Dec. 11, 2015
                 Tifton, Georgia

         (478) 227-7126


South Georgia is well represented in this weekend's Georgia High School Association's state football championships at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.

In Class A competition, Irwin  County  High (10-2-1) is playing Clinch County High School (12-1); in Class AA, Fitzgerald High (13-1) faces Pace Academy (12-2); and for the AAAAAA championship, defending champions Colquitt County High (14-0) of Moultrie plays Roswell High (14-0).

The Irwin County High Indians are making a return trip to the big game. Last year, Irwin lost the 2014 title to Hawkinsville This season, the  Indians have allowed just over 11 points per game and have three shutouts in their last seven games

The Purple Hurricane of Fitzgerald is taking on the Pace Academy KnightsThe game is a rematch from last year's playoffs when the Purple Hurricane defeated the Knights, 49-21, in the quarterfinal round of the playoffs. 

The 6-A championship pits undefeated Colquitt County High Packers against the undefeated Roswell High Hornets. We in South Georgia all know the 
A bloodied Coach Propst
intensity of high school football here, illustrated last week by Colquitt Coach Rush Propst.

During the second quarter of Colquitt County's state semifinal against Mill Creek, an over-energized and excited Propst walked over to a player returning to the sideline and head butted him. The player, place kicker Luis Martinez, was wearing his helmet. Propst, naturally, was not, opening a bloody gash on the coach's forehead

The incident was broadcast live statewide as the game was on Georgia Public Television. This weekend's games also will be broadcast on GPTV.

Irwin and Clinch will be play at 1 p.m. today, Friday, Dec. 11; Fitzgerald plays Saturday at 1 p.m., and Colquitt County plays at 8 p.m. Saturday.


A former Tifton bank president entered a guilty plea last Friday, Dec. 4, for his role in a bank fraud scheme in which he hid underperforming and at-risk loans from the bank and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), among others.

Gary Patton (Pat) Hall Jr., 49, of Tifton, pleaded guilty before Senior U.S. District Court Judge Hugh Lawson in Macon to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit fraud against the United States.

According to facts stipulated in the plea agreement, Hall was president and CEO of Tifton Banking Co. (TBC) from August 2005 until June 2010. During that time, Hall was engaged in an ongoing scheme to mislead the bank and its loan committee about loans TBC made to local individuals and businesses.

As part of the scheme, Hall hid past due loans from the FDIC and the TBC loan committee, which resulted in the bank continuing to approve and renew delinquent loans and loans for which the collateral was lacking, authorities say. Several borrowers eventually defaulted on the loans, resulting in millions of dollars in losses to TBC and others.

Hall admitted that in certain transactions in which he exercised approval authority, he hid his personal and business interests. In one case, Hall approved loans to the buyer of a condominium in Panama City Beach, Fla., owned by Hall himself. In doing so, he made false representations about the loans to TBC's loan committee and failed to disclose his personal interest. When the buyer's loan payments became delinquent, Hall hid the loans from both the FDIC and state regulators.

Hall received $50,000 profit from the sale of his condominium in that transaction, the entire purchase price being funded by an unsecured loan to the buyer approved by him. The buyer eventually declared bankruptcy, resulting in a loss of more than $400,000 to TBC.

Hall also admitted to making fraudulent representations which led to commercial loan guarantees being issued by the U.S. Small Business Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture on two other loan transactions. The loans were made by TBC, and guaranteed by the government agencies, to refinance earlier non-performing commercial loans made by TBC as part of the scheme to mislead bank regulators and hide the bank's true financial condition. Those guaranteed loans resulted in losses to the bank and the agencies of more than $2 million.

TBC was closed by the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance in November 2010 because of its poor financial condition. At that time, TBC had not repaid the $3.8 million it received from the Department of Treasury's Troubled Asset Relief Program.

Hall faces a potential statutory penalty of 10 years imprisonment and a potential fine of up to twice the loss amount, or both. Hall agreed in entering the plea that he owes restitution to the bank and federal agencies in the amount of $3,931,018 for losses suffered.

