Friday, January 29, 2021
Tifton, Georgia
Tifton Grapevine
A limited supply of COVID-19 vaccine has prompted the state's South Health District to cancel appointments in Berrien and Lowndes counties for those who haven't yet received their first vaccination from the health department, but Tift and other surrounding counties are not expected to be affected.

"As of this time, we are not planning to cancel any already scheduled appointments in our other counties," Kristin Patten, South Health District public information officer, told the Tifton Grapevine on Thursday.

"We are not currently scheduling new appointments, but as of right now the supply in our other eight counties is stable enough to allow us to not have to cancel any outstanding appointments," she said.

The health district encompasses Tift, Berrien, Turner, Irwin, Ben Hill, Cook, Brooks, Echols, Lanier, and Lowndes counties.

During the past week, the Ga. Department of Public Health’s (DPH) South Health District began canceling COVID-19 vaccinations for individuals in Berrien and Lowndes who have not yet receive their first shot. Individuals with appointments for their second dose are not affected.

“We must ensure anyone who received their first dose of COVID vaccine at one of our health departments ... receives their second dose,” said Dr. William Grow, district health director. “Unfortunately, manufacturers are not able to keep up with the demand currently in the United States.”

To find other locations offering the coronavirus vaccine, Click Here and type in your county. In Tift County, sites include Southwell facilities, Family Prime Care, Moon's Pharmacy, New Medical Center and Omega Pharmacy.
Tifton Grapevine
While the coronavirus is still raging both in Tift County and throughout Georgia, the rate of new cases are declining while deaths rise, according to the latest data.

There have been 136 new COVID-19 cases reported in Tift County during the past two weeks – 64 within the past week, according to the Ga. Department of Public Health statistics. Average daily cases in Tift have dropped from a record high of 126 per 100,000 population on Jan. 4 to a daily average of 48 on Jan. 27, according to Emory University data.

But deaths continue to rise. Tift has had three deaths of residents during the past week, the DPH says. Tift County has had a total of 3,245 coronavirus cases and 86 deaths as of midday Thursday.

The Tift County School System said Thursday that schools will remain on the rotating “Yellow" status at least through Friday, Feb. 5, “after reviewing current numbers from the Department of Public Health and conversations with health officials."

The state has also seen the daily number of new cases decline while deaths from the virus rise. The latest White House Coronavirus Task Force report, dated Sunday, noted that new cases reported in Georgia were were down 19 percent from the previous week but related deaths were up 12 percent.

The DPH reported Thursday that Georgia had 5,430 new cases within the previous 24 hours along with 147 additional deaths and 361 new hospitalizations. The Peach State has seen a total of 737,205 COVID-19 cases and 12,280 related deaths.

Virtually all of the state, including Tift County, is in the “Red" zone for cases, the White House report showed. Counties that are in red zones have more than 100 new cases per 100,000 residents and a diagnostic test positivity result of above 10 percent.
We offer the HIGHEST FIXED RATES in Tifton for your low-paying Bank CD's or IRA’s.

Call Junior Dees to learn more at 229-472-8824.

Located on 2nd Street in the old Colony Bank building
next door to Turners Furniture in Tifton.
Tifton Grapevine
Sometimes it's the seemingly small things we do that aren’t so small at all.

For 26 years, Dr. Buddy Walker, a Tifton dentist for four decades, taught the Youth Sunday School Class at Tifton’s First United Methodist Church (FUMC). He quietly counseled countless local young people through the years, leaving a long legacy.

Walker, 70, succumbed to cancer in September. Last Sunday, the Tifton church dedicated its refurbished Youth Sunday School room in Walker's memory.

Ridge Harper, a longtime friend of Walker, painted a portrait of Buddy to hang in the room. Harper and his wife Jenny painted a mural, that the youth had chosen, on one wall, and church staff placed new furniture in the room. A plaque was placed just outside the door.
Walker had been an active FUMC member in many ways. In addition to teaching Sunday School and counseling youth, he sang with the church Chancel Choir for more than 40 years and traveled on numerous church medical mission trips to Africa, Costa Rica, Mexico, and Peru.

