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Southern Middle Tennessee Today News for February 27, 2023

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

We start with local news…

Man Found Guilty in Maury (

Following a three day trial last week, a Maury County jury found Colton Shane Sutliffe guilty Thursday. Sutliffe was found guilty of three counts of aggravated rape, two counts of incest, three counts of rape, one count of attempted rape, one count of aggravated assault, and four counts of sexual battery. Sutliffe pled guilty to an additional four counts of incest at the beginning of the trial. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for May 5. Sutliffe faces a sentence ranging from 15-167 years in prison.

Ogles Reacts to Background Scrutiny (TennesseeStar)

Congressman Andy Ogles (R-TN-5) released a statement on Sunday that the undergraduate Bachelor of Science degree he was awarded from Middle Tennessee State University in 2007 was in the field of Liberal Studies, not International Relations as he had previously stated.

“I previously stated that my degree from MTSU was in International Relations. When I pulled my transcript to verify, I realized I was mistaken. My degree is in Liberal Studies. I apologize for my misstatement,” Ogles said in a statement released by his office late Sunday evening:

During my senior year of college, I transferred to MTSU to pursue a degree in Political Science and International Relations. Due to an interfamilial matter, I dropped out of college and returned home to financially support my family during a difficult time. Though leaving school was a difficult decision, it was the right one. I would do the same thing again today, even though withdrawing left several incomplete grades that would ultimately be registered as failing.

In the mid-2000s, as a non-traditional student, I set out to finish my final semester at MTSU through their distance learning program. I wanted to set an example for our daughter, demonstrating the importance of finishing what you start. Working with a counselor, I was advised to take twelve credit hours, as well as complete a three-hour senior project in order to obtain my degree.

After completing the online courses, I was awarded a Bachelor of Science, and MTSU mailed me my degree a few months later. At the time, it was my understanding I had completed my course of study in Political Science and International Relations.

Last week, I requested an official copy of my transcript and learned that I was actually awarded a broader degree in Liberal Studies with minors in Political Science and English. I look forward to continually showing our three children the importance of finishing what you start, never giving up, and overcoming past adversity.

The former mayor of Maury County was elected to represent Tennessee’s Fifth Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives by a ten point margin over the Democrat nominee State Senator Heidi Campbell (D-Nashville) in November 2022. Ogles won a hotly contested GOP primary race for the nomination in August 2022 after receiving the endorsement of Club for Growth and several other conservative groups and individuals.

Ogles has recently been the subject of an investigative series on NewsChannel5 conducted by Phil Williams, which has focused on claims that Ogles has embellished his resume in three areas: Claiming to be an economist when he is not, overstating his law enforcement experience, and overstating his experience in combatting human sex trafficking.

“I am proud of my body of work over the last few decades helping the people of Tennessee fight for freedom and individual liberty, and I look forward to continuing that fight for the Fifth Congressional District,” Ogles concluded.

Protecting the Duck (CDH)

The Maury County Commission urged state legislators to provide more guardrails of protection to the Duck River, Columbia’s main source of drinking water, Tuesday, by unanimously passing a resolution in support of a proposed bill sponsored by Rep. Scott Cepicky, R-Culleoka, and Sen. Joey Hensley, R-Hohenwald.

House Bill 0447 would expand the river's “scenic status” parameters, adding additional layers of protection to the waterway, such as deterring close-by development.

The bill is scheduled to be heard by the House Agriculture & Natural Resources Subcommittee on Feb. 28.

According to the Tennessee Scenic Rivers Act of 1968, current scenic river protections span from Iron Bridge Road to the Marshall County line. The new bill would further extend the boundaries of protection of the Duck River from Industrial Park Road in Columbia to the Hickman County line.

The county commission voted last fall to adopt the state Jackson Law, which limits development within close proximity of water sources, such as the Duck River.

The county commission's move to adopt the Jackson Law would restrict the parameters of certain development, including a proposed industrial landfill on the former Monsanto property that has drawn much public scrutiny.

Last fall, Baton Rouge-based Trinity Business Group applied for a Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservation permit that would establish a tire processing facility at the former Monsanto chemical plant site in Columbia. The proposal sparked much concern from residents and elected leaders, which led to the proposed state legislation that would add further protections to the Duck River, one of the most biodiverse rivers in the world.

