Ellen's home page
Ellen Smith for Oak Ridge City Council

Ellen Smith in the Public Record

All items from The Oak Ridger except where noted.

News articles and features

These news articles document some of Ellen Smith's public activities over the years since 1997, when our local daily newspaper inaugurated its online edition.


Election News Stories

Views shared on S. Illinois, declining tax dollars. Council candidates give brief answers to interview questions regarding development in the South Illinois Avenue corridor adjacent to the Woodland neighborhood and on measures to address the decline in sales tax collections. May 29, 2007.

Council candidates share thoughts on tax rate increases. May 25, 2007. Council candidates give brief oral answers to the oral question "Are you willing to consider a property tax rate increase if you believe the Oak Ridge school system or city departments need the money?." Ellen, is the last one on the alphabetical list. About her, the article says:

Candidate Ellen Smith also said she could support a potential property tax rate increase. “We need to fund needs,” said Smith, chairwoman of the city’s Environmental Quality Advisory Board and an Oak Ridge National Laboratory environmental scientist. However, she said she would look at the spending justifications that went along with any proposed tax rate increase. “We need to look carefully … to make sure we are funding needs and not wish lists,” Smith said.

EQAB, LOC memberships give Smith experience for City Council - Press release in The Oak Ridger's special election edition, May 9, 2007. (See bottom half of page.)

Ellen Smith campaign open house Friday, April 26, 2007. (Press release.)

Candidate Profile: Ellen Smith, The Oak Ridge Observer, April 12, 2007.

Eleven candidates in city election, March 16, 2007, article lists the candidates who filed nominating petitions before the March 15 deadline, including the 7 candidates for City Council.

Oak Ridge groups face off over bond issue; Two sides debate if city should help pay for shopping center [PDF], Knoxville News Sentinel, May 16, 2007. Article about the League of Women Voters' forum on the bond referendum for the proposed Crestpointe (Target) shopping center. Ellen was one of the speakers for the "vote no" (Citizens Oak Ridge) side, speaking in the "siting" segment of the forum. About her, the short article says: "Smith said the project would move the city's existing retail center to the edge of town and create traffic woes."

Potential candidates weigh in on Target - February 15, 2007 article tells about Ellen's and other potential Council candidates' views on the proposal for the city to to contribute funding to the proposed Crestpointe shopping center. Ellen is quoted as saying "If we develop retail on the top of the mountain, on Pine Ridge, we’ll be putting a nail in the coffin in the center of the city for a long time." It says she is also concerned about Crestpointe’s potential impact on existing Oak Ridge businesses.


Council approves lobbying contracts; Opposes Tennessee Valley Authority land-policy change [no link available], October 24, 2006. "Oak Ridge City Council members on Monday night approved renewed contracts with state and federal lobbyists, extending the contracts through the end of 2007 at an estimated cost of close to $200,000. They also unanimously agreed to send a letter to Tennessee Valley Authority officials, expressing concern with a proposed land policy and rejecting at least part of it." Ellen is the only private citizen quoted in the article; at the Council meeting she expressed objections to both the federal lobbying contract and the city comments on the TVA land policy.

Nuclear study OK’d - Article about a special meeting of City Council at which the Council endorsed plans for CROET and SAIC to submit a proposal to site major Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) facilities in the city. Ellen (who was one of a handful of citizens at the meeting) is quoted as commenting that nuclear fuel reprocessing "a hazardous technology" with potential for significant emissions and accident risks. September 9, 2006

EQAB: alternative fuel, Melton Hill Lake cleanup - June 5, 2006, article about topics discussed at a recent Environmental Quality Advisory Board meeting that Ellen chaired.

Residential plan concerns board - May 8, 2006 article is an undertstated report on a testy exchange between EQAB and city staff regarding concerns about environmental aspects of the then-proposed Rarity Oaks development.

EQAB endorses license plate recycling project - February 7, 2006, article tells about topics discussed at a recent Environmental Quality Advisory Board meeting.

