Tuesday, March 12, 2019
Tifton, Georgia
Wild chicken is on this weekend's activity menu as Fitzgerald’s Wild Chicken Festival returns to the historic Ben Hill County city .

The festival annually attracts more than 13,000 people to downtown Fitzgerald .

Celebrating the Burmese chickens that run wild throughout the city, the annual festival kicks off Friday night, March 15 , with a free concert by the New Bushmen from 7-10 p.m. in the White Swan parking lot and hosted by the Fitzgerald Ben Hill Arts

The festival then runs all day Saturday beginning with the Masonic Lodge pancake breakfast at 6 a.m. , the Michael Buras Memorial 5K and One-Mile Fun Run at 8 a.m. , and the Pinewood Derby Race at 9 a.m.

Arts and crafts booths open at 9:30 a.m. , and activities throughout the day include a knife-juggling, fire-eating carnival show , music and dancing , a chicken crowing contest , motorcycle games and chicken shows at the " Poultry Palace ."
In conjunction with the Wild Chicken Festival , the Fitzgerald Ben Hill Arts Council is hosting other events. On Saturday , the council will have a curated artisan market behind the Grand Theatre in the Carnegie Center courtyard .

Artisans with handmade and home-grown goods circle around the park creating a bazaar . This year the market features fresh produce, eggs and fruit
preserves as well as paintings, jewelry, custom decorations, illustrators and photographers, glass work, handmade soaps, lotions, balms, macramé plant hangers and tapestries, hand-crafted greeting cards, wood-turned bowls, children’s décor, leather goods and more.

The market is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. At the same time, the Wild Chicken Soup exhibit will be on display featuring artwork from regional artists inside the Carnegie Center on Lee Street . The exhibit includes 2D and 3D work.
Five individuals and one team will be honored with their induction into the Class of 2019 of the Athletics Hall of Fame on April 5 at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.

ABAC Athletics Director Alan Kramer said the 2019 class includes the 1968-69 men’s basketball team, former softball standout Jenny McCarthy , former tennis star Lisa English , former football player and longtime high school coach Sidney White , former basketball player and college basketball coach Alfred Barney and former baseball player and outstanding high school coach Terry Mixon .

“This group takes us all the way back to the football years of the Georgia State College for Men ,” Kramer said. “From the ABAC tennis courts to the baseball field, it’s a great group of inductees. I look forward to hearing stories from their ABAC playing days.”

English , originally from South Africa , was the National Junior College Athletic Association regional Most Valuable Player in 1995 and 1996 when she played for Kramer’s Golden Fillies . She was an NJCAA All-America selection in 1995 and an International Tennis Association (ITA) All-America selection in 1995 and 1996.

A Canadian , McCarthy was the first international athlete to play softball for the Golden Fillies. She led Coach Donna Campbell’ s team to Georgia Junior College Athletic Association (GJCAA) state fast-pitch titles in 1997 and 1998 , named the GJCAA Most Valuable Player both years. She was named to the All-Region team and the All-Tournament team in 1997 and 1998. In 1998, McCarthy led ABAC to its first District C Championship and its first trip to the National Fastpitch Softball Tournament.

A Pelham native, Barney played basketball for the Golden Stallions in 1975-77. He was named the Most Valuable Player in his sophomore season. He earned a scholarship to Austin Peay State University where he was MVP of the team during his senior year. He also was the head coach at Pelham High School, Tuskegee University and Dekalb College , later renamed Georgia Perimeter . At Georgia Perimeter, he was named NJCAA Region XVII Coach of the Year, Naismith Junior College Coach of the Year and the Atlanta Tipoff Club Coach of the Year. His Georgia Perimeter teams made six appearances in the national tournament, including the Final Four.
Coach Vann Brackin’s 1968-69 Golden Stallions compiled a 25-5 record and won the Southern Conference of the GJCAA with a 12-0 record and were the first intercollegiate athletics team at ABAC with African-American players, Albert Lewis and David Adams . Other team members were Leslie Moore, Ashley DeLoach, Harold Adkins, Julian Deaton, Mark Hall, Jerry Johnston, Odell Pack, Dennis McSwain, Carlos McSwain, Harley Stewart and Buddy Whitley . The team averaged 93 points a game and scored more than 100 points nine times. ABAC set a single game scoring record with a 140-64 win over Jones Junior College on Nov. 20, 1968 .

