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Southern Middle Tennessee Today News for August 2, 2023


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


We start with local news…

Car Accident (Press Release)

At 8:58pm on Monday night, Maury County Fire Department responded to a two vehicle accident on Carters Creek Pike. The overturned vehicle was carrying the local McNeese family including father Jake McNeese, mother Kayla McNeese, and 3 1/2 year old Jeremy McNeese.

“It came out of nowhere. We heard the loudest noise and felt a big jar. Our car went over into the culvert. By the time we realized what had happened, we were laying upside down,” statesd mother Kayla McNeese who was in the passenger seat.

“I heard Jeremy start crying and my only thought was “we have to get him out.” My husband climbed in the back seat and released Jeremy from his car seat where he was dangling, but secure. He was surrounded by glass but was completely uninjured. As soon as I opened the driver side door, a firefighter was standing outside of the door, ready to pull us out.”

Firefighters at Maury County Fire Station 12 heard the sound of the impact and headed towards the incident before even formally receiving the call. Other units, including Maury Regional EMS, THP, and Maury County Sheriffs Department quickly followed.

“We are so happy that no one was hurt in this incident. We truly credit the safety of 3 year old Jeremy to the family’s choice to ensure he was properly secured in his car seat. Without their actions, the outcome of this incident could have been devastating. Watching Jeremy laugh, play with bubbles, and run around a nearby field so soon after this incident was moving for every responder on scene.” States Maury County Fire Department Public information Officer Savannah Maddison.

The McNeese family and Maury County Fire Department want to share that each year, thousands of young children are killed or injured in car crashes. Proper use of car safety seats helps keep children safe.

Station 12 Chief Peder Jensen states “It’s an honor that we are able to serve the McNeese family. This family has supported Station 12 and all of Maury County Fire for years. As a father of 4, I want to share that it is so important to learn about car seat regulations and use. This is a perfect example of why carseat safety is so important. We plan to offer car seat classes in the coming months at Station 12.”

Families are encouraged to utilize resources and research to ensure children are protected. https://www.nhtsa.gov


Mt. Pleasant Man Sentenced to Federal Prison (MauryCountySource)

A Mount Pleasant, Tennessee, man was sentenced to federal prison yesterday for child exploitation charges, announced U.S. Attorney Henry C. Leventis.

Clinton Shawn Gransden, 44, was sentenced to 40 years in prison for the production, receipt, transportation, and possession of child pornography, followed by supervised release for life.

Over the course of several months in 2019, Gransden repeatedly filmed two underage girls inappropriately and also provided a minor teenage girl with alcohol, methamphetamines, and cocaine.

The sexual abuse videos that Gransden created were posted online, where individuals acquainted with the teenage victim saw them and reported the crime to the authorities. Investigators searched Gransden’s electronic devices and discovered the sexual abuse videos as well as evidence that Gransden had sent the videos to others. Investigators also found evidence that Gransden downloaded and possessed child pornography depicting the victims. A federal grand jury indicted Gransden on nine counts of producing child pornography and one count each of transporting, receiving, and possessing child pornography. On February 2, 2023, Gransden pleaded guilty to all the charges.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations and the Maury County Sherriff’s Office investigated the case, with assistance from the FBI. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney S. Carran Daughtrey and Trial Attorneys Austin M. Berry and Adam Braskich of the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section.

The case against Gransden’s co-defendants Angel Morales Depasquale and Michelle E. Klen remain pending and they are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

US News and World Reports Recognized MRMC (Press Release)

U.S. News & World Report has recognized Maury Regional Medical Center (MRMC) as a high performing hospital in the areas of colon cancer surgery, heart attack treatment and knee replacement for 2023-24.

 The annual U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals ratings, now in their 34th year, are designed to assist patients and their physicians in making informed decisions about where to receive quality care for challenging health conditions or common elective procedures.

 “Maury Regional Medical Center’s health care team is committed to providing all our patients clinical excellence and compassionate care so they may receive the best possible outcomes,” said Maury Regional Health CEO Martin Chaney, MD. “We’re proud to be recognized yet again as a high performing hospital by U.S. News & World Report.”

