• Because Every Penny Counts

Melton Lake Greenway/Haw Ridge

One of the best reasons to live in Oak Ridge is our 63 miles of greenway trails. The fully-paved segment that connects the Melton Lake Greenway to Haw Ridge Park has become a favorite with my family. Today, I rode a bike for the first time in probably 20 years. I forgot how fun that is!  We … Continue reading

THE PEOPLE’S BUSINESS – 4/14/14 OAK RIDGE CITY COUNCIL MEETING SUMMARY

“A body of men holding themselves accountable to nobody ought not to be trusted by anybody.” – Thomas Paine The following represents an unofficial account of the significant items discussed and/or voted upon during the April 14, 2014 City Council Regular Meeting. The complete agenda packet as well as a video of the meeting can … Continue reading

THE PEOPLE’S BUSINESS – 3/24/14 OAK RIDGE CITY COUNCIL SPECIAL MEETING SUMMARY (Final Red Light/Speed Camera Vote)

The following represents an unofficial account of the significant items discussed and/or voted upon during the March 24, 2014 City Council Special Meeting. The complete agenda packet as well as a video of the meeting can be viewed here. Draft meeting minutes will be posted at the city website as part of the April 2014 Regular … Continue reading

YPOR Presentation: City of Oak Ridge Financial Overview

Why Your City’s Financial Matters Matter 1. Just about anything that happens (or doesn’t) in Oak Ridge has a direct tie to money, your money. 2. Local government spending directly impacts your wallet. Think not only property taxes, but sales taxes, utilities, fees, permits, fines, etc. 3. The growth or decline of our community, in very … Continue reading

March 2014 Oak Ridge Schools Safety Update

Since the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Oak Ridge Schools and the Oak Ridge Police Department (ORPD) last August, a number of significant safety improvements have occurred within our schools including physical security upgrades, leadership adjustments and increased police presence. As you may know, this time last year, we had only … Continue reading

March City Council Update/Additional Special Meeting

Happy Spring! Council’s schedule for the remainder of this month includes a work session and a special meeting scheduled for this Monday, March 24th at the Municipal Building. Details on the Special Meeting are provided below.  The work session will follow and the agenda is located here.   Results of the March 3rd regular city … Continue reading

A People Story Disguised as a Dog Story

Our community has had some pretty sad news this week. It has been especially hard for animal lovers and even more so, I’m sure, for those working at our animal shelter. Hearing the stories makes my heart hurt, but it also reminds me of how much our own dog has increased our family’s capacity to … Continue reading

THE PEOPLE’S BUSINESS – 3/3/14 OAK RIDGE CITY COUNCIL MEETING SUMMARY

The following represents an unofficial account of the significant items discussed and/or voted upon during the March 3, 2014 City Council Regular Meeting. The complete agenda packet as well as a video of the meeting can be viewed here. Draft meeting minutes will be posted at the city website as part of the April 2014 Regular … Continue reading

The Oak Ridge High School Debt Chronicles – How a $40 Million Project Will Cost Taxpayers Over $126 Million (So Far)

NOTE: The Oak Ridge City Council will hold a special non-voting meeting on February 27, 2014 at 6:00 p.m. at the Municipal Building to discuss the high school debt resolution as well as a request received by the BOE on 2/26/14 to approve an amendment to their annual budget in the amount of $1.75 million. … Continue reading

Report on the 2/21/14 Joint Meeting Between Oak Ridge City Council and the BOE

For the first time in two years (and since I joined council), the Oak Ridge Board of Education (BOE) and City Council held a joint meeting. The agenda was heavy and the mayor unilaterally established a time limit of 1 ½ hours at the very beginning. The meeting room was packed and a crowd formed … Continue reading

Upcoming City and School Meetings/Hot Topics

There is a tremendous amount of activity occurring in the very near future that will effect all Oak Ridgers in many ways. First, council and the BOE will hold a special called meeting this Friday at noon. The agenda is found here and was just released a few hours ago. The original purpose of this … Continue reading

THE PEOPLE’S BUSINESS – 2/10/14 OAK RIDGE CITY COUNCIL MEETING SUMMARY

The following represents an unofficial account of the significant items discussed and/or voted upon during the February 10, 2014 City Council Regular Meeting. The complete agenda packet as well as a video (which you can now fast forward and rewind through after the initial minutes have played) of the meeting can be viewed here. Draft meeting … Continue reading