"We also want to celebrate Buddy's memory and are continuing to remember those who are still grieving his loss,” said FUMC pastor the Rev. Chip Grantham. "Let's all ask ourselves what we're doing to impact the Kingdom and make a lasting impact on someone else."
From ABAC Office of Marketing & Communications
Chelsie Turrubiartez, 23, does not remember the ambulance ride, but she will never forget the day she walked across the stage at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College to receive her nursing degree.

Turrubiartez, an Adel resident, was on track to receive her associate degree in nursing at the end of the 2020 spring semester. Then on March 31, her life turned upside down.

“I had a cough, a fever, and a headache,” Turrubiartez said. “I went to the hospital, and they admitted me to the ICU. I had tested negative for the virus the week before, but I felt dehydrated and my oxygen was really low.

“When I got to the hospital, I got a positive COVID test, and they put me on a ventilator. I wasn’t improving; I was scared.”

Because of her weak condition, Southwell transferred Turrubiartez to the University of Florida Health Shand’s Hospital in Gainesville, Fla.

“The ventilator was on max setting,” Turrubiartez said. “They put me in the ambulance, and I had to be on my stomach the entire way. I don’t remember the ride at all. I was out of it.”

At Shand’s, Turrubiartez said she was placed on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, where blood is pumped outside of your body to a heart-lung machine that removes carbon dioxide and sends oxygen-filled blood back to tissues in the body. Blood flows from the right side of the heart to the membrane oxygenator in the heart-lung machine, where it is rewarmed and sent back to the body.

“I could hear and see people, but I don’t remember much about Shand’s,” Turrubiartez said. “I knew there was a chance I would not come off the ventilator.”

Turrubiartez finally responded to the treatment and made another ambulance ride back to Southwell in Tifton in late April. She was released May 4. She had not seen her mother, Debbie Bullard, or her three brothers since March 31.

“I was in a state of disbelief that I went through all that,” Turrubiartez said. “I didn’t see my family that entire time. I had a lot of anxiety.”

After graduating from Cook High School in 2015, Turrubiartez started classes at ABAC in a slow journey toward her nursing degree. She was all set to participate in the virtual commencement ceremony in May 2020 and receive her associate degree. It didn’t happen because her five weeks of terror from the coronavirus wiped out her chances.

“ABAC worked with me and allowed me to repeat my spring semester during the fall semester,” Turrubiartez said. “I was really happy when I graduated. I didn’t think I would get a chance to do that.”
There was a smile on her face Dec. 3 at her commencement ceremony, and the story does not end there. Turrubiartez received the Lisa Purvis Allison Spirit of Nursing Award at the ABAC nursing pinning ceremony immediately after commencement. The award included a $500 scholarship check.

And there is more good news. Turrubiartez recently passed the National Council Licensure Examination-Registered Nurse and accepted an offer from Southwell to begin working as an RN on the Medical West floor.

“I had been working as a nurse extender at Southwell since I graduated from high school,” Turrubiartez said. “It’s like a nurse’s aide. I have always wanted to be a nurse, and now it feels really good to be able to do that.”

In the space of nine months, Turrubiartez has gone from a patient at Southwell in the Intensive Care Unit to a full-fledged Registered Nurse on the general medicine surgical floor.

“I definitely have a soft spot for COVID patients,” Turrubiartez said. “I know from personal experience how anxious they can be. I want to be there and help them any way that I can.”

Turrubiartez plans to take a semester away and then enroll in ABAC classes for her bachelor of science in nursing degree, one of 12 bachelor degrees offered at ABAC.
Tifton Grapevine
Tift County High's new head football coach not only sees a state championship ahead but a possible national championship in the Blue Devils' future.

