Aug. 14, 2015
                            Tifton, Georgia

             (478) 227-7126

Tifton Grapevine

Following nearly a decade of planning and behind-the-scenes work, the Tifton-Tift County Airport Authority this week approved a $1.5 million contract for paving and lighting a 1,000-foot runway expansion  at Henry Tift Myers Airport says Tift County Commission Chairman Grady Thompson.

Thompson says the total  $5 million project includes local, state and federal funds. Federal funds represent 44 percent of the total project; state funds, 40 percent ; and local funds represent  16 percent , or a total of $800,000 , says Chris Beckham , spokesman for the Airport Authority  and the  Tifton-Tift County Chamber of Commerce.
The local funds are all "SPLOST" money -- from the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax.

"We hope by spring, the runway will be ready to go," Thompson says. "It took 10 years to get 

The expansion will lengthen the runway to 6 ,500 feet , officials say.

"Once we get it finished, military planes will be able to get in and fill up," Thompson says. "First, we'll need to get our main fire station there. If the city comes along with us on it, all right; if they don't, we don't particularly care."

Thompson is referring to a spat between the City of Tifton and Tift County that erupted earlier this year over the joint agreement operating the Tifton-Tift County Fire Department .

The paving and lighting of the runway extension is actually the second phase of the airport project. The $2.65 million first phase involved earth moving and site preparation by Hancock & Sons of Sylvester

The remaining costs involve design and engineering; the Atlanta office of Holt Construction is handling those duties.

Dr. Greg Anderson, chairman of the local Airport Authority, says the expansion puts the airport in the position to land larger aircraft while improving safety. He says there is room for even more growth, with the potential to extend the runway to 7,000 feet in the future.

Brian Marlowe , CEO of the Tifton-Tift County Chamber of Commerce and executive director of the Tift County Development Authority , says with the airport runway expansion, "We can take larger planes in and out of here, which will be great for economic development ."

Marlowe says the expansion, "keeps us viable. In terms of us being a major player in the aerospace industry, we're still a long way from that. What it will do, it will create opportunities for some commerce."

Turner County farmer Clay Pirkle won Tuesday's runoff election to Ga. House District 155 encompassing the 
northern  part of Tift County and Irwin, Ben Hill, Turner and Coffee counties.

Pirkle of Sycamore received 
59 percent of the vote;  opponent Horace Hudgins, the former Ocilla mayor, got 41 percent. Total votes cast, according to unofficial results, was 3,972.

Both Pirkle and Hudgins are Republicans, and there is no Democratic opposition, so Pirkle will take office in January with the new General Assembly. The special election was held to fill the seat vacated by Rep. Jay Roberts, R-Ocilla, who resigned to become the state Department of Transportation planning director.

"This is such a great honor,"   Pirkle said after the vote while thanking his supporters.

Hudgins said, " Thanks again to my family and friends for their support and encouragement. ...  I want to congratulate Clay Pirkle on his victory."
For Pirkle, this has been his first run for elective office; he said education, agriculture, families and fiscal conservatism are his main priorities.

Pirkle, a deacon at Bethel Baptist Church, works with his family-owned  Pirkle  Farms in Sycamore He has been a
federal government economist, a commercial banker, and an economics instructor at Darton College He and his wife,  Sharon, have two sons and a daughter.

Pirkle  has taught Sunday School for 20 years at his church, where he also serves as treasurer. He says his faith is central to his life, and  his passion has taken him on mission trips to such locations as Peru, Jamaica, Kentucky and South Carolina. He serves as a director of the Scott Dawson Evangelistic Association based in Birmingham, Ala.

From left:  Miles McDonald, Blake Becton, Coach David Haire and Zack Hodnett.

The Tift County 4-H team of Miles McDonald, Zack Hodnett and Blake Becton won the 8th Annual Progressive Position Air Pistol National Championship at Ft. Benning recently.

The dual venue event on Aug. 1 and 2 was also held at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., with competitors traveling to the closest location. The team's margin of victory was 35 points, with McDonald finishing second overall.
Christian Dotson

Hodnett was sixth, and Becton, eighth, with more than 150 competitors competing along with 15 teams. McDonald's silver medal also allows him to continue to be a member of the Junior Olympic Air Pistol Squad and a possible appointment to the Junior Olympic Team.   

Tift County 4-H competitors have now won the East Regional championship for the past two years; this is their first national championship.

First-year air pistol competitor Christian Dotson distinguished herself as well, placing seventh in the women's division at the East Regional. The seventh-place finish qualified her for the finals where the top eight competitors fire an additional 20 shots in which they may improve their finish.  

Dotson led the event after the first six shots and placed third.

Also competing for Tift County 4-H was the team of Chastity Dillard, Tristin Clements and Dotson, plus the team of Mikayla Robinson, Johnna Dales and Kaitlyn Gaskins. The teams are coached by David Haire and Tracy Homer.

Celebrating Homegrown, Handcrafted & Homemade

Looking for Fresh Produce
and Homemade Crafts?
We're Open Every Saturday!
9 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
at the Old Train Depot Platform
in Downtown Tifton

For Information,  (229) 391-3966
Find Us on Facebook: Click Here!