 For the 2023-24 rankings, the Best Hospitals list evaluated hospitals in more than 30 medical and surgical services. The list’s methodology are based largely on objective measures, such as survival rates, patient experience, level of nursing care and how successfully each hospital helps patients return home.

 To calculate the rankings for overall performance, specialties, states and metro areas, U.S. News evaluated each hospital’s performance using a variety of measures from data provided by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, American Hospital Association, professional organizations and medical specialists. In the areas of procedures and conditions, the ratings are based on objective patient care measures.

For more information about the 2023-24 ratings by U.S. News & World Report, visit Health.USNews.com/Best-Hospitals.


Premier Design Build Opening (WKOM Audio 2:06)

Premier Design Build in Spring Hill held a ribbon cutting ceremony at their new location yesterday. WKOM/WKRM’s Delk Kennedy attended the ceremony and spoke to Premier Design Build’s owner, Dave Kraiker to learn more…


Spring Hill Leaders Discuss Growth (CDH)

Spring Hill city leaders rounded out the month of July by coming together to discuss and consider changes and updates which adhere more to the city's ongoing growth.

The joint meeting between members of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen and the Municipal Planning Commission took place Monday, covering an array of growth and planning-related topics. These ranged from identifying roads and other infrastructure to fire safety, design requirements and even establishing an ordinance for trees and other plant life.

The intent for Monday's meeting, Mayor Jim Hagaman said, was to bring both boards together and discuss a multitude of updates and changes needed to maintain smart growth.

"We are in the driver's seat, and we are here for the best interests of the citizens of Spring Hill, the people that we serve first and foremost," Hagaman said. "The citizens must win first."

Many of Monday's topics focused on various aspects of the design process, such as what is required at a preliminary plat stage versus a final site plan.

Spring Hill Development Director Peter Hughes said the city currently has 74 requirements needed during the early preliminary stages, which is about double the average of cities of similar size, population and growth rate.

"We are asking for too much information that is not necessary, or information that's being captured at another point," Hughes said.

Parking requirements was another aspect discussed, specifically whether the city should implement a maximum limit on proposed developments. Hughes said this has created issues for developments such as hotels and large retail stores, which often include more parking than needed.

"Specifically at hotels, we've run into problems where they are having to seek parking variances, or they're having to put in a substantial amount of parking that isn't necessary," Hughes said. "

It has also created issues for other businesses and developments whose land parcels might not have enough space to meet the minimum requirements for parking. By updating the city's parking policy, it could open new doors for future businesses, while creating a logical balance between spaces for vehicles and pedestrians alike.

"We have people that can't open a business because they can't provide parking that's required, and so I think there are some very specific areas where we can implement this," Hughes said. "There are economic benefits to it, and the biggest one that I see is when you drive past The Crossings, Home Depot or Lowe's you don't see a sea of pavement, but a monetized area where we can see more tax dollars to help our infrastructure needs."

Improving public safety is another top priority for city leaders and various city departments, particularly Spring Hill Fire Department.

Fire Chief Graig Temple presented a new initiative he hopes the city will implement in the coming months, one which would not only boost public fire safety awareness, but also at little cost to the city.

Temple introduced the Fire Wise initiative, which would provide additional resources and educational materials to citizens, such as recognizing potential fire hazards around the home.

"We need to do a better job at educating our citizens as to what are the proper aesthetics to have around their house yo cause less fire problems, quite frankly," Temple said. "Fire Wise is a program the National Fire Association does typically on the West Coast ... and what is will allow us to do is start educating the public a little more aggressively, providing them with information to build barriers around their homes."

Temple added that funding for the program could be made possible through grant applications, which could also include improved Public Works services in regard to things like brush removal.

"It would allow us to really push a lot of information, and also tap into a lot of resources we don't have access to, and obviously the money is there for grants," Temple said.



