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.}

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.}

Burn permits required beginning October 15

Burning permits are now required in Moore County for any outdoor fires. (Graphic Provided)

STATE NEWS | Careless debris burning is a major cause of wildfires. Local fire officials remind locals to avoid burning in dry weather conditions and when it’s windy. You should always keep water nearby and stay with an outdoor fire until it’s completely out.

Beginning today, the Metro Volunteer Fire Department and the Tennessee Department of Agriculture would also like to remind Moore County citizens that Debris Burn Permits will be required beginning October 15 and continuing through May 15, 2021.

The permits are free and can be obtained online at the Debris Burn Permit Application site. They are applicable for single day, individual burn piles for both leaves and brush. Citizens can not burn tires or other rubber products, paints and chemicals, household trash, plastics, aerosol and food cans, electrical wiring, oils, asphalt shingles, paper products, buildings, clothing, or furniture.

Large scale burning for construction site prep, agricultural clearing, wildlife area prep will require a an approved request from a a Division of Forestry representative. Call the Moore County number at 877-350-BURN (2876).

Online permits will be available from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. For more information about Tennessee Wildfire Laws, 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.}

Electoral vote allotments could change if Tennessee’s 2020 Census response is down

Both Tennessee’s electoral votes and congressional delegation numbers are determine by U.S. Census numbers. There’s still time to get your 2020 Census responses in via the web. (File Photo)

The state of Tennessee enjoys 11 electoral votes but that could change if the state’s population isn’t properly counted in the 2020 Census. A state’s electoral vote allotment is determined by the number of representatives and senators in Congress. And Tennessee’s Congressional delegation is based on the state’s population as determined every 10 years by the United States Census. That’s why it’s vitally important to get every Tennessean counted before the Census ends on October 15.

The current administration decided to end the Census early in order to try and get results back before the end of the year. This year’s Census, already upended by the COVID-19 pandemic, will end on October 15. Originally, the officials planned to end the count on October 31.

Under Federal law, your Census responses are considered confidential and cannot be shared with anyone, including any government agency. There is still time to fill out your Census form online and be counted. You can still self-respond to the census online at 2020census.gov, or by phone at 844-330-2020. •

{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.}

After bye week, Raiders remain #5 in state

Little changed in the top ten Class A teams in the state this past week. The Raiders remain tied with Greenfield for the number five spot, according to the AP. (Lynchburg Times Graphic)

SPORTS | After a week off, the Moore County Raiders remain the number five Class 1A football in the state, according to the Associated Press (AP).

Moore County remains tied with Greenfield for the number five spot, according to the latest poll released on Monday. South Pittsburg remains the undisputed number 1. They haven’t moved from that top spot all season. Copper Basin (2), Fayetteville City (3), and Coalfield (4) round out the top spots. Moore County lost in Fayetteville on September 18 by a 28-22 margin.

Lake County (7), Huntingdon (8), Cornersville (9), and Monterey (10) make up the remaining top ten Class 1A teams. The Raiders beat the Bulldog in Cornersville in September 4 by a final of 33-23.

The Raiders(5-1) will take on Jo Byrns (3-4) on Friday at Raider Stadium. To read our preview of that game, click here.

If you can’t attend the game, it will be broadcast live on Raider Country 105.1 and 95.5 FM with Joe Abraham and the Moore County Sports Network, on the NFHS Network, or The Lynchburg Times will post live score updates on our Facebook page. •

{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.}

Students can now earn their high school equivalency virtually in all 95 TN counties

The state of Tennessee recently announced that adult learners in all 95 counties can now acquire their high school equivalency online. (File Photo)

EDUCATION | Learn online. Graduate online. That’s the motto of the new Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development statewide campaign to make adult education available to everyone … especially during the pandemic.

The state of Tennessee recently announced that adult learners in all 95 counties can now acquire their high school equivalency online and Moore County Public Library can help.

“There are still several adult education programs whose classrooms are closed due to COVID-19,” said Jay Baker, interim Assistant Commissioner of Adult Education. “We want everyone interested in improving their math, literacy, and English language skills to know they never have to leave home and they can still work to change their future. And that includes earning a high school equivalency diploma—all of it can be done completely online.”

The Moore County Public Library works as an adult education provider in our area in association with the Lincoln County Literacy Council.

“At this time, it is up to the teacher and student whether they meet face-to-face,” says Moore Library Director Peggy Gold. “But online is an option and if we have a Moore County resident interested, the teacher may be willing to meet them here at the library.”

The online exam is identical to the High School Equivalency Test (HiSET)taken in physical testing centers in terms of content, format, on-screen experience, and scoring

“Earning a high school equivalency diploma can really change a person’s life,” Baker added. “An adult who has a diploma can earn much higher wages and unlock more opportunities for education and career advancement.”

The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development’s HiSET Voucher Program covers all costs associated with the exams. To receive a voucher from a local Adult Education program, a test taker must be a Tennessee resident and demonstrate test preparedness through a qualifying practice test.

To learn more, call the TDLWD at 800-531-1515 and they will connect you with someone at the local adult education provider. You can also contact the Moore County Public Library at 931-759-7285. •

{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.}

Southern Festival of Books kicks off virtually on Thursday

Readers and writers from across Tennessee, and the world, will celebrate the joy of reading and lifelong learning through free online sessions with more than 100 authors beginning n Thursday. {Art Provided}

Books and other forms of the written word are helping us get through this global pandemic. It’s for that reason among others that the organizers of the state’s largest literary event will transition the annual Southern Festival of Books to a free, virtual event.

Organizers announced in July that this year’s Southern Festival of Books would take place virtually, and for free on October 1-11 in order to maintain the health and safety of not only the authors but also the hundreds that attend the annual Music City event.

“We will miss being at the beautiful Nashville Public Library and on War Memorial Plaza, with all of the buzz and energy that the Festival weekend brings. But the important traditions will carry on in new and exciting ways; the opportunity to hear writers read from and discuss their works, and the chance to engage in ideas and discourse that are vital today. Writers will join us from around the country, and we will also share some sites and literary history from Tennessee,” said Humanities Tennessee Literature and Language Program Director Serenity Gerbman.

“We are energized by the chance to reach audiences of all types who aren’t able to visit Nashville in person but who will be able to join the Festival from anywhere in the world. The celebration of the written word will continue, and we hope you will join us Oct. 1-11.”

Confirmed authors include actor, comedian, and writer Michael Ian Black, poet Nikky Finney, Devil in the White City author Erik Larson, author and Parnassus owner Ann Patchett, and former U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethway. For the full roster of 100 authors click here.

“Now more than ever we need to find ways to connect with each other and foster community.  Ingram Content Group proudly supports Humanities Tennessee and its decision to virtually host the Southern Festival of Books this fall.  The free programming offered during the festival and throughout the year is vital to the region as it prompts us to reflect upon stories and ideas of all kinds,” said Ingram President and CEO Shawn Morin.

By necessity, the Festival’s annual Authors In The Round fundraising dinner will also transition to a virtual format with details forthcoming.

“We look forward to all we will learn presenting this year’s Festival online, so that when we return in 2021 with the Festival and “Authors In The Round” dinner in person, both events will be energized to celebrate community, literature, and learning as never before,” said Humanities Tennessee Executive Director Tim Henderson.

For more information, visit the Humanities Tennessee website 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.}