Aug. 8, 2017
Tifton, Georgia


Tifton Grapevine

Some folks may refer to local politics as a circus; well, Tifton City Hall now has its own resident monkey.

But it's not just any monkey -- "Bobo," the famous fixture that sat on Second Street for more than 15 years, has a new home on the second floor of City Hall .

A spruced-up Bobo in his new home at City Hall.
Bobo is the 275-pound concrete monkey that was a sort of mascot for Hayward Fowler's "Fun Channel" local-access cable TV station, now known as "Your Local Tifton Channel." 

For many years, Bobo watched traffic across the street from Fowler's office. Residents and visitors alike took their photos with Bobo through the years. Some left candy and other items in Bobo's arms.

"There was a rumor that if you rubbed his head six times and turned around, and if you were trying to get pregnant, you would get pregnant," Fowler said. "Now, that's just a rumor."

Bobo received widespread fame when he was kidnapped about a dozen years ago. The Tifton Gazette ran several articles about Bobo's disappearance. "A couple of college kids took him to Florida to the beach," Fowler said. "They sent me pictures."

Fowler ultimately got a tip about Bobo's whereabouts on Ferry Lake Road. He confronted the students and made them return the monkey to his rightful spot. He was then secured with Liquid Nails. Bobo also had a "girlfriend" for awhile. "Miranda," a similar concrete monkey, sat next next to Bobo until a motorist backed into her, damaging her beyond repair. 
Bobo on Second Street.

Fowler said the time came for Bobo to find a new home. There was concern that someone would trip over him, or that he would be stolen again. The city recently pulled him loose to do some sidewalk work, and Fowler thought about bringing him home but his wife Glenda wasn't keen on that idea. Instead, City Manager Pete Pyrzenski told Fowler the city would be glad to give Bobo a new home, from Second Street to the second floor of City Hall.

"We are trying to preserve some of the fun relics in Tifton, and they will be secure inside City Hall for all to see," Pyrzenski told the Tifton Grapevine. "Bobo will be safe on the second floor, hopefully never to disappear again, and it will always remind a few of Downtown Tifton."

"I have let the city have my monkey," Fowler announced in a Facebook video. "He's given us a lot of pleasure in Tifton. We have mixed feelings about moving him off of Second Street, but I think it's going to be all right. He looks pretty good in his new spot."

Fowler noted that the city has spruced up Bobo, and he looks better than ever.

"He looks good; I'm very proud of him," Fowler said. "I used to think that I would be in City Hall, but Bobo beat me to it. I guess he made a monkey out of me," Fowler said, chuckling. "If he made people smile, then it did what it's supposed to."


Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia has agreed to offer health insurance coverage in the state insurance exchange in the 85 counties that will have no other health plans in 2018, including most counties in the Tiftarea.

Tift, Turner, Ben Hill, Irwin, Cook and Berrien counties are among the 85 that the insurance company will continue to offer coverage. The local counties were at risk of having no  health insurer available to provide individual coverage next year.

The agreement was reached with state Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens after Blue Cross announced in June that it was planning to leave the entire individual insurance market in Georgia next year.  Insurance exchanges were created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to help individuals, who do not have job-based or government health benefits, to buy their own coverage.

"It's a big deal,'' said Jay Florence, deputy insurance commissioner. "If they had decided to pull out, people in those counties would have had to move, change jobs or go without coverage," Georgia Health News reported.

The insurance exchanges' long-term future has been uncertain with the recent congressional attempts to repeal and replace the ACA, known as Obamacare. This year, Blue Cross has offered individual plans in all 159 Georgia counties but said, " A stable insurance market is dependent on products that create value for consumers through the broad spreading of risk and a known set of conditions upon which rates can be developed. ... The continued uncertainty makes it difficult for us to offer individual health plans statewide."

President Trump has threatened to eliminate the subsidies that go to insurers in the exchanges to help customers, with modest incomes, to obtain health insuranceA lack of subsidy funding, Blue Cross said, "introduces a level of volatility which compromises the ability to set rates responsibly."

More than 490,000 Georgians signed up for exchange coverage this year, federal officials reported.


The Tift County Blue Devils football teams, from sixth graders  through  varsity players, scrimmaged during their annual "Soap bowl" Monday night after rain showers ended. The event had been rescheduled from last week when rain postponed the "Soap Bowl," so named because admission was liquid soap to be used during the upcoming season.

