Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2021
Tifton, Georgia
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NO 'HOMELESS SEX-OFFENDER SLEEPING LOCATION' IN TIFTON, CITY OFFICIALS SAY
By FRANK SAYLES JR.
Tifton Grapevine
Tifton city officials say there is no "approved homeless sex offender sleeping location" in Tifton, as a probation officer in Douglas alleged in a Coffee County Superior Court case.

“I was shocked," Tifton Mayor Julie B. Smith told the Tifton Grapevine. "I was appalled that a probation officer from Coffee County informed a sex offender that an Interstate 75 overpass in Tifton was 'an approved homeless sex-offender sleeping location.'”  

The unnamed probation officer made the comment during a Superior Court hearing to revoke the probation of Alfred Lee Jacobs, who had served 14 years in prison on a sex offense, according to Tift County Sheriff Gene Scarbrough.

Jacobs had his probation revoked for being in an area that he had been legally banished from entering. However, the Georgia Court of Appeals reversed that decision on Aug. 23, because the state did not prove Jacobs had willfully entered and remained in the banished area.

"According to sworn testimony from Mr. Jacobs’ probation revocation hearing," the sheriff told the Grapevine, "Mr. Jacobs’ probation officer from Coffee County met him at the bus stop in Tifton and drove him to what his probation officer referred to as 'an approved homeless sex offender sleeping location in Tifton,' which was actually under an overpass on I-75 in Tifton where he dropped him off."

The incident occurred in July 2019 after Jacobs was released on probation.

"That an officer of the court used this community in this manner is unacceptable, and we will not permit this type of activity," Mayor Smith said.

"I have contacted Police Chief Steve Hyman, City Manager Pete Pyrzenski and City Attorney Rob Wilmot and asked that they immediately get to the reason as to why Coffee County probation officers seem to think we would 'house' criminals under an interstate overpass," Smith said. 

Hyman told the Tifton Grapevine on Tuesday that he was still attempting to reach the probation officer, who apparently works with the Ga. Department of Community Supervision in Douglas.

"There are no approved locations in Tifton for homeless people on probation or who committed any kind of crimes and just got out of prison,” the police chief said. "I don’t know what he (the probation officer) was thinking when he approved that."

The Grapevine was unable to reach an official in the Douglas probation office for comment Tuesday.

The Tifton police chief said there is no current problem with homeless people staying under overpasses or bridges in Tifton. "There was at one time, but there hasn’t been a problem there in a while," Hyman said. "When we find people hanging out under the bridge, we get them to move on."

City Manager Pete Pyrzenski agreed.

"We watch it very closely. There have been transients, just people moving through. We haven’t seen a running problem from it,” he said.
COVID-19 CONTINUES DECLINE IN TIFT BUT STILL HITTING GEORGIA HARD
By FRANK SAYLES JR.
Tifton Grapevine
While COVID-19 cases in Tift County are declining following a dramatic spike in August, the surge continues throughout the state, affecting college sports teams.

On Monday, a 24-year-old assistant basketball coach at Shorter University in Rome died from COVID-19, two days after getting diagnosed.

And the virus is hitting the University of Georgia football team. Head Coach Kirby Smart told reporters Monday that three or four players will miss this Saturday’s game against the University of Alabama-Birmingham because of the virus.

"For us, we're at our highest spike. And people are talking about vaccinations; well, these are people that are vaccinated," Smart said.
The news is somewhat better in Tift County, where daily average cases are 117 per 100,000 population, compared to the county’s all-time high of 219 on Aug. 22, according to data compiled by Emory University.

During the past two weeks, Tift had 292 confirmed cases representing 715 per 100,000, the Ga. Department of Public Health said. But when rapid test Antigen cases are added, Tift shows 642 new cases in 14 days, or 1,572 per 100,000 population.

Tift's testing positivity rate is 18.7% in the past two weeks. The county has a total of 4,614 confirmed cases with 109 related deaths, the DPH said.

The state has recorded a total of 1,134,891 confirmed cases with 20,258 deaths, the DPH reported.
'RED, WHITE & BLUE DEVILS'
GAME THIS FRIDAY
By FRANK SAYLES JR.
Tifton Grapevine
When the Tift County High Blue Devils take the field Friday against Appling County High, fans may notice something different; the Blue Devils will be wearing special jerseys, each with a different name of an honored veteran on the back.

The special themed "Red, White, and Blue Devils" game is to support awareness of local veterans. All active and veteran military personnel are invited to join the team in the "Blue Devil Walk" at 6:30 p.m. Friday before the game.

The accompanying graphic shows the jersey number and the veteran's name on that jersey.

