertsville's extensive STEM offerings were the evidence on I <3 STEM Night.
A variety of RMS clubs and classes provided exhibits and hands-on activities throughout the evening, including FIRST Robotics, Technology Student Association, Tech Titans, SECME, NASA Class, Digital Arts, English-Language Arts, and Journalism. The RMS Jazz Band and Orchestra created a festive atmosphere with their playing. RMS PTSA worked with Pizza Inn to provide pizza for all attendees. The Oak Ridge Schools' Coordinated School Health program led active math-and-movement games in one area, while students from the Tennessee Technological University teaching program led STEM crafts, projects, and robotics activities in another. Clinical interns in the ORHS Health Sciences academy provided blood pressure screening, and Anderson County Health Department provided health education. Barnes and Noble Booksellers and Comcast staffed informational booths and donated door prizes, including a drone and laptop computer.
The event, advertised as "the first annual" I <3 STEM Night, very successfully brought together students, families, and community members to experience and learn about STEM education at RMS in a carnival style celebration. Clubs like TSA and Robotics rely heavily on the knowledge of parents and community volunteers. 

If you are interested in helping with RMS clubs or wish to sponsor their efforts, please contact the school at (865) 425-9201.
Three robotics teams from Jefferson Middle School competed in the FIRST Lego League East Tennessee State Championship at Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville on February 10, 2018. The Atomic Eagles qualified to represent Jefferson Middle School and Tennessee at the FIRST LEGO World Championships in Houston in April. 

To compete in the state championship, teams must first qualify at either the Knoxville, Nashville, Tullahoma, Bristol, or Johnson City competitions. The Atomic Eagles, JMS Master Builders, and Radioactive Brix all qualified in Knoxville on December 10, 2017, at Hardin Valley Academy. 

At the East Tennessee Championship, the Radioactive Brix (team # 3131), including members Johnny Clark, Abby Ellis, Christopher Gorsuch, Roxanne Farahi, Eden Hatmaker, Wesley Hixson, Henry Landau, and Colby Lawson, finished the robot challenge game with a high score of 135. The team coach is Norma Franco and the team mentor is Justin Lawson. 

The JMS Master Builders (team #3132), with team members Matthew Alexander, Adam Blanchard, Sydney Blanchard, Jacob Mohr, Jessica Mohr, Stella Scott, Amelia Thomson, and Sadie Thomson, finished the robot challenge with a high score of 190 and won the first place Robot Mechanical Design award. The team coach is Lexie Scott and the team mentor is Jeff Thomson. 

The Atomic Eagles (team #336) with team members Ben Dallas, Aaron Fiscor, Lindsey Fiscor, Aaliyah Herron, Marissa Kenworthy, Amelie Nagle, Brian Qu, and Alex Shanafield, finished the robot challenge game with a high score of 145 and won the first place overall Champions Award. The Atomic Eagles will represent Jefferson Middle School and Tennessee at the FIRST LEGO World Championships in Houston, Texas, on April 18-21, 2018. The team coaches are Janie Shanafield and David Hundermark and the team mentor is Harold Shanafield. 

City of Oak Ridge officials joined the Oak Ridge Environmental Quality Advisory Board (EQAB) at the City's 33rd Annual Arbor Day Observance on the morning of Friday, March 2, at Willow Brook Elementary School. The ceremony also marked the 30th year that Oak Ridge has been recognized as a Tree City USA.

At the ceremony, District Foresters with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture & Forestry presented the Tree City USA and Tree Line USA awards to Oak Ridge Mayor Warren Gooch. Tree City USA, a National Arbor Day Foundation program, recognizes U.S. towns and cities that develop comprehensive urban forestry programs.

To become a Tree City USA, a community must meet four standards: having a legally constituted tree board, a community tree ordinance, a comprehensive community forestry program supported by a minimum of $2 per capita, and an Arbor Day proclamation and public tree planting ceremony. Communities must reapply for the Tree City USA designation annually.

The Arbor Day ceremony also included the planting of a Bald Cypress tree, donated by the City of Oak Ridge. Willow Brook Elementary School students, along with Cub Scouts from Troop 226, participated in the program.

