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Southern Middle Tennessee Today News for August 3, 2023

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

We start with local news…

Fire on Woodland (MainStreetMaury)

Columbia Fire & Rescue responded at approximately 1:40 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 2 to a residential structure fire located at 1119 Woodland Street.

Upon arrival, crews found heavy smoke and flames coming from the home and fire spreading to nearby structures. Firefighters immediately began working to successfully extinguish the blaze. The burning home was unoccupied and no civilian injuries were reported.

“We are very thankful for the quick actions of good Samaritans who swiftly alerted the resident in the neighboring home where the fire had spread, so that she was able to escape and avoid exposure,” Columbia Fire officials said in a press statement.

One Columbia Fire & Rescue firefighter suffered non-life threatening injuries on scene. The firefighter was treated and released from Maury Regional Hospital.

The Columbia Fire Marshal’s Office is currently investigating the cause of this fire.

Fire Station 5 Opens (CDH)

Dozens of elected officials, firefighters and supporters gathered for the opening of the long-awaited Fire Station No. 5 in Hampshire, Tennessee on Sunday.

Maury County Fire and EMS Station 5 will replace an aging facility located in the heart of the community.

Maury County Commission Chairman Eric Previti said he has known for years that the community needed a fully functioning county-funded fire station to serve growing Hampshire. He remembers the former volunteer fire station as a "shed"-like structure with a fire engine "wedged" into the small space.

"This is much needed for the community," Previti said. "This is a great day for Maury County. With the commissions from 2018 to 2020, this is a piece of work (former Maury County Commissioner) Linda Whiteside has sought for years. This has been lifelong work to get this done for Ms. Whiteside.

"Linda is a great lady and honorable and wise to work with."

Whiteside had been working on getting a station approved for the community for almost 17 years.

Maury County Mayor Sheila Butt acknowledged the planning that went into the funding and construction of the new firehouse.

"This family and this community has had a dream, and we are seeing the fruition of that dream today," Butt said. "The most wonderful thing to me is that there were servants in government, servants in the community with no fanfare, they saw this spot [for the new fire station]. This will bring your community together."

Linda Whiteside talked about the importance of the station to the community at the groundbreaking ceremony in April 2022.

“All communities need a good fire station,” Whiteside previously stated. "We are so proud of it. When we had a fire, we would just call each other, get the firetruck and go. It has taken us a long time."

State Sen. Joey Hensley, R-Hohenwald and Rep. Kip Capley, R-Summertown, attended the ceremony.

Located at 4126 Hampshire Pike, the new station is situated on a 3-acre plat of land located south of the intersection of Dry Fork Road in the center of the small rural community.

The new facility cost the county approximately $1.8 million. 

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.

Entrepreneur Boot Camp (Press Release)

Maury Alliance and Cowork Inc. have partnered together to offer a 12-week bootcamp led by PITON Consulting designed for entrepreneurs who are ready to take their business to the next level.

The MuleForce Entrepreneur Bootcamp is a transformative program designed to equip you with the essential tools and skills necessary to propel your business to new heights. During this business development program, PITON Coaching will guide you through a thought-provoking journey that will help you grow your business from infancy to expansion. By the end of this program, you will have the tools you need to become a more efficient and effective business owner with greater levels of impact and influence.

Go to for more info and to apply!

Spero Health (WKOM Audio 3:06)

Yesterday, Spero Health opened their doors on Hatcher Lane in Columbia to assist those who need outpatient addiction treatment. WKOM/WKRM’s Delk Kennedy attended the ribbon cutting to the about the services offered by Spero Health…

CDH Wins Awards (CDH)

The Daily Herald won First Place in two categories for the second consecutive year at the Tennessee Press Association awards luncheon on July 21.

For the second year, The Daily Herald took home two First Place awards for Best Single Feature and Best News Reporting in its division.

Stories focused on rural farming and land loss in Tennessee, featuring Kettle Mills farm, as well as growth and character preservation in Maury County, focusing on the Campbell farm in Spring Hill.

Editor Kerri Bartlett accepted the awards presented by Randy Boyd, president of The University of Tennessee, which has been sponsoring the awards for over 80 years.

The recent accolades add to the recognition the paper earned last year, when The Daily Herald won five First Place awards in its division, including Best Education Reporting, Best News Reporting, Best Single Feature, Best Digital Presentation and Best Feature Photograph.

