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Southern Middle Tennessee Today News for October 26, 2023


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


We start with local news…

Fire Alarm at Highschool (MauryCountySource)

Spring Hill Fire Department responded to a Commercial Fire Alarm on Wednesday at Longview Elementary School.

Information relayed to Williamson 9-1-1 indicated that school officials did not know the cause of the alarm and an evacuation was in progress. Fire Department units arrived to find that a full orderly evacuation had occurred and all students were accounted for by School Administration.

Crews investigated and determined that a smoke alarm had malfunctioned in HVAC ductwork. The entire building was walked by Fire Crews with no hazards being found. Students were re-admitted to the building within 30 minutes.


Wells Fargo Coming to Spring Hill (CDH)

Wells Fargo is seeking final site plan approval to construct a new Spring Hill bank as part of the city's Town Crossing multi-use development off Jim Warren Road.

The site plan application appeared on the Municipal Planning Commission's study session agenda Monday, which culminates the more than two-year process for approval. The final vote will be included in the board's November meeting, at which planning staff recommends approval.

If approved, the bank will include a 3,000-square foot building, as well as two ATM drive-thru lanes.

Preliminary plans were initially approved in June of 2021, but underwent a major modification in 2022 to be in accordance with the Town Crossing planning guidelines.

Spring Hill Development Director Peter Hughes said the modifications included changing the facility's color pallet. There are also ongoing discussions as to what percentage of the building would be glass, or if having too much would create a potential security risk, particularly to the rear of the building.

However, the final decision regarding any further design modifications would have to be approved by the planning commission.

"We can continue that conversation, and I don't think we would be against it, but I'm not the design review [board]. They are," Hughes said. "For the record, we had a previous request by a utility company who couldn't meet all of the design requirements in our downtown district. And for safety and security reasons, we made some modifications that allowed them to move forward with their project."

Commissioner Jonathan Duda expressed concerns regarding the facility's dumpster design, particularly if it would be durable to withstand multiple commercial use. Duda also requested an updated copy of the design "pattern book," which Hughes said he will try to secure prior to the planning commission's next meeting.

"I have emailed the master developer multiple times on previous things and am looking for a consolidated version," Hughes said. "I've been trying for several months to get an updated pattern book that has all of the previous modifications."

Tom Chapman of SG Design and lead architect on the project, said Wells Fargo typically does not produce waste in excess that would require multiple pickups each week.

"The preference is actually to not have a dumpster if they are not required to have one," Chapman said.

Wells Fargo also has a maintenance and property management team that inspects each site four times a year, which would replace any damaged property such as the dumpster.


Reserve at Spring Hill (WKOM Audio 2:45)

Yesterday, The Reserve at Spring Hill celebrated their fifth anniversary with a ribbon cutting ceremony. Front Porch Radio’s Mary Susan Kennedy attended the event and spoke to Executive Director Julie Beller…


The Drake (MSM)

A six-story, nearly 12,000 square-foot mixed-use building is set for construction in downtown Columbia, which would be located on the north side of East 7th Street from Woodland Street to Glade.

The Drake will house 278 residential units with additional retail-like space, coming in at a total of 10,000 to 12,000 square feet and a lot size of 2.57 acres.

Back in March, applicant Charles Carlisle with Bristol Development Group, which is located in Franklin, went before the Columbia Board of Zoning Appeals to request an exception to the amount of required commercial frontage.

According to the application, the 40-feet grade height difference at Woodland St and Glade St makes it challenging to provide retail or commercial use across 7th St.

“We have placed amenity uses that have the character of commercial space at every location where building finished floor elevation meets sidewalk elevation,” the application reads.

Among the amenities include a bike shop, music studio and art panels to enliven the street.

More than 80 percent of the frontage will appear on Woodland Street, which the application states has a much more pedestrian-friendly grade. The activation will include approximately 4,322 square feet of retail space and approximately 3,065 square feet of leasing reception and co-working space for residents of the multifamily building, according to the application.

