Friday, October 9, 2020
Tifton, Georgia
Tifton Grapevine
The community has been rocked by the stabbing death of a nine-year-old Tifton girl this week, and the city on Thursday announced that two local businesses have joined with the Tifton Police Department to offer a $3,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of those responsible.

Alazia "Ally" Johnson, a student at Len Lastinger Elementary School, was found stabbed to death in her home Tuesday at the Nichols Peterson Apartments off Timmons Avenue, authorities said.

Her mother, Tegina Brown, a single mother, said she discovered her daughter’s body shortly after 7 a.m. Tuesday.

“I have to work to support my kids. I had to go to work that night, and I just came home and found my baby,” Brown told WALB-TV.

The Tift County School System posted a statement on social media saying that it "mourns the loss of a member of our student body. We share in the grieving with our community in the wake of this tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family during this difficult time."

Ally’s body was taken to the GBI Medical Examiner’s Office in Decatur where autopsy results are pending, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

Tifton Police Chief Steve Hyman requested the GBI's assistance in leading the investigation.

“I understand that the community is mourning and is concerned that we have someone amongst us that would do this to one of our children," Hyman said.

"I have full confidence in the detectives and agents working in this case. I ask that anyone holding information that could bring an end to this to please come forward. We will keep the community informed as we get more information that can be released.”

Anyone with information is urged to contact the GBI Tip Line at 1-800-597-TIPS (8477) or the Tifton Police Department at 229-382-3132.
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Tifton Grapevine
The pandemic has now affected the Tiftarea Academy Panthers football team with both tonight's game and next Friday's game canceled.

"Due to COVID-related issues, Tiftarea Academy will not participate in football games on Oct. 9 nor Oct. 16. We will notify you if the games are able to be rescheduled," the school posted Thursday on social media.

Heather Fletcher, spokesperson for the school, released the following statement to the Tifton Grapevine later Thursday:

"This morning a member of our TA staff tested positive for COVID-19. We reported this to the Department of Public Health per protocol. The DPH recommended that several other staff members and the varsity football team be quarantined for 14 days.

"At this time, we are not aware of any student or any other staff member that has tested positive," the statement read.

The Panthers were scheduled to face Pinewood Christian Academy tonight. For Oct. 16, Tiftarea had revised its schedule to play Schley County after Trinity Christian canceled because of its own COVID-19 issues.


The Tift County High Blue Devils travel to Worth County High today to play the Rams. The Blue Devils are scheduled to face Lee County next Friday, Oct. 16, at Brodie Field for homecoming – Tift's first home game of the season.

Tift County High Principal Chad Stone announced Thursday that the school will not hold a homecoming dance this year, but the homecoming court and crowning of the queen will still occur at halftime.


On Thursday, the Ga. Department of Public Health (DPH} reported five new cases of COVID-19 in Tift County for a total of 1,844 and 58 deaths since the pandemic began. In the past two weeks, there have been 92 new cases representing 225 cases per 100,000 residents, the DPH said.

Georgia reported 1,297 new COVID cases Thursday with 36 additional deaths. Since the pandemic began, there have been 327,407 cases statewide with 7,294 deaths, the DPH reported.
From left are Carla Carlson, Tifton Exchange Club public safety chair; Tifton firefighter Nathan Bassett and Fire Battalion Chief George Cirillo.
The Exchange Club of Tifton this week awarded the Firefighter of the Year Award to Nathan Bassett of the Tifton Fire Department.

Bassett joined the Tifton Fire Department in June 2018. He recently completed his EMT-B certification and is currently in classes for his Advanced EMT. He is also working on his bachelor’s degree in emergency management. 

Tifton Fire Battalion Chief George Cirillo described Bassett as having a great personality and a great person to be around, saying, “You couldn’t ask for anyone better.”

Cirillo said that Bassett works well with new and younger firefighters, helping them train and learn the ropes at the station. He said he looks forward to Bassett moving up the ranks at the department.

Bassett and wife Haley have three children.
Danny Hoover, left, and Dave Wilber of Diversified Enterprises in Tifton stand against domestic violence/intimate partner violence as they participate in the 2020 version of the "Walk a Mile in Her Shoes" activity.

Ruth's Cottage and the Patticake House, which sponsors the activity, had to find creative ways to observe Domestic Violence Awareness Month during a pandemic. Instead of the annual men's walk in women's high heels, individuals, businesses and organizations may contact Ruth's Cottage and volunteers from the nonprofit organization will visit with signs, high-heeled shoes and a camera to record your stand against domestic violence.

