Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021
Tifton, Georgia
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GrapeNew
CITY COUNCIL MULLS OVER PROPOSED 252-UNIT HOUSING PLAN
SINGLE-FAMILY/APARTMENT PLAN ON WHIDDON MILL ROAD
By FRANK SAYLES JR.
Tifton Grapevine
A proposed 252-unit housing development off Whiddon Mill Road adjacent to Tift West subdivision was among topics discussed Monday at Tifton City Council's work session.

The proposed development by Bill Cooper Construction would entail 60 single-family lots and 192 two-story multi-family apartment units. The single-family homes would be between 1,400 and 1,600 square feet each on 10,000 square-foot lots.

After talking with nearby residents and meeting with the city Planning and Zoning Commission, the developer revised the plan and also agreed to install sidewalks within the proposed development.

The Tifton Planning and Zoning Commission ultimately endorsed the plan contingent upon a traffic study's results regarding traffic safety concerns. City Council did not vote on the plan Monday, but echoed concerns about how the proposed development would affect traffic in that area, something that some nearby residents also cited.

Some council members also questioned the size of the single-family lots and if they would be large enough for the proposed homes.

"This is a big-time development," City Manager Pete Pyrzenski said, adding that he hopes that it would be done correctly.

City Council will continue the discussion at its regular meeting later this month.

On another matter, Pyrzenski suggested that the city start moving on the first phase of a Commerce Way improvement project by replacing the sidewalks and improving the storm drain to control the flow of storm water. That phase would cost about $273,000, the city manager said.

"The project has gone nowhere for the last couple of months," Pyrzenski said. "A decision needs to be made."

In other business, City Council:

  • Heard from the Southern Georgia Regional Commission (SGRC) about the possibility of redrawing City Council districts based on the 2020 Census. Michael Rivera of the SGRC said that Council District 1 is more than 6% over the ideal population while District 2 is 2% below, and District 3 is 3% below ideal. District 4 is about right, he said.

  • Recognized downtown businessman Jack Stone for his nearly 30 years on the Downtown Development Authority, naming Monday as "Jack Stone Day" in the city.

  • Appointed Elizabeth Torres as assistant prosecuting attorney for the City of Tifton.

  • Installed Alice Johnson onto the Tifton Housing Authority board.
REZONING REQUEST WITHDRAWN FOR CRYPTOCURRENCY FACILITY SITE
By BONNIE SAYLES
Tifton Grapevine
A controversial request was withdrawn Tuesday evening to rezone 93.54 acres at the intersection of Whiddon Mill and Upper Ty Ty roads in Tift County to allow construction of a cryptocurrency facility, says Tift County Commission Chairman Tony McBrayer.

The commission chairman said the request was withdrawn via email to the Tift County Code Enforcement Department.

“The company is supposedly looking at several sites in Tift County,” McBrayer told the Tifton Grapevine. “They have withdrawn their interest in this site.”
 
A real estate agent had requested the rezoning on behalf of property owner Carolyn Dinkins, McBrayer said.
 
The Greater Tift County Planning and Zoning Commission is scheduled to meet at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Charles Kent County Administration Building, and the request to rezone the property to community commercial had been on the agenda earlier Tuesday. 
  
Residents of Pebble Hill Estates circulated a petition against the rezoning from agricultural and residential to community commercial. An online petition opposing the rezoning request had received 520 signatures as of Tuesday night. 

“We had all our neighborhood all over the place about this,” said Barbara Windmoller, a Pebble Hill resident.

She said that residents in Adel describe the noise generated by fans at the cryptocurrency mining and storage facility there as being like “a helicopter flying overhead 24/7.”

According to the petition, the signers say, “We feel that if rezoned, this facility will adversely influence existing conditions in the neighborhood or the community at large.  

“We also believe that the proposed change could be detrimental to the value, improvement, or development of adjacent or nearby property in accordance with existing regulations. Lastly, the proposed change will constitute a grant of special privilege to the individual owner as contrasted with the adjacent or nearby neighborhood or general public.

“We, as a whole, feel that this facility will produce not only an eyesore for the community but also comes with excessive noises that interrupt everyone's peace. When looking at similar facilities in Adel, Ga., there were promises that were made by the company to make accommodations for the noise and to meet regulation guidelines that have not been kept. Surrounding citizens of the Adel facility complain about the noise and express their displeasure that nothing has been done to correct the issue. 

“We request that the 93.54-acre tract of land located across from 10 Upper Ty Ty Road, Tifton, Ga., not be rezoned to community commercial.”
TIFTON NAMES CHRISTMAS PARADE WINNERS
Tifton's Christmas Parade on Saturday evening was a big success, and the judges have tallied their votes on the parade participants and declared the following winners:

  • First Place Overall: Alfa Insurance

  • Second Place Overall: State Farm Insurance Agent Darby Veazey 
 
  • Third Place Overall: South Georgia Banking Co.

  • Best Walking Group: Mallory Ward School of Dance

  • Best Depiction of the Theme "Candyland Christmas": Light House Harbor Church

  • Best in Parade: Charles Spencer Elementary

All winners receive a trophy.

