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Southern Middle Tennessee Today News for October 11, 2023


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


We start with local news…

Parking Garage Renovation (CDH)

The downtown Columbia parking garage, located next to Columbia Police Department on North Main Street, is being prepped for renovations later this year.

Jon Morrison of Morrison Engineering presented the project to Columbia City Council earlier this month, which included details of its timeline and how the updates will improve the facility, which originally dates back to the 1830s.

"Our scope of work for this parking garage is basically a lot of waterproofing ... with a polyurethane traffic coating on approximately two-thirds of the garage, everything that is basically elevated," Morrison said. "It will create good traction for traffic going up the ramps and prevent any water intrusion. Underneath that coating we'll have to clear out any calking joints, since everything has deteriorated pretty far in the garage currently."

The contractor for the project is N&S Waterproofing, of which the $675,790 bid contract will appear as part of the council's consent agenda this week for approval.

The garage will also receive a heavy-duty pressure wash clean, as well as a new paint job and rejuvenating areas of the top level, which Morrison said has begun to "flake off" in parts due to moisture accumulation over the years.

"The brick, especially on the east side of the garage is flaking off on the surfaces, and we are losing horizontal bank joints," he said. "We'll have to replace those ... and after that repair is done, we'll come back with a waterproofing clear coat all over the brick surfaces to prevent moisture from coming in that way."

Steel surfaces, including drainpipes, fencing and other structural barriers will also be recoated to prevent further deterioration. Once the main bulk of the renovations are complete, the garage will then be restriped as it is today. The project is also estimated to add 7-10 years of life to the building, depending on its usage.

"As long as the police department and city employees aren't doing burnouts on the traffic coating, you should be able to exceed that timeline pretty easily, just based on how much I've seen the garage used, and it's not a heavy-trafficked area," Morrison said. "After that time, you would just have to put another topcoat over it to protect what's below, and you wouldn't have to go through this extensive repair and remediation again."

City Manager Tony Massey asked how long Morrison estimates the project would take to complete, at which he said 120 days, per the bid contract. However, if there are no weather delays it could be closer to 75-80 days. The goal, he said, is to start by Nov. 1.

"There is one small caveat to that, which in the state of Tennessee there is a document about how many weather delays you might anticipate in a certain month, and we are getting into the months that have a lot of weather delays," Morrison said. "Between the beginning of November and the end of February, there are 51 anticipated weather delays, and so 75 days and 51 weather delay days puts us at over the 120-day project goal."

One of the main concerns expressed by council members was how the project would affect city employees who utilize the parking garage, police vehicles and other downtown drivers.

Morrison said the parking garage will have to be shut down during the project's duration, primarily due to access needed by workers, as well as safety.

"We need to get everybody and everything out of the parking garage so we can push through to get this completed," Morrison said. "Along with that, a plan is being developed to commandeer the parking lot between the garage and City Hall. It also gives our workers the ability to store dumpsters and try and keep the area clean."

Massey added that CPD will still utilize the garage as needed, as well as those with parking stall leases using the 17 spots located on the first floor.

"Public works is going to stripe the old parking lot on East 6th Street across from the Fuzzy Duck, and that will pick up about 30 spaces for city employees to park," Massey said.

"The police department is also going to install a 'guard shack' at the entrance to the garage, and our parking attendants will be regulating anyone coming in and out to make sure it's folks that we designate it for. But due to those 69 parking spaces being temporarily not available, we're going to relax the three-hour enforcement downtown during the duration of this project. So, folks can still park downtown without worrying about getting a ticket."


Artists Wanted (Press Release)

The City of Columbia is inviting professional artists to submit their qualifications for the creation of public sculpture installations to be permanently displayed outdoors in the Columbia Arts District and in historic downtown Columbia, Tennessee.

These public sculptures serve to inspire further development of the arts, culture, and tourism in Columbia.

Copies of the solicitation (#999-1023-28) are available at 700 North Garden St, Columbia TN 38401 or by contacting the purchasing agent at 931-560-1580.

Sealed qualifications are due no later than 2:00 PM CT, Monday, November 6, 2023.


Fire Safety Day (Press Release)

Join Columbia Fire & Rescue for Fire Safety Day this Friday!

It’s taking place on Oct. 13 from 1-5PM at the Firefighters Park – 1000 S. Garden Street in Columbia, TN!

There will be free popcorn, fire truck tours, fire extinguisher training and more!


