Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021
Tifton, Georgia
"There was something about Cooney that made me love him just from his picture. ... It’s our responsibility in this world to help and look out for others when things get tough."
Caroline Sullivan
Tifton Grapevine
When Caroline Sullivan of Tifton read a Facebook post with a photo on Friday, she didn’t know her life was about to change.

“I was not looking for another dog!” She said.

The photo showed a sad dog, found abandoned Wednesday night at the Tifton dog park, looking lost at the Tift County Animal Shelter.

In the comments under the photo was the Tifton Grapevine story about the dog "Cooney" from the Oct. 1 Weekender edition.

After reading the Grapevine article, Sullivan said adopting Cooney was a must.

“I knew that no matter what it took, he was coming home with me.”

Sullivan, an ABAC junior studying biology and health science, lives with her parents. Her mother, Renee Sullivan, an art teacher at Len Lastinger Elementary School, was not convinced when her daughter told her she was going to rescue a dog.

“However, when I shared Cooney’s story with her, and how much his story impacted me, she started tearing up and gave in,” her daughter recalled. “He wasn’t just any other dog; he was truly something special in my eyes.”

Bonnie and Frank Sayles, the managing editor and publisher, respectively, of the Tifton Grapevine, found Cooney by himself in the dog park at 9 p.m. Wednesday. A tote bag full of dog food, dishes, collars, and leashes was left inside the gate. A note inside the bag read that the dog’s owner was moving, couldn't keep him and hoped that someone would find him a home.

"This was a last resort. We figured someone would be by in the morning," the note read. "He’s a great dog. I wish I could have done him better. ... Take good care of him."

The note, on a torn piece of lined paper, noted that he was an “indoor dog” and needed to be fed twice a day. 

Cooney was the Tifton Grapevine's "Dog of the Week" in the Oct. 1 edition, with a published account of how he was found. When pictures of Cooney and his story were posted on Facebook, interest took off. The original story was shared online, and a video of Bonnie Sayles reading the note had hundreds of online views. A follow-up photo of Cooney at the Tift County Animal Shelter received many comments, likes, and more shares.

Sullivan is an ABAC Ambassador and serves as secretary for the Ambassador Board. Many Tifton residents know her as a babysitter for Mallory Ward of Mallory Ward School of Dance, watching Ward’s daughters Kayleigh and Raylin. When Sullivan graduates from ABAC, she plans to attend graduate school to be a physical therapist. 

But for now, after reading Cooney’s story in the Tifton Grapevine Friday morning, all she could think of was that forlorn dog at the shelter.

“I knew that I wasn’t going to sleep that night without him. There was something about Cooney that made me love him just from his picture,” Sullivan said.

As soon as her class was over, Sullivan headed to the shelter Friday, which opened at 1 p.m. “I sat with Cooney for two hours,” she said. “At first, he was terrified. He knew he didn’t belong there. But after a few minutes, he was coming up to me and licking my face.”
After she completed the adoption process, the shelter staff kept Cooney for his veterinary appointments. Then, they gave Sullivan the tote bag with all of Cooney’s items, including the note from his previous owner.

“When I got in my car, I read the note and started to cry,” Sullivan recalled. “Cooney was absolutely loved and deserved to keep on being loved.”

She brought Cooney home from the veterinarian appointment Monday afternoon.

“As soon as I let him off the leash, the scared little Cooney vanished,” Sullivan said. “He was chasing toys, playing with Olive, my French bulldog. But the one thing I noticed is that during all this Cooney would stop and make sure I was still there.”

Sullivan said she thinks Cooney’s story is an amazing eye-opening lesson for everyone in today’s society.

Cooney was loved, no question about that. His previous owner loved him and needed help carrying on with his happiness. I felt like saving Cooney, not only saved him, but saved the owner as well. It’s our responsibility in this world to help and look out for others when things get tough, and that’s how I looked at this story.”
Tifton Grapevine
Tift County reported five COVID-19 deaths in the past week with 28 new confirmed cases of the virus, according to data released Tuesday by the Ga. Department of Public Health (DPH).

