School Board votes to revise school-closing trigger at Monday’s meeting

The Moore County School Board moved the “school building closure” trigger Monday night at their regular season meeting.

Previously, the board approved a Reopening Framework that stated as long as the active case count remains below 33 (or less than .5% of the population) students can continue to attend in person classes. Once that number reached above 33 (or between .5 % and 1%), local schools will move to a hybrid model where half of students will attend school every other week while those not at school continue to learn remotely.

On Monday, the Board changed that decision-trigger to be based on absenteeism at any given school rather than the amount of community spread. At the time of the meeting there were 26 active COVID-19 cases in Moore County.

After the meeting, Director of School Chad Moorehead said he preferred a plan that allowed parent the most personal choice.

“I felt that it was important that this section of our framework for reopening be changed.  Since our school system is allowing parents to choose between in-person and remote learning, we have a hybrid model now that is responsive to individual homes,” he said. “There may be a point that we have to transition to full remote learning for a period of time but I feel like personal choice is the best option.  If the spread of the virus increases rapidly parents can choose to move to remote learning for their own children.  We are all working hard inside the schools to be as safe as possible and to be able to keep the buildings open.”

The revised plan also stated that community events like the rate of sickness, hospitalization rates, etc will also be considered in addition to school absentee rates. It also states that administration may choose to close individual schools for 3-5 day for thorough disinfecting should smaller outbreaks occur.

To read a complete copy of the Metro School Board Reopening Framework, click this link.

School Board meetings take place the second Monday of each month at the Central Office Building located on the Lynchburg Elementary Campus. Each meeting begins at 6 p.m. and can also be attended virtually. The next meeting takes place on September 14. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg. We cover Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

Jack Daniel hosts virtual music festival to benefit musicians affected by COVID-19

Alabama Shakes lead singer Brittany Howard (left), singer, songwiter Nathaniel Rateliff (top right), and California indie band Cold War Kids (bottom right) will headline Jack Daniel’s Distillery virtual music festival this Friday and Saturday to support musicians affected by COVID-19. {Photos Provided}

Our local product and live music have a storied history together. From Frank Sinatra’s professed love of Old No. 7 to the recent release of the limited edition Eric Church Single Barrel Bottle … where you find great music, you’ll usually find a bottle of Jack.

Live musicians like the ones we flock to see on Lower Broadway or at Bonnaroo … well, they are struggling. Festival cancellations and music venue closings have upended their livelihoods.

Enter Jack Daniel’s Distillery … together with Crash the Couch, they are raising funds for the Sweet Relief COVID-19 Musicians Fund. On this coming Friday and Saturday (August 14 and 15), Brittany Howard, Nathaniel Rateliff, and Cold War Kids will headline the two-day, online festival on Jack Daniel’s YouTube channel.

Denver-based singer, songwriter Rateliff and California indie rock band the Cold War Kids will headline Friday night along with opening acts like Tank and the Bangas, Hiss Golden Messenger, the Suffers, and Goldlink. Alabama Shakes lead vocalist Brittany Howard will headline night two along with Black Pumas, Brandy Clark, Houndmouth, Durand Jones, and Yola. All performances will be filmed from the artist’s homes all around the country. There performance will be interspersed with live cocktail demonstrations.

So login, make a donation, and raise a glass. •

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently owned, community newspaper that publishes new stories every morning. Covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

Motlow encourages graduates to stay on track during the pandemic

Officials at Motlow State encourage would be college freshmen to move forward with their fall college plans. {File Photo}

As we enter the month of August, there are so many unknowns. For recent high school graduates, one of those is the uncertainty of the on-campus experience at college campuses across the country. In fact many would-be freshman may be considering sitting out this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But they could lose $90,000 in lifetime earnings, according to Motlow State Community College.

That opinion’s based on a new analysis from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York that stated that taking a gap year reduces the return to college by a quarter and can cost tens of thousands of dollars in lost lifetime earnings.

CBS News, referencing the same report, says, “About half of the long-term earnings losses come from forgoing the $43,000 salary that new graduates typically earn in their first year of work after graduation.”

