Dec. 18, 2015
                 Tifton, Georgia

         (478) 227-7126


After being relocated for most of 2015, Tifton's Leroy Rogers Senior Center is now back home at 315 W. Second St. following renovations and a 5,500-square-foot expansion.

"Were just so excited, said Director Fran Kinchen. "We have a lot of space; we'll have a lot of new programs when we officially open on Jan. 4."

The senior center's office staff will be back in the facility on Monday, Dec. 21, and programs for seniors resume after the first of the year.

The city of Tifton received a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant for the project, which provided $524,000 in match and leverage funds. The matching funds were provided by local voters through the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax IV and V referenda.

The project encompasses a larger assembly room, conference room, additional parking and drainage improvements, and  space for additional senior services, including an arts and crafts area for painting, sewing, quilting and craft classes; a media room with online Internet availability and computer classes; a medical room with materials supplied by Tift Regional Medical Center to provide daily  blood  pressure and sugar-level checks; and an area for playing pool and ping pong.

Kinchen said yoga classes will also begin in January.

While the construction was going on, the senior center was relocated to office space next to the Tifton Welcome Station on Main Street.

A Music Video from Tifton Native & Actress Caitlin Carmichael

Caitlin Carmichael, Tifton native and star of films and television, has just released a music video covering Sabrina Carpenter's song, "Christmas the Whole Year Round." Actually, the video was made just for family and friends, and she agreed to share it with our Tifton Grapevine readers.

Caitlin, 11, who is based in Los Angeles, is both a friend and huge fan of Sabrina Carpenter (Sabrina is on Disney's "Girl Meets World.")

"We saw Sabrina perform this song at The Citadel Tree Lighting ceremony in L.A. Caitlin fell in love with it and
immediately started working on it with her voice coach. She then recorded it in a studio about two weeks later," Caitlin's mom, Cathy Carmichael, tells the Tifton Grapevine.

Caitlin started voice lessons a little more than a year ago and got a piano for her birthday in July. 

She can be seen in the new movie, "Po," about a single father raising his child with autism, and stars in the new short film "Monsters" along with Ione Skye and Christopher Wiehl. Click on the video at right to see Caitlin in "Monsters."


This has become a Tifton holiday tradition: Northgate Lakes  Luminaries will be lit this Saturday  night.

Northgate Lakes subdivision, located on  Brighton Road between Highway 125 and I-75, is having its  annual luminary event this  Saturday, Dec. 19. The luminaries will be lighted by dusk and will be lit for several hours. 

This is the neighborhood's way of sharing  Christmas joy during the season, and it invites the entire community to the event.

This year, the exit off I-75 is closed because of construction. Instead, follow Tift Avenue north to the four-way stop and turn left onto Brighton Road.

Christmas  is more than presents, lights, and flying reindeer. It's the birth of our Savior and 
 God's hope for the world.

The people of St. Anne's Episcopal Church warmly invite you to worship with them at their Midnight Mass this Christmas Eve. Doors open at 10 p.m., followed by a Christmas concert at 10:30 p.m. 

The Mass begins at 11 p.m. 

A Tifton tradition for over 30 years, St. Anne's Midnight Mass is a unique way to celebrate the true reason for the season. Expect candlelight, scripture, and beautiful music featuring St. Anne's choir and 
a brass ensemble under the direction of Minister of Music Stan Smith. 
The Rev. Lonnie Lacy, Rector of St. Anne's, will preach. 
 A free, festive reception follows in the Parish Hall.

St. Anne's is located at 2411 N. Central Ave. Admission is free. 
Seating is offered first come, first served. A professionally staffed nursery is available at no charge.
For more information, contact the church office at (229) 382-7505 or visit


Southwest Georgia Financial Corp., the parent company of Southwest Georgia Bank, is expanding into Tifton

The company appointed Chad Carpenter and Pam Yeager, two new additions to the management team, as senior vice presidents of Southwest Georgia Bank to support its continued growth. Carpenter will lead the expansion into Tifton, and Yeager has joined the Valdosta Banking Division as a senior banker. 

" Tifton is a natural choice for us to expand, given its adjacency to our primary market of Colquitt County as well as its size and strength in agriculture," said DeWitt Drew, president and CEO of Southwest Georgia Financial.

" Tifton is a major transportation hub where Interstate 75, U.S. Highway 82 and U.S. Highway 319 all intersect, making it an ideal location for business expansion and for homes of commuters working throughout the Southwest Georgia region. It is exciting to join the resurgence underway in historic Tifton, and we are pleased to have Chad join us to lead this expansion. He brings a wealth of banking experience and local market knowledge that we believe will be instrumental in our growth there."

