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Southern Middle Tennessee Today News for March 6, 2024

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

We start with local news…

Trump Wins Big in TN and Maury (Tennessean/CDH)

Former President Donald Trump easily defeated former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley in the Tennessee Republican presidential primary on Tuesday, continuing his march toward securing the GOP nomination. 

Trump secured 77.3% of the vote to Haley's 19.5%. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who dropped out of the race earlier this year, won 1.4%.

Meanwhile, incumbent President Joe Biden won the Democratic primary in the Volunteer State with no opponent on the ballot. Biden secured 92.1% of votes cast, the rest were cast as “uncommitted”

The Associated Press called the race shortly after polls closed at 7 p.m. CST. Trump defeated Haley, despite Koch-funded Americans For Prosperity Action and partner groups pouring more than $2.4 million into Tennessee in recent months, and hiring hundreds of part-time door-to-door canvassers, backing Haley and attacking Trump and Biden.

Multiple polls showed 40- to 60-point spreads between Trump and Haley supporters in the months leading up to Tuesday. Sixty-three percent of Republican respondents to a Beacon Center poll in January said they would vote for Trump even if he is convicted of a crime.

In response to Trump's victory, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee endorsed the former president for the first time this cycle.

In Maury County Trump received the majority with 9,557 votes as the Republican nominee, while his main opponent, Nikki Haley secured 1,387 votes

President Biden secured the Democrat seat at 982 Democrat votes.

Among the local Maury County races, most were uncontested, including multiple seats on the Maury County School Board and Circuit Court Judge for District 22.

The race for constable in District 7 included Republican candidates Patrick Ryan and Mark Schmittou, with Ryan coming out the narrow victor with 318 votes over 298 votes for Schmittou.

Of the 71,853 registered Maury County voters, 6,806 were reported on Tuesday, with 2,201 turning out for early voting and 145 absentees, bringing in a total of 9,242 votes, or approximately a 12.86% turnout.

While low numbers are to be expected, especially for a primary election, Maury County Administrator of Elections Chris Mackinlay said it was a "smooth election that went well, mostly thanks to the number of volunteers, election officers and staff."

Tuesday's election was also the first time in a long time paper ballots were available to voters after being approved by the Maury County Commission in 2022.

"My feeling is that we crushed it. We were able to implement a new system and bring in a whole bunch of new officers with new training processes, and all 22 precincts rocked it," Mackinlay said. "And that's both Democrats and Republicans, all of the poll workers, the party didn't matter because we all wanted to run a good, solid election, and we did."

It was also Mackinlay's first Maury County election since becoming the county election administrator last year and has plenty to look forward to in the upcoming August primary and November General Election. Given the results and process of what he calls "his first rodeo," Mackinlay said he and his staff are primed and ready for what comes next.

"As my first election, when I see 12-13% turnout at a primary, I'll take it," Mackinlay said. "I'm a believer in building a bench, and so we brought along more officers, more special judges than what we needed. I'll never stop saying the praises of the people in this building, because anything good that comes out of the election commission, it's because of them. There's a greatness coming out of what they do, and there's definitely a lot more depth we want to create with our leadership team here."

Circuit Court Judge District 22

Julie C. Heffington - 5,602 votes

Superintendent of Roads

Ken McKee - 5,650 votes

School Board District 4

Darryl Martin - 398 votes

School Board District 6

Sue Stephenson - 766 votes

School Board District 8

Brendan Babcock - 486 votes

Constable District 7

Patrick Ryan - 318 votes

Mark Schmittou - 298 votes

Constable District 11

Aaron Easton - 723 votes

Candidates for Democratic Primary

School Board District 8

Gregory D. Hanners - 78 votes

Columbia State Opens New Williamson Facility (CDH)

Columbia State Community College's Williamson Campus celebrated its expanding landscape with the grand opening of its new arts and technology building.

In February, community members, students, faculty, staff and administration gathered at the Franklin campus for a ribbon cutting ceremony and open house.

The arts and technology building is the first academic expansion since the original three buildings opened in 2016, creating opportunities for enrollment growth, new community partnerships and additional course offerings.

Dr. Dearl Lampley, Columbia State vice president of the Williamson Campus and external services, described how the new building will help the Williamson Campus.

“I’ve often been asked, ‘what’s the justification for another building?’” Lampley said. “And the answer is pretty simple. We ran out of space.

"All of you are familiar with the growth of Williamson County. Well, that’s correlated with the growth of this campus. It’s no secret that Columbia State is one of the primary choices for higher education for Williamson County graduates.”

The approximately 39,000 square foot building features new classrooms, labs and student engagement space for existing, as well as new workforce-oriented programs that include information technology, networking, cyber defense, data analytics, art and graphic design.

Building features also include a student hub and a flexible instructional space with theater-style seating and a small stage.

In addition, Columbia State has established a collaboration with Tennessee College of Applied Technology Dickson for digital graphic design and practical nursing to be taught at the Williamson Campus starting in May. It also houses the Jackson IT Center and the Pamela Stephens and Tim Kalthoff Innovation Lab, which includes an innovation makers space, arts lab and an electronic gaming room.

“It’s such a wonderful opportunity to be able to partner with Columbia State,” Laura Travis, Tennessee College of Applied Technology Dickson president, said. “We’re excited for the future. We’re excited for our students and for the partnerships that they’ll have to continue their education if they choose to with Columbia State.”

