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Southern Middle Tennessee Today News for August 11, 2023


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


We start with local news…

Bus Safety (MainStreetMaury)

As the upcoming school year is set to begin, local police departments are urging motorists to be aware of both the presence of school buses again, as well as the law on yielding to them.

Tennessee Code Annotated 55-8-151 states in part, “The driver of a vehicle upon a highway shall stop the vehicle before reaching the school bus. The driver shall not proceed until the school bus resumes motion or is signaled by the school bus driver to proceed or the visual signals are no longer actuated.”

Depending on if you are traveling on a two-lane road, multi-lane road or divided highway will determine if you need to stop or not.

On a two-lane road or a four-lane highway with a center turn lane, everyone stops. If the four-lane has a divider, such as a median or an unpaved area at least five feet wide, traffic in the opposite direction can proceed cautiously. Only traffic behind the bus must stop.

Last year, Spring Hill had five incidents that either directly or indirectly involved a school bus, according to a press release. Mount Pleasant police said there were no incidents involving school buses last year.

“We are very fortunate not to have had any accidents involving school buses last year,” Assistant Chief Jack Burgett said. “That’s a credit to our local motorists for paying attention, and hopefully we won’t have any incidents this year again.”

According to Maury County Public Schools communications director Jack Cobb, there were 13 total incidents involving Maury County school buses last school year, and luckily no injuries were reported.


King’s Daughters Opens Residential Facility (CDH)

The King's Daughters' School for Autism took its latest step in helping one student at a time, or in this case eight, with its newest residential home.

The house will provide housing for eight of The King's Daughters' male students between ages 22-26.

The house, located in one of Columbia's many historic homes at 405 West 9th St., was commemorated by the Maury County Chamber of Commerce, who were joined by city, county and state leaders Tuesday as part of a ribbon cutting.

"For over 60 years, we have been serving children with intellectual disabilities, kids with autism in Maury County, and this is just another example of how much the community loves our mission and our students," King's Daughters' Executive Director Shauna Pounders said. "We could not have provided a home for these children if the community did not support us and how involved they've been with us over the years."

Residential Director Landon White says the center will also open up new opportunities for additional housing for female students.

"Another one of our homes is now going to grow, and we'll have a few female spots open up," White said. "Our guys that live at that property are going to move over here, hopefully by next Monday, and it will give them opportunity to have more independence."

Tuesday's dedication featured words by many city, county and state officials, including Columbia Mayor Chaz Molder, who remarked on The King's Daughters' continued efforts to provide a place for children with special needs, which stretches more than 60 years.

Part of the longevity and success, Molder said, is the continued support of the community.

"The people that are here today is a testament to the importance that The King's Daughters' School has here in the city of Columbia," Molder said. "When I think about the things that make Columbia special, the things that set us apart, there are several things that come to mind for me, and one of those things happens to be The King's Daughters' School. There are so many things that are unique about this school, and such a special cause and calling that it has, that we want to always promote."

Spring Hill Mayor Jim Hagaman added that he was "brand new" to The King's Daughters' School but sees it as a worthy and noble nonprofit to promote and support as Columbia's neighbor to the north.

"What I have found out in being a good neighbor, in sharing my mayoral brotherly love with Chaz and the rest of staff here, is that I'm a person who will absolutely represent people who feel underrepresented," Hagaman said. "That's what the mission of this place is, and I'm happy to be here to support it."

Maury County Commission Chair Eric Previti described Tuesday's dedication as "a true homecoming" for him, not only because of what the home will provide the students, but also because he was once a King's Daughters' employee.

"I worked here for eight years and crawled around all of the ceilings, did the wiring and the computer network," Previti said. "It's an honor to be here, and this is like a reunion getting to be see my old coworkers. The finest people in this county work at this facility, and if you ever get the chance [to meet them], you learn patience, love and humility. It's great to see this growth, and being the president of the Historical Society, seeing this old house being preserved so we know it will last another 100 years."

For more information on The King's Daughters' School, its services and residential programs, visit www.TKDS.org.


AAHSMC Hosts Smithsonian Exhibition (Press Release)

The African American Heritage Society of Maury County is excited to have been one of six organizations statewide selected to host the Smithsonian exhibit, “Voices and Votes: Democracy in America.” The exhibit is a part of Museum on Main Street program, a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution and Humanities Tennessee. Voices and Votes is based on a major exhibition currently on display at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History called American Democracy: A Great Leap of Faith.

