Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020
Tifton, Georgia
The Georgia Supreme Court on Monday denied appeals from two convicted murderers involved in two unrelated Tift County cases .

In one case, the high court unanimously affirmed the conviction of Deonta Rashad Rich , convicted in 2016 of murdering Sylvester Downs and kidnapping Taquoya Rogers .

According to court records, Downs was killed on March 23, 2014 , during a robbery at a card game on East 6th Street in Tifton . A Tift County grand jury indicted Rich and co-defendants Justin Dixon and Conswilla Mayo for felony murder, armed robbery and kidnapping.

A jury found Rich guilty of murder and kidnapping ; he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for felony murder and 20 years’ imprisonment for kidnapping to run concurrently.

Rich had appealed , claiming errors in his trial and insufficiency of evidence .
In the other case , Allen Deverna Williams had petitioned for a new trial citing numerous errors during his conviction in the murder of Barry Bullard in Tifton .

Court records shows that on July 30, 2008 , Williams was driving through a Tifton neighborhood with two friends – Neddrick Green and Jeremy Reynolds – when another man spotted them and alerted Bullard , who had had a recent dispute with Williams.

Bullard made his way to the area where Williams and his friends had been seen . An altercation then ensued, according to court documents, and punches were thrown and guns were drawn . Bullard was shot in the face and later died from his injuries.

The Supreme Court ruled that it found no error in Williams' trial conviction .
Southwell Medical in Adel , part of the Southwell health network that includes Tift Regional Medical Center , held its grand opening and ribbon cutting on Friday .

The $52-million , 120,000-square-foot facility was operational Oct. 1 . It includes outpatient services such as radiology, laboratory, rehabilitation and infusion, and uses the latest medical technology. Outpatient surgical services  are also offered in a variety of specialties.

More than 200 people attended Friday's ribbon cutting. During the ceremony, Chris Dorman , Southwell's president/CEO, announced that an emergency room will be coming to Southwell Medical in the near future . No timeline was announced.
Worth County baseball coach Will Smith speaks during the 
Georgia Dugout Club's Awards Ceremony recently 
in Marietta. Smith received the Ethics in Coaching Award.
Worth County High Baseball Coach Will Smith has received the Ethics in Coaching Award , and Tift County High's Assistant Baseball Coach Taylor Barber has been named an Assistant Coach of the Year by the Georgia Dugout Club , which is the official Georgia baseball coaches' association.

The awards were made at the Dugout Club's recent ceremony in Marietta .

Worth County's Smith was honored along with six new members of the Class of 2020 enshrined into the Georgia Dugout Club's Hall of Fame . The six newest members are Columbus State University coach Greg Appleton , former Toombs County and ABAC coach Steve Janousek , former First Presbyterian Day coach Jim Turner , Marist coach Mike Strickland , North Paulding's Dennis Jordan and the late Dennis Payne , the first umpire inducted into the Hall.

Smith , who also received a plaque for his 300th coaching victory , talked about the importance high school coaches can make in their communities and in having an impact on the life of a player .

"A state championship may not be in your future," Smith said. "Five hundred wins may not be in your future, but the impact we can make in our communities is well within all of our reach ."

Tift County's Barber , who also is the school’s softball coach , recently joined the baseball coaching staff at TCHS . He was an assistant coach at Colquitt High County through last season.

The Blue Devils baseball team begins its regular season Feb. 10 at Thomas County Central High.
A sitting Tift County commissioner intends to run against the incumbent for the commission's chairman seat.

Commissioner Tony McBrayer has filed paperwork to run for chairman of the Tift County Board of Commissioners (District 7). The position is currently held by longtime Commission Chairman Grady Thompson , who has said he plans to seek re-election .

Both commissioners are Republicans .

McBrayer currently serves as Tift County commissioner for District 3 and has completed state training to be a certified county commissioner . He previously represented Tift and Turner counties in the Ga. House of Representatives.

McBrayer said he wishes to use his experience to lead Tift County to success and move forward as a united community . He pledges to have respect for varying and diverse views , and welcome feedback and suggestions from others."

He said that " cooperation, transparency, decency and civility between governmental bodies, as well as with the citizenry, will allow us to find solutions for the common good of our community and allow us to meet our collective goals ."

McBrayer was born in Tifton and graduated with honors from Tift County High School . He attended ABAC and Valdosta State University , earning degrees in business administration and accounting . He founded and operated TMM Enterprises Inc. , a wholesale specialty grocery distributor, for 25 years. 

He is currently a distributor for Georgia Grown products , assisting local entrepreneurs in getting their products to retail markets. McBrayer is also a private wealth planner with Bennett Financial Associates in Tifton.

A graduate of Leadership Tifton and the Georgia Academy for Economic Development , McBrayer is a member of the Tifton-Tift County Chamber of Commerce and Tift County Republican Party . He serves as an ex officio member representing the Ga. House on the Georgia Grown Commodity Commission . He also serves on the executive boards of Pregnancy Care Center of Tiftarea , Tifton-Tift County Public Library , Tiftarea YMCA and Peanut Butter & Jesus Inc.

McBrayer and his family attend Pineview Holiness Baptist Church in Tifton where he serves as adult Sunday School teacher, choir director and treasurer. He is also a past president of Tifton Gideons

The primary election will be on May 19 ; the general election is Nov. 3 .  
A current exhibit at the Georgia Museum of Agriculture (GMA) Gallery features the creative “Cleggobots” robot creations of Dave Clegg .

Clegg is a freelance illustrator originally from Columbus , living now in North Georgia , whose clients include Hardee’s, Sports Illustrated, Jelly Belly Candy Co., Scholastic , and Ranger Rick Magazine

He said he was first inspired to start building robots after watching the 2005 animated film "Robots." He used metal objects such as kettles, stainless steel bowls, copper salt shakers and candlesticks found in thrift shops in his first works. His career and family caused him to abandon works in progress until December 2017 when he found an old tobacco tin in an antique store and found new inspiration .

Clegg has completed 79 bots to date, and most of them are in his exhibit at the GMA . The exhibit will be open until July 4. Clegg’s cousin Karen Clegg Franks is a Tifton resident.  Clegg and his wife, Lyn , search thrift stores, antique malls and flea markets for vintage objects such as wrenches, pliers, springs, opera glasses, lanterns and clocks.

“There is a treasure trove of beautifully aging objects out there just waiting to be discovered and assembled into something new ,” he said.
The Georgia Municipal Association (GMA), at its awards luncheon Sunday in Atlanta , recognized Tifton City Councilmen Johnny Terrell , left, and Jack Folk for completing municipal training .

Terrell received the Certificate of Excellence for completing 120 hours of training with GMA and UGA's Carl Vinson Institute of Government . Folk received the Certificate of Recognition for the training courses that he has completed .
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