SEPT. 21, 2018
Tifton, Georgia


Tifton Grapevine

Eleven students were involved in a fight Thursday morning at Tift County High School, resulting in seven arrests and causing the school to be on lockdown for three hours while authorities ensured they had in custody everyone involved, the school system says.

And the situation was ultimately "turned into a positive" as some students who continued working during the lockdown were recognized and rewarded with gift cards from local businesses, said Stacey Beckham, chief communications officer for the Tift County School
TCHS students 'doing right thing' Monday during lockdown.

No students were injured during the incident, and no guns or weapons were involved, Beckham said. Students involved face disciplinary action "up to and including permanent expulsion," the spokesman said.

The fight began in a hallway just as school began Thursday morning and "apparently stems from an altercation or incident over the weekend that spilled into the school," Beckham said.

"Our first response is getting everybody safe and figuring out what's going on," she said. That is why a "Code Red" lockdown was initiated. Beckham said the lockdown kept students in place, making it easier to locate individuals as authorities reviewed video cameras to ascertain which students were involved.
Students use lockdown to study.

"It wasn't that we were worried about anyone being hurt or anything," she said. Instead, the lockdown allowed  authorities to "go and pull those students (involved) quickly. ... The safest thing is knowing where everybody is."

Beckham noted that there are more than 2,000 students at TCHS, and there were just 11 "who did something really stupid; there are a whole lot more who did the right thing." 

To recognize the students who continued working independently during the lockdown, Principal Kim Seigler allowed students to take out their cell phones just during the lockdown and submit photos of how they spent the time doing school work.

For the best photos submitted, the school said it will present gift cards good at local restaurants. More than 150 pictures were coming in, Beckham said, and local businesses were offering gift cards throughout the afternoon.

"We have so many more students who are great and do the right thing," Beckham said.


Georgia's high school graduation rate increased again in 2018, rising to 81.6 percent from 80.6 percent in 2017, according to data released Wednesday by the Ga. Department of Education.

Tift County High School's graduation rate was listed at 85.3 percent -- above the statewide average.

The Georgia graduation rate is the highest recorded since the state began using the calculation now required by federal law. Seventy-four Georgia school districts recorded 2018 graduation rates at or above 90 percent, including Turner County High at 93.8 percent and Irwin County High at 92 percent.

"Georgia's graduation rate continues to rise because our public-school students have access to more opportunities than ever before," said state School Superintendent Richard Woods

"From Career, Technical and Agricultural Education to dual enrollment to the fine arts, there is an unprecedented emphasis on supporting the whole child and making sure every single student understands the relevance of what they're learning."

Georgia calculates a four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate as required by federal law. This rate is the  number of students who graduate in four years with a regular high school diploma divided by the  number of students who form the adjusted cohort for the graduating class. 

From the beginning of ninth grade, students who are entering that grade for the first time form a cohort that is subsequently "adjusted" by adding any students who transfer into the cohort during the next three years, and subtracting any students who transfer out.

While all states use the same calculation, each state sets its own requirements for students to earn a regular high school diploma. Georgia has some of the highest requirements in the nation for students to graduate with a regular diploma.

Other area graduation rates include: Worth County High, 79.8 percent; Cook High, 89.9 percent; Berrien County High, 84.5 percent; and Fitzgerald High, 79.8 percent.

Tift County High School graduate and Las Vegas Congresswoman Dina Titus is facing a crowded field of candidates in her re-election bid in Nevada this fall.

Since 2013, Titus, a Democrat, has represented Nevada's 1st Congressional District , which includes the Las Vegas Strip, and represented its 3rd District in Congress from 2009-2011. The congresswoman is facing  Republican Joyce Bentley, Independent American Party candidate Dan Garfield and Robert Strawder of the Libertarian Party on the November ballot.

Titus grew up in Tifton. Her parents were Joe and Betty Titus, who once ran a motor court in Tifton. The former Tift County High cheerleader has a bachelor's degree from the College of William and Mary, a master's degree from the University of Georgia and a doctorate from Florida State University.

The congresswoman taught government classes from 1979-2011 at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where she is a professor emeritus.

Called "The Most Fun You & Your Dog Can Have In A Day," the annual "Bark in the Park" festival is Saturday, Sept. 22, in Sylvester.

This festival, a celebration of companion animals, is an all-day affair at Jeffords Park on the corner of Highways 82 and 33.

The day begins with a 10K "Ram Run," with registration at 6:45 a.m. and the run starting at 8 a.m. Other festivities  begin at 9 a.m. and end at 4 p.m.

Canines can expect a Healthy Pet Station, Dog Parade, Doggie Games, The Dog Dash, Paw-d-cures, a chance to show their artistic talents and the coveted Top Dog Award.

