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Southern Middle Tennessee Today News for February 5, 2024

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

We start with local news…

Ogles Calls for SEC Investigation (TheNews)

U.S. Rep. Andy Ogles has signed onto a bipartisan letter seeking answers from U.S. regulators on if stock traders engaged in the short-selling of Israeli stocks in the days before the Oct. 7, 2023, Hamas attack on Israel.

The Jan. 31 letter from the Tennessee Republican and California Democratic Congressman Brad Sherman requests that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) investigate the claims that were brought to light following a December 2023 draft paper, “Trading on Terror?”.

The research paper, which is not yet peer-reviewed, was published by law professors at New York University School of Law and Columbia Law School and reports a “significant spike in short selling in the principal Israeli-company ETF [exchange-traded funds] days before the Oct. 7 Hamas attack.”

“Our findings suggest that traders informed about the coming attacks profited from these tragic events, and consistent with prior literature we show that trading of this kind occurs in gaps in U.S. and international enforcement of legal prohibitions on informed trading,” the study reads in part.

“Taken together, our evidence is consistent with informed traders anticipating and profiting from the Hamas attack.”

Now Reps. Ogles and Sherman are asking the SEC and FINRA to investigate the claims, and provide answers.

“If our financial regulatory agencies had knowledge of illicit trading practices done by bad actors, the American people need to know about it,” Ogles told The News. 

“Analyzing abrupt market trends like this one can certainly help us investigate potential attacks on our home front before they happen. I am proud to work with my colleague from across the aisle, ranking member Brad Sherman of the subcommittee on investor protection, entrepreneurship, and capital markets to fight for accountability.”

“The proximity of unusual spikes in short sales of Israeli stocks to Hamas’ Oct. 7th terrorist attacks warrant a closer look by both the SEC and FINRA,” Sherman said. “I hope the SEC and FINRA will conduct the proper investigation to protect the integrity of our capital markets. The starting point is to see who the beneficial owners were of the major short sales.”

The October attack and subsquent war have led to the rallying of Nashville Jewish community members and commitments of solidarity and support of Israel from Gov. Bill Lee. Palestinian community members have continued to protest and call for a ceasefire, while Ogles and Tenn. Sen. Marsha Blackburn have called for ending aid for Palestinians and barring Palestinian refugees from the United States.

Yuhas Named Head of Childrens’ Home (CDH)

The Tennessee Children's Home has selected Mike Yuhas as its new president, who will take over for longtime president Brian King, who plans to retire in June.

While the position will be new for Yuhas, he has been involved with the Children's Home since 1995, serving many positions, such as emergency shelter shift worker, houseparent, residential counselor, principal and program director. He is also a graduate from Freed-Hardeman University with a bachelor's degree in business administration.

Yuhas' transition into the position will begin April 1 and will commence no later than June 30, according to a press release.

Tennessee Children's Home is a great organization made up of people who are passionate about helping kids," Yuhas said. "I am thankful for the opportunity to lead these efforts into the future."

According to a press release, the Children's Home currently serves around 100 children and young adults.

"Mike has proven himself strong and capable at every level," Board of Tennessee Children's Home Chairman Bruce Gibbs said. "We are confident that he is the person to lead the Tennessee Children's Home organization to an even brighter future for the children in our care."

King will be retiring after serving the Children's Home for 42 years, beginning as a social worker and later being named president in 1998. During his time, the Children's Home underwent many improvements and expansions.

Its largest expansion occurred in October of 2021 when the Children's Home opened its new campus on approximately 45 acres off Dr. Robertson Road.

"I know Mike Yuhas will do a great job," King said. "He has an extensive background in childcare and business management. It's a good feeling to know that Tennessee Children's Home is being left in good hands."

The Children's Home was founded in 1909 as the Tennessee Orphans Home. Its services provide group home residential treatment, child and family counseling and after-care programs for children who are victims of abuse, dependent neglect, as well as orphans. In addition to Spring Hill, the nonprofit currently has campuses in Henderson, Knoxville and Clarksville.

For more information, visit the Children's Home's website at

The Well Outreach Fundraiser (Press Release)

Join The Well Outreach on February 10th, for "A Night of  Hope" at the renowned World Wide Stages in Spring Hill, TN!