Previous Arbor Day observances have been held at numerous locations throughout the city, including the Oak Ridge Civic Center, the Senior Center, the UT Arboretum, Cedar Hill Park, and at Glenwood, Woodland, Linden, and St. Mary's Schools.
The City of Oak Ridge's Community Development Department has provided an updated open house schedule for the Oak Ridge City Blueprint project, including revised meeting dates and additional opportunities for members of the community to join the discussion.

At a recent meeting, the Oak Ridge Municipal Planning Commission approved several modifications to the Blueprint open house schedule in an effort to balance the calendar, avoid conflicts and potentially increase attendance. The updated schedule is as follows:

   March 29:
Jackson Square, Warehouse Row, Industrial/Office, Midtown Mixed Use, and West Side Mixed Use
   April 26:
City Parks & Open Space, TVA, Horizon Center, Bionomics, Heritage Center, Rocks & Flowers, City Water Plant
   May 10:
Planning Commission Work Session with DOE Reservation Subarea Discussion
   May 31:
Main Commercial Core
   June 14:
Planning Commission Work Session with Blueprint Summary Progress Report
   June 28:
Blueprint Summary Report: Public Review and Input
   July 12:
Planning Commission Work Session: Blueprint Results and Wrap-Up Discussion

Families and local business representatives are invited to attend meetings and share ideas for possible neighborhood improvements. While the meeting focused on the subarea where residents live or work may have the most relevant information for them, every citizen is encouraged to engage in the Blueprint process at each meeting. Citizens can also  submit feedback via email .

Meeting dates, times and locations are  posted online . Residents can view subarea plans, maps and comments using  the City Blueprint online resource page . The Community Development Department recently finished a midpoint report on the Blueprint process, highlighting significant findings and outlining a plan for moving forward. The report is  available online  along with a  public survey .

For more information on the Oak Ridge City Blueprint effort, contact the Community Development Department at (865) 425-3531.
The City of Oak Ridge contracts with Waste Connections of Tennessee for the weekly collection and disposal of household trash and recycling. In an effort to keep residents informed and up-to-date, the Public Works Department would like to remind residents of this important information regarding household trash and recycling services.

Valuable information every resident should know about trash and recycling:
  • Household trash is picked up once a week at the backdoor in trash cans supplied by the resident. Residents are allowed up to four 32-gallon cans with lids.
  • Recyclable items are picked up once a week curbside in the brown recycling bin with wheels that are supplied by Waste Connections.
  • Trash and recycling needs to be put out by 7:00 a.m. on scheduled pick-up days to ensure pick-up. Items placed out after 7:00 a.m. may not be picked up that day.
  • Trash and recycling should not be placed in the roadway, on the sidewalk, over water meters, or in on-street parking areas.
  • If there is household trash or unacceptable items in the brown recycle bin, Waste Connections will not pick-up the recycling that day. If household trash gets mixed into the recyclable items, it will contaminate the entire load and it will have to be taken to the landfill instead of being recycled.
  • Glass is no longer accepted curbside and can no longer be put in the brown recycling bin; however, you can put glass in your household trash or you can take any unbroken glass to be recycled at the Convenience Center located at 400 Warehouse Road.
  • Even though trash and recycling are picked up on the same day, they are not picked up at the same time by the same truck.
  • Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day are the only two observed holidays that trash and recycling are not collected. All other holidays do not interfere with the regular schedule.
  • Collection services include an annual household trash pick-up and a brush pick-up, both in the spring, as well as a leaf pick-up in late fall. Public Works will post the schedule two weeks prior to the beginning of each scheduled pick-up.
  • More information about household trash and recycling, including weekly trash and recycling routes by day, can be found on the Public Works pages of the City's website.
For household trash and recycling questions, including pick-up issues, call Waste Connections of Tennessee at (865) 482-3656.

Anyone driving by the future home of the American Museum of Science in Energy inside Main Street Oak Ridge over the past couple of weeks has undoubtedly noticed some major changes.

On Monday, March 5, crews could be seen applying the first coat of stucco on the north wall of the building. A portion of the awning over the sidewalk and the front wall of the building has also been removed and modified. 

In January, we shared the news with you that the U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge Office, in partnership with RealtyLink and the City, had kicked off work to construct the new home for AMSE. 

