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Southern Middle Tennessee Today 1/31/2023

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

We start with local news…

School Closings

Due to the potential for some freezing rain passing through Middle Tennessee, several school districts have closed today. In our listening area, they include: Giles, Hickman, Lawrence, Lewis, Maury, and Williamson Counties. In Maury County, all twelve-month employees may use discretion regarding reporting to work. All Boys & Girls Clubs will also be closed.

MRMC Wear Red (Press Release)

Maury Regional Medical Center (MRMC) is encouraging individuals to help promote awareness of cardiovascular disease by participating in National Wear Red Day on Feb. 3.

 The annual event provides an opportunity to show support for heart health by wearing red. Cardiovascular disease remains the No. 1 killer of both American men and women, accounting for more than 800,000 deaths in the U.S. every year, according to the American Heart Association. Here are more facts:

 ∙ Cardiovascular disease is responsible for one in three deaths in the U.S. every year

 ∙ About 11% of American adults have been diagnosed with heart disease

 ∙ 90% of women have one or more risk factors for developing cardiovascular disease

 ∙ Since 1984, more women than men have died each year from heart disease

 ∙ The symptoms of heart disease can be different in women and men

 ∙ Most cardiovascular diseases can be prevented by addressing behavioral risk factors such as tobacco use, unhealthy diet and obesity, physical inactivity and harmful use of alcohol

“Increasing awareness about the threat of this disease is imperative to changing these statistics,” said Maury Regional Health (MRH) CEO Martin Chaney, MD. “Both men and women should be aware of the signs and symptoms and contact 911 immediately if they think they may be experiencing a heart or stroke-related problem.”

 Cardiovascular disease can often lead to heart attacks and strokes, where symptoms can sometimes be hard to spot and can even present themselves differently in women than men.

 Warning signs of a heart attack include tightness or pain in the chest, discomfort in other parts of the upper body such as the back or jaw, shortness of breath, unusual fatigue and nausea. Women can be more likely than men to experience shortness of breath, nausea and vomiting, or back or jaw pain.

 The most common symptom of a stroke is sudden weakness of the face, arm or leg, most often on one side of the body. Other signs include sudden confusion, trouble seeing or blurred vision, dizziness or loss of balance, and a sudden severe headache with no known cause.

 Anyone who thinks they might be experiencing heart problems should call 911 immediately. Emergency responders are equipped to begin treatment immediately and relay vital information to the hospital while in route to the Emergency Department. Physicians and staff are then waiting for the patient and can begin treatment immediately. Treatments may include intervention in the cardiac catheterization lab to open the blocked vessel or, in severe cases, open heart surgery.

 MRMC’s average door-to-balloon time — the time between a patient’s arrival at the hospital to when a blocked artery is opened — is 53 minutes, according to Maury Regional Health Administrative Director of Cardiovascular Services and Assistant Chief Nursing Officer Cathy Malone. That is 37 minutes ahead of the standard time recommended by American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association guidelines (90 minutes).

“We’re extremely proud of our door-to-balloon time and the work our staff does to treat patients quickly and effectively,” Malone said. “If you’re experiencing symptoms of a heart attack or stroke, call 911 immediately. Getting care as soon as possible is critical to recovery when dealing with a cardiac event, and every minute counts.”

 MRMC is recognized as a Chest Pain Center with PCI by the American College of Cardiology and holds certification in the treatment of heart failure from The Joint Commission. Learn more at


Columbia Police Hold Awards (Press Release)

On Saturday, January 28, 2023, the local Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) James K. Polk Lodge #26 held its annual awards banquet where they honored local officers.

During the banquet, the FOP Lodge awarded Columbia Police Officer Brandon Stanfill with the 2022 Patrol Officer of the Year and Columbia Police Detective Darrell Freeman with the 2022 Investigator of the Year. Detective Freeman was also awarded the 2022 FOP Lodge #26 Columbia Police Department Officer of the Year.

Thank you to the local FOP Lodge and its members for recognizing these officers for their hard work and dedication.

Congratulations to FTO Brandon Stanfill and Detective Darrell Freeman!

CTE Luncheon (CDH)

Members of Maury Alliance packed the Memorial Building in Columbia for the annual education luncheon with county and city educators, leaders and community allies, discussing strides in engaging students to make early career plans — and the strong push for STEM education.

Moderated by Maury Chamber & Economic Alliance president Wil Evans, the panel included MCPS Superintendent Lisa Ventura, Columbia State Community College President Janet Smith and educators from both institutions.

