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Southern Middle Tennessee Today News for February 6, 2024

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

We start with local news…

Barn Fire (MauryCountySource)

Maury County Fire Department responded to a possible structure fire on Parsons Bend Rd near the Maury County Gun Club on Friday.

Units arrived to find a semi-detached barn fully involved and already collapsed with extension into the home on Division 2. Units stretched a line to the rear of the home to knock down the exterior fire as well as two lines to the front door for offensive fire attack. Members stretched two lines, one to the second floor and one to the first floor to cut the fire off.

Units were able to darken the fire down but dealt with extensive fire in the knee walls on the second floor which required vertical ventilation.

Several members went through 3-4 air bottles at this fire and experienced extreme heat conditions on the second floor due to the advanced fire in the knee walls.

Maury EMS monitored several firefighters for heat exhaustion.

Unfortunately, the home will be a total loss.

Maury Alliance Annual Meeting (CDH)

At the Maury County Chamber & Economic Alliance annual dinner last week, president and CEO Wil Evans, highlighted Maury County's exponential growth not only in population but also economically over the past several years.

In just a few words, Evans delivered an economic punch citing big statistics, which could set the foundation for Maury County to become a leader in the state in economic growth and prosperity in addition to population growth.

Just days after the annual dinner, Maury County grabbed the number one spot in the state in four categories in incoming investment categories, according to SmartAsset. The categories include business growth, GDP growth, new building permits, and incoming investment. On a national level, Maury County ranked third in incoming investment and seventh in business growth. There are over 3,000 counties in the U.S. SmartAsset methodology looks at change over a three-year period, which demonstrates sustained performance. 

Dubbed as the fastest growing county in Tennessee in the 2020 U.S. Census, Maury County has continued a forward trajectory ever since, solidifying it as a city that's attracting people, business, commerce and economic investment.

Over 300 business professionals attended the annual dinner at the Memorial Building in downtown Columbia on Jan. 30 to celebrate the year's economic highlights.

According to a recent Maury Alliance 13-point "key performance indicator dashboard" used to measure trends, over the past 10 years, the county has experienced double-digit percentage growth in all 13 performance categories, including per capita income, annual income, median home price and retail sales.

"These are indicative of long-term economic growth and a thriving economy in the county," Evans said.

County growth over 10 years:

Per capita income grew over 50%

Average annual income grew over 30%

Median household income grew over 40%

Retail sales grew over 86%

Last year 1,760 jobs were created with capital investments of $2.4 billion in Maury County.

In the coming weeks, Evans also said the Alliance will share additional data, showing "Maury County is a leader in the state and a top leader in the U.S. in other top indicators, so please stay tuned."

The Alliance also announced two large economic development investments last year, including SGB Enterprises Inc. and Xxentria Technologies in Mount Pleasant, bringing $46 million collectively in capital investments and 126 new jobs, with combined wages of $60,000.

Thirteen economic development projects in various industries have been announced since 2022.

Evans also called 2023 a "record-breaking year" for membership gains, ribbon-cuttings and Shop Local gift card sales.

The Alliance hosted 54 ribbon-cuttings throughout the year with an average of more than one per week. The Shop Local gift card program raked in over $60,000, doubling in sales compared to the year before. Since the Shop Local program started just a few years ago, the Alliance has been able to generate $200,000 in revenue in Maury County. In 2023, the chamber added 135 new members, which now has grown to 630 members to date. Plus, the Alliance hired two new staff members last year.

"This is just a small snapshot of what we've been able to accomplish within the last year," Evans said.

However, with much economic advancements generating growth, he said the organization will "pause" to reflect on its direction to ensure that the county grows in a "smart" way.

While many long-time and new residents welcome new growth from housing to industry, some question if Maury County will be able to retain its character, charm and small town feel.

"While all of this is very exciting, it does present us with a new set of challenges," Evans said.

"For those who have been in the community long-term — those who were raising your hand earlier about who've been here the longest — I don't have to remind you that seeing trends in the opposite direction ... creates a different set of challenges. I think most of us can agree that the challenges we are facing today are much better than the challenges we were facing five to 10 years ago.

"But there's one thing you have to take away from here tonight. It's been that our organization has been focused on growth because that is what creates opportunity for a thriving economy and opportunity for our citizens. We fully understand however that we are a much bigger community now than we were 10 to 15 years ago.

"We now need to pause reevaluate and ensure we are travelling in the right direction to achieve our destination."

Evans said as the organization begins its strategic plan this year, a tailored approach would be taken into consideration.

"We have already begun tailoring our approaches toward economic and community development to ensure we are growing in a responsible manner, and I assure you we will continue to do so even more as we begin mapping out our next strategic plan this year," Evans said.

Childress Named to TSSAA Hall of Fame (MSM)

Columbia native Bernard Childress will be part of the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association’s 2024 Hall of Fame induction class that will be honored during an April luncheon at Middle Tennessee State University.

