MARCH 28, 2017
Tifton, Georgia


Tifton Grapevine

Tifton lost two of its community leaders this week. We are saddened by their passing but are thankful for their service and the mark they have left on the Greater Tiftarea.

Lamar Jackson and Luz Marti were two quite different people with a common love of community and a passion for improving the world.

Jackson, 79, owner of Superior Uniform and Kelly's Cleaners , died Sunday. A native of Douglas and a
U.S. Army veteran, he was the founder of the Tiftarea YMCA. Jackson was a visionary who saw a need for the YMCA in Tifton

Jackson said he was inspired in 1997 to establish a YMCA after reading in the newspaper a lengthy list of local teenagers arrested on a Friday night.

"I thought it was a shame these teenagers didn't have a place to go with Christian morals and values," said Jackson. That next week, he asked local business leaders to meet with him at the Chamber of Commerce.  "I went to 12 people and they gave me $270,000" toward establishing a YMCA, Jackson recalled.

Jackson remained an active supporter of the YMCA since its beginning. He worked quietly behind the scenes to ensure the local Y has had a solid foundation. He has been recognized with the Stafford Award for community service from the Tifton-Tift County Chamber of Commerce.

Marti, 75, a native of Puerto Rico and a retired chemist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Tifton, died Tuesday morning. Her community service includes many boards and organizations, including the local United Way, Literacy Volunteers of Tifton-Tift County, Tifton Housing Authority, the Tifton-Tift County Art s Council, the Girl Scouts and several state boards and commissions, to which she was appointed by different governors.

In 1998, Marti received the Lewis Hine Award from the National Child Labor Organization, and in 2001 was named a Girl Scout Woman of Distinction. She has led Georgia's first bilingual/bicultural Girl Scout troop and has received Tifton's Volunteer of the Year Award. S he may be best remembered locally for her service organizing  the annual La Fiesta Del Pueblo Hispanic Festival.

The festival had its beginning in Girl Scout Troop 115, organized in 1995 to serve the children of Hispanic migrant farm families around Tift County. A second troop was organized as interest grew among Hispanic families.  The first Hispanic festival was held in 1996 in Omega when Marti and the Girl Scouts decided on a community project to increase the awareness of Hispanic youth and their families. The festival moved to Tifton in 1999 and is now the largest Hispanic arts and culture festival in Georgia.

Marti has said La Fiesta Del Pueblo "shows that this community is a welcoming community and accepts diversity. It gives the Hispanics living in the area an opportunity to showcase their talents, especially the young people that dance. The festival is very important, too, because of the positive economic impact it has on the community."

The impact that both Lamar Jackson and Luz Marti have had on our community is immeasurable. In their own ways, they have made our world a little better. Their lives both show that one person can indeed make a difference.


U.S. Rep. Austin Scott, R-Ga., on Friday introduced  what he calls the "Protecting American Jobs Act," a bill to remove the judicial powers of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). 

Scott of Tifton said the bill helps to protect American industry and jobs, and provides clarity and certainty in labor dispute rulings. Twenty-four members of Congress joined Scott as original co-
Austin Scott
sponsors of the legislation.
"There's absolutely no reason why an arbitrary board made up of unelected, partisan political appointees rather than federal judges should have such a powerful seat at the table when it comes to ruling on labor disputes that, in effect, structure our country's labor policy," Scott said.

"For far too long, NLRB has slowly siphoned away the powers of our federal court system to their own political and partisan gains. It's high time we redefine the responsibilities of the board to provide more certainty and clarity to employers and employees who rely on sound policies to keep their businesses and our economy thriving."
The NLRB, since 1935, has had authority to rule on labor-related issues. The Protecting American Jobs Act, would remove these adjudicatory functions, returning them to the federal court system where labor law cases were overseen before the NLRB's creation.

The move would restructure the NLRB to focus on overseeing and certifying the formation of collective bargaining units.