Wage increases are steeper at the beginning of young professionals’ careers — the graduate who earns their degree at age 22 can, by the time they are 25, expect to earn an average of $52,000, according to the analysis by economists Jaison R. Abel and Richard Deitz. 

“Being a year behind, these differences add up each year, so that those graduating later never catch up to those who graduated earlier. Together, these costs add up to more than $90,000 over one’s working life, which erodes the value of a college degree,” Abel and Deitz write. 

As such, Motlow State encourage the class of 2024 to enroll and reminds them that there is still time to do so. Classes begin Aug. 24, and there is still time for prospective students to apply. Returning students should register for fall 2020 classes as soon as possible. Motlow will hold an on-campus Enrollment Day on Monday, August 10 in Fayetteville. You can also enroll online at this link. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg. We cover Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

Second Harvest addresses COVID-19 related food insecurity

Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee is looking to help Moore County non-profits address food insecurity in our community during the COVID-19 pandemic as part of the Tennessee Community CARES Program. {File Photo}

Did you know that one in eight Middle Tennesseans including one in seven children struggle with hunger daily? The COVID-19 pandemic and all it’s complications has only made things worse but help is on the way for Moore County non-profits seeking to make life easier.

Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee announced today that they will serve as one of six administrators across the state to help distribute $150 million in grant monies made available by the Tennessee Community CARES Program. Grant applications will remain open through August 15. Click here to access the application.

The point of contact for Moore County non-profits interested in receiving grants that address food insecurity will be Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee. You can apply by following this link. The point of contact for other COVID-19 related needs will be the United Way of the Mid-South. Click here for to learn more about their grant administration process. All eligible recipients must be a 501(c)(3) organization.

“We are grateful to be chosen as one of six grant administrators for the Tennessee Community CARES Program to help families suffering increased food insecurity due to the pandemic and encourage local groups and non-profits to apply for these grants,” said CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank Nancy Keil. “This funding will be crucial in helping our partner agencies and other non-profits across the state make sure no children or family goes hungry during this difficult time.”

Funds can be used for expenses occurring from March 1, 2020 through November 15, 2020 and related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The intention of the grants will be to address situations created by or made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic. Examples of activities that might receive funding include educational support for school-aged children and their families exacerbated by the COVID-19 outbreak, workforce training, emergency food assistance, care for at-risk populations, emergency assistance to help locals avoid eviction or foreclosure, etc. For a full list of qualifying activities, click here.

Applications will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis, according to the state’s press release. Grant awards will also include a monthly reporting requirement and a de-obligation date of November 15.

Other statewide non-profits assisting in administering the funds include United Way of Great Chattanooga, United Way of Great Knoxville, United Way of Great Nashville, and Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg. We cover Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

Moore Friday night light is officially happening

Friday night lights will officially resume on August 21 with the Raiders home opener against Cascade. {File Photo}

Official word from Governor Bill Lee came down this week and Friday night lights will officially kick off on Friday, August 21 at Doug Price Field inside Raider Stadium with the home opener against Cascade. Governor Lee is expected to sign Executive Order 55 this week, which will include an exception to the contact sports restrictions for Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association (TSSAA) schools.

“We appreciate being able to work with Governor Lee and his staff on this,” said TSSAA Executive Director Bernard Childress. “I am pleased that we were able to develop some very specific guidelines for every sport that will allow our kids to get out on their fields and fully participate in football and girls’ soccer this fall.”

All rules for contact sports issued by the TSSAA Board of Control on July 22 remain in effect. To read those rules, click here.

Coach Kris White began heat acclimatization practices with his team on July 20. Each players must complete two days of helmet only and three days of helmets and pads practice before moving on to full equipment practices.

The governor’s order should also mean that the Raider’s regular season will take place as originally scheduled with 10 regular season games and an open date. Region 5A playoffs should also kick off on November 6 as originally planned. State championship games would take place in Cookeville from December 3-5.

As stated in our July 22 article, the TSSAA has added multiple social distancing requirements including temperature checks and masks for fans.