Humans can expect a Mega Adoption, The Dog House, kiddie games, a Hot Dog Eating Contest, food vendors, and a live auction.

Crafts and items will be on display for both pets and people.

This event is hosted by the Best Friends Humane Society of Worth County. For information, call 229-777-7774 or 229-272-6200.


Trucks and tractors of all shapes and sizes will rev their engines and roar down the track Oct. 4-6 at the AET Truck and Tractor Pull sponsored by the Agricultural Engineering Technology Club at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College

During the event, trucks and tractors pull a weighted sled down a dirt track. The weight moves toward the front of the sled as the vehicle pulls it down the track, making it more difficult to pull. Trucks and tractors are divided into weight classes. ABAC has had two pulling tractors, Altered Allis and Cracker Jack.

On Oct. 4, ABAC students and the community may participate in amateur night beginning at 7 p.m.  On Oct. 5-6, the Southern Pullers Association features professional pullers. On Oct. 5, gates open at 6 p.m., and pulling starts at 7 p.m.  On Oct. 6, the gates open at 5 p.m., and pulling starts at 6 p.m. There is an admission fee.

For information, contact AET club advisors Ray Lundy at or Todd Hicks at


Classic jazz tunes featuring the trumpet of Dr. Thomas Heflin will highlight the First Tuesday Concert on Oct. 2 at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.

Back for its 17th season, the First Tuesday Concert Series features regional professional artists in five concerts on selected first Tuesdays of the month in the Chapel of All Faiths on the ABAC campus.  All the concerts begin at 7 p.m. There is no admission cost."

Heflin, a former ABAC jazz studies professor, will perform with his band members from Atlanta: Mason Margut will be on piano, Tommy Sauter on bass, Dave Potter on drums, and Heflin on trumpet.

Their repertoire includes original arrangements of classic and contemporary jazz tunes.

Other performances in the First Tuesday series include "Music Teachers Rock," Nov. 6; "Reed Eloquence," Feb. 5; "A Clarinetist, a Pianist, and a Singer," March 5; and "A Broadway Kind of Mood," April 2.

"A Christmas to Treasure" will be a special First Tuesday Concert on Dec. 4 at the Tift Theatre for the Performing Arts in downtown Tifton.


The  Tiftarea YMCA
 is seeking feedback about  the programs and services  offered 
at and through our local Y. 

The  survey takes less than  5 minutes and your perspective really matters; 
 the Y is asking for  input from everyone in the community
members and non-members!   

All responses are confidential no names are collected,
 and the survey analysis is being handled by a third party.    

Please take a few minutes to answer 12 short questions 


Darian Peavy, CEO of the Tiftarea YMCA, spoke at Thursday's Tifton-Tift County Chamber of Commerce membership meeting about the impact his organization has on the community and the services it provides.

The YMCA recently finished a successful summer feeding program, and he credited partnerships with the Tift County School System, the Tifton Housing Authority and area churches in that effort. 

He also discussed the YMCA's after-school program, the Y Christmas program which provides gifts for underprivileged children, and other ways the YMCA supports the community. 

Sports and Program Director Jason Bishoff also talked about the youth recreation programs offered through the YMCA and its summer camp

Nearly 90 attendees were on hand for Thursday's meeting at the Georgia Museum of Agriculture, which was sponsored by Rehabilitation Services of South Georgia.

A chance to show off and sell your creations. 
PLUS the opportunity to win a significant CASH PRIZE!!! 
$1,500 in prizes will be awarded.


Tift County Schools' Chief Technology and Information Officer Jonathan Judy, pictured at left, was recently awarded a 3-D printer by Carlos and Lashawne Graham, owners of Tifton's The Thrift Shop.

The Grahams decided to donate multiple devices to educators in the area.

"We have already deployed the 3-D printer at one of our K-5th STEM Labs, and it will rotate through the district to be used by as many students as possible," said Judy. "We thank the Grahams and The Thrift Shop for their support of Tift County Schools."


Pulling from the Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College archives, members of the Baldwin Players theatre troupe are set to take the stage in the same roles as students did in 1933 during an upcoming fall production of the classic comedy "Stop Thief." 

Written by Carlyle Moore in 1911, "Stop Thief" was the first play performed by the Baldwin Players on Dec. 15, 1933. Directed by George "Pete" Donaldson, who later became the college's president, this performance is a tribute to the 85-year history of the Baldwin Players. Dr. Brian Ray directs the production.

This fast-paced farce will be in Howard Auditorium at 7 p.m. Oct. 4-6.

With 12 actors, the story focuses on a wealthy family preparing to celebrate a daughter's wedding. As guests start to arrive, a new maid shows up and the very expensive wedding presents go missing. Apparently, a thief has gotten into the house, leading to chaos, confusion, mistaken identities, misplaced treasures and a police investigation.
Combine all these factors with the pressure of an impending wedding, and you have a hilarious look at how the upper class in early 20th century America lived.


