Friday, January 8, 2021
Tifton, Georgia
To ensure a safe start, Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College is moving the opening day of the spring semester to Jan. 25.

ABAC President David Bridges said the college hopes to gain an advantage on the post-holiday COVID-19 surge by giving students, faculty and staff more time to prepare for a safe beginning for the spring term. 

“We gain an extra week of time for the surge to resolve, and we only lose four days of classes because we were scheduled to start on Jan. 19 anyway,” Bridges said. “Everything we do is predicated on providing for the health and safety of our students and our employees.” 

ABAC compressed its fall semester so that all classes and final examinations ended Nov. 24. Students went home for the Thanksgiving holidays without having to return to the campus until the spring semester. 

“The hard work, planning, cooperation and personal responsibility of our faculty, staff, and students made the fall semester plan work,” Bridges said. “Now we want to do everything we can to position ourselves for a successful spring term.

“Our primary goal is to have a spring semester with students on campus engaging with faculty and having the opportunity to attend face-to-face classes.”
Tifton Grapevine
As Georgia is experiencing a "full pandemic resurgence" and reaching more than 10,000 deaths, Tift County's COVID-19 cases remain at among its highest levels.

The White House Coronavirus Task Force's latest report, dated Sunday, noted that the Peach State has a high number of new cases, increasing test positivity and rising hospital admissions – "all are consistent with a full pandemic resurgence."

As of Wednesday, Tift Regional Medical Center had 82 inpatients with the coronavirus and recorded three additional deaths. Tift County saw its cases rise by 129 during the past week and had 216 during the past 14 days, according to the Ga. Department of Public Health (DPH).

In the past two weeks, Tift's cases number 529 per 100,000 population with a test-positivity rate of 17.8 percent, the DPH reported. The county has had 3,010 total cases with 72 deaths.

Tift's school-aged population of ages five to 17, as of Dec. 30, has seen 251 cases with 20 in the previous two weeks, translating to 277 per 100,000 population, the DPH said.

On Thursday, the state reported 7,105 new cases statewide in one day with 65 additional deaths and 167 new hospitalizations. The White House coronavirus report said vaccinations among at-risk populations should be accelerated.

"No vaccines should be in freezers but should instead be put in arms now; active and aggressive immunization in the face of this surge would save lives," the White House Task Force said.
Tifton Grapevine
With Tuesday's runoff election concluded along with Congress' Electoral College certification of the presidential election, the election season is finally over.

Here in Georgia, Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff beat the GOP incumbents in the U.S. Senate. Warnock defeated Sen. Kelly Loeffler by 50.9 percent to 49.01 percent, while Ossoff beat Sen. David Perdue, 50.5 percent to 49.5 percent.

On Thursday, Loeffler conceded defeat; Perdue had yet to concede.

On Wednesday night, Loeffler announced that she had changed her mind about objecting to the Electoral College results in the presidential race after a mob stormed the U.S. Capitol.

“The violence, lawlessness, and siege of the halls of Congress are abhorrent and stand as a direct attack on the very institution my objection was intended to protect: The sanctity of the American democratic process,” Loeffler told the Senate.

“Too many Americans are frustrated at what they see as an unfair system. Nevertheless, there is no excuse for the events that took place in these chambers today, and I pray America never suffers such a dark day again.”

U.S. Rep. Austin Scott, R-Tifton, also did not object to the Electoral College results, although his fellow Georgia Congressmen Jody Hice, Rick Allen, Buddy Carter, Andrew Clyde, Barry Loudermilk, and Marjorie Taylor Greene all objected.

Scott had previously sent a letter to House leadership with 11 other Republicans noting that the “elections held in at least six battleground states raise profound questions, and it is a legal, constitutional, and moral imperative that they be answered. But only the states have authority to appoint electors, in accordance with state law. Congress has only a narrow role in the presidential election process. Its job is to count the electors submitted by the states, not to determine which electors the states should have sent.”
Tifton Grapevine
Candice Hernandez, longtime animal shelter volunteer and rescue organization co-founder, has been named Tift County Animal Shelter director, working alongside Animal Control Director Russell Gay

Hernandez started her position on Monday. She handles the inside operations, while Gay continues to manage animal control outside the doors and around the county. 
Hernandez and co-founder Leah Robbins started the Tift Animal Rescue nonprofit in 2018, and the two of them have been shelter volunteers and rescue coordinators for the shelter for more than five years. Both served on the board of the Save Our Pets organization that encourages and sponsors spaying and neutering.

Hernandez said her new job “was an unexpected offer” from County Manager Jim Carter. The decision was difficult, because she has worked as customer service/office supervisor with her prior employer for 18 years.

“I had to think about it long and hard,” she said. However, the opportunity to make an even greater difference “after being in and out of the shelter every day for five years,” was an offer she could not refuse.

Hernandez said she is excited, but will make changes slowly. “I have some ideas to prevent sickness and catch it before it develops.” 

She has contacts in the rescue communities all over the South and nationwide. Last week, a rescue group based in Atlanta picked up 28 cats from the Tift County shelter to take into to their foster program. 

