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Southern Middle TN Today News with Tom Price 6-19-24


Southern Middle Tennessee Today

News Copy for June 19, 2024

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

We start with local news…

Car Crash Claims Life (MauryCountySource)

At 6:42AM on Tuesday, Maury County Fire Department was dispatched to a head-on collision on Hampshire Pike near Ridgetop Rd.

Arriving units found a total of 5 occupants trapped in two vehicles and one patient out of a vehicle and deceased.

Hydraulic tools were used extricate the victim.

Extrication of all patients concluded approximately 1 hour after the initial dispatch of the incident.

A total of three medical helicopters transported three adult patients and Maury Regional EMS transported two pediatric patients by ground.

Arrest Made in Pellet Gun Case (MSM)

Spring Hill police have arrested two juveniles in connections with a pair of incidents involving a pellet gun that injured a 15-year-old girl and a 44-year-old man over the last week.

Officers responded to the area of Via Francisco Way and Maleventum Way in the Benevento subdivision on June 14 to a report that a 15-year-old female was struck by a pellet gun.

Two days later, officers responded to a 44-year-old victim who was struck in the head by a projectile from a pellet gun while he was driving his vehicle. This incident happened in the area of Duplex Road and Hurt Road.

Two 16-year-old males, one from Spring Hill and one from Franklin were charged with aggravated assault in Williamson County Juvenile Court in connection with this incident on June 18.

Spring Hill police say the preliminary investigation to this point revealed the juveniles have been using “Orbeez” guns that shoot gel projectiles known as gel blasters, even shooting these guns from car to car at each other, while others shoot at pedestrians.

In other cases BB/pellet guns have been used by juveniles and persons walking/driving have been hit.

“Parents, if your child has these styles of guns, please monitor their activity especially if they leave the house with them. This investigation is ongoing and more arrests may be coming. This is not a game or social media ‘challenge.’ This is a crime, and you will be prosecuted if you are caught,” the department wrote in a release.

FEMA Money Available for Tornado Damages (CDH)

A disaster declaration has been made for several Middle Tennessee counties affected by severe storms, flooding and tornadoes between May 8-9.

According to a statement from FEMA, public assistance via federal funding is available to state and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis.

Montgomery, Cheatham, Sumner and Maury Counties are among the counties available for FEMA assistance, according to the declaration from President Joe Biden. Cannon, Giles, Hamilton, Jackson, Macon, Polk, Smith and Warren Counties are also eligible for funding.

Deadly tornadoes ravaged Columbia in Maury County leaving one dead and a two-mile path of destruction.

Multiple rounds of strong storms brought heavy rains, damaging winds across Middle Tennessee including flooding that caused the death of Asher Sullivan in Rutherford County.

Federal funding for hazard mitigation measures is available statewide.

Breakfast Rotary Banquet (WKOM Audio 2:15)

Yesterday, Breakfast Rotary held their annual end-of-year banquet.

Among the awards given was a Rotarian of the Year Award which was given to the late Mary Susan Kennedy, the owner of this radio station and beloved community leader, who passed away just a few weeks ago. With more is Front Porch Radio’s Taft Ayres.

Hemp Seizure Prompts Federal Suit (TheNewsTN)

A Federal lawsuit alleges that 22nd Judicial District Attorney Brent Cooper and the Spring Hill Police Department illegally seized hundreds of pounds of hemp from a Columbia-based company, resulting in more than a $1 million of damages to their inventory.

SAK Wholesale and the associated business Old School Vapor, which has retail locations in Spring Hill, Columbia and Franklin, filed the suit on May 20, alleging violations of its Fourth Amendment and 14th Amendment rights. 

Defendants in the suit include Cooper, SHPD Chief Don Brite, and SHPD Sgt. Andrew Burdett.

Other unidentified defendants, listed as “John Does 1-10,” include 22nd Judicial District assistant district attorneys, Drug Unit officers from both SHPD and the Columbia Police Department, deputies with the Maury County Sheriff's Office, and agents with the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, all of whom were present when the hemp was seized.

Hemp containing less than 0.3% of THC is legal in Tennessee.

According to the complaint, on May 9, law enforcement officers “seized their entire inventory of hemp flower without probable cause” and without the presentation of a search warrant that related to hemp or cannabis.

SHPD obtained five search warrants for the five Old School Vapor locations, the details of which have not been made public, but the plaintiffs argue that officers also searched the SAK Wholesale warehouse, which they said was not included in the warrant.

