GrapeNew
   
    Dec. 13, 2016
Tifton, Georgia

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ConAgra PLEADS
GUILTY IN SYLVESTER
PEANUT BUTTER CASE 
JUDGE OK's $11.2 MILLION SETTLEMENT

Food giant ConAgra pleaded guilty in federal court today (Tuesday) to a misdemeanor charge of shipping Peter Pan peanut butter tainted with salmonella from its plant in Sylvester, sickening hundreds of people in 2006 and 2007.

A federal judge in Albany approved the  $11.2 million settlement, which includes an $8 million fine and another $3.2 million in forfeitures to the federal government -- called the largest fine in food safety history in the United States.

The settlement ends the case that began in November 2006 when approximately 625 people in 47 states became ill with salmonella. The contamination at ConAgra's Sylvester plant was said to result from an old peanut roaster that was failing, a storm-damaged sugar silo that was allowing insects and birds to gain access and a leaky roof that was allowing moisture to get into the production process.

ConAgra launched a huge recall in February 2007, destroying and urging consumers to throw out all of its peanut butter produced since 2004. The company then  spent $275 million on upgrades at the Sylvester plant and adopted new testing procedures to screen peanut butter for contaminants.

In August 2007, Peter Pan peanut butter returned to supermarkets.

At the time, ConAgra issued a statement saying the company didn't know its peanut butter was contaminated with salmonella before it was shipped. The plea agreement notes that ConAgra knew peanut butter made in Sylvester had twice tested positive for salmonella in 2004, and that the  company destroyed the tainted peanut butter and identified the likely sources of contamination.

Prosecutors said ConAgra had not finished fixing the problems by the time of the 2006-07 salmonella outbreak.


TIFTON COMPANY
ANNOUNCES EXPANSION

Copart Inc. a global online vehicle auction company, is expanding its Tifton location.

"Our Copart Tifton expansion is a great complement to the six other locations we have in  Georgia," said  Jay Adair, Copart CEO . "We recently announced six other expansions and two new locations along the East Coast, including our newest  Georgia  location in  Cartersville ."
  
Copart Tifton is located at 399 Oakridge Church Road and currently hosts online auctions  at 10 a.m. every Tuesday. Copart's inventory is not limited to vehicles but also includes a wide collection of boats, RVs, ATVs, motorcycles and more.  

The company offered few details about its expansion.

Copart's patented VB3 technology links sellers to more than 750,000 members across the globe through its multi-channel online platform. Members can participate in multiple online auctions around the world simultaneously via mobile, tablet and desktop. 

Copart was founded in 1982, and sells vehicles on behalf of insurance companies, banks, finance companies, fleet operators, dealers, car dealerships and others as well as vehicles sourced from the public.

Students have a gift-wrapping party at Eighth Street Middle School.

EIGHTH STREET STUDENTS
MAKE CHRISTMAS BRIGHTER

'Blue Santa' aka Principal Chad Stone 
More than 100 Eighth Street Middle School students donated more than $2,100 and took 25 primary school students Christmas shopping this week in Tifton

The younger students chose one gift for themselves, and then got to shop for gifts for their families.

Even a "blue" Santa was on hand to make it a "blue Christmas" in the best Tift County Blue Devils tradition.

Everyone then met back at the school and had a Christmas gift-wrapping party.




VSU AWARDS TY TY STUDENT
AWARD OF EXCELLENCE

Tiffany Brianna Tanner of  Ty Ty has received the Fall 2016  President's Award for Academic Excellence for the James L. and Dorothy H. Dewar College of Education and Human Services at  Valdosta State University .

The President's Award for Academic Excellence is presented to the graduating student with the  highest grade point average in each of VSU's five colleges: James L. and Dorothy H. Dewar College of Education and Human Services, College of Arts and
Tiffany Brianna Tanner
Sciences, College of the Arts, College of Nursing and Health Sciences, and the Harley Langdale Jr. College of Business Administration.

Tanner is a graduate of Tiftarea Academy, Class of 2013She graduated summa cum laude from VSU last weekend with a bachelor of science in education, specifically middle grades education mathematics and science.