Elvis tribute artist and Chula resident Jeff Vandenberg performs an Elvis Tribute Concert at 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 15, at Sumner City Hall. Tickets are available at the door and are available today at Sumner City Hall.

Sumner is just a few miles outside Tifton on U.S. Highway 82 in Worth County. This Sunday, Aug. 16, is the 38th anniversary of Elvis Presley's death.

Also, the Sumner Egg Festival will be sponsoring a chicken-que on Aug 22, at Gibbs Pecan on Highway 82 in Sumner.  Pickup is from 1-2 p.m. Tickets are available at Sumner City Hall; call 776-7384,776-0166, 848-3319, 357-1070, or 777-9333. Plates include half chicken, beans, potato salad, bread, cake.

Kelly Burk and Kelly Helwig in Tifton

Enhancing the Lives of 
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  Medication Reminders

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Light Housekeeping 

Respite Care

         Escort to Shopping and Errands  

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find new and 
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1810 U.S. Highway 41 N., Suite B 
Tifton, GA 31794




Tift County's Fifth Annual "Stuff the Bus" school supply drive to help provide school supplies to needy children continues until noon Monday, Aug. 17 at Publix Plaza outside Publix Super Market on Virginia Avenue.


All supplies collected will be distributed during the school year through the Needy Children's Fund under management of Tift school system social workers.


The drive is sponsored by Publix Super Market, Staples Office Supply, Tift County Public Schools, Tifton Needy Children's Fund and coordinated by the United Way of South Central Georgia in Tifton.


Contact the United Way, 229-382-2881 or on Facebook, Click Here!

"Love, Loss, and What I Wore," a play of monologues and ensemble pieces, will be presented at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 22, at the Tift Theatre  of  the Performing Arts.  

The $10 admission includes hors d'oeuvres. The event is being sponsored by the Tifton Women's Center as a  benefit for Ruth's Cottage and The Patticake House in Tifton.
The play is about women, clothes and memory, covering all the important subjects: mothers, prom dresses, mothers, buying bras, mothers, hating purses, and why women only wear black.


CONGRESSMAN AUSTIN SCOTT  got an earful from local veterans about health-care issues at a town
Rep. Austin Scott, left, with Ron Branch & Rotary President Mike Davis
hall meeting Wednesday with Veterans Affairs  
representatives in Tifton. The Republican representative from Tifton was joined by the director of the VA hospital in Dublin and the director of the VA Regional Office in Atlanta. Scott noted that a VA clinic  is expected to open in Tifton next year. Before the VA meeting, he spoke at the Rotary Club of Tifton. ... AN EXPANSION at 
Rockport Commercial Vehicles in Ocilla is expected to create more jobs in Irwin County. The company manufactures truck and trailer bodies. .... DILL AND SUSAN DRISCOLL, co-deans of the Stafford School of Business who established the business school at ABAC, are leaving to return to private enterprise. Susan Driscoll left ABAC on June 30, and her husband will continue serving as dean through the fall semester.

Need your GED? 
Call us for free tutoring in Reading, Language, Math. Scholarships Available. 
(229) 391-2527. email: 
Tifton-Tift County is a Certified Literate Community!

Affinity Physicians for Women with Dr. Shannon Price 
to be located in Tifton at 39 Kent Road, Suite 5
Tift Regional Health System (TRHS) announced that a new obstetrics and gynecology practice affiliated with Affinity Clinic will be opening on Sept. 8 in Tifton

Shannon Price, M.D., who has practiced in Albany in recent years, will now provide care at a new clinic called Affinity Physicians for Women and will deliver babies and perform gynecologic surgery procedures at Tift Regional Medical Center.  

The new practice is located in Tifton at 39 Kent Road, Suite 5.  Patients are now being accepted and appointments can be made by calling 229-391-4130.  
Board-certified in obstetrics/gynecology (OB/GYN), Dr. Price is available to provide women a comprehensive range of health services.  This includes pregnancy care plans and deliveries for expectant mothers; gynecologic surgery; wellness checks; infertility evaluation; treatment for menstrual disorders; menopausal management; and health and wellness education. 
"I'm excited for this opportunity to join the Tifton medical community," said Dr. Price. "I will continue to serve my established patients from the region and also look forward to meeting new patients who are seeking an OB/GYN provider."
Originally from the Tallahassee area, Dr. Price earned her medical degree from Florida State University and completed residency training in OB/GYN at Greenville Health System in Greenville, S.C.  She practiced with North Florida Women's Care in Perry, Fla., and most recently with Southwest Georgia Obstetrics and Gynecology in Albany
"There are many conditions and diseases with greater prevalence in women versus men or that affect women differently than men," said Dr. Price. "This is what inspired me to become an OB/GYN. Understanding the unique healthcare needs of females -- at every stage of life -- became my passion so I could one day advance the health and vitality of women."
Affinity Physicians for Women is a part of Tift Regional Physician Group. For more information, visit or call 229-391-4130.



