Friday Night Lights: Raiders play Cascade in home opener

The Raiders hope to get their first win under new head coach Kris White tonight in Lynchburg. They face off with the Cascade Champions at 7 p.m. {File Photo}

Friday night lights returns to Doug Price Field tonight but there will be lots of changes this year at Raider home games to attempt to mitigate the potential spread of COVID-19 in the community.

The Raiders kick off their first season under new head coach Kris White against the Cascade Champions at 7 p.m. White is Moore County’s new, former coach. White launched his coaching career at Riverdale High School before heading to Moore County as an assistant. He left the Raiders in 2009 to take an assistant position with Oakland High School and then Knoxville Catholic High School. Moore County will be his first head coaching position.

Who the 2020 Raiders will be is still anybody’s guess. Coach White has a solid track record and he brought a couple of athletes with him to Moore County – namely his two sons: senior Kaden, age 18, and freshman Dawson, age 15. Both will wear jerseys for the Columbia blue and white this season.

Without the benefit of pre-season scrimmages both teams will likely come out needing to work out the kinks. If previous years are any indicator, Cascade will play conservative, grind-it-out football. In the end, the team that makes the fewest mistakes and controls the clock will likely earn the W.

TSSAA requirements for attendance

Moore County Athletic Director Josh Deal reminds Raider fans that the TSSAA will require all those attending to wear a mask and have their temperature checked prior to entering Raider Stadium. Once inside, officials ask that fans leave two empty seats between you and anyone not in your immediate family.

For those not comfortable attending in person, Joe Abraham and Jonah Deal will call the game on both 95.9 and 105.1 FM. The two local radio stations transform from Whiskey Country to Raider Country every Friday night during football season. Locals can also watch the Moore County Sports Network student broadcasting team on the NFS Network. The Lynchburg Times Facebook page will also post live score updates throughout the game.

Kick off happens at 7 p.m. on Friday and pre-game activities will begin around 6:45 p.m. •

{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.}

New eLearning Wednesdays leaves schools, parents struggling to find the way

All Moore County students will learn remotely on Wednesdays beginning August 26 to help teachers catch up and students to be better prepared should COVID force school closures. {File Photo}

It’s a move Moore County Director of Schools Chad Moorehead said that has two intended purposes. One, it’s meant to give teachers a mid week opportunity to catch up from the demands of dual teaching both in person and online. Two, as active case counts rise in Moore County, eLearning Wednesdays are meant to get students prepared should COVID force school closures.

“This school year has been and will continue to be a challenge for everyone involved,” said Director Moorehead. “We ask for patience and understanding as we make decisions that we feel will be most beneficial for our teachers and students. The school board has voted to make school attendance as flexible as possible and has preserved parent choice with each vote. We will all have to work together to make this year successful.”

Things change quickly this school year

Moore County Schools aren’t the only school system forced to rapidly evolve this school year. Tullahoma City Schools welcomed student back on July 29. Nine days later on August 7, the system announced it would be moving to a hybrid schedule because the active cases threshold in Coffee County exceeded their school closing trigger of 0.5 percent.

Today, Franklin County School announced a similar measure to eLearning Wednesday’s stating that “due to the volume of virtual learners and the added cleaning burden due to COVID 19, each Friday will be designated a virtual/distance learning day for all students.”

On August 11, the Moore County School Board voted to revise their own school closing trigger to based on individual school absenteeism rates rather than the amount of community spread. (Read our full coverage of that meeting here.)

Yesterday via their social media page, Moore County Schools announced that beginning Wednesday, August 26 all students at Lynchburg Elementary, Moore County Middle School, and Moore County High School would become remote learners for that single day and would not report for in-person learning.

Teachers, students, and parent feel the strain

According to Tennessee state law, all students must complete 180 days of instruction to matriculate and each instructional day must a minimum of 6.5 hours. From the beginning, the Moore County Board of Education voted to start the school year under a hybrid plan that allowed parents to choose either in person or distance learning depending on their individual situation.

According to Director Moorehead, around 20 percent of students now learn remotely. This means teachers give classroom instruction all day and then go home to help remote learners at night.

One Moore County teacher we talked to said her normal 40-60 hour work week in a normal school year has ballooned to closer to 90 hours.

“I have always worked hard to prepare lessons that are engaging, fun, and standards based,” they said. “Now I work 90 hours a week and my lessons are lackluster at best. I also don’t have the energy to deliver power-packed lessons that I did last year. Most of my time is spent corresponding with remote students and their parents. I give 70 percent of my time to 18 percent of my students.”