This will be an evening like none other as they are joined by special guests (award-winning Christian music artist) Michael W. Smith and Helen Smallbone (mother of for KING & COUNTRY and Rebecca St. James).


Proceeds from "A Night of Hope" will bring hope to hungry families throughout Middle Tennessee as The Well Outreach prepares to open a second Food Pantry location in Mount Pleasant, TN! 

Join The Well Outreach as they come together to provide HOPE to our community in need. Tickets are available individually or by the table.

Learn more by visiting

Democrats to Hold Convention (Press Release)

The Maury County Democratic Party (MCDP) will hold its quadrennial County Convention on March 16, 2024, when the MCDP will kick off its efforts to re-elect President Biden and support Democratic candidates for state elections at all levels.

The Convention will be held at the Dr. Christa Secrest Martin Recreation Center in Fairview Park, 871 Iron Bridge Road in Columbia, from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. Doors will open at 11 and business will start at noon. A monthly open meeting of the Maury County Democratic Party will be called to order after the convention.

The MCDP Convention is part of the process for electing “selectors.” Selectors will choose Democratic National Convention delegates on April 6 at the Congressional District Convention. The location and time for the Congressional District Convention will be announced soon.

Maury County is entitled to pick 29 of the 280 selectors for the Fifth Congressional District. These selectors at the Fifth Congressional District Convention will pick five delegates to the Democratic National Convention.

The Tennessee Democratic Party will choose additional at-large delegates on April 27. The Democratic National Convention will be held in August in Chicago.

Candidates for delegate must declare themselves by March 7. Further information for those wishing to be a candidate for delegate can be found at the Tennessee Democratic Party website ( website under “Delegate Selection.”

To participate in the County Convention, you must have voted in the March 5 Democratic Presidential Primary in Maury County. Voters who will turn 18 between March 6 and November 5 are exempt from that requirement. All Democrats must sign a form pledging to support the Party's presidential nominee. Democrats are encouraged to pre-register online (

Whitthorne Career Day (WKOM Audio 1:44)

Friday was Career Day at Whitthorne Middle School. Front Porch Radio’s Mary Susan Kennedy was on hand to speak to Katie Albright, who helped organize the event and student Jackson Thomason…

MRMC Heart Care (Press Release)

When Slim Marlar and his wife were moving to their Lynnville, Tennessee, farm in 2020, they had a discussion about the remoteness of their property and proximity to emergency health care. They had no idea how important that discussion would be a few years later.

One day in March of 2023, Marlar was doing some outdoor projects around their home when he didn’t feel quite right. He felt severe pain spread from the joints in his wrists and shoulders through his chest that was so bad he couldn’t change out of his dirty shirt and boots — he knew something was terribly wrong and that he needed to find help quickly.

Upon arriving at the Emergency Department at Maury Regional Medical Center, Marlar and his wife thought he was having a reaction to medication he was taking for a poison oak rash. The MRMC staff immediately knew he was having a heart attack, though, and it was confirmed after an electrocardiogram.

He quickly met with Kevin M. Maquiling, MD, a specialist in interventional cardiology, who explained that Marlar was having a heart attack. He was taken to the cardiac catheterization laboratory for an angioplasty procedure and stent placement.

“From the nurse at the front desk of the ER to the cath lab staff, they knew exactly what was going on and exactly what to do,” Marlar said. “I believe had it not gone that way, there was a fairly significant risk of dying on the spot or having significant heart damage. I had neither of those occur, thankfully.”

Marlar is forever grateful for the lifesaving care he received. He was back to himself a couple of days after the heart attack and since has been able to continue his very active lifestyle — in addition to working outdoors religiously, he’s an ice hockey player and exercises regularly.

MRMC’s cardiac catheterization laboratory has also helped him work towards getting FAA approval to fly again.

“The entire cath lab team has just been spectacular with how efficient and effective they’ve been through this whole process,” he said. “They’ve really been a pleasure to work with — you don’t find that everywhere you go.”

Marlar, 58, is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force. He routinely received medical examinations, including electrocardiograms annually, as a part of his service and career as a pilot, and never showed any concerning heart irregularities. He also doesn’t have a family history of heart disease or heart attack.

