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Southern Middle Tennessee Today News for September 14, 2023

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

We start with local news…

Domestic incident leads to Columbia woman’s death; suspect hospitalized (MSM)

A Columbia woman is dead following a domestic incident which took place in the 100 block of Woods Drive on Tuesday, September 12.

According to a public information release by the Columbia Police Department, authorities were dispatched to the scene at around 10:30 p.m. Tuesday where they discovered 48-year-old Carole Anne Coleman deceased and 59-year-old James Edward Davidson Jr. suffering from self-inflicted wounds.

Davidson was flown to Vanderbilt Medical Center where he is in critical but stable condition.

The release stated “there is a lengthy history of domestic violence on file with CPD involving Mr. Davidson and Ms. Coleman.”

Main Street Maury has obtained Davidson’s record of previous incidents, which includes several offenses of domestic assault against Coleman dating back to 2017.

In May of 2017, Davidson was arrested for domestic simple assault – physical contact. Just two months later, Davidson was again arrested for domestic aggravated assault – strangulation. According to the incident report, officers responded to a call for service of a domestic assault in progress.

Upon arrival, “Ms. Coleman stated that she and Mr. Davidson had been involved in an argument and that during the argument it turned physical when Davidson slapped her multiple times knocking her to the ground,” the report reads.

“Coleman stated that Davidson struck her in the face and head and threw her against a wall pinning her to the wall before knocking her to the ground.

Coleman stated that Davidson grabbed her around the neck in a choke hold and repeatedly told her he was going to break her neck.”

In September of 2017, Davidson was arrested for violation of bond conditions.

Since then, there have been two other reports of domestic simple assault against Davidson, with the most recent arrest occurring just four months ago.

On Wednesday, CPD stated they have obtained warrants on Davidson for 1st degree murder and aggravated assault resulting in death.

Warrants will be served upon Davidson’s release from medical treatment.

Any person with additional information that will help the investigation should contact the Criminal Investigations Division of the Columbia Police Department at 931-560-1670, the department’s 24-hour dispatch 931-388-2727, the department’s SAFE Tip email at, or Maury County Crimestoppers at 931-381-4900.

If you are in need of help or are in danger, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or the Tennessee Domestic Violence Helpline at 1-800-356-6767.

Bleachers at Maury Co. arena approved for upgrade to increase safety, capacity (CDH)

The crowd at future rodeos at Maury County Park arena might be larger and the seats more comfy after the budget committee initially approved new bleachers that would accommodate 3,500 people and improve safety.

Current seating capacity at the arena is 2,400, which fills up quickly for the annual two-day Maury County Sheriff's Rodeo in July and the inaugural Maury County Fair Rodeo last month as well as Mule Day events in the spring.

The budget committee, along with the Maury County Parks and Recreation Board, approved $650,000 to replace a portion of the bleachers at the arena due to safety concerns.

"[The board] has safety and liability concerns for about half of the arena bleachers," Parks and Recreation Director Al Ray said before the budget committee at its regular meeting Monday.

Safety committee member Ray Jeter, District 8, who is leading support of the project, said a woman fell from the top of the bleachers at a recent rodeo, which further highlighted concerns about safety.

"I had to stop the rodeo and get her help. Luckily she wasn't hurt too bad," Jeter said. "We stood on them [bleachers] at lunch time [Monday]. We walked them again, and they are not safe."

The Parks board initially proposed $1.2 million to replace all of the bleachers, but determined that a portion of the existing bleachers are in good condition, safe and meet standards. Adding replacement seating as well as new seating to increase arena capacity brings the proposal down to $650,000.

"Instead we pursued the option of adding to them to add more capacity," Jeter said.

More seating, equals more revenue

Maury County Commission Chairman Eric Previti and County Mayor Sheila Butt both said they approved of the proposal because of the potential to draw more visitors to Maury County and increase proceeds for charities like the Sheriff's Rodeo.

"This means more hotels, motels and sales tax," Butt said. "This is more revenue for Maury County. I think it's a good thing to move forward with this."

Previti highlighted potential extra earnings for children and families who benefit from the Sheriff's Rodeo, in which proceeds fund Shop for a Cop each year and help families in financial need due to emergencies.

"This will benefit children who might not have a Christmas," Previti said, estimating the extra tickets that would be sold for the benefit rodeo.