To provide activation along East 7th Street to accommodate the grade change, a retail-like façade will be provided at a level one bike lounge as well as a music studio on basement level. Eighty percent of the frontage along Woodland Street will be used for commercial applications, with a portion being used as amenity space for residents.

“From the street it looks a lot like a coffee shop would look where you have tables where people come in and put their laptops down,” Carlisle said of the space. “It has an outdoor patio that wraps the corner of 7th and Woodland and that coworking space extends out onto that patio, so it would be a very lively space at all hours of the day because that space is open to residents 24/7.”

Carlisle said the project, which the city has already approved, would take a little over two years to build.

Construction for The Drake is set to begin at the end of the year or early 2024.

Mt. Pleasant Revitalization Plan (MSM)

The Mount Pleasant Commission met Tuesday, Oct. 17 to give an update on the city’s Downtown Revitalization Project, which is set to be rebid for a third time following a need to scale back on the project.

In 2018, the city was awarded $1.25 million in grant monies from TDOT (Tennessee Department of Transportation). Last year, the city was awarded an additional $1.8 million in funds from the state to complete Phase 2 of the project.

The project will include improvements spanning from the front of the Mount Pleasant Grille to Church Street on both sides of the street including the square in front of City Hall. Further changes will include upgrades to sidewalks, which would be added from 3rd Avenue to Gray Lane along North Main Street.

“We’re still moving forward as far as we’re concerned with this project,” Mount Pleasant City Manager Kate Collier said. “Our intention is to pull out the street lights and the light poles for the traffic signal. We can save over a half a million dollars by doing that,” Collier said, adding that the city will work with the power system to purchase the items separately.

“The City has now bid this project out twice and both times the bids are twice what is anticipated. The commission is aware that we plan on folding Phase 2 into Phase 1 and we will reapply again for Phase 2 next October.”

Additional projects in the works include replacing the bridge on North Main Street over Sugar Creek, which is planned to be bid in November and December. During construction, the state will close N. Main Street and direct traffic onto Highway 43, with signs at 1st Avenue suggesting to enter and exit to avoid the closure. The project is set to be completed in six months, with a targeted construction date of early next year.


Living on 6th To Open (MSM)

When two doors close, one opens.

At least that’s how it worked when Vintage 615 and Living 615 closed their doors in Spring Hill for the last time in September. Now, however, Chris and Margaret Ziegler have found a new home on East 6th Street in downtown Columbia to bring new life to their business, aptly named Living on 6th.

Hosting a soft opening last week, the store will officially hold its grand opening celebration on Oct. 28 at 113 E. 6th St. from open to close with live music and special events as well.

The Zieglers have already felt at home with the move to Columbia, despite only having been in town for a short time.

“It’s been so wonderful already to be in Columbia. The business community has been so inviting and people have been excited to have us here,” Chris said. “Before we opened, our old customers were chomping at the bit to see what we’ve done and new customers were walking past, looking in to see what we were doing.

“We’re so excited to be here.”

Moving into a new space is typically a challenge, but also exciting. Their new space has allowed for more furniture displays and staging, as well as the gift sections so beloved from the former Vintage 615 location.

“The building gives us so much more room to display – we have about double the space than before – and it’s not chopped up. That allows us to be more efficient and effective in those displays,” Chris said.

With that extra space comes extra inventory, and one of the ways the business plans to utilize that is by meeting different price points with its selection.

“We try to represent every price point, and everything we get has to have a certain style about it. We’re only going to bring in furniture that is nicely styled and fits today’s aesthetic and it also must meet our quality standards,” Chris said. “Almost all of our furniture is all wood; we refuse to sacrifice quality for price. We shop very hard at many different vendors to find furniture that meets those things.

“(In-house designer) Lisa Thompson is wonderful. She researches and studies the trends, and she is on point with styling – that’s where it starts.”

In addition to the space, the building’s aesthetic has helped foster a vibe of gathering and family.

