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Southern Middle Tennessee Today News for October 31, 2023


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


We start with local news…

Shooter Arrested (TheNewsTN)

The Spring Hill Police Department has made an arrest following a shooting incident on Sunday, Oct. 22, when two homes on Ruben Road were hit by bullets.

SHPD said on Wednesday several people met on the street for "an illicit purpose," when the meeting escalated and one person shot at the others, which is when the homes were hit. On Friday, the department announced it had made an arrest of 19-year-old Simon Tanner, of Franklin. He was charged with two counts of reckless endangerment for firing a weapon into a habitation.

Police said detectives are working with the 22nd District Attorney General’s Office and more charges may be found in their review of the case.

In a Facebook post around 5 p.m. on Sunday, the department said both homes were occupied at the time of the shooting, but there were no injuries. When officers arrived, the suspects had left the area. At 7 p.m., SHPD reported there was no danger to the public and that they were following leads.

The department said witnesses saw a black Jeep Wrangler leave the scene after hearing gunfire. In early information, they described the possible suspect as a Black male with dreads wearing tan shorts and a tank top. That description does not fit Tanner. There was no other information released until Wednesday when the department said they had been able to identify and speak to some of the people involved.

Tanner was booked into the Maury County Detention Center on Thursday, Oct. 26. The Maury County Sheriff's Office confirmed on Friday, Oct. 27 he had made bond at $100,000.


GM Reaches Tentative Agreement (CDH)

United Auto Workers President Shawn Fain announced Monday a new contract between autoworkers and GM and suspended the stand-up strike in effect for the big three auto makers.

Two days after workers at GM's largest assembly plant in Spring Hill walked out on strike, word came that the UAW and the auto manufacturer had come to a tentative agreement.

"Your bargaining committee worked hard through the night and early this morning and reached a tentative agreement with GM. Once again, we have several astonishing victories," Fain said in a video statement released on social media at 3:42 p.m. Monday.

A walk-out at the Tennessee plant was long-anticipated from the start of the "Stand up Strike" on Sept. 15.

UAW reached a tentative agreement with Ford on Wednesday and another with Stellantis on Saturday. Both agreements tout drastically increased wages for full-time and temporary workers and the return of cost of living adjustments among other sticking points.

Right now, the future of our industry is being defined," Fain said. "I don't care if you build combustion engines or electric vehicle batteries, these workers make these vehicles and this company run."

Monday, Fain called the tentative agreement with GM a "stunning" victory rivaling the sit-down strikes of the 1930s.

"We were relentless in our fight to win a record contract, and that is exactly what we accomplished," Fain said.

If ratified, Fain said GM salaried workers will be given a 25% general wage increases for the first time in history in addition to a cost of living increase.

Fain said the next step is for UAW national and GM council members to vote Nov. 3 to send the agreement to membership.

"This will be the most lucrative contract for salaried GM workers in their history," Fain said. "For our hourly workers, it's the same story."

The starting wage for new GM workers will increase 70% from $18 per hour to over $30, Fain said. The top wage will increase 33%.

President Joe Biden said the landmark agreement rewards autoworkers for their sacrifice.

"I applaud the UAW and General Motors for coming together after hard fought, good faith negotiations to reach a historic agreement to provide workers with the pay, benefits, and respect they deserve. With this landmark agreement with GM, the UAW has now reached historic tentative agreements with all of the Big Three American automakers," Biden said in a statement

"This historic tentative agreement rewards the autoworkers who have sacrificed so much with the record raises, more paid leave, greater retirement security, and more rights and respect at work. I want to applaud the UAW and GM for agreeing to immediately bring back all of the GM workers who have been walking the picket line on behalf of their UAW brothers and sisters.

"This historic contract is a testament to the power of unions and collective bargaining to build strong middle-class jobs while helping our most iconic American companies thrive. The final word on these tentative agreements will ultimately come from UAW members themselves in the days and weeks to come."

Fain started the long-term nationwide strike with a routine address each Friday on Facebook, updating union members about negotiations and calling on more facilities to walk out.

Then a couple weeks ago Fain threw a curveball calling for a Kentucky plant to walk-out in the middle of the week. Spring Hill was the next curveball.

Tim Smith, UAW Region 8 director, believes Spring Hill's walkout was the key that forced GM's hand, and called the agreement "historical."

Fain said information will be sent to workers on strike for a return-to-work plan.


Home Prices (CDH)

Newly released data from Realtracs.com for September shows that the median home price in Maury County is $421,990, according to a report by the Southern Middle Tennessee Realtors Association.

