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

WKOM/WKRM Radio

Southern Middle Tennessee Today

News Copy for June 6, 2024


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

We start with local news…

Man Who Posted KKK Flyers Sentenced (MauryCountySource)

A Maury County judge has sentenced a man who is accused of distributing four Ku Klux Klan flyers in Columbia in July of last year.

Daniel Lane Walls, of Sante Fe, pleaded guilty to four counts of civil rights intimidation and received a three-year prison sentence, followed by six years of probation.

Previously identified as the suspect, Walls was apprehended for placing KKK flyers on multiple properties in Columbia. He also involved a 17-year-old in the distribution, according to authorities.

The flyers contained racist and homophobic language along with threats attributed to the KKK.


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 www.EventBrite.com.

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.

"I knew several people who had been damaged, and it's funny how it hit one house, but not the next," Morrow said. "My son also lives in Riverside with my new grandson, and they were lucky it didn't set down, because it started forming over the courthouse."

Morrow added 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."

Drake Pugh, who sings bass in Elevator to Space, said his group specializes in the traditional barbershop style, which he said is often missing in modern groups.

"A lot of barbershop quartets these days don't even sing barbershop, but more of a doowop," Pugh said. "We sing real, authentic barbershop arrangements, real old-school stuff. Although we do an arrangement of Billy Joel's 'For the Longest Time' in our show, and 'As Time Goes By.'"

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.

So far, the event's sponsors include:

Copycats Printing

Patrick Sandow

Providential Broadcasting 1460 WXRQ

Homestead Hall

Dixon's Fine Jewelry

Catfish Campus

William C. Barnes Attorney at Law

Nathan's Electrical and HVAC

Middle TN Homesavers, LLC

Oakes & Nichols Funeral Home

Individual and business sponsorships are still being accepted by calling (931) 774-6951 or emailing sherrilandsamantha@gmail.com.


County Rezones 725 Acres in Spring Hill (MSM)

The Maury County Commission approved by a 17-5 vote a resolution which would rezone approximately 725.28 of combined acres of property located on Highway 431 and Flat Creek Road in Spring Hill.

The resolution would include a residential planned unit development overlay commonly known as Firefly, or Danner Farms. The development would include 397 single-family lots and two condominium lots with five units each, totaling 407 total dwelling units. It would also include an open space of approximately 356.7 acres including a golf course, golf club, family club and racket club.

The developer has agreed to pay to require payment to Maury County of $2 per gross foot for each residential structure built. The gross square-footage is calculated as the current Maury County adequate facilities tax private act.

Commissioner Ray Jeter voiced his support for the development.

“I think this is very good for Maury County on many fronts,” Jeter said. “The self imposed impact fee and the one-percent transfer fee. The additional revenues and property taxes. It’s going to change our penny rate significantly.”

Commissioner Gabe Howard said the developer has laid out a plan better than the new law, which would allow counties that meet certain criteria to levy a tax at a rate not to exceed $1.50 per square foot on residential and commercial property.

“They have voluntarily offered $2 a square foot on gross square footage, compared to our new law which is $1.50 heated and cooled,” Howard said.

Commissioner Danny Grooms praised the developers for their willingness to invest.

“We have no other development in the county that’s willing to invest like these developers are,” Grooms said. “That’s what we’ve been asking for. I don’t understand why there’s even any debate about this.”

The developer has also agreed to construct south-bound and north-bound left turn lanes on Highway 431 on the intersections of Flat Creek and Joe Peay Road and an east right turn lane at the project construction’s access.

The developer has also agreed to donate to a foundation which would assist in community efforts in Maury County.

A traffic impact study was completed and outlined the necessary improvements with the exception of a north-bound right-turn lane at the entrance, which is now shown on the plan and in agreement.


Mt. Pleasant High Partners with NASA (MSM)

Mt. Pleasant High School’s HUNCH program is a partnership with NASA that explores students’ interests in working with space and technology. HUNCH (High school students United with NASA to Create Hardware) has 511 classroom programs in 46 states, 21 organizational partners, over 3,000 items flown to the International Space Station and 2,575 students involved in the program.

There are three schools in the state of Tennessee involved in the HUNCH program: East Hickman High School, Franklin County High School and Mt. Pleasant High School. The program includes eight different categories: Design and Prototype, Software, Hardware, Sewn Flight Articles, Culinary, Biomedical Science, Flight Configuration and Video & Media.

Mt. Pleasant’s HUNCH program has been active at the high school since 2017, and this past April the students involved in the program were invited to the Johnson Space Center in Houston as a part of the Design and Prototype Engineering Fair.

