Census workers start knocking on Moore County doors today

Heads up. If you haven’t already voluntarily replied, a U.S. Census worker may be headed to your front door as early as today. {File Photo}

Because of the U.S. Census, we know things about the population of Moore County. There are approximately 6,322 folks living in Lynchburg and their average age is 45. Moore County encompasses 129.2 square miles with 48.9 people per square mile. Moore County is 51% female.

Mandated by the U.S. Constitution – Article 1, Section 2 to be exact – the federal government must take an accurate count of all living persons inside the United Stated every 10 years. Census numbers help determine how billions in federal dollars are spent. They also determine how many seats in Congress the State of Tennessee gets.

We told you back in June that U.S. Census workers would be heading to Moore County doors soon. This morning, a little birdie told us they are now on their way. Moore County citizens who have yet to respond to the 2020 Census should expect a knock at their door … maybe as early as today. If you aren’t home or don’t answer, by law, they can come back up to six times.

It’s a short questionnaire with less that 10 questions per person. It includes your first and last name, sex, age, and race. That’s it. Click here to view a sample of the questions. Census takers will never ask about your religion, political affiliations, or income. They will also never ask for your Social Security number of financial information.

All U.S. Census worker wear official identification complete with an ID badge number. If you suspect the person, get their badge number and call the U.S. Census Regional Office to verify them. Tennessee is located in the Philadelphia Regional office along with Delaware, District of Columbia, Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia. You can reach them at 800.262.4236 or via email at Philadelphia.Regional.Office@census.gov.

And remember, by law, your answers on the U.S. Census can never be used against you by any government agency or court. Getting an accurate count of every person living in Moore County is important. For more information, visit the U.S. Census 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, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

Motlow encourages graduates to stay on track during the pandemic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Second Harvest addresses COVID-19 related food insecurity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tims Ford plans evening canoe, kayak floats

Tims Ford State Park will offer an evening float for both canoers and kayakers on Friday. {File Photo}

FRANKLIN COUNTY — Floating on the picturesque Tims Ford Lake is always fun but a sunset float adds a bit of drama.

Officials at Tims Ford State Park in Franklin County plan an Evening Canoe Float and an Evening Kayak Float on Friday, August 7 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Participants should meet at the Fairview Campground Check In Station. If you prefer to kayak, the state park will also host a Sunset Kayak Float at the same time.

Life jackets can be provided for either float for both adults and youths but the state park can not supply vest for children weighing under 50 pounds.

The cost of the Evening Canoe Float is $25 and you can register by clicking here. There were eight spots available at press time. The cost of the Evening Kayak Float is also $25 and you can register by clicking here. There were six spots available at press time.

For information about event at Tims Ford State Park visit their website or like their Facebook page. •

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

Moore citizens may qualify for electric bill help

Any Moore County citizen can pick up a Project Help brochure at the Lynchburg DREMC office located at 697 Main Street. {Photo Provided}

MOORE COUNTY — Job losses, standstills, employment uncertainties … the COVID-19 pandemic is creating economic struggles for many Moore County citizens … even those who usually have no problem paying their monthly bills … and Duck River Electric Membership Cooperative (DREMC) wants to help.

DREMC along with matching dollars from Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) recently partnered with the Moore County Senior Citizen’s to deliver Moore County’s part in electric bill assistance through Project Help.

“Helping Duck River Electric members during difficult times makes a difference to the families who are struggling,” added DREMC President and CEO Scott Spence. “With support from Project HELP, many are receiving assistance with electric bill payments as economic challenges continue.”

Project HELP is an emergency residential energy assistance program overseen by local charity organizations in seven counties served by DREMC. For three decades, the program has received support through generous monthly and one-time donations from members and employees, who have given more than $214,000 over the past five years to the program. Recently, program funding was boosted as DREMC donated $30,000, which was matched by Tennessee Valley Authority through its COVID-19 Community Care Fund, making a total of $60,000 available to help cooperative members who qualify for Project HELP assistance.

Locally DREMC partners with Moore County Senior Center to offer Project HELP assistance year-round with electric bills.

To apply for electric bill assistance through Project HELP, visit the Moore County Senior Center at 87 High Street in Lynchburg. Normal hours are weekdays, 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. If you need to speak to someone at the organization, call 931-759-7317 or 931-703-1014.

“If you are unable to pay the electric bill, remember that Project HELP may provide part or all of the solution,” said Spence.•

{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.}

As pandemic continues, scammers increase

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Get a free COVID-19 antibody tests at local blood drive

Blood Assurance will offer a free COVID-19 antibody test with a blood donation at their mobile blood drive at Jack Daniel Employee Credit Union on August 20. {File Photo}

LYNCHBURG — Donate blood locally and get a free COVID-19 antibody test starts a Blood Assurance mobile blood drive at Jack Daniel Employee Credit Union (JDECU) on Thursday, August 20 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The test is not meant for diagnostic purposes but rather to test for the presence of COVID-19 antibodies. Your results will be mailed to you within 10 business days.

Currently, the area blood bank is accepting donors through appointment only. You will need to answer a few health screening questions prior to your donation. You can schedule a donation by visiting bloodassurance.org/jackdaniels820 or calling 800-962-0628 or texting BAGIVE to 999777.

Blood Assurance officials say potential donors should eat a good meal and drink plenty of water prior to their donation appointment. They also advise donors to avoid energy drinks.

