Jan. 24, 2017
Tifton, Georgia

Photo by Marque Milla Reese
A young girl overwhelmed by the storm damage in Adel. 


Residents in 16 South Georgia counties continue to pick up the pieces after severe storms and at least 12 tornadoes slammed the region during the weekend, leaving a long path of death and destruction.

Authorities say at least 15 people died in the storms in Georgia and scores are injured as search and rescue efforts continued Tuesday. Residents throughout the region -- and beyond  -- are lending a helping hand with manpower, food, shelter and items for daily living.

Gov. Nathan Deal expanded his emergency declaration to  the following 16 counties:
The Weather Channel photo
Destruction in Adel
Atkinson, Baker, Berrien, Brooks, Calhoun, Clay, Colquitt, Cook, Crisp, Dougherty, Lowndes, Mitchell, Thomas, Turner, Wilcox and Worth. 

State Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens said Tuesday he estimates tornado damage in South Georgia is more than $100 million

Deal plans to visit the affected areas on Wednesday. He is seeking 
federal assistance for South Georgia storm victims after FEMA has finished its investigation. Some of the storm-ravaged area, including Albany and Worth and Turner counties, were still recovering from severe storms and tornadoes that hit them three weeks ago.

Adel and Cook County was especially hard hit during this past weekend's storms. At least seven people were killed there at a mobile home park. And there were at least two deaths in Berrien County.

The National Weather Service confirmed that an EF-2 tornado hit parts of Albany. A survey team concluded the tornado path was a half-mile wide with at least 111- to 135-mph winds. Officials said Adel could have been struck by an even stronger tornado.

Tift County was relatively unscathed by the storms; a few trees were down and three dirt roads were temporarily washed out by the early Sunday morning storms.

Cash Donations:
United Way of South Central Georgia, which serves  Ben Hill, Cook, Irwin, Tift and Turner counties, has a Disaster Relief Fund whose contributions are 100 percent tax deductible and 100 percent of contributions go to support the organizations providing services to the citizens in the affected areas.
Make checks payable to:  United Way of South Central  Georgia, P.O. Box 557,  Tifton, GA 31793 and  designate your check to "2017 Disaster Relief."

The American Red Cross is operating three emergency shelters (at the First Baptist Church of Adel, the Albany Civic Center, Turner County Civic Center). To make a donation, go to the, call 1-800-RED CROSS, or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

Supply Donations:
The Tifton, Cairo, Moultrie and Thomasville campuses of Southern Regional Technical College have designated drop-off locations for donations of needed supplies for the storm victims in the region.
Items needed include deodorant, feminine products, toothbrush and paste, baby wipes and diapers, formula, baby food, face wipes, tissues, lotion, hair combs, razors, shampoo and conditioner, soap, body wash, blankets, small first aid kits, socks/underwear, aspirin, toilet paper, coloring books, crayons, clothes for children and adults.
Donations will be accepted for the next three weeks and can be dropped off at the Tifton campus, Building D, Room 114; and at Building A, lobby, on the Cairo, Moultrie and Thomasville campuses.


Kenneth Hall Sr. of Ty Ty was named Outstanding Georgia Peanut Farmer of the Year in the Georgia Peanut Commission's (GPC) District 2 during the 41st annual Georgia Peanut Farm
From left are Armond Morris, GPC chairman from Irwinville; District 2 honoree Kenneth Hall Sr. of Ty Ty; and Matt Cato with Agri Supply .
Show and Conference on Thursday at the University of Georgia Tifton Campus Conference Center.

Outstanding peanut farmers were named in each of the GPC's five districts.

The Outstanding Georgia Young Peanut Farmer Award was presented to Brandon Branch of Baxley
The GPC also recognized Kelley Manufacturing Co. of Tifton for its 50 years of agribusiness within the peanut industry.

More than 1,400 attendees were able to fine-tune their farming operations with information from at the annual Georgia Peanut Farm Show
sponsored by the Georgia Peanut Commission.

The meeting offered farmers a chance to view products and services of more than 110 exhibitors and learn about research and trends in the industry. The UGA Peanut Team presented an educational peanut production seminar focusing on advanced irrigation management. An industry seed seminar highlighted peanut varieties available this year.

Growers and peanut officials were upbeat about former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue being tapped for U.S. agriculture secretary.

"Sonny Perdue let agriculture come through the front door of the governor's office and was never embarrassed to embrace Georgia's largest economic engine. He has made a living from the dirt and will be a secretary who will elevate the needs of American agriculture and feeding a hungry world to a position of prominence in the Trump Administration," Don Koehler, GPC executive  director, told the Tifton Grapevine.


Dine on a table packed with culinary delights and then dance the night away to the sounds of Frank Sinatra at An Evening for ABAC on March 3 in the annual student scholarship fundraiser sponsored by the ABAC Foundation at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College

Wayne Jones, director of the ABAC Arts Connection, coordinates the evening for the ABAC Foundation, which has sponsored the annual event since Anita Bryant graced the dining hall stage in 1972 for a dinner and show which came to be known as "Dollars for Scholars."

