Motlow nominates Flatt for excellence award

Motlow College recently nominated Larry Flatt for a Statewide Outstanding Achievement and Recognition (SOAR) Staff Excellence Award. Flatt’s been instrumental in the development of Motlow’s Automation & Robotics Training Center. (Photo Courtesy of Motlow College)

He’s partnered with the world’s leading automation and robotics manufacturers to develop advanced training opportunities for student right here in southern, middle Tennessee and now Motlow State would like to honor him with a Statewide Outstanding Achievement & Recognition (SOAR) Staff Excellence Award.

Motlow State recently selected Automation & Robotics Training Center (ARTC) Executive Director Larry Flatt as its nominee for the annual Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) awarded each year.

The SOAR Staff Excellence Award’s foremost criterion is overall excellence in the responsibilities of a staff member’s specific appointment service and/or professional activity. Service is also recognized on many levels, including service to the department, school, college, profession, and community. Candidates should be able to demonstrate distinction beyond typical job responsibilities, reflecting excellence in those areas.

Flatt joined Motlow in 2012 and was a leader in creating the ARTC, overseeing the construction of the facility, and partnering with automation and robotics manufacturers to develop advanced training opportunities. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Tennessee Tech University and his M.B.A. from Middle Tennessee State University.

“Larry has a unique compilation of knowledge, experiences, abilities, skills, and credentials,” said Executive Vice President of Workforce and Community Development Tony Millican. “His personal example represents a compelling industry-to-education career transition that is exceptionally valuable to the TBR mission. His shift from industry leader to education entrepreneur should inspire professionals in a variety of fields to share their occupational successes with generations of new learners.”

Flatt has been instrumental in developing partnerships with the world’s top three robot manufacturers: ABB, FANUC, and Yaskawa Motoman. Flatt has also cultivated partnerships with Southern Controls, Inc., Bertelkamp, Irby, Wesco, and Parker Hannifin to offer additional industry training and certification opportunities in automation and fluid power.

“The ARTC is offering courses that are essential to the needs of local industry that utilize robots,” said Flatt. “Our vision of formally partnering with industry to provide training to the exact specifications of the robot manufacturer has come to fruition. The Center provides the opportunity for individuals already employed in the robotics field to receive additional manufacturing-specific education and certification. It also provides an educational pathway for Motlow students who are seeking an A.A.S. degree or certification in robotics.”

The ARTC earned a 2019 National Association of Developmental Organizations (NADO) Impact Award for its support of regional workforce development and a 2020 Community Colleges of Appalachia (CCA) Award. Motlow has earned additional awards for the graphics that adorn the facility and the promotion of the ARTC.

The 12,500-square-feet ARTC is located on 4.5 acres of land, donated by the Warren County Commission, adjacent to the Motlow State and Tennessee College of Applied Technology campus in McMinnville. The ARTC offers automation training, including digital systems, sensors, electronics, hydraulics, pneumatics, programming, and alarm management. Robotic training can be realized through two distinctive pathways: training for industry and job seekers and college credit instruction.

For more information, visit the Motlow State website. •

DREMC crews aid hurricane stricken Louisiana

DREMC lineman Matt Swan wades through the muddy and flooded electric right-of-way to begin rebuilding a section of line destroyed by Hurricane Delta. (Photo Provided)

Hurricanes Laura and Delta pounded the southern coastal states – leaving a path of destruction and hundreds of thousands without electricity in impacted areas, especially Louisiana. That’s when linemen from Duck River Electric Membership Corporation (DREMC) rush in to help.

“In emergencies, crews work long days in difficult and dangerous conditions,” said DREMC Operations Superintendent Lusk. “In Louisiana, not only did crews work in dangerous conditions and unfamiliar territory, but they also dealt with flooded areas that made accessing some of the damage difficult. High temperatures and humidity increased worker fatigue. Regardless of the conditions, DREMC employees were quick to respond to the call for help, and we appreciate their willingness to assist others.”

In September, 16 DREMC linemen volunteered to rebuild electric infrastructure in Deridder, Louisiana, a hard-hit area that lost power to all of its 43,000 members following both hurricanes. Due to the widespread damage caused by first hurricane and the long-expected power restoration times, DREMC assembled two initial volunteer line crews to assist Beauregard Electric Cooperative, Inc (BECI). Each crew spent several days rebuilding electric lines, which allowed for significant progress to be made for residents who had been without power for weeks.

The Duck River Electric crew set many of the new poles in Louisiana’s Beauregard Electric Cooperative, Inc. service area in the aftermath of the hurricane. This photo reveals how hurricane wind gusts tore through trees, which contributed to bringing down electric lines.