Each year, reciprocal judging is done with another state’s association. This year, the Virginia Press Association judged 1,077 entries from 71 of the Tennessee Press Association’s 131 member newspapers.

The University of Tennessee System and TPA gave top honors to newspapers across the state during the annual Tennessee State Press Contests awards luncheon held at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Franklin.

The UT System has been co-sponsoring this event since 1940.

The Tennessee Press Association Newspaper Contest celebrates excellence in all areas of journalism, including reporting, writing, photography and more, Robyn Gentile, TPA Member Services Manager, said.

Points were awarded for each entry and general excellence honors were based on the newspaper’s total points in their division.

“News organizations have an increasingly difficult responsibility to tell the stories that impact our lives – the good, and sometimes the not-so-good,” Boyd said.

“We are fortunate in Tennessee to have outstanding reporters, photographers and designers who work with great enthusiasm and a genuine commitment to public accountability, and I truly appreciate the high standards you hold for yourselves in reporting in a fair and ethical manner.” 

Bradley Mountain (CDH)

What started as a hobby in a garage became a business whose customer base now stretches globally for Bradley Mountain, which just planted its new roots in Columbia to begin an exciting new chapter.

Husband and wife duo Tyler and Megan Axtell, owners of retailer/coffee shop Bradley Mountain, are set to open Friday as the newest business in the Columbia Arts District located at 1202 S. Garden St. Specializing in handmade, fine leather goods, Bradley Mountain brings a mix of fashion, home decor, as well as gourmet coffee.

"I'd always dreamed of adding a retail side to our headquarters, and this was just the perfect building with these old beams and vaulted ceilings," Tyler said. "It was a really fun place to design around. We want people to come in here and be amazed, because I really like old industrial buildings and have always wanted to work in designing with one. We wanted to really embrace the character of this place, and our craft, which is long-lasting and has that timelessness feel."

With its outdoor deck and coffee bar, which also provides an assortment of craft beers and charcuterie board options, Bradley Mountain is also a spot, which promotes social gathering, much like its fellow South Garden Street businesses like Mama Mila's, Battleground South Cigar Lounge and the Row & Co. building.

While the brick-and-mortar business is brand new, Bradley Mountain was originally founded more than a decade ago, primarily serving as an online retailer. The Axtells, who hail from California, chose Tennessee to bring the business into a more tangible space, while also growing its inventory and what it can offer customers.

Tennessee was also a place they felt a great opportunity to follow a dream, while building friendships within a new community, one that appreciates good quality and tradition.

"We ship to just about every country, places like Japan, Australia or Italy where people really appreciate this old-time kind of heritage feel. That's the same in Tennessee, where people really seem to understand what we do," Tyler said. "It's kind of the 'buy it once, keep it forever' kind of mindset."

Bradley Mountain recently hosted a soft opening, which Tyler said was "pretty much only promoted by word of mouth." The event drew nearly 300 visitors and about 100 transactions, he said, while also setting the stage for a First Friday opening weekend. In addition, the Axtells are excited to be part of the arts district as the area continues to grow and shape its own identity.

"We love being part of the arts district, and that this is an area the city cares a lot about," Tyler said. "We are really excited that people care about this area, that they are actually giving territory to small businesses, places to eat and for people to hang out. We love that, love the culture of The South, because this is something you really don't get on the West Coast."

Customers who visit Bradley Mountain can also get a first-hand look at how each bag or jacket is made, as the store's workshop is displayed in full view through large windows in the main room.

"You can come in, have a beer or coffee and see how the bags are made," Tyler said. "I think one day having classes, or a paid experience where you can come in, have a cocktail and maybe learn about leathermaking are the kinds of events we might want to do one day."

But for now, the Axtells are looking to find their footing in Columbia, meet new customers and have Bradley Mountain be yet another unique piece, albeit a fine leathery one, of the arts district patchwork continually being added to for young artists, entrepreneurs and dreamers with a vision.

"We're excited and really hope people take the time to find us, because once you know we're here it's an easy stop," Tyler said.

Friday's grand opening will be from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and will feature food, drinks and coffee, as well as live music by "New Orleans street jazz" band The Mudbug Stompers starting at 6:30 p.m. on the outdoor deck.

For more information, or to check out Bradley Mountain's inventory and shop online, visit

Pryor Art Gallery Hosting Exhibition (Press Release)

Columbia State Community College’s Pryor Art Gallery will feature the exhibition “Anna Marie Pavlik: Traces of Our National Parks.” The exhibition, which includes prints inspired by various national parks, will be open to the public from August 16 until September 22.

