Friday, Dec. 20, 2019
Tifton, Georgia
Tifton's Phil Moody poses with actor Dennis Quaid, left, on the film set at the Town Terrace "Pink Motel" on 12th Street. Moody was Quaid's stand-in for filming "The Tiger Rising" movie. Behind Moody in the black jacket is Director Ray Giarratana.
Tifton Grapevine
"The Tiger Rising" movie has wrapped up filming this week in Tifton and Thomasville .

Starring Queen Latifah and Dennis Quaid , the film has been shooting at the Town Terrace "Pink Motel" in Tifton and at Greenwood Plantation in Thomasville .

It has created a buzz around both South Georgia cities .

"Thank you to this incredible group of people who turned our little town into a movie set ," said Tifton Mayor Julie Smith .

"Having been a part of this adventure for our town has been so amazing . If I had a nickel for every time these generous actors, directors, producers and all the crew complimented Tifton , I’d have more money than I’d know what to do with," Smith said.

"I know we will have more experiences like this in the future. Tifton , you impressed our guests . Hats off to you. And I can’t wait to see 'The Tiger Rising.' "

Some local residents have aided in the movie-making process , including Phil Moody of Philgood Entertainment and owner of the BAM family entertainment venue in Tifton . He just completed a three-week stint as a "stand-in" for actor Dennis Quaid .

Moody's role was to stand in designated spots so that lighting and camera angles could be set before Quaid came on the scene .

Quaid plays a gruff motel owner who keeps a Bengal tiger in the woods behind the motel. The animal is spotted by a 12-year-old boy who moves with his father to the rural Florida motel following the death of the boy’s mother . Queen Latifah portrays a wise and mysterious maid at the motel .

The film , based upon the book by Kate DiCamillo , is expected to be released by the end of next year .
Homes were destroyed and severely damaged in Irwin County's Mystic community.
In a preliminary report, the National Weather Service (NWS) has confirmed that an EF-2 tornado touched down at midday Tuesday in central Irwin County and roared nearly 20 miles before lifting east of Ashton in Ben Hill County.

Despite significant damage to dozens of homes and buildings, there were no injuries or fatalities associated with the storm, the NWS reports.

The 125-mph tornado was 400 yards wide and traveled 19.2 miles at 11:35 a.m. Tuesday . The NWS said the initial touchdown occurred in an unreachable area of Irwin County approximately nine miles west of Ocilla . A survey team relied on radar data to estimate the touchdown location .

The first area the Weather Service's damage assessment team could access was along Ponderosa Road just north of Wood Road , where dozens of pine trees were snapped, and a farm had several outbuildings damaged . Snapped trees, destroyed outbuildings and damaged irrigation machinery occurred along a widening path heading east-northeast toward the Mystic community , where
damage was significant .

Several homes in Mystic suffered serious roof loss and a couple of brick buildings were destroyed .

"Debris including concrete chunks (was) thrown hundreds of yards into a nearby field. There were hundreds of snapped and uprooted trees of all kinds in the area. Damage was well into the EF-2 range here," the NWS said.

Continuous damage, mainly downed trees and damaged barns, then persisted along a wide path as the tornado continued moving east-northeast . The next area of significant damage was noted in a neighborhood south of Fitzgerald at the intersection of Vo Tech and Old Whitley Crossing roads .

More than a dozen homes suffered major roof damage there, and several were a complete loss . A couple of recreational vehicles were rolled over and heavily damaged .

The tornado then moved northeast eventually crossing into Ben Hill County along Highway 319 . Several more homes suffered roof damage , many barns were destroyed and hundreds of trees were snapped . The last evidence of damage was to a barn and trees along Partridge Road approximately 2.5 miles east of the Ashton community , the National Weather Service reported.

The EF tornado scale (Enhanced Fujita Scale) classifies tornadoes as EF-0, 65-85 mph; EF-1 , 86-110 mph; EF-2, 111-135 mph; EF-3 , 136-165 mph; EF-4 , 166-200 mph; and EF-5 , 200+ mph.
State Sen. Greg Kirk , R-Americus, who represents Tift County , said a recent press report about his battle with cancer may confuse the public .