Carpenter's previous banking experience includes 15 years with BB&T Bank in Tifton, where he most recently held the position of area president for Tifton, Valdosta and Douglas. He is a graduate of Valdosta State University, where he earned a bachelor of business administration. Carpenter joined Southwest Georgia Bank in November.

Southwest Georgia Financial Corp. is a state-chartered bank holding company with approximately $392 million in assets headquartered in Moultrie. Its current banks include the main office located in Colquitt County and branch offices in Baker, Worth and Lowndes counties.


The National Academy of Inventors has named two University of Georgia faculty members to the 2015 class of NAI Fellows.

Wayne Hanna, professor of crop and soil sciences in Tifton, and  David Chu, distinguished research professor in the College of Pharmacy in Athens, join an elite group of 582 innovators representing more than 190 prestigious research universities and governmental and nonprofit research institutions.

Election to NAI Fellow status is a professional distinction accorded to academic inventors who have demonstrated a prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development and the welfare of society.

Hanna is world-renowned, especially for his development of superior, sterile, warm-season bermudagrass cultivars bearing the prefix name "Tif," an homage to the location of his decades of research and trials: UGA's Tifton campus. The term "Tif" is recognized in the turfgrass industry worldwide as a symbol of quality.

" Wayne Hanna's career could be considered a success based on numbers alone," said Derek Eberhart, director of UGA's Innovation Gateway, citing Hanna's 16 issued and three pending patent applications; 17 trademarks registered for plant cultivar names worldwide; three issued foreign patents; six Plant Variety Protection certificates; and more than 230 intellectual property agreements related to his cultivars. 

Hanna's patented plants have generated more than $7 million in gross license revenue plus another $3 million from plants protected by PVP certificates.

"By focusing on numbers alone, though, you would miss the benefit of Dr. Hanna's innovations on the quality of life through the enjoyment of turfgrass, forage crops and ornamental grasses and the economic impact of his plant cultivars to these industries," Eberhart said.

Hanna has authored or co-authored more than 660 scientific papers with more than 150 national and international scientists. He received the USDA Distinguished Service Award in 1992, the Agricultural Research Service Outstanding
Scientist of the Year in 1990 and the U.S. Golf Association's Green Section Award in 2012. He is a fellow in both the American Society of Agronomy and the Crop Science Society of America. Hanna was also named UGA Inventor of the Year in 2003 and was inducted as a member of the Georgia Agricultural Hall of Fame in 2011.

"The election of David Chu and Wayne Hanna as NAI Fellows highlights the innovative research conducted at UGA," said David Lee, UGA vice president for research. "We join NAI in celebrating their contributions to science and society."

Research by Chung K. "David" Chu, a distinguished research professor emeritus in the department of pharmaceutical and biomedical sciences, focuses on nucleoside and carbohydrate chemistry, antiviral chemotherapy, cancer chemotherapy, structure-based drug design and molecular modeling and antiviral drug discovery for bioterrorism. His antiviral drug clevudine, marketed under the trade names Levovir and Revovir, is used in the treatment of chronic hepatitis B infections in South Korea and the Philippines.

"Dr. Chu is one of the most prolific and productive inventors at the University of Georgia," Lee said. "His work has led to dozens of inventions and patents, and his development of clevudine has improved the lives of countless individuals suffering from hepatitis B."

He is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards, including the NIH Merit Award, the UGA Inventor of the Year Award and the John A. Montgomery Award, which is given biannually to an outstanding scientist in recognition of a contribution that results in significant advances in chemotherapy.

Chu holds 63 U.S. patents and more than 130 international patents that have been licensed to 10 companies. He is a co-founder of both Pharmasset, which was acquired by Gilead for $11 billion in 2011, and, more recently, he co-founded Atea Pharmaceuticals to explore novel antiviral therapeutics.

 SPURLIN AND THOMAS                   WALB-TV photo
TWO BLUE DEVIL BASEBALL STARS have formally signed their intention to play college  baseball. On Wednesday,  Adam Spurlin and Connor Thomas signed letters of intent: Thomas with Georgia Tech, and Spurlin with Augusta University. Last season, the T ift County High Blue Devils won its first region baseball title in a quarter  century ... . ROAD WORK:  Because of the state's new transportation funding law, a number of road projects will be getting under way in the new year. Highway contractors met in Tifton on Thursday to get an update from the  Georgia Department of Transportation, which said t here are thousands of miles of state routes, city and county roads, and bridges that will need repairs.

