Sept. 6, 2016
         Tifton, Georgia

   (478) 227-7126


Leadership Georgia, one of the nation's oldest leadership training programs for young business and civic leaders, is coming to Tifton this weekend for one of its five programs this year.

On Thursday afternoon,  approximately  200 folks consisting of the 2016 Leadership Georgia class, alumni and special guests, are arriving in the Friendly City and will take four chartered buses to Tifton City Hall for a tour and reception. They will then attend a concert at the Tift Theatre for the Performing Arts and will have dinner at the home of local business owner Julie Hunt.

The group has other events planned around the area on Friday and Saturday, including visits to the UGA Tifton campus and to local farms. 

The Leadership Georgia program is an educational experience rather than an advocacy program. It deals with issues confronting the state. This year's theme is "One Georgia Stronger Together."

This year the group's five programs were in  Brasstown Valley in January, with a program theme of "Discover;" in  Augusta during March, "Innovate;" in  Jekyll Island in May, "Preserve;"  in  Tifton this weekend, "Cultivate;" and will be in  Newnan during November, "Nurture."

"The purpose of Leadership Georgia is to prepare strong and effective leaders for the future development of this state. Those who participate are young people coming from every nook and cranny of Georgia ... the small town, the open country, the big city," said the late J.W. Fanning.

Fanning was instrumental in forming  Leadership Georgia in  1972 , which was inspired by and modeled  after a  Leadership Savannah program that he had helped establish in the  1950s . Fanning had earlier worked with the  
Agricultural Extension Service and served in Macon, Perry and Tifton before 
becoming  vice president for services at UGA

The J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development at the University of Georgia is named for  him.


The  University of Georgia's Tifton Campus has its highest enrollment since offering academic programs beginning in 2004.

A total of 82 students are enrolled in UGA's  College  of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences in
UGA Tifton students Emily Braswell, Megan Powell and Christina Garner study on campus.
Tifton this semester
, says Jason Peake, academic programs director at UGA Tifton.

" Increased enrollment is not our primary goal for UGA Tifton, but it is rewarding to see," Peake said. "Growth in student enrollment is a reflection of the quality that UGA Tifton brings to South Georgia; students want the prestige and recognition that comes from earning a UGA degree. I anticipate that our enrollment will continue to grow as we increase opportunities for rural South Georgia."

Small class sizes are a major benefit for students at the Tifton Campus. Students receive one-on-one training from their professors that they may not experience at other schools.

Though students are not located in Athens, they still receive the same UGA rigor and education in Tifton. They also get to experience the "student life" aspect. During the first week of school, students were treated to Welcome Week on campus. Each night, an activity was set up, including movie and board game nights and cookouts.

Peake said this semester will include multiple events for students to attend and showcase their work while interacting with other students and professionals in the agriculture industry.

"There are always opportunities for students to engage at Sunbelt Ag Expo, the Georgia National Fair and the National FFA Convention, and there are several research conferences where we have students attending and presenting their research," Peake said. "There are also Wednesday Workshops, a series of workshops we conduct every three weeks for students to have additional leadership and learning opportunities outside of the classroom."


John Waddell was recently sworn in as a member of the Tift County Board of Education by Tift Probate Judge Suzanne Carter Johnson

Waddell's term was to begin in January, but permission from the Governor's Office allowed him to fill the empty District 3 seat vacated by Tom Coogle, who resigned after moving out of the district.
"Show-Only" Tickets Available at UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center 
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Literacy Volunteers of Tifton-Tift County is recruiting sponsors of three-person teams for the 17th annual Carnival of Knowledge Trivia Contest to be held at 6 p.m. Sept. 15 at Southern Regional Technical College's Tifton Conference Center. 

The event this year is  honoring Luz Martia longtime Literacy Volunteers Board member and a champion of English language literacy in Tift County. She was named to the statewide Literacy Honor Roll of the Certified Literate Community Program of Georgia at a state meeting earlier this year.

