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Southern Middle TN Today News with Tom Price 4-17-24

WKOM/WKRM RadioSouthern Middle Tennessee TodayNews Copy for April 17, 2024

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

We start with local news…

GM Fire (MauryCountySource)

At approximately 3:00 pm Monday afternoon, emergency responders were dispatched to the General Motors (GM) Plant for a commercial structure fire.

Upon arrival, smoke was visible from a door. The situation was quickly assessed, and it was determined that a transformer had overheated.

Fortunately, no injuries were reported. A collaborative effort between GM safety staff, Columbia Fire Department (CFD), and Spring Hill Fire Department (SHFD) brought the incident under control swiftly.

The plant has resumed normal operations.

I-840 Bridge Closed (MauryCountySource)

The Tennessee Department of Transportation has closed a portion of I-840 in Williamson County at mile marker 28 due to bridge damage.

The 840 eastbound bridge was damaged by a CSX crew doing work on the railroad underneath. TDOT has sent a bridge inspection team to the site to determine the extent of the damage.

According to Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP), a mini excavator was working just west of Columbia Pike underneath the overpass at mile marker 28 when it hit a concrete beam.  The incident left several concrete support beams damaged and THP, along with the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office, closed the interstate.

Eastbound lanes will remain closed for the time being. There is a diversion in place at Exit 23 for State Route 246 / Carters Creek Pike.

TDOT is asking drivers to bear with them at this time as they inspect the bridge and determine next steps.

Columbia Special Census (CDH)

Columbia has set the dates and details for its upcoming special census, which aims to pinpoint population growth to ensure additional funding.

The comprehensive undertaking aims to update demographic data crucial for various community planning and funding purposes, city officials say.

Columbia’s population has grown tremendously since the previous Census in 2020, a City of Columbia press release states. The initiative seeks to ensure that every individual in Columbia is accounted for, thus enabling the government to secure essential funds for services that directly impact the community's well-being.

The special census will take place from August through November and is being conducted in partnership with the U.S. Census Bureau. Columbia City Council approved the special census in March, which included a $928,069 investment.

"Our goal is to reach all citizens of Columbia in our quest for an accurate population count," Mayor Chaz Molder said. "By participating in the special census, our residents can actively contribute to the betterment of our community and pave the way for a brighter future."

The special census would be completed in time for the fiscal year 2025-2026 budget, which would include the new growth numbers.

Citizens will have two opportunities to complete the census, starting with an online survey from Aug. 14 to Sept. 6, followed by door-to-door surveys from Sept. 25 to Nov. 14.

"The Special Census is a proactive step towards addressing the evolving needs of our city," City Manager Tony Massey stated in the release. "By obtaining accurate population figures, we can better allocate resources and prioritize city services and infrastructure development.”

City officials said they anticipate the increased population numbers to generate approximately $1.2 million per year leading to the next 2030 census, amounting to about $6 million total. Therefore, the nearly $1 million investment approved in March should be made up within the first year, Massey previously stated in March.

It could also secure Columbia with "entitlement city" status if the population has exceeded 50,000 people, which would factor not only into the amount of money allocated each year but assessing the city's top priorities and needs. The city could position itself to vie for more grant funding opportunities as well, Massey said in March.

"From my perspective, I see this as a good move by council to approve as a business investment, because we should get our money back within the first year," Massey said. "And then over the next few years that amount goes forward."

Lister Hill Credit Union (WKOM Audio 3:11)

Yesterday, Lister Hill Credit Union held their grand opening on Kedron Road in Spring Hill. Front Porch Radio’s Mary Susan Kennedy attended the ribbon cutting and spoke to Brad Green, president and CEO at Lister Hill’s newest credit union…

Tri-Star Health Looking to Expand in Spring Hill (MauryCountySource/WKOM/Press Release)

TriStar Health announced Monday that it plans to apply for a Certificate of Need with the Tennessee Health Facilities Commission to build a full-service, acute care hospital in Spring Hill. If approved, the $250 million community hospital will be built on the same site as the existing TriStar Spring Hill ER and will offer a wide range of services including:

· 68 beds

· Intensive Care Unit

· Labor and Delivery Unit

· Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

· 4 operating rooms

· Cardiac catheterization services

· Imaging services, including MRI

“We are proud to have served thousands of patients in Spring Hill and surrounding communities over the past 10 years with convenient emergency care,” said Mitch Edgeworth, president of HCA Healthcare TriStar Division. “As Spring Hill’s population continues to grow, it is time for the community to have access to essential healthcare services at a full-service hospital closer to where they live, work and play.”

