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Southern Middle Tennessee Today News for April 1, 2024


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


We start with local news…

MidState Classic Canceled (WKOM Radio)

The 10th Annual Midstate Classic softball tournament that was scheduled for Tuesday, April 2nd has been cancelled due to inclement weather. Thunderstorms are forecast for most of the day tomorrow, prompting the city to cancel the tournament for the safety of the players and the public. The Mid-State Classic is one of the most attended softball tournaments in the state and was to feature the University of Tennessee's Lady Volunteer Softball team taking on an equally impressive University of Memphis Tigers squad in a softball tripleheader with Columbia State Community College facing off against UT Southern, all kicking off with a clash between Columbia Central High School and Spring Hill High School earlier in the day. Again, due to a strong chance of storms tomorrow, the Mid-state classic has been cancelled. The City of Columbia will release an official statement later today.

Mule Day Queen Shares Crown (CDH)

One of the big highlights of Mule Day is crowning the annual Mule Day Queen, and this year the tradition will include a little something extra special.

After being crowned 2024’s Mule Day Queen, Anissa Grimes approached the Mule Day board with an idea, one that would not only keep up the years-long tradition but also create a new space for an honorary Mule Day Queen.

The honor to wear the banner for the first time, while also commemorating Mule Day’s 50th anniversary, went to 20-yearold Carly McGee.

“My goal this year was to make my mark on Mule Day history, something that people will remember and that Mule Day Queens of the future can make their own,” Grimes said. “I thought this was a great idea, and I’m getting to share this experience with someone else who truly does deserve it.”

McGee said she is looking forward to this year’s festivities, as well as riding in the Mule Day parade for the first time.

Reigning as Mule Day Honorary Queen is also a chance to take part in something positive, considering McGee’s story over the last couple of years battling a rare form of cancer.

“I’m excited, because I was thinking about doing it [competing to be Mule Day Queen] this year, but then I got sick,” McGee said. “It’s always something I’ve wanted to do, so when I was asked I thought, ‘Why not?’”

Growing up in Maury County, McGee had always loved the idea of participating in local pageants, but those dreams were stalled when she became sick in 2022.

McGee was diagnosed with Stage 4 Rhabdomyosarcoma cancer, a rare form which develops in soft tissue. After multiple visits with doctors at St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, it was discovered that the cancer had spread, now forming multiple tumors inside the brain.

“They were able to remove the front tumor, which was the largest,” April Prince, McGee’s mother, said. “At that point, we had a very hard conversation, because when the cancer spreads to the brain there is no cure. But she has kept faith like no other, knows that God is the ultimate physician, and we believe that.”

McGee is currently on a chemotherapy regimen, which includes a daily pill, though she still struggles with platelet levels in her blood.

“She gets immunocompromised if it gets too low, and so she takes weekly injections to try and keep her white blood cells high, and a platelet injection to keep her platelets high,” Prince said. “She has disease evaluations every two weeks.”

Her experience has also inspired a potential career path. Having a passion for healthcare, McGee said she hopes to one day pursue an education in oncology.

“I’ve been so inspired by all of it that I thought it would be cool to be an oncologist, or a nurse, which was originally what I wanted to be,” McGee said. “I’ve always been drawn to the health care field.”

McGee is also a state champion sharpshooter while a student at Santa Fe Unit School.

“When people hear about that, they say, ‘There’s no way she can shoot that,” Prince said.

Part of McGee’s journey has been by telling her story on social media, primarily through her Carly’s Cancer Journey Facebook page.

Grimes said McGee being so open about sharing her journey as well as her own personal experience dealing with a family member’s battle with cancer inspired her to include her as the honorary queen.

“Her story really touched me, as I am the daughter of a parent who has passed away from brain cancer, my father,” Grimes said. “It really hit me in the heart, and I wanted to give her this experience. I never thought it would happen to me, and it’s been so amazing, something I think every girl deserves to have.”

McGee and her family say that the online support, as well as the care given by St. Jude, has been a big help, and that remaining positive throughout all of the doctor visits, surgeries and therapy, while also getting to take part in her community’s largest event, has made all the difference.

“People have shown me so much love and have been praying,” McGee said. “It’s been a great way to bring awareness about childhood cancer and what we have to go through.”

Her mother also hopes her daughter’s story is a way for others to relate, especially parents with children going through similar situations.

“It’s very personal to put out your information about what’s going on, but we thought it would be a good idea to turn some form of purpose out of this pain,” Prince said. “We thought it could bring a lot of good out of some of what she was experiencing.”


C-State Baseball Win 13 Straight (MSM)

Pitching, defense and being opportunistic offensively has keyed Columbia State’s success on the diamond according to Chargers coach Desi Ammons, but the team went a bit off-script recently.

