Dec 31 2015
07:01 pm

Our hike today.

Trib to Ford Branch


Dec 31 2015
11:27 am

Black Mountain is very close to Roane County and has spectacular views and easy trails that wind through some pretty cool geology. It is a kid's paradise with very short walks to cool stuff. This Ranger guided hike will get you familiar with one of our local natural treasures. It starts at high noon central time, meaning 1 PM for us Easterners.


Directions and more info

Black Mountain

Dec 30 2015
08:52 am

It's confusing because the name associated with the site is the Clinch River Corporation or CRC site, but it is actually located on the bank of the Emory River. If it is cleaned up it will make a wonderful addition to Harriman's waterfront park.

There are two alternatives proposed, one of which is to do nothing. As the study states, the site would be safe for adult and adolescent recreators left as is as long as activities were kept to certain restrictions.

Alternative 2 is to perform a number of remediation actions that look reasonable to me at first read. I reserve the right to change my mind as I digest the information.

What I don't see is an evaluation of risk for infants, who most certainly will be present and crawling around on any public park space.

Scott Miller at the EPA has been very prompt and cooperative with us and provided the digital documents attached for your perusal. What do you see?

Dec 29 2015
08:36 am

Via Tom Humphrey:

Attorney General Herbert Slatery is suing Chevron and its subsidiaries for a “prolonged and costly scheme” to take more than $18 million from a state fund used to cleanup spills of oil and gas, reports The Tennessean.

The fund reimburses tank owners for expenses during spill cleanups, but is intended as a last-resort fund for owners who cannot afford the costs. Owners with private insurance must first seek cleanup costs from their insurance companies.

The lawsuit alleges the companies used taxpayer funds to pay for leaks and spills at more than 100 Tennessee gas stations — despite having private insurance that paid for the cleanup costs.


Dec 29 2015
08:32 am

When I was in the 9th grade in Memphis, I took a civics class. Apparently that isn't done these days. Otherwise how can you explain anyone actually believing Ted Cruz or Donald Trump would be capable of running this Nation for the good of "We, the People"?

Excerpt from a Politico piece on why Tennessee seems likely to play a pivotal role in the 2016 Republican presidential primary after being widely ignored in past presidential campaigns:

It’s not quite Iowa, but Tennessee — a state long ignored until much later in the cycle, and then often just turned to for donations — is now one of the biggest hubs for GOP political activity in the country.


Dec 28 2015
04:18 pm

... Flash Flood Watch remains in effect until 1 am EST Tuesday...

The Flash Flood Watch continues for

* a portion of east Tennessee... including the following areas...
Anderson... Campbell... Loudon... Morgan... Roane and Scott TN.

* Until 1 am EST Tuesday

* another 1 to 1 1/2 of rain can be expected on this afternoon and evening as a cold front moves across the plateau...southeast Tennessee and Cherokee and Clay counties of North Carolina. Since the ground is already saturated as well as elevated creeks and streams... additional flash flooding is possible.


Dec 27 2015
09:07 am

It's very difficult to observe my planet's ability to support my species being intentionally wrecked for profit.

Record warmth for Christmas Day across the East Coast. Many more record high temperatures set or tied today.

— NWS Eastern Region (@NWSEastern) December 25, 2015

Thanks to a combination of an intense El Niño weather pattern, marked by a burst of warming in the Pacific, and long-term human-caused climate change, 2015 is poised to be the hottest year on record by a significant margin.


Dec 26 2015
06:21 pm

Morgan County has yet to realize that it is a gateway community to beautiful wild lands that are the equal of any park in the Southeast. I am constantly amazed at people who oppose additions to state parks and TWRA lands because "It takes land off the tax rolls". Yes it does. But I challenge anyone to show how these wild lands were receiving county services any where close to the taxes they were paying. They had no homes requiring fire and police protection, no families whose children needed schools, no roads, no nothing that the county was obligated to provide. But they were being charged on the tax roles. Gee, what a deal for politicians and what a burden for the property owners.

Look, GIS studies prove that lands adjacent to parks, natural areas, and wilderness areas more than make up for lost revenue because they radically increase in value over time. Ask Oneida if the Big South Fork has been a boon to its economy? Ask Gatlinburg if the Great Smoky Mountain National Park has been a boon to its economy? When I was on the TN Conservation Commission Gov. Bredesen doubled the size of Fall Creek Falls park. If you look at where the building boom has been in the last 8 years it magically surrounds the Park. People want to be near wild areas.

