March 25, 2016
                 Tifton, Georgia

         (478) 227-7126


This Sunday is Easter, the holiest day on the Christian calendar.

Amid the bunnies and chocolate and colored eggs, what is Easter all about? We offer a few thoughts:
  • Easter is the celebration of Jesus of Nazareth's resurrection and serves as the culmination of Holy Week. Jesus was crucified on Good Friday and rose from the dead three days later on Easter Sunday, according to the New Testament of the Bible.
  • The date of Easter was disputed for many years and celebrated on different days throughout various countries until the Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D. The Council decided that the day would be observed on the Sunday following the first full moon after the spring equinox, with the symbolic significance that Easter would be celebrated on a day with the most hours of light.
  • In many cultures around the world, the egg is a symbol of new life, fertility and rebirthFor some Christians, the colored_eggs_reflection.jpg Easter egg is symbolic of the resurrection of Jesus. Painting Easter eggs is an especially beloved tradition in the Orthodox and Eastern Catholic churches
    where the 
    eggs are dyed red to represent the blood of Christ. It is said that the hard shell of the egg represents the sealed Tomb of Christ, and cracking the shell represents Jesus' resurrection from the dead.
  • Easter egg hunts and egg rolling are two popular egg-related traditions. Eggs are said to be rolled as a symbolic re-enactment of the rolling away of the stone from Christ's tomb. The Easter Egg Roll, which began in 1878 when  Rutherford B. Hayes was president, is an annual event that is held on the White House lawn each Monday after Easter.
  • The tradition of chocolate eggs began in 19th-century France and Germany, and soon spread to the rest of Europe and eventually the United States, according to the book, "The Story of the Easter Bunny" -- "To receive the special Easter eggs, children were told to make nests from hats or baskets so an Easter Bunny (a symbol of fertility and new life) could leave them there," the book states, adding that many Christians are also eager to eat chocolate on Easter because it's a common sacrifice during Lent.
  • Easter is the second best-selling candy holiday in America, after Halloween. One egg-shaped candy, the jelly bean, became associated with Easter in the 1930s (although the jelly bean's origins reportedly date back to a Biblical-era concoction called a Turkish Delight). According to the National Confectioners Association, more than 16 billion jelly beans are made in the U.S. each year for Easter.
  • The Easter Parade tradition began in the mid 1800s in New York City when folks would parade down Fifth Avenue showing off new spring clothes and hats. The event has no religious significance, but sources note that Easter processions have been a part of Christianity since its earliest days.

VIDEO: Click image to see Tift County Schools video of teacher and student at Tift County Pre-K Center.

A teacher at the Tift County Pre-K Center has resigned after an incident March 17 involving a 4-year-old special-needs student.

Amelia Stripling, a long-time teacher with the Tift County schools system, is shown on a school s urveillance video knocking down a student in a school hallway.

Officials said the student  was not injured, and the incident has been reported to law enforcement authorities and to the state Division of  Family and Children Services

A Facebook page has been created, "In Cohen's Corner," to support the student involved.


Always held the last full weekend of March,  Ashburn welcomes the 21st Annual Fire Ant Festival today and Saturday, March 25 and 26, in Heritage Park, sponsored by the City of Ashburn. This year's theme is "The Ants of Oz!"  

Known for its wacky and off-the-wall activities, the festival offers family-oriented fun, including a fire ant calling contest, the giant fire ant maze, a carnivalarts and craftsfireworks, bands, photo and art contests, a health fair, a 5K run and a BBQ cookoff. All festivities are free.

Activities began at 6:30 p.m. today (Friday, March 25) with the Lip Sync Contest. At 7:30 p.m., will be a concert with the "Young and Old Band," followed by fireworks at 9:30 p.m. 

On Saturday, the 5K run begins at 8 a.m., and the presentation of the colors by the JROTC at 9:15 a.m. The Pet Parade is at 10 a.m., and live music will be featured thoughout the day, including performances by fan favorite Todd Allen Herendeen.



A fabulous menu will include  roasted turkey, cornbread dressing, baked ham, sweet potato soufflĂ©, baby butter beans, broccoli casserole, roast beef, mashed potatoes, rice pilaf, macaroni and cheese, cream corn, Italian green beans, glazed carrots, steamed squash, asparagus, Southern fried chicken, rolls, 
celebration salad, broccoli salad, pasta salad, 24-hour fruit salad, Watergate salad, pimento cheese, chicken salad, grape salad, marinated vegetable salad chocolate pie, lemon meringue pie, pecan pie, carrot cake, chocolate cake, coconut cake, cheesecake, strawberry cake, chocolate Mousse -- and much more!

