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Southern Middle Tennessee Today News for September 28, 2023

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

We start with local news…

Walls Charged in Civil Rights Case (CDH)

Santa Fe man Daniel Lane Walls, 38, waived his right to a preliminary hearing during his second appearance in Maury County General Sessions Court, after being charged with multiple civil rights violations.

Walls was charged in July for allegedly placing racially charged flyers on the marquees of three predominantly Black churches in Columbia as well as businesses.

Maury County General Sessions Court Judge Bobby Sands presided over the session with Travis B. Jones Public Defender, 22nd District, representing Walls.

Walls met with Jones in a separate meeting room before facing Sands in his decision to waive the preliminary hearing.

The charges will now be heard by a grand jury, which will determine probable cause and whether to indict Walls.

During his first court appearance on Aug. 14 in General Sessions Court, Walls plead not guilty.

Walls faces four counts of Civil Rights Intimidation under Tennessee Code Annotated TCA 39-17-309, in addition to the charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and vandalism.

He was arrested in Spring Hill at his former workplace on July 13 a few days after a pastor at Mt. Calvary Missionary Baptist Church was alerted to the flyer at the church, peppered with racial and ethnic slurs with the additional message of "Be Warned."

On July 12, community members, county and city elected officials, state representatives and Columbia Police Chief Jeremy Alsup attended a prayer service at the church to address the issue and perceived threats in the predominantly black neighborhood.

The flyers were also placed at surrounding businesses, including the Muletown Pizza food truck parked off James Campbell Boulevard in Columbia. A nearby surveillance camera captured footage, showing a male placing the flyer on the food truck while a white car awaited, released by the Columbia Police Department on social media when searching for those responsible.

A 17 year old was also previously arrested related to the incident, though information has not been released due to the person being a minor.

Bond was previously set at $43,000, which was posted by Walls' first court appearance last month.

The next court date is set for Oct. 11.

Gentiva Hospice Opening (WKOM Audio 3:26)

Yesterday, Gentiva Hospice on Hatcher Lane in Columbia held their grand opening. Front Porch Radio’s Mary Susan Kennedy attended the ribbon cutting and spoke to Amy King to learn all about the hospice services offered at Gentiva…

Maury Regional Airport to Get New Terminal (MSM)

The Maury Regional Airport Authority is set to build a new terminal following a vote by the county commission to provide $4.615 million in funds towards the project.

The Commission was voted on and approved the expenditure during its Monday, Sept. 18 meeting.

In August, an interlocal agreement was made between Maury County and Maury Regional Airport to pay for the construction, with the airport agreeing to pay the county back with annual funding through the bipartisan infrastructure bill.

The funds will go towards both the rendering and construction of the new terminal.

“Basically, our airport terminal is old, outdated, and small,” Commission Chairman Eric Previti said of the airport, which was established in the 1950s and built with bricks that were left over from construction of Maury Regional Hospital.

“The good part about this is that by offering better services at the airport, we should get more customers which will increase our revenue.”

The initiative comes on the heels of a recently completed $8 million runway rehab project, which included new energy saving LED lighting and strengthening, which will allow heavier commercial and freight aircraft to land on the runway.

Greg Martin, Maury Regional Airport Commissioner, spoke on the economic impact the airport has on Maury County and Southern Middle Tennessee.

“With the level of service we offer, we are able to increase commercial traffic to support the manufacturing industry in southern Middle Tennessee,” Martin said. “The airport is one of the first welcome mats for manufacturing and service industries considering this area for new operations or expansion.”

Located in Mount Pleasant, Maury Regional Airport serves both private customers and large corporations such as General Motors and Love’s Travel Stop, and it is currently the largest airport between Nashville and Huntsville.

Martin said once the construction drawings and bids are received, the airport will have a better idea of when the new terminal will be operational.

“Now that we have the funding, the first step is to work with the engineers and architects,” he said. “I could have the drawings done by the end of the year, but because it’s a public project it takes longer. We would be fortunate to break ground in 2024. We’re being intentional about it.”

