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Southern Middle TN Today News with Tom Price 5-15-24


Southern Middle Tennessee Today

News Copy for May 14, 2024

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

We start with local news…

SHPD Special Needs Registry (Release)

The Special Needs Registry (SNR) is a voluntary service open to all citizens who live in the city of Spring Hill. The registry was created to help police officers and other emergency services personnel to better assist residents with special needs in the event of an emergency by providing those first responders with vital information regarding a registrant’s disability, emergency contact information, a physical description, and a current photograph of the registrant. The goal of the SNR is to ensure that all residents who have special needs can get the help and support they need in a time of emergency or during interaction with Police, Fire, or EMS personnel. You can access the form here.

Program Details:

An emergency can best be defined as any event that may require a response, immediate or otherwise, by law enforcement or other first responders. Examples of emergencies include but are not limited to medical emergencies, natural disasters, fires, mandatory evacuations and crimes in progress.

If a person with special needs is reported missing, first responders will have current photograph and other vital information at their fingertips that will aid in locating the missing person more expeditiously. In an emergency, time is of the essence.

The information contained in the registry can help in several different ways. Upon being dispatched to a residence, police dispatchers will be made aware that someone at that location is on the registry. Depending upon the type of call, the dispatcher can better assess the type of response necessary and dispatch manpower and resources accordingly. Also, police officers and/or first responders will be notified that there may be someone at the location with special needs so that they can better gauge their respective responses.

The registry is open to any person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities due to a physical and/or intellectual disability.

There is no cost at all to register for the Special Needs Registry.

A person can register themselves or they can be registered by a caretaker or loved one.

If you have an issue with your registration or need to make a change, or update/remove information please contact:

Sergeant Curtis Floyd |

Officer Shauna Pewitt |

Maury Regional adds state-of-the-art surgical systems (Release)

Surgeons on the medical staff at Maury Regional Medical Center are trained to use advanced technology proven to result in better outcomes for patients. One of those tools is the da Vinci robotic surgical system.

The hospital acquired the first system in 2016, followed by another in 2022. As more surgeons joined the medical staff, the medical center added two more in 2024 for a total of four da Vinci systems. The Xi is the latest generation of the da Vinci system, a tool that utilizes advanced robotic, computer and optical technologies to assist the surgeon during an operation.

The system can be used across a spectrum of minimally invasive surgical procedures and has been optimized for surgeries in the areas of urology, gynecology, thoracic and general surgery.

“Maury Regional Health is committed to providing our medical staff with the latest technology to achieve exceptional outcomes for their patients,” said Maury Regional Health CEO Martin Chaney, MD. “The da Vinci Xi Surgical System has been a great tool for our surgeons, and we’re grateful to be able to add more platforms to further enhance our robotic surgery capabilities.”

The da Vinci system has a 3D high-definition (3D-HD) vision system, special instruments and computer software that allow the surgeon to operate with enhanced vision, precision, dexterity and control. The 3D-HD image is highly magnified, and the da Vinci instruments have mechanical wrists that bend and rotate to mimic the movements of the human wrist, allowing the surgeon to make small, precise movements inside the patient’s body. Benefits for patients who qualify for this minimally invasive approach may include less tissue damage, reduced blood loss and faster recovery.

The da Vinci Xi Surgical System is an expandable technology platform that is designed to accommodate and seamlessly integrate a range of current technologies, as well as future innovations, in areas such as imaging, advanced instruments and anatomical access.

For more information about surgical services at Maury Regional Medical Center, visit

Six members nominated as part of Steering Committee for new admin complex (MSM)

The Maury County Building Committee voted last Monday, May 6 to nominate six members to be part of the Steering Committee for the new administrative complex, which would possibly act as a joint office for both the school and the county.

The members nominated include Mayor County Mayor Sheila Butt, MCPS School Board Chair Will Sims, MCPS Superintendent Lisa Ventura, Finance Director Doug Lukonen, Building Committee Chairman Gabe Howard and Maury County Property Assessor Bobby Daniels.

During the commission's joint study session with the school board earlier this month, three options were discussed on where the building should be located, including the former McDowell site, the square in downtown Columbia and a plot off Tom J. Hitch Parkway.

Chairman Gabe Howard said the session was a good time for unity between the school board and the county commission.

"We can really get to work on building these buildings. As I've stated multiple times, I think the commission is all in in moving this forward," Howard said.

