Summer extended school program will open on June 1

MOORE COUNTY — Moore County Schools officials announced today that Moore County Extended School Program (ESP) will open on June 1 and will remain open weekdays from 6:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

“This summer;s program will be considered as emergency childcare so to speak,” said ESP Director Karen Blankenship. “We want to help those parents that are working and need childcare.”

Summer ESP will follow all CDC guidelines for sanitation, group size, social distancing, etc. Summer groups will also not take field trips nor have guest speakers as usual.

“The program will look very different,” Blankenship says. “But we will still provide lots of fun activities for the children.”

Limited spots are available and your child must be a Moore County resident to attend. ESP provides breakfast, snacks, and lunch. Residents can pick up registration packets on Wednesday, May 27 and Thursday, May 28 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. All applications will need to be turned in by Friday, May 29 at noon to be considered for the summer program. There is a $25 per child application fee, which will be used for supplies.

For more information, call 931-759-7388. •

{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.}

Dobbs resigns as Raider head football coach

MOORE COUNTY — This week MCHS joined eight other Tennessee high schools who are now on the hunt for a new head football. Jason Dobbs announced he’s leaving Lynchburg to return Murfreesboro.

Dobbs coached the Moore County varsity team for the past four year and led the Raiders to a 22-21 overall record. His Raider teams also made it to the TSSAA Class 1-A playoffs in 2017 and 2018. Last year Moore County finished with a 5-5 overall record and barely missed a playoff opportunity with an ugly season-ending game at Mount Pleasant. {Click here to read our coverage of that game.}

Dobbs is leaving Moore County to join coaching buddy, Oakland Head Coach Kevin Creasy. Dobbs will join Oakland as an assistant coach. Dobbs and Creasy coached together at Trousdale County from 2005-09. Dobbs also coached at Riverdale for six seasons.

When we reached out for comment, Moore County Director of Schools Chad Moorehead said, “We hate that Coach Dobbs is leaving. I have confidence that the high school administration will find a coach that will continue to build on a strong football tradition for our school. I wish Coach Dobbs and his sons well on their football careers. Moore County will be following them closely because once you are a Raider, you are always a Raider.”

According to Director Moorehead, the search for Coach Dobb’s replacement is underway.

According to the website TN High School Football, seven other schools are currently also looking for a head coach: Austin East, Fayette Ware, Sycamore, Whites Creek, The Webb School, West Grene, and Whitwell. •

{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.}

Get out and walk across Tennessee

walk across Tennessee
Let’s walk from Mountain City to Memphis in eight weeks. Join the Moore County UT Extension office and Walk Across Tennessee. {Art Provided}

We’ve been walking across Moore County in preparation and now Moore County Extension Agent Brenda Hannah want us to join her and Walk Across Tennessee on June 1 through July 25.

It’s a team-based walking program meant to encourage participant to cumulatively walk the length of Tennessee (about 500 miles). Locals should form teams of four members and create a unique team name. Then email Hannah at bhannah1@utk.edu or call her at 931-759-7163 and she will help you register.

Hannah says the Moore County totals will be submitted to Walk Across Tennessee. For more information about Walk Across Tennessee, click here. Be sure to tag your social media post with the hashtags #WalkMC and #WalkTN. •

{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.}

Tim’s Ford State Park Pool will not open this summer

FRANKLIN COUNTY — Tennessee State Park officials announced this week that all public pools located inside state parks will not open this summer due to COVID-19 concerns. Tim’s Ford State Park Pool was already scheduled to be closed this summer for maintenance.

State park official stated they made the decision because there is no way to safely social distance at a pool. They also cited the unique challenge of keeping lifeguards safe.

“COVID-19 presents unique challenges for managing pools. Pools are confined spaces not conducive to social distancing,” park officials said. “The very nature of lifeguarding requires close contact with pool users and creates potential for unnecessary risk in life saving situations.”

The state parks system re-opened on May 1 and offers many other water-based summer activities like swimming along shorelines, fishing, boating, and paddling.

For more information about the Tennessee State Parks COVID-19 response and guidelines, click here. For more information about Tims Ford State Park, click here. •

{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.}

Motlow now offers at-home college aptitude testing

Belinda Champion
Belinda Champion

MOORE COUNTY — For obvious health reason, pandemics are awful, no-good things. But sometimes, they lead to innovations. This is the case with Motlow College’s Belinda Champion who recently launched at-home college placement testing.

Motlow accepts achievement test results such as the ACT and SAT. As an alternative to those measures, it also offers placement testing using the Accuplacer, a tool to help college advisors match course planning to a student’s skills and ambitions.