United Communications Boosts Internet Speeds (Press Release)

Local telecom provider United Communications, a service of Middle Tennessee Electric, announced that continued investments in its fiber infrastructure has enabled the company to permanently boost internet speeds as of July 1 for some residential and business customers without increased pricing or additional equipment requirements. 


Residential fiber internet customers at the 100 Mbps tier now have access to speeds of up to 250 Mbps, and those previously on the 250 Mbps plan have been upgraded to 500 Mbps.

Plans supported by the company’s fixed wireless network, which provides affordable internet connections to the most underserved areas in Middle Tennessee, have also received upgrades of 60% or more. New customers within the provider’s fixed wireless service areas can choose from three different broadband plans, all without contracts or data caps.


For its business customers, United Communications increased upload speeds to match download speeds, a balance referred to as “symmetrical” service, without increasing prices.

Symmetrical service has become increasingly important to organizations of all sizes for transferring large files and conducting multiple transactions online without interrupting other internet-based services, including VoIP and video conferencing.

“Today, all United Communications customers are benefiting from our ongoing infrastructure investments and expansion projects in Middle Tennessee,” said William Bradford, President and CEO of United Communications. “These speed upgrades are another important milestone in our mission to bridge the digital divide and provide rural communities, towns, and cities with the fast, reliable connections they need to thrive in the 21st century.”

This announcement represents United’s second major round of speed upgrades this year. On March 1, the company lowered the price of its 2 Gbps plan to $99.95 and increased the speeds of its 300 and 600 Mbps plans to reach a symmetrical 500 and 750 Mbps, respectively, without changes in pricing. United also introduced a new residential 100 Mbps internet plan at $49.95 for areas of Middle Tennessee that have been historically under-connected.

Qualifying customers are not required to take any action to benefit from the speed upgrades, which have been automatically implemented.

More information about United Communications, including availability maps and discounts for qualifying customers through the Affordable Connectivity Program, are available online at united.net.

United Communications is a leading provider of internet, digital TV, and phone services to enterprise-class businesses and residential customers in Middle Tennessee. United has been nationally and regionally recognized, including 2023 Torch Award from the BBB, 2023 Best Places To Work from Nashville Business Journal, 2022 Top 100 Fiber-To-The-Home Leader, a Smart Rural Community Provider℠, “Fastest Internet Service Provider” by BroadbandNow, and 2021 Broadband Communities Cornerstone Award.

United operates more than 3,600 route miles of fiber covering portions of Bedford, Davidson, Franklin, Marshall, Maury, Rutherford, Williamson, and Wilson counties. United Communications is a service of Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation. To learn more, please visit united.net.



Maury County Fair (MauryCountySource)

The Maury County Fair will return on Thursday, August 31st and run until Monday, September 4th, 2023.

All the family fun and entertainment you love will soon be back!

This year, the fair festivities begins with a Rodeo, taking place on Thursday of Fair Week. Several other popular events will be happening like the junk car jump and run and the Saturday motocross races.

In addition to the back arena fun, all your favorite animal shows and exhibitor competitions are back this year too! The kids zone will see a variety of live, exotic animals and science shows that will amaze kids of every age.

For more on the fair and updates, visit maurycountyfair.com.

Address: Maury County Fair & Exposition

1018 Maury County Park Dr. Columbia, TN 38401

MRMC Welcomes New Doctor (Press Release)

Maury Regional Medical Group (MRMG) is pleased to announce the addition of Kelsey King-Hook, MD, to Maury Regional Medical Group Primary Care in Columbia.

 Dr. King-Hook received her medical degree from East Tennessee State University (ETSU) Quillen College of Medicine in Johnson City, Tennessee and completed her residency with ETSU in Kingsport, Tennessee. While completing her residency, Dr. King-Hook acquired experience in numerous areas including family medicine, geriatrics, outpatient pediatrics and behavioral health. She is board certified in Family Medicine.

 MRMG Primary Care services include adult and pediatric medicine, chronic disease management, Department of Transportation (DOT) Physicals, diabetic retinopathy screenings, immunizations, minor surgical procedures, on-site X-ray and lab, palliative medicine, physical and wellness exams, treatment of acute illnesses and women’s health.