The motion to nominate the members, which was made by District 8 Commissioner Ray Jeter, was later amended to include the county mayor.

District 5 Commissioner Scott Sumners questioned how many committees Finance Director Doug Lukonen is currently on.

"We’ve had some conversations about how busy you are. I just don’t want you to be burned down with something else," Sumners said. "I just don’t want you to have too many irons in the fire. That’s just my concern."

Lukonen requested to be on the committee, stating his department is the largest involved.

"I feel like our office is part of the reason we have to move," he said. "If we were just a county office we’d have 12 less people and we probably wouldn’t be talking about an administrative complex."

The motion will now go before the full commission for final approval.

Also during the meeting, committee members heard updates regarding several building projects underway, including the new judicial center.

Jamie Spencer of Hewlett and Spencer, the design company tasked with construction, said all of the windows have been installed and paving is set to take place May 23.

"It’s really coming along. We’re putting fresh paint on the walls. We’re putting tile in public restrooms right now. Early October is the date we’re turning it over," Spencer said, adding that it may be before that.

Spencer said the Steering Committee, led by Judge Douglas Chapman, has decided on Oct. 14-20 on the timeframe they're going to move.

"They're not going to schedule any court cases from the week of the 14th to the 20th."

Several commissioners admitted their hesitancy towards the project has now changed since taking a walk-through.

“As someone who has taken some flack for some of that project and the funding, it’s turned out tremendously well," Sumners said. "It is going to be something that Maury County is proud of. It went beyond my dreams for that facility.”

A time capsule is set to be placed into the wall of the new center on May 31.

The Maury County Historical Society was granted permission by the Maury County Commission to install the time capsule earlier this year.

Williamson County Parks & Recreation brings back Power Wheels Jr. Rally (MSM)

Join Williamson County Parks and Recreation as they host the Second Annual Power Wheels Jr. Rally on Saturday, June 15 at the Williamson County Soccer Complex!

Children ages 3-8 are invited to bring their personal Power Wheel or borrow a WCPR Power Wheel to compete in a friendly race!

The competition will be divided into two age classes ages, 3-5 and 6-8 competing separately. Trophies will be awarded for first, second and third place for both age classes.

The driver age classes are 3 to 5 year olds and 6 to 8 year olds. They will run heats – 5 to 6 vehicles at a time. Placing in heats determines when they will race again. Each child is guaranteed two races. Races will continue until six racers remain who will then compete in the feature race.

The cost is $20 per racer and free for all others to attend, so be sure to bring your “PIT CREW” to cheer your racer on to victory! All registered participants will start their morning with “Inspections” where WCPR our mechanics will verify that there have been no engine modifications.

"Inspections" will begin at 9 a.m. followed by the first race at 10:30 a.m. Registered Power Wheels must be original stock vehicles (12V battery) with no modified batteries.

Helmets are required for participation. Participants will be required to wear at a minimum, a bicycle helmet, tennis shoes or boots. Flip Flops, sandals or open toe footwear is not allowed.

Driver’s body must be fully contained in the vehicles. Vehicles where the legs are on the outside (4-wheelers) are not allowed. Must be a sit-in vehicle and not a sit-on vehicle. Traction devices or studs are NOT allowed in tires. No bumpers, weights or anything to reinforce the vehicle is allowed.

Pre-registration for race is required with no on-site/day of registrations allowed. Visit for more information and link to registration.

All registration cancellations must be submitted in writing no later than 72 hours prior to the start of this event. No credits or transfers will be processed less than 72 hours before the date this event is scheduled to happen.

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.

Billy Gower Dial, 83, of Brentwood, Tennessee, formerly of Culleoka, Tennessee passed away at Somerfield Health Center on May 10, 2024.

A short graveside service will be held Friday, May 24th at 1pm at Friendship Cemetery in Culleoka. Visitation will be on Saturday, May 25th from 12:30 to 2 followed by a Celebration of Life at 2 p.m. at Brenthaven Church, 516 Franklin Road, Brentwood.

And now, news from around the state…

Tennessee's attorney general sued the federal government again Monday over protections for transgender people.

This most recent lawsuit asks a judge to block new guidelines for sex-based harassment in the workplace that extend to cover an employee's gender identity. Tennessee is leading a group of 18 mostly Republican-led states challenging the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's guidelines in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee.

