Sept. 4, 2015
                         Tifton, Georgia

             (478) 227-7126


Leesburg's Micah Johnson, who TV audiences may remember from the "American Idol" competition in 2013, is the
winner of the "Tifton Idol" regional audition last Saturday at the UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center, say officials with Albany's WFXL-TV Fox 31.

Johnson will now go to Atlanta on Sept. 13 for the Judges' Silver Ticket Round and sing in front of Idol producers in a chance   to vie for the title of

"American Idol" during its final season.

During January 2013, Johnson astonished " American Idol" judges and audience, even though Johnson's  voice was damaged by a previous surgical mistake when  his tonsils were removed.  His speech impediment disappeared as he began to sing.
 Judge  Keith Urban  began singing along, and judge  Mariah
Carey  was visibly affected.  "This is the biggest fake-out I think I'veever had," judge  Randy Jackson  said. Nicki Minaj  concurred with her fellow judges.

After advancing in preliminary rounds, Johnson was knocked out of the competition during "Idol's" Hollywood Week auditions. During that year's competition, Johnson listed his hometown as Morrow, Ga. He now resides in Leesburg; the "Tifton Idol' competition required contestants to live within the WFXL-TV Fox 31 viewing area.

The " American Idol " show is coming to a close with its 15th and final season premiering in January 2016.
Jennifer Lopez, Harry Connick Jr. and  Keith Urban will return as season 15 judges, along with host Ryan SeacrestOnly Urban and Seacrest were aboard when Johnson last went before the Idol judges.

Omega Pepper Festival

The 12th Annual Omega Pepper Festival is set for Friday and Saturday, Sept. 11-12,  at Ponder Park in Omega off
U.S. Highway 319.

Singer Faith Jackson returns at 4 p.m. Saturday; also scheduled is the bands Downtown Disturbance, at 6 p.m., and The Flint River Band at 8 p.m.

The festival also has the GAWE wrestlers again this year with matches starting at 1 p.m., 3:30 and 5:30 p.m. The parade starts at 10 a.m. on that Saturday; the Omega Idol Talent show (with cash prizes) starts at 1:30 p.m.; and the kiddie park will be open throughout the day, as will arts and crafts, and food vendors.

Events begin with a Gospel Sing at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 11. The always popular  Pepper Taste Off contest will be at 2 p.m. Saturday.

Festival organizers remind folks that the entertainment is free, "s o bring your lawn chairs, your gnat knockers (hand-held paper fan) and plan to stay awhile. Don't worry about cooking, we have some great vendors lined up who will be happy to give you a day off from kitchen duty."

For more information, call Joy Lott at 229-528-3175 or  Omega City Hall at 229-528-4400.


Monday, Sept. 7, is Labor Day -- the traditional end of the summer. Many folks will hit the highway for a road trip this weekend, and t he Ga. Department of Transportation plans to get its construction crews out of the way. graphic-beach-umbrellas.jpg

The DOT plans to suspend construction on interstates and other major highways starting at noon Friday until Tuesday, Sept. 8, to make road travel easier and safer for drivers.

Of course, the calendar notes that summer actually ends with the advent of fall on Sept. 23 with the autumnal equinox. However,  meteorologically, the seasons are arbitrarily  set to start at the beginning of a calendar month and end at the end of a month every three months. So summer then would be June, July and August. Thus, Sept. 1 would be the beginning of fall, meteorologically.

For many parents of school-age children, summer truly begins when school is out and ends with the first classroom bell in early August. Of course, other  countries  and other cultures have differing views. For example, In Chinese astronomy, summer starts on or about May 5, and it ends on or about Aug. 6.

And for those who wish summer would last longerAustralia and New Zealand officially begin summer on Dec. 1 and the season ends on Feb. 28 -- so the elusive summer can be found elsewhere while we are in the dead of winter.


Students desiring to attend the University of Georgia or those interested in learning more about the UGA Tifton Campus may attend Southwest ShowCAES 2015, a recruiting event on Tuesday, Sept. 15, at the Tifton Campus Conference Center.

Southwest ShowCAES is designed to introduce high school and college students to the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and the UGA Tifton Campus. Prospective UGA students will meet with faculty and students from the nine different departments within the college and learn about all academic programs offered. Representatives from financial aid and university admissions will be available to answer questions.

The evening is one of UGA Tifton's biggest recruiting events each year, attracting approximately 200 people.