Oversight Committee Board examines goals for 2006 - January 31, 2006. Quotes Ellen's comments (as a board member) on the Local Oversight Committee (LOC) work plan for the year.

EQAB supports greenbelt right-of-way request - EQAB recommended the city grant a request to allow developer Wade Galloway to establish right-of-way across a city greenbelt to access industrially-zoned land where he wanted to build homes. There were several conditions: rezoning the industrial parcels to residential, closing off access to Cairo Lane from those parcels, and spanning Ernie's Creek (in the greenbelt) with a bridge (not a culvert). Ellen is quoted extensively on the unusual situation that underlies EQAB's recommendation. January 11, 2006.


Election News Stories

Incumbents win - June 8, 2005, article reports the City Council election results. Includes quotes from Ellen and the other candidates.

Our View: Candidates commended for focusing on issues, running clean campaign - Editorial retrospective on the June 2005 election. June 8, 2005.

City Council candidates share final thoughts - Article published the Friday before the election (after the end of early voting) quotes from short interviews with Ellen and the other five candidates. June 3, 2005.

Council candidates participate in forum - Article about the candidate forum conducted by the League of Women Voters of Oak Ridge. Includes summaries of each candidate's opening statement. May 13, 2005

Best in show: Our picks for this year’s ballot [PDF file; scroll down to page 8 to find this article]   - The Oak Ridge Observer editorial announces the newspaper's endorsements and gives reasons for the choices. Ellen was on the list.  May 12, 2005.

DFET to hold house party for endorsed City Council candidates - Event announcement identified Ellen as one of the candidates endorsed by Democracy for East Tennessee. May 4, 2005

Smith announces candidacy for OR City Council - Ellen's formal campaign announcement, including highlights of her background and civic involvement. May 3, 2005

Council candidates debate on housing, taxes, vision for OR - News article about the Democracy for East Tennessee candidate forum. April 15, 2005

On the Ballot - Stan Mitchell of the Oak Ridge Observer reports on the list of people running for City Council in the June 7 election and the different candidates' views on hiring paid lobbyists to represent the city.
In the same issue of the weekly newspaper, an editorial expresses misgivings about the proposal to hire lobbyists and about the way the proposal was developed and presented to City Council.  March 24, 2005
The race is on - News article lists and briefly profiles the candidates who filed for the June 7 city election. March 18, 2005

Duratek seeks support from EQAB on waste storage permit - Ellen's comments are quoted extensively in this December 6, 2005 article about EQAB's discussion of a presentation by a private radioactive waste treatment business in Oak Ridge.

Residents voice concerns about Rarity, Solway - John Huotari's report on an Oak Ridge City Council meeting reports on citizen concerns about the proposed Rarity Oaks development west of Country Club Estates, including Ellen's statement of concern about potential environmental problems from high-density development on the property's steep hillsides. November 22, 2005

Philotechnics set to appear before BZA - Short article reports that Philotechnics made a presentation to EQAB regarding the work it would do at a proposed Oak Ridge facility; article does not describe EQAB's review or its recommendations that the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) approve a variance, subject to several conditions intended to assure community safety and prevent city liability. October 11, 2005

Public meeting held to address DOE land transfer of Parcel ED-6 - Article quotes Ellen's concerns that portions of Parcel ED-6 (DOE land west of Wisconsin Avenue) should not be developed due to conservation considerations and to honor the understandings reached during past discussions between city officials and conservation groups. August 25, 2005

EQAB reviews, critiques city's plan - Short article on EQAB's discussion of a proposed revision to the City Council's "strategic plan." Ellen is one of several EQAB members who are quoted as expressing skepticism or concern about elements of the plan. (After this article ran, Ellen presented the comments to City Council, which accepted some of them.) August 8, 2005

IDB approves industry relocation to Oak Ridge - Quotes Ellen Smith, as chair of Oak Ridge Environmental Quality Advisory Board, regarding Industrial Development Board action endorsing the plans for a proposed Philotechnics facility in an Oak Ridge industrial park: "We have to ask questions about how the facility will affect the willingness of other facilities to want to locate here. We need to be concerned whether this will adversely affect marketing. We should also look more closely at how what they're doing affects the neighborhood and the building...."