The theme is the brainchild of new Tift County football Coach Noel Dean, who launched the nation’s first "pink jersey" game for breast cancer awareness in Michigan, where he coached at Lowell High School for 30 years.
TIFTON
2012 Pineview Ave. Tifton, Ga 31793
Jack Stone, second from left, and wife Ann, holding his arm and partially obscured, at their store's 60th anniversary Saturday in downtown Tifton. Among well-wishers are, at left, Julie Hunt, Quay Allen, and Bruce Green and Carolyn Massey at right.
JACK STONE'S WESTERN AUTO MARKS 60 YEARS IN DOWNTOWN TIFTON

Scores of well-wishers Saturday morning came out to Western Auto to help Jack and Ann Stone celebrate the 60th anniversary of their Main Street store. Generations of Tiftonites have gotten bicycles, TVs, household appliances, and more from Jack Stone through the years.

Soon, after six decades, the shop will close its doors as Stone is in the process of selling the building. “It's been a good run," Stone said.
FIRST 'RECOVERYFEST' AND RIDE
SUCCESSFUL, ORGANIZERS SAY
By BONNIE SAYLES
Tifton Grapevine
Tifton’s first RecoveryFest and Ride to Recovery were successful events Saturday, say local organizers. 
 
About 60 bikers participated in the ride, and the fundraising total was more than $8,000, said Michelle Gilder, Celebrate Recovery ministry leader and Family Life Center director at First Baptist Church of Tifton. “We had a couple large donations.”
 
Funds raised will be used to help with partial down payments for people fighting to get into alcohol or drug abuse inpatient treatment.

“The average down payment is $500 – if we can help one person get on the road to recovery, it is worth it,” she said.

“Also, we served between 270 to 300 lunches,” at RecoveryFest, she said. That means at least 300 people visited the 10 booths at Fulwood Park, learning about local resources for those working to recover from substance abuse.

“We are planning to make it an annual event.”
 
Celebrate Recovery is a Christ-centered, 12-step recovery program for anyone struggling with hurt, pain, or addiction of any kind. It meets in the chapel at First Baptist on the corner of Love Avenue and Fourth Street at 6:30 p.m. each Thursday. 
 
September is National Recovery Month. For more information, contact Gilder at mgilder@fbctifton.org or 229-326-0164.
TICKETS, SPONSORSHIPS AVAILABLE FOR CONCERT-DINNER-DANCE TO BENEFIT TIFTON-TIFT COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY
Sponsorships are still available for the dinner-dance-concert to benefit the Tifton-Tift County Public Library featuring the Chi-Town Transit Authority, a tribute group to the band Chicago."

The event is Sept. 30 at the UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center. 

Sponsored by the Tifton-Tift County Public Library Foundation as a fundraiser for the library, Chi-Town Transit Authority is an 8-piece group dedicated to reproducing the "Chicago" concert experience.

All of Chicago’s big hits, such as “25 or 6 to 4," "Saturday in the Park," “Colour My World,” and "Make Me Smile,” will be covered.

There is an optional dinner before the show, and a dance floor will be available. 
For reserved seating or for show-only tickets, Click Here!

A portion of the dinner-show tickets are tax deductible.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR POLICY: 

Letters must address local issues only. All letters are subject to editing for brevity, for libelous statements and for egregious language. 

Include your name, phone number and address for verification purposes. Email letters to: IHeardIt@tiftongrapevine.com
TIFTON MAYOR SEEKS ANSWERS FROM
PROBATION OFFICERS IN COFFEE COUNTY
TO THE EDITOR: After reading the recent information in the Sept. 3 evening edition of the Tifton Grapevine concerning the parole violation accusation and the actions surrounding the offender’s arrival in Tifton, I was appalled that a probation officer from Coffee County informed a sex offender that an Interstate 75 overpass in Tifton was “an approved homeless sex-offender sleeping location.”  

I can assure our residents, businesses and visitors that the safety and security of all are of the utmost importance, and that there is no homeless sex offender sleeping location in our community. I have called for an answer from the Coffee County probation officer and will not tolerate other communities using our public roads, overpasses, parks and other locations as a place for criminals.   

'To place anyone in this community in harm's way is inexcusable, especially by an officer of the court entrusted with civic responsibilities. 

That an officer of the court used this community in this manner is unacceptable, and we will not permit this type of activity. As soon as we have answers from Coffee County’s probation officials, we will have them explain their actions to the public.

If any person feels threatened or concerned about the actions of another, please contact 911 and report your concerns.
Julie Smith
Mayor
City of Tifton
TIFTON GRAPEVINE'S CAT OF THE WEEK
"Salem," a male cat, is ready for a new home. To adopt Salem and to see other pets available for adoption, visit the Tift County Animal Shelter from 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
GOV ANNOUNCES SWINE-CATTLE LAB IN TIFTON – SEPT. 8, 1949
Gov. Herman Talmadge announced on Sept. 8, 1949, that the state is appropriating $50,000 to the Board of Regents for establishing a swine-cattle disease laboratory at the Coastal Plain Experiment Station in Tifton.
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