"I have a personal connection with the event because it was helpful for me," said Breanna Coursey, admissions counselor on the UGA Tifton Campus and former UGA Tifton student. As a student at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in 2010, Coursey attended Southwest ShowCAES and discovered there was an academic program available for her at the UGA Tifton Campus.

"The most memorable part for me was that, after we visited with the different departments and had dinner, they had breakout sessions. There, I learned more about transferring, which is what I was hoping to hear more about. That's really where I realized I could stay in Tifton and attend the University of Georgia. Up until that point, I thought Athens was my only option," Coursey said. "I remember the information they gave me being really helpful, especially concerning GPA and credit hours."

After dinner, there will be two breakout sessions: one for high school students who plan to attend UGA in Athens, and one for current college students considering transferring to a UGA campus.

"The exposure we receive from these events is very crucial. There are people in the Tifton community that do not realize they can get an undergraduate degree from the University of Georgia here in Tifton," Coursey said. "It is really exciting to think about the number of people we have the potential to impact."

The event will start at 5:30 p.m. Preregistration is requested to adequately prepare for the dinner.  To preregister, click here.



From golf to Shakespeare to jazz, the fall semester at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College offers something for everyone.

Events during the semester include the 15th Annual Ag Classic at ABAC's Forest Lakes Golf Club on Oct. 5. Coeds will compete in the annual Ms. ABAC contest Oct. 8 at 7 p.m. in Howard Auditorium. Two sets of Nursing Information Sessions will be available at 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Sept. 22 and Nov. 17 in the Health Sciences building. High school students interested in attending ABAC can visit the campus on Nov. 14 for Stallion Day.

Fall events from the ABAC Presents! Performing Arts Series feature the Albany Symphony Orchestra on Sept. 27 at 3 p.m. at the Tift County High School Performing Arts Center, the National Players production of William Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar" on Oct. 15 at 7 p.m. in Howard Auditorium, and the U.S. Army Field Band and Soldiers' Chorus at the Tift County High School Performing Arts Center on Nov. 7 at 7 p.m.  

Other musical performances this fall include the First Tuesday Concert Series, which begins its 14th season.  Performances will include "A Night of Jazz" featuring ABAC instructor Thomas Heflin and friends at 7 p.m. Oct. 6; "A Night of Woodwinds" featuring Pitches in Stilettos at 7 p.m. Nov. 3; and the annual Christmas Concert at 5 p.m. Dec. 1.  All First Tuesday performances are in the Chapel of All Faiths on the campus of ABAC. 

Other musical events include the Fall Choral Concert at 7 p.m. Nov. 10 in Howard Auditorium, the Fall Band Concert at the Tift Theatre in downtown Tifton on Nov. 17 at 7 p.m., the Fall Jazz Concert on Nov. 19 at 7 p.m. in Howard Auditorium, and the Virtuoso Chamber Music Series featuring the Georgia Brass Quintet at 7 p.m. Sept. 29 in Howard Auditorium.

And the Baldwin Players will perform Thornton Wilder's "The Skin of My Teeth" at 7 p.m. in Howard Auditorium on Oct. 29-31.

THE CITY OF TIFTON  is changing  the traffic flow downtown on Brumby Way. Traffic will now enter Brumby Way, a one-way street, from Main Street and exit at Tift Avenue, which is the opposite direction that the short street previously flowed. City officials say it will improve traffic and help downtown
 businesses. ... TIFTON POLICE say  counterfeit $100 bills are surfacing around town. They say two serial numbers on the bills have come up more than once: B02492407B and H58388655A, which are from the 1990's series. Residents and merchants are asked to beware. ... COMING UP is a special 9/11 tribute show at the Tift Theatre for the Performing Arts.  "The Guys" tribute show honors those who were lost on Sept. 11, 2001. The show is on Friday, Sept. 11, at 7 p.m. All f irefighters, police officers, paramedics, and EMTs are admitted free. ... ALSO AHEAD, Hobby Lobby in Tifton has a tentative grand opening date of Oct. 19 on U.S. Highway 82 West. There are also tentative plans for a new multi-screen cinema in that area, as well as other businesses in the vicinity. And The Tifton Gazette reports that the 24-hour Walmart Neighborhood Market being built on North Tift Avenue will be open Oct 28.

