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Southern Middle Tennessee Today News for September 12, 2023

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

Spring Hill names portion of multi-use trail after slain businessman (MSM)

The Spring Hill Board of Mayor and Aldermen unanimously approved a portion of the city’s multi-use trail to be named in honor of the late Jim Grimes, who was shot to death at his home on Buford Station Road in Lynnville on April 19, 2021.

Grimes served as a board member with the Spring Hill Chamber of Commerce for 15 years and stalwart of the Spring Hill community.

“Jim was on the team that hired me and was a good friend and trusted advisor,” Spring Hill Chamber of Commerce Director Rebecca Melton said. “Working with the family in a way to honor him and his legacy and what he did for this community as a business owner, a philanthropist and so many more things, we thought it would be a great idea to have his name attached to something in the community that he loved and served.

“He was taken from us in a very violent way, but he was a very loving person and we want that to be what stands.”

Will Tenpenny, a close friend of the Grimes family and Spring Hill Chamber of Commerce board member, said putting Grimes’ name on a portion of the trail would be a fitting way to remember what he called a “giant” in the community.

“As a close friend of Jim and Dawn, it’s been a hard few years. This community lost a giant and we need to remember those giants that helped build this city. It’s such a great opportunity for us to name something after Jim for what he did for this community,” he said.

This proposed section of MUT is directly across from the Spring Hill location of AutoBody Advantage, which is Kingsley Place.The multi-use trail has different names attached to unique stretches, and this extension of the trail is being offered as an upgrade by the developer of the land.

A foundation in Grimes’ honor will pay for the signage, leaving the city no cost for the project.

In November 2022, Giles County Sheriff Kyle Helton’s department released information that state of the art technology and investigative techniques, including DNA analysis and genealogy, have allowed investigators to develop new leads.

“To protect the integrity of the investigation, we are unable to share specific details at this time, however, based on the investigation to date, it saddens us to advise that we believe the person(s) responsible for Jim’s death are members of our small community,” Helton said.

Helton said investigators believe there are people remaining in the community who are familiar with the circumstances surrounding the case. After spending the second anniversary commemoration of James Grimes’ death with those gathered at the Grimes home, Helton said more DNA was recently sent for analysis.

A $1 million reward remains in effect for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible for Grimes’ murder. A designated phone line has been set up at (931) 638-2358 or call 1-800-TBI-Find.

Previti re-elected as Commission chair, talks goals for the next year (MSM)

District 2 Commissioner Eric Previti was unanimously re-elected as Chairman of the Maury County Commission on Tuesday, Sept. 5.

Previti was first elected as chairman following the 2022 election. He has served as a commissioner for District 2 since 2014 and is also a member of the Administration Committee.

"I'm very humbled and honored that my fellow commissioners would elect me for a second year," Previti said. "I'm honored to serve."

When looking at the goals he envisions for the next year, Previti noted many, including his desire for a paid fire department.

"I believe it would improve services for the county at large that are not in the cities," Previti said, while adding it would also help with insurance rates. "We could get a truck there faster because I’ve got people on site paid instead of someone having to drive from their house to go to the station and pick up the truck," he said.

Previti said the cost would be paid for by the fire districts.

"It would be a fee; you can call it a tax if you want to. If you live in the city of Columbia, you pay city taxes in addition to your county taxes. In that, you get fire and police protection," he said. "When you pay county property tax, you get the sheriff's department, but you don’t have any fire services."

A fee would be imposed on the county residents, Previti said, who estimated an average of 19,000 households in the county, all of which would be covered.

"Let’s just say it’s $100 a year. That’s less than $10 a month for extra fire coverage. Your insurance rates should go down to compensate for that," he said.

Adding to his list of goals, Previti brought up the long-awaited judicial center, which is currently under construction and set to open in October 2024.

"My hope is to see the bottom floor turned into a county museum," he said. "The archives is tasked with documents. They store protected documents, but I'm talking about historical artifacts. A real county museum with the history of the county."

When asked what he's most proud of from his last term, Previti listed the on-going projects in Maury County.

In addition to the updated judicial center, which will total 55,000 square feet, several more building projects are underway, including the Archives Expansion and Agriculture Extension Building.