C-State scored 33 runs in a three-game Easter weekend sweep of visiting Jackson State – defeating the Green Jays 13-1 in seven innings Friday, then closing out the series with an 11-1, six-inning victory in Saturday’s early contest before a 9-4 decision in the finale.

“We’ve been doing really, really well with (hit batters), working counts, not expanding the (strike) zone. That’s really been a plus for us. That’s how we have to play,” Ammons said after Columbia State improved to 22-10 overall and 12-3 in TCCAA play while winning its 13th straight game (10 in conference play).

“We’ve been stealing bases, and we’re playing exceptional defense.”

With the Jackson State sweep, the Chargers are tied with Walters State atop the league standings. C-State won two of three games against the Senators at Dave Hall Field to open TCCAA play, but dropped two of three at Roane State the following weekend – avoiding a sweep with a 7-1 win in the finale.

Columbia State hasn’t lost since.

“Roane woke us up a little,” Ammons said .”We were thinking we were a little higher than we were and they knocked us back down to Earth. It’s probably a good thing.”

The batting order has been anchored by outfielder Jaxon Diamond – the reigning conference hitter of the week after batting .500 (8-16) for March 18-24 with five extra-base hits and a pair of home runs – first baseman Jackson Riedling and shortstop Braxton Baird.

On the mound, starters Cole O’Brien and Dylan Kazee have been consistently effective for the Chargers.

“Our pitching staff as a whole has been very, very good,” Ammons said. “If our hitting’s not necessarily there, we can find some ways to get on base and steal some bases.

“Our pitching and defense can keep us in games long enough for the offense to figure out how to do something.”

The Chargers next travel to Southwest Tennessee for a three-game set beginning Friday, before finishing the regular season with league matchups against visiting Cleveland State and Motlow State and at Chattanooga State.

“There’s still four weeks left in conference play,” Ammons said. “We’ve got a long way to go.”

Columbia State will host the TCCAA Tournament beginning May 4.

Patton Induction into Wresting Hall of Fame (MSM)

In other sports news… Main Street Maury sports editor Maurice Patton will be part of the seven-member 2024 induction class into the Tennessee Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, which will be recognized during a May 18 ceremony at Montgomery Bell Academy.

“We have amazing people contributing to wrestling. The Hall of Fame chapter recognizes people’s contributions to our sport,” chapter president P.A. Bowling said. “You don’t have to have been the best athlete, but the important part is what you do after – how are you giving back to the sport.”

“One of the comments I get from people outside the Hall, and they’ve said it about every member of this class, is ‘I thought they were already in’ or ‘how can these folks not be in already?’,” Bowler said. “It just goes to the depth of quality of folks that are involved in the sport.”

Patton, who has covered Middle Tennessee high school wrestling since 1987, becomes the fourth sports journalist to be honored by the Tennessee Chapter. Previous inductees include B.B. Branton, Eddie Davidson and Ward Gossett, all from the Chattanooga area.

A 2021 Tennessee Sports Writers Association Hall of Fame inductee, Patton was also recognized by the National Sports Media Association as its 2021 Tennessee Sports Writer of the Year.

“This is such a well-deserved honor for ‘Mo,’ “ Main Street Media of Tennessee publisher Dave Gould said. “No sports journalist in Middle Tennessee does a better job covering high school wrestling than he does. Wrestling sometimes doesn’t get the same attention as other sports, but Mo has a passion for the teams, athletes and coaches who participate in wrestling and this honor is an acknowledgment of all the outstanding work he has done over the years.”

Mt. Pleasant Seeks Grant (MSM)

Mount Pleasant’s City Commission approved during its March 19, 2024, meeting an application to the United States Department of Agriculture for a water loan or grant.

Mayor Bill White said the funding would be used “for generators at the (water) plant and City Hall.”

“This is money that’s available through USDA that has no match to it,” City Manager Kate Collier told the board. “We don’t have a generator at the water plant and the one at City Hall is very, very old.”

Prior to the vote, Collier reported that the city had received a letter from CPWS in which the utility had agreed to double the amount of water it provides Mount Pleasant, from 100,000 gallons per day to 200,000.

“I think they’re going to meet our long-term needs of 500,000, but it will involve some infrastructure that we already know we’re going to be a part of. That’s really good news,” Collier said.

It was not stated when the city would find out if the grant was approved by USDA.

The board also approved a resolution naming the Gardenia Clarke Park Pavilion in honor of Celestine Griffith Wilson, who helped secure the land for the park in the 1960s.

Commissioners also approved a cooperative endeavor between the city and Boys & Girls Clubs of South Central Tennessee to run through October 2024.

