DEC. 16, 2016
Tifton, Georgia


Tifton Grapevine

A Tifton  Christmas  tradition is in peril; thieves are stealing lights in Fulwood Park

Tifton City Council was alerted Thursday night that the annual light display in the park is experiencing more problems than in past years. At least 15 lighted displays have been stolen in recent weeks, and some lights have been cut off trees.

In past years, there has always been some damage to the light display, causing public works employees to spend many mornings repairing the display before the next evening. But this year, hoodlums are going further to destroy part of Tifton's holiday tradition.

Even though there are cameras in the park and police routinely patrol, destruction is still occurring. It would indeed be sad if the Fulwood Park Christmas lights eventually went dark because of a few stupid, uncaring hooligans. 

The light display truly makes Tifton special at Christmastime. Many cities have drive-through holiday light exhibits, but most of them charge a fee for vehicles. Our display, which illuminates acres of the park, is free. Between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day, thousands of people drive though the park at night to experience the bright glow of the season.

Families with wide-eyed children ride through the park to see the toy soldiers, the brightly lit Santa, the lighted reindeer, the gingerbread house. Kids get excited, and memories are made.

One would hope that these scofflaws stealing and destroying the light displays will themselves be touched by the magic of the season and eventually "see the light." What they're doing is not a prank; it is a crime.

And no matter how much they may try, they will never steal the joy of Christmastime from Tifton, for we are a strong, caring city that always sees the light ahead, even in the depth of darkness.


Tifton's own Dave Hetzel and his two brothers were recently named  Most Distinguished Alumni by the Harpers Ferry (W.Va.) High School Alumni Association.

Hetzel, a West Virginia native, served on Tifton City Council from 1996-2012. He also has served on the Georgia Municipal Association's Board of Directors and volunteers with Family Promise of the Tift Area, Tiftarea Greenway Association, Meals on Wheels, Easter Seals of Southern Georgia, the Advisory Board of the Georgia Public Training Center
From left, are David Hetzel, Glen Hetzel and Don Hetzel.
Regional Police Academy and with the WWALS Watershed Coalition.

The Journal of Martinsburg, W.Va., this week profiled the three Hetzel brothers, noting that retired Lt. Col. Dave Hetzel was the last commissioned Air Force officer to fly out of Saigon on April 30, 1975, loading C-141, C-130, and other aircraft with orphan Vietnamese children and evacuating them during the fall of Saigon in VietnamHis decorations include two Bronze Stars, three Meritorious Service Medals and the Armed Forces Exceptional Service Ribbon.

The Tifton resident graduated from Harpers Ferry High in 1954 and West Virginia University in 1959 with a bachelor of science in agriculture mechanics. He earned a master's in public administration with a major in criminal justice from Chapman University.

Married to  Louise Hetzel, Dave is the father of five children, grandfather of 13 and great-grandfather of four.

Also honored as distinguished alumni were Hetzel's brothers Dr. Glen "Denny" Hetzel and Don Hetzel, both educators. Glen Hetzel, a fulltime  farmer who has climbed Kilimanjaro and has driven race cars, retired after over 30 years as an associate professor and extension specialist at Virginia Tech. He also developed agriculture classes at  Edgerton University in Kenya and has testified before Congress on agricultural safety issues.

Don  Hetzel, a retired teacher, coach and athletic director was twice named West Virginia Athletic Director of the Year. He was a founding member of the West Virginia Athletic Directors Association and was its president. H e was a faculty member at Davis & Elkins College, where he was head baseball and cross country coach; served as athletic trainer and baseball coach at Miami-Dade (Fla.) Junior College; and taught and coached in high schools in Virginia and West Virginia.

Coach Tim Harris, who  teaches elementary physical education at Tiftarea Academy,  shares the Bible story of Christmas and plays carols on his guitar for the school's first and second graders. TA says it has true Christmas spirit this week.


John Tibbetts of Tifton, left, has been named Worth County School District Teacher of the Year. With him is Walter Harley Calhoun, principal of Worth County High School.