“With the spirit of an explorer, Anna Marie spends time at our national parks,” said Lisa Hoffman, Pryor Art Gallery curator. “Courageously venturing alone, either by foot or canoe, she sojourns with nature even at times when it is at odds with her. In one park, the staff had labeled her a "lost artist" when she was unable to paddle back to her campsite and she had paddled dangerously close to Mexico all night.”

Anna Marie Pavlik, a printmaker from Frankfort, Kentucky, will feature about 30 beautiful prints she created from her work as an artist in residence at various national parks. She has a bachelor’s degree in both mechanical engineering and studio arts, and holds a patent for a wire gripping device from her time at 3M Corporation.

Pavlik became more involved with art and joined Flatbed Press in Austin, Texas. Through intricate printmaking, she addresses her concern for the survival of natural areas and humanity’s relationship to the natural environment. Pavlik has been featured in various exhibitions, public collections and publications, as well as holds affiliations with more than 10 galleries. 

“Growing concern for the survival of natural areas and the need I perceive in people to understand their relationship to the environment have encouraged me to work with nature-related themes,” Pavlik stated in her artist statement. “My images are focused on revealing and presenting how nature has functioned. I extract the concepts which I visually explore, from my observations of natural sites, science publications and maps.  By creating these works, I hope to direct the viewer’s attention to the irreplaceable value, sublime beauty and mystery found within our natural environment.”

The exhibition is free and open to the public. The Pryor Art Gallery is in the Waymon L. Hickman Building on the Columbia Campus located at 1665 Hampshire Pike and is open Monday -Thursday, 8 a.m. - 7 p.m and Friday, 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.

The opening reception, which is also free and open to the public, will be August 31 from 5 – 7 p.m. Pavlik will be in attendance as a special guest and speaker at the reception.

For additional information about this exhibition, please visit or on Facebook at ColumbiaStatePAG.

For more information about the Pryor Art Gallery, contact Hoffman at 931.540.2883 or

…And now, news from around the state…

Grocery Sales Tax Holiday (Tennessean)

Your grocery bill will be a little smaller thanks to a sales-tax holiday passed in the Tennessee legislature this year.

Foregoing the grocery sales tax is estimated to cost the state $288 million in revenue and save the average family about $100. The tax holiday was included in Gov. Bill Lee's Tennessee Works Tax Act which also cut taxes for small businesses and made several changes to the state's tax laws.

Tennessee is one of 13 states that still imposes a sales tax on groceries.

The holiday began August 1, and will continue for the next three months through October 31.

The tax holiday applies to "food and food ingredients" that are "sold to be ingested or chewed by humans and are consumed for their taste or nutritional value." That includes substances that are:







There are some exceptions to the holiday. Those include:

alcoholic beverages



dietary supplements

Tennessee has the sixth-highest grocery sales tax in the nation — a 4% state tax in addition to local sales tax.

Final Story of the Day (Maury County Source)

Looking for one of the best steakhouses in the South? Southern Living says there's not one but two in Nashville.

Sperry's Restaurant in Belle Meade was named the fifth "most legendary" steakhouse in the magazine's list.

Opened in 1974 by brothers Houston and Dick Thomas, and named for their great-grandfather Burton W. Sperry, the restaurant is now run by Houston's son Al and his wife Trish.

"The steaks are sensational, but the restaurant is also known for its legendary salad bar (rumored to be the first in Nashville) with its homemade dressings like green goddess, French, thousand island and old-fashioned blue cheese," the magazine said. "If you want to dine like royalty, this is the place."

Prince William once made a visit in the early 2000s, the magazine said, Brad Paisley once took John Fogerty and Mick Jagger there to eat.

Jimmy Kelly's Steakhouse on Louise Avenue also made the list. Founded in 1934, the restaurant opened amid the Great Depression and just one year removed from the repeal of prohibition.

"John Kelly made a promise to himself and his diners," the restaurant says on its website. "Simply put, he would serve a great steak, a generous portion of whiskey and ensure the service was always attentive."

According to Southern Living, the third generation of Kellys are still making good on that promise.

"Housed in a grand Southern mansion, you’ll be wowed by the restaurant’s exterior and continue to be awed by the rich ruby and gold interiors," the magazine said. "Steaks here are hand-cut by an in-house butcher and aged for a minimum of 28 days."

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