NOV. 14, 2017
Tifton, Georgia


Lawyers representing Worth County High School students  in a federal class action  have announced a $3 million settlement of claims stemming from what prosecutors called warrantless intrusive body searches by the Worth County Sheriff's Office, a ccording to the Daily Report, a  legal publication in Atlanta.

On Monday, Gov. Nathan Deal had suspended Worth County Sheriff Jeff Hobby; earlier today, Deal named Bobby G. Sapp as interim sheriffSapp was formerly a
chief deputy in Worth County.

The proposed settlement of the case would resolve civil rights claims against Sheriff Hobby and several deputiesHobby has been indicted for sexual battery, false imprisonment and violation of oath of office after he orderedschool-wide search of nearly 900 students on April 14

Students at the school claimed in their lawsuit filed in June that their  constitutional rights were  violated during the search. Hobby and the deputies allegedly touched students in their   genital areas during a  drug search that resulted in no drugs or arrests. Deputies  locked down the school in Sylvester for more than four hours.

The pending settlement would pay each student between $1,000 and $6,000, based upon who experienced the most-invasive physical searches, according to  Atlanta's Southern Center for Human Rights.

Approximately 15 percent of the settlement would be used for legal fees, and half of any remaining monies would be go into a fund for the benefit of Worth County High students.

Teacher Donna Hobby, holding certificate, is surrounded by family, J.T. Reddick School officials and Education Foundation representatives.


Ten Tift County public school teachers were tapped this week as recipients of the 2017 Excellence in Teaching Award by the  Tift County Foundation for Educational Excellence
Jennifer Johnson, left, at Tift County High.

Foundation representatives, school officials and recipients' family members surprised the educators with the honor at their schools. Students in the classrooms joined in to congratulate their teachers.

The recipients tapped on Monday are: Laural Mullen, Eighth Street Middle School; Amy Marshall, Tift County Pre-K; Jodi Roberts, Northside Primary; Scott Rains, Tift County High School; Jennifer Johnson, formerly math teacher at J.T. Reddick and now assistant principal at TCHS; Tammy King, G.O. Bailey Primary; Jimmy
Laurel Mullen, right, is surprised at Eighth Street Middle School.
Cargle, J.T. Reddick School; Donna Hobby, J.T. Reddick School; Sherry Coarsey, Annie Belle Clark Primary; Lacy Cargle, Omega School.

The teachers are  nominated by a student, parent, peer or administrator.  In February, the Rotary Club of Tifton will honor the recipients with an awards banquet, and the Foundation for Educational Excellence will present the teachers with an honorarium.  

This is the  27th year that the foundation has been recognizing teachers of excellence in  Tift County public schools, bringing the total number of educator honorees to 283.
Teacher Sherry Coarsey, at far right, is honored Monday as her class at Annie Belle Clark Primary joins in the moment.


Students in Tift County schools will get out of school three and a half hours early on Friday, Superintendent Patrick Atwater announced today (Tuesday.)

In a written statement, Atwater said: " As our football program continues to enjoy success in the playoffs, we are also in the midst of multiple other school activities. This Friday, with the combination of fishing, swimming, wrestling, cheerleading,
Pat Atwater
band and, yes, football, we currently have over 100 faculty, staff members and bus drivers directly or indirectly involved in these programs that will need additional time to safely travel and/or transport our students not only home but also to appropriate extracurricular activities

"Currently, we are short drivers and substitute teachers to accommodate not only the needs of extracurricular activities but to adequately instruct and supervise our student body.  In addition to the large number of faculty and staff needed for supervision, we are experiencing a large volume of students requesting early release for safe travel," Atwater said.

"The combination of faculty, staff and approved student absences in conjunction with Thanksgiving opportunities, has prompted me to call for a half day of school this Friday, Nov. 17."

The superintendent said students will be released three and a half hours earlier than their normal time. For example, if a student is usually dismissed at 3:30 p.m., the release time Friday would be noon.

On Friday night, the TCHS Blue Devils football team are playing in  Round 2 of the playoffs in Powder Springs against Hillgrove High

The Blue Devils beat Newnan High, 59-13, last Friday at Brodie Field in the first round of the playoffs.

The City of Tifton will be resurfacing approximately two dozen streets in the coming weeks with a combination of funds from the state and from the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST).
A portion of Ridge Avenue shows the need for repaving.

The state money, $215,364 from a Local Maintainance and Improvement Grant (LMIG) through the Ga. Department of Transportation, had initially been set aside to pay for the city's involvement in the road widening project for the E.B. Hamilton  Recreation Complex in the county.

That project now is expected to begin next year, freeing the LMIG funds for use now. City Manager Pete Pyrzenski recommended to City Council, at its workshop Monday, that $300,000 in SPLOST paving funds be added to LMIG for a total of $515,364 to be used for city street resurfacing.

Streets needing repaving have been scored based upon their condition as well as traffic. Council is reviewing the streets and is expected to finalize the repaving list at its next meeting.

Support er s of the  Museum  Cotton Gin Renovation Project  include, from left,  Dusty Findley, Rhonda Shannon, Bryan Tolar, Fred Powell, Keith Rucker, Larry Montgomery,  Taylor Sills , Ann Knowlton, Andy Knowlton and Ray Knowlton.


Through donors from across the nation, the cotton gin at the Ga. Museum of Agriculture and Historic Village is scheduled to be back in action on Saturday, Nov. 18.