The University of Georgia moved up two spots to No. 10 on Kiplinger's Personal Finance list of 100 best values among public colleges and universities for 2017.

Kiplinger's quality measures, which are weighted more heavily than cost, include the admission rate, the percentage of students who return for sophomore year, the student-faculty ratio and the four-year graduation rate. Cost criteria include sticker price, financial UGA logo aid and average debt at graduation.

UGA was only one of two universities from the SEC that made the top 20 (the other being the University of Florida, which ranked at No. 7). The only other school from Georgia in the top 20 was Georgia Tech at No. 9. Georgia is one of only three states with two public schools in the top 10.

"The University of Georgia is committed to providing a world-class education at an affordable cost," said President Jere W. Morehead. "I am pleased that our ongoing efforts were once again recognized by this national ranking."

U.S. News & World Report recently ranked UGA No. 18 on its list of "Best Public Universities," and Forbes ranked UGA No. 17 on its "Top 25 Public Colleges 2016" list.

Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries

Tifton First United 
Methodist Church

Tifton First United Methodist Church (TFUMC) in Tifton, Georgia, is seeking a full-time Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries. Responsibilities will be focused on 7th grade through college undergraduate. The Director will be expected to work with other staff members under direction of the Senior Pastor. 
The successful candidate should possess or be pursuing a bachelor's degree; have experience working with and developing youth and young adult ministries and educational programs; and possess a strong personal faith consistent with the United Methodist tradition.

We are looking for a vibrant, energetic person who can get TFUMC youth and young adults excited about the Lord and can recruit and motivate volunteers to lead and teach under his/her direction.
Available January 2017. Salary will be commensurate with education
and experience. 
Please Click Here for a complete job description and application details. 
Applications should be received by January 4, 2017. 


Victory Student Ministries in Tifton is holding a Santa Dash 5K & 1 Mile Fun Run this Saturday, Dec. 17, at  Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.

Registration/check in begins at 7 a.m.; the  5K begins at 8:30 a.m.; the one-m ile Fun Run begins at 9 a.m.; and the a wards ceremony will be at 10 a.m.

Participants are encouraged to wear Santa hats and to bring their family. Top prizes will be awarded to overall male and female runners in 5k, 1 Mile, and Masters. There will be prizes for the top three times in each age group. 

Proceeds from the event support the Victory Student Ministries Winter Conference in January.

For information, c ontact  Brad Padgett  at  229-392-4637.  

"Best-Selling Truck for 39 Straight Years"
511 West 7th Street
(229) 382-1300

Tifton's "Singles Enjoying Lively Fellowship," or "SELF," has its senior dance set for 7 p.m. today, ( Friday, Dec. 16) at the Leroy Rogers Senior Center on Second Street,

All Tifton seniors are invited to come and dance the night away.


The annual  Tifton Rhythm & Ribs BBQ Festival coming March 3-4 has announced its initial entertainment lineup. 

Headlining will be the Marcus King Band of Greenville, S.C. Also performing will be 
The Marcus King Band
Jesse Keith Whitley, Packway Handle Band, "Beat the Drum" with Dr. Arvin Scott, Isaac Corbitt (artist at large), Heather Gillis Band, Matt Brantley Band, Bonnie Blue, DerrickDove and Daniel Parrish.   

Young songwriter Marcus King's debut album, "Soul Insight," displays his command of rock, blues, psychedelia, funk, soul  and improvisation with a distinctly Southern musical accent.

For information about being a festival vendor, BBQ entrant, volunteer or sponsor, contact the Spearman Agency at 229-386-0216 or 

The free event is brought to you by City of Tifton and the  Tifton Tourism Association.


"Elvis," aka Jeff Vandenberg of Chula, who is an Elvis tribute artist, poses recently with John Davis, a World War II veteran, at Legacy Village of Tifton. Vandenberg performed once again for the residents at the personal care and assisted living facility.

