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Southern Middle Tennessee Today News for February 13, 2023

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

We start with local news…

Soup and Bowl Fundraiser (WKOM Audio 2:11)

On Saturday, the annual Soup n’ Bowl event took place to benefit Harvest Share Food Pantry. WKOM/WKRM’s Delk Kennedy went by the event to learn more about it…

Early’s Honey Stand (MauryCountySource)

Erskine Early, who founded Early’s Honey Stand with his mother Mamie in summer 1925, has shared the story of the founding of their business with many, and it is told again in an article that sits on a table at the entrance of their current location.  It seems that they had an overflow of honey that year and he and his mother poured it into all the different types of jars they could find, then they put up a rough counter made of four by eights on top of three steel drums under a shade tree on the old toll road that ran south to Florida. They nailed a rough sign on the old mulberry tree above them that said “Honey for Sale” and Early’s Honey Stand was born.

Early goes on to say in the article that in the fall, when his father was making sausages and smoking hams, a guy came up and asked if he could buy some of the sausages. Early’s father had a reputation for making the best in the county in a time when everyone made their own. Sales took off, and they still smoke their meat products the same way that his father did almost 100 years ago.

In 1985, “The Spring Hill Morning Sun” ran an article about Early’s Honey Stand. Not too long after setting up under that tree, the article states, the Early family bought an old toll house on Highway 31. Since it was no longer a toll road, the buildings were no longer being used, but the shape worked well for a roadside stand keeping customers out of the heat and the rain. The old building has been changed over the years, but it still sits under the trees just off the main road.

Life events have affected the business over the years, especially during The Great Depression when prices fell as much as 34%. It has also survived World War II, the upheavals of the 1960s, and most recently the pandemic.

The business has come a long way since it began. They now carry an array of foods and seasonings, including the honey and smoked pork products that got them started, that can be shipped all over the country. Additional products include flavored mustards, like horseradish and Vidalia onion; steak seasoning and their traditional pork rub; jellies and jams like Mamie used to make; fruit butters; pickled mushrooms and asparagus; bourbon grilling sauce; barbecue sauce; biscuit mix; cheeses; and more.

Inside, the store is set up to look like an old-time food stand. There are coolers and shelves filled with all kinds of foods imbued with country flavors. A catalog of all of their products comes out every Christmas, which began in 1950.

Each shipment was hand packed by the Early family when they first started shipping orders out of Tennessee. Inside the package would be a carefully typed note card listing the order and signed by hand by Erskine. Before shipping, they would hand deliver orders to those who ordered from them in the area.

Recipes for some of their favorite down-home items can be found online, like sausage balls, hush puppies and country ham. Over time new products have been added to the original product “stars” with suggested usage ideas, like employing their pickled garlic as an addition to any butter board, charcuterie board, cheese board, flatbreads, pizza, pasta, salads or stir fries.

Everything in the store is steeped in tradition. As a child, Erskine used to serve customers iced cold spiced apple cider on hot days, and they still serve cider.  They also have tasting Saturdays.

Early’s Honey Stand

5075 Main Street

Spring Hill. Tennessee

(800) 523-2015

Hours: Monday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.

Crossroads to Home Café Fundraiser (WKOM Audio 5:48)

On Saturday, a fundraiser supporting the Crossroads to Home café was held at the Factory at Columbia. Our own Delk Kennedy attended the event and spoke to organizer, Mark Kirschbaum.

Public Speaking Competition for Kids (MainStreetMaury)

Studies indicate that speaking in front of people is one of the leading causes of anxiety. But public speaking is one of the most important skills used in everyday life.

Through the 4-H program, youth are given the opportunity to not only learn how to speak in front of a group of people, but to also master the skill. On Jan. 12, those skills were put to the test at the Maury County Public Speaking Contest.

During the months of November and December, 4-H members from across Maury County wrote speeches and competed within their school clubs for the opportunity to move on to the Maury County Public Speaking Contest. From here, the grand champion and reserve grand champion are invited to represent Maury County at the Area Public Speaking contest. The Area contest allows students to compete against the top two individuals from all the counties in the area.

In fourth-grade competition, Katelyn Delaney was named the Public Speaking Grand Champion, with Addie Snoblen being named the reserve grand champion. Brooklyn Gardner followed in third place. Katelyn and Addie went on to represent Maury County at the Area Public Speaking contest on Jan. 19 in Franklin.

The fifth-grade division found Parker Hendrix being named the county grand champion, followed by Copper Ottmers as the reserve grand champion with Ezriah Estrada taking home third place. Parker and Cooper also competed at the Area contest, representing Maury County.

The 6th-12th grade public speaking contest was held on Jan. 10. Winning first place in the sixth-grade division was Kate Gwin, followed by Kayla Horwath as reserve grand champion, with Xavier Smith in third. Kate and Kayla both represented Maury County at the Area contest.

The seventh-grade public speaking grand champion was Micah Gwin, followed by Esther Russell, with Micah moving on to the Area contest.

The 10th-grade public speaking grand champion was Annebelle Demastus and Patton Duvall was named the 11th-grade public speaking grand champion. Patton and Annebelle competed at the Area contest and both qualified to move on to compete at the Central Region Senior High Public Speaking Contest in February.

Public speaking can be a challenge for many adults and youth. These five 4-H’ers handled the challenge like professionals and were outstanding representatives of Maury County. For more information about Maury County 4-H, or any of these projects, please call (931) 375-5301. All youth are welcome to join the Maury County 4-H Program.

4-H is a part of UT Extension and the UT Institute of Agriculture. UT Extension provides equal opportunities in programs and employment through the cooperation of county, state and federal governments.

