The Lynchburg Times Top 10 stories of 2020

Big changes at the distillery, a playoff run and Mr. Football finalist for the MCHS Raiders, a fiber Internet expansion, and a community coming together in a global pandemic – these are some of our Top 10 headlines from 2020. (File Photos)

Just because Lynchburg’s located in a small Tennessee county doesn’t mean we don’t experience big headlines that trickle through the nation. In 2020, The Lynchburg Times covered lots of headlines. Here are our top 10:

10. Buddy the Beagle gets his own Facebook Page | There’s famous and then there’s Lynchburg famous and Buddy the Beagle is definitely the later. Whether he’s cruising the historic Lynchburg Square looking to score some snacks or up at the Jack Daniel’s Visitor’s Center getting belly rubs from the tourist, Buddy is nothing if not popular. In January, one of Buddy’s friends at Jack, Allison Goodwin Hartung, decided he deserved his very own Facebook page. You can follow his hijinks there. Click here to read that story.

9. Nearest Green and Jack Daniel distillery create diversity partnership | Much of the foundational history of Lynchburg revolves around the unlikely friendship of two men, Jasper Newton Daniel and Nathan “Nearest” Green. Even if you don’t know it, the two shaped Moore County in countless ways that still echo today. So in June it felt fitting that their two distilleries would partner to shape the future of the distilling industry in ways that would have made both men proud. Together, they made a $5 million pledge to launch the Nearest Green School of Distilling, develop the Leadership Acceleration Program (LAP) for apprenticeships and establish the Business Incubation Program (BIP), which is focused on providing expertise and resources to African Americans entering the spirits industry as entrepreneurs. Click here to read that story.

8. Moore County deputy and subject exchange fire | Officer involved shootings are a rarity in Moore County, but in May a Moore County Sheriff’s Deputy and a suicidal subject exchanged fire at a home on Powell Hollow Road. The subject made a full recovery and no charges were filed in the standard TBI investigation that followed. Click here to read that story.

7. Barrel Tax issue fails … again | In 2012, Moore County voters voted down an attempt to levy a separate tax on Jack Daniel’s Distillery barrels. At the time, opponents of the ballot measure argued that it would be an “industry killer” and in 2018 the Tennessee Legislature showed their agreement by passing HB 2038 and SB 2076, bills that clarified that “Tennessee whiskey barrels [should] remain exempt from property tax.” Despite those facts, the issue seems to pop up in Lynchburg every few years. That’s exactly what happened in May when Metro Council member Wayne Hawkins made a presentation asking his fellow council members to approve money to legally revisit the issue. Much discussion ensued, but ultimately the motion failed by a 9-3 margin. Click here to read that story.

6. Kip Moore, Josh Turner, and Justin Moore headlines Lynchburg Music Fest | Lots of local events got cancelled or rescheduled in 2020 but with a brand new sprawling farm venue located in rural Mulberry and plenty of room to social distance, the Lynchburg Music Festival kept their October 4 date and snagged some outstanding acts. In August, they announced that Long Black Train crooner Josh Turner and two Academy of Country Music’s New Artists of the Year Kip Moore and Justin Moore (no relation) would headline. Click here to read that story.

5. Chris Fletcher replaces Jeff Arnett as Jack Daniel Master Distiller | In September, Jeff Arnett shocked Lynchburg and much of the whiskey-making world by announcing his departure from one of the best industry jobs in the world, Jack Daniel Master Distiller. Click here to read that story. Nearly a month later, the distillery announced that the Assistant Master Distiller and grandson of former Master Distiller Frank Bobo, Chris Fletcher, would take over the top spot. Click here to read that story.

4. Kris White replaces Jason Dobbs as MCHS Raider football head coach | In May, Raider Head Football Coach Jason Dobbs announced he was resigning his position at MCHS to pursue an opportunity at Oakland High School in Murfreesboro. Click here to read that story. Later that month, Director of School Chad Moorehead announced that an old coach would be the new head coach, Kris White. He would lead the Raiders to a 10-1 regular season and a playoff run. Click here to read that story.

