Aug. 28, 2015
                                   Tifton, Georgia

             (478) 227-7126

Tifton City Council took no action during a nearly two-hour, special called meeting Thursday to hear from residents about the addition of an on-site  crematorium at a funeral business on 12th Street.

Reflection Cremation and Funeral Service, which has been in operation about a year and a half at 106 12th St. E., is expanding its existing facility to add a crematory and expand its casket, prep and storage rooms. Nearby business owner
Council hears concerns on Thursday. In the
foreground is City Attorney Rob Wilmot. Mayor Jamie Cater is at back.
Spud Bowen is concerned about the crematorium's effect on property values and said "the application process was not followed" for the expansion of the business.

Concerns were raised over parking, landscaping and the exit from the property through a lane. Another nearby business owner, Gary Kincaid, questioned the efficacy of enlarging a building that sits on a 100- by 100-foot lot. Kincaid also said parking will be an issue.

City Attorney Rob Wilmot noted that the funeral business did not initially submit a parking plan but has since submitted one. He also noted that the business is "properly zoned," and that the building permit was "properly issued. ... All requirements were met for issuance of the building permit."

However, Wilmot noted that the plans for the addition were incomplete when they were submitted to and approved by the city Historical Preservation Commission (HPC). The submitted plans did not show a proposed chimney, and landscaping was not detailed. The funeral service will have to go back to the HPC for approval of those items. He said chimney construction cannot continue without that approval but other construction "can continue legally."

Mike Jones, one of the owners of Reflection Cremation and Funeral Service, said the primary issue is one of an "uninformed public." Jones said property values won't change, that there would be "no unusual emissions" from the crematorium, and, regarding the perception of his business, he said he can't control that.

Jones said his business has served about 200 families and that Reflection is a "low-cost provider," serving a need for those families who cannot afford much for funeral and cremation services. Approximately 70 percent of his business is strictly cremation, Jones said, and very few formal funeral services are held on site.

City Council decided to place the matter on its agenda for its next meeting. 

"We are not alone in Tifton on this issue," City Attorney Wilmot noted.


" Come to the bog!" is becoming one of several mantras at the Fulwood Garden Center, thanks to volunteer efforts and financial assistance from many local organizations and businesses.
Originally named "Loy's Fen" in honor of Loy Morgan, the "Bog Garden" presents what invasive species scientist Karan Rawlins calls "the diverse and fascinating plants of South Georgia's natural wetlands."
The Bog -- one mile from Interstate 75 -- is considered a draw for travelers to see plants and flowers only grown in this region. Work continues on the garden with volunteer labor.  A work day is scheduled this Saturday from 8-10:30 a.m.

"While many gardeners in America struggle to remove invasive species, Tifton gardeners through the Fulwood Garden Center are focusing on native plants and ways to share them with citizens and travelers," said Carolyn Massey, who co-chairs the Garden Center building and grounds committee with Bette Turner for the Council of Garden Clubs.
Virginia Pennington president  of the Council of Garden Clubs, said Tifton City Council has awarded "Landmark" status to the Garden Center.  The Fulwood Garden Center is already listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Pennington noted.

She said the Rufus Porter-style mural on the stairway is among reasons for tourists and residents to visit the home on the Garden Center property.  From 1825 to 1845, Porter painted scenes of New England towns and harbors in northern homes. His work depicted Connecticut, where Tifton founders Henry Harding and Bessie Willingham Tift were from.  Bessie Tift is one of three women for whom camellias in the Center gardens are named; the others are named for Sandra Deal, who is the first lady of Georgia, and Ruth Vickers Fulwood.

The Fulwood name was featured in Time magazine in 1946 when plant farming was considered the innovation to replace declining cotton crops.  Ruth Fulwood was the wife of Paul Fulwood Sr., who was featured in that article; a history of the family and the house, which is now the Fulwood Garden Center, can be viewed on the second floor.
Mrs. Fulwood was president of the American Rose Society and maintained 250 camellias in her yard. 

Future goals for the Fulwood Garden Center include:
  • Conserving and sharing native and rare plants, including pitcher plants and shrub hummingbirds that are found in only four locations in Georgia;
  • Attracting visitors to Tifton, with the Fulwood Garden Center as part of the Highway 41 Georgia Grown Trail of the state Department of Economic Development;
  • Providing indoor and outdoor space for community events, wedding parties and special activities; and
  • Coordinating resources.


