The Ga. House of Representatives passed the Safe Schools Act on Monday, a bill designed to help make public schools safer and require annual intruder/active-shooter drills.
Meanwhile, a House Education subcommitteedelayed action Monday on a related bill by Rep. Penny Houston, R-Nashville, who also represents part of Tift County.
The Safe Schools Act – House Bill 147 and endorsed by the governor – now goes to the state Senate for consideration.
Under its provisions, schools must conduct active-shooter drills by Oct. 1 each year and send its individual safety plans to state and local authorities.
Colleges also would be encouraged to offer best-practices training in school safety and gang deterrent to future teachers.
The House passed the bill, 148-20.
Houston’s related bill, HB 469, requires public schools to share detailed school building site plans with local law enforcement and emergency management agencies.
Houston presented the bill to the education policy subcommittee on Monday, stressing the importance of getting accurate maps of schools to public safety officials. Butch Ayers of the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police spoke in support of the bill.
The subcommittee will continue discussions on the legislation at a later date.
TIFTON MAN FACES DRUG, FIREARM CHARGES
Following a lengthy investigation and information from citizens, Tift County Sheriff's Office investigators arrested a Tifton man Feb, 22 and charged him with several drug and firearm offenses.
Donta Thomas, 36, of 727 17th ½ St. is charged with trafficking methamphetamine, trafficking cocaine, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, possession of Schedule 4 narcotics with intent to distribute, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, and four counts of possession of narcotics within 1,000feet of a school.
The Sheriff’s Office said that investigators were able to establish probable cause for search warrants on the suspect’s residence and recovered firearms and various amounts of methamphetamine, cocaine, marijuana, and prescription pills.
Citizens’ tips may be submitted to the Tift County Sheriff's Office online here or by downloading the Tift County Sheriff's Office mobile app.
Gathering for Tifton’s Arbor Day observance are, from left, Michael Mitchem with ESG for the City of Tifton, Steve Rigdon, and Tifton Tree Board members Jimmy Felton, George Vellidis, Al Potts of the Georgia Forestry Commission, Tree Board Chair Lorie Felton, and Mayor Julie B. Smith.
CITY MARKS ARBOR DAY
The City of Tifton observed Arbor Day on Friday, and Mayor Julie B. Smith presented a proclamation to the Tifton Tree Board.
The Tree Board recently planted live oaks, the official tree of Georgia, down Central Avenue between Second and Fourth streets and has planted approximately 90 trees during the past year.
"The goal is to encourage our community to participate in the reforestation of Tifton. We ask citizens to assist in this effort by planting trees on their property as well,” the mayor said.
The Tifton Tree Board was created to advise the city regarding the care, preservation, pruning, planting, replanting, removal, and disposition of trees and shrubs within public areas.
Since 2010, the Tree Board has planted approximately 1,000 trees in Tifton with the support of the City of Tifton, the Tifton Heritage Foundation, the Downtown Development Authority, and community donations.
Tifton was among 12 cities attending the ‘More Than Murals’ workshop in Thomasville.
TIFTON GETS GRANT FOR PUBLIC ART PROJECT
By FRANK SAYLES JR.
Tifton received an $8,000 state grant for a public art project after representatives attended a three-day workshop on creative placemaking through the arts.
“We were surprised to receive an $8,000 grant for a public arts project funded by the Georgia Council for the Arts; we’re thrilled,” said Abbey McLaren, executive director of the Tifton Downtown Development Authority.
McLaren attended the workshop in Thomasville with Tifton Councilman MJay Hall and Joy Yost, executive director of the Tifton Council for the Arts. Tifton was one of 12 cities selected to participate in the “More than Murals” workshop hosted by the Georgia Council for the Arts and the Georgia Municipal Association.
The Georgia Council for the Arts said it is supporting creative placemaking projects in each participating city by offering each the grant.
“We are pleased to be able to support arts projects in each of these communities,” said Tina Lilly, the Council’s executive director. “These grants can be used to revitalize parks, build festivals to attract tourists, support arts education projects, or commission public art that brings communities together.”
During the workshop, the 12 cities learned what Thomasville has accomplished through strategic partnerships with artists, arts organizations, local businesses, and the city.
“Creative placemaking emphasizes listening to community members and utilizing local arts assets to address community challenges,” Lilly said.
Attendees participated in a crash course in creative placemaking and public art to learn how to plan and administer effective arts-based programming. Each community team left with a specific arts-based strategy addressing challenges that their cities face.
"Get ready for some exciting new public art projects coming in Tifton soon,” Yost teased on social media.
COMMUNITY CARE DAY
RETURNS MARCH 11
Tifton’s Annual Community Care Day and Resource Expo is set for 9-11 a.m. Saturday, March 11, at the Tift County Recreation Department.
The family-oriented event offers bounce houses and costumed characters for the kids along with free healthy snacks. Attendees will have access to many local community resources, including health, fitness, and resources for those with disabilities.
For information, call the Tift County Recreation Department at 229-382-3262.
TIFTON-TIFT COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE RIBBON CUTTING
TIFTON GRAPEVINE'S CAT OF THE WEEK
“Patches” a female tortoiseshell kitty, is among the pets available for adoption at the Tift County Animal Shelter. To adopt Patches and to see other pets available, visit the shelter between 1-6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, or call 229-382-PETS (7387).
Pets of the Week are sponsored by:
Branch's Veterinary Clinic
205 Belmont Ave., Tifton, 229-382-6055
TIFT COUNTY MOVES TOWARD
ESTABLISHING A HOSPITAL
~ MARCH 1, 1915
The Tift County Board of Commissioners on March 1, 1915, allocated $50 a month toward maintenance of a hospital for the county. “The physicians of the city will equip an operating room. Several public-spirited citizens will be asked to furnish a room, and those in a position to do so will be asked to give a sum annually for maintenance,” according to press dispatches of the day. The county board suggested locating an existing building to house the hospital.