June 6, 2005 Environmental Quality Awards for 2004 - Illustrated article tells about the winners of the city's Environmental Quality Awards, which represent quality in architecture and related aspects of the built environment. A citizen committee sponsored by EQAB selected the award winners, EQAB ratified the selections, and Ellen announced the awards at a City Council meeting at which the mayor presented plaques to the recipients. June 1, 2005

Council moves forward with lobbying contracts - Article about City Council's approval (by a pair of 4-2 votes) of two contracts with lobbyists quotes Ellen's questions (asked at the Council meeting) about (1) the lack of a competitive bid procedure and (2) the term of the contracts. April 19, 2005

Local resident requests more info on TOXCO facility - Article about an Environmental Quality Advisory Board (EQAB) meeting at which the board discussed Toxco and other topics. April 13, 2005

Oak Ridge officials meet with local oversight groups - Oak Ridge Observer article about Oak Ridge City Council work session with local environmental organizations states (in part) " EQAB chair Ellen Smith named several concerns she would like Council members to pay close attention to, including private companies who conduct work that used to be carried out by the Department of Energy. Smith said these companies are in far less communication with the city and public than DOE."
An editorial in the same issue of the Observer,In Our Opinion: Give us a break, laments The Oak Ridger's poor coverage of the lobbying issue and quotes this website on the topic. April 7, 2005.

Environmental Groups share agendas with city council - Ellen is quoted in this article about an Oak Ridge City Council work session with several local environmental organizations. April 7, 2005

Lobbying contracts spur discussion - Presents Ellen's view that the city should not be paying for professional lobbying services and corrects an error in the previous day's article about the lobbying contracts. (Ellen had notified the paper about the error.) March 30, 2005

EQAB continues easement analysis - Report on EQAB discussions of the Black Oak Ridge Conservation Easement Draft Management Plan, Keep America Beautiful, and other topics. February 9, 2005

In Our Opinion: The clock is ticking, and still no urgency - Oak Ridge Observer editorial notes that Ellen was the only prospective City Council candidate (other than incumbents) at a public meeting to discuss the recommendations of the city's Highland View Redevelopment Steering Committee. January 13, 2005

Black Oak Ridge topic of meeting - Ellen is quoted as one of the participants in a Tennessee Department of Enviroinment and Conservation public meeting about proposals for the Black Oak Ridge Conservation Area. January 12, 2005

EQAB discusses new program, recycling - Article describes Ellen's report to the Environmental Quality Advisory Board on consideration (by the Oak Ridger Chamber of Commerce beautification committee) of affiliation with Keep America Beautiful. January 10, 2005


Election News Stories

Miller wins Council seat - Election results. Friday, August 6, 2004

A look at the OR City Council candidates' views - Report on a set of last-minute pre-election interviews with the candidates. Wednesday, August 4, 2004

Council candidates make sales pitch at forum
- Brief report on the previous evening's League of Women Voters' forum. Friday, July 16, 2004

A majority of candidates back school referendum - The Oak Ridger surveyed Council candidates' views on this issue. June 25, 2004

Council candidate launches Web site - Ellen Smith announces the establishment of this website. June 11, 2004

Candidates say Kuhaida's endorsement aids Miller - Ellen is quoted as saying that Jerry Kuhaida's withdrawal and endorsement of Jane Miller came as a surprise, but can only mean good things for Miller. "It did seem they were looking to appeal to the same kind of voters." May 25, 2004

OR City Council race heats up - Article lists the six candidates who filed nominating petitions by the deadline. April 2, 2004.