Columbia State Foundation members and donors were also in attendance to tour and experience the new building. Bethany Lay, Columbia State vice president of advancement and executive director of the Columbia State Foundation, thanked them for their support of the project.

“If you are here, you are part of the success,” Lay said. “All of us here today — we are what puts community in our colleges.”

“Columbia State is a phenomenal institution and it does rival any university, not just in Tennessee, but in this country,” said Dr. Flora W. Tydings, Tennessee Board of Regents chancellor. “The quality of education that happens is number one, it cannot be replicated.”

Dry Medic Restoration Services Opening (WMOM Audio 2:49)

Yesterday, Drymedic Restoration Services, located in Spring Hill held their grand opening. Front Porch Radio’s Mary Susan Kennedy attended the ribbon cutting and spoke to the new restoration company’s owner Scott McMaster…

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

Mrs. Dottie Craig Morrow, 75, resident of Culleoka, TN, and retired bookkeepr for Porter-Walker, passed away Sunday, March 3, 2024 at her residence. Graveside services for Mrs. Morrow will be conducted Thursday, March 7, 2024 at 11:00 A.M. at Wilkes Cemetery in Culleoka.

James Robert Tucker, a lifelong farmer from Shady Grove, passed away on March 1, 2024 at the age of 76. 

There will be a celebration of life on Saturday, March 16, 2024 at 11 AM at Edgewood Baptist Church in Duck River, TN. A gathering of friends and family will precede the service starting at 9 AM.

…And now, news from around the state…

Plane Crash (Tennessean)

The pilot of a small plane that crashed near I-40 in Nashville told the air traffic controller his engine had shut down shortly beforehand. The crash killed all five people on board, officials said.

The Federal Aviation Administration released a brief statement stating that it would be investigating the fatal crash with the National Transportation Safety Board, adding NTSB will be in charge of the investigation and will provide any updates.

Kendra Loney, a spokesperson with Nashville Fire Department, said witnesses told authorities the plane imploded on impact. She described the crash as "catastrophic."

NTSB officials said three children and two adults were on board the small plane that crashed along Interstate 40 in West Nashville Monday.

"They are Canadian citizens," Aaron McCarter, an National Transportation Safety Board aviation accident investigator said. Authorities have still not yet identified the victims.

Nashville International Airport spokesperson Stacey Nickens confirmed the aircraft, with a tail number of C-FBWH, was set to arrive at John C. Tune Airport in Nashville around 7:43 p.m., according to its flight pattern.

The C tail number means the plane is Canadian, and the registration information shows it as a 1978 Piper PA-32R, a six- or seven-seat high-performance, single engine, fixed-wing aircraft.

The plane was registered in July 2023 to A D Metro, a touchscreen company based in Ottawa, Ontario. No further information was immediately available.

The Piper left Milton, a town in Ontario, Canada, at 1:22 p.m. EST, and landed in Erie, Penn., a little over an hour later, according to FlightAware.

The plane then left Erie just after 4 p.m. EST en route to Mount Sterling, Kentucky, arriving there at 6:38 p.m. EST. The flight departed Kentucky around 7:19 p.m. and was headed to Nashville, FlightAware's flight log shows.

Metro Nashville Police spokesperson Don Aaron said the pilot reported engine failure shortly before he crashed.

The control tower at John C. Tune Airport received a message from the aircraft, saying it was experiencing engine and power failure and needed an emergency landing.

"I’m declaring an emergency," the pilot said in a minute-long audio clip provided to the Tennessean. "My engine shut down. ... My engine turned off. I’m at 1,600 (feet). I’m going to be landing. I don’t know where."

The pilot then told the air traffic controller he had a runway at John C. Tune Airport in sight, before adding, "I’m too far away, I won’t make it."

The controller responded, "Ok. Uhhh, See if you can glide in there, sir. If you can glide in, they’re clearing the runway for you."

The plane. which was coming from the north to the south, crashed in a grassy median along I-40 just behind the Costco store on Charlotte Pike at about 7:45 p.m., Aaron said. The aircraft did not hit any buildings or vehicles as it crashed.

Nashville Fire Department dispatched several vehicles to the same location and I-40 eastbound was shut down due to the wreckage and lane closures.

When firefighters arrived at the crash site, Loney said, they were met with heavy flames but were able to extinguish the blaze and preserve evidence for the investigation.

Final Story of the Day (Maury County Source)

Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival is back for a milestone year in 2024, returning to The Park at Harlinsdale Farm in Franklin, Tennessee, for its 10th anniversary September 28-29. And now, the countdown is on.

Festival organizers are encouraging fans to sign up for alerts at to be the first to know about the lineup, on-sale information, and more. Headliners Zach Bryan and The Lumineers sold out in 2023, and 2024 is shaping up to be the biggest year yet.

The past 10 years of this unique festival have mixed some of music’s biggest names ranging from Country, Rock, Folk, Pop, and more. Beck, Brandi Carlile, Cage The Elephant, Chris Stapleton, Daryl Hall and John Oates, Dave Matthews Band, Eddie Vedder, Foo Fighters, Jason Isbell, Justin Timberlake, Keith Urban, Lionel Richie, Sheryl Crow, The Avett Brothers, The Black Keys, The Decemberists, The Killers, Walk the Moon, Weezer, and Willie Nelson are a few of the wildly eclectic mix of headliners to grace the festival stages over the years.

Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival is produced by Better Than Ezra frontman Kevin Griffin, W. Brandt Wood, and Michael Whelan, with an undeniable decade of top-flight artistry and nationally recognized community spirit.


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