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Southern Middle TN Today News with Tom Price 6-18-24


Southern Middle Tennessee Today

News Copy for June 18, 2024

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

We start with local news…

Maury County Fire (MauryCountySource)

Maury County Fire Department responded to a house fire on Mack Benderman Road just before 3pm Sunday.

When units arrived, they found a double wide mobile home approximately 90% involved and partially collapsed.

Maury County Sheriff’s Deputies arrived just after the first fire units and advised that elderly people live in the home. Units immediately performed a “Vent, Enter, Search” operation through a window of the only bedroom not involved in fire.

One dog was found on the bed and removed through the window. The owners were luckily not home at the time of the fire.

Members worked through extreme heat to fully extinguish the fire. Unfortunately, several dogs perished in the fire.

Culleoka Man Added to TBI Most Wanted (MSM)

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and Maury County Sheriff’s Office are after a Culleoka man who allegedly cut off his ankle bracelet while awaiting trial on child sex charges.

The TBI added Jonathan Marchon Ullrich, a former principal at Longview Elementary School, to its Most Wanted List on Thursday, June 13.

Ullrich was arrested in December 2021 and indicted in 2022 on multiple charges, including sexual exploitation of a minor, aggravated sexual battery and rape of a child over a period of time from 2016 through 2021. He was released on a $350,000 bond and was required to wear an ankle monitor as a condition of release.

The Maury County Sheriff’s Office reportedly had received information that led officials to obtain a warrant for Ullrich’s arrest for allegedly violating his bond conditions. The district attorney’s office filed a motion to revoke Ullrich’s bond and an expedited hearing was held. Ullrich’s bond was revoked as a result of that hearing and an order was issued for his arrest.

Ullrich is reportedly 5-foot-6 and 180 pounds, with brown hair and blue eyes.

Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call 1-(800) TBI-FIND. A reward of $2,500 is being offered for information leading to his capture.

Hotworx Ribbon Cutting (MauryCountySource)

HOTWORX held its ribbon-cutting ceremony on June 13, 2024, for its location in Columbia Tennessee.

HOTWORX offers members unlimited, 24-hour access to a variety of virtually instructed, infrared sauna workouts. Their members achieve their fitness goals with 3D Training a powerful combination of heat, infrared energy, and exercise.

HOTWORX is located at 2516 Hospitality Drive in Columbia. For more information, call (931) 350-9891 and follow them on Facebook

Central Recreates Memorabilia (MSM)

A piece – or, more accurately, a chunk – of athletic history was lost when Columbia Central’s gymnasium was razed as part of the school’s rebuild that was completed in 2018.

“We had some banners in the old gym, but when that building was torn down, those banners got misplaced,” Central athletics director Marc Higdon said recently. “We found them in a box … Some of ‘em had mildew growing on ‘em. They were all wrinkled and creased.

“So we just started from scratch.”

The two-year project to recreate tangible evidence of the school’s prowess on the fields, courts and mats has been completed and is currently on display in the new Hardy Loyd Gymnasium, as vinyl banners dedicated to each of Central’s sports hang on three of the facility’s four walls.

“White ones (list) all the state appearances. Gold ones are state championships. Purple ones are district, regional and substates,” Higdon said. “I pulled every plaque in the building, every trophy I could find, sent out e-mails to former coaches; getting on the (Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association) website doing all the research I could – hopefully we didn’t miss any years – just to honor all of the history, all the sports here.

“We’ve got our 1952 football state championship. We wanted every sport represented. We didn’t want to leave any stone unturned.”

A relic from the old gymnasium, proclaiming it “The Lions’ Den,” was refurbished and placed on the wall along one of the basketball floor’s baselines.

“Our art club graciously touched it up and repainted it, did a great job,” Higdon said. “It was looking pretty rough.”

Additionally, a banner honoring the athletic accomplishments of Carver-Smith, the community’s pre-integration all-Black high school, was installed alongside those of the Lions and Lady Lions.

The gym’s playing surface was recently refinished as well, with the teams’ new logo painted at center court and the phrase “Lion Nation” painted in opposite corners.

While plenty has been done to provide a look back at Lion success, with banners lining three of the gym’s four walls, Higdon hinted that there may be more to be done.

“We may start doing some Hall of Fame banners as we elect more,” he said, eyeing the wall closest to the gym/auditorium lobby. “And I’d like to get a banner up to honor our retired uniforms.”

City Adopts Budget (CDH)

Columbia City Council adopted its latest budget for the 2024-2025 fiscal year, which includes a 5% raise for all employees and increased funding for certain organizations.