“The building has a cool vibe, it’s not overpowering – it’s relaxing and charming. The vibe we want is to inspire people. We want people to feel like this is what their home could look like,” Chris said. “We want people to feel comfortable and that this is a safe and inviting place where you feel like family. Our staff makes that a priority.”

For folks looking to find the boutique-style clothing and other items you may have seen at Vintage 615, Margaret said to keep an eye out for social media posts where she’ll host flash sales online. Additionally, she plans to host sidewalk sales during local events, such as First Fridays and more.

The store is open at 10 a.m. Monday through Saturday and closes at 5 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, while staying open until 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights. Doors open at 1 p.m. on Sundays.


Mammograms Save Lives (Press Release)

Almost 17 years after beating breast cancer, Woodard Elementary School Principal Carol Ann Jent describes herself as a "thriving survivor."

The support she received from her family, school staff and students, and Maury Regional Health helped her make it through her battle — early detection was also key.

Jent was just 37 years old at the time of her diagnosis. She's stressing the importance of early detection and urging all women 40 years and older — or earlier for those with a family history of breast cancer or certain risk factors — to get their annual mammogram.

"You need to be an advocate for your own health," she said. "Do not miss your appointments — go get your mammograms and listen to your doctors. Early detection could save your life."

Maury Regional Health offers mammography services at FIVE locations throughout southern Middle Tennessee, including:

Maury Regional Women's Center | Columbia

Lewis Health Center | Hohenwald

Marshall Medical Center | Lewisburg

Wayne Medical Center | Waynesboro

Spring Hill Imaging Center | Spring Hill

Call 931.380.4044 today to schedule a mammogram at any of our convenient locations!

If you're preparing for your first mammogram and have questions about what to expect, we have you covered. Check out their latest HEALTHfeed blog at MauryRegional.com/HEALTHfeed.



CSCC Exhibition Opening (Press Release)

From November 6-December 20, the Pryor Art Gallery at Columbia State Community College will be hosting the exhibition “Native American and the West” featuring the pen and ink drawings of artist Bob Jones.

Bob Jones achieves a level of detail in his pen and ink drawings that boggles the mind. His passion for western art depicting Native Americans and cowboys goes back to second grade.

Jones attended Harris School of Advertising Art in Nashville which let to an illustrious career beginning in the 1960’s photographing and designing album covers for country music greats like Dolly Parton, Roy Orbison, Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash.

An artist, illustrator and photographer, Jones has many stories to share about his experiences in country music and his narratives of the West through pen and ink. Jones resides in Spring Hill.

Pryor Art Gallery on the Columbia Campus will feature an artist reception on Thursday, November 16 from 5-7pm. The reception is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.


MRMC Pill Disposal (Press Release)

Maury Regional Medical Center (MRMC) will again offer an opportunity to dispose of expired, unused or unneeded prescription drugs. The drug take-back event allows community members to dispose safely and anonymously.

The free drug take-back event will be held in front of the MRMC Medical Office Building at 1222 Trotwood Ave. in Columbia on Saturday, October 28, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. 

The event, which will feature a convenient drive-through disposal process, will be staffed by members of the MRMC security team. Staff members will receive items from drivers in their vehicles. The service is free and anonymous with no information required.

“We are pleased to offer our community members a convenient, anonymous way to safely dispose of unneeded medications,” MRMC Security Director Michael Johnson said. “We highly encourage all residents to take advantage of this opportunity to dispose medications.”

For multiple safety and health precautions, safely disposing of unused medications is extremely important. Medication should not be flushed down a toilet or tossed in the trash. In addition, medicines that are kept in home cabinets are susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health indicates that most misused and abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including medications taken from home medicine cabinets.

Only medications in pill or patch form should be brought to the upcoming event. The site cannot accept liquids, needles or sharps. Items should be in their original container, if possible.