“I eat a balanced diet, too, but you never know. The physicians have explained to me that it could happen at any moment to anyone,” he said.

It’s important to understand the symptoms of heart attack. Call 911 immediately if these symptoms are present:

Chest discomfort, such as pressure, tightness or pain

Discomfort in other parts of upper body (arm, jaw, back or neck)

Shortness of breath

Unusual fatigue

Nausea, light-headedness or cold sweat

MRMC’s cardiac catheterization laboratory includes state-of-the-art technology that assists an expert team of heart specialists in investigating heart conditions and performing several interventional procedures, including angioplasty and stenting as well as pacemaker and defibrillator implants.

The medical center has been recognized as a Chest Pain Center with PCI by the American College of Cardiology and holds certification in the treatment of heart failure from The Joint Commission. It also recently received three-year reaccreditation in echocardiography from the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission.

For a full list of heart care services offered at Maury Regional Medical Center and more information, visit

Sobriety Checkpoint (Press Release)

The Tennessee Highway Patrol will be conducting sobriety roadside safetycheckpoints during the week of February 16th on State Hwy 7, .1 miles south of Knob Creek in Maury County starting at 10:00PM.

Impaired driving is a serious crime that kills more than 16,000 people and injures 305,000 people every year in the United States. Troopers will evaluate drivers for signs of alcohol or drug impairment. Troopers will target those who operate a vehicle while impaired and take corrective actions for other violations observed while ensuring the protection of all motorists.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol recognizes that sobriety checkpoints are highly visible and effective tools in the battle against impaired driving.

Ferguson Hall May be Purchased by Spring Hill (CDH)

Spring Hill city leaders are discussing possibly purchasing the historic Martin Cheairs House, or Ferguson Hall, in Spring Hill in an effort to maintain its lasting historic preservation.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen and the Municipal Planning Commission met this week in a joint meeting, where talks of a potential grant application to purchase the historic property were discussed. The item was presented by city alderman Vincent Fuqua, who said there is an opportunity to secure federal funding for the purchase.

"I have spoken with a development group, very high level, on whether they would be interested in selling Ferguson Hall to Spring Hill," Fuqua said. "The next step would be to hear about the grant opportunity ... followed by maybe directing staff to do a letter of intent to that group so we can get an appraiser, evaluate some of those costs on what that looks like and move forward."

The property dates back to the early 1800s and has served not only as a residential home, but also as multiple schoolhouses, as well as the Church of Christ Tennessee Orphan Home and later as part of the Tennessee Children's Home.

Alderman Matt Fitterer, on discussing the grant, said the city would only be able to apply for it once there is a purchase agreement in place.

"It basically covers the assessed value, and anything between the assessed value and purchase cost for the city to make up," Fitterer said. "Using made up numbers, if the assessed value is $1 million and we have a contract to purchase it for $1.5 million, we would get $1 million from the grant and then come up with the other half million."

Alicia Fitts, Spring Hill resident and chairperson of the Spring Hill Historic Commission, said the purchase would be a great opportunity to not only preserve the structure, but also the landscape and surrounding property, as well as a beacon for the city's Old Town district.

"If we have an opportunity, please let us count on the city to take the lead on that," Fitts said. "This particular property is valuable to the city not only for the Civil War stories and what happened around the Civil War. It's actually been the heart and soul of Old Town for years."

Fitts added that preserving Ferguson Hall would also present a "sense of belonging" that is lacking in Spring Hill.

"For a city that's gone from one square mile with 1,200 people to 30 square miles and 60,000 people in 30 years, taking a proactive effort to recognize the places where we started is really important," Fitts said.

Vice Mayor William Pomeroy said he would be in favor of pursuing the purchase and that in addition to federal funding, there are other options for state grants the city could also explore.

"It lets us tie into the Cheairs story, the Gen. [Earl] Van Dorn story and others at Rippavilla as well," Pomeroy said. "You've got a thumbs up from me."

As far as the next step, City Attorney Patrick Carter said issuing a term sheet or letter of intent to the seller would be the right way to go. The city should also fund the property's appraisal, he said.

