May 24, 2016
        Tifton, Georgia

   (478) 227-7126


Polls across Georgia -- including Tift County -- will be open 7 a.m.-7 p.m. today for Democratic,
Republican and nonpartisan primary  elections  to determine who will be their party's nominee in the  November general election .

Voters may only vote today in one party's election. If  no candidate gets a majority of the votes cast in his or her party, or nonpartisan primary race, then a runoff election will be held for for those races on July 26. 

Offices being sought by candidates from two or more parties will be determined in the general election on Nov. 8.

Nearly 4.9 million voters are eligible to cast ballots in today's primary election, according to the Georgia Secretary of State's Office.


Thirteen incentive grants totaling $19,659 have been recently awarded to seven Tift County
J.T. Reddick School received two incentive grants: Stephanie Bullington, $720 for globes for social studies teachers; and $1,600 to Delene Byers and Betsy Pope for Flocabulary video resources. Pictured from left are Laura Cutts, foundation school liaison; Bullington, Reddick Principal Jamie Penoncello; Byers and Pope.
schools by the Tift County Foundation for Educational Excellence (TCFEE).

One of TCFEE's primary missions is to underwrite highly motivated teachers in putting their best ideas into practice. Incentive grants have been a mainstay effort since the foundation's formation in 1990.

Among this year's 13 grants is the first, for $1,901, generated by the Skoot Dimon Healing Arts Chair, which went to Lynn Blalock and Dena Nelms at Tift County High School. "Little Anne System for CPR Training" will be used annually for the more than 200 high school students intending to pursue medical careers.

This year's grants bring the  foundation's  number of incentive grants, during 26 years, to 491, with a monetary total of $479,874.

Forty-six applications were submitted by the March 15 deadline this year; seven qualified for Board of Education funding before deliberation began by the TCFEE. Many of the grants were made possible by the foundation's 14 academic chairs.

Incentive Grants Awards  -  May 2016  

Description of Grant awarded
Annie Belle Clark Primary
Patti Dean, 
Belinda Griffin
Bringing Hands-on Science Back with Mobile Labs
Bob Wight Challenge Chair Award
G.O. Bailey Primary
Karin Brown
Go-Noodle Plus for Active Learning and Engagement
Fred Tucker Physical Fitness Chair Award
GO Bailey Primary
Elizabeth Hernandez
Spanish Materials for Learning Enrichment
Virginia Short Lindskog Foreign Language and 
Global Awareness Chair Award
GO Bailey
Brian Marchant
Dancing Drum Assemblies
Virginia Tift Brumby Music Chair Award
Len Lastinger Primary
Emily Fincher
School-Wide Reading Program
Julian Cannon Reading and Writing Chair Award; 
Cathy Kvien Family Reading Chair Award
Len Lastinger Primary
Brittany Pellitteri
Music Audio Equipment
Northside Primary
Noelle McCurdy
Gaiam Kids' Classic Balance Ball Chairs
McCarty School Counseling Chair Award; 
Special Hearts Chair Award
Charles Spencer
Terri Nalls
Children's Illustrator & Creative Art Class
Syd Blackmarr Arts Chair Award
JT Reddick 6th Grade
Stephanie Bullington
Globes for Each Social Studies Teacher
Homer M. Rankin Journalism Chair Award
JT Reddick 6th Grade
Delene Byers Betsy Pope
Flocabulary Video Resources Online
Mikie Wolff Humanities Chair Award
NEC, Tift Co. High School
Ashley Cody
Gadgets and Gizmos for phenomenon-based learning      
Glenn Burton Science Chair Award  
Tift County High School
Lynn Blalock,     Dena Nelms
AED - Little Anne System for CPR Training
"Skoot" Dimon Healing Arts Chair Award  
Tift County High School
Lauraleigh Shealey, Gloria Beard
National Players Performance of "Grapes of Wrath" (with ABAC), "Calculus: The Musical"
Sara B. Gibbs Mathematics Chair Award  

Miss Rita's School Mobile

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CALL OR TEXT   941-313-0614
References available upon request

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Pool party for registered students  & families  at Tift County Rec Pool in June!