Aspiring college student can now take the ACCUPLACER test in the privacy and safety of their own homes. It’s a computer testing system that helps determine student academic readiness in reading, sentence skills, and mathematics for college-level work. Test results determine which courses are best suited to the student’s level of preparedness.

For some, college achievement tests like the ACT or SAT can be a psychological barrier to college-going ambitions. Poor achievement scores often demoralize students and derail college dreams. Champion, Director of Disability, Testing, and Counseling Services at Motlow, insists that this is unnecessary.

“Tennessee is a college-enabling state,” said Champion. “We are national leaders in ensuring access to college for everyone. We have already tackled the barriers associated with the cost of college through free-tuition scholarships like TNPromise for high schoolers, and TNReconnect for adult students. Now we are tackling the barriers associated with college entrance tests.”

Champion says if students have prior test scores they don’t like, remember that score is a measure of your performance on that day and is not a measure of your potential for the future.

“There are a lot of reasons why people might have poor placement scores or even no placement scores. I work with a lot of students that have taken achievement tests under very challenging circumstances,” continued Champion. “My staff are experts at helping students rewrite their college placement testing story.”

For the next available test dates and registration, please visit the Motlow State testing website at mscc.edu/testing or call 931-393-1763 or 1-800-654-4877 ext. 1763. The last day to apply for Motlow’s Summer semester is May 18. •

{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.}

American Pickers headed to southern, middle Tennessee in June

Frank Fritz and Mike Wolfe of American Pickers will be in our area in June. {Photo Provided}

They adore traveling the rural back roads looking for dusty barns and piles of grimy junk to explore. Why? Because there might just be a rare vintage find or a forgotten relic just begging to be restored.

American Pickers, Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz, will be headed toward southern, middle Tennessee in June. And hey, if you’ve got interesting stuff they might just visit you. The duo are looking for items to show off on there oh-so-popular History Channel show. If you or someone you know has unique items you’d be willing to share, you should contact them via email, phone, or on Facebook to be considered.

The duo only explores private collections so they won’t be interested in retail stores, malls, flea markets, museums, auction, or any business that’s open to the general public.

You can contact them via email at americanpickers@cineflix.com, leave them a voicemail at 855-old-rust, or message them on their Facebook page. To be considered let them know your name, location, phone number, where your collection is located,and a description of the items.

They also own a retail store in Nashville called Antique Archaeology that sells vintage items, collectibles, and unique home decor all picked personally by Mike. It’s located at 1300 Clinton Street. •

{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.}

Spring Honey Bee Swarm: What to do if you spot one in Moore County

Honey bee swarms are basically a cluster of bees out in the open. They’re just looking for a new home. If you see one, call a local beekeeper or the local UT extension office. {File Photo}

MOORE COUNTY — It’s a little unnerving. You’re out for a casual walk in the woods when suddenly you spots a large cloud of bees on a nearby tree. Sometimes they show up in your mailbox or inside the walls of your home. It’s loud and a sting seems unavoidable. But no need to worry, it’s just honey bees looking for a new, bigger home. They’re harmless and might need some help. Here’s what to do if you spot one:

1| Don’t panic. During a swarm, honey bees are very docile. They’ve outgrown their hive and are laser-focused on finding a new, bigger space. They aren’t really worried about you.

2 | They aren’t mad. Honey bee swarms put off a lot of energy but they aren’t mad or defensive. It’s very unlikely you’ll get stung.

3 | Don’t kill the bees. No honey bees, no food … as pollinators, honey bees are crucial to the food supply chain. A swarm means they are growing and spreading and that’s a good thing. Don’t destroy them or throw rocks or spray them with water or pesticides.

4 | Call a professional. The best thing to do is walk away and call a local beekeeper who will be more than happy to relocated the swarm for you. In Moore County, Kerry Syler, Billy Allen, and John Ferrell are three local producers of honey. You can also call the Moore County UT Extension office at 931-759- 7163 and they’ll direct you. •

{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.}

Music legend and Lynchburg resident Little Richard dies at 87

Written by Tabitha Evans Moore, Editor

“I met him coming out of the post office in 2009,” said local Chuck Clark. This is the photo he took that day.

Founding father of rock and roll, R&B legend, Hall of Fame member, contemporary of Elvis, influencer of Prince and the Beatles, and sometime resident of Lynchburg, Richard Wayne Penniman, or as most knew him, Little Richard, passed away in his sleep on Saturday in Tullahoma. He was 87 years old.

