Moore County citizens can now pre-register for COVID vaccine

According to the state website, there’s no new COVID-19 vaccine headed to Moore County this week but there’s now a state website where citizens can pre-register for the next round. (File Photo)

STATE NEWS — Despite the fact that there are again no additional shipments of COVID-19 vaccine headed to Moore County this week, Metro Mayor Bonnie Lewis says she feels optimistic that that will soon change and that the next round of public vaccinations in Lynchburg will go much more smoothly than the first.

“The Tennessee Department of Health recently launched an online registration portal so that Moore County residents can make appointments to receive the COVID-19 vaccine,” said Mayor Lewis through Metro’s social media page. “We will do what is needed to assist our seniors set appointments.”

You can now pre-register for a vaccination by clicking here.

Vaccine rollout changing constantly

Like any major health initiative that requires federal, state, and local coordination things tend to evolve quickly. Such is the case with the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in Moore County. On December 21, Assistant EMA Director Hunter Case became the first person in Moore County to receive the vaccine. For the next two weeks, local health department officials focused on vaccinating all Moore County 1a1 and 1a2 individuals like high exposure health care workers, first responders, and healthcare workers with direct patient exposure. On January 2, Moore County held it’s first public vaccination date for citizens 75 years of age and older.

It was a frustrating day for both local health care workers and those trying to get the vaccine. Mayor Lewis says local officials learned lessons that day and that future public vaccination dates will be by-appointment, drive thru events held at the new ballpark located along Main Street.

Originally the plan was to move vaccination events to Wiseman Park but after some deliberation, Mayor Lewis and local health care workers decided it would be easier to control the temperature for those administering the vaccine with a tent at the new park rather than an open air pavilion.

“The plan is to have the tent up and ready by the time we get the next shipment of vaccines,” said Mayor Lewis.

As of Monday, there was still no next shipment headed to Moore County, according to the state website. The Vaccine Information Sheet for Monday, January 11 stated that limited vaccine would be available in Bedford County but Coffee, Franklin, and Lincoln counties would also no receive additional vaccines this week. •

{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.}

Surprise deliveries of free books showed up in Moore County mailboxes this week

Local kindergartener Abriella Smart, says she felt excited this week when an unexpected box of books arrived in her mailbox. All Moore County students in grades K-3 received the book packs as part of a state literacy program aimed at preventing the “COVID slide.” (Photo Provided)

Did your local kiddo receive a mysterious book delivery in the mail this week? It’s part of a a new state literacy program aimed at preventing so called “COVID slide” in kids grades kindergarten through third grade.

Moore County was one of over 50 school districts participating in the K-3 School Year Book Delivery Program, which will deliver books and literacy resources directly to the homes of students and teachers, at no cost to families or participating school districts. Book packs consist of ten high-quality, grade appropriate books with guided activities and tips for parents to engage with students as they read. Book packs and resources are expected to begin being delivered to students’ and teachers’ homes by the end of 2020 and began arriving at Moore County homes this week. Additionally, K-3 families will gain access to engagement tips via text.

“The School Year Book Delivery program is an incredible opportunity for our state to make important early literacy gains,” said Commissioner Penny Schwinn. “This partnership could not have come at a more important time, as many students, families and teachers are working hard to make up for classroom time lost last spring. Building literacy skills early is foundational to lifelong educational success and the department is grateful to GELF and Scholastic for their work to expand access to high-quality books and literacy resources and help students and families read together at home.”

The new book delivery program comes on the heels of a successful summer reading pilot where GELF and Scholastic distributed 2,100 book packs to students. The response from children, parents and caregivers was overwhelmingly positive, sharing feedback about the excitement of receiving new books in the mail, the joy of sharing stories together and the magic of escaping through a good book.

