DEC. 29, 2017
Tifton, Georgia



Tifton Grapevine

The Year 2017 is waning fast, and we look toward 2018 with hope and expectation.

There is much on the calendar for the beginning of the new year, starting with the Rose Bowl football game on New Year's Day in Pasadena, Calif. The University of Georgia Bulldogs will make their first Rose Bowl appearance in 75 years; the last time was in 1943 during World War II.

The No. 3 Dawgs will face the  No. 2 Oklahoma Sooners at 5 p.m., and will be broadcast on ABC-TV. The winner will advance to the national championship.

In other events closer to home, country music singer Travis Tritt performs at the Tift Theatre for the Performing Arts at 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 5.

Also in January, former "Tonight Show" bandleader Doc Severinsen and his Trumpet Kings with the Byron Stripling Quartet perform at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 11, at the Tift County High Performing Arts Center as part of the ABAC Performing Arts Series.

Then, at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 16, The Three Redneck Tenors perform a concert at Abraham Baldwin Agriculture College's Howard Auditorium. 

"For the Love of Mud: The Pottery of Walter Hobbs" exhibit opening is at 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 27, at the Ga. Museum of Agricuture. A  gallery talk and demonstration during the exhibit opening is free to the public. The exhibit will be open through March 28.

The month of love kicks off with the annual Choc-It-Up for Literacy, scheduled for 6 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 6, at Spring Hill Country Club. 
And dads, get your dancing shoes on because the  16th Annual Father-Daughter Dance, sponsored by the Tiftarea YMCA , is from 6-9 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 15, at the UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center.

February also brings the " Big Daddy Weave: Jesus I Believe Tour" to the UGA Tifton Conference Center at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 17.

To kick off  March, Tifton's annual Rhythm & Ribs BBQ Festival returns Saturday, March 3,
to Fulwood Park with an opening party on Friday night, March 2. Entertainment c o-headliners for the Saturday event are Southern Avenue and Cris Jacobs. 

The renowned a cappella group Home Free, with Tifton native Austin Brown, brings its "Timeless World Tour " to Tifton at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 16, at the UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center.

And Grammy Award-wining country music star  Lee Ann Womack performs at the Tift Theatre for the Performing Arts at 7 p.m. March 28.

Whew! All that is just a sampling of local activities during just the first quarter of 2018. Stay tuned for many more events coming your way.


The TIftarea YMCA is hosting its 5th Annual Polar Bear Plunge on Monday, Jan. 1, at 11 a.m. in the YMCA's Hunt Park pool off Westover Road in Tifton.

Each of the 12 participants are competing against one other to raise the most money for a specified non-profit organization. The individual raising the most funds, with the stipulation that he/she must slide down into the plunge pool, will receive 100 percent of the proceeds for their charity. 

All other charities represented will receive a 50 percent split with the Tiftarea YMCA -- providing that their corresponding representative takes the plunge into the pool. The
latest  forecast is for the air temperature in Tifton to be 38 degrees at 11 a.m. on New Year's Day when the plunge is scheduled, so it will be a real "Polar Bear Plunge" this year.
Representing the non-profits, and where their fundraising contributions stand as of Thursday, are:

* Darian Peavy for Family Promise of Tift Area: $1,875
* Mayor Julie Smith, Save Our Pets: $1,600
* Lt. Wingate Whitley, The Patticake House:  $1,425
* Dr. Ted McElroy,  Called to Care: $900
* Vicki Taft,  Tift County Commission on Children & Youth: $825
* Jarrett Haswell, Coastal Plain CASA: $450
* Chief Bobby Bennett, Celebration Recovery: $425
* Mike Beeman,  Ruth's Cottage: $350
* Dr. Bret Wagenhorst, Meals on Wheels: $300
* Jarrod Roberts,  Literacy Volunteers of Tifton-Tift County: $225
* Paul Horst Tift Area Greenways Association: $125
* Jennifer Woodall , Pregnancy Care Center: $100

Donations to support your favorite participant/cause may be made online at  or may be dropped off at the YMCA's main facility at 1657 S. Carpenter Road. Call 229-391-9622 for  information.