He was born in Macon, Georgia to Bud and Leva Mae Penniman as the third of 12 children. His daddy was a church deacon, a bootlegger, and a club owner planting in his son the seeds of God, and sin, and music that he nurtured at different points throughout his life.

Born with a right leg that was slightly shorter than his left, Little Richard literally sashayed both on the stage and through life. His distinctive gait, pompadour wigs, pancake make-up, and flamboyant clothes became his signature style … one that many tried to emulate.

Jimi Hendrix once famously said he wanted to do with his guitar what Little Richard did with his voice.

It ends where it all began

It’s fitting that his life ended where his career as a musician began … Tennessee. In the 1950’s Little Richard made a name for himself in the R&B nightclubs on Jefferson Street in Nashville. He signed his first record deal with RCA in 1951 but it was the song “Tutti Frutti” that launched his 65 year career in 1956. Little Richard often recounted how he heard himself for the first on WLAC, a 50,000 watt Nashville radio station.

Sometime in mid-2000’s, Little Richard moved back to Tennessee and purchased a 5,900 square foot house and 13.9 acres off Highway 50 in Moore County for his sister. From then until his death, he split time between Lynchburg and Nashville. The fact that Little Richard lived in a hotel penthouse suite near his Music City Walk of Fame Star was one of the worst kept secrets in Nashville.

Lynchburg remembers

Ask anyone from Lynchburg and they’ve probably got a Little Richard story. He showed up in public often in full wig and makeup but was always gracious, friendly, and approachable.

“I met him while working at Woodards,” says local Jonah Deal. “He didn’t get out … a couple of guys came to get his things. I waved through the window. He later sent in a little devotional book and a signed picture to me.”

Devotionals and Little Richard sightings went hand-in-hand. Almost anyone he spoke to got a “God bless you” and a devotional.

“The last time I saw him was at Woodard’s,” says Linda Sullenger. “He told me his hip was causing him a lot of pain and was going to have surgery on it. He was such a kind man. Always spoke and also gave me a devotional. I can see him now with a smile on his face.”

Another local, Shannon Williams, even got a big hug from him at a local restaurant.

“I smelled like his cologne for the rest of the day,” she says. “He was such a nice down-to-earth man.”

My own story adds a bit of humor to the mix. One afternoon as I headed to the Lynchburg Post Office, I saw Little Richard’s black Escalade pull up and his bodyguard jump out to retrieve the singer’s mail. It happened a lot, so I wasn’t fazed. I waved and smiled as I walked in front of the vehicle. He smiled and waved back. As I got almost all the way back to the newspaper office, I heard a, “Good golly Miss Molly … whooooo.” I jerked around, eyes wide, mouth open and Little Richard died laughing. Even his body guard cracked a smile. After that, anytime he rode past the newspaper office he honked and waved. It always made my day.

In recent years, Little Richard made it back to Lynchburg infrequently. Back pain and complications from hip surgery had confined him to a wheelchair since 2009. He didn’t like being photographed that way and often avoided the public eye.

One things for sure, Little Richard made an impression in a town that sees its fair share of famous faces … but not as a tourist. He was one of our own … as neighbor and friend … and he will certainly be missed. •

{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.}

Rock Star Mom: Lacey Ray splits her time between a toddler and a special needs infant

Lacey Ray will split her time on Mother’s Day between her toddler in Moore County and her special needs son Carter at Vanderbilt. {Photos Provided}

It’s months after the birth of her second child, Carter, and he and brother, Jackson, still haven’t met. That’s the present Moore County mom, Lacey Hobbs Ray, would like most … for her sons to be in the same room for the first time.

Her story is the stuff of a TV drama. She nearly gave birth to Carter on the side on Interstate 24. Thanks to quick thinking by her husband, Chris, and a lightening fast reaction from Murfreesboro EMS, Carter arrived safely in an ambulance on the way to Tristar Stonecrest Hospital. He was seven weeks early.

Thanks to genetic testing, they knew Carter had Downs Syndrome at around 14 weeks. What the couple didn’t anticipate was the trickle down of medical issues that came with Carter’s spunky, early arrival.

Only four pounds at birth, Carter suffers with Esophageal Artesia Type B, which is basically a fancy way of saying he has a long gap between his esophagus and stomach. It’s extremely rare but something that can be fixed. Carter successfully gotten through one surgery and Are now waiting on him to have the second so he can finally come home.

In the meantime, Lacey and Chris make it work, even though only one of them can visit Carter at a time. In fact, Lacey says she only gets to hold him about once a week.

