DEC. 9, 2016
Tifton, Georgia


A 27-year-old legal battle between Georgia and Florida over water -- which has important consequences for Southwest Georgia farmers -- may be nearing a conclusion.

The trial phase of the "water war"  case concluded last week, and the court-appointed special master could make his recommendation to the U.S. Supreme Court by the end of the year.

"No matter what decision the court finally hands down, the verdict will directly impact farmers' ability to use water in this state, Georgia Farm Bureau President Gerald Long said this week. 

"This court decision is not just some legal exercise or concept. This decision will affect you and me -- our farms, our land, our crops, our livelihoods," Long told farmers at the 79th Annual Farm Bureau Convention on Jekyll island.

Florida has sued Georgia claiming upstream hoarding of rivers and aquifers have almost killed the Sunshine State's oyster industry. Florida claims that Georgia is not  sharing water fairly.

Florida has long contended that too much water is taken from the Chattahoochee to meet the demands of the Atlanta area and has pushed the argument that farmers in Southwest Georgia have been withdrawing too much water for irrigation.

"Ralph Lancaster Jr., the special master appointed by the U.S. Supreme Court to settle the intractable interstate dispute, will now determine whether Atlanta will get by on less water or Southwest Georgia farmers will irrigate fewer acres of cotton and peanuts. Or he may simply decide that Florida didn't prove its case," according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Gov. Nathan Deal told the Farm Bureau convention on Monday that  numerous attempts have been made to reach a water-sharing agreement with Florida without success.

"I assure you I will not and I have not turned my back on the largest industry in the state of Georgia," Deal said. 

Despite growing by more than 1 million people during the past decade, metro Atlanta is withdrawing less water, Deal said, saying that per capita consumption has decreased by about 30 percent in the same period.

"I refuse to sacrifice agricultural interests in this war. I will not turn my back on you, nor will I ignore our state's economic interests in this fight," Deal told the Farm Bureau.

Two students received top honors as the outstanding graduates during Thursday's fall commencement at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.

Hillery Reeves, an agricultural communications major from Rebecca, received the Alumni Association Award for bachelor 's degree graduates; and Madison Thornhill, a writing and communications major from Tifton, received the George P. Donaldson award for associate degree graduates.
ABAC President David Bridges, left, and Alumni Association President Chuck Scarborough, far right, congratulate Hillery Reeves, second from left, and Madison Thornhill after ABAC's commencement Thursday.

Each was selected by the ABAC Alumni Association, which provided a plaque and a check for $500 for each of them.

Reeves has been part of many student organizations, including ABAC Ambassadors. She was a founding member and president of the Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow Club, wrote for the student newspaper  " The Stallion " and was a member of Phi Theta Kappa honor society, the Collegiate FFA, the Rural Studies Club, and the Georgia Association of Educators Student Program.

Reeves has been named to the President's List, the De an's List  and the Distinguished List. She has also been named an Honor Student.  Reeves has received two Harold Ragan Scholarships and three Bynum Rural Studies Scholarships. She was presented the discipline award from the School of Liberal Arts for excellence in rural studies and honored with a Pacesetter award "for being a model student in agricultural communications."

Thornhill began her ABAC career as a dual-enrolled student while still in high school at Tiftarea Academy. She spent four semesters as a dual-enrolled student and another three semesters as a full-time ABAC student.

A member of the ABAC Ambassadors since 2015, Thornhill  has also been a member of the Equus Dance Team, written for ABAC's student newspaper  and was a contestant in the 2016 Ms. ABAC Pageant, when she was named the Essay Contest winner. She was also inducted into the Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society.

Thornhill has been a student worker in the Office of Admissions and the Technology Support Center. Her academic career at ABAC includes recognition on the Disting uished Achievement List, the President's List and as a Superior Honor Student. A  recipient of the Foundation Scholarship, Thornhill also received the Loye Daniell Memorial Dance Scholarship, Colquitt EMC Scholarship and the Sertoma Club Scholarship.

Matt Bentley, a 1988 ABAC graduate, was commencement speaker. He gave graduates keys to career fulfillment:  "You have to take responsibility for your actions. Improve your people skills. Build your career. Don't expect to start at the top.  You must be able to evaluate yourself. Lead by example. And finally, give back to the  community. Do  something for other people."

A total of 188 graduates participated in the ceremony. ABAC will close for the holidays on Dec. 23 and reopen Jan. 3. Classes begin for spring semester Jan. 9


State football championship fever is sweeping Fitzgerald.