Five to vie for Oak Ridge City Council seat - Article lists candidates who had picked up nominating petitions, including information about their backgrounds. March 26, 2004

Land Transfer Looms (from The Oak Ridge Observer) - Discusses the proposal to transfer DOE parcel ED-6 to the city for residential development, and quotes Ellen as a representative of Advocates for the Oak Ridge Reservation. December 30, 2004

Info session spurs debate - Describes the lively open discussion that occurred between developers, city officials, and environmental organization members at a DOE public meeting about the proposal to transfer land west of Wisconsin Avenue to the city for residential development. Ellen is identified as one of the people who spoke for Advocates for the Oak Ridge Reservation. November 19, 2004

Haul road a deer concern -  Article tells about discussion at a DOE public meeting on plans for a dedicated waste haul road across Oak Ridge Reservation land between ETTP and the waste disposal site in Bear Creek Valley west of Y-12. Ellen expressed concern that land surrounding the haul road would be closed to deer hunting, which would interfere with effective management of the local deer population. November 16, 2004

Toxco meets with EQAB on safety issues - Newspaper reporter's account of EQAB meeting that discussed Toxco Materials Management Center on Flint Road. "Though she admitted she would rather not have a facility of this nature at all near a residential area, EQAB Chairwoman Ellen Smith said she did feel more comfortable with the TMMC operation... than with past companies located at the facility." October 8, 2004

400-mile river trip sends mining message to governor  - Ellen is mentioned in this long article about a Save Our Cumberland Mountains (SOCM) campaign to increase public awareness of the adverse impacts Tennessee faces from "cross-ridge mining," which is "mountaintop removal" mining by a different name. The article explains that the overburden is not placed in valleys (as is done in mountaintop removal mining in West Virginia), but is placed on the mountainside, on the benches that remain after coal is removed. The article says "SOCM contends it won't stay. At a public hearing last year, Oak Ridge hydrologist Ellen Smith referred to the practice as 'delayed hollow fill,' insisting that the loose soil, once blasted from the mountaintop, will eventually wash or slide down into streams." 
Ellen's note: This prediction is based on two facts: (1) mined-out overburden has a larger volume (thus, it takes up more space) than the same amount of rock before mining and (2) loose soil and rock does not hold as steep a slope as solid bedrock. 

Cutting development taxes could help city compete, grow  - Article tells of Oak Ridge City Council's approval of a plan giving blanket authorization to the Industrial Development Board to grant property tax abatements for commercial developments. The article notes that Ellen Smith spoke up at the Council meeting to express concern about the incentives. Wednesday, June 9, 2004

New high school is up to residents - News article about City Council action highlights Ellen's comments about plans for the August referendum on increasing the local sales tax to help pay for rebuilding the high school. May 4, 2004


Ellen Smith remains EQAB chair - Short article about Environmental Quality Advisory Board actions. October 3, 2003

Charter Commission holds public hearing - Article includes a summary of Smith's suggestion that enlarging the 7-member City Council to nine or 11 members to decrease the workload on each member and allow for more diverse representation of the community. September 25, 2003

Property transfer worries Council - News article about a City Council meeting quotes Ellen as saying that the City "comes across as whiny and disingenuous" in complaining about plans to establish a 3,000-acre state conservation area on federal land inside the city limits. September 24, 2003

Enough TRU already -- Not here: A local board asks City Council to request that DOE not send New York's transuranic wastes to Oak Ridge - Article about an EQAB recommendation to the City Council.  Monday, June 9, 2003

EQAB discusses K-25 land transfer to Heritage Corp. - Article based largely on a phone interview with Ellen Smith. Tuesday, February 18, 2003


Permit sought that will impact wetlands - Ellen is quoted in this article describing the developer's desire to relocate a channel, culvert a tributary, fill a couple of wetlands and create a replacement wetland in order to develop a high density residential-commercial community at Rarity Ridge. Friday, December 6, 2002

Bechtel Jacobs takes it on the chin, again - Describes Ellen's role in Oak Ridge Reservation Local Oversight Committee action to express concern about the use of fixed-price contracts for complex Department of Energy environmental cleanup projects.  Wednesday, November 27, 2002

DOE seeks radionuclide limit increase - Reports that EQAB wanted to take a careful look at the environmental assessment for a proposal to increase the city's capacity to accept radioactive material into its wastewater treatment process. Friday, October 4, 2002