“If we run the tables sometime in the next 20 years, there’s a pretty darn good chance we’re going to be national champions," Coach Noel Dean told local reporters Wednesday.

“However long it takes is how long it takes,” Dean said.

On Tuesday night, the Tift County Board of Education named Dean, one of Michigan's top high school football coaches and considered among the best in the country, to take the reins of Tift County High School's football program. In 22 years as coach at Lowell (Mich.) High, Dean won three state championships, made six state finals appearances, took his team to the state semifinals nine times, and won 13 district and nine regional titles.

Dean has been inducted into the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame and received many awards and accolades during his nearly 30-year coaching career.

He has spent his life in Michigan and said, "I was just looking for a new experience. I look forward to the challenge of relentlessly pursuing excellence."

When asked whether he contacted Tift County about the coaching job or if Tift County reached out to him, Dean said that he "picked up the phone to call Tift and (Superintendent) Adam Hathaway ... was on the phone to call me. It was destiny."

Dean's top priority among his players is “purpose and academics," he said. “We’re very blessed to be in Tift County and Tift County schools."

For Tift to get to another state championship is going to take “hard work, showing up every day," Dean said. “We’re going to put this thing on track. ... The naysayers, they’re just getting in the way. It's going to happen; I know where we’re going."
Tifton Grapevine
“The middle of the field was the safest place to be” during the global pandemic, Dr. Michael Toews (pronounced “Taze"), assistant dean of the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at UGA Tifton, told the Tifton Rotary Club on Wednesday.

He said that out in the field is where the approximately 85 research scientists spend most of their time. 

Toews was named to his position March 1, and 10 days later the World Health Organization announced a global pandemic. On March 13, UGA encouraged those who could to work remotely, and on March 16 all classes were halted.

“On March 20, Gov. Brian Kemp sent us all home,” Toews said. “In less than three weeks, I went from the new dean to sending everyone home.” 

On July 1, scientists were allowed back into UGA buildings, and Toews was told he had to cut the budget. Back at work, Toews said, “I am running a COVID-19 surveillance program.” He said UGA purchased thermometers for every student, and they have to plug in their numbers into an app. Masks are mandatory, everyone stays socially distant, all areas are disinfected after every use, and custodians clean points of contact such as door handles twice a day.

UGA Tifton has 85 faculty members and 425 employees, 30 undergraduates, between 50 and 100 graduate students and a $20 million payroll. 

Toews was a cotton research entomologist before he came to UGA in 2006. Among the projects the research scientists work on are how to control thrifts, one of the most serious threats to peanut crops. Thifts are insects that spread diseases, such as the tomato spotted wilt, to peanut plants and other crops. 

“We have some of the best scientists in the world working here at UGA Tifton,” he said, including those working with USDA. He mentioned that in 2018, Gov. Kemp said agriculture needs to be the main focus of the state of Georgia.

“Everything we do is based on sustainable agriculture,” he said, and all of that is affected by climate change. For instance, plant diseases ride on hurricanes from other areas of the hemisphere and are deposited on local soil. “Also, winter lows are higher, so insect species that never overwintered are doing so.”

One Rotarian asked Toews whether researchers were working to do anything about gnats. Laughing, he said that was not a priority. He said that gnats proliferate here not only because of the temperatures, but also because we have sandy soil and abundant decaying vegetation.
Colby Rearden, a registered nurse in the TRMC intensive care unit, stands at center holding the DAISY Award.
Two nurses from Tift Regional Medical Center (TRMC) were recently honored with the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses. The award is part of the DAISY Foundation's program to recognize extra efforts nurses perform daily. 

TRMC recipients are Colby Bearden and Adrianne Roberts, both registered nurses in the TRMC intensive care unit (ICU). 

Through nominations by patients, visitors and co-workers, nurses are selected periodically by a special committee to receive the DAISY (Diseases Attacking the Immune System) Award.

