March 4, 2016
                 Tifton, Georgia

         (478) 227-7126


Are you ready for some "barbecue, bands and brew"? Fulwood Park on Saturday once again will host Tifton's  annual Rhythm & Ribs BBQ Festival from 10 a.m.-10 p.m.

Organizers promise a full day of  professional and ba ckyard barbecue competition, children's games, arts and crafts vendors, food vendors and live  entertainment
VIDEO: Col. Bruce Hampton & Madrid Express

The professional barbecue competition is sanctioned by the Georgia BBQ Association (one must be a member to compete). The Backyard Cookoff Competition is open  to  anyone who registered for it, and cash prizes will be awarded. Nearly 30 BBQ teams are registered for the cookoff.

Something for everyone is planned. A kids' area will feature such activities as a  bouncy  house and rock climbing wall; a mechanical bull will be available to ride for the adventurous.

The Silent Disco powered by Silent Events starts at 2:30 p.m. and allows you to choose among three channels of music (top 40/country mix, urban mix and live music feed) to listen to on wireless headphones throughout the park.

Adult beverages will be available for patrons aged 21 and up.

Live music is  scheduled free  all day. Co-headliner acts are Col. Bruce Hampton & Madrid Express, the Larry Keel Experience, and the Sweet Tea Trio.

Col. Bruce Hampton is an Atlanta-based artist who has influenced scores of musicians for decades. His avant-garde style
VIDEO: The Larry Keel Experience
puzzles some listeners, but his "Zambi" mindset has sharpened dozens of musicians who have spun off into new projects and groups. 

He recorded with Frank Zappa in the 1960s after a chance meeting in Greenwich Village, was a part of the famous H.O.R.D.E. tour in the early '90s with his Aquarium Rescue Unit, and had a  memorable poetry recital in Billy Bob Thornton's classic movie "Slingblade."

Larry Keel has been making music his way for decades. His 15th album, "Experienced," was released Feb. 26, and features cameos from Del McCoury, Sam Bush, Peter Rowan, Keller Williams and Anders Beck, just to name a few. He wrote the song "Memories" with his wife Jenny

Sweet Tea Trio hail from Alabama, by way of Nashville Tenn. They blend vocal harmonies with Southern charm and a bit of country twang. The trio has been turning heads everywhere that they go.
VIDEO: The Sweet Tea Trio

Among other entertainers is Travis Pratt, a Tifton native who entered the national spotlight on NBC's "America's Got Talent."

Here's the entertainment schedule:
  • Danny Dawson, 10-10:40 a.m.
  • Beau + Luci, 10:45-11:30 a.m.
  • Royal & Toulouse, Noon-12:45 p.m.
  • Booze Mountaineers 1:15-2 p.m.
  • Travis Pratt, 2:45-3:30 p.m.
  • BBQ Awards Ceremony, 3:30 p.m.
  • Sweet Tea Trio, 4:30-6 p.m.
  • Larry Keel Experience, 6:30-8 p.m.
  • Col. Bruce Hampton & Madrid Express, 8:30-10:00 p.m.


Tift County voters renewed the E-SPLOST-- the Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax -- in Tuesday's vote by a margin of 68 percent, or 4,819 to 2,268 votes.
School officials say the E-SPLOST will allow them to add a wing onto the main Tift County High School building to house ninth graders, getting all high school students  under one roof. The high school's current Northeast campus facility then would become Northeast Middle School as grades are configured to  pre-k through fifth grade, sixth through eighth grade and a ninth through 12th-grade layout.
  Therefore, instead of students going to seven schools, as they do now, they will attend only three in the future.
E-SPLOST initiatives were also successful around the Tiftarea: Turner County approved by 77 percent; Ben Hill County by 76 percent; and Worth County by 65 percent.
In Tuesday's presidential primary in Georgia, GOP candidate Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton both won the state as well as Tift County. Statewide, Trump received 38.81 percent of the GOP vote, followed by Marco Rubio with 24.45 percent, and Ted Cruz, 23.6 percent. Statewide, Clinton received 71.33 percent of votes; Sanders had 28.16 percent.
In Tift County, Trump had 47.76 percent of the vote, or 2,697 votes; Cruz had 22.77 percent in Tift County, or 1,286 votes; and Rubio, 16.29 percent or 920 votes.

