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Southern Middle Tennessee Today News for January 17, 2024

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


We start with local news…

MVA in Maury (WSMV)

Four people were rescued from a vehicle involved in a crash on Sunday night, the Maury County Fire Department said.

Several units responded to the crash on Hampshire Pike near Cecil Farm Road just before 8 p.m. Units found an SUV resting on its roof against a tree with four people trapped inside.

Firefighters removed the windshield and were able to rescue two children inside the car. One adult in the car was able to walk up the ladder that was used. Firefighters carried the other adult up the hill via a stokes basket and low-angle rope system.

The fire department said all four were taken to the hospital with apparent minor injuries.

Fire Amidst Snow (WSMV)

Fire crews battled a house fire in Maury County Monday as snow blanketed the fire.

At about 3:32 p.m. Maury County firefighters were sent to a structure fire with a possible entrapment on Henry Booker Road in the Hampshire Community.

Everyone in the home made it out safely and no injuries were reported.

Firefighters found smoke showing and were able to contain the fire in one room.

Weather (WKOM)

The Martin Luther King Day snow storm dropped about six inches of snow on Middle Tennessee. Freezing temperatures have allowed the snow to remain, making roads, especially in the country and in subdivisions fairly hazardous.

Due to these conditions and to keep all students safe, there is no school through Thursday for all Maury County Schools. This includes all Boys & Girls Club locations. All school buildings & and the Central Office will remain closed through Wednesday. Therefore, there will be NO extracurricular or athletic activities on Wednesday, January 17. They will reassess in-season athletics for Thursday afternoon.

For surrounding counties, Giles County will be closed through Thursday, Hickman and Lawrence will be closed through Wednesday, Lewis County will be closed the rest of the week, Marshall is closed through Thursday and Williamson County is closed through Wednesday.

All Maury County offices will also continue to be closed today.

Columbia City offices will open on a modified/discretionary basis from 10am-3pm.

The Columbia Police Department says if drivers have to get out in the wintry mix, please use caution and "if not, please stay home and off the roadways," a CPD social media post said.

Temperatures across the area remain in "dangerous" lows, according to the Nashville Weather Service's statement on social media, and are not expected to climb above freezing until Thursday.

Tennessee Emergency Management Agency compiled a list of warming centers across the state for those who need shelter, which can be found at www.tn.gov/tema/warming-centers.

TVA Asks Citizens to Conserve Energy (Tennessean)

The Tennessee Valley Authority is asking customers to limit electricity use as it projects record power demand early Jan. 17.

Reducing the stress on the power grid will be especially useful between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. Jan. 17.

The federal utility expects a demand to top 35,000 megawatts as wind chills dip below zero degrees across parts of the agency's service area, a spokesperson told Knox News.

The advisory comes after an after-action report on Winter Storm Elliott — which forced TVA to intermittently shut off power for the first time in its history on Dec. 23-24, 2022 — said the agency needed to improve its communication and transparency to customers.

Now, as a new winter weather system brings similarly cold overnight temperatures experienced during that storm, TVA is bracing for the first true test of its winter readiness work.

Since the blackouts that cost TVA $170 million, the agency has invested over $120 million in bolstering grid reliability and heating technology to prevent its systems from freezing. It has also added almost 1,500 megawatts of new natural gas generation, enough to power nearly 900,000 homes.

The agency said it would spend an additional $120 million above regular spending levels this year on the reliability of its plants.

TVA's previous record for winter power demand was 33,427 megawatts on Dec. 23, 2022 — the day it ordered its first-ever rolling blackouts. Its all-time power demand record was 33,482 megawatts on Aug. 16, 2007.

TVA's power system is capable of producing close to 33,000 megawatts and the agency has purchase power agreements with other companies for thousands of megawatts.

“We can strengthen and we can make our plants more resilient and we've done that work, but the ultimate test will be in the face of another challenge like Winter Storm Elliott," Larry Sparks, general manager of generation outages and project service, told Knox News in December.

That challenge appeared to be heading for the TVA system on the morning of Jan. 17, when temperatures are expected to dip below zero in some areas of its system, including in Knoxville.

Winter power demand typically peaks around 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. and again around 7 p.m. in the Southeast, when people use the most electricity. On Wednesday morning, temperatures will be just above zero and wind chill could be as low as 10 below zero.

