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Southern Middle Tennessee Today News for March 23, 2023

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

We start with local news…

Duck River Bill Progresses (WKOM Audio 2:27)

Yesterday, the Duck Scenic River Bill passed through the Tennessee House Agriculture Committee and will now be sent to the House floor for consideration. WKOM/WKRM’s Delk Kennedy went to the capitol to see how the committee vote progressed…

Property Taxpayers Protection Bill Fails (WKOM Audio 3:03)

The other bill pending before the Tennessee State Legislature that directly impacts Maury Countians was the Property Taxpayers Protection Bill that was debated in the House Property and Planning Subcommittee yesterday. Our own Delk Kennedy also attended that meeting and met with Rep. Scott Cepicky after the vote…

Cox Named Mt. Pleasant Finance Director (MainStreetMaury)

The City of Mount Pleasant has welcomed a new Financial Director.

Shiphrah Cox, who previously worked as the Maury County Deputy Finance Director for six years, took on the role at the beginning of the month. Cox’s primary role will involve managing accounts receivable, accounts payable, payroll, debt management, cash management and grants.

Cox left her previous position last September to spend more time with her family. She began working remotely for a small private company before the opportunity arose.

“I was looking for more of a work-life balance,” Cox said. “Then this opportunity opened up.”

Originally from Pakistan, Cox moved to Tennessee to attend college at Martin Methodist in Pulaski, where she majored in accounting. She then received her MBA from Western Governors University.

Cox said the city has just started the process of conducting budget meetings with department heads, and she’s still getting used to her new position. Though there are similarities between her prior work at the county level, Cox said there are several differences she will have to adjust to.

“The Finance Director job at the city includes managing functions at the city recorder and being a trustee for the funds,” Cox said, adding that those are all separate offices at the county level.

Mt Pleasant’s former Finance Director, Loretta Garner, left the position in March. She now works as a municipal finance training specialist at the University of Tennessee’s Municipal Technical Advisory Service.

Piano Gifted to Memorial Building (CDH)

The Maury County Chorale is prepping for its upcoming March 28 concert, which will take place at The Memorial Building located at 308 W. 7th Street in Columbia.

And when there is a choral concert, it's usually accompanied by a piano, which The Memorial Building did not have at the time.

This inspired Director Susan Calahan to be proactive and track down a proper instrument, one that not only provides a good sound for the Maury County Chorale, but one that can be used by the community for years to come.

"I thought there was a piano here, but it turns out there wasn't, and so we figured we would just go out and buy one," Calahan said. "That way we can use it, but then donate it to the community, like the Rotary Club when they do their sing-a-longs. We wanted something we could make last a long time and be the best that we can possibly get for our concert as well."

After sharing an open request on the Maury County Chorale's Facebook page, Calahan said she was "flooded" with responses, whether it was someone selling a piano or wishing to make a donation. One of these responses came from none other than the Swanky South Crooner himself, Makky Kaylor.

And Kaylor's response had a certain level of sentimentality attached to it, for the white oak Baldwin piano he was selling once belonged to his mother.

"This piano is very sentimental to me, because it's the very first one I remember growing up with and writing songs as a kid," Kaylor said. "I just want the community to have access to it and use it, and if it can be utilized that way, that's great. This is the perfect home for it."

After receiving a fresh tuning by local piano tuner Garrett Stowe, the Baldwin now sits proudly atop the Memorial Building's stage ready to make its first concert debut.

Accompanist Wanda Lentz said she is especially excited to perform with the new instrument, partly because she grew up playing a Baldwin piano.

"I'm really looking forward to it knowing how good Baldwins are, and how much this one means to Makky and his family," Lentz said. "I'm excited for the opportunity to use it for our concert, and it's just like the one I have that's over 50 years old. So I know they are built to last."

The Maury County Chorale's upcoming The Follies concert will be themed "Broadway Through The Decades," with multiple songs from the history of the big stage including solos and full chorus numbers. The free show is an annual Maury County Chorale tradition, only this will be its first time at the Memorial Building. The show will be presented on March 28th with showtime is at 7 p.m.

