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Southern Middle TN Today News with Tom Price 5-16-24

Maury County is urging citizens to continue abiding by the Debris Management Guidelines that have been set-forth. If you are a resident or volunteer, we are requesting you place debris on the right-of-way so debris removal agencies can begin picking-up the waste. There may be rolling road closures, with the following roads impacted (but may not be limited to) Old Highway 99, Nicholson School House Rd, Blackburn Lane, Newt Hood Road, Hickory Ridge, and Heather Lane.

Until further notice, we will continue to pick up vegetative debris. We need citizens to continue practicing safe techniques while recovering. Please use the correct equipment, wear the correct personal protection equipment, and be mindful of faulty equipment as well. If you need additional assistance, please call the Crisis Clean-Up Hotline at 615-488-1875. 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. Also be mindful when hiring a contractor to verify their insurance. If you are unsure of a contractor’s licensure status, you can go to or call the Maury County Sheriff’s Office. As the recovery process continues, please be cautious of citizens at, or around roadways. We are urging for drivers to proceed cautiously through the area. If you need to report reckless driving, or any suspicious activity; please reach out to the Maury County Sheriff’s Office at 931-388-5151.

It will continue to rain intermittently throughout the week; please have any damaged structures covered in order to prevent further damage. We do have a slight risk for severe weather, all modes are possible.

If you are needing resources, or supplies/ want to donate; we have multiple organizations you can contact including (not limited to): New Lasea Church of Christ, The Well, and The Family Center in Columbia. Their numbers will be listed below.

We are requesting that you do not call the Office of Emergency Management’s general phone number. Please call 931-490-6983 for general questions, or call 931-490-6982 for Mental Health Crisis Assistance. Many people have asked about volunteering. Please refer to our website; and go to the tab labeled Disaster Relief. There will be a section about volunteering toward the bottom and will have information you will need regarding recovery.

We have dispatched representatives from the Mental Health Crisis Team to the impacted area and encourage you to use them at your disposal.

Duck River Electric has reported all restorable power is back on. Recovery is ongoing, but the Rally Hill Sub-station is back online, however adjacent facilities will take more time to restore.


New Lasea Church Of Christ: 931-381-7412

Family Center of Columbia: 931-388-3840

The Well: 615-302-9355


Maury County Public Schools (MCPS) Superintendent Lisa Ventura is excited to announce that Mrs. Robin T. Smith M.Ed. has been promoted to Principal of Baker Elementary School.

Smith began her career with Maury County Public Schools in 2019 as Assistant Principal at Baker Elementary School, where she worked alongside Mr. Jon Clanton.

Robin expressed, “Best career move I’ve ever made!” Robin attended Culleoka School and Columbia Academy, graduating in 1988. She then completed her undergraduate degree at David Lipscomb University and earned her Master of Education in Leadership and Supervision from Lipscomb in 2006.

Robin has been involved in education in various capacities for 22 years. She started her career as a teacher at Hickman County Middle School, where she taught 7th and 8th-grade Social Studies, coached basketball, and later became the School Counselor. In 2016, she returned to Maury County and was appointed School Counselor at Columbia Academy, where she served for three years.

Upon accepting the principal position, Mrs. Smith stated, "I know that my experience in each of these roles has led me to this moment in my professional career. Each one of my previous duties has informed the way I view education and the educational process. Kids come first, and the relationships we build with them have an impact that is life-long. I do not take that lightly. I have personally been shaped and encouraged by so many amazing people in my career, from elementary and high school teachers, fellow coaches, and fantastic administrators. I want our students to leave Baker feeling the same way about us that I feel about those folks. I am thankful to Mrs. Ventura for the confidence she has placed in me to continue the positive trajectory of Baker Elementary. It’s a special place, and I look forward to every moment of it!”

Superintendent Ventura expressed her enthusiasm for Mrs. Smith's appointment, stating, "Mrs. Smith brings a unique blend of experience, passion, and dedication to her new role as Principal of Baker Elementary. Her proven track record and unwavering commitment to student success make her the ideal candidate to lead Baker Elementary into the future. I am confident that under Robin's leadership, Baker Elementary will continue to thrive as a center of excellence in education."

Spring Hill woman donates time at Franklin Rodeo (MSM)

Judy Davis comes to the Franklin Rodeo and spends her whole time working.

For the past 34 years, the Spring Hill woman has spent all three nights at the rodeo volunteering with a group of high school students to man the concessions stand at the rodeo.

The Page High School social studies teacher and sponsor of the Interact Club, Davis oversees about 10 students each night, May 16-18, who sell popcorn, cotton candy, candy and sodas to rodeo fans.