“As with any cancer treatment , therapy is ongoing . As I continue therapy, I am in outpatient hospice care for pain management . With the exception of the continued therapy for my liver , vital signs and labs have leveled to normal ,” Kirk said in a statement released from his office.

“I have every intention of serving in the upcoming legislative session , and I have every intention of running for re-election in 2020 .”

A recent newspaper report noted that Kirk is in hospice care .

“We are grateful for all the thoughts, prayers and outpouring of support for my family and myself since the onset of the (... rare liver bile duct cancer ) diagnosis,” Kirk said.

Prayer is powerful ; we are thankful to Dr. Jani , (a specialist oncologist with Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital based in Albany ) and Dr. Akce (a specialist oncologist with Emory ) who have tirelessly helped with targeted liver cancer treatment therapy.

“I am proud to say that we have the best care in Georgia than anywhere in America , and we are thankful that much of the initial diagnosis has subsided ,” Kirk said. “I am a fighter . I have fought for my district, our community and our great state of Georgia. I have authored and passed legislation all five years that I have had the honor to serve in our state Senate . I will continue to fight cancer and will continue to fight for our district .”
Technology teacher Brian Saturday at Northeast Middle School receives grant from Dr. Kaylar Howard.
John Tanner, literature teacher at Tift County High School, receives a grant from Dr. Kaylar Howard of the Howard Center in Tifton. The grant is for the Speech & Debate Team.
The Tift County Foundation for Educational Excellence recently awarded the 2019 Howard Center Academic Team Grants. 

The Vex Robotics Team at Northeast Middle School under Brian Saturday received its first Howard Grant . The other two grants were awarded at Tift County High School: $1,000 to the Speech & Debate Team  under John Tanner, and $1,000 to the Science Olympiad Team under Heather Hathaway , pictured at left

The Howard Academic Competition Team Grants were introduced in 2014 . During the past six years, 19 grants totaling $11,818 have bolstered nine different teams featuring some of Tift County’s top students .
Matthew Jones, from left, front row, are Carol Smith, Kristy Daniels, Leigh Luke, Dana Luke, Thelma Ruth Boykin, Julie Williams, Michael Thompson; back row, Chad Nelms, Mary Perlis, Cara Goodwin, Daniel Goff. 
Tift Regional Health System (TRHS) recently honored Leigh Luke with The DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses . The award is part of The DAISY Foundation's program to recognize care and compassion provided by nurses each day.

Luke is the nurse manager on the Heart and Vascular Unit at Tift Regional Medical Center and has worked for Tift Regional for 10 years.

“When you think about words defining an extraordinary nurse , words like compassionate, professional, educator, honest, committed, comforter and integrity often come to mind,” said Carol Smith, TRHS senior vice president, acute care, and chief nursing executive.

Leigh Luke is the epitome of all these words. She is an extraordinary nurse who goes above and beyond for her patients, their families, guests and co-workers on a daily basis.”

Smith said Leigh was nominated for the award partially because of the help she provided to one of her co-workers who had a son requiring a serious surgery at a specialized facility.

“Leigh assisted in driving the employee and her son to appointments, rallied other staff to help provide food, and helped arrange for a refrigerator and air conditioning to be installed at her co-worker’s home,” Smith said. “Because of Leigh’s help , her co-worker was able to give her child undivided attention .”

Smith said Luke was also nominated because of her tireless dedication to a patient with cancer , even outside of her normal working hours. When the patient had to have surgery at another facility , Luke showed up and was able to make the patient and her family more comfortable .
Even Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus and elves attended the "Tree of Life" ceremony on Thursday, Dec. 12, at the Tift Regional Medical Center Anita Stewart Oncology Center.

The 34th annual lighting of the Tree of Life serves as a symbolic tribute to friends, family and lost loved ones during the holiday season.