In the Democratic primary in Tift Clinton got 75.87 percent of the vote, or 1,151; and Bernie Sanders got 22.68 percent, 344 votes.

Nearly  44 percent (7,228) of Tift County's 16,539 registered voters went to the polls Tuesday. In the last presidential primary four years ago, only 19 percent of Tift County voters went to the polls.

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Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College will presents its annual "Gee Haw Whoa Back" rodeo April 1-2 as a part of Homecoming Week 2016 .

The Professional Cowboy Association-sanctioned rodeo event will be at 7:30 p.m. both evenings at the ABAC Arena. Gates open at 7 p.m.

In addition to bull riding, cowboys will participate in events including saddle bronc riding, bareback riding, team roping, calf roping and steer wrestling. Cowgirls will compete in break-away roping and barrel racing. The rodeo will also feature audience participation events and family-friendly activities
ABAC Alumni Director Lynda Fisher said the rodeo is a part of a week-long series of events March 29-April 2 designed for students, alumni and the public. 

For information, visit


Lawton E. Bassett III of Tifton has been promoted to Ameris Bank and Ameris Bancorp executive vice president and chief banking officer for Georgia and Alabama.

Bassett has more than 25 years of financial and banking experience, most recently serving as Ameris Bank regional
president, where he oversaw banking activities in 19 markets and led the integration of nine financial institutions that Ameris acquired.

In his new role, Bassett's responsibilities include oversight of all bank-wide commercial banking initiatives, construction and municipal lending, treasury and cash management, government guaranteed/SBA lending, and all core banking activities throughout Georgia and Alabama.

"Lawton is an extremely talented banker and leader, and is a welcomed addition to our executive management team. He skillfully and successfully led many of our banking teams during the recent economic downturn through bank acquisitions and expansion into various lines of business. His extensive banking background, leadership style and goal-oriented approach in deriving the best value and strategic advantages is significant as we continue to grow and expand our company," said  Ameris Bank CEO Edwin W. Hortman Jr. 

Bassett has been with Ameris Bank for 19 years, serving as regional president and market president. He served as the chief executive officer of Citizens Security Bank, an independently charted Ameris Bancorp-owned financial institution, until the charter was collapsed and consolidated into Ameris Bank in 2006. Prior to joining Citizens Security Bank, Bassett served in various commercial lending and leadership roles at Barnett Bank and SunTrust.

He earned a bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Georgia and an associate's degree in business from Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College. He is an honor graduate of the Banking School of the South at Louisiana State University, Graduate School of Banking, and is an alumnus of Leadership Georgia and Leadership Tifton, Georgia.

Bassett is married to wife,  Alisha, and has two children, Lawton IV ("Le") and Annslee. He is a member of First United Methodist Church in Tifton and enjoys quality time with his family, running, hunting and fishing.


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Tifton, Ga.

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The Dallas Brass performs at 7 p.m. March 8 at the Tift County High School Performing Arts Center (PAC) as part of the 2016 ABAC Presents! Performing Arts Series.

ABAC Arts Connection Director Wayne Jones said that since its founding in 1983, the Dallas Brass has become one of America's foremost musical ensembles. Michael Levine established the group which highlights a unique blend of traditional brass instruments with a full complement of drums and percussion.

The Dallas Brass program is a musical journey through American history and includes pieces from the time of George Washington to the present day. From compositions by John Phillip Sousa to John Williams, bands like The Tijuana Brass and Chicago, and the styles of Dixieland, Broadway, and hip-hop, the Dallas Brass has something for everyone.  

The ABAC Concert Band and the Tift County High School Band will join Dallas Brass in the final number of the evening.

The ABAC performing arts series winds up on April 21 at 7 p.m. in Howard Auditorium at ABAC when saxophonist Greg Tardy will perform with the ABAC Jazz Ensemble.

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The Newly Elected Municipal Officials Institute will be presented March 11-12 at the UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center in Tifton for new mayors and city council members. Among attendees will be newly elected Tifton City Councilmen Jack Folk and Frank Sayles Jr.

The training is presented by UGA's Carl Vinson Institute of Government and the Georgia Municipal Association.The new officeholders will learn about their roles in effective municipal governance. Specially designed courses help these recently elected local government leaders enhance their understanding of city government, especially as it relates to their roles and responsibilities.

