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Southern Middle Tennessee Today News for March 8, 2023

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

Original sources are cited.

We start with local news…

Traffic Safety (Press Release)

Yesterday, local law enforcement conducted a Multi-Agency Traffic

Safety Operation.

In an effort to reduce traffic crashes and fatalities, Law Enforcement

Officers from the Columbia Police Department, Maury County Sheriff’s

Department, Spring Hill Police Department, and the Tennessee Highway

Patrol worked together to conduct high visibility, directed traffic

enforcement on Nashville Hwy.

In 3 hours over 70 traffic stops were conducted on Nashville Highway

with multiple citations and arrests being made. Some of the violations

that officers encountered were speeding, distracted driving, seatbelt

violations, violation of the move-over law, and driving on

revoked/suspended driver's license.

Traffic Safety Operations with an emphasis on school zones and in high

vehicle crash rate areas will continue in the future.

The Columbia Police Department encourages everyone to drive safely

every day!

Music Historic Marker Coming to Columbia (CDH)

The Roaring '20s were a time when blues and soul singers were some of

the most popular entertainment acts, and one local star is being honored

by a new Tennessee Music Pathways marker.

This will be the second Music Pathways marker Columbia has been

awarded, but the first honoring an individual person. The first marker

was dedicated in 2022 recognizing The Mulehouse as a significant

Tennessee music venue located along the state's historic music trail.

"It is a statewide music trail that we have now officially, and again,

become a part of," Columbia Tourism and Marketing Director Kellye

Murphy said. "And this is a wonderful marker."

Born in Columbia's College Hill district in 1906, Lillie Mae Glover was

famously known as "Ma Rainey II," taking the name following the death

of the late blues innovator.

"Roberts Street was where she was born, which is a street that no longer

exists," Murphy said. "She was a very interesting character, from what

I've been told."

After running away from home at age 13, Glover began performing

regularly on Beale Street in Memphis in the late 1920s. She was later

inducted into the Hall of Fame of Music & Entertainment in 1981.

Glover died in 1985 and now has a "brass note" marker dedicated to her

life and legacy on Beale Street.

The new Tennessee Pathways marker will be located at the intersection

of East 8th and Woodland Streets, commonly referred as "The Bottom,"

which once was a thriving area for Black-owned businesses, night clubs

and other social gathering spots.

"We didn't really want to put it directly in a residential neighborhood,

but in a more-trafficked area over off of 8th," Murphy said. "Public

Works will install it ... and I expect it to be very interesting, that it's done

tastefully and just a nice-looking marker."

Autism Database (MainStreetMaury)

Last summer, Maury County Fire paramedic Fabian Oden developed an

autism database to help first responders when arriving on the scene of an

emergency. Now Oden is asking for the community’s help in

implementing the program.

Oden is applying for a FedEx small business grant to update the current

version of the database, Rapid Guardian. Oden said the new version

provides more details and is more organized.

“A major concern for 49% of autistic children is wandering,” Oden said

in a Facebook post. “These vulnerable individuals tend to bolt from safe

settings with little sense of danger, and oftentimes, tragically, wander

toward bodies of water resulting in drownings.”

Oden said Rapid Guardian integrates with 911 communication center

maps, allowing the dispatcher to identify the closest body of water and

send first responders to that location to search for the missing individual.

Parents of individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are also

able to provide information about any social communication and

behavioral challenges so first responders can better communicate.

Oden said the new version will go into effect once Maury EMA

(Emergency Management Agency) purchases the database.

If awarded with the grant, Oden said he will be able to promote the

system and add more features.

“As a community, let’s be proactive and help get this implemented and

not wait until a tragedy happens,” Oden said, adding that there have

been several incidents when law enforcement had a call for individuals

who could benefit from the system.

K-9 Units Protect Maury Regional (CDH)

As the second healthcare facility and the first rural hospital in Tennessee

to implement a K-9 unit, Maury Regional Medical Center has become a

model for other hospitals in the state.

Now furry four-legged canine staff members will be a frequent sight on

the hospital property.

The K-9 unit is an important component of the MRMC Security

Department, which consists of 18 total security officers. Working in

unison, the entire group patrols Maury Regional Health’s buildings and

properties in Columbia to ensure a safe environment for all patients,

staff, and visitors.

