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Southern Middle Tennessee Today News for June 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…

CSCC Graduates EMT Dual Enrolees (Press Release)

Columbia State Community College recently celebrated the graduation of the first class of Emergency Medical Technician dual enrollment graduates.


The first class of Columbia State EMT dual enrollment graduates included Makayla Cook, Keilei McCrory, Tapanga Hayes and Abigail Howell, all from East Hickman High School in Lyles, Tennessee. These students are also only the second class of its kind in the state, which is made possible as a result of the Governors Give 2.0 grant, which provided funds for the instructor and equipment required to operate the course.

“We are extremely proud of this group of young ladies who chose to take this step in completing this EMT training,” said Greg Johnson, Columbia State EMS Academy program director. “They selflessly gave up many traditional senior year activities to further their education, gain college credit, and become a needed responder for the Hickman County community. Instructor Charlie Seay did an incredible job molding these young ladies into excellent clinicians and providing a foundation of medical knowledge that will further them in the medical careers they choose.”

The course allows students to complete the training necessary to become certified emergency medical technicians. Students must be 18 years of age by the end of the program and must be a high school senior to be eligible for course enrollment. Students enrolled complete the traditional 15-week, semester long program over the course of their high school’s fall and spring semesters. Students often give up senior social events, athletic competitions and their personal time to complete the course.

“Columbia State continues to lead the way by taking EMT credentialing classes to high school seniors,” said Dr. Kae Fleming, Columbia State dean of the Health Sciences Division. “Communities also benefit from the availability of qualified EMTs to meet area needs for vital services.”

An EMT provides basic life support at the site of illnesses and injuries, assisting with transport to the hospital.

“The EMT program is one of many programs at Columbia State designed to prepare program completers for employment in field in one year or less,” said Joni Lenig, Columbia State vice president for academic affairs. “These programs are an excellent choice for college students who seek employable skills so they may work while completing additional higher education.”


The program provides students with the necessary didactic and practical training to perform life-saving skills. Additionally, students learn to work alone, as well as in a squad-based (team) environment. 

“This is a model partnership between Columbia State, East Hickman High School and the state for providing an educational program leading to workforce opportunities,” said Dr. Janet F. Smith, Columbia State president. “These students experience personal accomplishment as they learn lifesaving skills combined with the durable skills of thinking, self-responsibility, teamwork, and communication—a winning combination.”

The program will be offered again at East Hickman High School, as well as implemented at Fairview High School in Williamson County. For more information about the EMS program, visit  or contact Johnson at 931.540.2792.

Kiddie Academy (Press Release)

Kiddie Academy Educational Child Care will break ground on the Kiddie Academy of Spring Hill at 139 Kedron Parkway on Tuesday, June 27 at noon.

The 10,000-square-foot Kiddie Academy of Spring Hill, which is scheduled to open in winter 2023, is veteran- and women-owned and operated by Michelle Schroeder, Wesley Schroeder, Sheila Freck and Scott Freck. The facility will be equipped with 12 classrooms, security features including cameras, privacy fencing in play areas, security doors, PIN Code entry and more. The Academy will be licensed to serve 178 children and expects to bring 26 or more jobs to the community.

“We are so thrilled that we will soon open and provide our unique services to children in the Spring Hill community,” said Schroeder. “This is a really exciting time for us, and we look forward to introducing our well-trained, caring and attentive staff to local area parents and their children. It is our mission to assist every child to develop a love for learning and build the confidence and self-esteem they need to meet the challenges of tomorrow.”

Since its inception in 1981, the Kiddie Academy system has been recognized as a leading brand in educational child care. The company serves families and their children ages 6 weeks to 12 years old, offering full- and part-time care, before- and after-school care, and summer camp programs, through the Kiddie Academy system. Kiddie Academy’s proprietary Life Essentials® Curriculum, supporting programs, methods, activities, and techniques help prepare children for life. The company’s philanthropic efforts, including support of national nonprofit Family Promise, take character education lessons learned in the classroom beyond Academy walls. Kiddie Academy Domestic Franchising, LLC has also received corporate accreditation from the globally recognized Cognia accreditation system, signifying its commitment to quality education and the highest standards in child care. For more information, visit or find Kiddie Academy on Facebook at

Chartwell Residential (Press Release)

Earlier this week, Chartwell Residential announced the completion of the first phase of Chartwell Commons at Beechcroft. 