"Let's Hang On!"  - the  Frankie Valli and The  Four  Seasons  tribute group - will be in  Tifton  on
Thursday, Sept 17, and tickets are now available.

The event  will be a  gala night of fine food, fine music and dancing to the many hits from the iconic group that inspired the smash Broadway musical "The Jersey Boys."
Sponsored by the Tifton-Tift County Public Library Foundation, the dinner and show at the UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center is the foundation's annual fundraiser for the public library, aiding the library in providing children's and community programming, and in providing materials and other programs.
The tickets are  $35 for show only and dinner/show is  $80  and may be purchase online by Clicking Here! 

For information, call 229-386-2237.

The ABAC Presents! Performing Arts Series is holding a Season Preview at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 18, in the Conference Center at the Georgia Museum of Agriculture.

The preview of the annual arts series at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College will include a reception with refreshments and an opportunity to purchase the season's tickets.

For information, call 229-391-4895.


Tiftarea Psychiatric and Counseling Services
Monday, August 10
223 East Second Street


Literacy Volunteers of Tifton-Tift County  is recruiting sponsors of three-person teams for the  16th Annual Carnival of Knowledge Trivia Contest  at  6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 10, at  Southern Regional Technical College's Tifton Conference Center (formerly Moultrie Tech , Tifton Campus). 


This year, the Carnival is under the direction of past winner and trivia expert Dottie Freeman. It will begin with a free spaghetti dinner for participants and attendees. Freeman encourages family members to come watch and volunteer to serve on sponsored teams that don't have team members. She said to anticipate a fun-filled evening complete with free family entertainment, food and prizes. 


"The goal is 20 teams signed up at $150 a team, but the general public can fill in on sponsored teams for no charge," said Bonnie Sayles, executive director of Literacy Volunteers. She noted that individuals, groups, civic organizations, and businesses may sponsor teams. "Even if they don't have members to play, they may sponsor a team.  When local trivia buffs fill in for free, the entertainment value is enhanced. Audience participants may come empty-handed and go home with some awesome prizes!" 


"We are keeping the price of a team low so more teams can participate," Sayles said. "My husband, Frank, and I have participated in the past, so I can tell you it's a lot of fun to play and fun to watch." 


The carnival atmosphere of the conference center will be enhanced by circus decorations. In addition to bragging rights as Tifton's trivia experts, the top three teams will receive special prizes. This year, top winning team members each receive  three nights at a mountain cabin in Dahlonega, courtesy of Literacy Board member Liz Carson Keith.  Door prizes for attendees will include meals at local restaurants, manicures, home decor, and gift certificates. Those wanting to play, sponsor a team, donate a prize or volunteer to help may call Sayles at (229) 391-2527.


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             a Glance 

  • Tift County High Blue Devils football scrimmage vs. Worth County,  7:30 p.m., Worth County Stadium, Sylvester
  • Downtown Farmers Market, 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Old Train Platform, Tifton
  • Elvis Tribute Concert with Jeff Vandenberg, 7 p.m., City Hall, Sumner

In Memoriam

AUG. 6
Donald Robert (Bobby) Young, 82, Fitzgerald
AUG. 7
Charles J. Herbert, 81, Sylvester
Shawn A. Howell, 64, Fitzgerald 
AUG. 8
Dorothy "Dottie" Hall Evans, 69, Tifton
Gerald T. Flynt, Tifton
 Ina B. Morey, 90, Adel
Norma Constance "Norma Jean" Bowden Lambert, 86, Fitzgerald
Robert F. Anglon, 80, Fitzgerald
AUG. 9
Robert Emory "Bob" Morris, 49, Woodstock 
AUG. 10
Maria F. Deariso, 71, Garner, N.C.
Euneter "Nita" Harper Tucker, 83, Nashville 
AUG. 11
W. L. "Dub" Bromlow, 88, Tifton
Barbara Jean Evans McCoy, 78, Tifton
Ray Clark, 68, Irwin County 
Albert Heatherly, 86, Fitzgerald
Mary Lounelle Zorn Brown, 101, Ashburn
AUG. 12
Willie Bryan Dickens, 100, Rome
Robert "Bob" Albert Parker, 82, Tifton 
Ruby Lee Godwin, 88, Lenox
AUG. 13
Janice Sizemore Odom Cagle, 71, Sylvester
Tonia Moreland, Ashburn


Country living with city conveniences. This great 3-bedroom 2-bath home with detached garage is located on a corner lot in Worth County. Kitchen, eat-in dining room, den featuring wood-burning fireplace with Buck stove insert. Large utility laundry/mud room conveniently adjoins kitchen and has its own private entrance. Two-bay barn for all your outdoor equipment and fishing tackle. A South Georgia stocked catfish pond is located on the west end of the property. This quaint mini farm will make it a pleasure to wet a hook on a Saturday afternoon. Separate fenced-in area for your own garden spot, farm animals and a great pasture for horses, sitting on 3.66 acres. Call today for your private tour.

Dwana Coleman
Virtual Tour:  Click Here!

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