Friday, Jan. 24, 2020
Tifton, Georgia
Tifton-Tift County Chamber of Commerce award recipients Thursday night were, from left: Dr. Ryan Currie, Ernest Lang, Bill Park, Dr. Homer Day, Fortson Turner, Mandy Brooks and Jody Benson.
Dr. Homer Day’s induction into the Tifton-Tift County Chamber of Commerce’s Wall of Fame highlighted the Chamber’s annual banquet Thursday night at the UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center.

Fortson Turner of Turner’s Furniture was the recipient of the Stafford Award , recognizing excellence in business leadership and contributions to economic development. Also, Mandy Brooks received the Prince Business Woman of the Year Award, Ernest Lang received the Tifton Rotary Club Ethics in Business Award, Bill Park received the John Hunt Entrepreneur of the Year Award, Dr. Ryan Currie was winner of the J. Lamar Branch Award , and Jody Benson was named the Chamber's Ambassador of the Year .

Day was a member of the professional staff at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College for 30 years, a successful career which culminated by being named the interim president in 2000 . He has also served on the Board of Commissioners for the Tifton Housing Authority for more than 25 years, including the last 20 as chairman.

Additionally, he serves on the Tift County Development Authority , is treasurer for PLIGHT Inc. , and is chairman of the Board of Deacons at Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church . Previously, he served as president of the Tifton Rotary Club , the first African American to hold that post, just as he integrated the professional staff at ABAC when he was hired in 1972 .
Turner is a fourth-generation co-owner of Turner’s Furniture and, under his leadership, the company has grown to include 11 stores from Middle Georgia to North Florida as well as a distribution center in Tifton . He has been active with the Chamber of Commerce , the United Way , First United Methodist Church and with Tifton’s Young Life organization. 

Brooks is executive director of the Tift Regional Medical Center Foundation , which helps to provide assistance to patients in need. Under her leadership, the foundation’s philanthropic efforts have grown, most recently with the addition of the mobile clinic “Care-A-Van” which brings healthcare services to needy areas. Brooks serves as special events chair for the Tifton Rotary Club and is active in several ministries at First Baptist Church.
Lang took over his family business, Lang Printing and Office Supply , in the mid 1970s and continued to grow it to serve the community's business needs before recently announcing its closing. Lang has also been a member of the Tifton Rotary Club for nearly 40 years and remains active with the Sunbelt Runners

Park is president and CEO of Tifton Quality Peanuts , a farmer-owned corporation formed in 2006 . The business, which employs 94 full-time personnel, produces about 160 million pounds of peanuts each year and ships to some of the largest retailers in the industry. A Waycross native, Park is a board member at Spring Hill Country Club and organizes the annual Bridge the Gap for Kids golf tournament, raising funds for the Backpack and Kids Special Needs programs at the Bridge Church .
Currie has been an instructor in ABAC's Stafford School of Business since 2017 after working as an attorney in the Atlanta area. He has been an active ambassador with the Chamber of Commerce and often brings his students to Chamber functions so that they can learn more about the community.

Benson is a sales consultant with Georgia Premier Services and has served as an Ambassador with the Chamber for many years. A Berrien County native, Benson is also a former J. Lamar Branch Award winner and is a consistent presence and all Chamber of Commerce events.

Chamber President and CEO Brian Marlowe also addressed the banquet, recapping a successful year of growth in Tift County and welcoming officials in attendance from Coca-Cola United Bottling Co. , who are building a sales and distribution center in Tift County.
Coca-Cola United representatives and local officials break ground on Lamb Loop Road for the $60 million Coke sales and distribution center in Tift County.
Tifton Grapevine
More than 50 Coca-Cola United representatives and local government officials broke ground Thursday on a $60 million facility on 80 acres along I-75 on Lamb Loop Road , bringing Coca-Cola “Home Again to Tifton.”

The Tifton Coca-Cola United Sales and Distribution Center will be a 300,000-square-foot operation, producing 4.5 million cases of non-alcoholic beverages by late 2021 . The state-of-the-art facility will be equipped with a new “vertique” packaging technology that offers efficiency

“Tractors will be on site in about two weeks , so we’re ready to get rolling,” said Rick Terrell, director of Coca-Cola United's Savannah River division . “We’re committed to partnerships with our community and will be invested in this area for decades to come .” 

Coca-Cola Bottling Co. United has been recognized as the top bottler in the United States for four straight years , according to its president and CEO John H. Sherman III .

“The No. 1 Coca-Cola bottler in the U.S. is now coming to Tifton, Georgia ,” he said. It has 60 facilities throughout the Southeast and employs 10,000 associates. The Tifton facility will employ 200 people.
“When you include this project, we would have spent over $200 billion in the state of Georgia in the last five years ,” Sherman said, “and our future plans will be to continue to invest in the state of Georgia .”

Congressman Austin Scott , R-Tifton, praised “the team that made this happen” – Brian Marlowe with the Tifton-Tift County Chamber of Commerce , the Georgia Legislative Delegation, Tifton Mayor Julie Smith , Tift County Commission Chairman Grady Thompso n, the County Development Authority and state economic partners .