Closings were up 7% in September compared to August in the Southern Middle Tennessee region. The median sale price for the region was $374,900 in September, according to Realtracs.com.

Comparatively, July showed that potential buyers and sellers in Maury County saw houses sell for a median price of $364,900, an additional analysis of data from (separate site) Realtor.com shows. In July median prices were up 4.3% compared to June, according to realtor.com.

Realtor.com sources sales data from real estate deeds, resulting in a few months' delay in up-to-date data. The statistics don't include homes currently listed for sale, and aren't directly comparable to listings data.

Condominiums and townhomes increased by 11.4% in sales price this July to a median of $362,450 from $325,250 in June. Compared to July 2022, the sale price of condominiums and townhomes was slightly up from $349,000. Four homes sold for $1 million or more during the month, compared to zero recorded transactions of at least $1 million in July 2022.


Spring Hill PD Announces Promotions (MauryCountySource)

The Spring Hill Police Department is proud to announce the promotion of nine SHPD officers: one to the rank of captain, three to the rank of lieutenant, four to the rank of sergeant, and one to the rank of detective.

The Department congratulates each of these officers on their hard work and dedication.

Captain Justin Whitwell is a 19-year veteran of the SHPD. He will be assigned to lead the Field Operations Division.

Lieutenant Tommy Barber is an 18-year veteran of the SHPD. He will be assigned to lead the D patrol shift.

Lieutenant Geoff Betts is a 17-year veteran of the SHPD. He will be assigned to lead the B patrol shift.

Lieutenant Chad Estes is a four-year veteran of the SHPD. He will be assigned to lead the C patrol shift.

Sergeant Curtis Floyd is a six-year veteran of the SHPD. He will be assigned to the Support Services Division.

Sergeant Meaghan O’Leary is a six-year veteran of the SHPD. She will be assigned to the Field Operations Division.

Sergeant Lee Colvett is a two-year veteran of the SHPD. He will be assigned to the Field Operations Division.

Sergeant Daniel Willis is a two-year veteran of the SHPD. He will be assigned to the Field Operations Division.

Detective Jonathan Tiller is a two-year veteran of the SHPD. He will be assigned to the Criminal Investigations Division.

These promotions became effective October 30th to fill vacancies across all three Department divisions.


Maury Alliance Marketing Talk (Press Release)

Join Maury Alliance for their upcoming “Real Talk,” their new Retail Workshop Series tailored to address the unique challenges faced by small businesses. They will host quarterly interactive sessions led by industry experts on topics that are specifically relevant to retailers in Maury County.


Join them at the Factory at Columbia on Wednesday, November 1st at 8am for our first Real Talk Session, "Marketing the Charm of Your Business" with Bernard Porter, owner of PCG Digital Media. Following Porter's presentation, Galen Longo will provide an overview of the free resources available through the Tennessee Small Business Development Center. Refreshments will be provided. The program is free and open to the public.


Firefighter of the Year (MauryCountySource)

The Firefighter of the Year Award is presented by Columbia Fire & Rescue and Columbia’s Noon Rotary to the firefighter who has put forth the highest degree of effort dedicated to suppression, prevention, training, and emergency medical services.

Columbia Fire and Recue is proud to recognize this year’s Firefighter of the Year: Captain Will Craft!

He has been instrumental in developing Columbia Fire & Rescue’s new Recruit Training Academy and consistently goes above and beyond for his department, his crew and his community.


Spring Hill Memorial Veterans’ Program (Press Release)

Spring Hill Memorial Funeral Home is hosting a Veterans Memorial Service, which will be held at 2:00 PM Sunday, November 12, 2023 at Spring Hill Memorial Park, Funeral Home and Cremation Services, 5239 Main Street, Spring Hill, Tennessee 37174.

The keynote speaker will be Lt. Col. Jeff King. Special music will be provided and veterans will be honored!


OB-GYN Services at MRMC (Press Release)

Maury Regional Medical Group (MRMG) hosted a ribbon cutting Friday, Oct. 27, in partnership with Maury Alliance at its new obstetrics and gynecology (OB-GYN) practice location adjacent to Maury Regional Medical Center (MRMC).

 MRMG OB-GYN is now located on the entire fourth floor of the Maury Regional Medical Office Building and features a modern design as well as additional services.

“The state-of-the-art space perfectly complements the exceptional care we offer to women at all phases of their lives,” said Maury Regional Health CEO Martin Chaney, MD. “It’s a beautiful practice and the additional square footage will allow us to grow while continuing to focus on providing compassionate, quality care to our community.”