Originally from Sylvester , White died at the age of 90 in 1999 . He played football for the Georgia State College for Men Rams, one of ABAC's forerunners, who defeated the University of Miami in 1931 and 1932 . In 1931, he scored eight touchdowns against Troy, Fort Benning, Oglethorpe, Florida’s freshman squad and Parris Island. White’s coaching resume includes a stint at Warner Robins , where he led the girls’ basketball team to the state tournament 17 straight years including a state title in 1965, the school’s first state championship in any sport. White also coached in Wrightsville, McRae, Americus and Worth County .

A former Most Valuable Player in baseball and basketball at Suwannee High in Live Oak, Fla., Mixon was a standout for Coach Tom Moody ’s Golden Stallions when he hit .321 in 1975 and .359 in 1976 . He was named All-Conference and All-State in 1976. Mixon led the 1975 Stallions to the state championship . After completing his ABAC career, he transferred to Georgia Southern where he was selected to the All-South Baseball Team and the Coaches Association Team.

Tickets are $40 to the 6 p.m. dinner April 5 in ABAC’s Gressette Gym . For information call 229-391-4930 .
During February , Tift County sheriff's deputies arrested 69 people, some on multiple charges, says Sheriff Gene Scarbrough .

He said there were 17 fraud charges, 34 charges of parole/probation violation, 25 drug charges, 15 failure-to-appear charges, five weapons charges, seven child support cases, six obstruction cases and six non-traffic cases.

Traffic stops conducted by deputies led to six charges of driving under the influence, 12  drug charges, two weapons charges and 17 individuals having a suspended or revoked driver’s license.

The Sheriff's Office responded to 2,804 calls for service, conducted 1,764 business and property checks, 836 mobile home park and subdivision checks with 47 school checks and verified the addresses of 67 registered sex offenders.

Sheriff Scarbrough said deputies served 147 warrants, 93 civil papers and 367       subpoenas. He said deputies completed 409 reports, worked 25 accidents, issued 885 traffic citations, 149 traffic warnings and patrolled 59,553 miles.

The sheriff also reported that deputies provided 60 transports, totaling 190 hours and 6,651 miles.
No shovels lifted dirt on a recent rainy afternoon, but when the fine arts preview at Tift Hall was over, the mission was accomplished – construction on the new Fine Arts Building at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College is underway .

ABAC President David Bridges and Dr. Susan Roe , fine arts department head, both said the 24,000-square-foot building will complete the traditional “Sweetheart Circle” on the campus front.

“This college has always emphasized the arts ,” Bridges said, pointing to a picture of the Frank Park Literary Society at the Second District Agricultural and Mechanical School in 1911 .

Bridges cited examples such as the organization of the South Georgia A&M College Glee Club in 1925 , C.J. Dismukes directing the Georgia State College for Men band in 1932 , and George P. Donaldson directing the Baldwin Players in its first performance in 1933 .

ABAC has always held a special place in its heart for the arts ,” Bridges said. “But there has never been a home for the arts that they could call their own. That’s why we wanted this building on the front of campus. When I was a student here in 1978 , we could hear the band and the chorus practicing on the third floor of Conger Hall .”

Roe , who also directs the choral program and originated the popular First Tuesday Concerts on campus, showed interior renderings of the building.

“The building will have practice space for our orchestra and another space for our choir so they can practice at the same time without drowning each other out,” Roe said. “There will also be individual practice rooms which are acoustically controlled .

“You just don’t know how much I am looking forward to being in this building. It’s like a dream come true for everyone in the music program here at ABAC.”