TVA's peak power demand on Jan. 15, when the winter storm began and the temperature was around 21 degrees across its system, was 29,453 megawatts at 7 p.m.

When temperatures are low, it takes more power to keep homes warm, and solar generation is unavailable on cloudy or foggy winter mornings.

To lessen its load and help avoid a blackout scenario, TVA has a few simple ways residents can bring down peak power demand on the morning of Jan. 17:

Adjust thermostat to between 65-68 degrees, or the lowest temperature that keeps you warm and safe. This will also help keep your power bill lower.

Limit use of nonessential appliances and lights and unplug unused electronics

Unblock air vents

Postpone use of hot water

Wait to run the dishwasher or washer and dryer until warmer times of day

Consider adding extra insulation to windows and doors to keep out the cold

Open blinds and curtains during the day on the sunny side of the house and close them at night

Keep warm air circulating with ceiling fans

Wear more layers and blankets inside to keep warm

Blood Needed (MauryCountySource)

The winter weather event has significantly impacted local blood donations to organizations like the American Red Cross and Blood Assurance. Blood donations are already affected during the winter months and more so when severe weather rolls in, closing donation centers and canceling blood drives.

“December and January are always detrimental for community blood centers due to holiday travel, frigid weather, and illnesses, such as the flu,” according to J.B. Gaskins, CEO of Blood Assurance.

Since the start of January, approximately 200 Red Cross blood drives across 27 states have been canceled due to winter weather, causing more than 6,000 lifesaving blood and platelet donations to go uncollected, the American Red Cross reports.

“The storm is occurring at a critical time, as the community blood center only has a one-day supply of most blood types on its shelves. Blood Assurance needs around 400 donors a day to adequately supply local hospitals,” Blood Assurance says.

When it is safe to do so, these organizations are asking people to sign up and donate to help replenish the supply.

Find information on American Red Cross blood donation opportunities at www.redcrossblood.org.

“Our non-profit is still experiencing one of the largest shortages we’ve seen in five decades,” said Gaskins. “We hope our community understands the importance of donating before, during and after National Blood Donor Month, by recognizing that blood isn’t something that can be manufactured. A single blood donation can save three lives.”

Donors can give back by scheduling an appointment at www.bloodassurance.org/schedule, calling 800- 962-0628, or texting BAGIVE to 999777. 

One Gen Away Food Pantry (WilliamsonHerald)

One Generation Away is returning to the Columbia State Community College campus to offer free groceries to anyone in need.

The nonprofit’s drive-thru Mobile Pantry will be on campus at 1665 Hampshire Pike on Saturday, and will include fresh produce, dry goods, bakery items, dairy and more.

“We don’t ask any qualifying questions to receive food, and no paperwork is required,” said Chris Whitney, founder and CEO of OneGenAway. “All you have to do is show up, and we’ll take care of the rest.”

Food will be distributed beginning around 8:30 a.m. and continuing until 10 a.m. or until all the food has been given away. Volunteers are encouraged to arrive at 7:30 a.m. to help sort and distribute food. No registration is required to volunteer. It will be cold so bundle up! 

For more information about OneGenAway and its food assistance programs, visit www.OneGenAway.com.

State Reps Tout CDBG Money (MSM)

State Reps. Kip Capley (R-Summertown) and Scott Cepicky (R-Culleoka) praised the announcement of $1,190,000 in community development grants for projects in Maury County from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (TNECD).

TNECD announced in December that Maury County would receive a $560,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) for a sewer rehabilitation project and Mount Pleasant would receive a $630,000 CDBG for a water system improvement project.

“Maury County is an exceptional place to live and visit,” the lawmakers said in a joint statement. “These grants will significantly improve essential services for residents, ensuring the reliability of Mount Pleasant’s sewer system and water meters. We know this funding will be spent wisely, and we thank TNECD for their work selecting deserving projects.”

Maury County’s CDBG will go toward installing a new ultraviolet disinfection system in the Mount Pleasant Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Mount Pleasant’s funds will be used to purchase new water meters to ensure accurate readings.

TNECD approved $36.6 million in grants to 78 communities across the state for projects in categories including public health and safety, community infrastructure, community revitalization, water system improvements, and sewer system improvements.

The allocation of CDBG funds is based on priorities set through the public meeting process at the local community level. The CDBG program is funded through HUD and administered in Tennessee by the Department of Economic and Community Development.

