Friday, May 21, 2021
Tifton, Georgia
GrapeNew
Tift County High's Class of 2021 practices for Saturday morning's graduation ceremony at Brodie Field.
GRADUATION TIME!
TIFT COUNTY HIGH'S CLASS OF 2021 EXPECTED TO NUMBER 485
By FRANK SAYLES JR.
Tifton Grapevine
Approximately 485 Tift County High School seniors will cross the stage Saturday at Brodie Field as the Class of 2021 graduates.

The ceremony begins at 7:45 a.m. Saturday with the processional. The audience in the stands must be seated before 7:30 a.m. Gates at the stadium will open at 7 a.m.

TCHS Principal Chad Stone said no tickets will be required for entry. Masks are recommended but are not required.

Mae Mae Collins is the class valedictorian with a grade point average (GPA) of 99.9. Marisa Pearman is the salutatorian of the TCHS Class of 2021 with a GPA of 99.758.

On Thursday, the Class of ’21 donned their caps and gowns and walked through their former Tift County elementary schools as the schools' current students applauded.
At Thursday's Tift Chamber membership meeting are, from left, Rep. Clay Pirkle, Chamber President Melody Cowart, Sen. Carden Summers, Rep. Sam Watson and Chamber Chairman Dereck Sumner.
GA ELECTION LAW WAS NECESSARY, SENATOR SAYS
By BONNIE SAYLES
Tifton Grapevine
Georgia’s new election law is good legislation, state Sen. Carden H. Summers, R-Cordele, told the Tifton-Tift County Chamber of Commerce on Thursday at its first in-person membership meeting since the pandemic began.

Summers was among the Tift County Legislative Delegation to speak to Chamber members Thursday.

“The election bill was needed to make elections safe and secure,” he said. “If anyone says it’s not a good bill, they are full of crap. Please read the bill. It’s not a bad bill.”
 
The new law strengthens absentee voting identification and sets new rules for ballot drop boxes, among other measures.

Summers also said, “Atlanta is a mess right now. We are so divided. Never in our history have the Republicans and Democrats been so divided. If we don’t find a positive way to get together, it’s going to get worse.” 

He also said that Georgia will have to find a way to work with Dominion voting machines.

“I hate Dominion machines. I wish we could bust them up with a sledgehammer, but we’re going to work with them.”

Rep. Sam Watson, R-Moultrie, reminded Chamber members that he was born in Tifton and his grandmother still lives here. He is a farmer in Moultrie, and he represents western Tift County. 

He serves on the Appropriations Committee that oversees the budgets for all state departments. Watson said that state budget cuts last year were offset by unplanned income from federal programs because of COVID-19. Federal funds for pay increases for state employees, teachers and mental health professionals put money back in the state budget.
 
Rural development and rural Georgia are still top of mind in state government and in new bills, he said. 

One of the recent bills passed that benefits farmers allows two unrelated farmers to come together on cattle and a dairy farm, for instance, and get the same tax exemptions they would qualify for individually. 

Watson mentioned a $2 million allocation that has been approved for Southern Regional Technical College that will provide a new 83,000-square-foot building on the Moultrie campus for the diesel technology program and more. 

Rep. Clay Pirkle, R-Ashburn, said that although much of this year's legislative news seemed to be about election reform, Pirkle said the General Assembly passed many laws, especially some based on "common sense."
 
One new law gives the right of way on roads to farm equipment, such as a cotton picker traveling on a highway without room to pull over. “We have to be a good neighbor,” he said, and share the highway in rural areas.
 
Another bill increases the tax credit for those who adopt children, helping get foster kids from being wards of the state into forever homes. “It went from $2,000 to $6,000,” Pirkle said. “We actually passed bills that are good for us.” 

A new bill addressed “porch piracy,” adding teeth to the law and making it a felony to steal packages from porches after being left there by delivery services. “The law carries a punishment of one to five years,” Pirkle said.
Refreshing careers for Tifton area CDL drivers and more. 
Click the link below to apply.
HOTEL, RESTAURANT SALES TOTAL $284M IN TIFT COUNTY
By FRANK SAYLES JR.
Tifton Grapevine
Hotel and restaurant sales in Tift County totaled more than $284 million in 2019, resulting in income of nearly $84 million, according to economic data compiled at the University of Georgia.

