New bill seeks to make Juneteenth an official Tennessee holiday

President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863 as the nation approached its second bloody year of the American Civil War. In it, Lincoln proclaimed, “that all persons held as slaves, within the rebellious states are, and henceforward shall be free.” But news traveled slow before the age of social media and 24/7 news. Or maybe the folks in Texas – the most remote of the slave states with few Union soldiers present to enforce the proclamation – drug their feet. Either way, slavery remained the status quo in Texas well beyond what was lawful.

That changed on June 19, 1865 when Union Army General Gordon Granger traveled to Galveston, Texas to publicly read federal orders letting all Black slaves know they were free. That day, became known as Juneteenth.

At first, June 19 was only celebrated regionally in Texas with church-centered community meals but eventually the holiday spread throughout the South and eventually the United States. Today, friends and families across the nation will celebrate with cookouts, street festivals, and public remembrances.

In Tennessee, Juneteenth is recognized as a special day of observance but not an official state holiday. That could change if new legislation passes the General assembly. On Tuesday, Rep. Antonio Parkinson (D-Memphis) introduced a bill that would make Juneteenth an official state holiday.

JC Penney, Target, Twitter, the NFL and others give their employees a paid day off to celebrate. Banks such as Chase and Fifth Thirds Bank will close early that day. This year, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Virginia Governor Ralph Northam will also give state workers the day off and say they intend to make the day a state holiday.

To voice your opinion, contact Moore County’s representatives Representative Iris Rudder at 615-741-8695 or Senator Shane Reeves at 615-741-1066. •

{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.}

7 Things To Do This Weekend

Saturday is the first day of summer and so it is with great excitement that The Lynchburg Times relaunches one of its favorite weekly features, Seven Things. We’ve searched hundreds of websites and social media page so you don’t have to. These are our seven favorite things happening in middle Tennessee this weekend. Enjoy and remember to maintain social distancing

1 | Adopt a Beehive at Tims Ford State Park — Did you know that Tims Ford State Park in Franklin County sells its own locally-produced honey? It’s true. Park officials recently installed two honeybee hives and locals can adopt either a single bee, a colony, or the complete hive. Learn more by clicking here.

2 | Dirty Dancing and Footloose at the Montana — Thursday is the last day to see a pair of iconic 80’s films at the local drive in. Dirty Dancing will begin at 8:30 p.m. on June 18 and Footloose will follow at 10:25 p.m. The Montana Drive In is located at 10251 Tullahoma Highway. To read our complete coverage on this event, click here.

3 | Free Screening of My Friend Karl — Did you know that Tullahoma boasts it’s very own documentary film maker? Tullahoma High School student and filmmaker Colin Shuran recently finished his first, feature-length documentary – a film title, My Friend Karl – and you can watch it for free, under the stars on Friday, June 19 around dusk at the South Jackson Civic Center. The film tells the story an unlikely friendship through the lens of mental illness, homelessness, and advocacy. It’s a great teaching film for all ages.

4 | DJ Dusty at the Hard Dock Cafe — Oh, hello grandmother? We’re not sure where this catch phrase came from exactly but if you are from around here you know exactly who it belongs to. He’s a Lynchburg Elementary School teacher, a Jack Daniel’s tour guide, and a one-of-a-kind personality. He also happens to be a fabulous DJ who will keep you smiling and dancing all night. He’ll be at the Hard Dock Cafe at Tims Ford Marina beginning at 6 PM on Saturday.

5 | Hike to Horsepound Falls — Saturday marks the first day of summer and the perfect day for a hike. South Cumberland State Park officials plan an organized hike to Horsepound Falls on Saturday, June 20. You’ll experience two falls, a creek, and maybe if you are lucky the tailend of the spring wildflowers. Read our complete coverage by clicking here.

6 | Watrace Summer Concert Series — Live music outside by the historic railroad tracks? Yes please. On Saturday, June 19 head into this charming, historic railroad town for the Wartrace MusicFest Summer Concert series. It happens every third Saturday at 6 p.m. and features live music, shopping, craft beer and pizza from the Iron Pizzeria. Saturday’s line up includes Goodbye June, Kiss Kiss Bang, The Blue Trees, The Cold Stares, Sweet Fever, and Fred Reilly.

