Santa visits go virtual this year

Thanks to the folks in Pigeon Forge, local little ones can get a call or letter from Santa this year as a socially-distanced option. (Art Provided)

Schedule a video chat with Santa or send him a letter – either way Santa Claus is still coming to town in 2020, thanks to some clever folks in Pigeon Forge.

For kids across the United State, standing in line at the local mall to get their yearly picture with Santa Claus is a holiday tradition. But this year, lines, crowded malls, and getting closer than six feet to a stranger – even Santa –are all on the naughty list due to COVID. The folks at the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism have a solution – virtual chats with Santa and letters from Santa. To schedule a chat or request a letter with Santa for your child, click here.

“We understand the holiday season may look different for a lot of families this year, but making Christmastime memories is more important than ever,” Pigeon Forge Executive Director of Tourism Leon Downey said. “We’re grateful that Santa and technology can work together to gift families with the magic of Christmas in a safe, contact-free way.”  

Beginning Monday, November 30, Moore County parents or guardians can register for a free video call with Santa. Calls will be made by appointment through Tuesday, December 15 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and again from 4-8 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Each family who chats with Santa will receive an exclusive ornament to commemorate the special call from the North Pole.

Kids can also correspond with Santa via a free personal letter and share their 2020 Christmas wish list by clicking here. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg, Tennessee. 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.}

Motlow adds thermal temp scanners to Moore County campus

Motlow’s Moore County campus recently added no-contact, thermal temperature scanners at the Marcum Technology Center, Simon Hall, Nisbett Center, and Ingram Administration buildings. (Photo Credit: Motlow College)

LOCAL NEWS — As COVID-19 cases rise throughout Middle Tennessee, Motlow College is stepping up their safety precautions by placing new, no-contact temperature scanners at building entrances.

Each thermal scanner provides a non-contact fever inspection kiosk that provides detection of temperature, with or without a mask, in less than one second. The thermal scanners are now provided as a supplemental aid to Motlow’s existing on-campus requirements. Students, staff, and visitors are still required to submit a self-assessment health screening form before coming to any Motlow campus. Scanners were added at the Marcum Technology Center, Simon Hall, Nisbett Center, and Ingram Administration on the Moore County campus.

The scanners are simple to use. Walk towards the scanner and it will detect your presence. It will display your temperature on the screen and tell you if you are cleared to enter the building. If your temperature is 100.4 or above, you are not cleared to enter the building and you should leave campus immediately.

To learn more about Motlow College’s on-campus COVID safety requirements, click here. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg, Tennessee. 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 County doubles its number of new COVID cases this week

COVID 19 continues to spike across the United States and the state of Tennessee. But what do those number mean in a small, rural town like Lynchburg? Each Monday, The Lynchburg Times drills down and examines the global pandemic from a hyper local perspective to help Moore County make informed decisions. Here are five pieces of information, we think you should know from the last seven days:

In the last seven day (November 8-14), Moore County has gained 30 new, active COVID-19 cases and now has a 26.3% positivity rate, per the TN Department of Health. (Graphic Provided)

Moore County doubled its new case count this week. Moore County gained 30 new, active COVID-19 cases in the past seven days. Last Sunday, the state department of health reported 303 total cases and on Saturday that number is 329. That’s double the number of new cases from the previous week. From November 1-7, Moore County only gained just 13 new cases. According to the state, Moore County’s positivity as of Saturday was 26.3 percent. According to the World Health Organization, an positivity rate above five percent suggests that virus is spreading freely within a given community.

Every other southern middle Tennessee county also doubled their case count. Bedford County increased 229 cases last week (up from 104 the previous week). Coffee County went from 114 new cases to 181 new cases. Franklin County jumped 179 new cases (up from 76 the previous week) and Lincoln got 178 new case last week as compared to 86 the week before.

ICU bed capacity is just 11 percent in the state. According to the Tennessee Department of Health, 36 percent (or 530 beds) of the state’s isolated COVID beds are available and 11 percent (or 219 beds) of the state’s ICU beds are available for incoming COVID-19 patients. This week’s hospital capacity reports also states that 72 percent of the state’s supply of ventilators (or 2,576 ventilators) are available. To read the complete report, click here.

Moore County Junior Pro basketball seasons is a go. Despite the fact that both Director of Schools Chad Moorehead and several school board members expressed concerns the Metro School Board voted unanimously to move forward with Junior Pro Basketball at the LES Gym this winter. The measure closely follows the rules established for both Moore County High School an Middle School games and follows all TSSAA guidelines. The board gave Director Moorehead broad authority to pull the plug on those season “at his discretion” should it become necessary.