In 1987, she and a fellow teacher at the school were asked to sponsor the Interact Club, the youth version of Rotary Club. As part of her duties, she schedules kids to work and works with them as they serve snacks and drinks at the rodeo, which is produced by the Franklin Noon Rotary Club.

The work is as much a time to visit as it is as a time to sell snacks. Davis re-connects with past students that are now adults and are attending the rodeo. She’s even taught several of the Franklin Noon Rotary Club members, who are part of the rodeo committee: Devin Gilliam, Zane Martin and others.

Not all of the high school youth who volunteer at the rodeo are Interact Club members; some of them volunteer because they enjoy it.

Once kids try it the first year, they usually want to volunteer the next year, Davis said. In 2019, two young men volunteered and were excited to do it the next year. But the pandemic happened, and there was no rodeo in 2020 or 2021. The next year, when the rodeo resumed, the men had graduated. Both graduates of Columbia State, they hope to volunteer this year, if their schedules allow.

Working the concession stand gives kids the chance to learn certain skills, Davis said, like working with the public, “how to greet the public,” she said, “and how to deal with people. It’s customer service relations.” It also gives them a chance to observe what the Rotary Club does, to see how a service organization works.

Davis grew up in the area, graduating from Spring Hill High School.

She had never been to the rodeo before she started working the concessions stand. Once she went, she liked it.

Her husband Larry, before he passed away in 2004, would help out at the rodeo. A teaching assistant in the Franklin School District, he knew a lot of Williamson County people and would visit with friends.

It’s an enjoyable activity for students to be involved with, even though it’s considered “work,” Davis said. The kids can watch parts of the rodeo, between helping customers, and they like it.

“The students work and we even feed them,” she laughed. “It’s not something hard to do. It’s fun, and that’s a big thing. It’s fun.”

The Interact Club is the oldest continuous club supported by the Franklin Noon Rotary Club.

The 73rd Franklin Rodeo takes place May 16-18 at the Williamson Co. Ag Expo Park. Showtimes are 7 p.m. each night.

Standing room only tickets are available for $20 for adults and $10 for children. Tickets are available online at Ticket buyers are encouraged to purchase only from the rodeo website, not third-party sellers, who might mark up prices.

Plane crash in Fairview claims three lives (MS-Fairview)

Williamson County Emergency Management Agency reported a small plane crashed in the area of Bending Chestnut Road, Davis Hollow Road and the Natchez Trace Parkway just after noon today.

The Federal Aviation Administration confirmed three people were on board the single-engine Beech Craft V35 with no survivors.

The initial 9-1-1 call came in shortly after noon from an area resident who reported hearing a loud sound and seeing debris.

A unified command post was established by Williamson County Fire/Rescue, Tennessee Highway Patrol, Franklin Fire, Williamson County Emergency Management Agency, Williamson County Sheriff’s Office and Williamson Health EMS.

Authorities described the scene as having a large debris field approximately a half a mile long. They also said the aircraft departed Baton Rouge, Louisiana en route to Louisville, Kentucky.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will be investigating the crash site upon arrival this afternoon and tomorrow.

Everyone is being asked to avoid the area to allow emergency personnel on the scene to do their job. Expect the following roads to remain closed to through traffic through tomorrow with local residents allowed access:

Bending Chestnut at Natchez Trace

5900 block of Davis Hollow Road

5800 block of Bending Chestnut Road

NWS: Tornado count to 13 (CDH)

The National Weather Service has determined that an EF-0 tornado touched down in Lawrence County Tuesday, bring the number of confirmed tornadoes for Middle Tennessee to 13 so far in May.

Twelve tornadoes were previously counted by the service, originating from severe storms that rolled through on May 6 and again May 8-9.

Five reports in Lincoln County from the May-8-9 outbreak are continuing to be evaluated, officials said. Meteorologist Huntir Cramer didn’t rule out the possibility that some of the Lincoln County reports could be combined, though as of Wednesday, they were considered separate incidents.

Extensive flooding and straight line wind damage were also reported in several communities.

Maury and Marshall counties: A powerful EF-3 with winds estimated at up to 140 miles an hour had a 12.51-mile track touching down along the Duck River east of Columbia and eventually lifting in western Marshall County. Multiple homes received substantial damage along Cothran and Cranford Hollow Roads before the tornado crossed Highway 412 and caused more substantial damage on Old Highway 99 and Blackburn Lane. The tornado reached its maximum strength along Blackburn Road and Lasea Road, where a large transmission power truss collapsed, a house was destroyed with only a small interior room left standing, and a doublewide mobile home was swept away. The tornado continued northeast damaging additional homes and blowing down trees before crossing I-65 near mile marker 47. The tornado crossed Highway 431 near Kedron Road and continued to blow down trees as it took a sharp southeastward jog before lifting in a forest east of Moses Road in far western Marshall County.

