Southern Middle Tennessee Today News for February 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…
School and Other Closings
Due to the freezing rain that has been passing through the area overnight, there are several cancellations and closings. Within our listening area, Giles County Schools will be opening at 10:00, Hickman County Schools are closed, Lawrence County Schools will open two hours late, Lewis County is closed, Maury and Williamson Counties will start two hours late.
Maury County Government offices will open one hour late.Body Found in Santa Fe (Press Release)
At 7:00pm Tuesday evening, Maury County Fire received a call to retrieve a body found in the historic Fire Tower in Sante Fe.
County Fire units utilized high angle rope rescue operations to make their way up the condemned fire tower. The condition of the tower, cold temperatures, fog, and darkness made the operation especially complicated.
On scene command requested mutual aid from Spring Hill Fire Department to utilize a 100 foot aerial tower.
Rope rescue equipment was utilized in connection with the tower to retrieve the body. Crews worked for 3 hours in difficult conditions to deliver the body to the family.
The firetower is a restricted area not open to the public.
No other information is available at this time.
Spring Hill Shooting (MainStreetMaury)
Spring Hill police are continuing to investigate a shooting that occurred on Port Royal Road last week.
According to a press release from SHPD, officers were dispatched to the 4600 block of Port Royal Road around 10:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 26 after receiving multiple calls about someone shooting a gun.
Witnesses reportedly heard several gunshots and saw a person standing outside of what appeared to be a dark-colored SUV shooting at another nearby vehicle.
After arriving, officers could not initially locate any victims or involved vehicles. But shortly afterward, the driver of the car being shot at returned to the scene and spoke with officers, who observed several bullet holes in the vehicle.
Spring Hill PD said no one inside the vehicle or in the surrounding area was wounded.
This department is asking anyone with information to report it to the Spring Hill Police Department. Tips may be left anonymously either online at www.springhilltn.org/FormCenter/Police-3 or by calling (931) 486-2252.
Fuqua Debating County or City Position (MainStreetMaury)
After two years of being out of local politics, Spring Hill’s Vincent Fuqua felt the itch to get involved. That itch led to a successful campaign to be the next county commissioner for District 5, but being at the county level didn’t quite satisfy the itch he was feeling.
With a less-than-conspicuous social media post in January, Fuqua hinted at a run for his old seat on the Spring Hill Board of Mayor and Aldermen in Ward 4. He qualified for the seat and – like every other BOMA race at the city level – Fuqua found himself as the only candidate on the ballot.
Fuqua, along with John Canepari in Ward 1, Matt Fitterer in Ward 2 and Brent Murray in Ward 3 were the only candidates who qualified for each of their races, meaning the City of Spring Hill’s April elections will not take place.
Now, Fuqua finds himself in a position where he will serve on both the county commission and the city’s BOMA, something he feels can be a positive for both bodies of government.
“I felt this would maximize the impact I can have to make a difference in my hometown,” he said. “Serving on both the county commission and as alderman gives me the opportunity to make sure Spring Hill has a voice at the county level and the county has a liaison at the city level.”
The city asked for an opinion from the state’s Attorney General on whether serving on both boards is appropriate, and according to city officials, the opinion is there is no conflict of interest.
By having a seat at both tables, Fuqua could force collaboration with both entities, which he sees as a way to build teamwork and transparency. One of the main topics of discussion he hopes to address with this is the dire need both the city and county will have for water and sewer solutions.
“There are water needs for both the county and the city that must be addressed,” he said. “I would like to have a seat at the table for both the county and the city to negotiate what the future of water supply looks like for both in a partnership for everyone in the county.”
How that can happen hasn’t been worked out in detail just yet, but Fuqua said he plans to meet with County Mayor Sheila Butt and Commission Chairman Eric Previti soon to iron out what his role can be on the commission.
One of the biggest issues ahead of Fuqua is that he sits on a committee for the county that meets the first Monday of every month and the full commission meets on the third Monday each month. Both of those nights are when the Spring Hill Board of Mayor and Aldermen meet.
“One of the things I feel like is a strength for me in local politics is working with staff behind the scenes and letting someone else take the role of presenting the work to the board,” he said. “I would like to play for Maury County in that way.”