Planners play 'stump the chump' - Column by R. Cathey Daniels urges City staff and Planning Commissioners "to heed Ellen Smith's advice and insist on layman's language in planning documents for public preview." Thursday, August 29, 2002

Will cleanup be sacrificed for acceleration? - Ellen is one of the local people quoted as expressing concern about DOE's accelerated cleanup program. Friday, August 23, 2002

Renovating older homes? Watch out for asbestos - Article about EQAB's review of information about the potential for encountering asbestos hazards during renovation of the city's Manhattan Project-era housing. Ellen is quoted in the article (but home remodelers are advised that the statement, as quoted, is not completely accurate). Thursday, August 8, 2002

Horizon Center back to council - Ellen is one of the people quoted as describing issues related to this development. Friday, June 28, 2002

Why didn't the city use EQAB's advice? - Editorial about interactions related to the CROET development of the Horizon Center; quotes Ellen. Tuesday, June 25, 2002

Land transfer sparks concern - Ellen and EQAB are mentioned in a news report about environmental aspects of DOE's plans to deed the Horizon Center lands to the Community Reuse Organization of East Tennessee (CROET). Wednesday, June 19, 2002

City Council roundup - Article reports that City Council "Received a communication from the city's Environmental Quality Advisory Board stating concerns with the transfer of Horizon Center, or Parcel ED-1, from the DOE to the Community Reuse Organization of East Tennessee. Ellen Smith of EQAB said the board 'strongly urges' the council to send the comments to DOE. Council took no action, effectively rejecting the board's advice." Tuesday, June 18, 2002

Steep-slope rules still stuck in debate - Ellen is quoted in an article about the continuing effort to craft new standards to prevent unsound development practices on steep slopes. Monday, April 15, 2002

OR planners, EQAB to discuss criteria for developing steep slopes - Article about work toward some of the new development standards that the city drafted to prevent future problems similar to those that occurred in the Pine Ridge development. Friday, February 8, 2002

Citizens voice concerns on Rarity Ridge project - Quotes Ellen as one of several citizens expressing reservations about the proposed development. She expressed concern about high density development over karst hydrology, and observed that a site more than 12 miles from the Civic Center does not have the necessary conditions for a successful traditional neighborhood development. Tuesday, January 8, 2002


ED-1 environmental monitoring halted - Article begins "Ecological monitoring is no longer occurring at the Horizon Center industrial park" and quotes Ellen Smith as one of several environmental spokespersons expressing concern about CROET's decision to stop monitoring. Wednesday, December 12, 2001
Note: As part of the legal basis for a finding that the Horizon Center development would have no significant impact on the environment (and thus would not require an environmental impact statement) DOE was supposed to monitor the effects of industrial park construction on the sensitive resources in adjacent areas, both during and after construction. DOE made CROET responsible for this monitoring. At the time of the article, CROET said its obligation had been met and that DOE agreed. However, the industrial park construction still wasn't (and isn't) finished.

New road proposed - News about a proposal, by Joe Lenhard and Pete Craven, to build a new road across DOE Oak Ridge Reservation land to make up for post-September 11 closures of other roads; names Ellen as the source for information about environmental issues that EQAB identified when a similar proposal was made a few years earlier. Friday, December 7, 2001

Revis: Completed Pine Ridge will be appealing - Article about developer Nat Revis' promises regarding the Pine Ridge development includes a comment by Ellen Smith. Friday, December 7, 2001

Citizens speak out on development - Ellen is one of many citizens quoted as commenting about the Pine Ridge development at a City Council meeting. Tuesday, October 9, 2001

Reforms to be proposed - Article describes EQAB's draft recommendations for changing city rules and procedures to prevent future problems similar to those that occurred with Pine Ridge. Friday, October 5, 2001

City Council urged to rescind Pine Ridge permits - Quotes Ellen Smith describing the Pine Ridge development as "an environmental and public relations disaster," and reports that City Council took no action on its continuing development. Copy of story from the Knoxviille News-Sentinel. September 30, 2001

