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Friday, June 7, 2024

Tifton, Georgia


Digital Newspaper for Tifton, Ga., and the Greater Tiftarea



Tifton Grapevine

The City of Tifton has imposed a 120-day moratorium on new convenience stores while the city reviews whether new guidelines are needed regarding locations, zoning, and design issues.

"We are beginning to see an influx of convenience stores, and our current ordinance does not have many guidelines around design standards. What is classified as a convenience store? How should this look? Where can they be zoned appropriately?" City Manager Emily Beeman said at a recent City Council meeting.

City officials said the moratorium request came from the Downtown Development Authority and from Downtown Development Director Abbey McLaren.

On another matter, City Council continues to wrestle with the issue of abandoned shopping carts around the city. Beeman said that besides being an eyesore, carts in the right-of-ways are safety issues.

Proposed is charging stores $75 for each errant cart they don't retrieve within 24 hours after being notified by the city. Councilman Michael Franks said he understands the problem but has reservations about charging store owners for something that was stolen from them.

"We do contact these businesses but they don't pick them up," Beeman said. "We contact these facilities and there's no urgency."

She explained that the $75 charge covers the city's time and effort in sending trucks out to retrieve the shopping carts. She noted that some cities give stores up to 72 hours to pick up their carts after being notified, which could be a compromise.

Council is expected to address the matter again at its next meeting June 17.

At that meeting, council is also expected to vote on the city's Fiscal Year 2025 budget. Beeman said Tifton's general operating fund budget is proposed at $20.4 million, $464,000 more than the current year.

The total budget is $80 million, which includes such monies as enterprise funds, hotel-motel tax funds, grants, SPLOST (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax), and American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding designated to address the economic impacts from the pandemic.



Tifton Grapevine

Have you seen a group of people walking around town every day this week and wondered what’s going on? It’s a way of spreading information about a new Union Dream Center being constructed on East Golden Road near Interstate 75's exit 60

Tifton's Union Church members are walking 17 miles a day to complete 100 miles this week around Tifton, talking to residents and business people along the way. Todd Garner, pastor and founder of Union Church, is walking the 17 miles daily, joined by various church members, said Campus Pastor Dillon Helms.


The walkers have been meeting at 7 a.m. daily at the future site of the Dream Center and walking the same route through Tifton and returning to the site every day. The last day of the “100 Miles of Hope” is Saturday.


“The Dream Center is planned to be the hub of outreach in Tift County for healing, hope, and help,” Helms said.

The plan is to partner with other organizations that may need resources that the center can provide. Its organizers don’t want to replicate something already being provided, such as peanut butter sandwiches for the community distributed each Saturday by the Peanut Butter & Jesus (PB&J) organization. However, the Dream Center may be able to provide a larger base of operations for PB&J to make the sandwiches and pack the lunches in paper bags for distribution.


The center will be a separate nonprofit organization from Union Church, Helms said. “Dream Center is a worldwide organization,” he added. 

The 23-acre site for the center has been graded and prepped in the first phase, and the second phase will be putting in roads. “We are trying to construct the entire project debt free,” Helms said. 

The fundraising total for the second phase is $250,000, of which $140,000 has been committed. The entire project will cost $3 million, he said.

Click here to donate and learn more about the project, or call 229-388-1010.



Tifton Grapevine Staff Reports

Five people were killed in an accident on Interstate 75 near mile marker 69 early Tuesday evening in Tift County, authorities say.

The wreck occurred at approximately 6:39 p.m. when a vehicle heading north on I-75 veered from its lane striking a a tractor-trailer parked on the right shoulder of the road, according to the Georgia State Patrol.

Four people in the vehicle died at the scene and one died later at the hospital.

Authorities identified the victims as Serigne Mbodji, 22, of Atlanta; Christopher Dennis, 22, of Hinesville; Ephira Oddum, 19, of Riverdale; Aliyah Miles, 21, of Dallas, Ga.; and Dawan Nation, 19, of Milwaukee, Wis.



Too many people are dropping off unwanted pets in neighborhoods, parks, and businesses in Tifton. Local residents need to realize two things:

1.) Our Tift County Animal Shelter has reduced its euthanasia rate. That means chances are great that a dog or cat taken there will be adopted or transferred to a rescue that will place the pet in a loving home. 

2.) Cameras are everywhere. It is illegal to abandon an animal, and chances are good that a camera will catch you doing it! 

I am currently fostering a very loving people-oriented kitten about five or six weeks old that a friend found when her dog was trying to pull it through their chain link fence to kill it. Someone somewhere cared for this baby before abandoning it.


These kittens that are being dropped in parking lots or neighborhoods are not always surviving. Their chances of survival are much lower than if they were taken to our capable shelter. If they do survive, they become ferals that are not spayed or neutered, so they start reproducing, creating a feral cat overpopulation.


Two years ago, my neighbor saw someone stop in front of her house and push two kittens out of the car. She caught one and brought it to me but was not able to catch the other one. We don’t know what happened to it. Another time five years ago, a tiny kitten came screaming toward my husband and me from the middle of an intersection after a truck passed by. Every cat we own came to us by similar rescues.


Recently, some employees, who are choosing to remain anonymous, witnessed and photographed a man dumping three small dogs in the Southwell Clinic and MSK building parking lot on Highway 41 North in Tifton. We know that building as its former name, Affinity. People have rescued those dogs, but they could have ended up killed by cars on I-75 very close by. The point is, someone witnessed this action and did something about it.

