Tuesday, June 8, 2021
Tifton, Georgia
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GrapeNew
FEDERAL JURY AWARDS $250,000 TO TIFTON WOMAN WHO SLIPPED IN WALMART
WOMAN FRACTURED WRIST, HAD COMPLICATIONS
By FRANK SAYLES JR.
Tifton Grapevine
A federal jury in Valdosta has awarded $250,000 in damages to a Tifton woman who said that she slipped and was injured in Tifton's Walmart Supercenter, according to court documents.

In the recent case in U.S. District Court before Senior Judge W. Louis Sands, the jury also awarded an additional $9,000 in damages, deciding that Walmart "asserted a frivolous ... defense."

Pam Golding of Tifton filed the lawsuit saying that she "fell on a foreign substance" in the store as she was shopping with her son on April 3, 2017. In her lawsuit, Golding said she "suffered serious and permanent personal injuries," and "suffers excruciating pain."

Golding's fall resulted in a fractured bone in her wrist, which required surgery and caused a subsequent infection that required hospitalization for three days. She may require wrist fusion surgery in the future, according to the lawsuit.

The jury said it determined that Golding has "suffered damages caused by defendant Walmart's negligence."

Golding had initially sought a total of $500,000 in punitive damages and attorneys' fees.

In previous court filings, Walmart claimed that it had a “reasonable inspection procedure in place” and was unaware of the spill that caused Golding to slip. During the trial, the jury was told that Golding apparently slipped on water that was reported to have leaked from a floor scrubber.

Golding’s lawyer, James “J.L.” King, told the Gwinnett Daily Post that the Tifton Walmart “had more than 300 cameras in the store, but none of them actually showed Ms. Golding’s accident; I don’t think the jury bought that.”

A Walmart corporate spokesman told The Valdosta Daily Times that the company "respectfully disagrees" with the verdict and intends to file post-trial motions.
Tift County Sheriff's Deputy Robert Owens is surrounded by his fellow officers as he comes home from the hospital after being shot three times Friday morning in the line of duty.
TIFT COUNTY DEPUTY FACES 'LONG RECOVERY' AFTER ELDORADO SHOOTING
By FRANK SAYLES JR.
Tifton Grapevine
A Tift County deputy, shot three times early Friday in Eldorado, is home from the hospital but is "in for a long recovery," says the Tift County sheriff.

Deputy Robert Owens was shot while responding to a 911 call about a disturbance by two men in the 1400 block of Tifton Eldorado Road. The men were reportedly knocking on multiple doors, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said.

Owens was among deputies who located the men, one of whom fired shots at Owens. Another deputy returned fire, striking Justin Freeman, 40, of Robbins, N.C., the GBI said.

Freeman will be transported to the Tift County Jail upon release from the hospital. The second man, who has not been identified, was taken into custody, the GBI said.

The GBI is conducting an independent investigation, which, upon completion, will be submitted to the Tift County District Attorney’s Office for review.

A "Go Fund Me" page has been created online to raise money to help with Deputy Owens' medical expenses.

"Robert is a deputy who was shot three times in the line of duty on June 4, and he is undergoing multiple surgeries. He's the nicest guy around, and he did not deserve to be shot while serving his community. Please help him, his wife, and his daughter as he recovers," the page reads.

Tift County Sheriff Gene Scarbrough also called for help on social media: "Please consider donating to this fund if you can see fit. Deputy Owens is in for a long recovery. The family and the Tift County Sheriff’s Office will certainly appreciate your generosity."

Donations may be made by Clicking Here.
WORTH COUNTY SENIOR DIES IN TIFTON WRECK
STAFF REPORTS
A Worth County High School senior died in a vehicle accident Saturday morning in Tifton, one week before her high school graduation.

Rose Jolly, 19, died at the crash scene shortly after 11:30 a.m. Saturday at the intersection of U.S. Highway 82 and Carpenter Road, Tift County Deputy Coroner Joseph Thompson told WALB-TV.

The Georgia State Patrol (GSP) said Jolly was the passenger in a Jeep Renegade whose driver was taken to Tift Regional Medical Center. The GSP said an 18-wheeler was involved in the crash; the semi-truck driver was not hospitalized.

Thompson said because of the circumstances surrounding the crash, the death was reported to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation medical examiner.

No charges have been filed in the incident, according to the GSP.

Jolly would have graduated this Saturday, June 12, from Worth County High.

"Please keep the family, friends, and school family of Rose Jolly in your thoughts and prayers," Worth County High School wrote on social media. "Rose was a very special member of our Ram Family who touched the hearts of those she came in contact with. We are devastated by her loss and send our deepest condolences to her family."
From left: Dr. Chad Stone, TCHS principal; Debbie Salter, teacher of excellence recipient; Phillip Salter; Kevin Dobard, Tift County assistant superintendent; and Dr. Kaylar Howard and Laura Cutts with the Tift County Foundation for Educational Excellence.
EDUCATION FOUNDATION HONORS ANOTHER TOP
TIFT COUNTY TEACHER
By FRANK SAYLES JR.
Tifton Grapevine
Debbie Salter, English language arts teacher at Tift County High School, was recently "tapped" as a Teacher of Excellence by the Tift County Foundation for Educational Excellence.

Salter, who has been selected as a Teacher of Excellence on three different occasions, was unavailable on the day that other teachers were tapped but was surprised on the last day of school.

She joins six other Tift County public school teachers named as recipients of the Excellence in Teaching Award by the Tift County Foundation for Educational Excellence.  

Foundation representatives, school officials, and recipients' family members surprised the educators with the honor at their schools.