7 | Acoustic Jam at Tims Ford State Park — Some nights you’re a picker and other nights you’re a grinner. On Saturday, June 20 you can be either at the All Acoustic Open Jam Night hosted by David Watson Music. The music starts at 5: 30 p.m. at the state park’s Recreation Building and it’s open to musicians of all levels and abilities. To learn more, click here.

Emergency COVID-19 cash available for some Moore County families

The global COVID-19 pandemic caught many local families off guard. State emergency cash assistance seeks to help families through to the other side. {File Photo}

STATE NEWS — The COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult for all of us … but for some, especially those who have lost income, it’s been more difficult than others. Time is running out to apply for Emergency Cash Assistance offered through the Tennessee Department of Human services.

The program provides two monthly cash payment to families that were unemployed as of March 11, 2020, and have lost a job or lost 50 percent of their earned income due to the COVID-19 emergency.

To apply online, click here. The state will accept application through June 30. The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program provides the emergency funding. If approved, applicant will receive a $500 (up to two person household), a $750 (up to four person household), or a $1000 (for a household of five or more) award.

According to their website, to be eligible, families must have been employed as of March 11, 2020 but have since then lost employment or at least 50 percent of their earned income due to the COVID-19 emergency, include a child under the age of 18 or a pregnant woman, have a valid Social Security Number, must not have resources exceeding $2000, and the gross and/or unearned monthly income may not exceed 85 percent of the State’s Median Income. Click here for complete details.

Emergency COVID-19 funds are available in addition to any unemployment benefits individuals in the family may receive, according to the state. •

{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.}

Census workers headed to Moore County as early as July

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

Avoided the Census so far? Time is running out to respond via mail or online and those Moore County citizens who have yet to respond to the 2020 Census should expect a knock at their door … maybe as early as July, the Census Bureau announced last week.

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.

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.

If you choose not to voluntarily respond online, by phone, or by mail, then a U.S. Census worker will visit your home to collect the information in person. By law, they can come back up to six times.

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. Census numbers help determine how billions in federal dollars are spent. They also determine how many seats in Congress the State of Tennessee gets. 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.}

No State Fair this year; 2021 event set for Sept. 10

There will be no midway this year at The Fairgrounds Nashville. Organizers have decided to postpone the Tennessee State Fair until 2021. {Photo Courtesy of the TN State Fair}

STATE NEWS — No midway rides … no funnel cakes … no livestock judging.

For the first time since World War II, organizers cancelled the Tennessee State Fair in Nashville due to COVID-19 concerns. In a press release, State Fair Manager Scott Jones emphasized the fair would be postponed until 2021 but had every intention of continuing it’s long and storied 150-year history. To view that press release, click here.

“We’re just doing what we believe is in the best interest of the health and well being of those who walk through our gates each year,” Jones said.

It’s a decision that Jones and the Tennessee State Fair Association Board did not come to lightly. They held lengthy sessions twice last week to discuss their options, weighing both the public’s general safety as well as those whose livelihood depends on the Fair each year.

In particular, organizers were concerned that the reduced State Fair footprint would make social distancing especially challenging. The midway area had been reduced in size to make way for the construction of the new Major League Soccer stadium, according to the release.

“The more we talked with local and state officials, gathered information from those involved with other similar events, and discussed the topic thoroughly within our own board, we came to the conclusion that it would be best this year to not host a traditional State Fair,” Jones said.

The event, originally planned for September 11-20, will still host some, open-to-the-public virtual fair activities. Plans being considered, according to Jones, include contests, exhibits, the presence of certain carnival-like vendors, and virtual and/or digital events. Jones and the all-volunteer board felt it was important for the State Fair to have a presence in 2020 even in a much smaller form.

Next year’s Tennessee State Fair is already planned to begin on September 10, 2021. For more information, visit the Tennessee State Fair 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.}

Mayor Lewis: Fill out those 2020 Census forms

Moore County currently ranks 11th in the state for self-response in the 2020 Census. Mayor Lewis is encouraging locals to keep up the good work. {File Photo}

LYNCHBURG — Be counted. It’s important. Census numbers determine things like how much federal funding Metro Moore County can qualify for, how our political districts are drawn, and future county planning. That’s why Mayor Bonnie Lewis is encouraging all local to respond to this year’s Census.

On April 2, The Lynchburg Times reported that Moore County ranked number one in state Census responses. You can read that complete coverage by clicking here. As of last week, Moore County’s self-response was 66.1 percent, which is above both the state and national average of 60.6 percent. That places us is eleventh place overall for the state of Tennessee.