Moving from his current committee role to a different committee that meets on another night would be the ideal situation for Fuqua, he said, as his Monday nights have been set aside for government work since his time as alderman. His family life will accommodate that, but he said he’s made some adjustments to how he approached local politics and governing since he was defeated in the 2021 mayoral race.
“Being out of politics for two years taught me a few things in how to be a better husband, father and business owner and where politics falls into that,” he said. “Where politics defined my time when I was in office the first time, I’m going to navigate that a little differently this time.
“The family and business have gotten used to Monday nights being dedicated to what is an extracurricular for me.”
Fuqua said this opportunity to jump back into the saddle with the city’s BOMA will be an opportunity to pick up some of the projects he was working on during his most recent term.
“When I got out of politics in Spring Hill, I wanted completely out. I had discussions with other aldermen about things I was working on in the event they wanted to pick those conversations up and continue them,” he said. “I was a little disappointed to see some of them fall through the cracks.
“Rekindling those conversations will hopefully be fruitful both for the county and the city simultaneously.”
One of those conversations will be tackling the traffic flow issue along the interstate.
“What’s best for Spring Hill is what’s going to be best for Maury County in the sense of how traffic flows through the county,” Fuqua said. “With the interchange coming in Spring Hill, I think it’s imperative that the interstate be widened from Interstate 840 to Bear Creek Pike. I was having those conversations two years ago. Not only the economic development of Spring Hill, but also Maury County, depends on good traffic flow on the I-65 corridor.”
Fuqua will begin his term with the city in May 2023.
Maury Alliance Talent Campaign (Press Release)
Commissioned in response to the needs of both new and existing employers in Maury County, Tenn., a new talent attraction campaign tells how and why Maury County is positioned to welcome, hire and support new residents.
The campaign, created by the Maury County Chamber of Commerce & Economic Alliance, also focuses on how the area is sparking innovation, growing small businesses and offering unique cultural, recreational and educational opportunities.
“Maury County is the ideal place to move, find a successful career and have a great quality of life,” said Maury Alliance President Wil Evans. “We’re eager to promote Maury County—the job opportunities that are here, the ability to grow, the high quality of life—to people who may be looking to move.”
As one of the state’s fastest-growing counties, Maury County, Tenn., has already seen an influx of new people along with billions of dollars in economic investment. The campaign’s theme, “We’re Ready,” showcases this momentum and how the county has prepared for growth.
“'We’re Ready’ is the ideal way to describe Maury County and the momentum that’s been building here,” Evans said. “We’re truly ready as a community to grow and welcome new residents from all over the world.”
The campaign is aimed at new talent but built around people who have made Maury County what it is—ranging from educators and artists to entrepreneurs and industry leaders.
“Maury County is desirable because of the people who already call it home,” Evans said. “This campaign recognizes how we’ve become the ideal place to work and live while also eying the future.”
The campaign—which is one piece of ALIGN Maury, Maury Alliance’s larger workforce development initiative—also showcases amenities and the quality-of-life perks county residents enjoy.
“We have a top-rated healthcare system, great schools and a vibrant business community,” said Russ Adcox, 2022 chair of the Alliance’s ALIGN Maury steering committee. “We also have some of the greatest natural resources around and, most importantly, a strong sense of community. It’s easy to be known and get involved.”
After reviewing the results of a workforce alignment study conducted in 2020 by Boyette Strategic Advisors, the steering committee singled out the talent attraction campaign as one of the top priorities.
“Workforce development has always been a focus of the Maury Alliance, but we realized we also needed to attract new talent to Maury County,” Adcox said. “Our employers are hiring and they are looking for people willing to relocate to our community.”
Maury Alliance Vice President of Economic Development Travis Groth, said the county and its communities—including Columbia, Mount Pleasant and Spring Hill—offer a mix of city and country life.
“I relocated here myself and have lived in a lot of different places. This is a goldilocks community,” he said. “It’s close to Nashville, so you have the amenities and can get to the airport, but just far enough that you have a more relaxed pace. You can breathe. People are kind, friendly. It’s a real community.”
The campaign’s primary audience is workers who can help service the county’s growing advanced manufacturing and healthcare industries.
CNC machine operators, industrial maintenance technicians, welders and nurses, Groth said, are in particularly high demand, as are K-12 teachers, engineers and leaders at all levels—from team leaders at manufacturing plants to bank branch managers.