On Wednesday, Aug. 26,  the Tiftarea YMCA, along with American Textile Co. and other local donors, celebrated the grand opening of the Y's new outdoor track and family fitness area at the YMCA's main facility on Carpenter Road

More than 150 people attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony followed by the first official walk around the track, a basketball game and an outdoor fitness class. An old-fashioned cookout with hamburgers and hot dogs capped the event.

The new walking track features a picnic pavilion, basketball court and outdoor fitness equipment. 

"It is a great addition to the Tiftarea YMCA and a great investment in our community.," said YMCA CEO Darian Peavy.

Last September, American Textile committed $70,000 to the Tiftarea YMCA to build the lighted and fenced quarter-mile track made of asphalt and recycled materials. A sheltered picnic area and a walking track and field inside the track are available for youth activities and adult aerobics.
Peavy had previously told the Tifton Grapevine that American Textile toured the YMCA facility last year.  "We told them our vision and how we hope to have an outside place for kids' activities and classes out on the field," Peavy said. "They said they support the YMCA  and want to give back to our community. We are very blessed and honored. They are great people."

American Textile, a Pennsylvania-based company, opened its  Tifton  operation in  2011 , doubling its workforce and developing an operation of  more than 4 00,000 square feet  two years ahead of schedule. The Tifton facility manufactures and distributes pillows and other bedding materials.


The final season of American Idol is almost upon us and that means it is your last chance to win WFXL-Fox 31's "Tifton Idol." 

From 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 29, at the University of Georgia Tifton Campus Conference Center, singers will compete for the chance to go to Atlanta on Sept. 13 for the Judges' Silver Ticket Round and sing in front of Idol producers. The winner this year will also have a meet and greet with the American Idol Season 15 judges in Atlanta, and a $250 VISA gift card to help get them to Atlanta.  

To enter the "Tifton Idol / American Idol" auditions, you must be a legal U.S. resident living in Fox 31's viewing area, be between 15 and 28 years old on Aug. 29, and have the ability to comply with "American Idol" eligibility requirements located at


Opera, jazz and dramatic performances based on works from Shakespeare and Mozart are included in this year's "ABAC Presents! Performing Arts Series" at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.   

ABAC Arts Connection Director Wayne Jones said the series kicks off with the Albany Symphony Orchestra on Sept. 27 at 3 p.m. at the Tift County High School (TCHS) Performing Arts Center. The symphony will feature conductor Claire Fox Hillard and violinist Tom Fain. The performance will showcase John Corgliano's "Red Violin" suite and Edward Elgar's "Enigma" variations.

The Olney Theatre Center's National Players will stage William Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar" as part of the company's 67th national tour at 7 p.m. Oct. 15 in Howard Auditorium. The Olney Theatre Center, located in Montgomery County, Md., offers a diverse array of year-round professional productions that enrich, nurture and challenge a broad range of artists, audiences and students.
The U.S. Army Field Band and Soldiers' Chorus will perform a free concert at 7 p.m. Nov. 7 in the TCHS Performing Arts Center. Although the concert is free, a ticket is required to attend. From Boston to Baghdad, The U.S. Army Field Band and Soldiers' Chorus has been thrilling audiences for more than 60 years.
"Don Giovanni," an operatic masterpiece by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, will be staged by the Peach State Opera Company on Feb. 11, 2016, in Howard Auditorium.  One of the greatest comic operas of all time, the opera's comedic element is driven by Giovanni's dastardly plots and hijinks.
The Dallas Brass performs at the TCHS Performing Arts Center at 7 p.m. March 8  Since its founding in 1983, the group has become one of America's foremost musical ensembles. With a blend of traditional brass instruments and a full complement of drums and percussion, Dallas Brass creates a range of musical challenges.  The performance will also feature the ABAC Concert Band and the Tift County High School Band.   

Saxophonist Greg Tardy will be the guest performer for the annual ABAC Jazz Festival at Howard Auditorium at 7 p.m. April 21. Tardy discovered jazz during his college years and, he has recorded 12 CDs since 1992.  Tardy has played with jazz greats including Wynton and Ellis Marsalis.

