Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019
Tifton, Georgia
On a 5-1 vote Tuesday night, the Tifton Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) approved a controversial plan to raze the Town Terrace Motel  (also known as the "Pink Motel") on  12th Street to allow a   "pocket neighborhood"   of  upscale townhomes  on the site.

John and Michael Bowen   of  31 North Real Estate Investors   of  Tifton   said they have a  pending contract   to  purchase   the  0.74-acre   site. They plan to develop  21   upscale  micro-townhomes , all  two-story, 960 square-foot units . The "pocket neighborhood" will include a  community social space   along with a  pedestrian-only central courtyard .

The  HPC  said its  guidelines  require formal  documentation  of the  cost  and  feasibility  of  rehabilitating  an  existing historic property  before it can be  demolished . The HPC  tabled  the matter last month until the  November  meeting in order to receive the information.

John Bowen  has said that saving the  "Pink Motel,"  "would  require new   walls, new wiring " and  essentially   rebuilding  the structures. "It's  not economically viable ," he said.

Built in the 1940s , the Town Terrace was originally known as Van Gundy’s Motor Court , owned and operated by Violet Van Gundy and her brother Jack . Mrs. Van Gundy , who died in 2010 , played “Baby Violet” on the  "Our Gang" ("Little Rascals") comedies.

Before Interstate 75 was constructed , the motel attracted many travelers heading to and from Florida . Among the guests during the Pink Motel's early days were the mobster Al Capone , heavyweight boxing champion Jack Dempsey and Clayton Moore "The Lone Ranger" – along with his horse, Silver .
In the only contested race Tuesday for Tifton City Council , newcomer M. Jay Hall defeated incumbent Councilman Frank Sayles Jr. to capture the District 4 seat.

Hall received 149 votes to Sayles's 91 , a 58-vote margin.

"I want to thank Frank Sayles for running a good, clean race . I want to thank my supporters ," Hall said. "I'm really excited that I won the campaign . I want to let Tifton know that I'm ready to work hard for Tifton and for District 4 ." 

Sayles , who is completing his first term on City Council , said: "It's good to see young people get involved in government , but obviously , I would have liked to continue for one more term to complete some projects we have underway . I wish to thank the residents of District 4 for giving me the privilege of representing them for the past four years and for allowing me to help our city move forward ."

Mayor Julie Smith and District 2 Councilman Jack Folk ran unopposed for re-election . The new council will be sworn into office in January .
Two brothers are charged in connection with several recent burglaries and auto thefts in Tift County , according to the Tift County Sheriff's Office .

Paris Mims , 20, is charged with two counts of theft by taking motor vehicle , one count of burglary second degree , one count of possession of a f irearm during the commission of a crime and one count of obstruction of an officer .

His brother, Robtavious Tuff , 18, is charged with three counts of burglary second degree , three counts of entering auto , four counts of theft by taking motor vehicle , one count of obstruction of an officer and one count of possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime.
In recent weeks, Tift County Investigators have been looking into complaints of burglaries, auto break-ins and thefts in the Highway 125 South area. A search warrant on Friday led to the arrests . The Sheriff's Office said the charges stem from six separate incidents and that additional warrants may follow.

Sheriff Gene Scarborough reminds residents to safeguard their home and vehicles by locking their doors and keeping an eye out for any suspicious activity . Anyone with additional information regarding these or any other thefts is asked to contact the Tift County Sheriff’s Office. 
More than 25 volunteers gathered Saturday to plant native flowers, shrubs, vines and grasses in Fulwood Park .

Tiftarea members of the Coastal Plain Chapter of the Georgia Native Plant Society teamed up with the City of Tifton to plan and create a habitat for butterflies, bees, moths and other pollinators along the perimeter of the dog park .
Landscape architect and UGA Associate Professor Katherine Melcher designed the garden area, choosing plants that bloom in three seasons and serve as hosts to several pollinator species, including the Monarch Butterfly . Among the 27 plants installed are aquatic milkweed, swamp milkweed, purple coneflower, black-eyed susan, bee balm , native wisteria, pipevine and coral honeysuckle . The city provided funds for the plants through a grant . In addition, native azaleas were donated by Ernest Koone of Pine Mountain.

The city provided compost from wastewater effluent to enrich the flower beds and also provided mulch to conserve water and prevent weeds. 

Volunteers from Keep Tift Beautiful , the KTB Community Garden , the Tifton Tree Board , ESG employees as well as ABAC and UGA Tifton campus students and faculty helped with the planting

Many volunteers received credit for volunteer hours needed to complete the State Botanical Garden’s Certificate in Native Plants program being offered through UGA Tifton in 2019 and 2020 .

The garden will be registered with the State Botanical Garden ’s “Connect to Protect” program , which combines public displays of native plants with educational materials to explain the role that native plants play in maintaining biodiversity in urban and suburban landscapes.

The animal food chain begins with insects that feed on native plants ; insects play a crucial role in food production , pollinating two-thirds of the world’s crops .
Sarah Herring , residence life coordinator for leadership development, recently received a $6,000 grant to expand the food pantry at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College .  

The grant is being used to help Herring double the space of the clothing closet and food pantry and to purchase items such as shelves, collection bins and storage items. 
Herring said the food pantry and clothing closet were designed to provide food and professional clothing for students in need . With the expansion, Herring hopes to have storage space to bring more items such as towels, pillows, curtains, school supplies, toiletries, and cookware to ABAC students. Many of these items are donated to other organizations, such as Goodwill , once students move out of their ABAC living spaces. Herring’s goal is for these items to be donated to the closet so they can be utilized by other students in need.

Herring will be using a portion of the grant to increase by 400 square feet the size of the community garden that is also sponsored by the Residence Hall Association. She plans to purchase a refrigerator to preserve fresh produce and other food items which will be utilized alongside a recently donated freezer.

The grant was provided by a program called “Embark,” hosted by the JW Fanning Institute for Leadership Development .
From left: Matt Coley; Glenn Willis, CEO & president of
South Georgia Banking Co.; and Noel Williams.
South Georgia Banking Co. has announced the additions of Matt Coley and Noel Williams as members of the bank’s board of directors .

Coley , a fourth generation farmer, agribusiness owner and Vienna native , holds bachelor and master's degrees in agricultural economics from the University of Georgia . He has worked for former U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss , R-Ga., as a staffer for the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. He later returned to Vienna to join his family’s agribusiness and farming operation, consisting of 3,500 acres of cotton and 400 acres of peanuts.

Williams , a Cordele native and UGA graduate, is a principal with Partners Benefit Group , an insurance agency headquartered in South Georgia . Williams is also a newly elected member of Georgia’s House of Representatives , representing Crisp, Pulaski, Wilcox and portions of Houston County . Named Freshman Legislator of the Year in June by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce , he serves on the House insurance committee, retirement committee and natural resources committee.
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at 278 Ga. Highway 125 South in Tifton.
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