Mayor Lewis says she will not issue a mask mandate. Governor Bill Lee continues to refuse to issue a state wide mask mandate, instead pushing off the the issue onto county-level officials and local mayors. At the Lynchburg Chamber of Commerce meeting on Thursday, Mayor Lewis told the group that while she supports mask wearing, she did not feel as if the majority of Moore County citizens would support such a measure. Sheriff Hatfield has also previously stated that a local mask mandate would be next to impossible to enforce. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg, Tennessee. 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 gains 21 new COVID cases this week

As shown on this TN Department of Health graphic, Moore County has experienced a total of 286 COVID-19 cases including 21 new cases this week.

As of this afternoon’s Tennessee Department of Health’s 2 p.m. numbers, Moore County confirmed 21 new, active COVID-19 cases this week. That’s down from 29 new cases last week. Our last reported positivity rate was 26.4 percent.

Coffee County continues to be a regional hotspot with 161 new cases this week. They has 163 new cases last week. Bedford County added 124 – an increase of 25 over the previous week. Franklin County and Lincoln County both reported fewer cases this week than last week.

Here’s are the other top three things you should know this week:

1 | Tennessee #9 state with most COVID cases. This week, a White House Coronavirus Taskforce report showed that Tennessee is among the top 10 states with the most new COVID cases. This week the state gained 15,401 new cases and there are currently 26,478 active cases, according to this afternoon’s TN Department of Health numbers. Governor Lee continues to resist issuing a state-wide mask mandate and instead leaves that decision up to local elected officials.

2 | More cases coming from counties without mask mandates. A Vanderbilt study released this week, states that Tennessee hospitals are seeing an increased number of patients from areas without a mask mandate. “We’ve seen a statewide increase in hospitalizations since early October, indicating that masking alone is not sufficient to curb further spread of the virus,” John Graves, associate professor of health policy at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, said in a news release. “But it’s very clear that areas where masking requirements have remained in place have seen much lower growth in COVID-19 hospitalizations.”

3| State hosts free COVID testing in rural counties. The numbers clearly show that COVID cases are surging in rural areas. As such, the state will hold six free COVID 19 testing events in rural counties this weekend. The two in middle Tennessee are planned for Smith County and Wilson County.

To view the new COVID-19 Dashboard created by the TN Department of Health, click here. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg, Tennessee. 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 County gains 29 new COVID cases this week

Moore County gained 29 new COVID-19 cases in the last seven days. That’s almost double the number of the previous seven day period. (Graphic Courtesy of TDH)

Moore County almost doubled our seven day COVID cases totals the week. From October 16-23, Moore County gained 29 new active cases as compared to 15 in the previous seven day period. Our positivity rate for this week was 15.7 percent.

Regionally, Coffee County continues to be a regional hotspot with 163 new cases in the past seven days. Other counties were as follows: Bedford (99), Franklin (90), and Lincoln (82)

1 | State surpasses 3,000 dead Tennesseans due to COVID. On Thursday, Tennessee passed a sad milestone when the Tennessee Department of Health reported 3,011 deaths in the state due to COVID-19.

2 | Drive thru testing available in Grundy County this weekend. According to the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH), free COVID-19 testing will be available on Saturday, October 24 from 9 a.m. until noon at Grundy County High School located at 24970 TN-108 in Coalmont. TDH personnel will offer nasal swab testing and results should be available within 72 hours.

3| Tennessee hospitals and a college issue joint statement on rising COVID-19 cases. On Tuesday, three major Tennessee hospitals (Ascension St. Thomas, Tristar Health, and Vanderbilt Health) and Meharry Medical College issued a joint statement “Strongly urging everyone in Middle Tennessee, and all Tennesseans, to remain vigilant in the efforts to limit spread of the virus by wearing masks, washing hands, an staying socially distant — including not participating in large gatherings.” To read the full statement, click here.

4 | Coronavirus cases spiking in nursing homes. The White House coronavirus task force sent a sharp warning to Gov. Bill Lee last week saying the coronavirus numbers in nursing homes are spiking, contributing to the state having one of the highest spikes of the virus in the country. This included Moore County’s only nursing home. LNC tests patients and staff twice a week, according to the state and the most recent positivity rate is 15.4 percent. According to the state, the last positive test at LNC happened on October 12 or 11 days ago. The center must have no new cases for 14 days in order to be eligible for visitation.