“One of the most exciting things for this campaign is that there are so many types of talent that can move to Maury County and be successful,” he said. “If one member of the family finds a job, they can be confident their spouse can find opportunities—diverse opportunities—too.”
Groth said he also expects the county’s already thriving community of local restaurants, event venues, retail shops and other businesses to grow alongside industry, as well as engineering companies, law firms, banks and other professional service organizations.
The campaign will feature storytelling about Maury County and its people on a variety of platforms as well as targeted advertising, outreach efforts and a dedicated campaign website: mauryisready.com.
“We hope this campaign will spread the word about Maury County and encourage more people to consider making this community their home,” Adcox said. “We’ve seen a lot of economic wins and a lot of new businesses, so we’re eager to do what we can to support that growth.”
New Retail Residential at Historic Site (CDH)
A new addition to expand one of Spring Hill's many historic landmarks is currently under review by the city's planning commission.
The proposed expansion to historic White Hall, 2536 Duplex Road, includes a concept plan featuring two 12,500 square-foot mixed-use buildings, which would include general office space and retail, as well as apartments and other multi-family developments. The concept plan was presented last week to the planning commission for review but did not include a vote.
Originally completed in 1844, White Hall was built for Dr. Aaron C. White, a local physician and planter, with construction overseen by his brother, Henry White.
Perhaps White Hall's most significant place in local history was its use as a military headquarters for General Earl Van Dom of the Confederate States Army. The home was later used to treat wounded soldiers, following The Battle of Franklin in 1864.
Dmitri Danylov, representing applicant Rubin Group LLC, said he and his team are excited to bring this new addition to the historic city site.
"I don't believe anybody has lived at this property in almost 15 years, and has used it as an event place," Danylov said.
Spring Hill Associate Planner Jake McQueen recommended that, given the site's proximity to historic land, the proposal be reviewed by the city's Historic Commission prior to a planning commission vote.
"This would be in conjunction with talking with the current White Hall landowner in order to discuss potential impacts to the site once the site plan has been submitted," McQueen said.
McQueen added that the applicant would also be required to submit a traffic impact study at the time of site plan, in addition to more details regarding the use of approximately 218 parking spots among the two structures.
Alderman Matt Fitterer suggested the developer also consider creating a possible pedestrian connection to Walnut Street, including the nearby skate park.
"You've got a city park, that's primarily a skate park now, to the south of [the property], and the city is actively looking at a couple of other uses on that property as well," Fitterer said. "Certainly, if you can get an internal pedestrian connection, your residents can get access down there to a city park versus having them go up to Walnut Street and come down. That only benefits you."
Danylov said consideration for better pedestrian access to the nearby park is definitely in the plans as the project continues to develop.
Planning Commission Chair Jonathan Duda advised the applicant to get in touch with the city's Historical Commission "sooner rather than later." Duda also addressed the number of proposed parking spaces, which he and Fitterer said they consider "overparked," and that there could be a better use for the area.
"I think there is an opportunity to create a private space between these buildings, which can serve as a community space for the buildings themselves, whether it's through landscaping, hardscaping or other ways to make an amenity out of this little area" Duda said. "You could gain more tenants if you have more flexibility, as opposed to buildings in a sea of asphalt."
Since the item was merely a concept plan review, there are no future votes scheduled regarding the White Hall addition. The purpose of the review was only to receive input from planners as to what the best step forward will be prior to any preliminary or final plans.
Name the Snowplow (MauryCountySource)
The City of Columbia Public Works Department is hosting a ‘Name A Snowplow’ contest!
The public is invited to submit the best and most creative names for 4 of the City’s snowplows. Submit your entry via email at email@example.com.
The winning names will be assigned to the snowplows at the City of Columbia Public Works facility. Winners will receive a $25 gift card, an opportunity to have your photo made with your winning snowplow and be recognized at the Columbia City Council meeting to be held on Thursday, March 9, 2023 at 5:30 p.m.
• One entry per person
• Entries are limited to no more than 30 characters (including letters and spaces), and one to two words.
• Entries will be accepted in order received and duplicated names/entries will be excluded
• Members and staff of the City of Columbia are not eligible to enter
• No profanity or inappropriate language
• No politically inspired names
• Voting period is now – 02/09/2023 at 3:30 p.m.