Panelist Amy Roberts, supervisor for Maury schools CTE, said while some believe middle school students might not give much thought to their future career, most can answer the question ‘what do you want to be when you grow up?’

Such was the sentiment at the luncheon, which explored how educators can help direct students toward future career goals, especially STEM careers.

Preparing students to enter a STEM-focused workforce, educators made clear their intent to ready the next generation for careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Other panelists included Keith Stacey, MCPS Assistant Superintendent of Instruction; Amy Roberts, MCPS CTE Supervisor; Terri Thornton, CTE Workforce Development / Career Coach; Melody Murphy, Director of Workforce and Continuing Education and Mehran Mostajir, Director of Engineering Systems Technology.

Ventura, along with Roberts, explained how the district is assessing, measuring and engaging the student population to consider career paths as early as middle school.

Ventura stressed the district’s focus on CTE and its partnership with CSCC in those efforts.

“We are giving CSCC what they need for the student that is prepared,” she said.

Efforts are not to deny the necessity of a four-year institution, Ventura said, but to step up to the needs of an industry steeped in STEM careers.

Maury County has become a hub of manufacturing as home to the General Motors plant since the 1980s, Ultium Cells car batteries and the site of numerous manufacturing headquarters like JC Ford tortilla maker, which announced its relocation from California in 2021.

According to Evans, such manufacturers will need strong future workers in Maury County.

Maury County is also the fastest growing county in Tennessee determined by the most recent census data, bringing more families and 836 new students to MCPS over the past three years, according to Ventura.

CSCC and MCPS staff are working together to ensure students are getting STEM experience and dual credit with various programs.

Smith praised programs like Manufacturing Day and STEM Girls, aimed at giving students a look at several manufacturing facilities around the area. Other programs like the recent robotics competition at Mount Pleasant Middle School also gives students early experience in coding, building robots and strategizing with technology.

“We want to set up students to be contributing, taxpaying members of society,” Ventura said.

Design Competition for City Flag (MainStreetMaury)

The City of Columbia has established a design competition to create an official city flag and Columbia residents are invited to take part in the process by submitting their original flag designs from now through March 15th.

The final, winning design will be announced on April 20. The City is excited to give the public an opportunity to participate in the design process, as it will reflect and symbolize our community. Designs can be submitted on the City’s website at

All entries will be judged based on flag criteria presented in the competition guidelines then narrowed down to three final designs. The public will have a chance to vote, from April 1-15, on the final three designs chosen by the Columbia Arts Council. The winning design will reflect Columbia's pride, rich history, promising future and embody what makes Columbia special and unique, using meaningful symbolism and minimal color & design features.

“I couldn't be more excited about this flag design competition that will result in the first official flag for the city of Columbia,” said Columbia Mayor Chaz Molder. “A flag creates identity, establishes symbolism, and promotes unity, and I can't wait to see the final product. Our community is full of creative individuals from all walks of life, and I am particularly pleased that this will be a public driven process. And, I am also excited that this project is being led, in part, by Nathaniel Bliss, a local Scout with Troop 111, who brought forward the idea as part of his Eagle Scout project. I encourage all members of the community to participate in what will be a project that will be historic in nature given its long term, lasting effects.”

Nathaniel Bliss is eager to see the end result of this process.

"I chose the flag design competition as my Eagle Scout project because I am interested in flags and what they represent, as well as the impact they have on a community,” stated Bliss. “I recognized that Columbia did not have a flag and felt it was time our city got one. A flag symbolizes a city, its history, culture, and people of all backgrounds. It unifies the community and provides something to rally around. As a proud resident of Columbia, I thought our historic city deserved such an important symbol."

Basic rules and guidelines include but are not limited to: (1) Submit an original flag design by March 15, 2023; (2) Competition is limited to Columbia residents only; (3) No compensation will be given for any designs submitted; (4) Only one entry per resident; and (5) All ages and skill levels are welcome to participate.

For a complete list of rules and information regarding the Columbia Flag Project, visit the City’s website at

Columbia Arts District (MainStreetMaury)

Columbia’s arts district is thriving while also undergoing a makeover that will undoubtedly create a welcoming environment for both locals and visitors to the “dimple of the universe.”

A $2.1 million Streetscape project on Garden Street – set to include paving, utility relocation and additional space for community art visibility – coupled with the $830,000 sidewalk project on South High Street will transform an already vibrant neighborhood into another unique place to be for local events, shopping and eating, in addition to the city’s booming downtown.

“There has been a lot of commitment from the city and continues to be made,” Columbia Mayor Chaz Molder said. “If you look at the whole body of work over time, where we are today is a long way from where we started, but we still have a long way to go.”

