Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022

Tifton, Georgia

478-227-7126 ~ www.tiftongrapevine.com





Tifton Grapevine

The Tift County High School Blue Devils football team returns to Brodie Field on Friday for a special night – the Second Annual Red, White & Blue Devils game.

The Blue Devils will honor current military personnel and veterans, and funds from sponsorships and special T-shirt sales will be used to support local military veterans. In March, Blue Devil team members built a ramp at a Tifton veteran’s home. More projects are planned.

“It’s important to honor folks who sacrificed or continue to sacrifice for our freedom. Our kids need more now than ever to be given ways to think beyond themselves,” said Blue Devils Coach Noel Dean.

"Football is similar to the military in that success comes from very selfless behavior and giving way to the greater good. We are humbled to honor these folks,“ Dean told the Tifton Grapevine.

Fans are sponsoring players’ jerseys, to be worn during the game, that have on them the name of a veteran or current member of the military. Red, White & Blue Devils T-shirts may also be purchased or sponsored for students to wear. For information, Click Here!

Friday’s 7:30 p.m. Blue Devils’ game at The Brodie is with Gadsden County High School of Havana, Fla. Both teams are seeking their first wins of the season.

The Red, White & Blue Devils-themed game is the brainchild of Tift County Head Coach Dean, who created the Pink Arrow Pride Game in 2008 while coach at Lowell (Mich.) High School. His team every year wore pink jerseys for the game and raised money and awareness for fighting cancer and the treatment of the disease.

The team and community there still continue that tradition, which has raised more than $2 million for families and individuals affected by cancer.




Tifton Grapevine

Tifton City Council is holding a special called meeting at 5:30 p.m. Thursday to discuss appointing an interim city manager when current manager Pete Pyrzenski leaves for another position in about three weeks.

Pyrzenski will remain with the city through Oct. 14, when he leaves to accept a position with the Georgia Municipal Association (GMA). At Thursday’s special meeting, City Council will also consider an agreement for an executive leadership search to fill the manager’s job.

When the Tifton city manager’s position was last vacant in summer 2016, council appointed Hunter Walker as interim manager for six months. Walker, who was retired, had been Tifton city manager from 1988-95.

Pyrzenski was hired in January 2017. During his tenure, according to a press release from the GMA and the city, Pyrzenski revamped Tifton’s budget process, streamlined accounts and department reporting, and reorganized departments and personnel, saving more than $800,000

"In addition, he addressed health care and retirement for the organization and captured $1.1 million in savings while enhancing both benefits and options for all employees and worked closely with several state and federal agencies,” the releases reads.

"Pete has done an incredible job as our city manager for the past five and a half years," said Mayor Julie B. Smith.

"Those of us who have worked with him day to day on behalf of our city will miss his friendship as well as the leadership he provided. As someone closely involved with Georgia Municipal Association, I'm glad that cities throughout the state will now benefit from skills and expertise, and that we'll continue to have a working relationship with him,” Smith said.

Pyrzenski will join GMA's member services consulting team. In his new role, he will support cities specifically in North Georgia but also all of Georgia’s 537-member cities. His duties will include connecting cities with technical assistance, innovative solutions, advocacy, and services for their local communities.

Before becoming Tifton city manager, Pyrzenski served as city manager for the cities of Commerce and Waycross, and held roles as public works director for nearly eight years with the City of Valdosta as well as private-sector roles. 

He is a retired captain of the U.S. Army Reserve and officer for the U.S. Navy.

"I am proud of the great progress we've seen in Tifton, and I am extremely thankful for the opportunity to serve the City of Tifton. I am even more proud of all the accomplishments we were able to deliver together as an organization for the community during my tenure here.” Pyrzenski said.

"The experiences I've had here will serve me well as I transition to a new opportunity. Well-run cities can make a positive difference in the lives of their citizens. We've certainly seen that in Tifton under the leadership of Mayor Julie Smith and the City Council, and now I get the chance to help cities throughout the state implement

best practices."

Members of the Tifton Exchange Club were named Tift County Trivia Champions at SRTC Tuesday night. Holding their winnings are, from left, back row: Cody Dixon, Brian Saturday, Brian Tapscott, and Danny Hoover. Front: Mary McKinnon and Angie Saturday.


The Tifton Exchange Club was named trivia champions Tuesday night at the 22nd annual Howard Center Carnival of Knowledge to benefit Literacy Volunteers of Tifton-Tift County.

The event was held at Southern Regional Technical College in Tifton. Sept. 18-24 is National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week


Second place went to the Tift County High School Quiz Bowl team, and taking third place was the Tift County Foundation for Educational Excellence team. Andrea McLemore, Literacy Volunteers executive director, thanked everyone for supporting the event.

The Howard Center, led by Dr. Kaylar Howard, brought five teams out to play. The Howard Center is the major sponsor of the event, and at least eight other organizations, families and companies donated $200 or more each to play. 

South Georgia Banking Co. sponsored the soft drink table, and the Tifton Junior Woman’s Club provided desserts. Chick-fil-A and Olive Garden donated food. 

Trivia Master David Holmes conducted the competition, joined by Matt Lovelace as his right-hand man. 

Support of the event allows Literacy Volunteers to recruit and train tutors to work with individuals needing to improve their reading, writing, math, and English-speaking abilities. New tutors are especially needed to tutor adults at the new Bateman Youth Development Center. 

