NOV. 3, 2017
Tifton, Georgia


Call it Indian Summer.

We are full throttle into fall, with Thanksgiving only weeks away, but the weather is warm and bordering on hot.

And while  temperatures are forecast to reach the mid 80s once again during the next few days, autumn waits for no weather as  Saturday is full of local seasonal events.

Downtown Tifton will be buzzing with folks visiting the annual Artists' Market on Love at the Tifton Museum of Arts & Heritage. You will see artists at work, hear local musicians, meet local authors, taste local food -- and view a wide variety of handcrafted arts and crafts available for purchase.

The Artists' Market will be open  from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. this Saturday, Nov. 4, at the museum, 225 Love Ave.

Also Saturday, the annual Mistletoe Market will be open at the UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center. It's not too early to get those unique gifts for Christmas. Many local and regional vendors will offer unique arts and crafts items, and special products and merchandise. Door prizes will be awarded throughout the day, and concessions will be available.

The Mistletoe Market is open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday at the conference center, 15 RDC Road, Exit 64 off I-75.

And the 82nd Annual Coastal Plain Agricultural Fair is underway at the county fairgrounds on U.S. Highway 82 East. The seasonal fair has rides, food and fun, and operates 6-11 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m.-midnight Saturday, and 1-6 p.m. Sunday.


Early voting ends today (Friday) for the Nov. 7 election in Tift County.  The poll location at  222 Chesnutt Ave., Building B , is open today from  8 a.m.-5 p.m.

There are two Tifton City Council district races on  the ballot and the countywide Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) referendum.

On the ballot for City Council District 1 are Vice
 Mayor Wes Ehlers and political newcomer Paul Boyd. In District 3, Councilman Johnny Terrell is running unopposed.

Most voters will only see the SPLOST referendum on the ballot. That vote is fo r the continuation of the  current SPLOST, which funds capital and road projects throughout Tift County and its municipalities .

The polls reopen from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday for election day.


Sears Holding Co. announced Thursday it will close 18 Sears stores and 45 Kmart locations -- including the Kmart on Virginia Avenue in Tifton

The announcement comes after a brutal year for Sears which closed hundreds of Sears and Kmart locations in the past 12 months.

Employees were informed of the closures Thursday. The stores are set to close in late January with clearance sales starting this week.

The Tifton Kmart is one of three in Georgia being closed. Also closing are the stores on  Tom Hill Sr. Boulevard in Macon and one on Cleveland Road in Dalton Two Sears stores in Georgia are closing: In Valdosta and in Lithonia.

The closures are an effort to "right size" its footprint, the company said in a statement.

"In the process, as previously announced we will continue to close some unprofitable stores as we transform our business model so that our physical store footprint and our digital capabilities match the needs and preferences of our members," the company said. 

"It's important to note that these stores will remain open to serve members during the holiday season."

The closures bring the total number of Sears stores in the U.S. to about 680, down from 3,500 locations in 2010. There are currently 610 Kmart locations in the United States.


Gov. Nathan Deal announced Monday  that five additional programs have been added to the HOPE Career Grant.

Effective January, five strategic industry programs -- construction, aviation,
electrical line work, logistics and automotive technology -- delivered through the Technical College System of Georgia will be added to the HOPE Career Grant program, bringing the total to 17 areas of study.

The effort is aimed at better aligning Georgia's workforce with the needs of growing industries and providing students with opportunities to learn skills that lead to high-wage professional employment.

"As we continue building upon our strategic resources by investing in workforce development initiatives such as the HOPE Career Grant, we are ensuring that industry leaders remain connected to a skilled labor pool capable of meeting the  challenges of today, tomorrow and beyond," Deal said.

The HOPE Career Grant (formerly the Strategic Industries Workforce Development Grant) is designed to supplement the HOPE Grant and pay the full cost of tuition for students enrolling in one of Georgia's strategic industry program areas. So far this year, 14,921 individuals have received the grant.