With Mark Randisi and The Motor City Horns playing the timeless music of Sinatra, this year's show at 6 p.m. March 3 at the University of Georgia Tifton Campus Conference Center promises to be one of the best.

"If you close your eyes, you'll hear a familiar timbre and tone this year," Jones said. "It will sound as if the Chairman of the Board himself is in the room but it's really the voice of Mark Randisi, keeping the sounds of Sinatra alive. What he does is an incredible tribute to Frank Sinatra, not just an imitation. His devotion to the music is apparent, and you'll be swept up in the emotion he brings to this performance."

A cocktail hour, a silent auction, and a live auction in an indoor garden party atmosphere add glitter to a night which has been called "the social event of the year."
"Our patrons trust they are in for a great evening and great entertainment," Jones said. "Our whole purpose is to benefit student scholarships. That's what folks are spending their money for, to help students go to college." 

Jones said that during  the past six years, the event has raised almost $300,000 for student scholarships. "Our intent is to raise $100,000 at An Evening for ABAC in 2017 for the students. Since we are a four-year institution now, we have twice the amount of need," Jones said. 

An Evening for ABAC tickets are $125 for singles, $225 for couples, and $1,500 for a reserved table of eight. A portion of the ticket price is tax deductible. Call 229-391-4895 or visit

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511 West 7th Street
(229) 382-1300

The Tiftarea YMCA's 8th Annual Tour de Tifton / Ilse Boyette Memorial Charity Bike Ride will begin at 8 a.m. Saturday, April 1, at the YMCA Hunt Park Campus, 1823 Westover Road.

There will be a beginner's 11-mile course, intermediate level 25 and 45 miles, and 62- and 100-mile century routes for advanced riders.
All pre-registered participants will receive a T-shirt; event-day registrants will be eligible for T-shirts while supplies last. Participants completing either of the century courses will receive a special gift. Lunch will be provided.
Proceeds will benefit Tiftarea YMCA programs and scholarships for underprivileged youth, and the book fund for the ABAC nursing students in memory of Ilse Boyette.
Bike riders are invited to gather on Sunday afternoons at 2 p.m. for afternoon rides to train for the Tour de Tifton.
For information, call 229-391-9622 or e-mail


Tifton's Wisham Jellies was a contender last week in the Atlanta Journal Constitution's readers' poll for which Georgia food the governor should have wagered against Wisconsin's governor for last weekend's NFC championship game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Green Bay Packers.
AJC readers chose  Beautiful Briny Sea Salt as the food product  they most wanted to see wagered by Gov. Nathan Deal.

Coming in a very close second were Georgia peanuts, followed by a Chick-fil-A sandwich, a bottle of Coca-Cola, Varsity chili dogs and Georgia pecans.

The AJC noted here t here were also "some worthy write-in candidates," including "Wisham Jellies made in Tifton."

Gov. Deal had actually wagered  a bottle of Coca Cola, chili dogs from The Varsity, peach pies from Dickey Farms, Georgia peanuts and  two six-packs of Creature Comforts' Tropicalia  if Green Bay had won.

Since Atlanta won the game and is going to the Super Bowl Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is sending Deal two six-packs of Leinenkugel's Wisconsin Red Pale Ale, a box of assorted chocolates from Seroogy's Chocolates in De Pere, jars of liquid and spreadable crystal raw honey from Wisconsin Natural Acres in Chilton, assorted Wisconsin artisan cheeses, crackers and sausage, and a pair of Travel Wisconsin Old Fashioned glasses.


Local residents can get a head start on spring gardening with the sixth annual Plant and Seed Swap on Saturday, Jan. 28, hosted by the Wiregrass Farmers Market at the G eorgia Museum of Agriculture at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.

The event will take place in the museum lobby from 9:30-11 a.m. There is no admission fee.
All participants can bring plants or seeds to share or just come to find a few new things to try in their yard or garden. No money changes hands; this swap is an outreach event by the Wiregrass Farmers Market.

While attending the plant and seed swap, gardeners will have a chance to also see the newest gallery exhibit, "Back Roads of Georgia 2," which will be open for viewing.  

For information on the Plant and Seed Swap, contact Museum Curator/Assistant Director Polly Huff at

The 2017 Georgia Corn Short Course and annual meeting of the Georgia Corn Growers Association will be Jan. 24 at the Tifton Campus Conference Center on the UGA Tifton campus.

Corn Short Course sessions will focus on new research and insight by research and Extension scientists with the University of Georgia and will provide strategies Georgia corn farmers can use to reach top profits even with subpar commodity prices expected this year.

Exhibitors will provide up-to-date information on various products. Missy Bauer, a crops consultant, will discuss planter set-up in the field. Awards will be presented to the Georgia high-yield producers during lunch.

The corn short course is sponsored by the Agricultural Commodity Commission for Corn, the University of Georgia and Cooperative Extension Service.


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