A PRAYER FOR OUR FRIENDS
Charleston, S.C., is perhaps the most genteel city in the nation. I spent the greater part of a decade there working as a reporter and an editor at the Charleston newspaper. I came to know Charleston well, along with the surrounding towns and counties.
Several weeks ago, there were national headlines about an unarmed man who was shot in the back and killed while running from a policeman -- which occurred in the city of North Charleston, not Charleston. North Charleston is the rougher, unkempt cousin to adjacent Charleston. One could not imagine such an event happening in respectable Charleston, known by locals as "The Holy City."
By FRANK SAYLES JR.
So it was especially shocking that a mass shooting Wednesday night occurred at an historic black church in Downtown Charleston. Nine people, including the pastor; who was a state senator, were gunned down in cold blood by a young white man during a Bible study meeting.
Charleston Mayor Joe Riley, a man I know and respect, called it a hate crime, and apparently he is correct.
There has been little racial tension in Charleston. I have lived in several states and in several cities around the Southeast, and folks from different races and different backgrounds get along better in Charleston than in many other places.
I was already saddened by this horrific event in my former town when the crime then became personal: I discovered that I know one of the victims. Myra Thompson, who, I'm told, was leading the Bible study Wednesday night, was the wife of the Rev. Anthony Thompson. I had sat with her in tiny St. Stephen's Reformed Episcopal Church in Summerville, S.C., a Charleston suburb, when her husband was pastor there during the 1990s before he took over a larger church in Charleston.
Whenever we were visiting my in-laws in Summerville in those days, we spent Sunday mornings at St. Stephen's Reformed Episcopal Church, which was essentially my wife Bonnie's family's "home" church, even though it was black. My father-in-law, the Rt. Rev. William H.S. Jerdan, spent three decades as the bishop over the Reformed Episcopal Churches in the South, the majority of which were black. St. Stephen's was just a few streets over from his home.
We were always readily welcomed by the black congregation there. Rev. Thompson and his wife were especially gracious. I remember Myra Thompson's sweet smile.
It is ironic that this terrible tragedy occurred on the day that would have been my father-in-law's 100th birthday. Bishop Jerdan had worked diligently and tirelessly for racial acceptance and racial equality throughout the Charleston area during the civil rights struggles of the 1960s and beyond. It is comforting to see that on Thursday afternoon, hundreds of black and white Charlestonians united in grief and in hope for a special memorial service at an AME Church in Charleston.
And on Thursday night, black and white Tiftonites gathered at Dayspring Inspirational Church for a community-wide prayer service for the victims. Undoubtedly, such services are occurring throughout the South and throughout the nation. Although the scourge of racism has not been eradicated from our midst, the majority of Americans of all races do see beyond color toward the content of one's character.
We have come a long way indeed, but this bloody and senseless event in Charleston reminds us that there are still miles to go.
|Candidates Clay Pirkle, from left, Sherry Miley, Horace Hudgins and Scott Downing at Thursday's Tift Chamber of Commerce luncheon.
EARLY VOTING BEGINS JUNE 22
GA HOUSE HOPEFULS MEET
TIFT CHAMBER MEMBERS
The four candidates seeking to fill the
Georgia State House seat
vacated by Rep.
of Ocilla met with members of the Tifton-Tift County Chamber of Commerce during the group's monthly membership luncheon.
Running for the special election in House District 155 are
Scott Downing, Horace Hudgins, Sherry Miley and
Clay Pirkle. The election will be held July 14 with early voting beginning on Monday, June 22. District 155 encompasses northern Tift County and parts of Irwin, Ben Hill and Wilcox counties.
Downing, 44, of Fitzgerald, is a meat processor and former Ben Hill county commissioner. Hudgins, 62, is a Georgia Power Co. manager and former Ocilla mayor. Miley, 58, is a Tifton Realtor and former Tift County commissioner. Pirkle, 47, of Sycamore, is a farmer and businessman.
At Thursday's meeting, they shared their thoughts and philosophies with Chamber members.
TWO LOCAL RESIDENTS WIN BIG IN LOTTERY
In recent weeks, two
Tiftarea residents have won big bucks playing the
Walter Thompson, 48, a Tifton tow truck driver, won $2,000 a week for life in an instant game. He
chose the cash option of $704,386 instead. Thompson bought the winning ticket at the
EZ Mart on U.S. Highway 82 W. in Tifton.
Just days later,
Rosie Lee Harper, 63, of Fitzgerald won a $300,000 top prize playing the instant game Super Loteria. H&R Food Mart on Watson Boulevard in Warner Robins sold the winning ticket
Since its first year, the Georgia Lottery has returned more than $16.2 billion to the state for education. All Georgia Lottery profits go to pay for specific educational programs, including the HOPE Scholarship and Georgia's Pre-K program. More than 1.7 million students have received HOPE, and more than 1.3 million 4-year-olds have attended the statewide, voluntary prekindergarten program.
S.GA. PHOTO EXHIBIT OPENS AT
TIFTON MUSEUM OF ARTS & HERITAGE
South Georgia photographers are the stars of the fifth biennial Photography Exhibit opening today, June 19, at t
he Tifton Museum of Arts and Heritage from 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Professional and amateur photographers are featured in the exhibit that will be on display for three weeks.
