NOV. 8, 2016
Tifton, Georgia


Voters in Tifton, and throughout America, go the polls today to elect a new president and a long list of candidates for other offices from U.S. senator to Tift County commissioner.

Four proposed amendments to the state constitution are also on the ballot.

Polls are open until 7 p.m. today. Georgia voters must have their driver's license or state-issued identification card with them.

After the polls close, Tift County election results will be tallied at the elections office on Chestnut Avenue.

Tift County Schools' four-year graduation rate has improved to  83.97 percent last year from 74.4 percent the previous year, according to t he Georgia Department of Education.

"We were so pleased to see our graduation rate continue to improve," said Tift County High School Principal Kim Seigler. "We believe this clearly shows our efforts are paying off."

As a whole, Tift County has focused on being a data-driven system, tailoring education based on studen ts' performance.

"Looking at data results from assessments allows teachers to make more individualized plans for our students," said Chief Academic Office Mickey Weldon. "Making learning more specific greatly benefits our students and their success. We believe this trend will continue as we progress through our first year as a Charter System."

In addition to focusing on ongoing data results, the school system attributes the improved rate to tutoring programs, extended learning times as well as BRIDGE (Building Resourceful Individuals to Develop Georgia's Economy) days.

"We hold BRIDGE days in the early spring with students in the eighth through 11th grades along with their parents," Seigler said. "In these one-on-one meetings, we are able to plan a student's schedule for the upcoming year to make sure he or she is staying on track to graduate. Working directly with our students and parents is crucial to making them successful."

"Our Board of Education and our staff members are to be commended for their continued commitment to our students' success," said Tift County Superintendent Patrick Atwater.

"The efforts they all make through remediation, extended learning time and summer school are greatly benefitting our students. As studies continue to show, higher graduation rates are not only a positive for our school system, but for our community as a whole," Atwater said.

The statewide graduation rate, in preliminary data, increased from 78.8 percent to 79.2 percent.

Lynn Lovett presents a Georgia Power Foundation check to the Tift County Foundation for Educational Excellence. From left are foundation  President-Elect Mike Davis, President Joe West, Lovett and foundation Executive Director Mike Brumby. Georgia Power has been a major supporter of the education foundation virtually its entire 26 years of existence. Through the years, area Georgia Power chief operations officers Jack Perry (1996), Ronnie Noble (2000) and Lovett (2007) have all served as education foundation presidents.

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A hand-made Irwin County quilt passed down among family members for 120 years is now a part of the collection at the Georgia Museum of Agriculture and Historic Village at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College

The historic coverlet recently became a permanent part of the museum's artifacts. Hand sewn by Fereby Whiddon Henderson, the quilt is now on display.

"Mrs. Henderson was born on Sept. 28, 1821 She completed the piece in Irwin
ABAC student intern Jana Register,left, and Museum Curator Polly Huff examine the coverlet donated to the museum.  
County six years before her death and handed it down to her daughter, Martha Van Henderson. On the quilt are written the words 'Executed by her March 3, 1896,' " said 
Museum Assistant Director and Curator Polly Huff.

Huff said the quilt was passed down for generations and held by family members Lillian Whitley, Amanda Whitley Brantley, Hazel Whitley, and Eloise Royal Luke. In 2006, the coverlet was gifted by Luke to her daughter, Karen Luke Jackson, Henderson's great-great granddaughter.

Jackson saw the historical significance of the piece and decided to lend it to the museum because of the coverlet's local connection. She could have actually loaned it to the Smithsonian Institution but decided South Georgians would better appreciate its significance.

After the quilt remained on loan to the museum for 10 years, the family decided to donate the coverlet to the museum's permanent collection.
"We are thrilled," Huff said. "The rare and exceptionally well-preserved coverlet features hand-embroidered designs of animals, fish and flowers. The animal designs were most likely drawn by Henderson's son, Daniel J. Henderson, who is remembered in the family for drawing similar designs in the sand yard outside of his home. Some animals in the quilt include deer, peacocks, fish, lions, sheep, swans, and even what appears to be gar fish."


Tift County Superior Court Chief Judge Bill Reinhardt, at left, stands with Tifton Rotary Club President Jeremy Campbell.

Reinhardt recently spoke to the Rotary Club about the Drug Court being created for non-violent offenders in Tift County.

Anna Marie Pugh, a junior agriculture major from Montgomery, Ala., was selected as Ms. ABAC 2017 at the 48th annual event on Thursday in Howard Auditorium on the campus of Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.

"I just tried to be myself," said Pugh, sponsored by the ABAC Cattlemen's Association. "I had never been in a pageant before. It was an unreal experience to hear my name called."
Anna Marie Pugh, Ms. ABAC 2017, receives her crown from Madison Lynn, Ms. ABAC 2016.

A member of the ABAC Ambassadors, Pugh looks forward to continuing to represent the college.

"The pride I have in ABAC will show everywhere I go," said Pugh, crowned just days shy of her 21st birthday. "It's just one more way I can share the great experiences I have had at ABAC with other people. Every day that I am here, I learn a new reason that convinces me that I am in the right place."

Other finalists were Pamela Ashton Lovett, a junior agricultural communications major from Adel, first runner-up; Rebecca Bailey, a junior agriculture major from Lake City, Fla., second runner-up; Meredith Lauren McGlamory, a freshman agricultural communications major from Rochelle, third runner-up; and Delaney Foster, a junior crop and soil sciences major from Perry, fourth runner-up.

Pugh, the daughter of George and Gina Pugh, received the individual awards in the interview and People's Choice categories. Lovett received the Ms. Congeniality and essay awards

The Agricultural Business Club sponsored the event. A portion of the proceeds benefit the American Cancer Society Relay for Life.


Peace Lutheran Church hosts its annual Cookie Walk on Saturday, Nov. 19, from 9 a.m.-noon at the church's Fellowship Hall, 604 Tennessee Drive, Tifton.

Church members have been busy baking different kinds of cookies, cakes, breads and German pastries, and making holiday candies and peanut brittle. Shoppers are given a plastic glove and a take-out tray, and then choose their cookies from at least 20 different kinds. 

Handmade Christmas crafts and a new Gift Fair will also be available, as will numerous play items for sale in the parking lot.

Part of the profits, plus funds from Thrivent Financial, will be used to purchase phone cards for Armed Forces service members and to make a donation to the Native Indian Educational Fund.

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Pearson and Co. on Fulwood Boulevard in Tifton has been named Keep Tift Beautiful's "Beauty Spot of the Month." 

The Concert Band at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College presents its fall concert at 7 p.m. Nov. 14 and Nov. 15 in Howard Auditorium on the ABAC campus. Band Director Johnny Folsom said the concert is open to the public at no charge.

The concert begins with American composer Aaron Copeland's "Fanfare for the Common Man." The band will follow this classic with a new composition by Jay Dawson saluting the real "salt of the earth" common man with his "Fanfare, Mules & Roosters."

American aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart is saluted in noted band composer Robert W. Smith's "Earhart: Sounds of Courage," followed by a stirring arrangement of the hymn "Abide with Me" that incorporates "To the Post," the British equivalent of "Taps." 

The band's performance will continue with Henry Fillmore's rousing circus march, "Rolling Thunder," and composer Richard Brown's "Chinese Folk Rhapsody." Stephen Melillo's dramatic piece, "America the Brave," will close the performance featuring hauntingly reflective renditions of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic," "America the Beautiful" and numerous snippets of other American folk music.

Seating is limited so attendees are encouraged to arrive early. For information, contact Folsom, 229-391-4944.       


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