Budget committee vice chairman Kathey Grodi, District 6, questioned why the committee, "What's the rush?"

"Why are we rushing without an engineering study? ... Why are we just throwing stuff against the wall," she said.

Grodi said she believes bringing a complete financial package to the commission ahead of the vote for a finite cost would be preferable.

Gary Stovall, District 3, echoed some of the other commissioners' views that the project should go forward.

"If we wait, wait, wait, the price will go up, up, up," Stovall said.

The new addition would be ADA compliant unlike the faulty existing section of the bleachers.

In other business, Maury County Commissioner Tommy Wolaver was elected as chairman of the budget committee, while Grodi, who served as budget chairman last fiscal year, was elected as vice chairman.

Delk Kennedy Feature

And now your hometown memorials from Oakes and Nichols:

Christie Dawn Griffitt Scott, 49, former employee of Kenny Pipe Supply in Nashville, died Monday, September 11, 2023. No services are scheduled at this time. Oakes & Nichols Funeral Directors are assisting the family with arrangements and condolences may be extended online at

Mr. Gregory Todd Howell, aged 62, passed away September 8th, 2023. Funeral services

was conducted Tuesday, September 12, 2023 at 2:30 P.M. at Oakes & Nichols Funeral

Home. Burial followed in McCains Cemetery.

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 were

conducted Wednesday, September 13, 2023 at Oakes & Nichols Funeral

Home with Reverend Roy Barber officiating. Burial followed in Rose Hill Cemetery.

Nashville metro had second-highest rate of overdose deaths in the U.S. in 2022, report says (Tennesean)

Seven hundred and fifty four people died by drug overdose in the Nashville area last year, a number that makes Davidson County the second-deadliest major metro in the country.

Fentanyl was linked to over 77% of those cases.

Overdose deaths have more than doubled since 2017, according to data kept by the Metro Public Health Department.

Davidson County has the second-highest rate in the country, behind Baltimore, for overdose deaths in metros over 500,0000 people, according to 2022 data compiled by the San Francisco Chronicle.

Shelby County was 12th in the country.

Drug overdoses have steadily risen each year in the United States since 1999, according to the CDC. In 2021, opioids accounted for 75% of those deaths.

Opioid drug overdoses hit the U.S. in three deadly waves, each a consequence of the one before it.

Prescription painkillers became a leading cause of overdose deaths around 2000. When the pills became more regulated, people started turning to heroin around 2007. Fentanyl began making its way into heroin around 2013 quickly becoming, and remaining, the leading cause of opioid overdoses.

The Chronicle, in an effort to better understand the opioid epidemic, created a tracker using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Here's what we learned from the drug overdose database.

Nashville-area sees most overdose deaths in Tennessee

Davidson County leads Tennessee in overdose deaths.

Shelby, Knox, Hamilton and Rutherford counties counted 608, 532, 233 and 113 deaths respectively in 2022, according to the data.

Maury County had 40 deaths, Giles County had 15, while Lawrence County saw 12. Williamson County had 30 overdose deaths, according to the report.

Roughly 100 people per 100,000 died from an overdose in Davidson County last year.

Fentanyl accounted for 77% of those deaths. Cocaine was found in about 30% of cases while methamphetamine was found in 33%, according to the health department's statistics for last year.

See how many overdose deaths were recorded in each county:

Tennessee among top ten for overdose deaths in the U.S.

Tennessee is eighth in the country for overdose deaths, according to the database. The CDC reported 3,854 deaths across the state in 2022.

While fentanyl remains the predominate drug in overdose cases, prescriptions painkillers were prevalent in just as many cases in 2021 as 2017, despite a dip in the middle years, according to the Tennessee department of health.

In Tennessee, over 4.3 million painkillers were prescribed in 2022, though that number has been declining since 2018 when about 6.1 million were issued.

Tennessee noted 645 cases where prescription opioids were the main drug, about 17% of all overdoses, according to the latest data available from the state.

Heroin peaked at 380 deaths in 2019 while fentanyl-related deaths have continued to climb since 2017 with about 74% contributed to the drug.

Tennessee is abundant with recovery support services.

The state's Addiction Recovery Program serves residents who are at or below the federal poverty threshold through assessment, case management, spiritual support, transitional housing, employment skills and other services.