The district – established in 2016 – allows additional property rights for owners and tenants for properties within the special zoning overlay limited for use of artists/artisans and the establishment of artistic and creative enterprises, workshops, and retail and living spaces regardless of existing zoning classifications.

Because of that distinction, the number of businesses and housing projects in the district have skyrocketed, which has caught the attention of national brands, such as Bradley Mountain – a San Diego business that has since relocated to the district.

“We were hunting for a place that had a lot of growth potential, a lot of excitement around it, and we just love the character,” Bradley Mountain owner Tyler Axtell said.

Bradley Mountain will soon open its doors to the public on Garden Street with American-made leather goods in the retail shop, but also serving coffee, beer and cocktails.

Business owners are being drawn to the district for the vibe businesses and shoppers have created over the last few years. Travis Mitchell, who recently opened his hairstyling shop inside Cult Persona, located on the top floor of the Columbia Arts Building, said being around other creatives is what drew he and his wife to the district for their business.

“I’m a hairstylist – I cut men’s hair, women’s hair – and for me, it is art. Creating shapes and silhouettes,” he said. “What better place to submerge yourself in that type of work than around other creatives and other artists?

“Being around people who paint, who do sculpture, metalwork and woodworking – it’s really inspiring.”

There are a number of new businesses – as well as home renovations – popping up in the district, which Molder says is vital to the success of the arts district. The city has installed covered trolley stops inside the district, while expanding the designation to include the James K. Polk home and The Mulehouse.

“If you look at the big picture at where the arts district sits today versus where it sat when it first began, there have been a lot of changes – primarily changes for the positive in my opinion,” Molder added. “We know that we as a government can only do so much to help spur the growth and the vitality of the district. Most of that has to come from the business owners, the residents and and the owners of the other properties.”

The Columbia Arts Building has a number of tenants, including the popular sandwich shop Ollie & Finn’s and Bad Idea Brewing, but also features shopping on the first floor as well, though according to Butler Stationary owner Jonathan Butler that is one of the better-kept secrets in town.

“A lot of people don’t realize there is a first floor, they think the first floor is upstairs where the food is. Other than that, we have quite a few vendors down here and we all get along. It kind of has its own little built-in community,” he said.

Butler opened his shop where he sells high-end stationary inside the collaborative space as a way to see if his business is viable like others have done before moving out of the C.A.B. and into more prominent locations around the city.

“I’ve never found a place where you could go in and try (stationary) out. Everything is online, and it’s no fun to shop online,” he said. “The main appeal for me in the CAB is it’s a good place to test the idea. The price is right, the location is decent, but it’s a smaller store. It worked out well to help us see if it’s a viable idea or not.”

While the arts district is continuing to grow and become a more vibrant sector inside the city, Molder said he believes on a personal level the district is something that can unite Columbia residents with a common thread.

“It’s a different part of town that attracts different types of people. It’s attractive across the spectrum,” he said. “I want to live in a hometown that has a little something for everyone. I want to live in a hometown that has something that my kids will want to come back to – or if they don’t, that they have a fond piece of their mind that brings them back here in some form or fashion.”

While the downtown square and the spokes from that area get much-deserved recognition, this is where the city can show off its personality.

“We are trying to find ways to connect downtown with the arts district so that when folks visit our downtown they don’t just leave and they visit the arts district or go to The Factory on the other side of town,” he said. “You’d be hard pressed to find a vibrant community that doesn’t also have vibrant quality of life amenities. I think having vibrant outdoor community space is important for a community.

“Art brings people together. I want to live in a community that is united by what brings them together rather than divided by what separates them.”

Columbia State Performance Series (Press Release)

Columbia State Community College welcomes Aubrey Logan to the Cherry Theater on February 9 as part of the First Farmers Performance Series.


She’s a singer, trombone player, songwriter and performer. It would have been a lot easier if Aubrey Logan would have just picked one, but she’s never been one to be pigeon-holed. She lives her life outside of the box and that makes her difficult to define. That’s okay with her because she purposely defies definition. She’s still known as a world-class singer-instrumentalist, but she’s revealed that there’s so much more. 

“We expect this show to be fun with great energy,” said Bethany Lay, Columbia State vice president for advancement and executive director of the Columbia State Foundation. “Bring your Valentine for an enjoyable night of entertainment.”

