Friday, November 6, 2020
Tifton, Georgia
Tifton Grapevine
Of nearly 5 million ballots cast in Georgia, less that 1,800 votes separated President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden at midnight Friday.

Trump had a slight lead but Biden appeared to be gaining as absentee ballots were tallied.

The razor-close presidential race in the Peach State was mirrored in the U.S. Senate race between GOP Sen. David Perdue and Democrat Jon Ossoff, which apparently is headed to a runoff.
Neither Senate candidate was at 50 percent – Perdue at 49.87 percent, and Ossoff at 47.81 percent. The special election for Georgia's other U.S. Senate seat is already set for a Jan. 5 runoff between GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler and Democrat Raphael Warnock.

Locally, President Trump once again carried Tift County with 10,775 votes to Biden's 5,306.

All local incumbents won re-election in Tuesday’s general election. U.S. Rep. Austin Scott, R-Tifton, received 65 percent of the vote (198,369) in Congressional District 8 to Democratic challenger Lindsay Holliday’s 35 percent (108,805).

State Sen. Carden H. Summers, R-Crisp, who represents Tift County, won re-election with 69 percent (48,121) to Democrat Mary Egler’s 31 percent (21,154).

Tift is part of three state House districts, and all three of those Republican incumbents were returned to office: Rep. Penny Houston, R-Nashville, won with 76 percent (15,608) to Democrat Andre Oliver’s 24 percent (4,973); Rep. Clay Pirkle, R-Ashburn, with 72 percent (16,121) to Democrat Lethia Jones Kittrell’s 28 percent (6,207); and Rep. Sam Watson, R-Moultrie, was re-elected without opposition.

Also, numerous Tift County candidates were elected or re-elected without opposition: Bryce Johnson, Tifton district attorney; Suzanne Carter Johnson, probate judge; Clay Pate, Superior Court clerk; Gene Scarbrough, sheriff; R. Chad Alexander, tax commissioner; Josh Hendrix, coroner; Bryan Cavenaugh, chief magistrate; Melissa Hughes, county commissioner; Buck Rigdon, county commissioner; Tony McBrayer, county commission chairman; Marilyn Burks, board of education member; John Waddell, board of education member; and Jonathan Jones, board of education chairman.

The two constitutional amendments and statewide referendum were OK’d statewide and in Tift County.

A total 16,324 of Tift County's 26,036 registered voters cast ballots during the general election, officials say.
Tifton Grapevine
Actor Bruce Willis is back in Fitzgerald filming another movie.

The "Die Hard" actor, at right in photo sporting a beard and standing with Fitzgerald Mayor Jim Puckett, arrived in Ben Hill County a couple of days ago.

Willis was in Fitzgerald last year to film the science-fiction movie "Breach," which is expected to be released soon. While filming last year, Willis was spotted in Tifton dining at a local restaurant.

His new movie, being filmed in part with TMG Studio One in Fitzgerald, will be filmed around the town this weekend. Road closures are expected today and Saturday on Fitzgerald's Roanoke Drive Extension while some scenes are shot.

While details are sketchy about the new movie being shot in Fitzgerald, The Hollywood Reporter recently noted that Willis latest film, to be called Reactor," is in pre-production. In that upcoming movie, Willis plays a leader of a gang of mercenaries who holds a nuclear power plant hostage.
The number of total COVID-19 cases in Tift County since the pandemic began surpassed 2,000 this week, the Ga. Department of Public Health (DPH) reported.

As of Thursday, Tift had 2,003 cases and 65 coronavirus-related deaths. During the past two weeks, Tift reported 77 new cases, which translate to 189 cases per 100,000 population.

The DPH said that among the Tift countians who were tested for COVID-19 in the past two weeks, 8.6 percent of them were positive.

Statewide, Georgia reported 1,993 new cases on Thursday and 58 additional deaths. Since the pandemic began, Georgia has reported 368,368 total cases and 8,126 deaths, the DPH said.
The annual economic impact on South Georgia from Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College increased to $584,544,166 during the 2019 fiscal year, according to a new report by the University System of Georgia (USG).

Dr. Renata Elad, dean of ABAC's Stafford School of Business, analyzes the USG report each year to determine the impact of the institution on the region. She said ABAC’s impact is up $85,140,494 over the 2018 fiscal year.

“ABAC continues to be economically and academically important to South Georgia,” Elad said. “As a part of the USG, ABAC is an integral part of the region. With ABAC housing at over 91 percent occupancy during the time of the report, that translates to significant potential business traffic for Tifton and surrounding areas.”

A record ABAC enrollment figure of 4,292 students during the 2018 fall term contributed to the rise in economic impact with a student direct spending figure of $50,556,118. The employment number related to student spending climbed to 1,416 including 954 jobs outside of ABAC and 462 jobs inside the college.