 $12 per person;  children age 4 & under are free

Special extended hours: 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

Reservations are Suggested:   392-2913 or  382-6745

    BJ's at Springhill

                                  5 Springhill Drive E. (off  U.S. Highway 82) 
                                   Tifton, Ga.


Ashburn hopes to name a new police chief at the Ashburn City Council meeting scheduled for April 7

The city this  week narrowed  its list to three candidates .

They are:


- Shane Benefield, a Georgia Public Safety Training Center instructor at ABAC and former Tifton city police detective;



- Joseph "Zeke" Ezekiel, former Turner County 911 director and former police officer and school resource officer in Tifton; and


- Clifford Jordan, current Ashburn Police Department investigator.

Ashburn Police Chief James Davis, on his second term as chief, is retiring.

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Two oversized loads traveling from Brunswick to the Procter & Gamble facility in Albany are making their way through South Georgia and will be coming through Tifton on Monday or Tuesday.

The loads will travel 30 minutes apart and will be escorted by law enforcement and accompanied by utility bucket trucks. The width of the loads will require the use of two lanes, and the convoy will periodically pull over to allow traffic to pass.

Motorists are encouraged to avoid the route if possible; otherwise, they are asked to be patient and to not attempt to pass the convoy.

The route through Tifton is as follows:

U.S. Highway 82 West, then Ridge Avenue North, along Second Street West, then I-75 South (traveling in the left lane for low overhead sign clearance), and Exit 62 to U.S. 82 West toward Albany.

Travel time is 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The trucks were scheduled to leave the Port of Brunswick on Thursday
The vehicles will not move Sunday and are not allowed to travel in Tifton or Albany on Friday or Saturday.

In a related matter, o fficials with the Georgia Department of Transportation's Tifton district office said that construction closures for the long Easter weekend will be suspended beginning at midnight Thursday and continuing until midnight Sunday in the 31-county Southwest Georgia District.

GDOT officials said they were implementing the lane closure restriction "to offset increased traffic due to the holiday and students who may be returning from or going to spring break destinations."

But while lanes will be open, motorists should remain alert when traveling through work zones. Transportation officials say work crews may still be working close to highways and state routes during the holiday period.

GDOT officials also are reminding motorists that Georgia's Move Over Law requires drivers to move over one lane when a law enforcement, emergency vehicle or construction crew is on the side of the road and displaying flashing emergency lights. If it is unsafe to move over, then drivers should slow below the posted speed.

Former Gov.  Joe Frank Harris once said, "Dogs don't bark at parked cars." To attract attention, he knew  Georgia had to  keep moving Dr. David Bridges applies the same principle at Tifton's Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.

" ABAC is always on the move , and that's the way it should be," says Bridges , who is about to complete his 10th year as the ABAC president . "We are in the business of preparing our students for life, and that means always looking for new and different ways to accomplish that."

The 2016 calendar year is shaping up to be another banner one for the college, particularly with the recent announcement that ABAC will offer a bachelor's degree in nursing beginning this summer.

"Over the past 50 years, ABAC has developed a reputation for producing the very best registered nurses in South Georgia," Bridges says. "The addition of the bachelor's degree will guarantee that ABAC retains its coveted position of leadership in the nursing field. Health-care providers in South Georgia are united in their opinion that ABAC nurses are the best."

Dr. Tami Dennis, an ABAC associate professor of nursing, helped to construct the curriculum for the new R.N. to B.S.N. completion program. She is well aware that most Registered Nurses will get the degree while they continue in their existing positions.  "The new program will have the added feature of a focus and application to the student's existing place of employment," Dennis says. "This focus will benefit both the student and our community partners in providing the best nursing education possible."

One reason that ABAC nursing graduates are held in high regard is that they stay abreast of rapidly changing technology. Troy Spicer, dean of the ABAC School of Nursing and Health Sciences, has made sure that students are at the forefront of the new telehealth technology.

"Telehealth is the delivery of health-related services using telecommunications and related technologies in the support of patient care, health education and administrative activities," Spicer explains. " ABAC is the first program in the state to electronically integrate learning resources for a more realistic and up to date student learning experience.

"The changes in technology have been mind boggling since the ABAC nursing program began 50 years ago. I would bet there is not a single person in South Georgia who has not been touched by a nurse from our program. The advances in health care are just incredible, and ABAC nurses have met the challenge."

Nursing students as well as students from all programs at ABAC, will use a new state-of-the-art laboratory sciences building which will open in time for the 2016 fall semester, says Dr. Johnny Evans, dean of the School of Science and Mathematics.

Evans believes the building will be a recruiting tool for ABAC, which enrolled 3,393 students during the 2015 fall semester from 153 Georgia counties, 25 states, and 22 countries.