This traveling exhibit, presents a visual and interactive history of democracy. Across generations, visitors will see diverse and inspiring Americans who faced challenges and were determined to have their voices heard. Our democracy demands action, reaction, vision, and revision…every one in every community is part of this ever-evolving story. “While the Smithsonian exhibit will focus on the national stories of democracy in America, a companion exhibit, Voices of Maury County, developed by the Society will focus on some of the citizens who fought for democracy in this county,” said Jo Ann McClellan, the Society’s president

“Since the Society does not, yet, have a museum space, we are very excited to host this exhibit at the Maury County Public Library,” said McClellan. The exhibit will open August 19 and close on October 1, 2023. This will be free and open to the public.

About the African American Heritage Society of Maury County

Founded in 2012, the African American Heritage Society of Maury County is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization. It is a membership-based organization and is open to anyone interested in furthering the objectives of the Society.

The Society has worked to add to the African American narrative to the rich history of Maury county. The projects included adding the names of over eighty African Americans, who lost their lives during the American Civil War, to the Maury County War Memorial; and the placement of five Tennessee Historical Commission markers commemorating significant sites, events, and people, including the Maury County Colored Hospital, which operated for more than thirty years.

Since 2013, the AAHSMC has sponsored a quarterly lecture series, where subject-matter experts and professors of history at Fisk, Middle Tennessee State, Tennessee State, and Vanderbilt Universities discussed on specific topics determined by the Board of Directors. To date, the Society has published eight history calendars that featured the people and places significant to Maury County’s African American history.

The Society has collaborated with MTSU/Center for Historic Preservation, the MTSU/Albert Gore Library, and the Tennessee State Museum on historic preservation projects.

Learn more about the African American Heritage Society of Maury County by visiting www.aahsocietymctn.org/



CSCC Radiology Grads (Press Release)

Columbia State Community College recently honored 20 radiologic technology graduates in a pinning ceremony in the Cherry Theater on the Columbia Campus. 

“The class of 2023 has a bright future ahead of them,” said Rose Hobby, program director and associate professor of radiology technology. “Our amazing clinical partners helped provide the graduates with hands-on training, allowing them to gain critical thinking skills necessary to be a competent and efficient member of the health care team. Our graduates are ready to serve the patients of Middle Tennessee; many accepted positions prior to graduation. Our program faculty are happy to call each of these graduates an alum of Columbia State as they will represent our college well.”

Program graduates must take and pass the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists board licensure exam in order to secure employment. Currently, the five-year average first-attempt pass rate for Columbia State is 90 percent, which is above the five-year national average pass rate of 87 percent.

“A strong job market, exciting careers, and endless opportunities await these new radiologic technology graduates,” said Dr. Kae Fleming, dean of the Health Sciences Division and professor of radiologic technology. “Each of these future radiographers will make an immediate impact on patient care and outcomes!”

Columbia State’s radiologic technology program is a rigorous 22-month program in which students learn imaging science in order to become a radiographer and work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, doctors’ offices and other health care facilities.

 

Upon completion of the program, graduates are qualified to produce images of patients’ internal structures for use in diagnosing medical problems.

 

Columbia State’s radiologic technology program is accredited by the Joint Review Committee in Radiologic Technology.  For more information about applying to this competitive admission program, please visit www.ColumbiaState.edu/RadTech or email RadTech@ColumbiaState.edu.


Cepicky on Special Session (MainStreetMaury)

Two weeks before the long-awaited special called legislative session on public safety, Rep. Scott Cepicky (R-Culleoka) has spoken out about the need for increased mental health services in the state, citing a lack of facilities and beds available.

The Tennessee General Assembly is scheduled to meet beginning Monday, Aug. 21 for a special session focused on strengthening public safety and preserving constitutional rights. 

The session was called by Gov. Bill Lee following the Covenant School shooting in March.

Though legislation is not required to be filed until 48 hours before session, Lee has expressed to members that he intends to submit an order of protection bill, which would allow a judge to revoke gun rights from an individual deemed dangerous to themselves or others.

Cepicky, who has proposed building more inpatient mental health facilities, said he is focusing on what can be done with regards to mental health.

“I think the problem we have right now when you look at mental health, we have over 1.3 million Tennesseans accessing mental health and we have less than 1,000 beds statewide,” he said.

“There’s your problem, we don’t have the ability to get people the help they need and long-term inpatient health.”

Cepicky also cited the rising homeless population in downtown Nashville, stating there are currently over 300 people living under bridges.

“I asked the mental health people, if these people would voluntarily commit themselves to an inpatient facility and get the help they need to turn their lives around, how many of these 300 could turn their lives around? They said 270. If we had a facility for them to get checked into and get the help they need, they could go back to living a normal life.”