Capley represents House District 71, which includes Wayne County and party of Hardin, Lawrence and Maury counties. Cepicky represents House District 64, which includes part of Maury County.

Spring Hill Launches Programs (MSM)

The Spring Hill Chamber is thrilled to announce an array of new programs for 2024, exclusively designed to enrich and engage the Spring Hill business community!

First, they are launching “Spring Hill Insider, The Tour,” a unique, free tour for both longstanding and new residents of Spring Hill. This initiative, hosted by the Spring Hill Chamber and the Spring Hill Welcome Center, features a narrated bus journey showcasing the city. Attendees will enjoy several stops along the route, enriched with the presence of special guests, making this an exceptional opportunity to delve into the heart of the community. Plus, for those who prefer a self-guided experience, they are even planning a DIY version of the tour.

Elevating their commitment to personal and professional growth, Spring Hill Chamber is excited to introduce a new thought leader speaker series that aims to promote innovation and imagination. The three 2024 events (similar to TED-style talks) will bring inspiration and a spectrum of ideas to the region.

The EVOLVE mentorship program, initially piloted with a select group of women in business, will be expanded to the Chamber’s entire membership in 2024. This program is an excellent resource for those seeking accountability and growth in the new year.

Building upon the success of their WIRED MASTERMIND and EVOLVE mentorship programs, the chamber is pleased to offer exclusive, small-scale educational networking events. These gatherings, featuring alumni from their mastermind program, provide a unique platform for in-depth discussions and idea-sharing over coffee during our new “Leadership Lounge,” a conducive environment for exploring challenging questions and innovative thoughts.

Finally, Spring Hill Chamber is broadening their connection building opportunities by offering more networking collaborations with various groups in the area. These “mashup” events, including the popular Tri-Chamber Mixer, are set to enrich your professional network and are not to be missed.

Of course, their commitment to the Spring Hill community remains steadfast with their lineup of signature events as well. For example, the annual “Experience Spring Hill, The Event” is set for June, offering an immersive experience into the heart of the community. In September, they will host their elegant annual soirée, “Celebrate Spring Hill,” a chamber fundraiser that honors the spirit and achievements of the community. The “Think, Shop, Explore Local Passport” event will take place the entire month of October, encouraging local exploration and support for businesses and organizations. Additionally, their luncheons will continue to provide the business community relevant information and a large-scale networking opportunity each month. They will email a draft of our 2024 calendar through Chambermaster soon.

Stay tuned for more details on these exciting opportunities to connect, learn, and grow with the Spring Hill Chamber in 2024!

Buckner Interchange Delayed (Fox17.com)

A major project on Interstate 65 in Middle Tennessee is now delayed by one year.

The Buckner Road interchange project in Spring Hill was originally set to open in April 2023. Now, leaders with the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) say the interchange won't open to drivers until later this spring.

TDOT stated that crucial items contributing to the extended project duration include right-of-way acquisitions, environmental permits, and existing soil conditions.

"Additionally, to mitigate as much of the delays as possible the contractor has adjusted their schedule to have multiple activities being worked on concurrently and allocating additional resources to the project," a spokesperson said.

The new exit will provide direct access from I-65 to Spring Hill and alleviate congestion along the north and south corridors in the area. The project includes a diverging diamond interchange at Buckner Road. It also entails a 2.25-mile extension of Bucker Road, which will be named June Lake Boulevard once completed.

TDOT expects around 17,000 daily trips at the new interchange within the first year. That number is projected to reach 44,000 over the next 20 years.

"TDOT acknowledges the inconveniences of roadway projects and appreciates your patience in dealing with the construction. The finished project will bring a new gateway to Spring Hill that will improve traffic for the citizens and businesses."

The interchange is funded by the City of Spring Hill with the help of a $25 million grant from the federal government.

Maury Alliance Annual Meeting (Press Release)

Join Maury Alliance on Tuesday, January 30th for their most anticipated event of the year as they celebrate their accomplishments for 2023 and recognize the transition of their volunteer leadership. 

This will be a lively night of entertainment and networking celebrating business and industry in Maury County with dinner and beverages by It's Chef Jess and live music featuring The Velvet Troubadours.

Purchase tickets to the Maury Alliance Annual Meeting now to guarantee a seat at their biggest event of the year!!