RealtyLink, the developer for Main Street Oak Ridge, selected Oak Ridge-based Summit Construction as the contractor for the project.  The new space for AMSE is located between the current JCPenney store and a future Marriott hotel, which is also under construction. 

The museum entrance will be on Main Street East. AMSE will be on one floor, occupying approximately 18,000 square feet.  Design plans include a large theater as well as classroom space that can be divided into two regular-sized rooms or one large classroom, supporting a variety of uses for visitors and staff. 

DOE is developing new exhibits, interactive technology, and updates to the museum's most popular existing displays in cooperation with a professional museum design consultant.  DOE is also working in close partnership with the National Park Service (NPS) on the Manhattan Project National Historical Park and the new AMSE facility. The NPS plans to maintain a presence and programming at multiple locations in the City, including the new AMSE location and the Children's Museum of Oak Ridge. 

The target move-in date is June 2018. AMSE will remain open in its current location, 300 South Tulane Avenue, until the new space is completed.

For information on planning a trip to the American Museum of Science and Energy, visit the museum's website at or call (865) 576-3200.

"The Friendship Bell is a powerful symbol of hope, and it is a testament to the fundamental truth that despite past conflicts, we are stronger together in peace and harmony," Oak Ridge Mayor Warren Gooch said during a ceremonial groundbreaking in September. "The Friendship Bell represents a bond of friendship, respect and unwavering support between Oak Ridge and the people of Japan."

The need for a new pavilion to display the bell was realized when city officials discovered the original structure had severely deteriorated. With the bell housing in danger of collapsing, the City tasked the Recreation and Parks Advisory Board with making short-term and long-term recommendations. 

A decision was made to demolish the original pavilion and place the Bell on timbers at the site. The advisory board formed the ad hoc International Friendship Bell Citizens Advisory Committee to develop a new pavilion design and raise funds for the project. 

Architect Ziad Demian, founding partner of demian\wilbur\architects in Washington, D.C., designed the new Peace Pavilion and its surrounding plaza, with gardens and benches. He attended the groundbreaking in September, along with representatives of m ajor donors including UT Battelle/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge Associated Universities and CNS - Y-12 .

There is still lots of work to be done, but crews hope to have the bulk of the construction work completed by the end of May, weather permitting. Stay tuned for more updates as the project continues!
Team registration for the City of Oak Ridge Recreation and Parks Department's 2018 Spring Softball season is still open. Softball leagues for men, women and a co-ed league will be offered during the spring.

Teams must complete registration paperwork and pay the applicable registration fee by March 10 for early registration pricing. 

Teams registering after the early deadline may do so until March 17 and will be subject to an additional late fee of $25. Games are scheduled to begin the week of April 2.

For more information, or to obtain the registration paperwork, teams may contact Matt Reece at (865) 425-3440. 

Players may also inquire at the front desk of the Oak Ridge Civic Center. Registration materials are due by the deadlines listed above with no exceptions.
The City Youth Advisory Board recently completed another successful Water Awareness Program held at the Civic Center Indoor Pool. 

Board members voted to provide this free program again this year which required that YAB members teach water safety to children with the assistance of trained lifeguards. 

Participants who needed water safety experience were selected by staff at Girls Inc. and the Boys and Girls Club who delivered the students to the site each day.  Civic Center Manager Matt Reedy and Aquatics Manager Vonda Wooten provided oversight for the student-led program.  

The City YAB also voted to provide vouchers for a free swim lesson to participants who completed the class.  

For more information about the City YAB, contact Matt Reedy at  

For more information about upcoming swim lessons, contact Vonda Wooten at
The City is currently accepting applications for Electric Special Area Specialist. This position coordinates activities related to departmental fiber communication systems as well as Electric Department planning, construction and maintenance activities with applicable authorities in areas that are controlled, restricted or have limited access. The deadline to apply is noon on Thursday, March 29. 

The City is looking to fill an Electric Line Technician Trainee position.  This is the entry level of the Electric Line Technician career progression. Successfully trained employees will leave this classification for the Electric Line Technician Apprenticeship Program after two years. Applications must be received by noon on Friday, April 13.