The other teachers honored this year are: Stephanie Roberts, fourth grade, Len Lastinger ElementaryAmy Brooks, special education, J.T. Reddick ElementaryLauren Duncan, fifth grade, Omega ElementaryMike Beeman, marketing teacher at Tift County High SchoolCindy Marzen, science teacher, TCHS; and Valerie Wilson, math teacher at TCHS.

The teachers are nominated by a student, parent, peer, or administrator.

In the three decades that the Foundation has been recognizing teachers of excellence in Tift County public schools, more than 300 educators have been honored.
TIFT COUNTY SEES 15 NEW COVID-19 CASES IN 2 WEEKS
By FRANK SAYLES JR.
Tifton Grapevine
Tift County has recorded 15 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 during the past two weeks, seven of them in the past week, said the Ga. Department of Public Health (DPH) on Tuesday.

There were one additional coronavirus-related death in Tift County during the period, the DPH reported.

Within the past two weeks, Tift's new cases represent 37 per 100,000 population, the DPH reported. Also during that period, Tift had a testing positivity rate of 3.2%.

Since the pandemic began, Tift County has had 3,472 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 99 related deaths, the DPH said.

Georgia reported 280 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday with 25 additional deaths and 67 new hospitalizations. The state has reported a total of 898,115 confirmed cases and 18,214 related COVID-19 deaths since the pandemic began.
Refreshing careers for Tifton area CDL drivers and more. 
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TIFTON ANIMAL HOSPITAL DONATES
ANIMAL OXYGEN MASKS
Quailwood Animal Hospital in Tifton has provided animal oxygen masks to the Tifton Fire Department. The masks will be carried on city fire trucks to help any pets and animals that may need oxygen as the fire department responds to emergencies. At center, Fire Chief Bobby Bennett accepts a mask from Dr. Larry Branch of Quailwood as fire personnel and Quailwood staff stand by.
TIFTON FIRE PERSONNEL RESPOND
TO 101 CALLS DURING MAY
The Tifton Fire Department responded to 101 calls during May, the department reported.

Most of the incidents, 26 of them, involved vehicle accidents, followed by 22 false alarms.

Eighteen of the calls involved medical incidents.

The fire department responded to six structure fires during the month of May, the city department reported.
ABAC NAMES LIBRARIES DIRECTOR
David Edens of Tifton has been promoted to the position of director of libraries at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College

Edens has been employed at ABAC since 2016 as the instructional services librarian.

“My duties are anything and everything that has to do with the library,” Edens said. “I work alongside our library assistants both here in Tifton and at our Bainbridge site.

“My primary concern is making sure that the library is doing what it needs to do to support the rest of campus. The main body of our collection is intended to support the curriculum.” 

Edens graduated from Tift County High School in 2007. He received his bachelor of arts degree in English literature from the University of Georgia in 2011. Edens completed his master’s degree in library and information studies at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 2015.
PHOTOGRAPHY CONTEST TO CAPTURE YEAR OF PANDEMIC
"Beauty Amidst Trials: Capturing A Pandemic Year" – a photography contest benefitting ABAC’s School of Arts and Sciences, is underway.

The contest, whose deadline to enter is July 16, is sponsored by the Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College Arts and Sciences Alumni Council and the Gallery at the Ga. Museum of Agriculture (GMA).

The photo categories are "Abstract," "Agriculture," "Architecture," "Landscape," and "Nature and People."

Up to five original photos (one per category) taken on or after March 17, 2020, will be displayed at an exhibit in at the GMA Gallery.

The contest is open to all photographers at least 18 years old. Standard entry fees are $10 per entry for the first two categories, and $5 per entry for additional categories.

Entry fees are nonrefundable. Prizes to be awarded are $500 for the Donna Hatcher Best of Show Award, and $200 for five first-place category winners; honorable mentions will be awarded in each category.

Artwork must be framed or matted for display. Maximum size of any piece, including the frame, cannot exceed 34 × 34 inches. Framed pieces must have a wire hanger or a sawtooth hanger.

Only minimal photo editing is allowed.

Call 229-391-4900 or email alumni@abac.edu for information.
SENIOR DANCES RESUME JUNE 18
Tiftarea seniors are resuming their dances at the Leroy Rogers Senior Center in Tifton.

The Fred Hand Band will play dance favorites beginning at 7:30 p.m., Friday, June 18. In a change from the past, no meals will be served, but chips, soda and water will be available.

For information, email dashers@windstream.net
TIFTON-TIFT COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE RIBBON CUTTING
Victory Nutrition
302 Main Street, Tifton
June 2
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR POLICY: 

Letters must address local issues only. All letters are subject to editing for brevity, for libelous statements and for egregious language. 

Include your name, phone number and address for verification purposes. Email letters to: IHeardIt@tiftongrapevine.com
TIFTON GRAPEVINE'S CAT OF THE WEEK
"Felix," a one-to-two-year-old male cat, needs a home and is available for adoption at the Tift County Animal Shelter. To adopt your next pet, visit the Animal Shelter from 1-6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, or call 229-382-PETS (7387).
Pets of the Week are sponsored by:
Branch's Veterinary Clinic
205 Belmont Ave., Tifton, 229-382-6055
TIFTON COUNCIL PUTS $10,000 TAX ON WINE SALES
– JUNE 8, 1906
Tifton City Council approved an ordinance on June 8, 1906, placing a tax of $10,000 on the sale of wine within the city of Tifton. In today's dollars, that is the equivalent of $296,727. At the time, Tifton was attempting to discourage the sale of alcohol in the city.
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Frank Sayles Jr.
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