“In the present, ABAC is a part of the lifeblood of the region with initial spending of over $200 million which reflects $112,850,878 for operations, $37 million for capital investment, and $50 million of student spending in the region,” Elad said.

She said that counties directly impacted include Tift, Worth, Cook, Colquitt, Irwin, Ben Hill, Turner, Decatur, Seminole, Miller, Grady, Early, Thomas, Mitchell, and Baker.
Click Here for more information.
Tifton Grapevine
Why is fiber important? No, it’s not that kind of fiber. This fiber keeps you connected.

Todd Tillman, business development manager with Hargray Fiber, spoke to the Tifton Rotary Club on Wednesday and said fiber-optic cable is crucial “to the whole region maintaining its relevance in a world that’s changing right now.” 

Valdosta, Tifton and other cities were founded when the railroads came through, he said, setting the historical scene. “In the 1950s, municipalities that grew were the ones along I-75. Then in the 1970s, air travel became important to business. Valdosta and Tifton both have municipal airports. 

“In 2020, if you’re going to attract industry and retain the employment base, and maintain a competitive edge with Atlanta, Nashville and Jacksonville, and bring our children back here to live,” he said, “it has become very important that we have a robust, reliable communication system.”

His company’s vision is to “empower people to connect and thrive throughout the community.” 

If we want to keep the culture, we have to have the means to communicate, he said. “Robust communication is vital.” 

Holding a fiber-optic cable, Tillman indicated nearly microscopic fibers and said, “Each one of these can power 32 businesses, and there are no environmental problems with it.” The cables are buried, so South Georgia tropical storms and tornados are no threats to the high-speed data Internet connection.

His company, which now serves business customers in Tifton, also serves South Georgia Medical Center, Valdosta State University, South Georgia Pecan and Langdale Industries. Smaller businesses can also connect, and possibly residences if they are close to a new or existing business customer, Tillman said.
A Tifton couple, expecting a baby girl who has been diagnosed with a heart defect that will require major medical treatment in the moments after birth, has been selected as a recipient of a local nonprofit fund created to help such families with expenses.

Fundraisers are being held to help the family through the fund.

Nick and Cameron Prostko of Tifton are expecting a baby in December. Nick is the son of Dr. Eric Prostko, a longtime UGA Tifton weed specialist.

During one of their early doctor visits, Nick and Cameron learned that their baby girl has an Ebstein anomaly – a rare heart defect – which will require surgery in the moments and days shortly after her birth

The Holland Holloway Fund, a nonprofit organization entering its fifth year of fundraising, has selected the Prostko family as its main recipient this year.  Monies raised by the Holland Fund will be donated to the Prostkos to help ease financial burdens with repairing their child's heart defect. 

The nonprofit fund was founded in 2016 by friends of Kenny Clark, an independent agriculture consultant in Colquitt County. Holland, Clark's granddaughter, was life-flighted to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta-Egleston Hospital to undergo surgery for a congenital heart defect just four days after birth.

Clark’s friends wanted to help as they witnessed Holland’s family incur mounting expenses living semi-permanently in Atlanta during the baby's medical treatment.

To date, the Holland Holloway Fund has raised about $90,000 and has awarded monetary gifts to three other families with the goal of expanding to help multiple families simultaneously.

Clark says the philanthropy’s main interest is raising awareness for heart babies and helping ease the stress associated with expenses. He asks people to “open your heart strings and your purse at the same time.”

All monies collected during the fund's annual Boston Butt sales this month and through 2020 sponsor donations will be donated to the Prostko family. For information, contact Clark at 229-445-0066.
In commemoration of World Polio Day, the Rotary Club of Tifton is sponsoring the "Last Mile for Polio" bike ride on Sunday, Nov. 15.

The 10-mile family-friendly bike ride begins at 2 p.m. at First Baptist Church's Sixth Street parking lot in Tifton. The route includes curated, educational and historic stops. The entry fee is $15 per individual and $25 per couple (which includes children).

All proceeds go the Rotary Polio Plus Program to help eradicate polio worldwide, which is a major project of Rotary Clubs across the globe. Rotary is proud to be instrumental in the eradication of polio in 99 percent of the world. Only two countries, Afghanistan and Pakistan, still report cases.

Rotary International launched the initiative 30 years ago. Made possible by donations to the Rotary Foundation and End Polio Now, Rotary members have given more than $2.1 billion and endless volunteer hours to protect children from the paralyzing disease.

Poliomyelitis, or polio is potentially fatal, attacking people of any age, but primarily affecting children under the age of five. Invading the nervous system, it can cause total paralysis within a few hours. Fortunately, although not curable, it can be prevented by vaccines, and unlike most diseases it can be eradicated.