Applications are currently being accepted for a Treatment Plant Operator position. Essential functions include controlling equipment and monitoring processes that remove or destroy harmful materials, chemicals, and microorganisms; running tests to ensure all processes are working correctly; maintaining records of water quality and other indicators; and operating pumps that move water and wastewater through filtration systems. Applications are due by noon on Wednesday, March 21.

Applications are also being accepted for  Recreation Assistant I (Assistant Golf Professional at Centennial Golf Course. The deadline to be considered is noon on Friday, March 9. 

The City is also still recruiting for 2018 Summer Camp and Swimming Pool positions.  For lifeguard positions, applicants must be at least 16 years old and certified as a lifeguard. For summer camp positions, applicants must be at least 18 years old and have completed one year of college.  All applicants are subject to drug screening, background investigation and driver license check.  Applications for summer recreation positions received by Friday, March 9 , will be reviewed and considered before those received after that date.

View all current job openings and find out how to apply by visiting the  Employment section of our website .
Electric power bills for residents across our region for energy used in December were much higher than normal as a result of the extreme winter temperatures we have experienced. Judging from the recent local weather patterns, customers will continue to see significant increases in their utility bills for energy used in January (which would have been received last month for most residents).

"We frequently receive calls from customers who say they have not changed the temperature on their thermostat, but their bill has increased," said Marlene Bannon, Manager of the City of Oak Ridge Utility Business Office. "Although you may keep the thermostat temperature consistent, your HVAC unit has to work harder to heat the air when temperatures drop, therefore using more power."

The "degree-days of heating" is used as a measure for how hard your unit has to work to keep your home at a set temperature. In Oak Ridge during December 2017, there were 591 degree days of heating -- almost twice the number from November. January's numbers are even higher, according to the City's electric department. "January had 803 degree-days of heating, a 36% increase from December," Bannon explained. "This means that heating units worked even harder in January than they did in December and customers will likely see a further increase in their power bills."

Some believe that utilities charge more for the power needed this time of year. The cost of power can vary from month to month because of the price of the fuel that the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) uses to create the power. The last few months, however, power rates have been very stable. "Rates in November and December were identical," Bannon added. "Electric rates in January were actually slightly lower than December on a per-unit basis, but this small decrease is expected to be overwhelmed on an average customer's bill by higher usage."

These higher bills will strain the budgets of many in our community. Customers who would like to help can give to Project Safe, a program that uses monetary donations to offset utility bills for families in need. Project Safe is administered through ADFAC, Aid to Distressed Families of Appalachian Counties. Donations made through the Oak Ridge program stay in our community.

Many energy saving tips can be found at  City utility customers are also encouraged to look at the e-Score program offered by TVA through the City of Oak Ridge. E-Score offers a free self-energy audit in addition to providing incentives for specific energy related improvements to the home. 

For other billing questions, customers can call the Oak Ridge Utility Business Office at (865) 425-3400.


Our 75th anniversary continues in 2018 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.

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... including:


National Girl Scout week begins March 10th. This year represents the 106th birthday of the Girl Scouts! Girls Scouts was the first youth organization allowed in the Secret City (now known as Oak Ridge) during the World War II Manhattan Project. It was established in 1943 by teacher Elsie Novy.

On March 10, the Manhattan Project National Historical Park is partnering with the Children's Museum of Oak Ridge (CMOR) and the Girl Scouts of USA to celebrate 75 years of Girl Scouts in Oak Ridge.

Everyone is welcome to join the National Park Service at CMOR. Admission to the childrens museum will be free to any Girl Scout in uniform and their immediate family. Girl Scouts of all levels are invited to participate and will have the opportunity to earn multiple patches, while supplies last.
The 2nd Annual Public Works Chili Cook-off was put on by the Public Works Employee Relations Committee (P w ERC) this past Thursday, March 1, at the Central Services Complex. And the winners are...

1st Place: Ernie H.

2nd Place: Tasha P.

3rd Place: Debbie P.

Debbie P. also won the People's Choice honor for her entry. A big thanks to all of our esteemed judges (Electric Department Director Jack Suggs, Public Works Director Shira McWaters, and Recreation and Parks Director Jon Hetrick) for their thoughtful analysis of all the entries. And thanks to our team for providing a great lunch on a gloomy day.



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:

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