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SOUTHERN MIDDLE TENNESSEE TODAY 10/7/22

Updated: 8 hours ago

All news stories are aggregated from various sources and modified for time and content. Original sources are cited.


We start with Local News

Judicial Center Plans (CDH)

More detailed plans are still not yet known for the approved Maury County Judicial Center, but a recent county meeting revealed that they would soon be forthcoming.

Maury County Building Committee members had their hands full with new details on a broad scope of projects at their monthly meeting this week, including constructing a Maury County Judicial Center, building a new Agriculture Center, making upgrades to Yanahli Park and conducting restorative maintenance on the Memorial Building and historic courthouse.

Judicial center project floor plans, or architectural design documents, will be introduced on Oct. 31.

Some plans on the projects could be coming closer to fruition.

County owner advocate Hewlett Spencer, which is working on all construction for the county, gave a presentation to the building committee with four representatives present to address questions.

The presentation was in part, a response to some new commissioners’ concerns in recent weeks about how the judicial center was approved and how it will arrive at or under the $30 million projected cost.

The former Daily Herald building is undergoing demolition this week to make way for the new multi-floor complex that would accommodate overflow at the aging 7th Street historic Columbia Courthouse.

Jamie Spencer and Steve Hewlett offered the presentation as a chance for newly-elected county leaders to learn about the process the company follows, including sitework, design, project coordination and construction.

They explained that "change orders" for project plans are the fear with all municipality construction projects, which can lead to increased costs.

Hewlett Spencer’s price tag of $30 million for the judicial center is one the company stated it could stick to last summer before the new commission took office — as long as the commission does not try to entirely reinvent the wheel.

Steve Hewlett addressed concerns that new commissioners like Gabe Howard have had prior to the new judicial center’s groundbreaking.

Howard is now a commissioner on the building committee and continued to ask why Hewlett Spencer did not have more detailed plans yet for the judicial center.

Both Hewlett and Spencer emphasized that the project was not far enough along and that architectural plans would soon give more information regarding details like the interior build and materials of the new center.

With a guaranteed maximum price, Hewlett explained, projects are open to lowest bid costs, but there is also a high risk for the bid winner to take change orders back to their respective municipalities.

“We always stay on budget,” Hewlett said. “We have never gone back and asked for more money.”

Spencer offered that the company acts as “watchdogs” for the county’s funds, highlighting recent projects and savings they had accrued during construction, but leaving the door open for the county to make their own proposed changes with what he called “add-alternates.”

If the county voted on extras for the center, they would have to propose and vote upon any added project costs to the center.

The company confirmed it does make money on the savings for each project, but that the county receives 80% of that, while their company takes 20%.

Some projects have larger amounts of savings than others, Spencer said.

“We don’t always have large [project] savings,” he said. “But there is always an effort on the front end for savings.”

Asked if a dispute over a project should arise during the site work, Hewlett said, if their team could not solve the problem their team would “come back to the customer,” – in this case, the county commission.

“We’re going to determine what we can build for $30 million,” Hewlett said.

Commissioner Howard referred to other judicial centers around the state as a point of comparison, mentioning how nice the millwork and oak walls were in Dickson County, to which Hewlett responded that their architect would make those determinations and present more of those details at month’s end.

Originally having a suggested cost by Hewlett Spencer of more than $32 million for the center, the previous commission agreed upon an even $30 million.

Referencing that adjustment with the metaphor of options on a new car purchase, Hewlett said that at that cost, "you may not have navigation and a sunroof.”

During public comments, Maury County public defender Travis Jones said he cared less about the aesthetics, but more about providing necessary court space, mentioning that the Mt. Pleasant courthouse project fell short of necessary space.

“There were some things that I think probably got cut out, that make it a horrible usage building for attorneys,” Jones said. “There is no attorney space, no victim witness space.”

Jones made a plea to the committee and pointed comments toward Hewlett Spencer to make sure someone who is familiar with judicial centers like a lawyer, clerk or judge be involved in the planning process so that nothing is left out.

Former county commission chairman Don Morrow also suggested that the new center be named for the Kennedy and Finney media families which once owned and operated the now demolished Daily Herald building.

Sam Kennedy being a particular reference point, Morrow said he served as a county executive and attorney as well as publisher of the Herald before the Finney family and considers it appropriate to name the judicial facility in their honor.

