Friday, July 16, 2021
Tifton, Georgia
GrapeNew
LIQUOR STORES COULD BE ON NOVEMBER BALLOT
IN CITY OF TIFTON
By FRANK SAYLES JR.
Tifton Grapevine
Tifton residents may get a chance this year to decide whether or not to allow alcohol package stores within the city.

During Monday's Tifton City Council workshop, City Attorney Rob Wilmot noted that the Legislature now allows council to decide to place a special referendum on the ballot rather than requiring citizen petitions to put the matter up for a vote.

"Having these package sales would be a significant revenue source," said Mayor Julie B. Smith. "We’re losing an awful lot of revenue to other communities who do have package sales."

Council members said they believe in letting the citizenry decide the issue. "I see this really as a revenue source," Smith said.

If council decides to place the question on the ballot, it could be on there for the November election. Council is expected to revisit the issue at its regular City Council meeting.

Much of the discussion during Monday's council workshop involved the possible annexation and rezoning of two parcels to allow creation of a solar farm along Interstate 75 on the north side of the city.

Ryan Sanders of Beltline Energy based in Atlanta said the proposed solar farm would represent a $3.4 million investment and be a projected $272,000 financial gain for Tifton.

The tracts being discussed for annexation into the city are the Boyd property involving 94 acres off Carrington Drexler Road and another 29 acres of the Carrington farms behind the city Fire Station No. 2 on North Tift Avenue.

Sanders said the solar farm would not be visible to any residential houses and "will not be obtrusive to the local community.”

He said if the property remained in the county, "spot rezoning” would be required to allow a solar farm, so the "only path forward for the solar farm is annexation" into the city.
TIFTON MAN CHARGED WITH VOLUNTARY MANSLAUGHTER
A 29-year-old Tifton man has been charged with voluntary manslaughter after an alleged assault in April has resulted in a death, authorities say.

Jonathan Justin Warren of Tifton is charged with voluntary manslaughter and was taken to the Tift County Jail.

Austin Vincent Riley, 38, of Tifton has since died after an alleged assault April 27, authorities said.

The Tift County Sheriff's Office had responded to a medical call at 9:23 a.m. April 27 at 806 Avondale Ave. Authorities say an apparent aggravated assault had occurred.
TIFT COUNTY SEES 15 NEW
COVID-19 CASES IN 2 WEEKS
By FRANK SAYLES JR.
Tifton Grapevine
Tift County has recorded 15 additional confirmed coronavirus cases in the past two weeks, according to data from the Ga. Department of Public Health (DPH).

As of Thursday, the DPH said Tift has had 102 related deaths from COVID-19, which is one more than a week ago.

Tift County's positive testing rate during the two-week period is 4.9%. One week ago it was 3.2%.

On Thursday, Georgia reported 891 new cases with 18 additional deaths and 62 new hospitalizations. The state has had a total of 909,937 confirmed cases and 18,607 related deaths, the DPH said.
Tifton Rotary Club President Chris Beckham had some unexpected help with the club meeting Wednesday. Miles Campbell, 7-year-old son of former club president Jeremy Campbell and Maghan Campbell, led the club in the opening prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance. 
LOCAL TOURISM IMPROVING,
TOURISM REP TELLS ROTARY CLUB
By BONNIE SAYLES
Tifton Grapevine
“We are on the upswing from the pandemic,” Angela Elder of Tifton-Tift County Tourism told the Tifton Rotary Club on Wednesday in presenting a “Snapshot of Tourism” locally. 

Tifton-Tift County has 16 hotels with 1,267 rooms, and “tourism has a kiosk in about half of those hotels,” she said. “We keep them updated on upcoming events.” She said the kiosks have to be refilled monthly, so people are getting and using the local information.

With more than 100 restaurants, Tifton is a popular meal stop for locals and travelers. More than 40 of the eateries are local. “This is very exciting for a town our size to have this many local restaurants,” she said.