I suggest the County Exec for Morgan County rejoice in another almost 2000 acres being added to the wilderness majesty of his county and invite people from all over the world to come visit Morgan County to see its majestic beauty. That's much better than loading up a tax burden on lands you don't provide services to. And the whole world will be a better place for it.

Thank you, Tom Humphrey for alerting us to this story...


Dec 25 2015
09:04 pm

The previous Christmas day record high flow for the Emory River at Oakdale was 18,100 set in 1949. The current instantaneous flow is 47,300 cubic feet per second. The average flow of the Colorado river through the Grand Canyon is 10,000 to 15,000 cubic feet per second.

This equates to 23.7 feet on the Emory gauge. 27 feet is the official flood stage. I predict we'll see flood stage later tonight.

Here's a link to the official USGS flow web site.


Here's a link to a number of other streams and rivers in our area. Your tax dollars pay for this. It is money well spent!


Dec 25 2015
03:18 pm

The National Weather Service in Morristown has issued a

* Flood Warning for...
Rhea County in east Tennessee...
Bledsoe County in east Tennessee...
Meigs County in east Tennessee...
Roane County in east Tennessee...

* until 345 PM EST/245 PM CST/

* at 1244 PM EST /1144 am CST/... Roane County law enforcement
reported several roadways and low lying areas flooded as well as several small streams. The moderate to heavy rain will cause
additional flooding across Roane... Bledsoe... Rhea and Meigs
counties. Up to three inches of rain have already fallen.

Dec 24 2015
05:44 pm
By: WhitesCreek

Peace on Earth, good will to all mankind! And pie!

Love to all,


Christmas Tree


Dec 23 2015
03:24 pm

As the New Year approaches, I am filled with happiness and gratitude for the sheer good fortune of living here.

This year was particularly memorable. Our brave and heroic neighbors, volunteers all, risked their own lives last February to save me and my mother--and others in our community--from icy deaths. The West Roane County Volunteer Fire Department astounded us with their kind good works during the storm and electrical outage, and helped us for months after.

Please consider donating to this fine and worthy group in this season of giving. Every little bit helps! Go to

-- OneTahiti

Dec 22 2015
07:42 pm

Prepare yourselves well for the airing of grievances and feats of strength. As the head of a household I expect the holiday to last well into the evening before I'm pinned. I'm not as fast as I once was but I'm much sneakier and meaner.


Dec 21 2015
01:07 pm

Among other stipulations of his probation, Leon must participate in a drug program and have mental therapy.

Dec 21 2015
09:14 am

“Pills have side effects. … The No. 1 side effect is suicide,” said Faison in an interview last week. “Twenty-eight veterans a day in America are committing suicide.”

“For most ailments man has, God has a remedy,” Faison said, quoting his wife, who has a master’s degree in nutrition. In many cases, the legislator said he believes that is marijuana.

That story and more from the Buzz:


Dec 21 2015
08:59 am

The winter solstice will occur tonight at 12 minutes til midnight. At that time the Sun will cease to move southward and begin its trek northward toward spring. Regardless of the propaganda from various religious sects, it is this astronomical observance giving hope for warmer brighter days ahead that is the "Reason for the season".


The term 'solstice' derives from the Latin word 'solstitium', meaning 'Sun standing still'.

On this day the Sun seems to stand still at the Tropic of Capricorn and then reverses its direction as it reaches its southernmost position as seen from the Earth.

More about our seasonal celebrations and the Winter Solstice is right HERE.

This is fascinating stuff.

Their anatomy was nothing like we'd seen before in modern humans, whether they lived 200,000 or 200 years ago: they were truly unique and a real mystery to us and many of our colleagues.

We suggested they could represent either a very early modern human population, perhaps one that settled the region more than 100,000 years ago and became isolated. Or, they could be a late surviving archaic species, akin to a population of Neanderthals surviving in isolation until the end of the Ice Age in Southwest China.


This is absurd. Where was the Board of Equalization on this? Square footage errors are obvious and easily rectified by that Board.

UT-Battelle’s property was appraised at approximately $98 million for the 2014 tax year. The company contends the appraisal is too high, and has appealed to the state.

“Just to put this kind of in perspective, in say, 2012, the square footage appraised on the facility, and I’m going to be off a little bit, was 460,000 square feet,” Woody told the Commission.

“The assessor then changed that to 560,000 square feet – a 100,000-square-feet difference – which prior to reappraisal made the value of the property go from about $74 million to about $98 million.”

The square footage error (if there is one) is 17.8%. 98 is 32% higher than 74.