Spencer said Oct. 31 is the company’s planned release of updated design documents that will not give a final picture but at least provide the updated pricing based on an initial floor plan.

Weather permitting, demolition of the former Herald building is scheduled to be complete by Oct. 24. The new Daily Herald office that houses newspaper staff is located at 609 Garden Street in Columbia.

For the site to be pad ready, Spencer said Nov. 28 is the deadline, with underground utility work to begin the same week.

In other business, Maury County Director of Parks, Al Ray explained concept plans for the planned event center as part of the comprehensive Yanahli Park complex.

Along with a new 1,500 square feet event center, the Yanahli Park complex would include the University of Tennessee Agriculture Extension administrative offices and Maury County Parks Department administrative offices under one roof, encompassing 6,404 square feet.

The space will be used to give the county more office space and allow collaboration between departments. as well as provide more meeting venue options in Maury County.

“It will serve as the office for Yanahli Park, giving us a place for programming staff to work from and some programs to be held,” Ray wrote in an email.

Other county projects include historical-grade restorations to the Memorial Building in Columbia, an expansion of the Maury County Archives, and roof work for the 7th Street courthouse.


Mt. Pleasant Candidates Speak (MainStreetMaury)

During a candidate forum held last week by the Maury Chamber and Economic Alliance, two of the five candidates for Mount Pleasant’s city commission race spoke about their goals and intentions if elected. Larry C. Chapman and Pam Johnston attended and spoke at the event, while Mike Davis, Eric Harvey and Jake Sykes all had other commitments that prevented them from being there, Maury Alliance officials said. Several residents and elected leaders were on hand at Hay Long Chapel, a recently renovated venue on Hay Long Road just off the downtown square. Mount Pleasant native Chapman spoke first, laying out his goals, which include improving paving of city streets and sidewalks. “We are probably on one of the worst streets in town,” he said, speaking of Hay Long Road. “Secondly... I live close to the schools and I see a lot of the children walking up and down the sidewalks. I’d like to work with (commissioners) to repair some of the sidewalks.” He added that the city’s sewer system was a main point of concern for him, and something he’d like to work to fix. “In front of my house, every time it rains the sewer drainage builds up and raw sewer runs out in the middle of the highway. That’s not safe,” he said. “But one man or one lady can’t make a vote, it takes the collaboration of a team.” Johnston’s top goal was to make sure Mount Pleasant doesn’t outgrow its small-town atmosphere with the influx of new residents, but noted that sales tax dollars from visitors and residents would help pay for many of the needs in town, including those sidewalk projects. She previously served on the downtown committee and said her decision to run for the commission came after “accidentally” signing up to speak at a city commission meeting. “I decided it was important for me to be a part in keeping Mount Pleasant special, and also helping it grow strategically,” she said. A former resident of Nolensville, she recalled watching the town grow from farmland to another “mall-after-mall and strip malls and condos.” “It’s lost its identity,” she said. “I don’t want to see that happen in Mount Pleasant, so it’s very important to me that we grow and we grow carefully. And everything we do benefits every member of this town.” While the three other candidates were not available to speak, each of them filled out their candidate profile, which can be found at mauryalliance.com, and the video of the candidate forum is available on Main Street Maury’s Facebook page.

Pancake Day (MainStreetMaury)

Since 1959, the Columbia Noon Rotary Club has been flipping pancakes in Maury County. This year’s Pancake Day will be held on Saturday, Nov. 12 from 6 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Memorial Building on West 7th Street. The menu includes homemade pancakes, sausage and a choice of beverage. Most folks enjoy finding a seat and visiting during their meal; however, carryout is also available. “Pancake Day is the Noon Rotary Club’s largest fundraiser and allows us to serve youth and families in the Maury County community through our club projects,” stated Connie Massey, Pancake Day Chair. “The Pancake Day fundraiser is a long-standing tradition, and club members are proud to say we have made our pancakes from scratch for 60 years!” The proceeds from Pancake Day help to support Noon Rotary’s largest service projects. Noon Rotary provides over $12,000 in scholarships each year to area high school students and to one CSCC student transferring to a four-year college or university. Starting in 2021, the Noon Rotary Club began providing non-perishable food items for the Maury Regional Mobile Medical Unit. Rotary is also proud of the fact that more than 50 Eagle Scouts have come out of Scout Troop 103, a troop sponsored by Rotary since 1960. “Rotary’s motto is Service Above Self and we are proud to bring that to life in the community projects we hold each year,” Massey added. “We are blessed that for 63 years the community has allowed us the ability to serve others by coming out and attending Pancake Day!” Tickets for Pancake Day are $10 each or three for $25, and may be purchased at the door on Saturday, Nov. 12 or in advance from any Noon Rotarian. This year we are pleased to announce that children 6 and under eat FREE!

