Friday, April 3, 2020
Tifton, Georgia
GrapeNew
GOV LOCKS DOWN PEACH STATE
IN HOPES OF SLOWING COVID-19 SPREAD
By FRANK SAYLES JR.
Tifton Grapevine
Beginning at 6 p.m. today (Friday, April 3) , all Georgians , with some exceptions, are ordered to shelter in place at least through April 13 ; Gov. Brian P. Kemp issued the shelter-in-place order Thursday .

Kemp signed the executive order in hopes of slowing the spread of COVID-19 across the state . The governor's order supersedes local orders . The City of Tifton had implemented a shelter-in-place order from March 24 through April 7 ; Tift County has extended its voluntary stay-at-home order through April 30 .

Both the city and county still have a curfew in place from 8 p.m.-5 a.m. daily .

Kemp has also ordered the shutdown of all public elementary and secondary school facilities for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year . Online learning will continue .

In most ways, the governor's statewide shelter-in-place order is similar to Tifton's restrictions put in place 10 days ago regarding allowances for leaving home and what business functions are suspended.

But Kemp's order states that open businesses must screen employees for COVID-19 symptoms , such as a fever above 100.4 degrees , a cough or shortness of breath . Businesses must also use teleworking and staggered shifts , when possible.

And Kemp is banning any business, organization or government entity from allowing more than 10 people to gather "if such gathering requires persons to stand or be seated within six feet of any other person."

For several weeks , Kemp had resisted calls to implement a statewide, blanket order requiring Georgians to shelter in place because, he said, local communities knew better how to handle their own areas. On Wednesday , Kemp said that he had decided to issue his order based upon new data from the Centers from Disease Control and the coronavirus predictions for the state .
COVID-19 CASES RISE ACROSS GEORGIA, TIFTAREA
By FRANK SAYLES JR.
Tifton Grapevine
As the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Georgia reached 5,444 on Thursday, Southwell health system's positive cases rose by more than 12 percent within 24 hours.

Southwell, which encompasses Tift Regional Medical Center, on Thursday night reported 65 positive cases within its total health system, along with 439 patients being tested and 56 awaiting results. A total of 318 patients tested negative for the virus. The health system reported three deaths related to the coronavirus; none of the deaths involved Tift County residents.

There are 29 confirmed cases in Tift County with no deaths, the Ga. Department of Public Health (DPH) reported Thursday night. Albany/Dougherty County continues to lead the state in COVID-19 deaths with 30, along with 521 confirmed cases. There have been 176 deaths from the virus statewide, the DPH said.

Chris Dorman, Southwell's president/CEO, released a letter to the community thanking everyone for their continued support of local healthcare workers.

"We have been fortunate to have high community engagement ," Dorman wrote. "Your support for us is inspiring . Many in the community are helping create protective equipment . Many are staying home to stop the spread . Many are praying for divine blessings upon our community. There are countless other examples . For this, our entire team is grateful ."

Dorman noted that the hard work of Southwell's team combined with community engagement has placed Tift Regional in a better position than some other hospitals .

"From that position, we are now being called upon to help our neighbors . I know many are concerned about taking in patients from other communities with higher infection rates. I want you to know we have both a moral and a legal obligation to help ," Dorman wrote.

"We are monitoring each patient transfer on a case-by-case basis. We will not take more than we have capacity to handle . We will use every precaution to keep our staff and other patients safe . Please know, some that have come would not have survived if we had not taken them in ."
ALBANY JUDGE, A TIFTON NATIVE, DIES FROM VIRUS
Dougherty County Probate Judge Nancy Smith Stephenson , a Tifton native , died Wednesday from COVID-19 complications.

She had recently tested positive for the novel coronavirus and was in quarantine with her husband John , a state court judge.

Stephenson had served as the probate judge in Dougherty County for 27 years. She was a graduate of Tift County High School and of the University of Georgia School of Law.

"Judge Stephenson was the best of who we are, not only as probate judges but as public servants ," said T.J. Hudson , president of the Council of Probate Court Judges of Georgia

"Judge Stephenson had a first-rate intellect , a quirky sense of humor but most of all, she had a love for the law, public service and her family .” 