"This is a win-win for everybody, because Makky feels better knowing that, because it meant so much to his mom and was a big part of his life, that it's going somewhere for a good cause," Calahan said. "Plus, it's a win for the community because more people will probably come to this building knowing there is a piano for concerts and can rent out the building, which also gives back to the community. And this is such a wonderful building, and I can't wait to have our concert here."

C&B Linen Grand Opening (WKOM Audio 1:41)

A new business, C&B Linen held a grand opening yesterday at the Maury County Chamber and Economic Alliance. WKOM/WKRM’s Delk Kennedy, stopped by the ribbon cutting to learn more about what that business has to offer…

Spring Hill Historic Sites (CDH)

The Spring Hill Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted this week to identify four sites within the city that are considered historically significant.

Each of these sites were presented per the city's policy for identifying historical sites adopted last year, as found in the city's municipal code. The policy states the BOMA can approve these sites based on recommendations from the Spring Hill Historical Commission, as well as the property owner.

The policy does not state any plans to preserve or renovate the proposed sites, but merely designates them as historically significant as a means to "provide a sense of commitment and continuity between the past and present through the encouragement of preservation and protection of historically significant sites and structures; and to foster civic pride and historic recognition through the preservation of the city’s heritage."

"There was a lot of work put into this by the historical commission to reach out to these landowners and have them apply," Alderman William Pomeroy, who also serves on the historical commission, said.

The four sites identified Monday include property at 407 McClemore, known as Old City Hall and fire station, property in which the city has ownership.

The second site is located at 5326 Main Street, known as the J.S. and Charlie Odil House, which is estimated to date back to the year 1900. John S. Odil was also part owner of the first grocery store in Spring Hill before dying in 1920.

The third site located at 5276 Main Street is the Mount Hope Baptist Church, the deed of which dates back to 1831. The building was later used as a school primarily for young black children, where it remained active until the early 1900s.

The fourth site was not a building, house or former government office, but the old metal arched Kedron Pike Bridge located at McCutcheon Creek, dating back to the 1930s.

"If you want to see the bridge, you only have a few weeks before it gets all covered up in leaves," Pomeroy said. "It's your only chance until next October or November."

All of these sites were adopted unanimously by BOMA members.

Naval Ship “Maury” Renamed (MainStreetMaury)

Following the military’s recommendation to remove the names of installations inspired by the Confederacy, the U.S. Navy has rechristened the oceanographic survey ship USS Maury to USS Marie Tharp.

The USS Maury was named after Confederate officer Matthew Fontaine Maury and the most recent ship, the sixth to bear the name, was launched in 2000. Previous ships to bear the name include two destroyers that served in World War I and World War II.

Matthew Maury was the nephew of Abram Maury Sr. (1766-1825), who Maury County was named in honor of following its formation in 1807. Matthew Maury was a naval officer for 36 years before joining the Confederacy during the Civil War and is credited with being the father of modern-day oceanography, which gave rise to his nickname “Pathfinder of the Seas.” His 1847 publication “Wind and Current Chart of the North Atlantic” showed sailors how to use the ocean’s currents and winds to their advantage and drastically reduce the length of voyages. He later published “Sailing Directions” and “Physical Geography of the Seas and Its Meteorology,” and his uniform system of recording synoptic oceanographic data was adopted by navies and merchant marines around the world and was used to develop charts for all the major trade routes.

According to Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro, the USNS Maury was renamed after Marie Tharp (1920-2006), a geologist who produced the map of the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. The change was made official on March 13.

The Department of Defense began renaming military facilities last December following approval from Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

“The installations and facilities that our department operates are more than vital national security assets,” Austin said in a memo to senior Pentagon leadership. “The names of these installations and facilities should inspire all those who call them home, fully reflect the history and the values of the United States and commemorate the best of the republic that we are all sworn to protect.”

Clement to Speak at Clement (Press Release)

Columbia State Community College will host former congressman Bob Clement for a special presentation on March 30 at 4 p.m.


“Like his father, Congressman Bob Clement has enjoyed a remarkable life and career in public service,” said Dr. Barry Gidcomb, Columbia State professor of history. “Because it was Governor Clement and his commissioner of education, J. Howard Warf, who created the community college system in Tennessee, we thought it fitting to invite the congressman to speak at Tennessee's first community college and in Columbia State’s building named for Governor Clement.” 

