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Tuesday, July 2, 2024

Tifton, Georgia


Your Local Digital Newspaper for Tifton and the Greater Tiftarea

478-227-7126 ~ www.tiftongrapevine.com



Tifton Grapevine

While some localities held Independence Day celebrations last weekend, fireworks can still be found on the Fourth of July in the Tiftarea.

Perhaps the most well-known local observance is the Enigma Firecracker Celebration from 11 a.m.-11 p.m. July 4 at Enigma City Park, 195 Harris St. The event includes kids' games, water slides, bounce houses, food, arts and crafts, more than 20 vendors, and music.

DJ G-Man from Tifton will start off the music, followed by the Southern Confessional band starting at 6 p.m. until the fireworks start at dusk; the band returns after the fireworks finale.

There is a $5 entrance fee, and children 10 and under are free.

The City of Fitzgerald also will have fireworks on July 4. Fitzgerald's celebration begins at 6 p.m. in Paulk Park at 341 Perry House Road. The Page Brothers Band will provide music; fireworks are scheduled at 9:15 p.m., followed by the National Anthem.

Free watermelon slices, hot dogs, chips, and a drink will be available while supplies last.

South Georgia’s self-proclaimed largest fireworks show on Independence Day will be Thursday night in Valdosta. The Valdosta-Lowndes County Parks & Recreation Authority hosts the event beginning at approximately 9:15 p.m. People are encouraged to watch the fireworks between exits 16 and 18 on the Valdosta Mall side off Interstate 75. Viewers may tune their car radio to 105.9 when the fireworks begin to hear patriotic music play along with the show.

Another area favorite fireworks celebration, "Fireworks on the Flint," is scheduled for 9:30 p.m. Friday, July 5, at Georgia Veterans State Park. To view the fireworks over the water from the park, there is a $5 parking fee.

Karen Mondragón, a Tift County farm worker, seated second from right in pink jacket, recently tells a UFW Foundation audience that many Georgia farm workers face discrimination. The panel included the U.S. undersecretary of agriculture.



Tifton Grapevine

Tift County farm worker Karen Mondragón recently told members of the UFW Foundation in Washington, D.C., about discrimination she has witnessed and experienced as a Georgia farmworker.


Mondragón, a 31-year-old farmworker and mother of two daughters, is considered a leader among immigrant agriculture workers in South Georgia, according to the UFW Foundation.

She was part of a panel discussion organized this spring with the help of U.S. Undersecretary of Agriculture Xochitl Torres Small in Washington, D.C., on the contributions farm workers make to the United States and the discrimination they face. 

Mondragón is has worked in agriculture in the Tiftarea for four years, bagging pine straw and planting vegetables and pecan seeds in several nurseries. Mondragón said that although she has legal immigration status, she believes her labor rights are often violated for being a farm worker and for not speaking English well. 

Because she has legal status, she feels she is able to defend those who are afraid because of their lack of status. Mondragón said that as a farm worker, she has suffered mistreatment. For example, after being injured on the job, she said she was reprimanded for asking about worker's compensation to cover her medical costs.

“I came to the U.S. because it is the land of opportunities,” Mondragón said through a translator on the panel. “In the four years I have been here, I’ve only been in Georgia. In Georgia, most of the jobs are in agriculture.”

She told the panel that she has suffered discrimination for speaking in Spanish and has faced sexual harassment

“Despite my legal status, my rights are not respected,” she said. “I am not afraid, because I am legal and I have rights. I am the voice for all my other peers that work with me. I want to say: No more slavery for agricultural workers.


“Every state works in different ways, but I think in Georgia there is a lot of racism against agricultural workers,” she said. “They think that we agricultural workers are less than them, because we are immigrants and may not have legal status. They think that we do not deserve a 15-minute break that is given to other agricultural workers. They put all of us to work with no safety measures."

Mondragón claimed that some agricultural operations "do not allow us to hydrate properly because they want us to work really quickly and be able to finish.

