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Vote on school calendar fails
  • Updated

Roane County Schools doesn’t have an approved calendar yet for the 2023-24 school year. A motion to approve one was discussed during last week’s Board of Education meeting, but it failed by a 5-4 vote.

“The calendar as presented fails,” a surprised Chairman Nadine Jackson said following the vote. “I think that means that we have to send the Education Committee back to work on the calendar.”

The five board members who voted no on the 2023-24 calendar were Sam Cox, Larry Brackett, Nancy Hamilton, Vic King and Mike “Brillo” Miller. Jackson, Kristy Oran, Diane Tate and Jessica Hunsaker voted yes. Board Member Danny Wright was absent.

“I’ve never won before,” said Miller, who usually votes no on the calendar. “Never. I can’t believe it.”

If the committee goes back to the drawing board on the 2023-24 calendar, Miller said he wants the people on the committee to consider a calendar that would start school after Labor Day.

“I would like to see that,” he said. “I keep hearing that can’t be done. I’ll be honest with you, I don’t believe that. I think it can be done and I think we need to look at it.”

The 2023-24 calendar that was voted down last week is almost identical to the calendar for the current school year.

Both had classes beginning on Aug. 3 along with 87 days in the first semester and 91 days in the second semester. Each also featured a week long fall break and a week long spring break.

The model that the school system currently uses is considered a “traditional” calendar. However, there have been discussions in recent years about going to a “balanced” model, which has more breaks built into the school year. Assistant Director Tony Clower said a survey showed that 60% of respondents favored the “balanced” calendar and the other 40% wanted the “traditional” calendar.

“This is the second time our teachers have said that’s what they want,” Clower said. “We talked about it in committee and said that not having enough time to move to it for this coming year, we would work diligently and have another meeting, probably in January, to start working toward showing people what a balanced would look like.”

Clower said a good example of what a balanced would look like for Roane County is the calendar used by Oak Ridge City Schools. It includes a two-week fall break, two-week winter break and a two-week spring break.

“Ours is basically patterned after Oak Ridge and what theirs looks like,” Clower said.

'Peach' of a chance for RCHS Band

No matter the outcome of the college football season, rest assured Tennessee would be represented at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl semi-final Dec. 31 in Atlanta.

The Roane County High School Band has been invited to perform and participate in the pageantry of the event.

“I’m beyond exited,” Band Director Andrew Layne said. “We are incredibly blessed to have such a great program. I’m so glad I get to be part of it and to lead us through something like this.

“We’re just incredibly excited to have this opportunity. We’re excited to represent our community, excited to represent our school, represent our friends and family at such a huge event.”

The band will be there for four days where the musicians will drink in the sights, sounds and experiences of a lifetime.

“I think most of the kids have a good idea of what this recognition entails,” Layne said. “We know where we’re going and that it’s a big college football. Many of the kids are college football fans, but I don’t think if it’s really sunk in yet and it may be a big surprise for them once we’re there.”

Garnering such an invitation is a testament to the excellence the Yellow Jacket band has exhibited throughout the years.

The band has tallied accomplishments and accolades like a kid collecting baseball cards.

One of the most recent, a 2019 performance at the Tennessee Band Masters’ Association Hall of Fame Concert along with other superb performances and assessments, helped to cement the invite.

“The invite kind of just came out of the blue,” Layne said. “I received a letter in the mail saying we were being invited to participate and to contact the person in charge and then we’d figure out how to get us down there.”

“It feels good to have our commitment to excellence recognized in this way.”

A previously mentioned, the band will do more than just perform at the big game. The band will be there for four days and will participate in a few other activities.

While in Atlanta, Roane County High School’s band will rehearse with the mass band, learn from nationally acclaimed adjudicators and march in the parade throughout the downtown.

The kids will also have the opportunity to take advantage and see the sights of Atlanta in their down time.

Depending on how the rest of the college football season plays out and if the University of Tennessee Volunteers finish strong to where they will be playing in the Peach Bowl, it would be a serendipitous turn of events for the band.

“I’m excited about that possibility,” Layne said. “I’m a huge Tennessee fan and it would be incredible to got to a national playoff game where UT is playing.

“It would also be a great opportunity for the kids. If UT’s band were there for them to see, it would make it even better.

“It would be a good way for the kids to see what could happen if they pursue music into college.”

At an event as big as the Peach Bowl with bands performing, it stands to reason there will be a large number of high school bands from around the nation. As of now the exact number isn’t known.

“I’m not sure at how many will be there,” Layne said. “I’m sure there will be a large number with everything planned, though.”

In order for the Roane County High Band to realize this dream, there has been fundraising throughout the community.

“We’ve done well with the fundraising,” Layne said. “The community has done well and been responsive. We announced it almost every home football game.

“We put it on Facebook and other places. The community has been supportive and I’ve gotten a lot of contact from local businesses with offers of help.

“We’ve been really fortunate and blessed to have the community rally behind us for us to go to this kind of thing.”

Also of note, Layne is in his second year as the Band Director, so the trip and accolade is an acknowledgement of what he has accomplished in guiding the young musicians of Roane County High School.

“It certainly is the thing I’ve undertaken so far,” he said. “I’ve not planned a trip like this before.

“I’m in my fourth year teaching, third as Head Band Director and second as Head Band Director here at Roane County.

“I feel like the experience I’ve had and my continued growth as a teacher, a musician and as a person, I feel ready and confident we are doing everything to be prepared and to represent Roane County as best we can.”