"If we're buying property, the appraisal part is a small deal," Carter said. "I think we should do that, and if we do, we should also do a phase one to make sure we don't have any environmental issues we wouldn't want to inherit over there."

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

Mrs. Judy Whitley Johnson, 75, retired Laboratory Technician for Maury Regional Medical Center and a long-time resident of Hilltown Road in Santa Fe, died Thursday, February 1, 2024, at Maury Regional Medical Center. Funeral services for Mrs. Johnson will be conducted Wednesday, February 7, 2024 at 2:00 P.M. at Oakes & Nichols Funeral Home. Burial will follow in Potts Cemetery in the Kinderhook Community of Maury County. The family will visit with friends Tuesday, February 6, 2024, from 4:00 P.M.-7:00 P.M. at the funeral home.

Mr. Gary Wayne Jackson, 46, died Friday, February 2, 2024, at St. Thomas Midtown Hospital in Nashville, TN. The family of Mr. Jackson will visit with friends on Thursday, February 8, 2024 from 4:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. at Oakes & Nichols Funeral Home in Columbia, TN  

…And now, news from around the state…

Gov. Lee Visits Texas Border (Tennessean)

Gov. Bill Lee has offered to send additional Tennessee National Guard to Texas amid an increasingly politicized clash between state and federal officials over border patrol issues.

Lee joined Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and a contingent of other Republican governors in Eagle Pass, a Texas border city that has emerged as a flashpoint over immigration issues. Lee on Sunday called it a crisis, and the state previously sent 125 National Guard members to the area in October.

"It's obviously been a crisis for many years now," Lee said. "Republican governors have been sounding that alarm for many years."

Lee issued public support for Abbott in January following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that allowed federal Border Patrol agents to remove razor wire buoys installed by Texas along the Rio Grande. Critics have called the razor wire inhumane and largely ineffective at addressing wider immigration issues. Last year, a woman and two children drowned trying to cross the river.

Abbot accused the Biden administration of breaking the compact with states.

The White House, meanwhile, has called on Republican governors to talk to their states' congressional delegations about supporting new immigration policies.

A bipartisan border security package recently reached in Congress would include some Republican-backed measures such as stricter asylum standards and new deportation powers. However, it will be an uphill battle toward passage as former President Donald Trump has pressured House Republicans to torpedo the deal.

Vandy Breaks Transplant Record (Tennessean)

Vanderbilt University Medical Center, one of the nation's leading transplant centers, performed 739 such procedures last year — the highest number in the health center's history.

This beats the center's 2021 record of 645 transplants, VUMC reported. The transplant center last year also performed its first combined lung-kidney transplant and first combined lung-liver transplant.

“Organ transplantation has a rich history at Vanderbilt,” said Dr. Joseph Magliocca in a written statement. “The institution has made a firm commitment to providing access to life-saving organ transplants for as many patients as possible while achieving the highest quality outcomes. We strive to continue to be a national leader in organ transplantation in an environment that our faculty and staff are proud to be a part of.”

By the end of 2023, VUMC had performed more than 12,000 organ transplants since its first kidney transplant in 1962.

Final Story of the Day (Maury County Source)

Seven restaurants at Tennessee State Parks will serve romantic dinners for Valentine’s Day on Wednesday, February 14, and two parks – Montgomery Bell State Park and Natchez Trace State Park – offer overnight lodge stay packages.

Cumberland Mountain State Park in Crossville

Is offering a Valentine’s Day buffet at the Homestead Harvest Restaurant and make a stop at the photo booth.

4Fall Creek Falls State Park in Spencer

The Restaurant at Fall Creek Falls offers a three-course meal with a great view of Fall Creek Falls Lake.

5Henry Horton State Park in Chapel Hill

A romantic four-course dinner is served Wednesday, Feb. 14 at the Restaurant at Henry Horton 5 p.m.-8 p.m.

6Paris Landing State Park in Buchanan

Lunch and dinner are served at the Restaurant at Paris Landing on Feb. 14, with stunning views of Kentucky Lake.

7Pickwick Landing State Park in Counce

The Restaurant at Pickwick Landing State Park will celebrate on Wednesday, Feb 14 with a three-course meal 4 p.m.-8 p.m.

For more information on each of the parks’ Valentine’s Day plans, find more information at


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