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Southern Middle Tennessee Today News for April 14, 2023


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


We start with local news…

Spring Hill Budget Issues (CDH)

The unplanned approval of a hefty budget amendment by the Spring Hill Board of Mayor and Aldermen, totaling $14 million in additional budget costs for the 2022-23 fiscal year, has raised concerns in government transparency and spending.

During its April 3 work session, the BOMA approved, 8-1, a $14 million amendment to its 2022-2023 fiscal budget, representing an overage in the originally approved budget this fiscal year. The extra funds were used from the city's general fund.

Alderman Hazel Nieves, who was the sole descending vote, was quite vocal regarding the reasons why she voted against the amendment.

One major concern was transparency from staff, particularly the lack of detailed information provided to BOMA about what the amendment entails and why it's needed, she explained. She expressed concerns over issues that have arisen over the last nine months since the previous budget's approval in 2022.

"It is very vague and assuming, a glaring lack of information to substantiate and justify increases in the budget," Nieves said. "Of all the amendments we've had over the last five years, this one has the least due diligence in my opinion."

Nieves also stated that BOMA has not received up-to-date financial reports dating back to September of last year, meaning city staff has more or less been operating blindly during its budget cycle.

The amendment included an additional $3.3 million in "miscellaneous revenue" that was added to the budget without BOMA approval prior to being sent to the state comptroller's office, Nieves claims.

In other words, the budget that was submitted to the state was not the same budget BOMA approved, according to aldermen.

The city's latest audit has also been delayed leading up to next fiscal budget, which will be up for approval in June.

City Administrator Pam Caskie said, while city staff might not have done "everything perfectly," she believes no decision made has been harmful to the city.

"The city is still on sound financial ground," Caskie said. "We are still spending money in accordance with our purchasing policy."

Alderman John Canepari also shared concerns about the increase in overall expenditures reported, especially when it amounts to $14 million from the general fund. He also admitted that he should have made a better effort to uncover the information BOMA had not received throughout the year, such as financial reports and building permit numbers.

"I'm embarrassed, publicly embarrassed in putting my trust in an amendment that I thought made sense ... and putting my trust in the financial staff and our city administrator," Canepari said.

Caskie stressed that much of the increases are due to factors like inflation, increased construction costs, supply shortages, as well as the city hiring several new employees over the last year.

Caskie added the budget "is not operating negatively," and while the additional $14 million is reported, there is an additional $300,000 "floating budget" and that there has been more revenue calculated verses expenses.

"I'm not sitting here telling you that everything in this is perfect and that we didn't wish it were different, but we've gotten through the conversion, are on a better stand and are moving on," Caskie said.

"We can beat on people all you want, but that isn't really going to accomplish anything. If I need to do my flogging in the public square so everyone will recognize I own this, I'd be happy to ... but the reality is we need to move forward."

Nieves responded saying Caskie's comments "substantiates what I've been saying for a while, that we've been operating in the blind."

"That's a lot of time where we are not able to see the details with what's going on in this budget," Nieves said. "We have to have that information to make sound decisions, and here we are now facing [up to] $16 million over the budget that we approved. And in the meantime, we keep rolling down the road with these big spends that come in."

Some of the "big spends" include approving construction on a $36 million Spring Hill Police headquarters, as well as designs for a new Spring Hill Fire station, which would include hiring 12 new firefighters, with needs for equipment, vehicles and other additional expenses.

Nieves later cited a capital cash flow analysis recently sent to the BOMA stated that after such expensive approvals like the police headquarters, there would be no money available for additional capital expenses projected until 2026, thwarting the funding of major road projects and infrastructure, expanding City Hall and relocating and/or expanding the Spring Hill Public Library.

"We've got, in my opinion, trouble everywhere," Nieves said.


Outman Landworks (WKOM Audio 1:46)

Yesterday, Outman Landworks held their grand opening in Spring Hill. WKOM/WKRM’s Delk Kennedy attended the ribbon cutting and spoke with business owner Troy Outman…


Maury Musician Promotes Healthy Playing (MainStreetMaury)

A Maury County native and Tennessee Tech alumna has made teaching fellow musicians how to prevent injuries into not only a career but also a vocation.

Angela McCuiston, who grew up in Columbia and graduated from Tech in 2003 with a degree in flute performance, has many titles: musician, musician fitness specialist, corrective exercise specialist, senior fitness specialist, cancer exercise specialist, author, and current member of the 313th Army Band in Huntsville, Ala. She is also the founder and owner of Music Strong, a business that specializes in personal fitness for musicians.