Details for Tomorrow’s Homecoming for SGT Neal Martin

Anytime one of our troops returns home from conflict, it is truly a reason to celebrate! Not only because of the sacrifice these brave men, women and their families have made, but because so many of their fallen brothers and sisters were not as fortunate. Thanks to the efforts of an amazing woman, Valarie Emery, … Continue reading

Traditional vs Balanced School Schedules Part 2

There’s a lot of community discussion going on in anticipation of a possible major change to our school system calendars. (Read the Assistant Superintendent’s op-ed piece on it here.) Currently, Oak Ridge Schools operate, for the most part, on two different schedules.  The school administration is proposing that ALL schools go to the same schedule. … Continue reading

Revisiting Oak Ridge School Calendars – Traditional v. Balanced Schedule

An item on the next BOE meeting agenda (viewable here) for this Monday night’s meeting includes a discussion about changing from a hybrid school calendar to a streamlined calendar where all of our schools operate on the same schedule. The options proposed (see 2015 2016 calendar options) include either having all schools on the same … Continue reading

Oak Ridge in the National Spotlight!

I am so excited to share with you this update on bullying & violence prevention efforts made by my friend Valerie Hughes! Valerie has worked tirelessly for the last few years to establish a Not In Our Town (NIOT) chapter here in Oak Ridge. I am happy to report that her efforts are paying off … Continue reading

THE PEOPLE’S BUSINESS – 1/13/14 OAK RIDGE CITY COUNCIL MEETING SUMMARY

The following represents an unofficial account of the significant items discussed and/or voted upon during the January 13, 2014 City Council Regular Meeting. The complete agenda packet as well as a video (which you can now fast forward and rewind through) of the meeting can be viewed here. Draft meeting minutes will be posted at the … Continue reading

January City Council Update/School Security Update

Happy New Year! Here is your update for January. I’ve pasted a few noteworthy items below. Results of the December meeting can be found here. Additionally, here are a couple of quick notes of interest: This month, the third of four approved water/sewer rate increases will take effect. I am convinced that these excessive increases could … Continue reading

THE PEOPLE’S BUSINESS – 12/9/13 OAK RIDGE CITY COUNCIL MEETING SUMMARY

The following represents an unofficial account of the significant items discussed and/or voted upon during the December 9, 2013 City Council Regular Meeting. The complete agenda packet as well as a video (which you can now fast forward and rewind through) of the meeting can be viewed here. Draft meeting minutes will be posted at the … Continue reading

December City Council Update

Merry Christmas Oak Ridge! Here is your update for December. The upcoming City Council meeting agenda is fairly light this month, but I’ve pasted a few noteworthy items below. Results of the November meeting can be found here. Don’t forget that our annual Christmas Parade will be Dec 14th starting at 6:00p.m. Also, council will … Continue reading

My Suggestion to Anderson County Commission Regarding the Mall TIF/Attorney Reply

Honorable Mayor Frank and County Commissioners: Like you and all of our citizens, I recognize the need for the successful redevelopment of the Oak Ridge mall property. My research, to include discussions with various city officials and partners from their past projects, has me convinced that if anyone can help us finally turn the mall … Continue reading

THE PEOPLE’S BUSINESS – 11/11/13 OAK RIDGE CITY COUNCIL MEETING SUMMARY

The following represents an unofficial account of the significant items discussed and/or voted upon during the November 11,  2013 City Council Regular Meeting. The complete agenda packet as well as a video of the meeting can be viewed here. Draft meeting minutes will be posted at the city website, most likely, as part of the December … Continue reading

The Observer’s Get To Know Your Leaders Q&A

The Oak Ridge Observer is currently running a series on elected officials in Oak Ridge. The following were my responses to their questions which ran in last week’s edition.   What do you see as a driving force in propelling Oak Ridge to prosperity in the next ten or so years? The health of the … Continue reading

Take a Virtual Drive Through the Scottish Countryside

I’ve found an excellent panacea for my travel withdrawals in Googlemaps/Streetview! Many of us have used it to check out our old stomping grounds, but I’m just discovering the various other countries they’ve uplinked. I was delighted when I found that I could tool through neighborhoods and along the seashore of one of my favorite … Continue reading

THE PEOPLE’S BUSINESS – 10/14/13 OAK RIDGE CITY COUNCIL MEETING SUMMARY

The following represents an unofficial account of the significant items discussed and/or voted upon during the October 14,  2013 City Council Regular Meeting. The complete agenda packet as well as a video of the meeting can be viewed here. Draft meeting minutes will be posted at the city website as part of the November 11th Regular … Continue reading

Go Kill Yourself

Upset? Disturbed? Pissed? You should be. I know I would be if that statement popped up as the subject of an email in my inbox. Guess what? Our kids are sending and receiving these types of messages. I know this for a fact because I’ve heard directly from children I know who’ve been encouraged to kill … Continue reading

October Oak Ridge City Council Update

Hello and Happy Fall! Here is your update for October. As always, feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns you may have anytime! The results of the 9/17/2013 special called meeting on the school’s demand for $250K by Oct 1st are found here and my complete analysis with the ramifications of council’s … Continue reading

Manufactured Crisis: A Joint Venture After All?