On Interstate 75, 115,000 cars travel through Tifton going north and south daily. On U.S. Highway 82 at I-75, 55,000 cars travel east and west daily, and on U.S. Highway 82 at Main Street, 40,000 vehicles are traveling daily.

Elder said four new billboards have gone up on I-75 recently with the new theme, “Something for Everyone,” promoting Tifton as a shopping, eating, and touring destination.

Tifton has three local conference centers, five hotels with meeting spaces, and 20 unique meeting spaces. ABAC's Ga. Museum of Agriculture is back open with good attendance, especially on Saturdays, and its Country Store is a good place to shop, she said. 

Downtown Tifton has a lot of revitalization going on and is a destination of its own. Two you-pick farms – Berry Good and Rutland farms – bring tourists to the area.

Elder said that 2019 before the pandemic was a very good year with $109.16 million in direct tourism spending. Jobs directly relating to tourism numbered 931 with $22 million in payroll. Local tax revenues from tourism spending was $3.09 million.        

Festival planning is on track this year with the Omega Pepper Festival scheduled for the first weekend in September and La Fiesta del Pueblo the last weekend of September. Rhythm & Ribs Barbecue Festival is coming to Fulwood Park on Oct. 9 this year and is going back to March in 2022.

In the past year, movie “filming gave us a boost right when we needed it,” Elder said. "Gasoline Alley" in February-March involved more than 1,200 hotel room nights, and $118,000 just for hotels. The movie crew also ate in restaurants, paid rent for buildings, bought props and fuel, used a local chiropractor and caterer, and went bowling and played golf. 

The film "White Elephant" in May focused on downtown Tifton and used more than 2,000 hotel room nights, spending $150,000 in hotels, and additional spending on food, props, etc.

"Bandit" was filmed for a week in Tifton, and in Thomasville and Valdosta in June, and had 754 room nights in Tifton over one week, spending $49,000 just in hotels, plus additional spending. 

The movie industry discovered Tifton in November-December 2019 with the film "The Tiger Rising." That crew had 750 room nights, spending $52,000 in hotels with additional spending. 

“They love Tifton,” she said about the film crews. “They have nothing but good things to say about working here.”
TIFTON YOUTH
WINS VALDOSTA
TENNIS DIVISION CHAMPIONSHIP

During the recent 14th Annual Wimbledon in Valdosta tennis tournament, Elijah Hellman of Tifton won the boys age 14 and under division championship.

In the finals, Elijah defeated Eli Johnson by scores of 6-1, 6-1.

The tournament was held at the Harry B. Anderson Tennis Center in Valdosta's McKey Park.
TURPENTINE DISTILLING SET JULY 24 AT GA MUSEUM OF AGRICULTURE
Source: Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College
The running of the turpentine still will be the featured demonstration July 24 at the Ga. Museum of Agriculture at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.

“Our visitors that day can enjoy a seldom-seen piece of South Georgia history,” Museum Director Garrett Boone said. “Guests will see up close and personal the age-old process of turpentine distilling that is central to South Georgia’s cultural heritage.”

In addition to the turpentine processing demonstration, guests may also ride train cars pulled by the museum’s 1917 steam-powered locomotive and tour the grounds of the museum, which include a grist mill, cotton gin, school, and other structures from Georgia’s history.
PHILLIPSBURG HOLDS ITS ANNUAL
BACK-TO-SCHOOL COMMUNITY DAY
On July 10, local Tiftonites hosted the 2nd Annual Phillipsburg Back-to-School Community Day, providing students with free food, book bags, school supplies, and school uniforms.

Organizers Shorofsky Horton and Carlos Slade said the focus was “Reach one, Teach One.” There were bounce inflatables, ice cream, and some students won bicycles, air pods, basketballs, or a basketball goal.

