Friday, August 20, 2021
Tifton, Georgia
GrapeNew
TIFT OPENS SEASON WITH NEW COACH, NEW HOPES
BLUE DEVILS KICKOFF AT 7:30 P.M. AT THE BRODIE AGAINST WESTOVER HIGH
By FRANK SAYLES JR. and BONNIE SAYLES
Tifton Grapevine
The Tift County High Blue Devils open their football season tonight at Brodie Field under highly touted new Head Coach Noel Dean and with renewed hopes for many winning seasons ahead.

Dean, the Associated Press Prep Football Coach of the Year in 2000, was a Michigan Hall of Fame high school coach who won three state championships there and many playoff appearances, including 13 district and nine regional titles.

Dean received the nationwide American Football Coaches Association Power of Influence Award in 2011.

He says, matter of factly, that Tift County will win a national championship – eventually. Dean repeated that belief Thursday to members of the Tifton-Tift County Chamber of Commerce. He has said that it will take as long as it takes.

Dean told the Chamber of Commerce that it took a little “audacity and arrogance to come from Michigan to the area of the country where football was invented.”

He emphasized the varieties of offerings for students at Tift County High, such as show choir, AP classes, farming and agricultural classes, in addition to a wide range of sports. In addition to every educational activity possible here, he said Tift County High also has people from a variety of social backgrounds.
 
“We are going to raise the whole child,” he said.

Dean said he is excited to be coaching at Tift County: “I love the idea of being authentically tested in front of 12,000 people. We want to make all of the community proud of who we are on the field. We’re excited to be here in the South to build something special.” 

While the Blue Devils face Westover High from Albany in tonight's game, the original scheduled opponent, Crisp County, had to cancel because of COVID-19.

“The last year and a half was rough on all of us,” Dean said. “I never could have imagined what we’ve been going through. But I’m OK with where we’re going – we’re going to win the national championship.”

FOOTBALL HELPS KIDS BELIEVE IN POSSIBILITIES,
SAYS TIFTAREA ACADEMY PANTHERS COACH
Tiftarea Academy Panthers Head Coach Erik Soliday also spoke at Thursday's Chamber of Commerce meeting. He said that he has been coaching for 37 years and still loves it just as much as ever. 

"We all do a lot of things for kids, but we also better find some ways to win some ball games," Soliday added.

Growing up n West Virginia, he played high school football on a team that won the state championship 10 years in a row. In his hometown, a kid didn’t think of going to college. If you didn’t want to work in the coal mine or steel mill, you had to find a way out of there, he said.

“Had it not been for a successful football program, and I had I not been a part of it, I wouldn’t have had the option to go elsewhere,” Soliday said.

“You never know what kid you’re going to funnel them somewhere” through their participation in a football program. Getting kids to believe in their own possibilities is what he believes football is all about.
 
Also, “We talk about adversity all the time. You have fumbles, turnovers, wins and losses,” Soliday said. "Football helps players learn that these types of situations happen all the time in life."
 
The Tiftarea season begins a week from today, Aug. 27, against Central Fellowship of Macon.
COVID-19 SURGE IN TIFT 'VERY SERIOUS,' DPH OFFICIAL SAYS
By FRANK SAYLES JR.
Tifton Grapevine
Tift County continues to lead the state in new COVID-19 cases, and the state's district health director calls the situation "very serious."

“The current case surge we are seeing in Tifton and all 10 of our counties is very serious," said Dr. William R. Grow, director of the Ga. Department of Public Health's (DPH) South Health District, which encompasses Tift, Ben Hill, Berrien, Brooks, Cook, Echols, Irwin, Lanier, Lowndes, and Turner counties.

"We are seeing new case numbers close to, and in some cases higher, than what was seen during the initial surge," Grow said. "Vaccination remains our best tool to slowing the spread of COVID-19 and the new Delta variant. The new cases we are seeing are affecting people of all ages. Younger adults and even children are getting seriously ill during this new surge."

Tift County is seeing its highest number of cases since the pandemic began. In the two-week period ending Thursday, Tift has 491 confirmed cases of COVID-19 but recorded a total of 1,152 new cases during the period when rapid Antigen test results are added, the DPH said.

The average daily number of cases in Tift County are 205 per 100,000 population, compared with 64 in Georgia and 43 in the nation, according to data from Emory University.

The DPH said Tift's confirmed cases during the past two weeks represent 1,203 cases per 100,000 population. The county’s positive testing result for the period is 22%. Approximately 31% of eligible Tift countians are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Also on Thursday, Gov. Brian P. Kemp issued an executive order that keeps businesses from being forced to adhere to any mask or vaccine mandates put in place by local governments.

Kemp said that businesses may comply with such local ordinances if they wish, but they will not be enforced. His order also stops local governments from placing customer capacity limits on businesses.