McCuiston recently returned to Tech for the 2023 Flute Day, where she and other alumni, faculty, staff and special guests gave presentations and workshops for students. While she is a performing musician, McCuiston’s demonstration was about how musicians can prevent injuries before and while playing with special exercises.

“It’s always a bit surreal but also comforting, like coming home. I was there with a couple of other Tech grads from my time there and we were all commenting on the things that were the same, like the smell of Bryan Fine Arts Building,” McCuiston said. “The creak of the heavy wooden doors was gone but so much the same, it was comforting and rewarding to be able to come back and give back and also inspire the next generation.”

McCuiston has a varied and prolific past. She joined the military soon after 9/11 and had a 16-year tenure in the 129th Army Band in Nashville. She was the winner of the 2007 NFA Piccolo Master Class and received a Master of Music in flute performance from Florida State University. She is also the assistant principal/piccolo of Sinfonia Gulf Coast of Destin, Nashville Philharmonic, Columbus Symphony and Nashville Flute Choir.

She recently completed both a residency with the Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps as a subject matter expert in preventing playing related injuries for musicians and completed her four-year appointment as chair of the performance health committee for the National Flute Association.

She published her first book, “The Musician’s Essential Exercises,” in 2019. She branched out into a series of instrument specific workouts that are available for download on her website.

She maintains several training locations in Nashville and travels across the nation to give her workshops and presentations. During the week she provides corrective exercise, workouts and individual training.

Before choosing a college, McCuiston had been to the Tech Flute Day and Honor Bands performances and “really connected with the faculty.”

After touring another school, she quickly realized that coming to Tech was “a no brainer.” Tech was close enough to her home in Columbia so she could return home if needed, yet far enough away so that she could have her independence.

“The faculty and expectations of the performance program were exactly what I needed, plus Nashville was only an hour away and I knew several faculty members played in the studio which is what I wanted to do,” McCuiston said. “It was that perfect blend of small town and high expectations I needed, and we could afford.”

The 2023 Flute Day was not McCuiston’s only return to Tech, as she returned in 2020 to the flute studio to talk about what it’s like to be a military musician and how she joined. She came back in 2009 to do an alumni recital and give a presentation and masterclass to the flute studio. She also returned in 2013 to another recital with retired Professor John Wells on the organ, Angela Pistole on the harp and her on the flute.

McCuiston recently announced on her Instagram page her plans. She plans to open an all-encompassing wellness center catering to musicians of all genres.

“I want to create a safe place for musicians,” McCuiston said.

The wellness center will offer features such as physical therapy, massage therapy, and counseling, addiction support, gym, flotation tanks, personal training, chiropractors, anti-gravity chairs, saunas, nutritional support, financial planning, and several more amenities according to McCuiston. She seeks to bridge the gap between holistic and traditional medicine, and envisions it being a “one stop shop” where instead of having to go all over town for the various services, musicians can fulfill all their needs under one roof.

“The goal is to have a network of providers passionate about helping musicians, be they hand surgeons, sports medicine experts, or general practitioners, as well as having people in house,” McCuiston said. “Besides memberships to the space, we’re going to offer concierge service, providing that perfect cocktail of medicine on demand for before you need it, prevention, as well as when you need it.”

McCuiston is currently in the planning stage of the venture, seeking investors, a location and potential staff. As the project progresses, and the wellness center opens, the amenities will be added in stages with input from the patrons as to their needs.

There is not a center like this in Nashville that caters specifically to musicians, according to McCuiston. And while Nashville is known for its country music artists, it is also home to artists from various music genres. McCuiston’s wellness center will be open to all music artists.

For more information on McCuiston and Music Strong visit musicstrong.com/, or follow her on Instagram at www.instagram.com/musicstrongfitness/.


Rosemont Cemetery Cleanup (WKRN)

Agnes and Manuel Young remember what the Rosemount Cemetery use to look like.

“It was all grown up,” said Agnes. “You couldn’t even find the rows.”

There was a time when Manuel would gather men from the Columbia community to come out and clean.

“They did that for years,” said Agnes. “They’ve taken a plot. Everybody comes…you come in that three day window so it doesn’t look so bad if you cut and the other one doesn’t cut, so it really worked.”

African Americans couldn’t be buried in the cemetery just feet away, so Rosemount is where they were laid to rest.

“Several soldiers are buried here,” said Agnes. “Several [former] slaves are buried here.”

History, stories, and those volunteers are what John Pointer remembers here as a kid.

“I would see volunteers working constantly in the hot sun, cutting grass, digging graves,” he said. “It just stayed in my mind that we’ve got to always preserve this property.”