Tift’s hotels and restaurants also generated 3,706 jobs in 2019, the latest year for which statatistics are available. UGA’s Hospitality and Food Industry Management faculty recently partnered with the UGA Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development to collect, analyze and interpret hospitality and travel economic data for all 159 Georgia counties.

The study found that domestic travel expenditures in Tift County that year totaled $4.71 million, and there was $3.09 million in sales tax receipts.
 
But then came 2020, and a major disruption in people’s travel and spending habits.
 
UGA’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences said the hospitality industry has been especially hard hit by the pandemic with employment down by 2.8 million, or 16.8%, since February 2020.

According to the American Hotel and Lodging Association, the hotel industry experienced its most devastating year on record in 2020, with historically low occupancy, massive job losses and hotel closures across the nation. Travel is not expected to return to 2019 levels until 2024, UGA reported.
TIFT COUNTY REPORTS 20 CONFIRMED COVID-19 CASES IN PAST 2 WEEKS
By FRANK SAYLES JR.
Tifton Grapevine
Tift County has recorded 20 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the past two weeks, the Ga. Department of Public Health (DPH) reported Thursday.

During the period, Tift's coronavirus-related deaths remained the same at 97 since the pandemic began, the DPH said.

Tift County's new confirmed cases translate to 49 per 100,000 population, the DPH reported. The county’s positive testing rate during the two-week period is 3.5%.

Since the pandemic began, Tift has reported 3,454 confirmed cases.

On Thursday, Georgia reported 686 new cases with 21 additional deaths and 117 new hospitalizations. The state has had a total of 892,151 confirmed cases and 17,869 related deaths, the DPH said.
SOUTHWELL TO RELOCATE COVID-19 VACCINATION SITE
Beginning June 3, Southwell will move its COVID-19 vaccination efforts to WorkSmart Clinic at 4468 Union Road.

People who have received the first dose of the vaccine at the drive-thru clinic on Carpenter Road on or after May 19 will receive their second dose at WorkSmart.

“As more community members become vaccinated, we found that it made sense to streamline our vaccine efforts with an existing clinic,” said Carla Hall, medical clinics director. “We will have the ability to see more than 100 patients a day at WorkSmart, and we continue to encourage community members to receive their vaccine.”

Vaccines at WorkSmart, which are free, will be available for patients age 12 and up from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. (closed from noon-1 p.m. for lunch) on Thursdays and Fridays. Vaccine appointments may be made by calling 229-353-2200.
The State Bar of Georgia’s South Georgia Office in Tifton
is seeking an Office Manager

This is a full-time position; salary is commensurate with experience

The office manager will run the day-to-day operations of the State Bar of Georgia’s South Georgia Office, including accommodating attorneys from across the state by providing office space for mediations, depositions and client meetings. This position handles correspondence from both lawyers and consumers, and provides information as requested, presenting a positive experience while representing the State Bar of Georgia. 

Job Responsibilities include: 
  • Discernment and confidentiality
  • Knowledge of the State Bar of Georgia and its departments 
  • Manage one part-time employee
  • Operate audio-visual components
  • Host continuing legal education programs
  • Serve consumers in person and by phone
  • Host meetings and luncheons for State Bar committees
  • Assist area bar associations by facilitating programs
  • Assist with State Bar meetings as needed, some travel required

Required Skills:
  • Pleasant, accommodating, and hospitable attitude while assisting attorneys and consumers
  • Ability to multitask
  • Strong organizational ability with excellent attention to detail
  • Poise, tact, professionalism, and diplomacy
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office

Education & Experience:
  • Bachelor’s degree in business or related field plus 3-5 years of office management experience

Apply via email with resume to: careers@gabar.org 
no later than Friday, June 4, 2021.