The parade was part of downtown's "Merry on Main Street" celebration, which included the lighting of Tifton's Christmas tree outside City Hall and a visit from Santa at Tifton Gardens during a children's event.
TREE OF LIFE HONORS FRIENDS, LOVED ONES
Tift Regional Medical Center and Southwell are once again offering the sale of lights for its Tree of Life for the 36th year. People may purchase a light in honor of friends and loved ones.
 
The proceeds help provide for the special needs of patients of the Hospice of Tift Area and the Anita Stewart Oncology Center of Tift Regional Medical Center. Each light is in memory or honor of one person.

The lighting of this year's Tree of Life will once again be virtual at 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 16, on Southwell's Facebook page. The Tifton Junior Woman’s Club will aid with the virtual event, which includes music and a presentation honoring the friends and loved ones represented.

Contributions to the Tree of Life are tax deductible and are being accepted until the end of December.

For information, call 229-353-6330 or visit mysouthwell.com/TOL/
Norah Campbell, who was five years old at the time, pictured at the first luminary in her neighborhood in 2016. Norah pushed for creating the luminary event in the Tift Terrace and the Orchard neighborhoods, now in its sixth year on Dec. 21.
TIFTON NEIGHBORHOOD'S LUMINARY RESULT OF
A YOUNG GIRL'S DREAM
By FRANK SAYLES JR.
Tifton Grapevine
The year was 2016, and it was the Christmas season. One little five-year-old Tifton girl, Norah Campbell, thought it would be magical to have her whole neighborhood lit up with candles, a luminary event.

What would be so complicated about putting out some candles to celebrate the season?

"In her mind, it was as simple as putting a few candles in bags around the yard," says her mother, Maghan Campbell. She says that her and her husband Jeremy's "lives were anything but simple with two three-year-old boys and an already chaotic work and volunteer schedule" at the time.

"Nevertheless, Norah’s eagerness for a neighborhood luminary event was impossible to deny. I remember trying to explain to her that 'someone has to organize it,' and she quite plainly said, 'OK, so why can’t we?'" Maghan recalls.

There wasn't a neighborhood Facebook page at the time for the Tift Terrace and the Orchard neighborhoods, so, with Norah's persistence, Maghan undertook drafting a physical letter, recruiting a dozen friends to help distribute the letters, and "answered a ton of questions, and hoped for the best."

The ensuing neighborhood luminary was a success.

"That first year was truly inspiring," Maghan says. "The magic of this event begins long before we light the candles; it’s in the rare simplicity of engaging with friends and neighbors that offers a momentary pause from the urgency of the season. The smiles and greetings are rich in authenticity; everyone walking the streets, face to face, talking and helping each other. 

"I remember very distinctly the beauty of seeing so many neighbors outside together, convening at the corners, and realizing how rare these moments are."

For the sixth season, the Tift Terrace and the Orchard neighborhoods – Emmett Drive to Love Avenue, and 20th to 30th streets, including Willingham Way – will come together on Tuesday, Dec. 21, for a holiday luminary event.

As Maghan Campbell tells the Tifton Grapevine: "For the community, luminary night provides a little escape for family and friends to take a drive together – no electronics, no obligations – just the opportunity to slow down, be present, and take inventory of the things that really matter."

And sometimes, it takes a child to remind us of all that.
TIFT SEES 6 COVID CASES,
ONE DEATH IN PAST WEEK
By FRANK SAYLES JR.
Tifton Grapevine
Tift County recorded six new confirmed COVID-19 cases and one related death in the past week, according to data released Tuesday.

In the past two weeks, Tift has seen 14 confirmed cases, representing 34 per 100,000. When rapid Antigen test results are added, Tift had 35 total cases during the period, representing 86 per 100,000, according to the state Department of Public Health (DPH).

Tift's testing positivity rate is 1.3% in the past two weeks. The county has a total of 4,896 confirmed cases with 140 related deaths, the DPH said.

The state has recorded a total of 1,291,469 confirmed cases with 25,847 deaths, the DPH reported. During the 24 hours between Monday and Tuesday, Georgia reported 725 new confirmed cases of the virus with 28 related deaths, and 134 new hospitalizations, the DPH said.

The vaccination rate statewide is 52%; in Tift County, 40% of the eligible population is vaccinated, the DPH reported Tuesday.
TIFTON
2012 Pineview Ave. Tifton, Ga 31793
DR. LORA EFAW'S BOOK, PUBLISHED SHORTLY BEFORE HER DEATH, CHRONICLES FAITH DURING CRISIS
Dr. Lora Fulp Efaw of Tifton, who lost her struggle with cancer in October, published a book shortly before she died – “Don’t Set Limits on God,” a private look into her experiences with faith during her health crises.

The book's publisher, Christian Faith Publishing, calls Efaw's book "an inspiring exploration of a fight against cancer and the complications that can arise from treatment and how faith played an integral part in the author’s battles."

Efaw was a former Naval officer, a family physician and doctor of integrative holistic medicine who had a popular local practice.
In a press release the other day, Christian Faith Publishing said that Efaw's book is a "powerful testament to the power of faith. ... Through her many years of cancer battles, Dr. Efaw discovered that God’s love and actions are boundless. Dr. Efaw’s experiences as a cancer patient lifted her faith to a whole new level, sending her on an inspiring journey to spread praise and help patients in new and innovative ways.