“We are so proud of Colby and Adrianne for receiving this award. They are both fine examples of all the great nurses we employ at Southwell who do extraordinary things for our patients and their families every day,” said Tonia Garrett, TRMC vice president & chief nursing officer.

“In our ALWAYS standards, we talk about ‘wowing’ our customers, taking small steps to make big impacts. I want to thank Colby and Adrianne, not just for talking the talk but for walking the walk."
Adrianne Roberts, a registered nurse in the TRMC intensive care unit, a recipient of the DAISY Award, stands at center in the blue scrubs and gray jacket.

Letters must address local issues only. All letters are subject to editing for brevity, for libelous statements and for egregious language.

Include your name, phone number and address for verification purposes. Email letters to:
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is reminding small businesses and nonprofits in Turner, Ben Hill and six other counties that Feb. 25 is the filing deadline for federal economic injury disaster loans as a result of excessive rain that occurred last March 1-April 30

The loans are available in the counties of Turner, Ben Hill, Crisp, Dodge, Dooly, Pulaski, Telfair, and Wilcox for small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and private nonprofit organizations.

The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program is available to eligible small farm-related and nonfarm-related entities that suffered financial losses as a direct result of this disaster. With the exception of aquaculture enterprises, SBA cannot provide disaster loans to agricultural producers, farmers or ranchers. 

The loans are for working capital and can be up to $2 million with interest rates of 3.75 percent for eligible small businesses and 2.75 percent for private nonprofit organizations, with terms up to 30 years. 

Applicants may apply online at; information is available at 800-659-2955, or by sending an email to
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
Collette, a two-to-three-year-old female, is available for adoption at the Tift County Animal Shelter, located at 278 Georgia 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  

Each Friday, area yard sales can be
advertised in this space to reach
thousands of local residents!
Fees are $1 per word, paid in advance
JAN. 21
Sandra “Sandy” Warren Arrington, 64, Tifton
Jimmy D. Hudson, Sylvester
Louise Rowland Kent, 91,
Wayne Griffin, 75, Sparks
Timmy Ray Scarberry, 60, Brookfield
Myra Nell Grantham Teal, 89, Fitzgerald

JAN. 22
Lora Teresa Gray Dorminey, 57, Sumner
Royce Yvonne Martin, 75, Tifton
Lester Darrell Leggette,78, Sylvester
Annie Latrelle Watson, 84, Nashville
Ethel Chitwood Mills, 84, Fitzgerald
Dorothy G. Carter, 100, Leesburg

JAN. 23
Ronnie Richard Ryles, 79, Tifton
Karen Deanna Scarborough Lumpkin, 45, Tifton
Steve Moore, 65, Fitzgerald
Ashley Mitchell, 31, Lenox
Melvin Parramore, 86, Adel
Lonnie B. Anderson, 95, Moultrie

JAN. 24
Murray Wilburn Musselwhite, 69, Enigma
Edith Brooks, 87, Ocilla
Herbert LaWayne Cone, 73, Poulan
Cynthia Faye “Cindy” Geiger, 63, Nashville

JAN. 25
Elvia “Vita” Hernandez Melendez, 44, Omega
Duane Newberne, 63, Tifton
Marion P. "Buddy" Harris, 70, Sylvester
Perry Jean “Pat” Maddox
Oliver, 87, Ashburn
Brenda Sue Richardson, Ashburn

JAN. 26
Vicky Lynn Junkins Foy, 60, Tifton
Lillian Ophelia Bryant Youngblood, 83, Ashburn
JAN. 27
Kathy Jean Haire, Worth County
Richard Murphy, 71, Tifton
Sharon G. Pettis, 72, Ocilla
Carole Moore, 83, Adel
Brenda Bates Phillips, 69, Valdosta
Inez B. Warren, 91, Sparks
Maynord Lee Travelstead, 85, Sycamore
Phil Brannon Sr., 73, Sparks

JAN. 28
William Sumner Jr., 84, Tifton
We’ve Got Your Keys
to Your New Home.
Give Us a Call Today!
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