Cepicky also noted the importance of receiving the Covenant shooter’s manifesto in order to better understand the shooter’s mental state. Lawmakers have been pushing for the release of the shooter’s writings, while families of the victims have fought to keep them private.

“We’ve got to have that manifesto and toxicology report,” he said. “I need to have law enforcement, psychologists and doctors tell me the mental, physical and medical state of this individual so when we’re passing laws, I know what I’m trying to stop.”

“Nobody aside from the Metro police, TBI and FBI have seen the toxicology report,” Cepicky added. “Everyone is being very tight-lipped about it. “This is the first time something like this has ever happened with a shooting like this, that the information and manifesto have not been released to the public. That’s troubling because as legislators we use that information to figure out what went wrong and how do we fix it. I’m walking in the legislature blindly.”

The Metro Nashville Police Department is currently in possession of the manifesto. In a statement released back in May, Metro Police said the writings will not be released due to pending litigation.

“Due to pending litigation filed this week, the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department has been advised by counsel to hold in abeyance the release of records related to the shooting at The Covenant School pending orders or direction of the court,” the statement read.

“I think there are some things we can do in regards to mental health, but we will be very sensitive to the constitution moving forward and making sure we don’t infringe on people’s rights,” Cepicky said, stating he remains focused on protecting the Second Amendment.


City Seeks Grant for Bear Creek (Press Release)

The City of Columbia took a step towards enhancing its road infrastructure by submitting a grant application for the 2023 Statewide Partnership Program. The application seeks funding to undertake the project of widening 7.2 miles of Bear Creek Pike, stretching from Nashville Highway to Interstate 65.


If successful, this initiative would mark one of the most substantial investments in road infrastructure that the city has witnessed in a generation. The project holds immense significance for the City of Columbia and its residents, as it aligns with a long-standing priority and vision for enhanced road connectivity and accessibility. Bear Creek Pike's expansion to a four-lane highway from Florence, AL, to Columbia, TN, subsequently connecting to Interstate 65, underscores its regional importance. City Engineer Glenn Harper commented, “This segment of Bear Creek Pike provides a regional connection to Interstate 65 and is a priority for the City of Columbia due to the impacts that increasing traffic will create regarding safety, congestion, and economic opportunities.” The widening would bring notable efficiencies to the daily commute for countless residents who utilize this route.


Mayor Chaz Molder stated, “I am pleased the City of Columbia, and our City Council have agreed to the most significant partnership investment in city history—$10 million dollars over 10 years to show Columbia’s commitment to the project.”


The timing of this proposal dovetails perfectly with ongoing infrastructure projects. Currently underway is a $29 million enhancement project for the Interstate interchange at I-65 Bear Creek Pike. Furthermore, City Manager Tony Massey noted, “The City has committed $4.5 million for enhancements for the Bear Creek Pike intersection and Nashville Highway intersection.” By integrating these planned improvements into the broader Bear Creek Pike widening project, two major corridor improvements will be achieved.


Molder went on to say, “I am hopeful, if not confident that, with the support of our state legislative delegation, and our community as a whole, that TDOT will fund this application to widen Bear Creek Pike which will have a generational impact on that corridor and our road infrastructure as a whole.”


The City of Columbia eagerly anticipates the response to its grant application and remains committed to propelling the city's progress through strategic investments in its roadwork. With the support of both local and state stakeholders, this endeavor could reshape the future of transportation in the region.


Legislative Lunch (Press Release)

Join Maury Alliance for a Legislative Lunch featuring Congressman Andy Ogles for a stimulating discussion around the current issues facing our business community and nation. This exclusive event offers the opportunity for you to engage with one of our federal representatives and gain valuable insights into current legislative matters. You may submit questions in advance by emailing them to nperry@mauryalliance.com

The event will take place on August 15th from 11:30-1:00pm at Puckett’s in downtown Columbia located at 15 Public Square. The cost is $25 for Maury Alliance Members and $30 for non-members.


Fire Department Recruiting (MauryCountySource)

Maury County Fire Department is accepting applications for their fall recruit class.

The department provides fire and rescue services to 618 square miles in Maury County, Tennessee. In addition, the team offers public fire education, CPR certification classes, and smoke detector installations to the citizens of Maury County.

No previous experience is required to join the annual recruit class. MCFD training program helps you obtain the skills, certifications, and state-level requirements to become a support member or firefighter.

Visit maurycountyfiretn.org/recruits and fill out an application today!


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

James Warren “Jim” Thomas, 89, retired employee of the Department of Justice and resident of Columba, died Sunday, August 6, 2023 at NHC Maury Regional Transitional Care. Funeral services will be conducted Friday at 11:00 A.M. at South Gate Church of Christ. Private family burial will be in Morrow cemetery.