“Although the SAK warehouse was located in the same building as one of the Old School Vapor retail locations in Columbia, Tennessee, the two businesses were separate and separated by a wall and door, which was closed at the time the officers entered,” the complaint reads.

“In other words, to access the SAK warehouse, officers opened a nonpublic door that they had no authority to open. In addition, at the time officers attempted to enter the SAK warehouse, a SAK Wholesale employee told officers that the warehouse was not part of Old School Vapor. In response, the entering officers said they were authorized to search it anyway. Those officers did not produce a warrant authorizing their entry or otherwise explain the basis for their claim of authority.”

The lawsuit also alleges that officers at first said that their search of the businesses was “unrelated to hemp flower or HDC products,” but then officers proceeded to “demand entry” into large safes that stored the hemp inside of the warehouse.

“Sergeant Burdett told S.O. [warehouse employee] that the Fire Department was on its way to the warehouse to cut the safes open. So, if S.O. refused to open the safes, Burdett said, the safes would be destroyed,” the complaint reads. “Faced with this threat to SAK’s property, S.O. was coerced into opening the safes for Sergeant Burdett, and he did so.”

The exact amount of hemp seized was not disclosed but described in the complaint as “hundreds” of pounds with a value of $1.35 million.

While not listed as defendants, according to the complaint, the Williamson County Sheriff's Office also took part in the raids, but they “refused to seize any hemp flower from Old School Vapor’s Franklin location” because hemp “wasn't in the warrant.”

“The Defendants did not seize the hemp pursuant to any claim of civil asset forfeiture, nor as part of a criminal forfeiture proceeding,” the complaint reads. 

“Rather, they generically claimed that the hemp was ‘evidence’ of a crime. But none of the Plaintiffs nor anyone associated with them was charged with any criminal offense—because, again, the possession and sale of hemp is legal under Tennessee and federal law.”

Police used a testing device on the hemp, which they believe tested positive for illegal amounts of THC, but the plaintiffs argue that there is “no evidence” that the tests police used could distinguish between hemp and cannabis. 

The plaintiffs also argue that they had “valid Certificates of Analysis” that showed that the hemp contained legal levels of THC.

The defendants allege that Cooper refused to return the hemp and argue that the help is likely being improperly stored, increasing the “likelihood that the hemp will be ruined and unavailable for future retail sale.”

“The Defendants in this case chose to ignore the law and illegally seize more than $1.35 million of hemp based on their misguided (and unreasonably wrong) belief that it was ‘the same damn thing’ as marijuana. It is not, and the Defendants’ defiance of the law violated the Plaintiffs’ rights under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution,” the complaint reads.

The owners of Old School Vapor and SAK Wholesale are seeking damages no less than $1,350,607.00, a declaratory judgment that their rights were violated, and an unspecified award of punitive damages against the defendants.

Maury Democrats To Hold Debate (Press Release)

The Maury County Democratic Party (MCDP) announced there will be a debate on Monday, July 8, 2024, at 6 p.m. between two Democratic candidates running for the Tennessee State House of Representatives in District 64.

The event will be held at Macedonia Recreation Center, 501 Armstrong St., Columbia, and is open to the public. It will begin at 6 p.m. and will last for approximately one hour.

Eileen Longstreet and Alex Pierce will participate with Justin Kanew of the Tennessee Holler moderating.

Alex Pierce is from Columbia and Eileen Longstreet is from Spring Hill.

House District 64 includes the eastern part of Maury County. The seat is currently held by Rep. Scott Cepicky (R-Culleoka).

James Dallas, MCDP Chair said, “We are excited to offer voters in House District 64 an opportunity to learn more about our candidates.”

Aqua Doc Grand Opening (Press Release)

Yesterday afternoon, Maury Alliance held a ribbon cutting ceremony celebrating Aqua Doc Pool and Spa!

Aqua Doc is a family business with three generations of swimming pool builders to boast of. Originally started in California in 1968 by Darrel Tavenner as SunKist Pools, the family business then expanded to 2 locations in 1972 with Darrel and his new wife Paulette and the company name was changed accordingly to D&P Pools. Then in 2004, Steve Gibbs, (second generation family builder) moved to Tennessee and opened “WaterScapes”. Following Steve’s lead, brother, John Gibbs came to Georgia along with Ryan Gibbs, (third generation builder) and started Sun Pools in Georgia in 2006.