The 124-rental development in Spring Hill is Chartwell's first built-to-rent community. 

“Chartwell Residential is continuously seeking opportunities to fulfill the real estate needs of Middle Tennessee," Chartwell Residential partner Will Schaedle said in a news release.

"This built-to-rent model is a direct reflection of people’s desire to live in upscale neighborhoods without the commitment of a long-term investment. We are confident that the Chartwell Commons residents will be pleased with the new community. This will be the first of many built-to-rent communities to come.”

Phase one of the community includes 52 homes, and the entire development is expected to be completed by the end of 2023. The community offers nine floorplans to choose from, including the option of high-end kitchens and fenced yards. The community also includes a clubhouse, resort-style pool, grilling area, and playground.

Franklin Construction Group (FCG), Chartwell’s in-house construction firm, is the general contractor for Chartwell Commons at Beechcroft. FCG currently has more than $300 million in active construction apartment and residential projects throughout Middle Tennessee, including Chartwell at Marathon, a multi-family development project in Nashville that is 50 percent complete and will begin preleasing in Fall 2023. 

Judicial Center Budget Passes (MainStreetMaury)

The Maury County Building Committee sent the county commission a recommendation of approval to move forward with the judicial center at its most recent meeting, with the cost coming in $159,018 under the budgeted amount of $33.9 million.

Jamie Spencer, with the development firm Hewlett Spencer, said one of the major reasons the job was able to come in under the budgeted amount was due to the early-release packages.

“The Commission in making that decision saved over $300,000 by approving that early-release package,” he said. “We didn’t have a full set of plans to work with at that time, so we started piecing the project and the pricing together, which is not how we normally do it.”

The first early-release package cost $2.17 million, while the second package came in at $8.9 million. With this final phase, the total cost will be around $33.7 million.

“We recognize and appreciate the efforts by this commission for allowing us to approve this project in this manner,” Spencer said. “There was a small celebration with our team this afternoon.”

Commission Chair Eric Previti was pleased the project is under budget, especially in this economy, though some of the cosmetic features had to be removed from the package.

“You’ve seen the economy, this is what’s going to happen,” he said. “(Prices) won’t go up – they can’t go up, it’s guaranteed. When we get closer to the end, if there’s some money left over we might be able to add in some of the cosmetic things we cut. 

“There will not be any additions. Absolutely not.” 

Spencer added that some of the cosmetic features in the project were also managed in order to fit the numbers.

“There were things we put in the building to help us reach our budget that aren’t extravagant,” he said. 

The parking structure was a major part of the project, and Rick Bruining, project executive with Bell Construction, said they made some adjustments to make sure the price point could be met. 

“We have different types of gates that open and shut. Some swing, some are rolling gates,” he said. “There was a rolling gate that opened and shut, and if we were to put it in like that, it would actually take up a parking spot, so we switched it to a collapsible gate. (There will be) 80-90 public, front-entry, main parking and a secure staff parking lot with the same number.”

The County Commission ratified the proposal at its Tuesday, June 20, meeting, the judicial center will soon be under construction. Previti said he hopes this will be something the people of Maury County will look forward to seeing completed.

“I’m very pleased we’ve come under budget,” he said. “I hope that future negativity will cease because this is for the safety and growth of the county. Let’s move on.”

County Archives Moving to Temporary Location (MainStreetMaury)

The Maury County Commission unanimously approved $218,538 plus expenses for an 18-month long contract between Baxter Enterprises and the Maury County Archives building for the temporary lodging of the extensive collection of historical documents and operations.

In April, the Budget Committee approved a maximum price of $10 million for the expansion of the building, which will total 18,644 square feet and include a new research library, paper conservation lab, and public programming space.

Meanwhile, the collection will be moved out of its current space at 201 E. Sixth Street in Columbia to the Muletown Rec building, located at 1445 Oak Springs Drive and owned by Baxter Enterprises.

The Archives will be closing to the public starting on July 3rd so that the archives staff can begin packing the collection for its move to the temporary location. The archives hopes to open back up to the public at the Oak Springs Drive location in early to mid-September while construction on the new facility is taking place. The construction is expected to take between 14 and 18 months to complete.

The Maury County Archives houses millions of records dating back to the formation of the county in 1807. The collection consists of official county records such as deeds, marriage records and court records as well as personal papers, organizational records, and school records. Maury County is one of just a few counties in the entire state that has all of the records of the county.

