Friday, February 19, 2021
Tifton, Georgia
Tifton Grapevine
As several COVID-19 indicators are trending positively for both Tift County and the state of Georgia, death rates from the virus remain high.

Tift County has seen 91 deaths, which is 222.9 per 100,000 population, says the Ga. Department of Public Health (DPH). That’s the highest rate of any county in the Tiftarea.

In Georgia, there are 132.5 deaths per 100,000 people, and the latest White House coronavirus report states that the Peach State has among the worst death rates in the nation.

Authorities say that deaths tend to lag by about a month after cases surge, and current death rates from COVID-19 may reflect the peaks that both Tift County and Georgia experienced in early January.

Since Jan. 1, Tift has reported 20 coronavirus-related deaths.

But the good news is that cases, hospitalizations and positive test percentages are down dramatically statewide.

As of Thursday, the DPH reported that Tift County has seen 16 cases during the past week and 30 cases in the past two weeks, or 73 cases per 100,000 population. Tift's testing positivity rate is 5.2 percent in the past two weeks.

Tift has reported 3,327 total cases and 91 related deaths.

Georgia saw 2,281 new cases on Thursday and 112 related deaths, the DPH said. Overall, the state has has reported 798,785 cases and 14,358 related deaths.
Tifton Grapevine
An Adel man has been sentenced to two consecutive life sentences this week for the murder and armed robbery of the owner of Eldorado Food Mart in 2018.

Caleb Day was sentenced by Tift County Superior Court Judge Melanie B. Cross. In December, Day was found guilty of malice murder, felony murder, armed robbery and conspiracy to commit armed robbery in the robbery and shooting death of Akhtar "Oscar" Perveez, 55, during the afternoon of July 30, 2018, at his store located at U.S. Highway 41 South and Omega-Eldorado Road.

Day was 21 at the time of the incident. He is one of three people who were charged in the crime. In October, Nathaniel Day pleaded guilty to felony murder in the case and was given a life sentence. With his plea, the state dismissed charges of malice murder, armed robbery and conspiracy to commit a felony.

The third person charged in the incident, Alexis Naomi McCrary, still awaits trial. She is charged with armed robbery and party to the crime of felony murder.
Beginning Feb. 22, Southwell will move all its COVID-19 vaccination efforts in Tifton to the vaccine clinic at the Tift Regional Community Events Center at 1657 South Carpenter Road.

The vaccination site previously operating at Southwell Medical Clinic, formerly Affinity Clinic, will be consolidated with the location at the events center next to the Tiftarea YMCA.

“We wanted to streamline our clinics here in Tifton, but we are still very accessible for those populations who are eligible to receive a vaccine right now,” said Alex Le, Southwell's chief operating officer.

“We encourage first responders, healthcare workers, individuals over 65, and caregivers to those over 65 to get a vaccine at our site at the Tift Regional Community Events Center.

In addition to the site in Tifton, Southwell will continue hosting a vaccine clinic each Wednesday at Southwell Medical in Adel. Vaccines at the events center in Tifton, as well as the site at Southwell Medical in Adel, are by appointment only.

To request an appointment by phone, call 229-353-2200 or request online at
Both the Tift County High Blue Devils boys and girls basketball teams will play tonight (Friday) for their respective Region 1-7A championships at Lowndes High School in Valdosta.

The Lady Devils game begins at 6 p.m. against Colquitt County High School. The Blue Devils boys game will immediately follow against Camden County High.

The girls' championship game had been scheduled for Thursday night but was postponed because of inclement weather.

The boys' team is the No. 1 seed, having recently beat Camden County by a score of 44-43. Last season, Camden had ended Tift County’s seven-year reign in the region.
Mike Chason, ABAC public relations director emeritus, accepts two Phi Theta Kappa scrapbooks from Dr. Charlotte Klesman, PTK advisor, for the History Room in Tift Hall.
Thanks to the Omega Delta Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, the History Room in Tift Hall at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College recently received two artifacts from ABAC’s past.