Don't miss the best Christmas concert around when
McAlpin Entertainment brings the rich and amazing voice of 
John Berry and his band back to 
The Historic Tift Theatre on Tuesday, December 20th 
with his highly anticipated 20th annual 
"O Holy Night -- Celebrating 20 Years Of Christmas with John Berry Tour." 

Come join a fun-filled night with the performer who brought us the amazing hits "Your Love Amazes Me," "Kiss Me in the Car," "She's Taken a Shine," "Standing on the Edge of Goodbye" and so many more, and whose recording of "O Holy Night" still lights up the request lines during the Christmas season.

Grab those special to you and sit back for an extraordinary joyous night as John sings and interacts with the audience. 
John and his band will begin the show playing the hits and then, after an intermission, come back with an amazing time of Christmas songs. 
The doors will open at 7:00 pm. 
Only a limited number of tickets are available, so get yours now! 

Tickets are available by Clicking Here!

Christmas is more than presents, lights, and flying reindeer. It's the birth of our Savior and God's hope for the world.

The people of St. Anne's Episcopal Church warmly invite you to worship with them at their Midnight Mass this Christmas Eve. 
Doors open at 10 p.m., followed by a Christmas concert at 10:30 p.m. 
The Mass begins at 11 p.m. 

A Tifton tradition for over 30 years, St. Anne's Midnight Mass 
is a  unique way to celebrate the true reason for the season. 
Expect candlelight, scripture, and beautiful music featuring 
St. Anne's choir and a brass ensemble under the direction 
of Minister of Music Stan Smith. 
The Rev. Lonnie Lacy,  Rector of St. Anne's, will preach. 
A free, festive reception follows in the Parish Hall.

St. Anne's is located at 2411 N. Central Ave. Admission is free. 
Seating is offered first come, first served. 
A professionally staffed nursery is available at no charge. 

For more information, contact the church office at (229) 382-7505 


Literacy Volunteers of Tifton-Tift County has a few Boston Butts for those who would like them for their holiday parties or for gifts. 

Call Bonnie Sayles at 229-391-2527 to pick up for a $25 donation.

Proceeds help fund tutor training and materials to help local people learn to read or prepare for their GED exams.

YOUR WEEKEND  wrapped_presents.jpg
. a Glance

  • SELF Senior Dance, 7 p.m., Leroy Rogers Senior Center, Tifton


  • Santa Dash 5k & Fun Run, 8 a.m., ABAC, Tifton
  • Pictures with Santa Paws,  1-5 p.m., Yellow Monkey Yogurt Shop, Tifton
  • Christmas Celebration: Verse II Ministries, 10 a.m., Brighton Road Baptist Church, Tifton
  • Handel's Messiah, 3 p.m., First Presbyterian Church, Tifton

In Memoriam

DEC. 9
Frankie Carter Apperson, 83, Tifton
Jane Scott Landrum, 81, Alpharetta
Myrtle Mercer Gandy, 75, Sparks
Mary Katherine McLendon Milam, 76, Ocala, Fla.
Minnie Isabel "Min" Powell Bowers, Milton, Fla. 

DEC. 10
Hubert Lee Jernigan Jr. 68, Enigma
Jeffrey Levi "Jeff" Walker, 53, Nashville

DEC. 11
Lisa Diane Bombardier, 44, Enigma
Gaylen G. Guthrie, 76, Hahira
Kim Douglas Corbitt, 56, Lenox 

DEC. 12
Geraldine May Northrip Futch, 81, Cottonwood, Ala.
Anne K. Wood, 82, Fitzgerald
The  Rev. Otis L. Beal, 94, Douglas

DEC. 13
Dell M. Dorden, 80, Lanham, Md.
Geneva Elaine Eunice, 66, Columbus
Wanda McCranie Folsom, 72, Adel


20 Marchant Ct., Tifton, GA
MLS # 126694

This 2,386-square-foot home  has three bedrooms and two full baths.

Dwana  Coleman
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