“This is to understand if this is going to work out for everyone involved,” White said.

A change order of $42,800 for wastewater system improvements was also approved. An inspector from the engineering company is having to stay on site an additional 49 days, Collier said, requiring the expense.

Finance Director Shiphrah Cox stated that the city was starting the process of putting together its 2024-25 budget and that commission meetings in that regard would be held April 23-26.

Commissioners also reappointed Justin Robinette to the Mount Pleasant Power System Board.

The board also recognized longtime coach Dewitt Whitaker, who has coached junior high football, junior high basketball and boys basketball in Mount Pleasant and later coached girls basketball at Columbia Central.


Maury Regional Hosts Coaches Clinic (Press Release)

Maury Regional Health athletic trainers will host a coaches clinic for all sports coaches in the area to learn more about preparing athletes for their season.

The clinic will be held April 13 at 9 a.m. at the Maury Regional Annex, which is across the street from Maury Regional Medical Center at 1223 Trotwood Ave. in Columbia. It is meant for coaches of any age group (youth, middle school, high school, college or volunteer) or for anyone else who wants to learn about coaching, leadership, athlete safety and more.

 A group of speakers are slated to present, including:

·         Brigadier General Steven Turner, assistant adjutant general with the Tennessee Army National Guard will present on leadership, ownership and mentorship.

·         Andrew K. Nielsen, MD, a specialist in internal medicine and pediatrics with Maury Regional Medical Group Primary Care & Pediatrics, will present on nutrition and hydration.

·         Andrea Bain, PT, a physical therapist with Maury Regional Medical Center, will present on proper warm-up techniques and injury prevention.

·         Amanda Cothran, MSN, RN, CEN, the stroke, trauma and chest pain center coordinator for Maury Regional Medical Center, will present on pre-hospital management of athletic injuries. 

 After the speaker session, CPR training will be provided for anyone interested. It will not serve as a certification course though it will count toward Bronze-level CPR/AED training for the Tennessee Safe Stars Act. Coaches from Maury County Public Schools will also receive in-service credit for attending.

 The clinic is free to attend. Registration is not required, but anyone attending is asked to RSVP by emailing dhightower@mauryregional.com.


Where is Maury the Mule (Press Release)

Maury the Mule is LOST in Maury County and we need your help to find him!

Find Maury the Mule hidden in businesses across Maury County for a chance to win $500 and other great prizes.Maury Alliance’s annual “Where’s Maury the Mule?” shop local passport adventure is happening now. The rules are simple: pick up a passport, find Maury the Mule hidden in as many businesses as possible, and turn your passport in at the Maury Alliance office by 5:00 pm on Tuesday, April 9th. Share your adventure on social media using #maurythemule so everyone can follow along!

This year’s event was made possible by the generosity of Harmon Scrap Metal in Columbia, TN. Harmon Scrap Metal is a premier scrap metal recycling company and has been family owned and operated since 1985. Learn more at https://www.harmonscrapmetal.com/.

Maury County Clerk Satellite Office (Press Release)

The Maury County Clerk’s office can now help residents with renewals of license plates or placards each Wednesday from 8am to 3:30pm at the Maury County Senior Center located at 1020 Maury County Park Dr.

Please drive around to the back of the building and look for the car tag renewal sign near the back door.

Forms of payment include credit/debit card or check – no cash.

Any Maury County Resident can use this office.

All other transactions will still need to be done through the main office located at 10 Public Square.

Also, you can renew online at TNCountyClerk.com or at kiosks in Spring Hill City Hall or Mt. Pleasant Courthouse.

Mule Kick 5K (Press Release)

Hosted by the Maury Regional Health Care Foundation and presented by First Farmers and Merchants Bank, the annual Mule Kick 5K & 1-Mile Trot will take place Saturday, April 6, at Riverwalk Park in Columbia.

Proceeds from the 2024 Mule Kick 5K & 1-Mile Trot provide funding for Maury Regional Health’s mobile medical unit, which delivers health care services to at-risk and underserved individuals throughout southern Middle Tennessee by providing basic health screenings, education and resources. A portion of the proceeds from the Mule Kick 5K & 1-Mile Trot will also support the Foundation’s Wellness and Aquatics Center Healthy Living Endowment and the Columbia Parks and Recreation Department. In addition, the Maury County school with the most participation in the event will receive a donation to their P.E. program from the Foundation.

“The Mule Kick 5K & 1-Mile Trot is a great tradition for both Maury County and the Maury Regional Health Care Foundation that helps support our mission of providing important health care services for individuals who may not otherwise be able to obtain care,” Foundation Executive Director Joe Kilgore said. “We are excited to host the Mule Kick 5K and look forward to an exciting race!”

