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Southern Middle Tennessee Today News for March 12, 2024

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

We start with local news…

Columbia Special Census (CDH)

Columbia City Council approved plans for a special census to be conducted later this year, a project which could net millions of additional dollars in annual revenue.

Council members met Thursday for their monthly study session, while also conducting a special-called meeting to vote on the proposed special census. The reason for the special meeting was for the council to approve the submission of $928,069 to the U.S. Census Bureau (USCB), City Manager Tony Massey said.

"It would essentially be another regular census [conducted through the US Census Bureau] starting in the summer and going through the fall," Massey said. "That way it can be completed in time for us to send the new census numbers for the fiscal year 2025-2026 budget, and the state shared taxes that we would receive from the new special census."

Massey added that the US Census Bureau has forecasted Columbia's growth to be an estimated 6,800 people since 2020, a methodology he describes as being "about 94% accurate."

The purpose of the census, as has been the case in Spring Hill who has conducted a few similar processes over the last few years, is to track population growth, which could then equate into multiple benefits to the city, namely increased annual revenue.

If the numbers are correct, or in fact higher as population growth continues, it could net approximately $1.2 million in new annual revenue, or about $6 million by the 2030 census.

"From my perspective, I see this as a good move by council to approve as a business investment, because we should get our money back within the first year," Massey said. "And then over the next few years that amount goes forward."

Tracking the increased growth since the previous 2020 census could also award new grant opportunities, as well as establish Columbia's status as an "entitlement city" if Columbia's population meets or exceeds 50,000 people, Assistant City Manager and Financial Officer Thad Jablonski said.

"For some cities, given the variables that go into that calculation as an entitlement city, it's what you receive each year," Jablonski said. "Whether that makes sense to you, it might make sense to some older communities like us who have low-income census tracks as designated by the U.S. Census Bureau. Like our sister city to the north, Spring Hill, it would make a little less sense ... but as we approach that 50,000 threshold, that's something we can evaluate and take a look at."

Maury Biz Ranked Top 10 Nationally (MSM)

It’s not often that you see a quadruple crown winner, but SmartAsset has released its 2024 findings and Maury County ranks No. 1 in all four Incoming Investment Categories for the State of Tennessee. The categories include Business Growth, GDP growth, New Building Permits and Incoming Investment.

Maury County also ranked No. 3 in Incoming Investment and No. 7 in Business Growth nationally, out of over 3,000 counties in the United States.

SmartAsset methodology looks at change over a three-year period which demonstrates sustained performance. Further details on methodology used to determine results can be found at

“The SmartAsset report findings serve as a capstone to 10 years of sustained growth for Maury County. It is important to note that results like this would not be possible without teamwork and the strong local, regional, state, and TVA economic development partnerships that have been developed. We are proud of Maury County’s economic performance and the positive benefits it has delivered broadly across the local economy. That said, we are even more excited for what’s still to come for Maury County as we transition the focus of our local economic development efforts from community growth to community enhancement. Maury County is a great place to live and do business and that is getting truer every day,” said Travis Groth, Vice President for Economic Development at the Maury County Chamber & Economic Alliance.

This study identifies the places across the U.S. which are receiving the most incoming investment. The study measures investment in counties across three metrics: business establishment growth, gross domestic product (GDP) growth and new building permits.

SmartAsset looked at the change in the number of businesses established in each location over a three-year period. This shows whether or not people are starting new business ventures in the county. GDP growth was examined using real growth (inflation adjusted) in the local economy. For investment and development in the local residential real estate market, SmartAsset calculated the number of new building permits per 1,000 homes.

“We scored every county in our study on these three factors. We then combined those scores to create a final ranking of counties. With that ranking, we created an index where the county with the most incoming investments was assigned a value of 100 and the county with the least investment activity received a zero,” SmartAsset officials stated.

Pregnancy Center Spring Hill (WKOM Audio 2:49)

Yesterday, the Pregnancy Center of Middle Tennessee’s new Spring Hill location opened to the public. Front Porch Radio’s Mary Susan Kennedy paid a visit to the new center and spoke to the facility’s director, Kathy Cook to learn more about the services Pregnancy Center provides…

CPR Class Pays Off (MauryCountySource)

On February 25th, Lt. Baylee Simmons and Lt. Darold Hatcher taught an informational Child CPR class at MCFD.

Benjie Gentry attended this class with his child. A few days later, he saved the life of a friend using the knowledge and skills gained from this class.

Benjie Gentry, a Maury County Resident, shared that on the 29th of February, he invited his neighbor over for dinner. During the meal, he noticed that his friend appeared distressed. Using his knowledge from the MCFD class, he recognized that his friend was choking. Mr. Gentry positioned himself behind his friend and performed abdominal thrusts until the obstruction was cleared. 911 was also contacted, and the patient was transported to the hospital for treatment.

“He would have died,” Benji Gentry stated.

Maury County Fire is so proud of the students in this class. “We want to recognize the instructors who taught this class. Lt Simmons and Lt Hatcher are incredible firefighters and medical providers,” stated Devin Dickey, Medical Chief at Maury County Fire Department. “Every CPR class that we teach directly funds classes for our MCFD firefighters.”