Lottery Winner (WilliamsonHomepage)

A winning $100,000 lottery ticket was sold in Spring Hill.

According to a Tennessee Lottery news release, the winning Powerball number was drawn on Saturday night and matched four out of five white balls plus the red Powerball to initially win $50,000.

That payout was doubled since the unidentified player chose the Power Play feature for a total of $100,000 in winnings.

The lucky ticket was sold at the Main Street Publix, but no further information about the winner or the winning ticket has been made public.

The Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation reports that more than $6.5 billion has been raised to fund education programs since 2004, with players winning more than $17.8 billion in prizes and Lottery retailers earning more than $1.7 billion in commissions.


Fire Prevention Week (Press Release)

October 9-15th is Fire Prevention Week nationwide and Columbia Fire & Rescue will be hosting ‘Fire Safety Day’ at Fire Station No. 1 on Friday, October 14, 2022 from 1:00-5:00pm. Firefighters will be conducting fire truck tours, offering fire extinguisher training, free popcorn and handing out free fire safety give aways while supplies last! The theme for Fire Prevention Week this year is ‘Fire Won’t Wait, Plan Your Escape’. Firefighters will be on site providing educational material and discussing the importance of having an escape plan in place before the event of an emergency. In keeping with the importance of planning ahead for emergencies The Locator 911 will also be on site for the duration of the event to discuss their revolutionary lifesaving emergency locator device! Columbia Fire & Rescue encourages the community to come out and join in on the fire safety fun!



Spring Hill Reservoir (CDH)

In the midst of immense growth and infrastructure needs, the Spring Hill Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted this week on a project to address its water and sewer capacity.

The item, which approved concept and initial engineering on an advanced water purification project, was previously presented to the BOMA in October by Assistant City Administrator Dan Allen. The project would be overseen by Thomas & Hutton engineering firm at the cost of $84,000.

Allen's presentation suggested the city purchase land to create a new water reservoir, which would increase capacity and purification for Spring Hill residents. Per the proposal, Thomas & Hutton would identify the city's treatment goals, its processes and necessary monitoring equipment. It would also work with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC).

While the proposal is estimated to provide a solution to the city's water and sewer needs, some aldermen were unsure whether enough due diligence has been done prior to approving it.

For example, Alderman Hazel Nieves said she was concerned the city was "jumping into something we don't know much about," and encouraged her fellow board leaders to seek alternative solutions, and that a decision like this should not be taken lightly.

"Taking action and to go so fast on something like this that's critical to our utility infrastructure, I don't think is very wise," Nieves said. "We're rushing into this because we were told we have like a three-and-a-half year window. Why can't we look at other alternatives as well, and why can't there be data and information for us to look through, to ask questions for something as important as this?"

Allen said, while this would be the first project of its kind in Tennessee, it has proven to work in other states, such as Georgia, California, New Mexico and Texas.

"They use a different treatment process, but essentially they use a very large reservoir as a buffer," Allen said. "The Pure Water San Diego program also has a very similar reservoir concept that we've taken a really hard look at in particular."

And as far as alternatives, Allen said city staff has done its due diligence, and that this project would be the city's best route to increase its sewer capacity in a way that's not only affordable, but environment-friendly.

City Administrator Pam Caskie added that many other states have shown proven success with the regulated reservoir buffer concept.

Alderman Trent Linville said, based on the fact this concept has worked in other states, and that city staff has taken the time to seek alternatives, that he would be in support of the pilot project.

"Frankly, we have the need to move forward to be leaders in the state to bring a proven concept to Tennessee," Linville said. "So, I'll be supporting this tonight."

Allen said city staff plans to work "as fast as possible" following the approval, which was 7-1 with Nieves the only opposing vote. This is because the initial work could help the city in applying for future competitive grant programs, some of which could offer millions of dollars in state money to initiate the project, especially considering it's the first of its kind in Tennessee.