“I want thank all of you for being friends for so long. Go Coke! ”  Scott said.

Thompson said: “We got peanuts selling from I-75, so now we’re selling Coca-Cola from (Interstate) 75. We’re glad they picked Tifton .” 
Smith said: “We welcome Coca-Cola United to the Tifton family of business and industry. With partnerships come friendships, and I know that the friendship between Coca-Cola and this great community will be a strong bond that will be beneficial to both of us.” 

“We do projects like this all over the Southeast ,” Sherman said. “But the sense of partnership , the sense of professionalism and the sense of urgency which we experienced here in Tifton, Georgia , was simply unmatched .

"As citizens of this community, you should be extremely proud of the leadership that made this happen ; I’m telling you that from experience.” 
James Herring of Tifton, whose maternal grandfather opened Tifton's first Coca-Cola bottling company in the early 1900s, stands next to Coca-Cola United's banner announcing that Coca-Cola is "Home Again in Tifton."
Head Football Coach Buddy Nobles, 53, of the state champion Irwin County High Indians has died from stomach cancer. Irwin School Superintendent Dr. Thad Clayton made the announcement Thursday morning on social media.

"Our Coach, Buddy Nobles , has passed from this life and is now in the presence of our Lord. He finished his fight with cancer peacefully in the night surrounded by his family. Irwin County Schools has lost a true man of God who will have an everlasting impact on many students, players, coaches and colleagues," Clayton wrote.

Nobles   had been a source of  inspiration   to his  team   and to the entire  Ocilla   community this past year as he battled  Stage 4 stomach cancer.   Even though his  health   had been  failing and he had to resort to a  wheelchair Nobles  w as on the  sidelines   for much of the season, including the state championship game in Atlanta last month when the  Indians  captured the  Class A public high school football championship 44 years   after its  last state title.

In  six   seasons,  Nobles   led the Indians   to the  state finals   five times . This past season, the   Indians finished   the season  undefeated   at  13-0   – for the first time since  1975   when they had won   their last state title .

The Ocilla community   had  rallied   around the  team   and  Nobles , and the rallying cry  "Nobles Strong"  w as been  heard   throughout the team's  winning season .

Jon Freeman Nelson, game correspondent for Georgia Public Broadcasting, had become close to Nobles and posted the following tribute on the GPB blog: Click Here.
The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) has confirmed five flu-related deaths between the South Health and Southwest Health districts , which cover 24 South Georgia counties.

As of Jan. 11 , DPH has confirmed 31 flu-related deaths throughout Georgia for the 2019-2020 flu season. 

“Our hearts go out to the families that have lost a loved one. We will not release the county of death or any type of identifying information ,” says Courtney Sheeley , DPH communications director.

“This disease is affecting people statewide … it doesn’t matter where you live. Our message remains the same: Everyone six months and older should get the flu shot , wash your hands thoroughly and frequently , and stay home if you’re sick to eliminate the spread of the disease.”

The flu activity level is high throughout Georgia and is expected to continue at elevated levels for several more weeks . Most people who get the flu will have mild illness and will recover in less than two weeks, according to Kenneth Lowery , South Health District epidemiologist.

However, some people are more likely to get flu complications , such as adults 65 years and older, young children and those with chronic illnesses

Symptoms vary and can include cough, runny nose, sore throat and fever . One of the most pronounced flu symptoms is an overall feeling of achiness and discomfort that comes on quickly. Those with flu-like symptoms should seek medical attention as quickly as possible since antivirals must be started with 48 hours of symptom onset to be effective, the DPH said. 
Terrie Powell , at left in photo, a first-year ABAC student and one of four recipients of Tifton Rotary's ABAC scholarships , thanked the Tifton Rotary Club on Wednesday .

Standing with her are her mother, Yolanda Powell , and Marion Curry , Rotary assistant district governor. Powell intends to major in writing and communications, and continue her education in law school.

Also Wednesday , Rob Kellner of the Valdosta Rotary Club spoke about the Georgia Rotary Student Program (GRSP) , an international program begun in 1949 by the Thomasville Rotary Club .

Through the program, more than 45 students from foreign countries have been hosted by the Tifton Club . "I've come to believe it's the best thing this club does ," said Tifton Rotary Past President and local GRSP chair Jeff Gibbs
Georgia Peanut Commission Chairman Armond Morris, left, of Ocilla, unveils a portrait of U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson along with Jody Redding, Isakson's former Senate aide.
U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson , R-Ga., who recently retired from the U.S. Senate because of health issues, has been installed as the sixth person in the Georgia Peanut Hall of Fame .

The Georgia Peanut Commission bestowed the honor Jan. 16 during its 44th annual Georgia Peanut Farm Show and Conference in Tifton . A portrait of Isakson , unveiled at the Farm Show, will be displayed at the Peanut Commission headquarters in Tifton .