Remember, if you do not participate via self-response, a 2020 Census taker will visit your home. By law, they can come back up to six times.

Why do I have to participate? In short, it’s the law. The U.S. Constitution – Article 1, Section 2 to be exact – mandates that we take an accurate counting of all living persons inside the United Stated every 10 years.

Who is counted? The Census counts every person living inside the United Stated regardless of citizenship. The 2020 Census does not include a citizenship question.

What does the Census ask? 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.

Will they keep my information private? Yes … but only for a certain amount of time. All Census answers remain anonymous and they are kept confidential for 72 years. After that, your information is released to the National Archives.

What happens if I don’t answer the form? If you choose not to voluntarily respond online, by phone, or by mail before May 1, then a U.S. Census worker will visit your home to collect the information in person.

What should I do if I suspect the person at my door doesn’t really work for the U.S. Census? 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. Census numbers help determine how billions in federal dollars are spent. They also determine how many seats in Congress the State of Tennessee gets. 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.}

COVID-19 Update: 5 Things You Need to Know This Week

{Graphic Courtesy of the TN Dept. of Health}

With the announcement of Friday’s numbers at 2 p.m., Tennessee reported 25,520 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the last seven days (3,435 more than the previous week). Our state experienced 48 new deaths this week. According to the state, 16,925 total COVID-19 patients have recovered. That’s around 66 percent of reported cases. As of today, 482,172 of Tennessee’s 6.8 million residents have been tested. Here’s the top five things you need to know for today:

1 | COVID cases are on the rise. The seven day period from Saturday to Friday saw an increase of 3,435 cases this week. That’s a 1,545 increase over the previous seven day period.

2 | Judge rules in favor of mail in voting. On Thursday, a Davidson County judge ruled that Tennessee must allow all 4.1 million registered voters to vote by mail due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The decision overrules Secretary of State Tre Hargett’s office who’d stated that fear of catching the virus was not a reason to expand absentee voting.

3 | Fairs, festivals, and parades are a go. Also on Thursday, Governor Bill Lee announces that the state would lift restrictions on larger events in 89 of Tennessee’s 95 counties. Attendees are still encouraged to social distance and wear a mask.

4 | Tennessee’s Lake County leads U.S. in number of active cases per capita. After an outbreak at an area prison, Lake County — a small town in the northwest corner of the state with a population of just over 7,500 — has reported 352 new cases over the past seven days. Local officials attribute the spike to an outbreak at Northwest Correctional Complex. However, online records for the prison show only 230 inmates as positive for the virus, according to the Associated Press.

5| Tennessee stops distributing free sock masks after discovering that they had been sprayed with the chemical known as Silvadur. According to North Carolina manufacturer who supplied them, Silvadur is an anti-microbial agent commonly applied to fabrics to reduce growth of bacteria that cause odor. The state ordered an independent safety study and asks those who already possess the masks to use them “at their own discretion.”

{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.}

Lynchburg small businesses may automatically qualify for federal COVID-19 relief dollars

To learn more about the types of Lynchburg small businesses that automatically qualify for federal Coronavirus Relief dollars, visits the links at the end of the article. {File Photo}

Attention small business owners: Governor Lee this week announced $200 million in federal Coronavirus Relief Funds through the Department of Revenue. And the best news, there’s no need to apply. Awards will be made directly to small business based on their annual gross sales.

Examples of Lynchburg business that may automatically qualify are beauty shops, restaurants, hotels, attractions like museums, and artists. Additionally, retail stores that had their sales reduced by at least 25 percent, as shown on their April sales tax returns, will also qualify.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has created immense economic pain across our state and especially among small businesses that faced temporary closure,” said Governor Lee. “As we responsibly steward our federal stimulus money we have worked to quickly prioritize our small businesses and I thank the work of the Financial Stimulus Accountability Group for their partnership in this.”

Roughly 28,000 Tennessee businesses are expected to qualify, with more than 73 percent of those businesses earning annual gross sales of $500,000 or less.