Under the guidelines, an employer could be held liable under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act — which prohibits employment discrimination — if they don't allow employees access to bathrooms consistent with their gender identity, repeatedly and intentionally refer to an employee with pronouns inconsistent with their gender identity or harass an employee because they dress or appear differently than the way typically "associated with that person’s sex," for example.

Tennessee AG continues strings of gender-based lawsuits

This is the second time in a matter of three weeks that Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti sued over EEOC guidelines and federal transgender protections. He most recently sued the U.S. Department of Education over similar rules protecting students from harassment based on gender identity under updated Title IX rules.

In a news release, Skrmetti argued that the EEOC through these rules is making law, a power given to elected representatives, not "unaccountable commissioners."

"When, as here, a federal agency engages in government over the people instead of government by the people, it undermines the legitimacy of our laws and alienates Americans from our legal system," Skrmetti said in the release.

Tennessee's attempts to roll back transgender residents' ability to use the bathroom they feel comfortable in have had mixed results in the past. In May 2022, a federal judge in Tennessee's Middle District struck down a state law requiring businesses and government buildings to post a sign if they let transgender people use facilities associated with their gender identity.

But in July 2022, a judge in Tennessee's Eastern District granted an injunction blocking guidance from the EEOC and Department of Education prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity, including requiring that students and employees be allowed to access the bathroom consistent with their gender identity.

Appeals court: Wildlife officers’ warrantless searches of private property are unconstitutional (Tennessee Lookout)

State game wardens cannot enter private property in Tennessee without a warrant, the state’s Court of Appeals ruled last week.

The decision puts in check a unique power wielded for decades by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency to secretly patrol and surveil Tennesseans’ privately-owned lands for potential violations of hunting, fishing and wildlife laws.

TWRA officers don’t seek permission from a judge before entering private property, need no supervisor approval, keep no records of their searches and don’t inform property owners — sometimes donning camouflage or installing cameras to secretly monitor activities based on the suspicions of an individual officer.

The blistering and unanimous opinion by a three-judge panel compared TWRA’s tactics to British customs officials who were granted unlimited “writs” by the king of England to conduct arbitrary searches in the years leading to the Revolutionary War — abusive actions that would go on to inform the establishment of the U.S. Constitution’s 4th Amendment protecting Americans from illegal government searches and seizures.

“The TWRA searches, which it claims are reasonable, bear a marked resemblance to the arbitrary discretionary entries of customs officials more than two centuries ago in colonial Boston,” the judges wrote.

“The TWRA’s contention is a disturbing assertion of power on behalf of the government that stands contrary to the foundations of the search protections against arbitrary governmental intrusions in the American legal tradition, generally, and in Tennessee, specifically.”

The decision concluded TWRA’s warrantless forays onto private property violate Article 1, Section 7 of the Tennessee Constitution, which reads in part: “The people shall be secure in their persons, houses, papers and possessions, from unreasonable searches and seizures.”

It will require TWRA to seek judicial warrants based on probable cause a crime has been committed before entering private property — the same rules that bind every other law enforcement agency in the state.

TWRA officials are “carefully reviewing the Court’s Opinion and will consult with the Attorney General’s office in the coming days,” Emily Buck, an agency spokesperson said Friday.

An attorney for Hunter Hollingsworth and Terry Rainwaters, two Benton County men who challenged TWRA’s warantless searches of their separate properties, called the decision “a massive win for property rights in Tennessee.”

“TWRA claimed unfettered power to put on full camouflage, invade people’s land, roam around as it pleases, take photos, record videos, sift through ponds, spy on people from behind bushes—all without consent, a warrant, or any meaningful limits on their power,” said Joshua Windham, an attorney for the Institute for Justice, a nonprofit libertarian-leaning law firm.

“This decision confirms that granting state officials unfettered power to invade private land is anathema to Tennesseans’ most basic constitutional rights,” he said.

State law allowing TWRA to “go upon any property, outside of buildings, posted or otherwise” in order to “enforce all laws relating to wildlife” is constitutional, but not as applied by TWRA officials, the appeals court ruled.

The court concluded that the state law does not apply to property that is in active use, such as for hunting, fishing, farming, camping and land that is posted and gated — a not-uncommon description of properties owned in rural areas of the state that are used entirely for farming or recreation even if unoccupied full-time.

