Tuesday, March 2, 2021
Tifton, Georgia
Photo by Daniel Shippey Photography
The crew filming the new Bruce Willis-Luke Wilson movie "Gasoline Alley sets up in Downtown Tifton on a recent evening.
Tifton Grapevine
Local residents may have noticed all the activity in Downtown Tifton during the past week as the latest Bruce Willis-Luke Wilson movie, “Gasoline Alley," is being filmed here. There have been numerous sightings around town of Willis, Wilson, and other actors in the film.

But beyond the excitement of Tifton being another movie location is the very real economic impact that a movie has on The Friendly City.

“We will be spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in Tift and Ben Hill counties,” said Alexander Kane, a producer, actor, and co-owner of Fitzgerald-based TMG Studios One. Kane, a Fitzgerald native, said he brings filming to the area because he loves South Georgia.

“I want to create jobs and opportunities," Kane told the Tifton Grapevine.

And local officials say the movie business does have a ripple effect in the local economy.

"We are thrilled to have the cast and crew of 'Gasoline Alley' in Tifton," said Mayor Julie B. Smith. "Not only are they great to work with, but the economic impact has been significant. Our visitors are dining in local restaurants, shopping in local stores and staying in local hotels. 

"The stars of the movie have been very generous to pose for photos with fans. They have also been generous with their compliments of Tifton and the hospitality they’ve been shown. I’m extremely proud of Tifton’s hosting this group and look forward to future collaborations," the mayor said.

Abbey McLaren, Tifton's Downtown Development Authority director, said that "filming in Georgia is big economic business, and we are grateful to have a crew and cast of 60 to 70 people out spending money in our downtown.

"They've shopped, dined, utilized a local caterer, and rented buildings for sets, and we really want to celebrate those dollars coming in circling back into retaining jobs and into turning our local economy," McLaren said.

"On a personal note and as a Tifton born and bred, I am thrilled to see downtown Tifton on the big screen. You may even catch a few local faces in the movie," she added.
Among the possible "local faces" is Hayward Fowler of the FUN Channel, who did a small part as a TV reporter reporting on a triple homicide. Fowler said he ad-libbed his 15-second role.

Another local face you may catch in the background of some downtown scenes is ABAC student Haley Wathey, who told the Tifton Grapevine that she was in the "right place at the right time" to get chosen as an extra in the film.

Wathey, who is in her second year at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College studying natural conservation resources law enforcement, said she was downtown Friday night getting photos of the movie-making when a crew member spotted her and asked her to be an extra.

She said she was in a couple of scenes in the background as they filmed at Shady Lane Drive-In, and she got to meet all of the cast and crew.

“It's definitely once a lifetime," Wathey said. “I never would expect myself experiencing this, especially in Tifton, Ga.," the Tampa native said. “It's been one crazy ride for the last couple of days."
Among the local sites and buildings used in the movie is Mayor Smith's home in Tifton's Historic District. And the mayor's husband, Doug Smith, played golf with Bruce Willis at Spring Hill Country Club.

No one is saying who had the better score on the golf course.

Among other actors who have been in Tifton during the past week for the film are Devon Sawa, a veteran TV and film actor whose credits include "Hawaii Five-O," "MacGyver," "NCIS: Los Angeles," "Nikita," and the movies "Casper," "Hunter Hunter," "The Fanatic" and many others.

Vernon Davis, the former NFL tight end who won a Super Bowl ring with the Denver Broncos and was on "Dancing With the Stars," has also been in town with the movie.
VIDEO: In one of the Blue Devil Reading Project's videos, Assistant Superintendent Mickey Weldon reads "The Dinky Donkey." Click the image to view it.
Tifton Grapevine
The Tift County School System launched the Blue Devil Reading Project on Tuesday, which was "Read Across America Day."

The Blue Devil Reading Project is a compilation of videos of local adults reading books to children. Superintendent Adam Hathaway announced the initiative Tuesday afternoon and said new videos will be uploaded daily.

They are available on a dedicated YouTube channel, BlueDevilReadingProject.com

"We want all students to read on their grade level by the third grade, Hathaway said.

The video library offers students and their parents access to a variety of books that are available at any time to fit each parent's schedule. "We will have something to read to their children every single day," Hathaway said. "This is a resource for our community as a whole."

The current books being read are for grades K-5.
The superintendent stressed the “importance of children reading at an early age.” The hope is that having books read online will encourage children to get excited about books and offer resources for parents to discuss books with their kids.

Current videos have school staff and school board members reading, and Hathaway wants to expand it to parents and anyone who wants to read a book to children. The school system will be setting up a corner in the district offices to film the videos.

The project grew out of the pandemic as educators looked at different methods for reaching and teaching students.

"We can find a way to reach every single child," Hathaway said.
We are hosting a Class A CDL ONLY career fair 
(must be 21 years of age to operate CDL vehicle with UNITED). 

Saturday, March 6
9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Social Distancing will be practiced, so please wear your mask.

Tifton Campus Conference Center of University of Georgia
15 RDC Road
Tifton, GA 31793

Please apply online prior to the event: Click Here!
The Tift County High Blue Devils basketball team is in the Elite 8 of the state high school tournament for the first time in two years.

The Blue Devils face the Berkmar High Patriots from Lilburn at 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 3. The home game is available to watch via live stream by Clicking Here!

The winner of Wednesday's game advances to the state's Final Four.

Last Saturday, Tift County defeated North Paulding High, 45-43, in a squeaker, while Berkmar beat Cherokee, 69-49.
Tift County has seen 33 new cases of COVID-19 during the past two weeks, which is 81 per 100,000 population, the Ga. Department of Public Health (DPH) said Tuesday.