Housing Prices in Maury (CDH)

The median home in Maury County listed for $466,745 in August, down 1.1% from the previous month's $471,900, an analysis of data from shows.

Compared to August 2022, the median home list price decreased 5.2% from $519,945.

Maury County's median home was 2,094 square feet, listed at $241 per square foot. The price per square foot of homes for sale is up 1.5% from August 2022.

Homes in Maury County were moving briskly compared to the August national average, with a median of 39 days on the market for listed houses. In the previous month, homes had a median of 37 days on the market. Around 218 homes were newly listed on the market in August, a 34.3% decrease from 332 new listings in August 2022.

Martin Community Center Opening (WKOM Audio 4:45)

Yesterday, the community center at Fairview Park was renamed after former Columbia Vice Mayor, Dr. Christa Martin. WKOM/WKRM’s Delk Kennedy attended the center’s opening and spoke to a number of participants including Dr. Martin herself…

Celebrating Our American Heritage (Press Release)

Columbia State Community College will host its 37th annual “Celebrating Our American Heritage” lecture series this fall, with presentations sponsored by the Columbia State Department of History designed to illuminate the past and enhance our understanding of the present.

On Oct. 3, Greg Mewbourn, Columbia State associate professor of history, will present “Triumph and Tragedy in the Civil Rights Movement: The March on Washington and the Bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church.”

To many Americans, the March on Washington, held in August 1963, appeared a crowning achievement in the Civil Rights Movement. Only weeks later, the nation was shocked by the brutal bombing of Birmingham’s Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, an attack which claimed the lives of four young girls. Mewbourn will examine both events and discuss the impact of each on the Civil Rights Movement.

On Oct. 16, Emily Senefeld, Columbia State adjunct professor of history, will present “The Lone Rock Stockade: Convict Leasing in Tennessee.”

Senefeld will use the history of the Lone Rock Stockade in Grundy County, as well as the uprising that occurred there, to explore the history of convict leasing in Tennessee in the decades after the Civil War — a story that culminated in the passage of a recent amendment to the Tennessee State Constitution.  Among other sources, Senefeld will draw upon her own archival research for the ongoing Tennessee Convict Stockade Project. 

On Oct. 30, Halloween eve, Dr. Barry Gidcomb, Columbia State dean of the Humanities and Social Sciences Division and professor of history, will present “Invasion of the Body Snatchers and the Harrison Horror.”

Gidcomb will reprise his presentation, with new material, on the odious practice of grave robbing, or “body snatching,” which was fueled by the founding of medical schools in America in the 19th century and the demand for cadavers to be used for instructional purposes. Among the stolen was the body of a prominent citizen whose father and son were both elected President of the United States. 

On Nov. 14, Zach Kinslow, Columbia State alum and executive director of the Governor Frank G. Clement Railroad Hotel Museum in Dickson, Tennessee, will present “WELCOME? A History of the Quest for United States Citizenship and the American Response.”

From the founding of the United States to modern day America, the idea of who could immigrate and obtain citizenship has been a continually contentious debate. Kinslow will present a program detailing the history of U.S. Citizenship and its evolution (and sometimes devolution) from the formation of the Constitution to modern citizenship laws.

The American Heritage series lectures are free and open to the public. Each lecture will take place from 4–5:15 p.m. in room 118 of the Frank G. Clement Building on the Columbia Campus at 1665 Hampshire Pike.

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

Mr. Matthew Wayne Hight, 28, died Saturday, September 23, 2023, at his residence in Columbia. Funeral services for Matthew will be conducted Friday at 11:00 A.M. at Oakes & Nichols Funeral Home. Burial will follow in Rose Hill Cemetery. The family will visit with friends Thursday from 4:00 P.M. – 8:00 P.M. at the funeral home.

