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Southern Middle Tennessee Today News for May 2, 2023

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

We start with local news…

Missing Juvenile (Press Release)

The Columbia Police Department is trying to locate 15-year-old runaway juvenile Shya McCoy.

Shya was last seen on April 30, 2023 in the area of West 10th St. wearing a colorful tank top, black shorts and blue shoes.

Shya is 5’ 3” tall weighing 140 lbs. with black hair and brown eyes.

Any person with additional information that may assist in this or any other investigation is encouraged to contact Columbia Police Department Dispatch (24 hours) at 931-388-2727, Maury County Crime stoppers at 931-381-4900, or Columbia Police SAFE Tip Email to SafeTips@ColumbiaTN.Com

Child Rape Suspect on the Run (MainStreetMaury)

The District Attorney General of the 22nd Judicial District is requesting the public’s assistance in locating a former Culleoka man facing child rape charges.

In a press release issued Friday, DA Brent Cooper’s office asked the public to be on the lookout for Jonathan Marchon Ullrich, who was indicted last December on 21 counts, including rape of a child, aggravated sexual battery, rape, incest and especially aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor. Ullrich was released after posting $350,000 bond.

The release says that Ullrich should be considered as potentially armed and dangerous and that he has made statements indicating he may be violent and suicidal.

The release states that as a condition of bond, Ullrich was required to wear a GPS ankle bracelet. On Thursday deputies in Clay County, where Ullrich had moved to, went to his residence to perform a welfare check and found he was not there. Deputies reportedly found the ankle bracelet lying beside a note that read, “I can’t do this anymore.”

The DA’s office filed a motion to revoke Ullrich’s bond and a warrant has been issued for his arrest. A hearing is scheduled in Maury County Circuit Court on May 4.

Ullrich has reportedly been known to visit the Dale Hollow Lake area and is also known to have stayed previously in Henry Horton and Fall Creek Falls state parks.

The release states that in a previous incident, Ullrich barricaded himself inside his home for hours when deputies attempted to serve an order of protection upon him.

Ullrich served as the first principal of Longview Elementary School in Spring Hill from 2007 until 2014, when he violated the district’s anti-harassment policy by making inappropriate comments to a staff member. He was suspended for three days without pay and was required to attend harassment/sensitivity training. He has also taught at Fairview Elementary School.

Anyone with information on Ullrich’s whereabouts is asked to contact the district attorney’s office Criminal Investigations Division at (931) 380-2356, ext. 109 or the Maury County Sheriff’s Deoartment at (931) 388-5151.

CSCC Lineman Rodeo (Press Release)

The Columbia State Community College Office of Workforce and Continuing Education recently hosted a Pre-Apprentice Lineworker Academy Mini-Rodeo that allowed students to demonstrate the skills they learned during the seven-week program. 


“I am so proud of this program and the participants,” said Melody Murphy, Columbia State Workforce and Continuing Education director. “They come here every day and work hard for seven weeks in order to gain valuable skills and credentials to set them up for an opportunity to join the electrical lineworker workforce. We are thankful to have this program, and we could not do it without the support of our area utilities and municipalities. I look forward to seeing this program continue to grow.”

Upon completion of the program, the students received a Tennessee Valley Public Power Association climbing certification, first aid and CPR certifications, 10-hour safety card and flagging certification. In addition, the students are prepared to sit for a commercial driver’s license.

During the mini-rodeo, students competed in different activities including the 80-foot pole climb, bell change and switch transfer. 

In the first activity, students climb up and down an 80-foot pole, which is a necessary part of the TVPPA Climbing Lab Certification. In this activity, Caleb Carter came in first place, Karson Hendon from Culleoka came in second place and Wayne Johnson came in third place.

The bell change and switch transfer are activities lineman would do in the field as a result of lightning, loose connections or replacement of aging materials to maintain electricity for those in the service area.

In the bell change, students climb a 40-foot pole and change out the bell that holds the line to the pole. In this activity, Caleb Carter came in first place, William Sparkman from McMinnville came in second place and Hayden Arnold came in third place.

In the switch transfer, students climb a 40-foot pole to change out the switch attached to the cross-arm of the pole. In this activity, Caleb Carter came in first place, Hayden Arnold came in second place and Noah Webb from Pleasant View came in third place.

In the overall rodeo, Caleb Carter came in first place, Hayden Arnold came in second place, and Wayne Johnson came in third place. 