"Those are projects that the last commission had started," Previti said. "I'm part of what remains from that last commission, so it's been good to be able to guide and discuss those projects."

Mount Pleasant provides updates on projects (MSM)

Most of the time, in order to get rewards, we have to go through some pain. This concept is part of several religious teachings and dates back many, many years. The goal is to concentrate on the positive reward and not the painful process it takes to get to the "better place."

Well, the community of Mount Pleasant will be going through some growing pains over the next year. All for the better, but we will need to remind ourselves often to look beyond the pain and know there is the reward.

The city is in the process of reviewing bids for the Downtown Revitalization Project, which will span from the front of the Mount Pleasant Grille to Church Street (Post Office) on both sides of the street to include the square in front of City Hall. The City has now bid this project out twice and both times the bids are twice what is anticipated.

Right now, the city is reviewing the second bid and the next step will be to talk to the State about additional funding or possibly scaling back the project. This is very frustrating since we have already been awarded money for Phase 2 but cannot get Phase 1 moving forward. Unfortunately, this is not uncommon in today’s market.

Next, TDOT is completely replacing the bridge on N. Main Street over Sugar Creek. This project is planned to be bid and let in November and December 2023. Then construction will begin very quickly.

The state will completely close N. Main Street and direct traffic onto Highway 43, with signs at 1st Avenue suggesting exiting and entering there to avoid the closure. Because the road will be closed completely, this project should be completed in six months (leaving a lane open would be more like 18 months). Right now, this project is still on target for construction to start early 2024.

So, the summer of 2024 should show a lot of good changes in Mount Pleasant.

Hometown memorials from Oakes & Nichols …

Mr. Gregory Todd Howell, aged 62, passed away September 8th, 2023. Funeral services will be conducted Tuesday, September 12, 2023 at 2:30 P.M. at Oakes & Nichols Funeral Home. Burial will follow in McCains Cemetery. The family will visit with friends Tuesday from 12:00 P.M. until service time at the funeral home.

Mrs. Mary Ann Plant, age 95 of Thompsons Station, died Friday, September 8, 2023 at NHC Maury Regional Transitional Care. Funeral services for Mrs. Plant will be conducted Wednesday, September 13, 2023 at 11:00 A.M. at Oakes & Nichols Funeral Home with Reverend Roy Barber officiating. Burial will follow in Rose Hill Cemetery. The family will visit with friends on Tuesday, September 12, 2023 from 4:00 P.M.- 7:00 P.M. at the funeral home.

Former Montgomery Central coach indicted over misappropriated funds (MS-Clarksville)

An investigation by the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office has resulted in the indictment of David Lemont Bryant, a former boys’ basketball coach and assistant teacher at Montgomery Central Middle School (MCMS) in Clarksville.

The investigation was initiated after school officials reported allegations of potential malfeasance to the Comptroller’s Office.

Investigators determined that Bryant misappropriated fundraising collections totaling at least $988.28 between September and October 2022. These funds were collected for a basketball gear fundraiser and a t-shirt fundraiser held to benefit the boys’ basketball team.

Bryant was placed on Administrative Leave from MCMS effective November 3, 2022 after MCMS staff began reviewing fundraising collections. Bryant’s employment was terminated effective November 10, 2022.

In August 2023, the Montgomery County Grand Jury indicted David Lemont Bryant for one count of theft of property under $1,000.

Blood Assurance, Titans partner for fundraiser (MSM)

The Tennessee Titans, along with Middle Tennessee’s local blood supplier, are once again teaming up to support high school students.

For the second consecutive season, the football team and blood bank are working together on an initiative, where a portion of ticket sales from select games will benefit Blood Assurance’s Heroes Grant Program. Blood Assurance awards grant funding to area high schools that have hosted blood drives with the organization over the past year. In 2022, the inaugural fundraiser generated around $900.

“To collaborate once again with the Titans is a truly a touchdown,” said J.B. Gaskins, Blood Assurance’s CEO. “Through this annual fundraiser, administrators at dozens of high schools will be able to invest in their curriculums, ultimately benefiting their students. This is just one way we can thank them for organizing lifesaving blood drives.”