The budget also includes securing the city's property tax rate at $0.8251 per 100 square feet of assessed property.

The budget, which amounts to approximately $75.8 million, went before its second and final reading earlier this month, where a few amendments were proposed.

These amendments included increasing funding for the Maury County Animal Services shelter by adding a 10% increase, or $20,000 annually to assist its current needs for expansion. The city currently allots $50,000 quarterly to the animal shelter, or $200,000 per year.

City Manager Tony Massey previously stated that this would be in addition to Mt. Pleasant approving an additional $7,000 in annual funding.

"That sounds like a pretty good faith effort on Mt. Pleasant's part, and in my opinion that would also be a good faith effort on our part to show a 10% increase," Molder said at the Council's June 6 study session meeting.

The South Central Human Resource Agency will also be receiving an additional $1,000 to its annual appropriation, which will match a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant to help the organization's Meals on Wheels program.

Council members also adopted a new 2024-2029 Strategic Plan.

Experience Spring Hill (Press Release)

Spring Hill's popular annual community event, Experience Spring Hill, The Event, presented by TriStar Spring Hill ER, is back on Saturday, June 22, 2024. This jam-packed event will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Summit High School.

Experience Spring Hill, The Event offers attendees a chance to explore all that Spring Hill has to offer in one day under one roof. The free event features over 140 exhibitors from local businesses and nonprofits, a children’s activity area, a food court, community and city information, games with prizes for all ages, dance performances, and much more.

"We're thrilled to host this popular event again this year," said Rebecca Melton, executive director of the Spring Hill Chamber. "Experience Spring Hill, The Event offers an excellent opportunity for residents to explore local businesses and access community information while enjoying family-friendly fun."

Experience Spring Hill, The Event is free and open to the public. Free parking is available at Summit High School. 

For more information, visit

Leadership Maury (Press Release)

Maury Alliance is excited to announce that applications for the Leadership Maury Class of 2024-2025 are now open!

Leadership Maury offers a unique opportunity to connect with local decision-makers, gain insights into various sectors, and explore all the great things Maury County has to offer. Whether you live, work, or volunteer here, this program is your chance to contribute to the future of our community.

Apply now and be part of a network of passionate leaders dedicated to making a difference! Learn more at

Tornado Relief Continues (CDH)

Maury County's ongoing efforts to provide relief from the May tornado, which left many families displaced and hundreds of homes damaged, continues with something a little unique, fun and "magical."

Magic & Melodies for Maury is a grassroots effort spearheaded by a couple of local entertainers in an effort to give back to those affected, while also providing a fun night of music, magic and more.

The variety show event will take place Saturday, June 22 at Rory Feek's Homestead Hall, 4544 Highway 431. Tickets are $25 for VIP, $15 for general admission and $10 for children. Tickets are available for purchase at the door or online at

Emceeing the show will be event organizers and "escape artists extraordinaire" Sher'ril and Samantha Knox.

"Pretty much the day after the tornado happened, I started working on this, started making calls for performers," Sher'ril said. "This is my first time ever organizing a charity event, and so this has been a very big learning curve, but I am so grateful for everyone who has helped."

These modern-day Harry Houdinis said this event is particularly special to them, not only as a way to show off their talents to benefit their community, but because like so many others, they too were affected personally by the tornado.

"Our aunt and uncle, their house was damaged, and they have a daughter with Down's syndrome and who is non-verbal," Sher'ril said. "It broke the kitchen window and knocked glass everywhere."

Proceeds from the June 22 event will be donated to New Lasea Church of Christ, 1570 Lasea Road, which has been a set-up spot for donations since the May tornado occurred.

"They've been great," Sher'ril said. "I think just about everybody has some kind of personal investment in this, because we all know someone somehow that's been affected."

The Magic & Melodies lineup will also include Elevator to Space Barbershop Quartet, Fletcher (formerly known as Kentucky Linemen), songwriter Anica Meyerhoff, Us Two and Him bluegrass group and Columbia's own Classic Vinyl 931.

Former Maury County Commission Chair Don Morrow, who plays drums in Classic Vinyl 931, recalls the aftermath of the tornado. Though he wasn't personally affected by the damages, he certainly knows many who were.

Morrow stated that an event like this should be supported because, while it isn't hammering nails and shoveling debris, it is a way for people to use what they have to give back.

"We all want to donate our talents for this, which is a no-brainer for all of us, donating our talents for those in need," Morrow said. "All of us can't trim trees and cut wood, but we can do this."

