Tuesday, April 13, 2021
Tifton, Georgia
Tifton Grapevine
Pecans are ubiquitous in South Georgia; it seems that most everyone has a pecan tree or two in their yard.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, there are more than 129,000 acres of pecan trees in the state with most of the pecan production centered around Albany. And with last fall's harvest at 142 million pounds, Georgia once again is the No. 1 pecan-producing state in the nation.

April is National Pecan Month, and Gov. Brian P. Kemp last Friday signed legislation just passed in the General Assembly making the pecan Georgia's official state nut.

Peanuts are Georgia’s official state crop, and is a legume and not a nut. But WABE, the National Public Radio station in Atlanta, pointed out that pecans are also, technically, not nuts.

Lenny Wells, a professor of horticulture and pecan specialist at the University of Georgia, told the station that pecans are "drupes," a fruit with flesh on the outside and a big seed in the middle, such as peaches. With pecans, you don’t eat the outside flesh; you eat from the seed in the middle.

“That’s news to me,” state Sen. Larry Walker, R-Perry, told WABE. Walker was among the primary sponsors of the pecan bill naming the state nut. He said he doesn't plan to seek naming a state drupe.

Wells said it's just semantics, “more scientific classification than anything. So for the average person, (pecans) are going to be considered nuts.”

In honor of the new state nut and National Pecan Month, here are some pecan facts from UGA, the Ga. Department of Agriculture, and the Georgia Pecan Commission:

  • Pecans are the only major tree nut that grows naturally in North America, and pecans are considered among the most valuable North American nut species.

  • The name “pecan” is a Native American word of Algonquin origin used to describe “all nuts requiring a stone to crack.”

  • By the late 1800's, farmers outside Savannah had begun producing and marketing pecans; by 1889, there were 97 acres of pecans planted in Georgia.

  • Between 1910 and 1925, thousands of acres of pecan trees were planted in Southwest Georgia with most initially planted as real estate investments rather than for nut production. Thousands of acres were sold in five- and ten-acre units primarily in Dougherty and Mitchell counties.

  • By 1920, Georgia was producing 2.5 million pounds of pecans, and by the 1950s, Georgia was ranked as the top state in the nation for pecan production.

  • Pecans are rich in fiber. They can reduce the risk of heart disease, coronary artery disease, strokes, and some forms of cancer and have been named a "heart healthy food choice" by the American Heart Association.

  • Pecans have more than 19 vitamins and minerals, can help lower cholesterol, and contain more antioxidants than other nuts.
From Staff Reports
Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College is applauding the decision Tuesday by the University System of Georgia's Board of Regents to freeze tuition and fees for the 2021-22 school year at current levels.

The freeze will be in effect at all 26 colleges and universities within the university system.

This is the second consecutive year and the fourth time in six years that the board voted to freeze tuition and fees, in part because of financial hardships that students and parents face with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“On behalf of our students and their parents, I want to say thank you to the members of the board for taking this stance during a year when the pandemic has turned our entire world upside down,” said Dr. David Bridges, ABAC president. “ABAC has always prided itself on offering a life-changing education at a reasonable cost."

Sachin Shailendra, the Regents chairman, said that “it is more important than ever for the Board of Regents to remove barriers that may stand in the way of students’ success.”
Tuition for an in-state student at ABAC taking up to 15 credit hours is $1,602 per semester. Out-of-state students pay $5,918 per semester.

The fall semester tuition at the University of Georgia will be $4,895 for full-time, in-state students, and $14,415 for out-of-state students.

About 44% of university system students borrowed money to help pay for college last school year. The average debt was $6,177, nearly $1,000 more than a decade ago. That increase, officials say, is about $400, once adjusted for inflation.
Tifton Grapevine
Tift County has seen eight new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the past two weeks, according to the Ga. Department of Public Health (DPH).

The additional cases represent 20 per 100,000 population, the DPH reported. During the two-week period, Tift had a testing positivity rate of 3.9%.

In the past year, Tift County has had 3,402 confirmed cases of the coronavirus with 95 related deaths, the DPH said.

Georgia reported 1,143 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday with 16 additional deaths and 141 new hospitalizations. The state has reported a total of 863,814 confirmed cases and 17,033 related COVID-19 deaths.
Refreshing careers for Tifton area CDL drivers and more. 
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Personnel from several South Georgia fire and rescue departments gathered in Tifton this past weekend for three days of training in methods for extricating people out of vehicles, treating traumatic injuries, stabilizing vehicles involved in accidents and understanding modern car technology.

The program included classroom and hands-on training.

Rescue Redefined, a fire/rescue education and training company, facilitated the training put on by the Georgia EMS Association and the Georgia Trauma Foundation, and hosted by the Tifton Fire Department and Tift County Fire/Rescue.
David Pettis of Tifton captured first place Saturday in the Tifton Bassbusters third stop of the 2021 Georgia Bass Nation season at a stormy Lake Eufaula.

Pettis' catch totaled 20.67 pounds on the scales, and he also won the SPRO Big Bass Award snaring a seven-pounder.

He hooked the big fish on its dorsal fin and thought it was a turtle at first. Throughout the day, Pettis said he caught 20 to 25 keepers – fish big enough to keep.

"I was having the time of my life,” said Pettis, the two-time defending Angler of the Year.

Coming in second place during the day was Jace Newton with a total catch of more than 15 pounds; Justin Lanier was third with just over 13 pounds of fish.