“My suggestion is to work with the federal government so they can do something regarding the rights for workers. For example, go to farms and conduct inspections. We should work with Congress so there are more programs to benefit agricultural workers," she said.

"Work with Congress so agricultural workers could be legalized. They live in fear because they do not have legal status to work or drive. I love justice, and I believe that the U.S. has enough money to be able to fulfill this.” 

The United Farm Workers Foundation is a nonprofit that partners with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in such areas as distributing Food and Farm Workers Program assistance to agricultural workers affected by the pandemic. 

“This is one of the few USDA programs that actually goes directly to farm workers, since most USDA programs offer support to employers, excluding farm workers,” according to the UFW Foundation.

Founded in 2006, the UFW Foundation advocates for workers’ rights and protections for farm workers across the United States and provides educational outreach and immigration legal services to low-income rural communities.



Tifton Grapevine

A five-year-old boy severely injured when struck by an SUV outside a Tifton elementary school on April 23 is back home, and his family says his recovery is a miracle.

Isaiah Silva, 5, was hit by a 2021 Chevrolet Suburban as he ran across the street while leaving Len Lastinger Elementary School. He sustained severe head injuries, among other injuries, and had been placed in a medically induced coma during his recovery a hospital in Jacksonville, Fla.

“A couple of the doctors, they were females, one of them started crying, and she said to me, 'I really thought he wasn’t going to make it.' I still get emotional because I almost lost my baby," Isaiah's father, Arnie Silva, told WALB-TV.

"He's just strong willed. I thank God that he pulled through," he said.

The father is now advocating for crossing guards or other student safety procedures outside Tift County schools.

At the time of the accident, a Tift County Schools spokesman told the Tifton Grapevine that the school system has no authority beyond each school's campus, so the school system itself cannot implement crossing guards on streets outside schools or install lights or signage on streets around schools.

The school system said it does have safety teams at both car-rider locations and bus entrances to help students out of and into cars and buses. Each school handles walkers differently based on age, location, and parent choice

Len Lastinger Elementary staff communicates the arrival and dismissal protocol to parents with students who walk from school, and then each individual walker is approved by an administrator after consultation with parents, the school system said.



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Tifton Grapevine Staff Reports

The Rotary Club of Tifton, at its summer social June 27 at Black Shank Pond, passed the gavel to its new President Toni Reid, pictured at left. Outgoing President Bonnie Sayles, right, handed Reid the gavel, and Reid presented Sayles with a plaque thanking her for her service as president.

Sayles continues in a Rotary district role as area governor for Rotary Clubs in Tifton, Ashburn, Ocilla, and Fitzgerald.

The Tifton Rotary Club Board of Directors for the coming year are Cindy Evers, Tonja Tift, Patricia Brooks, Amy Hightower, Bonnie Sayles, Israel Martinez, Heather Pye, Becky Smith, Nancy Bryan, Renata Elad, and Frank Sayles Jr.


Tifton Grapevine Staff Reports

Georgia has experienced a 7.5% decrease in housing inventory between the first quarter of 2023 and the first quarter of 2024, according to a report from Construction Coverage, a guide for builders and real estate professionals.

During the first quarter of this year, the existing housing inventory in Georgia would sustain the current sales pace for 3.1 months, the report determined.

The current housing shortage nationally, estimated to be between 4 million and 7 million homes, began long before the COVID-19 pandemic. In the 10 years following the Great Recession, the United States constructed fewer new homes than in any other decade since the 1960s, the report concluded.

Among the key takeaways from the report:

  • U.S. housing inventory decreased from more than 2 million in 2012 to a low of approximately 630,000 at the start of 2022.
  • During the same period, months’ supply — a measure of how long it would take existing inventory to sell if no new homes came on the market — plummeted from a national high of 7.5 months to a historic low of 1.1 months.
  • Inventory rebounded slightly since early 2022: throughout the first quarter of 2024, the national inventory hovered around 970,000 homes for sale, marking a 4% year-over-year increase.
  • Despite this uptick, existing inventory would sustain the current sales pace for just 2.9 months.