Pine Ridge fiasco begs for some belated answers - Editorial calls this development a failure of the processes that are supposed to provide for public accountability and protection. Quotes Ellen Smith as saying "I didn't know the plan called for chopping 70 feet off the ridge and flattening it into a plateau," and says "it's a pretty good bet that if Ms. Smith did not know [this], then a good many other people -- among them probably a council member or two -- did not know either." Wednesday, September 26, 2001

Request made to halt work on Pine Ridge - "Ellen Smith, who chairs the city's Environmental Quality Advisory Board, asked the Oak Ridge City Council Monday to halt development on Pine Ridge." Tuesday, September 25, 2001

EQAB seeks city help with cleanup talks - Article about EQAB and City Council discussion about the need for the City to be involved in negotiations on cleaning up contaminated sites. Tuesday, August 14, 2001
EQAB: Pine Ridge broke regulations - "The Oak Ridge Environmental Quality Advisory Board is asking City Council to investigate a construction project which the board thinks broke state storm-management regulations." Wednesday, August 8, 2001


Council OKs isotopes manufacturing for IND-2 zones - The zoning ordinance was revised to allow Theragenics to locate in the Horizon Center industrial park. Article discusses Smith's presentation of a proposal (accepted by Council) to include language to clarify the criteria that must be met to allow such uses in this zone. Wednesday, September 6, 2000

British firm still considering city - Quotes Smith as saying she hopes Janousek won't give up on Oak Ridge. She also said, "I think the real concern is that the community felt blind-sided by this. There is a concern that it's easy to convert a park to another use when faced with the pressure to develop land, and it's hard to get them back. There's the view that (land) is a resource to be protected." Wednesday, September 6, 2000

Few Ridgers voice Haw Ridge concerns - News story about an EQAB meeting where citizens expressed concerns over the future of Haw Ridge Park. Friday, July 7, 2000

Scull-building site? - EQAB chairperson Ellen Smith tells about the concerns of people who treasure Haw Ridge Park and were worried about Janousek Corporation's proposal to build a manufacturing facility there. Thursday, June 22, 2000

British firm eyes Haw Ridge Park - Article tells about City Council action to ask the Tennessee Valley Authority officials to eliminate the restriction limiting Haw Ridge Park to public recreation uses, in order to allow Janousek Racing to build a small boat manufacturing facility on a 4-acre waterfront area near Oak Ridge's rowing course. Ellen is one of several people whose statements of concern are quoted. Tuesday, June 20, 2000

Group wants land-use plan - Quotes Smith as one of several Advocates for the Oak Ridge Reservation members pushing for a comprehensive land-use plan for DOE's Oak Ridge lands. Wednesday, April 12, 2000

Boeing site gets final rezoning approval - Article notes that Ellen urged Council urged council to postpone the vote on the rezoning until test results from the state provide assurance that the property is safe for residential use. Tuesday, February 8, 2000

State to investigate development site - Article about plans to survey the floodplain adjacent to the Boeing property to ensure that future residents would be safe from radiological contamination. Includes Ellen's comments about EQAB's concern in this matter: "We don't want to assume that it's not a serious problem until it's investigated. We want to base a decision on better information, not lack of information." Wednesday, January 19, 2000

EQAB: Boeing site needs environmental sampling - Friday, January 7, 2000


Council approves letter to DOE on ED-1 - Report on City Council action regarding an EQAB critique of environmental aspects of CROET's development of the Horizon Center. Tuesday, November 16, 1999

Council: Work out dispute - Article about City Council action on EQAB recommendations regarding environmental protection and public involvement at CROET's Horizon Center development. Tuesday, November 9, 1999

Horizon Center, pay, debt on council agenda - Article about agenda for upcoming City Council work session discusses some of the concerns EQAB had presented about environmental aspects of the Horizon Center (parcel ED-1) development. Friday, November 5, 1999

TDOT begins comment period for Knoxville Beltway - Article tells about the haphazard way that local officials learned that public comment had begun on the scope of the environmental impact statement for proposed I-475, with quotations from Ellen. Friday, November 5, 1999

