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Southern Middle TN Today News with Tom Price 5-13-24


Southern Middle Tennessee Today

News Copy for May 13, 2024

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

We start with local news…

School Closed (Press Release)

All Maury County Public Schools will be closed Monday, May 13, as clean up from the tragic storms continues. All graduations, after school athletics & performances will occur, unless you are notified by an individual school. The Boys and Girls Club will be open in the following school locations, Mt Pleasant Elementary and Marvin Wright Elementary. In addition, the BGC Wayne Street and Teen Center locations will be open. Twelve-month employees please report.

Tornado Recovery (Press Release)

The Maury County Office of Emergency Management has released the following statement regarding last week’s storms:

Maury County can confirm at this time that at least 245 homes have sustained damage from the storms that came through our county on May 8th, 2024. We thank citizens for cooperating and being patient during this difficult time.

Starting at 6:00pm Sunday evening, the county discontinued the Pass System, but Law Enforcement will continue to have a heavy presence within the area. We would like to urge the public to be mindful of suspicious activity, scammers, and unlicensed contractors. We would also like to specifically request that anyone driving through the area should drive cautiously, patiently, and slowly. As the impacted residents begin to pick up, they will be close to the road ways! There will be no tolerance for citizens driving through the area recklessly. If you are unsure of a contractor’s licensure status, you can go to, or call the Maury County Sheriff’s Office. If you need to report reckless driving, or any of the aforementioned activity; please reach out to the Maury County Sheriff’s Office at 931-388-5151.

Beginning Monday, the Maury County Highway Office will begin picking up vegetative debris (environmental debris). Guidelines have been posted and published. These guidelines are extremely important and you are urged to become familiar with them in order to expedite the collection process. Please take note; if you hire a contractor, the CONTRACTOR’s are fully responsible for disposing of their debris. They are not permitted to bring debris to the right-of-way. If you are a resident or volunteer we are requesting you place debris on the right-of-way. As the County Highway Dept. and other County Government Agencies begin debris pick-up there will be rolling road closures. Roads Impacted will include (but not be limited to) Old Highway 99, Nicholson School House Rd, Blackburn Lane, Newt Hood Road, Hickory Ridge, Heather Lane, Tom Osborne Road, and Cothron Road.

Maury County School’s will be closed on May 13th. We would like to Thank Maury County Public Schools for allowing us to use Randolph Elementary School.

We have a hotline for those needing assistance with clean-up. You can call The Home Clean-Up Hotline at 615-488-1875 and request for further assistance.

Maury County would like to take a moment to re-iterate how grateful we are for the abundance of assistance we have receive from other Government Agencies, as well as Volunteers. We have been truly blown away by the commitment and love we have received from not only those in our counties, but from those all over the state, and country.

Hundreds of Volunteers Come to Help (CDH)

Mom of 2 boys, Amy Anderson remembers quickly getting one last look at the sky and quickly rushing to the door before an EF-3 tornado hit Columbia on Wednesday.

She had experienced tornados before, but never one in her own community.  

“I remember seeing those dark storm clouds and thinking, this is going to be disastrous," Anderson said. “I was terrified but had to put on my mom face because I couldn’t let my kids know how scared I truly was.”  

The Columbia native’s house sustained minor damage, but the she said that fear she felt will last a lifetime.  

Led by Destiny Church in Columbia, Randolph Howell Elementary School is serving as the tornado relief hub, in Columbia, which is located less than a mile from where the tornado touched down. Roads like Lasea, Cranford Hollow, Blackburn and Joe Brown sustained much damage, including destroyed homes.

“I’m so thankful to Destiny Church because they’re providing resources to help families feel some sort of normal,” she said.  “We’re called the Volunteer State for a reason because no matter the circumstance, we always come out to help.”  

Since Wednesday churches from all over including Destiny Church, C1, Belonging Coast, Connection Church, Cowboy Church and Graceland Church in Franklin reached out with resources and volunteers.  

The violent tornado — one of six twisters in Middle Tennessee — damaged over 200 structures in Maury County and destroyed 40 homes Wednesday evening as night fell, resulting in one fatality and a dozen injuries.

Gov. Bill Lee stepped through the rubble during a visit to Columbia on Thursday, spreading hope amid heartache by praising the community support being given to affected families.

Almost a dozen cars in a steady stream entered the parking lot of Howell Elementary as residents shared stories about what they experienced, horrors they faced and how they will continue to rebuild.  

Piles of necessities were neatly lined up as volunteers swiftly loaded materials and supplies into the cars of those affected.  

Towards the back of the parking lot, a Salvation Army food truck offered meals to those in need. 

Among the chaos, elementary school-aged volunteers, use their imagination as they play with the discarded boxes that once held the tools to help Maury residents rebuild.  

Michael Baker, executive pastor of Destiny Church, serves as director of the makeshift relief center.

“We usually have help for any type of relief effort or cause because its planned. We have signs up and a lot of our Church community comes out to help," Baker said. “However, this is the largest amount of volunteers I’ve seen for something like this.

“Yesterday we had over 100 volunteers. We’ve seen a steady stream of people come in all day and we are here and ready to help them in whatever way we can.” 

By the end of the day, Baker said almost 300 volunteers showed up to help.

People have donated everything from food and water to sanitary products, suitcases and cleaning supplies, he said.

