March 1, 2016
        Tifton, Georgia

   (478) 227-7126


Georgians head to the polls today to help choose their political party's candidate for president of the United States. In Tift County,  voters will also decide on continuing the county's E-SPLOST for local education.
Polls are open until  7 p.m. Voters must choose whether they wish to vote in the Democratic or Republican primary; they cannot vote in both. 

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are the primary candidates vying for Georgia's delegates. 

On the GOP ballot, Donald Trump, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, John Kasich and Ben Carson are the candidates in play, although the ballot contains many more names of former candidates who have since dropped out of the race.

In Tift County, voters also have an opportunity to continue the Education Special Purpose Local
Option Sales Tax for Tift County schools. Local officials estimate that more than 60 percent of the penny tax is collected from residents outside of Tift. The money can only used for specified projects allowed under state law; it cannot legally be used for such items as salaries and benefits, utility expenses and routine maintenance.

This E-SPLOST will help with purchasing books, computers, school buses and adding an addition to Tift County High School so that ninth-graders can be on the main campus and that other grades can be realigned in the school system.
Trump at Valdosta State University
Photos by Frank Sayles Jr.

Tifton Grapevine

"The Donald" came to Valdosta State University on Monday, bringing a presidential campaign back to deep South Georgia for the first time in nearly 25 years.

Donald J. Trump -- businessman, real estate mogul, reality TV star, boisterous billionaire and top Republican candidate for president -- spoke to a capacity crowd of 7,500 inside VSU's basketball arena Monday night. 

Thousands more, (Trump claimed 12,000) many with admission tickets, were stuck outside the arena after it filled.

The crowd was larger and rowdier than what greeted the last presidential campaign that visited South Georgia; on Sept. 23, 1992, Bill Clinton, accompanied by running mate Al Gore and their wives, Hillary
Trump and Hannity in Valdosta
and Tipper, had given an outdoor speech a couple of miles from the VSU campus at the Lowndes County 
Courthouse  in Valdosta following a rally at the Agrirama in Tifton.

Before he spoke to the VSU crowd Monday night, Trump sat down for a taped interview with Fox News' Sean Hannity at the more intimate, 305-seat student union theater on campus. The room was filled with hand-picked local Trump supporters, selected students and local GOP officials.

Trump and Hannity sat on stage before large paintings of the Statue of Liberty and the American flag created by Georgia artist Steve Penley of Newnan, who had an exhibit at Tifton's Museum of Arts Heritage in July 2014, and who had created a painting of Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College for the re-dedication of its historic front campus.

During his talk with Hannity, Trump repeated may of the themes of his campaign and reiterated them later at the larger venue: The need to "build a wall" on the Mexcan border; the scourge of Obamacare and how pharmaceutical companies are ripping off both individuals and the government; the shortcomings of his challengers; America's trade deficits; and how he has a "positive message" about "making America great again."

There were few details about how he was going to accomplish his goals, but the audience didn't seem to mind. Following his Fox News interview, Trump kept the basketball arena crowd waiting as he hung around the student union stage for awhile, posing for selfies with supporters and autographing posters and ball caps.

Pre-printed signs proclaiming "The Silent Majority Stands with Trump," which have been distributed at Trump rallies across the country, were held high by several young and old supporters. Those old enough to remember know that Richard Nixon began using the term "silent majority" in 1969 during the Vietnam War.

For Trump supporters, the phrase likely means that they feel overlooked and underserved by those in Washington. Trump has tapped into that discontent more than anyone else this year.

More than a generation has passed since South Georgia has experienced a presidential campaign, and the region, and the nation itself, has never seen one like this.


The Tiftarea Board of Realtors recently held its annual Circle of Excellence Awards ceremony. During 
Melissa Brock & Al Johnson
 the meeting, the past year was reviewed.

The board announced that during 2015, total real estate sales of $82,362,416 were recorded for the Tiftarea, an increase of $13,251,542 from the previous year. The a verage sales price was $120,062, up by $4,492 from 2014 Also  days that properties were on the market declined by eight days for an average of  149.
Platinum: Colwell, Pope, Brock, Burgess

During the awards ceremony, the President's Award was given to Melissa Brock by Al Johnson, 2015 president.

Platinum  recipients  were Kim Brownlee Colwell, 
Gold: Smith, Joe Pope, Monk
Jordan Pope, Melissa Brock and Melissa Burgess. 
Gold recipients were Julie Smith, Joe Pope, Tracy Monk, Dwana Coleman and Camille Taylor.

Silver were Mark McGill,  Karen Thomas, Scott Goodman, Blake Marshall,  Judy May, Wendy Story, Ronnie Dunn, Loretta Conway, Ron Branch, Jessica Powell, Thad Paulk, Rose Cooksey, Al Johnson,  Lamar Boyer, Ramona Bennett, Josh Pope and Albertha Sneed .

The Rookie of the Year award was given to Blake Marshall.