Also in the past two weeks, Tift has had a 3.9 percent testing positivity rate, the DPH reported. Since the pandemic began, Tift County has had a total of 3,362 cases and 92 related deaths of its residents, according to the DPH.

Georgia saw 1,793 new cases on Tuesday and 67 related deaths, the DPH said. Overall, the state has has reported 821,482 cases and 15,209 related deaths.
Among Aktion Club members are, from left, Wally Moody, Sylvia Shepherd, Quentin Jackson, Sharon Fullmore, Gary Simmons, advisor Danny Hoover, Barbara Pratt, Ratiel Shepherd, Latasha Newkirk, Michael Housel, Michelle Tabor, and Erica Fuller.
The Aktion Club of Tiftarea, a service club for adults with disabilities, is observing Aktion Club Week March 1-5.

Ask any member of the Tiftarea club about their organization and they will tell you the Aktion Club is all about helping others to do better.  

“All people have contributions to make in our society. For decades, people labeled with disabilities have been treated as second-class citizens, but all people deserve to live as first-class citizens,” said Danny Hoover, the Tiftarea Club's Kiwanis advisor.

The Kiwanis Club of Tifton sponsors the local club. Worldwide, Kiwanis International supports Aktion Clubs, which operate as a traditional club, giving members a sense of purpose and personal satisfaction as they serve their communities, help others and discover their own talents.

The Tiftarea Aktion Club was established in October 2019 and elected Michael Housel as president. He and the other officers, Ratiel Shepherd, Latasha Newkirk, and Michelle Tabor, immediately began reaching out to serve the community.  

The club visited a local nursing home and gave personalized cards to all of the residents and baskets of treats to the staff for Christmas and Valentine’s Day. Members also raised money, collected books, and assisted in wrapping the books to give to local children

Once COVID-19 surfaced, club members adapted with monthly virtual meetings that have “kept us helping others and being active in the community,” said Tabor and Newkirk. 
During the pandemic, the club has been using websites to increase food and monetary donations for the community, said Hoover, the advisor. At the monthly meetings, the officers make a PowerPoint presentation to the club.

"Unfortunately, we have members that lack the technological means to participate,” said Shepherd, “but we look forward to their participation again when we can meet.”

The club has participated in supporting local Kiwanis Club fundraisers and other volunteer efforts. The members are active in other organizations and participate in leadership efforts in statewide advocacy initiatives.

In addition to presenting at virtual retreats and conferences, the club's leadership has gotten involved in a virtual presentation for an international organization, Black American Tree Project. The entire Aktion Club also assisted in an hour-long presentation to share the club's progress during a virtual retreat for Diversified Enterprises in Tifton.

Housel, the club president, said he enjoys working with club members, “like when we all worked together to plan out things like the book drive, sock drive, and helping people at the local nursing home.”

“We will continue to try to improve our world,” added Shepherd, the club's vice president.
The Plough Gallery in Tifton is opening a new exhibit on Saturday, March 6: “Comfort In Small Doses” featuring the ceramic works of Chris Pickett.

Pickett received his bachelor of fine arts degree from the University of Tennessee and his masters from the University of Florida. He has served as a long-term resident fellow at the Archie Bray Foundation and was the Barbara Rittenberg Fellow at the Clay Art Center in Port Chester, N.Y.

He resides in Pocatello, Idaho, and serves as an assistant professor of art at Idaho State University. 

The Plough Gallery, located at 216 Eighth St., is open from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. Face masks and social distancing are required.
Father-daughter dances are scheduled in the Tiftarea in the coming weeks.

On Friday, March 12, the Irwin County Chapter of the American Cancer Society its hosting its Daddy Daughter Dance from 7-9 p.m. at Walters Barn in Forest Estates in Ocilla.

Photographs will be taken at 5:30 p.m. and dancing begins at 7 p.m.

Tickets, which are $40 per couple and $10 for each additional daughter, are available from the Ocilla-Irwin Chamber of Commerce.

In Tifton, the Tiftarea YMCA has scheduled its 19th Annual Father Daughter Dance for Friday, April 16, with the theme “Butterfly Kisses.”

The dance will be at the First Baptist Church Ministry Center on Love Avenue. In order to allow for social distancing, there are several times for couples to attend. Third grade and younger girls may dance from 5 to 6:30 p.m. or 7 to 8:30 p.m. Children in fourth grade and older will attend from 9 to 10:30 p.m.

Tickets are $40 per couple for YMCA members and $50 per couple for non-members. The charge is $15 for each additional daughter. Refreshments, photo, and prizes are included with tickets, which are limited, They are on sale at the main office of the Tiftarea YMCA on Carpenter Road. 

Letters must address local issues only. All letters are subject to editing for brevity, for libelous statements and for egregious language. 

Include your name, phone number and address for verification purposes. Email letters to: IHeardIt@tiftongrapevine.com
Kismet, the female calico cat, is seeking a forever home and is available for adoption at the Tift County Animal Shelter. To adopt or see other pets available, 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
– MARCH 3, 1916
"At a meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Tift County Hospital, the management and operation of the hospital was turned over to a committee of ladies," according to press dispatches on March 3, 1916.

"The proposition ... was discussed, and by formal resolution the matter of collecting and distributing funds, securing donations, employing the manager, assistant and nurses, buying supplies, and management of the hospital was turned over to a committee of five consisting of Mrs. Keith Carson, Mrs. J.E. Cochran, Mrs. N. Peterson, Mrs. H.S. Murray, and one other to be selected by these four."
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