Bonnie Sayles, executive  director of Literacy Volunteers of Tifton-Tift County, told the Tifton Rotary Club on Wednesday about the literacy organization's work with aiding adults in improving reading and math skills and obtaining GED's. 

"What I do is recruit volunteers, train them and match them with clients who need our services," she said. 

The local nonprofit is a member of the statewide Certified Literate Community Program and the global ProLiteracy organization. It supports the Adult Education program at Southern Regional Technical College by providing tutors to students who need help and forwarding dictionaries donated by the Tifton Elks Lodge. 

Sayles read from a proclamation signed by Tifton Mayor Julie Smith naming next week, Sept. 23-29, Adult Education and Family Literacy week, and Thursday, Sept. 27, as Literacy Day in Tifton

"Illiteracy rates are highest among the economically disadvantaged and are closely associated with unemployment, high crime rates and welfare dependency." The percentage of residents in Tift County with no high school diplomas or GED has dropped from 33 percent in 1999 to 20 percent in 2017

One person volunteered to tutor after the meeting.


The local  "SELF" organization --  "Seniors Enjoying Life Forever" -- will hold its  monthly dance today,  Friday, Sept. 21.

Doors open at  6 p.m. at Tifton's  Leroy Rogers Senior Center on Second Street. All participants are asked to bring a  dish of food to share. Dinner is at 7 p.m., and dancing begins at 8 p.m.

For information, contact


Several local organizations and businesses have joined forces for a "Countywide Fall Clean Up," scheduled 8 a.m.-noon on Saturday, Sept. 29.

Volunteers will gather at Beulah Hill Baptist Church, 512 W. 23rd St., beginning at 8 a.m. that day.
Along with roadside cleanup, the cleanup group will accept unwanted items from yards and will pick up items that folks are unable to bring. No hazardous waste will be picked up.

The organizations involved include Beulah Hill Baptist Church, Melissa Hughes' "One Street at a Time," Keep Tift Beautiful, Concrete Enterprises and S&S Specialty Contracting.

For information, call Melissa Hughes at 229-326-0241; Houston Shultz, 229-848-2627; or Cindy Mathis, 229-445-1348.

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         . a Glance

  • Constitution Day Ceremony2 p.m., Chapel of All Faiths, ABAC, Tifton
  • SELF Senior Dance, dinner 7 p.m., dancing 8 p.m., Leroy Rogers Senior Center, Tifton
  • Tiftarea Academy Football  Panthers @ Loganville Christian Academy
    Lions Loganville

SATURDAY, SEPT. 22 (Autumn Begins)
  • Bark in the Park festival, 10K Ram Run, 8 a.m.; festival opening, 9 a.m., Jeffords Park, Sylvester
  • Last Chance Livestock Show, 8 a.m., Tift County Ag Center, Tifton
  • Volunteer Information Session, 10 a.m., Peanut Museum, Ga. Museum of Agriculture, Tifton
  • Pokemon Community Day, 2 p.m., Ga. Museum of Agriculture & Historic Village, Tifton

  • Sunday Funday Foster Families Celebration, Noon-3 p.m., Main Stage. Fulwood Park, Tifton

In Memoriam

SEPT. 13
Charles Y. Massey, 92, Tifton
Patricia "Pat" A. Pitts Hendricks, 78, Tifton
Alma Connell Sirmans, 93, Ashburn
Edward Matthews, Ashburn
The Rev. Willie Leroy "Billy" Roberts, 78, Alapaha
Lewey Edward Westberry, 83, Nashville
Marie Grimsley Bridwell, 77, Fitzgerald

SEPT. 14
Valaree B. Hobby, 95, Sylvester
Neomia Harper, 91, Ocilla
Helen Cook Burdette, 77, Nashville

SEPT. 15
Patricia Jean "Pat" Chambless Walker, 67,
and Edgar "Wayne" Walker Sr., 64, Adel
Terry W. Rogers, 62, Hahira
Arlie L. Smith, 81, Adel
Lorena Daniels Bryant, 101, Ocilla
Bobie Lee Johnson, 86, Ashburn

SEPT. 16
Sybil Johnson, 83, Quitman

SEPT. 17
Donald Lee McPherson, 82, Tifton
Henry L. Strickland Sr., 74, Lakeland

SEPT. 18
Duane "Butch" Edward Holmes Jr., 67, Tifton
Willa Jean Wiley Thomas, Sylvester

SEPT. 19
Christopher Frederick Blalock, 58, Augusta
Roy Justin Garner, 39, Ocilla

SEPT. 20
Peggy Scott Smith, 81, Fitzgerald

1407 Pine Road, Nashville
MLS#  129102

This 1,379-square-foot home has 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, tray ceilings, 
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