5 | Hospitalizations are also spiking in Tennessee. As of Friday’s numbers, there are currently 3,756 confirmed COVID-19 hospitalizations in the state according to the TDH. This including 2,033 ICU cases and 1,723 patient on ventilations. Twenty one percent of hospital beds were available. Click here for the hospital capacity report.

6 | State launches new COVID 19 resource for citizens. Locals can locate a testing site, answer screening question to determine if you should be tested or quarantine, or view most a county and state dashboard. To visit the site, go to https://covid19tn.gov. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg, Tennessee. 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.}

State launches new COVID website for citizens

The new state website includes a COVID dashboard specifically for Moore County. Here is shows the number of cases reported per day along with the seven day average. (Graphic Provided)

This week, the Tennessee Department of Health launched a new state website (covid19.tn.gov) to help citizen get information and track the virus in their communities.

The new site addresses prevention including masks, which reduce COVID exposure by as much as 80 percent, according to the site. It also encourages frequent hand washing, social distancing, frequently cleaning and disinfecting, covering your coughs and sneezes, and staying home if you feel sick.

It also explains the symptoms of COVID-19, which included a cough, fever, and shortness of breath. It offers a self screening tool and helps those concerned that they may have been infected find the nearest testing site.

The website provide both state and county level dashboards. It shows total cases, deaths, hospitalizations, and inactive/recovered cases. It reports numbers of cases reported per day, testing per day, and the seven day positivity average.

To view the new Moore County dashboard, click 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.}

Moore County COVID Update: 6 Things You Need to Know This Week

(Graphic courtesy of TN Dept. of Health)

With the announcement of Friday’s numbers at 2 p.m., Tennessee reported 198,403 total confirmed COVID-19 cases. According to the state, 182,166 total COVID-19 patients have recovered or have inactive cases. Here’s the top six things you need to know for this week:

1| Moore County adds 20 new cases this week. On Friday, the seven day total for new cases in Moore County was 20. According to the Tennessee Department of Health, there are currently 33 active cases in Lynchburg and 189 total cases since the pandemic began. Moore County has experienced a single COVID-related death.

2| Coffee County leads regionally in active cases. Regionally, the active case counts are as follows: Bedford County 78 active cases with 17 deaths, Coffee County 225 active cases with 14 deaths, Franklin County 97 active cases with 10 deaths, and Lincoln County with 55 active cases and one death.

3| Visitation will not yet resume at Lynchburg Nursing Center. Based on new state guidelines, visitation will not resume at Lynchburg Nursing Center just yet. A center must remain new case free for at least 14 day to offer outdoor visits or limited indoor visits. LNC must remain new case free for 28 days to allow essential caregiver visits. To learn more, click here.

4| Governor lifted most COVID restrictions on Wednesday. On Wednesday, Governor Bill Lee lifted COVID-19 restrictions on 89 Tennessee counties including Moore County and the surrounding counties. He also signed Executive Order No. 63 which extended local county mayor’s authority to institute individual mask mandates. He extended the State of Emergency through the end of October.

5| Titans experience multiple positive tests. This week, the Tennessee Titans announced that multiple players and other personnel tested positive for the coronavirus. Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers has been postponed. The club is not allowed to disclose whether the players tested positive or are only quarantining, per a union agreement.

6 | Senator Marsha Blackburn being tested after exposure. On Friday, President Trump announced that both he and First Lady Melania Trump had tested positive for COVID-19. Moore County’s Senator Marsha Blackburn flew with President Trump to the Ohio debated and stated Friday that she will also be tested for COVID-19.•

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg, Tennessee. 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 County COVID-19 Update: 6 Things to Know This Week

This map represents cases by county as of Friday at 2 p.m. {Graphic Provided}

With the announcement of Friday’s numbers at 2 p.m., Tennessee reported 189,454 total confirmed COVID-19 cases. Our state experienced 136 new deaths this week but the deceased rate remains at around one percent. According to the state, 172,618 total COVID-19 patients have recovered or have inactive cases. Here’s the top six things you need to know for this week:

1| Moore experiences it’s largest one week increase. According to today’s numbers, Moore County gained 24 new COVID cases in the past seven days – from 145 on September 19 to 169 today. This is the largest weekly increase since the state began tracking numbers in March. There were more recoveries (17) than new active cases (11) in the past seven days. Moore County has experienced one COVID-related death.

2| Coffee County replaces Bedford as regional hotspot. Regionally, Coffee County experienced that greatest seven day increase with 141 followed by Franklin County (88), and Lincoln County (35). Previous regional hotspot Bedford County experienced the smallest increase this week with 33.

