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Southern Middle Tennessee Today News for August 24, 2023

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

We start with local news…

Sen. Hagerty Tour (WKOM Audio 3:50)

Yesterday, Senator Bill Hagerty was in Columbia touring several businesses and organizations and meeting with community leaders as part of his statewide economic development tour. WKOM/WKRM’s Clayton Harris caught up to the senator and spoke with him about what he is learning about the state of the economy as he tours the state…

June Lake Interchange Delayed (TDOT Press Release)

Continued delays in the project schedule of the I-65/June Lake Interchange in Spring Hill have caused the anticipated completion date to be pushed to late spring of 2024.


The original completion date was set for the summer of 2023. It was pushed to the winter of 2023 due to permitting and Right of Way delays, but with additional issues in unforeseen weather and unsuitable soil, the project is now expected to be complete spring of next year.


According to the contractor, Bell Construction, various pre-construction activities like acquiring permits and Right of Way acquisitions among other things took longer than expected forcing some construction activities into the wetter, colder months, slowing production and limiting available workdays.


On top of that, the mid-state’s wet summer has contributed to unforeseen soil and material issues, which kept crews from completing mass grading work on time.


The contractor will be assessed $15,000 in liquidated damages for each day past the contract completion date.


Motorists are advised to plan for extra travel time and slow down while in a work zone.

Hospital Expansion (MainStreetMaury)

Maury Regional Medical Center CEO Dr. Martin Chaney gave an update on the center’s $115 million facility improvement plan, which aims to expand access to care as Maury County continues to grow.

The expansion was first announced in June with a ceremony held on the front lawn of Maury Regional.

The plan includes an exterior renovation, two additional floors and an emergency department expansion and renovation, among others.

Speaking to the county’s Health and Environment Committee on Aug. 7, Chaney said two major practice renovations are currently in the works for both a pulmonary practice and OBGYN, which are scheduled for a ribbon cutting in the September-October timeframe.

“This is going to be a significant step up for women’s health in our community,” Chaney said.

“That should be opening up in September and then our pulmonary practice is in October. That one is on the hot seat because we’ve recruited several additional pulmonary critical care specialists.”

Chaney also updated the committee on the progress of the surgery center, which is in the process of expanding.

“We’re still on track. The architects have met with the surgeons and we are finalizing architectural plans and hopefully we’ll be moving on that project by the end of this calendar year with the hope of having it operational next calendar year,” he said.

“Lots of important progress is going on to meet our strategic plan.”

Speaking on the fiscal year, which closed June 30, Chaney said the hospital saw almost 17,000 admissions.

“These are the utilization indicators for last fiscal year,” he said, adding that ER visits topped 61,300, while births saw a 6% increase of 1,700.

“Our Maury Regional Medical clinics see a lot of encounters each year. A recent statistic that was shared with me is that we see over 600 new patients a month in our MRMG clinics. It just speaks to what we want to be and try to be for access to our community,” Chaney said.

Maury Regional’s improvement plan will be implemented over the next 30-36 months.

Funds will come from a number of sources, including a $60 million bond issuance and a $36 million energy as an asset service agreement.

Other sources include a state grant and vendor partnership.

AHA Indian Bar and Grill (WKOM Audio 2:00)

Yesterday, Aha Indian Bar and Grill held their grand opening in Spring Hill. WKOM/WKRM’s Mary Susan Kennedy stopped by to sample the menu…

Spring Hill Vintage Fire Truck (CDH)

The City of Spring Hill discussed revisiting its project to restore Spring Hill Fire Department's vintage Fire Belle truck and preserve a piece of the department's history.

Restoration of the antique fire engine, which is a 1957 Ford F-700 truck, was first introduced in 2014. It is now used annually at events, such as leading the Spring Hill Christmas Parade.

Fire Chief Graig Temple said the initial efforts to restore the truck included forming a committee, as well as raising funds via donations.

"They approached several other entities [for funding]. The Spring Hill Historical Commission donated $15,000 to the project, while several local businesses invested a lot of donations, time, effort and energy," Temple said. "This truck is very big in our fire prevention world."

Temple added that during the 2022 Christmas Parade, the truck was discovered to suffer "some engine problems," and that while the 2014 restoration brought the Fire Belle truck back to life in many ways, the work didn't include the vehicle's inner-working mechanics.

"The bearings in the crank case are shot, and the actual crank case is shaken to the point where it is going to fail. It's become very unreliable at this point," Temple said. "At this point, we are at a juncture and need to find funds to fix the engine, which is going to be between $6,000 and $10,000."