Museum Director Garrett Boone and Advancement Director Deidre Martin said the gin's revitalization has been a long but worthwhile process.

"The successful completion of this project allowed us to bring an integral part of the Historic Village back into operational status and further our educational and historic preservation missions," Boone said. 

"The gin provides an opportunity for kindergarten through 12th-grade students, our ABAC students and the public to learn more about a vital part of the agricultural and textile heritage of this region of the South."

"It's more important than ever before that we educate folks, especially our young people, about the important role of the cotton industry in our daily lives," Martin said.

Boone said the gin building was constructed at the site in 1977 from blueprints of several late 1800's cotton gins. All equipment was painted in original colors including the gin stand and boiler. At its peak, a gin of this size could produce six to eight bales 
of ginned cotton a day.

The renovation project, helped along by gifts of $10,000 or more from Bayer and the Montgomery Family Foundation, involved the replacement of wood siding and beams throughout the structure and replacement of belts and piping for the ginning process. 

The cotton gin boiler was also replaced with an historically accurate representation with an engine size of 90 horsepower.

"Bayer and the Montgomery Family Foundation went a long way toward making this restoration possible, but we had some other folks who really went the extra mile for this project," Martin said.

The Georgia Cotton Commission and Monsanto were in the Circle of Excellence giving level with gifts of $5,000 to $9,999, and the Georgia Agribusiness Council, the Georgia Farm Bureau, and Staplcotn were in the Producer's Club giving level with gifts between $2,500 to $4,999.

The Ginners Club level of giving with gifts of $1,000 to $2,499 included Clover Leaf Gin, Lummus Corp., PhytoGen Cottonseed, Southeastern Gin and Peanut Co./Kent Fountain, and Southeastern Cotton Ginners Association/Dusty Findley.

The Friends of Cotton giving level with gifts up to $1,000 included The Cotton Gin Inc./Fred Powell, Dixon Gin Co./Jaclyn Ford, Eidson Gin Co-op, Herzog Family in honor of Dr. Gary Herzog, the Knowlton Family, Robert McLendon Farms, Miller County Gin Co., Pineywood Farms/Louie Perry, Keith and Julie Rucker, and the South Central Georgia Gin Co./Darvin Eason.


U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on Monday designated 83 Georgia counties, including Tift, as primary natural disaster areas because of damage from Hurricane Irma. 

The declaration makes farm operators in primary counties and counties contiguous to them eligible for assistance from the Farm Service Agency, including emergency loans. 

Primary counties declared under the disaster declaration include Tift, Turner, Irwin, Ben Hill, Worth, Berrien, Cook and Colquitt.

"Agriculture is the oldest and largest industry in Georgia, and I am glad to see this declaration from Secretary Perdue opening up more resources for our producers to get back on their feet again," Congressman AustIn Scott, R-Tifton, 
said  today.

Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of the declaration to apply for emergency loans.

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Peace Lutheran Church hosts its annual Cookie Walk this Saturday, Nov. 18, from 9 a.m.-noon at the church's Fellowship Hall, 604 Tennessee Drive, Tifton.

Church members have been busy baking different 
kinds of cookies, cakes, breads and German pastries, and making holiday candies and homemade peanut brittle
Last year, there were 26 different kinds of cookies, including Cardamom Cuties, German Gems and, of course, Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip. The cookies  will be sold for $6 a pound, mix and match.

Handmade Christmas ornaments and many new items will also be available.

Phone cards will be purchased for the Armed Forces, and a donation will be given to Lutheran Services of Georgia. Supplemental funds have been received from  Thrivent Financial.


Donna Webb, left, enrollment management director at  Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College , recently received the  Joe F. Head Professional Development Award  at the Ga. Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (GACRAO) Conference in Athens.
The award is in recognition of demonstrating exceptional effort in fostering professional development and making outstanding accomplishments in the professional development field.

Presenting the award is  Selena Magnusson, GACRAO president.

Church Pianist

Tifton First United 
Methodist Church

107 W 12th St., Tifton, GA

Tifton First United Methodist Church has an opening for a church pianist. This is a part-
 time position.

The pianist is responsible for preparing for and practicing with the chancel choir, orchestra and ensemble every Wednesday evening for about two hours and for playing at Sunday traditional services at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m., as well at special services at Christmas, Easter, etc.  

Interested persons should contact Debbie Minton, church executive secretary, at 


The Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT) Club at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College is hosting Georgia Farm Bureau President Gerald Long at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 27 in the Chapel of All Faiths.

The community is invited to attend .
"We are fortunate that we have an ABAC alumnus in this role and look forward to him being on campus," said Becca Turner, advisor for ABAC's ACT chapter.  

Long, a 1969 ABAC graduate, was named president of Georgia Farm Bureau in 2016 when his predecessor, Zippy Duvall, was elected president of the American Farm Bureau Federation. A Decatur County farmer, Long raises cattle and grows peanuts, vegetables, corn, cotton, hay, small grains and timber with his family on their farm near Bainbridge.

Long serves on the Decatur County Farm Bureau Board of Directors and is a past president. He also is a member of the Georgia Cattlemen's Association and serves on the board of the Decatur County Cattlemen's Association. He represents GFB on the Georgia Beef Board, where he serves as treasurer.


The Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Choir at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College will present an evening of jazz music at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 16, in Howard Auditorium.

The concert is free and open to the public.


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