Currently, the shelter is housing 50-60 dogs, many of them awaiting adoption. The cat numbers constantly fluctuate. “Unfortunately, for every cat adopted or rescued, there’s another one waiting to replace it," Hernandez said.

"I hope to make a lot of improvements. One project at a time. My goal is to improve the quality of the animals’ lives while they are with us. We want to make them as comfortable as possible while we work to find them adoptive homes or rescue opportunities through other organizations.” 
Tony McBrayer was sworn in as Tift County Commission chairman on Tuesday night. He was elected in November. McBrayer succeeds Grady Thompson, who held the post for 16 years and did not seek re-election. Judge Melanie Cross, left, conducted the swearing-in ceremony. "I am excited to have this opportunity to serve the citizens of this great county," McBrayer said.
Tifton’s Gold Star Memorial Marker dedication at 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 9, at Veterans Memorial Park in downtown Tifton will honor all families whose loved ones paid the ultimate price defending the United States in the armed forces. 

GFWC Tifton Woman’s Club, the Council of Garden Clubs of Tifton, the Tifton Downtown Development Authority and the Garden Club of Georgia Inc. made possible the marker's placement in Veterans Park. The organizations hope Gold Star families will attend.  

They also encourage veterans to come, wearing their service-related attire. Social distancing guidelines will be followed, with masks provided and individually wrapped refreshments

The name Gold Star came from the custom of families of service members hanging a banner – a service flag – in the window of their homes. The service flag had a star for each family member in the armed forces.

Blue Stars represented living service members while a Gold Star represented those who had lost their lives.
Dereck Sumner has been hired as a relationship manager in AgGeorgia Farm Credit's Tifton office. 

Sumner is a native of Ben Hill County and received a bachelor’s degree in business and finance from Georgia Southern University. He is a graduate of the Georgia Bankers Association School of Banking at the University of Georgia and has more than 17 years of financial lending experience. 

Sumner resides in Tifton with his wife, Annie, and daughters Chandler and Charlotte, and is a member of First Baptist Church in Tifton. 

AgGeorgia Farm Credit is a lending cooperative owned by its more than 4,500 member-borrowers and provides loans to farmers and land buyers. It is part of the national Farm Credit System, a network of financial cooperatives established in 1916 to provide a source of credit to farmers and rural America.
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This dog is on stray hold at the Tift County Animal Shelter. If not reclaimed, the dog will be available for adoption or rescue at the Animal Shelter, located at 278 Georgia Highway 125 S. It is open to the public for adoptions from 1-6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.

For more information, call 229-382-PETS (7387).
Pets of the Week are sponsored by:
Branch’s Veterinary Clinic
205 Belmont Ave., Tifton, 229-382-6055  

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thousands of local residents!
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DEC. 31
Linda Matthews, Poulan
Evelyn C. Jackson Beck, 88, Adel
Ray Bozeman, 68, Adel
Linda Collier, 62, Macon

JAN. 1
Howard “Happy” Harbuck, 81,
Franklin “Buddy” Brogdon, 77, Omega
Evelyn White Culpepper, 86, Sylvester
Beatrice Gentry Brinkley, 92, Tifton
Johnny Lee Warren, Poulan
Naomi Joyce Flanders, 86,
Amber Marie Boorse, 49, Fitzgerald
Stan Holloway, 75, Rebecca
Sun Cha “Sue” Lee Byrd, 80, Abbeville

JAN. 2
Kenneth “Kenny” Malcom Sirmans, 88, Chula
Larry Wayne Grizzard, 68, Tifton
Gail Newbern Gray, 72, Tifton
 Angela R. Mims, 55, Tifton
Shirley Jane Johnson Baker, 85, Tifton
Christopher Aaron Dotson, 45,
Ronald “Ronnie” Veston Burns, 78, Enigma
Martha Willis Ricketson, 96, Worth County
Jeff Ray, 63, Adel
Annette Deberry, 69, Albany

JAN. 3
Wanda “Sue” Dorman Collier, 78, Omega
Anthony Calva Ann Gill McDaniel, 81, Enigma
Ray “Tony” Tripp Sr., 56, Lenox
Murdell McCorvey, 87, Nashville
Tammie Tankersley Sanford, 41, Irwin County

JAN. 4
Betty Allen Hargrove, 86, Tifton
Daryel Lancaster, 65, Nashville
Steve Harper, 60, Fitzgerald
K.C. Wilks, 65, Ashburn
JAN. 5
Jimmie David Middlebrooks, 74, Tifton
Alisa Prosser, 60, Poulan
Gloria Rowan, 70, Adel
Dottie Moore Ross, 86, Irwin County
The Rev. Kenneth Kicklighter, 89, Sycamore

JAN. 6
Tony E. Cravey, 62, Broxton
Margaret Tyson, 96, Nashville
Betty Irene Vickers, 90, Nashville
Sylvia Marie Smith, 67, Fitzgerald
Katheryn H. Barrett, 82, Tifton
Joshua Nichols, 32, Tifton
Helen Jane Harris Fitzgerald, 85, Macon
Tifton Grapevine
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