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Southern Middle Tennessee Today News for May 19, 2023

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

We start with local news…

Columbia Youth Council (CDH)

Finding a way to connect the city's youth with what's happening in their community, while possibly inspiring a few future careers, has been a priority for Columbia Mayor Chaz Molder.

In August 2021, Molder launched the first Columbia Mayor's Youth Council. The council's first year, he said, has been one of the proudest moments during his time as mayor, partly because he remembers being young and developing an interest in local politics, and that the same desire remains among young people today.

The Youth Council recently completed its second year and continues to grow for high schoolers to get first-hand experience on civic engagement, teamwork, decision-making and developing community projects.

"We've learned a few things over the last couple of years, one of which is that a lot of other cities have mayor's youth councils, and so we are excited to be on that roster of cities that help 'bridge the gap,' so to speak, with our youth and public service," Molder said. "This council was created not just to be a resume builder ... but more importantly was an opportunity for them to learn about the city of Columbia."

Molder added that the group is comprised of students from schools all over Maury County, with this year's class featuring 26 participants.

"When we first started this, we figured it would be mostly Central High School, but we soon learned that we've got students from every high school in the county," Molder said. "We really like that fact as well."

Savannah Honea, this year's council president and graduating CHS senior, previously served during the Youth Council's first year. In addition to her role as president, Honea is also the recipient of the Daughters of the American Revolution Award, the Military Officers Association Award, the American Legion Scholarship Award, the Nacy Preparatory Program and Navy ROTC Scholarship and the University of Memphis' Dean Scholarship Award, the Hope Scholarship and a Tiger Success Grant.

Honea commented on this year's Youth Council's accomplishments, which included a toy drive hosted at all participating schools.

"We collected over 600 items of toys, books and clothes, and then we decided to give them out locally, donate them to the King's Daughters' School, Maury County Public Library, The Family Center, as well as Boys & Girls Club," Honea said. "And throughout the summer, many of our members have also volunteered at community service events, such as the Rotary Club's Pancake Day and litter cleanup days to help keep Columbia clean."

Molder recognized the Youth Council with a proclamation, noting that their accomplishments set an example for other young people interested in the civic participation.

"It's worth it, what we do to facilitate this," Molder said. "Because we try to make decisions and move this community forward in a way that it's a place you all will want to come back to."

Impact Fee Strategy (MainStreetMaury/WKOM)

The Maury County Commission met in early May for a special called meeting to discuss the county’s growth rate and the steps needed to move forward in order to sustain the growing population, which has led to a surge of new developments and public services.

Commissioners expressed their concern over the General Assembly’s failure to pass House Bill 1206 for a second year in a row. Also known as the Property Taxpayer Protection Act, the bill would have allowed local county commissioners to decide how fees should be used to pay for incoming development.

The bill, which failed by a 5-3 vote in the State House Property & Planning Subcommittee back in March, was lobbied against by both homebuilders and the realtors association.

District 8 Commissioner Gabe Howard, who has long been vocal about his support for the bill, said he doesn’t trust the process.

“I think we’re going to sit through the next year and the homebuilders and Realtors’ associations are going to tell us what to do,” he said.

“This is not about just Maury County,” Howard said. “This is a detriment across the entire state.”

Howard floated the idea of an inter-local agreement between the cities of Columbia, Spring Hill and Mount Pleasant, which would allow the cities to charge impact fees and transfer educational fees back in order to benefit the educational system.

Charlie Curtiss, Executive Director of the Tennessee County Commissioners Association, who was one of the guests invited to speak, spoke on his own experience as a former county commissioner in White County in which a similar agreement was passed.

“As a general rule, the only thing you can do is what the legislature has authorized you to do,” Curtiss said. “But I can tell you for a fact we did it in my home county, and it worked.”

Eric Previti, chairman of the Commission, reminded commissioners that a sales tax increase was passed two years ago, but the City of Columbia did not give its portion.

Rep. Scott Cepicky (R-Culleoka), who sponsored the bill, was also in attendance for the called meeting. Cepicky said it’s harder to convince legislators to pass an impact fee due to county differences in size and growth.

“This is a bill that you are going to have to convince somebody who goes back home… that they’re trying to justify their vote for a privilege tax,” Cepicky said. “This bill is going to take time.”

State Rep. Kip Capley (R-Summertown), who represents the state’s 71st District, said there needs to be more of an effort going forward.

“That committee room needs to be jam packed,” Capley said. “We need to organize multiple county efforts with the counties that are represented on the committee.”

District 8 Commissioner Ray Jeter recommended forming an ad hoc committee to address the legislation.

“If we have to play their game, let’s play their game,” Jeter said.

