Nov. 6, 2015
             Tifton, Georgia

         (478) 227-7126


For the Tifton Grapevine

 In its Oct. 27 edition, ABAC's student newspaper The Stallion published a series of articles about college women and sexual assault, reporting that at least one sexual assault occurred on campus Oct. 15 and another assault involving an ABAC student began at a downtown Tifton bar with the student awakening in her dorm room after claiming she was drugged.
That latter sexual assault allegedly occurred last January.
According to Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College Police Department's latest Annual Security Reports, there have been no forcible sex offenses and only one non-forcible sex offense on campus in the past three years: 2012, 2013 and 2014.
The student newspaper interviewed ABAC Police Chief Bryan Golden, who said sexual assaults are not a problem at ABAC.
"Most of the 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," The Stallion quotes the police chief.
He was also quoted as saying Title IX policies -- put in place by the Obama administration to deal with issues of sexual assault, discrimination, or harassment on college campuses -- are "Joe Biden minutia."
Golden later denied his quotes in an email to The Stallion, stating he had been on medical leave and did not recall much of the interview and that he was quoted inaccurately.
ABAC President David Bridges sent an email Oct. 28 to all ABAC students, staff and faculty reassuring everyone that the college is committed to providing a safe environment and that it takes matters of sexual misconduct and sexual violence seriously. Bridges also wrote that the comments attributed to Chief Golden were " insensitive and do not reflect the attitude of the (ABAC) police department or the college."
The student newspaper article focused on a nationwide statistic that one in four women in college have survived a rape or attempted rape. The article chronicled the story of the ABAC student who said she was raped in January after drinking at a downtown bar.
The student wanted to make her name public, but ABAC's Interim Vice President Dr. Gail Dillard advised The Stallion not to publish her name out of concern for the student. Instead, black bars take the place of the student's name in the article by staff writer Jenna Pope.

"We were able to make a statement about silencing victims by using the black bars," said Shelby Evans, the paper's editor.

The mayor-elect addresses her supporters on election night after a full day of campaigning.


A hard-fought election ended Tuesday wi th  Tifton  electing a new mayor -- the city's first woman.

After the results are announced, Smith receives congratulations from Councilman-elect Jack Folk.
Council member Julie B. Smith received 62 percent of the  votes, defeating incumbent Mayor Jamie Cater Jr . Smith had  772 votes to Cater's 471, or 38 percent of the votes cast in the city's off-year election.

Two new City Council members were also elected, running unopposed in their respective districts.  Frank Sayles Jr.  was elected to  Smith's District 4 seat, and Jack H. Folk Jr. was elected to the District 2 seat being vacated by Chris Parrott.

"I cannot even begin to express my thanks, nor can I begin to tell you how very humbled I am for your support. But thi s is just the beginning," Smith said. "I want to say thank you to Mayor Cater for his eight years of service. Thank you to the people who said a prayer and offered help. Thank you to anyone who put up a sign, made a phone call or sent an email. I am so very grateful."

After the results were posted Tuesday night in the Board of Elections office, Cater came into the room and hugged Smith. Shortly before the race was over, Cater said Smith had " worked hard, received great financial support and had energized a great mixed group of supporters, especially young voters."

The new mayor and councilmen take office in early January.

Azalea Center for Plastic Surgery | 2810 North Oak St. Valdosta, GA 31605 | 229.259.0019
State Rep. Penny  Houston , at left, and other members of the Tift County Legislative Delegation meet with Tifton-Tift County Chamber members Thursday morning.

Georgia House and Senate members who represent Tift County in the General Assembly were thanked Thursday, Nov. 5, as the Tifton-Tift County Chamber of Commerce held its annual Legislative Appreciation Breakfast at the Chamber office. 

State Reps. Penny Houston, Sam Watson and Clay Pirkle were joined by state Sen. Greg Kirk and met with Chamber members. The legislators each talked about some of the issues arising in the next General Assembly session in Atlanta, including casino gambling, allowable weight of trucks on roads and updates on medical marijuana.

New Rep. Clay Pirkle, above, talks with constituents. In photo at right, Sen. Greg Kirk, from left, talks with Roger Dill and ABAC President David Bridges.


Two hundred and twenty-one registered sex offenders were arrested across the state during the week of Oct. 26 - 31 for violations of state registration laws, according to the Georgia Sheriffs' Association (GSA).