The Fitzgerald High School Purple Hurricanes will play in their second consecutive state championship game at 1 p.m. Saturday in Atlanta's Georgia Dome against the Benedictine Military School Cadets of Savannah.

Both are Class AA's two top teams: Benedictine has a 14-0 season, while Fitzgerald is 13-1. Last year,  Fitzgerald was on a roll, knocking Benedictine out of the quarterfinal playoffs with a 54-28 win, but then losing in the state title game against Pace Academy.

Fitzgerald's last state title was in 1948. The Purple Hurricanes are ready to bring the title home this year to Ben Hill County.

There will be a community "send off" for the Purple Hurricanes football team at noon today (Friday) as the team heads to Atlanta. The Hurricanes will leave the field house heading North on Merrimac to Ten Mile Road.
TRMC's Tree of Life surrounded by snow.

Tift Regional Medical Center's annual lighting of the "Tree of Life" Thursday night is a symbolic tribute to friends, family and lost loved ones.

But the solemn ceremony is also a hopeful one; sponsored by the Tifton Junior Woman's Club, the Tree of Life also raises money for a special fund benefiting patients of the TRMC Oncology Center and Hospice of Tift Area with special needs.

In the spirit of the season, there was live Christmas music,
cookies, hot cocoa, soup and sandwiches -- and snow and Santa.

Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries

Tifton First United 
Methodist Church

Tifton First United Methodist Church (TFUMC) in Tifton, Georgia, is seeking a full-time Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries. Responsibilities will be focused on 7th grade through college undergraduate. The Director will be expected to work with other staff members under direction of the Senior Pastor. 
The successful candidate should possess or be pursuing a bachelor's degree; have experience working with and developing youth and young adult ministries and educational programs; and possess a strong personal faith consistent with the United Methodist tradition.

We are looking for a vibrant, energetic person who can get TFUMC youth and young adults excited about the Lord and can recruit and motivate volunteers to lead and teach under his/her direction.
Available January 2017. Salary will be commensurate with education
and experience. 
Please Click Here for a complete job description and application details. 
Applications should be received by January 4, 2017. 

Volunteers and members of the Georgia National Guard baled and loaded Christmas trees Thursday from a Tift County tree farm to help make the holidays brighter for needy military families.

This was the 10th year for the Brumby & White Christmas Tree Farm in  Chula to provide trees for the   "Trees for Troops"  program.

Farm owners Mike Brumby and JH White, from left in photo, received a certificate of appreciation from the National Guard.
Brumby & White provided 175 trees this year.

"Best-Selling Truck for 39 Straight Years"
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Dr.  Bob Coleman of  Tifton, left, tells the  Tifton Rotary Club on  Wednesday about his World War II service in the Navy. Wednesday was the 75th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, which propelled in the U.S. into the war. Coleman is being questioned by Dr. Ted McElroy, who took over Coleman's eye practice when he retired.


Tifton's Leroy Rogers Senior Center is hosting its Fifth Annual Christmas Luncheon
for seniors age 55 and up, 11 a.m.- 2 p.m. Dec. 14.

A    seafood lunch will be served; the Faithful Servants and pianist Jerry Moss will perform; and door prizes will be given. The Rev. Anthony Davis of Douglas , will be the guest emcee.

For information, call 229-391-9299.



We've heard of tacky Christmas sweaters but an entire outfit?

Len Lastinger Primary School observed  "Tacky Christmas Day" recently and t hird-grade teacher Dawn Starling came decked out in her holiday finery (or foolery).

She was one of the "stars" of the day.


Fifteen students at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College have been selected to participate in one of the most prestigious organizations on campus, the ABAC Ambassadors.

Students serving as ambassadors are: Kaycee Aultman, a freshman writing and communications major from Tifton; Louis Canevari, a freshman agriculture major from Lake Placid, Fla.; Matthew Fisher, a freshman engineering major from Tifton; Kerstin Hilley, a sophomore early childhood education major from Oxford; Page Johnson, a Merlene Woods Leggett, 81, of Fitzgerald; and Shannon Kehoe, a junior agriculture education major from Myakka City, Fla.

Other ambassadors include Madison Lynn, a junior agriculture major from Vidalia; Kiera Nicely, a sophomore biology major from Warner Robins; Anna Marie Pugh, a junior agriculture major from Mathews, Ala.; Landon Rowe, a sophomore writing and communications major from Ocilla; Mitchel Sheffield, a junior biology major from Donalsonville; Jared Smith, a junior agriculture major from Hastings, Fla.; Heather Stanley, a junior agriculture major from Covington; Madison Thornhill, a sophomore writing and communications major from Tifton; and Matthew Tucker, a freshman engineering major from Camilla.