The Ga. Department of Public Health (DPH) conducts inspections of food-service establishments and issues food-service scores based upon compliance with health regulations.

If a food-service establishment receives a grade of “C” and or “U” during a routine

inspection, then the health department must conduct a follow-up inspection to ensure the issues have been corrected.

During the past two months, the following food-service establishments were inspected in Tift County:

3 Beards BBQ (Mobile Unit)

307 12th St. W., Tifton

May 24 – Score: 91, Grade: A

Amar Indian Restaurant

3121 S. Central Ave., Tifton

June 13 – Score: 91, Grade: A

Big Foot Cafe

603 Old Omega Road Tifton,

May 14 – Score: 89, Grade: B

Big Jake's Que

503 Whiddon St., Tifton

June 13 – Score: 100, Grade: A

Big Jake's Que (Mobile Unit)

503 Whiddon St., Tifton

June 13 – Score: 100, Grade: A

Blazin' Wings Inc. dba

Buffalo Wild Wings

1303 U.S. Highway 82 W., Tifton

May 28, – Score: 93, Grade: A

Burger King

1504 US Highway 82 W., Tifton

May 15 – Score: 91, Grade: A

Cajun Seafood Express

809 W. second St., Tifton

May 1 – Score: 100, Grade: A

Captain D's of Tifton

1305 U. S. Highway 82 W., Tifton

June 13 – Score: 89, Grade: B

Charles Seafood

701 W. 7th St., Tifton

May 15 – Score: 100, Grade: A

Chicken Salad Chick

2202 U.S. Highway 41 N., Tifton

June 20 – Score: 97, Grade: A

May 8 – Score: 88, Grade: B

Chilango's Mexican Cuisine

11 Jordan Road, Tifton

June 18 – Score: 100, Grade: A

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store


708 U.S. Highway 319 S., Tifton

June 6 –Score: 100, Grade: A

Dairy Queen

1407 N. Tift Ave., Tifton

May 16 – Score: 100, Grade: A

Dairy Queen

210 W. 7th St., Tifton

May 14 – Score: 91, Grade: A

Don Julios LLC

211 N. Main St., Tifton

May 21 – Score: 87, Grade: B

East Winds Restaurant, Inc

3121 Central Ave., Suite A, Tifton

May 16 – Score: 93, Grade: A

Edzna Campeche

1920 W. U.S. Highway 82, Tifton

May 15 – Score: 100, Grade: A

El Cazador Mexican Restaurant

1103 King Road, Suit A, Tifton

June 17 – Score: 96, Grade: A

El Metate Mexican Restaurant

1021 2nd St., W., Tifton

May 30 – Score: 100, Grade: A

Ferry Lake Grill

1109 Ferry Lake Road, Tifton

May 23 – Score: 100, Grade: A

Firehouse Subs

1001 W. 8th St., Tifton

June 4 – Score: 82, Grade: B

Fred's Catering

401 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Tifton

May 20 – Score: 100, Grade: A

Fred's Catering Mobile Unit

401 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Tifton

May 23 – Score: 100, Grade: A

Fresco Italiano

103 TIFT AVE, S., Tifton

May 8 – Score: 96, Grade: A

H.K. Steak Sushi LLC dba Tokyo Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi Bar

192 S. Virginia Ave. Suite 204/206 Tifton

June 24 – Score: 85, Grade: B

Jackson Soul Food II

728 5th St. E., Tifton

May 22 – Score: 100, Grade: A

Kentucky Fried Chicken

804 W. 2nd St., Tifton

June 12 – Score: 100, Grade: A

Logan's Roadhouse #512

910 W. 7th St., Tifton

June 10 – Score: 88, Grade: B

Longhorn Steakhouse

1314 U.S. Highway 82 W., Tifton

June 18 – Score: 96, Grade: A

M&A Carter's Catering

6000 Winchester Drive, Tifton

May 24 – Score: 100, Grade: A

M&A Carter's Catering (Mobile Unit)