In addition to his performance in the rodeo, Caleb Carter was presented with the Pre-Apprentice Lineworker Academy Outstanding Student Award.

The Pre-Apprentice Lineworker program is a result of communities from across Middle Tennessee coming together to fill a need in the workforce. 

For more information about the program, please visit Upcoming cohorts are scheduled for fall 2023. All individuals interested in the program should register through the link and it will place them on a contact list for future classes.

GM Paint Shop (CDH)

As the General Motors Assembly Plant in Spring Hill continues its multi-billion-dollar ramp-up to full-scale EV production, the latest innovation to come online at full capacity is its new paint shop.

Construction began during the pandemic, and the new facility opened with limited production in June 2022. It reached full capacity, running two shifts, earlier this month — 12 weeks ahead of schedule.

While there are some 38-40 employees per shift — all of the actual painting is done by robots.

At about 1.5 million square feet, the new shop is actually 250,000 square feet smaller than the original paint shop, but it has a much more efficient footprint utilizing three-and-a-half floors and technology that increases output, reduces the impact on the environment, and enhances employee satisfaction.

Nick Howell, GM's paint area manager, has worked in paint shops for 17 years and said this one is like no other.

"This shop offers among the best air-handling systems, the spray technology is best in class and the transfer efficiency is top notch," Howell said. "Any paint that doesn't stick to the car ends up as waste, so anything we can do to improve what's going on the car means less waste."

The new GM paint shop has the capacity to paint 600-800 cars per day. It runs on five "mods" or modular paint production lines, whereas the old facility was a two-booth shop with less capacity and functionality. The new setup allows for reduced color changing, which is another creator of waste.

"When you paint a red car followed by a white car, you have to clean out the paint lines and there's waste that goes into that," Howell said. "How nice would it be to put 10 red cars all on mod 2 and the white ones on mod 5, for example. That flexibility turns into throughput because now you are moving things in a much smoother capacity. We get more output out of this shop in terms of the flex and design of the process."

Among the colors used in the new paint shop are Summit White, Black Meet Kettle, Radiant Red, Sharkskin and Mary Kay Pink. Howell said his team will paint anywhere from 150-250 Cadillacs Mary Kay Pink in a year.

Aside from its enhanced abilities to make less of an impact on the environment, GM's new paint shop is also elevated to a level needed to paint world-class vehicles like the Cadillac LYRIQ, the first fully electric vehicle to come off the GM assembly line.

"Now our process aligns with the technology and design you see in these new EVs," Howell said.

Employees and others involved in the design, construction and functionality of the new paint shop are set to be celebrated at a special event to be held at the shop.

"To say we pulled this ahead (of schedule) 12 weeks under COVID conditions is certainly worthy of recognition to the team," Howell said. "The first shift has been running for nine weeks and we are building at 95% to 96% first-time quality. That is a testament to our partners in building the building and the launch team launching it."

Spring Hill GM's paint shop will continue to undergo expansion. While the facility will still operate out of the old and new buildings (with portions of the painting process still taking place in the original shop) a third building that is part of phase two of the expansion, will come out of the ground next door.

The phase two building will connect to the existing new paint shop and the original building will be gutted and revamped for body shop expansion beginning in June.

And it's all part of GM's ramp-up to full production of the LYRIQ and other soon-to-be-announced EVs. The LYRIQ launched in March 2022, but with very limited production. As the ancillary plants get upgrades like the paint shop, it enables GM to go into full production.

CSCC EMS Instructor Event (Press Release)

Columbia State Community College will host an Annual Tennessee Emergency Medical Services Instructor Update event that is approved by the Tennessee State EMS Office on May 12. 


“Until recently, EMS educators have only had a few options to obtain their annual instructor update required under Tennessee law,” said Greg Johnson, Columbia State program director and assistant professor of emergency medical services. “This offering gives a one-day option for our educators that may better fit their schedules. I am excited about the lineup of speakers at the conference. Each are respected in their field and promote excellence in EMS education.”

Through the efforts of Columbia State’s EMS Academy and the Workforce & Continuing Education Department, the Annual TN EMS Instructor Update event has been approved by the Tennessee State EMS Office to satisfy the TCA 1200-01-12 rules for renewal related to attendance at annual instructor updates or conferences and includes 8 contact hours. 