3. Monster Broadband wins $1.1 million fiber grant | As the COVID 19 situation worsened, more and more Moore County residents depended on the Internet to work, attend classes, and connect online. In August, a local Internet company, Monster Broadband, applied for an were awarded a $1.1 million grant through the state’s Coronavirus Relief Fund that added 26 new miles of fiber Internet into our tiny county. In October, Metro Moore County applied for funding that added two more roads, Goodbranch and Goosebranch, to Monster’s fiber expansion. Click here to read that story.

2. Raiders make the playoffs; Parker named Mr. Football finalist | After their 10-1 regular season, the Moore County Raiders made a playoff run with not one but two Mr. Football nominees on their roster: Kaden White and Kyler Parker. On November 6, they beat the Wayne County Wildcats 49-14 and then moved passed Huntington on November 13 by a score of 42-22. Moore County ended their season on November 20 with a 38-29 loss to Fayetteville City, who would move on to win their first ever TSSAA Class 1A Football Championship with a 20-14 win over South Pittsburg. Raider QB Kyler Parker would go on to be named as one of the three Class A Mr. Football finalist. Hunter Frame of South Pittsburg ultimately won the award on December 8.

1. COVID-19 virus hits Moore County | Lynchburg may exist inside the second smallest of Tennessee’s 95 counties but the COVID-19 global pandemic created as many headlines here as in bigger cities. By March, confirmed cases of the virus started popping up throughout southern, middle Tennessee including as close as Bedford, Coffee, Franklin, Grundy, and Lincoln counties. On April 29, the Lynchburg Nursing Center confirmed its first case – the fourth in the county. As of the last day of 2020, Moore County has experienced 701 total cases of COVID-19 and lost six friends and neighbors to the virus. •

{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.}

Essential: Lynchburg’s town dog Buddy the Beagle

{Editor’s Note: This is the second of a multi-part series highlighting all the essential folks in Moore County. Readers nominated each interview subject. Susan Staley nominated Buddy. To nominate someone, email editor@lynchburg-times.com.}

Buddy the Beagle
With the Jack Daniel Visitor’s Center closed to tours, Lynchburg’s town dog, Buddy the Beagle, has been roaming a little wider footprint to keep an eye on the locals. {Lynchburg Times Photo}

The rounds for Lynchburg’s town dog, Buddy the Beagle, are generally pretty simple. He leaves his Main Street home and meanders through the square on his way to the Jack Daniel Visitor’s Center. There, he serves as a sort of “unofficial” welcoming committed to the 300,000 plus visitors that flock to Moore County each year. But recently, since Jack Daniel’s Distillery closed to public tours, he’s been widening his footprint.

“I sometime head down to Barrelhouse BBQ. Chuck’s always good for a snack,” he says. “There are some folks down near the water department that leave me fresh water. I like that. There are also some neighborhood kids I’m fond off.”

Since most experts agree that COVID-19 can’t be transmitted to dogs and cats, Buddy says he feels an extra responsibility to check on the locals here in the town he loves.

“I don’t really feel the need to take any precautions … except maybe with a few of those Square Cats. No need to pratice social distancing,” he says. “I’m also not real fond of those silly masks, but I love belly rubs and ear scratches.”

Buddy says he can’t wait for the tours to return to Jack Daniel but he understands the need for the precautions.

“I feel the anxiety of the humans around me,” he says. “I know this is a stressful time. I guess that’s why I’m determined to deliver as much unconditional love as possible every single day.” •

{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.}

Buddy the Beagle gets his own Facebook page

Some folks have a town dog. Lynchburg has it’s own distillery dog and now Buddy the Beagle has his own social media page. {Photo Provided}

LOCAL NEWS — For Jack Daniel’s hardest working canine, life can be exhausting. From sneaking treats from local tour guides to free belly rubs from any of the 300,000 visitors who come through Lynchburg each year … Buddy’s work is rarely done.

Those of you who know and love Buddy the Beagle can now follow him on his very own Facebook page. Click here for a link. The page is run by Jack employee Alison Goodwin Hartung.

On it, you can chronicle his adventures from greeting tourists, taking golf cart rides with tour guides, overseeing the landscaping crew, or taking selfies with locals. He’s also been known to get rides home in the evening from Jack Daniel security. He’s even been known to be featured regularly in this newspaper. Everybody loves Buddy. So go on over and give his page a like. •

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently owned and operated community 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.}