Danny Carter , retired managing editor of the Albany Herald , posted on social media that he had " known Nancy and some of her family in Tifton for many years . While in college , Nancy served an internship at The Tifton Gazette when I was there as an editor . She was such a bright and kind person , and had a quiet but sharp sense of humor .

"No doubt she could have had an outstanding career as a journalist , but instead became an attorney and had a tremendous career as a lawyer and judge ," Carter wrote.

"I remember on her final day of the newspaper internship , she came into my office to thank me for the opportunity. She also slipped me a hand-written sheet of paper on which she had written a parody of a Willie Nelson song . Instead, her version was 'Don't Let Your Babies to Grow Up to be Journalists.' I still have that note ."
TIFTON GOES BETTER WITH COKE
Work continues this week at the site of the $60 million Coca-Cola United bottling facility on Lamb Loop Road and U.S. Highway 41 in Tift County . The 300,000-square-foot warehouse and sales center is expected employ 200 people. The new facility is expected to distribute roughly 4.5 million cases of non-alcoholic beverages annually to customers in the Southeast .
ABAC GETS HIGHWAY SAFETY GRANT
With a $9,130 grant from the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety , Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College will again participate in the Georgia Young Adult Program (GYAP) .

The program partners with colleges to address young adult driver crashes, injuries and fatalities . GYAP uses peer education , school speakers and encourages schools to develop creative preventive techniques .

“The loss of one life on our roads is one too many, and the fact almost all fatal traffic crashes can be prevented is one reason why we are awarding this grant,” said Allen Poole of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety.

The GYAP program at ABAC coordinates events such as impaired driving prevention programs including DUI simulators . Programming often surrounds events such as National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week , graduation , and summer orientation .
A 'FLOWERING' BRANCH
Dr. Curtis Branch III and veterinary tech Anna Phillips work on  flower containers to continue to beautify the front of the veterinary clinic on Belmont Avenue . The Branch Clinic is the new sponsor of the Tifton Grapevine’s "Pet of the Week" feature.
TIFTON GRAPEVINE'S PETS OF THE WEEK
The dog and cat pictured here are among several animals recently rescued by Tift County Animal Control . If this is your pet, please call the animal shelter to claim, 229-382-PETS (7387).
Pets of the Week are sponsored by:
Branch’s Veterinary Clinic
205 Belmont Ave., Tifton, 229-382-6055   
CORONAVIRUS CLEARINGHOUSE
Important Phone Numbers & Web Sites
candle-flames-banner.jpg
MARCH 26
Derrick Ogletree, 67, Ashburn
Harriette McPhaul Adams, 93, Gainesville, Fla.
Barbara Faye Taylor, 80, Douglas
Don Ross Vickers, 71, Ocilla
Lieutenant "Shade" Harris, 75, Oakfield

_____________________

MARCH 27
Kandy Jo Yawn Hall, 39, Fitzgerald
Alice H. “Penny” Mims, 65, Fitzgerald
David Mayo, 62, Ashburn

______________________

MARCH 28
Virgil Anthony Augusta “Tony” McMillian, 75, Tifton
Pastor Morris B. Gaines Jr., 76, Tifton  
Steven Paul Cross, 46, Sylvester

______________________

MARCH 29
Gladys Aurelia Lassiter Johnson, 91, Tifton
D.F. “Jack” Evans, 93, Tifton
Mary Helen Hughes, 71, Enigma
Vickie Ann Blizzard Coley, 68, Ashburn

________________________

MARCH 30
Dr. Carol Ann Dowler, 62, Valdosta
James D. Tucker, 92, Quitman

MARCH 31
Eddie Lane Ray Sr., 72, Sylvester
William B. “Billy” Weldin, 78, Tifton
Curtis A. Harnage, 86, Tifton
Peggy Lorene Rowe, 82, Nashville
______________________

APRIL 1
Lena Elizabeth “Beth” Shivers, 52, Tifton
Peggy Robinson, 76, Sparks
Dale McCluster, Albany
_______________________________
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