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Southern Middle Tennessee Today News for March 13, 2023


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


We start with local news…

Car Rollover (MauryCountySource)

Around 1:30 a.m. on March 9, 2023, Maury County Fire Department responded to a vehicle rollover with entrapment in the area of Lookout Road.

Bystanders reported two people trapped inside the overturned vehicle. Responding units arrived on scene to discover the vehicle rolled over in a ditch.

One victim was partially ejected through the window of the vehicle and the other victim was trapped inside. Firefighters stabilized the vehicle and began extrication.

Within 6 minutes of extrication starting, firefighters freed both victims and delivered them to Maury Regional EMS for treatment. Both victims are expected to fully recover from the crash.


Louisiana Dump Company Renews Fight (TennesseeLookout)

A high-stakes battle over a private company’s efforts to bring a large-scale trash disposal complex to a federally-designated Superfund site along the Duck River is heading into yet another round.

Louisiana-based Trinity Business Group first filed an application with the state in June for their proposed 1,300 acre waste complex in Maury County. The company used a permit process that required no immediate public notice, and their plans escaped attention for months.

After an alert local resident noticed activity at the site and discovered the plans, county leaders sprang into action. The 5,000-acre property is the former home of the Monsanto Chemical Company, which mined phosphorus, manufactured fertilizer and, for a time, chemical warfare agents that has since received federal designation as a Superfund site due to hazardous materials lurking under the soil.

The Maury County Commission enacted new zoning rules that limit all industrial activity within 1,000 feet of the Duck River. They also enacted the “Jackson Law,” a proactive measure Tennessee local governments may adopt to exert local control over any new or expanding landfills. Nearby, officials in the city of Columbia reviewed their own records, finding their own Jackson law applied to the rural property. 

Local residents thought the fight was over, but Trinity Business Group isn’t done. 

The company is now claiming that neither county zoning laws nor local Jackson Laws apply to a new, and even larger, plan to install landfills on the rural property, according to a January letter to the county’s solid waste board that – like their original plan – wasn’t made public for months.

“We didn’t know about this until a week ago,” said Gale Moore, a longtime Maury County resident who is among those organizing opposition to the proposal. “It’s scaring us to death. The fact that Trinity believes they can disregard all the rules and regulations is, honestly, making us all crazy.”

The company, which did not respond to a request for comment on Friday, now proposes to build two landfills on the property – one for household trash and a second for construction and demolition waste. Their plan also calls for accepting compost waste, metal salvage, old tires and other waste operations — along with a solar farm.

The company describes plans for the so-called Star Hill Eco Park operation at the former Monsanto property as the ideal location at the perfect time.

“All of Middle Tennessee, including the Maury/Marshall Region, is on the verge of a waste disposal crisis due to facility closures that have either occurred or are soon to occur,” the company’s proposal says.

“The Star Hill Eco Park represents the perfect opportunity and timing to address the looming [landfill] crisis in the Marshall/Maury Region and in Middle Tennessee.” 

Trinity’s new proposal argues that the property is exempt from local control that the Jackson Law imposes because it has long contained a small landfill. The Jackson Law applies to new landfills, new classes of landfills and landfill expansions.

And it argues that the property is exempt from the new local zoning rules keeping operations away from the Duck River because the state’s Non-Conforming Property Act that protects ongoing industrial operations from being subject to new local rules. 

The company’s letter also reminds the Marshall/Maury County Municipal Solid Waste Planning Region Board that it only has the authority to deny the plan if it is inconsistent with a master solid waste planning document. The company argues that its plan is consistent, citing the need outlined in the master plan for future waste disposal options for county residents.

The protracted dispute comes amidst ongoing questions in counties across Middle Tennessee about what to do with trash going forward. A battle in Rutherford County over Middle Point Landfill, which accepts household trash from a third of Tennessee’s 95 counties, leaves uncertain where cities and counties will send their household trash in the future. A separate dispute between operators of Southern Services Landfill in north Nashville and city leaders has limited the destinations for construction debris.