"The greed of Mr. Hall and the abuse of the trust placed in him by the Tifton Banking Co. and its depositors, investors and employees, as well as the taxpayers of the United States, has had a deleterious effect on his community and its faith in the banking industry. Others have paid a high price for his misdeeds. Hopefully, today's plea of guilty to his crimes can facilitate some degree of healing for those he has harmed," said a cting U.S. Attorney G.F. Peterman III.

"While the taxpayer entrusted Hall, the president and CEO of Tifton Banking Co., with 3.8 million of TARP funds, Hall abused that trust to deceive the banking regulators, the public and the bank's loan committee," said Christy Goldsmith Romero, special inspector general for TARP. 

"Hall covered up past due loans to mask the poor financial condition of the bank and hid his personal and business interests in loans. His crime directly caused over $3.9 million in losses to the bank and federal agencies. Tifton Banking Co. failed in 2010, causing a total loss to the taxpayer of the $3.8 million in TARP funds plus over $50,000 in missed dividends."


Here are the winners of last Saturday's Christmas Parade in Tifton:

Best in Parade
  • First Place: Eighth Street Show Choir 
  • Second Place: Ladies Choice Show Choir 
  • Third Place: Omega Elementary School 
Best Depiction
  • Tifton Missionary Baptist Church

Best Walking Unit

  • Publix and Tift Gymnastics Academy

Brumby & White
    'Choose & Cut'        Since 1980
        Christmas Tree Farm 
We Have 3,750 Trees ... Find Your Perfect Christmas Tree! 

Leyland Cypress     Virginia Pine    Fraser Fir   Blue Cedar
Carolina Sapphire     Red Cedar    Blue Ice     Naylors Blue
Trees Range from 4 to 18 feet  ~  Starting at $25 

Spike Stands (holds trees straight). 
All trees drilled for spike stands and water intake.
Cut your own or we cut it for you.

     All trees blown out & shaken; all trees baled; 
all trees loaded/secured for you in your car or truck at no charge.

Monday-Friday:  Noon - 5:30 p.m. (or Dark)
Saturday: 10 a.m. - Dark
Sunday: 1 p.m. - Dark 
229 382-7515 or 229 382-3072
808 Chula-Brookfield Road
(1/2 mile east of Highway 125/Tift Ave or 3.5 miles east I-75 Exit 69)

and SNOW!

No, you weren't hallucinating Thursday if you went by Tift Regional Medical Center and saw snow. The temperature may have been in the 70s but the hospital was creating snow in preparation for Thursday night's 30th Annual Tree of Life ceremony. 

The Tree of Life raises funds benefiting special needs patients  of the  TRMC Oncology Center and Hospice of Tift Area.

Following the ceremony, Santa visited and a dinner was served.


Georgia's March 1 presidential primary is set, with 13 Republicans and four Democrats competing in the primary.
Submitted to Secretary of State Brian Kemp from the Georgia GOP and Democratic Party of Georgia are:
  • Republicans: Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Lindsey Graham, Mike Huckabee, John Kasich, George Pataki, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Rick Santorum and Donald Trump.
  • Democrats: Hillary Clinton, Martin O'Malley, Bernie Sanders and Michael Steinberg.
Steinberg is a lawyer in Tampa, Fla.  Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore, who is running for the GOP nomination, did not qualify.

Director of Children's Ministries

Tifton First United Methodist Church in Tifton, Ga.
is seeking a full-time Director of Children's Ministries.  

Responsibilities will be focused on kindergarten through 6th grade and include oversight of the nursery program. The Director will work with other staff members under the direction of the Senior Pastor.  

The successful candidate should possess or be pursuing a bachelor's degree; have experience working with children's ministries and/or children's educational programs; experience working in and developing children's ministries and possess a strong personal faith con sistent with the United Methodist tradition.  

Click Here  for complete job description. 

Anticipated start date is January 2016.  Salary will be commensurate with education and experience.  

FUMC Secretary
RE: Director of Children's Ministries
107 W 12th St. 
Tifton, GA 31794
Phone:  (229) 382-6100 
Address specific questions related to job responsibilities and duties to Lisa Forshee, Staff Parish Relations Committee Member and Search Committee, email:


Teacher Leigh Weldon's Tift County Pre-K class recently wrote letters to Santa and are excited about Santa coming this season. The kids all say they have been very good this year.