“When considering uses of real property other than as a home, there is nothing in the Tennessee Constitution that suggests a lesser regard for uses of property more common in rural areas than those more typical of urban or suburban areas,” the court wrote.

The ruling does not apply to privately-owned acreages that are left wild and unused — land the U.S. Supreme Court has dubbed “wild or waste lands” and concluded in a so-called “open fields doctrine” are not subject to traditional search and seizure Constitutional protections. The open fields doctrine has long allowed law enforcement to enter such properties without a warrant.

Hollingsworth, on whose property TWRA officers secretly installed a camera that captured areas where he hunted with friends, camped and was intimate with his girlfriend, said last week he was thankful for the decision and the lawyers, including local attorney Jack Leonard, who had pursued his case since 2018

“TWRA’s abuse of power had to stop,” Hollingsworth said. “For as long as I can remember, these officers have acted like a law unto themselves. But nobody — not even a game warden — is above the Constitution, and yesterday’s decision makes that crystal clear.”

Buck, the TWRA spokesperson, noted that the agency at the outset of the legal challenge, “voluntarily implemented a landowner consent process to enter private property and officers have already received additional training on obtaining search warrants when appropriate.”

“The Agency will continue to serve the sportsmen and women of our state by fulfilling its statutory public trust responsibility of protecting wildlife populations. The Agency is also committed to preventing poaching and illegal activity on both public and private property.”

TWRA has 60 days to appeal the decision to the Tennessee Supreme Court.

GFWC announces officers

The GFWC Spring Station inducted its new officers at its May 6 meeting, held at the Winchester Community Center Building in Spring Hill.

Co-President June McDaniel has been a member of GFWC Spring Station since January 2019. She has been associated with GFWC since 1996 in Kentucky. Since joining GFWC-Spring Station, she has held the offices of Secretary and Vice President. Additionally, she has also served as Treasurer of the Music City District since 2020. Co-President Vicki Bechet is a fourth-generation member of the GFWC, having joined her first club in 1980. She was the GFWC TN Junior Director from 1994-96. She was instrumental in establishing the GFWC-Spring Station in 2010 and served as the first president. Bechet was the 2020-22 GFWC TN President. She was also nominated for GFWC Jennie Award 2024. The GFWC Jennie Award is the only national honor that recognizes individual members for personal excellence. In fact, it is the highest honor bestowed by GFWC.

Vice President Becky Rusch moved here from the northern suburbs of Chicago in 2015. While there is a lot she misses about Chicago, the winter is not one of them. She learned about the club before she had even moved and thought it would be a great way to make friends and be useful in her new home. She has been a part of several Amethyst Affairs, Tree Giveaways and Hog Festivals, as well as Treasurer. Rusch has met some of her favorite people through GFWC Spring Station.

Elizabeth Hart, the new Treasurer, joined GFWC in 2021 after seeing a post on Facebook. She has helped with many projects such as collecting litter on Reserve Blvd., as well as fundraiser projects such as the Rummage Sale and the Fairy Tea Party. Hart took over the hygiene kit drive for The Well Outreach the same year she joined. She also has coordinated the assembling of hygiene kits for Shower Up and collection of tabs for The Ronald McDonald House.

In addition to becoming the Recording Secretary, Denise Chapman was selected as the Tennessee Outstanding Club Woman of the Year! During the three years she has been with the club, Chapman has chaired the Arts and Education committees, and the District Fundraiser Committee. She has also been involved with the school supply and clothing drives and the Christmas House Décor, Bunco and Boo and Rummage Sale fundraisers. She is an active attendee at district, regional, state and international club meetings. She embodies the GFWC spirt of volunteerism!

While the club does not do volunteer work for the recognition, it did achieve first place in two categories in Division II: one for Signature Program – Domestic & Sexual Violence Awareness and the other in Communications with second place in Leadership, Membership and Outstanding Club Award.

The GFWC-Spring Station ladies welcome other ladies of all ages who share a desire to volunteer to help the community. Meetings are held the first Monday of the month, except when it lands on a holiday, at the Winchester Community Center Lower Level, 563 Maury Hill St. Spring Hill. The meetings start at 6 p.m. with some time to catch up with friends before the business portion of the meeting starts.

Please contact for more information; and follow us on Facebook at GFWC Spring Station Woman's Club | Facebook.


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