“One of the crew members said they repaired more powerlines during this restoration effort than in any other storm they’ve worked,” said Lusk.

On October 9, Hurricane Delta, a Category 2 storm, slammed the same areas of Louisiana, as well as other coastal states, dropping more than a foot of rain as powerful winds battered communities already ravaged by Hurricane Laura. Delta left more than 600,000 homes and businesses along the Gulf Coast without power where electric services had just been rebuilt and restored. 

For the second time in six weeks, BECI lost power to all its members. Many of the assisting electric cooperatives who previously helped returned to assist following Hurricane Delta. A third DREMC crew volunteered to help repair the second round of damage.

“If there is a bright side to getting hit with two consecutive hurricanes, it is that Hurricane Delta did not inflict the same level of devastation to the electric systems there,” said DREMC’s Lewisburg District Manager Troy Crowell. “Hurricane Laura left miles and miles of electric lines destroyed, which our crews, along with hundreds of other line workers, helped rebuild. After Delta hit, much of the new lines and poles are still standing, and that helped speed the recovery process.” 

DREMC linemen volunteering to assist Louisiana with power restoration included Chad Anderson, Bryan Burton, Taylor Byrd, Joel Doak, Tommy Fly, Eli Gore, Patrick Hunt, Charlie Jacks, Matt Keele, Rob Mason, Scott McGill, Jonathan Riley,  Sean Scheller, Robert Smartt, Trey Stewart and Matt Swan.•

{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 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.}

Area blood banks: We’re in critical need of blood donations

Donating blood can save the lives of your family, friends, and neighbors. And right now, local blood banks need donations more than ever.

Blood Assurance in Tullahoma made a plea for donations this week stating a “critical need” for almost all blood types. Blood Assurance say they have zero units of B- on the shelf, less than half a day of O+, O-, B+, and AB-, and only one day of A+ and A-. They also need platelet donations.

You can donate at the Tullahoma Donor Center located at 604 North Jackson Street. They are open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. and the third Saturday of each month from 8 a.m. to noon.

The American Red Cross is also issuing am “urging need for blood.” They will host mobile blood drive at Moore County High School on Thursday, November 5 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Click here to schedule a donation appointment. •

{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.}

UT Extension: Farmers affected by pandemic should apply for CFAP2

Commodities such as beef cattle and dairy are eligible under this second round of pandemic assistance for farmers. Breeding stock is not eligible, according to the USDA. (File Photo)

STATE AG NEWS — Are a Moore County farmer or producer who has been directly impacted by the pandemic? If so, local UT Extension County Director Larry Moorehead encourages you to apply for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2. Implemented by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the program seeks to support agricultural producers who continue to face market disruptions and additional costs associated with COVID-19.

CFAP 2 follows the first round of CFAP, which had an application period of May 26 through September 11. USDA’s Farm Service Agency will accept CFAP 2 applications from September 21 through December 11, 2020.

CFAP 2 payments will be made for three categories of commodities: price trigger commodities, flat-rate crops, and sales commodities.

Price trigger commodities are major commodities that meet a minimum five-percent price decline over a specified period of time. Price trigger commodities eligible for CFAP 2 include broilers, eggs, dairy, and livestock such as beef cattle, hogs, pigs, lambs, and sheep. Breeding stock are not eligible for CFPA2.

“This will pay on your cattle inventory between April 16 and August 31,” County Director Moorehead explained. “This deal does not include your cows, just your marketable calves or heifers that have not calved.”

Moorehead explains that once a heifer produces a calf, she’s considered a cow and is no longer eligible under the federal guidelines.

Crops such as barley, corn, sorghum, soybeans, sunflowers, upland cotton, and all classes of wheat are eligible as price trigger commodities.

Flat-rate crops are also eligible. These either do not meet the five-percent price decline trigger or do not have data available to calculate a price change and include alfalfa, amaranth grain, buckwheat, canola, Extra Long Staple (ELS) cotton, crambe (colewort), einkorn, emmer, flax, guar, hemp, indigo, industrial rice, kenaf, khorasan, millet, mustard, oats, peanuts, quinoa, rapeseed, rice, sweet rice, wild rice, rye, safflower, sesame, speltz, sugar beets, sugarcane, teff, and triticale.

Sales commodities eligible for CFAP 2 include specialty crops, aquaculture, nursery crops and floriculture, and other commodities not included in the price trigger and flat-rate payment categories. These include ornamental fish, goat’s milk, Christmas trees, cut flowers, honey, tobacco, wool and other items. For a complete list, click here.

Commodities such as hay, grazing crops, equine, breeding stock, pets, and animals raised for game purposes are not eligible.

