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Southern Middle Tennessee Today News for March 15, 2023

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

We start with local news…

Food Truck Ordinance (CDH)

Establishing a proper ordinance for food trucks and mobile vending took a step forward this month, updating the City of Columbia’s current codes in a way that government and business owners can agree.

The subject of having an official city ordinance to regulate these mobile businesses has been a subject of contingency for several years, mostly because the food truck boom hit Columbia before any regulations were on the books. In other words, the city was navigating in uncharted territory.

"I've seen success in this in small towns and large towns, and I've seen some failures too," Brian Matthews, owner of Jefferson's restaurant with 23 years of experience in the mobile vending business.

"The failures are due to the fact there is a lack of communication among the individuals who operate those trucks. But the vast majority of the successes have been because small business owners are passionate about what they are doing."

Earlier this month, the city's planning commission revisited the current ordinance, discussing several proposed updates. Proper hours of operation, size restrictions on trucks and days of the week trucks can operate are among the proposed updates to the ordinance.

"We just want something that is respected and is good for both sides," Abe Everett, founder of Abe's BBQ Smokehouse and Mule Town Pizza, said at the meeting. "There are a few things we can always improve on."

The proposed changes city staff was in favor of include:

Eliminating size restrictions for vehicles

Eliminate plot plan requirements

Eliminate permission letters to operate, unless a dispute arises between the vendor and property owner

Allow food trucks to operate in the downtown district or public areas, listings which would be published every 90 days by the city

Properly defining what a food truck is

In addition, food truck vendors also provided a few suggestions for changes. However, city staff said they weren't in favor of them. Food truck vendors have previously advocated for: eliminating the four-day operating rule, eliminating hard surface requirements and allowing for vending in residential areas.

Everett said the four-day rule in particular can have a negative impact on certain businesses that operate on the same property, such as Loosewheels food truck, which sells their famous smash burgers in the alley by Briarworks pipe factory.

He also stressed the importance of being able to operate in residential areas for events like fundraisers, which have proven successful in the past.

"If it wasn't for the residents in this community, we wouldn't be here today as a business," Everett said. "I can say that very definitively. The people of Columbia are why I am here."

The item was ultimately deferred until the planning commission's April meeting due to a lack of information regarding mobile kitchens, which city leaders hope to include in the final proposal.

Once the final vote is taken, it will then move on to Columbia City Council, which will make the final decision on any changes wished to be made to the ordinance.

Mule Day (Press Release)

The excitement is building only weeks away from MULE DAY, the annual celebration and time-honored tradition held in Columbia, Tennessee the first weekend of April. This year’s family-friendly event, set for March 30 through April 2, 2023, promises to be one of the biggest and best yet, with a lineup of activities sure to excite visitors of all ages. The highlight of the festivities is the world-famous MULE DAY Parade happening Saturday, April 1st, led by this year’s Grand Marshal Mike Wolfe.

Mike Wolfe is an expert forager of American history who created and stars on History Channel’s American Pickers. He has a real heart for preservation and a passion for the beauty and stories behind forgotten objects and places.

Columbia, Tennessee earned the title of Mule Capital of the World many years ago. In the days before cars and tractors, people came from miles around to buy, sell, and trade mules in Columbia. Years later, people still gather in Maury County to pay tribute to the long-eared, beast of burden. MULE DAY began as Breeder’s Day in the 1840’s, a single day livestock show & mule market once a year. It evolved into a multi-day festival, and the parade was added in 1934. MULE DAY was discontinued during World War II then the Maury County Bridle & Saddle Club revived it in 1974. Since then, MULE DAY has been drawing hundreds of thousands of visitors every year.

Thursday, March 30th Maury County Park opens at 10am to kick off the MULE DAY festivities. The schedule includes many mule-featured events throughout the day such as the Mule Pull competition, where teams of mules and their handlers compete to see which team can pull the heaviest load. Visitors will also enjoy craft vendors, a flea market, special entertainment and tasty food & drink options. Live Bluegrass music takes the stage at 7pm at Central High School, located next to Maury County Park. 

