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JUNE 16, 2017
Tifton, Georgia


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USDA photo
Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue, center, convenes rural task force Thursday. At right is Energy Secretary Rick Perry.
PERDUE'S TASK FORCE TO
 ADDRESS FARM, RURAL ISSUES

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on Thursday hosted the first meeting of the federal government's interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity, which pledged to address rural and farm-related issues.

The Task Force, created by President Trump, is working to improve quality of life for rural residents, to develop a reliable workforce, spur innovation and technology development, and roll back regulations.

"The president has moved swiftly ... to make sure that he lets everyone know that agriculture is important and rural prosperity is important," said Perdue, the former Georgia governor.

Perdue was joined at the Washington meeting by Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson, Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget Mick Mulvaney, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission Ajit Pai, and other government officials. 

The group discussed their joint vision to develop a streamlined method of interagency cooperation to reach a broad range of goals, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Agriculture

The task force will examine and consider barriers to economic prosperity in rural areas and how innovation, infrastructure and technology --  including bioengineering, crop protection tools and rural  broadband -- can play a role in prosperity. The panel will also look at agricultural programs and regulatory flexibility for farms and small businesses.

According to press reports, the Cabinet officials and agency representatives made no mention of Trump's fiscal 2018 budget, which proposes to reduce USDA Rural Development programs, including water infrastructure and housing assistance.

The task force is required to issue a report with recommendations within 180 days.



RENOWNED D.C. LOBBYIST & TIFTON NATIVE
BILL HECHT DIES

Longtime Republican lobbyist William H. Hecht, 83, a Tifton native, died Monday, June 12, in his home in Vienna, Va. Hecht founded Hecht, Latham, Spencer & Associatesone of the top government lobbying firms in  Washington, D.C.

According to Politico, Hecht was close friends with a generation of top Republicans in the House and Senate, including former Sens. Trent Lott and Saxby Chambliss and former House Speaker John Boehner
HECHT

"He's a breed of lobbyist that you just don't see many of today," Chambliss told Politico.

Born in Tifton on Sept. 13, 1933, Hecht went on to become a Lutheran pastor in Mt. Vernon, Ill., after completing his master's of divinity degree from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Mo., and his M.A. degree in philosophy from Washington University

Hecht was politically active and later became executive director of the Missouri State Republican Party. In 1969, he served as vice president of the American Security Council. In 1971, he became executive assistant to the chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Internal Security and subsequently left government to serve as vice president for legislative affairs at the Tobacco Institute. After working in the Reagan for President campaign, Hecht started his lobbying-consulting firm in 1981, continuing to serve as chairman of the board at at the time of his death.

In 2012, he was chosen as one of three people to receive an "Outstanding Georgian" commendation from the Georgia General Assembly. According to The Washington Post, Hecht was a published author and respected political advisor.

"Bill touched many more people than anyone knows, in many more ways than anyone knows," f ormer Georgia Congressman John Linder wrote Wednesday in The Daily Caller. "For those who feel compelled to denigrate the role of lobbyists in our system, just remember Bill HechtBill was just a gentle man who happened to work for companies whose future was impacted by government. He loved his God, his family and his country -- in that order -- and spent a lifetime on his knees in obeisance to the first to serve the other two."

Dave Hetzel, left, and James Montgomery, outgoing Easterseals officers.
EASTERSEALS
HONORS TIFT BOARD MEMBERS

Easterseals Southern Georgia this week presented Distinguished Service Awards to outgoing officers on its Tift County Board.

President James L. Montgomery , Vice President David Hetzel and Secretary Veronica Graydon , who was absent, were honored for 11 years of service.

"Their leadership built our board to 20 members, develo ped a great local fundraiser that provides the funds needed for our local day program participants to enjoy field trips and outings, Wild Adventures and so much more," says Executive Director Beth English.

"Our entire board understands the importance of advocacy and supports disability issues at the Capitol."


TIFTON ACTRESS NAMED A 'TOP 5 CHILD STAR TV CHARACTER'

CAITLIN CARMICHAEL
A television entertainment news web site, TVOvermind, has named Tifton native  Caitlin Carmichael as one of " The Five Top Child Star Characters on Television Right Now."

Carmichael, 12, was recognized for her acting work as the voice of Alma Dinky Doo on the Disney Junior Channel's  "Doc McStuffins" animated TV series. 

" She is known for her recurring role as Alma in the poplar children's television series 'Doc
ALMA DINKY DOO
McStuffins.' In addition to her successful career in television movies, she has also appeared other TV series including 'Z Nation,' 'The Loud House,' 'Agent Carter,' 'The Legend of Korra,' 'Suburgatory,' 'Chosen,' 'Criminal Minds,' 'Vegas,' 'The Neighbors,' 'Retired at 35,' 'Daybreak,' 'Badgirls' and several other television series. Caitlin is a child star who has already risen to the status of veteran actor," the web site wrote earlier this week.


Dottie "Doc" McStuffins is a six-year-old girl who communicates secretly to toys and heals plush animals in her backyard clinic. The show is aimed at teaching children how to take care of themselves and others, along with living healthy lifestyles. Carmichael's recurring character Alma is the younger sister of Doc's best friend Emma.

TIFTON-TIFT COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
RIBBON CUTTING
 
31 North Wealth Management
122 E. 2nd St., Tifton
June 14


YMCA SUMMER CAMP  PLANTS GARDEN
IN MEMORY OF LATE YMCA STAFF MEMBER

Children in the Tiftarea YMCA's summer camp on Wednesday planted a garden in memory of Evann Todd, a Y staffer who died suddenly in February from natural causes at age 25. Todd's parents came to help celebrate her life. "Her spirit and legacy continues to 'bloom' at the Tiftarea YMCA. We miss you, Evann. Rest easy," the YMCA posted on its  Facebook page.