While Magic & Melodies was the Knoxs' brainchild, it could not have been accomplished without donations and the efforts of many others, ranging from Feek donating his venue to the show's performers and many sponsorships.

"It's been really awesome making all of the connections, and everyone working together has just been great," Sher'ril said.

Individual and business sponsorships are still being accepted by calling (931) 774-6951 or emailing

Spring Hill Record Fair (MauryCountySource)

Hundreds of music collectors and enthusiasts are expected to gather in Spring

Hill on Saturday, July 13 for the inaugural Mid-Tennessee Record Fair.

Hosted by Rock-A-Rolla Records of Spring Hill, the fair takes place at the 14,000 square foot UAW Local 1853 Union Hall on 125 Stephen P. Yokich Pkwy, conveniently located right off Tennessee Route 396 in Spring Hill.

“We’re excited to finally bring a real record show to Music City,” says Matt Baade, the owner Rock-A-Rolla Records. “There will be several well-known, established dealers from all parts of the South, as well as Kentucky and Ohio, who’ll be selling some rare and hard-to-find items. If you’re a music collector, this is the place to be.”

music memorabilia, vintage clothing and t-shirts, stickers, pins, and more.

In addition to door prizes and giveaways, there will be food trucks out front for hungry record collectors.

Early entry admission at 10:00 AM is $20, while general admission is $5 between 11:00 AM and 4:00 PM .

There are still a few tables left, so prospective dealers should call 615-302-8080 or email to reserve their table today. The deadline for dealer registration is June 12.

Sobriety Checkpoint (Press Release)

The Tennessee Highway Patrol will be conducting sobriety roadside safety checkpoints during the week of June 21st on State RT. 7, .1miles south of Knob Creek Road in Maury County starting at 10pm.

Impaired driving is a serious crime that kills more than 16,000 people and injures 305,000 people every year in the United States. Troopers will evaluate drivers for signs of alcohol or drug impairment. Troopers will target those who operate a vehicle while impaired and take corrective actions for other violations observed while ensuring the protection of all motorists.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol recognizes that sobriety checkpoints are highly visible and effective tools in the battle against impaired driving.

CSCC Summer Camps (Press Release)

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

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.

For more information and to register, visit or email

Maury County Clerk Satellite Office (Press Release)

The Maury County Clerk’s office can now help residents with renewals of license plates or placards each Wednesday from 8am to 3:30pm at the Maury County Senior Center located at 1020 Maury County Park Dr.

Please drive around to the back of the building and look for the car tag renewal sign near the back door.

Forms of payment include credit/debit card or check – no cash.

Any Maury County Resident can use this office.

All other transactions will still need to be done through the main office located at 10 Public Square.

Also, you can renew online at or at kiosks in Spring Hill City Hall or Mt. Pleasant Courthouse.

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

Su Cha Stephens, 82, of Culleoka passed away Sunday June 16. Funeral services will be conducted Wednesday June 19th at 10:00 am. Burial will follow at Polk Memorial Gardens. The family will visit with friends Tuesday from 4-8 pm at Oakes & Nichols Funeral Home

Eleanor Gayle Derryberry Garrison died peacefully at Hendersonville Hospital on Sunday June 16 a graveside service will be held at Jones Cemetery in Columbia, TN at 3 PM on Wednesday June 19th

Linda Roberts Harris, 83, died Sunday, June 16th at Vitality Living in Franklin. Funeral services will be conducted Saturday, June 22 at 11:00 AM at West Seventh Street Church of Christ. Burial will follow at Polk Memorial Gardens. Visitation will be Saturdayfrom 10:00 AM until 11:00 AM at the church.

Shelly Clark Stuart, 69, of Columbia, TN passed peacefully on June 14th. A memorial service will be held Friday June 21 at 4:00 PM, at Oakes and Nichols Funeral Home. Inurnment will follow at Rose Hill Cemetery. Visitation will be held at the funeral home between 2:00-4:00 PM Friday.

…And now, news from around the state…

Walsh Makes Olympic Team (TheNewsTN)

Nashville’s Gretchen Walsh qualified for her first Olympics in record-setting fashion over the weekend.

The Harpeth Hall School graduate set a world record in the 100-meter women’s butterfly on Saturday at the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials, capturing her semifinal heat in 55.18 seconds at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

She broke Swedish swimmer Sarah Sjöström’s 55.48 mark from 2016.

“I didn’t think I was going to do it tonight,” Walsh told the press after the race. “I just knew that I wanted to go a best time, and now, here I am, world record holder. It’s actually insane.”