Cases have continued to decline slightly in Tift County. In the past two weeks, Tift has seen 62 confirmed cases, representing 152 per 100,000, the DPH said. When rapid Antigen test results are added, Tift had 126 total cases during the period, representing 309 per 100,000.

Tift's testing positivity rate is 9% in the past two weeks, down from 11% in the previous period. The county has a total of 4,791 confirmed cases with 124 related deaths, the DPH said.

The state has recorded a total of 1,234,381 confirmed cases with 22,920 deaths, the DPH reported. During the 24 hours between Monday and Tuesday, Georgia reported 2.066 new confirmed cases of the virus with 136 related deaths, and 259 new hospitalizations, the DPH said.

According to the DPH, Tift County has a 38% fully vaccinated rate. Statewide, 48% of eligible Georgians have been fully vaccinated.
While the pandemic had a significant effect on the regional economy, Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College still had a $390,015,778 economic impact on South Georgia during the 2020 fiscal year, according to a new report.

The estimated impact was the lowest since the 2016 fiscal year, a result of COVID-19 hitting the area economy hard. During 2019, ABAC's economic impact was a record $584,544,166, according to last year's report by the University System of Georgia (USG).

The college's economic impact was $499,403,672 in 2018, $529,838,507 in 2017, and $369,874,664 in fiscal year 2016.

Dr. Renata Elad, dean of ABAC's Stafford School of Business at ABAC, analyzed the ABAC numbers from the annual USG report which showed the state system had an $18.6 billion statewide economic impact in fiscal year 2020.

“With strong support from the state and significant planning from our campuses, USG’s economic impact on local communities across Georgia held steady despite a challenging year,” Acting Chancellor Teresa MacCartney said.

The annual study is conducted on behalf of the Board of Regents by Dr. Jeffrey M. Humphreys, director of the Selig Center for Economic Growth in the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business.

The study area for ABAC’s impact included the counties of Tift, Worth, Cook, Colquitt, Ben Hill, Irwin, Turner, Decatur, Seminole, Miller, Grady, Early, Thomas, Mitchell, and Baker.

“ABAC provides enormous social and economic benefits to the region in a variety of ways,” Elad said, such as through spending on personnel services, operating expenses and capital outlay, and spending by students and visitors, both on and off campus.

“ABAC had a tremendous impact on jobs in the community,” Elad said. “That includes 473 jobs on campus and 803 jobs off campus for a total of 1,276 jobs in South Georgia.”
The American Red Cross has scheduled local blood donation opportunities to aid with the current national blood shortage.

The national Red Cross blood inventory is the lowest it has been at this time of year since 2015, with less than one day's supply of certain blood types in recent weeks, the Red Cross said in a press release. The supply of types O positive and O negative blood, the most needed blood types by hospitals, dropped to less than a half-day supply at times during the past month − well below the ideal five-day supply.

Donors of all blood types — especially type O — are asked to make an appointment to give blood now and in the weeks ahead to help address the current emergency, the Red Cross said. As COVID-19 cases spiked in August, blood donor participation declined by about 10%, but blood distributions to hospitals have remained strong, significantly outpacing blood donations in recent weeks.

"Fall is typically a time when the blood supply rebounds as donors are more available to give than during the busy summer months, but this year has presented a unique and serious challenge," said Dr. Pampee Young, Red Cross chief medical officer.

Upcoming local Red Cross blood donation opportunities include:

TIFTON: Oct. 8 – 11 a.m.-4 p.m., Southwell West Campus, 2227 Highway 41 North;
Oct. 11 – 3-7 p.m., Northside Baptist Church of Tifton, 4605 Murray Ave.

FITZGERALD: Oct. 11 – 1-6 p.m., First Baptist Church, 402 S. Merrimac Drive.

While not part of the Red Cross donation system, another blood drive is scheduled from 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Oct. 13 at the Cato Knight parking lot in downtown Tifton hosted by the Tifton-Tift County Chamber of Commerce along with the OneBlood organization, which is affiliated with blood banks.
Tifton Grapevine
Former Tift County High Blue Devil star Rashod Bateman, the Baltimore Ravens' first-round draft pick this year, may finally make his National Football League debut Monday night against the Indianapolis Colts.