Amis Joins MRMC Lewisburg (Press Release)

 Madalyn Gold Amis, FNP-C, a specialist in family medicine, has joined the staff at Maury Regional Medical Group’s Lewisburg Family Practice.

 Amis received her master’s and bachelor’s degrees in nursing from Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. In both programs, she graduated at the top of her class. Prior to joining Lewisburg Family Practice, Amis worked as a registered nurse for five years. She has cared for patients of all ages and conditions, with extensive experience caring for children with complex medical needs. 

 The Lewisburg native says she is excited to join Lewisburg Family Practice and care for patients in her hometown.

 Lewisburg Family Practice is a full-service family medicine practice that offers wellness exams, chronic disease management and care for injuries and illnesses. The practice offers both walk-in care and scheduled appointments.

 At Lewisburg Family Practice, Amis joins Dr. Kanthi Narra, MD, MPH; Dr. Timothy Nash, MD; Dr. Charles Cantieri, DO; Family Nurse Practitioners Jessica Boshers, FNP-BC; Mason Douglas, FNP-C and Brandy Miller, FNP-C; and Physician’s Assistant Sarah Kersey, PA-C.

 Lewisburg Family Practice is located at 1090 N. Ellington Parkway, Suite 102, in Lewisburg. Hours are Monday–Friday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. For more information, call 931.359.0019 or visit MauryRegional.com/LewisburgFamily.


Maury County Tourism (Press Release)

Tourism is the second largest industry in Tennessee and proves to be a significant economic driver, according to the newly released data from Tennessee Economics. Tourism spending in Maury County has increased all across the board with visitor spending trends being up 16% from $109.6M in 2021 to 126.8M in 2022. Tourism activities in Maury County supported an impressive $220.2 million in business sales in 2022. The increase in tourism spending not only contributes to the county's economic growth but also underscores the importance of the tourism sector as a key driver of prosperity for the local community.


Mayor Chaz Molder stated, “I am so pleased, but not surprised, to see visitor spending trends and tourism activity with yet another year over year increase in Maury County. We know that Columbia plays a key role in the success of these numbers for Maury County, which brings in much needed revenue to our city and to our county as a whole. We all have a role to play in promoting all of the good things that occur in Maury County, and we are doing our part to do just that here in Columbia.”


The tourism and hospitality sector contribute to a diverse and robust job market. 1.5% of jobs in Maury County are directly sustained by visitor spending; this highlights the employment opportunities that the tourism and hospitality sector create for residents. Additionally, Visitors to Maury County also directly contributed $12.8 million in state and local taxes. This translates to approximately $331 in tax savings for every household in the county. These tax revenues support vital community services, infrastructure development, and local initiatives, ultimately benefiting all residents.


Tennessee tourism generated $29 billion in indirect visitor spending and saw 141 million visitors in 2022. The latest figures reveal that tourism-related activities have had a substantial impact on the county's economy, benefitting local businesses, job growth, and tax revenues.


These numbers not only emphasize the economic significance of tourism and hospitality in Maury County but also underline its role in improving the quality of life for its residents. The positive impacts extend beyond economic benefits to include the preservation of cultural heritage, promotion of local businesses, and enhancement of the overall community experience.


For more information on Tennessee Tourism Economic Impact, visit https://www.tn.gov/tourism/news/2023/9/15/tennessee-tourism-thrives-141-million-visitors-spent-a-record--29-billion-in-2022.html.


Reagan Day Dinner (Press Release)

Join the Maury County Republican Party for their annual Reagan Day Dinner, which will take place October 14th at 5:30pm at the Ridley 4-H Center, located at 850 Lion Parkway in Columbia. This year’s keynote speakers are Congressman Wesley Hunt of the 38th District of Texas and Andy Ogles of Tennessee’s 5th Congressional District.

Learn more and buy tickets at www.maurytngop.com.


CSCC Offers STEM Workshop for Kids (Press Release)

Columbia State Community College will host the STEM Within Reach event, an effort to promote and encourage young people’s knowledge and access to science, technology, engineering and math careers, on October 21 at the Columbia Campus.

“STEM Within Reach is a wonderful outreach event in our nine-county service region,” said Ryan Badeau, Columbia State educational services coordinator for the Williamson Campus and associate professor of physics. “This one-day program is a fast-paced and exciting showcase of STEM fields and career opportunities for sixth to eighth grade students who may not be aware of such trajectories. Columbia State is interested in attracting the next generation of scientists, engineers, computer programmers and doctors. The possibilities are endless when young minds are introduced to various STEM concepts and innovations.”

