MARCH 13, 2018
Tifton, Georgia


Several familiar faces are running for local elected office this year, with many of them facing primary election challengers.

Qualifying ended Friday for the May 22 primary election. Throwing his hat in the ring is former Tifton Mayor Jamie Cater, who joined a crowded field for the Republican nomination for the District 4 seat on Tift County Commission

District 4 incumbent Stan Stalnaker is seeking re-election for that seat, and, in addition to Cater, is facing challenges from Jonathan Cassell and Ronald Norman as well. Cater lost his bid for a third term as mayor in 2015.

There are four seats up for election this year on the Tift County Commission, and all four incumbents are seeking re-election and have primary opposition. Former GOP state Rep. Tony McBrayer is challenging incumbent Robert Setters for the District 3 seat on the County Commission.

A former member of the Tift County Board of Education, Lester Potts, is seeking the District 6 County Commission seat held by Greg Wood, who is also running for re-election as a  Republican.

In County Commission District 1incumbent Donnie Hester is facing challenger Raymond Teal in the Democratic primary.

On the  Tift County Board of Education, three of the four seats up for re-election will be contested; just one incumbent is seeking re-electionDistrict 2 incumbent John W. Smith faces no opposition in his race. Three other seats will be decided in the May Republican primary. 

In BOE District 4, former school board Chairman Richard Golden faces Jamie Hill. That seat is currently held by Keith Barr, who is not seeking re-election. 

Golden was a controversial figure while serving on the school board in the past. While chairman in 2004, Golden was charged with pointing a gun and shooting up a vehicle, for which he received probation. Several years later, he was arrested again for an altercation at the Tift County Landfill. He also had been charged with illegally dumping commercial kitchen grease into the Tifton city sewer system.

In BOE District 5, Jarrett Haswell and Sam Wright are seeking the post. Marian Richbourg currently holds the seat and is not seeking re-election. In District 6, three candidates -- Jimmy Cargle, Rusty Harrelson and Jo Windom -- are vying for the seat held by Melanie Roberson, who is not seeking re-election.


Local state representatives say a Tifton-based project they promoted has been included in the Georgia House of Representatives' $26 billion fiscal 2019 budget passed Friday.

The House budget includes $900,000 funding for a Food Animal Medicine Haul-In Facility in Tifton. Representatives whose districts include part of Tift County -- Penny Houston, R-Nashville; Clay Pirkle, R-Ashburn; and Sam Watson, R- Moultrie, say the facility will benefit the cattle industry throughout South Georgia.

The facility would serve as a referral center for veterinary services for livestock and would be used for procedures that cannot be performed on farms and/or are not being performed by local veterinarians. It would have specialized chutes and other equipment not normally available at many mixed animal practices because of cost and low return on investment for mixed animal practitioners, the lawmakers said. 

Caseload from the facility, along with the additional food animal clinical veterinarian located in Tifton, would provide additional training opportunities for veterinary students in rural practice.  Nearest facilities of this type are in Athens; in Gainesville, Fla.; and in Auburn, Ala.

The proposed facility would better serve citizens and cattle owners in South Georgia by providing a facility for specialized, veterinary reproductive services for cattle and small ruminants -- services not currently available in South Georgia, the representatives said. Many cattle owners are not fulltime producers and rely on facilities such as this for those services.

President Carter, fifth from right, with members off ABAC's Wildlife Society.
Students from the Wildlife Society at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College spent a recent morning with former President Jimmy Carter during the students' annual wood duck box cleanup on Carter's property in Plains

"We were delighted to spend over an hour with President Carter on a personal tour of his newest pond as students scouted how many new boxes were needed," said Dr. Vanessa Lane, assistant professor of wildlife. 

Lane said the club has had the honor of maintaining, repairing and replacing President Carter's wood duck boxes for many years. The morning consisted of unexpected entertainment when U.S. Secret Service members assisted in towing a van from the sandy soil.

"The most memorable experience for me was seeing Dr. Lane sink the van into the sand and having a member of President's Carter's detail hook up a tow strap and pull her out," said Christopher Terrazas, ABAC Wildlife Society president. 

Students took notes of nesting success and determined what could be beneficial in the future. They cleaned old eggs, debris and wasp nests from the existing boxes and replaced old bedding with fresh cedar shavings. 

"This event and any other that involves volunteer work helps students obtain field experience and improves understanding on the importance of volunteer work," Terrazas said. 

The Wildlife Society currently has approximately 50 members who meet twice a month to discuss opportunities to conserve wildlife and natural resources.

The Kiwanis Club of Tifton's 2018 Arts and Music Showcase will be held at 6 p.m. Friday, March 16, in the Tift County High School Performing Arts Center.

The showcase features artwork and musical performances from fourth- through 12th-grade students across Tift County and the Tiftarea. The event is free and open to the public.

Kiwanis is a global organization of volunteers dedicated to improving the world one child and one community at a time. For information, contact Tom Shoup at or at 229-388-2142.


The Tift County Sheriff's Office arrested 94 people during February, Sheriff Gene Scarbrough says.  

He said that some of the arrests were on multiple charges. There were 30 property crime charges filed, 29 charges of parole/probation violation, 26 drug violation charges, seven fraud charges, six failure to appear charges, three child support violations, two  weapon charges and 10 other non-traffic charges.