For local residents, who rely on the Duck River for drinking water, agriculture and recreation, the efforts to establish a 1,600 acre waste site in rural Maury County has raised environmental concerns.

“I don’t want 38 counties worth of trash being trucked into Maury County to a Superfund site next to the Duck River,” said Stephanie Sparks-Newland, a public school teacher who has lived in Maury County for three decades. “I get it. They see where the gold is and it’s garbage, but we just don’t want to be poisoned.”

Meanwhile a bill in the Tennessee Legislature would designate the stretch of the Duck River that includes along the Monsanto property a Class II scenic river, a state designation that includes prohibitions of certain developments along its banks. Among them is a landfill.

Rep. Scott Cepicky, R-Culleoka, said the effort had nothing to do with any proposed plans along the river, but would simply extend the “scenic” designation already in place along parts of the Duck even further.

“That’s my intent with this bill, to protect water for future generations,” he said.

There will be public meeting this evening, March 13 at 6:30 at the Williamsport United Methodist Church located at 3606 Old Williamsport Rd in Williamsport.


CA Ribbon Cutting (WKOM Audio 3:00)

On Friday, Columbia Academy held a grand opening for their new addition to Vest Hall. WKOM/WKRM’s Delk Kennedy attended the ribbon cutting and got to speak to Dr. James Thomas, President of Columbia Academy…


MRMC Lung Cancer Screening (Press Release)

Linda Moore could tell something just wasn’t right when she experienced a little shortness of breath that wouldn’t go away.

 At first, she mentioned the problem to her cardiologist, who couldn’t pinpoint anything abnormal happening with her heart. He suggested she see a pulmonologist, and she was scheduled with J. Spencer Jensen, MD, a board-certified specialist with Maury Regional Medical Group Pulmonary & Critical Care.

 During her appointment, as Moore and Dr. Jensen reviewed her medical history and condition, they discussed whether she could benefit from a low-dose computed tomography (CT) lung screening.

 “He said I would be the perfect candidate,” Moore said.

 A CT scan uses X-rays combined with a computer that allow a radiologist to see the bones and soft tissues within the body more clearly.

 “Low-dose CT lung screenings are one of our most important tools in detecting lung cancer in its early stages,” Dr. Jensen said. “If we can catch it in its early stages, the survival rate is far higher. The sooner we can get a screening scheduled for patients who are candidates, the better.”

 Moore’s first CT screening showed a spot of concern in the left upper lobe of her lungs, and Dr. Jensen suggested she get a positron emission tomography (PET) scan, which combines the use of a camera and a tracer to generate pictures of a precise location and extent of diseases such as cancer.

 Following PET scans, a biopsy was ordered for Moore and ultimately confirmed it was stage 1 lung cancer. She was referred to a thoracic surgeon, who specializes in operating on organs inside the chest, including the lungs.

 Fortunately, the cancer was found in its earliest stages thanks to Moore’s physician and her willingness to go through with the low-dose CT screening.

 “The thoracic surgeon asked how in the world I found this, because you usually don’t find stuff like that until it has progressed further,” she said. “I told her it was because of the low-dose screening.”

 Moore underwent successful surgery in May of 2022 to remove the cancerous area, and her screenings since have all have shown cancer-free results.

 She credits the low-dose CT screening for finding the cancer in such an early stage, making it easier to manage and treat.

 “I’ve passed that along to some of my friends and family that if you’re eligible for those early screenings, just do it,” Moore said.

 To qualify for a low-dose CT lung screening, patients must meet the following criteria:

∙ Be 50-77 years of age

∙ Have no signs or symptoms of lung cancer

∙ Have a tobacco smoking history of at least 20 pack-years (one pack-year equals smoking one pack per day for one year; one pack equals 20 cigarettes)

∙ Be a current smoker or one who has quit within the last 15 years

∙ Receive a written order from your primary care provider

 For those who don’t meet the criteria, a self-pay  CT screening of the chest and lung area is available without a physician’s order at Maury Regional Health’s outpatient imaging locations.