Institute faculty members, joined by GMA officers and staff and experienced city administrators, provide hands-on training in critical topics such as city finance and budgeting, public safety, municipal land-use issues and successful meeting management. The training is designed to help new mayors and city council members make a successful transition from campaigning to efficient governing, says Laura Meadows, director of the Institute of Government.

"The Newly Elected Municipal Officials Institute introduces incoming municipal leaders to the critical functions of government and their roles as elected officials. The better they understand their jobs and responsibilities, the more effectively they can serve their communities and constituents," Meadows said.

By attending the Newly Elected Municipal Officials Institute, new mayors and council members satisfy the statutory requirement for training in municipal administration and operations. In addition, they earn six hours of credit toward a professional development certificate through the Harold F. Holtz Municipal Training Institute, an in-depth training program provided by GMA and the Institute of Government.

The Institute was also recently held on the UGA campus in Athens for new officeholders.

Director of
Children's Ministries

Tifton First United Methodist Church
 Tifton, Ga.
is seeking a full-time Director of Children's Ministries 

Responsibilities will be focused on kindergarten through 
6th grade and include oversight of the nursery program. 
The Director will work with other staff members 
under the direction of the Senior Pastor.  

The successful candidate should possess or be pursuing a bachelor's degree; have experience working with children's ministries and/or children's educational programs; experience working in and developing children's ministries; and possess a strong personal faith consistent with the United Methodist tradition.  

For complete job description,  Click Here.
Available immediately. Salary will be commensurate with education and experience. Position is open until filled. 

To apply, submit: 
1.) a cover letter to include why you are interested in this position; 
2.) a current resume; and
3.) contact information for three references. 

Applications and specific questions related to this position should be addressed to:  

Lisa Forshee, Lead Search Committee:  Director of Children's Ministries
Tifton First United Methodist Church  229-382-6100

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More than 400 seniors traveled from across the state last week for "Senior Week" at the Capitol Ruth Lee of Tifton, who is with the Georgia Council on Aging, said it was an important way to demonstrate that seniors matter. 

Seniors met with their legislators about aging issues, took photos with Gov. Nathan Deal and visited aging services vendors.
Ruth Lee of Tifton; Rep. Penny Houston, R-Nashville; and Abby Cox, new director of Division of Aging Services
Seniors advocated for the 2016 CO-AGE (Coalition of Advocates for Georgia's Elderly) priorities. More than 13,700 Georgians are on waiting lists for In-home services; CO-AGE is advocating for $10 million that will take almost 5,000 people off the waiting lists

HB 1037 would expand the current Certified Nursing Assistant Registry to include CNAs who work for home care companies and in private residences. Also, HB 684 would authorize a dental hygienist to work in nursing homes under direction of a licensed, practicing dentist.
Senior Week is coordinated by the Georgia Council on Aging and hosted annually during the legislative session in the Capitol's south rotunda. As part of Senior Week, GCOA honored Dorothy "Dot" Benson as the 2016 Distinguished Older Georgian. Benson, 94, is an aging advocate well known for her achievements in the Rotary Club, the Girl Scouts and Fulton Parks and Recreation's Community Gardens. Rep. Chuck Martin, R-Alpharetta, presented the proclamation.

The Georgia Council  on Aging was created by the General Assembly in 1977 to advise the governor, lawmakers and state agencies on matters relating to seniors. Members of the 20-person council, drawn from every region of the state, also advocate for aging Georgians and their families and make recommendations to lawmakers and agencies on programs for seniors.


The Community Lenten Lunch Series is being held on Wednesdays at noon at the Leroy Rogers Community Center on Second Street. 

It is open to all denominations for a simple meal followed by a brief service sponsored by area churches. The cost is $3 per person; here  is the remaining schedule:


College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
University of Georgia

University of Georgia Cooperative Extension and UGA Small Business Development Center came together recently to offer a new business workshop for farmers in South Georgia.

The conference was designed to better equip Georgia producers with the knowledge they need to design, build and sustain a lasting farm, said Laura Perry Johnson, associate dean for UGA Extension.
Don Shurley, cotton economist on the UGA Tifton Campus, talks about managing risk at the workshop.

"The UGA Small Business Development Center has expertise in small business development. Extension has the expertise in the agricultural side of things. Together we were able to provide training for small business owners and farmers, which is better than what we could have done alone," Johnson said.

Held in Tifton, the conference provided a glimpse into the various components of a successful farming operation, including sessions on forecasting cash flow and getting your food product to the market.

