Tuesday, May 12, 2020
Tifton, Georgia
Gov. Brian P. Kemp said Tuesday that live performance venues, bars, nightclubs , and amusement park rides must remain closed through May 31 to "enhance health outcomes and give us the opportunity to prepare for safe reopening in the near future."

But the governor also said the state will now allow dine-in restaurants to serve 10 patrons per 300 square feet of public space and increase the party size per table from six to 10 people.

Kemp also doubled the number of children , from 10 to 20, allowed in a single classroom at a childcare facility and also will allow summer day camps to re-open if they follow 32 specified regulations.

Provisions in Kemp's new executive order include:

  • Georgians must continue to follow social distancing, and gatherings of more than 10 people remain banned unless there is at least six feet between each person.

  • People are "strongly encouraged" to wear face coverings when out in public.

  • Shelter-in-place provisions for medically fragile and Georgians aged 65 and older remains in effect through June 12.

  • Mandatory restrictions for sanitation and social distancing remain in place for all non-critical infrastructure businesses.

  • Starting May 18, specific divisions of state agencies will begin to phase back into limited, in-person operations.

"I want to renew the call to action for all Georgians to heed the advice of public health officials , avoid large gatherings, and help us slow the spread of COVID-19 ," Kemp said.

Also Tuesday:

  • Georgia has received its first shipment of the drug Remdesivir from the federal government. The state received 30 cases with 40 vials per case of the drug found to have some positive effects on patients with the coronavirus.

  • The state reported that the Georgia National Guard has tested 46 percent of all nursing homes residents and 24 percent of their staffs. Testing is continuing for the 46,000 people remaining in those facilties.

  • To streamline contact tracing across the state, officials are implementing a new online monitoring tool – the Healthy Georgia Collaborative – which allows Georgians to identify contacts and monitor symptoms.

  • The state recorded 34,898 positive COVID-19 cases and 1,494 deaths as of Tuesday night, according to the Ga. Department of Public Health.

  • Tift County had 161 positive cases and six deaths, as of Tuesday.

  • Dougherty County has 1,643 cases and 129 deaths.

  • Lowndes County had 194 cases and four deaths.

  • Worth County had 188 cases and 17 deaths.

  • Turner County had 78 cases and 12 deaths, most of them at an Ashburn nursing home.

  • Southwell health system (which includes Tift Regional Medical Center) reported a total of 351 cases and a total of 34 deaths.
Winning First Place in the Congressional Art Competition for Georgia’s Eighth District is “The Refugee” by Katelyn Taylor from the Academy for Classical Education in Macon.
Anyston Lyon from Tift County High School has received the People’s Choice Award in the 2020 Congressional Art Competition for Georgia’s Eighth District .

Lyon received the award for her work “Healthcare Heroes,” pictured at right.

Congressman Austin Scott , R-Tifton, announced the winners.
“The Congressional Art Competition is a great way to showcase the talents of high school students from across the Eighth District , and this year’s submissions were certainly no exception," Scott said.

"I am amazed by all our talented students who submitted artwork and the art teachers and parents who supported and encouraged them along the way.

"As I pass by these great works, either in our district offices or in the U.S. Capitol , I will be reminded that the work we’re doing today is to ensure a brighter future for them,”  Scott said.

The People’s Choice Award was chosen by residents from across the Eighth Congressional District with more than 900 "likes" on Scott's Facebook page. " Anyston’s artwork will be displayed in my D.C. office lobby for one year ," Scott said.

Julia Sandlin of Tiftarea Academy received Honorable Mention for "Light in the Dark.”

First Place went to “The Refugee” by Katelyn Taylor from the Academy for Classical Education in Macon . She will receive a trip to Washington, D.C. , to attend the National Congressional Art Competition Awards reception and to see her artwork hanging in the U.S. Capitol. She will also be eligible for a scholarship from the Savannah College of Art and Design.
Tift County High graduating seniors Joshua Abantao, Rebekah Larger and Hays Jones were named 2020 Georgia Scholars on Monday by state School Superintendent Richard Woods.

The three are among total 295 graduating seniors from across Georgia who have been recognized as Georgia Scholars . The state Department of Education (DOE) identifies and honors high school seniors who have achieved excellence in school and community life.

According to the DOE, students eligible for Georgia Scholar recognition are seniors who exhibit excellence in all phases of school life , in community activitie s, and in the home .

“It is always special to recognize a new class of Georgia Scholars , but I have to say it is even more meaningful to recognize these students from the class of 2020 ," Woods said.