The practice doubled in size after moving to the fourth floor of the medical office building from the sixth, now with more than 12,000 square feet of space. Each physician has a dedicated pod of exam rooms for their patients and the number of rooms in the new space increased from 15 to 26. Additional features include a larger waiting area, two ultrasound rooms (up from only one) and two prenatal non-stress test rooms, which are new to the practice.

“Moving to the fourth floor has given us a chance to expand our services with a much larger space, most notably the addition of our two non-stress test screening rooms,” said MRMG President Nathan Miller, PT, MMHC. “In addition to expanding our physical space, we have continued to recruit physicians as more women choose Maury Regional Health for their care. In fact, a record 185 babies were delivered at Maury Regional in August.”

MRMG OB-GYN now has eight specialists who provide a range of services for women, including pregnancy and childbirth, gynecology, minimally invasive surgeries and general well-woman care. The care team includes Dr.’s Nicole Falls, MD; Liane Gozmao, MD; Taylor Masters, MD; Michael Pelletier, MD; and Andres Rodriguez, MD; as well as Nurse Practitioners Brittany Legg, FNP-BC; Leslie McBroom, FNP-BC; and Jill McDonald, FNP-BC.

MRMG OB-GYN hours are Monday-Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Friday from 8:30 a.m. to noon. The practice is located at 1222 Trotwood Avenue in Columbia on the fourth floor.

For a complete list of services and more information, or to schedule an appointment or refer a patient, call 931.490.1295 or visit MauryRegional.com/OB-GYN.


Col. Stovall Featured Speaker at Annual Event (MSM)

Larry Stovall, a retired colonel in the U.S. Army, will be the featured speaker at the Nov. 5, 2023 Veterans Tribute at First United Methodist Church’s sanctuary, at 222 West 7th Street, Columbia, at 6 p.m.

Stovall served as Infantry Platoon Leader and Rifle Company Commander in the American Division in Vietnam and

served as principal instructor in the Weapons Department at the U.S. Army Infantry School.

Stovall was promoted to the rank of colonel and commanded the 401st Military Police Camp (Prisoner of War) in Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm.

Plan to attend on Nov. 5 to hear about Col. Stovall’s military experiences during his 31-year career in the Army.


Polks At Preservation Park Unveiling (Press Release)

The City of Columbia, in collaboration with Maury County Government, invites the community to the grand unveiling of "The Polks at Preservation Park." This event will take place on Friday, November 3, 2023, at 4:00 PM, in Columbia, TN. The unveiling ceremony includes remarks from City of Columbia and Maury County Government elected officials. The central focus of the park are life-size bronze statues of President James K. Polk and First Lady Sarah Polk, symbolizing the importance of President Polk's legacy and the rich history of Columbia. "The Polks at Preservation Park" is strategically located directly across the street from the James K. Polk Home & Museum, offering a unique opportunity for historical reflection and a place for the community to gather.


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.


Spring Hill Passport (Press Release)

On Monday, October 16, 2023, the Spring Hill Chamber launched its 2023 Think, Shop, Explore Local Passport presented by Groove Life, encouraging residents to explore the local community and its businesses through November 17, 2023.


Residents who collect at least 15 stickers from participating businesses will have a chance to win a grand prize featuring gifts from local businesses worth thousands of dollars.


"Empowering our community with a local passport program is not just about promoting business; it's about promoting community pride through local discovery," said Rebecca Melton, executive director of the Spring Hill Chamber of Commerce. "With the opportunity to win a generous grand prize from some of our local businesses, the passport program offers an exciting way for residents to explore the community's assets and make new connections."


Passports are available at all participating businesses and the Spring Hill Welcome Center located at 5326 Main Street, Suite G in Spring Hill. The Welcome Center will also serve as the official drop-off location for all completed passports. A list of business addresses, a map with directions, grand prize details, and passport rules can be found at springhillchamber.com/passport.


The local passport includes thirty-three stops, encompassing various local business types and community photo opportunities.


This year's community photo opportunities include Spring Hill Public Library, Walnut Street Skate Park, and Cannon Hill. Participants can take photos at these locations and share them on Instagram or Facebook using the hashtag #SHPassport23 or complete the entire passport to earn extra entries in the grand prize drawing.


Duck River Jam (Press Release)

Duck River Jam, a community event intended to raise awareness and funds to fight a proposed landfill along the Duck River, will take place at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 5, at Cherry Theater at Columbia State Community College.