Maury County Clerk Satellite Office (Press Release)

The Maury County Clerk’s office can now help residents with renewals of license plates or placards each Wednesday from 8am to 3:30pm at the Maury County Senior Center located at 1020 Maury County Park Dr.

Please drive around to the back of the building and look for the car tag renewal sign near the back door.

Forms of payment include credit/debit card or check – no cash.

Any Maury County Resident can use this office.

All other transactions will still need to be done through the main office located at 10 Public Square.

Also, you can renew online at or at kiosks in Spring Hill City Hall or Mt. Pleasant Courthouse.

Spring Hill Highschool Theater (Press Release)

Come and see your favorite Addams Family cast member in the delightful musical comedy The Addams Family Musical to be presented at Spring Hill High School March 21, 22, and 23.   Box Office opens at 6:00 and the performance begins at 7:00p.   Tickets are $10.    Don’t miss this fun evening and experience what it’s like to be an Addams.

Mt. Pleasant Receives Grant (Press Release)

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee and Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Stuart C. McWhorter announced yesterday the 50 recipients receiving funding through the Infrastructure Planning Grant (IPG) program.


The $10.7 million in funding is part of the Rural Economic Opportunity Act and will assist communities and utility districts across Tennessee with long-term planning for their water and sewer systems.


"Ensuring all Tennesseans have access to clean water starts with investing in the right infrastructure,” said Gov. Lee. “I thank our General Assembly for funding this program and commend the 50 grantees for stepping up to help our communities strengthen local infrastructure and plan for the future.”


The IPG program is open to utility systems that serve distressed counties and rural communities on the financially distressed utility system referral list. Funds can be used in the following program categories: water system mapping and modeling, water system analysis, sewer system mapping and modeling, sewer system analysis, asset management related activities and regionalization studies. 


“Without strong infrastructure, communities cannot grow or attract business and industry,” said Commissioner McWhorter. “I congratulate those receiving funding through the IPG program and look forward to seeing how these 50 projects will spur future economic growth.”


The grants awarded include the City of Mt. Pleasant, who will receive $405,000.

Cruisin’ On The Square (Press Release)

Car enthusiasts, start your engines! The highly anticipated Main

Street Car Show is set for Mount Pleasant, Tennessee, on March

16th, showcasing a dazzling array of classic, vintage, and exotic

automobiles. This family-friendly event promises an afternoon

filled with automotive marvels, entertainment, a kid zone, and

community spirit.

Date: March 16th

Time: 2:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Location: Main Street, Mount Pleasant, TN

Car Shows in Mount Pleasant have been a beloved tradition in

our community, bringing together car aficionados, families, and

friends for an afternoon.

Attendees can expect to feast their eyes on various vehicles, from

meticulously restored classics to sleek modern cars. Whether

you're looking for an afternoon outing with your family or just love

the beauty of well-maintained automobiles, there will be

something for everyone at this year's show.

In addition to the impressive lineup of cars, the event will feature

live entertainment, food vendors, and activities for children,

making it a perfect outing for the entire family. Local businesses

will also participate, offering special promotions and discounts

during the event.

"We're thrilled to host Cruzin’ on the Square with Kittrell Kars in

Mount Pleasant," said Haverly Pennington, the Main Street

Director "It's a fantastic opportunity for our community to come

together, celebrate our shared love for cars, and enjoy a day filled

with family fun!”

Car enthusiasts interested in showcasing their vehicles at the

Main Street Car Show can start lining up at 2 pm. Early

registration is encouraged.

Don't miss out on the Main Street Car Show – mark your

calendars for March 16th and join us for an unforgettable

afternoon of automotive bliss!

Spring Hill Innovation Series (Press Release)

The Spring Hill Chamber of Commerce is excited to announce "Innovation Lives Here: A Thought Leader Speaker Series for Middle Tennessee." Inspired by the globally acclaimed TED® talks, the series will commence with its first event on March 20, followed by additional events on July 24 and Oct. 16, 2024, each running from 10 a.m. to noon at Thompson Station Church located at 2604 Thompson's Station Rd E in Thompson's Station.

The first event within the series on March 20 will feature distinguished speakers including Yesenia Sevilla, Director, Strategic Engagement & Ecosystem Development with The Wond'ry at Vanderbilt University; Dr. Joyce Thompson Heames, Dean of the Jennings A. Jones College of Business at Middle Tennessee State University; and John Woerner, notable lighting innovator and business owner of J Squared Systems.

“The Spring Hill Chamber witnesses examples of extraordinary innovation in our area every day,” said Executive Director Rebecca Melton. “We are thrilled to unveil an event that not only embodies our spirit of innovation, but will also inspire the entire Middle Tennessee community. Because this series will cover a wide range of topics across technology, education, healthcare, arts, and business, we encourage all professionals, entrepreneurs, and innovation enthusiasts to join us as we explore transformative ideas that will shape our future.”