Lights on the tree may be purchased in honor or memory of a special person, with all proceeds benefiting the patients of Hospice of Tift Area and the TRMC Anita Stewart Oncology Center who need extra support.

To contribute to the Tree of Life, visit . Contributions are accepted until Dec. 31 . Call 229-353-6330 for information.
Award winners at the recent pinning ceremony for ABAC fall semester nursing graduates include, from left, Shelby Stacey from Valdosta, Taylor Kight from Moultrie, Summer Landeros from Ashburn, Sarah Shaw Young from Nicholls, and Jana Fussell from Broxton .
Taylor Kight from Moultrie , Summer Landeros from Ashburn , and Shelby Stacey from Valdosta received the three top awards presented by the School of Nursing and Health Sciences at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College at the recent fall semester pinning ceremony.

Kight received the Carillon Award , which goes to the student with the highest-grade point average. Named for the carillon bells in the ABAC Chapel of All Faiths , located adjacent to the Health Sciences building, the award is sponsored by Colquitt Regional Medical Center.

Landeros received the Clinical Excellence Award , recognizing a student who demonstrated excellence in evidence-based clinical practice and patient-centered care. The award is sponsored by Southwell Tift Regional Health Systems .

Stacey received the Dedication to Nursing Award , sponsored by South Georgia Medical Center Sarah Shaw Young from Nicholls at the associate degree level and Jana Fussell from Douglas at the bachelor’s degree level received recognition as the Lisa Purvis Allison Spirit of Nursing scholarship award recipients.

A total of 49 students received associate degree pins , and 11 students received bachelor’s degree pins at the ceremony.
Folks brought their blankets and lawn chairs to Brodie Field on Monday night to watch the film "The Polar Express" on the stadium's big screen .

Sponsored by the Tift County School System , "Family Movie Night at Brodie Field" was a holiday gift to the community – and the weather was mild during the evening.


  • "The Polar Express" movie & kids' holiday crafts, 2:30 p.m., Tifton-Tift County Public Library, Tifton
  • Sawyer Brown & Exile in concert – "Christmas in Tifton," 7:30 p.m., UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center, Tifton


  • Tifton Historic District Luminaries, 5:30-8 p.m., 10th Street to Fulwood Park, Tifton
DEC. 12
Lester Paul McIntyre Jr., 65, Adel
Emma Jean Knight, 73, Ashburn
Hugh Noel Lewis, 96, Tifton
Helen Louise Dunlap Rentz, 93, Nashville
Dennis Jackson Friar, 59, Adel
David Lee VanBrackle, 72, Lenox

DEC. 13
Sula “Duane” Harper Tawzer, 59, Tifton
Beulah Mae Manders Morgan, 75, Tifton
Tillman Roberts, 87, Fitzgerald

DEC. 14
Annie L. “Peewee” Harrell Kitchens, 88, Lenox
Bobbie Jean "B.J." Frasier Patterson, 82, Sylvester
Joyce Ann McCook Harris, 77, Sycamore

DEC. 15
Jeffrey Lamar Rodgers Sr., 57, Cordele
Dennis Jones, 73, Perry

DEC. 16
Maggie Delores Simpson, 69, Nashville
Herman Wilson, 71, Rebecca
Elizabeth Moses, Albany

DEC. 17
Carolyn Louise Tucker Ray, 75, Enigma
James Melvin Pitts, 58, Tifton
Dolly Sue Richards, 71, Tifton

DEC. 18
Reginald Marion Fletcher Sr., 89, Ocilla
Thomas Art “Tommy” Beggs, 72, West Berrien
William F. “Bill” Jacobs, 86, Fitzgerald
DEC. 19
Charles Warren Housworth, 84, Tifton
Rosie Inez Hall, 91, Sylvester
Melba Satterfield, Cordele
Edwin Matthew "E.M." Mathis Jr, 100, Quitman


Tifton Grapevine
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Frank Sayles Jr.
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Bonnie Sayles
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