Giles County: An EF-2 with high winds estimated at 115 mph had a track of nearly six miles and a width of 700 yards. The tornado touched down along Case Road and continued east causing significant tree and structural damage.

May 14

Lawrence County: The tornado hit around 4:16 p.m., with top winds estimated at 85 mph. The path lasted about 3.86 miles and was about 100 yards wide. Numerous trees were snapped, uprooted, or lost significant branches, a few farm outbuildings and several homes had damage.

MRMC Auxillary to host gala (Maury County Source)

The Maury Regional Medical Center Auxiliary is hosting its inaugural Gala on June 8 at Antrim Celebrations in Columbia to support the service organization’s work-based learning program for the next generation of health care professionals.

The Gala — presented by Protech, DB’s and Muletown Rec — will feature a plated dinner, cash bar, dancing and live entertainment. Local musician Thom Ellis will perform during the cocktail hour and eight-piece Top Tier Band, based out of Nashville, will provide dance music to close the evening’s events.

“The Auxiliary is incredibly excited to host our first-ever Gala,” said Auxiliary President and Gala Chair Nancy Hunter. “We look forward to sharing a fun evening with our community, while helping to support our initiatives that give back to our current and future health care professionals.”

The Maury Regional Medical Center Auxiliary is a service organization that formed before the first patient was admitted to the hospital in 1953. In the time since, volunteers have continued to offer valuable assistance and support in a variety of areas throughout the medical center. The Auxiliary has also provided more than $2.5 million in financial contributions to Maury Regional Health through fundraising efforts by volunteers to support an array of projects, including the Care-a-Van shuttle service, chapel, conference rooms, scholarships for local students, $100,000 toward the purchase of Maury Regional Health’s mobile medical unit, four K-9 security dogs and much more.

The work-based learning program is a new addition to the Auxiliary’s programs — facilitated through Maury Regional Health’s Volunteer Services Department — that allows local high school students to learn from professionals at Maury Regional Health and gain valuable real-world experience. The program is in partnership with Maury County Public Schools and provides students the opportunity to job shadow in various clinical and non-clinical areas of the hospital for two hours each week throughout the school year. The program is open to all seniors at Maury County Public Schools.

“The work-based learning program is an excellent opportunity for students to develop the necessary skills that will make them successful in any workplace, such as a strong work ethic, effective communication, time management, customer service and an understanding of career expectations,” said Director of Volunteer Services Cindy Short.

In addition, the Maury Regional Medical Center Auxiliary will soon be offering a Work-based Learning Scholarship. Beginning in 2025, work-based learning participants with Maury Regional Medical Center as their host site will be able to apply for this scholarship to support their post-secondary school education.

“I am thrilled to share that the Maury Regional Medical Center Auxiliary is once again investing in the future of our community through the work-based learning program,” Short said. “As a community-based hospital, it’s a source of pride to know that we are collectively reshaping the lives and communities we serve.”

In addition to supporting the new Work-based Learning Scholarship, proceeds raised during the Gala will also support a new nursing scholarship through the Auxiliary.

The Maury Regional Medical Center Auxiliary Gala is cocktail-attire and will take place Saturday, June 8, at 6 p.m. at Antrim Celebrations located at 2759 Pulaski Highway in Columbia. Tickets are $150 per person and are non-refundable, with $75 of that amount being tax-deductible. RSVPs are requested by May 25 and may be submitted online at

Additional sponsors of the Gala include Dr. and Mrs. Jeff Adams, Blythewood Inn, TriStar Bank, Redman-Davis Insurance and Listerhill Credit Union. For sponsorship commitments, please contact

To learn more about the Maury Regional Medical Center Auxiliary and its volunteer program, visit or call 931.380.4047. Students interested in learning more about the work-based learning program should contact their school’s guidance counselor, HOSA or CTE coordinators or health science teacher.

Now a look at your hometown memorials, brought to you by Oakes and Nichols Funeral Home…

Mr. Clifford McEwen Brooks, 68, employee of AutoZone, retired bus driver for Maury County Public Schools, and resident of Columbia, died Friday, May 10th at Maury Regional Medical Center.Funeral services will be conducted Monday, May 13, 2024 at 2:00 p.m. at Oakes & Nichols Funeral Home. Burial will follow in Morrow Cemetery. The family will visit with friends Monday from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the funeral home.