Construction on the building is scheduled to be completed next spring .
Georgia’s net tax collections for February totaled almost $1.3 billion , for an increase of $67.6 million – or 5.5 percent – compared to February 2018 when net tax collections totaled roughly $1.23 billion , according to the Georgia Department of Revenue.

Year-to-date , net tax collections total $15.37 billion for an increase of $270.5 million – or 1.8 percent – compared to the same period of the previous fiscal year .

Corporate income tax collections for the month totaled $17.3 million , which was an increase of $46.2 million , or 159.9 percent , compared to FY 2018

Motor fuel tax collections increased by $5.4 million , or 3.8 percent , compared to last year.

Motor vehicle tag and title fees increased by nearly $3.2 million , or 8.6 percent , for the month, while Title Ad Valorem Tax (TAVT) collections decreased by $2.6 million , 3.1 percent , from last year’s total of $83.5 million .

I ndividual income tax collections totaled roughly $469.2 million , which was a decrease of $7.4 million or 1.5 percent , the Department of Revenue reported.
Several local prayer leaders are holding a community prayer vigil beginning at 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 13 , on the steps of the Tift County Courthouse in Downtown Tifton .

The vigil is expected to be approximately a half hour , and prayers will be offered for our education system and its leaders , for the City of Tifton and its leaders, for Tift County and its leaders, for the state and nation and their respective leaders.

The community is invited to attend .
Ameris Bank recently made a $200,000 donation to Tift Regional Medical Center through the Georgia HEART program.
“We appreciate Ameris Bank for supporting TRMC and our mission to elevate the health of the community,” said Christopher Dorman , president & CEO of Tift Regional Health System (TRHS).
The Georgia HEART program allows a state tax credit for organizations, individuals and married couples who make a financial contribution to a designated rural hospital .

Pictured from left are William Bowen , community chairman of Ameris Bank and member of the TRHS Board of Directors;  Josh Bowen , Ameris Bank market president; Dorman ; and Kim Wills , TRHS senior vice president and chief financial officer.   

Congressman Austin Scott , R-Tifton, has announced the 2019 Congressional Art Competition. 

All high school students (ninth-12th grade) who reside in or attend school in the Eighth Congressional District may participate. The winning entry from the Eighth District will be displayed in the U.S. Capitol for one year alongside artwork from every congressional district across the country. 
All artwork must be submitted by April 11 at one of the following five drop-off locations:

  • Congressman Scott’s District Office in Tifton: 127-B Central Ave. N., Tifton
  • Howard High School: 6400 Forsyth Road, Macon
  • Scott’s District Office in Warner Robins: 230 Margie Drive, Suite 500, Warner Robins
  • Thomas County Central High: 4685 U.S. Highway 84, Thomasville
  • Lowndes County High School: 1606 Norman Drive, Valdosta
Three award-winning works of art will be selected by a panel of local judges . Scott will announce the winners at an awards ceremony at the  Perry Convention and Visitors Bureau at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 28 .
The first-place art work will be displayed at the U.S. Capitol for an 11-month exhibit beginning in June . The winning student will receive two airline tickets to Washington, D.C. , for the national ceremony and ribbon cutting of the art exhibit. The student will also be eligible to receive a $3,000 per year scholarship to the Savannah College of Art and Design , should they apply and be accepted. 
In addition to community professionals judging the top artwork, Scott will continue the popular “People’s Choice Award.” All submitted entries will be posted on  Scott’s Facebook page , giving constituents the opportunity to choose their favorite .

The “People’s Choice Award” winner’s artwork will be displayed in Scott’s Washington, D.C., office, unless it is the same piece that wins the overall competition, in which case the first-place offerings apply.
Rules and guidelines are on Scott’s website here . For information call 229-396-5175 .
Tifton Grapevine
e-published every Tuesday and Friday

Frank Sayles Jr.
Editor & Publisher
Bonnie Sayles
Managing Editor
A Service of Sayles Unlimited Marketing LLC , Tifton, Georgia