The event will be headlined by Heather Davis, director of student assessment at David Gefen School of Medicine at UCLA. Other notable speakers at the event include, but are not limited to, Steve Joiner, dean of Lipscomb University College Of Leadership And Public Service; Ginney Massey-Holt, Columbia State associate professor of nursing; Brandon Ward, state EMS director; Jay Burks, I/C training manager at Wayne County EMS; Randy White, program director at Middle Tennessee State University EMS education; Paul Pollack, EMS supervisor at WMC EMS; and Gregory S. Johnson, Columbia State program director and assistant professor of emergency medical services. 

The conference will take place at the Columbia Campus in the Cherry Theater from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. and will provide participants with 8 contact hours. Registration for the event is $125, with lunch provided at the event along with a reception the night before at the Hampton Inn in Spring Hill. The reception will be at 6 p.m. and offers attendees time to network while enjoying refreshments.

For more information, contact

MCDP Heritage Dinner (Press Release)

The Maury County Democratic Party (MCDP) and the UAW Local 1853 Community Action Program (CAP) will co-sponsor their 20th annual Heritage Dinner on Saturday, June 3, at the UAW Local 1853 Hall, 125 Stephen P. Yokich Parkway, Spring Hill. Doors will open at 6 p.m. for a social hour. Speeches and dinner will follow.

The MCDP will welcome speakers State Representative Justin Jones and Senator Heidi Campbell.

The Heritage Dinner is a fundraiser for the MCDP. Attendees will network with like-minded Democrats, enjoy music while mingling and dine together.

Tickets are available to anyone who wants to attend. The price is $40 for individuals, $75 for couples, or $300 for a table for eight. They can be purchased through the MCDP website, Tickets include beer, wine and a buffet dinner catered by Golden Weddings and Events. Local musician Michael Fair will perform.

Sheila Rodgers, MCDP member: “I attended the Heritage Dinner last year and enjoyed it so much I volunteered to help the Heritage Dinner Committee to plan it this year. It was refreshing to meet and talk with people who share my political views. The networking and informative speeches these dinners provide help strengthen and inspire us as a group.” About the Maury County Democratic Party: The Maury County Democratic Party is the local county affiliate of the Tennessee Democratic Party and represents the interests of tens of thousands of Democratic-leaning voters in the county.

Homestead Festival (Press Release)

The second annual Homestead Festival will be held June 2 & 3 in Columbia on Rory Feek’s farm.

Combining music and meaning, the two-day affair features musical performances, from Rory Feek, Collin Raye, Craig Campbell, and Paul Overstreet, as well as masterclass lectures by prominent homesteading community leaders such as Dr. Temple Grandin, Joel Salatin, Jill Winger, and many others.

Buy tickets at

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.

The Clifton and Lawrence Campuses are hosting a Charger Science Camp. Students will participate in a week of science exploration. Each day they will explore a different field of science with hands-on learning and fun. Activities to explore include orienteering, ecology, dissection, ubiquity, fermentation, microscopy, forensics, physiology, body systems, as well as wildlife/animal science, life science and soil science.

The Williamson and Lawrence Campuses are hosting a Raspberry Pi Makerspace camp. Campers will learn basics for code in Python and use LED lights, buttons, sensors and motors to complete exciting projects. Students do not need prior coding experience. This camp is designed for beginners, and Columbia State will provide all the necessary instruction and support. Over the course of the camp, campers will work in groups to learn basic skills and practices with the Raspberry Pi. The groups will then be tasked with building a project for showcase by the end of the camp. Students will learn valuable coding and circuit skills while having fun.

The Lewisburg and Williamson campuses are hosting a Battle Bots Robotics Camp. This is a four and a half day Youth Robotic Camp for middle school students. The primary goal is to promote excitement for science, technology, engineering and math. Goals of the camp are learning concepts of programming, engineering practices, and teamwork. LEGO Mindstorms EV3 Education Kits and program development environment will be used for hands-on building and programming activities. Participants will build several robots during the camp, modifying and programming one for a BattleBot competition. The first four days will be allocated to learning basic LEGO robot build techniques and programming commands for movement, turning, sensing and decision-making, along with combining the commands into sequences for solving problems. For the fifth day, participants will run a robot of their own design and build in the competition. Parents are encouraged to attend the competition on the final day.