For more news and updates concerning Raider Football, there are a couple of social media pages you should like including the new student-run Moore County Sports Network. Click here to like their Facebook page. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg. We cover Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

LES orientation planned for August 3

Students orientation will happen two ways this year at Lynchburg Elementary School due to the COVID-19 health situation. {File Photo}

LYNCHBURG — Officials at Lynchburg Elementary plan both Kindergarten Orientation and Grades 1-6 Orientation on Monday, August 3. One will happen in person and the other online. Class lists will be posted at the front of the school on Friday, July 31. If you’ve registered a child and they do not appear on any class list, call the LES office at 931-759-7388.

Kindergarten orientation in person

Kindergarten Orientation will take place in person in two sessions: 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. in the LES Kindergarten classrooms. Parents may choose either session and teachers will contact you to arrange times. If student will be learning in person, parents should bring their classroom supplies to the orientation session. Supply lists are available by clicking here. New kindergarten students are welcome.

“Our kindergarten teachers are excited to meet their new students and their families,” the school said.

LES grade 1-6 welcome videos

Welcome videos for LES grades 1-6 will be posted online at the Moore County Schools website. In order to follow recommended social distancing guidelines, first through sixth grades will not host an in person orientation. Instead, students can meet their teachers by visiting the Moore County Schools website and then navigating to Lynchburg Elementary and then Faculty and Staff. From there, you will choose your child’s grade and then their homeroom teacher.

Orientation videos will be posted by Monday, August 3 at 2 p.m. The first full day of school is August 5. For more information, check out the LES Orientation flyer on the school’s website. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg. We cover Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

As pandemic continues, scammers increase

As the pandemic continues and more people stay close to home, scammers continue to try and take advantage. {File Photo}

Southern, middle Tennessee law enforcement are warning citizens – especially older citizens – about a couple of new phone scams that have hit the area.

Last week, the Estill Springs Police Department posted a Scam Alert on their social media pages concerning an ongoing Medicare scam. The unsolicited caller asked for personal info including a Social Security number and date of birth.

“The individuals that are conducting this activity like to target the elder,” Estill Spring authorities said.

Another variation pretend to be an IRS official and asked specifically about the target’s “emergency fund.”

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is currently partnering with AARP to educate older adults about potential scams. You can browse the Scams & Frauds section of the AARP website for more info. They also warn about phone scams associated with Coronavirus, specifically individuals pretending to be contact tracers, offering advanced stimulus payments, or selling home COVID-19 test kits or vaccinations.

First, the FTC reminds everyone that the IRS, Medicare, etc. will never contact you via phone or email. Their preferred contact method is always U.S. Mail. They will also never ask you to pay any fees using prepaid debit cards or a money transfer. Legitimate contact tracers need health information and not money or personal financial info.

“Basically any one who calls you unsolicited and demands information or money should be suspect,” FTC officials said.

So what should you do? If you aren’t sure, take down a return phone number and then ask a family member. You should never trust caller ID, as many scammer use official sounding names. If you know the person on the other end is a scam artist, immediately hang up and then block the number is possible.

For more information, visit the Federal Trade Commission website. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg. We cover Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

Tennessee Tax Free weekend kicks off Friday

Get ready to do that (socially distanced) back-to-school shopping as Tennessee Tax Free weekend kicks off on Friday. {File Photo}

The General Assembly passed the 2020-21 fiscal budget last Friday and there’s an Easter egg in it for residents … not one but two sales tax weekends this year. The traditional sales tax weekend for clothing, school supplies, and computers will take place this weekend, July 31 through August 2. A second sales tax free weekend for restaurants will take place on August 7-9.

The state also increased the price limits on eligible individual items to up to $200 for clothes and school supplies and up to $3,000 for computers and televisions. In 2021, the sales tax holiday eligible items will return to $100 and $1,500 limits, according to the Department of Revenue.

Previously lawmakers had discussed doing away with Tennessee’s annual sales tax holiday due to budget concerns, but decided to keep it based on some retailer numbers being down due to the pandemic.

For a complete list of exempt items, click here. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Moore County … covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, the Lynchburg Music Fest, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

White House Task Force: Governor, rural mayors should issue mask mandates

Social distance, close all the bars, limit indoor dining to only those establishments that limit capacity, and rural mayors should issue a mask mandate … that was the advice of Dr. Deborah L. Birx, part of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, as she spoke at a press briefing Monday in Nashville.