Another problem is that remote learning can lead to teachers feeling as if they are on call 24/7.

“We get emails around the clock,” one Moore County teacher said. “I feel obligated to answer emails whenever possible, but this 24/7 schedule is not sustainable. I finally had to turn off notifications on my phone so that I could get at least a couple hours of sleep. By the end of the week, sleep deprivation has taken its toll, and just speaking a sentence in front of a classroom of students is challenging.”

It’s this potential teacher burnout that Director Moorehead says he’s trying to avoid with eLearning Wednesdays.

“We are blessed in Moore County to have outstanding teachers that truly care about all of our children and we must take care of our teachers, so they can take care of our students,” Director Moorehead added. “The plan is to give the teachers these five days, spread over five weeks to make adjustments, and develop a system to deliver content to students that are in the building and those that have chosen not to be.”

It takes a village to raise a child

Director Moorehead posted the eLearning Wednesday notice yesterday around 4:30 p.m. Understandably, it left some parents frustrated with the sudden change. By the early evening, local moms and other community members were already offering to help on social media.

“I would love to offer my home and help to a couple of children in need of care and assistance during e-learning Wednesdays, if you need help feel free to message me. I’m grateful to work mostly from home,” said one local on social media.

Another local with a “smart teenage daughter and fiber Internet” also offered to help.

In the end Director Moorehead as well as all the teachers we spoke to expressed a sincere desire to help every child in our school system work their way through these unprecedented times.

“There is no “right” answer anymore,” one teacher said. “It’s just the right now answer.” •

{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.}

Josh Turner headlines Friday night at Lynchburg Music Fest

Randy Travis, John Anderson, Johnny Cash, Vern Gosdin, and Hank Williams … if modern country singer Josh Turner were to create his only Mount Rushmore of Country Music, those would be the five faces on it.

When he performs on Friday, October 2 at the Lynchburg Music Fest at its new venue near the Moore County, Lincoln County line in Mulberry, you just might hear songs that contain bits and pieces of all five. Festival organizers recently announced Turner as their Friday night headliner for this year’s event.

Igniter Productions expanded the 2020 event to a three-day festival held on a sprawling Moore County farm just off Louse Creek Road. The new venue will not only allow for social distancing but also more camping opportunities. Other new features for this year’s festival include a songwriting tent, as well as Whiskey Row and Wine Circle, where attendees can taste some locally-produced whiskeys and wines from both Lynchburg and southern, middle Tennessee.

Lynchburg Music Fest organizers recently announced Josh Turner as their Friday night headliner.Kip Moore will headline on Sunday night. The full line up will be released this month. {Photo Provided}

“More than just the sum of its parts – music, whiskey, and camping – Lynchburg Music Fest has a unique element to differentiate it from ‘just another’ festival. It has a strong songwriter element to add to the experience, consisting of both up-and-coming and award-winning writers,” said Jonny Hill, owner of Igniter Productions and Lynchburg Music Fest. “We are grateful this one-of-a-kind event continues to grow and can’t wait to see where the road leads from here.”

Hill says the festival plans to announce the rest of its 2020 line up including the Saturday headliner in August. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit their 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.}

Election officials: Request absentee ballots now to avoid issues

Election officials remind local voters that absentee ballots need to be requested by October 27 but sooner is better.
Election officials remind local voters that absentee ballots need to be requested by October 27 but sooner is better. {File Photo}

The sooner the better … that’s the word form local election officials concerning absentee ballots as the November 3 Presidential Election looms.

Due to COVID-19 health concerns, state election officials say they anticipated a higher than usual rate of absentee voting this year. In Tennessee, voters may request an absentee ballot for a myriad of reasons from being over the age of 60 to being a full time student. (Click here for a complete list of absentee voting eligibility categories.)

Tennessee allows absentee voters to request a mail in ballot in as few as seven days before an election but both election officials and postal officials warn that procrastination and absentee voting don’t mix.

All Moore County registered voter who would like to request an absentee ballot from the Moore County Election Commission must send a written request containing the following:

  1. Name of the registered voter
  2. Address of the voter’s residence
  3. Voter’s social security number
  4. Voter’s date of birth
  5. Address to mail the ballot
  6. The election in which the voter wishes to participate. If the election involves a primary, the political party in which the voter wishes to participate.
  7. Reason the voter wishes to vote absentee. If applicable, a copy of the CDL containing the CDL number or the TWIC card must be included in the voter’s request.
  8. Voter’s signature

Or to fill out a Request an Absentee By-Mail Ballot for the November 3, 2020 Election form, click here.