To register for the Rotary Club’s bike ride, Click Here!
Southwell/Tift Regional Health System (TRHS) is conducting a health needs assessment and is asking members of the community to participate in a web-based survey by Nov. 23.

English and Spanish versions of the survey are available. Complete the survey by Nov. 23, 2020, to be eligible for a drawing for three great prizes:

  • $200 VISA gift card
  • $100 Walmart gift card
  • $50 Darden restaurant gift card (good at Longhorn, Olive Garden, and other locations)

Winners will be announced on Nov. 24. You can also participate anonymously. Thank you for your feedback!
The City of Tifton and Keep Tift Beautiful are hosting a free tire recycling from 8:30 a.m.-noon Saturday, Nov. 7, in the Cato Knight parking lot in downtown Tifton. 

Residents may bring up to 10 used tires, up to 22 inches each, for recycling. No commercial or oversized equipment tires will be accepted. Participants will be required to unload their own tires. Work gloves and face masks are suggested.

The event is funded by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division's Local Scrap Tire Abatement Reimbursement (STAR) program. Proper disposal eliminates unsightly litter and prevents mosquitoes from breeding in the tires, the city says. 

This is the third year the City of Tifton and Keep Tift Beautiful have held this amnesty event. For information, call 229-391-3937
Paid for by the Tifton Merchants Association. To join, email or call 229-391-3978.
A free virtual workshop to help students and their parents apply for college financial aid is scheduled at 7:15 p.m. Nov. 10. Sponsored by the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority's Sigma Alpha Omega Chapter, the workshop deals with FAFSA forms – the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. To register, Click Here! ... THANKING YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE: Legacy Village of Tifton at 1934 Whiddon Mill Road is hosting a "Dine and Dash” – a drive-through breakfast-to-go for local veterans on Veterans Day, Nov. 11 between 7:30 – 9:30 a.m. For information, call Kim at 229-921-8960. ... ‘WALKING’ FOR COOKIES: Peace Lutheran Church's popular "Cookie Walk" will be in a pre-order format this year. Cookies, at $3 a dozen, and cakes, pies, and breads, may be ordered by noon Nov. 13. Orders will be picked up Nov. 21 at the social hall of Peace Lutheran Church, 604 Tennessee Drive. To order, call 229-339-4335.
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This dog is currently on stray hold at the Tift County Animal Shelter. If not reclaimed, will be available for adoption or rescue at the Animal Shelter, located at 278 Georgia Highway 125 S. It is open to the public for adoptions from 1-6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.

For more information, 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 High Blue Devils football @ Camden County High Wildcats, 7:30 p.m., Kingsland
  • Tiftarea Academy Panthers football @ Brookwood School Warriors, 7:30 p.m., Thomasville

  • Tire Recycling, 8:30 a.m.-Noon, Cato Knight Parking Lot, Tifton
  • Wiregrass Farmers Market, 9 a.m.-Noon, Ga. Museum of Agricuture, Tifton
  • Toddler Time, ages 2-4, 9:30 a.m. & 10:30 a.m., Ga. Museum of Agriculture, Tifton
OCT. 29
Joe "David" Hullett, 71, Tifton
John “Larry” Willis, 73, Cordele
Shirley Foster, 68, Tifton
Glenda Louise Sparlin, 76, Albany
Edward Lee Conley, 73, Tifton

OCT. 30
Sue Hutchinson Blackstock, 90, Augusta
Jack Ireland, 93, Locust Grove
Antonio Thomas, 31, Sparks

OCT. 31
James F. Brown, 52, Worth County
Emitte O. Frost, 95, Adel
Charles Harrell Ireland, 88, Arnoldsville
Catherine Smith, Ashburn

NOV. 1
Marilyn "Vicky" Parker Heath, 66, Sylvester
Wilma S. Tyson, 66, Hahira
Fran Patterson, 70, Fitzgerald
David Talmadge Folsom, 80, Adel

NOV. 2
Harmon Joseph “Joe” Davis, 88, Tifton
Arlene Ann Homoki, 71, Sylvester

NOV. 3
Louise Ray Baker, 84, Tifton
Dewey Ralph Vines, 82, Albany
George Elton “Hoss” Reaves Jr., 64, Ben Hill County
Mary Rogers, 45, Rebecca

NOV. 4
Martha “Helen” Ireland Hancock, 99, Tifton
Martha Jane Lindsey Shannon, 84, Tifton
Rhonda Goff Turner, 55, Waycross
Glenda Turner, 63, Sparks
NOV. 5
Bobby L. Jones, 87, Moultrie
The Rev. James Edgar Rowe, 87, Willacoochee

Tifton Grapevine
e-published every Tuesday and Friday

Frank Sayles Jr.
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Bonnie Sayles
Managing Editor
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