Friday, February 26, 2021
Tifton, Georgia
Tifton Grapevine
Two Tiftarea residents have been named among 60 "Notable Georgians" for 2021 by Georgia Trend magazine.

Monty Veazey of Tifton and Lisa Collins of Adel were cited in a recent edition of the statewide magazine.

Also in the edition, State School Superintendent Richard Woods of Tifton was among those named the "100 Most Influential Georgians 2021."

Veazey is CEO of the Georgia Alliance of Community Hospitals.
“I’m honored to have my name mentioned alongside so many great Georgians who have accomplished so much for our state,” Veazey said.

“I’m incredibly lucky to work every day with dedicated healthcare professionals at community hospitals. They’ve always played a critical role in keeping Georgians – and our economy – healthy, but the stresses and demands of this pandemic have brought their sacrificial service into sharp focus."

Georgia Trend’s publisher said healthcare workers deserve special recognition for their frontline roles in the fight against COVID-19.
"Narrowing down the list of 100 Most Influential Georgians and Notable Georgians is never easy thanks to the wealth of talent in the state,” said Ben Young, publisher and editor-in-chief.

“With the ongoing pandemic, though, it just made sense this year to honor our healthcare workers on Georgia Trend's 100 Most Influential Georgians and Notable Georgians lists. We are so grateful for the outstanding commitment shown by the healthcare community and could think of no more deserving sector for recognition." 

Adel's Lisa Collins, executive director of the Cook County Economic Development Commission, was also on the notable list. Collins has been in her position since 2013 and has a quarter-century of community and economic development experience.

In 2006, Collins was recruited by the Rice Foundation in Atlanta to spearhead a 50-year community and economic development revitalization plan called Early County 2055. She also has been president and CEO of UPtown Columbus and senior vice president at the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce

In 2012, Collins was one of 30 people chosen from across the U.S. to attend the White House Rural Council's Regional Innovation in Rural America Forum in Washington, D.C.
Richard Woods, among the 100 Most Influential Georgians that the magazine cited, is a longtime Tifton resident. The state school superintendent graduated from Fitzgerald High School and has more than 25 years of Pre-K through 12th-grade experience in public education. 

Woods was a high school teacher for 14 years and served in various administrative roles such as assistant principal, principal, curriculum director, testing coordinator, Pre-K director, and alternative school director.
Gov. Brian Kemp on Thursday announces the upcoming expansion of COVID-19 vaccinations to teachers while standing next to a poster showing the homepage to
Tifton Grapevine
Beginning March 8, teachers, school staffs and additional vulnerable Georgians will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations, Gov. Brian Kemp said Thursday.

"Thanks to increased supply and significant progress in vaccinating frontline workers and the most vulnerable, more Georgians will be eligible to receive the vaccine starting March 8," Kemp said.

But in his press conference the governor added: “We will continue to see more demand than we have supply.”

Eligible Georgians for the vaccine will now include pre-K through 12th-grade teachers and staff, employees of preschools and day cares, adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their caregivers, and parents of children with "complex medical conditions."

These groups will be added to the current criteria for the vaccine, which includes first responders, residents and staff of long-term care facilities and Georgians age 65 and older along with their caregivers.

Eligible residents may pre-register for vaccinations at

Georgia has administered more than 1.8 million doses of vaccine, according to the Ga. department of Public Health (DPH).

Also, the DPH reported Thursday that Tift County has seen 24 cases during the past week and 37 cases in the past two weeks, or 91 cases per 100,000 population. Tift's testing positivity rate is 4.1 percent in the past two weeks.

Tift has reported 3,351 total cases and 91 related deaths.

Georgia saw 2,206 new cases on Thursday and 107 related deaths, the DPH said. Overall, the state has has reported 812,612 cases and 14,989 related deaths.
We are hosting a Class A CDL ONLY career fair
(must be 21 years of age to operate CDL vehicle with UNITED). 

Saturday, March 6
9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Social Distancing will be practiced, so please wear your mask.
Tifton Campus Conference Center of University of Georgia
15 RDC Road
Tifton, GA 31793

Please apply online prior to the event: Click Here!
The student newspaper at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College was recently recognized by the Georgia College Press Association (GCPA) Better Newspaper Contest as the best overall publication in its division in Georgia.