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Children search for hidden eggs during Mims Kids Inc.'s Third Annual "Special Needs Easter Egg Hunt" at Annie Belle Clark Primary School this week.

Mims Kids is a local children's advocacy organization begun by Larry and Joyce Mims of Tifton.

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Tifton's Main Street program has been nominated for the America's Main Street Contest. The Downtown Development Authority of Tifton can win up to $25,000 that will be reinvested back in the downtown area.

Scores of cities across the country are vying for the prize; anyone may vote for Tifton between now and April 24. You can vote once every day by Clicking Here.

The goal of the America's Main Streets contest is to help promote the importance and strong economic benefits of Main Streets and the small businesses that help them thrive. The winning Main Street will receive $25,000 in cash and related prizes to help revitalize that Main Street. 

On the web site, it notes that t
he Downtown Development Authority of the City of Tifton (DDA) is a long-time member of the Georgia Main Street network and has "effectively utilized the tools of the Main Street Approach to leverage revitalization and redevelopment for our downtown. Joining the ranks of designated Georgia Main Street communities in 1986, Tifton is one of the oldest members of our state program and also one of the oldest Main Street Programs in America."
During the past decade, Tifton Main Street has seen an influx of $27.8 million in public and private investment, netting 120 new businesses, 45 expanding business and 640 new jobs.  The City of Tifton and the DDA have effectively and inventively leveraged federal and state funding sources to assist in rehabilitation efforts, including the Myon Hotel complex, housing retail space, residential units and City Hall functions. 

Downtown Tifton has experienced exponential growth in the past few years. With a 97 percent occupancy rate, future projections reflect that this growth will continue to expand throughout the entire downtown district. The upward trend in downtown Tifton's revitalization has resulted in economic, fiscal, civic, and cultural gains for Tifton and its small businesses


With the warm spring  weather upon us , sometimes we need a little break from routine. 

For that reason, Kathy Moreno, an assistant professor in the Stafford School of Business at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, was spotted this week hosting a "Class on the Grass" for her students on the ABAC campus.

By the way, no gnats were invited.

Jozef Abantao, a fifth grade student at Charles Spencer Elementary School, was recently awarded the state Reader of the Year for elementary students in grades 3-5. 

He was nominated for the award at the end of 2015 when he won the school and county Reader of the Year in Tift County for elementary grades three through five. Jozef had to submit an essay about "What Reading Means to Me" or "My Reading A utobiography."

This is the second time Tift County has had a state winner in the elementary age group.  Jacob Sauls also received the distinction in 1998.

Tift County had another state Reader of the Year for 2015 -- Kaycee Aultman, a former Charles Spencer Spartan, won the award in the high school division.


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Two Tift County High students are among 151 graduating seniors from schools across Georgia who are being recognized as 2016 Georgia Scholars, the Georgia Department of Education announced Thursday.

Kaycee Aultman and Michaela Lubbers
Named from Tift County
High School are Kaycee Aultman and Michaela Lubbers.

Through the Georgia Scholar program, the state identifies and honors high school seniors who have achieved excellence in school and community life. The program is coordinated by the Department of Education's Excellence Recognition Office and through local coordinators in each public school system and in private schools throughout the state. 

Each Georgia Scholar receives a seal for his or her diploma. 

Students eligible for Georgia Scholar recognition are high school seniors who exhibit excellence in all phases of school life, in community activities and at home. Georgia Scholars are students who have carried exemplary course loads during the four years of high school; who performed excellently in all courses; who successfully participated in interscholastic events at their schools and in their communities; and who have assumed active roles in extracurricular activities sponsored by their schools.


The Baldwin Players of Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College will perform the musical comedy "Nunsense" on March 31-April 2 at 7 p.m. and then again at a 3 p.m. matinee on April 3. All performances will be in Howard Auditorium on the ABAC campus. 
Cast of 'Nunsense'

"Nunsense" was expanded from a line of greeting cards by Dan Goggin, who turned it into a musical.  Dr. Brian Ray, director of the theatre troupe, said the admission is free to ABAC faculty, staff and students. The ticket cost is $7 per person for the general public.

Cast members include Taylor Walker, a music-vocal major from Omega, as Sister Mary Regina (Mother Superior); Krystina Braswell, a music-vocal major from Covington, as Sister Mary Hubert; Caroline Kirkland, a biology major from Tifton, as Sister Robert Anne; Juli-Ana Massey, a psychology major from Fitzgerald, as Sister Mary Leo; and Lauren Lever, a music major from Tifton, as Sister Mary Amnesia.

Goggin wrote the book, music, and lyrics for "Nunsense." It first opened in 1985 off-Broadway and was performed 3,672
Director Brian Ray
times, making it the second-longest-running off-Broadway show in history. It was later adapted for TV and led to six sequels and three spin-offs.