“When facing cancer and the complications that come with fighting the disease, many people distance themselves from God. In Dr. Efaw’s case, she became a transformed soul, growing closer to God. The challenges she faced led Dr. Efaw to fully understand that God uses trials and tribulations to facilitate spiritual growth. Through her unique medical practice and the sharing of her experiences, Dr. Efaw has lifted up countless people within the community she served," the press release states.

“This book chronicles Dr. Efaw’s journey of spiritual discovery while fighting cancer and facing other personal obstacles along the way. She discusses how she learned that grace is the key to living the life God has called all of us to live.”

“Don’t Set Limits on God” is available in traditional book stores and online.
Bill Moore of Conger LP Gas, right, accepts the Presidential Award from Derek Shaw of the Home Builders Association of South Georgia.
CONGER LP GAS GETS PRESIDENTIAL AWARD FROM S.GA. HOME BUILDERS
Conger LP Gas has been awarded the 2020-2021 Presidential Choice Award from the Home Builders Association of South Georgia.

The award was presented to Conger LP Gas by Derek Shaw, president of the Home Builders Association, at its 56th Annual Membership and Awards Dinner on Dec. 2, in Lake Park.
 
Conger LP Gas, which joined earlier this year, has participated in several association events and hosted a "Lunch & Learn" in October for members to learn about the benefits of propane and all applications for using it in new-home construction.

“We are honored and humbled to receive this recognition from the South Georgia Home Builder’s Association and its president, Derek Shaw, who is one of the premier homebuilders in the Valdosta area," said Dan Richardson, Conger president and CEO.

"Homebuilders in South Georgia are seeing the value of having propane appliances in their homes, and the response with this association has already been amazing. Builders are replacing electric-tank water heaters with efficient propane tankless water heaters, and the homeowners love them.”

Conger LP Gas is one of the largest independent propane companies in South Georgia, serving residential, commercial, and agricultural customers in more than 30 counties. The company has four locations in Tifton, Sylvester, Vidalia, and Moultrie.
UGA TIFTON STUDENT NAMED
CAES RATCLIFFE SCHOLAR
Thomas Maddox, a student on the University of Georgia Tifton campus, has been awarded the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) Ratcliffe Scholarship for the 2022 year.

This is UGA Tifton's second consecutive recipient of this scholarship.

Ratcliffe scholars are extraordinary undergraduate CAES students who receive $5,000 to participate in one or more formative out-of-classroom experiences. The scholarship rewards forward-thinking students with the opportunity to engage in immersive, hands-on learning experiences outside the confines of a traditional class setting.
Dr. Wayne Hanna of Tifton is known for his development of turf grasses on the UGA Tifton campus, but his labor of love has now borne fruit – seedless fruit.
RED & BLACK ... AND ORANGE?
UGA TIFTON'S HANNA DEVELOPS HARDY, SEEDLESS CITRUS TREES
Source: University of Georgia
Like many South Georgians, Dr. Wayne Hanna’s yard includes a citrus tree. For years, he’s picked fruit from it for breakfast or an afternoon snack, but the convenience of homegrown fruit carries with it a drawback – usually a whole bunch of them: Seeds.

They are common in homegrown fruit and can make the normally satisfying experience of biting into a juicy orange a lot less sweet.

After more than a decade of work, Hanna, a faculty member at UGA’s Tifton campus, developed four types of citrus trees that were not only adaptable to the South Georgia climate, they also produced seedless fruit.

Hanna, a legend in the plant breeding world, specifically with turfgrass, retired from the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2002. He immediately joined the faculty at the University of Georgia’s Tifton campus. When he arrived, he asked the assistant dean if he could work on developing a cold-tolerant citrus tree that produced seedless fruit.

“Go ahead,” was the answer.

Hanna pursued this goal for nearly a decade and a half. Then, in 2016, he released not one, but three, new seedless citrus trees. All of them carry the brand name “Frost” to identify them as UGA products. There is a tangerine (Sweet Frost), a lemon (Grand Frost), and a grapefruit (Pink Frost). Earlier this year, the trio became a quartet with the addition of a navel orange (Southern Frost).

Hanna says that the Frost line of citrus trees is aimed at homeowners like himself.

“The homeowner doesn’t get much attention,” he says. “They would love to have a fruit tree in their backyard, but nobody develops them for that purpose.”

Hanna has the Frost trees in his yard, and seedlings are available for purchase.
TIFTON GRAPEVINE'S CAT OF THE WEEK
"Pixie," a female kitten, is ready for a good home. To adopt Pixie and to see other pets available for adoption, visit the Tift County 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
TIFT COUNTY TEACHERS GET PAID
~ DEC. 8, 1914
Tift County public school teachers finally got paid on Dec. 8, 1914, after Superintendent Kersey announced that the Board of Education has borrowed $3,000 "from a Northern bank, and this will be used to pay off the teachers until funds can be had from this year's taxes."
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