It all started with a committee. That’s probably how it ends too, but let’s wait a minute for that. Roy Pruett, a friend and former Mayor of Oak Ridge, chaired the meeting. I had just been a part of his retirement roast, and wasn’t totally sure he was still a friend. Joe Lenhard, retired from the Department of Energy, was full of energy. Joe would be the chair of ETEC after Mayor Pruett and was the strongest proponent of Oak Ridge until his dying days. Also around the table was former ORNL Director Herman Postma, my old boss and Oak Ridger newspaper owner Tom Hill, entrepreneur Pete Craven, then Oak Ridge Chamber President Tom Rogers, and business owner Ben Adams (whose wife worked for me at The Oak Ridger). I knew them all, and all of them were a lot smarter than me.
This is a capture of the pieces sent out on Friday mornings in 2020 & 2021 when an ETEC Virtual Meeting was not held. Articles are listed with the most recent on top.
One year ago this week, my life was forever changed. My father, Carson Sandefur, was Knox County’s COVID-19 death #59. But to my family, he was so much more than a number, statistic, or case count.
Each year thousands of people come to visit Oak Ridge. In our last economic impact study, done in 2017, we counted over 50,000 visitors to our science and national security facilities. This figure includes business, education, and science-related visitors. Before COVID, the number of visitors was poised to grow as Heritage Tourism is set to increase with announcements of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park, the Oak Ridge History Museum, K-25 History Center, and the renewed American Museum of Science and Energy. It’s going to come back as we re-open our places of work.
A month or so ago, using last year’s Christmas present from my son-in-law, I drove up to the Smokies on a Tuesday morning to meet a fishing guide that was supposed to show me how to fish the mountain streams in the park. It was cold, in the 40s outside, with a brisk wind. I later learned the hard way that the water temperature was 42 degrees. Trout like cold water. Not that cold.
Labor Day week is usually the last few quiet days of summer before we sprint to the years’ end. This week is different, and it’s been hard on us.
This week I re-read two of our nation’s most sacred documents: the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States. They aren’t long, but they say a lot. Recommended reading for all members of ETEC and really everyone.
Don Maxwell and his young family came to Oak Ridge from Aiken, S.C., in the early 1970s at a time when the newly incorporated city of Oak Ridge was stepping up to a whole new series of challenges. The Atomic Energy Commission was shutting down. In its place would be the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and a new strange organization called the Energy Research and Development Administration (ERDA). ERDA didn’t last long and became the Department of Energy a few years later. How were ORNL, ORAU, and the gaseous diffusion enterprise going to fit into this new picture?
At ETEC’s March Board meeting last Friday, Thomas Zacharia, director of ORNL, representing UT-Battelle, and UCOR chief of staff Joe Aylor, also representing Amentum, told us about several investments their companies are making to improve our community. They are important investments in economic development and education.
This week I took a refresher training at Y-12 that allows me to continue to have access to that site. Part of the training was to review what to do in light of different kinds of emergencies that could happen. None of the scenarios described talked about pandemics.