Isakson is the only Georgian to have been elected to the state House, state Senate, U.S. House and U.S. Senate . In addition, in 2016 he became the first Georgia Republican ever to be elected to a third term in the U.S. Senate . He officially retired on Dec. 31 .

More than 1,600 attendees gathered last week at the Peanut Farm Show , sponsored by the Georgia Peanut Commission which recognized individuals and businesses for their service to the peanut industry and promotion of peanuts across the United States.

Award recipients included: 

  • Distinguished Service Award – Dr. Joe West, assistant dean for the University of Georgia Tifton Campus
  • Research and Education Award – National Peanut Research Laboratory
  • Media Award – Posthumously to John Leidner, freelance writer for the Southeastern Peanut Farmer, and David Maxwell, managing editor of the Donalsonville News
  • Two Georgia Peanut Special Awards to Southern Ag Carriers and to the Peanut Butter & Jesus ministry in Tifton

The Peanut Commission and Agri Supply also presented the Outstanding Georgia Peanut Farmers of the Year Award to individuals representing each of the commission’s five districts .

The District 2 recipient was Charles Paulk of Ocilla .
Poet and author Ed Pavlic will speak at 7 p.m. Feb. 3 , in the History Room in Tift Hall at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College .
The presentation is part of the Georgia Poetry Circuit founded at Mercer University in 1985 . The circuit is a consortium of 10 Georgia colleges and universities working to bring poets of national and international reputation to the campuses annually.

Pavlic is the author of 11 books and pieces in more than 60 magazines. His books include “Another Kind of Madness,” “Live at the Bitter End,” and “Who Can Afford to Improvise?: James Baldwin and Black Music, the Lyric and the Listener.”

Forthcoming books include “Let it be Broke,” a collection of poems focused upon cross-racial dynamics in American life.  Pavlic is characterized as an “American writer whose work travels across, often blurring, genres: poetry, fiction, non-fiction and scholarship.”

He received The American Poetry Review/Honickman First Book Award in 2001 , the National Poetry Series Open Competition award in 2012 and 2014 , the Author of the Year award from the Georgia Writers’ Association in 2009 , and the Darwin Turner Memorial Award from African American Review in 1997 .

A distinguished research professor of English and African American studies at the University of Georgia , Pavlic lives in Athens .
This boy is among the pets ready for adoption today.

Visit your future pet at the Tift County Animal Shelter,
1-6 p.m., Mondays-Fridays, 
at 278 Ga. Highway 125 South in Tifton.


  • Tift County High Blue Devils basketball vs. Colquitt County High Packers, 6 p.m., Tifton
  • ABAC School of Agriculture and Natural Resources mural dedication, 6 p.m., Atrium in ABAC Agricultural Sciences Building, Tifton
  • Ashburn-Turner County Chamber of Commerce Annual Banquet, 6 p.m., Turner County Civic Center, Ashburn


  • Plant & Seed Swap, 10 a.m.-Noon, Georgia Museum of Agriculture, Tifton
  • "Rust & Recreation" exhibit opening, 10 a.m., Museum Gallery, Georgia Museum of Agriculture, Tifton
  • Chili Cook-Off, Noon, Georgia Veterans State Park, Cordele
  • Cycling Saturday, 1 p.m., Reed Bingham State Park, Adel
  • Open House at J&J Weight Room, 3-5 p.m., Tifton
  • The Faithful Servants 12th Anniversary Sing, 6 p.m., Omega Church of God, Omega
  • Tift County High Blue Devils basketball @ Coffee County High, 7 p.m., Douglas
JAN. 16
Raymond Howell, Sumner
Paula Cook Pate, 64, Fitzgerald
Hanson Rawlins Carter, 87, Nashville
Velma Jane Wooten Cargle, 88, Tifton
Shirley Ann Whitley Chambers, 84, Pinetta Community, Irwin County
Ollie Troup Love, 96, Irwin County

JAN. 17
Thomas “Stoney” Foy Stone, 80, Winder
Leonard G. Lindsey Jr., 91, Adel
James Lamar "Jimmy" Lane, 74, Nashville
Freida Reeves, 69, Moultrie

JAN. 18
Frances Sauls Cox, 92, Tifton
Vickey Gray Giddens, 61, West Berrien Community
William Larry Kelly, 51, Nashville
Benny Warren Denham, 89, Sycamore
Isaac Jason Peavy, 42, Nashville

JAN. 19
Tammy Sikes Hogan, 58, Omega

JAN. 20
Lonnie Harris Boyd, 78, Tifton

JAN. 21
Kathy Lee Wagner Ashley, 79, Sycamore
The Rev. James Mercer Hancock, 95, Greenville, S.C.
Ronnie David Hiers, 65, Nashville
Carolyn Phillips Haggard, 71, Fitzgerald
JAN. 22
Clifford “Denny” Dove, 80, Mystic

JAN. 23
Buddy Nobles, 53, Fitzgerald

Tifton Grapevine
e-published every Tuesday and Friday

Frank Sayles Jr.
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Bonnie Sayles
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