JDECU is located at 488 Majors Boulevard in Lynchburg. •

{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-19 Update: 6 Things You Need to Know This Week

1 | Moore gets seven new cases this week. For the second week in a row, Moore County gained seven new COVID cases. In the last seven days, 791 folks from Moore County have been tested. We now have 16 active case and 19 recovered cases. Moore County has not experienced any COVID-19 related deaths.

2 | Masks required at Raider football games. Spectator seats may be limited and those who do attend home Raider football games will be required to get their temperatures checked and wear masks, according to a plan approved by the TSSAA board this week. To read our full coverage of that plan, click here.

3 | Hospitalization numbers are on the rise. On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of this week hospitalizations rose by over 100 for three consecutive days. That’s the highest daily increase since the pandemic started. In the past seven days, Tennessee’s seen a 471 rise in hospitalizations as a result of COVID-19 from 369 the week before.

4 | Only 16 percent of state ICU beds available. If you pay attend to COVID-19 related statistics, one crucial number to watch is the number of available intensive care unit (ICU) beds in the state. Currently, COVID-19 patients occupy 1,715 of our state’s 2,034 available ICU beds. That’s just 16 percent. The good news is that there are 1,037 of the states 1,578 ventilators available. For full Tennessee Hospital Capacity numbers click here.

5 | Tennessee experiences deadliest COVID-19 day. Thursday marked Tennessee’s deadliest COVID-19 day with 37 new deaths. That’s the highest single-day increase in Tennessee deaths since the global pandemic began. The total number of COVID-19 related deaths in Tennessee is now 938 as of Friday’s, 2 p.m. numbers.

Counties highlighted in orange are considered “above the threshold” for transmission rates. Counties in blue are below the threshold. {Graphic courtesy of the Tennessee Health Department}

6 | Numbers in rural counties are spiking. Long-term care facilities like Lynchburg Nursing Center use community spread metrics to determine whether or not residents can receive family visits. That metric is an average of less than 10 new cases per 100,000 over the last 14 days. According to the state Department of Health, Moore, Bedford, Coffee, Franklin, and Lincoln counties are above that threshold. In fact, 83 of Tennessee’s 95 counties exist about that threshold. For complete case county by county numbers, 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.}

State Report: Tennessee Promise works but needs improvement

Two years ago, Tennessee set an ambitious goal. Through the Drive to 55 Alliance, Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Reconnect set a mission to get 55 percent of Tennessean equipped with a college degree of certification by the year 2025.

Many Moore County High School students use the Tennessee Promise program to attend Motlow State and area technical schools. {Photo Provided}

A recent Tennessee Comptroller report shows that Tennessee Promise works but needs improvement if Tennessee’s going to reach that goal.

The Tennessee General Assembly created Tennessee Promise in 2014 in order to encourage more high school graduates to earn an associates degree or technical diploma. Tennessee Promise scholarships offer two years of tuition-free attendance at area community colleges or technical schools including Motlow College in Moore County.

It’s sister program, Tennessee Reconnect, helps more adult learners attend community college and technical schools to earn a certification or postsecondary degree tuition-free.

TN Promise led to more college-going citizens

According to the report, more high graduates attend college as a result of Tennessee Promise. Tennessee’s college-going rate increased from 58.4 percent to 64.3 percent in the first year of the program. It also states that those students are accumulating more college credits, staying enrolled longer, and earning postsecondary credential at a higher rate than other high school graduates.

The report recommends increasing Tennessee Promise participation rates among students from certain subgroups and areas of the state who do not historically attend college including applicants with low ACT scores, minority applicants, and those from lower income households.

It also states that the program requirements most often missed by Tennessee Promise applicants were mandatory meetings and the community service requirement.

They identified several barriers to success such as the full-time enrollment requirement in the summer term and costs not covered by the
Promise program. Adjustments to those elements of the program, among
others, would likely allow more students to remain Promise-eligible and
enrolled in college, the report says.

It also states that first-seminars that teach the skills necessary for college success and hiring completion coaches are best practices that have been helpful at some community colleges.

The report offers solution for the General Assembly, mentor organizations, colleges, and technical schools. To read the full report, 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.}

Murfreesboro mayor issues mask mandate

On Monday, Murfreesboro Mayor Bill Ketron announced a mask mandate for his county. MTSU will also require masks this fall. {File Photo}

MURFREESBORO — On Monday, Rutherford County Mayor Bill Ketron joined 10 other Tennessee counties and issued a mandate requiring all citizens and visitors to wear mask “when social distancing is not possible.”

Previously Sullivan, Knox, Hamilton, Davidson, Madison, and Shelby counties (those with independent health departments) had the authority to issue mask mandates. Prior to the July 4 weekend, Governor Bill Lee issued an executive order allowing local mayors and metro executives to do the same.

Since then, Rutherford, Wilson, Sevier, Davidson, Robertson, Sumner, Williamson, Knox, Shelby, Madison, and Hamilton counties have all issued their own mask mandates.

“We received a lot of support from our local businesses including some of our big box stores,” Mayor Ketron stated in a press release. “But the reality is, some of our citizens and visitors just are not taking this health event seriously enough.”

Students at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro will also be required to wear face masks on campus this fall, according to their website.

“If you want to be on campus, if you want the university to continue to stay open, you need to do these things: You need to wear a mask. You have to wash your hands. You need to do the things that the CDC and our local and state health officials ask you to do,” said President Sidney A. McPhee in a CSPAN interview on Friday. •

{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.}