TIFTON ROTARIANS, EX-STUDENTS, ATTEND INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION

Rotary International came to Atlanta earlier this week for the civic organization's 108th International Convention, bringing together nearly 38,000 Rotarians from around the world.

At left, in the photo above, is Jean Courson of the Tifton Rotary Club; Annelize Cloete from South Africa, who was the Tifton Rotary Club's 1999-2000 international Georgia Rotary Student; Caroline Benefield of Tifton; Past Rotary District Gov. Leon Benefield of Tifton; and Maren Skott-Myhre from Norway, the Tifton club's 2012-2013 international Georgia Rotary Student.

 
GA TECH PRESIDENT VISITING SOUTH GEORGIA

Georgia Tech President G.P. "Bud" Peterson and his wife Val Peterson are headed to South Georgia next week to visit Georgia Tech alumni, Regents, business leaders, lawmakers and other friends of the Institute.

This year's tour -- Peterson's ninth as Tech president -- will be June 19-21 and will cover stops in Jekyll Island, Brunswick, Waycross, Douglas, Tifton, Valdosta, Thomasville, Camilla, Albany, Americus, and Columbus.

Each year, the Petersons dedicate time during the summer to visit a different area of the state to meet with stakeholders. Through the past eight tours, the Petersons have traversed the entire state, covering more than 6,000 cumulative miles.
 
This year's tour will cover nearly 1,000 miles, the most ever in a single tour, and hit 44 counties. 

For updates along the way, visit  president.gatech.edu


PEANUT CALENDAR SEEKS PEANUT PHOTOS

The Georgia Peanut Commission (GPC) is hosting a photo contest open now through Oct. 1 to fill the pages of its 2018 Georgia Peanut Calendar, "Photos from the Field." Photographs will also be selected to be used in GPC promotional projects throughout the year.
Peanut farmers from across Georgia are encouraged to submit their best high-resolution photo of peanut production on their farm. Winning entries will be selected for each month of the calendar, as well as the cover. Below are tips to consider when selecting a photo to enter:

- Make sure the photo is not offensive and avoid photos with large, easy-to-read corporate logos;
- Think about the months of the year and select photos that represent them;
- Photos need to be taken in horizontal format. If they are vertical, most likely they will not fill the entire page of the calendar;
- Select a photo that showcases your family or what being a Georgia peanut farmer means to you;
- Choose a photo you feel helps others understand more about how you care for the crop they love.

Photo entries must be taken during the 2016 or 2017 peanut growing season and feature peanut production. Entries must also be high resolution (300 dpi), horizontal and not taken with a phone. If photos do not meet these requirements, they may be disqualified. Submit photos in jpg format and email them with an entry form to  jessie@gapeanuts.com by Oct. 1.

Visit  www.gapeanuts.com for details and entry forms.


OMEGA SCHOOL RECEIVES INCENTIVE GRANTS

The Tift County Foundation for Educational Excellence recently presented Incentive Grant awards to educators at Omega School.

From left is Dr. Victoria Melton, Omega principal; teacher Angel Martin, who received $300 to take students to the Valdosta State Planetarium; Foundation liaison Paige Keith; and media specialist Lacy Cargle, who received $1,000 to set up an Interactive Learning Commons in the school's Media Center.



TIFT STUDENTS
'SPARK IT!' 

Some  Tift County Schools students attended the  "Spark It! Computing Camp" last week. 

The week ended with the students showcasing their projects, which included making keyboards out of general objects and creating digital apps. 

The camp was a collaborative partnership among SparkIT! Inc., the Delta Lambda Zeta Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta and Tift Regional Health System.
YOUR WEEKEND 
. ..at a Glance

FRIDAY, JUNE 16
  • 'SELF' Senior Dance, 6 p.m., Leroy Rogers Senior Center, Tifton
  • 'The Wedding Singer, Musical Comedy,' 7 p.m., Tift Theatre for the Performing Arts, Tifton

SATURDAY, JUNE 17
  • Irwin County Farmers Market, 8 a.m., 5th Street, Ocilla
  • Wiregrass Farmers Market, 9 a.m.-Noon, Ga. Museum of Agriculture, Tifton
  • Sylvester Farmers Market, 9 a.m.-Noon, downtown train depot, Sylvester
  • 'The Wedding Singer, Musical Comedy,' 7 p.m., Tift Theatre for the Performing Arts, Tifton

SUNDAY, JUNE 18
  • 'The Wedding  Singer, Musical Comedy,' 3 p.m., Tift Theatre for the Performing Arts, Tifton

In Memoriam
BowenDonaldson

JUNE 8
Walter Edwin Taylor, 73, Tifton
Lawanna Jo Brock, 48, West Berrien

JUNE 9
Robert Lee "R.L." Merritt, 70, Tifton
Brenda Braddy Ray, 71, Tifton

JUNE 10
Ed Ellerbee, 94, Ashburn
Ronney Eugene Flowers, 64, Adel

JUNE 11
Stella Williamson, 73, Ben Hill County
Robert Glenn Kincade, 92, Nashville
Russell Eugene Stripling Sr., 81, Adel
Myrtle Mae Drawdy, 83, Sparks
Ruth Shipp Gordon, Atlantic City, N.J.

JUNE 12
Robert Lasseter, 55, Omega
Nettie Rose Ward Hardy, 83, Sycamore
Mary Helen Dillard Surrency, 88, Adel
Floy Ann "Flo" Elizabeth Fletcher Quinney, 82, Irwinville

JUNE 13
Tammy Pauline Baxter, 44, Tifton
Maurice Renard Lewis, Sylvester

JUNE 14
Travis C. Sutton, 58, Fitzgerald
Emily Fowler Wynn, 65, Fitzgerald


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