As a result, for the last several months, Pointer worked with the cemetery’s committee and other leaders to organize a two day clean up.

On Tuesday, city mayors, the Tennessee National Guard, historians, and the Vulcan Materials Company came out to fix the roads, clean up headstones and graves, and install a new flag pole and memorial to honor the names of those unknown.

“We’re trying to make it a better place to come and respect the men and women who are laid to rest,” said Pointer.

Volunteers were back out cleaning Wednesday morning. Meanwhile, the Youngs hope those who visit will now be able to see and honor those who impacted this community.

“Here lies some of the people that are responsible for the things that we have to today,” said Agnes. “Here lies some of the people that fought in wars for us. Here lies some of the slaves that we are descendants of. I hope they realize this and how important it is.”

The Cemetery Committee said they are hoping to make this cleanup an annual event for the community.


Spring Hill Water Question (MainStreetMaury)

Drinking water in Spring Hill became a hot topic of conversation last week following a social media post that garnered attention from both residents and city officials. 

Spring Hill utilities director Jessica Weaver said she and other water treatment employees were made aware of a situation where a resident complained of a chlorine-like smell coming from tap water to the point where a pet would not drink the water. 

The resident quoted a chlorine dioxide level above safe parameters based on a testing kit purchased online.

Weaver said Spring Hill’s drinking water would not leave the facility if unsafe to drink, adding that city water would not emit chlorine dioxide as a byproduct at all. 

“You have to be careful with test kits purchased online because most of them are made for testing pool water,” she said. “We offer free water testing any time to any resident.”

Weaver said the city offers the free test at any time, preferably not on weekends, but in an emergency the city would gladly send an employee out to test water if it were suspected to be unsafe.

“We work really hard to make sure our drinking water is at a high standard,” she said. “We’ve won awards for the best tasting water recently, and we’re proud of that.”

Some of the potential causes for foul odors or poor taste are different pipes or aftermarket hardware. 

“Sometimes aftermarket products can be an issue because there are some manufacturers that don’t have to adhere to certain regulations or standards, which can erode over time, creating issues at the tap,” she said. “Once water leaves the treatment facility, it goes into the mainline pipes then to each service line. After it hits the meter, it’s the responsibility of the owner.”

Additionally, frequent cleaning of faucets and taps is important to water quality.

“One thing people really miss is the smell of the water can affect the taste. If you’ve got a dirty faucet or white buildup, that can make it taste different,” Weaver said. 

The city has its 2021 water quality report posted on its website, but has not yet posted the 2022 report at this time. No violations were reported in the 2021 report. 

To request a free water test, please contact the utilities department at (931) 486-2252.


CSCC Performance Series (Press Release)

Columbia State Community College welcomes Bob Eubanks: “Backstage with The Beatles” to the Cherry Theater on April 20 as part of the First Farmers Performance Series.

 

Bob Eubanks: “Backstage with The Beatles” offers a huge entertainment value for both Beatles fans and music lovers alike. The show consists of never heard stories experienced by Bob Eubanks during The Beatles tour in America in the early ‘60s, rare video footage, still images, special effects and merchandise to help embrace what it must have been like to experience The Beatles in concert. All of Bob’s stories lead into a hit song that best represents the subject discussed and the time period of when the story took place. 

“It will be fun to hear first- hand stories of The Beatles arrival in America and, of course, to hear musicperformed live by a stellar tribute band,” said Bethany Lay, Columbia State vice president for advancement and executive director of the Columbia State Foundation. “You are invited to join us for a great evening as we wrap up the 20th season of the Performance Series.”

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 www.ColumbiaState.edu/Performance-Series.


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

Mr. David Jonathan Bates, 60, former Agriculture teacher for Columbia Central High School and employee of Kings Firearms, died Sunday, April 9, 2023 at his residence in Mt. Pleasant. Funeral services for Mr. Bates will be conducted Friday at 2:00 P.M. at Oakes & Nichols Funeral Home. Burial will follow in Pleasant Mount Cemetery.


…And now, news from around the state…

Loveless, Tucker, McDill Newest Hall of Famers (Tennessean)

Two legendary vocalists and one of Nashville’s most prolific and profound songwriters will take their place in the Country Music Hall of Fame later this year.

Patty Loveless and Tanya Tucker and Bob McDill are the Hall’s 2023 inductees, the Country Music Association announced Monday.

Loveless and Tucker were selected for the annual “Modern Era Artist” and “Veteran Era Artist” categories, respectively. McDill was selected in the “Songwriter” category, which rotates with “Recording/Touring Musician” and “Non-Performer” categories each year.

