Nov. 13, 2015
             Tifton, Georgia

         (478) 227-7126


Tifton Grapevine

ABAC President David Bridges on Friday told the local press that campus Police Chief Bryan Golden is no longer employed with the college, two-and-a-half weeks after the  student newspaper published a series of articles about sexual assault on campus, quoting Golden as saying most rape allegations are women "being stupid," and are " about as much a rape as a goat roping."

"The position of chief of police at ABAC must be one that is viewed as fair and impartial in order to adequately serve and protect the needs of our campus community," Bridges told the press Friday afternoon.

"An effective law enforcement department requires public credibility. The public's trust in Bryan Golden's leadership has seemingly been eroded, and I must ensure that the integrity of the college police department is protected.  The inappropriate comments were reprehensible and inexcusable. These remarks do not reflect the attitude of the college or the police department. 

"Because of the damage done by these remarks, it has become increasingly clear that the impact of the interaction that Mr. Golden had with the newspaper staff undermined his ability to effectively perform his duties. He is no longer an employee at ABAC," Bridges said.

"The ABAC campus has a longstanding reputation as one that provides a safe environment for students, faculty, and staff. That will continue to be the case in days to come."

The newspaper articles have been a hot topic on the Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College campus. During classroom discussions, students  are suggesting ways to make the campus safer, such as more police patrols, more lighting on campus and installing cameras in parking lots. This past week, the Student Government Association held a 
Safety Awareness Week with one day each dedicated to sexual assault awareness, alcohol use, fire safety, cyber security and bullying .

In its Oct. 27 edition, The Stallion -- ABAC's student newspaper -- devoted nearly a third of the issue to its cover story, "One in Four College Women Have Survived Rape or Attempted Rape." The paper reported two alleged rapes this year involving ABAC students and interviewed several college officials about how such reports are handled.

Police Chief  Golden's comments sparked controversy. He was quoted as saying, "I might sound insensitive, but I'm not. Most of these sexual assaults are women waking up the next morning with a guilt complex. That ain't rape; that's being stupid. When the dust settles, it was all consensual. It (forcible rape) doesn't happen here. It doesn't show up here. They're about as much a rape as a goat roping."

President  Bridges immediately responded that such comments are "insensitive" and do not reflect the attitude of either the ABAC police department or the college itself. Golden was then suspended without pay but was  back at work earlier this week.

The Tifton Grapevine reported about The Stallion articles and Bridges' comments last Friday. Since then, other local news media have also reported on the matter.  This week, The Stallion is reporting campus  reactions  to the sexual assault stories. Dr. Bonnie Asselin, an English professor,    is  quoted as being  shocked by Golden's comments.

"I find it so disturbing because I think his comments suggest a deeply entrenched attitude in our culture that blames the victim. This is especially worrisome because he has a position of influence. His words let me know that we must work to convince victims of sexual assault that it is safe to seek help. His words tell me that I must do more as an educator to show how words can have a powerful effect, and so we must take responsibility for what we say," Asselin said.

Dr. Cynthia Hall, professor of English and Honors Program director, organized a faculty meeting to address students' concerns as quickly as possible and encourage them to feel comfortable discussing their safety on campus, the student newspaper reported.

ABAC student Mary Roy had written a letter to President Bridges and state Board of Regents Chancellor Hank Huckaby seeking Golden's resignation The student had implemented an online petition seeking the police chief's ouster. On Friday , it had more than 200 supporters.


Tift County Schools' four-year graduation rate, released this week by the Georgia Department of Education, is at 83.2 percent, improving from 74.4 percent the previous year

"We were very excited to see our graduation rate continue to improve," said Tift County High Principal Kim Seigler. "We believe this clearly shows our efforts are paying off."

As a whole, Tift County has focused on being a data-driven system, tailoring education based on students' performance.

"Looking at data results from assessments allows teachers to make more individualized plans for our students," said Chief Academic Officer Mickey Weldon. "Making learning more specific greatly benefits our students and their success."

In addition to focusing on ongoing data results, the system attributes the improved rate to tutoring programs, extended learning times as well as BRIDGE (Building Resourceful Individuals to Develop Georgia's Economy) days.

The BRIDGE Act began in the 2010-2011 school year. The most critical part of the program mandates all students in middle and high school receive counseling and regularly scheduled advisement. It also requires that students choose a career area, create an Individual Graduation Plan and graduate high school prepared to go to college or to enter the workforce. 

"We hold BRIDGE days in the early spring with students in the eighth through 11th grades along with their parents," Seigler said. "In these one-on-one meetings, we are able to plan a student's schedule for the upcoming year to make sure he or she is staying on track to graduate. Working directly with our students and parents is crucial to making them successful."

The class of 2015 was the first class to have been a part of the BRIDGE programs since the eighth grade.

The state graduation rate increased from 72.5 percent to 78.8.


Visitors can see Native American dancing, mule-powered cane grinding and an old-fashioned syrup cooking during the Native American Experience and Cane Grinding event at the Georgia Museum of Agriculture and Historic Village at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College from 4-9 p.m. Nov. 21.   

The Native American experience will feature GoNativeNow, a Native American owned-and-operated educational group. GoNativeNow travels the United States conducting reenactments, providing demonstrations, hosting campouts, and offering performances by The Iron Horse Singers and Dancers.

GoNativeNow is led by Little Big Mountain, a fourth-generation dancer, singer and educator on Native American culture. His father, Iron Horse Big Mountain, was Comanche from Anadarko, Okla., and his mother, Wildflower Big Mountain, is Mohawk from Kahnawake, Canada. Little Big Mountain's reservation is the Kahnawake Mohawk Territory in Canada. 