Jason Daniel Slayman, 43, resident of Columbia, died Wednesday, May 8th at Maury Regional Medical Center. A graveside service will be conducted Monday, May 13th at 2:30 p.m. at Chessor Cemetery in Centerville.

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, 2024 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

and now news from around the state…

Tennessee AG joins GOP states’ challenge to new EPA rules requiring power plant pollution controls (Tennessee Lookout)

Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti has joined GOP counterparts in 24 states in challenging new Biden Administration rules limiting greenhouse gas emissions, water pollution and coal ash contamination generated by the nation’s gas- and coal-fired power plants.

The legal petition was filed Thursday in the D.C Court of Appeals — the same day the Environmental Protection Agency published its final rule, hailed by environmental groups as a critical step forward in curbing planet-warming pollution.

The attorneys general, however, argued the EPA’s new rule “exceeds the agency’s statutory authority and otherwise is arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, and not in accordance with law.” Industry groups have also criticized the EPA for rules that impose the use of untested technology on the energy sector and warned of job loss and destabilization of the nation’s energy grid.

The EPA rules require existing coal-fired power plants to limit carbon emissions by 90% beginning in 2039 – or cease operations entirely new gas plants will also have to meet new carbon capture standards that depend on their capacity.

The rules also force power plants to clean up lingering deposits of coal ash, a toxic byproduct of power generation that can leach arsenic, mercury and other dangerous pollutants into streams, lakes and groundwater.

In Tennessee, the rules would apply largely to the Tennessee Valley Authority, its fleet of coal and gas plants and large accumulations of coal ash.

A spokesperson for TVA said last week that the utility is currently reviewing the new EPA rules, noting carbon reduction initiatives and coal ash management practices already underway.

“Already an industry leader in carbon reductions, TVA has reduced emissions by 57% from 2005 levels,” said Scott Brooks, the spokesperson. “

“Nearly 60% of TVA’s energy comes from carbon-free sources including nuclear, hydropower, storage, and solar,” he said. “We are actively integrating more renewables into the system, investing in new technologies, and retiring older, less efficient generation. We are doing this in a holistic way that ensures affordability, reliability, and resiliency for our 10 million customers.”

In total, Tennessee derives 20% of its electricity from natural gas, 24% from coal, 42% from nuclear and 14% from renewables, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

TVA has come under criticism for its continued reliance on fossil fuels as it replaces aging coal-fired power plants with methane-gas fueled power plants.

AAA: Gas prices lower in Tennessee (Release)

Tennesseans saw another break at the pump this week, with the state gas price average dropping eight cents over last week. The Tennessee Gas Price average is now $3.23 which is six cents less expensive than one month ago but seven cents more than one year ago.

"Lackluster demand, rising gasoline supplies and falling oil prices are helping to push pump prices lower, which could mean good news for those planning a road trip over Memorial Day weekend," said Megan Cooper, spokeswoman for AAA - The Auto Club Group. "Continued volatility at the pump cannot be ruled out completely, however, as AAA is expecting a very busy summer driving season. The biggest wildcard right now as we head toward the Memorial Day holiday is the price of oil - any major changes in crude oil pricing in the next couple of weeks could have an impact on pump prices."

2024 Memorial Day Travel Forecast

AAA released its 2024 Memorial Day travel forecast today. More than 783,000 Tennesseans are expected to travel by car to their holiday destinations, which is the second highest travel volume since 2005.

During last year’s holiday weekend, Tennessee gas prices averaged $3.19 per gallon.

National Gas Prices

Gas prices posted a quiet week, with the national average drifting lower by four cents to $3.61 since last Monday. Tepid pre-Memorial Day domestic demand and oil costs below $80 a barrel are the likely culprits.

According to new data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), gas demand rose modestly from 8.62 million b/d to 8.79 last week. Meanwhile, total domestic gasoline stocks increased by nearly 1 million bbl to 228 million bbl. Slack demand, rising supply, and falling oil prices could push pump prices lower.

Today’s national average is $3.61, two cents less than a month ago but eight cents more than a year ago.

Drivers can find current gas prices along their route using the AAA TripTik Travel planner.

Tennessee Regional Prices

  • Most expensive metro markets - Morristown ($3.30), Jackson ($3.27), Johnson City ($3.26)

  • Least expensive metro markets - Chattanooga ($3.13), Clarksville ($3.21), Kingsport-Bristol ($3.21)

… Delk Kennedy Special Report…


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