Their induction will raise the total number of members to 152. Inductees are voted on by CMA’s Hall of Fame Panels of Electors, an anonymous body chosen by the CMA Board of Directors.

When Patty Loveless received her invitation into the Country Music Hall of Fame, her thoughts turned to the teenager who decorated windows inside Music Mart USA, a downtown Nashville record shop neighboring the Ryman Auditorium. 

A Kentucky native, Loveless spent summers in Nashville, visiting her industry-savvy older brother Roger Ramey. Inside Music Mart, she remembers dressing the displays with new releases from Marty Robbins and Merle Haggard – top country stars of the time and regular performers inside the nearby home of the Grand Ole Opry. 

Like many in Music City, she hoped to one day be worthy of a record store display or Opry performance. And like so few who chase Nashville’s promise of neon-soaked success, Loveless’ hitmaking ambitions eventually became a reality. 

“It’s like I was dreaming,” Loveless told The Tennessean, “and all of a sudden, this dream – it came true.” 

Twenty-four hours before being announced as a member of the 2023 induction class of the Country Music Hall of Fame, Tanya Tucker reflected on what she told The Tennessean was a "miserably hot" day in the Summer of 1968 that ultimately defined the stubborn determination that has fostered her indomitable and undeniable five-decade-long career.

Then, as a nine-year-old aspiring vocalist, she – alongside her then 16-year-old sister, LaCosta – was on Music Row, standing in front of the Hall of Fame and Museum's classic location at the corner of 16th Avenue South and Division Street.

Her father, Beau, spent what the 2020 Grammy-winning legend calls "his last dime" to get his daughters to Nashville for a recording session after they experienced some regional success around America's southwest.

The recording session where she cut versions of Jim Reeves' "Welcome To My World," Hank Williams' "Your Cheatin' Heart" and Glen Campbell's "I Wanna Live" was not as successful as expected. 

Tucker vividly recalls that she was "despairing and solemn" but hopeful about the potential of heading a dozen blocks down the road to see a recording of the Grand Ole Opry. 

Her father made the following statement as they saw the stars featuring the names of the hall-of-famers on the sidewalk, just like the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

"Look down at all them stars right now because you'll never be down there."

Her father was wrong.

In his song “Gone Country,” which Alan Jackson took to the top of the charts in 1994, Bob McDill wrote about an enduring phenomenon in Nashville: the pop and rock music-makers who come to town and attempt to bluff their way through a career in country music.

“I hear down there it's changed, you see,” one character says in the second verse. “Well, they're not as backward as they used to be.”

“I was hearing people say, ‘We came to Nashville because it's a great place to raise children,’ and so on,” the songwriter shares. “But the real reason was their career was in the tank, and they were trying to get a fresh start."

McDill’s own story, in fact, shares some common threads.

“I came here from Texas by way of Memphis,” he says. “I went country.”

In that case, perhaps no songwriter has “gone country” more brilliantly than McDill, who weaved delicate melodies into stories that drew from deep cultural and literary roots.

His compositions include “Song of the South” (popularized by Alabama), “Good Ole Boys Like Me” for Don Williams, “Don’t Close Your Eyes” for Keith Whitley and “Amanda” (recorded by both Williams and Waylon Jennings).

He enjoyed 31 No. 1 hits over three decades – at one point, the joke on Music Row was that performing rights organization BMI stood for “Bob McDill, Incorporated.”


Final Story of the Day (Maury County Source)

Keep the springtime weather rolling by getting out with friends and family for downtown shopping and browse some cool cars and more.

What's considered one person's junk is another's treasure.

Or maybe it's just a fun time to get out of the house and join the fun of Bleu 32 Vintage Marketplace's Big Bleu Pickin' Party.

The Big Bleu Pickin' Party returns from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, once again taking place at the parking lot located at the corner of East 7th and Woodland St., commonly known as Motor Alley.

For anyone who hasn't attended a Big Bleu Pickin' Party before, this isn't your typical flea market. In addition to the many vendors posted up in the parking lot, the party will also include live music throughout the day, food trucks and more.

Another popular Columbia tradition returns this weekend for its 2023 season, and this one is for all the classic car enthusiasts. That's right, Cruisin' The Co-op is back starting at 5 p.m. Friday at the United Farm Co-op, 975 Riverview Lane.

The free event will be packed with classic cars, food trucks, music and a lot of fun for all ages.

Can't make it this month? Cruisin' The Co-op will take place every second Friday of the month through September.


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