 Dr. King-Hook joins Thomas Farmer, MD, Ben Gardner, MD, John Roberts, DO, Kristen Clay, FNP-BC, and Brian Lovely, PA-C. MRMG Primary Care is open Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. They are located at 854 West James Campbell Blvd., suite 403 in Columbia. For more information, call 931.380.0075 or visit MauryRegional.com/PC403.


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


Mr. Samuel Thomas Wrather, Sr., 91, retired Electrician for Union Carbide and resident of Columbia, died Sunday, July 30, 2023 at Maury Regional Medical Center. Funeral services for Mr. Wrather will be conducted Wednesday at 2:00 P.M. at Oakes & Nichols Funeral Home. Burial will follow in Rock Springs Cemetery.


…And now, news from around the state…

Williamson County State of the County (WilliamsonHerald)

Williamson County Mayor Rogers Anderson delivered this year’s annual State of the County address to nearly 500 business leaders Wednesday at Williamson, Inc.’s Business Luncheon, presented by Williamson Health. 

The address gave attendants a snapshot of county performance in education, public safety, job growth and employment, and capital investments.

Anderson started by discussing the county’s public school system. In a 2023 Niche Report, it was ranked as the third-best school district out of 126 in Tennessee. The recently approved 2023-24 fiscal year budget includes over $517.5 million in funding for Williamson County Schools (WCS) operations. According to WCS Superintendent Jason Golden, the average ACT score in the district was 24.7 as compared to the state average of 19.1. 

Anderson continued by discussing public safety updates in the county.

“Throughout the past several years, Sheriff Dusty Rhoades has been part of sheriffs state-wide who have been facing critical personnel shortages and challenges,” he said. “With support from the county commission in the past two fiscal years, an improved classification and compensation program has been implanted to help with attracting and retaining sheriff’s office staff.”  

According to a recent survey by the University of Tennessee, the county’s sheriff’s office now offers the highest starting pay in the state out of the 91 counties that participated. The recent budget includes an additional $340,000 for operational expenses and $9.6 million in capital funding for volunteer fire services. Twelve million dollars was appropriated for constructing an improved emergency department at Williamson Medical Center. 

As far as the county’s economics are concerned, according to data gathered by the Appalachian Regional Commission, an organization that indexes county economic status across the state based on a composite measure of an area’s average unemployment rate, per capita income, and poverty rate, Williamson County is the only “attainment” county in the state. Counties are ranked as distressed, at-risk, transitional, competitive or attainment. 

“This quality of life status does not occur without the concentrated and successful efforts of businesses, like those represented here today, and elected officials who work diligently to ensure our county and cities are financially sound and fiscally responsible,” Anderson said. 

Anderson also spoke about upcoming and in-progress capital projects. A community center is under construction in Bethesda that will provide outdoor recreational facilities, including six soccer fields, four tennis courts, six pickleball courts, two sand volleyball courts and a walking trail. There will be a new branch library in the area as well. 

At the end of his address, Anderson encouraged those in the crowd to serve their community. 

“It is indeed an honor to serve as your mayor, and I challenge each of you who may not be involved in your community in some way to do so,” he said. “Whether it be at your school, your library or your favorite nonprofit, I encourage you to get involved.”


Final Story of the Day (Maury County Source)

The 2023 Williamson County Fair will be held August 4-12 at the Williamson County Agricultural EXPO Park, located at 4215 Long Lane in Franklin.

On Monday through Friday, you can enjoy the fair from 6-10 p.m. However, on Saturday you can start the fun as early as 10 a.m. and at 12 p.m. on Sunday.

There is free parking available on the grounds, and all stage shows and attractions are free with the price of admission. Tickets can be purchased at williamsoncountyfair.org and  are priced at $14 for adults, $7 for children, and free for children of ages 5 and younger.

Additionally, there will be the annual Hometown Heroes recognition on the fair's Patriot Day. The event honors the 2023 Hometown Hero winners with a special recognition ceremony on Aug. 12 at 10:30 a.m. on the Nissan Stage. 


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