But there was still work to be done.

The 21-year-old Walsh followed up her record-shattering performance by winning the 100-meter women’s butterfly final on Sunday, posting a time of 55.31 and automatically qualifying her for the Paris Olympics beginning next month. She finished ahead of Torri Huske (55.52) and Regan Smith (55.62).

Walsh had failed to qualify for the 2021 U.S. Olympic team and 2022 World Championships.

She credited the support of her sister, Harpeth Hall grad Alex Walsh, as well as USA Swimming Women’s Olympic head coach Todd DeSorbo. The latter is also the head coach at the University of Virginia, where both Walsh sisters swim.

“Alex and Todd have been with me every step of the way since last Trials, and this was a full-circle moment for me and for them,” Walsh said. “This whole journey has been full of ups and downs. But I'm just really happy to be on such a high right now and have them alongside me experiencing it.” 

Walsh is also entered in the 50- and 100-meter freestyle at the trials, which run through June 23.

Alex Walsh, meanwhile, is scheduled to compete in the 200-meter individual medley, the 100-meter breaststroke and the 200-meter breaststroke. The 22-year-old won a silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, finishing second in the 200-meter individual medley. She also competes for DeSorbo at Virginia, which has won four straight NCAA championships.

A total of five Harpeth Hall grads qualified for the 2024 U.S. Olympic Trials in swimming.

In addition to the Walsh sisters, Ella Nelson, a 2019 Harpeth Hall graduate and 2024 Virginia graduate, will compete in the 200-meter breaststroke and the 400-meter individual medley; Alex Massey ‘20, currently swimming at Yale University, will participate in the 200-meter butterfly; and Maggie Petty ‘24, a University of California-Berkeley signee, will enter the 50-meter freestyle.

Joe Elmore Passes (Tennessean)

Joe Elmore, who took viewers of public television's "Tennessee Crossroads" to nearly every small town and quirky corner of the Volunteer State for 37 years, died Monday after a long illness. He was 80. 

"Tennessee Crossroads" and Nashville Public Television, which broadcast the show, confirmed his death.

In a Facebook post Monday afternoon, show producers pledged to continue making the beloved show which chronicles life in Tennessee.

"As Joe would've wanted," the post read, "the show he helped create will continue, as will his spirit."

Co-workers and viewers thought of Elmore as a kind, consummate professional who helped Tennesseans discover charming parts of the state they might not have known about.

"Soft-spoken, humble, a true gentleman and the best representative of the state of Tennessee I ever have known," said longtime Nashville broadcaster Laura Faber, a "Tennessee Crossroads" producer since 2020.

"He was a comfortable soul," she said, "always professional and kind, and the best story teller."

WKRN News 2 news anchor Bob Mueller, Nashville's longest-running television personality, called Elmore "a legend in local broadcasting."

"His constant smile and professionalism for his craft will be missed," Mueller told The Tennessean. "On air, he was always educating, highlighting nuance and unique aspects of each story. You could tell he loved his work and interacting with his viewers."

"Tennessee Crossroads" reporter and former Fox 17 news personality Miranda Cohen said Elmore made fundraising appearances for Nashville Public Television as recently as March.

"It was fun to be at events with him because it was fun to see people’s reactions to him," Cohen said. "They just lit up!"

And Elmore's fans were equally disappointed when the "Tennessee Crossroads" van pulled up to a small town and Elmore wasn't inside, she said.

"They'd look right past us and say, 'Is Joe here? Is Joe here?' They were so truly disappointed!" Cohen said, laughing. "And I get it. He was really phenomenal.

"If you were fortunate enough to meet Joe Elmore, you met the exact same wonderful man whom you saw on television sharing his love of exploring the beloved highways and byways of his home state."

Elmore launched his television career in Memphis, when he served as weekend reporter and anchor at WHBQ. Later, he co-hosted the station's "PM Magazine" show, a role where he produced nationally-broadcast stories, the "Tennessee Crossroads" website says.

Final Story of the Day (Maury County Source)

The Nashville Zoo announced on Monday the hatching of two rare lizards, called crocodile tegus, marking a historic moment as the first of their species to hatch at any AZA-accredited zoo.

These lizards are found in the Amazon Basin and are named for their appearance and fondness of water.

Not much is known about this elusive species and being able to breed them in a Zoo setting will help provide more information about them and their reproductive biology.

They can take a couple of years to reach adult size, at which point they will likely be placed on exhibit in Unseen New World.

Learn more at


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