MAY 30, 2017
Tifton, Georgia


For the upcoming Atlantic hurricane season, which runs June 1 through Nov. 30, forecasters predict a 45 percent chance of an above-normal season, a 35 percent chance of a near-normal season, and only a 20 percent chance of a below-normal season.

An active hurricane season could have several effects on the Tiftarea -- from weather to evacuees fleeing inland.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts a 70 percent likelihood of 11 to 17 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which five to nine could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including two to four major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of 111 mph or higher). 

These numbers include Tropical Storm Arlene, a rare pre-season storm that formed over the eastern Atlantic in April.

An average season produces 12 named storms of which six become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes.

"The outlook reflects our expectation of a weak or non-existent  El Nino , near- or above-average sea-surface temperatures 
across the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, and average or weaker-than-average vertical wind shear in that same region," said Dr. Gerry Bell, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster with NOAA's  Climate Prediction Center .

Strong El Ninos and wind shear typically suppress development of Atlantic hurricanes, so the prediction for weak conditions points to more hurricane activity this year. Also, warmer sea surface temperatures tend to fuel hurricanes as they move across the ocean.

However, the climate models are showing considerable uncertainty, which is reflected in the comparable probabilities for an above-normal and near-normal season.

The  2016 season  was the most active since 2012, with 15 named storms, including seven hurricanes and four major hurricanes. Hurricane Matthew in October, which had  a  minimal weather impact  on the  Tiftarea, bright hundreds of evacuees to Tifton from Florida and the Georgia coast.

NOAA will update this outlook in early August, just prior to the peak of the season.

Veterans and other local residents gathered Monday on Memorial Day to honor the memory of veterans who gave their lives for their country.
WALB-TV photo
Arthur Herrin, right, vice commander of DAV Chapter 38, leads the audience in paying tribute Monday in Tifton during the Memorial Day ceremony.

The Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Chapter 38 led the observance in Tifton ending  with a solemn ceremony at Oak Ridge Cemetery.

The local DAV had  placed more than 1,000 U.S. flags in the Tifton cemetery next to veterans' graves. 

Don Koehler, executive director of the Georgia Peanut Commission, offered the keynote address and encouraged citizens to remember the many sacrifices of those who served the nation and are no longer among us.

When the observance moved form the Tifton municipal courtroom to the cemetery, taps were played at the grave of 2nd Lt.  Harold "Pinky" Durham Jr., who died in 1967 while serving with distinction in Vietnam and is Tifton's only Congressional Medal of Honor recipient.

Veterans at the observance said they hope more people will attend in the future.


Cracks, ruts and potholes are being repaired on state routes as the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) catches up on deferred road maintenance.

Since March, GDOT has awarded 16 maintenance construction contracts to resurface state routes in Southwest Georgia. Awards announced recently add five projects to that list.

Georgia DOT is tackling deferred maintenance with funds generated by the state Transportation Funding Act (TFA) of 2015. Preventative maintenance extends the life of roads and reduces wear and tear on vehicles. The department is now resurfacing on an average 12- to 15-year cycle with preventative maintenance in between, instead of the previous 50-year cycle.

"The many resurfacing projects in our area will help maintain our valuable infrastructure. These maintenance projects are essential to meet the demand of our growing district and state," said DOT Southwest District Engineer Chad Hartley.

The most recent resurfacing projects in Southwest Georgia total nearly 60 miles with a construction cost of $13 million. They are:
  • Ben Hill County, SR 107 from east of Benjamin H. Hill Drive to the Coffee County line; SR 90 from west of SR 11/Sherman Street to west of SR 215/SR 90; and SR 215 from the Wilcox County line to north of SR 90.
  • Ben Hill and Wilcox counties, SR 233 from SR 90 to SR 112.
  • Calhoun and Clay counties, SR 37 from east of US 27 to the Baker County line.
The resurfacing projects are scheduled to be complete next March.

Resurfacing isn't all that's happening on state routes. Another contract awarded will modernize signals and upgrade pedestrian safety measures at eight locations in Brooks and Colquitt counties.

Georgia DOT is moving toward new signal software that allows a technician to dial in remotely to see an intersection and make adjustments. Many signal problems can be resolved faster utilizing software rather than dispatching a technician to fix the issue at the site.

Signal heads, poles, cabinets and other components also will be upgraded. New striping and crosswalks will be installed with ramps that are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Countdown timers for pedestrians will be added at locations that don't have them. This is a $1.3 million safety project scheduled to be complete in June 2018.


On a beautiful South Georgia morning, 415 seniors walked across the stage Saturday at Brodie Field and became graduates of Tift County High School

Of the 415 graduates, 138 were honor students; and of the 138 honor students, 46 were superior honor graduates.