Dr. Charlotte Klesman, associate professor of communication, presented two scrapbooks from the honor society to Mike Chason, public relations director emeritus. Klesman is the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) advisor.

“One scrapbook celebrates the first 25 years of Omega Delta Chapter history,” Klesman said. “Our ABAC chapter was chartered in 1973. The other scrapbook records 10 years of chapter history serving the ABAC and Tifton community.”

The academic honor society was formed in 1918 and was modeled on the senior college honor society Phi Beta Kappa. PTK chapters focus on community service and assisting undergraduates who want to continue their educations.

Chason said the History Room in Tift Hall contains exhibits following the life story of ABAC from its beginning as the Second District Agricultural and Mechanical School in 1908 to today. The exhibit area is open to the public Mondays through Fridays.
Click Here for Available Positions.
From left is Dr. Joe Turner, Mandy Brooks, Mary Perlis and
Dr. Margaret Richardson-Nixon.
The Tift Regional Medical Center Foundation’s board of directors has announced the appointment of Dr. Margaret Richardson-Nixon as a foundation board member.  

“Dr. Nixon is a hardworking, passionate physician and is an instrumental community leader. We are thrilled to have her on the foundation board,” said Mandy Brooks, foundation executive director. 

Nixon is board-certified in internal medicine and practices in Tifton at Southwell Medical Clinic, the former Affinity Clinic. She is a member of Tift Regional Medical Center's medical staff and specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of adults from general health to complex illnesses. 

She earned her medical degree from the University of Alabama School of Medicine and completed her residency at Baptist Health System. She resides in Tifton with her husband, Dr. Cameron Nixon, and two sons.
Matt Wilson Elementary School is collecting books for Little Free Libraries to be placed in the neighborhood around the school.

Tift County High School students are building the little libraries. They will be stocked with books that anyone may borrow. The school is collecting new or gently used books for any age through Friday, Feb. 26. Extra books will be used in the school's media center.

For information about donations, text to 229-392-4640, 229-402-0024 or 229-848-1211. Or, if you prefer, you may order books by Clicking Here and have them shipped directly to the school.
Georgia's rural hospital tax credit program Georgia HEART – “Helping Enhance Access to Rural Treatment" – recently awarded donations to 14 hospitals, including Tift Regional Medical Center.

The total $140,000 in donations were made from Windham Brannon, a CPA firm based in Atlanta. The funds are designated to specifically help rural hospital facilities across the state. Georgia allows income tax credits to individual and corporate taxpayers who contribute to qualified rural hospital organizations.

Besides Tift Regional, other hospitals receiving the funds are: Colquitt Regional Medical Center, John D. Archbold Memorial Hospital, Monroe County Hospital, AdventHealth Murray (Murray Medical Center), Polk Medical Center, Upson Regional Medical Center, Union General Hospital, Stephens County Hospital, Jefferson Hospital, Burke Medical Center, Piedmont Mountainside Hospital, Wayne Memorial Hospital and Washington County Regional Medical Center.

“Today more than ever, rural hospitals are strongholds in their communities,” said Danielle Epps, healthcare practice co-leader at Windham Brannon. “They conveniently provide much-needed care, yet, too many struggle financially,” especially during the pandemic.

“There are nearly 2,000 rural hospitals in the U.S., including about 60 here in Georgia, that serve large parts of our population,” Epps said. “It’s vital that they remain profitable so they can continue to provide much-needed services to those in their respective communities.”

Nine Georgia rural hospitals have closed since 2008, and two of them closed at the end of 2020, according to Becker’s Hospital Review. A 2017 Georgia Board for Physician Workforce report, the most recent available, showed that: 75 counties didn’t have an OB/GYN, 63 counties did not have a pediatrician, 54 counties did not have an emergency medicine physician and eight counties had no physicians at all.
The most in-demand job in Georgia right now is physician assistant, according to the personal finance resource website GoBankingRates.

The website has analyzed data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to determine which professions are growing the fastest in each state.