Although the facility will be closed temporarily, the public can still contact the archives by calling 931-375-1501.

Food Trucks and Fireworks (MauryCountySource)

There will be something fun for everyone at Food Trucks & Fireworks in Spring Hill, TN! This year, the Food Trucks and Fireworks event is happening on Sunday, July 2, 2023—festivities start at 6pm and last until the fireworks show at sundown. Get ready for a family-friendly community gathering filled with mouthwatering food, endless fun, and a mind-blowing fireworks display by the Downtown Nashville Fireworks Show, Pyro Inc. Oh, and the best part? The admission is free!

Mark the date in your calendar, share it with your friends, and plan on attending Food Trucks & Fireworks at 305 Parkfield Loop S, Spring Hill, for a celebration you won’t forget. When the sun starts to dip, prepare to be dazzled by an awe-inspiring fireworks show that’ll leave everyone in awe, no matter their age.

What about the “Food” part of Food Trucks and Fireworks? There will be 30 or more local food trucks. Whether you’re into savory or sweet, there will be something for everyone.

Kids will enjoy bounce houses, and the young-at-heart can engage in some friendly competition with classic summer games like cornhole and frisbee. But the fun doesn’t stop there! Throughout the event, there will be games and giveaways to keep the festive vibes going strong.

To make sure everyone can join in the fun, there are three parking options. The on-site Red Lot that is available for a small fee, the free Blue Lot with a complimentary shuttle service, and the Yellow Lot, free on-site handicap parking making sure that everyone can easily access the event.

For all event details, including the full lineup of food trucks and entertainment, head over to

Remote Area Medical in Columbia (MauryCountySource)

Remote Area Medical – RAM® – a major nonprofit provider of pop-up clinics delivering free, quality dental, vision and medical care to those in need – will hold a free, two-day clinic in Columbia on July 8-9.

RAM will be set up at the E.A. Cox Middle School, located at 633 Bear Creek Pike, Columbia, for two days only. This clinic is in collaboration with the Filipino American International Organization in Tennessee.

All Remote Area Medical services are free, and no ID is required. Free dental, vision and medical services will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis. The patient parking lot will open no later than 11:59 p.m. (midnight) on Friday night, July 7, and remain open for the duration of the clinic. Once in the parking lot, additional information regarding clinic-opening processes and next steps will be provided. Clinic doors open at 6 a.m.

Due to time constraints, patients should be prepared to choose between DENTAL and VISION services.

Medical services are offered, in addition to dental or vision services, free to every patient attending the clinic.

For more information, to donate or to volunteer, please visit or call 865-579-1530. 

Services available at the free Remote Area Medical clinic include dental cleanings, dental fillings, dental extractions, dental X- rays, eye exams, eye health exams, eyeglass prescriptions, eyeglasses made on-site, women’s health exams and general medical exams.

In some situations outside of Remote Area Medical’s control, such as inclement weather, volunteer cancellations or other circumstances, the parking lot may open earlier or a smaller number of patients may be served. Remote Area Medical encourages everyone who would like services, especially dental services, to arrive as early as possible. Clinic closing time may vary based on each service area’s daily capacity. For more information, visit

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

Mr. Dennis Wayne Dungy, 69, died Thursday, June 22, 2023 at his residence in Columbia. Funeral services for Mr. Dungy will be conducted Tuesday at 2:00 P.M. at Oakes & Nichols Funeral Home. Burial will follow in Andrews Cemetery.

…And now, news from around the state…

Cost of Special Session (Tennessean)

A special legislative session Gov. Bill Lee says he will call late this summer will cost taxpayers at least $124,360 in expenses for lawmakers. 

Lee says he will call the special session beginning Aug. 21 to pass legislation to “strengthen public safety and preserve constitutional rights” following a deadly shooting at The Covenant School in Nashville. 

Lee announced the special session less than two hours after lawmakers adjourned business in April without taking up his proposal to keep guns out of the hands of people deemed a danger to themselves or others. 

Total daily pay for lawmakers costs the state $32,892 per day, according to figures from the Office of Legislative Administration. 

Session will likely last at least three days, as the state Constitution requires bills to be considered on “three different days” in each chamber before final passage. In recent years, special legislative sessions have lasted either three or four days. 

In addition to daily pay, the state reimburses lawmakers’ mileage travel to and from Nashville, which costs $25,684 for each weekly trip to the state Capitol.