Tanner served as the official banner carrier for the College of Education and Human Services during the undergraduate commencement ceremony.

During her time as a VSU student, Tanner consistently achieved Dean's List standing and was selected for Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges. She served as a university ambassador, logged more than 80 hours of volunteer service and worked as a student assistant for the Office of the Vice President of Finance and Administration. 

She is the daughter of Deborah Tanner and the late Vernon Tanner.

"My plans after graduation are to find a job teaching middle grades math, preferably somewhere around the Tift County/Worth County area," she said. 

"One of my career goals is to be a middle grades math teacher for several years. After a few years of teaching, I want to go back and get my master's degree in middle grades education while working. Eventually, I want to get my leadership degree and become a principal or vice principal, but not until after I've taught middle grades for several years."

TOTS GATHER 'TOYS FOR TOTS'

These Tifton First United Methodist Church preschoolers show off their Toys for Tots donations this Christmas season. The preschoolers and their families are supporting the annual toy drive sponsored locally by the United Way of South Central Georgia and the Marine Corps Reserve, providing toys for needy local children.
SUCCESSFUL COAT DRIVE TO
'KEEP 'EM WARM'

Nearly 1,500 coats were donated this year for the "Keep 'em Warm" coat drive, sponsored annually by Melissa Hughes.

"Thanks to a giving community for supporting my efforts to make our community better," said Hughes, a Tift County commissioner.

TIFTON-TIFT COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
RIBBON CUTTING

BUFFALO WILD WINGS
U.S. Highway 82 West
Monday, Dec. 12

"Best-Selling Truck for 39 Straight Years"
511 West 7th Street
(229) 382-1300
LITERACY VOLUNTEERS HAS
BOSTON BUTTS FOR HOLIDAYS

Literacy Volunteers of Tifton-Tift County has a few Boston Butts for those who would like them for their holiday parties or for gifts. 

Call Bonnie Sayles at 229-391-2527 to pick up for a $25 donation.

Proceeds help fund tutor training and materials to help local people learn to read or prepare for their GED exams.
 
GA AG FORECAST TO COVER
ECONOMY, REGS, FARM BILL

The Georgia Ag Forecast series will be held around the state Jan. 18-27 in Macon, Marietta, Carrollton, Tifton, Bainbridge, Lyons, Waynesboro and Athens. 
       
University of Georgia agricultural economists will present insights into the latest market and regulatory conditions for the state's largest industryHosted by the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, the 2017 seminar comes to Tifton on Jan. 23 at the UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center

"The main objective of the Ag Forecast seminar series is to provide Georgia's producers and agribusiness leaders with information on where we think the industry is headed in the upcoming year," said Kent Wolfe, director of the UGA Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development.

"It helps producers plan for the next year, but it's also good for bankers and others who have businesses involved in agriculture or who will be impacted by the farm economy."

Economists from the Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development and from the college's department of agricultural and applied economics will deliver the economic outlook, which will focus on Georgia's major commodities and the way that global markets, weather patterns and historical trends will affect those commodities.

The featured speaker at the Tifton seminar will be Bob Redding of the Redding Firm in Washington, D.C. Redding will discuss major themes that may be addressed in the 2018 farm bill and will moderate a discussion on the bill.

 

CHRISTMAS CHEER FLOWERS AT UGA

The Horticulture Club officers at t he University of Georgia's Tifton Campus  made 20 flower arrangements and delivered them recently to Golden Living Center in Tifton to spread some Holiday cheer. 

The club also wrote Christmas cards to each of the residents. Members involved were Alex Holman, Christina Garner, Maggie Ramsey and Megan Powell.



UGA TIFTON HONORS OUTSTANDING SENIOR

The University of Georgia Tifton Campus  awarded Lolita Munoz with the Outstanding Senior Award during graduation on Saturday. Munoz is pictured with Dr. Joe West and Josef Broder.

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Large lot; fenced back yard: 3 bedroom/2 bath home, 1,175-square feet, with a double garage.
                              
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