In order to clear up some of the confusion surrounding the recent school system fiasco, I’d like to expound upon my characterization of it as a “manufactured crisis.” I will first provide a brief summary and then, for those who are interested in the details, I will elaborate. I will conclude with my suggestion for … Continue reading

THE PEOPLE’S BUSINESS – 9/17/13 OAK RIDGE CITY COUNCIL MEETING SUMMARY – MOE/High School Debt

The following represents an unofficial account of the single item discussed and voted upon during the September 17,  2013 City Council Special Called Meeting. The complete agenda packet as well as a video of the meeting can be viewed here. Draft meeting minutes will be posted at the city website, most likely, as part of the … Continue reading

THE PEOPLE’S BUSINESS – 9/9/13 OAK RIDGE CITY COUNCIL MEETING SUMMARY

The following represents an unofficial account of the significant items discussed and/or voted upon during the September 9,  2013 City Council Regular Meeting. The complete agenda packet as well as a video of the meeting can be viewed here. Draft meeting minutes will be posted at the city website, most likely, as part of the October … Continue reading

Why It Will Cost Even More To Flush & What You Can Do About It

On September 9th, your City Council will likely vote to approve additional water/sewer rate increases. When combined with the last two increases, the average user’s bill will have spiked 62% in just 34 months. Subsequently, should council adopt the fully proposed schedule through 2019, most residents and businesses will be paying double what they were … Continue reading

THE PEOPLE’S BUSINESS – 8/12/13 OAK RIDGE CITY COUNCIL MEETING SUMMARY

The following represents an unofficial account of the significant items discussed and/or voted upon during the August 12th, 2013 City Council Regular Meeting. The complete agenda packet as well as a video of the meeting can be viewed here. Draft meeting minutes will be posted at the city website as part of the September 9th Regular … Continue reading

The School Resource Officer MOU Has Been Signed!

***Post updated with MOU and Press Release Attached*** Click on the following: MOU Press Release Final SRO MOU Final 8 7 13 SignedCopy Excellent news! The School Resource Officer agreement (aka MOU) between the ORPD and the OR Schools has been signed! Thanks to all who made it happen, especially Chief Akagi and Superintendent Borchers! … Continue reading

Report on the KPD Anti-Bullying Summit/Update on School Safety Efforts

The following was sent to all of city council and the board of education: All – I recently attended the anti-bullying summit hosted by the Safety Education Unit of the Knoxville Police Department. Their goal was to educate and encourage ways to strategize action plans to reduce bullying behavior. It was attended by over 700 … Continue reading

THE PEOPLE’S BUSINESS – 7/8/13 OAK RIDGE CITY COUNCIL MEETING SUMMARY

The following represents an unofficial account of the significant items discussed and/or voted upon during the July 8th, 2013 City Council Regular Meeting. The complete agenda packet as well as a video of the meeting can be viewed here. Draft meeting minutes will be posted at the city website, most likely, as part of the August … Continue reading

Positive Changes in our Schools ARE Coming

Now that a few days have passed since ….I’m hoping it is safe for me to share a few thoughts. First and foremost I want to thank all of you who have reached out and expressed your support and concern. I am both amazed and humbled by the enormous love shown to me by family, … Continue reading

Not in Our Schools Update

What an amazing day! Radio interview with Hallerin Hilton Hill went well this morning. Spurred wate.com and wbir.com to contact me for interviews. Those should air sometime tonight. The Beehan/ Fillauer/Reddick press conference was highly enlightening and spurred further interviews by the press. Can’t wait to see how things go at our council meeting tonight! … Continue reading

My Communications with Dr. Borchers RE: School Safety Issues

If you are one of the parents, school staff or students, past or present, that has experienced the problems I’ve referenced here, please contact Russel Langley at russl68@gmail.com From: BRUCE BORCHERS [btborchers@ortn.edu] Sent: Wednesday, July 03, 2013 11:39 AM To: Baughn, Trina Cc: City Council; Akagi James T.; Angi Agle; Dan DiGregorio ; Bob Eby; Jenny Richter; Keys Fillauer Subject: Invitation … Continue reading

