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Southern Middle Tennessee Today News for February 8, 2023

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

We start with local news…

Standoff Ends in Death (MainStreetMaury)

Columbia police were called to a home at 106 McKinley Drive on Monday morning and nearly six hours after police arrived on scene, an armed stand-off with police ended with 47-year-old Antonio Hardy dead.

According to a release, police were dispatched to the home at 7:25 a.m. to standby with a victim of domestic violence while she gathered her things from the residence.

Hardy, who was wanted on outstanding warrants for domestic assault, met officers at the front door before retreating into the residence and discharging his firearm at police.

Columbia police then arrived on scene with its crisis negotiations team and Special Weapons and Tactics (S.W.A.T.) team, which unsuccessfully attempted to establish communication with Hardy.

At 3:20 p.m., police entered the home where they found Hardy dead in a bedroom. A Columbia Police Department release indicates Hardy took his own life, but had no apparent injuries present.

His death is currently under investigation and the exact cause of death will be determined by the State of Tennessee’s Medical Examiners Office through autopsy.

No police officers were injured during the events of the day.

Democratic Party to Hold Officer Elections (Press Release)

The Maury County Democratic Party (MCDP) will be holding its biennial reorganization convention on Saturday, March 11 at the Maury County Senior Citizen Center (1020 Maury County Park Dr., in Columbia). New officers will be elected, and new bylaws will be discussed at this convention.

All Maury County registered voters who are Democrats are eligible to participate in the convention. Party volunteers will check the voter registration and voting history of attendees to ensure the eligibility of participants. Others (non-residents, non-voters and non-Democrats, including members of the press) may attend as non-participating guests.

The Democratic Party does not charge dues and includes any voter who has voted in recent Democratic Party primaries or identifies with the party’s values as members.

Doors will open at 9 a.m., and attendees must be in line by 9:45 a.m. to participate in the convention. The convention program will start at 10 a.m. and should take about two hours to complete. Light refreshments will be provided.

The last county party convention was held in August 2021, which was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Conventions are normally held in the spring of odd year.

Democrats will pick a county chair, three vice-chairs, a secretary, and a treasurer; the party will also select two district representatives from each of Maury County’s 11 county commission districts to serve on the county party’s executive committee.

MCDP Chair James Dallas: “We look forward to meeting our Democratic friends and neighbors and discussing the future of our party in Maury County. We hope that this event will encourage and energize Democrats as we prepare for the 2024 election cycle.”

Chairman Dallas encourages Democrats to RSVP and pre-register for the event online. Links to the Facebook Event page and the pre-registration form are available on the MCDP website,

The Maury County Democratic Party is the local county affiliate of the Tennessee Democratic Party and represents the interests of tens of thousands of Democratic-leaning voters in the county.

Yellen Visiting Ultium Cells (Press Release)

This afternoon, Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen will travel to Spring Hill, Tennessee to visit the Ultium Cells battery plant to highlight how the Inflation Reduction Act and other Biden-Harris Administration policies are incentivizing historic investments in clean energy manufacturing and the onshoring of battery production. Since the Inflation Reduction Act was signed into law six months ago, dozens of companies across the clean energy spectrum have announced tens of billions of dollars in investments in the United States that are expected to create thousands of good-paying jobs. China currently produces 70 percent of batteries for electric vehicles, and the Inflation Reduction Act’s incentives for battery manufacturing will help the United States grow the domestic clean energy economy.   


Ultium Cells is a joint venture between General Motors and LG Energy Solutions. Ultium Cells will manufacture battery cells for the Cadillac LYRIQ, which is produced at the adjacent General Motors plant. The new Ultium Cells plant is expected to employ nearly 1,700 workers when it is fully operational. 


Secretary Yellen will deliver her remarks at the site of the future Ultium Cells plant at 3:00pm on Wednesday.

Principal of the Year Named (CDH)

J.R. Baker Elementary Principal Jon-Micah Clanton was surprised recently when he was at a principals’ meeting when Maury County Public Schools Superintendent Lisa Ventura announced him as the district's “Principal of the Year.”

“It was certainly an honor,” said Clanton, who is in his seventh year of being principal.

Clanton and the formerly announced teachers of the year were recognized on Jan. 19 at a district banquet.

Originally from Truckee, a resort town near Lake Tahoe in California, Clanton graduated from Harding University in 1996 and began working in special education, including 5 years in Fresno. Active in wrestling and football in school, he played football in college for a couple of years, while obtaining his two majors in special education and elementary education.