Literacy Volunteers also provides transportation to some students attending GED classes at Southern Regional Technical College.


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Source: Southern Regional Technical College

Can you imagine re-learning the lost language of your childhood? Brothers Alexis and Giovanni Angeles were born in Tifton, but their family moved to Mexico when they were small children.

They soon forgot how to speak English, as everyone in their lives spoke Spanish in their new home country. However, when they graduated from high school, their parents gifted them with plane tickets and the opportunity to live with their uncle in the USA.

The young men were excited to return to the country of their birth, but nervous about the formidable task of learning English as young adults

Younger brother Giovanni discovered the English Language Learners (ELL) program at Southern Regional Technical College and started classes just before the pandemic. A year later in 2021, he persuaded Alexis to join him in Bonnie Sayles’ Adult Education classroom at SRTC-Tifton

The SRTC Adult Ed program offers ELL classes at no cost to students. Instructors utilize state and federally approved placement testing and standards-based teaching practices that follow state guidelines for instruction.


Alexis, the more soft-spoken and reserved of the brothers, says that he enjoys the challenges and the rewards of learning with his instructor in his ELL class. Outgoing Giovanni enjoys learning English because he loves meeting new people, and speaking two languages allows him to make more connections. 

The brothers have been remarkably devoted to their studies. Alexis has had perfect attendance since February 2021. Even when they flew home for Christmas, the brothers attended virtually from Mexico, never missing a class. Between February 2021 and August 2022, the brothers completed all four volumes of the Ventures English Language Series. That series starts off introductory and advances through lessons in speaking, reading, and writing in English, as well as lessons on culture and customs in English-speaking countries.

They are now working through the even more advanced Transitions book, which will deepen their language skills while emphasizing goal setting and work readiness.

Learning a new language requires courage, discipline, and dedication, but the brothers offer encouragement for those that would like to try.


“Don’t be afraid,” says Alexis. “It is a challenge, but learning another language can give you more opportunities anywhere you go.” Giovanni adds: “Two years ago when I came to this country, I was shy. I was afraid. I could not speak. I could not understand. Now, I feel more confident. I can speak. I can understand. I am not afraid. I plan to stay and study here. To have a job and a life here.”


For information about the Adult Education program at SRTC, Click Here!

Tift County Teacher of the Year Brianna Huston received a car from Tenneson Nissan to drive during the school year.


Brianna Huston was recently named Tift County Teacher of the Year for the 2022-2023 school year.

She is the academic coach at Charles Spencer Elementary School. Tenneson Nissan of Tifton presented Huston with a car to drive during the school year

Also recently, Joshua Bowyer was named the Tift County True Blue winner for the 2022-2023 school year. The True Blue program honors the classified staff members at each school.

Bowyer serves as a network technician at Tift County High School and also manages the school’s Performing Arts Center


Paradise Public Fishing Area and the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) are sponsoring the annual Outdoor Adventure Day and JAKES Day on Saturday.

The event at Paradise Public Fishing Area in Enigma is for parents and their children up to 15 years old.

JAKES Days are an important outreach program for the NWTF. JAKES is an acronym for "Juniors Acquiring Knowledge, Ethics and Sportsmanship." 

Activities available will include adult-child fishing in Lakes Cup and Saucer, guided fishing excursions with fisheries biologist Bert Deener in Lake Bowl. Make reservations by calling 912-285-6094.

Besides fishing, there will be a supervised archery range, Georgia hunter education BB gun range, and a skeet range with shotguns.

Other activities include a state Department of Natural Resources law enforcement   K-9 demonstration, Georgia Forestry display, ABAC forestry wildlife exhibit, Georgia Reptile Society animal display, and a casting contest sponsored by the Tifton Bass Busters and, from the Mell Baptist Association, a bouncy house, snacks, and water.

Fishing begins at 7:30 a.m. until noon. Registration with the NWTF for prizes begins at 9 a.m. A free hotdog lunch will be provided by the NWTF at noon, and prizes will be drawn shortly thereafter.

Saturday is the 50th annual National Hunting and Fishing Day and is free for all Georgia residents, who don't need a fishing or a trout license to fish on any public waters in the state.

For information, call 229-533-4792.



Dr. Eric. L. Holland, a former Tift County Schools administrator who led the Blue Devils to two state basketball championships, was recently named superintendent of Rome City Schools.

The Rome Board of Education unanimously selected Holland, effective Sept. 3.

An educator with 23 years of experience, Holland most recently served as principal of high schools in Rome and Marietta

As the boys’ basketball coach in Tift County, Holland’s teams won the Georgia High School Association state basketball championships in 2014 and won in 2017.

He had been an assistant principal at Tift County High School before becoming interim principal at Tift’s Northeast Campus.

Holland previously was named Teacher of the Year at Crossroads Academy in Americus. The Donalsonville native has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from Georgia Southwestern State University. He earned his doctorate in leadership in educational administration from Capella University and holds multiple educational specialist degrees from the University of Georgia, Capella University, and Albany State University.


“Gingersnap,” a playful kitty, is available for adoption today at the Tift County Animal Shelter. To adopt Gingersnap or other pets available, visit the shelter between 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


~ SEPT. 19, 1919

An announcement was made on Sept. 19, 1919, that local Health Commissioner Dr. Wood was offering free vaccinations for typhoid fever in his office at the Tift County Courthouse.

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