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Southern Middle Tennessee Today News for October 9, 2023

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

We start with local news…

Mt. Pleasant Coach Head to Hall of Fame (MSM)

Retired Mt. Pleasant coach Eddie Bassham is among four individuals comprising the Tennessee Baseball Coaches Association’s 2024 Hall of Fame induction class. 

Bassham will be honored along with Carson-Newman’s Tom Griffin, former Cookeville coach Butch Chaffin and ex-Forrest coach Wayne “Babe” Hardison at a January luncheon during the TBCA’s annual clinic in Cool Springs.

“It’s pretty neat to be able to put Babe and Bassham in together, they battled each other for so many years,” Pat Swallows, executive director of the TBCA, said in announcing the class. “Griffin’s been great at Carson-Newman and a big supporter of high school baseball, and of course Butch with all he’s done.

“It’s a great class. We’re honored to have them.”

Bassham won more than 600 games over three coaching stints at Mt. Pleasant that spanned six decades – including the 2020s – leading the Tigers to Class A state tournament runner-up finishes in 1989, 1998 and 2004. The on-campus field that he was instrumental in constructing was named in his honor in 2021, following his third ‘retirement’ from the program’s helm the previous year.

The 1968 Hay Long High School graduate also coached at Middle Tennessee Christian and Columbia Academy, and worked with football in addition to his long and successful career on the diamond.

“It’s a big honor. I’m really grateful for it,” he said of his upcoming induction. “I’ve always thought a lot of the Tennessee Baseball Coaches Association. I’ve enjoyed the clinics and all they do for high school baseball. I appreciate what they’ve done.

“It’s just a great honor. I’m very proud. There was a lot of time, a lot of work put into it. We’ve worked hard. We tried to go out and work hard to gain some success. You look back and see, we had good players at that time, players that wanted to play the game. We were fortunate with that, that we had good athletes. We were fortunate to have some athletes and some really good teams, some really good runs.”

During the 1980s, ‘90’s and 2000s, Mt. Pleasant and Forrest were among the elite Class A baseball programs, so Bassham and Hardison sharing the same induction ceremony seems appropriate.

“We coached many games against each other, several head-to-head contests,” Bassham said. “It’s great to hear he’s going in, too.”

Hardison founded the Rockets program in 1986 and coached the team until his 2012 retirement, winning 483 games and making five state tournament appearances with a Class A runner-up finish in 2006.

Griffin is 18 seasons into his second coaching tenure at Carson-Newman, having previously coached the Eagles from 1990-97 in addition to spending time at Tusculum College and at Morristown East High School. He has 685 wins at the collegiate level, and is considered one of the game’s premier catching instructors.

Chaffin resigned earlier this year after winning 10 district championships, a pair of region titles and 500-plus games while leading the Cavaliers to a state tournament appearance over 25 seasons. Previously, he served as an assistant at Tennessee Tech, and has also worked with USA Baseball for nearly 15 years – most recently alongside Ensworth coach Jason Maxwell as members of the 18U national team that fell in the bronze medal game of the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) World Cup in Taiwan last month.

Whole Hog Festival (WKOM Audio 2:11)

The Whole Hog Festival was held at Oaklawn Mansion in Spring Hill on Saturday, to benefit The Well Outreach, a local food pantry. Front Porch Radio’s Mary Susan Kennedy stopped by Oaklawn and spoke to a number of organizers of the event…

Arby’s Make A Difference Campaign (MSM)

This fall, Arby’s will raise over $3 million as a part of its Make a Difference Campaign to deliver on their mission of “helping kids Dream Big and pursue their dreams with confidence.” The donations will benefit the Arby’s Foundation and go towards supporting hundreds of organizations around the country.

In Columbia, Arby’s is proud to partner with Carmack Boulevard Church of Christ.

As a thank you, any guest who donates $1 to the campaign at the register will receive a free small Curly or Crinkle Fries and a cup of Cheddar for dipping.

“The Make a Difference Campaign is a time when our restaurants and our guests come together to support kids in their community and across the country. We are proud to partner with local organizations who make such a great impact like Carmack Boulevard Church of Christ and other youth nonprofits,” said Stuart Brown, Executive Director of Inspire Brands Foundation.

Guests can visit any Arby’s now through Oct. 22 and donate $1 to Make a Difference for kids in their community. Donations can also be made online at

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

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

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

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, or Direct Dial (931) 589-6785

Registration Link:

Final Story of the Day (Maury County Source)

Gaylord Opryland Resort is hiring enthusiastic and fun individuals to fill more than 200 seasonal special events positions in preparation for its 40th annual A Country Christmas. In addition, the resort is hiring for full or part-time positions in departments including food & beverage/culinary, dishwashers, housekeeping, front office, engineering, hotel security and conference set-up.

“As we reach four decades of A Country Christmas–our beloved holiday tradition, we are thrilled to still be a place where our community can create lasting memories during the holidays. A huge part of what makes A Country Christmas a success year after year is the dedication and passion of our STARS (employees). We will be hiring for over 200 seasonal positions, and we invite all those interested to apply,” said Thomas Petrillo, General Manager and Managing Director of Gaylord Opryland Resort & Attractions.

The seasonal positions, which start at $16 an hour, include Special Events Coordinator, Assistant Special Events Manager, Tour Greeter, Lobby Ambassador, Consider It Done Agent, and Special Event Attendant roles in departments such as retail, box office, the Delta Riverboat Co. and attraction locations. Select seasonal part-time new hires who work the complete season through January 1, 2024, will receive an extra $1 per hour worked.

Interested individuals can find more information and apply online at


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