 Maury Regional Health’s outpatient imaging locations also offer several other self-pay and self-schedule organ screenings that do not require a physician referral. These wellness screenings are convenient, affordable and non-invasive, utilizing ultrasound or CT technology to scan various organs for stones, cancers and heart issues.

 As a lifelong southern Middle Tennessee resident — she grew up in Lawrence County and now lives in Giles County — Moore takes pride in being provided excellent care at Maury Regional Health.

 “To be able to do the low-dose CT screening at Maury Regional is really what convinced me to get it done,” she said. “I don’t know if I would have gone somewhere else for the CT scan.

 “Both me and my husband have been patients at Maury Regional, and we appreciate everything they’ve done.”

 Maury Regional Health recommends all adults consult with their primary care provider about their cancer risk and the appropriate screenings to schedule. Some common screenings offered include those for breast, cervical, colorectal, lung, prostate, skin and testicular cancers.

 For more information about cancer screenings at MRH, visit MauryRegional.com/CancerScreenings.


Breakfast With The Mayor Series (Press Release)

Maury Alliance is kicking off their 2023 Breakfast with the Mayor series in Spring Hill with Mayor Jim Hagaman. This series will feature a different Mayor each quarter on their home turf for a Q&A led by Maury Alliance President, Wil Evans.

 The event with Mayor Hagaman will take place in the Dining Atrium at Worldwide Stages on Wednesday, March 22nd at 8am.

 To submit a question or topic in advance, email nperry@mauryalliance.com.

Tickets are $20 for members and include breakfast.


Mule Kick 5K (Press Release)

Hosted by the Maury Regional Health Care Foundation and presented by First Farmers and Merchants Bank, the annual Mule Kick 5K & 1-Mile Trot will take place Saturday, April 1, at Riverwalk Park in Columbia.

Proceeds from the 2023 Mule Kick 5K & 1-Mile Trot provide funding for Maury Regional Health’s mobile medical unit, which delivers health care services to at-risk and underserved individuals throughout southern Middle Tennessee by providing basic health screenings, education and resources. A portion of the proceeds from the Mule Kick 5K & 1-Mile Trot will also support the Foundation’s Wellness and Aquatics Center Healthy Living Endowment and the Columbia Parks and Recreation Department. In addition, the Maury County school with the most participation in the event will receive a donation to their P.E. program from the Foundation.

“The Mule Kick 5K & 1-Mile Trot is a great tradition for both Maury County and the Maury Regional Health Care Foundation that helps support our mission of providing important health care services for individuals who may not otherwise be able to obtain care,” Foundation Executive Director Joe Kilgore said. “We are excited to host the Mule Kick 5K and look forward to an exciting race!”

On Saturday, April 1, the race will begin at Riverwalk Park in Columbia with an 8 a.m. start time for the 5K and a 9:15 a.m. start time for the 1-Mile Trot. Both runners and walkers are encouraged to participate. Participants may register for the race online at runsignup.com/MuleKick5K.


To learn more about the Maury Regional Health Care Foundation, the Mule Kick 5K & 1-Mile Trot or to make a direct gift to support the mobile medical unit fund, visit MauryRegional.com/Foundation.


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

Mrs. Catherine Lindsey Bolton, 89, a resident of Trotwood Avenue, died Saturday at Brookdale. Funeral services for Mrs. Bolton will be conducted on Wednesday at 11:00 A.M. at First United Methodist Church in Columbia. Burial will follow in Polk Memorial Gardens. The family will visit with friends on Tuesday from 4:00 P.M.- 8:00 P.M. at the funeral home and on Wednesday from 10:00 A.M. until service time at the church.


Mr. Virgil Haney, 87, a resident of Sunset Lane, died Saturday, March 11, 2023 at his residence. Funeral services will be conducted Thursday at 1:00 P.M. at Oakes & Nichols Funeral Home. Burial will follow in Allen Cemetery in Caney Springs. The family will visit with friends Wednesday from 5:00 P.M. – 8:00 P.M. at the funeral home.