In 2015, Gibbs moved to Tennessee and Started Aqua Doc Pool and Spa. The company motto is quality without compromise in order to give customers the best value. For this reason Aqua Doc always uses the highest quality products and standards in the industry.


Aqua Doc’s specialty is your pool. They have the knowledge and experience passed down through generations, as well as continued efforts to stay up on the latest changes or products in the industry. Everyone at Aqua Doc attends classes to stay up on the latest products and learn new methods and techniques from other companies’ experiences over the years.

They take pride in our Maintenance Plans. They are the best value for your dollar for your pool maintenance needs. There is no control panel they can’t program from setting up anti-freeze, to bringing it to your fingers with phone remote controls.

As a client of Aqua Doc you will receive the highest level of service with their know how and with their business structure tailored around the clients. For your service needs they have the knowledge and service you can rely on.

Aqua Doc is locate at 2506 Cayer Lane in Columbia. To learn more, visit or on facebook.

 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

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

Robert Hardison "Bobby" Walker, 97, of Lewisburg, TN, passed away peacefully on Monday, June 17, 2024.

Mr. Walker is best known as the longtime president of Walker Die Casting, Inc., which he founded in 1958 and presided over for many years.

The funeral service for Mr. Walker will be held at the Lewisburg Methodist Church on Saturday, June 22, 2024, at 11:00 am. Visitation will be at the McKnight Center in Lewisburg on Friday evening from 4:00 until 8:00 pm.

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…

BNA Provides Stress-Free Travel (Tennessean)

With the busy summer travel season underway, travelers departing from Nashville International Airport can expect a smooth trip, but also low-cost flights and special deals.

A new study from financial information and business news website, Marketwatch, has revealed which airports offer travelers the most stress-free flying experience, from check-in to take-off. The ranking placed BNA among the top 10 most stress-free airports.

Here's what makes BNA a top flying destination and what current deals travelers can take advantage of.

Using 2023 data from the United States Bureau of Transportation, Marketwatch analyzed the data from 30 major airports across the country to identify which airports offered the most seamless travel experience. BNA claimed the No. 9 spot, coming behind LaGuardia, Seattle/Tacoma International, Detroit Metro Wayne County and others.

The stress ranking was based on airport reliability factors like the percentage of delayed, canceled or diverted flights, as well as the cost of airfare and average security checkpoint wait times.

According to Marketwatch's research, the average domestic airfare at BNA is $349.01, with an average TSA wait time of 10 minutes. BNA travelers experience 20% delayed flights, 1.13% canceled flights and 0.22% diverted flights.

The top 5 include:

Phoenix Sky Harbor International (PHX)

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International (ATL)

Harry Reid International (LAS)

Los Angeles International (LAX)

Ronald Reagan Washington National (DCA)

Gas Prices (MSM)

Tennessee gas prices fluctuated over last week, but ultimately landed a penny more expensive compared to last Monday. The Tennessee Gas Price average is now $3.03 which is 14 cents less expensive than one month ago and 13 cents less than one year ago.  

“We saw our Tennessee gas price average briefly fall below $3 per gallon last week and then fluctuate higher before declining over the weekend,” said Megan Cooper, spokeswoman for AAA – The Auto Club Group. “Crude oil prices regained some strength last week, so we could see some additional fluctuation in pricing over this week. The good news, however, is that Tennessee has the 7th least expensive state gas price average in the country.” 

Final Story of the Day (Maury County Source)

The exhibition Trolls: Save the Humans from Denmark-based recycle artist Thomas Dambo is currently open at Cheekwood Estate & Gardens until September 1, 2024. Six gigantic sculptural trolls, ranging in size from 16 feet tall to 24 feet long, each made from reclaimed wood, take up residence around the Nashville botanical garden and arboretum’s 55 acres to relay messages of stewardship and sustainability to humans or from the troll’s perspective, the “small people” of earth.

“We’re excited for guests of Cheekwood to discover and learn from these larger-than-life visitors this summer,” said Jane MacLeod, president and CEO of Cheekwood in a release. “Dambo’s trolls feel at home among Cheekwood’s gardens, and his example that something discarded can become something beautiful is an important message for people of all ages.”

Trolls: Save the Humans is produced by Imagine Exhibitions in collaboration with Dambo and is open Tuesday – Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For details on the exhibition, membership information, and more, visit


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