"Many citizens have become better acclimated to the American culture, thanks to Luz's English language classes held at Our Divine Savior Catholic Church in Tifton," said Bonnie Sayles, executive director of Literacy Volunteers

In addition to sponsoring teams, the Literacy Board is asking local businesses and organizations to step up to the plate as Event Sponsors, Sayles said. The United Way of South Central Georgia has signed on as a Silver  Sponsor Sponsors will be recognized at the event and in all promotional publicity as true advocates of adult education and literacy in Tift County.  For information, call Sayles at 229-391-2527 or email

"Statistics show that children of parents who read succeed better in school," Sayles added. "Adults who have a GED can further their education and advance to better paying jobs to pull themselves out of poverty or government assistance. Quality health care is more accessible to those who can read. For instance, a current recipient of our services said he wants to learn to read and write to be able to fill out medical forms when visiting the doctor."

Sponsorship funds donated this year will be used for office supplies and books to support volunteer tutors and the many others who look to Literacy Volunteers for assistance. 

Because 25 percent of the adults in Tift County lack a high school diploma or a GED certificate, South Georgia benefits from the services the agency offers: basic skills instruction, GED preparation, GED test fee scholarships, and English language classes. 

In addition to promoting literacy, events such as the Carnival of Knowledge are exciting and fun for local businesses, organizations and the public, said Dottie Freeman, chair of the event. Event sponsors may have one or more teams in the trivia competition. 

"Our board is providing a free spaghetti dinner to event attendees and fantastic prizes and drawings," Freeman said. "Each member of the winning team will receive the grand prize of three nights at a mountain cabin in Dahlonega, generously donated by longtime board member Liz Carson Keith."

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Fran Kinchen, director of the Leroy Rogers Senior Citizen Center in Tifton, is the keynote speaker for the Irwin County NAACP's 2016 Freedom Fund Banquet this weekend.

The event is 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 10, at the Ocilla Community House, 711 S. Irwin Ave. (at Highway 90 and 129). Tickets are $25.

Kinchen is well known in Ocilla and Tift County. She was an Ocilla resident for 31 years until relocating to

She is a graduate of Thomas Area Technical College in Thomasville, where she studied secretarial science. She continued her studies in business administration at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton. She began her career as a secretary to the director of evening and continuing education programs at Thomas Area Technical School and later became secretary to three area specialists at the Rural Development Center in Tifton.

For many years, she was the secretary to the president of ABAC, a position she was promoted to after serving as administrative assistant to the vice president of academic affairs.

She retired from the University System of Georgia in 2007, but retirement didn't last long. Within six months, she was hired as promotion coordinator for the city of Tifton's Main Street program and Downtown Development Authority. She was then promoted to her current position heading Tifton's Leroy Rogers Senior Center.

Kinchen is the past president of the Georgia Division of the International Association of Administrative Professionals. In addition to her professional career, Kinchen has also been active in civic and church organizations. She has been a member of Springfield Baptist Church for more than 50 years.

Kinchen says her greatest joy is helping and lending a hand and that people are her hobby.

Her Freedom Fund Banquet topic will be "If there is no struggle, there is no progress" - the famous quotation from abolitionist Frederick Douglass' 1857 speech.

The banquet is an annual fundraiser for the Irwin County NAACP chapter.

For information, contact Irwin NAACP branch president Edgar Anderson, 229-325-5306.


All 16 students enrolled in the new bachelor's degree in nursing program at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College are receiving scholarships this semester thanks to the RN to BSN Professional Advancement Scholarship from the ABAC Foundation.

"Nurses who received the scholarships are just getting started in their careers," said Dr. Tami Dennis, professor of nursing. "They are paying back loans and working while earning this degree. We wanted to make returning to school as easy as possible for them. These scholarships are going to take off a big burden."

Dennis said that ABAC President David Bridges and the faculty of the School of Nursing and Health Sciences requested financial support for the scholarships, and the ABAC Foundation made the scholarships possible. Bridges announced on March 10 that ABAC would be adding the bachelor's degree in nursing beginning with the summer term. The associate degree program in nursing began at ABAC in 1966.

"I am very proud to say that all but one of the inaugural class had previously received their associate nursing degrees from ABAC," Dennis said. "We see this as a vote of confidence because there are many other options for students. We believe we have earned the trust of students, and we intend on continuing to be the destination for nursing education in South Georgia."

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