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


Tyler Christopher Vaughn, 25, resident of Olive Hill, Tennessee, died Friday, October 20, 2023 at Jackson – Madison County Hospital. A graveside service for Tyler will be conducted Saturday, October 28, 2023 at 1:30 P.M. at Pisgah Cemetery in Hampshire. The family will visit with friends Saturday from 11:00 A.M. until 1:00 P.M. at Oakes & Nichols Funeral Home.

…And now, news from around the state…


House Speaker Finally Chosen (Tennessean)

After a turbulent 21 days without a U.S. House speaker, Tennessee Republicans united with the rest of the House GOP Conference to give Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., the speaker's gavel on Wednesday afternoon.

Johnson earned all 220 votes from House Republicans present, unifying the Republican conference for the first time since former Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., was ousted, and surpassing the 217 needed to win the speakership. House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., again earned unanimous support from the Democratic caucus.

The vote came hours after short-lived bids for the speakership from two Tennessee Republicans, U.S. Reps. Mark Green, R-Clarksville, and Chuck Fleischmann, R-Ooltewah, who both pledged support for Johnson after elimination from the race Tuesday evening.

The speaker’s chair has been empty for more than two weeks after eight Republicans, including U.S. Rep. Tim Burchett, R-Knoxville, voted to oust McCarthy. No foreign aid, including for Ukraine and Israel, or any other spending bills can move forward through the House until members elect a speaker. 

Rep. Andy Ogles, of our own 5th District stated, "Today, I voted to elect Congressman Mike Johnson of Louisiana as Speaker of the House of Representatives. I trust that Mike will be able to effectively lead our conference and get to work for the American People."


Franklin Mayor Reelected in a Landslide (TheNewsTN)

Incumbent Mayor Ken Moore won reelection in the Franklin mayoral race on Tuesday night, defeating Alderman Gabrielle Hanson in what was likely the most contentious election in the city’s history. 

Mayor Moore ran a safe campaign, allowing Hanson’s numerous controversies to take center stage as he focused on reiterating his status in the community. Moore did push back against Hanson toward the end of the race, however, ultimately widening his lead.

"Welcome to a great night for Franklin, Tennessee," State Rep. Sam Whitson said as he opened the victory party at the Harpeth Hotel.

As of election night, Moore held a substantial lead — 12,822 votes to 3,322 — over Hanson in the unofficial final vote tally, further widening his lead after the early and absentee votes put him ahead by nearly 7,000 votes. 

"Over 80 percent of the voters have spoken and said, 'this is our Franklin,'" Moore added during his victory speech.

"Yes, we're not going to tolerate divisiveness, hatred, Nazis. Franklin has rejected people who would abandon the work of so many people for the past 40 years. Franklin has rejected the untruths spoken about me and my supporters. Franklin has rejected the politics of divisiveness and destruction." 

"I think this means that the city and the county will continue to work together," Williamson County Mayor Rogers Anderson told The News. "The voters have spoken; they came out in record numbers, and I look forward to working with Ken over his term and finding some of the solutions to the problems that we have."

While Moore won in a landslide, he said that he is aware that the battle within the Franklin community may not be over.

"I don't think that the battle with some of these folks is over, I think we've started to win the battle even more," Moore told The News. "Whenever 80 percent of the city turns out and votes for me and what our board has been doing, it's a great sign, and it should send a message to those folks that want to tear down our city, and we're not going to tolerate it."

Final Story of the Day (Maury County Source)

Race fans who wonder what it’s like to be behind the wheel of a thundering stock car don’t have to wonder any more.

They have a chance to turn some laps around 1.3-mile Nashville Superspeedway in the Oct. 28-29 at the Rusty Wallace Racing Experience.

The rides, named in honor of retired NASCAR champion Rusty Wallace, are conducted at tracks across the country. There are seven different packages, ranging from three to 50 laps.

Helmets, uniforms and other gear are provided, and the rides are overseen by certified instructors. Late-season discounts are available, and enrollments are limited.

For detailed information or to enroll, visit racewithrusty.com or contact NSS at nashvillesuperspeedway.com.


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