"Let us know, if you are man enough," say Ruth's Cottage representatives.

The advocacy/domestic-violence prevention organization may be contacted at 229-387-9697.
The Georgia Peanut Commission and Georgia Bankers Association will join forces Oct. 12-16 to promote the 44th annual Georgia Peanut Bank Week.

Financial institutions and local banks across the state will offer a tribute to Georgia’s 4,500 peanut farm families and the sustainability they provide to state and local economies.

The 2020 theme – “Georgia Peanuts. The Superfood to Bank On!”– will showcase the nutritious peanut. Research studies indicate that eating peanuts regularly can reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and cancer, says the Georgia Peanut Commission.
“We’re excited to continue Georgia Peanut Bank Week for the 44th year and salute peanut farmers and the nutritional benefits of peanuts,” says Armond Morris, chairman of the Georgia Peanut Commission. “This promotion is a great way to highlight all peanuts have to offer our communities across the state.”

The annual promotion will be take place during peanut harvesting. In 2019, Georgia peanuts were planted on more than 660,000 acres and accounted for 50 percent of the U.S. peanut production. Peanuts were planted in 74 of Georgia’s 159 counties with an average yield of more than 4,200 pounds per acre.
Wanda Watson, supervisor of the Tift Regional Diabetes Learning Center, recently achieved certified diabetes care and education specialist status. 

This status is achieved through the Certification Board for Diabetes Educators and candidates must meet rigorous eligibility requirements to be able to take the examination.

Achieving certification status demonstrates to people with diabetes and employers that the health professional possesses specialized knowledge, thereby promoting quality of care for people with diabetes.

Watson has worked in diabetes care with Southwell for 12 years, and she is only one of 19,900 diabetes care and education specialists who currently hold the certification.

“I am very passionate about providing care and education to our patients with diabetes,” Watson said. “A lot of patients come to us with misconceptions about what their disease means or with questions and concerns about their diet, and I try to help them work through their concerns."
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This dog is currently on stray hold at the Tift County Animal Shelter. If not reclaimed, will be available for adoption or rescue at the Animal Shelter, located at 278 Georgia Highway 125 S. It is open to the public for adoptions from 1-6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.

For more information, call 229-382-PETS (7387).
Pets of the Week are sponsored by:
Branch’s Veterinary Clinic
205 Belmont Ave., Tifton, 229-382-6055  
Important Phone Numbers & Web Sites
• Georgia Department of Public Health:
• State of Georgia Hotline: 844-442-2681 
• U.S. Centers for Disease Control:
• City of Tifton: 229-391-3957 /
• Tift County: 229-386-7856 /
• Tift Regional Medical Center / Southwell Hotline: 229-353-2819
OCT. 1
Rhonda Rigsby, 53, Sylvester
Eddie Brooks Stout Sr., 84, Tifton
Jim Azor Paulk, 86, Sumner
Harry W. Frazier, 75, Enigma

OCT. 2
Florene Mitchell Privette, 98, Cordele
Melba Dorminey Brown, 87, Bridgeboro
Junior Wade, 90, Ty Ty

OCT. 3
Patricia Jean “Patti” Rogers Hale, 65, Brookfield
Leah Banks Evans, 80, Savannah
John Scott Austin, 53, Sylvester
Ethan "Cowboy" Pritchard, 13, Ashburn
Agnes Mae Wise, 70, Moultrie

OCT. 4
John Clinton “Sonny” Edmonson Jr., 88, Tifton
Roger Lonnie Barfield Jr., 71, Cumming
Sheila Marie Cooper, 55, Enigma
Anelda Caye Barber Robinson, 65, West Berrien community
Abbie West Kendall, 103, Fitzgerald
Patricia A. “Pat” Norkus, 73, Fitzgerald
Martha P. Justice, 79, Fitzgerald

OCT. 5
Raymond "Ray" Carlton Wilson Jr., 49, Ty Ty
The Rev. J.W. “Buddy” Taylor, 83, Fitzgerald

OCT. 6
Jackie Sue Mashburn Cromer, 72, Tifton
Ricky Carroll "Rick" Franklin, 60, Nashville

OCT. 7
The Rev. Willie Henry Dennard, 62, Tifton
Ramona Terry, 75, Sparks

Tifton Grapevine
e-published every Tuesday and Friday

Frank Sayles Jr.
Editor & Publisher
Bonnie Sayles
Managing Editor
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