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Southern Regional Technical College is expanding its associate of science in nursing (ASN) degree program to its Tifton and Moultrie locations, which  could double the number of nursing graduates. 

The first classes will begin in 2017, pending accreditation approval.  Tifton will begin to offer the ASN-Generic Option during spring semester 2017, and Moultrie will offer the LPN to ASN Bridge option in the fall semester of 2017. Students currently may enroll in core classes for both programs.

According to state statistics, demand for registered nurses is expected to increase by 21 percent by the year 2025. Georgia is expected to create 101,400 new nursing jobs during that period, while graduating only 94,700 registered nurses, falling 6,700 nurses short.

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Today, Friday, Dec. 18, is the last day of school in Tift County public schools before the Christmas break. Today is a full day of school and not a half day, as it has been in the past.

School officials said they listened to many parents who had trouble leaving work early or arranging child care for their students when they got of school early. 

Tift County students will return to school on Jan. 6 in the new year.

Mayor Jamie Cater and Vice Mayor Johnny Terrell
Parrott, center, with City Manager Larry Riner, left, and Vice Mayor Johnny Terrell

At the Tifton city employee Christmas party Thursday night, outgoing Mayor Jamie Cater and Councilman Chris Parrott were recognized for their service to the city. Both officials are leaving office. The new City Council will be installed on Jan. 4.

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             a Glance 

  • "Santa Claustrophobia" play7 p.m., Tift Theatre for the Performing Arts, Tifton
  • Northgate Lakes Luminaries, dusk until..., Northgate Lakes subdivision, Tifton
  • "Santa Claustrophobia" play, 7 p.m., Tift Theatre for the Performing Arts, Tifton
  • "Santa Claustrophobia" play, 3 p.m., Tift Theatre for the Performing Arts, Tifton

In Memoriam

DEC. 10
David Hugh Webb, 61, Tifton
Ruby Allene Brown Douglas, 92, Omega

DEC. 11
Carolyn Rowland Hannah, 51, Omega
Leonard Knox Watson, 85, Sylvester

DEC. 12
Raiford Allen Hardy, 74, Omega
Mary Alice Durst Dixon, 89,  Ocilla
Joyce Vickers Jones, 81, Irwinville
Rowena Hammond Wilson, 89, Fitzgerald
Hugh M. Hardy, 84, Sycamore
Claudius Ruffin "Pete" Strickland Jr., 72, Waresboro
Deborah Ann Minter, 60, Nashville

DEC. 13
Sharon Hull Leymeister, 59, Sylvester
Latrelle Branch Roberts, 90, Ashburn
Margaret Baker, 83, Cecil
Lenora Day Pope, 83, Irwin County
Ruth Perry, 77, Fitzgerald

DEC. 14
Kevin Wayne "Cowboy" Randall, 46, Waterloo
Terrell "Chum" Varnadore Mack , 62, Tifton
Edith S. Hall, 84, Jacksonville, Fla.

DEC. 15
Harmon Crum "H.C." Medford, 97, Tifton
Diana Moore, 59, Nashville
Bennie Joe Willis, 70, Alapaha

DEC. 16
Thomas Patrick "Pat" Bailey, 80, Tifton
Violet Register Miller, 74, Fitzgerald
Annie Boyd Brewster, 78, Nashville
Henry "Buddy" Exum, 73, Lenox
Georgia Muriel Shealy Stephens, 87, Rocky Face


   2409 Thornhill Road,  Tifton, GA
MLS #: R124708A

This beautiful home is conveniently located near shopping, restaurants, schools, I-75 and 41, ABAC, RDC/UGA conference center & UGA experiment station. This three-bedroom 2-bath home built in 1950 sits back off the road with a lot of shade and mature landscaping throughout, with pecan trees located in front and back. Property features a large yard, spacious porch and patio, and a 2-car carport. A bonus room located off the carport could be used for a recreation room or a guest suite. Kitchen and dining room combined; kitchen also includes a custom-built island. Master bedroom features 2 closets, one of which is walk-in, and a master bath. Master bedroom also features access to patio and backyard. Call today for an appointment to see this beautiful home.

    Dwana Coleman
                     Visit Us Online:

                            Call Us Today!   229-386-4222

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 Frank Sayles Jr. 
Editor & Publisher
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