While available tickets will be sold at the door for each show, Jones encourages advance purchase to ensure seating.  Tickets for the entire series are $50 for adults and $20 for students under 18. Tickets can be purchased online at or by phone at 229-391-4895. Individual tickets for each event are $15 for adults and $10 for students under 18.


A TRAFFIC ACCIDENT  early Thursday morning on U.S. Highway 82 in front of Shoney's restaurant knocked out electricity to a wide area when a power pole was knocked down and electric lines were strewn across the highway. Many businesses along Highway 82 and even around the corner on Virginia Avenue were without power from before daybreak to about lunchtime. Multiple agencies worked together to keep traffic flowing and to restore power as quickly as possible. ... TIFTON GETS FLATTERING TREATMENT in the August edition of Georgia Trend magazine. The article calls Tifton "the road most traveled," and mentions our growth in retail, distribution and agriculture. Georgia Trend also notes our thriving downtown district and availability of quality health care. Overall, it paints a good picture of the Friendly City. 
To read the article, Click Here!

In photo at right, power lines are shown knocked down Thursday morning 
on U.S Highway 82 in Tifton. Photo posted by Tift County Sheriff Gene Scarbrough on Facebook.
Thursday, Aug. 27
Family Practice Associates
612 Love Ave.


Charles Spencer  Elementary School received the Reading Cup on Thursday for amassing the most Accelerated Reader (AR) points -- 5,839 --in this year's Summer Reading Program sponsored by the Tift County Foundation for Educational Excellence. The Reading Capital of the World Summer AR Program had a banner year. A total of 29,508 AR points (a more than 30 percent increase above the previous year) were earned by those individuals reading books and taking tests on them to earn points for their schools. The Foundation awarded a total of $3,704 to schools for the points earned. Foundation President Frank Sayles Jr. presented the Reading Cup to Tammy Corbin, Spencer principal pictured at left, and Spencer media specialist Terri Nalls, at right.
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             a Glance 

  • Tiftarea Academy Panthers football vs. Georgia Christian, 7:30  p.m., Chula
  • Tift County High Blue Devils football vs. Cook County,  7:30 p.m., Brodie Field, Tifton
  • Downtown Farmers Market, 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Old Train Platform, Tifton
  • "American Idol" auditions, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center, Tifton
  • Poker Run to benefit The Patticake House, 9 a.m. Crossroad Choppers, Tifton

In Memoriam

AUG. 20
Ortha Cole Bickling, 90, Bowen's Mill community, Ben Hill County
Margaret Elizabeth "Beth" Tyson, 51, Nashville 
Ralph Fred "Johnny" Dollar Jr., 89, Fitzgerald

AUG. 21
Alice Lucille Hutto Lott, 79, Holt community, Irwin County
Sonja Gibbs Bridge, 47, Fitzgerald

AUG. 22
James Rushing Stansell Jr., 92, Tifton
Retired Tech Sgt. Monroe "Monty" Frank Porter, 83, Tifton
Jim Mathews, 73, Sparks
Louise H. Passmore, 89, Fitzgerald

AUG. 23
Karolina "Karol" Streicher Smith, 88, Tifton

AUG. 24
Dwane Carol Jernigan, 68, Tifton
Roger Coker, 63, TyTy 
Irene Griner Selph, 83, Nashville
Jean Dennis, 77, Tifton
Mary Ellen Weeks, 76, Sparks

AUG. 25
Johnny F. Sumner, 70, Tifton
Pauline Griffis, 94, Adel

AUG. 26
Charlene Keiffer Young, 50, Tifton
Sara Lou McCarty Senkbeil, 86, Sylvester
Robin Fulp Harkins, 53, Adel
Charles Wiggins, Sr., 75, Ashburn

AUG. 27
Clyde Roddy, Sylvester

You'll find peace and tranquility in your future home here in Tifton. Freshly painted, inside and out, 4 bedrooms / 4 bathrooms plus a large game room and sun room. New AC 2012 with 10-year full warranty (labor & parts); 2014 roof with lifetime warranty; water softener system; Surround sound; 4-car carport; vinyl fencing. Lots of space inside and out. Call for an appointment!
Dwana Coleman
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