On Saturday, April 6, the race will begin at Riverwalk Park in Columbia with an 8 a.m. start time for the 5K and a 9:15 a.m. start time for the 1-Mile Trot. Both runners and walkers are encouraged to participate. Participants may register for the race online at runsignup.com/MuleKick5K.

“First Farmers is pleased to continue our ongoing partnership with the Maury Regional Health Care Foundation for this year's Mule Kick 5K & 1-Mile Trot. We are proud to support the vital work of the Foundation which exemplifies our dedication to fostering well-being in our region,” said Brian K. Williams, chairman and CEO of First Farmers.

In addition to presenting sponsor First Farmers and Merchants Bank, sponsorships ranging from $350 to $2,500 are still available for those who are interested in marketing exposure at this event. For additional information, contact the Maury Regional Health Care Foundation at 931.381.1111, ext. 1012.

To learn more about the Maury Regional Health Care Foundation, the Mule Kick 5K & 1-Mile Trot or to make a direct gift to support the mobile medical unit fund, visit MauryRegional.com/Foundation.


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

Johnny Franklin Tomlin, age 81, passed away on March 28, 2024 at his residence in Columbia. Funeral services will be conducted on Tuesday, April 2, 2024, at 2:00 PM at Spring Hill Memorial Funeral Home. Burial will follow at Polk Memorial Gardens. Visitation with the family will be conducted on Monday from 4-8PM and 2 hours prior to the service on Tuesday, all at the funeral home.

Mrs. Sadie Elaine Jones Tankersley, 95, lifelong resident of Maury County, died Saturday, March 30, 2024 at Maury Regional Medical Center. Funeral services for Mrs. Tankersley will be conducted Tuesday at 11:00 AM at Oakes & Nichols Funeral Home. Burial will follow in Rose Hill Cemetery. The family will visit with friends Monday from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM at Oakes & Nichols Funeral Home.


Welcome back to Southern Middle Tennessee Today on Kennedy Broadcasting WKOM, 101.7 and WKRM 103.7. I’m Tom Price.

And now, news from around the state…

Teens Charged in Homicide (Tennessean)

Two 14-year-olds are facing criminal homicide charges after a 30-year-old man was shot to death Thursday at an apartment complex near downtown

Nashville police were called to the University Court apartments shortly before 10 p.m.

Anthony Lee Buchanan Jr. was found dead at the scene in an alley. He'd suffered multiple gunshot wounds, police said in a news release.

Footage from the Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency showed two suspects fleeing the area to a nearby apartment. Investigators responded to that apartment and found the two teen boys there, the release said.

In an interview with police, the teens allegedly admitted to their involvement in the shooting, the news release said. The victim is alleged to have stolen $300 from one of the teens.

Police recovered four handguns, a large amount of marijuana and cocaine, the release said.

Both teens were charged with criminal homicide and juvenile handgun possession in juvenile court. The Tennessean does not name juvenile suspects unless they are charged as adults.

TWRA to Pay for Caught Carp (Tennessean)

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) will pay you to fish, but only if you catch a tagged silver carp.

TWRA is running a "silver carp reward tag project" in collaboration with Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. In both Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley, fisheries will tag around 1,000 silver carp with a loop tag. Some silver carp will have an upper jaw band.

Fishers can turn in tags and bands each for a $100 reward.

Through the project, TWRA studies the impact of removing silver carp populations and how biologists can fight this invasive species. Additionally, the project supplies data on the carps' movement, behavior and routes.

TWRA began a program in 2018 to eradicate carp from those lakes. In July 2021, the agency reached a milestone of removing 10 million pounds of the invasive species.


Final Story of the Day (Maury County Source)

The Music City Hot Chicken Festival, presented by Piedmont Natural Gas and benefiting Nashville’s public parks, is returning to East Park for the 18th annual celebration of our favorite way to make poultry and the people who love it. The festival takes place 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, July 4, 2024 in East Park, 700 Woodland St., Nashville and admission is free for all ages.

“Since we started the Hot Chicken Festival 18 years ago, Nashville Hot Chicken has become an international phenomenon,” said Festival founder and former Nashville Mayor Bill Purcell. “Nashville Hot Chicken can be found on menus around the world, from high-end restaurants to fast food franchises. You can even buy Nashville Hot Chicken-flavored pretzels, popcorn and potato chips. But we are the original, and we are thrilled to once again celebrate our favorite local flavor at its source — and to eat a lot of hot chicken!”

The Festival may be months away on the 4th of July, but there are plenty of ways you can get involved right now via the website, hotchickenfestival.com.


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