Monthly Archives: March 2020

Tough Times

This pandemic will hurt us economically.  Find a way to support our local businesses.  I’m not going to try and list the ways you can do that, but be diligent in working toward community sustainability by finding creative ways to help as many of our businesses stay open as possible.  I’m going to be doing some local shopping tomorrow at the front end of this self-imposed quarantine to try and do my part.  The situation is going to be getting considerably worse before it gets better.  I am fortunate to be in a situation that affects me less than our local entrepreneurs, and I’m going to try and ensure I don’t enjoy that alone.  We are all in this together.  I encourage some of our local businesses to comment on this post to show ways you are working to reach your customers.  If any of my local business friends need help in setting up things like Google Meet to reach their customers, then I would love to help you.  I can see local businesses, like yoga studios, meeting online.  It actually seems like a pretty cool concept.  My family will join in.  Share those types of opportunities and get with me to increase exposure.

I still see posts in which people are downplaying the current situation.  I encourage you to look up social media posts coming out of affected countries and see what those people are saying about the virus.  It is bad.  Older and at-risk people are dying at a much higher rate, and their capacity to deal with the outbreak at current infrastructure levels is becoming catastrophic.  People in critical conditions are unable to get the care they need which causes more deaths.  They do not understand the resistance we are expressing to preventative measures.  My sincere hope is that a few months from now, those same people are still saying we overreacted because we effectively stemmed the outbreak.

The CDC’s recommendation to close schools for 8 weeks has put our populace on notice that the measures to effectively deal with this outbreak are substantial.  At this point, there have been no announcements to go that route, but the prospect of extended closures is very real.  In three weeks, the number of cases, deaths, and hospitalizations will have undoubtedly increased.  I’m so proud of our school system for mobilizing to increase access to food and partnering with RTC for access to the internet.   RTC continues to be a valuable partner in so many ways, and I’m thankful for their commitment to our community.

Your local governments, along with our businesses and residents, are continually working to mitigate the spread of the virus, sustain services, and help those in need.  Our people have the heart to serve and this will be another example of how we overcome challenges together.


Mayor Millwood


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Dealing with Corona

I felt it coming, but it was still a shock when our schools announced a two-week closure (three weeks with spring break).  My classroom is moving online.  Tomorrow, all of us will begin the process of filling our Google Classrooms with instruction, practice, and interactive tools to supplement the time missing from the classroom.  Teacher in-service promises to be busy with a different kind of teaching in mind.  Many of us are excited about this challenge and looking forward to giving our students great options for digital learning.  My wife and I have already spoken about teaching each other’s kids by creating instructional videos.  This will be fun.  Plans are being put into place for students without the internet and in our free/reduced lunch programs.  All those details haven’t been fully worked out, but they are ongoing with love for our students in mind.  Our SCHOOL WEBSITE will have relevant information as we work toward having something in place beginning Monday, March 16th.

I am also looking forward to having a little more time to help from a City of Ringgold perspective.  Ensuring our emergency personnel are supported has moved to the top of our priority list.  We are also thinking about things from a long term economic perspective.  I have high hopes in that regard, but a cautious outlook would be wise.  Our council will be discussing how to best prepare by analyzing potential revenue changes and addressing our budget accordingly. Projects such as additional sidewalks, dog parks, and capital improvements may need to be delayed while monitor the situation as it unfolds.

Personally, I will be doing my best to be available to you and our city personnel as much as possible.  My phone number is 423-653-7446.  Addressing your concerns and questions about city or school issues will be my main focus throughout this process.  I am thankful for our school superintendent and staff, experienced city/county leaders, and especially our parents who are suddenly shouldering a much different challenge.  The goal is social distancing, so let’s slow this virus down together… not getting together.  Stay safe Ringgold.

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Endorsing Colton Moore

I am endorsing Colton Moore over Jeff Mullis for our area’s 53rd state senate seat.  He is unafraid to stand up to the current power structure and will continue to fight for what is right.  As a state representative, he worked for educators to eliminate the discipline aspect in our state’s CCRPI scores in order to allow our schools to effectively deal with bad behavior.  The fact that he understands what is hurting our morale in the schools is so refreshing, and I hope my fellow teachers take note that he gets to the root of problems to enact change.

Representative Moore also tried to pass constitutional carry for our state and has consistently stood up or our 1st amendment rights as well.  During Colton’s term as a state representative, his frustrations at being blocked and talked down to by Jeff Mullis lead him to tackle the problem directly and run for that seat.  I admire his tenacity and ability to go right to the source of the problem and launch a public challenge to make a difference.

When I won the mayoral election as an outsider, politics in Ringgold had been poisoned by cronyism and getting things done was about who you knew and how well you fell in line with the power structure.  Having a public opinion that spoke directly to the voters was heavily frowned upon and attacked as causing division among elected officials.  Specifically, one thing caused a great amount of turmoil on my council.  When our charter was changed by senator Mullis without the council or public being given an opportunity to discuss, it became even more apparent that backroom deals are alive and well within my city.

One of my councilmen absolutely ripped me during an open meeting and argued that I was potentially costing our city millions of dollars.  My fellow councilman eloquently spoke about how I was endangering our “most favored nation” status.  What he was saying, without actually saying it, was that our city would be punished because I was speaking out against a piece of legislation at our state capitol slipped in by our current state senator.  I also received an intimidating text message from Mullis telling me, “I would change direction if I were you” and accusing me of dirty politics.  He consequently chose to fund Paul Lee’s candidacy in the city of Ringgold, and some of the dirtiest politics came about as a result of that funding.  I encourage you to ask Jeff Mullis what his justification is for supporting Paul Lee’s attempt to lead your city.

This is the main reason I am endorsing Colton: He checks his ego at the door and focuses on what’s right for the voters.  Insisting on a public conversation about difficult topics and not demonizing, threatening, or marginalizing opposition should be the order of the day. It is time to start building a positive political environment in our district.

At some point, politicians can become more enamored with themselves, other politicians, Political Action Committees, and big donors as opposed to the people who elect them.  Two of the senator’s recent bills come from this mindset.  One was called the “Casey Cagle Bill”.  It was an attempt to limit people’s rights to record their own conversations as they see fit.  This session, he introduced a bill nicknamed the “liar” bill which would limit citizen’s rights to address their legislature.  If you are deemed as lying to the legislature, it strips your right to address the legislature for the rest of the session.  A second offense would result in a lifetime ban.  The legislators aren’t held to that same standard,  but it’s now law that you are.  Also, the wild amount of money Senator Mullis brings in from PACs like payday and title lenders and Insurance Companies also leaves me wondering if he is looking out for the best interest of voters or the insurance companies and loan shark businesses contributing to him.

I am speaking from my own experience, and I can relate to Colton’s experience he has had at the state capitol.  Having an opinion contrary to one of the area’s political “higher-ups” should be something he listens to and embraces.  The feeling in the county is that you cannot publicly disagree with our state senator or he will come after you politically and use the state purse strings or his campaign war chest to punish you.  He has systematically worked to fill local elections with candidates who are loyal to him.

I truly believe Colton is not that kind of politician.  I have had personal conversations with him, and I’m sold on his commitment to do the right thing.  It was no easy decision to walk away from his state representative seat in order to continue his fight more effectively, but the best among us run toward the problems.  Please mark April 27th on your phone or calendar as the beginning of early voting and bring a breath of fresh air to our local politics by casting your ballot for Colton Moore.

Colton’s Facebook Page


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