Please type “OFFICE MANAGER TIFTON” as the subject line of email.
Please include a cover letter explaining your interest in the position, summary of 
your work experience, at least two references, and your contact information.
Photo by Daniel Shippey
Tifton has become one of Georgia's locations for film projects in recent years.
TIFTON MOVIE AMONG DOZENS FILMING IN GEORGIA LATELY
By FRANK SAYLES JR.
Tifton Grapevine
As the Bruce Willis-Michael Rooker movie "White Elephant" wrapped up in Tifton last week, it was among the four dozen television and feature film productions underway in the Peach State, according to the Georgia Film Office of the Ga. Department of Economic Development.

Georgia continues to attract film projects because of tax incentives offered, state officials say.

Among projects currently in production are Netflix’s “Stranger Things” in Stockbridge, Netflix’s “Sweet Magnolias” in Covington, and AMC’s “The Walking Dead” in Atlanta and Senoia.

The new Josh Duhamel and Mel Gibson movie, “Bandit,” is in pre-production and is expected to be at least partially filmed in South Georgia in the coming weeks.

According to Variety, the entertainment industry publication, “Bandit" will feature Duhamel as a career criminal who escapes from a U.S. prison and crosses the border into Canada, where he assumes a new identity. Mel Gibson portrays Tommy, a lifelong gangster in the upcoming film, which also will star Elisha Cuthbert.
U.S. TO STOP HOLDING IMMIGRANTS
AT IRWIN DETENTION CENTER
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said Thursday it would stop detaining immigrants at the Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla and another center in Massachusetts.

Abuse has been alleged at both detention centers.

"This marks an important first step" in making "lasting improvements to our civil immigration detention system," said Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

"DHS detention facilities and the treatment of individuals in those facilities will be held to our health and safety standards," the secretary said in a statement. "Where we discover they fall short, we will continue to take action as we are doing today.”

class-action lawsuit was filed in December with several women claiming they were ordered to have nonconsensual gynecological procedures, including hysterectomies, at the Irwin County Detention Center.

The C. Carlos Carreiro Immigration Detention Center in North Dartmouth, Mass., was the subject of a Massachusetts Civil Rights Division report claiming that detention center authorities had used "excessive and disproportionate" force against detainees.
TIFTAREA ACADEMY GRAD NAMED
GA EXCHANGE CLUB YOUTH OF YEAR
Recent Tiftarea Academy graduate Sarabeth Royal has been selected the Georgia Exchange Club Youth of the Year.

Royal was named the Youth of the Year for the Exchange Club of Tifton in March. Her application was then sent to the Georgia Exchange Club Youth of the Year competition, representing the Tifton club.

There are more than 35 clubs in the state, and Royal was chosen as the state winner receiving a $1,500 scholarship to be presented June 5 at the Exchange Club state convention. She will now represent the Georgia District in the National Youth of the Year competition.

The competition is based on academic excellence, school and community involvement and essays.

“We are thrilled to have Sarabeth represent the Tifton club as the Georgia District Youth of the Year. It proves what bright, well-rounded young people we have coming out of our community,” said Angela Elder, Tifton Exchange Club secretary. 
MUSEUM VIDEO ARTS SERIES
RESOUNDING SUCCESS, DIRECTOR SAYS
By BONNIE SAYLES
Tifton Grapevine
A daily video series featuring local artists continues through Saturday, and all of the videos may be watched at any time on the Tifton Museum of Arts and Heritages website, Museum Director Joy Yost told the Tifton Rotary Club on Wednesday. 

The Celebrate Creativity project this past week has been a resounding success, Yost said. A kids performer will be featured on Saturday. The series may be found at www.tiftonmuseum.org/artists
 
“We have had 200 views of one video,” Yost said. “It has been one of the good things to come out of this weird year.”

Painting classes went online last year with summer camps, and many of the new ways of doing things will continue, including an online art store at the website, tiftonmuseum.org

Art boxes were reserved and sold for last spring, Christmas and this past Earth Day. 
The family of Annette Rigdon Swan financed a scholarship in her memory that pays for children to receive art class or art box scholarships. About 25 scholarships were awarded in the past year, Yost said. 