Childress, who served as executive director of the TSSAA for the final 13 years of his 28-year tenure with the state’s governing body for high school sports, will be honored along with Glencliff ultra-successful volleyball and girls basketball coach Glenn Falls, as well as longtime Nashville area athletic trainer Chris Snoddy.

“I’m always humbled by these awards, knowing I’m the one that’s going to accept the award, but I’m accepting it on behalf of my family and my staff, who are the ones that made the sacrifices over these years and worked so hard to make sure we were doing the things we needed to do for young people,” said Childress, a member of both the Columbia Central and Belmont University athletic halls of fame as well as the 2023 recipient of the Columbia Peace & Justice Initiative’s Legacy Award.

“I’ve been very, very fortunate to have a wonderful wife and kids and family that always supported me and to have a staff that worked so hard to do what I felt needed to be done for the young people in this state.”

A 1973 Central graduate, Childress taught and coached at his high school alma mater, returned as an assistant principal after spending a year on the men’s basketball coaching staff at Middle Tennessee State University, and served as principal at Whitthorne Middle School for five years before joining the TSSAA as an assistant executive director in 1995.

In 2009, he succeeded Ronnie Carter as only the fourth person to hold the executive director position – and the first African-American to do so.

“I think it’s very significant, not just for me, but – I’ve been surprised over the years by young people that have said ‘because you are in the position you’re in, I feel like I can do whatever I want to do to be successful in life,’” Childress said. “That, to me, is so important, that young people over the years have seen someone that looks like them in a leadership position, and I took that very seriously, not just with Black kids but with all kids.”

Under his oversight, the TSSAA made significant technological advances, dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic, expanded both the Board of Control and the Legislative Council, created separate competitive divisions for public and private school athletics and sanctioned girls wrestling, among numerous developments.

“He’s one of my mentors,” said Chris Poynter, also a Columbia Central graduate and current athletics director for Maury County Public Schools. “He’s a person I go to, that I’ve always looked up to. He’s someone special to this community. I’m ecstatic that he’s being inducted.”

TWRA Hosts Chronic Wasting Disease Forum (Press Release)

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) and the University of Tennessee will host a public meeting to raise awareness and answer questions regarding the discovery of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in Lewis County.

The meeting will be held on February 27, 2024, at the Old Lewis County Courthouse in Hohenwald, Tennessee from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and is open to anyone with questions or an interest in learning about CWD.

During the meeting, TWRA Veterinarian, Dr. Dan Grove, will give an overview of CWD and how it affects deer. A presentation on hunting regulations and the restrictions that accompany inclusion into the CWD Management Zone will be followed by a question-and-answer period. County residents and local hunters are encouraged to attend to stay up to date on regulations and disease management efforts.

CWD was first found in Tennessee in 2018, since then, 17 Tennessee counties have reported a positive case of the disease. A deer harvested in Lewis County tested positive during the 2023-2024 deer season prompting the TWRA to enact CWD management protocols to place Lewis County in the CWD Management Zone.

Since discovery of the disease, TWRA has worked with hunters and landowners to implement science-based management practices to monitor and prevent the spread of CWD in Tennessee. The agency also provides CWD testing at no cost to hunters and is committed to public education.  


Chronic Wasting Disease is fatal to cervids (whitetail deer, elk, moose, and mule deer). First identified around 1970 on the Colorado/Wyoming border, the disease has slowly spread across the county and now affects 31 states in the U.S.


What: Lewis County, Chronic Wasting Disease Meeting


Where: Old Lewis County Courthouse - 2nd floor

            North Park Street

             Hohenwald, TN 38462


When: February 27, 2024,

            7:00 PM - 8:30 PM

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

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.

Columbia Artist’s Work Featured (Press Release)

A new art exhibit celebrating African American History Month will display in the heart of Downtown Columbia at the Visit Columbia Welcome Center located at 713 N. Main Street. This exhibit will feature local artist Kanytra Bumpas, showcasing her tremendous talent. The exhibit will run throughout February during business hours: Monday – Friday, 10 AM – 4 PM; Saturday 10 AM – 3 PM; Sunday 12 PM – 3 PM. The art pieces will be available for purchase through the artist directly.

Kanytra Bumpas is a visual artist who specializes in acrylics with vibrant colors to show positivity and life. Her style is to layer the paint and typically use about 12 layers on each painting. She enjoys using bright colors to show the liveliness and beauty of black people. Kanytra is passionate about illustrating each piece with a different feeling and mood. She uses realism mixed with her own style. Kanytra has been painting for three years, but she’s been an artist since age eight. Her goal is to spread light and positivity with each piece she creates.

People are encouraged to stop by the Welcome Center to view the exhibit, learn more about Bumpas, her art style, and the stories behind her pieces.

State Eggs and Issues (Press Release)

Join Maury Alliance and Breakfast Rotary for their Annual State Eggs & Issues. This event features a panel discussion and Q&A with State Senator Dr. Joey Hensley, Representative Scott Cepicky, and Representative Kip Capley.