Friday, March 31st the gates open at 10am with live music on the main stage, an entertaining selection of mule-featured events all day, and a Liar’s contest at 7pm at Central High School.

Saturday, April 1st, the highly anticipated MULE DAY Parade gets underway at 11am in downtown Columbia.  Excitement builds for the arrival of the Grand Marshal, this year’s honored guest, Mike Wolfe, who officially kicks off the parade featuring a colorful procession through the streets of Columbia with hundreds of mules, parade floats, the MULE DAY Queen with her Court, and more. After the parade, activities move to Maury County Park once again for an afternoon of scheduled activities.

Sunday, April 2nd is the final day of scheduled events happening at Maury County Park such as the Riding Mule Show and the Mini Mule Show, not to mention the family-friendly attractions.

Whether you are a longtime fan of MULE DAY or a first-time visitor, this year’s event promises to be an unforgettable experience so save the date, gather your family and friends, and head to Columbia, Tennessee for MULE DAY 2023.

NEED TO KNOW INFO: Admission to Maury County Park MULE DAY activities Thursday through Saturday is $10 per person, Sunday is $5 per person, children under 12 are free. Weekend passes are available for only $20. Admission fee does not include rides. Parking is free.

The MULE DAY parade in downtown Columbia is free and open to the public.

For more information, go online to, email or call 931-381-9557.

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

Tickets are $20 for members and include breakfast.

CSCC Performance Series (Press Release)

Columbia State Community College welcomes Appalachian Road Show to the Cherry Theater on March 16 as part of the First Farmers Performance Series.


Appalachian Road Show is a visionary acoustic ensemble, bringing new-generation interpretations of traditional Americana, bluegrass and folk songs, as well as offering innovative original music, all presented with a common thread tied directly to the heart of the Appalachian regions of the United States. Appalachian Road Show invites us to come and sit a spell on its porch as the band shares its dynamic musicianship through songs and stories emanating from the mountains and hollers of North Carolina and Virginia to the coal mines of West Virginia and Kentucky. 

“We are excited to welcome this talented group of musicians to our Performance Series,” said Bethany Lay, Columbia State vice president for advancement and executive director of the Columbia State Foundation. “Their authentic bluegrass sound is beloved by many, and tickets are selling fast! Don't miss the opportunity to join the celebration of genuine Appalachian music.”

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

Mulehouse on Mule Day (Press Release)

Columbia’s powerhouse music venue, The Mulehouse, is taking the party outdoors for its inaugural, supersized live music event series and you’re invited. On Friday, March 31st, The Mulehouse is transforming its backlot into a mega music party featuring multi-platinum headliner Chris Janson and rising star Shane Profitt. The festivities kick off at 6:30 p.m. and promise to hype all the senses with incredible live music, food trucks, a beer garden, multiple bars, and exclusive Mulehouse Party merchandise for purchase. General admission tickets are just $39 and available at Gates open at 6:30 p.m.

Saturday, Apr 1st, the party continues after the annual Mule Day parade ends. At 12:30 p.m. local favorite bands take the stage: Reeves Bros, Wentzel Bros, Yonder Grove, and Buck Sixx. The party isn’t complete without the return of the food trucks, a beer garden, multiple bars, cornhole, and Mulehouse Party merchandise. Gates open at 11:30am. For Saturday’s party, admission is FREE and open to the public.

Chris Janson is a “live legacy in the making” (Rolling Stone). Breakout country star Janson is a platinum-selling recording artist, high-octane entertainer, multi-instrumentalist, award-winning singer/songwriter and Grand Ole Opry member. The ACM award-winner has collected prestigious accolades that place him among country music greats. 

Shane Profitt is a hometown favorite, an emerging Country star from Columbia now signed to Big Machine Label Group Records/Harpeth 60 Records. This 22-year old is rocking sold out crowds at the historic Ryman Auditorium, touring with his chart-topping hero, Chris Janson, and writing modern Country tunes.