Council to consider industrial grants - Article quotes Ellen describing some concerns about environmental impacts and mitigation at the Horizon Center (parcel ED-1). Friday, October 29, 1999

Belief in democratic process gives rise to her voice - Profile of Ellen Smith, by R. Cathey Daniels. Thursday, October 28, 1999

Citizens urge DOE to take ED-3 slow and easy - Quotes Ellen's comments as one of several speakers at a DOE public meeting. Thursday, September 30, 1999

Big ideas about environment - Article about an AFORR public meeting includes Ellen's comments supporting the idea of establishing a big-time science camp program in Oak Ridge. Tuesday, July 27, 1999

DOE releases plan for uranium removal - Ellen is one of several people quoted as welcoming the announcement of DOE's plan to rid Oak Ridge of thousands of barrels of depleted uranium hexafluoride. Thursday, July 8, 1999

FORNL holds debate on land use - Ellen is quoted as one of several panelists in a Friends of ORNL discussion of the future of the Oak Ridge Reservation. Thursday, May 20, 1999

First tenant named for ED-1 - Article about Theragenics announcement, includes comments from Ellen about EQAB's view that a new radioactive business not be allowed contaminate a clean site or scare away other businesses. Wednesday, April 7, 1999

EQAB objects to plans for new businesses at ETTP - News article about a communication to the City Council from the city's environmental board. Friday, April 2, 1999

Examining environmental impacts of SNS - Long article includes Ellen's brief comment on the environmental impact statement for the Spallation Neutron Source project. Friday, January 22, 1999


GIS would add to city's data base - Article quotes an EQAB memo, signed by Ellen Smith, on some of the reasons why Oak Ridge should acquire geographic information system technology. Thursday, October 22, 1998

EQAB opposing dorm transfer - Article quotes EQAB members Kimberly Murphy and Ellen Smith describing board members' concerns about the handling of the proposal to sell and tear down Cheyenne and Charlotte Halls, which were the last of the historic Manhattan Project dormitory buildings remaining in Oak Ridge. Monday, June 22, 1998

Dormitory issue revisited - Op-ed column by R. Cathey Daniels quotes Ellen's remarks about EQAB's interest in historic preservation and the board's  concerns about the way the proposal to tear down Cheyenne and Charlotte Halls was being handled. Tuesday, June 16, 1998

Residents want more info on K-25 - Quotes Ellen as one of several speakers at a public meeting who said the community needs to know more about potential risks of  activities at the former gaseous diffusion plant site. Wednesday, April 22, 1998

Brochure focuses on DOE contamination - Article about EQAB's brochure intended to present information and positive images of the community's environment, quotes Ellen's statements and the EQAB letter that she signed. Monday, February 23, 1998


Mayor's resolution supports DOE, safety - Article about City efforts to publicize the city's good quality of life and counteract negative articles in out-of-town media; includes information from Smith about EQAB's efforts to produce a brochure about Oak Ridge's environment. Friday, December 5, 1997

No major contaminants found at old service center - Article tells about some good news the city received from an environmental consultant who investigated the city's former service center site on Lafayette Drive, and mentions EQAB's role in assisting city staff with the property evaluation. Thursday, August 28, 1997
Note: I was one of several EQAB members who assisted city staff with contractor selection and with review of their reports. This project had a very happy ending. The site was found to be mostly clean (contrary to initial fears), so it was found to be suitable for residential development. The successful Willow Place subdivision -- a traditional-neighborhood-style development in the heart of the city -- is now located on the site. -- Ellen Smith

Council should listen to advice from EQAB - In an op-ed page column, reporter R. Cathey Daniels criticizes the City Council for ignoring EQAB's concerns about the BNFL decision and endorsing what she calls "the old 'don't ask, don't tell, and clean it up later' philosophy." She quotes Ellen Smith as saying "It's not necessarily a matter of raising an alarm about any particular proposal, but it's more a matter of not moving forward blindly." She calls the City's refusal to ask questions "the old company town syndrome" and says "it's contagious, and it's not one of the highlights of living here." Tuesday, August 26, 1997