Last week, about 30 cats were transferred from Tift County to a shelter in Maryland that had room and potential adopters for them. Our shelter director, Candice Hernandez, and her friend Leah Robbins with Tift Animal Rescue work nonstop to find places that will take these shelter cats and dogs. They have great relationships with local shelters to share options to showcase and adopt these animals. 

Here is what Candice Hernandez adds: “We work tirelessly to educate our community about the importance of spaying and neutering to address the root causes of pet overpopulation. Our focus remains on discovering methods to lower the number of animals entering the shelter system. However, abandoning or dumping defenseless animals is never acceptable.”

Toward this end, the shelter staff will help you find low-cost ways to spay and neuter your cats and dogs to stop the explosion of unwanted babies. Please stop employing the “easy,” albeit irresponsible, solution to your pet problem by dumping pets. Chances are good that you will be caught doing it, opening you up to public shaming and arrest on serious charges.

Take the proactive, responsible, and humane steps of bringing your unwanted pets to the shelter and asking for help in spaying and neutering the pets you want to keep.

We can do this together, Tift County.

Bonnie Sayles is managing editor of the Tifton Grapevine.


Tifton Grapevine Staff Reports

The Kiwanis Club of Tifton is hosting a kids' fishing event Saturday at Paradise Fishing Area in Enigma.

The free annual event from 7 a.m.-noon is for youth with an adult to fish in ponds stocked with channel catfish. Those catching a big fish may be eligible for an Angler Award.

Participants must bring your own rods and reels, tackle, and bait. Contests will be held, and prizes will be awarded.

A free hot dog lunch will be provided. Free water will be provided by the Mell Baptist Association.

For information, call 229-533- 4792 or 229-873- 4202.

LETTERS WELCOME: The Tifton Grapevine accepts Letters to the Editor on topics of interest to our readership. Letters are subject to editing for length, libel, and inappropriate language.

All letters must include the author's name, along with address and phone number for verification purposes.

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To Contact Us, Call 478-227-7126

Statewide influenza data released from the 

Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) as of week ending May 25:

Since Seasonal Tracking Beginning Oct. 23, 2023:

TOTAL INFLUENZA OUTBREAKS: 199 ............................................... LATEST WEEK: 1

TOTAL METRO AREA HOSPITALIZATIONS: 4,372 ..............................LATEST WEEK: 4

TOTAL INFLUENZA-ASSOCIATED DEATHS: 57 ................................. LATEST WEEK: 0

In Georgia, influenza is not a reportable condition, with the exception of influenza-associated deaths and outbreaks.





Today, Friday, June 7, is National Donut Day. The Salvation Army in 1938 established the first Friday in June as National Donut Day to honor the organization's "Donut Lassies," women who traveled to France to serve donuts and other snacks to U.S. soldiers during World War I. Several donut shops are offering free donuts today, including Krispy Kreme – no purchase necessary – and Dunkin', a free donut with purchase of a beverage.


  • Sip & Stroll, 5-7;30 p.m., Downtown Sylvester
  • Tifton First Friday, 6 p.m., Fulwood Park, Tifton


  • Wiregrass Farmers Market, 9 a.m.-Noon, Ga. Museum of Agriculture, Tifton
  • Tifton Second Saturday, 10 a.m., Downtown Tifton
  • Community Health Wellness Expo & Fun Fair, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., Beulah Hill Family Life Center, 321 Tifton Eldorado Road, Tifton
  • Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" movie, 2 p.m. & 7 p.m. (meet & greet with characters, 1 p.m. & 6 p.m.), Tift Theatre for the Performing Arts, Downtown Tifton






or 478-227-7126

Fees are $1 per word, paid in advance


"Vern" has a lot of skills, including fetching like a pro, expertly snoring during movie nights, and always greeting you with a wagging tail. Come visit him and other pets available for adoption at the Tift County Animal Shelter on Highway 125 South, open between 1-6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. For additional information, call 229-382-PETS (7387).


MAY 28

June Thornton, 92, Ashburn

David Ray, 61, Adel

Leola Whitehead Terrell, 88, Tifton

MAY 29

Gloria Jean Foster, 75, Hickory, N.C., formerly of Fitzgerald

William Vernon “Billy” Hogan, 88, Nashville

                                                                       MAY 30

Marcus Alan Norman, 63, Tifton

Ronnah Bell McCard, Tifton

MAY 31

James Herbert Mullis, 81, Moultrie, formerly of Tifton

Johnny “Wayne” Marchant, 65, Sumner

Essie Thelma Walker Wells, 102, Tifton

Billy Turner, 68, Tifton


Carmen Jimenez, 68, Tifton

James Lawrence Williamson, 95,  St. Simons Island, formerly of Ben Hill County

Marvene Griner, 68, Fitzgerald

Charles Warner, 72, Adel

Chester Cox, 80, Sylvester


Mary Oceline Watson Brooks, 88, Norman Park

Jacquline Giddens, 82, West Berrien Community

Andrew Joe Evans, 83, Waverly, formerly of Fitzgerald

Troy Randall McDuffie, 73, Fitzgerald

Glenn Colson, 69, Osierfield community, Irwin County

Maxine Mathis Griggs, 63, Tifton


Norris Vinson Windham Jr. 72, Tifton

Jackie Lynn Baldree, 62, Tifton

Harry Barrineau, 94, Tifton

Johnny "Buck" Jefferson Parkerson Jr., 53, Tifton


Mildred L. Robinson, 91, Ray City


Dot Revels Cloud, 88, Lenox


Major McDaniel, 76, Tifton

Tifton Grapevine
e-published every Tuesday and Friday

Frank Sayles Jr.
Editor & Publisher
Bonnie Sayles
Managing Editor
A Service of Sayles Unlimited Marketing LLC, Tifton, Georgia
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