After a move back to Fresno with Allison, his wife of 25 years, Clanton added a Master’s Degree in Education and Administration and Supervision from Fresno State University. Teaching special education and coaching in both wrestling and football, Clanton moved to Tennessee in 2004 when he accepted a position at Independence High School in Thompson’s Station.

From there, Clanton’s next step was his role as assistant principal at Whitthorne Middle School in Columbia before accepting the principal position at Baker.

Capping off his education he obtained an additional Education Specialist degree from Lipscomb University.Clanton’s three children all attend Maury County schools as well.

Now, at age 50, if he’s not leading the charge at Baker, he’s camping or just spending time with family and friends.

“I believe [the award] is a testament to the teachers and staff I have at Baker,” Clanton wrote in a bio submission to school administrators. “Seven years ago, we all sat down to develop a vision so that we had a foundation on which to build.

“That vision is ensuring we all GROW, Clanton says explaining the acronym as being Goal-oriented, Risk-taking to promote growth, Owning our own behavior and Working collaboratively to learn.”

Clanton said as well, he has to credit the hard work of his assistant principal Robin Smith, who he says is to be honored as part of the reason he was chosen.

“Mr. Clanton is so steady and consistent,” Smith said. “He’s always done what’s right for kids as individuals and as members of our collective student body. I don’t think that people realize how much thought and preparation he puts into the 'every day' of running a school.

"He’s truly interested in what’s going on with our students, both in and out of the classroom, and that goes a long way."

Smith said the past few years have been difficult in education, but because of Clanton’s steady leadership and willingness to tackle things head on, "our staff is one that now handles the hard things better,” Smith said.

“Our kids pick up on that too."

“I witness extraordinary things on a daily basis,” Clanton said. “… Many of those things are never measured at all.”

While Clanton acknowledges the challenges of working as an educator today, he said sometimes the job is just to help some students get their most basic needs met, while keeping them educated at grade level.

“Many critics don’t know what it is like to be in a school nor do they know the people who daily put the needs of students first and experience the growth and sometimes heartache our students deal with,” Clanton said.

Clanton said he is not really sure why he was chosen in favor of the other principals in the district, but says he is certain his strong suit is working with people including students, parents and other staff.

“I don’t know how I’m doing things any differently than my other colleagues, but every one of them does a fantastic job,” Clanton said.

One of the most important values he says is having a relationship of trust with his coworkers. Peers might describe him as someone who wants people to succeed.

“I enjoy people, and I’m not a micromanager,” he adds. “I let teachers do their job – still holding them accountable as well.”

The challenges ahead Clanton admits is watching children who come into the schools who have grown up with difficult home lives. While acknowledging his leadership in areas of instruction and budgeting, he looks directly at problems some students are having, such as homelessness, saying there is a need to ensure a child has basic needs met so they best receive academic instruction.

What he enjoys most about his job?

Students seeing him out and remembering him, watching students progress and graduate, and particularly at Baker, he enjoys all the hugs he gets from kids that make him look forward to coming to school every day.

Valentine’s Day Options (MauryCountySource)

It’s time to think about what to do with your special someone for Valentine’s Day 2023. There is always the chocolate, roses or jewelry, but here are four activities created just for lovers (or good friends). Of course, they all have food involved. Because, as the saying goes, “Cooking is love made invisible.”

Food and attraction have long been linked. There are many foods, besides chocolate, that are supposed to enhance human ardor. These include chilis, lavender, oysters, strawberries, and truffles to name a few.

Make reservations to the events below now, space is limited.

1Wine and Chocolate Tasting at Farmstead Cellar and Tasting Parlour

February 11, 14 2023

803 South Main Street

Columbia, Tennessee

Time: noon until 7:00 p.m.

Reservations: 931-384-8056 or

Cost: $35 per person

With a mission to provide the community a hub for the exploration of local wine, food and artisanal goods with a touch of southern hospitality, the Tasting Room is tucked away on the second floor of the Farmstead Community Market. Located in the center of the Historical Columbia Square, this parlour will be offering some of their award-winning local wines and fine gourmet chocolate to dazzle the pallet with love.

2Valentine’s Dessert Party at Historic Elm Springs

February 11, 2023

2357 Park Plus Drive

Columbia, Tennessee

Time: 6:30 p.m.

Purchase Tickets Here.