It found that in Georgia, the most wanted job is physician assistant with an average annual salary of $103,190. The position requires at least a master’s degree and has a projected job growth of 42.9 percent from the years 2006-2026.

Florida also has the most demand for physician assistants, the website found, with projected job growth from 2006-2026 at 49.5 percent.

In Alabama, the most in-demand job is information security analyst with an average annual salary of $92,500. That job requires at least a bachelor's degree. Projected job growth for the position from 2006-2026 is 37.2 percent.
Tift Regional Medical Center (TRMC) is now using a product powered by artificial intelligence for more accurate, earlier detection and treatment of sepsis, one of the deadliest and most expensive conditions treated in hospital critical care units.

"POC Advisor" provides real-time artificial intelligence analysis of patient data, helping to identify sepsis early and accurately, and helping to ensure that clinicians respond with evidence-based care at the proper time.

Early recognition of sepsis is critical. Our organization is focused on this goal to improve the care and outcomes of patients with sepsis," said Dr. Jessica Beier, TRMC medical director of quality and safety.

"To support our attack on sepsis, we sought a solution that not only analyzes ... data but includes natural language processing of clinical notes to help our clinicians identify these patients earlier so that we can better provide the right care to the right patient at the right time."

Sepsis is a potentially life-threatening condition that occurs when the body's response to an infection damages its own tissues. It can progress to septic shock, carrying a 34 percent mortality rate. Early sepsis detection is critical to saving lives and decreasing the cost of care.
Jane Justice, president of the Kiwanis Club of Tifton, on Thursday presented checks on behalf of the club to organizations serving local youth.

In the photo at left, Justice presents a check to Mark Manchester of the Boy Scouts. In the other photo with Justice is Victoria Horst of the Tifton-Tift County Public Library, which provides children programming and activities.

The Kiwanis Club of Tifton meets at noon on the first and third Thursday each month at Hilton Garden Inn.
Tifton’s Locally Owned Digital Newspaper
To Subscribe, Click Here!

Your free subscription allows you to automatically receive our MidWeek and Weekender editions in your in-box, along with occasional Sponsored Editions.

Your subscription is free because of the support of local advertisers.
Please support the businesses and organizations who make this possible.

To Contact Us, Call 478-227-7126
This male dog is on stray hold at the Tift County Animal Shelter. If not reclaimed, the pooch will be available for adoption at the shelter, located on Highway 125 S. The shelter 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  
FEB. 10
M.Sgt, (Ret.) David Ray "Dave" Wallen, 74, Sylvester
Diane M. Jackson, 72, Fitzgerald
Thelma A. Trent, 87, Lenox
Anelda Griner, 84, Nashville
Hiram G. Wilson, 72, Rebecca
Judy Wilson Holyoak, 77, Canton

FEB. 11
Martha Swann Hurst Clark, 88, Tifton
George William "Billy" Gantt, 88, Tifton
Shane Mitchell, 19, Sumner
Willie Hugh Newsome, 81, Sycamore
Edna Mae Hammer, 83, Adel
Anna Kennedy, 84, Adel

FEB. 12
Ronnie Walker, 67, Sylvester
Eric Lee Horne, 33, Tifton

FEB. 13
Karen Lynn Ball, 69, Tifton 
Darell Watson, 79, Poulan
Gerald Williams, 72, Quitman

FEB. 14
Bobby Arnold Brown, 76, Ashburn

FEB. 15
Ray Toms, 68, Worth County
Thomas “Tom” David Maze, 74, Tifton
James W. “Jim” Davis, 79, Fitzgerald

FEB. 16
Bobby Thomas Sumner, 86, Enigma
George Albritton Clanton, 72, Nashville

FEB. 18
Sylvia Ellen Sawyer Randall, 73, Chula
Tifton Grapevine
e-published every Tuesday and Friday

Frank Sayles Jr.
Editor & Publisher
Bonnie Sayles
Managing Editor
A Service of Sayles Unlimited Marketing LLC, Tifton, Georgia