A $2 million winning lottery ticket was sold in Cuthbert during the Powerball drawing on Wednesday.  Cuthbert is west of Albany toward the Alabama line.

Winning numbers were 3-9-16-56-60 and Powerball number 3. The winning ticket was sold at One Stop Food Store, 374 Blakely St. in Cuthbert, the Georgia Lottery said. While the winner had not come forward as of Thursday, Georgia Powerball winners have 180 days to claim their prize.

Saturday's Powerball jackpot is an estimated $384 million. Lottery proceeds benefit   Georgia's HOPE Scholarship and Pre-K programs.

We're Seeking a
Church Pianist

Tifton First United 
Methodist Church

107 W 12th St., Tifton, GA

Tifton First United Methodist Church has an opening for a part-time church pianist.
The pianist is responsible for preparing for and 
practicing with  the chancel choir, orchestra and 
ensemble every Wednesday evening for about 
two hours and for playing at Sunday  traditional services  at  9 a.m. and 11 a.m., as well as at 
special services at Christmas, Easter, etc.  

Interested persons should contact Angie Carr at 
or call   229-382-6100 .


During this weekend's New Year's holiday, the Ga. Department of Transportation (GDOT) is once again suspending construction-related lane closures on interstate highways, heavily traveled state routes and roadways near major shopping centers, malls, shopping districts and tourist locations.
There are  no lane closures scheduled between 5 a.m. Friday, Dec. 29, to 5 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 2.

"There is normally an uptick in drunk driving during the holiday season. If you plan to drink, please designate a sober driver in advance or arrange to be picked up," said Georgia DOT State Construction Engineer John D. Hancock

GDOT reminds travelers to exercise caution as crews may still work in proximity to highways and safety concerns may require some long-term lane closures to remain in place. Also, incident management or emergency, maintenance-related lane closures could become necessary at any time on any interstate or state route.

Transportation officials also remind drivers of Georgia's Move-Over Law that requires drivers to move over one lane or slow down and be prepared to stop when approaching a stationary law enforcement, emergency vehicle, construction crew or utility service vehicle utilizing traffic cones or flashing emergency lights.


Georgia jobs, employment and labor force numbers continued to grow in November, while unemployment insurance claims fell.  The only number not improving last month was the state's unemployment rate, which remained unchanged at 4.3 percent, Ga. Labor 
Commissioner Mark Butler said. 

He said 2017 has been a banner year for Georgia as a jobs producer and for its residents finding good jobs.

Georgia, Butler said, finally shook off the effects of Hurricane Irma.

"After lower October job numbers due to the storm, this month sees the state getting back to normal -- that 'normal' being Georgia continuing to be a national leader in employment and job creation," Butler said. "As the year comes to a close, Georgia's businesses continue to help Georgia set records in job growth and employment."

November turned out to be record setting for Georgia in terms of employed residents, labor force and total jobs.  The number of employed residents rose by 6,385 to 4,871,948 -- the highest number ever recorded

From November a year ago, the number of employed residents was up by 170,267. Likewise, the labor force rose to 5,093,395 in November, setting yet another record. It is up by 119,462 since November 2016.

"We did see a significant increase in employment, which is the most important number now," Butler said. "We've had such a good year that it seems every month we set another series of records."

Over the past 12 months, Georgia has posted 85,200 new jobs, a 1.9 percent growth rate. At 1.9 percent, Georgia is outpacing the national job growth rate of 1.4 percent.


Casey Jones describes himself as a naturally nervous person. A bespectacled young man with an intellectual bearing and a purposeful way with words, Jones comes across as the kind of nerdy-cool college kid you would find in the library of any university.  

But pulled out of public school after the sixth grade, he had become accustomed to homeschooling away from the stress of other people.

While he was still in his teens, he recognized that homeschooling wasn't getting
him to where he wanted to be in life. His appreciation for the nursing profession was driving him to pursue a career in medicine

However, without even a high school diploma, a medical career felt like an impossibility. He knew that in order to move forward, he would have to face down his social anxiety and figure another way.

He made the choice to pursue his GED (General Equivalency Diploma) at Southern Regional Technical College's Tifton campus. After years away from public school, the prospect of classrooms filled with people made him nervous. In the beginning, he fought an uphill battle with anxiety while making up for the years of high school that he had never attended.