This off-the-charts weekend of party events is designed to complement what’s already happening during Columbia’s annual Mule Day event. “We remain in awe of what the Bridle & Saddle Club created as Mule Day so many years ago.  Even more impressive is how they have continued to build and sustain those efforts over the course over time,” stated Blair Garner, Founder of The Mulehouse. “I can’t imagine any other annual event, so beloved by the people of this town, that could even approach the positive impact Mule Day has on our community and local businesses.” Garner went on to say “Our humble hope is that The Mulehouse Backlot Concert Series becomes one more reason folks visit our beloved Columbia.  This year we have the great fortune to bring both Shane Profitt and Chris Janson here for this first new outdoor series.  We are so blessed to call Columbia our home, and so grateful for our amazing community that has shown nothing but support for The Mulehouse.”



Located in historic downtown Columbia, TN, just 40 minutes south of Nashville, The Mulehouse is America's ultimate music resort, designed for music and entertainment within the restored walls of an old historic church. The Mulehouse is a 55,500 sq. ft. multi-use entertainment venue owned by Blair Garner, a Country music industry veteran and host of multiple award-winning syndicated radio shows. The adaptive reuse project, formally a historic church dating back to 1936, aims to elevate what artists and their fans can expect from a venue.  The result is a live event experience like no other for both in-person guests and those watching globally through the venue’s top-of-the-line live streaming technology. For more information visit

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

“The Mule Kick has become one of the great annual events for Maury County, and we are honored to be involved again as presenting sponsor,” said Brian K. Williams, chairman and chief executive officer of First Farmers. “We’re thankful for the tremendous work of the Foundation in helping to serve the health care needs of others throughout our region.”

In addition to presenting sponsor First Farmers and Merchants Bank, sponsorships ranging from $350 to $2,500 are still available for those who are interested in marketing exposure at this event. For additional information, contact the Maury Regional Health Care Foundation at 931.380.4075.

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

 Design Competition for City Flag (MainStreetMaury)

The City of Columbia has established a design competition to create an official city flag and Columbia residents are invited to take part in the process by submitting their original flag designs from now through March 15th.

The final, winning design will be announced on April 20. The City is excited to give the public an opportunity to participate in the design process, as it will reflect and symbolize our community. Designs can be submitted on the City’s website at

All entries will be judged based on flag criteria presented in the competition guidelines then narrowed down to three final designs. The public will have a chance to vote, from April 1-15, on the final three designs chosen by the Columbia Arts Council. The winning design will reflect Columbia's pride, rich history, promising future and embody what makes Columbia special and unique, using meaningful symbolism and minimal color & design features.

“I couldn't be more excited about this flag design competition that will result in the first official flag for the city of Columbia,” said Columbia Mayor Chaz Molder. “A flag creates identity, establishes symbolism, and promotes unity, and I can't wait to see the final product. Our community is full of creative individuals from all walks of life, and I am particularly pleased that this will be a public driven process. And, I am also excited that this project is being led, in part, by Nathaniel Bliss, a local Scout with Troop 111, who brought forward the idea as part of his Eagle Scout project. I encourage all members of the community to participate in what will be a project that will be historic in nature given its long term, lasting effects.”

Nathaniel Bliss is eager to see the end result of this process.

"I chose the flag design competition as my Eagle Scout project because I am interested in flags and what they represent, as well as the impact they have on a community,” stated Bliss. “I recognized that Columbia did not have a flag and felt it was time our city got one. A flag symbolizes a city, its history, culture, and people of all backgrounds. It unifies the community and provides something to rally around. As a proud resident of Columbia, I thought our historic city deserved such an important symbol."

Basic rules and guidelines include but are not limited to: (1) Submit an original flag design by March 15, 2023; (2) Competition is limited to Columbia residents only; (3) No compensation will be given for any designs submitted; (4) Only one entry per resident; and (5) All ages and skill levels are welcome to participate.

For a complete list of rules and information regarding the Columbia Flag Project, visit the City’s website at

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 Wednesday from 10:00 A.M. until service time at the church.

