DEC. 5, 2017
Tifton, Georgia


Tifton City Council on Monday revoked the alcohol license of a nightclub on Commerce Way following an undercover police investigation that exposed indecent behavior by dancers and drug use by patrons.

The alcohol license for Club La Estrella at 331 Commerce Way was revoked immediately. During a public hearing Monday night, police testified that they saw dancers exposing themselves 
Tifton City Council in a recent file photo.
and  simulating sex acts for money, and several patrons openly smoking marijuana.

After flyers circulated around town advertising a "Butt Azz Naked" party at the club, Tifton Police called in an officer from the Dougherty County Police Department to visit the club undercover. The Albany officer took videos of what he observed, which were shown to Tifton council members. Council also saw videos posted to the Internet about a nude party at the club earlier this fall in which dancers, who were nude with bikinis merely painted on them, simulated sex acts.

"I cannot tolerate this type of behavior  in my town, and I will not tolerate this," Mayor Julie Smith said to club owner Gail Cruz at the hearing. " As a woman, you should be ashamed of yourself."

Cruz said the club has stopped holding such events. She also denied that the club looked the other way about drug use and said it is neither allowed nor condoned at the club.

Mayor Smith also chastised Cruz for allowing her young son in the club late at night. Police testified that they saw the child in the club, which Cruz denied. Smith said the Ga. Division of Family & Children Services should investigate that matter.

Cruz also told council that her lawyer could not attend the city's hearing on such "short notice." City Attorney Rob Wilmot said Cruz was formally notified during October about Monday's hearing.


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First Baptist Church of Tifton breaks ground on a new Ministry/Event Center at noon this Sunday behind its Family Life Center

The state-of-the-art facility will seat 1,400 people for worship, or 900 people seated around tables for fellowship. In addition to the construction of a new building, the church will upgrade the existing sanctuary, add new sound and lighting, upgrade a full-sized industrial kitchen for church meals and special events, add an indoor playground and new parking lots.
Church officials said the new center is needed to accommodate a growing contemporary worship service that is currently assembling in two separate worship services in the gymnasium. The construction is expected to be completed by late 2018.

"We are excited to see this project get started and confident in the Lord's timing of it all. I am eager to see how this building offers us new and exciting opportunities to show His love," said  Pastor Wayne Roe.
The new Ministry Center will be located on the corner of Central Avenue and 6
th  Street. First Baptist Church has long been known as "The Church Built on Love," referencing to its address on Love Avenue Since the new building will expand its facilities toward Central Avenue, the new church mantra has become "Central to Love."

Tifton's Hometown Holiday Christmas Celebration  last weekend went off without a hitch as thousands of people flooded the downtown streets to kick off the  Christmas season in the Friendly City.

Parade Grand Marshals Dr. Homer and Caroline Day lit the city's Christmas tree above City Hall (pictured above) while folks enjoyed carnival rides, music and dancing entertainment -- and even "ice skating," as seen in the bottom photograph.

"A big thank you to all of the great sponsors who supported Tifton's 19th Annual Hometown Holiday Christmas Celebration," said organizer Lequrica Gaskins, Tifton's downtown economic director. "We are so appreciative of those who partnered with us to host this great community event."


The Hospital Authority of Tift County announces that William T. Richardson will retire as president/CEO of Tift Regional Health System in January 2018, and Christopher K. Dorman will assume the top executive position.

"For the past 30 years, Bill Richardson led Tift Regional with integrity and courage," said J immy Allen, chairman of the Hospital Authority of Tift County

"Thanks to his vision and guidance, TRHS nearly quadrupled in size, going from Tift General Hospital, a single community hospital, to Tift Regional Health System, a true network of care serving 12 counties in South Central Georgia. He will be missed immensely."

Dorman, who has served as chief operating officer (COO) since 2013, was mentored by Richardson to become the new president/CEO.

"Four years ago, we initiated an extensive and competitive national search for a COO to join the administrative staff and eventually become president/CEO once Bill retired," said Allen. "Chris is a talented, forward-thinking chief executive who shares our dedication to quality, compassionate care."