Ambassadors represent and promote the college at a variety of community and college events. They work to maintain positive relationships among students, faculty, staff, alumni and the community.

Glen Nowak is a professor in UGA's Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, and director of Grady's Center for Health & Risk Communication.



Americans are split on getting an annual flu shot, with four out of 10 having done so in the past year and only half saying they had already received or were planning to get the vaccine this year, according to new national survey data analyzed by University of Georgia researchers.

People across the country grapple with the decision of getting a flu shot every year, with many opting not to vaccinate because of the fluctuation in the shot's effectiveness from one flu season to the next. But their decision has ramifications, said Glen Nowak, a professor in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication and director of Grady's Center for Health and Risk Communication.

"Your flu vaccination helps protect other people from flu, including both really young and older family members who are more vulnerable to severe illness," Nowak said. "There's evidence that the vaccine is often most effective in healthy adults 18 to 49, so by them being vaccinated they not only protect themselves from the flu, but they can help reduce the transmission of flu to others."

Overall, about half of the survey respondents said they definitely or probably would not get the flu vaccine this year. As of October, less than 10 percent of 30- to 59-year-olds and only 5 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds had received a flu shot, and only 13 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds, 18 percent of 30- to 44-year-olds and 30 percent of 45- to 49-year-olds said they were planning to get one.

Flu vaccination is recommended for all adults, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is promoting later-season vaccination with National Influenza Vaccination Week, which ends Dec. 10.


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YOUR WEEKEND  christmas_wreath_flower.jpg
. a Glance

  • "One Starry Night," 6 p.m., Northside Baptist Church, Tifton
  • Tifton Christmas Spectacular ~ Tift County Chorus, 6:30 p.m., Tift County High PAC, Tifton
  • Fitzgerald High vs. Benedictine Military School ~ Class AA State Football Championship,  1 p.m., Georgia Dome, Atlanta
  • "One Starry Night," 6 p.m., Northside Baptist Church, Tifton
  • Tifton Christmas Spectacular ~ Tift County Chorus, 6:30 p.m., Tift County High PAC, Tifton
  • Max Noah Singers 2016 Tour  Concert , 6 p.m., First Presbyterian Church, Tifton
  • "One Starry Night, 6 p.m., Northside Baptist Church, Tifton

In Memoriam

DEC. 1
Clara Hundley Rumph, 84, Sparks
Vernon L. Pettis Jr., 70, Ocilla
Bobby R. Baldree, 71, Sparks
Dollie Mae Orr, 73, Nashville

DEC. 2
Patricia "Pat" Hopson, 55, Adel
Aralee Graci-Lynn Harper, 3 months, Douglas
Karen Sue McGowan, 66, Nashville
Mary GeorgieYoung Ward, 79, Nahunta
Virginia Godwin, 79, Valdosta

DEC. 3
Patricia Gail Walker Baldree, 66, Tifton
Irene Powers Hathaway, 94, of Troy, Ala.
Arthur Leroy Dorminy, 93, Ocilla

DEC. 4
Jeffrey Hendley, 59, Nashville
Kelly Martin, 41, Fitzgerald
Everett Lee Maupin, 53, Nashville
Virgil Dorminy, 76, Fitzgerald
Bryan McGill, 43, Nashville
Ola Register, 88, Fitzgerald
 Roswell G. Willis, 93, Boston
Jackie Carroll Jr., 77, Boston

DEC. 5
Kendall Lamb, 11, Tifton
Claudius O'Neal, 77, Quitman

DEC. 6
Wetona C. "Toni" Fletcher, 89, Tifton
Louann Jeanne Hammond, 34, Nashville

DEC. 7
Ethel Pritchard Cooper Alsobrook, 95, Tifton
Peggy McCook Carr, 76, Poulan
Deborah Louise Maxwell, 62, Worth County
Mary Jane Worthington Goodman, 75, Ocilla
Maxine Holbrook Adams, 65, Nashville

DEC. 8
Ike Monroe Johnson Jr., 90, Tifton
Jane R. McPherson, 76, Tifton
Jimmy Akins, 84, Enigma
Francis E. "Ed" May Jr., 69, Tifton
Merlene Woods Leggett, 81, Fitzgerald


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