Tifton Bassbusters is a federated bass club based in Tifton with members from all over the state.
Club President Genie McCook, left, and Day of Service Project Chair Shirene Daniel, stand amidst items the Tifton Woman's Club donated for the Ronald McDonald House of Central Georgia. They are holding pull tabs already collected.
Tifton Grapevine
The Tifton Woman’s Club on Tuesday kicked off a “pull tab” collection drive for the Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) of Central Georgia by collecting items on the house wish list and hearing a talk by Dawn Barr, an RMHC advocate.

When RMHC recycles donated pull tabs from cans, the funds are used to pay the electric bill at the Ronald McDonald House. Barr said her twins Drew and Kaylea Pridgen were born 13 weeks premature 17 years ago and spent 101 days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the Medical Center of Central Georgia in Macon.

She spent 101 nights at the Ronald McDonald House, which charges just $15 a night for guests, and meals are fixed and provided by guests.

“We could focus solely on the hospital and seeing our babies,” she said. “If we had to spend $85 a night for a hotel, plus restaurant meals and laundry, we couldn’t have done it.”

She said nationwide, Ronald McDonald Houses are designed for out-of-town families whose children are hospitalized at regional referral children’s hospitals.
“It’s located in Macon, but it isn’t for Macon-Bibb County residents,” she said. “It’s for people like us who come from outside counties. The support there at the Medical Center of Central Georgia for our community is unbelievable.” 

Southwell health system CEO Chris Dorman and his family recently stayed at the RMH of Central Georgia when his newborn daughter (now one month old) had complications.

“He will help us collect these,” she said, holding up a bag of pull tabs. She said she hoped departments at the hospital will get behind the pull tab drive, and she encouraged the Woman’s Club to contact all area schools to get their support. 

Barr suggested a May 15 deadline, before school lets out May 22, for turning in collected pull tabs, and suggested classrooms use gallon jugs to collect them. She said people may drop off the tabs at her workplace, Universal Engineering Sciences, 1203 N. Central Ave., across from First United Methodist Church, and behind Garvey & Garvey Properties.
When she led a collection drive in 2012, the Tiftarea community collected 700 pounds of pull tabs that were donated to the Ronald McDonald House of Central Georgia in Macon. Although the entire aluminum can is recyclable, they are bulky and can be messy, Barr said. “Pull tabs are clean, compact and easy to collect.”

The Tifton Woman’s Club is joining GFWC Georgia (General Federation of Women's Clubs) in a statewide initiative to support Ronald McDonald House Charities and come together with a Day of Service on April 24 to donate collected items from their online wish list here.

The Tifton Woman’s Club donated $200 to purchase microwave popcorn and other snacks, towels, blankets, laundry detergent, kitchen cleaning products and more, and members brought more donated items to Tuesday’s meeting.   
The University of Florida Gators have added Tifton native Tyson Summers to their football staff as an analyst.

Summers, 41, was defensive coordinator at Colorado in 2019-20. He previously spent a year as quality control coordinator for the Georgia Bulldogs after being head coach at Georgia Southern for two years.

He has 19 years of coaching experience, which began in 2002 at Tift County High School, where he served as assistant coach/defensive backs for the Blue Devils.

Summers was a four-year letterman at Presbyterian College in South Carolina, where he earned All-South Atlantic Conference honors as a linebacker in 1999 and was selected team captain.
The Sigma Xi Emory Cheek Memorial Scholarship Committee has selected Emily Rowland as this year's scholarship recipient.

Rowland will graduate from Tift County High School this year and plans to attend Mercer University.

The Sigma Xi Emory Cheek Scholarship was created to honor the memory of the late Emory Cheek, who was the librarian for the Coastal Plain Experiment Station.

Each year the scholarship committee selects one Tift County High student based upon merit and need.
Tift Regional Medical Center receives an award from the Workplace Partnership for Life for the hospital's commitment to organ, eye, and tissue donation. From left are Annsley Mathis, Maebry Garner, Mallory Moreland, Carol Smith, and Michael Thompson. 
Southwell has joined other area hospitals, healthcare organizations, and the LifeLink Foundation to create a donation-friendly community through the Hospital Organ Donation Campaign.

This national initiative challenges healthcare organizations to educate employees, patients, visitors, and the community about the need for organ, eye, and tissue donation and offer opportunities to sign up as donors. More than 443,000 people nationwide have added their names to state registries through the campaign.

“Organ, eye, and tissue donation is a very important to us at Southwell,” said Tonia Garrett, chief nursing officer for Southwell's Tift Regional Medical Center.

“We work very hard to educate our staff, our patients and visitors, and our overall community on organ donation. There are a lot of myths out there about it, so we try to dispel those with various education programs. There is a large need for the gift of life, as each tissue donor can save or improve up to 75 lives.”

Every 11 minutes another person is added to the national transplant waiting list, which currently includes more than 113,000 people. Approximately 22 people die every day because of organ shortage.
"Punkin" is available for adoption at the Tift County Animal Shelter. To adopt your next pet, visit the Animal Shelter from 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
– APRIL 15, 1916
Tifton residents voted on April 15, 1916, to approve a $76,000 bond issue for schools, water-line extensions, street paving and fire department equipment. Of the amount, $30,000 was earmarked to build a new high school on Tift Avenue. The school, pictured below, was completed in 1917 and is now the county's Charles Kent Administrative Building.
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