“The primary goal of the K-9 unit is to help deescalate tense situations,

allowing staff and visitors to feel more comfortable and at ease when the

dogs are present,” Mike Short, Administrative Director of Safety,

Security and Environmental Services, said.

“While the dogs help to contribute to a safer campus overall, we wanted

to ensure they were personable: able to connect with and make people

more comfortable when they are at the hospital. That can often mean

stopping at nursing units to say hello to staff or brightening the day of a

patient with a quick visit.”

MRMC’s K-9 unit started in 2019 with Belgian Malinois brothers Max

and Milo and their respective handlers security officers Scott Nations

and John Holland. In 2021, Maverick, a Dutch shepherd, and Merlin, a

Belgian Malinois, joined the unit along with their respective handlers

security officers Chris Lovett and James Hill.

Adding Maverick and Merlin to the team made it possible for a security

K-9 to be available at the medical center 24/7.

“Our job is to make things safer for our patients, visitors, and staff,” said

Nations, the K-9 unit supervisor for the organization. “People often

seem surprised to see one of the dogs walking down the hall, but their

presence can provide reassurance and bring a sense of safety to those we


Prior to beginning work at MRMC, all K-9s and their handlers attend an

intensive obedience and training program at Ventosa K9 Kennel in

North Carolina, with a special emphasis on training for the unique needs

of a healthcare environment. In addition to being skilled at deescalating

tense situations, they are trained to detect upwards of 20 odors and are

able to serve as a community resource if called upon by local law

enforcement agencies.

“At Maury Regional, we are committed to ensuring the safety and

security of all individuals who enter our buildings,” Short said.

“Sometimes in health care, emotions can run high. Having one of our K-

9s on duty to respond to these tense situations can often calm individuals

through their presence alone before it escalates. They can definitely

change the dynamic of most any interaction by their very presence.”

“They’re part of the team,” Nations said. “They get excited to come into

work each day. They love seeing the staff — Max probably hears 150

times a day how beautiful he is, but they take their jobs and the safety of

our staff, patients, and visitors very seriously.”

The K-9 program is made possible through funding from the Maury

Regional Health Care Foundation and the Maury Regional Medical

Center Auxiliary, a service organization that funds special requests from

departments of the medical center through fundraising activities and

revenue generated from the operation of the hospital’s gift shop.

Schools Get STEM Grants (Press Release)

J. E. Woodard Elementary and Randolph Howell Elementary both

have been awarded grants from the Tennessee Valley Authority, in

partnership with Bicentennial Volunteers, Inc., a TVA retiree

organization, to develop science, technology, engineering, and math

education projects to help spark student interest in future careers in

STEM-related fields.

Teachers across TVA’s seven-state region applied for funding of

up to $5,000 for projects, and 238 applications were selected.

“We are excited to have this funding to support hands-on activities

and programs that help students develop skills that can apply to real-

world problem solving,” said Amy Roberts, CTE Director for Maury

County Schools. “We want to open doors to high quality, rewarding jobs

for our students, and the grant will help us introduce them to these

subjects from a young age.”

Schools who are awarded grants must receive their power from a

local power company served by TVA. Woodard and Howell Elementary

are both served by Columbia Power and Water System.

J. E. Woodard Elementary School will use its $5000 grant to get

students engaged with nature and protecting our environment. Part of

enjoying nature is learning to protect our environment. This will be

accomplished by sharing the marvels of nature, highlighting/partnering

with National Parks, and utilizing STEM content/challenges that focus

on the environment. Learning will be framed with literature &

immersive experiences. The students will be challenged to find beauty in

nature & share their discoveries. These discoveries will be displayed in

the school & in dedicated outdoor spaces. One of the inspirations is

“Camp Carol Ann”. Woodard’s principal, a passionate naturist has

extensive collections of artifacts from her years of outdoors adventures.

Those artifacts become the foundation for discussing rocks, fossils,

animal habitats, and mysteries of nature. Coupled with Camp Carol Ann

will be extensive learning guided by immersive studies of National

Parks, STEM challenges and a live STEAM event with challenges

revolving around real-life challenges faced by 6 different national parks.