STEM Within Reach is a one-day STEM forum open to all 6th, 7th and 8th graders that will offer interactive, hands-on activities as well as encourage early student success in STEM, provide awareness of STEM careers available in Tennessee and promote the scientific and technological understanding of such fields.

The workshops at STEM Within Reach are designed to teach middle school students about the different opportunities in STEM-related careers as they begin to think about their futures. Stations will be set up around campus for the students to observe and participate while Columbia State faculty and guest presenters guide them through an interactive hands-on experience. Topics include animal science, astronomy, biology, chemistry, engineering, math, technology and more.

“From anatomical dissections to nitrogen chambers, young participants will exist in a safe environment to think outside the box and perhaps step out of their comfort zone to experience new ideas and learn more about their interests and passions within the world of STEM,” said Andrew Wright, Columbia State assistant vice president of faculty, curriculum and programs. “Event participants will also meet and interact with external professionals from companies such as UltiumCells, General Motors, Landmark Ceramics, Boeing and more.”

Parents and teachers are also invited to stay and attend the adult session, which will provide insight on how to encourage and guide young students in STEM classes and careers. STEM Within Reach will demonstrate to parents how their children can have rewarding and high-paying careers in a variety of STEM fields.

The event will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m at the Waymon L. Hickman building on the Columbia Campus. There is a $40 registration fee, with limited financial assistance opportunities available via the scholarship application made possible thanks to lead sponsor, the Tennessee Valley Authority. Seating is limited.

For more information or to register, visit www.ColumbiaState.edu/STEM-Within-Reach.


Duck River Symposium (MSM)

During the month of October, the Maury County Public Library will host a symposium on different aspects of the Duck River.

The Duck River’s 284 miles flow through seven Middle Tennessee counties and it is the longest river in the United States that is contained entirely in one state. National Geographic has stated that the Duck River is one of the most biodiverse rivers in the world. Fifty species of freshwater mussels and 151 different fish species make the Duck River their home.

On Oct. 17 at 6 p.m., Doug Murphy, Executive Director of Duck River Agency, and Jonathan Hardin, interim president and CEO of Columbia Power & Water Systems, will discuss water conservation as it relates to Maury and neighboring counties.

Amanda Rosenberger, PhD, will be speaking about the variety of freshwater life in the Duck River at 6 p.m. on Oct. 24.

There will also be a display featuring different aspects of the river. TWRA has made fishing equipment sets available to those 16 and under. A door prize of a float trip on the Duck will be drawn at each program.


Farmland Legacy Workshop (Press Release)

The South-Central Extension Team will be conducting a Farmland Legacy Workshop. The two-night workshop will be held October 17th and October 19th from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. at the Southern Tennessee Higher Education Center Columbia State Community College 169 Southern Tennessee Lane Lawrenceburg, TN.

Farmland Legacy workshops are designed primarily to assist farm families with estate planning, to provide for an orderly succession of farm properties, and maintain family farms for future generations. However, the classes are open to anyone interested in estate planning. Qualified experts including estate planning attorneys, Extension Specialists, and other professionals will conduct the workshop.

The cost for the program is $25 per person or $40 per couple and meals will be provided both nights. Participants will also receive a workbook and publications to help them get started in estate planning.

For more information and to register, contact the UT Extension office at (931) 762-5506 or visit tiny.utk.edu/FarmlandLegacyWorkshop.


Women in Ag Conference (Press Release)

The South Central Extension Team will be hosting a Women in Ag Conference on October 14 at the Middle Tennessee Research and Education Center in Spring Hill, TN. The event will feature livestock and horticulture tracts as well as several general sessions. A catered meal will be provided to those who register by October 5th.

The fee for the conference is $30. If there is an issue with payment or someone would like to pay in person, please contact Amanda Mathenia at the Perry County Extension Office, amatheni@utk.edu or Direct Dial (931) 589-6785

Registration Link: tiny.utk.edu/cultivate2023


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

Mr. William Edward Harris, 85, retired employee of Monsanto Chemical Company, Solutia, and resident of Columbia, died Saturday, October 7, 2023, at Maury Regional Medical Center.  A graveside service for Mr. Harris will be conducted Thursday at 2:30 P.M. at Polk Memorial Gardens. The family will visit with friends Thursday from 12:00 P.M. until 2:00 P.M. at Oakes & Nichols Funeral Home.