Walker County Sheriff Steve Wilson, GSA president, proposed the coordinated effort involving all sheriffs' offices across the state to conduct residence verifications and compliance checks of registered sex offenders during a specific time frame. "Operation Watchful Eye" was born.
Every sheriff is mandated by law to register sex offenders and to keep the public informed of where registered sex offenders reside, work and attend school. Throughout the year, each sheriff's office verifies addresses provided by registered sex offenders. While conducting residence verifications, deputies also check for compliance with additional registration requirements which may result in arrests. This was the first coordinated effort involving all sheriffs' offices.
Preliminary reporting by 86 sheriffs shows a total of 11,982 registered sex offenders, 224 predators, and 145 homeless sex offenders living in their counties. Throughout the six-day operation, 8,045 residence verifications were conducted and 153 new warrants were issued for violations of the sex offender registry law. Thirty-nine counties reported that 68 sex offenders moved into their county during that week. 
Other agencies such as the Georgia Department of Community Supervision (DCS) and U.S. marshals volunteered to assist. The DCS reported 3,994 c ompliance checks were conducted on registered sex offenders who are under probation or parole supervision. In numerous counties, deputies and probation/parole officers worked together to verify sex offenders are in compliance with the law. During the checks, DSC reported 28 firearms seized, 27 other weapons seized, 31 cases of illegal drugs found, 36 sexually explicit items confiscated, and moe than 800 sexually related images located.
The Tift County Sheriff's Office participated in "Operation Watchful Eye and reported that as of Oct. 26 when the initiative began, there were 48 registered sex offenders  residing in Tift County, and two were released from prison and added to the sheriff's office registry during the operation, bringing the total to 50.

During the week-long operation, Tift deputies verified addresses on 40 of the registered sex offenders, including the two offenders added during the week. The addresses of nine other registered offenders were verified earlier
in the month before the operation.

The one offender whose address was not verified during the month was verified on Nov. 1.  The Tift County Sheriff's Office conducts address verifications on sex offenders each month.

Although no registered sex offenders were arrested in Tift County during the operation, currently 10 are in custody
for failure to register or other charges.  Residents may see a list of the registered sex offenders residing and those employed in Tift County on the  agency's website,


Art, music and food will enliven the grounds and interior of the Tifton Museum of Arts and Heritage on Saturday, Nov. 7, at the second annual Artists' Market on Love.

From 10 a.m.-5 p.m., the museum will be alive with artists from near and far, showing and selling their paintings, turned wood art, original designer jewelry, handsome pottery, hand-dyed scarves and shawls and more.

Music will provide the background for Dave's Bread and Coffee Sidewalk CafĂ©, hot-buttered popcorn will entice young and old, and surprises will abound at this popular event. Plan to kickstart your Christmas shopping with the work of talented artists. 

Admission is free at the event at 255 Love Ave. in downtown Tifton next to the Tifton-Tift County Public Library.

Tift Regional Medical Center achieves top grade 
in hospital safety

The national Leapfrog Group has awarded Tift Regional Medical Center (TRMC) an A grade for the hospital's efforts to keep patients safe from infections, errors and accidents.
"TRMC is honored to receive this recognition because it reflects our commitment to quality and patient safety," said William T. Richardson, President/CEO of Tift Regional Health System.  
The Leapfrog Group is a national not-for-profit organization that strives for safety, quality and affordability of healthcare in the U.S. by promoting transparency. The Hospital Safety Score uses a wide range of evidence-based measures related to patient safety to calculate a numerical score for all eligible U.S. hospitals. The numerical safety score is then converted into a letter grade designed to give the public free and unbiased information they can use to protect themselves and their families.
"This A grade validates achievement in preventing harm within the hospital, and we are proud to recognize the efforts of our providers and staff," said Richardson. "They remain dedicated to fostering a safe, compassionate environment of care."
The scores are calculated using 28 measures, all based on publicly available data, to produce an overall "A," "B," "C," "D," or "F" score. TRMC also volunteered to participate in the Leapfrog Group's survey process.  The Hospital Safety Score signifies the overall capacity to keep patients safe from preventable harm. In spring 2015 about 2,500 U.S. general hospitals were assigned scores, with about 30 percent receiving an "A" grade.  
To view Tift Regional Medical Center's full score, visit

We're excited! And we want you to join us for an evening of great entertainment; great food;   and the best of fell owship.  
Wiregrass Georgia Technical College Foundation North 
 presents its
30th Annual Meeting and Banquet
Tuesday, November 10, 2015, at 6:30 p.m. in the Charles Harris Learning Center
on Wiregrass Georgia Tech's Ben Hill-Irwin Campus, 667 Perry House Road in Fitzgerald.
There will be a delicious prime rib dinner with all the trimmings.  Your entertainment will be the GiGi's
Take a journey through the decades with this incredible trio of bombshell female vocalists. 
Singing classics from The Shirelles, Ronettes, The Supremes, The Angels, The Chiffons, The Bangles, and more, this group will have your toes tapping, your hands clapping, and memories flooding in. 

Tickets are only $50 each ($25 is tax deductible).  

We promise you an evening to remember.
Please respond immediately because tickets are going fast!  Space is very limited.
 Thank you for your support, and we look forward to seeing you on November 10.
For Tickets and Information, contact
Mona Paulk
Executive Director of Institutional Advancement
Ben Hill-Irwin Campus

Office: 229.468.2102

A Unit of the Technical College System of Georgia


The annual Writers' Harvest sponsored by "Pegasus," the Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College literary magazine, will be Nov. 12 at 7 p.m. at the Georgia Museum of Agriculture and Historic Village Conference Center at ABAC. There is no charge to attend.

The featured reader is author Ira Sukrungruang, a Thai-American writer born in 1976 in Oak Lawn, Ill.  Accepted to Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Sukrungruang spent the next five years jumping from major to major before choosing the writer's path. During that time, he was an undergraduate intern at Crab Orchard Review, an experience that taught him the ins and outs of publishing.