She and her husband live in the Raysville area of Moore County. Both work at Jack Daniel. She’s a shipping logistics specialist and he works in warehousing. Chris’s dad, Jerry Ray, is one of the most prolific farmers in Moore County. Like his dad, Chris also farms. He raises cattle and produces row crops when he’s not at the distillery. Combine all that with the fact that the couple have a rambunctious two year old, Jackson, well, their life is currently a whirlwind.

It’s a fact Lacey seems to take in stride.

“My mother showed me that I can work and be a mother, and still be there for my family and kids, so I don’t think it has affected my goals and plans,” she says.

Lacey works full time and splits time between her tractor-loving toddler in Lynchburg and her bursting with personality newborn in the PICU at Vanderbilt Medical Center. Despite his health challenges, Carter isn’t shy about letting the nurses know what he wants. He doesn’t like the vent tube that helps him breathe and he isn’t shy about fussing about it.

“He’s very opinionated,” says Lacey. “We just need to get a insides as strong as his outsides.”

And Jackson, well he just seems to roll with the punches. On any give day mom Lacey, dad Chris, or grandparents Jerry and Barbara Ray or Pat and Bob Hobbs might pick him up. Lacey says he’s pretty easygoing except when it comes to bedtime.

“He want mommy to do the nighttime routine and that’s okay,” she says.

So how will Lacey spend her Mother’s Day. True to form, she’ll spend half her day at the hospital with Carter and the other half in Moore County with Chris and Jackson … and that’s okay too. •

{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.}

Brandy Lendley: Mother of seven and Lynchburg midwife

{Editor’s Note: Tomorrow is Mother’s Day and this is the first of two interviews with local moms. Their stories stood out as interesting but we want to wish all moms a happy day.}

Brandy Lendley assisting at a recent home birth. The Lynchburg mom’s been present for over 150 live births in the past two years. {Photo Courtesy of Natasha Thomas Photography}

Motherhood is sacred and each birth tells it’s own story. That’s what Moore County native and local midwife Brandy Rutledge Lendley says when describing her journey as both a mother of seven and also one who brings other mother’s children into the world.

Lendley lives in the Charity community with her husband, Matthew, and their seven children: Justin, Isabella, Isaiah, Julianna, Jessie, Ileigh, and Jasper. Matthew works in the shipping department at Jack Daniel’s Distillery and volunteers as a Metro Firefighter.

Lendley says she always wanted to be a mother … and she grew up knowing she’s have six children (today she has seven).

“I always said growing up that I wanted six children. That I’d be a vet and my husband would stay home and care for them,” Lendley jokes. “When I had Justin (her first child), that changed.”

Because she knew she wanted to be a stay-at-home mom, Lendley enrolled in night school at Tennessee College of Applied Technology in Shelbyville and earned her nursing degree. She worked as a LPN in the labor and delivery department of an area hospital for 13 year before deciding to pursue a midwife apprenticeship.

Today, she’s finished the long list of requirements necessary to become a certified professional midwife and will soon sit for the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM) exam. In total, she’s been present at over 150 live births in the past two years. She says she got interested in midwifery after researching the possibility of a home birth with her third pregnancy. It turned out she wasn’t a good candidate but the idea stuck with her.

Interest in home births has always been strong, Lendley says. When she realized that home births have always and will always happen, she became passionate about being an advocate for those women.

“In the 19th century, over half of babies were born as home with midwives,” she says. “It used to be the standard.”

Today, midwives are highly trained and play a big part in not only the birthing process but also prenatal and postpartum care. Midwives screen each mother-to-be carefully to make sure a home birth will be a good fit. Midwives see their patients every month until 28 weeks. After that, they see mom twice a month until they reach 36 weeks.

“After that, we visit every week until she has the baby,” Lendley says. “If we see any red flags, we immediately consult a physician for collaborative care.”

Lendley says each birth is highly individualized. Some moms want a alternative, natural approach and other moms want all the bells and whistles found at a hospital.

“We typically help someone who’s had a bad experience at a hospital or birth trauma … maybe a provider who didn’t listen to them,” Lendley says. “Our job is to facilitate a redemptive birth.”

Lendley says the best example of this is a recent patient. She’d been forced to have a c-section at the hospital due to complications and really wanted to experience a traditional birth this time around.

“The baby ended up being nine pounds and 10 ounces,” says Lendley raising an eyebrow. “But the look on her face at the end was like, ‘I did it.’ It was very empowering. “

On Mother’s Day, Lendley says she’ll spend her day with her family and probably visit her own mother, Debbie Rutledge. She also says there’s a better than average chance she’ll be at a birth. •

{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.}