 

The event, which will feature performances by local musicians as well as a silent auction, is being organized by the concerned citizens' group Protect the Duck River. 

 

The group has advocated against plans by Louisiana-based Trinity Business Group to build a 1,300-acre trash disposal complex as close as 1,000 feet from the Duck River at a former Monsanto phosphate processing site in Maury County. The property contains multiple Superfund sites and is mandated for EPA rehabilitation because of hazardous waste contamination. 

 

Protect the Duck River was previously involved in successful efforts to convince state lawmakers to pass legislation designating that segment of the Duck River as a Class II scenic river. In April, Gov. Bill Lee signed the new law requiring certain water resource projects to be permitted.

 

Trinity Group filed a lawsuit in May appealing the Maury-Marshall Solid Waste Regional Planning Board's rejection of its landfill application. Funds raised at the Duck River Jam will help defray legal fees for opponents of that appeal. 

 

"The Duck River is the most biologically diverse river in North America as well as the source of drinking water for more than 300,000 people in this community," said Columbia Mayor Chaz Molder. "The Duck River Jam is an opportunity for Middle Tennessee residents to support this precious, fragile resource while enjoying a great day of music and fun." 

 

For more information about Duck River Jam or to purchase tickets, please visit duckriverjam.com.



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

James Albert “Jim” Taylor, 76, retired educator Columbia resident, died Thursday, October 26, 2023 at Maury Regional Medical Center.

Funeral services for Mr. Taylor will be conducted Thursday, November 2, 2023, at 2:00 P.M. at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church. Burial will follow in St. John’s Churchyard. The family will visit with friends Wednesday from 5:00 P.M. –7:00 P.M. at Oakes & Nichols Funeral Home and Thursday from 12:30 P.M. –2:00 P.M in the Parish Hall of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church. 


…And now, news from around the state…

Nashville Ranked Worst Commute City (WSMV.com)

The woes of traffic congestion are all too familiar for Nashvillians who spend hours on the roads just trying to make it to and from work.

But is the commute really that much worse than other cities? A recent study conducted by Forbes Home analyzed the top 25 U.S. cities with the worst commutes and determined the commute for most Nashvillians is the worst in the country.

Researchers gathered several metrics from the 2021 U.S. Census, as well as WalkScore.com, to determine which cities have the hardest commutes. Those metrics included things like the average time spent commuting to work, access to public transit, walkability and the percentage of workers in each household without a car.

In Nashville, residents have an average commute time of 28.6 minutes to work each day, which is similar to other cities in the top 10 like Charlotte, North Carolina; Dallas, Texas; and even Los Angeles, California, where the average commute is 32.30 minutes.

Residents in other notoriously traffic congested cities like New York City have an average commute time of 43 minutes, and in Washington, D.C., it can take residents up to 37.20 minutes to get to work, according to the study.

However, the walkability and access to public transport is much higher in those areas. Nashville has a walk score of 28.8, a transit score of 21.7 and a bike score of 29.7 — all out of 100. While New York City, for example, has a walk score of 88 and a transit score of 89.

Even places like Dallas have a higher walk score at 46 and a transit score of 39. Because of this, more people in Nashville rely on cars to get to work. According to the study, the city has 452,194 workers with only 2.6% of households that do not have access to a car.

All that traffic led to commuters in Nashville losing an estimated 41 hours in congestion in 2022. Behind Nashville, the top five cities with the hardest commutes were Charlotte, North Carolina; Jacksonville, Florida; Houston, Texas; and Washington, D.C.

The city also ranks relatively high on a global scale. Compared to the over 10,000 cities across the globe, Nashville is ranked as the 131st most congested city in the world, according to Inrix, a traffic data company.

At the start of this year, multiple studies from state and city departments warned that unless changes are made to Tennessee infrastructure, congestion and traffic could continue to increase significantly in the next couple of decades.

Various measures to alleviate traffic congestion have since been proposed by state lawmakers and organizations like the Tennessee Department of Transportation, which has been pushing for choice lanes, or lanes added to state highways that drivers can use for a charge.

However, those potential changes could still be a few years out.


Final Story of the Day (Maury County Source)

Enjoy some spooky fun at Columbia’s Haunting in the District this Halloween.

The event will take place this evening, Halloween from 6:00-8:00pm.

Kids can trick or treat safely on the downtown square and visit the petting zoo.

Many businesses and organizations will be on hand to give out candy to the kids.

Be mindful of road closures happening while the event takes place.


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