When asked specifically whether she believed Governor Bill Lee should issue a statewide mask mandate, Dr. Birx responded, “Every week we issue a governors report. They just received their reports for this week. For every red state, and Tennessee is now in the red state category with a positivity rate of over 10 percent, the number one bullet is always mandate masks.

Following Dr. Birx’s press event, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee stated that his office had no plans to close bars or limit restaurants, nor did he intend to give county mayors or executives the power to do so.

Prior to the July 4 weekend, Governor Lee did give county level officials the power to issue mask mandates. On Monday, we asked Metro Mayor Bonnie Lewis if she planned to follow Dr. Birx’s plea for rural mayor to issue a mask mandate.

“Thankfully the White House Task Force’s initial prediction of Coronavirus cases and deaths has not met original expectations,” said Mayor Lewis. “In Moore County, we have had 37 cases since March. That is less than one percent of our population.  We currently have 15 active cases and thankfully none of our cases were severe. The CDC has just reduced the days of isolation or quarantine necessary from 14 to 10 and said there is no need to be retested to return to work. These recent facts are encouraging.” 

In Monday’s meeting, Dr. Birx warned that Nashville existed among 11 major U.S. cities that needed to take “aggressive” steps to stop the virus. Other cities included Baltimore, Cleveland, Columbus, Indianapolis, Vegas, Miami, Minneapolis, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, and St. Louis.

She also had a special message of Tennessee’s rural counties.

“I know some of you find mask uncomfortable … so do I,” Dr. Birx stated. “I put mine on at 8 a.m. this morning and I’ve had it on ever since. I do this out of respect for each one of you but also I’ve been all across the U.S. in places where there have been a lot of virus.”

As of Monday’s 2 p.m. numbers from the Tennessee Department of Health, our state gained 2,553 new active cases overnight. Of particular concern is the fact that only 17 percent or 338 or 2,034 ICU beds are currently available for COVID-19 patients.

Dr. Birx also encouraged rural mayors to issue a mask mandate. Mayor Lewis said she felt strongly that a mandate wasn’t necessary in Moore County.

“At this point, we all know what our responsible role is in this fight – not only to wear a mask (correctly) but to also wash our hands regularly and keep a safe distance. I think most of us have adjusted to these actions,” Mayor Lewis told The Times. “Even though the governor has given the mayors the authority to issue a mask mandate I don’t think that is the best thing for me to do for Moore County. … Overwhelmingly I hear that our citizens are proud to be trusted to do the right thing and not be forced to do so.”

Mayor Lewis pointed to youth baseball and the public pool opening without incident or a spike in cases as an example of Moore County’s ability to do the common sense things.

“I don’t know if all are aware, but I allowed our youth to play ball this summer and have opened the public pool. To my knowledge, there has not been a problem with either.” 

Our friends at The Tennessean have posted Dr. Birx’s complete remarks on their Facebook page. Click here to view that video. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg. We cover Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

Distillery resumes tastings in Lynchburg

Master Distiller Jeff Arnett walks visitors through recognizing a whiskey’s color at a recent tasting. Tastings resumed at the distillery on July 27 but with limited capacity. {Photo Courtesy of Jack Daniel’s Distillery}

On Monday, via their corporate website, Jack Daniel’s Distillery’s Visitor’s Center announced that they planned to resume the Jack Daniel tasting experience effective immediately … but with some social distancing measures. The tasting experience is available seven days a week and will be limited to 10 individuals per tasting. Masks are required.

Miss Mary Bobo’s is now open from Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Guests will dine at smaller tables and reservations are required. But you’ll still get amazing southern food with a side of local history.

The Visitor’s Center re-opened on July 1 for self-guided access. The White Rabbit Bottle Shop is also now open Thursday through Monday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The lower level of Lyncburg Hardware & General Store is also re-opened with limited capacity and all customers are required to wear masks.

On March 16, Jack Daniel closed all tours due to COVID-19 concerns. Tours remain unavailable. For more information, call 888-551-5225 or visit their website by clicking here. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg. We cover Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}