Leaders worry that the proposed tire processing facility, or landfill, could potentially produce toxic chemicals that could result in run off into the waterway. In addition, the former Monsanto Superfund site contains volatile and combustible pollutants like phosphate, buried underground, site studies show.

Past concerns have centered around polluted leachate seeping to the soil surface that could contaminate ground waters in the Duck River.

Residents showed up at the commission meeting Tuesday night, wearing green, to show their support of the eco-friendly bill.

Mary Susan Kennedy, longtime Columbia resident and mother of local century farmer Sam Kennedy read a statement from her son during public comments imploring county leaders to protect the Duck River.

Kennedy’s statement emphasized his desire to see the protections move forward since he lives and works alongside the river, which runs through his property, a farm that has been in the Kennedy-Delk family for over 200 years.

“The health of my family and farm depend on clean water,” Kennedy read from her son’s statement.

Additionally, former Maury County science teacher, Stephanie Sparks-Newland, has been actively advocating for protections for Duck River to keep the waterway healthy for the next generation to ensure educational and recreation opportunities.

“We’ll be screaming for joy across the county if we can get the protections,” Sparks-Newland said.

Commissioner Aaron Miller, who represents the 7th District where much of the Monsanto property lies, stated his support of the additional protections.

“We all enjoy or take something from the Duck River in the county,” Miller said. “We have an obligation to do what we can to protect it.”

Cepicky, who was present at the commission meeting, urged commissioners to make an in-person show of support at the 113th Tennessee General Assembly on Feb. 28.

Cepicky said the bill has a chance of failing if commissioners do not show adequate support.

Concerned citizens are also penning their hopes on TDEC rejecting Trinity Business Group's permit application for the landfill facilities at the old Monsanto plant, which is within a mile of the river.

In 2010, the Duck River was given the designation of “most biodiverse river in North America.”

While some species have already succumbed to extinction, an additional goal is to maintain the river’s wealth of over 500 types of species, some, which are found exclusively in the Duck River.

Student Receives $1000 Grant (CDH)

The Tennessee Council of Cooperatives recently awarded a $1,000 scholarship to Makayla Beth Scott of Columbia.

A student at the University of Tennessee, Martin, Makayla is a senior working toward a bachelor’s degree in Agriculture Business. She is the daughter of Tim and Bonnie Scott of Columbia.

After graduation, Makayla is planning to complete the Co-Op training program and work toward her master’s degree in agriculture at the university. She is currently employed at United Farm & Home Co-Op in Columbia.

Makayla’s farm and agriculture interest stems from living and working on her family’s 5th generation commercial beef cattle operation. The TCC is a nonprofit organization established to promote the cooperative form of business through education and promotion of all types of cooperatives. TCC has two types of membership including 'parent cooperatives' and 'individual cooperatives.'

The TCC is made up of member representatives from various cooperative organizations in Tennessee.

The TCC sponsors six college scholarships for agricultural students from each of Tennessee’s four-year agriculture programs: Austin Peay State University; Middle Tennessee State University; Tennessee Technological University; the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; the University of Tennessee, Martin; and Tennessee State University.

The scholarship program, started in 1984, is an effort to acknowledge and aid the young people most likely to return to communities served by rural cooperatives.

To be considered for the $1,000 scholarship, the student must be a citizen of Tennessee; enrolled in a college of agriculture; maintain an overall grade point average of 2.5 out of a possible 4 points; and, if possible, be in his or her junior year of study.

For more information about Tennessee cooperatives, the Tennessee Council of Cooperatives or the TCC scholarship, contact Roberta Smith, TCC Administrative Secretary, at 423-447-2121 or via e-mail to

For more information about Tennessee cooperatives, the Tennessee Council of Cooperatives or the TCC scholarship, please visit the TCC Web site at

Kiwanis Yard Sale (WKOM Audio 2:20)

On Saturday, Columbia’s Kiwanis Club held their annual Community Yard Sale. WKOM/WKRM’s Delk Kennedy stopped by the Memorial Building on Friday to see the treasures they had to offer…

CA Student, Merit Scholarship Finalist (MainStreetMaury)

Derek Young, a graduating senior at Columbia Academy, has been named a Finalist in the 2023 National Merit Scholarship Program.