“In the face of disappointing circumstances and delayed plans , these students have displayed great resilience, maturity and grace . I am honored to recognize their accomplishments and wish them well as they proceed into futures that, despite this temporary setback, are still worthy of great hope ."
Polly Huff , curator of ABAC's Georgia Museum of Agriculture , recently used her sleuthing and curatorial skills to solve the mystery of the shoemakers .

The saga started with a routine cleaning of an old storage space that produced leatherworking tools – an entire collection from a shoemaker’s shop . The Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College museum had a donation record from Stephen Middleton of Loogootee, Ind. , and an old photo showing a man guiding a horse pulling a Middleton’s Shoe Shop wagon .

Through hours of combing through historical documents, Huff discovered a J.L. Middleton , a shoe shop owner in Indiana , during the late 1800s .

Was Stephen related to J.L?

“As it turns out, he was not related but they were both Middletons , and they were both in the shoemaking business ,” Huff said. “ Stephen was born in Tifton in 1904 , but he later lived in Loogootee after meeting his future wife , an Indiana girl.”

Stephen’s mother, Emma Jane Hutchinson , was from neighboring Berrien County . She married shoemaker James Monroe Middleton , and they lived in Valdosta and Tifton between 1898 and 1908 , before moving to Lenox in 1910 , and then eventually to Camilla .

“James was listed in the 1920 census as a shoe shop owner in Camilla shortly before his death at 71 years old in late 1920 ,” Huff said. “The 1920 census also lists then 15 -year old Stephen as a wage earner in his father’s shoe shop ."

Later in his life, Stephen was employed by American Shoe Machinery & Tool Co.  From there, dozens of articles were located, naming James Middleton as "Tifton’s veteran shoemaker," and "Tifton’s popular shoemaker," dating from 1898-1920 .

So who was in the picture, the Indiana shoemaker or the Georgia shoemaker ?

“We finally realized that the person in the photo was, in fact, Stephen’s father , James Middleton , and the shoe shop in the photo was around Camilla between 1910 and 1920 ,” Huff said. “ James is actually buried less than three miles down the road from the museum .”

Stephen worked as a shoemaker for his father and then inherited his dad’s shoe-shop collection. Since his father was buried in Tifton, Stephen offered the artifacts to the museum two years before he died.

There was no connection between the Middleton shoemakers in Georgia and their Indiana counterparts, also named Middleton, although the Georgia shoemakers did have an Indiana link through Stephen’s wife.
The Middleton Shoe Shop exhibit will open virtually on June 1 , via Facebook and the museum’s website . The exhibit will be available to explore in person when the museum reopens after the pandemic subsides .
VIDEO: Southwell Safely Reopens
Southwell encourages you not to delay your care!

Southwell/Tift Regional Health System says their clinics and outpatient centers are back open to safely serve you. Please click on the link below to view a video on what to expect during your visit. 

The top bachelor’s degree student and top associate degree student graduating this semester were recognized at the recent virtual spring commencement ceremony at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.

Louis Mitchell Canevari received the ABAC Alumni Association award for top bachelor’s degree student, and Joshua Allen Wilkinson received the George P. Donaldson award for top associate degree student.

An agriculture major from Lake Placid, Fla. , Canevari maintained a 3.28 grade point average on a 4.0 scale during his four years at ABAC. He is the son of Louis Canevari and Jennifer Bush .
Wilkinson from Haddock majored in agriculture with a concentration in animal science. He maintained a 3.5 grade point average and is the son of Teresa and Scott Wilkinson .

Broadcast over the Internet , the virtual commencement ceremony featured remarks from ABAC President David Bridges and the calling of each of the 432 graduates’ names.
This  dog   is currently on stray hold at  Tift County Animal Shelter . If not  reclaimed , will be available for  adoption   or  rescue . If this is your pet, please call the  animal shelter   to claim,  229-382-PETS (7387). The shelter is now open to the public for adoptions 1-6 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Pets of the Week are sponsored by:
Branch's Veterinary Clinic
205 Belmont Ave., Tifton, 229-382-6055
– MAY 15, 1903
W.H. Love , Tifton's first mayor , died at 11 p.m., Friday, May 15, 1903 , in his room at the Phoenix Hotel in Waycross . The cause of death was listed as "congestion of the brain." Love was 44 years old. His body was carried to Fort Valley the next day for interment beside his father in his family's cemetery plot . The Atlantic Coast Line Railroad furnished a special private car and free transportation for the family and the Masonic escort .
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