It was a great opportunity for all involved with the program, as several students were able to see sights they have never seen before and have experiences like no other. The students have been guided throughout the entire year by their teacher, Mr. Woodard, as well as coaching from NASA engineer Bob Zeke, who checks into their classes.

Calloway Chaney, the daughter of teacher Bethany Chaney, spoke about her experiences on the trip, saying “It was interesting to see all the NASA-related things, especially all the areas named after NASA.”

She plans to use the experience from the trip on future resumes.

Mount Pleasant High School was the only high school from Tennessee represented at the event. This experience helped a lot of students connect with others from all across the United States.

In regard to that part of the experience, Chaney said, “It’s cool to see a bunch of different people from a bunch of different places.”

Woodard spoke highly of Chaney and her dedication to the HUNCH program, saying, “It takes kids like Calloway who want to challenge themselves, because, not everybody can do it. It takes a certain amount of dedication to put the effort into it.”

Woodard also spoke about the impact this program can make on the lower levels of school.

“So we need these kids in the middle schools and elementary schools to know there’s an opportunity there and to take advantage of it.”

The bridge programs at Mt. Pleasant Middle School include Destination Imagination and the Robotics Team. Woodard said it is important to keep those children interested in engineering throughout their formative educational years.

“They have a great STEM program at the middle school. They do Destination Imagination, they have a competition robotics team. So they do a really good job down there, and the biggest thing for us is when they get to high school is to keep them (interested in STEM). That’s what we get to work on each year, making sure we keep those students who are interested.”


Saviya Morgan: Athlete Extraordinaire (CDH)

Saviya Morgan’s name will long be remembered at Columbia Central.

In her four years with the Lady Lions, Morgan set single-season records for batting average, hits, runs and stolen bases, to name a few. She also holds the program records for best career totals in each of those statistics.

But this year Morgan set the one record she’d had her eye on since her freshman season, the state single-season stolen bases record. She stole 75 bases in 32 games, besting the previous mark of 73 set in 2012 by Beech graduate Heather Montgomery.

Along with her state record, the Tennessee softball signee batted .641 this season with 25 RBIs, nine doubles, two triples and a home run.

Now, Morgan has been named The Columbia Daily Herald's 2024 Softball Player of the Year.

“I think she's definitely the greatest softball player to ever come through this area," Columbia Central coach Jon McDonald said. "And I'm not just talking about Central, (I'm talking about) this area. But I think she's one of the greatest athletes too. She played basketball and she holds records for [that sport as well].

“That's going to be the main thing with her is yes, she was a great softball player, but she was an even better athlete. You know, if you put her on a rugby field to play rugby, she's probably going to be the best player on the field.”

Despite three great seasons, Morgan entered her senior year with a goal of breaking the single-season stolen base total after coming up five stolen bases short of the state record her freshman year.

Morgan started this season with a bang, stealing eight bases in Columbia’s first three games, and she hardly slowed the pace from there, finally securing the long sought after record in a TSSAA playoff game against Warren County in May.

“It feels great to have something left behind at my school so that people can always remember me, even if I'm not here and at college, they still know that I played here and how good I did," Morgan said. "For the people coming up, I (hope) that I have set a standard, like, if you work hard you can achieve your goal and if you just put in the work ... you'll be fine.”

Of course, you can’t steal 75 bases in a season without speed, something Morgan has plenty of. McDonald said he’s never seen an athlete, male or female, with speed out of the gate like Morgan. That speed will come in handy in Knoxville next season, where Morgan is signed to play softball at Tennessee. Earlier this month Tennessee was eliminated by Alabama in the super regional round of the Women’s College World Series.

“I feel like the thing that (Tennessee is) missing is speed,” McDonald said. “They don't have any speed. We've seen it, that's what killed them this year in the postseason; they didn't have speed.

“And I know that they're graduating a couple of outfielders … I mean (Morgan’s ability) to track a ball, if it's right center, left center, she's getting it. I feel like she should have a good chance there to go in and do that.”


Reagan Day Dinner (Press Release)

The Maury County GOP Invites YOU to celebrate Reagan Day & the birthday of Donald J Trump at Puckett’s Restaurant’s Guitar & Cadillac Hall – Upstairs located at 15 Public Square, Columbia, on June 14th at 6pm.

Special Guest Speakers Include: Congressman Andy Ogles & Tim Burchett as well as Tomi Lahren, Conservative commentator, host of "Tomi Lahren is Fearless" on Outkick.com, and Fox News regular, who will share her views on many topics impacting the Conservative movement, current political events, and more. 