Ms. Grayson Carol Mabry, 55, retired counselor for J.E. Woodard Elementary, died Saturday, March 11, 2023 in Nashville. Funeral services for Ms. Mabry will be conducted Thursday at 3:30 P.M. at Oakes & Nichols Funeral Home. Burial will follow in Polk Memorial Gardens. The family will visit with friends Wednesday from 4:00 P.M.- 7:00 P.M. at the funeral home.


Mr. Darrell Vinson, 69, former resident of Columbia and a resident of Roswell, Georgia, died Tuesday, March 7, 2023 in Georgia. Funeral services are incomplete and will be announce later by Oakes & Nichols Funeral Directors.


…And now, news from around the state…

School Locking Bill (Tennessean)

Gov. Bill Lee is proposing sweeping changes to enhance school safety across Tennessee, requiring all K-12 public schools to keep their exterior doors locked, or risk losing escalating amounts of state funding with each violation.

Legislation from the Republican governor, introduced this week in several legislative committees, also mandates several new safety-related drills when students aren’t present; tweaks training requirements for armed and unarmed campus officers; and requires new security features for school buildings constructed or remodeled after this July 1.

In addition, Lee wants more top law enforcement officials on the state’s school safety team and proposes to transfer its oversight from the Department of Education to the Department of Safety, the agency responsible for homeland security and state troopers.

The governor’s proposal comes after the state fire marshal’s office identified 527 unlocked exterior doors during inspections of about 1,500 Tennessee public schools this school year, according to state officials.

Last June, Lee signed an executive order directing Tennessee school leaders and law enforcement to work together to double down on existing school safety protocols after a deadly shooting in Texas, where a gunman entered an elementary school through an unlocked door and killed 19 children and two teachers.

Lee also promised Tennesseans that state troopers and local police would conduct more unannounced security inspections of schools to make sure entrances are locked to prevent unauthorized access. More than 20,000 doors have been checked so far, state officials said.

Lee’s plan would continue Tennessee’s emphasis on fortifying its school campuses rather than reducing its number of firearms. 

Despite having one of the nation’s highest rates of gun deaths, the state has enacted numerous laws under Lee’s leadership to loosen requirements for gun ownership. In 2021, he signed a law allowing most Tennesseans 21 and older to carry handguns without first clearing a background check, obtaining a permit, or getting trained on firearms safety. 

This year, however, the governor’s administration is opposing several new bills from Republican lawmakers who want to loosen those regulations even further.

The new safety legislation fulfills a promise Lee made at his state address last month. “We’ve done a lot to make schools safer,” he said, “but I don’t want to look up months from now and think we should’ve done more.”

His proposal, outlined in a 14-page amendment, would require schools to keep all external doors locked when students are present and to limit access through one secure, primary entrance. 

The legislation authorizes state and local law enforcement officers to inspect doors — and requires immediate actions to address any infractions. Written notifications describing violations must be sent within 24 hours to the school’s administrators, district leaders, the parent-teacher organization, and state officials in the departments of education and safety.

If a campus does not have a law enforcement officer on site and violates the locked door requirements two or more times in a school year, local school officials would have to post a full-time officer there within 30 days of receiving notice and undertake a corrective action plan. If they do not comply, the legislation directs Tennessee’s education commissioner to withhold 2% of its annual state funds, escalating by 2% for each subsequent violation, up to 10%.

A campus that has a full-time officer faces similar financial penalties for its district or charter organization if it violates the locked door requirements.


Final Story of the Day (Maury County Source)

The Steve Miller Band will be headed to Franklin this spring.

FirstBank Amphitheater announced the show on social media stating, “JUST ANNOUNCED: Steve Miller Band with very special guest Mavis Staples coming to FirstBank Amphitheater on April 30!”

The 70’s and 80’s band recorded hits like Sailor, Fly Like an Eagle, and Abracadabra. They have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and band leader, Steve Miller is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Find tickets at www.ticketmaster.com.


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