Dr. Thomas Grant, advisor for The Stallion, said the newspaper has been the best in the state in its classification for decades, beginning when Helen Strickland took over as the advisor in 1968.
“Then ABAC became a four-year college in 2008, and our students had to compete against schools like Georgia College and State University, Berry College, and Morehouse,” Grant said. “That increased the level of competition. The fact that The Stallion continues to earn awards as the best small college newspaper in the state shows how talented ABAC students are. They can compete with anyone.”
Grant said The Stallion competes in GCPA Division B, representing colleges with less than 8,000 students. 
The Stallion placed first in General Photography Excellence, Best Campus Community Service in Features and News, and General Excellence. The General Excellence Award means The Stallion was the best overall compared to the other colleges in the division.
The Stallion also received awards in General Advertising Excellence, Layout and Design Excellence, and Best Campus Community Service in Sports and Editorials.

Grant said when writers for The Stallion graduate, they are getting jobs in media around the Southeast. He believes that’s because ABAC is a hands-on college, and students develop practical skills in communication and student media.
Tifton Grapevine
As we reported in our MidWeek Edition of the Tifton Grapevine this week, Bruce Willis is in town filming a new movie – and "Bruce sightings" have been reported around town.

Jaye Chaney Spradley shared a photo with us of her and Willis on Wednesday morning outside the Waffle House on McCormick Drive in Tifton, where Willis had breakfast.

Her husband Michael Spradley also shared a photo of Willis with an unidentified man.
There has been another Bruce sighting at Tifton’s Cracker Barrel restaurant on Thursday.

The film is being shot in Downtown Tifton and around the county.

If you missed our previous story about the movie and didn’t hear it through the Grapevine, Click Here! to read all about it.

Willis has become somewhat of a South Georgia regular as this is his fourth movie being shot in the Tiftarea during the past couple of years.

If anyone else has a Bruce sighting around town, please let us know and we’ll share it in the Tifton Grapevine.
The Tift County High Blue Devils have made it to the "Sweet 16" in the state high school basketball tournament.

The Blue Devils face North Paulding High at the TCHS Palace at 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 27.

The game will be live streamed. To access it, Click Here!

Tift County advanced in the Georgia High School Association playoffs by defeating South Gwinnett, 54-49, on Wednesday.

North Paulding advanced by beating East Coweta in the first round of the playoffs.
Tifton Grapevine
The Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College Foundation completed its first virtual auction Thursday night, possibly raising more than the college's in-person gala generated in the past.

Wayne Jones, director of the ABAC Arts Connection, told the Tifton Rotary Club on Wednesday that the ABAC Foundation “pivoted when realized we could no longer hold an in-person event” due to the COVID-19 pandemic

"An Evening for ABAC" began as a fundraiser in 1972 to finance the completion of ABAC’s Chapel of All Faiths. The first performer was Anita Bryant, and the event was so successful it was continued in the next year as a fundraiser for student scholarships. It was initially called "Dollars for Scholars."

In 2016, the event was moved from its location in the gymnasium to the UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center, and an electronic silent auction was added. Every year since 2017, the event has raised at least $100,000.

In February 2020, just two weeks before the nationwide shutdown, the event raised a record high of $125,000, which Jones said, “translates to 50 Baldwin scholarships.” All the events in total have raised over $1.6 million.
“When it became clear we weren’t going to be able to hold an in-person gala, the way we normally do,” Jones said, a committee began researching options. “We knew people needed scholarships more than they ever did. A scholarship might make the difference between taking classes and taking a gap year.” 

Jones said, "We had the tools in place to continue this fundraiser, and a vast amount of sponsors responded overwhelmingly.” One sponsor broke the individual donor record with a gift of $20,000. He said the online silent auction that ended Thursday appears to be generating more money than ever, with lower expenses than the in-person gala. 

“Expenses are way down, so over 90 percent will apply directly to scholarships,” Jones said.

Winning bidders may pick up their prizes at the ABAC Alumni House or by contacting auction coordinator Josie Smith at 229-391-4902 or
South Georgia Banking Co.'s recent changes involve, from left, Donna Watson, Glenn Willis, Sam McCard and Brian Ponder.
South Georgia Banking Co. recently announced Board of Director changes, including Glenn Willis being named chairman of the board and chief executive officer, and Brian Ponder being named as vice chairman.