“We’ve had people from all over donate whatever they can to help. One man even drove from Delaware to donate supplies.”  

Three meals a day are also being offered by the Salvation Army at the location out of a food truck.

Shane Petty, Chief Operations Officer for Maury County’s Emergency Management office, helped to coordinate relief efforts.

"The emergency shelter is working like a drive-through. Residents pull up to the entrance and community volunteers ask what they need and begin to fill their cars," Petty said.

Volunteers fall into two categories: contractor and volunteer, he explained, who are given a special pass to enter affected areas.

"Wristbands are given to everyone who enters affected residential areas to ensure looting doesn’t occur. We want to keep everyone safe while making sure we those who want to help can do so in a safe manner. Colored wristbands help us to know who we’re letting in to aid with the clean-up efforts.”  

A pass can be obtained at the school.

Maury County Mayor Sheila Butt visited the recovery site on Friday.

“Maury County is a strong, independent, resilient community," Butt said. "We call ourselves Team Maury and that's exactly what we are. Disaster brings out the worst for the best in people. And in Maury County, it brings out the best in people."

“We will rebuild together. We have things in place because we knew that this kind of day would come.  

“We have an outstanding office of emergency management and county offices so within the next two weeks, we will be executing that plan and we hope to rebuild quickly, but we want to rebuild well.”  

How to help or get help:

Relief at Randolph Howell Elementary School, 653 Bear Creek Pike, will stay open as supplies keep coming, Baker said.

More donations of water are needed at Randolph Howell as well as toilet paper, paper towels, big trash bags and diapers.

Tennessee Children's Home is accepting in-kind donations at its main campus at 2225 Dr. Robertson Road in Spring Hill from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.

A shelter for displaced families will be at West Seventh Church of Christ, 405 W. 7th St. in Columbia.

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

Mrs. Cheryl Denise Hickman “Nannan” Lovett, 67, retired from Stan’s Restaurant, and resident of Spring Hill, died Wednesday, May 8, 2024 in Maury County. Funeral services will be conducted Wednesday, May 15, at 3:00 p.m. at Oakes & Nichols Funeral Home. Burial will follow in Jones Cemetery. The family will visit with friends Wednesday from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the funeral home.

Kenneth P. Lord III, 81, resident of Williamsport, passed away on May 1, 2024.

A Memorial Service will be conducted Saturday, May 18, 2024 at 2:00 PM at Williamsport United Methodist Church. Burial will follow in Williamsport Cemetery with Military Honors provided by the U.S. Army. The family will visit with friends Saturday from 1:00 P.M. until the time of service at the Church.

…And now, news from around the state…

Memphis Leads Nation in Stolen Guns (Tennessean)

The rate of guns stolen from cars in the U.S. has tripled in the past decade with Memphis leading the nation, a new report shows. 

Overall, the report released Thursday from gun safety group Everytown, found that 112,000 guns were reported stolen in the U.S. in 2022, with just over half taken from cars. The rate has climbed nearly every year over the past decade, with the increase driven largely by an increase in stolen guns from cars.

Ten years ago, about 38% of guns were stolen in burglaries from homes or other structures. But today, more than half are taken from cars, with a sharp spike seen during the pandemic.

The study, which analyzed FBI crime data from 337 cities across 44 states, noted that Memphis had the highest number of cases in 2022 with 2,210 gun theft from car incidents, up from 329 in 2013. The city was followed by Atlanta and St. Louis. 

The study noted the problem has been especially acute in Tennessee over the past decade after a state law passed in 2013 that allowed people to keep guns in their cars if they’re locked and secured.

Nashville in 2022 saw a record 1,378 stolen guns from cars, but the numbers have improved so far this year, according to the Metro Nashville Police Department. 

As of Tuesday, 274 guns have been stolen from cars in Davidson County, down 35% from the same time last year.

While the state has an epidemic of stolen guns from cars, statistics show the perpetrators are rarely caught.

Of 5,386 reported cases of guns stolen from cars statewide in 2022, less than 4% resulted in an arrest, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

In an effort to improve the arrest rates, Nashville police in February launched a special initiative to fight car theft and related crimes. The effort as of this month has led to more 400 arrests and the recoveries of 229 stolen vehicles and 92 guns, the department said in a news release. 

Here are some stats related to stolen guns:

A gun is stolen from a car every nine minutes on average in the U.S.

Thefts from vehicles overall have dropped 11% over the past decade, while gun theft specifically has skyrocketed 200%.

Cars parked at residents (in driveways and outside homes) are the most common source of stolen guns.

Cities in states with high gun ownership and lax gun safety laws see nearly 18 times the rate of gun thefts from cars compared to states with stronger laws.

Some cities in Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, and Rhode Island reported no gun thefts from cars.

Final Story of the Day (Maury County Source)

The Grand Ole Opry is celebrating CMA Fest with another star-studded lineup of shows featuring performances throughout the week by members including Carrie Underwood, Lauren Alaina, Terri Clark, Lorrie Morgan, Pam Tillis, Josh Turner as well as Jelly Roll, Cody Johnson, Alexandra Kay, Warren Zeiders and more.

Performances will take place from June 4-8. Showtimes are 7pm and 9:30pm nightly.

Tickets are on sale now for all Opry 2024 shows at (615) 871-OPRY and by visiting


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