The Finalists were selected from a pool of 16,000 Semifinalists named in September 2022. All Finalists will be considered for the National Merit Scholarships to be offered this year.

The National Merit Scholarship Program Finalist certificate is a high honor bestowed upon graduating seniors due to their distinguished performance and high potential for future academic accomplishments. Finalist candidates are proven to have a strong combination of academic skills and achievements, extracurricular accomplishments and potential for success in rigorous university studies.

Young is the seventh student from Columbia Academy to achieve this honor and the third in the last four years. He is the son of Phillip and Brandy Young, and brother of National Merit Finalist Phillip Young III (Class of 2020). He currently possesses a 4.60 weighted GPA and has received multiple university offer letters including the University of Alabama, the University of Alabama in Huntsville, Tennessee Tech University and Harding University. He is currently undecided.

The selection of some 7,250 scholarship recipients is in progress now and scholarship offers will be made by March 2023. Scholarship winners represent fewer than 1 percent of the initial pool of student entrants, based on official statistics released by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

Mule Kick 5K (Press Release)

Hosted by the Maury Regional Health Care Foundation and presented by First Farmers and Merchants Bank, the annual Mule Kick 5K & 1-Mile Trot will take place Saturday, April 1, at Riverwalk Park in Columbia.

Proceeds from the 2023 Mule Kick 5K & 1-Mile Trot provide funding for Maury Regional Health’s mobile medical unit, which delivers health care services to at-risk and underserved individuals throughout southern Middle Tennessee by providing basic health screenings, education and resources. A portion of the proceeds from the Mule Kick 5K & 1-Mile Trot will also support the Foundation’s Wellness and Aquatics Center Healthy Living Endowment and the Columbia Parks and Recreation Department. In addition, the Maury County school with the most participation in the event will receive a donation to their P.E. program from the Foundation.

“The Mule Kick 5K & 1-Mile Trot is a great tradition for both Maury County and the Maury Regional Health Care Foundation that helps support our mission of providing important health care services for individuals who may not otherwise be able to obtain care,” Foundation Executive Director Joe Kilgore said. “We are excited to host the Mule Kick 5K and look forward to an exciting race!”

On Saturday, April 1, the race will begin at Riverwalk Park in Columbia with an 8 a.m. start time for the 5K and a 9:15 a.m. start time for the 1-Mile Trot. Both runners and walkers are encouraged to participate. Participants may register for the race online at

“The Mule Kick has become one of the great annual events for Maury County, and we are honored to be involved again as presenting sponsor,” said Brian K. Williams, chairman and chief executive officer of First Farmers. “We’re thankful for the tremendous work of the Foundation in helping to serve the health care needs of others throughout our region.”

In addition to presenting sponsor First Farmers and Merchants Bank, sponsorships ranging from $350 to $2,500 are still available for those who are interested in marketing exposure at this event. For additional information, contact the Maury Regional Health Care Foundation at 931.380.4075.

To learn more about the Maury Regional Health Care Foundation, the Mule Kick 5K & 1-Mile Trot or to make a direct gift to support the mobile medical unit fund, visit

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

Mr. Robert Carlton Derryberry, Jr., 71, truck driver for Premiere and resident of Columbia, died Wednesday, February 22, 2023 at Maury Regional Medical Center. Funeral services for Mr. Derryberry will be conducted Monday at 11:00 A.M. at Maury Hills Church of Christ. Burial will follow in Polk Memorial Gardens. The family will visit with friends on Monday from 10:00 A.M. until service time at the church.

Mrs. Griffitha Glasser “Griffie” Cook, 79, a resident of Columbia, passed away on February 24th. The funeral service celebrating Griffie’s life will be held at Zion Presbyterian Church, located at 2322 Zion Road in Columbia, on Wednesday, March 1, 2023 at 1:00 P.M. Burial will follow in Zion Cemetery. Oakes & Nichols Funeral Directors are assisting the family with arrangements.

…And now, news from around the state…

Gender Transition Ban (Tennessean)

Tennessee House Republicans on Thursday overwhelmingly passed a ban on gender transition health care for minors, which will require transgender children to end their current medical treatment by March 2024.

The bill prohibits children from receiving puberty blockers, hormone therapies or surgical procedures.