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Perry Johnson, a former chief investment officer and chief executive officer of BME Investment Partners in Atlanta, has been selected as dean of the Stafford School of Business  at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.

"I've always wanted to come home and help young people discover their true gifts and talents," said Johnson, a 1977
ABAC graduate. "I was looking for a place where I could give back to the next generation."

Johnson and his wife, Lucinda, are both from Pearson. He is a 1975 graduate of Atkinson County High School who came to ABAC with a definite purpose in mind.

"When I came to ABAC, I was basically illiterate," Johnson said. "I had a 1.14 GPA at the end of my junior year in high school. My days as a student here were a tremendous blessing to me. Dr. Harold Loyd and the professors at ABAC put me on a life-long path of learning. A little bit of encouragement can have a meaningful impact on students."

ABAC President David Bridges believes Johnson is a good fit for the position.

"He's an alumnus, and he understands the Stafford School of Business and its mission," Bridges said. "I believe he has the dedication and commitment to move the school forward. He also has a clear understanding of the skills necessary for our graduates to succeed when they enter the real world of business."

After receiving his business degree from ABAC, Johnson completed his bachelor's degree and master's degree in accounting from the University of Georgia. He went to work with Hercules Inc., in Savannah as a corporate controller in the paper chemicals division.

Johnson then entered the financial planning field with stops at Prudential Bache Securities in Savannah, Investment Performance Services in Savannah, Brinson Partners in Chicago, Watson Wyatt in Atlanta, Invesco in Atlanta, and then at BME Investment Partners. Perry is also a CPA and a chartered financial analyst.

Johnson succeeds Dill and Susan Driscoll, who are returning to private business. Dill Driscoll will continue to mentor ABAC students on a part-time basis.

HISTORY COMES ALIVE!  The  Georgia Museum of Agriculture and Historic Village  is featured in an article in Mother Nature News about Living History farms. The Tifton complex is said to be "located three hours south -- and a world away -- from Atlanta's urban grind in Wiregrass Country." To read the article,  Click  Here  ...CONGRATS TO THE TIFT COUNTY HIGH SWIM TEAMS , who  won both the  boys
 and girls championships at the Coffee Trojan Invitational last week.

It's December, Time to 
Bring Out the Coats -- 
and Shorts!

Baby, it's cold outside. Wait it a minute; it's getting warm!
Uh oh; it's cold again. Nope, it's almost 80 degrees; gotta ditch this jacket.

Yes, it's December in South Georgia, and we aren't sure how to dress. On any given day, we see folks bundled up in sweaters and scarves and winter coats alongside folks in shorts and T-shirts.

The weather has been a real rollercoaster.

The National Weather Service says the high temperature will be 75 degrees today -- Friday -- and hit 79 degrees on Saturday and Sunday, with a possibility of reaching 80 in some areas -- short-sleeve weather!

The warm weather is predicted to stay around another week with a cool down next weekend. 

The season's first frost is still nowhere in sight. Last year, Tifton experienced its first frost on Nov. 18. But in 2009, it wasn't until Dec. 21.

So don't put away those summer clothes just yet!  As shown in the above image making the rounds of social media, remain prepared for whatever curveball Mother Nature throws us. Keep those Burlington coats and Bermuda shorts handy!
--Frank Sayles Jr.

A Little Music
for the Season...

For your listening pleasure, and to take a quiet moment to remember the reason for the season, here is the a cappella group Home Free, which includes Tifton native Austin Brown.

Brown is the one wearing the neck tie on the right side of the aisle in the image at right.

Click the video to hear "Angels We Have Heard on High."

For the "Lowdown" on Tuesday's Launch of the World's Latest Weight-Loss Solution, call 


Literacy Volunteers of Tifton-Tift County celebrated five local residents' completion of four levels of "Ventures" English language series on Wednesday, Dec. 9. Students shown holding their certificates are, from left, Eiliana Biasi and Luiz Biasi (from Brazil), Ai Nguyen (from Vietnam) and Lilliana Gonzalez (from Costa Rica). Not pictured, Israel Barron from Mexico. The students expressed appreciation to tutors Luz Marti and Dr. John Hamm. English language classes are held every Monday and Wednesday at Our Divine Savior Catholic Church. For information, call Literacy Volunteers at 229-391-2527.