Miss Rita's Tutor Room has been operating in Manatee and Sarasota Counties in Florida for the past 40 years. 
She brings to Tifton her teaching talents as Reading Specialist through Miss Rita's School Mobile -- eager to build a strong foundation in the youths who are struggling readers. Other areas of expertise include math, language arts and violin.
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Final plans have been announced for the 2016 South Georgia Annual Methodist Conference session, June 8-11 at the University of Georgia Tifton Campus Conference Center in Tifton.

"The Annual Conference Planning Committee and the Local Arrangements Committee look forward to welcoming everyone to Tifton for the 2016 South Georgia Annual Conference Session," said Dr. Jay Harris, conference secretary. "We are especially excited about this year's conference for several reasons."

Tyron Spearman, Tift County tourism coordinator, said this is an "exciting time for Tifton. We are the 'Friendly City,' and when 2,000 visitors come to town we get fired up."

Lamar Martin of First United Methodist Church in Tifton is coordinating the event.

Harris  said the conference theme of "Testify and Multiply," based on Acts 2:40-41, "lends itself to the celebration of good news." 

This year's conference is also the 150th session of the South Georgia Conference, and attendees will be led in moments of inspiration and reflection around significant moments in mission and ministry throughout the years as an annual conference. 

The 2016 Annual Conference session will also mark Rose and Bishop James King's final annual conference session in South Georgia before their retirement. 

"For eight years, Bishop King has taken us on a spiritual journey highlighting the various aspects of making and becoming disciples of Jesus Christ. In a spirit of gratitude, we will retrace the journey we have taken together," Harris said. 
Conferees will honor King with a free concert 7 p.m. Thursday, June 9 featuring Buddy Green, co-writer of "Mary Did You Know," a Christmas favorite. The concert is free to the public through a grant from the Tifton-Tift County Tourism Association.

 For details on the conference, visit

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Athletes always psych themselves up before a big game. Dr. Tracy Nolan, the first female general surgeon in the history of Tift Regional Medical Center, utilizes her own kind of preparation plan before she enters the operating room.

"I always talk to the patient beforehand," Nolan said. "I review the imaging. I go over in my mind the planned operation. In surgery, everything can change in a second. You never know. Expect the unexpected.  Before every surgery, while I'm scrubbing in, I pray. I ask God to give me the wisdom to make the decisions I need to make in that operating room. Protect this patient. Protect me."

Nolan is on call at Tift Regional at least once per week for a 24-hour period as well as once a month for a weekend on-call shift from 7 a.m. Friday until 7 a.m. Monday.

"Waking up in the middle of the night to go in and save a person's life is quite a challenge," Nolan said. "You have to go from a dead sleep to how you are going to deal with the situation in about 10 minutes.  That's why you go through five years of surgery residency to prepare you for that moment.  ... It's difficult but it's also exciting and challenging. That's one reason I love being a surgeon so much."

After graduating from Tift County High School as an honor graduate in 1995, Nolan compiled a 4.0 average in five academic quarters at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College and was selected as the 1997 J.G. Woodroof Scholar, awarded to the top academic student.

"I wasn't quite sure what I wanted my major to be, and ABAC is a great school," Nolan said. "I learned a lot about time management and how to prepare for college classes."

Nolan continued her academic success at the University of Georgia, where she also compiled a 4.0 average, earning honor graduate status, signifying an "A" in every subject. She graduated from UGA with her bachelor's degree in dietetics.  She also completed her master's in dietetics from UGA and began a career as a registered dietician. After a few years, she heard her future calling.

"I was telling the patients not to eat fried chicken every day but it wasn't enough," Nolan said. "I felt like there was more I could do for them. There were more ways I could be of service to them."

Enrolling in the Mercer University School of Medicine in 2006 was the biggest step of her life. After much perseverance and many long nights of studying, she graduated on May 8, 2010. The dietician became a doctor.

"We take care of the sickest of the sick," Nolan said. "The knowledge of every part of the human body has to be at the forefront of my brain when I go into that operating room."

Nolan is now back in Tifton where she had not lived since leaving ABAC. Her parents, Kris and Mike Chason, still reside here.

"Tifton is my home," Nolan said. "This town helped to shape me into the person I am today. I wanted to come back to the community and help take care of the people and their families that allowed me to be where I am today. ... Tifton is still the same great town that it was."
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