The program will also offer parent, teacher resource through Best for All Central, Tennessee’s Hub for Learning and Teaching. You can visit it by clicking here. •

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

Moore County will not receive COVID-19 vaccine shipment this week

According to the state, Moore County will not receive a shipment of COVID-19 vaccine for the public this week. (File Photo)

LOCAL NEWS — Metro Mayor Bonnie Lewis says state officials informed her Monday afternoon that Moore County would not receive an additional shipment of COVID-19 vaccine this week — January 4-8.

Other counties, including those larger than Moore County, will also receive drastically reduced to none also, according to Mayor Lewis.

Shipments headed to county health department will instead go to area drugstore, who are responsible for administering COVID-19 vaccinations to long term care facilities.

The Tennessee Health Department assigns vaccination priorities. They are not controlled at the local level.

Metro Mayor Bonnie Lewis says as soon as a new vaccine shipment comes in all those citizens aged 75 and older who showed up to get vaccinated on January 2 but were turned away when supplies ran out will be notified.

“We will work together to assure all our citizens are assisted with the process … whatever it is,” said Mayor Lewis. •

{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.}

AT&T says no recovery timeframe for Internet back online due to building damage and investigation

AT&T officials says Internet services in the state, including Moore County’s Monster Broadband, can not be restored until commercial power can be turned back on in the damaged data center. (File Photo)

STATE NEWS — Based on information given both through a company press release and the 1 p.m. press conference, there is currently “no recovery timeframe in hand” for an all clear on AT&T-fed Internet in Tennessee as well as parts of Kentucky and northern Alabama. This includes Moore County’s Monster Broadband.

According to AT&T mechanical engineers, they confirmed that there is roughly three feet of water in the basement of the data center from overnight efforts to fight a fire in the building. That water has the potential to do damage to mechanical equipment in the area. Also, that standing water is preventing commercial power from being restored, which is preventing restoration of Internet services.

Both AT&T and TEMA have generators on site, which has restored some 3G cellular services, but commercial power will need to be restored to get Internet back online. That power remains shut off near the area of the explosion so that FBI and ATF can safely continue their investigation.

U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee, Don Cochran said his office had received over 500 tips and leads since Friday and investigators were following up on all of them.

Cochran stated that the area near the AT&T data center was like a giant jigsaw puzzle filled with clues.

He also stated that over 250 FBI agents were on the ground in Nashville and profilers at Quantico were working to help narrow the manhunt.

“We ask that you be patient,” said Metro Nashville Police Department Chief John Drake.

No one at the 1 p.m. press conference named any suspect or persons of interest in the bombing. CBS News released the name of Anthony Quinn Warner, age 63, of Nashville as a person of interest in the bombing earlier today. Click here for that link. •

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

Local Internet remains down for some due to Nashville bombing

All Internet is connected. That’s why the explosion that damaged the AT&T data center in Nashville is trickling down to Moore County users. (File Photo)

LOCAL NEWS — All Internet is connected. The source of your family’s WiFi snakes across the U.S. like a giant spider web — one major hub connecting to another either through cabling in the ground or through the air. So, when a major data center and switching station like the AT&T one located in Nashville gets damaged, the trickle down can be significant.

On Christmas Day around 6:30 a.m., a bomb exploded in front of AT&T main office located at 166 Second Avenue in historic, downtown Nashville. It claimed at least one life, injured others, damaged over 40 businesses, and shut down cell and Internet services for thousands in Tennessee including much of the state’s 9-1-1 system.

According to AT&T, the explosion shut down power to the building. At the time, they switched to natural gas powered back up generators to keep services hobbled but live. Several hours later, emergency crews working in the area discovered a gas leak and shut down all incoming natural gas as a safety precaution. Data centers can’t run without power and all AT&T fed Internet providers across the state have experienced an outage since, including Lynchburg’s Monster Broadband.

“It’s really unfortunate and frustrating, especially on Christmas Day,” said Monster Broadband co-owner Charles Johnston. “We’ve been monitoring the situation around the clock since it happened and many of our communications folks stepped away from their families to provide as much information to our customers as possible.”

