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Norris City Council turns down RV park rezoning, but will reconsider Aug. 12

Covenant Life Church’s Solid Rock RV Park is shown at full capacity of 16 recreational vehicles in this November 2022 file photo, taken from the entrance to the park from Norris Freeway across from Cross Pike Road.. - G. Chambers Williams III
On a 3-0 vote, with two council members absent, the Norris City Council on Monday night rejected a rezoning ordinance on first reading that would have allowed Covenant Life Church to use part of its Norris property for a recreational-vehicle park.

But that’s not the end of it.

Mayor Chris Mitchell asked the council to schedule a public hearing on the rezoning request for 5:30 p.m. Aug. 12, just prior to the next regular council meeting at 6 p.m., and to vote a second time on the proposed ordinance.

This was an unusual move, because normally a proposed ordinance is dead if the council votes it down on first reading.

Usually, a public hearing is scheduled only when an ordinance passes on first reading, and the hearing normally comes before the proposed ordinance is on the council agenda for second and final reading.

In this case, the mayor said he wanted to schedule the public hearing to allow church representatives extra time to appear before the council to state their case in favor of the ordinance, which would rezone a 3.3-acre parcel of the church’s 17.6-acre Norris campus to C2, a general commercial zone. RV parks and trailer parks are permitted in such zones, but are not currently allowed in the P1 professional/civic zone that covers the church property now.

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Board outlines process for speaking on ‘actionable items’

If you want to speak to the Anderson County Board of Education at its coming meeting, you’ll need to arrive early and fill out a form.

The meeting will be at 6 p.m. Thursday (July 11) at 101 S. Main St. on the top floor. Members of the Board of Education said at a work session on Monday, July 8, that they had gotten criticism for not allowing the public to speak at an earlier meeting during which the board discussed staff implicated in changing grades at Clinton High School. However, board Chairman Scott Gillenwaters said the rules for speaking had not changed, and the board was following them.

“They say that we did not allow anyone to talk, and no one had asked to talk,” board member Teresa Portwood said.

Gillenwaters said he planned to speak further on the issue of citizen comments on Thursday. It appears as an action item on the agenda for discussion purposes, even though no one on the board or staff has suggested changing it.

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Ideas for use of opioid settlements discussed

Anderson County EMS Director Nathan Sweet addresses the Anderson County Opioid Settlement Committee at High Places Community Church in Oak Ridge. - Ben Pounds
Anderson County commissioners are still looking at how to spend funds coming in from settlements with pharmaceutical companies for damages from the opioid crisis.

A committee of three commissioners, led by Shelly Vandagriff but also including Joshua Anderson and Tim Isbel, has been looking at different ways to spend the funds, meeting with nonprofits and governmental agencies.

Previously, the county had $650,000 to spend, but more and more settlements continue to come in.

The commission in February added $207,216 from a settlement with Walmart, Walgreens, CVS, Allergan, and Teva. At its June meeting the commission accepted yet another settlement, this one for $7,068 over 11 years. It may also get a maximum $77,748 over 11 years from a separate opioid abatement fund related to the same Kroger settlement, Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank has told The Courier News.

Vandagriff said that some of these funds can go only toward abatement efforts, specifically measures provided by the Sheriff’s Office or Anderson County Emergency Medical Services. She said the county had already given EMS some of these funds for an ambulance station in Claxton.

Other funds she said, had to go toward long-term remediation, such as rehabilitation efforts and other assistance, including possible work with nonprofits.

Vandagriff said she planned to ask the nonprofits to submit plans, but her committee had not yet decided on the details of the process.

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Homeschoolers ‘journey’ into microscopic world.

Susan Malekpour, microbiology professor at Roane State Community College, will present Microscopic Explorers: Journey into the World of Microbiology for homeschool students in a class through the American Museum of Science and Energy, 11 a.m. through 12:30 p.m. Thursday, July 18.

“Explore the fascinating differences between animal cells and microorganisms. Delve into the universal presence of germs, uncovering their significance, and discover effective strategies for preventing illness caused by bacteria and viruses,” an official announcement stated.

The program will be for fourth- through eighth-grade students.

Students can sign up at

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