Saturday, September 26 
10 a.m. - 9 p.m.
Fulwood Park in Tifton
Free Admission

Traditional foods, non-stop performances from La Fiesta Stage, Street Dance with live band, Children's Area with 
rides and face painting,
Educational and Health Exhibits


Tifton-Tift Tourism Association
Tift Regional Medical Center

George McCranie Law Firm
Stafford Companies

Quality Produce
Georgia Power Co.
The Cleveland Firm
South Georgia Banking Co.
First Community Bank

              Colquitt EMC
                El Cazador
               Ameris Bank

                   La Estella
        Target Distribution Center
                City of Tifton
    Tift County Recreation Department
  Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College




The Georgia Cotton Commission, Georgia Peanut Commission and the University of Georgia Extension Cotton and Peanut Teams are co-sponsoring a joint research field day Wednesday, Sept. 9, in Tifton.

The tour will showcase current research, funded by the respective commissions, in plot-side presentations by the researchers themselves. The sponsors' goal is to provide an educational environment for cotton and peanut producers and give them the opportunity to question the researchers.

Chairmen of the peanut and cotton commissions, Armond Morris and Mike Lucas, say the event presents a chance for the commissions' board members and staff to interact with growers and observe first-hand the research programs funded by their investments.


From cheeses to chutneys, craft chocolate to chorizo, the annual Flavor of Georgia Food Product Contest -- hosted by the University of Georgia Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development -- celebrates Georgians' creativity and craftsmanship by highlighting the best value-added products in the state. 

The contest will celebrate its 10th year in 2016. Through the years the artisan food-makers who have participated in the contest have generated an economic impact of $27.9 million, according to study released by the center in August. 

"Flavor of Georgia is a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs to gain publicity and exposure for their products," said Sharon P. Kane, a UGA food business development specialist and the contest's coordinator. "It's also a chance for them to network with other food entrepreneurs and industry experts." 

To help celebrate this 10-year milestone, Flavor of Georgia organizers will host a showcase at the Taste of Atlanta, Sept. 25-27 in midtown Atlanta's Tech Square. 

More than 70 percent of finalists in the Flavor of Georgia contest have reported seeing increased interest in their products following the contest, and many others benefitted from increased sales, profits, publicity and website traffic, she said. Some also indicated an increase in full- and part-time employees. 

In the past year's competition, Wisham Jellies of Tifton won the People's Choice Award with its Cranberry Pepper Jelly.

Finalists and winners participate in a number of high-profile industry showcases throughout the year following each year's contest, including the Georgia Grown Symposium, the Georgia National Fair and showcase days at the Buford Highway Farmers Market. They also receive industry feedback and use of the "Flavor of Georgia finalist" logo for their product's packaging. 

Registration for the 2016 contest will start in November.

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             a Glance 

  • Tiftarea Academy Panthers football vs. Frederica Academy, 7:30  p.m.,  St. Simons Island
  • Tift County High Blue Devils football vs. Luella High School Lions,  7:30 p.m., Brodie Field, Tifton
  • Tifton Downtown Farmers Market, 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Old Train Platform, Tifton
  • Church in the Park, 10 a.m., Fulwood Park, Tifton
  • Miss U.S. National Forestry Pageant, 4 p.m. & 7 p.m., Tift County High Performing Afts Center, Tifton

In Memoriam

AUG. 27
Clyde Roddy, Sylvester
Robbie Sanderson Gunn, 84, Leesburg
Stanley Aaron Hires, 46, Adel
James Kenneth McFarland, 75, Ocilla

AUG. 28
Jerry Clifton Musselwhite, 75, Brookfield
Arcadio Garcia "Salvador" "Chava" Garcia, 63, Tifton
Eric Aubrey Apperson, 85, Sylvester
Veronica Peterson, Sylvester

AUG. 29
Tony Lee Purvine, 52, Nashville

AUG. 30
Dr. James Allen Moore, 67, Dahlonega
Edith Fountain, 93, Nashville
Delores Gills, 68, Ashburn
Wawena Harper Vickers, 91, Wray
Patricia Ann Todd Eason, 75, Fitzgerald
Faye Shealy Tison, 91, Ashburn

AUG. 31
Robert Roy Schultze, 84, Chula
Wilhemenia Varnadoe, 91, Tifton
Bobby Ross Phillips, 77, Adel
Hellon K. Hogan, 78, Fitzgerald
Gregory Kim Maddock, 63, Valdosta

Sylvia Hartley Younginer, 83, Tifton
Hazel Clark, Sylvester

James Tolver, Sylvester

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