The Blue Devils varsity team formally begins the season with a scrimmage at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 10, against Turner County High at Brodie Field.


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Required Qualifications : Certified School Teacher or Early Childhood Education, Prior Experience working Directly with Children or Related Field with Experience -- Minimum of three years
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Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College is hosting a Performing Arts Season Preview at 6 p.m. Aug. 15 to spotlight the ABAC Presents! Performing Arts Series, the First Tuesday concerts, An Evening for ABAC, the Baldwin Players' productions and all other musical performances at the college.
The preview will be in the conference center of the Georgia Museum of Agriculture and Historic Village at ABAC. Attendees are asked to RSVP by phone at 229-391-4895.

The event will include registration, sponsor recognition and a video highlighting all the performing arts events. Refreshments will be provided. 

ABAC Presents! is supported in part by Georgia Council for the Arts through support from the General Assembly and from the National Endowment for the Arts.

The First Tuesday Concert Series, now celebrating its 16th year, is free to the public. Performances are in the Chapel of All Faiths. The holiday performance, "A Christmas to Remember," will take place at the Tift Theatre at 7 p.m. Dec. 5

The Baldwin Players will perform "Greater Tuna" at 7 p.m. in Howard Auditorium on Oct. 26-28; "A Night of One Acts" on Jan. 25-26; and the musical comedy "I Do, I Do" on March 9-11. Ticket prices vary based on each production. 

Rhythm Nation will be the featured performer at the annual Evening for ABAC scholarship event March 2. The event will take place at 6 p.m. at the UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center.

The Lofts at Twin Brick
103 Tift Ave. S., Tifton
Aug. 4


Auditions for the Baldwin Players fall production, "Greater Tuna," will be at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 21 and Aug. 23 in Conger Hall room 319 on the campus of Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College

Auditions are open to all -- students, faculty, staff and local residents. 

Baldwin Players Director Brian Ray said no extensive preparation is necessary for the auditions, which will entail reading passages from the script. Anyone interested in working backstage or on the technical elements of the show may also come to auditions and complete an interest/availability form. It is not necessary to attend both nights of auditions.

"Greater Tuna" is a farce about small-town life in the South. Set in Tuna, Texas, (a fictional town where Patsy Cline never dies and the Lions Club is too liberal), the play peeks into the lives of 29 different characters. Originally staged by the authors as a two-man show, the Baldwin Players will present it with a larger cast. There are parts available for men and women of any age.

For information, contact Ray at

Longtime Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) Commodities Director Don McGough received the 2017 GFB Commodity Award during the GFB Commodity Conference on Aug. 3 at the University of Georgia Tifton campus.

 One of the organization's highest honors, the commodity award is given annually to honor individuals who have supported and promoted Georgia agriculture.
Don McGough, left, is recognized by Farm Bureau President Gerald Long at a GFB conference last week in Tifton.
"I've known Don throughout my time being involved with Georgia Farm Bureau. His dedication to our farmer members through the years was evident by the relationships he has made with all the groups he has worked with," said GFB President Gerald Long. "Don was an integral part of our organization's success for nearly 40 years." 
McGough was born in Tifton and grew up in Lee County on his family's farm, where they grew peanuts, corn and raised cattle and hogs. In his youth he was an active 4-H'er and in high school, McGough participated in FFA.
After graduating from the University of Georgia in 1977, McGough began working at the Georgia Farm Bureau in the Field Services Department. After a brief stint at the organization's state offices, he moved to GFB's 10th District and was the district field representative. He briefly left GFB to work in agriculture research in Edenton, N.C., but soon returned to GFB as a commodity specialist in 1980
In 1986, he was named assistant director of the department and was promoted to commodities director in 1997. After 20 years as department director and 37 years of service to GFB, McGough retired this year. 
"I've always said that if I was in any county in the state and had a flat tire or needed anything, I knew someone well enough I could call," he said. "Building relationships through Farm Bureau not only gave me professional contacts, but gave me some good friends." 
McGough received the Georgia Peanut Commission's Special Award earlier this year for his contributions to the peanut industry. He has been recognized by the Georgia Aquaculture Association for his efforts to help establish that group in the early 1990s. He is past president of the Georgia Ag Economics Association. McGough was also instrumental in the formation of the Georgia Farm Bureau Certified Farm Market program in 1986.



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