TriStar Spring Hill Hospital will provide essential healthcare infrastructure to support the current and future growth of Spring Hill and surrounding communities. Spring Hill’s population increased from just under 9,000 residents in 2000 to more than 50,000 in 2020. In the next five years, the population is expected to continue to grow to around 64,000 residents, according to the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury. Currently, Spring Hill is Tennessee’s largest city without a hospital.

“I fully support a full-service Spring Hill Hospital,” said Jim Hagaman, Mayor of Spring Hill. “Our city needs access to care and the economic impact of the proposed hospital in the first five years of operation will result in nearly $870 million and more than 3,000 new jobs to Spring Hill. This is the right move at the right time for our city.”

TriStar Health will be hosting a community information meeting on Tuesday, May 14 from 5 – 7 p.m. at Community Baptist Church. For more information go to

In response to Tri-Star’s announcement, Maury Regional released a statement, saying, “Maury Regional Health has long supported and provided health care services in Spring Hill; however, we are opposed to the construction of a hospital that will only duplicate services already provided by Maury Regional Health and Williamson Health, both not-for-profit health systems that have served the Spring Hill community for decades.

Maury Regional Health, which is celebrating its 70th year in operation, remains committed to serving the Spring Hill community and larger southern Middle Tennessee region. In fact, we were among the first organizations to bring health care services to Spring Hill, opening a primary care practice in 1998. Since that time, we have expanded our services and providers in the areas of primary care, urgent care, physician specialist clinics and physical therapy, as well as joint ventures to offer imaging, ambulatory surgery and oncology in the heart of Spring Hill. Today, Maury Regional Health is one of the largest providers of medical services to the Spring Hill community.

As part of our ongoing commitment to growing the availability of medical resources for all residents of Maury County, Maury Regional Health recently announced a $115 million expansion plan that includes:

  • Expanding capacity in the ER, adding 10 treatment areas for a total of 48 and creating a new secure behavioral health unit

• Expanding the front of the medical center to improve access and relocate key patient and visitor services toward the main entrance

• Expanding the Heart Center following a $1.9 million investment in new cardiac catheterization technology in 2023 and the growth of cardiologists on the medical staff to 12 by May 2024 through partnerships with Vanderbilt Health and Ascension St. Thomas

• Expanding the Pavilion by 34,000 sq. ft. to create an additional outpatient surgery center on the first floor and expand space for physician practices, while relocating the Women’s Imaging & Breast Center to improve the experience of women in our community.

• Reconfiguring parking areas and driving routes with significant benefits, including the addition of 189 parking spaces, additional handicap parking near the main entrance and separation of the patient drop-off location from the main traffic thoroughfare.

Williamson Health is also in the process of implementing a $200 million expansion plan with improvements to labor and delivery, neonatal intensive care, cardiology, emergency room, intensive care and additional beds.

While on the surface, this proposed HCA hospital may be appealing to residents, duplication of unnecessary services in the health care industry will only serve to increase costs for patients and threaten the availability of health services for some of the community’s most vulnerable patients. Maury Regional Health reinvests its revenue into the programs, services and facilities that benefit patients—regardless of their financial status—and to recruit and retain an expert clinical team. By duplicating services that are already available, HCA’s proposed hospital will simply create an even greater shortage of available physicians, nurses and other clinical staff in the midst of a nationwide shortage of these professionals, resulting in physician- and nurse-to-patient ratios that are detrimental to clinical quality and patient safety. HCA’s facility will also drive up the cost of health care in the region and make it more difficult to invest in new specialties, equipment and facilities.

We firmly believe that Maury Regional Health and Williamson Health have historically provided—and remain committed to providing—the services needed for the residents of Spring Hill. HCA TriStar’s proposed hospital will only serve to unnecessarily increase the cost of health care and exacerbate physician and nurse shortages. For these reasons, we will be opposing HCA’s request to build this unneeded hospital with the Tennessee Health Facilities Commission.

Farm City Breakfast (Press Release)

The Maury Alliance Agribusiness Committee invites you to their annual Farm City Breakfast honoring the agriculture and agribusiness industry of Maury County.

This year's Farm City Breakfast will be held on Friday, April 26th at the Ridley 4-H Center. The breakfast line opens at 6:45 am with the program beginning at 7:00 am and concluding by 8:30 am. 

The Keynote Speaker is Mr. Eric Mayberry, President of Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation and we will be honoring the Biffle Potts Farm in Hampshire as a Century Farm.

There is no charge to attend the breakfast, however we will be collecting donations during the event for our 2024 Farm City Scholarship Memorial Fund. This year scholarships will be given in memory of Dee Cee Neeley.

Scholarships are currently available for Maury County Seniors pursuing degrees in an Agriculture related field of study. The deadline to apply is April 12th. Please share this application with anyone you know who may qualify!

Learn more about the scholarship opportunities by visiting

Spring Hill Citizens Academy (MauryCountySource)

The SHPD is currently taking applications for the 2024 session of the Citizens Police Academy (CPA).