The deadline is Dec. 15 for alumni awards nominations for the ABAC Alumni Association at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College. 

The awards will be presented during the homecoming awards dinner next April.

Nominations should provide specific details about the person being nominated. Nominations can be from alumni, friends, family members, ABAC faculty and staff or the public. Nominees must have attended ABAC but graduating from the college is not a mandate for the nomination. 

Anyone who attended ABAC and has obtained educational credit is eligible for nomination. Once nominated, the application is valid for two years.

Awards are based on professional achievement, community service and service to the college. Visit the ABAC website at to complete the nomination form. ABAC personnel will then reach out to those nominated to get any additional information needed for consideration.

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             a Glance 

  • Christmas Belles play7 p.m., Tift Theatre for the Performing Arts, Tifton
  • Male Summit: "From Boys to Men," 9:30 a.m., Southern Regional Technical College, Tifton
  • Christmas Belles play, 3 p.m., Tift Theatre for the Performing Arts, Tifton

In Memoriam

DEC. 3
Ola Juanita Willis Hand, 91, Tifton
Sgt. Bennett "Ryner" Patrick Jr., 45, Tifton
Linda "Sue" Coker Harnage, 71, Tifton
Mary Elizabeth Griner Exum, 79, Tifton
Jean Odum Hutchinson, 70, Fitzgerald
Glenda Barnes Hutchinson, 67, Fitzgerald
Billy Wayne Beeman, 73, Nashville
Billy Owen Murray, 74, Nashville
Randy Rogers, 40, Nashville

DEC. 4
Carolee Ruth Gonser Chapman, 81, Tifton
Warren Smith, 71, Ashburn
Louise Small, 86, Wellborn, Fla.
Gene Johnson, 76, Lands Crossing Community, Irwin County

DEC. 5
Kathe Trutschel Croy, 80, Tifton
David Ray Wilson, 53, Fitzgerald

DEC. 6
James Edward Suggs Sr., 75, Tifton
Melvin D. Cravey, 65, Fitzgerald

DEC. 7
Clinton Lamar Fletcher, 74, Tifton
Marjorie Boone Phelps, 90, Lenox
Bettye Joyce Bryant (Tabor) Grover, 78, Tifton
Dorothy Taylor, 85, Ashburn
Karen Coleman Saylor, 40, Sycamore
Garland Lee Mitchell, 84, Nashville
Judith V. Rineair, 78, Fitzgerald

DEC. 8
Ronnie Howard Gaskins, 73, Adel
Ishmael Little, 96, Greenville, Fla.
Judy Key Jagielski, 69, Hahira
Hazel Taylor Yeargin, 87, Fitzgerald

DEC. 9
Annie Ray Howell Hammons, 93, Tifton
Melvin Ray Griner, 74, Tifton
Earnest J. "EJ" Jones, 80, Sylvester
Oris Lawrence Lott, 86, Sparks

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

  215 W 18th St., Tifton, GA
MLS #: R125459A

Beautiful home with luxurious travertine and marble tile floors. Eclectic kitchen with new counters, elegant granite backsplash, center island and new kitchen cabinets, new fixtures and large pantry for storage. Private office area, hobby room, personal gym room next to kitchen. Master bath has custom, thick marble double vanity with 36 x 60 walk-in marble glass-enclosed shower. Guest bath is marble with new fixtures. Great detailed trim work for window ledges, baseboards, shoe molding. Large family room, formal dining area and formal den/sitting area. All the quaintness of Southern homes. New light fixtures throughout property. Water heater, appliances and attic stairs like new. Front entry sidewalk, wrought-iron railing and more.

    Dwana Coleman
                     Visit Us Online:

                            Call Us Today!   229-386-4222

Blue Skies & Sunshine Through Each & Every
Real Estate Transaction!


 Frank Sayles Jr. 
Editor & Publisher
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