In their May 15th meeting, the commission formed a committee composed of County Mayor Sheila Butt, Commissioner Gabe Howard, Commissioner Ray Jeter, Commissioner Kathy Grodi, and Finance Director Doug Lukonen, whose purpose will be to work toward a strategy to convince state legislators and stakeholders that an impact fee is necessary to help cover the costs of education and infrastructure for the fastest growing county in the state.

Haynes Haven on National Register (MainStreetMaury)

A Maury County farm will be among four sites considered for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places during an upcoming meeting.

The State Review Board was to meet on Wednesday, May 17, to examine Tennessee’s proposed nominations to the National Register of Historic Places. The Board will vote on four nominations from across the state. Those nominations that are found to meet the criteria will be sent for final approval to the National Register of Historic Places at

the U.S. Department of the Interior.

The nominations are:

• Melton’s Bank, Cannon County

• Fox House, Coffee County

• Bruce High School, Dyer County

• Haynes Haven Stock Farm, Maury County

According to the site application, Haynes Haven Stock Farm sits on the northwest side of Highway 31 between Spring Hill and Columbia and consists of 23 acres. The Haynes House was built by then-owner John Haynes in 1938, while other structures are believed to date back to the 1870s when the property was known as “Woodlawn.” At its height, the farm was over 1,000 acres in size.

“The property was once part of Woodlawn, a stock farm established in 1824 by Dr. Spivey McKissack, and improved by Lucy McKissack Gibson and her husband, Captain Thomas Gibson. As early as 1860, Woodlawn was known for its fine show and pacing horses, a reputation which continued under the ownership of W.M. Tolley from 1919 to 1936. The property was purchased and expanded by Colonel John L. Haynes in 1936, after which it was renamed Haynes Haven. Haynes’s primary goal was the breeding, training, and overall promotion of the Tennessee Walking Horse. Under Haynes’s ownership, the farm gained national acclaim as the home of World Grand Champion Haynes Peacock,” the report reads in part.

The farm was purchased by the Saturn Corporation, along with other neighboring properties, in 1985 to allow for the construction of the automotive plant. The residence, stone stables and latticed barn were retained and used as the Welcome Center for the Saturn facility, with the stone stables converted into an event facility and meeting place.

The State Review Board is composed of 12 people with backgrounds in American history, architecture, archaeology or related fields. It also includes members representing the public. The National Register program was authorized under the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. The Tennessee Historical Commission administers the program in Tennessee.

For more information about the Tennessee Historical Commission, please visit

Spring Hill Gaming Company (MainStreetMaury)

Starting a business can be scary – especially when your business is a video game in the horror genre. 

That’s the case for Spring Hill video game company Duonix Studios, a collaboration between Mark Byram II and brothers Sean-Michael and Daniel Millard. The three have created what has been titled “10 Dead Doves” – a single player narrative that takes place in the hills of Appalachia.

“It’s a character-focused story. There is a nice dynamic between the main characters Marcus  and Sean – no relation to us,” Byram said emphatically. 

Currently, the game is set for PC, but the three say they would love to have it reach other home-based consoles such as Nintendo Switch, but that would be dependent on funding. 

Luckily, however, to this point funding hasn’t been an issue. The three put up a Kickstarter campaign with a $10,000 goal and met it within 32 hours. They’ve now reached their second stretch goal of $15,000 as of May 10.

“We were worried that the first two weeks might get us $35 and that would be from my mother,” Sean-Michael said. “We had no idea what would happen.

“There was a giant miracle that happened right in front of our eyes.”

Daniel added, “We didn’t hit the goal in the first 24 hours, but we did eight hours later and we were all freaking out.”

Those funds mean the trio can now pay back the costs they incurred to start the business and begin fully preparing for the full launch of the game, which is the next goal.

Ideally, the game will launch by the end of 2023, but no later than early 2024 barring any major issues between now and then. A demo of the game is currently available on some digital store platforms.

As mentioned, the game is a single player narrative that chronicles the journey of two friends as they search for The Ant Farm, a mysterious place with plenty of urban legend to pique the interest of any backpacker. 

As they set out on the journey the unthinkable happens when their car breaks down – a predictable, but practical start to their story.

From there, the player (playing as Mark – no relation) is able to complete tasks brought upon by a creepy bird-like figure that only appears in your dreams. 

“There are a lot of theories about what the place is,” Mark said. “Is it a place that makes your dreams come true or an entrance to the underworld or just an abandoned water park that scammed a city council? There is just a huge urban legend in the backpack community and they’re trying to figure it out.”

Cheesy? Maybe. But plenty of people within the gaming community have been positive with their thoughts on the game.

“10 Dead Doves reminded me of why I love weird low-budget spooks so much,” one review from Rock Paper Shotgun reads.”One of the most ambitiously cinematic indie narratives I’ve seen in a while… It’s impossible not to be charmed by the back-and-forth between leads Mark and Sean, or by the uncanny yet whimsical way the characters are animated.