“Local governments will not be able to force businesses to be the city’s mask police, the vaccine police, or any other burdensome restriction that will only lead to employees being let go, revenue tanking or businesses closing their doors,” Kemp said.

On Thursday, the state reported 7,051 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 within 24 hours, along with 46 additional deaths and 203 new hospitalizations. Georgia has recorded a total of 1,012,809 confirmed cases with 19,131 related deaths, the DPH reported.
CITY TO UNVEIL SCULPTURE OF HAROLD HARPER ON
SATURDAY IN DOWNTOWN
By FRANK SAYLES JR.
Tifton Grapevine
The community is invited to the unveiling Saturday morning of the sculpture honoring the late Harold G. Harper, the godfather of Downtown Tifton revitalization.

The life-sized bronze sculpture will be unveiled at 10:30 a.m. Saturday on the corner of First Street (Harold Harper Way) and Main Street.

Harper was a business owner, developer, and investor whose efforts, beginning in the 1980s, sparked Downtown Tifton to eventually become the thriving business, entertainment, and residential district that it is today.

He turned old buildings, some of them vacant, into vibrant structures housing businesses and residences. Harper also spearheaded the Tift Theatre renovation, and worked with the city to transform the decrepit, formerly grand Myon Hotel – built in 1906 and the anchor of Downtown Tifton – into a bustling retail-office-residential complex housing City Hall.
Nationally recognized artist Susie Chisholm of Savannah crafted the sculpture to be unveiled. A University of Georgia graduate who studied sculpture and bronze casting in Italy, Chisholm’s artistic passion is representational, figurative portrait sculpture, bringing people to life in bronze.

Her work is in numerous private collections throughout the world, and she has a studio in Historic Savannah's City Market.

Chisholm has created many public sculptures, including that of Johnny Mercer in Savannah's Ellis Square; Capt. John Parker and Samuel Adams at the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum in Boston, Mass.; Nathanael Greene at the George Washington Memorial Chapel in Valley Forge, Pa.; and many others in such places as Purdue University in Indiana.

Her public sculptures can also be seen around South Carolina in Hilton Head Island, Summerville, Ridgeland, and Aiken; around Georgia in Columbus, Pooler, and numerous locations around Savannah; and in Azle, Texas, and Loveland, Colo.
PHILADELPHIA MEDICAL COLLEGE CAME TO S.GA IN HOPES STUDENTS WILL STAY IN AREA, OFFICIAL SAYS
By BONNIE SAYLES
Tifton Grapevine
The inaugural class of Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) South Georgia in Moultrie, set to graduate in 2023, is in clinical rotations at area hospitals and medical facilities, Campus Officer Joanne Jones told the Rotary Club of Tifton on Wednesday.

Medical students spend two years in the classroom and two years on clinical rotation, Jones said. Most students practice in the 70-mile radius of the Moultrie Campus, including medical centers in Tifton, Valdosta, Moultrie, Thomasville, Americus, and Albany

The main reason the college, based in Philadelphia, Pa., came to Georgia is so that students could remain close to their hometowns after completing medical studies. Many times, students from South Georgia attended PCOM and did not return home to practice medicine. 

The South Georgia campus opened in 2019.

The doctor of osteopathy degree is a fully licensed medical degree. The difference is the training includes a component of osteopathic manipulative medicine. “Our doctors believe your body should help heal itself,” said Jones, who has served with PCOM for 37 years. 

“They prescribe medicine, conduct surgeries, and examine patients, but they also are able to drain the lymphatic system and look at the patient’s eating and exercise habits. It’s a whole-person approach to medicine,” she said. 

The incoming class of 2025 has 59 students, 36 of whom are from Georgia. Each year, the area college receives about 3,000 applicants for 59 spots. “There is a robust waiting list,” Jones said.

PCOM is a private, not-for-profit institution, and its current dean is a surgeon.
HORTICULTURE CLUB SETS SUCCULENT GARDEN WORKSHOP
The Horticulture Club at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College is hosting a succulent garden workshop for the community from 6-8 p.m. Aug. 26.

Horticulture Club President Morgan Fritze said tickets are available for the class on the ABAC Horticulture Club’s Facebook page; the workshop is $15 per person.

“The cost of the community program will include all materials for participants to create an arrangement, which they can take home with them,” Fritze said. “Attendees at the succulents’ class will learn how to care for succulents and create arrangements for their home.”

Dr. Frank Flanders, agricultural education professor, will lead with a presentation and an interactive demonstration of the proper way to care for and create succulent designs. Horticulture Club members will then assist attendees in selecting materials and creating designs.

The workshop will be in ABAC’s Environmental Horticulture Building. For information, contact Fritze at 407-212-1037.
OCILLA LIBRARY TO HOST EXHIBIT FOCUSING ON 9/11 – 20 YEARS LATER
During the month of September, the Irwin County Library in Ocilla will feature a free exhibit by the 9/11 Memorial and Museum: “September 11, 2001: The Day That Changed the World.” 