Cost: $20 per person, $35 for couples

Enjoy the best homemade desserts that Columbia, Tennessee has to offer at Historic Elm Springs. Some of the finest cooks in Maury County will be providing cookies, candies, cakes, brownies and pies for sampling at the event. There will also be a low-light tour of the 1837 home. Tickets can be purchased online or at the door. All proceeds go towards restoration of the house.

3Valentine’s Afternoon Tea at Nashville Tea Company

February 12, 2023

The Factory Columbia

101 North James Campbell Boulevard

Columbia, Tennessee

Time: Seatings at 10:00 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 3:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.

Purchase Tickets Here.

Cost: Starts at $55 per person

Nashville Tea Co is delighted to present an elegant tea at their beautiful location at the Factory at Columbia. Their special Valentine’s Day Afternoon Tea will offer an exquisite collection of loose-leaf teas and an indulgent selection of delicate finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones and biscuits, and beautiful artisan pastries. Also included is an entree portion of Herb Chicken and Roasted Veggie Galette. Vegan, Vegetarian and Gluten Free options are available upon request. Additional charges apply.

4Sweetheart’s Dinner at The Paraham Schoolhouse

February 14, 2023

5830 Leiper’s Creek Road

Columbia, Tennessee

Reservations: 615-797-3101


Time: 6:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m.

Cost: $150 per person

Celebrate Valentine’s Day in this fully restored 1900s school house with an intimate Five Course Pop Up Dinner from Chef Braiden Mallon. Mallon, of BAM Foods Catering, was a chef at Puckett’s Grocery and Restaurant, and has worked at Red Pony, 55 South and Cork and Cow. He is known for his “innovative culinary spirit.” He will see to it that no detail is forgotten at the gastronomic celebration. Seating is limited to 24 guests.

Two Police Lieutenants Retire (MauryCountySource)

Congratulations to Lieutenant James Shannon and Lieutenant John Ussery on their retirement from the Columbia Police Department.

Lt. Shannon started his career with the Columbia Police Department back on February 27, 1996.

During his tenure at Columbia Police Department (CPD), Lt. Shannon has served in many capacities including the COPS Unit, Crime Suppression Unit, Motorcycle Patrol, Narcotics & Vice Unit, FBI Violent Crimes Task Force, Patrol Sergeant, Lieutenant of Narcotics & Vice, and as a Lieutenant of Patrol.

Lt. John Ussery started his career with the Columbia Police Department back on December 12, 1994.

During his tenure at Columbia Police Department (CPD), Lt. Ussery has served in many capacities including as an Explorer, a Patrol Officer, a Master Patrol Officer, a Sergeant of Narcotics & Vice, Lieutenant of Narcotics & Vice, and Lieutenant of the Criminal Investigations Division.

We thank both Lieutenants Shannon and Ussery for their service to our community.

Annual Soup and Bowl Fundraiser (Press Release)

Here is an opportunity to support a great organization in Columbia! Harvest Share Food Pantry is holding their annual Soup-n-Bowl event on Saturday, February 11th, at the Memorial Building from 11:00am - 2:00pm. Adult tickets are $10 and child tickets (ages 5-10) are $5. Enjoy wonderful food from local restaurants, take home a free soup bowl, and bid on your favorite items during the silent auction. 

Tickets can be purchased at the Harvest Share Food Pantry (419 W. 9th St.), at the door the day of the event, or you can call Amanda Taylor at (260) 350-1119. Please join us in helping Harvest Share continue their work in Columbia.

Columbia State Performance Series (Press Release)

Columbia State Community College welcomes Aubrey Logan to the Cherry Theater on February 9 as part of the First Farmers Performance Series.


She’s a singer, trombone player, songwriter and performer. It would have been a lot easier if Aubrey Logan would have just picked one, but she’s never been one to be pigeon-holed. She lives her life outside of the box and that makes her difficult to define. That’s okay with her because she purposely defies definition. She’s still known as a world-class singer-instrumentalist, but she’s revealed that there’s so much more. 

“We expect this show to be fun with great energy,” said Bethany Lay, Columbia State vice president for advancement and executive director of the Columbia State Foundation. “Bring your Valentine for an enjoyable night of entertainment.”

Individual tickets are on sale for $30 each plus tax for adults and $20 each plus tax for Columbia State students. To charge tickets by phone using a major credit card, call 931.540.2879 or purchase them in person in Room 113 of the Pryor Administration Building on the Columbia Campus, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

On the night of the performance, the box office opens at 6 p.m. in the Kenneth and Ramona Cherry Theater, located in the Waymon L. Hickman Building on the Columbia Campus. Theater doors open at 6:30 p.m., and the show begins at 7 p.m. The Columbia Campus is located at 1665 Hampshire Pike in Columbia.