The museum will open its doors to an in-person exhibit later this year, Yost said, featuring Dr. Vincent Keesee’s artwork. The building housing the museum was constructed in 1901, and the Rotary Club played a big part in its renovation about 25 years ago. It has been closed to the public since the pandemic began in March 2020.
BLUE DEVILS SOCCER COACH NAMED REGION COACH OF YEAR

Boys Varsity Soccer Coach Bobby Earls of Tift County High School has been chosen the Region 1-7A Coach of the Year.

Earls coached his Blue Devil team to the Region 1-7A title this year.
GRAPEVINE READER HELPS TIFTON
WOMAN'S CLUB WITH POP TAB COLLECTION
GFWC Tifton Woman’s Club is wrapping up its pop tab collection drive for the Ronald McDonald House of Central Georgia in Macon, and received a huge boost in supplies from a reader of the Tifton Grapevine.

Esther Payne of Payne Electric said she has been saving pop tabs from drink cans since her grandson was in elementary school. She read in the Tifton Grapevine that the Woman’s Club was collecting the tabs and contacted the club's Shirene Daniell

Payne gave the club two huge jugs full of pop tabs to add to the collection, as shown in the picture with club members Sandi Newman, left, and Nancy Nehring at a recent meeting.

Daniell said the club is still collecting tabs and calculating the results of the drive. For information, email Daniell at shirenedaniell@gmail.com
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YOUR GUIDE TO ACTIVITIES THIS WEEKEND IN THE TIFTAREA
Friday, May 21, is National Waitstaff Day, recognizing our hard-working waitresses and waiters in restaurants and cafes. So, go ahead and add a bit extra to your tip today.
SATURDAY, MAY 22
  • Tift County High School Graduation, 7:45 a.m., Brodie Field, Tifton
  • Forest Lakes Annual Neighborhood Yard Sale, 8 a.m.-2 p.m., Forest Lakes, Tifton
  • Wiregrass Farmers Market, 9 a.m.-Noon, Ga. Museum of Agriculture, Tifton

SUNDAY, MAY 23
  • Forest Lakes Annual Neighborhood Yard Sale, 8 a.m.-2 p.m., Forest Lakes, Tifton
TIFTON GRAPEVINE'S DOG OF THE WEEK
"Hershey," a male lab mix, is available for adoption at the Tift County Animal Shelter, located on Highway 125 S. To see him and other pets available, visit the shelter between 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  
candle-flames-banner.jpg
MAY 13
Barbara Dixon, 85, Adel
David Haynes Burkett, 84, Saint Simons Island
Sandra Elaine McKinnon, 62, Tifton
Linda Jean Rowan, 72, Nashville
Nina Jean Purvis, 87, Lenox

MAY 14
Nona Ann Robles, 73, Adel
Austin V. Riley, 38, Tifton

MAY 15
Casey Durham Sr., 56, Tifton

MAY 16
Grace Wheelis Taylor McBrayer, 92, Tifton

MAY 17
Bobby "Bob" Gay, 81, Sylvester
Melvin Charles Sims 63, Enigma

MAY 18
Omar Enrique Martinez, 16, Omega
Christine Holley Dean, 80, Tifton
Ronnie Kilcrease, 71, Sylvester
Frank G. Melton, 84, Albany
Martha Keffer, 95, Nashville
Jackie Miller Pryor, 78, Fitzgerald

MAY 19
Mary John Rodgers Reinhardt, 92, Tifton
Dean Walters Gudal, 92, Tifton
Larry Monroe Burkhead, 78, Omega
Cheryl Anne "Cheri" Bennett, 62, Lakeland
Leslie McMorrow, 82, Fitzgerald

MAY 20
Brenda Kennedy York, 75, Tifton
Donald Lee Sumner, 69, Nashville
Tifton Grapevine
e-published every Tuesday and Friday

Frank Sayles Jr.
Editor & Publisher
Bonnie Sayles
Managing Editor
A Service of Sayles Unlimited Marketing LLC, Tifton, Georgia