"We are thankful and excited about Gov. Deal's approval of the additional programs for HOPE Career Grant funding. These 17 programmatic areas are very important in training additional, skilled employees for the companies in Georgia's expanding business and industry fields," said Dr. Craig Wentworth, president of Southern Regional Technical College.

Not all HOPE Career Grant programs are available at all of Georgia's technical colleges, but SRTC offers many of the programs, including welding and joining technology, automotive technology, construction, practical nursing, industrial maintenance, early childhood care and education, computer technology, commercial truck driving, and an array of programs under the health sciences umbrella.


The First Tuesday Concert Series performance on Nov. 7 will feature "A Night of Jazz Featuring ABAC Alumni" at 7 p.m. in the Chapel of All Faiths at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.

The concert is free to the public.

Dr. Thomas Heflin, ABAC assistant professor of jazz, will headline the concert on trumpet. Heflin directs the much-acclaimed ABAC Jazz Ensemble. He will be joined by two ABAC Jazz Ensemble alumni, Kenyon Carter on saxophone and Andrew Hill on trombone.  

The rhythm section will be comprised of Mason Margut on piano, Rodney Jordan on bass and Rowan Cowan on drums. Current jazz ensemble students will also be included in the performance. Heflin and company will perform a mixture of jazz standards and originals.

Carter is a musician who performs in the Atlanta area; Hill serves as assistant director of bands and jazz ensemble director at Valdosta High School; Jordan is associate professor of jazz studies at Florida State University; and Margut and Cowan are FSU students and musicians from the Tallahassee area.

The First Tuesday series, now in its 16th year, features regional professional artists on the first Tuesdays of five months during the year. Dr. Susan Roe, head of ABAC's Department of Fine Arts, is the First Tuesday program director.


Remember to set your clocks: Daylight savings time ends at 2 a.m. this Sunday, Nov. 5.

At exactly at 2 a.m. Sunday, the official time goes backward an hour to make it 1 a.m., giving us an extra hour in bed.

The early mornings will now get lighter, and the evenings will get darker earlier.

Can winter be far behind?


This Sunday, Nov. 5, has been declared as Retired Educators Day in Georgia by Gov. Nathan Deal.

There are more than 121,000 retired educators in Georgia who donate thousands of hours of volunteer service and make countless contributions to the welfare of their communities across the state.

And this is after having  devoted years of their time, energies and talents to public education, motivating and inspiring students to become responsible and productive citizens.

So, thank a retired educator. They are among those who helped create our community's present and its future.

Georgia's First Lady Sandra Deal, right, wife of Gov. Nathan Deal, and ABAC's First Lady Kim Bridges, left, wife of Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College President David Bridges, watch first graders from G.O. Bailey Primary School participate in the Destination Ag program Tuesday at the Georgia Museum of Agriculture and Historic Village.  

Deal and Bridges spent time with the children as well as with ABAC students, who serve as instructors for the program. The Harley Langdale Jr. Foundation has committed $1 million during the next four years to continue Destination Ag, a program offering hands-on field trip experiences to young learners.

The trips focus on the value of agriculture and natural resources with an emphasis on careers in those fields.


University of Georgia plant pathologist Tim Brenneman has studied the viability of truffles in the state's pecan orchards for years. This winter, he will advance his research by introducing the European variety of truffles to Georgia pecan trees.

"With collaborative researchers in Florida and Michigan, we are trying new ways of introducing the fungus to young trees so that all trees have truffles instead of just some
Pecan Truffles
of the trees in an orchard," Brenneman said.

Pecan truffles are expensive, and their incorporation into a pecan orchard represents potential monetary gains for growers, he said.  Native pecan truffles can sell for $200 to $300 per pound in local markets. They are more economically priced than European truffles. Truffles and truffle-related dishes are growing in popularity among chefs.

"We're just trying to make these native truffles more well-known," said Brenneman, who conducts his truffle research at the Ponder farm on the UGA Tifton campus. "We also have to find a way to produce them more consistently. Pecans can host the high-value European truffles. If pecan farmers can grow those, then returns from an orchard would be much greater than just the value of pecans alone."