"Many of our students took full advantage of what we offer," said TCHS Principal Kim Seigler. "Totals are still coming in, but the class has already earned more than $1.4 million in scholarships, not including HOPE and Zell Miller scholarships. We have graduates going to college all over the nation, into branches of the military and some right into the work force." 

Members of the graduating class were accepted to numerous colleges and universities including Harvard, Yale, University of Georgia, Georgia Southern, Clark Atlanta, Spelman College, Columbia, Mercer, University of North Georgia, Kennesaw State, Lagrange College, Auburn, Florida State,  Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College , Georgia State, Valdosta State, Troy, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, Brewton-Parker College, Augusta University, University of Alabama, South Georgia College, Virginia Tech, Alabama State and University of South Florida, among others.

In addition to academic, athletic and other extracurricular accomplishments, volunteerism was also highlighted. The Class of 2017 logged more than 13,000 volunteer hours. 

"That's one thing we hope all students take away from their high school career," Seigler said. "Grades are important, but the ultimate goal for us is to see our students become adults who succeed and give back to the community."


The Tifton Terminal Railway Museum will host an art exhibit and open house with r ailroad artist Frank Crowe from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 10 at the museum at 120 S. Tift Ave. in Tifton.

Crowe will be available to discuss his watercolor art, and prints of Crowe's railroad scenes will be available for purchase and autographs.

Originally from Albany, Crowe lives in Calhoun. He has always had an interest in railroads and watching trains from an early age, starting rail photography in the late 1970s. He then began drawing and painting railroad images. After completing high school in Albany in 1983, Crowe received a scholarship for his railroad watercolor paintings from the University of Georgia.  

During his college years, he won numerous awards at art shows. After graduating from UGA with a B.S. degree in art education, he worked for the Georgia Southwestern Railroad in Americus. In 1990, as a CSX qualified engineer, Crowe moved to Vidalia and worked with Georgia Central Railway as an engineer.

He then put his college degree to work and began working in Dalton in 1991 for one of the largest carpet producers in the world. He is currently a senior designer involved in product development, designing and drawing carpet patterns. In his free time, Crowe paints and travels, photographing trains in all 48 contiguous states and in all but one Candian province.

Trains magazine wrote that Crowe likes to photograph scenes and the terrain for his art, and also talks to residents to gather local knowledge. He then does extensive research using timetables, archival photographs and other resources to help recreate an authentic representation of a railway in a given time and place. 

"To me," Crowe told the magazine, "the research is almost as fun as the painting."

Trains magazine called Crowe's work "beautiful, meticulous and contradictory. The scenes that Crowe paints are not actual records of a moment for they were pieced together and recreated using a combination of sources. At the same time, they represent a scene that could have been witnessed day-in and day-out for years. The definitions of authenticity and the lines between fiction and documentation become indistinct."


511 West 7th Street
(229) 382-1300

Delta Galil Industries
  26 Forstmann Drive, Tifton
Formerly Burlen Corp.
May 23



A salvage auto auction company is expanding its Tifton location.  Insurance Auto Auctions Inc. (IAA), based in  Westchester, Ill., said it also is expanding in Savannah.

"The Savannah and Tifton expansions advance our pace of proactive operational growth in this important marketplace to better serve our loyal base of buyers and sellers," John Kett , CEO and president of IAA, said in a press release. "Our ability to provide day-to-day storage and services, and additional capacity as needed due to severe weather events, provides unmatched value to our customers."

The Tifton site at 368 Oak Ridge Church Road is adding about 19 acres to accommodate additional volume because of customer need as well as potential volume resulting from catastrophe responses, such as severe storms, in the Florida Panhandle.

Insurance Auto Auctions also has Georgia locations in the Atlanta area in Loganville, Winder, Acworth and Lake City and in Macon Founded in 1982, IAA partners with sellers including insurance companies, dealerships, rental car companies and fleet lease companies to facilitate the sale of total-loss vehicles.


You may try your hand at atlatl throwing on June 3 when the Georgia Museum of Agriculture and Historic Village at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College celebrates World Atlatl Day.

The atlatl is o ne of the earliest weapons used by primitive man and will be available for you to take aim at a representation of an elephant-like mammal called the Gomphotherium, said m arketing assistant Rachel Nance.

"Fossilized evidence of the Gomphotherium has been found from Virginia to Florida," Nance said. "Some of these fossils have been found along the Flint River in Georgia and all along the Georgia coast. This species became extinct approximately 10,000 years ago due to changes in climate and human predators."

Museum visitors may hunt the "Gump" with either the atlatl or a dart. Members of the Lower Muscogee Nation will be on hand with a demonstration of historic weapons.

The museum and the Historic Village will be open 9 a.m.-4 p.m. June 3.


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