The Titans games included in this season’s fundraiser are:

Sunday, Nov. 26 vs Carolina Panthers

Sunday, Dec. 3 vs Indianapolis Colts

Sunday, Dec. 17 vs Houston Texans

Sunday, Dec. 24 vs Seattle Seahawks

Blood Assurance will receive $10 from each ticket sale, but only if ticket buyer uses the code: BLOOD at this website:

As an added token of appreciation, each ticket available through the aforementioned website is up to $25 off standard pricing.

The fundraiser is active now and will remain so until kickoff on Dec. 24.

Gas prices fall five cents (press release)

Gas prices across Tennessee have moved less expensive for three straight weeks. The Tennessee Gas Price average is now $3.36 which is eight cents less expensive than one month ago and nine cents more than one year ago.

"Gas prices are continuing to shift lower, despite a recent surge in crude oil prices over last week," said Megan Cooper, spokeswoman for AAA - The Auto Club Group. "Increasing oil prices amid tightening supply may begin to push pump prices higher in the coming weeks. Drivers can likely expect to see continued volatility, as we typically see increases in pump pricing following big jumps in the price of crude oil. The silver lining for now is that Tennessee has the third least expensive state gas price average in the country."

Quick Facts

26% of Tennessee gas stations have prices below $3.25

The lowest 10% of pump prices are $3.12 for regular unleaded

The highest 10% of pump prices are $3.73 for regular unleaded

Tennessee is the third least expensive market in the nation

National Gas Prices

The national average for a gallon of gas dipped a bit following the long Labor Day weekend, but rose two cents over the weekend to $3.83.

According to new data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), gas demand increased from 9.07 to 9.32 million b/d last week. Meanwhile, total domestic gasoline stocks dropped from 217.4 to 214.7 million bbl. Rising oil prices, higher gas demand, and tighter supply may push pump prices higher.

Today’s national average of $3.83 is a penny less than a month ago but twelve cents more than a year ago.

Drivers can find current gas prices along their route using the AAA TripTik Travel planner.

Tennessee Regional Prices

Most expensive metro markets - Jackson ($3.47), Memphis ($3.44), Nashville ($3.42)

Least expensive metro markets - Chattanooga ($3.27), Johnson City ($3.28), Kingsport ($3.30)

Community leaders listen as CCHS student panel discuss issues (MSM)

Stand Together – an event focused on bringing light to issues facing students – was held at Columbia Central High School last week in conjunction with community leaders and the Columbia Peace and Justice Initiative.

Students from marginalized groups sat on stage of the school’s auditorium to discuss issues they face on a daily basis in school with their peers while moderator Juli Beck prompted them with questions about how each speaker felt about the issues they face.

“These kids spent most of their lives from 9th grade to 12th grade in this building, and it is vitally important that they feel safe and they feel loved, they feel heard – after today, I think they do,” Beck said. “They just want to feel seen and do not want to feel judged, and I think we’re getting there. I wonder why we haven’t done this before? Why have we not gone directly to the source before now and asked them how they felt instead of the adults?”

Columbia Central’s criminal justice teacher Garland Brown helped start a group nearly 30 years ago that was similar, but was unable to keep it going past 2004. Seeing the rejuvenation of such an important cause inside the school is something he is excited about.

“It stopped because I got older and I didn’t have the help I needed. We wanted to have younger teachers come along to vibe with the students and we’ve got that now and with the administration’s support, we’re trying to evolve it to touch every student,” he said.

Students spoke to one another with a live audience of community members and other students, and said when the panel ended they felt much better about their individual situations because they’d been heard.

“This makes us want to do and be better and not be the people we are labeled as and for us to grow and be the best we can be,” Chelsey Amos said.

Seeing community members in the audience was a big factor in their comfort level as well.

“I think we feel heard and understood, and it shows the community cares,” student Santieza Harlan said.

Shaundrea Ridley added, “It’s great to see that our community and principals and students around us care about us.”

For Beck, making sure the community is behind the students is paramount because she feels that if the students realize the support system they have, it will only increase their level of comfort in sharing their concerns.

“I am so glad to see community members show up today. I know there were several community leaders who wanted to be here, but couldn’t,” she said. “These kids don’t even know who the community leaders are, and I hope as they spoke and looked into the audience today that it impressed them and showed them people do want to listen to them.”

“I think today was amazing, it could not have gone better.”


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