People who received the treatments as minors would also be able to sue parents, guardians and physicians for authorizing the care under a statute of limitations under the legislation. Bill sponsors initially included language to categorize parents seeking such treatments for their kids as abuse or neglect, but that section was later stripped from the bill as it made its way through committees.

If it becomes law, the bill would officially take effect this summer and give existing patients until March 31, 2024, to cease treatment, a timeline that House Democrats have argued could medically harm the patients.

The bill will soon be sent to Gov. Bill Lee's desk, which kicks off a 10-day countdown, not including Sundays, for Lee to sign it into law. Even if Lee chooses not to sign, the bill becomes law without his signature unless he vetoes it.

Though he rarely takes an explicit position on pending bills, Lee on Friday signaled he is "supportive" of the bill's content.

The American Civil Liberties Union plans to sue Tennessee if Lee signs it into law.

"All Tennesseans should have access to the healthcare they need to survive and thrive," Lucas Cameron-Vaughn, ACLU-TN staff attorney, said in a statement. "Gender-affirming healthcare for trans youth is safe, necessary, effective and often life-saving. Legislators are risking trans young people’s health, wellbeing and safety with this dangerous legislation. We urge Governor Lee to veto this overreaching, discriminatory bill, or we will see him in court.”

House Bill 1 bans minors in Tennessee from accessing gender dysphoria and transition treatments such as puberty blockers and hormone therapies, in addition to surgeries.

"These treatments and procedures have a lifetime of negative consequences that are irreversible," bill sponsor Rep. William Lamberth, R-Portland said.

Lamberth has called transition care experimental and dangerous for children. Major U.S. medical associations, such as the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics, have supported gender transition health care as evidence-based medicine.

The legislation was narrowly tailored to allow the same medications to be used medically elsewhere, as long as they are not used to treat gender dysphoria, while Republicans rebuffed pointed Democratic attempts to block other plastic and reconstructive surgeries that minors can obtain in Tennessee.

"It has nothing to do with protecting children from unnecessary medical procedures," Rep. Bo Mitchell, D-Nashville, said. "(Some children) can get their breast enhancements, their nose jobs, that's OK, but these children can't have any medical procedures?"

Mitchell said the legislation was unfairly targeting transgender children, and the state would have to answer for it in court.

Filed as the first bill of the session following a high-profile controversy that erupted last fall over Vanderbilt University Medical Center offering gender transition care, the legislation moved quickly through the General Assembly.

Conservative media personalities and two young women who said they regretted beginning gender transitions as teenagers have testified in support of the bill. Both women received their gender transition care outside of Tennessee.

"The vote on the floor today was extremely strong," Lamberth said. "We're going to protect our children mature naturally and give them the love and assistance, mental health treatment, that they need."

Multiple Tennessee parents, including at least one whose child will have to stop an ongoing medication regimen, testified against the bill, imploring lawmakers to trust them and their doctors to make the best decisions with their children.

Final Story of the Day (Maury County Source)

Having just celebrated their 30th anniversary in 2022, Lonestar, the highly acclaimed and multi-award-winning country group, announce their new album TEN to 1 — an invigorating re-recording of 10 of their #1 hits — will be released on Friday, June 2.

There’s something about combining nostalgia with innovation that turns a beloved memory into an engaging new experience. That’s the foundation for Lonestar’s TEN to 1 — giving fans brand new versions of the hits they have loved for years. “Amazed,” the lead single from the collection, which originally spent 11 weeks in a No. 1 position, is set for a Wednesday, March 1 release.

Re-recording songs that fans have loved for years can be a tricky proposition, but TEN to 1 strikes the perfect balance between fresh and familiar. It was a labor of love for Lonestar’s Dean Sams, drummer Keech Rainwater, guitar virtuoso Michael Britt and lead vocalist Drew Womack.

After wrapping up their most successful touring year ever last year, Lonestar continues to maintain a busy tour schedule and in 2023 will enjoy a bucket list moment as they headline Nashville’s famed Ryman Auditorium for the first time on Friday, March 3 — a stop on their national headlining “TEN To 1” Tour. “We’ve done a few sets there and played the Opry there, but we’ve never done a real show there and we’ve wanted to for years,” said guitarist Michael Britt.

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