Little Big Mountain has been performing since he was a child. He has been competing on the Pow-Wow Trail and educating others on Native American culture all over the country for over 40 years. Beginning with Little Big Mountain's great grandfather, the Big Mountain family performances started back in the mid-1800s and continue today. They perform at venues including Disney World and Universal Studios, the New Orleans Jazz Festival, Rank Leisure Dinner Shows, native festivals, history fairs, Pow Wows, and at schools.   

For many Southerners, cane grinding is a family tradition that has been passed down through generations. The Historic Village is one of the few places left where visitors can take a step back in time to see sugar cane grinding with a mule leading the way. The sweet juice pouring from the cane mill will then be transferred to the syrup shed where it will be cooked down in a cast iron kettle to make cane syrup. 

For information, call  229-391-5205 or visit .

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Veterans Day was 
Wednesday, Nov. 11

An overflow crowd came out to Tifton's Veterans Park on Wednesday for a Veterans Day ceremony that honored those who have served in the armed forces. 

An empty chair was set on stage in memory of the late Henry Bostick, a former state legislator and Tifton lawyer who was a frequent speaker at such events in the past and was well known for  his colorful orations and tireless efforts on behalf of veterans.

In the photo at left, Brenda Saunders sings during the veterans ceremony. Second from left is Tifton Mayor Jamie Cater.

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The 2015-16 TAL:K ( Tomorrow's Aspiring Leaders: Kids) class attended a kickoff luncheon Monday at Colquitt EMC. TAL:K is the Tifton-Tift County Chamber of Commerce's youth leadership program and 50 eighth graders from Eighth Street Middle School and Tiftarea Academy will participate in several activities throughout the school year to develop their leadership abilities with an emphasis on community service. Chamber Chairman Dr. Joe West and Dr. Chad Stone, principal at Eighth Street Middle School, spoke to the students about the importance of being involved and laid out the year's agenda. The program is sponsored by Colquitt EMC, Tift Regional Medical Center, Georgia Power Co., South Georgia Bank, Heatcraft and First Community Bank.

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1810 U.S. Highway 41 N., Suite B
Tifton, GA  31794

NO HOLIDAY TOUR OF HOMES  is scheduled this year. The 
Tifton Heritage Foundation, which has annually conducted the tour that has centered on homes and buildings primarily in the Historic District, is postponing the Christmastime tour until next year. "Disappointingly,
circumstances beyond the control of THF require the postponement," the
organization reports. The tour is usually held in conjunction with the Tifton Hometown Holiday Christmas Celebration. ... COUNTRY SINGER DEANA CARTER  rocked the Tift Theatre for the Performing Arts  on Wednesday night. The Nashville singer is best known for her No. 1 hit,  "Strawberry Wine." ...  WE SEE  that Dr. Wes Ross , a Tift County native, has received board certification in ophthalmology . Ross is an ophthalmologist with  South Georgia Eye Partners.


It's that time of year again!

The Annual Cookie Walk at Peace Lutheran Church in Tifton will be from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 21, in the fellowship hall at 604 Tennessee Drive.

You may mix and match homemade Christmas cookies at $6 a pound; also on sale will be homemade cakes, candles, breads and German pastries. Handmade Christmas items and gifts will also be available for purchase.

Proceeds from the sale are used to provide phone cards for members of the armed forces.


Tifton's Salvation Army Service Center is looking for a few more folks to ring a bell during the organization's  Red Kettle campaign this season.

The campaign's fundraising goal is $22,000 . Beginning  Nov. 27 (the day after Thanksgiving) through Dec. 24, the local Salvation Army will be seeking donations in its red kettles to help families and children during the holiday season and beyond.

  Volunteers may call 229-386-1503Susie J. Chitwood, is the local service center director.


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Austin French of Tifton, who was a finalist on ABC-TV's "Rising Star" competition, gave a special concert on Tuesday, Nov. 10, for students at Eighth Street Middle School who had exhibited exemplary behavior this school year. 
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             a Glance 

  • Coastal Plains Agricultural Fair, 6 p.m.-Midnight, American Legion Fairgrounds, Tifton
  • Wiregrass Farmers Market, 9 a.m.-Noon, Georgia Museum of Agriculture, Tifton
  • Harry Potter Day, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Tift Theatre for the Performing Arts, Tifton
  • Mistletoe Market, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center, Tifton
  • Coastal Plains Agricultural Fair, 2-10 p.m., American Legion Fairgrounds, Tifton

In Memoriam

NOV. 5
Odell Brown Wood, 90, Tifton
Nellie Christine Fausett Walker, 94, Adel

NOV. 6
Ronald L. "Ronnie" Passmore, 70, Fitzgerald
Bobby J. Hilliard, 81, Adel

NOV. 7
Randall L. "Randy" Stephens, 65, Tifton
Sarah K. "Kathy" Dees Eckert, 54, Tifton
Juanita Lipham Yarbrough, 86, Sycamore

NOV. 9
Mildred P. Hawkins, 94, Rebecca

NOV. 10
Junius Vanvechton Talley III, 80, Tifton
Terry L. Brooks, 72, Sylvester
Willie Ann Holloway, 68, Nashville
James Leonard Spires Jr., 84, Fitzgerald

NOV. 11
Richard Veron Kinar, Sr., 77, Lenox
Lenton Rebecca Fausett Wiseman, Adel

NOV. 12
Sarah H. Browning Doss, 88, Tifton
Billie Medley, 79, Adel


  3004 N. Park Ave., Tifton, GA
MLS #: R125382A

Beautiful and spacious executive home located in desirable neighborhood in Tifton. Immaculate kitchen featuring marble countertops, double ovens and plenty of storage. Cherry Hardwood floors throughout.  Mature Landscaping and private backyard! Call today for your own private tour!
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