For event and registration information, visit The speaker series is presented by Premier Design Build of Spring Hill.

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

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

Mr. Johnny Ray Shearin Sr, 69, resident of Columbia, retired skilled tradesman from General Motor, died March 6, 2024 at Maury Regional Medical Center. Funeral Services for Mr. Shearin will be conducted Tuesday, March 12, 2024 at 6:00 PM at Oakes and Nichols Funeral Home. The family will visit with friends before the service time Tuesday from 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM.

Mr. John Henry Chadwell Jr, 82, of Lynville, passed away Saturday, March 9, 2024 at his residence. A Funeral service for Mr. Chadwell will be held at Oakes and Nichols Funeral Home on March 13 at 12:00 PM Burial will follow at Polk Memorial Gardens. The family will visit with friends Tuesday from 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm at Oakes & Nichols Funeral Home.

Mrs. Barbara King Norton, 86, resident of Orange Park, Florida, died Wednesday, March 6, 2024, at her residence. Funeral services for Mrs. Norton will be conducted Saturday, March 16, 2024 at 10:00 AM at Oakes & Nichols Funeral Home. Burial will follow in Rose Hill Cemetery. The family will visit with friends Friday, March 15, 2024 from 4:00 PM until 7:00 PM at Oakes & Nichols Funeral Home.

…And now, news from around the state…

Education Reform Bill (WPLN)

After more than four hours, tense exchanges and numerous objections, a key House committee passed a sweeping, controversial school voucher bill on Wednesday. Meanwhile the Senate version cleared its first hurdle in the Education Committee with relative ease.

The House bill differs greatly from its Senate counterpart. At the heart of each proposal is a program that would give about $7,000 for each student to put toward the costs of attending private school, with no income limits. But the House version packs in a laundry list of reforms to the public school system, which Democrats have characterized as an attempt to “buy votes.” The Senate version, while more narrow, would also allow students to use vouchers to attend public schools outside their home district.

Democrats continued voicing their opposition to the proposal, criticizing how it ties public school investments and reforms to a policy they say will undermine the system as a whole.

The bill’s co-sponsor, Rep. Scott Cepicky, R-Culleoka, said he and fellow lawmakers had been wanting to make these changes to the public K-12 system for years, but they were waiting for the right “vehicle” to get them passed.

Democrats also strongly oppose the lack of accountability measures for private schools. Rep. Sam McKenzie, D-Knoxville, asked Education Commissioner Lizette Reynolds about how to compare the performance of voucher students with public schoolers taking the TCAP standardized test.

Reynolds said there would be no apples-to-apples comparison between the two groups. Unlike public schools, private schools wouldn’t be required to administer the TCAP, which is based on the state’s rigorous academic standards, under this bill. Some private schools may be required to take one of a handful of national normed reference tests, but others may not, depending on their accrediting agency.

Four Republicans also voted against the bill, with several interrogating how the policy might open the door to federal overreach into private schools, since they sometimes work with public schools to serve students with disabilities.

The omnibus House version passed 12-7 in the Education Administration committee. The Senate Education Committee passed its bill 7-1 with the lone Democrat casting a no vote. The House version now heads to Government Operations, while the Senate proposal will go to Finance Ways and Means. 

Junior Archivist Summer Camps at TSLA (Press Release)

Tennessee State Library & Archives will bring history alive for 8 to 12-year-olds during the Historians in Training: Junior Archivist Summer Camp on June 10-14 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“We are proud to host another year of summer camp at our beautiful Tennessee State Library & Archives building,” said Secretary of State Tre Hargett. “This is one of our team’s favorite events at the Library & Archives, and they have worked hard to put together a fun-filled and educational week that will appeal to any student that desires to learn more about Tennessee history and preservation.”

During the week-long adventure, campers will explore historical topics and people while learning how archivists care for and protect historical documents. As junior archivists and historians, campers will learn how history is preserved through a series of hands-on activities, as well as games, and field trips to nearby local historical sites.

The full-day summer camp, presented by the Library & Archives Education Outreach team, will take place at the Library & Archives, located on the northeast corner of Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park at 1001 Rep. John Lewis Way N., in Nashville. The cost to attend is $125 per camper, with an additional charge of $10 for before or aftercare, respectively.

The Library & Archives, a division of the Department of State, collects and preserves books, journals, maps, photographs, records, and other documents of historical and reference value focusing on Tennessee and its citizens. It is also home to many irreplaceable historical documents, including Tennessee's three Constitutions.

The Historians in Training: Junior Archivist Summer Camp is funded in part by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

To register for the Historians in Training: Junior Archivist Summer Camp, visit

Final Story of the Day (Maury County Source)

Marilyn Manson will tour in 2024 in support of Five Finger Death Punch’s North American Tour.

The tour will stop at Bridgestone Arena on August 14th. Tickets go on presale on March 13th with the code KEY, and public sales start on Friday, March 15th.

Manson hasn’t performed in public since 2020, according to multiple sources, and his last concert was in November 2019.

Find tickets at


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