Dorman said he looks " forward to advancing the health care delivery model established by Bill Richardson. I have learned a lot from him and appreciate his support and encouragement. I would also like to thank the members of the Hospital Authority for putting their faith in our executive team moving forward. TRHS is an outstanding organization, and I am excited about our future."

Richardson said that his time with TRHS has been an amazing journey. He  joined TRHS in 1988 as administrator of Tift General Hospital. In 2001, Tift General Hospital became Tift Regional Medical Center and adopted the umbrella name Tift Regional Health System in 2013

In addition to Tift Regional Medical Center (TRMC), the flagship hospital located in Tifton, TRHS today consists of the TRMC West Campus in Tifton as well as Cook Medical Center and Cook Senior Living Center in Adel. In addition, TRHS has three surgery centers and 24 hospital-owned physician practices.

"Thanks to Bill's efforts, Tift Regional was able to bring crucial specialty services such as oncology, cardiovascular care, dialysis and more to our community," said Allen.

In addition to the service line growth, Richardson led the way for TRHS to form Care Alliance, an accountable care organization. He was also instrumental in the founding of Stratus Healthcare, the Southeast's largest hospital collaboration of hospitals and a clinically integrated network. Richardson was also instrumental in the Tiftarea YMCA acquiring a permanent facility on Carpenter Road, moving out of a complex of temporary manufactured buildings.

"In addition to being a health care leader, Tift Regional is an economic engine for the community, employing over 2,000 employees at TRMC," said Allen. "This is combined with Cook Medical Center's 227 staff members. TRHS has an economic impact of more than $554 million."

Pictured from left are Georgia Power employee Don  Hutchinson; Dina Willis and Victoria Horst with the library; and Ga. Power employees Brent James, Tiffany Hall, Ebony Rowell and Chad Haynes.

The Tifton Chapter of the Citizens of Georgia Power presented a $1,500 check to the  Tifton-Tift County Public Library for its "Big Green Reading Machine," a specially equipped RV that will begin making rounds with next summer's reading program.

The Georgia Power chapter is one of many throughout the  state comprised of Georgia Power employees and their families who work  local projects and raise money to be given back to the communities they  serve. 

The Tifton library said d onations such as this allow it to put  gasoline in "Big Green's" tank, purchase books for kids who do not  have library cards and pay for the vehicle's maintenance and  supplies.

Church Pianist

Tifton First United 
Methodist Church

107 W 12th St., Tifton, GA

Tifton First United Methodist Church has an opening for a church pianist. This is a part-
 time position.

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 .


Students in Tiftarea Academy's Jones Building have been collecting items for  Ruth's Cottage and The Patticake House 's Annual Suitcases for Kids holiday drive.

Tiftarea students have been participating in this event for years and is a way of teaching community service at a young age.

The items are donated to local foster children and to children who are victims of abuse.


Dust is being kicked up at the Ga. Department of Transportation's (DOT) District 4 building in Tifton as the site is being prepared for a new district office.

The new building will be located behind the existing one at 710 W. Second St. The formal groundbreaking will be after the new year.

The DOT says m any of its district buildings around the state are old and in need of replacement. The current Tifton structure was built in the 1950s and will be the fifth district to get a new facility that will put all of the departments on a single floor.

From left are ABAC Assistant Advancement Director Haley Hudson, student Ali Rippy, South Georgia Banking Co. President Glenn Willis and SGBC Marketing Director Maghan Campbell.

Ali Rippy, a bachelor's degree nursing major from Tifton, recently received an ABAC Foundation Scholarship from South Georgia Banking Co. to attend Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College

"I am very grateful for South Georgia Banking Co.'s financial contribution for my education and my future," Rippy said.  

"This scholarship has allowed me to finish my degree without taking out loans. I'm very appreciative that this local bank gives to our community, and I plan to do the same after completing my education."

S outh Georgia Banking Co. is a Gold Level sponsor for the upcoming An Evening for ABAC scholarship fundraising event on March 2.

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