In 1999, Sukrungruang wrote his way into graduate school at The Ohio State University, where he received an MFA in creative nonfiction. Along the way, he co-edited, with his friend Donna Jarrell, "What Are You Looking At? The First Fat Fiction Anthology" and "Scoot Over, Skinny: The Fat Nonfiction Anthology."  

He is the author of the memoir, "Talk Thai: The Adventures of Buddhist Boy," and the poetry collection "In Thailand It Is Night." His most recent publication is the essay collection "Southside Buddhist." In addition, he edits "The Clever Title," a blog about the creative writing world, and "Sweet: A Literary Confection," an award-winning online literary magazine.

Sukrungruang taught creative nonfiction at The State University of New York Oswego for six years and now teaches in the Master of Fine Arts program at the University of South Florida.


On Thursday, Nov. 12 at 7 p.m., members of the Tift Theatre for the Performing Arts will be performing a reader's theatre at the Tifton-Tift County Public Library with a anti-bullying theme. 

The performance will address bullying in a realistic manner; the content is meant for teens aged 13 and older.

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, left, with Regenia Wells and Rotarian Monty Veazey.
LT. GOV. CASEY CAGLE   visited the Tifton Rotary Club on Wednesday, Nov. 4, and talked about the importance of education in the state. He also applauded previous leaders who had the foresight to build  the Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson Airport and to expand the Savannah port, which he called two main economic drivers in the state. ... GEORGIA IS NO. 1 again. The Peach State was named the top state in the nation in which to do business for the third consecutive year by Site Selection magazine, a leading economic development trade publication. The announcement was made on  Wednesday. ... HEY, IS THAT THUNDER? The world famous U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds arrived in South Georgia on ThursdayThe precision flying team is at Moody AFB preparing for an air show this weekend, beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday and again at 3 p.m. Sunday, weather permitting.


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 holding its "Red Kettle Kickoff" from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 7, at the  Service Center on 1205 U.S. Highway 82.

An afternoon of family fun and games, including a bouncy house, face painting, hamburgers and hot dogs, and lots of surprises are planned.

The organization's Red Kettle goal this year 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 are needed to ring a bell during the Christmas season. For information, call 229-386-1503.

Tifton's Leroy Rogers Senior Center is hosting an AARP Smart Driver Program for those age 50 and over from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.  on  Saturday, Nov. 7, at the senior center's temporary location, 508 South Main St. (The Tifton Welcome Center building.)
This is a refresher course that provides up-to-d ate information about changes over time in ourselves, our vehicles and our roads.   This course will help boost safety awareness, minimize crash risk, increase confidence and prolong senior mobility.
Participants may earn up to a 20 percent discount on their auto insurance.

Cost is $20, with a $5 discount for AARP members with card.

For reservations, contact JB or Bob at 229-388-8352 or

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             a Glance 

  • Tift County High Blue Devils football vs. Lowndes High Vikings, 7:30 p.m., Brodie Field, Tifton
  • Tiftarea Academy Turkey Trot & Family Fun Day, 8-11 a.m., Tiftarea Academy, Chula
  • Veterans Pancake Breakfast, 8-10 a.m., First Presbyterian Church, Tifton
  • AARP Smart Driver Program, 9 a.m., Leroy Rogers Senior Center temporary site, 508 S. Main St., Tifton
  • Artists' Market on Love, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Museum of Arts and Heritage, Tifton
  • Health and Safety Event, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Georgia Migrant and Seasonal Head Start, Norman Park Center, Norman Park
  • Salvation Army's Red Kettle Kickoff, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., Salvation Army Service Center, U.S. Highway 82, Tifton
  • Free Family Movie Night, 6:30 p.m., YMCA Fields, Tifton
  • U.S. Army Field Band and Soldiers Chorus, 7 p.m., Tift County High School Performing Arts Center, Tifton

In Memoriam

OCT. 28
Mary Heath Griner, 84, Alapaha

OCT. 29
Mildred "Millie" Lloyd, 88, Auburn, Mich. (formerly of Ocilla)

OCT. 30
Judy Murline White Harrell, 64, Ty Ty
Jesse Allen Walker, 88, Tifton
Charlie J. McLellan Sr., 83, Nashville
Phillip Wade Heath, 57, Tifton

OCT. 31
Dwain Hogan, 71, Irwinville
Carrie Elizabeth French, 88, Lakeland
Lillie Hamilton, Sylvester

NOV. 2
Richard Lee Bennett Sr., 60, Moultrie

NOV. 3
Voncile B. Sirmans, 82, Fitzgerald
Louise Mathis Willis, 90, Tifton
Larry Jackson Lawson, 60, Nashville

NOV. 4
Omie Lee Taylor Hutchinson, 81, Tifton
Vernon A. "Pete" Boone, 86, Adel
Harry VanBrackle Jr., 84, Lenox
Vivian Thompson Griffin, 89, Fitzgerald

NOV. 5
Odell Brown Wood, 90, Tifton


  47 Henry Way, Tifton, GA
MLS #: R124520

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