3 | More new state cases than recoveries reported this week. In state numbers, there were more new COVID cases (8015) in the past seven days than recovered/inactive cases (7636). Tennessee had 136 new COVID deaths this past week for a total of 2,352. Nearly three percent of Tennessee residents have reported confirmed cases.

4 | Regional testing moves from Manchester to Tullahoma. This week regional testing moved from the Old Southern Family Market in Manchester to Waggoner Park in Tullahoma. Free COVID-19 testing will take place at 1208 East Carroll Street in the pavilion closest to Industrial Boulevard. Locals may remain in their cars for testing.

5 | Nashville names hotspots. If you are headed to Nashville this weekend, it’s best to avoid COVID hotspot identified by the Metro Health Department this week including 49 sites and six downtown bars. These location have been linked to more than 2,600 cases of coronavirus and include Loser’s, Tootsie’s, Dogwood, Kid Rock’s Honky Tonk, Dawghouse Saloon, and Winners.

6 | Flu vaccinations are especially important this year. Health officials say in the midst of the COVID 19 health situation it’s now more important that ever to get a flu shot. According to the CDC, the flu viruses and the virus that causes COVID-19 will both be spreading this year and recommends that all people six months and older get a yearly flu vaccine. It’s best to get your flu vaccine before the end of October. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg, Tennessee. 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.}

Local blood supplies are critically low

Low blood supplies are low due to multiple recent traumas. Several area mobile blood drives are planned. {File Photo}

Multiple traumas in southern, middle Tennessee over the past several days have nearly exhausted local blood supplies and local blood banks are asking for donations … especially from O-positive, A-positive, A-negative, O-negative, and platelets donors.

“Multiple traumas used over 100 blood products a few nights ago and have exacerbated the already struggling blood supply,” Blood Assurance officials stated.

Regionally, local blood banks plan several area blood drives:

SUNDAY – Mobile blood drive at First United Methodist Church located at 100 South Jefferson Street in Winchester from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

THURSDAY – Mobile drive at Walmart located 1224 Huntsville Highway in Fayetteville from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

THURSDAY – Mobile drive at Advantage Realty Partners located 861 McArthur Street in Manchester from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

In addition, the Blood Assurance Donor Center is located at 604 North Jackson Street and they schedule donation Monday through Friday and each third Saturday (September 19) and third Sunday (September 20) of the month. For more information visit their website or call them at 931-461-5773.•

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently owned and operated 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.}

As number of dumped pets rises, local shelter needs donations and fosters

COVID-19 is causing a spike in dumped and abandoned pets in Moore County. Lynchburg Friends of Animals Rescue and Adoption Center needs your help to keep them safe and get them the medical care they need. {File Photo}

During the COVID-19 pandemic, local shelters across the country report a spike in dumped and abandoned pets.

One needs to only read Moore County social media posts from the past week to know it’s true. On August 31, a local found a boxer mix on Turkey Creek Run. Four days later, a litter of eight puppies was found in a ditch on Goosebranch Road. Later that same day, a mother and her four puppies were found less than a mile away. A day later, a local found two more pups on Nolen Road. Just yesterday, another set of dogs were discovered around Pleasant Hill Methodist Church.

What do they all have in common? The Lynchburg Friends of Animals and Rescue and Adoption Center will try to care for all of them. It’s an tough job during “precedented” times but one that’s becoming overwhelming during the pandemic. Four of the puppies found last week require treatment for PARVO.

“We have to hospitalize them with a veterinary hospital leaving us with an estimated $2400 for vet care and hospitalization of all four pups,” said LFoA Director Brandi Harrell. “That was the cheapest I found in such short notice. These babies need our help.”

Moore County does not offer animal control as a county service. Without intervention from a caring, local shelter animals like these are destined for heartbreak, trauma, and often death. That’s where Lynchburg Friends of Animals Rescue and Adoption Center comes in. And you can help. Supplies like dog food, cat food, litter, and puppy pads can be dropped off at the shelter located at 1980 Fayetteville Highway. A full wish list of needs can be found by clicking this link.

Harrell also says that the shelter desperately needs fosters to give vulnerable animals off local roads. Without fosters and with a full shelter, LFoA might need to turn animals away. She says the more fosters, the more lives they can save. LFoA pays for all vet bills, food, as well as related supplies.

You can also make a donation via PayPal through a link on their website.

If you’d like to help with the medical care for the four puppies battling PARVO, donations can be made at the vet clinics currently providing care: All Creature Veterinary Clinics in Tullahoma (931-455-6723) or Manchester (931-723-0551). •

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently owned and operated 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.}