Bateman, a highly touted wide receiver, began the football season on the injured reserve list after undergoing surgery Aug. 13 for a groin injury suffered in training camp.

He returned to practice last week, and Ravens Coach John Harbaugh told The Baltimore Sun on Monday that Bateman may see action when the 3-1 Ravens host the 1-3 Colts on Monday Night Football in the fifth game of the season.

Bateman, at 6’2" and 210 pounds, is said to move like his old self in practice.
2012 Pineview Ave. Tifton, Ga 31793
At the recent ceremony for the truck-driving apprenticeship agreement, are, from left, David Fant, Orgill human resources manager; Amy Carter, SRTC’s special assistant to the president; Antonio Yates, commercial truck driving graduate; Dr. Ron O’Meara, SRTC vice president for academic affairs; Kerrie Wilson, SRTC CDL program chair; Tara Rakestraw, SRTC dean for academic affairs school of professional services; and Jim Glass, SRTC president.
Southern Regional Technical College (SRTC) recently made history when Commercial Truck Driving (CDL) graduate Antonio Yates, Orgill​ Inc.’s Human Resources Manager David Fant, and SRTC President Jim Glass signed Georgia’s first Commercial Truck Driving Apprenticeship Agreement. 

The apprenticeship will allow CDL graduates to begin working with trucking companies such as Orgill directly out of school. Typically, new drivers must work as an over-the-road driver before they meet the experience requirements for local employment. SRTC's CDL apprenticeship partnership with Orgill allowed Yates to go directly to work in the community, make a good salary, and to be home at night while he earns experience.

For trucking companies, this kind of apprenticeship can help them bridge the driver shortage gap and hire talented drivers earlier in their careers. According to the American Trucking Association, 70% of the nation’s freight is carried by commercial trucks. Demand is projected to increase but driver shortages could disrupt the supply chain. 

According to a recent estimate, the trucking industry needs an additional 60,800 truck drivers immediately — a deficit expected to grow to more than 160,000 by 2028. In fact, when anticipated driver retirement numbers are combined with the expected growth in capacity, the trucking industry will need to hire roughly 1.1 million new drivers in the next decade.

CDL Program Chair Kerrie Wilson said that SRTC is graduating an average of 90 new drivers each year, and that the apprenticeship program will ensure that more of SRTC’s graduates will be able to begin their careers locally.

“This groundbreaking partnership is a win-win-win for everyone involved, and we are thrilled that this first apprenticeship partnership with Orgill Inc. will not be the last,” Wilson said.
Several area school districts are among those statewide receiving funding from the Ga. Department of Education's Office of Rural Education & Innovation to expand internet connectivity, promote workforce development, support development of literacy/foundational skills, and combat nonacademic barriers to learning
“We are committed to supporting rural schools and districts and closing the opportunity gaps that often affect students in rural areas," said State School Superintendent Richard Woods. “These projects ... are a strong first step toward the goal of renewing rural Georgia and ensuring every child, in every part of the state, has access to opportunities that will prepare them for a bright future."

The State Board of Education has approved Woods' recommendations in:

Connectivity – awarding a total of $1,720,000 to 43 school districts to help them fully utilize the expanded bandwidth being provided to each school district in the state.

Workforce DevelopmentFifty-seven school districts will receive grants to outfit middle- and high-school CTAE labs, totaling $4,931,061; among them are Berrien ($99,380), Cook ($100,000), and Irwin County Schools ($100,00).

Foundational Skills & Literacy – A total of $18,298,488 will be awarded to 22 school districts to support the implementation of districtwide literacy plans, including $874,677 to Worth County Schools.

Nonacademic Barriers to LearningFour school districts in the state, including Fitzgerald-Ben Hill County Schools, will receive $10,000 grants to help develop school-based health clinics. Emory University will provide technical assistance, expertise, and structured planning workshops to the school districts during the process.
After getting ice cream downtown Tuesday, local children Claire Henderson, 10, and Avery Henderson, 7, check out the scarecrow sponsored by The Fine Art of Skincare by Gina Johnson, one of 21 "scarecrows" in Downtown Tifton. 
The Downtown Development Authority of Tifton and the Tifton Main Street program are hosting a Scarecrow Competition in October to “scare up fall and get in the harvest spirit.”