Also joining the event will be Todd Starnes, a Conservative columnist, author, speaker and radio host of the Todd Starnes Show, will address many of the challenges facing America and perhaps delve into some of the broader points made in his most recent book, “Twilight’s Last Gleaming: Can America Be Saved?” Signed books will be available.

Puckett’s cuisine will be served, and an exciting silent auction will be held featuring everything from condo stays to local crafts, collectables and much more.

A limited number of individual tickets are still available for $100, each. Find yours by visiting www.maurytngop.com.


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 midtennesseerecordfair@gmail.com 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 7th on State Route 50 East, .2 Miles East of the 19 mile marker 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.


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

Mrs.  Joyce Anne Duckworth Parks, 84, retired employee of Farm Bureau, and widow of Douglas R. Parks, Jr., died Saturday June 1, in Manchester, TN at the residence of her Daughter where she had made her home for several years. Funeral services for Mrs. Parks will be conducted Saturday June 8th at 1:00 p.m. at Oakes & Nichols Funeral Home. Burial will follow in Polk Memorial Gardens. The family will visit with friends Saturday from 11:00 a.m. until the time of services at the funeral home.


…And now, news from around the state…

Hackers Target Hospitals (Tennessean)

Nearly one month after a cyberattack devastated Ascension hospitals and clinics nationwide, the health care company announced that it restored electronic health records access at its Nashville's Ascension Saint Thomas hospitals on Wednesday, ahead of its projected timeline of June 14.

However, while the systems are back in service in some areas, many hospitals nationwide are still on track for a June 14 return to full electronic health care records access.

On June 5, an Ascension spokesperson said Nashville clinicians will now be able to access patient records as they did prior to the cybersecurity incident.

The attack shut down significant operations in the Nashville hospitals for 28 days, and it continues to interfere with other critical systems at the leading medical provider, which operates 140 hospitals in the U.S.

Thus far, access to the electronic health record system has also been successfully restored in Florida, Alabama and select Texas Ascension hospitals. Meanwhile, others like Saint Thomas remain on manual and paper-based systems.

Also, as of June 4, Ascension Rx retail, home delivery and specialty pharmacy sites are reopened to fill prescriptions. 

"As (electronic health record access) is restored across the entirety of our networks, clinicians will be able to access patient records as they did prior to this incident. While these are promising developments in our recovery efforts, our investigation into this incident remains ongoing, along with the remediation of additional systems," an Ascension spokesperson said in a June 4 statement. "This is a complex process, and it will still take time to complete."

The spokesperson said the estimated recovery date is based on what Ascension has “learned about this process to date.”

Throughout the last month, Ascension has reiterated that its emergency rooms, urgent-care clinics and other patient care facilities have been fully functional — even without the electronic systems. Still, the manual operations resulted in longer wait times, delays and diverted ambulances from some Nashville hospitals.

The company initially contracted cybersecurity firm Mandiant to investigate the root cause of the attack. About a week later, Ascension also hired cybersecurity experts from Palo Alto Networks Unit 42 and CYPFER to help rebuild and restore the network. 


Gas Prices (MSM)

Gas prices across the state have now declined for the fourth straight week. Over last week, gas prices fell nine cents, on average.The Tennessee Gas Price average is now $3.08 which is 25 cents less expensive than one month ago and 11 cents less than one year ago.  

“We’re now in our fourth straight week of gas price declines and Tennessee has the fourth least expensive state gas price average in the country,” said Megan Cooper, spokeswoman for AAA – The Auto Club Group. “Lower gasoline demand and falling crude oil prices are helping to push pump prices lower. It’s likely that we’ll see our state gas price average move lower again this week. The Atlantic Hurricane Season began June 1 and is expected to be very active, so moving forward all eyes will be on the weather and its potential impact on gas prices. A storm impacting the Gulf Coast oil production and refining centers could temporarily push prices higher.” 


Final Story of the Day (Maury County Source)

Saladworks, a fast-casual entree salad franchise, and Frutta Bowls, a restaurant concept structured around specialty Açai bowls, will finally open their locations in Spring Hill. The concept initially announced it would open on March 8th but quickly retracted the date due to a delay.

The official opening date will be Friday, June 7th, at 5201 Port Royal Road. A grand opening event will welcome the community, and 20% of the proceeds on opening day will go to support The Well Outreach food pantry. Store hours listed on the website are Monday through Saturday, 9 am to 8 pm, and Sunday, 10 am to 6 pm.

For more information, please visit www.saladworks.com, www.fruttabowls.com, or call (615) 524-2096.

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