Mr. Steven Lynn Hay, 42, died Thursday, September 21, 2023 at his residence in Columbia. Funeral services for Mr. Hay will be conducted Friday at 2:00 P.M. at Oakes & Nichols Funeral Home. Burial will follow in Polk Memorial Gardens. The family will visit with friends Friday from 12:00 P.M. until service time at the funeral home.

Mrs. Mary Lee Freeman Blair, 85, retired teacher of Columbia, died Tuesday at Life Care Center of Columbia. Funeral services for Mrs. Blair will be conducted Saturday at 11:00 A.M. at Oakes and Nichols Funeral Home. Burial will follow at Polk Memorial Gardens. The family will visit with friends Friday, September 29, 2023 from 5:00 P.M. until 7:00 P.M. at Oakes & Nichols Funeral Home.

Mrs. Catherine Lemay Lindsey, 88, homemaker, died Tuesday at her residence in Mt. Pleasant. Funeral services for Mrs. Lindsey will be conducted Saturday at 2:00 P.M. at Oakes & Nichols Funeral Home. Burial will follow in Arlington Cemetery. The family will visit with friends Friday from 4:00 P.M. – 8:00 P.M. at the funeral home.

Mrs. Helga Wieland O’Field, 86, retired employee of Innercity Products, died Wednesday at her residence in Columbia. A graveside services for Mrs. O’Field will be conducted Sunday at 2:00 P.M. at Rose Hill Cemetery. Oakes & Nichols Funeral Directors are assisting the family with arrangements.

Mr. Charles Douglas “Doug” Dugger, 80, retired inspector for Heil-Quaker and resident of Lynnville, died Tuesday at Maury Regional Medical Center. Funeral services will be conducted Sunday at 2:30 P.M. at Oakes & Nichols Funeral Home. Burial will follow in Friendship Cemetery. The family will visit with friends Saturday from 5:00 P.M. – 8:00 P.M. and Sunday from 1:30 P.M. until service time at the funeral home.

…And now, news from around the state…

Four Arrested in Willimason County Child Sex Crimes (WilliamsonHerald)

Over the last month, members of the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office, Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, arrested four Williamson County residents following grand jury indictments for sexual exploitation of minor charges:

Joshua Shinbaum, 26, of Franklin, 2 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor over 50 images and sexual exploitation of a minor over 100 images;

Conor Logan, 28, of Franklin, 4 counts of aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor, sexual exploitation of a minor over 50 images, and aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor over 25 images;

Warren Bryant, 65, of Brentwood, sexual exploitation of a minor and sexual exploitation of a minor over 50 images;

Julian Alderman, 43, of Franklin, aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor, sexual exploitation of a minor over 100 images, and 8 counts of violation of the sex offender registry.

The WCSO-ICAC Task Force began investigating Julian Alderman after it was discovered that he was sharing child sexual abuse material utilizing the BitTorrent Network. Alderman was registered as a sex offender in 2017 after pleading guilty to similar charges in Nashville.

The WCSO ICAC Task Force works hand-in-hand with the Sex Offender Registry investigative team in Williamson County, and is responsible for managing dozens of Sex Offenders in this county.

The WCSO-ICAC Task Force works proactively within the community to ensure that violent sex offenders preying on our youth are stopped and ultimately brought to justice. If you have a tip related to online child sexual exploitation, please submit this information online via the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children CyberTipline at

If you have any questions or concerns related to these cases, contact Williamson County Detective Paul Lusk, at:

Final Story of the Day (Maury County Source)

Not only is Gatlinburg one of the best fall getaway spots, but it is also one of the most romantic small towns in America, according to a recent travel study.

New York Travel Guides analyzed 600 small towns in America to make a compiled list of the 140 most romantic small towns. Locations were judged based on romantic places to stay, romantic activities, historic architecture and scenery, and coffee shops and restaurants.

Located in Sevier County, Gatlinburg landed in the No. 10 spot on the list ahead of Vail, Colorado and behind Ashland, Oregon. Gatlinburg is the only Tennessee city to make it on the list which ranked Caramel-by-the-Sea in California as the country's most romantic spot.

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