Dr. Stephen A. Smith is a very smart person and one of my heroes. I've worked with him on a couple of projects and have been awed by his grasp of energy matters and how they affect the future of America's children. He wants a better life for us...and them. Here is his testimony from earlier today...

Good afternoon. My name is Dr. Stephen A. Smith. I would like to thank the Government Operations Joint Committee for allowing me the opportunity to provide comments on the Clean Power Plan and a few thoughts about what it means for Tennessee.

I am appearing before you today first as a father and grandfather: I have three sons and two grandsons. I’m deeply concerned about the world we will be leaving them.

The rest is here:


Dec 16 2015
11:32 am

I just got my tax bill with the new "Equalized" tax...mine went up 15.6%.

Okay...Roane County got $44 Million for Ash Spill " reparations"...they have chosen to not spend one dime on ANY improvement to the lake, so $40 Million plus was spent on "other stuff" ...oh sorry...a new restroom at the Kingston shoreline is being built.

Well the truth is lake values are down 35-45% since Dec 22, 2008 and Watts Bar's market share of lake Property sales has dropped EVERY year since then, every year. Good job Roane county on helping us "become whole" again by wisely using the $40 Million... My tax bill went up 15.6% while my appraisal dropped. The tax millage rate increased 17.9%....

I still want to see the I 40 intersection drawings that make sense. In Roane County, Kingston is already the most difficult town to drive through.

Jerry Duncan Ford is one step closer toward possibly relocating to Kingston ­— if the city will commit an estimated $1 million to $2.5 million in infrastructure and road construction.


Dec 14 2015
10:12 am
By: WhitesCreek

A Joel Sartore photo of a rare and endangered Tennessee fish was recently projected onto St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican. It was taken in Knoxville at the facilities of Conservation Fisheries. I am very proud to be on the Board of this excellent organization that works so hard to save our native aquatic diversity. If you get to feeling the love there's a donate button and a tone of great pictures and info at: (link...)


Last week in conjunction with the Paris climate talks, a magnificent display of rare and endangered animals was projected onto the facade of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican. Among those projections was that of the Yellowfin Madtom.



$15 Doors 7 PM BYOB Family Friendly

Tickets may be purchased online here:


Get the Ladd Landing Listening Room calendar, directions, and other information by clicking on the bass fiddle on the right or right here: (link...)

Dec 14 2015
07:33 am

This is a Bredesen initiative that is just now receiving approval in the late stages of the Haslam administration. When it comes to saving planet Earth, things take entirely too long, mainly because someone was getting richer via the destruction that needs to be stopped.

The federal government has given initial approval to the state of Tennessee's request to protect ridgetops from mountaintop mining.


Dec 13 2015
09:09 am

As Judge Jeff Wicks moves to Circuit Court he vacates a General Sessions Court position. State code requires vacancies in county offices are required by the Tennessee Constitution to be filled by the county legislative body, with a successor elected at the next general election, which is:

Roane County Administrator of Elections Charles Holiway said Friday that the sessions court judge position will be on the ballot for the Aug. 4, 2016 election. The winner will take office on Sept. 1, and serve the remaining six years of the eight-year term.

(RCN) ((updated)

This means that your County Commission will appoint our next General Sessions Court Judge who will serve until the August elections. At that time voters will choose between the appointee and any challengers, should the appointee choose to run for reelection, and it is assumed that to be the case.

Names I've heard mentioned so far:

Rockwood City Judge and attorney, Mark Foster.

Assistant District Attorney Terry Stevens

Who else?


I am astounded at this. Christianity is so very different in my mind from what this appears to espouse.

Carson-Newman University President Dr. Randall O’Brien told WVLT that he had filed for a Title IX exemption from the federal government...

The waiver allows the school to ban pregnant students, women who have had an abortion, single mothers, LGBT students and anyone else who does not fit their religious ideology.


Jeff Wicks is a good man and will be a great judge...

The 9th Judicial District serves Loudon, Meigs, Morgan and Roane counties.

Wicks, 52, has served as General Sessions Court Judge in Roane County since 2006, according to a news release. He was an attorney in Kingston from 2003 to 2006, operating a law practice that included criminal, civil domestic, juvenile and probate matters.

“We are fortunate to have a public servant with such a depth of experience as Judge Wicks to fill this role,” (Governor) Haslam said in the release. “He will serve the 9th Judicial District well in this capacity.”

Now...Let the race begin to fill his seat in General Sessions Court.


Dec 9 2015
09:12 am
By: WhitesCreek

Lost Medicaid Funding

To date, the failure to expand Medicaid / TennCare has cost the State of Tennessee ? in lost federal funding.