That information or form can be sent back to the Moore County Election Commission offices via U.S. mail at PO Box 8056, Lynchburg, TN 37352 or via fax to 931-759-6394. Tennessee does not provide ballot drop off boxes nor do they allow voters to hand deliver ballots to the local elections office.

If there are questions or problem with the information you submit, a local election official will return the application to you, so you can make corrections and resubmit.

The registration deadline to vote in the Presidential Election is Monday, October 5. Absentee ballots may be requested until October 27. In order to be counted, your ballot must arrive via U.S. mail, FedEx, or UPS at the Moore County Election Commission office no later than the close of polls on Election Day.

Questions? Call the Moore Election Commission at 931-759-4532 or email them at moore.commission@tn.gov. To visit the state’s absentee voting information website, 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.}

Tims Ford hosts Motlow golf tournament on September 11

Bear Trace Golf Course is located on a picturesque peninsula inside Tims Ford State Park. Motlow College will hold their annual Foundation Golf Tournament there in September. {Photo Courtesy of Tims Ford State Park}

Motlow College officials want Moore County golfers to know that there is still time to register for this year’s Motlow Foundation Golf Tournament at Bear Trace on September 11. All proceeds benefit Motlow College Foundation scholarships for local students.

It’s a wonderful opportunity to both support a good cause and experience an outstanding local golf course. Designed by Jack Nicklaus and located inside Tims Ford State Park, the course features Champion Bermuda greens and 419 Bermuda fairways. The links were built to mimic the gently rolling pasture land that surrounds it. Golfers will also enjoy a view of Tims Ford Lake during their 18 hole adventure.

Golfers can enter several specialty contests like a hole-in-one and closest-to-pin contest in addition to the 18 holes. Tournament officials and Bear Trace employees will take every precaution to ensure golfers safety to reduce the COVID-19 threat.

The tournament is a four-person scramble with prizes for three places in two flights. The cost is $115 per person or $450 per team. Each player registration includes green fees, cart rental, mulligans, lunch, snacks, drinks, and a goody bag.  Lunch will be served at 11 a.m., and tee time is noon. In the event of inclement weather, the rain date is September 18.

Please contact the Motlow College Foundation office at 931-393-1543 or MotlowFoundation@mscc.edu to register for the tournament, purchase a hole sponsorship, or donate a door prize. •

{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.}

Public library announces new hours

The public library will now close daily at 4 p.m. for cleaning and sanitizing. Currently hours are Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 9-11 a.m. {File Photo}

LYNCHBURG — The Moore County Public Library (MCPL) announced recently that they’ve updated their hours to accommodate daily cleaning and sanitizing. It’s an effort to keep the library’s doors open as active COVID-19 case counts continue to rise in Moore County.

The MCPL will now close daily at 4 p.m. for cleaning and sanitizing.

“No exceptions will be made for this critical hour of cleaning time, so please plan your visit accordingly,” their social media page stated.

Currently hours are Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 9-11 a.m. The library closes every Thursday and Sunday. If you prefer curbside services, call 931-759-7285.

Library officials remind patrons that hours are subject to change quickly and without notice in order to keep everyone safe. Masks are also available in the lobby if walk in patrons need one. •

{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.}

After a snag, State approves Metro Budget

Mayor Lewis informed the Metro Council that the state approved the Fiscal Year 2021 Budget on Monday night. {File Photo}

It was all a big misunderstanding, according to Moore County’s UT County Technical Assistance Service (CTAS) Consultant Melisa Kelton.

In July, Metro Mayor Bonnie Lewis submitted Metro’s Fiscal Year 2021 Budget to the State Comptroller office for approval. The State denied (or gave a conditional approval) to that budget based on the fact that the forms sent to state showed a negative fund balance. However, those figures were a mistake. Mayor Lewis’s office submits the budget each each with a piece of accounting software called NextGen.

“When the NextGen report was generated,” Kelton said. “it used amended number for FY 2020 and not actual numbers.”

Kelton says neither she nor Mayor Lewis noticed because the two reports only created a noticeable change in one line item … the fund balance. The incorrect report showed a negative fund balance, when in fact it should have showed “closer to $677,000,” according to Kelton.

Kelton says it’s important to note that none of the FY 2021 budget figures changed and that once the corrected budget was resubmitted, the state approved it.