"These changes represent the bank's commitment to growth," said Sam McCard, SGBC's newly appointed president. "We understand having the right people in the right positions is key to South Georgia Banking Co. being a vibrant part of our communities now and in the future."

Willis started at the bank in 1985 as cashier and has served many roles, including most recently as president. He was first appointed as a member of the board in 2017.

Ponder joined the Board of Directors in 2017 and has experience as a farmer and a leader in the local agricultural community, the bank said.

McCard, the new president, has been in banking for 25 years and joined SGBC in 2015. He has held multiple banking positions, working his way up the ranks, beginning at age 18 taking care of the Ashburn bank's lawn and maintenance.

Additional promotions include Donna Watson as executive vice president and chief risk officer, and Jessica Gourley as Bank Secrecy Act officer.

SGBC has locations in Omega, Tifton, Moultrie, Ashburn, Cordele, Vienna, and Sylvester.
Owen Hudson, a graduate student in the University of Georgia's Department of Plant Pathology, received second place in the Graduate Student Research Competition at the recent 2021 American Phytopathological Society Southern Division annual meeting.

Hudson conducted his research at UGA Tifton under the supervision of Dr. Emran Ali, at right in photo.
Members of the Rotary Club of Tifton conducted its annual “Books, Bears & Balloons” event for Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14.

Instead of the usual tradition of visiting children hospitalized on the pediatric floor of Tift Regional Medical Center on or around Valentine’s Day, the club's Becky Smith delivered gift bags to the hospital for distribution.

Gift bags included coloring books, crayons, stuffed animals, individually packaged Valentine’s snack cakes, lollipops and valentine balloons. 

Pictured are Becky Smith, left, with the Tifton Rotary Club and Emily LaMontagne, director of volunteer services for Tift Regional Health Systems.
The Society of St. Andrew is seeking volunteers to help glean broccoli and strawberries in the coming days.

The organization operates a volunteer-driven gleaning network that includes volunteers who save fresh produce in the fields and use it to feed hungry people across the area.

The group will be gleaning broccoli next Tuesday, March 2, beginning at 9 a.m. in Tifton, and gleaning strawberries on Thursday, March 11, at 9 a.m. in Chula.

At least 20 volunteers are needed at each of those food-recovery events to help the team.

Volunteers must register online before they can help. To register, Click Here!
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To Contact Us, Call 478-227-7126
This fellow is ready for a home and can be adopted at the Tift County Animal Shelter. The shelter, located on Highway 125 S. The shelter is open to the public for adoptions from 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  
FEB. 18
Sylvia Ellen Sawyer Randall, 73, Chula
Derrick Brooks, 48, Tifton
Traci Purvis DeBoyd, 49, Alapaha
Geneva Lumsden Mauldin, 91, Tallahassee, Fla.

FEB. 19
Lisa Darlene Kennedy McGill, 53, Tifton
Della D. Dinkins, 43, Tifton
Melissa Giddens, 60, Valdosta
Brian Todd Breese, 62, Mystic

FEB. 20
 Linda Gill, 71, Poulan
Charlotte Jean Flowers, 71, Morven

FEB. 21
Lydia Frances Moore, 61, Tifton

FEB. 22
Debra Sparkman Jones, 65, Worth County
Idolia "Dinah" Hudson, 95, Poulan
Jonathan Earl "John" Rushing, 55, Albany
Betty Jones Blalock, 89, Tifton
Terrell Heaton, 73, Willacoochee
Alan Mauldin, 31, Ashburn

FEB. 23
Janette G. Womack, 79, Lenox
Blanche “Lucile” Ray McMillan, 93, Enigma
David Lee Jones, Sylvester
Victor Evans, 71, Poulan
Donald Dean Tidwell, 80, Berrien County
FEB. 24
Lynnell Reynolds Fulmer, 84, Chula
Virginia “Gini” Kirby Fowler, 83, Hanceville, Ala.

FEB. 25
Jerry Robert Doggett, 68, Sylvester
Shirley B. Tankersley, 73,
Irwin County
Tifton Grapevine
e-published every Tuesday and Friday

Frank Sayles Jr.
Editor & Publisher
Bonnie Sayles
Managing Editor
A Service of Sayles Unlimited Marketing LLC, Tifton, Georgia