In the end, our students will be identifying human impact on nature and

creating solutions that minimize that impact.

A $3500 grant awarded for Randolph Howell Elementary STEM

Schools Nature Trail will be a collaborative effort between students,

staff, families, and community partners. The intention of the project is to

create a natural and usable green space for both learning and community

enjoyment. They anticipate that all stakeholders will join together to

create a learning space that highlights local flora and fauna and provides

education about how to live within the natural world. This will be

achieved by creating the physical trail and installing attractive and

durable signage. This space will also include opportunities for meeting

the gross motor and sensory needs of our community. The anticipated

result is that students and community will have access to green learning

spaces within our rapidly expanding community.

“TVA is committed to supporting STEM education to help develop

today’s students into tomorrow’s engineers, scientists and IT

professionals,” said Jeannette Mills, TVA executive vice president and

chief external relations officer. “It’s inspiring to be able to contribute to

the innovators of the next generation.”

Since 2018, TVA and BVI have awarded nearly $5 million in

STEM grants to support local education.

A full list of grant recipients, and information on how to apply for

a future STEM grant can be found at

Midstate Classic (CDH)

Other than perhaps Mule Day, one of Columbia’s biggest events is the

always popular and competitive seventh annual Midstate Classic softball


The collegiate doubleheader, which kicks off Wednesday, March 15 at

Ridley Sports Complex, was part of Columbia City Council's study

session discussion this month, where the city will vote on a resolution to

accept $19,000 generated by sponsor donations to help fund the


Tickets to the Midstate Classic are $10 and available by contacting

Columbia Parks and Recreation at (931) 388-8119 or online


Parks and Recreation Director Mack Reagan said the event typically

sells out at about 2,000 seats. As of now, fewer than 500 tickets remain

to be sold, and the ones still available are going fast.

"It's going to be another big year, and everything is planned, itineraries

are set and right now we're working on the final details, such as meals,"

Reagan said. "Everything is set to go, and we are looking forward to a

great day. The only thing we can't control is the weather."

This year's games will once again feature the University of Tennessee

Lady Volunteers, who will face off against the Austin Peay State

University Governors beginning at 5:30 p.m.

"The University of Tennessee is bringing probably one of the best teams

in the country," Reagan said. "They are just unreal."

Earlier in the day, Columbia State Community College will face Motlow

Community College at 1 p.m.

In addition, Columbia Central High School will kick off the tournament

against Tullahoma High School starting at 10 a.m.

“I am so excited about this year’s Midstate Classic between the

Tennessee Lady Vols and Austin Peay State University Govs," Mayor

Chaz Molder said. "Once again, Columbia serves as the host site for one

of the most highly attended softball games in the state; and once again,

Ridley Sports Complex will serve as a showcase venue for this event.

"Most of all, I am proud of our team at the Parks and Recreation

Department for their good work in putting on this event every year and

helping our youth, in particular young women in our community, see

first-hand a collegiate sport being played in our community at a very

high level.”

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


And now, Your Hometown Memorials, Sponsored by Oakes &

Nichols Funeral Home…

Mr. Thomas Harry Anderson, husband of Columbia native, Josephine

Elizabeth (Jo Beth) Folger passed away on March 2, 2023 in Los Altos,

California. A graveside service for Mr. Anderson will be held Saturday

at 11:00 A.M. at Williamsport Cemetery. Oakes & Nichols Funeral

Directors are assisting the family with arrangements.

…And now, news from around the state…

Transportation Secretary Gives Money to BNA (thenewstn)

U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg traveled to Nashville

International Airport on Friday to celebrate a $7 million grant to help

improve the main airport access road. 

The funding is part of nearly $1 billion in Airport Terminal Program

grants announced by the Department of Transportation, which saw

Buttigieg also visit Memphis International Airport, which received $14.8

million, and Charles W. Baker Airport in Millington, which received $1

million, as part of $22 million in grants for airport projects in the state.

Nashville International Airport is also rebuilding one of their taxiways

through an additional $8.6 million from the federal Infrastructure

Investment and Jobs Act.