Light poles in downtown Tifton have been decorated with scarecrows by businesses, clubs, and organizations, and voting for favorites on Facebook has begun.

The scarecrows were mounted Oct. 4 and will stay in place through Oct. 31. Photos of all the scarecrows are posted on the Downtown Tifton Facebook page, in an album entitled “Scarecrows on Main 2021,” where readers may vote through their “likes” on the most creative scarecrows.

Voting started Tuesday, Oct. 5, and will continue through Oct. 29. Winners will be announced on the Tifton Gardens stage at 6:30 p.m. during the First Friday event, Nov. 5

This year’s 21 scarecrows are sponsored by: Bula’s Antiques, Called to Care, Celebrate Recovery, Centers for Pain Management, City of Tifton, City Optical, Coastal Plain CASA, The Fine Art of Skincare by Gina Johnson, Gary Kincaid’s Insurance, Georgia Pecan Growers Association, J&J Weightroom, Literacy Volunteers of Tifton-Tift County, Mallory Ward School of Dance, Merle Norman Cosmetics, Quality Employment Service, Savannah & Co. Salon, Simply Stated Boutique & Interiors, Southern Pickers, Tifton-Tift County Public Library, Waffle House, and The Zone Collectibles & More.
In recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, public health officials are providing education on the importance of breast cancer screenings, early detection, and healthy living. 

Breast cancer remains the second-leading cause of cancer deaths in U.S. women; estimates are that 284,200 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed with nearly 44,130 deaths this year.
Breast cancer accounts for 30% of all new cancer cases among Georgia women, according to the Ga. Department of Public Health's South Health District. Through the district’s Breast and Cervical Cancer Program, Georgia women, uninsured or underinsured and low-income, and who are 40-64 years old can get clinical breast exams, pelvic examinations, pap smears (if needed), and mammogram referrals.
“We want the women within our district to know that this program is here and ready to serve them,” said Missy Pollock, women’s health coordinator. “Early detection can save lives, and this program allows all women, no matter their income level or insurance coverage, to have access to these critical services.”

As with many types of cancer, medical experts do not know exactly what causes breast cancer, but they know that early detection and healthy living can offer some protection.

For more information, visit www.southhealthdistrict.com
Mobile Communications America, a leading provider of wireless communication solutions for workplaces, has acquired CooperCraft Communications Inc., a provider of security solutions, network cabling infrastructures, and integrated communication systems headquartered in Tifton.

Georgia has been named the “Top State for Doing Business” for the eighth consecutive year by Area Development magazine. “Thanks to our nation-leading workforce development efforts, resilient job creators, and strong pro-business environment, Georgia is emerging from the global pandemic with unprecedented economic momentum," Gov. Brian P. Kemp said when making the announcement.

Tift Regional Medical Center (TRMC) recently earned three awards from the American Heart Association: Get With The Guidelines-Heart Failure Gold Plus, Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Gold Plus, and Target: Type 2 Diabetes Honor Roll Achievement. To earn the awards, TRMC had to meet quality goals related to diagnosis and treatment of heart-failure patients, quality care for stroke patients by following treatment guidelines and providing education, and quality measures of the “Overall Diabetes Cardiovascular Initiative Composite Score.” The "Get With The Guidelines" systems assist healthcare workers in providing up-to-date, research-based treatments.
"Daisy," a female kitty, is ready for a good home. To adopt "Daisy" and to see other pets available for adoption, visit the Tift County 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
– OCT. 9, 1930
Tifton's 20th Century Library Club fulfilled a dream of a quarter century when it bought a home on Oct. 9, 1930. The club purchased the J.J.L. Phillips house at North Central Avenue and 12th Street to be used as Tifton's library. A committee of Mrs. N. Peterson, Mrs. C.R. Dyer, Mrs. I.C. Touchstone, and Mrs. D.M. Braswell had been working on the project for years.
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Tifton Grapevine
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Frank Sayles Jr.
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Bonnie Sayles
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