The event will take place on Friday Feb 23, 2024 from 7:00 AM - 8:00 AM at the Memorial Building, located at 308 W 7th Street in Columbia.

The cost is $25 for members, $30 for future members

If you are a member of Breakfast Rotary you do not need to purchase a ticket for this event.

To submit a question or topic in advance for consideration, please email

Mid-State Classic Tickets (Press Release)

Tickets for the 8th Annual Midstate Classic Collegiate Softball Tournament, happening on April 2, 2024, are now on sale. Hosted by the City of Columbia, the Midstate Classic is held annually at Ridley Sports Complex, one of the top recreational complexes in the state. This year's Midstate Classic will feature the University of Tennessee Lady Volunteers facing off against the University of Memphis Tigers at 5:30 PM. Earlier that day, Columbia Central softball will play Spring Hill High School softball at 10:00 AM. Also, Columbia State Community College Lady Chargers will be playing the University of Tennessee Southern Lady Firehawks at 1:30 PM. Tickets to the Midstate Classic are $10 and will cover admission to all three games. Tickets can be purchased in advance at

UT and Columbia State have been participating in the Midstate Classic since 2014, making this their eighth appearance. This annual event at Ridley Sports Complex has become a staple in the community's calendar, drawing support from locals and fans across the state. It provides the opportunity for fans to experience collegiate-level softball at all ages.

For questions regarding the Midstate Classic, please call (931) 388-8119.

Justice Center Time Capsule (Press Release)

The Maury County Historical Society has been granted permission by the Maury County Commission to place a time capsule in the new Maury County Justice Center currently under construction. A selection committee has been created and is ready to receive items. If you have something small and Maury County related you would like to donate, contact Eric Previti at (931) 626-9878 or

Spring Hill Census (CDH)

Spring Hill has launched a new special census for citizens with the goal of generating enough population numbers to receive up to $2 million in additional annual federal funding.

Residents can participate in the census by logging onto the city's website at

Earlier this month, Mayor Jim Hagaman commented on the importance of the census during the Board of Mayor and Aldermen's Jan. 2 work session meeting.

"I would ask that you citizens take it seriously and fill it out, which is incredibly simple. You go to our website and simply type in how many people live in your house, and your done, just like that," Hagaman said. "It's very important because it will translate into dollars that we get in our coffers to do projects we need to do and/or want to do."

The city last conducted a special census in 2020, and the decision to launch a new one is due to the continued exponential growth Spring Hill has generated over the last four years. It will also play a vital role in accomplishing much-needed projects, hiring more staff members and more.

"Since the 2020 Census, the City of Spring Hill is estimated to have increased in population by roughly 10,000 people which could earn the city an additional $2 million in funding," The city's website states.

If the estimated numbers are met with the new census, the additional moneys could be used for things like:

Hiring additional firefighters and public safety staff

Street maintenance

Infrastructure improvements

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…

TN Infrastructure Gets “C” Grade (Tennessean)

When it comes to infrastructure, Tennessee receives an average grade.

The American Society of Civil Engineers, the oldest national engineering society in the United States, releases "report cards" every 4 years, analyzing the country's overall infrastructure. The 2022 report is the most recent for Tennessee. According to the report by the Tennessee section of the engineering society, Tennessee's infrastructure ranks as "mediocre" with an overall letter grade of a "C."

The report said that the Volunteer State, like the rest of the country, is seeing its roads, bridges, drinking watersystems and more reach the end of their service lives. However, the engineering society praised increased funding of both state and federal legislation to allow for progress.

"Since 2016, the last time an Infrastructure Report Card was released for our state, multiple initiatives have been used to make strides in improving many areas of our state’s infrastructure," said the report. "The increase of the state gas tax has allowed Tennessee to continue as a “Pay as you Go” state, one of only five in our country, while improving the overall condition of our roads and bridges and reducing or eliminating the local match requiredto fund some projects."

The report noted that much of Tennessee's infrastructure is over half a century old and in some cases even older. Relief has come in the form of federal legislation such as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Inflation Reduction Act and the American Rescue Plan Act .

The engineering society hopes that the funding will allow for significant improvements which will ultimately "improve the lives of the people of Tennessee, the users of the state’s infrastructure."

Aviation: C+

Bridges: B

Dams: D+

Drinking Water: C+

Energy: C+

Inland Waterways: C

Public Parks: C+

Rail: C

Roads: C

Solid Waste: C+

Stormwater: C+

Transit: D+

Wastewater: C-

Final Story of the Day (Maury County Source)

Get your flowy sleeves and fingerless mesh gloves ready, because Stevie Nicks is coming to Nashville.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer just announced she will be bringing her “Live In Concert” tour to Bridgestone Arena later this spring on its 2024 run of dates.

The legendary songwriter and performer will be in Music City May 14, producing partner Live Nation announced Monday.

Tickets for the Nashville date, as well as other just-announced stops, will be available starting Thursday, Feb. 8 with local presales. The general on-sale will begin on Friday, Feb. 9 through Live Nation.


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