Jeannie Rigdon, exhibit chairman, said many regional and local photographers submitted work. Among the topics depicted are nature, animals and pets, people and architecture.
Rebecca Nolan, chairman of the photography division at Savannah College of Art and Design, is the judge for this year's competition. Nolan holds an MFA in visual design and photography from the University of Oregon. She is the recipient of various awards and a frequent presenter at regional photography-related conferences.
Nolan will select the prize winners, and awards totaling $800 will be announced at the opening event. The evening will also feature light refreshments served by the volunteer guild members. Admission is free.
The museum is located in downtown Tifton at 255 Love Ave. Hours are Tuesdays through Fridays, 1- 3 p.m.; Thursdays, 1-7 p.m.; and Sundays, 1-3 p.m.
Artist rendering of ABAC's Lab Sciences Building
GROUNDBEAKING SET THURSDAY FOR ABAC'S $8.5m LAB SCIENCES BUILDING
The groundbreaking for an $8.5-million laboratory sciences building on the north side of the ABAC campus will be at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, June 25, near Conger Hall.
"Biology majors will have access to the most current technology and techniques in these laboratories," said Dr. Johnny Evans, dean of the School of Science and Mathematics at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College. "Upperclassmen will also have access any time of the day or night to complete research projects."
Evans emphasized that the 20,966-square-foot building will be utilized by students across all majors on campus.
ABAC President said the new building would not have been possible without the support of Gov. Nathan Deal, the General Assembly and the Board of Regents.
"Seven million dollars of this project will come from the state through general obligation bonds, and we certainly appreciate that," Bridges said. "The remainder of the project will be funded by the ABAC Foundation, which shows yet again how crucial foundation support is to this institution. The trustees really came through for us in a time when we needed them the most."
Construction is expected to be completed by July 2016 so that ABAC students can use the building in the 2016 fall term. Classes for the 2015 ABAC fall semester begin Aug. 12.
3rd ANNUAL WIREGRASS BIKE TO FARM TOUR ROLLS ON JUNE 27
The Tiftarea Greenways Association is partnering with the Wiregrass Farmers Market and the Tift County Recreation Department for the third annual Wiregrass Bike to Farm Tour on Saturday, June 27.
The family-friendly cycling event is meant to celebrate local agriculture and promote cycling in the community. Participants will ride to up to seven sites of agricultural interest in Tifton and Tift County, where they will get to take tours highlighting some aspect of food production or sustainable agriculture. A light local lunch will be provided at the end.
There will be a 13-mile loop that visits a neighborhood/community garden, an organic watermelon production test plot, a futuristic farmstead featuring the latest in green building technologies and innovative growing techniques, a meat rabbit facility, a quaint farmers market, and the Ga. Peanut Commission. For those riders up to a longer ride, there is a 3-mile additional spur (one way) route that will take cyclists to a large commercial vegetable farm specializing in Southern beans and field peas. Participants will get brief tours of each site before moving on to the next.
The event begins early in the day to avoid summer's heat and traffic. Registration is from 7 to 7:45 a.m. at the Tift County Recreation Department on N. Victory Drive. There will be a mass start of all riders at 8 a.m. Riders will proceed as a group and will finish by noon.
Registration is available at the Recreation Department or online through Active.com. There is a discount for early registration by June 12 for families of two or more. Registration includes an event T-shirt and refresh
ments. Helmets must be worn, and riders are expected to obey traffic laws. There will be a vehicle supporting the riders along the course. The rides follow city and county roads with flat to rolling terrain. There is one crossing of the Interstate on an overpass. Participants must be in good physical shape to complete the ride.
For more information, go to the Facebook event page for the Wiregrass Bike to Farm Tour. You can also call 229-392-5513.
Wonder What's Going On
in the Tiftarea?
...at a Glance
FRIDAY, JUNE 19
- South Georgia Photography Exhibit, 5:30 p.m., Tifton Museum of Arts and Heritage, Tifton
SATURDAY, JUNE 20
- Juneteenth Festival, 9 a.m., Fulwood Park, Tifton
- Downtown Farmers Market, 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Train Depot Platform, Tifton
- Wiregrass Farmers Market, 9 a.m.-noon, Ga. Museum of Agriculture, Tifton
- Miss Georgia Forestry Pageant, 5 p.m., Tift County High PAC, Tifton
SUNDAY, JUNE 21
- HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!
- South Georgia Photography Exhibit, 1-3 p.m., Tifton Museum of Arts and Heritage, Tifton
Ronald Edward Dorman, 65, Tifton
Benjamin Thomas "Tommy" Taylor, 85, Arlington
Mr. James "Wesley" Young, 85, Ocilla
Pearl Thompson Thornhill, 96, Sylvester
Harry Baremore Jr., 75, Hahira
Joseph Eugene Ferrell Dillard, Jacksonville, Fla.
Betty Sarah Harden Jowers, 91, Fitzgerald
Ricky Hendricks Nelson, 51, Ashburn
Lyndia Sue Wright, 56, Byron
Dorothy Faye "Dot" Ray, 88, Nashville
Montyle Hopson Farmer, 78, Mystic
Annie L. Farrie, Ashburn
Kenneth M. Booker, 80, Worth County
Mary Elizabeth "Liz" Taylor, 73, West Berrien
Ret. 1st Sgt. Joe Hatchel, 59, Sycamore
Carmen M. Zubricky, 77,
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