Mayor Lewis appeared before the Metro Council to explain the mistake on Monday night.

“I just wanted to be transparent and let you know we had an uh-oh but everything is right in the world now,” Mayor Lewis said.

No further action was required. If you have questions, contact your Metro Council member or the Metro Mayor’s office at 931-759-7076. •

{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.}

MUD: Water disconnects will resume on August 26

The Metro Utility Department (MUD) will resume disconnects for past due water and sewer bills beginning August 26. {File Photo}

MOORE COUNTY — In case you haven’t noticed, paying your water and sewer bill is a little different these days. One, local bills are now due 10 days later on the 15th of each month instead of the fifth. Two, Metro Utility District (MUD) bills now come with a South Carolina post mark … and a clever return payment envelope. Three, MUD customers can now pay their bills online in addition to at the drive thru, in the overnight drop box, or via USPS mail.

Now that customers have had a chance to get used to the changes, MUD wants to remind customers that they will resume water disconnects for past due accounts beginning Wednesday, August 26.

“All accounts that have a past due balance prior to July of this year will need to be paid by 4 p.m. on Tuesday, August 25,” a MUD representatives said.

MUD recently changed their billing cycle to accommodate new billing software. All water and sewer bills are now due the 15th of each month. To make this transition easier, they suspended all late fees and disconnects beginning in February.

Should a customer get locked off, not only will they need to pay their past due balance in full but they’ll also be charged a $100 reconnect fee. MUD will also start applying late penalties – something they’d suspended – beginning in September.

Customers can make payments in several ways: in person via the drive thru window, at the night drop box, online, or by mailing in a check to P.O. Box 503, Lynchburg, TN 37352. The MUD offices are open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. They close daily from 12-1 p.m. for lunch. For more information, call 931-759-4297. •

{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.}

Jack Daniel’s Distillery resumes public tours

Modified public tours resumed at the distillery this week though Visitor Center staff say they are keeping a close eye on the active case counts. {Photo Courtesy of Jack Daniel’s Distillery}

According to their website, tours resumed at Jack Daniel’s Distillery last week. All visitors are required to wear a mask and reservations are highly recommended.

On August 10, they announced that the Jack Daniel Visitor Center had reopened with modified tours and tastings. Those modification could include smaller tour size and not all areas of the distillery may be accessible. As such, the distillery recommends making reservations.

The onsite staff will constantly monitor the current active COVID-19 case count and stressed that changes to the accessibility of the Jack Daniel Distillery, Visitor Center, Lynchburg Hardware & General Store, Barrel Shop, and Miss Mary Bobo’s Restaurant may change with little to no notice.

For more information, call the Visitors Center at 931-759-6357 or to book a reservation, visit their website. •

{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.}

In person census continues this week in Moore County

Yes, a Census 2020 worker could knock on your door this week but they’re probably a friend or neighbor. {File Photo}

Who is that masked person knocking at your door? Batman? The Lone Ranger? No it’s just your friendly U.S. Census taker and they are most likely a neighbor who lives and works in our community.

The Census Bureau wants to assure Moore County residents that if a census worker comes to your door, the person will be wearing a mask and will stay at least six feet away from your door after knocking or ringing the bell. They will present a government-issued photo I.D. so you can verify that they are a census worker. You are welcome to ask them for a second photo I.D. as well.  They will also be carrying a bag with the census logo and a data collection device such as a cell phone or tablet with the census bureau logo on it. If you would like to further verify that the person is a census taker, you can call the Philadelphia Regional Census Center at 267-780-2600 and provide the name of the person visiting you.

“The census taker will only ask for the name of the householder, whether they are renting or purchasing/own the home, a contact phone number, and the name, birth-date, race, and relationship to the householder for each person living in the home,” a Census Bureau press release stated. “They will also ask whether this is the person’s primary residence. This should take five to 10 minutes.”

Under Federal law, everything you say to a census worker is considered confidential and cannot be shared with anyone, including any government agency. All Census workers take an Oath of Office and an Oath of Secrecy that they are bound to for life. A Census worker can be subject to a five year prison sentence and a $250,000 fine for failure to maintain the privacy of respondents.

If you would like to avoid answering these questions on your porch, you can self-respond to the census online at 2020census.gov, by phone at 844-330-2020, or mail back the completed paper questionnaire if you received one.

Also, the 2020 Census is still hiring and could use Non Response Follow Up (NRFU) members in this area. If you’d like to apply, visit the Census Career Site by clicking 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.}