The exhibit will be in the library's Moore-Phillips Room at 310 South Beech St. in Ocilla. The display will be available beginning Wednesday, Sept. 1 through Thursday, Sept. 30, during regular library hours, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. 

The exhibition, part of a nationwide project, will present the history of 9/11, its origins, and its ongoing implications. It explores the consequences of terrorism on individual lives and communities at the local, national, and international levels, and encourages questions about the legacies of 9/11.

“This curated exhibition reflects the core pillars of commemoration, education, and inspiration as we prepare to observe the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks,” the 9/11 Memorial and Museum said in a written statement.

The exhibition is provided through the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, American Library Association, and the Coastal Plain Regional Library System. For information, contact Branch Manager Jennifer Johnson at 229-468-2148 or email outreach@cprl.org
COLONY BANK RECEIVING NOMINATIONS
FOR STUDENT LEADERSHIP ACADEMY
Colony Bank has opened nominations for the second-year Colony Leadership Academy class, an initiative to nurture potential young leaders and help them develop leadership skills.

The program, which is available in all of Colony’s markets, is available to high school juniors during the last half of their junior year through the first half of their senior year.

The curriculum encourages students to become familiar with all aspects of their community and to develop skills enabling them to take an active leadership role in their community.

Colony Leadership Academy uses professional leadership trainers through UGA’s Fanning Institute as well as community resources.

Students must submit an application and meet qualifications that include a minimum GPA of 3.0 or equivalent. Each student applying must be nominated by someone in their community, have their application approved by parents and their school’s administrator, and supply two personal references.

Nominations can be submitted through Sept. 19. Classes will be quarterly from next February through graduation in November 2022. Upon completion of the program, participants will receive a $1,000 scholarship to the college or university of their choice.

Details and the nomination form can be found on Colony Bank’s website here.
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YOUR GUIDE TO ACTIVITIES THIS WEEKEND IN THE TIFTAREA

This Saturday, Aug. 21, is National Senior Citizens Day, first proclaimed by America's top senior citizen at the time, President Ronald W. Reagan, in 1988.
FRIDAY, AUG. 20
  • Great Georgia Pollinator Census Event, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Gaskins Forest Education Center, 3559 Moore Sawmill Road, Alapaha
  • Tift County High Blue Devils football vs. Westover High Patriots, 7:30 p.m., Brodie Field, Tifton

SATURDAY, AUG. 21
  • Second Harvest of South Georgia Food Distribution, 7 a.m., Ga. Museum of Agriculture, Tifton
  • Great Georgia Pollinator Census Event, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Gaskins Forest Education Center, 3559 Moore Sawmill Road, Alapaha
  • Harold Harper Sculpture Unveiling, 10:30 a.m., corner of First and Main streets, Tifton
  • Encounter Night with Eddie James, 6 p.m., Tift Theatre for the Performing Arts, Tifton
TIFTON GRAPEVINE'S DOG OF THE WEEK
“Petey," a male pup, is available for adoption at the Tift County Animal Shelter on Highway 125 S. To see all pets available, visit the shelter between 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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AUGUST 13
Gerald Wayne Hammonds, 69, Doles
Janice Solomon, 76, Nashville
Mavis Hendley Rowe, 58, Sims, Ill., formerly of Fitzgerald
Marvin R. Davis, 69, Ashburn
 
AUGUST 14
Larry Nadine Kahler-Hilbers Luke Johnson, 85, Tifton
Linda Lawrence Cowart, 73, Adel
Evans Leona Reddick Mott, 92, Tifton
Oral Douglas Engle, 74, Corbin, Ky., and Tifton
 
AUGUST 15
Beth Griffin Fowler, 60, Ben Hill County
Annie Brown, 70, Fitzgerald
Khloe Raelynn West, 3 months, Tifton and Abbeville
Moises Palma Pineda, 23, Altamonte Springs, Fla., formerly of Adel
 
AUGUST 16
Joanne Braswell Franklin, 88, Sylvester
Grace Loraine "Polly" Lingefelt Grant, 97, Tifton
Mathel Darrell Phillips, 53, Cook County
 
AUGUST 17
Katie V. Jones, 93, Lenox
Tommie Lee Holmes, 76, Ashburn
 
AUGUST 18
Benjamin “Dale” Moore, 53, Omega
Eloise Virginia Griffin Dampier, 89, Tifton
Rudolph Clinton Melton, 79, Fitzgerald
Jessie Mae Evans, Sylvester
AUGUST 19
Kenneth Wayne Evans Sr., 79, Sumner
Norman R. Lorenzen, 86, Rebecca

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Tifton Grapevine
e-published every Tuesday and Friday

Frank Sayles Jr.
Editor & Publisher
Bonnie Sayles
Managing Editor
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