"I've become aware of a competitive grant program that's supposed to hit around March or April of next year," Allen said. "It's going to have the potential for several million dollars for cities to apply for. Moving forward with this project, getting some of the sampling and details ironed out will set the stage for a very competitive application so we can get those millions of dollars, instead of using fund balance, rate fees and things like that to cover it."



Whole Hog Festival (CDH)

It’s time for the John Maher Builders Whole Hog Festival, benefiting The Well Outreach, which will offer plenty of barbeque, fun farm activities such as a hog-calling contest, live music and a slew of vendors.

The festival will be held at historic Oaklawn Mansion, 3331 Denning Lane in Spring Hill on Saturday, Oct. 8, from 10 am. to 5 p.m.

The free-to-attend, family event will include Hog Calling and Bacon Eating contests, a Kid Zone as well as circus performers and an antique tractor show to name a few activities.

“Pork Chop”, an inflatable pig ride is new to the event this year.

Festival goers will also enjoy a variety of arts and crafts, food trucks and live bands. Bring your family and friends and be ready for the fun, while helping support the mission of The Well Outreach nonprofit.

With over 25 kid-friendly activities, including inflatables, a petting zoo and a balloon artist, this year’s Whole Hog Festival will host over 35 unique craft vendors from all over Tennessee.

Enjoy live music on the main stage all day with performances by various artists.

Whole Hog Festival Artist Lineup:

10 a.m. Bad Dog Band; 11:10 a.m. Brother's Keeper; 12:15 p.m. King Cotton Band; 1:15 p.m. HOG-CALLING CONTEST; 1:35 p.m. Dust & Daisies; 2:40 p.m. Bordertown; 3 p.m. BACON-EATING CONTEST; 3:50 p.m. Herrick; 5 p.m. Brother Maven

The Well Outreach exists to provide for the hunger needs of our community. This is accomplished by serving those in need through supporting spiritual, emotional and physical growth. The Well Outreach's three programs include a weekly food pantry, our Jetpack Program, and mobile food pantries. While the Well Outreach is centrally located to serve Williamson and Maury Counties, they operate without any geographical boundaries, ensuring that anyone who visits with a hunger need will have those needs met with dignity.

"The need of our community is great, and that need is continuing to grow month by month, year by year. It truly takes a community to feed a community," The Well CEO Shelley Sassen said.

The Well Outreach exists to be the hands and feet of Jesus by serving those in need through supporting spiritual, emotional and physical growth, according to the nonprofit's mission.


And now, your hometown Memorials Sponsored by Oakes & Nichols Funeral Home

Mr. David Fletcher Kirk, 82, retired teacher, coach, and resident of Columbia, died Friday, September 30, 2022 at Maury Regional Medical Center. Funeral services for Mr. Kirk will be conducted Saturday at 11:00 A.M. at West 7th Street Church of Christ with. Burial will follow in Worley Cemetery. The family will visit with friends Friday from 4:00 P.M.-6:00 P.M and Saturday from 10:00 A.M. until service time at the church. Oakes & Nichols Funeral Directors are assisting the family with arrangements.


Mr. Horace Ray Cavender, 79 years of age, was a resident of Loudon, Tennessee. He passed away peacefully on Sunday September 25, 2022, at Parkwest Medical Center in Knoxville, Tennessee. Visitation with the Family of Mr. Cavender will be at Kyker Funeral Home in Kingston, TN on Saturday, October 8, 2022, at 2:00 P.M. EST. A celebration of Life to follow. On October 9, 2022, a graveside service will be held at 3:00 P.M. CST in Rose Hill Cemetery in Columbia, TN. Oakes & Nichols Funeral Directors are assisting the family with arrangements in Columbia.


Mr. Clark Jones Quin, 72, photographer, visual artist and documentarian, died Thursday, August 25, 2022 in Columbia. A memorial service for Mr. Quin will be conducted Saturday, October 8, 2022 at 2:00 P.M. at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church. The family will visit with friends following the service in the church’s Parish Hall.