Scarbrough said traffic stops led to 25 charges of driving while license revoked or suspended, three instances of driving under the influence, three drug charges and the arrest of three wanted people. D eputies also completed 421 incident reports, 38 accident reports, issued 762 traffic citations, 135 traffic warnings and verified the addresses of 65 registered sex offenders
in Tift County. 

Deputies conducted 1,463 business and property checks, 399 mobile home park and subdivision checks, conducted 21 school checks and answered 2,537 service calls. A total of  129 warrants, 80 civil papers and 326 subpoenas were served during the month. 

Scarbrough said  deputies handled 58 transports, totaling 141 hours and 4,270 miles.


Capt. Laurie Croft, left, wrapped up a successful "military campaign" during  February at the Tifton Rotary Club. 

Croft spoke to  Rotary recently with combat tales of  a tour in Vietnam .

The Phoenix DIOCC ( District Intelligence Operations Control Center) director in the  Mekong Delta region, Croft often ran ambush patrols in the Phoenix mission to hunt down Viet Cong infrastructure  cadre. 

Author and Vietnam veteran Warren Robinson gave the prayer, and Vietnam platoon leader John Ewing led the Pledge of Allegiance during the meeting.

Croft's talk ended a month of Rotary programs on the  Vietnam War era.



Patty Morris, managing director of National Life Group in Tifton, pictured at left, represents her company's vision to " Do
Good, Be Good, and Make Good" by donating $500 from the National Life Group Foundation to Tifton's "Save Our Pets" organization.

Receiving the check is Candice Hernandez.

 Staff members of The Stallion newspaper and Stallion TV at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College dominated their division by bringing home a total of 21 awards at recent conventions in Athens and Savannah.
"For years, The Stallion was the best college newspaper among two-year colleges in Georgia," said advisor Dr. Thomas Grant. "But when ABAC became a four-year college, the students were challenged to compete against many larger, well-established colleges and universities. The fact that the staff of The Stallion has managed to rise to that challenge and be named the best paper overall is a powerful sign of how well our students perform academically." 
Displaying plaques from the Georgia College Press Association are, from left, Leila Baxter, Ariel Pridgon, Dalton Spangler, TeeKayy King, Danielle Long,and Ricky Rodriguez. 

At the Georgia College Press Association Conference in Athens, ABAC students brought home first place awards for General Excellence, Layout and Design, General Advertising, Overall Improvement, Best Campus Community Service-News and Best Campus Community Service-Features
The newspaper received second place in Best Campus Community Service-Editorial and third place in General Photography. 

"When The Stallion Editor Dalton Spangler kept being called up again and again to accept top awards for the newspaper, I was extremely proud for him and the entire staff," said Grant. "They do it all themselves -- assign the stories, shoot the photographs and lay out the pages. Being named the top paper demonstrates that they're taking what they learn in class and using it in practical ways as well as anyone in the state." 

Students also had the opportunity to compete in individual competitions against larger schools including the University of Georgia, Mercer University and Georgia Southern University

Remington Miller, a writing and communications major from Tifton, received first place in Best Review Group II for her review of the "A Series of Unfortunate Events" Netflix series. Ricky Rodriguez, a writing and communications major from Tifton, received third-place for Best Review Group I for his review of The Weekend's "Trilogy" mixtape. Kevin Joachin, a history and government major from Tifton, received second-place for Best Photograph-News Group II for his photo of DACA protesters in Atlanta. Dalton Spangler, a writing and communication major from Groveland, Fla., received third place in Best Photography-News Group I. 

"I am extremely proud of my staff and of the work they put forth every day to make this paper happen," Spangler said. "Many people do not realize the hours and hard work that go into the newspaper-making process." 
Posing with awards from the Georgia Regional Press Institute are, from left, Billy Ray Malone, Tristin "Buck" Clements, Jack Jordan, Cindy Monroe, Kevin Joachin, and Lauren Slaughter.

The Southern Regional Press Institute held its annual Press Workshop at Savannah State University, and ABAC brought home nine awards including First Place Best Overall Newspaper for  the third consecutive year and Second Best Overall Online Newspaper along with seven individual awards. 

"ABAC's showing at the Southern Regional Press Institute was also impressive," Grant said. " Competition came from three states in the Southeast. Not only did The Stallion win the best newspaper among small colleges, but it also won the top television awards among all schools." 

Tristin "Buck" Clements, a writing and communication major from Tifton, won second place individual Video Production award for his story on the Red Cross Blood drive. Walter Murphy, a writing and communication major from Moultrie, won the f irst place individual Video Production award for his "On the Road with Walter Murphy." 

Hannah Robinson, a history and government major from Purvis, Miss., won first place for Sports Writing for her article following two ABAC tennis players. Ethan Reddish, a writing and communication major from Odum, won first place in Editorial/Column Writing. Kevin Joachin won second place for individual Outstanding Feature Writing for his "Federal Plan to End TPS Threatens Immigrants" news article. Ricky Rodriguez received first place for individual Outstanding Feature Writing for his "ABAC opens doors to evacuees in Gressette Gym" after Hurricane Irma. Spangler received Best Photograph for his image of "Free Hugs."


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