• Public Works employees will vote on submissions names
• Winning names will be announced Friday, February 17th
• Winners will be notified by phone or email taken from entry form
• Each of winner will receive a $25 gift card
• Winners will be recognized at the March 09, 2023 City Council meeting
• Elementary school winners will have an opportunity to have their winning snowplow appear at their school
• Winners will be published on Facebook, Instagram and the City of Columbia website
And now, Your Hometown Memorials, Sponsored by Oakes & Nichols Funeral Home…
Mr. Gerald Ray Walters, 79, retied conductor for CSX Railroad and resident of Columbia, died Saturday, January 28, 2023 at St. Thomas Mid Town. Funeral services for Mr. Walters will be conducted Saturday, February 4, 2023 at 10:00 A.M. at Oakes & Nichols Funeral Home. Burial will follow in Santa Fe Cemetery. The family will visit with friends Friday from 4:00 P.M. – 7:00 P.M. and Saturday from 9:00 A.M. until service time at the funeral home.
Ms. Sara Katherine Duncan Parks, 69, died Saturday, January 29, 2023 at Novant Health in Huntersville, North Carolina. Funeral services for Ms. Parks will be conducted Saturday at 1:00 P.M. at Oakes & Nichols Funeral Home. Burial will follow in Polk Memorial Gardens. The family will visit with friends Saturday from 11:00 A.M. until service time at the funeral home.
…And now, news from around the state…
Lotz House Paranormal Investigation (WilliamsonHerald)
On Saturday night, a team of paranormal investigators searched for ghosts inside the Lotz House in Franklin and examined what they claimed was paranormal activity.
Georgia Paranormal Investigations (GPI), founded by members Philip Wyatt and Aaron Legood in 2021, received permission to survey the property after friends in Franklin tipped them off to its storied past.
GPI also searched the house in May, but the 10 investigators had such a "great time" that they decided to return.
"I love history," Wyatt said. "I especially love Civil War history, and this house has a lot going on activity-wise. ... [In the Battle of Franklin] 2,500 men died in nine hours. That's a lot of trauma embedded into the environment. They may not even know that they're dead or that the war is over."
According to Wyatt, there are two different kinds of hauntings: residual hauntings that encapsulate a single traumatic event or intelligent hauntings where once human entities are capable of communicating with the living.
GPI uses techniques like asking spirits to respond to questions and places trigger objects throughout locations, items from the time period of a spirit's death, in the hopes of measurable interaction.
"We believe it's all in how you approach things and what your intention is," Wyatt said. "We don't go in looking for something terrifying. We're trying to establish intelligent communication with a spirit. We don't normally get terrified. Not much scares us. We've been grabbed and things, but not at this house."
He claimed that the most common ghost responses the team has recorded during home and historic property investigations were "hey" and "get out."
In fact, team members argued that “get out” was heard Saturday night as well. Voice and video recordings from investigations are uploaded on GPI’s YouTube page.
When questioned about the validity of the team's evidence, Wyatt responded that each piece goes through a thorough debunking process, but "there will always be the nonbelievers and the skeptics that will argue with any evidence we put out."
Equipment used to measure alleged spirit activity at the Lotz House included motion sensors, voice recorders, infrared cameras, static electricity gauges, thermometers and laser grids.
Lotz House Executive Director Thomas Cartwright oversaw the safe deployment and use of those tools.
"Everything went great,” he said. “They’re a great group and very professional.”
Cartwright noted the popularity of ghost tours at the property. Travel Channel once listed it as the second most terrifying house in America.
"The key for us is remembering these Americans, the Battle of Franklin and the Lotz family. These special tours have opened up a whole different avenue to that."
The Lotz House is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Specialized tour dates, including ghost and women's history tours, are regularly updated at www.lotzhouse.com.
For more information about GPI, go to georgiaparanormalinvestigations.com.
Final Story of the Day (MauryCountySource)
Bryan Adams announced on social media the ‘So Happy it Hurts’ tour in 2023 will head out to 26 cities this summer.
Joining Adams as special guests will be Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. The tour will kick off in Baltimore before heading to Nashville on Saturday, June 17th.
Get PRE-SALE tickets TODAY at 10am local time with password: SOHAPPYUSA. Find tickets at www.bryanadams.com.
General sale tickets go on sale Friday, February 3 at noon.
The tour will be in support of Adam’s album So Happy it Hurts which was released on March 11, 2022.