Temple, who presented the project to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen on Monday, said he now seeks guidance and direction on how to secure the needed funding. The options could include money from the city's general fund, or once again taking the donation route, as was done in 2014.

Vice Mayor William Pomeroy asked City Administrator Pam Caskie if the money could come from city tourism funds, which she said could be possible.

"You can use up to 25% of tourism funds on non-tourism activities," Caskie said. "Though you might even stretch this one to be called a 'marketing tool,' and there is an adequate amount of money in that fund that would not impact it. So that's actually a good idea, if you wanted to pursue it."

Alderman Trent Linville asked if the availability of parts for the 66-year-old vehicle would be an issue, or possibly lead to more costs if it were to be custom-built. Temple said the parts needed would not be difficult to find. The tricky part, he said, is locating someone skilled enough to work on vintage engines like this.

Alderman Matt Fitterer said that, having the General Motors Plant nearby, there's always the possibility a candidate could be hired locally, or at least it's worth a shot.

"You could probably find three guys retired from GM that could take care of it on a weekend," Fitterer joked.

Caskie said, if the city were to take the tourism funding route, the Fire Belle Project would appear on the BOMA's September agenda as a resolution.

Mt. Pleasant Taking Bids on Infrastructure (MainStreetMaury)

The city of Mount Pleasant is set to open bids for water and sidewalk improvement projects following approval of the South Central Tennessee Grant.

Last year, the city was also awarded ARP (American Recovery Plan) Funds from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation to be used for water projects, with the county providing $698,112 and the state $1.5 million.

Mount Pleasant Finance Director Shiphrah Cox said the city intends on completing two projects with the funds.

“One is to find more water sources and increase water intake, and the other is to prevent water loss so we can support the growth we’re getting,” Cox said.

The city is also waiting on bids to begin sidewalk improvements on North Main Street.

“On North Main Street right now, the sidewalk actually stops at 3rd Avenue,” Mount Pleasant Mayor Bill White said.

“We would like to carry that on out to at least the shopping center. That’s where a big part of that will go. We were very pleased to be getting that money,” White said of the $1.8 million awarded.

Cox said the city is currently looking for engineering services for the project.

“There are so many requirements you have to meet before you start any construction,” she said. “With these projects we have to get engineers on board who understand how to do this.”

Meanwhile, the city has also applied for the BlueCross BlueShield Healthy Places Grant, which would go towards improving the Rotary park.

“We are applying for some parks money for the BlueCross BlueShield Healthy Places Grant which was submitted last week,” City Manager Kate Collier announced during last week’s Commission meeting.

“We’ve applied three times and we’ve not been granted. The feedback we’ve gotten is that the park we were using did not impact enough of the population. We have so many people that use this other park so we hope we have better luck.”

White said bids for sidewalk improvements will open next week, while the engineering bid for the water project is set to go out in the next 30 to 45 days.

Sleep Inn Variance Denied (MainStreetMaury)

The Spring Hill Board of Zoning and Appeals denied a variance to the designated number of parking spots required at a future Sleep Inn hotel, planned for Kedron Road. 

Currently, the city’s Unified Development Code requires two parking spaces per room in the hotel, which comes to 96 total spaces. The applicant, T-Square Engineering, proposed just 66 parking spaces.

“The parking reduction would take place on the front side of the building to be constructed on the site,” city staff report reads. “Staff finds the request not consistent with the UDC and does believe that the proposal will have a significant detrimental impact on the public good or any of the surrounding property.”

Mayor Jim Hagaman made the motion to deny the variance.

“There is no hardship to be found based on the submitted documents,” he said. 

Citizen feedback both online and during the approval process have been mostly negative toward a hotel being built in what is designated as a downtown area. Christie Smith, a nearby resident to the property, read excerpts from the city’s Spring Hill Rising 2040 plan detailing the type of businesses and buildings the city planned for the area. 

She then spoke about the potential for the property were a hotel not considered at the site. The property sits adjacent to Home Depot and behind First Farmer’s Bank across the street from Best Western.

“Envision on this property – instead of a hotel – a Spring Hill city center market,” she said. “One building, open flow, from one end to the other. One that gives nods to the roots of Spring Hill by supporting local farmers, business and artists. 

“This is the type of place that embodies the small-town feel and culture that the Spring Hill Rising plan has laid out to protect.”

Unfortunately, Austin Brass of the city’s staff noted that while the plot is inside the designated area, it is zoned C-4, which would allow the hotel to be built by right without approval from the commission if all other requirements are met. 

It is unknown whether the developer intends to appeal the decision to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen.