To read the complete press release, click here. To learn more about business qualifications, visit the Department of Revenue’s 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.}

The cicadas are coming … but only to parts of Moore County

Lynchburg photographer Michelle Barnett got this cool shot of a just molted cicada the last time they were in town. {Photo Credit: Michelle Barnett Photography}

They crawl out of the ground once every 13 or 17 years to roam the southern landscape and fill the air with their high-pitched screams. Sounds like the beginning of a Southern Gothic horror novel doesn’t it? But in fact, it’s just the return of the cicada to southern, middle Tennessee.

Tennessee happens to be one of the rare states in which both the 17-year and the 13-year cicada emerges periodically. In 2020, Brood X will return after a 17 year hiatus filling our southern night air with eardrum-splitting songs. If you live in one of Moore County’s famous hollers, you know the natural acoustic can make the critters hard to escape.

According to the University of Tennessee Department of Entomology, in Tennessee, Brood XIX of the 13-year cicada had a spectacular emergence and is expected to re-emerge in 2024. In 1987, Brood X of the 17-year cicada emerged across the state and did the same in 2004. Brood X is expected to re-emerge in 2020-21. Brood X has the largest emergence of individuals for the 17-year cicada in the United States. Brood XXIII of the 13-year cicada emerged in May 2015.

Brood X may make it to the southern parts of Moore County that border both Lincoln and Franklin counties. {Graphic Courtesy of UT}

An insect with a story

The red eyed insects are the subject of numerous old wives tales and superstitions. Native Americans believed cicadas were an evil omen and early American Colonists often thought they were a symbol of a biblical locust plague despite the fact that cicadas and locusts are two different species.

Cicadas don’t, in fact, devour crops and fields. True, female cicadas may damage trees while laying eggs but for the most part no long-term harm is done though homeowners and farmers should take precautions to protect very young trees. Cicadas also do not sting.

All that shrieking you’ll hear is actually a mating call from the male in his attempts to attract a female. Once they mate and the female lays eggs, cicadas aren’t long for this world. After emerging from their 17-years under ground, they only spend five to six weeks above ground before they die.

To learn more about them, visit the UT Institute of Agriculture page devoted to them by clicking 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.}

Lynchburg native John Majors dies

Most folks in Lynchburg knew him as John but assistant coaches and players called him Johnny. John Terrill Majors died on June 3 at the age of 85. {Photo Provided}

Checkered board flag will be lowered to half mast across the state today as Tennessee fans learn that legendary UT coach and Lynchburg native John Terrill Majors has died at the age of 85.

Born in Lynchburg o n May 21, 1935 to Shirley and Elizabeth Majors, John and his siblings Larry, Shirley Ann, Bill, and Joe grew up in Lynchburg. Moore County’s Majors Boulevard is named for the famous family.

Though most Lynchburg folks and family called him John, as both a player and coach he was better known as Johnny Majors. Majors played at Moore County High School, Huntland High School, and the University of Tennessee as a player. Famed UT coach Robert Neyland once famously stated that Majors was, “greatest single-wing tailback in Tennessee history.”

He began his coaching career as the head coach of the Iowa State Cyclones, where he stayed for five seasons before moving on to the same position at Pittsburgh. It was with the Panthers that Majors earned the majority of his collegiate coaching success.

Majors coached two different stints at Pittsburgh. From 1973-76, he served as head coach at Pitt. During that time he not only helped running back Tony Dorsett win the Heisman, but also put together a perfect 12-0 season and a national championship run. The Panthers beat Georgia 27-3 in the Sugar Bowl to take home the trophy.

Afterwards, Majors headed back to the Volunteer State to take over at his alma mater, the University of Tennessee in 1977. He remained there until 1992. Following his UT coaching career, he returned to Pitt as head coach from 1993-96 and stayed on as a Special Assistant to the Athletic Director and Chancelor until the summer of 2007.

In a statement released by the family, John’s wife of 61 years, Mary Lynn Majors said, “It’s with a sad heart that we make this announcement. John passed away this morning. He spent his last hours doing something he dearly loved: looking out over his cherished Tennessee River.”

John Majors was preceded in death by his parents, Shirley and Elizabeth Majors; and two brothers, Bill Majors and Joe Majors. In addition to his wife, Mary Lynn (Barnwell) Majors, Coach Majors is survived by his two children, John and Mary; seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. He is additionally survived by his sister, Shirley Ann Husband; brothers Larry and Bobby; and numerous nieces and nephews.

A memorial service at St. John’s Cathedral will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family has asked for contributions to the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra or a charity. •

{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.}