The musical is about five of the 19 surviving Little Sisters of Hoboken, a one-time missionary order that ran a leper colony on an island south of France. The five nuns discover that their cook, Sister Julia, Child of God, accidentally killed the other 52 residents of the convent with her tainted vichyssoise while they were off playing bingo. Upon discovering the disaster, Mother Superior has a vision in which she was told to start a greeting card company to raise funds for the burials.

After the enormous success of the greeting cards -- and thinking there is plenty of money -- the Reverend Mother buys some items for the convent leaving her with no money to pay for the last four burials. With the deceased nuns on ice in the deep freeze, the sisters decide to stage a variety show in the Mount Saint Helen's School auditorium to raise the funds.

For more information, contact Ray at 229-391-4969 or via e-mail at  [email protected]


Several  Tifton businesses participated in a  Community Career Resource Fair in  Moultrie on  Thursday .

Fifty businesses and industries were represented in the Southwest Georgia Bank Conference Center at Southern Regional Technical College.

Job seekers heard from local companies and what skills they expect their employees to possess.  Industries included healthcare, industrial manufacturing, sales and banking.

Among employers participating were Coastal Plain Area EOA Inc., ESG Operations, Federal Bureau of Prisons, the Georgia Department of Corrections, the Georgia Department of Labor, Georgia Premier Services, Labor Finders of Tifton, Lowe's, Quality Employment Services, Tift Regional Health Systems and Sayles Unlimited Health Promotions of Tifton.


Pollen season has arrived. Cars are covered with yellow pine pollen, and allergy sufferers are stocking up on their remedy of choice. 

The dusty pollen that we see in the air is not the pollen that plagues allergy sufferers. However, oftentimes when we can see lots of pine pollen floating in the air, pollen counts for problem plants are often high as well.

According to data collected by the Atlanta Allergy and Asthma Clinic, Georgia's pollen season peaks in early to mid-April, recedes in mid-May and resurfaces in mid-August.

Since the turn of the 20th century, pollen counting has been recognized as a valuable process this time of year. Not only have pollen counts advanced our knowledge of the role that plant pollen plays in causing allergy symptoms, like watery eyes, a runny nose, sore throat, coughing, and increased mucus and headaches, but it has also become a powerful tool for individuals.

Advanced knowledge of high pollen days can help allergy sufferers manage their symptoms. 

"Allergy Alert" pollen levels from the website are measured on a scale of zero to 12. Low is 0 to 2.4, low to medium is 2.5 to 4.8, medium is 4.9 to 7.2, high to medium is 7.3 to 9.6 and high is 9.7 to 12. These levels take into account the amount of pollen that the allergy sufferer is likely to be exposed to for the given period. 

Pollen forecasts help those with allergies plan their days in order to minimize the effects of pollen when counts are predicted to be high.

A popular pollen counting website is By typing in your ZIP code, you can get the most up-to-date pollen count and a list of the most prominent types of pollen in your area. In addition to helping allergy sufferers plan when to avoid the outdoors at home, websites like this help them plan for vacations and work trips.

             a Glance 

  • Fire Ant Festival, 6:30 p.m., Heritage park, Ashburn

  • Fire Ant Festival 5K & 1M Fun Run, 
  • Fire Ant Festival, 9:15 a.m., Heritage Park, Ashburn


  • Happy Easter!

In Memoriam

Jerry Benjamin Smallwood, 70, formerly of Ty Ty
John David Minter, 62, Tifton
Alton R. Baggett, 78, Sylvester
J.W. McKenzie, 78, Sylvester
Agnes Inez Apperson Purvis, 85, Worth County
Jackson Grayson Daniels, infant, Valdosta

Dorothy Faye "Dottie" Barton Esco, 73, Tifton
Alton Henry Rowan, 88, Alapaha
Earnest Lee Rowell Jr., 47, Enigma

Luciano Pablo Tovar, 25, Tifton
Jorge Luis Duque-Banda, 29, Tifton
Mattie Lou Suggs Ogletree, 91, Tifton
Michael Jay Price, 63, Fitzgerald
Hoyt Laminack, 80, Bremen

Patricia Anne Walker Boyd, 51, Sylvester
Joseph Brown, Locust Grove

 Ruth Laverne Dodd Mauldin, 78, Summerville
Mattie Lou Sarao, 93, Nashville
Debra Sue Hall, 54, Irwin County
John David Roberts Jr., 78, Fitzgerald

Julian Edward Williams, 83, Chula
Juanita Pina Vargas, 54, Omega

Mavis Minix Reese, 81, Fitzgerald

Eugene Jones Sr., 75, Sylvester
Ruby Lee Sutton Lovett, 100, Valdosta


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