Individual tickets are on sale for $30 each plus tax for adults and $20 each plus tax for Columbia State students. To charge tickets by phone using a major credit card, call 931.540.2879 or purchase them in person in Room 113 of the Pryor Administration Building on the Columbia Campus, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

On the night of the performance, the box office opens at 6 p.m. in the Kenneth and Ramona Cherry Theater, located in the Waymon L. Hickman Building on the Columbia Campus. Theater doors open at 6:30 p.m., and the show begins at 7 p.m. The Columbia Campus is located at 1665 Hampshire Pike in Columbia.

For more information, visit

And now, Your Hometown Memorials, Sponsored by Oakes & Nichols Funeral Home…

Ms. Jean Ann Moubray Outland, 85, retired employee of K-Mart and resident of Columbia, died Sunday, January 29, 2023 at Maury Regional Medical Center. Funeral services for Ms. Outland will be conducted Wednesday at 2:00 P.M. at Oakes & Nichols Funeral Home. The family will visit with friends Wednesday from 12:00 P.M. until service time at the funeral home. Graveside services will be conducted Friday, February 3, 2023 in Mayfield Memory Gardens in Mayfield, Kentucky.

Mr. Gerald Ray Walters, 79, retied conductor for CSX Railroad and resident of Columbia, died Saturday, January 28, 2023 at St. Thomas Mid Town. Funeral services for Mr. Walters will be conducted Saturday, February 4, 2023 at 10:00 A.M. at Oakes & Nichols Funeral Home. Burial will follow in Santa Fe Cemetery. The family will visit with friends Friday from 4:00 P.M. – 7:00 P.M. and Saturday from 9:00 A.M. until service time at the funeral home.

…And now, news from around the state…

Battle of Franklin Trust Acquires More Franklin Land (WilliamsonHerald)

The Battle of Franklin Trust announced this week that it had secured ownership of a critically important tract of the Franklin Battlefield — the Federal Advanced Line, also called Wagner’s Line.  

Through a combination of donation and purchase from J. Roderick Heller III and the Heller Family Foundation, the BOFT acquired ownership of the Wagner Line Partnership which had owned the approximately 0.4-acre tract at 1416 Columbia Ave. since 2013. This site on Nov. 30, 1864, was part of the location of a Federal division commanded by Gen. George D. Wagner, who commanded some 5,000 men. The apex of the line was approximately one-half mile in advance of the Federal defensive position which was centered on the Carter House.  

Rather than following orders to withdraw his troops to the main Federal defensive positions, Wagner chose to stand and fight. After Confederate troops overran his position, they succeeded in their initial charge against the main defensive line because other Federal troops were reluctant to fire into Wagner's units and the commingled Confederates.

The Wagner Line tract, formerly the site of a car wash facility and offered for development sale, was purchased by the Wagner Line Partnership on Nov. 6, 2013.  

General partner was J. Roderick Heller III, and limited partners were the Heller Family Foundation and the H. A. Heller Foundation. Heller announced at the time that the land was purchased to protect it from development and that he hoped that it could be transferred to the city or preservation organizations; in 2016-18, the Heller Family Foundation and the HA Heller Foundation contributed partnership interests of $100,000 and $50,000, respectively, to the BOFT. 

In the transaction just completed, the BOFT paid $147,012 to the Heller Family Foundation, with approximately one-half of that amount being provided by Franklin’s Charge. J. Roderick Heller III and the Heller Family Foundation donated remaining interests; the total amount of the donation, with the land appraised at $819,032, was $364,235. The transfer included significant deed restrictions helping ensure the land’s protection in perpetuity. 

"I am delighted that this land is now under the full protection of the Battle of Franklin Trust, with its outstanding record of preservation, stewardship and scholarship,” Heller said. “This is an important tract for understanding the story of the Battle of Franklin and I am personally very grateful to the Battle of Franklin Trust and Franklin’s Charge for reimbursing the Heller Family Foundation for some of its investment. 

“I also want to thank my brother Hanes for his role in helping protect this property for so many years, and to Eric Jacobson, who pushed this transaction to fruition and has provided such leadership to the BOFT. We all believe that Franklin is a splendid town, and this transfer is another recognition of the importance of preserving open space and historic land for its future."

Final Story of the Day (MauryCountySource)

Columbia Parks and Recreation is once again hosting The Valentine’s Night Out which will take place on February 11 from 4-8 pm.

Columbia Parks & Rec will take care of your kids for a night, while you enjoy a night out! This is open for kids ages 6-12. There will be plenty of activities provided. Parents are asked to please bring peanut-free snacks for your child.

The location is at the Dr. Christa Secrest Martin Community Center (821 Ironbridge Rd, Columbia, TN 38401).

Learn more information, visit Columbia Parks and Rec on Facebook.


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