Mr. William Allen “Buddy” Harris, 87, retired employee of Monsanto Chemical Company, died Wednesday, October 5, 2022 at his residence in Columbia. Funeral services will be conducted Saturday at 3:00 P.M. at Bigbyville United Methodist Church. Burial will follow in Polk Memorial Gardens. The family will visit Saturday from 1:00 P.M. until service time at the church. Oakes & Nichols Funeral Directors are assisting the family with arrnagments.


Mrs. Alice Theola Oakley Hood, 97, resident of Columbia, died Sunday, October 2, 2022. Funeral services for Mrs. Hood will be conducted Sunday at 2:00 P.M. at Oakes & Nichols Funeral Home. Burial will follow in Santa Fe Cemetery. The family will visit with friends Saturday from 5:00 P.M.-7:00 P.M. at the funeral home.


Mrs. Nancy Doris Ann Chadick Dale, 72, retired CPA for Deloitte CPA and resident of Columbia, died Saturday, October 1, 2022 at Maury Regional Medical Center. Funeral services for Mrs. Dale will be conducted Monday at 12:00 P.M. at Frist Presbyterian Church. Burial will follow in Rose Hill Cemetery. The family will visit with friends Sunday from 3:00 P.M.-6:00 P.M. at Oakes & Nichols Funeral Home.


Mrs. Amelia Dell Parks Dean, age 87, a proud resident of Maury County, passed away on October 4, 2022. A graveside service for Mrs. Dean will be conducted Monday at 3:00 p.m. Morton Cemetery in the Leftwich Bridge Community. Oakes & Nichols Funeral Directors are assisting the family with arrangements.


Mr. Clifford E. Johnson, Sr., 92, retired Lab Inspector for Union Carbide for 36 years and resident of Columbia, died Wednesday, October 5, 2022 at Maury Regional Medical Center. Funeral services for Mr. Johnson will be conducted Tuesday at 10:30 A.M. at Oakes & Nichols Funeral. Burial will follow in Jones Cemetery. The family will visit with friends Monday from 3:00 P.M. – 7:00 P.M. at the funeral home.


…And now, news from around the state…

2028 RNC in Nashville (Tennessean)

Nashville rejected the opportunity to host the 2024 Republican National Convention, but the door remains open to bid on the 2028 RNC — if the city meets a short deadline.

Republican Party leaders told the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp. that Nashville has until Oct. 15 to submit an application to host the RNC in 2028.

"We inquired and were given until Oct. 15 to submit," Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp. CEO Butch Spyridon said. "Whether or not the city does so is still to be determined. We have no further updates at this time."

It's unclear if Nashville leaders intend to apply by the deadline, which was first reported by Axios Nashville.

The city's 40-member Metro Council, which has a progressive majority, voted down a draft agreement to host the 2024 convention in August.

Council members cited concerns over hosting a large political convention, including security in a time of high political polarization, cost and resource implications. Republicans selected Milwaukee for the 2024 RNC days later.

"Nashville is open for business, but there has been no meaningful effort or engagement to address any of the concerns raised since Metro Council’s vote just a few months ago," TJ Ducklo, a spokesperson for Mayor John Cooper's administration, said Thursday.

Gov. Bill Lee and Republican state lawmakers strongly advocated for Nashville to host the 2024 convention, touting the event's economic potential, but they ultimately failed to secure necessary buy-in from Nashville's Democratic-leaning council.


Final Story of the Day (MauryCountySource)

It's that time again, time for another amazing and fun First Fridays in downtown Columbia.

The night will feature many popular First Fridays staples, with downtown shops staying open later, live music around the square and lots more.

Most First Fridays events will run from 5-8 p.m.

Be sure to stop by Baxter's Mercantile, 808 S. Garden St., for its Witches Night Out event, which will feature fall items for sale, food sampling and more Halloween-themed fun.

Dog owners are also welcome to dress their pups up in their best costume, and there will be a scavenger hunt with a chance to win a $50 Baxter's gift card.

Needle & Grain, 510 N. Garden St., will host a DIY candle workshop, where you will make your own fall scented and decorative candle. Classes, which will begin at 4 p.m., will teach students how to melt, mix and pour their very own 12 oz. candle with a pre-made scent.

Admission is $40. Reserve your spot today at www.NeedleandGrain.com.

Rolling Hills Church, 104 W. 5th St., will also host a free First Fridays Family Zone, featuring inflatables, kid-friendly games and snacks from 5-8 p.m.