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Teacher Karin Brown says her second-grade class at  G.O. Bailey Primary School loves "GoNoodle," a program that includes a variety of games and videos leading the students in stretching, running, dancing and deep-breathing exercises.

In the photo above, students are getting energized before a math test. Brown says GoNoodle and physical activity go hand in hand as physical activity increases endorphins to the brain which helps students concentrate.

GoNoodle was purchased through a  $1,500 incentive grant awarded from the Fred Tucker Physical Fitness Chair of the  Tift County Foundation for Educational Excellence.


The Exchange Club of Tifton is seeking nominees for its 64th annual awarding of the Book of Golden Deeds.

The Golden Deeds Award recognizes dedicated community volunteers who give endless hours of their time and talents toward making their communities better. It is the longest running project of the Exchange Club of Tifton and the National Exchange Club.  
"This is quite a big honor for a Tiftonite," says Regenia Wells, co-chairman of the program. "They will join an elite group of individuals that have helped to make Tifton what it is today." 
Wells says a nomination letter(s) by friends, family or co-workers is needed. It's best when the letter is from an individual, instead of a group. The letter should include information about how the nominated individual is helping people and programs in the community.

Deadline for sending nomination letters is April 14.  Letters should be mailed to the Exchange Club of Tifton, P. O. Box 1621, Tifton, GA 31793. 
The recipient will be honored at the annual Golden Deeds banquet on Monday, May 1. For information, call Angela Elder at 229-386-0216.


The First Tuesday Concert Series on April 4 features "A Night of Broadway Music" at 7 p.m. in the Chapel of All Faiths at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College

The concert is free and open to the public.

Featured performers include ABAC faculty member Dr. Brian Ray and past and present ABAC music majors. Dr. Andy Lagrimas, assistant professor of piano and theory, will  serve as the accompanist.
ABAC Professor Brian Ray performs at 'First Tuesday.'

The First Tuesday series, in its 15th year, features regional professional artists on the first Tuesdays of five months during the year.

Ray, professor of English and theatre and the director of The Baldwin Players, will sing "Happy/Sad" from "The Addams Family."

Six ABAC students graduating in May with associate of fine arts degrees in music will perform. Taj-Juan Bivens of Tifton will sing a selection from "Rent;" Jay Branch and Kyle Robinson, both from Tifton, will perform "Gaston" from Disney's "Beauty and the Beast." They will be joined on stage by the ABAC Singers portraying village townspeople.

Stephanie Sheffield from Moultrie will sing "The Past Is Another Land" from "Aida," and Hanna Ivey from Sumner will sing "Send in The Clowns" from "A Little Night Music." Taylor Walker of Tifton will sing "Part of Your World" from Disney's "The Little Mermaid."

Two freshman voice students scheduled to perform are Shana Morman from Valdosta singing "Summertime" from "Porgy and Bess," and Asia Bryant from Albany performing "The Colors of the Wind" from Disney's "Pocahontas."

Two ABAC graduates who completed associate degrees in fine arts, Terrence Gibson from Baxley and Erica Humbert from Thomasville, will sing the duet from "Porgy and Bess," "Bess, You is My Woman Now." Humbert will also sing "My Man's Gone Now" from the same musical. 

Both Gibson and Humbert are continuing their musical educations at Columbus State University. Gibson will also sing "Ol' Man River" from Jerome Kern's "Showboat."

For information contact Dr. Susan Roe at


Tift County High School baseball and softball Coach Kyle Kirk, left, was the featured speaker at a recent meeting of the Rotary Club of Tifton. Club member Dale McGriff, center, introduced Kirk, who spoke of his teams and his mission to encourage the players to be "selfless and relentless." 

He was accompanied by Assistant Coach Gene Guzman at right. The Tifton Rotary Club meets at noon Wednesdays at the Tiftarea Conference Center on U.S. Highway 82 next to Applebee's.


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