Oak Ridge Observer Article on ORS Police Interference

In addition to running my letter, the Oak Ridge Observer ran the following: http://oakridgedailyhoot.com/2013/07/03/schools-impeding-orpd-city-says/ “Everything they do is useless and possibly damaging to the prosecution in a criminal case,” Akagi said regarding evidence and statements. Also Watson has not had time to respond to the question why no ORS officials were arrested for obstruction of … Continue reading

Open Letter to Dr. Bruce Borchers, Oak Ridge Superintendent: Protect Our Students and Teachers

I will post the referenced materials (the memo from the chief of police, the FERPA communications and documentation on the ousted principal) shortly. If you are one of the parents, school staff or students, past or present, that has experienced the problems I’ve referenced, please contact  Russel Langley at russl68@gmail.com.  —————————————————- Dr. Borchers, Shortly after the … Continue reading

July 8th Agenda/Updates —— Mall/Land Bank/Sign Ordinance

Hello! I hope you are all having a wonderful summer! Here are the highlights of current council activities: Monday night we will hold our regular monthly meeting. The complete agenda can be found here. The significant items are as follows and you can see my questions/concerns to our city manager in the email pasted at … Continue reading

Roane County Property Tax Increase Debate 2013

As reported here, I recently attended a public hearing on the budget at a Roane County Commission meeting. Though the meeting did not start until 6:30, the place was packed by 6:00. Two courtrooms were full to capacity as was the long, wide hallway where I spent most of my time. At issue was a … Continue reading

THE PEOPLE’S BUSINESS – 6/10/13 OAK RIDGE CITY COUNCIL MEETING SUMMARY/Follow up special meeting 6/17/2012

The following represents an unofficial account of the significant items discussed and/or voted upon during the June 10th, 2013 City Council Regular Meeting. The complete agenda packet as well as a video of the meeting can be viewed here. Draft meeting minutes will be posted at the city website, most likely, as part of the July … Continue reading

Tonight’s Special Meeting & Work Session Info – Your Input Encouraged

Hello! I’m a little behind having just returned from vacation, but I wanted to make you all aware of a few developments. I will post the full details of the June 10th meeting later this week, but one of the outcomes was that we deferred approving millions of dollars in no-bid contracts. Six of those … Continue reading

THE PEOPLE’S BUSINESS – 5/28/13 OAK RIDGE CITY COUNCIL MEETING SUMMARY/FINALIZATION OF FY2014 BUDGET

The following represents an unofficial account of the significant items discussed and/or voted upon during the May 28th, 2013 City Council Regular Meeting. The complete agenda packet as well as a video of the meeting can be viewed here. Draft meeting minutes will be posted at the city website, most likely, as part of the … Continue reading

Implications of being a “High Performing School District?”

From: Trina Baughn Sent: Monday, May 27, 2013 8:51 PM To: Ms. Agle; Ms. Richter; Mr. DiGrigorio; Mr. Fillauer; Mr. Eby; Robert J. Smallridge Cc: ccouncil@oakridgetn.gov; Watson, Mark; Krushenski, Ken Subject: “High Performing School District” Request to Defer Oak Ridge Board of Education: Your agenda for your meeting scheduled for 5:30 tomorrow night contains an … Continue reading

THE PEOPLE’S BUSINESS – 5/16/13 OAK RIDGE CITY COUNCIL MEETING SUMMARY/FY2014 BUDGET

The following represents an unofficial account of the significant items discussed and/or voted upon during the May 16th, 2013 City Council Special Meeting. The complete agenda packet can be viewed here. Draft meeting minutes will be posted at the city website, most likely, as part of the May 28th Regular Meeting Agenda packet. Note that … Continue reading

THE PEOPLE’S BUSINESS – 5/13/13 OAK RIDGE CITY COUNCIL MEETING SUMMARY/FIRST READING OF THE FY2014 BUDGET

The following represents an unofficial account of the significant items voted upon during the May 13th, 2013 regular city council meeting. The complete agenda packet and full video of the meeting can be viewed here. Draft meeting minutes will be posted at the city website as part of the May 28th Regular Meeting Agenda packet. VII. … Continue reading

Because Every Penny Counts

During our May 13th May 16th and May 28th meetings, the Oak Ridge city council will determine your property tax rate for the next year via our annual budget. Our decisions will directly affect your personal finances. Of greater consequence, however, we will establish our city’s competitive position. Currently, Oak Ridge has the third highest property … Continue reading

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