But it remains unclear exactly what Lee and lawmakers will be able to accomplish during the special session. Lee has not yet issued the formal call for it with specific perimeters. He made a major push in April for lawmakers to take up his proposal, which would allow the temporary removal of firearms from individuals a judge determines poses a threat of harm to others after a mental health evaluation and a court hearing. But more recently, Lee has appeared to back away from the proposal a bit.

“This special session is designed to be focused on public safety, and we've talked — we've proposed ideas for that, but we've also said many times that the General Assembly will bring forth those ideas," Lee told reporters earlier this month, adding that while he has "put forth the framework," he has "not yet presented a particular bill."

Meanwhile, several individual lawmakers and lobbying groups have called for Lee to cancel the special session entirely, citing threats to public safety due to protests, and concerns over Second Amendment violations.

Lee is on track to set a new record for the greatest number of extraordinary legislative sessions during one governor’s tenure. 

If held, the legislature’s August meeting will be the sixth special session held since Lee took office in 2019, and the fifth the governor has specifically called (lawmakers called themselves back to the state Capitol for a special session in 2021). Topics of special sessions have included a House speaker election in 2019, pandemic liability and insurance laws, pandemic-related learning loss, a state incentive deal for the Ford Motor Company, and mask and vaccination mandates. 

Currently, Gov. John Sevier, Tennessee’s first governor who took office in 1803, holds the record – having called five extraordinary sessions during his terms in office. 

Gas Prices (MainStreetMaury)

Tennessee gas prices are trending lower as over 968,000 Tennesseans are forecast to take a road trip for the Independence Day holiday weekend. Over last week, gas prices across the state fell four cents, on average. The Tennessee Gas Price average is now $3.11 which is eight cents less expensive than one month ago and $1.41 less than one year ago.  

“AAA is expecting that Tennesseans will travel in record numbers over the Independence Day holiday weekend,” said Megan Cooper, spokeswoman for AAA – The Auto Club Group. “Increased gasoline demand has the potential to cause fluctuations in pump pricing heading into the holiday weekend, however, lower oil prices as of late have enabled gas prices to stay relatively steady over the last few weeks. Barring any major changes in the oil market, drivers should see Independence Day gas prices well below what they paid for last year’s holiday.” 

Tennessee gas prices averaged $4.42 per gallon on July 4, 2022 – a record high for the holiday. Today’s state average of $3.11 is $1.31 less expensive than what driver’s were paying for last year’s holiday. 

Quick Facts

33% of Tennessee gas stations have prices below $3.00 

The lowest 10% of pump prices are $2.87 for regular unleaded 

The highest 10% of pump prices are $3.47 for regular unleaded

Tennessee is the 3rd least expensive market in the nation 

Governor Drums Up European Business (Tennessean)

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee last week completed his first international trade trip since the pandemic, traveling to Europe for the first time and meeting with businesses based in Italy and France.

The six-day trip included a visit to the Paris Air Show, where Lee and Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Stuart McWhorter met with companies interested in investing in Tennessee.

Lee also met with companies that already conduct business in the state, including French-owned Schneider Electric, which operates its Southeast U.S. regional office in Williamson County and employs more than 1,000 Middle Tennessee residents.

Economic development, Lee said in a statement to The Tennessean, is one of the most pressing responsibilities for his office, and trade missions are a key tool used to build on existing relationships with international businesses.

"In 2020, every state had to pause international trade missions, so this was a significant trip that will undoubtedly bring new economic development to Tennessee," Lee said.

The trip to France and Italy was Lee's first to Europe since taking office in 2019. Companies from the two countries account for nearly $2 billion of direct investments in Tennessee. More than 10,300 Tennesseans are employed by French-owned companies, and more than 3,200 workers in Tennessee are employed by Italian-owned businesses.

Final Story of the Day (Maury County Source)

The City of Spring Hill will host the second annual Skate Showcase at Walnut Street Skate Park on July 14.

 The free event will take place at 10 a.m. with skating contests open to anyone aged 5 years old and up with contests divided up among the listed age ranges below.

Begninner: 5-13

Intermediate: 14-17

Advanced: 18+

Overall Best Tricks: All ages

 The event will feature free hot dogs for participants, music, prizes and a demo by Tript Skateboards.

Walnut Street Skate Park is located at 114 Walnut Street in Spring Hill, and more information about the event can be found by contacting or calling 931-487-0027.


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