Mrs. Betty Ruth Adams Bigsby, 85, retired waitress for Western Sizzlin and resident of Columbia, died Friday, August 4, 2023 at Maury Regional Medical Center.  A graveside service for Mrs. Bigsby will be conducted Saturday, August 12, 2023 at 11:00 A.M. at Rose Hill Cemetery.

Mr. George Gilbert Brazelton, CLU, 91, retired District Manager for Life Insurance Company of Georgia, died Monday, August 7, 2023 at his residence in Columbia. Funeral services for Mr. Brazelton will be conducted Saturday, August 12, 2023, at 12:00 P.M. at Graymere Church of Christ. Burial will follow in Polk Memorial Gardens. The family will visit with friends Saturday from 10:00 A.M. until service time at the church.

Dwight Stephen Stofel, 74, resident of Paris, TN, died Sunday, August 6, 2023. Funeral services for Mr. Stofel will be conducted Sunday, August 13, 2023 at 3:00 P.M. at Oakes & Nichols Funeral Home in Columbia, TN. Burial will follow in Friendship Baptist Church Cemetery in Culleoka, TN. The family will visit with friends from 12:00 P.M. until service time at the funeral home.


Mr. Robert Wallace “Bob” Ballard, 64, retired employee of SimCom and resident of Columbia, died Thursday, August 10, 2023 at Maury Regional Medical Center. A memorial service for Mr. Ballard will be conducted Sunday at 7:00 P.M. at Oakes & Nichols Funeral Home. The family will visit with friends Sunday from 5:00 P.M. until service time at the funeral home.


…And now, news from around the state…

Nissan Ramping Up Electric Production (Tennessean)

Franklin-based Nissan North America is prepared to bolster its investment in battery-powered technologies in Tennessee and throughout the southeastern U.S. This decision comes amidst substantial profit growth and intensified global competition for electric vehicles with artificial-intelligence software.

In an interview, senior vice president of Nissan Motor Co. and chairperson of Nissan Americas, Jérémie Papin, said that the company intends to significantly ramp up production to expedite the launch of new electrified models at all price points.

Nissan's US. market surged 33.1% in the first quarter after strong growth last year, and the company posted an overall 98% year-over-year spike in operating profits. Meanwhile, the company’s position in China is threatened by “severe competition” in new vehicle technology there, and a 24.3% revenue cut in 2022 that grew to 37% in the first quarter, according to company officials.

“The growth in the U.S.A. at the moment is something that benefits significantly the global business of Nissan,” Papin told The Tennessean recently. “So, the importance of the U.S. business, its positioning within the company, has never been as strong as it is today.

“China and the U.S. have always been very strong footholds for the company. As one gets weaker, the other gets a lot more attention to be stronger. Technology research-and-development is the backbone of Nissan. We have over 1,000 engineers in Farmington Hills right now and thousands more in Japan.”

In July, Nissan announced its vehicles will be compatible with Tesla chargers.

Nissan moved its U.S. headquarters from the Los Angeles area to Williamson County 17 years ago. Papin said the company's relationship with Tennessee remains strong because of consistent policies, in contrast to California where the Air Resources Board has imposed increasingly strict regulations on carmakers.


State Sued Over Redistricting (TennesseeLookout)

A coalition of civil rights and civic organizations has filed a federal lawsuit alleging Tennessee’s 2022 redistricting plan violates the 14th and 15th amendments of the U.S. Constitution and the rights of Black voters.

Filed in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee on Wednesday, the suit names Gov. Bill Lee, Secretary of State Tre Hargett, state Election Coordinator Mark Goins and members of the state election commission and specifically focuses on the redrawing of the former 5th Congressional District and state Senate District 31.

The suit charges the Tennessee Legislature, during the redistricting process following the completion of the 2020 U.S. Census, subordinated traditional redistricting principles in order to minimize Black votes by “cracking” and “packing” methods of gerrymandering, limiting voter input and participation and speeding the development and passage of the redistricting plan.


Final Story of the Day (Maury County Source)

Have you ever wanted to teach your child about the complex and unique qualities the Duck River provides this community, but didn't know where to start?

Columbia Power and Water Systems is partnering with aMuse'um Children's Museum, 123 W. 7th St., to unveil its new exhibit this weekend that focuses on that very subject.

The children's museum will host a reveal starting at 4 p.m. Friday, which is open to museum members.

The exhibit will officially open starting at 10 a.m. Saturday and will feature not only educational facts about The Duck River, but also the city's power systems and how they work and use the river waters to operate.


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