The CPA is an excellent opportunity to learn about your local police department and what goes on behind the scenes. The academy will cover topics such as the use of force, patrol operations, traffic enforcement, criminal investigations, firearms training, and more.

The CPA is open to all individuals 21 years of age or older and reside or work within the municipal city limits of Spring Hill. Persons may apply outside of the municipal city limits; however, precedence will be given to those within the municipal city limits.

For more information, please get in touch with Officer Michael Stewart at

CSCC Summer Camps (Press Release)

Columbia State Community College’s Columbia Campus is excited to announce summer camps for 2024. 

The Game Design Unity Camp will run from June 10 - 14 for rising 6th through 8th grade students. Campers will craft virtual worlds, master optimization techniques and bring their video games to life with sounds and animations. Join us for an adventure in creativity and technology!

Rhythm Retreat – Music Camp will run from June 24 - 27 for rising 4th through 6th graders. Student participants will experience drumming, comprehend new piano skills, enjoy music games and take part in choral singing.

Innovate & Illuminate will run from July 8 – 12 for rising 6th through 8th graders. Participants will learn to make fun and useful projects using the fundamentals of circuit building and microcontroller programing.

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

Kerry Blaine Huckaby, 57, died Monday, April 8, 2024 in Columbia.

Funeral services will be conducted Saturday, April 20, 2024 at 11:00 AM at First United Methodist Church.  Burial will follow at Polk Memorial Gardens.  The family will visit with friends Friday, April 19, 2024 from 4:00 PM until 8:00 PM at Oakes & Nichols Funeral Home and Saturday from 10:00 AM until 11:00 AM in the Atrium at First United Methodist Church.  Online condolences may be extended at

Mrs. Janie Nicholson, 83, died Thurs April 11 at her residence.  The body will lie in state on Thursday from 12-6 with family present from 5 to 6 at Baxter Bros Funeral Home.  Visitation will take place on Friday from 11 to 12 at White Springs United Primitive Baptist Church with funeral to follow at 12.  Burial will follow at Pinecrest Cemetery.

And now, news from around the state…Cheathem to Give Talk at TSLA (Press Release)

On Friday, May 24, the Tennessee State Library & Archives will host a free presentation as part of its “Author Talks” series. The event will take place at noon and will feature Dr. Mark Cheathem.

 “Tennessee’s and America’s history is woven intricately with the legacies of its remarkable leaders,” said Secretary of State Tre Hargett. “We’re excited to learn more about the threads that bound two former presidents together and the developments that drove them apart, shaping our nation's course during this fascinating chapter in our narrative.” 

 Cheathem is a professor of history and project director of the Papers of Martin Van Buren at Cumberland University. He will be examining the political partnership between Presidents James K. Polk and Martin Van Buren, and their profound influences on our nation.

 Both men built a mutually beneficial political alliance in the 1830s and early 1840s. However, the 1844 presidential election year irreparably harmed their relationship and threatened to divide the political party to which they had dedicated their lives.

 “As custodians of Tennessee's literary treasures and historical legacies, we honor our past by understanding it, together,” said Tennessee State Librarian and Archivist Jamie Ritter. “Join us as we delve deep into the political partnership between James K. Polk and Martin Van Buren during Dr. Cheathem’s insightful presentation.”

 Cheathem has written or edited nine books, including the recently published Who Is James K. Polk? The Presidential Election of 1844, which was a finalist for the 2023 Tennessee History Book Award.

 The event will take place at the Library & Archives located at 1001 Rep. John Lewis Way N. on Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park, across from the Tennessee State Museum. The facility's garage is on Junior Gilliam Way. Seating for this event is limited, so reservations are required. You can make a reservation by visiting the event page at

 For the latest information, follow our social media channels: Facebook: Tennessee State Library & Archives and Instagram: @tnlibarchives.

 You can also learn more about the Library & Archives by calling (615) 741-2764 or emailing

Final Story of the Day (Maury County Source)

The Nashville Zoo recently welcomed a new red ruffed lemur!

The zoo’s soon to be 8-year-old red ruffed lemur, Phoebe, gave birth to her second infant, Helios on March 27, 2024.

Red ruffed lemurs are typically born at night, but Helios was born during the day. Due to this timing and the distinctive white markings around his face, he got his name from the sun god!

Helios will remain in his inside habitat for the first couple of months with mom until he is large enough to move to the lemur’s outdoor habitat. The Nashville Zoo will post updates to when zoo guests will be able to say hello in person to their newest addition.

Last year, Phoebe, gave birth to her first infant, Penelope, on April 20. Since red ruffed lemurs are critically endangered in the wild, each birth is crucial to the survival of the species.


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