The event will take place from 5-8pm on January 30th at the Memorial Building, located at 308 W. 7th Street in Columbia.

For more information visit www.mauryalliance.com.

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

Mrs. Mary Sue Anderson Voss, 94, employee of the Maury County Board of Education and resident of Williamsport, died January 13, 2024, at her residence. A funeral service for Mrs. Voss will be held at Oakes & Nichols Funeral Home Thursday, January 18, 2024, at 1:00 P.M. Visitation will be held from 10:00 A.M. until service time Thursday at the funeral home.

Patricia Brown Selle, 88, retired businesswoman and long-time resident of Columbia, Tennessee died peacefully on January 13, 2024. Funeral services for Mrs. Selle will be conducted Saturday, January 20, 2024, at 12:00 P.M. at First United Methodist Church, 222 West 7th Street, Columbia, Tennessee. A private burial will be held at Rose Hill Cemetery. The family will meet with friends on Saturday before the service from 10:00 A.M. – 12:00P.M. at First United Methodist Church. Oakes & Nichols Funeral Directors are assisting the family with arrangements.

Mr. George Allen Clanton, 92, retired employee of Occidental Company and resident of Columbia, died January 12, 2024, at Meadowbrook Nursing Home in Pulaski, Tennessee. The family will visit with friends Saturday, January 27, 2024, at 11:00 A.M. followed by a memorial service at 11:30 A.M. at Oakes & Nichols Funeral Home.

…And now, news from around the state…

Weather Update (Tennessean)

As many Tennesseans are keeping warm inside their homes after being blanketed with a record snowfall, Tennessee Department of Transportation road crews are going on their third day of clearing the roads.

On Monday, TDOT warned that roads are only going to get worse with the freezing temperatures.

Across the state, TDOT has responded to hundreds of incidents, many of them involving more than one vehicle. In the mid-state TDOT relocated 275 vehicles, in West Tennessee 82 drivers have been helped in the last 24 hours and in East Tennessee more than 200, they said in a statement.

According to Rae Anne Bradley, TDOT community relations officer, TDOT helped clear over 150 vehicles from roadways on Monday in the greater Upper Cumberland and Chattanooga areas.

Multiple agencies are advising drivers to stay home unless absolutely necessary.

On Tuesday morning, a multi vehicle crash was reported on Interstate 65 northbound in Davidson County. The northbound right lane was blocked.

On Monday night, the Tennessee Department of Transportation strongly urged motorists to stay home and avoid driving in the dangerous conditions. They said conditions will remain hazardous for at least the next 24 hours.

"TDOT crews are working around the clock and focused on keeping primary routes, mainly interstates, clear. Crews will target areas vulnerable to freezing, such as hills, curves, ramps, bridges, and interchanges," said TDOT in a statement. "Please, if you do not need to travel, stay home. We want you, and our crews, to remain safe."

Middle Tennesseans can track TDOT's get updated road conditions and see live video feed of traffic conditions at smartway.tn.gov. For live videos feeds of Nashville roads and highways, visit smart.way.tn.gov.

Postal Charges to Increase (Tennessean)

The United States Postal Service will be increasing prices in 2024.

Back in October 2023, the Postal Service filed notice with the Postal Regulatory Commission proposing new prices. In November, the Postal Service governor approved proposed prices. The new prices for shipping services are set to take effect Jan. 21.

The new rates also include a 2-cent increase in the price of a First-Class Mail Forever stamp, from 66 cents to 68 cents.

Ground advantage prices will increase by 5.4%, priority mail service prices will increase by 5.7% and priority mail express service prices will increase by 5.9%.

Currently, ground advantage prices start at $4.75, priority mail services start at $9.65 and priority mail express service start at $24.90.

Final Story of the Day (Maury County Source)

Rapper Nicki Minaj has added new dates to her largest worldwide tour to date. Among 13 additional tour dates, Minaj will hit the stage at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena on Sunday, March 24.

The tour comes on the heels of Minaj's most recent album, "Pink Friday 2," which released Dec. 8, 2023. The 22-track album includes hits "Beep Beep," "Everybody" and "FTCU." The record has a lineup of star-studded features, from J. Cole to Lil Wayne, and Drake.

"Pink Friday 2" debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200, leading Minaj to hit the most #1’s on the Billboard 200 by a female rapper. This achievement also makes Minaj the first female rapper to have a #1 album in two different decades.


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