"Every day, I was shaken, even a little nauseous. But soon, I found that everyone in the class was here for the same reasons I was. They were all driven, and polite, and accepting." 

He also found a teacher, Judy Abell, who saw that he had exceptional potential:  "Casey was very dependable, and displayed excellent study and work ethics. Other students would often turn to him for assistance if they were struggling with an assignment."

Abell encouraged him to take part in the Blitz Program, an accelerated GED option that is more intense and difficult. For Jones, Blitz was a perfect fit:  "I was able to move at my own pace. Yes, some of it was challenging, but I was thriving."

In just a few months, Jones earned his GED. After working hard and pulling off the equivalent of four years of high school in a fraction of that time, Jones now admits that even he was impressed by what he accomplished.

"I am proud of the fact that I not only passed my GED, I passed with honors."

For most of his life, Jones had furtively dreamed about going to college. Because of his family's financial situation, he had practically given up on his hopes of becoming a
 college graduate.

"For a long time, I thought I would never get the chance to go to college. Literally, no one in my family has ever gone. College just seemed unattainable for me."  

As he worked toward his GED, Jones began realizing that adding a college degree to his resume was a realistic goal. 

With the help of SRTC's faculty and staff, he discovered grants and scholarships that would make attending college a financial possibility. By the time he earned his GED, he had also uncovered a new sense of confidence, so he decided to make the leap and is now working on his ASN ( Associate of Science in Nursing) degree at SRTC. 

After he earns his ASN, he plans to take advantage of the articulation agreement between SRTC and Valdosta State University and earn his BSN ( Bachelor of Science in Nursing).

"Now that I'm actually here, and everything is working out so well, it's nice, it really is." 

SRTC offers free adult education (GED) classes at 11 locations in Southwest Georgia. For more information on the GED program, visit SRTC's Adult Education online --  Click Here!


The Rotary Club of Tifton is seeking nominations for its Tifton Rotary Ethics in Business Award to recognize a local business that has demonstrated exceptional ethical behavior.
Criteria for the award, which will go to a business physically located in Tifton or Tift County, were  developed by a committee of Tifton Rotary Club members. The nominated business must have consistently demonstrated high ethical standards of honesty and integrity in dealing with employees, customers and contractors while enhancing the economic well-being of the company and providing local jobs, opportunity and profits. 
In addition, the business must have participated in activities beneficial to the community beyond the provision of economic benefits of the business and must adhere to fair and truthful business practice reflected in the  Rotary Four-Way Test
1.     Is it the TRUTH?
2.     Is it FAIR to all concerned?
3.     Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIP?
4.     Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?
Nomination applications are available from the Tifton Rotary Club, which meets for lunch each Wednesday at noon at the  Tiftarea Conference Center on  Highway 82, and are on the club's Facebook page, Click Here!
Applications must be submitted and received by  Jan. 12, and may be sent to: Tifton Rotary Club, P.O. Box 1354, Tifton, GA  31793.


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New Year's Eve


Happy New Year!

In Memoriam

DEC. 21
Roger Earl Martin Nielsen, 55, Adel
The Rev. Dr. John Daniel "Dr. Dan" Williamson, 75, Sylvester
Larry L. Phillips, 57, Fitzgerald

DEC. 22
Elsie Inez Walker Moore, 92, Tifton
Matthew Arnold, 89, Kelltown
Mary Nell Stripling Pearman, 82, Chula

DEC. 23
 Ella L. Pettiford, Tifton
Mamie Ruth Sanderson, 90, Sylvester
Robert Gene Monk, 64, Nashville

DEC. 24
Noah Douglas "Doug" Huffmaster, 59, Quitman

DEC. 25
Betty Jean Burke, 75, Poulan
Eddie Savage, 75, Sylvester

DEC. 26
John Earl Bennett, 65, Lenox
Rosemary Rodgers, 46, Fitzgerald
Edward B. Trent, 84, Lenox
Evelyn Hester Hall Miller, 90, Nashville

DEC. 27
Leon M. Bryan, 88, Ashburn
Donald Ray Booth, 62, Lenox

Happy New Year from
Our Home to Yours!



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