“In other words, the exact slow-burn spook factor I’ve been missing.” 

The three being neighbors has probably been the best – and sometimes worst – part of their development as a company and of the game. How does being so close at work and at home work out?

“A lot of collaboration and a lot of arguments – most of them my fault,” Daniel said. “But if we had an idea we could text each other or even burn a copy of the game and walk 200 feet to bring it over to show us.” 

Mark added, “It made disagreements more fun because we’re only 200 feet apart, so you can’t stay mad for too long or avoid it.”

This is hopefully only the beginning for Duonix Studios. With a successful launch of “10 Dead Doves,” more could be coming from the three.

“We would love to do more games. I love developing games and creating stories. Daniel loves making music for them,” Mark said. 

Daniel, a trained composer and pianist, created the soundtrack and some sound design on top of some voice acting and a small amount of directing and producing.

Mark wrote most of the script and the others would tweak as necessary and Sean would put his personal spin on his lines while recording them for the game. 

“That’s where some of the comedy comes out because I had to say things how I would say it in real life,” Sean said. “I would look at the script and ignore it. I knew the meaning of the line, so I would just change it.”

A demo of the game is available on most major digital stores, and to find out more visit 

CSCC Summer Camps (Press Release)

Columbia State Community College is excited to announce summer camps at each of its campuses for 2023.

The Columbia Campus is hosting a 3D Printing Makerspace camp. This is a five-day camp designed to help students learn how to design and manufacture a product in addition to learning about marketing and selling a product. At the end of the camp, students will make a presentation to showcase their experience. Students do not need to have knowledge of AutoCAD or web design, but do need to feel comfortable using computers. During this camp, students will have fun while learning to work as a team.

Also hosted by the Columbia Campus is the Music from Around the World: A Choir Extravaganza camp. In this four-day camp, students will experience drumming, comprehend new piano skills, enjoy music games and take part in choral singing all while learning music from around the world.

For more information and to sign up, visit

Columbia Proclaims Public Works Week (CDH)

It takes a large and dedicated teem to pull off some of Columbia's downtown events both big and small, but a lot of the work that goes into it typically happens behind the scenes.

This includes keeping the streets clean, ensuring the large crowd remains safe and that, by the end, the streets are once again cleaned up and ready for another day. And it all occurs while most of us are either sleeping or moving on to the next thing after events like First Fridays, Mule Day and the Columbia Main Street Christmas Parade have wrapped up.

That's just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Columbia's Public Works Department, which was recognized this month declaring May 21-27 as the 63rd National Annual Public Works Week, which was made official with a proclamation from Mayor Chaz Molder and Columbia City Council.

"One thing we take for granted when we have large downtown events is, number one, the preparation that goes into those events, and number two the cleanup that happens after those events. A lot of man hours are put into that," Molder said. "But that's not all they do, and so many things that are important to the overall governmental operation."

This year's Public Works Week theme, according to the American Public Works Association, is "Connecting the world through Public Works," as a way to showcase the dedicated professionals employed in departments across the country, including Columbia.

Public Works Administrative Assistant Donna Osmon and Sanitation Supervisor Josh Moore accepted the proclamation on the department's behalf.

"I do want to thank the council for recognizing Public Works, our employees and the work that they do," Osmon said. "We have also a lot of programs we have started throughout the city, and so you'll see us out and about at schools and community events. We invite everyone to come up and say, 'hi.'"

One of Public Works' newest programs was the recent Name a Snow Plow contest, which Osmon said will make a return later this year.

"We had so much fun with that. Just the interaction with the public was outstanding, and from the school children it was even better," Osmon said.

Digital Advertising Workshop (Press Release)

Join Maury Alliance on Wednesday, May 24th at 8:30 am in their downstairs Conference Room at 106th W. 6th Street, for a Small Business Workshop on Digital Advertising hosted by High Beam Marketing.

During this event you will: 

1.     Learn about the most important trends for 2023.

2.     Get one-on-one help from our seasoned digital advertising experts.

3.     Understand how to evaluate potential agency partners.


Whether you’re a seasoned marketer or just starting out, this workshop is for you! Bring questions related to your digital advertising strategy and High Beam Marketing will point you in the right direction. You will leave this workshop feeling empowered to take the right next steps!


Spaces for this workshop are limited, and Chick-fil-A breakfast will be included, so be sure to register now to secure your spot.

Visit for more information.

Meredith’s Toy Drive (Press Release)

Meredith's Toy Box is hosting its Barbies and Hot Wheels annual toy drive through May 31 benefitting Kid's Place: A Child Advocacy Center, which services children and their families affected by abuse in Maury, Giles, Lawrence, and Wayne counties.

Drop-off locations are:

Faith Fellowship Cumberland Presbyterian Church on Wednesdays from 6-8 p.m.