For more information, visit

…And now, news from around the state…

Governor’s State of the State (Tennessean)

In his fifth State of the State address, Gov. Bill Lee on Monday promised to cut taxes, transform transportation and expand insurance coverage to thousands of Tennessee parents and children.

"Tennessee is leading. The question is, will we lead in a way that lasts — in a way that our grandchildren are equipped and inspired to pick up where we left off?" Lee said. "I believe we can, and I look forward to pursuing that with all of you, this year and three more after that."

Lee addressed a joint session of the 113th Tennessee General Assembly at the state Capitol, signaling his plans for his second term in office — including a three-month grocery tax break, teacher raises, more technical college funding and workforce development support.

But he also looked back to his first term, again proposing a $27-million paid family leave program for state employees, an effort that failed after he proposed it during his 2020 State of the State address. Lee also proposed a private sector paid family leave tax credit for a two-year pilot period.

"This is not a mandate on businesses. I believe every business owner should make decisions that are in the best interest of their employees," Lee said. "A reasonable paid leave program will help us retain the best and brightest and help those who help our state, resulting in stronger families across Tennessee."

A major theme of Lee's address was his focus on families, including more support for new mothers, foster care, the embattled Department of Children's Services and, more controversially, crisis pregnancy centers.

Lee is staunchly anti-abortion and supports the state's strict ban, even as some legislative Republicans are pursuing legal exceptions to the law. But the governor also has said the state must do more to support families after children are born. He said in his address the state had a "moral obligation" to support them.

As Lee referenced last year's U.S. Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, he was interrupted by members of the public sitting in the House gallery. They loudly decried the governor's abortion and healthcare policies.

"Civility is not a weakness," Lee remarked, veering away from his prepared remarks and prompting a standing ovation and loud applause from lawmakers and administration officials on the chamber floor, drowning out the gallery.

"This is not a matter of politics. This is about human dignity," Lee said, returning to his speech. "We can have a healthy debate about the policy specifics, but we can also agree that America is rooted in a commitment to human dignity," Lee said. "I’m talking about the dignity of the expecting mother working multiple jobs to make ends meet, the dignity of a baby born three months too early, the dignity of a father living with a disability, and the dignity of a family in crisis."

In his budget proposal released Monday night, Lee called for raising TennCare eligibility for mothers and parents, in addition to earmarking $4.6 million to extend a program offering 12 months of postpartum coverage.

Lee also hopes to cover the cost of diapers for the first two year's of a baby's life for mothers on TennCare, which he said would be the first program of its kind in the nation.

Tennessee Republicans have for years declined to expand Medicaid, which healthcare leaders and Democrats have continually called for ever since the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010. Democrats and other critics continue to say the Lee administration could do more by accepting additional federal funding.

Lee defended the decision to work through a Medicaid waiver program, which he said generated healthcare savings that can now go to coverage expansion.

"We have the opportunity — together — to expand more services, reach more families in need, and improve ruralhealth care access across our state," Lee said. "Despite enormous criticism from those who said we couldn’t or wouldn’t, we are going to do exactly what we said we would do when we pursued this shared savings waiver — expand services for the most vulnerable and provide those services to even more Tennesseans. And now that day has come."

In his budget, Lee allocated $100 million for a grant fund to benefit crisis pregnancy centers, anti-abortion organizations that Lee has long supported and been actively involved in. The centers often offer pregnancy tests but are not licensed or regulated medical clinics.

Lee earmarked $10 million for a grant program to support foster and adoption nonprofits in the state, as the state faces a severe children's services crisis. The embattled Department of Children's Services will get an additional $190 million in the budget.

Lee proposed a $55.6-billion budget for the upcoming fiscal year, which is a decrease in overall spending compared to last year. 

Final Story of the Day (MauryCountySource)

The Australian Pink Floyd Show will stop in Franklin at FirstBank Amphitheater on Sunday, September 3.

Called “The Darkside 50 Tour”, the band will perform Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon in its entirety, celebrating its 50th anniversary.

Australian Pink Floyd has been performing for the last 30 years and acquired a loyal fan base following promising a not to miss show.

Presale tickets begin on Thursday, with the code CHORUS. Public sale of ticket is available on Friday, February 10th at 10 am.

Find tickets at


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