The organizers created a scholarship in honor of Lucretia Perry, a South Tiftonite who recently died from cancer. As an honor to her six kids that were left behind, $1,000 was donated to assist them with school expenses

“We know the struggles of many of our fellow citizens, so we wanted to give back to our community”, said Torrence Billings.
HUGHES OFFERS GIFT CARDS TO THOSE GETTING FIRST VACCINE SINCE JULY 4
Staff Reports
Melissa Hughes, vice chair of the Tift County Commission, is giving $20 gift cards to those who have had their first COVID-19 vaccine from this past July 4 through July 29 – “or until the gift cards are gone,” she said. “I have 15 gift cards.”

Gift cards are to LongHorn, Olive Garden, or other restaurants in the Darden family of restaurants. Hughes said to call her at 229-326-0241 to claim a gift card.

“I asked family and friends to donate $10, and they started out giving $20, so I increased the amount of the gift cards,” she said.

“I have had too many family and friends to have died from this virus, so I’m just trying to encourage others to live,” Hughes said.
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YOUR GUIDE TO ACTIVITIES THIS WEEKEND IN THE TIFTAREA

Saturday, July 17, is Peach Ice Cream Day celebrating the summer harvest here in the Peach State. You can continue celebrating on Sunday, which is National Ice Cream Day as first proclaimed by President Reagan in 1984.
FRIDAY, JULY 16
  • UGA Drive-thru Vaccination Clinic, 8 a.m.-Noon, UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center, Tifton
  • American Red Cross Blood Drive, 2-7 p.m. Tifton Mall, Tifton

SATURDAY, JULY 17
  • Wiregrass Farmers Market, 9 a.m.-Noon, Georgia Museum of Agriculture, Tifton
  • Empty Bowls Workshop, 10 a.m., Turner Center for the Arts, Ashburn
  • Downtown Flea & Makers Market, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Downtown Nashville
TIFTON GRAPEVINE'S DOG OF THE WEEK
“Oreo” is available for adoption at the Tift County Animal Shelter on Highway 125 S. To see Oreo and other pets available for adoption, visit the shelter between 1-6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. For more information, call 229-382-PETS (7387).
Pets of the Week are sponsored by:
Branch’s Veterinary Clinic
205 Belmont Ave., Tifton, 229-382-6055  
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JULY 8
 Linda Faye Newbern, 66, Tifton
Eloise Presley Dawson, 75, Sylvester
Mary Elizabeth Dixon Dismuke, 97, Thomasville
Carolyn Corbitt Drexler, 69, Fitzgerald
James William Merritt, 83, Fitzgerald

JULY 9
Carmen Castillo Gomez, 53, Tifton
Jessie Bell Davis 78, Tifton
Lee Johnson Bryan, 38, Waterloo community
James Oscar Jones, 76, Ray City
Richard McKelvin Jr., 81, Sylvester
Jason Matthew Paul, 41, Ray City

JULY 10
Kathryn Cannon Faircloth, 70, Fitzgerald

JULY 11
Shaleta Pettiford-Eady, 41, Tifton
Patricia “Pat” Davis, 79, Enigma

JULY 12
Larry Willie Gray, 75, Tifton
Willie Lee Baker, 58, Sycamore
Marcus Lynwood “Mark” Montgomery, 77, Jesup
Bobby McClain, 76, Lakeland

JULY 13
Leona Ivonne Graham Alexander, 77, Tifton
Mary Chapman Medders, 93, Sylvester

JULY 14
Martha "Marie" Flowers Alred, 88, Sylvester
SSG. (Ret.) Frankie Albert Spurlock, 74, Ocilla
Ella Faustine Watts, 85, Fitzgerald
Sam E. Walden, 81, Adel
JULY 15
Helen Bridges Cook Jackson, 89, Fitzgerald

Tifton Grapevine
e-published every Tuesday and Friday

Frank Sayles Jr.
Editor & Publisher
Bonnie Sayles
Managing Editor
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