USDA will accept application through December 11, 2020 and you may view the application by clicking here.

Forms are also located at the local UT Extension office located inside the Moore County Building at 241 Main Street, Suite 214. You may also contact Director Moorehead at 931-759-7163 or 931-580-6073 for more information or with questions. •

{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 Completion Coach Angélica Dotson uses personal experience to encourage students

Angelica Dotson uses her experiences as a Hispanic student in southern, middle Tennessee to encourage other Motlow College students. (Photo Provided)

EDUCATION | Motlow State Completion Coach Angélica Dotson knows what it is like to be treated as an outsider … to feel like you don’t fit in. She draws from and shares her experiences as a second-generation American to improve student success at Motlow. In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, she spoke about her experiences and how they help her encourage Motlow students to overcome adversity.

“I grew up in a bicultural home,” said Dotson, who works at Motlow’s Smyrna campus and has been with the college since 2013. “At times, I felt like Americans did not quite accept me because I was too Mexican, and Hispanics did not quite accept me because I was too American. I always felt as if I had to prove myself, and I do my best to use my experiences to help encourage students. You can be brown and be successful.”

Motlow’s Latino student population has almost tripled since 2015. The National Center for Education Statistics says Latino students are one of only two demographic groups that have shown an increase in college attendance in recent years. Motlow is ahead of the national growth and well-positioned to expand its minority student enrollment.

“There was a time when I dropped out of college,” continued Dotson. “I felt that I could not be my true self and be successful in passing college courses or landing a job. Dropping out was a poor decision, but it did lead me to some positive revelations.

“It was around that time that I finally realized that I could not deny being brown, Latino, a minority. Once I accepted that, it unlocked a powerful force inside of me,” she added. “I rediscovered myself and my culture. I found my voice and embraced it. Everything turned around for me as I returned to college and graduated.”

Dotson’s father is from Celaya, Guanajuato, México, and was adopted by an American family when he was three years old. Her mother is from Zacatecas, México, and grew up near the United States’ southern border and immigrated to America for survival and opportunities.

 “I find that my past experiences help encourage students, whether they are a person of color, a non-traditional student, or a traditional student coming to Motlow from high school. I understand that sometimes people expect minorities to fail, and we must work harder than others to succeed. I do my best to encourage all students who are struggling, but I especially try to remind the LatinX community that they can overcome adversity.”

“The number of Hispanic students enrolled in college rose from 3.17 million in 2016 to 3.27 million in 2017, making them only one of two demographic groups that saw an increase in college attendance, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. That’s more than double the 1.4 million Latino students who attended college in 2000,” according to USA Today.

The study showed about 70 percent of Latino undergraduates in higher education come from families in the bottom half of earners, according to data analyzed by the college lobbying group, the American Council on Education. That is comparable to the black population, where nearly 75 percent of students come from the bottom half of earners.

Nearly half of Latino students are the first in their family to go to college, and just under half were eligible for federal Pell Grants, money only given to those with a high financial need. Only 22 percent of Hispanics over the age of 25 have an associate degree or higher compared to 40 percent of the general population.

Motlow actively invests in inclusion training and accessibility planning. These efforts foster a diverse student body and promote cultural literacy among all graduates. Motlow’s goal is to provide the learning opportunities and support programs needed to encourage all residents to pursue a college degree or short-term certificate that leads to high-demand jobs. Dotson’s story is evidence of the importance of academic success. There is no better time to pursue higher education. Motlow offers Reconnect Scholarships for adults without degrees, tutoring, ESL programs, learning support courses, one-on-one advising, and personal college completion coaches. •

{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.}

Community Foundation seeks Moore County non-profit grant applicants

Animal shelters, homeless services, and educational opportunities are just some examples of the hundreds of non-profit activities that the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee funds. Their Discretionary Grants application period is open now. (File Photo)

Are you a Moore County non-profit organization attempting to make the lives of your fellow Middle Tennesseans better? If so, you should apply for a Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee (CFMT) grant. The application process opened on October 1 and will close on Friday, October 16 at 11:59 p.m.

CFMT awards grants to a wide variety of charitable purposes like education, the environment, the arts, health, and social services. Applicants must be a tax-exempt, nonprofit organization serving Middle Tennessee.

“We are particularly interested in grant proposals addressing currently unmet community needs and providing long-term solutions,” CFMT stated on their website.

Last year, the group awarded over $2 million dollars in grans to 365 local nonprofits organizations. Regional organizations that have benefited in the past include the Middle Tennessee Spay and Neuter Clinic in Bedford County, the Coffee County Imagination Library, and Good Samaritan Ministries of Franklin County.