Silver: McGill, Thomas, Goodman, Marshall, May, Monk, Story, Dunn, Conway, Branch, Powell, Paulk, Cooksey and Johnson. Not pictured: Boyer, Bennett, Josh Pope, Sneed

Apartment Living 
in Tifton

Totally Renovated One-Bedroom and Two-Bedroom Apartments
In a Gated Community with Ample Parking

  Includes all Appliances, Washer & Dryer, 
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All Apartments feature Original 
Hardwood Floors, Marble Countertops and Custom-Made Cabinets

1 BR apartment: $650 month
2 BR apartment: $750

Call 229-382-0959
8 a.m.-5 p.m. week days

The Avenue
404 N. Tift Ave.
Tifton, Ga.


Sheriff Gene Scarbrough says that the Tif t County Law Enforcement Center (jail) is bringing in additional revenue because of extra efforts taken by the Sheriff s Office. During  the past six months, the housing of federal inmates has resulted in nearly $210 , 000.

The Tift County Law Enforcement Center had to complete a thorough audit and extensive inspection by
the federal government through the U.S. Marshal Service to insure that the policies, procedure
s, facility and the staff were in compliant to all standards and regulations. 

" I am proud to say that we exceeded the standards for passing an d had no issues in our mission t o receive a contract for housing federal inmates. "  Scarbrough said. "I applaud the extra efforts made by jail staff to insure  that the fac i lity is kept up to standards and t h at proc e dures are in compliance as well."

The current average of 25-30 federal inmates per m onth for t h e period reported has enabled the Sheriff's Office to accumulat e the extra fu n ds needed to assist the county with expenses required for law enforcement e fforts throu g ho u t Tift County

The fede ral inm ates do not cost Tift Co u nty any add i tio n al expenses t o house;  t heir medical and other housing expenses are paid for by the federal government. The Sheriff's Office jail staff has accommodated th i s endeavor without any additional  personnel .

A majority of the federal inmates housed in the Tift County Law Enforcement Center are from criminal cases that o r iginated in Tift Co unty and were investigated by Sheriff's Office p e rsonnel and the Georgia Burea u of Investigation.

Housing federal inmates is additional re v enue that is gene r ated to offset expenditures to maintain a detention center. The Tift Co u nty Law Enforcement Center already utilizes several state laws that assist sheriff's offices to recoup exp e nses .

"I believe it's vitally im p ortant for public officials to work diligently in finding efforts t o reduce the taxpayer s'  cost for services and to assist the county financially when we can," Sheriff  Scarbrough  said.

Full Service Lawn Care

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Family-Owned and Operated Since 2003


UPS driver Dwight Huggins of Tifton was recently inducted into UPS's prestigious Circle of Honor for achieving 25 years of accident-free driving.
Huggins, along with 45 other elite drivers from Georgia, are among 1,613 drivers newly inducted into the company's honorary organization.
Globally, 8,703 active UPS drivers are members of the Circle of Honor. Collectively they've racked up more than 245,000 years and more than 5.3 billion safe miles during their careers. That's enough miles to travel to Mars and back 19 times.
Georgia boasts 379 active Circle of Honor drivers with a combined 10,804 years of accident-free driving. Felton Lee McCant Jr. of Moultrie is the state's senior most-safe driver, with 41 years of accident-free driving under his belt. There are 3,380 total UPS drivers in Georgia
UPS's 102,000 drivers are considered among the safest on the roads, logging more than 3 billion miles a year and delivering more than 4 billion packages safely.  Founded in 1907, UPS has a history of safety and training. The company issued its first driver handbook in 1917 and began recognizing safe drivers in 1923.

Director of 
Children's Ministries

Tifton First United Methodist Church
 Tifton, Ga.
is seeking a full-time Director of Children's Ministries 

Responsibilities will be focused on kindergarten through 
6th grade and include oversight of the nursery program. 
The Director will work with other staff members 
under the direction of the Senior Pastor.  

The successful candidate should possess or be pursuing a bachelor's degree; have experience working with children's ministries and/or children's educational programs; experience working in and developing children's ministries; and possess a strong personal faith consistent with the United Methodist tradition.  

For complete job description,   Click Here.
Available immediately. Salary will be commensurate with education and experience. 
Position is open until filled. 

To apply, submit: 
1.) a cover letter to include why you are interested in this position; 
2.) a current resume; and
3.) contact information for three references. 

Applications and specific questions related to this position should be addressed to:  

Lisa Forshee, Lead Search Committee: Director of Children's Ministries
Tifton First United Methodist Church   

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February 23

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  0 Sparrow Road, Fitzgerald, GA
MLS #: L125410A
Excellent small-acreage deer-hunters paradise. This tract of land is a great buy and is equipped with hardwood, pasture and creek. Charming land made for private home site, perfect for hunting, recreation or secluded ranch for horses. Rolling hills, hardwood, pasture land and more. Private area to build a home. Centrally located between Fitzgerald, Ocilla and Douglas, Ga.

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