…And now, news from around the state…

TN Congressional Delegation Call for Aid to Israel (Tennessean)

Republicans in Tennessee’s Congressional delegation are calling for the Biden Administration to “act swiftly and strongly” to provide weapons and aid to Israel as it defends against an unprecedented deadly attack from Hamas over the weekend. 

Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, a U.S. State Department-designated terror organization, launched its surprise attack on Israel Saturday, killing nearly 1,200 Israelis and wounding more than 2,000. Videos posted online of the violence depict civilian women and children dragged by their hair into cars, bodies of victims killed at a rave in southern Israel, and at bus stops, and a holocaust survivor being taken hostage. At least eleven Americans were killed in the attacks, according to a statement from the White House on Monday, and more may be hostages. 

Israel formally declared war on Hamas Sunday, countering with a deadly bombing campaign, which has killed more than 500 civilians in Gaza, including many children.

Hamas claims it has taken more than 100 hostages, including some Israeli army personnel. On Monday, the group announced that it would begin killing hostages one-by-one, on live broadcast, whenever Israeli strikes hit Gaza civilians without warning. 

Led by U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn, nine of the 10 Republicans in Tennessee’s delegation sent a letter to President Joe Biden on Sunday, calling for the U.S. to provide weapons to Israel as it engages in self-defense. 

“We urge this administration to support Israel however possible, including by providing any and all weapons and munitions necessary, and to punish the terrorists who did this, along with those who aid them,” the delegation wrote. 

Co-signers of the bill include U.S. Sen. Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn., and U.S. Reps. Diana Harshbarger, Tim Burchett, Chuck Fleischmann, Scott DesJarlais, Andy Ogles, John Rose, and Mark Green, all Tennessee Republicans.

U.S. Rep. David Kustoff, R-Germantown, and U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Memphis, did not sign the letter. Cohen, who serves as dean of the Tennessee U.S. House delegation, told The Tennessean that he was never asked to sign on to the letter and had not seen a copy before it was released.

In a statement Saturday, he denounced the attack.

"The footage coming out of #Israel is abhorrent. It is undeniable that Hamas is engaged in terrorism—they are kidnapping and murdering civilians," Cohen shared in a tweet. "Israel’s enemies should know that America’s support for the Jewish people is unwavering. We will support our allies, now and always."

In the letter Sunday, members assigned blame to the Biden Administration for helping to fund the Hamas attack on Israel — a close ally of the United States in the Middle East. 

Last month, the United States approved the release of $6 billion in sanctioned funds to Iran amid negotiations over a U.S.-Iran prisoner swap, meant to be spent on humanitarian efforts. A spokesman for Hamas’ military wing has said that the group received both weapons and financial support from Iran for the surprise attacks. Some reports have also indicated that military equipment and arms left behind during the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan are now in Gaza under Hamas control. 

Blackburn and others in the delegation have called for the U.S. to freeze the $6 billion in sanctions relief. 

“The failures of this administration on the world stage have no doubt emboldened those who would wish America and our allies harm,” the delegation wrote. “The world needs American leadership, and this administration has left a void that the New Axis of Evil and terrorist groups like Hamas have already begun exploiting.” 

The State Department has condemned the attack, will provide munitions to Israel and ordered U.S. military ships and aircraft closer to Israel as a show of support. The U.S. contributes about $3 billion in military aid to Israel every year. 

“There is never any justification for terrorism. We stand in solidarity with the government and people of Israel and extend our condolences for the Israeli lives lost in these attacks,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement on Saturday. “The United States supports Israel’s right to defend itself.”

Delegation members are offering aid to any Tennesseans seeking assistance with the U.S. Embassy in Israel.  


Final Story of the Day (Maury County Source)

The Powerball jackpot is left unclaimed once again after Monday night's drawing and has now hit the second-highest lottery jackpot in history.

Monday night's drawing for $1.55 billion with an estimated cash value of $679.8 million came and went with still no winner, pushing the jackpot to an estimated $1.73 billion. Making it the second-largest jackpot in lottery history just behind the $2.04 billion ticket sold in California in November 2022.

The last Powerball jackpot winner was in July and hit for $1.08 billion.

The next drawing for the Powerball jackpot is Wednesday, Oct. 11.


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