Columbia Farm Supply during normal business hours

Betty's Parkway Restaurant during normal business hours

Online donations can be made at Meredith's Toy Box on the special events tab at

For all items shipped, mail to 614 West Point Rd., Lawrenceburg, TN 38464.

The toy drive is in memory of Meredith Campbell-Bybee.

Santa Fe School To Celebrate Centennial (WKOM)

Santa Fe School in rural Maury County will be celebrating their 100th birthday on Saturday, May 20th from 2-5pm. A parade of classes through the years will start at 2:00 and come through Santa Fe, down Fly Road and by the school. Organizers are expecting many former alumni to participate. Everyone is invited to come watch the parade and join in on the fun afterwards. The event is free. There will be bounce houses, cupcakes, food trucks, guest speakers and school tours. Once the event is over at 5:00 everyone who would like can make their way to the gym for the Santa Fe Alumni Basketball game starting at 5:30. The cost of the alumni game will be $5. 

“I went to Santa Fe School K-12th grade and I am so excited to be back teaching here. All of my family went to SFS, my parents, grandparents, me and now my own children”, said teacher Rachel Kennedy. “There really is something special about this town and this school. I feel that the school is what holds this community together. There is something we say ‘Once a wildcat, always a wildcat!’ and that is so true. If you ever attend a basketball game you will certainly see that. We bleed black and gold here. 

AAHSMC Fundraiser (Press Release)

The African American Heritage Society of Maury County announces a fundraising luncheon for the creation of an African American museum and cultural center in Columbia.

The fundraising luncheon is scheduled for Saturday, May 27, 2023, at 11:45am at West 7th Church of Christ, located at 405 West 7th Street in Columbia. Tickets to the luncheon are free, though a $10 donation for the catered lunch is suggested.

Funds raised from this event will help establish an African American museum and cultural center in Maury County. Jo Ann McClellan, President of the African American Heritage Society of Maury County, serves as the featured speaker for this event. Her presentation is titled “Making a Way for Themselves: Faith, Family, Education, and Entrepreneurship” and showcases the courageous stories of African Americans in Maury County. The event is co-sponsored by St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Columbia.

“The Society’s vision is an indoor museum space to tell the stories of the struggles and triumphs of African Americans," said McClellan. "The exhibits and programming will include stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things to build the African American community by establishing churches, schools, businesses, and benevolent organizations."

Other presenters at the event include Representative Scott Cepicky, the Reverend Father Chris Bowhay from St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, and Bishop Phoebe Roaf from the Episcopal Diocese of West Tennessee.

“St. Peter’s is delighted to be a part of raising the voices and stories of resilience, success, and influence in the African American community in Columbia, both before and after the Civil War,” said Bowhay. “The experience of the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been particularly important to the African American Community in Maury County and has played a vital role not only in religion but also in education.”

To register for the event, please visit by May 15, 2023.

Founded in 2012, the African American Heritage Society of Maury County is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to preserve the heritage and history of African Americans of Maury County, Tennessee.

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

Mr. William Lee “Jack” Barron, 88, retired educator and a resident of Columbia, died Saturday, April 15, 2023 at his son’s residence in Manchester. A celebration of life service for Mr. Barron will be held at First Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Saturday, May 20, 2023 at 12:00 noon. The family will receive visitors from 10:00 A.M. until 12:00 noon at the church.  Burial was at Polk Memorial Gardens on April 22, 2023.  Oakes & Nichols Funeral Directors are assisting the family with arrangements.

Mr. Douglas Milton Taylor, 87, retired Pharmacist for over 60 years and resident of Columbia, passed away on Wednesday, May 17, 2023. Funeral services for Mr. Taylor will be conducted Sunday at 2:00 P.M. at North View Church of Christ. Burial will follow in Rose Hill Cemetery. Visitation will be held on Saturday from 4:00 P.M. – 8:00 P.M. at Oakes & Nichols Funeral Home.

Mr. Albert Paul Mall, 83, resident of Columbia, died Tuesday, May 16, 2023 at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Funeral services for Mr. Mall will be conducted Monday at 2:00 P.M. at First United Methodist Church. Burial will follow in Polk Memorial Gardens. The family will visit with friends Monday from 12:00 P.M. until service time at the church. Oakes & Nichols Funeral Directors are assisting the family arrangements.

Final Story of the Day (Maury County Source)

Come out for an afternoon of FUN on Saturday, June 17th, 2023 from 3-8 pm for the Highland Realm Farm Blueberry Bash.

Visit the all natural, bio-dynamic, chemical free blueberry farm for blueberry picking, blueberry baking contest (cash prizes!), food trucks, live music, kid’s zone – face painting, pony rides, Archery Tag, vendor booths, creek wading, door prizes and a whole lot MORE!!!

$10.00 per car

Pets on leashes are welcome!

(GPS address 4443 Hampshire Pike, Hampshire, TN for Barn entrance)


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