The presentation is an opportunity for the community to visit with and listen to the former congressman, who has a unique connection to Columbia State.

“We're looking forward to hearing what Congressman Clement has to say about his life and career and the legacy of his father,” Gidcomb said.

The presentation is free and open to the public. It will take place on March 30 at 4 p.m. in the Ledbetter Auditorium located in the Clement building on the Columbia Campus.

…And now, news from around the state…

Youth Commission Safe (NewsChannel5)

A bill that would dismantle an independent commission that reports on children and youth in Tennessee will not go forward.

State Senator Jack Johnson, R-Franklin, backed off his bill to kill the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth.

He released a statement yesterday that said the bill helped start "important discussions that highlight issues the legislature has long had with the Commission."

The Commission's 30 employees learned about the proposed bill just last week.

In the past few days, numerous child advocacy groups have contacted lawmakers in an effort to save the Commission.

The Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth provides unbiased information to lawmakers and the public about issues facing children in the state.

It reports on things like childhood poverty, education and overall health.

The attempt to kill the Commission came after its recent State of the Child Report criticized the state's foster care system.

The report stated, "Tennessee struggles with foster care instability at a level not seen in the rest of the country."

Critics claim the bill was payback because the Commission criticized the Department of Children's Services.

Leipers Fork House in Southern Living (Tennessean)

A Leiper's Fork home was announced as Dotdash Meredith's Southern Living announced 2023 Idea House.

The home will be open for public tours from August to December and will be featured on and in the September 2023 issue available Aug. 18.

The contemporary Idea House is a 5,600 square-foot home blending warmth and character of a classic Tennessee farmhouse.

Meant to inspired ideas for homeowners, the Leiper's Fork home joins 2022's winner, a coastal North Carolina home.

The home was built and designed with an eye toward a sustainable future with energy-efficient windows and appliances, antique local furnishings and biodegradable materials.

Fitting for Middle Tennessee, the house features a music room with a grand piano, a party barn for entertaining and decor inspired by local artists.

"We're calling this our Country House as a nod to Music City, and to the fact that it was designed to embrace its beautiful rural setting,” said Sid Evans, Editor in Chief of Southern Living. “This home is all about a connection to the land, and that comes through in design choices that prioritize sustainability, endless porches for entertaining and living outside, and plants everywhere."

The house is made possible by a team featuring Patrick and Mary Hatcliff of Hatcliff Construction, Lake and Lane Studio, Laura Hodges Studio and Southern Creations Landscaping.

Now in its 35th year, Southern Living's Idea House Program continues celebrating the Southern lifestyle.

Deirdre Finnegan, vice president and publisher of Southern Living said Leiper's Fork is the perfect location for Idea House.

"The location is perfect for this year’s Idea House, and the design of this home is inspired by both the beautiful scenery in Leiper’s Fork and as by its proximity to the heart of country music. We're excited to bring our new and returning sponsors to Tennessee and to share the creative ways in which their innovative products are showcased in this year's house," Finnegan said.

Tickets for in-person tours go on sale in July.

Final Story of the Day (Maury County Source)

In August 2021, Forbes estimated -- after a seven-decade-long career -- that Dolly Parton's net worth was $350 million. Parton's ability to build a lucrative brand on many notions -- including what a press release describes as "a lifelong passion for fashion" and "endearing, convention-defining, distinctly Dolly style" -- is the focus of "Behind the Seams: My Life in Rhinestones," Parton's latest book, out from Ten Speed Press on Oct. 17th.

The 336-page book is the second in a planned trilogy that began with her 2020 bestseller "Songteller: My Life in Lyrics."

The book -- co-written with Holly George-Warren and curated by Rebecca Seaver -- is currently available for pre-order.

"It costs a lot of money to look this cheap," Parton has famously stated.

Comparatively, "Behind the Seams: My Life in Rhinestones" has a retail price of $50.

The book will also be available as an audiobook from Penguin Random House Audio, read by Parton and including archival audio and music.  


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