Mr. Samuel Jesse Beddingfield, 90, retired employee of Bellsouth and resident of Columbia, died Sunday, March 12, 2023 at Brookdale Assisted Living. Funeral services for Mr. Beddingfield will be conducted Wednesday at 2:00 P.M. at Oakes & Nichols Funeral Home. The family will visit with friends Wednesday from 12:00 P.M. until service time at the funeral home. Graveside service will be held Wednesday at 4:00 P.M. at Kirkland Cemetery in Lincoln County.

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…

Education Task Force Considered (Tennessean)

Tennessee House Speaker Cameron Sexton wants to create a task force to study the feasibility of Tennessee rejecting U.S. education dollars to free its schools from federal rules and regulations.

The Crossville Republican filed legislation Monday that would create an 11-member exploratory panel, chaired by Tennessee Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn. If the bill is approved by the state’s GOP-controlled legislature, the group would begin meeting monthly by Aug. 1 and would be charged with delivering a strategic plan to lawmakers and Gov. Bill Lee by Dec. 1.

The task force also would include six legislators, two school superintendents, and two teachers — all appointed by Sexton and Lt. Gov. Randy McNally.

The proposal provides the first details of how Sexton would pursue the idea he floated last month at a Tennessee Farm Bureau reception in Nashville.

Declaring his desire to “do things the Tennessee way,” Sexton said the state should stop accepting nearly $1.8 billion in federal education dollars — most of which supports low-income students, English learners, and students with disabilities — and make up the difference with the state’s own funding. Sexton stated that Tennessee would still provide programs that the federal government supports, but that he believes the state could do it better.

The legislation says, “the task force shall develop a strategic action plan to guide the administration and general assembly on whether it is feasible for this state and the political subdivisions of this state to reject federal funding for educational programs or purposes.”

Sexton also is asking the panel to identify processes for rejecting federal funding, as well as for eliminating restrictions tied to receipt of U.S. education dollars.

Asked if Sexton would accept the panel’s findings if it recommended against a funding pullout, his spokesman, Doug Kufner, responded that “those questions can be answered after the task force finishes its work.”

State lawmakers could consider creation of a task force as early as this week. The legislation, which is co-sponsored by Sen. Bill Powers of Clarksville, is scheduled to be taken up Tuesday by the House’s K-12 subcommittee and on Wednesday by the Senate Education Committee. 

No state has ever rejected federal funding for its students and schools, because states generally need the money. U.S. dollars typically make up about a tenth of a state’s budget for K-12 education.

Final Story of the Day (Maury County Source)

This has already been a big year for concerts at Bridgestone Arena. But here are a few more that are coming in the first half of the year.

John Mayer

Friday, March 24, 8 pm

John Mayer has set a groundbreaking solo acoustic tour for spring 2023. 20 years in the making, this audacious trek features solo performances by Mayer, leaning heavily on his acoustic guitar work with special performances on piano and electric guitar

Kane Brown

Friday, March 31, 7 pm

Kane Brown announced his Drunk or Dreaming Tour will arrive in the US in 2023. Brown will perform his first solo headlining arena show at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville on March 31 with special guests Dustin Lynch and LoCash.

Janet Jackson

Thursday, May 4, 8 pm

Janet Jackson, has announced her highly anticipated return to the road after four years with her ninth concert tour, “Together Again.”  Jackson will be joined by Ludacris.

Dave Matthews Band

Friday, May 26, 7:30 pm

January 24 marked the release of the epic and ominous first single release from Walk Around The Moon.“Madman’s Eyes” weaves Middle Eastern textures with heavy horns and strings.

Duran Duran

Tuesday, June 13, 7 pm

Duran Duran are icons of British music. Continuing to perform to huge concert audiences around the world since the band first formed in 1980, their career has seen more than 100 million record sales worldwide.

Bryan Adams

Saturday, June 17, 7:30 pm

Bryan Adams will bring his So Happy it Hurts tour with special guest Joan Jett and the Blackhearts to Nashville.

Find tickets here. 


Monday, June 19, 7:30 pm

Drake returns to Bridgestone this summer with special guests 21 Savage.


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