According to AT&T’s update at 8:30 a.m., the focus of the restoration continues to be getting power to the equipment in a safe and secure way. Challenges remain, including a fire which reignited overnight and led to the evacuation of the building.

The company says teams are on site working with safety and structural engineers. They have drilled access holes into the building and are attempting to reconnect power to critical equipment.

Johnston’s says he’s hopeful AT&T can re-route Internet traffic soon to restore local services. •

This is an ongoing story and will be updated as more details become available.

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

Moore COVID cases skyrocketing

New cases of COVID more than doubled in Moore County over the weekend. Moore County now has the eighth highest rate of infection per population in the state of Tennessee. (File Photo)

Lynchburg seems to be hitting a tipping point in the COVID 19 pandemic — and not in a good way. New, active COVID 19 cases have skyrocketed in Lynchburg over the past seven days. We now sit at 522 total cases, including 24 new cases overnight and 27 new cases over the weekend. In the last seven days, we’ve added 84 new cases — over twice the number of the previous seven day period of 34 new cases. Our positivity rate is now 27.1 percent. To learn more about Moore County specific date, visit the state’s COVID 19 dashboard by clicking here.

According to state rankings by county, Moore County has the eighth highest rate of infection per population. Regionally, Lincoln County continues to be a hotspot with 56 new cases overnight and 346 over the last seven days. Lincoln has the highest rate of infection per population out of Tennessee’s 95 counties. Bedford County sits at number 11. Coffee County is at number 18. Franklin County is ranked number 39.

Nationally, COVID 19 is now the leading cause of daily deaths in U.S. — moving ahead of heart disease, according to the latest report from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. On average, the U.S. loses 2,353 Americans from heart disease each day. On December 8, the U.S. surpassed that number with 2,661 COVID death a day — a number that continues to rise.

According to the Federation of American Scientists, if Tennessee were an independent country, we’d have the eighth worst outbreak in the world. Only Rhode Island is fairing worst than the Volunteer State. Tennessee suffers from the second highest rate of infection per population with 107 new cases per 100,000 citizens per day.

The rising case numbers cause concern for overwhelming area hospitals. On Monday the state Hospital Capacity site provided by the Tennessee Department of Health showed that just 10 percent of the state’s ICU beds were available for new COVID patients. A surge of new patients could easily overload local systems. Even if beds are available, most hospitals are short staffed with doctors, nurses, and support staff stretched to their limits. •

{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.}

Santa visits go virtual this year

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kyler Parker, Kaden White named Mr. Football semifinalists

It’s official. Moore County coaching staff got word this week that two MCHS Raiders – Kyler Parker and Kaden White – have been added to the list of semifinalist for Tennessee Titan’s Mr. Football for 2020.

Parker has 2,329 all purpose yards including 1,504 passing yards and 825 rushing yards. The Raider QB has scored 11 touchdowns and enjoys a quarterback rating of 104.7.

White has put up impressive defensive numbers including 115 total tackles (77 solo tackles as well as 38 assists) including three tackles behind the line of scrimmage, two fumble recoveries, one interception, two caused fumbles, and two pass deflections. He’s also racked up 35 receptions for 452 yards and four touchdowns.

“Kyler is leading all of Class 1A in passing and is fourth in rushing,” said Raider Assistant Coach T.J. Christian. “Kaden has been phenomenal on defense all season. Through nine games he is leading all of Class 1A in tackles.”

The two Raiders were joined by fellow Region 5 candidate Kolby Stewart of Huntland. Two South Pittsburg players, Hunter Frame and Jared Stone, were also named semifinalists. Other area players named include Tullahoma’s Jakobe Thomas.

The list of semi-finalists will be reduced to just three finalist on November 17. The TSSAA Tennessee Titans Mr. Football winner will be announced in December 8 at Nissan Stadium in Nashville. Nominees are selected by a committee of statewide sports writers. •

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

Moore gains 21 new COVID cases this week

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

State launches new COVID website for citizens

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

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

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

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

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

To view the new Moore County dashboard, click here. •

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