Layne also wants to remind everyone they can still help and contribute throughout Dec. 11 to help the trip. If donors miss that point, they can still chip in funds anytime through the year to support the band.

“We’re just grateful for everything,” he said. “We’re grateful for the help and the support our community has shown.

“We’re just really, really excited to be able to do this thing.

“If anyone would like to help and support us, they can reach out to me.”

Any interested benefactor can contact Layne at or they can be mailed, C/O RCHSBBA P.O. Box, 1071, Kingston, TN 37763.

Senator Yager grant check for Temperance Building Restoration
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Senator Ken Yager met with Harriman city officials on Thursday and presented them a $300,000 check, the grant awarded to the city to continue renovations and improvements to the Temperance Building.

“I want to thank Scott and Jess and the other folks who have worked so hard on this, we were able to get this grant for the city of Harriman to help restore this beautiful lady here on the street corner, the Temperance Building,” said Yager. “We were able to do it because you had a worthwhile subject, it was a very professional Grant, the city did very well and putting it together.”

Senator Yager has a storied history with Harriman, having worked in the city originally as a history teacher at South Harriman Junior High School, and has a personal history with the Temperance Building itself.

“I’ve always been a strong supporter of the restoration of this building,” Yager said. “I’m with it every step of the way, and when we finish this grant we’ll get another one. We’re going to finish this building, it’s a jewel in our crown. When I was first elected in 2008, the city very graciously and generously let me use the Frederick Gates room on the first floor of the temperance building as my office. It served as my office here for about a year and then some of the structural problems cause me to have to move.”

Harriman Mayor Wayne Best expressed his thanks to Senator Yager, whose assistance helped secure the grant.

“I want to say thank you to Senator Yager, and the state of Tennessee, for allowing us this opportunity to accept this grant,” said Best. “Senator, we appreciate all the work you’ve done for this, Scott and the workers, everyone who had a part in it. It’s taken us some time to get it ready and get it out there, but we appreciate getting it.”

Third floor storage flagged by engineer
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The county has been removing records and files from the third floor of the courthouse after receiving a letter from an engineering firm earlier this month. That firm, Corum Engineering Design & Inspections, performed a structural evaluation of the courthouse in October. It notified the county of its findings in a letter dated Nov. 5.

“The third floor of the courthouse is being used to store county records/files as well as other items,” the letter said. “The floor system is comprised of a concrete floor supported by a corrugated metal pan. Below the metal pan are steel bar joists supported by steel I-beams. The methods and materials used during construction are unable to support the applied loads from the storage items.”

The engineering firm recommended the following: “Remove the storage items to an offsite storage location capable of supporting the loads from the storage items,” the letter said.

County Executive Wade Creswell said the letter prompted an emergency meeting of the County Commission’s Property Committee.

“First one I’ve ever had as a county commissioner,” Commissioner Ron Berry said.

A temporary solution was devised.

“We’re leasing a 4,500 square foot air conditioned space from Michael Dunn Center,” Creswell said. “We’re moving records to Michael Dunn Center or to the old jail and just reducing weight until we have a firm idea of what an engineer says can be allowed to stay up there.”

Creswell thousands of pounds have been removed so far.

“We removed last week about somewhere around 7,000 to 7,500 pounds,” he said.

Creswell said the plan is also to destroy some records that aren’t required to be kept.

“The records committee is meeting on Nov. 22 and each official will have a list of records that they recommend for destruction,” he said. “The records committee will have to authorize any records that are eligible for destruction, meaning they’re past the timeframe on what the law says we have to keep.”

Creswell was adamant that the third floor of the courthouse isn’t in danger of caving in.

“That is a gross exaggeration,” he said.

“There are no indications that there is stress, additional cracks, or any fatigue on any of those I-beams that’s mentioned there,” Creswell added. “In my conversation with the engineer, he said it’s not that you can’t store anything up there. It’s that you all have really heavy stuff in really small areas.”

Creswell said the county has requested a load calculation analysis from the engineers.

“Until then we’re just moving stuff out,” Creswell said.

Prosecutors get indictment in public intoxication case
  • Updated

The criminal case has been revived against the nurse who allegedly showed up at Oliver Springs High School to perform physicals on students when she was intoxicated.

Oliver Springs police charged Amandi Nichole Proffitt with one count of public intoxication in the April 27 incident, but General Sessions Court Judge Dennis Humphrey dismissed the charge on June 7.

“Elements of the offense are not alleged,” the judgment of dismissal said.

The dismissal didn’t deter prosecutors, however. They presented the case to the Roane County grand jury last month and got an indictment on Proffitt for public intoxication.

Proffitt, 41, waived her arraignment in Roane County Criminal Court on Nov. 14. Her attorney, Pat Cooley, appeared on her behalf. Proffitt’s next court date is scheduled for March 10.

According to a warrant filed in the case, Oliver Springs Police Department Sgt. Jon McConnell responded to the school around 6:45 p.m. on April 27 after the assistant principal made a report about a woman administering physicals that might be intoxicated.

“Upon arrival, I spoke with (Steve) Brown who was in the front office with the female party who was later identified as Amandi Nichole Proffitt,” the warrant said. “Brown advised Proffitt was administering physicals to students in the gymnasium. He said multiple parents reported the odor of alcohol around Proffitt while being near her.”

McConnell reported that Proffitt’s eyes were red and watery.

“I detected an odor of alcohol coming from Proffitt when she spoke,” the warrant said.

Public intoxication is a misdemeanor.