For more information or to access the 2020 grant application, 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.}

Dispose of Rx drugs safely on Take Back Day on Oct. 24

Both Tullahoma and Fayetteville will host area prescription drop off spots for National RX Take Back Day on Saturday. (Graphic Provided)

Whether it’s opioid pain medications or antidepressants, keeping unfinished prescription drugs in your home can have dire consequences including accidental ingestion by a child, theft by someone struggling with addiction, or even easy access for a teenager experimenting.

Many simply throw unused pill in the trash or flush them down the toilet but this can have adverse environmental effects. Most rural sewage treatment plants lack the ability to thoroughly remove pharmaceutical residue from water supplies.

That’s why it’s crucial to dispose of unfinished prescriptions responsibly.

On Saturday, October 24 the U.S. Department of Justice and Drug Enforcement Administration will host a National Prescription Drug Take Back Day to provide a safe, convenient, and private means of disposing of unneeded prescriptions.

Though there are no collection sites in Moore County, according to Metro Moore Sheriff Tyler Hatfield, there are several sites in surrounding counties including the Tullahoma Walmart in Coffee County and Lincoln County High School in Fayetteville. All collections take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For a complete lists of southern, middle Tennessee sites, 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.}

Local EMA: Be aware of water released suddenly near Tims Ford Dam

Members of the Swift Water Team prepare to rescue a couple of gentlemen stranded on a gravel bar on the Elk River after their boats overturned and the water levels increased suddenly due to water generation at Tims Ford Dam. (Photo courtesy of Franklin County EMA)

LOCAL NEWS | It can happen faster than you realize. One minute, you’re gliding along the Elk River doing a little trout fishing and the next, you’re being pushed downstream at a dangerous pace by a current that seemed to come out of nowhere.

This is what happened yesterday along the Elk River inside Moore County when two area men found themselves in dangerous waters when the levels and speed of the current increased suddenly caused by TVA generation at the Tims Ford Dam.

Tims Ford Reservoir exists as an 11,000 acre lake. If one foot of water is being released, even at a modest pace, the flow downstream can increase by as much as 26.8 billion gallons.

“They got stuck on a gravel bar when they lost their kayak and water got up from the spill gates opening,” says Metro EMA Director Jason Deal.

After overturning and losing one boat near the Edde Bend area, the men called 9-1-1 for help. Once on site, Moore County Sheriff’s Department deputies called for a mutual aid assist from the Franklin County EMA and Rescue’s Swift Water Team. Together, they were able to not only locate and safely return the two men but also recover their boat.

TVA says it’s common this time of year to generate water at Tims Ford Dam during the week in order to lower the lake level for winter.

“TVA’s plan for lowering the reservoirs is based on rainfall records that have been kept for many years,” TVA explains on their website. “These records show that big storms that produce floods are most likely to hit the Tennessee Valley in the winter and early spring. So TVA makes sure the reservoirs are lowered to flood-control levels by January 1. Those levels are low enough to leave room in the reservoir for rainwater to flow in.”

Luckily, TVA offers both a dedicated website and an app to help outdoor enthusiasts track water levels. The TVA LakeInfo app can be downloaded on both iPhones and Android phones or you can visit the TVA website for daily lake levels reports from Tims Ford. •

{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.}

Tims Ford plans outdoor survival school

Learn the keys to outdoor survival at Tim’s Ford Forged at the Ford. {File Photo}

FRANKLIN COUNTY — Think you could survive for three days and two nights on an island in Tims Ford Lake with just a handful of gear? Then you should definitely register for the next Forged at the Ford Outdoor Survival School, which will take place October 16-18. Registration ends on October 9, and there are limited spots available.

A Tims Ford Park Ranger will teach campers a variety of survival basics using minimal equipment and resources. Participants will learn friction fire, shelter building, knots, and more. During the three days, campers will live off the land by learning wild edible plants, trapping, fishing, and outdoor cooking. Rangers designed the program for all skill levels but campers must be at least 14 years old to attend and campers 14-17 years old must be accompanied by an adult.

The list of required gear includes a fixed blade knife, ferrocerium rod, screw top water bottle, hatchet or axe, 8×10 tarp, 50 feet of paracord, a flashlight or headlamp, a small metal pot, a sleeping bag, fishing line with assorted hooks, and a extra set of clothes in a waterproof container. Optional gear will include a hand saw, insect repellent, and a small first aid kit. All campers will be inventoried upon arrival.

Forged at the Ford is a rain or shine event. The price is $200 per camper. For more information, contact the Tims Ford Park Office at 931-958-3536 or visit their website. To register for the event, 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.}