Texas Roadhouse Supports MCAS (MauryCountySource)

You’re invited to Texas Roadhouse in Spring Hill on Thursday, August 24th to support the shelter and Friends of Maury County Animal Services who will receive 10% of your total food purchase between 3 – 8 pm.

Think of all the good that MCAS can do with that 10%!

Just show a flyer, which you can download at to your server, and they take care of the rest!

We’ll see you at Texas Roadhouse on Thursday!

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

Mr. Roger Anthony Riddle, 67, retired sales manager with Service Partners, died Saturday, August 19th at Maury Regional Medical Center. Funeral services will be Friday at 1:00 P.M. at Graymere Church of Christ. Burial will follow at Polk Memorial Gardens. The family will visit with friends Thursday from 3:00 P.M. until 7:00 P.M. at Graymere Church of Christ.

…And now, news from around the state…

Special Session Update (Tennessean)

A gulf continued to widen Wednesday between the House and Senate as the Tennessee legislature pushed ahead during the special session called in the wake of the deadly Covenant School shooting.

The Senate coalesced around three bills that passed through the Judiciary Committee the day before and was set to take final votes on them by Wednesday afternoon. Meanwhile, other Senate committees quickly dispensed with dozens of other bills — including some top priorities for House GOP leaders. In some cases, Senate committees lasted less than a minute.

The surviving Senate bills include a measure to remove sales tax on gun safes and provide free gun locks to Tennessee residents, a proposal to change the deadline for courts to submit records to the state background check database, and a bill to require the TBI to create an updated report on human trafficking.

Other proposals – including a risk protection order proposal, another that would have armed teachers, and expanded funding and insurance coverage for mental health treatment – are all tabled in the Senate. 

The upper chamber seems set on steamrolling toward an early adjournment. The body is set to return for a floor session at 2 p.m., and Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson, R-Franklin, has filed resolutions to adjourn as early as Wednesday.

That would be a roadblock for bills the House wants to adopt. Without passage of a companion bill in the Senate, any legislation passed in the House is essentially barred from moving forward.

Still, the House plowed ahead Wednesday.

Titan’s Father Dies in Explosion (Tennessean)

Tragedy has struck Tennessee Titans cornerback Caleb Farley for the second time in five years. Late Monday, his father, Robert M. Farley, died in an explosion at Caleb's North Carolina home.

Robert Farley, 61, was found dead following a suspected gas leak. The event resulted in the collapse of the 6,391-square-foot home. Another person, Christian Rogers, 25, was injured and transported to a hospital in Charlotte with non-life threatening injuries.

The explosion comes five years after Farley's mother, Robin, died from breast cancer in 2018 following a 2009 diagnosis.

Weaver Makes LLWS History (Tennessean)

Southeast Region's Stella Weaver made history Tuesday at the 2023 Little League World Series while playing for Tennessee state champion Nolensville.

The only girl playing in this year's tournament, Weaver recorded her third hit of the World Series in three games. Her single to right field against Nevada in the fourth inning of her team's 2-1 victory earned her the U.S. record for hits by a girl in the LLWS.

The single also tied Weaver with Canada's Katie Reyes for most hits by any girl at the Series.

Making it even more memorable, Weaver scored what turned out to be the winning run in the elimination game.

"That's crazy to me," she said. "Me and Coach Randy (Huth) made a bucket list. We did how many hits has a girl ever had in the U.S. I thought it was so much fun. Getting that hit was just crazy."

Weaver was aware she was approaching the record but it wasn't at the forefront of her mind during Tuesday's game.

"I wasn't thinking about it at all," she said. "Once I got back to the dugout I was like, 'Oh, my God. I just remembered that.' "

Weaver was the starting pitcher for Nolensville Little League on Monday, when she struck out the first batter she faced.

Weaver is the first girl to play for Nolensville Little League, the 22nd to play in the Little League World Series and the 10th to record a hit there. She lists her sports idol as Mo'ne Davis, who played in the 2014 Little League World Series.

Final Story of the Day (Maury County Source)

Cypress Hill will perform at Ascend Amphitheater on Tuesday, September 5th at 8 pm.

Signifying a massive year for hip-hop legends Cypress Hill, this exciting collaboration comes in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the group’s iconic second studio album, Black Sunday. From the record that delivered fans mega hits like “Insane in the Brain,” “I Ain’t Goin’ Out Like That” and many more, the group will be bringing the full collection to the stage alongside the Nashville Symphony. Audiences can get ready for a can’t miss, genre-bending experience from these musical powerhouses!

Find tickets at


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