The workshop was helpful for Carole Davis, the wife of a farmer in Terrell County, who related to thediscussions about dealing with bank lenders. Her family farms 2,000 acres of cotton and peanuts. She realizes with her and her husband's advancing age, the importance of preparing for life after farming. This workshop gave her the tools to help make those preparations a reality.

"If we don't get our cash flow in the best shape, then we're not going to be able to have the transition later on in the next few years. My husband works as hard as anybody, but at this time of our life, we need to start slowing down a little bit," Davis said.

Kent Wolfe, director of the UGA Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development, discussed agritourism and the potential additional cash flow it can provide. He cautioned farmers, though, that this venture isn't for everyone.

"To be successful in agritourism or agritainment, producers need to realize it is much different than operating a farm. It is not for everybody, and it requires resources that may not be available to all farmers," Wolfe said. "There are risks to every venture you go into, and it's important for people to know that."

Amanda Smith, a UGA Extension agricultural economist on the UGA Tifton Campus, approached risk management from a different perspective. With any successful farming operation, the ability to manage agricultural risk is key, Smith told farmers at the conference. She focused on teaching farmers how to manage all areas of risk and know when to pass it off.

" Farming is unpredictable. Whether you're talking about commodity prices, Mother Nature or input costs, farmers never know what to expect from year to year," Smith said. "For those farmers whom we talked with today, they need to realize they have options in managing agricultural risks."


Tifton native and longtime public school football coach Virgil "Bud" Willis, 85, died Sunday, Feb, 28.

He was  born Jan. 27, 1931, in Tift County, played football and baseball and was captain of the basketball team at Tifton High School. Willis was a captain of the football team at the University of Alabama and played in both the Cotton Bowl and the Orange Bowl.

After college, he was an assistant coach on the Alabama freshman team, later returning to Tifton to teach and coach; he also played minor league baseball for the Tifton Blue Sox and Tifton Phillies. Willis then moved to Moultrie and coached junior varsity football, becoming head varsity coach at Moultrie High in 1965 and remaining in that position until 1977, amassing a long winning record in Colquitt County.

In 1978, he served on the Georgia High School Association and the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association boards. Willis also kept his hand in coaching, spending a few years at Cook County High and later assisting Coach Fred Tucker with Tift County seventh graders.


Tifton, Georgia

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             a Glance 

  • Evening for ABAC, 6 p.m., UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center
  • ABAC AET Truck & Tractor Pull, 7 p.m., ABAC pull track, Tifton

  • Rhythm & Ribs BBQ Festival,
  • ABAC AET Truck & Tractor Pull, 6 p.m., ABAC pull track, Tifton

In Memoriam

FEB. 25
Mary Mullis Bishop Marchant, 99, Forsyth
Dora Mae Akins, 52, Tifton

FEB. 26
Helen Rigsby Falotico, 98, Tifton
Erma Jean Sumner, 75, Adel
Mary Louise Baldree, 89, Nashville
Ned Bostick, 70, Hawthrone, Fla.
Donald W. Collier, 85, Albany
Jeffrey T. "Jeff" Youngblood, 55, Tifton

FEB. 27
Edward Roy Hintermeier, 93, Tifton
Hazel Carter Anderson, 90, Sylvester
Alene Ricks, 98, Tifton
Rodney Michael Barber, 36, Norman Park

FEB. 28
Perry Eason, 64, Wilcox County
Jeanette E. Whitmire Washington, 56, Ashburn
James Winford "Vic" Vickers, 77, Tifton
Wilbur Troy Goodman, 80, Tifton
Quincy Wayne McMillan, 67, Adel
Curtis "Bud" Moody, 77, Irwin County

FEB. 29
Karen Minchew, 49, Enigma
Dean Edward Ward, 85, Fitzgerald
Jeremy Rashaad James, Sylvester

Larry Jerome Bracewell, 70, Tifton
Roy Truelove, 87, Ashburn
Thelma Jane Wood Nolan, 87, Green Cove Springs, Fla.
John Ezra Young Sr., 98, Ben Hill County
Harold Brickle, 89, Fitzgerald

Bruce A. McDaniel Sr., 73, Adel
Russell "Pee Wee" Rentz, 89, Lenox

Margaret A. Sumner, 100, Tifton
Mary Nell Amerson, 88, Cordele

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