6000 Winchester Drive, Tifton

May 24 – Score: 100, Grade: A

Mama Nell's Kitchen

2417 U.S. Highway 82 E., Tifton

May 20 – Score: 96, Grade: A

Mary O's

238 Nile Way, Tifton

May 20 – Score: 100, Grade: A

Mary O's Mobile Unit

238 Nile Way, Tifton

May 20 – Score: 100, Grade: A


1816 N. Tift Ave., Tifton

May 7 – Score: 81, Grade: B


824 2nd St., Tifton

May 14 – Score: 97, Grade: A

New King Buffet

177 S. Virginia Ave., Tifton

June 17 – Score: 100, Grade: A

Northside Cafe

1629 N. Tift Ave., Tifton

May 20 – Score: 94, Grade: A

Oishii Japanese Grill & Sushi

1909 U. S. Highway 82 W., Suite 1

June 17 – Score: 97, Grade: A

Olive Garden

1208 U.S. Highway 82 W., Tifton

June 26 – Score: 95, Grade: A

Osaka Hibachi & Sushi

626 N. Virginia Ave., Tifton

June 17 – Score: 100, Grade: A

Pit Stop Bar-B-Que

1112 W. 8th St., Tifton

June 18 – Score: 91, Grade: A

Red Lobster #0739

101 S. Virginia Ave., Tifton

May 21 – Score: 88, Grade: B

Rip's Wings and Things

103 Sycamore St., Tifton

May 9 – Score: 96, Grade: A

Saigon Kitchen

724 W. 2nd St., Tifton

June 18 – Score: 84, Grade: B

Shady Lane Drive Inn

522 S. Main St., Tifton

May 1 – Score: 83, Grade: B

Starbucks Coffee

1204 U.S. Highway 82 W., Tifton

May 20 – Score: 100, Grade: A

Surchero's Fresh Grill

133 S. Virginia Ave., Tifton

May 23 – Score: 100, Grade: A

Taqueria Bertha

1409 N. Tift Ave., Tifton

June 18 – Score: 100, Grade: A

Taqueria Hermanos Chavez

1101 King Drive Suite B

May 23 – Score: 90, Grade: A

Taqueria Milagro

10 Sandra Drive Suite 2

June 6 – Score: 100, Grade: A

Taqueria Taco Loco LLC

901 Pine St., Tifton

May 22 – Score: 95, Grade: A

Taqueria Viki

1405 U.S. Highway 41 N., Tifton

June 12 – Score: 100, Grade: A

The Great Wall

604 Love Ave., Tifton

May 8 – Score: 100, Grade: A

The Hen Den Cafe

73 Willis Road, Tifton

June 18 – Score: 100, Grade: A

The Hen Den Cafe Mobile Unit

73 Willis Road, Tifton

June 18 – Score: 91, Grade: A

The Local at the Lankford

401 Love Ave., Tifton

June 14 – Score: 100, Grade: A

The Pub

1803 U.S. Highway 41 N., Tifton

June 18 – Score: 100, Grade: A

T-Town Wing & Deli

204 Virginia Ave., Tifton

May 1 – Score: 93, Grade: A

Wing Addiction Inc.

309 S. Tift Ave., Tifton

June 13 – Score: 95, Grade: A


1211 Murray Ave., Tifton

May 20 – Score: 100, Grade: A

Wisham's Mobile Unit

1211 Murray Ave., Tifton

May 23 – Score: 100, Grade: A


2201 N. Tift Ave., Tifton

May 20 – Score: 100, Grade: A


198 Virginia Ave., Tifton

May 8 – Score: 100, Grade: A


"Shade" and "Cloudy" are two sweet kittens ready to brighten your day. Come visit them and other pets available for adoption between 1-6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays at the Tift County Animal Shelter on Highway 125 South, or call 229-382-PETS (7387).



~ JULY 3, 1939

The Rural Electrification Administration began extending electrical service to unserved areas of Tift County on July 3, 1939. The first line went through the northern part of the county, and Line B was connecting Chula and Ty Ty.


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Tifton Grapevine

e-published every Tuesday and Friday

Frank Sayles Jr.

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