Also hosted by the Williamson Campus is a From Script to Screen camp. This three-week conservatory camp will provide students with hands-on experience with professional film and video production equipment and processes. Topics will include pre-production process (writing, planning, etc.), the production process, (grip & electric, lighting, camera operation, sound, etc.) and post-production (media management, editing, color grading and delivery). In addition, the camp participants will produce, film and edit a 10-minute documentary on the first feature film to be produced in Tennessee. This year is the 100th anniversary of the first feature made in Tennessee, The Human Mill, which was filmed in Franklin. The camp will produce a documentary on the film, which will be shown at the Tennessee International Indie Film Festival in August of 2023.

For more information and to sign up, visit

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

Mrs. Bettye Jean Worley Malugin, 90, Key Punch Operator for CPS in Franklin, died Wednesday, April 26,2023 at Magnolia Healthcare. A graveside service for Mrs. Malugin will be conducted Tuesday at 2:00 P.M. at Pleasant Mount Cemetery. Oakes & Nichols Funeral Directors are assisting the family with arrangements.

Mr. Robert Seay Parks, 91, owner and operator of Parks Motor Sales, died Saturday, April 29, 2023, at his residence in Columbia. Private family grave and masonic services will be conducted at Neapolis Cemetery. A Celebration of Life will be held Friday from 5:00 P.M – 8:00 P.M. at Parks Motor Sales. Oakes & Nichols Funeral Directors are assisting the family with arrangements.

Mr. Jerry Lee Barber, 83, retired maintenance employee for DuPont in New Johnsonville for 36 years, died Saturday, April 29, 2023 at Life Care Center of Columbia from complication from Parkinson’s disease. A memorial service will be conducted Saturday at 2:00 P.M. at South Gate Church of Christ. The family will visit with friends Saturday from 12:00 P.M. until service time at the church. Burial will be in Swiss Cemetery in Hohenwald at a later date. Oakes & Nichols Funeral Directors are assisting the family with arrangements.

…And now, news from around the state…

Education Commissioner Stepping Down (Tennessean)

Tennessee Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn, who led the department through the COVID-19 pandemic and oversaw an overhaul of the state’s K-12 funding structure, announced Monday that she will leave the position on June 1. 

Schwinn, one of Gov. Bill Lee’s first-term cabinet appointments in 2019, led the state's education department through seismic changes, including school closures and learning loss brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, implementation of a controversial school voucher program, natural disasters like flooding and tornadoes that destroyed school facilities, and the overhaul of the state's education funding formula set to take effect in July. 

“My North Star is kids. It has been from day one and it will be for the rest of my career,” Schwinn told The Tennessean in an interview Monday morning. “Whether I'm driving down the road and see a kid in a car or at my kids soccer game or in a Kroger, I know that I'm personally responsible for that child's education and that I take that very seriously.”

Lizzette Gonzalez Reynolds, who currently serves as the vice president of policy at Florida-based ExCelinEd, will take Schwinn's place on July 1, Lee announced in a news release. Reynolds' career "reflects a deep commitment to school choice, assessment and accountability," the governor's office said.

"Lizzette's significant education policy experience and leadership make her well-suited to continue our work to deliver a high-quality education and expand school choice for Tennessee students," Lee said in a statement. "I welcome her to Tennessee and appreciate her service to students, families and teachers across the state."

ExCelinEd was founded by then-Florida Gov. Jeb Bush in 2008 and advocates for a wide range of student-centered policies, according to its website. Reynolds, a lifelong Texan, specializes in assessment, accountability and school choice. She previously worked as then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush's deputy legislative director. She also served as chief deputy commissioner for the Texas Education Agency — a role Schwinn took on in 2016 after Reynolds left.

Deputy Commissioner of Operations Sam Pearcy will serve as interim commissioner in June.

Final Story of the Day (Maury County Source)

The annual kick-off event for the Columbia Farmers’ Fresh Market will be on Saturday, May 6th. The kick-off this year features their Springtime Jamboree which includes music, free food, and fun activities for the entire family.

Columbia Farmers’ Fresh Market takes advantage of local farms and features vendors selling honey, jams, eggs, baked goods, cut flowers, locally raised meats and lots of other produce such as fruit and vegetables sold directly by the farmer.

They also have several artisans who produce items such as soaps, jewelry, woodworking, balms, salves, and skin care.

A family-friendly environment allows the community to come meet local farmers and makers.

The farmer’s market will open at Riverwalk Park in Columbia at 8:00 a.m. and the Springtime Jamboree will start around 10:00 a.m.


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