All-terrain wheelchair available at Radnor State Park (Press Release)

Tennessee State Parks, the Tennessee State Parks Conservancy, and the Tennessee Valley Authority on Tuesday unveiled a new all-terrain wheelchair available at Radnor Lake State Park.

“Tennessee State Parks are treasured, cherished places that are kept in the public trust for all Tennesseans,” Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation Deputy Commissioner Greer Tidwell said in a news release from the state. “We have been and will continue to improve our parks’ accessibility, so our parks are welcoming and inviting for everyone to enjoy the great outdoors.”

The wheelchair was made possible through a $136,000 grant from TVA that will also fund an all-terrain wheelchair at Tims Ford State Park in Franklin County, an accessible kayak launch at David Crockett State Park in Lawrence County, and transportation costs for students at Title 1 schools to visit Tennessee State Parks as part of the Tennessee State Parks Conservancy’s Kids in Parks program.

Tennessee State Parks is one of only seven state park systems in the country that provides free entry to visitors. The system now offers all-terrain wheelchairs at four state parks – Radnor Lake State Park in Davidson County, Tims Ford State Park in Franklin County, Lamar Alexander Rocky Fork State Park in Unicoi County, and Henry Horton State Park in Marshall County.

According to the news release, all-terrain wheelchairs are available free of charge. Visitors should contact the park in advance to help ensure availability.

Gov Bill Lee and the Tennessee General Assembly recently appropriated over $1.2 million for additional all-terrain wheelchairs to be placed in the state parks system, along with $1.6 million to make improvements on trail accessibility.

The Tennessee State Parks Conservancy, the recipient of the grant, is a 501 (c) (3) charitable organization established to help raise additional funding in support of Tennessee’s state parks.

“We are thrilled to receive funding from TVA as we work to create the most accessible state park system in the nation,” said Tennessee State Parks Conservancy Executive Director Gina Hancock. “This grant allows us to provide Tennesseans who may not have been previously able to explore our parks the unique opportunity to do so. The response to our accessibility programs is heartwarming. It really is something special.”

Tennessee Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Commissioner Brad Turner has already used the all-terrain wheelchair offerings with his daughter.

“My family was able to enjoy the trails at Radnor Lake for the very first time together because of the all-terrain wheelchair,” said Turner.


In the Fall of 2017, a new church was launched in downtown Nashville called We Are Here. The fellowship met at The High Watt, a music venue located in the Cannery Ballroom complex in downtown Nashville. A church meeting in a bar actually isn’t unheard of, but there was another unique factor - the church community’s founding pastor is original Prince and the Revolution guitarist Dez Dickerson.

“As a musician, I’ve played in rock and roll bars most of my life. As someone who is both an ordained pastor and a life-long music business guy, I always thought the ideal venue for a church was a place where folks were accustomed to going on a Saturday night - they may be open to the idea of attending a church gathering Sunday morning in the same place”, commented Dickerson.

In 2020, Covid hit, and the city of Nashville shut down all its public music venues. We Are Here was forced to suspend in-person services, and, like many churches, moved online. After over two and a half years of streaming Sunday services and seeing the We Are Here ‘audience’ extend to other parts of the country and the world, the Dickerson’s believed it was time to return to live gatherings once again. As a family, they had moved from their long-time home of Franklin to Columbia, and felt a strong leading to re-launch the church in their new home town.

In the Spring of 2023, the opportunity arose for We Are Here to join hands and link arms with Westminster Presbyterian Church in Columbia. Westminster graciously opened their doors and hearts for We Are Here to share space in their building in order to help facilitate their relaunch. The church now holds Sunday services in the Westminster chapel.

We Are Here is focused on a few simple, but profound, principles. They’re built on three Pillars: 1) We are God’s idea…not the other way around, 2) The Truth is not a concept, but a Person named Jesus, and 3) God loves us too much to leave us the way we are.

“We’re not necessarily out to build a big church, but to simply build big lives around these principles” says the musician/pastor. “Although some of what we’re doing may be a bit different, it’s not because we’re trying to be different, we’re just really committed to being obedient to what we heartily believe God has directed us to do”.

The re-emergent We Are Here at Westminster Chapel meets at 9:00 am every Sunday morning. Westminster Presbyterian Church is located at 2800 Trotwood Ave., Columbia TN. You can also find We Are Here on Facebook at, and online at


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