There goes EQAB, stirring up mischief again - Column by R. Cathey Daniels muses about DOE's lack of openness regarding its decision to select BNFL and its technology to clean up three uranium enrichment buildings at the K-25 site. Tuesday, August 19, 1997

EQAB members question greenbelt encroachment - Friday, March 7, 1997

Planners look at incompatible industries - News article tells about EQAB vice chairman Smith's comments to the Planning Commission about the need to ensure that industrial land uses are environmentally compatible with their neighbors. Friday, February 21, 1997
Note: Since the time of this article, the provisions of the City zoning ordinance that deal with industrial zones were thoroughly revamped to address the types of concerns that EQAB had raised. Thanks to the creativity and hard work of the city Community Development staff and volunteer members of the Planning Commission and EQAB, Oak Ridge now can be proud to have a forward-looking zoning code that makes environmental factors a primary consideration in determining the suitability of a business for a particular industrial zone. -- Ellen Smith

Letters and columns

Ellen's letters to the editor and columns present her views on various matters of public interest.

Letter to the editor: Personal attacks in column unjustified - Ellen's letter to the editor expresses dismay at the prevalence of personal attacks and name-calling in columns written by Oak Ridger publisher Richard Esposito. Friday, April 13, 2007

The Oak Ridge Observer: "Musings on price versus quality and the city budget." [pdf] Ellen's guest column begins, "Many Oak Ridgers fear that the City Council’s refusal to fund the school system’s FY 2007 budget request means that the city government has abandoned its long-standing commitment to quality public schools. I share this concern, and I see it as part of a larger problem." Scroll down to page 9 to read the full text. June 1, 2006.

The Oak Ridge Observer: "Looking toward the future: Three Bend Scenic and Wildlife Refuge Area." [pdf] In this guest column, Ellen writes about the 1999 designation of Three Bend Scenic and Wildlife Refuge Area on the Oak Ridge Reservation and progress toward making the area a more valuable conservation, education and outdoor recreation asset for Oak Ridge and Tennessee. Her conclusion states: "Ideally, the current agreement with TWRA would be extended by converting it into a permanent conservation management agreement, but renewal of the current agreement should assure continued progress toward enhancing the Three Bend Area as a natural treasure for future generations to enjoy and cherish." Scroll down to page 9 of the archived newspaper to read the full text. August 25, 2005.
This guest column inspired a lively continuing conversation in the September 1, 2005 (scroll down to the bottom of page 8 for David Coffey's guest column), September 8, 2005 (scroll down to page 9 for letters to the editor),and September 22, 2005 (see editorial at the top of page 8) issues of the Observer.

Letter to the editor: EQAB chairwoman dismayed by editorial - Ellen's letter defends her EQAB colleagues against recent criticism by the editorial writer, and clarifies the reasons for the board's concerns about environmental aspects of the Rarity Ridge residential development project. Wednesday, January 15, 2003

Letter to the editor:
Debating the record on Connecticut taxes - Ellen rebuts some of David Coffey's arguments against a state income tax in Tennessee.  Friday, May 3, 2002

Guest Column: Reservation lands: Can we get past the polarization, mistrust? - AFORR board members Dev Joslin, Ellen Smith, and Warren Webb expresses concern about the past pattern of land-use decisions for the Oak Ridge Reservation and urges open and collaborative planning in the future. Tuesday, May 15, 2001

Guest Column: An update on the Fall Creek Falls mining permit - Marcy Reed (of Tennessee Citizens for Wilderness Planning) and Ellen Smith tell the story of how the majority of the Fall Creek Falls State Park watershed was formally declared unsuitable for surface mining of coal. May 3, 2000

Guest Column: EQAB chairman troubled by Young's CROET column - Ellen takes issue with Lawrence Young's remarks against people who raise questions or concerns about Community Reuse Organization of East Tennessee (CROET) actions. Wednesday, December 15, 1999

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