Four to five years, or more, may elapse before Brenneman sees results from his introduction of truffles to Georgia pecan trees. He discovered pecan truffles in Georgia in the late 1980s and has since been searching for ways to consistently produce them.

The color -- various shades of yellow and brown -- and seeming invisibility of truffles makes them difficult to harvest. They grow beneath the soil on the roots of pecan trees. Growers often don't know they have truffles until they dig them up or accidentally find them during harvest. If they do know they have truffles, they might employ a truffle-sniffing dog to find the mature truffles, which exude a very strong, earthy aroma.


The Run 4 Life 5K & 1-Mile Color Run, sponsored by the Pregnancy Care Center of Tiftarea, will be Saturday, Nov. 4, at the Northside Baptist Church parking lo t in Tifton.

The timed, non-color 5K will begin at 8 a.m. Race day registration for the 5K begins at 7:30 a.m. 

The 1-Mile Color Run begins at 9 a.m. The Color Run is a non-timed event with two different color stations where runners will be colored with a non-toxic powdered color.

Race day registration for the Color Run begins at 8:30 a.m. Sunglasses are provided in registration bags.


Ronnie Dunn of Century 21 Smith, Branch & Pope received the first Ambassador Emeritus Award from the Tifton-Tift County Chamber of Commerce during its recent October membership meeting. 

Chamber President Brian Marlowe, pictured left, surprised Dunn with the award, the first ever given by the Tifton Chamber. Marlowe cited Dunn's long history of volunteer service with the Chamber and thanked Dunn for his support throughout the years.


University of Georgia Tifton campus students contributed to the design of Rutland Farms' "The Wizard of Oz"-themed corn maze this season using GPS and precision agriculture technology.

The students use the technology to prepare them for future agricultural careers.

"GPS is a fundamental technology in precision agriculture," said Dr. George Vellidis, who teaches the class. "Without it, you couldn't collect data and pinpoint the exact location from which the data is collected in the field. Creating the corn maze is a great opportunity for the students to learn how to use GPS to navigate to locations in a field."

Ryan Rutland, an alumnus of   UGA's College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, and his wife, Meredith, have created a different corn maze at their Tifton farm each year since 2011. Meredith Rutland draws the design, while Ryan Rutland navigates and students direct his path.


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. a Glance

  • Coastal Plain Agricultural Fair, 6 p.m.-11 midnight, Highway 82 E. fairgrounds, Tifton
  • Tift County High Blue Devils football vs. Camden County High, 7:30 p.m., Brodie Field, Tifton
  • Run 4 Life 5K & 1-Mile Color Run, 8 a.m., Northside Baptist Church, Tifton
  • Wiregrass Farmers Market, 9 a.m.-noon, Ga. Museum of Agriculture, Tifton
  • Mistletoe Market, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center, Tifton
  • Artists Market on Love,"  10 a.m.-5 p.m., Tifton Museum of Arts & Heritage, Tifton
  • Coastal Plain Agricultural Fair, 2 p.m.-midnight, Highway 82 E. fairgrounds, Tifton
  • Coastal Plain Agricultural Fair, 1-6 p.m., Highway 82 E. fairgrounds, Tifton

In Memoriam

OCT. 26
Ann Whitesides Malone Good, 83, Destin, Fla.
Linda Mobley Watson, 67, Byron
Gene Hutchinson, 65, Adel

OCT. 27
Virginia P. Jordan, 94, Americus
Carlton Davis McDonald, 84, Fitzgerald
Arthur "Bubba" Griffin Sr., 76, Sylvester

OCT. 28
Mary Jack Johnson, 89, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

OCT. 29
Robert  "Bob" Bruce Gressette, 79, Tifton
George Cleveland Free III, 71, Tifton
Melvin Otha "Gopher" Hines Sr., 84, Tifton
James T. "Roogie" Gibbs Jr. 61, Enigma

NOV. 1
Leonard "Sam" Luther Booth, 86, Tifton
Lloyd Scoggins, 85, Sycamore
Julia Lynn Craig Avery McLean, Tifton

NOV. 2
Betty Ruth Hayes, 75, Tifton


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