Design Competition for City Flag (MainStreetMaury)

The City of Columbia has established a design competition to create an official city flag and Columbia residents are invited to take part in the process by submitting their original flag designs from now through March 15th.

The final, winning design will be announced on April 20. The City is excited to give the public an opportunity to participate in the design process, as it will reflect and symbolize our community. Designs can be submitted on the City’s website at

All entries will be judged based on flag criteria presented in the competition guidelines then narrowed down to three final designs. The public will have a chance to vote, from April 1-15, on the final three designs chosen by the Columbia Arts Council. The winning design will reflect Columbia's pride, rich history, promising future and embody what makes Columbia special and unique, using meaningful symbolism and minimal color & design features.

“I couldn't be more excited about this flag design competition that will result in the first official flag for the city of Columbia,” said Columbia Mayor Chaz Molder. “A flag creates identity, establishes symbolism, and promotes unity, and I can't wait to see the final product. Our community is full of creative individuals from all walks of life, and I am particularly pleased that this will be a public driven process. And, I am also excited that this project is being led, in part, by Nathaniel Bliss, a local Scout with Troop 111, who brought forward the idea as part of his Eagle Scout project. I encourage all members of the community to participate in what will be a project that will be historic in nature given its long term, lasting effects.”

Nathaniel Bliss is eager to see the end result of this process.

"I chose the flag design competition as my Eagle Scout project because I am interested in flags and what they represent, as well as the impact they have on a community,” stated Bliss. “I recognized that Columbia did not have a flag and felt it was time our city got one. A flag symbolizes a city, its history, culture, and people of all backgrounds. It unifies the community and provides something to rally around. As a proud resident of Columbia, I thought our historic city deserved such an important symbol."

Basic rules and guidelines include but are not limited to: (1) Submit an original flag design by March 15, 2023; (2) Competition is limited to Columbia residents only; (3) No compensation will be given for any designs submitted; (4) Only one entry per resident; and (5) All ages and skill levels are welcome to participate.

For a complete list of rules and information regarding the Columbia Flag Project, visit the City’s website at

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

Mr. Shane Clark,62, passed away on Friday, February 10 at his residence in Columbia, TN. Visitation the family of Mr. Clark will be held at Oakes & Nichols Funeral Home on Wednesday, February 15 from 4-8 pm. A celebration of life will be held at a later date.

Mrs. Earlene Phaye Fowler Pipkin, 77, homemaker and resident of Columbia, died Saturday, February 11, 2023 at Maury Regional Medical Center. A graveside service for Mrs. Pipkin will be conducted Wednesday at 2:00 P.M. at Polk Memorial Gardens. The family will visit with friends Wednesday from 11:30 A.M.- 1:30 P.M. at Oakes & Nichols Funeral Home.

…And now, news from around the state…

Lt. Governor Hospitalized (Tennessean)

Tennessee Lt. Gov. Randy McNally was hospitalized Thursday due to "experiencing symptoms of an irregular heartbeat" and underwent surgery to get a pacemaker inserted, he announced.

McNally, R-Oak Ridge, first announced the news of his hospitalization in a Twitter post around 11:40 p.m. Thursday. He said he checked himself into Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Just before 4 p.m. Friday, he reported his pacemaker surgery went smoothly.

"Currently in recovery and resting comfortably," McNally, who also serves as the state's Senate speaker, said in the post. "Thank you to friends, family, colleagues and citizens across the state for your messages, prayers and support. Looking forward to getting back to work!"

Franklin Explosion (Tennessean)

A blast at a Williamson County-owned quarry escalated beyond a routine explosion Wednesday, alarming many people countywide after an apparent "catastrophic failure," according to officials.

The explosion, which took place at the Williamson County Highway Department quarry located on 302 Beasley Drive, occurred when privately-licensed Dyno Nobel was preparing for a planned blast, Franklin Fire Marshal Andy King said.

The crew for Dyno Nobel, which is contracted by the county, drilled a hole to contain explosive material — however, the explosive slurry placed into the hole seeped into the ground below. More explosives were loaded into the cavity and when fired, the hole "blew out," King said.

This caused a significant air pressure change that was "heard and felt" across much of Franklin and Cool Springs, King stated.

The blast violated state laws by launched large pieces of rock 2,000 feet onto adjacent properties and exceeded the state 140 decibel noise limit. There were no reported injuries, though the explosion caused a Franklin school to shelter in place Wednesday.

“This incident was noticeable and disruptive, but we are fortunate that no one was hurt," King stated.

King said seismographs were being used and may be considered as part of the investigation by the state fire marshal's office, which has jurisdiction over blasting.

The county's quarry is not associated with the neighboring quarry owned by Vulcan Materials.

Final Story of the Day (Maury County Source)

This month marks one year since country singer Lauren Alaina joined the Grand Ol’ Opry family.

The Opry is celebrating by offering one lucky fan tickets to see her at the Opry and you will also meet Lauren, receive an autographed poster, an exclusive copy of her book, and more.

One contest winner will get:

Two (2) Tickets to see Lauren Alaina on the Grand Ole Opry*

Two (2) Backstage meet & greet passes

Two (2) Daytime Backstage Tour tickets

One (1) Autographed Lauren Alaina Induction Hatch Show Print

One (1) Autographed copy of Lauren’s book Getting Good at Being You: Learning to Love Who God Made You To Be

*The winner will get to choose from a selection of show dates

Submit your information at for a chance to win. The sweepstakes ends March 1, 2023 at 12:00am.


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