Buttigieg was joined at BNA by Nashville Mayor John Cooper,

Nashville Airport Authority President and CEO Doug Kreulen, as well

as numerous other Nashville council members, Tenn. State Senators and

Representatives, including a few mayoral hopefuls for a tour of airport


Notably, no representatives from the governor's office and no federal-

level Tenn. representatives were present.

“As we continue to go forward, every little bit helps when you're

running big programs like that, so we're appreciative of the $7 million

that we're receiving this year and the $8 million-plus we received last

year,” Kreulen said.

In January, BNA opened their new Grand Lobby, a part of the $1.5

billion BNA Vision project which will be complete later this year.

Last year, BNA began work on the $1.4 billion New Horizons

expansion that will include updates to two concourses, an air freight

building, terminal roadway improvements and baggage handling system

upgrades, which is scheduled to be complete in late 2028. 

“This airport is central to the success of the city,” Cooper said. 

“We need the investment -- This is a billion for expansion. There's

interior design, artwork, pedestrian bridge, hotel, terminals, concourse,

baggage handling improvements -- all of that is going to create a front

door for Nashville that I think is going to be unexcelled in the country.”

Buttigieg praised the private-public partnership between the BNA and

the government, both local and federal. 

“There is a direct connection between that action, that legislation that

President Biden signed, and where we are now with this infrastructure

package improving our airports, fixing tens of thousands of miles of

roads, repairing thousands of bridges, bringing affordable public transit

to millions of Americans.”

Buttigieg and the U.S. Department of Transportation recently came

under fire following nationwide airline travel issues centered around

Southwest Airlines during the 2022 Christmas holiday, which saw

massive delays and cancellations, including at BNA.

Buttigieg said during his Nashville visit that they are continuing to work

on addressing airline issues, including an announcement to ban “junk

fees” related to families who are flying with children.

This is the second high-profile visit from a Biden administration official

to Middle Tennessee in one month, following U.S. Sec. of the Treasury

Janet Yellen's visit to a Spring Hill electric vehicle battery plant in


Buttigieg and the Biden administration as a whole are facing mounting

scrutiny following a toxic train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, which

has caused an environmental disaster whose impacts are not yet fully

understood by either the government nor the public.

“What I made clear then, and what I'm working to make sure we make

good off for as long as I'm here, is that they will not be left alone,”

Buttigieg told reporters during a BNA press conference. “We've had

folks on the ground from day one from this administration, EPA in

particular is working to hold Norfolk Southern accountable for the

cleanup, our departments supporting the independent safety

investigation, and I also believe this is a moment when the whole

country needs to look at rail safety.”

SRO Officer Saves Franklin Student (

A Williamson County school resource officer is being hailed a hero after

possibly saving a student’s life.

Authorities stated, at around 8 a.m. Monday, a 16-year-old student was

found unresponsive in a car in the parking lot at the high school.

The SRO was notified and sources said the SRO administered two doses

of Narcan to the unresponsive boy, bringing him back.

Officials with the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office confirmed the

school nurse and EMS also quickly responded and helped render

medical aid for the teen.

Because of privacy, officials with Williamson County Schools wouldn’t

talk on camera, but officials did issue a statement confirming that

Narcan is in all Williamson County Schools and multiple personnel are

trained how to use it.

News of the potentially life saving effort was well received among

residents across the street from Franklin High School who salute the

deputy’s quick actions and expressed mild surprise that Narcan is inside

Williamson County Schools.

“All I have to say is, ‘Thanks for saving that kid’s life,'” one resident


“Williamson County, the richest county in the state, and they have

Narcan in the schools. I am glad they have it, but wish they didn’t need

it,” another resident said.

According to Williamson County Schools, all the Narcan in the schools

is donated by the anti-drug coalition, which donates a double pack of

Narcan to each school clinic after specific training has been completed.

Final Story of the Day (Maury County Source)

The band Chicago is celebrating 56 years!

They just announced new tour dates for 2023 which includes a stop in

Franklin, TN at FirstBank Amphitheater on Monday, September 25,

2023. This concert is part of the Farm Bureau series.

Presale begins on Thursday, March 9th at 10 am with code OPENER.

Public sale opens on Friday at 10 am.

Find tickets at


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