Tuesday, June 4, 2019
Tifton, Georgia
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GrapeNew
NO MILLAGE CHANGE IN CITY BUDGET
PROPOSED BUDGET HAS NO INCREASE IN TAXES OR FEES
The City of Tifton' s proposed $43 million Fiscal Year 2020 budget contains "no millage change whatsoever," says Mayor Julie Smith .

During a public hearing on the budget Monday , no one but city staff , officials and the press were in attendance . The FY20 budget , which is for the fiscal year beginning July 1 , is not dramatically different from the current year's budget.

The budget includes a 1 percent pay increase for city employees .

City Manager Pete Pyrzenski has previously said that the " budget is very, very sound .” Pyrzenski has noted that “there’s no increase in fees ; there’s no mention of a tax increase whatsoever . I think we’re more stable than ever before.”

Vice Mayor Wes Ehlers noted that "this will be the sixth year that we've been able to work inside the funding that we have received , so this is a testament not only to management but to this council as well."
HOUSE FINALLY OK's $19.1 BILLION IN DISASTER AID
The U.S. House on Monday night finally approved a $19.1 billion disaster relief package to aid South Georgia and other areas , including Puerto Rico , damaged in natural disasters .

The legislation was OK'd 354-58 ; those opposed were Republicans who wanted the package to include funding for more security measures along the Mexico border . The Senate has already passed the bill, and it now goes to the president who said he will sign it.

The aid package included an amendment authored by U.S. Reps. Austin Scott , R-Ga., of Tifton , (pictured) and Sanford Bishop , D-Ga., of Albany – providing $3 billion in emergency assistance funding to agricultural producers who suffered losses .

“In October , Hurricane Michael ripped through Georgia , leaving an estimated $3 billion in agriculture damages in its wake. For months , Rep. Bishop and I have worked in a bipartisan fashion with our colleagues in Congress and state officials to ensure our Georgia farmers and rural communities devastated by this storm receive the help they need to put the pieces back together again,”  Scott said. 

“While I remain frustrated that it has taken eight months to get this relief, today Georgians can rest a little easier knowing that this package has passed through Congress and is on its way to President Trump’s desk to be signed into law .”

With Trump's signature , the legislation will speed relief funds to communities hit by tornadoes, wildfires, volcanoes, drought, flooding and other disasters . It includes money for Puerto Rico , which is still rebuilding after 2017 hurricanes devastated significant portions of the island.
GEORGIA SUPREME COURT UPHOLDS TY TY MAN'S MURDER CONVICTION
The Georgia Supreme Court on Monday upheld the murder conviction and life-in-prison sentence for Adrian Lamar Golson of Ty Ty .

Golson (pictured) was convicted in the shooting death of Arlester “Hammerhead” Jackson Jr., 35, of Ty Ty , on Oct. 27, 2012 , on Cherry Street off U.S. Highway 82 in Ty Ty , authorities said.

The high court said evidence shows that Golson and Jackson were engaged in a prolonged dispute for several weeks . On that evening of Oct. 27 , Golson encountered Jackson on Cherry Street in Ty Ty. Golson was carrying a .380 pistol ; Jackson was unarmed . Golson asked Jackson about threats that had been attributed to him. Golson then shot Jackson six times, twice in the head . Jackson died at the scene , according to evidence presented at trial .

Golson was tried by a Tift County jury in September 2015 and was convicted of felony murder and aggravated assault in connection with the fatal shooting. He appealed , claiming only that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel . The state Supreme Court found Golson failed to preserve that claim for appellate review ; consequently, it affirmed his conviction .
TIFT SCHOOL SYSTEM NAMES
BUS DRIVER OF YEAR
Erica Webb of Tifton was recently honored as the Tift County School Bus Driver of the Year for the 2018-19 school year.

Webb was recognized "for the safe transportation of the children of Tift County ." She received the honor during the school system's transportation department's recent awards banquet .

Transportation staffers recognized for Perfect Attendance were: Dewey Sexton, Zelda Jones, Bryan Redmon, Laronia Morgan, Mollie Duggins, Mary Turner, Faye Jackson, Sabrina Bozeman, Melvin Lastinger, Alex Williams and David Bowers .
Seated, from left, are Automotive Program Chair Mason Miller, SRTC Provost Jim Glass, Robert Hutson III and Service Manager Bharat Patel. Standing are David Alderman, Vice President for Student Affairs Leigh Wallace, Michael Potkovac, Fausto Resendiz Quintanilla, Andrew Vernor, Ford Field Service Engineer Bethany Toups, Jeffery Kitchens and automotive instructor John Tucker.
SRTC PARTNERS WITH FORD FOR
AUTO CAREER TRAINING
Southern Regional Technical College (SRTC) Provost Jim Glass , and Robert Hutson III of Robert Hutson Ford Lincoln Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram in Moultrie met for a signing Thursday that solidified Southwest Georgia’s first Ford ACE Partnership .

The Ford Automotive Career Exploration (ACE) Program is a national partnership among Ford Motor Co. , Ford/Lincoln dealerships and higher education institutions .  

By taking part in Web-Based Training (WBT) courses, students attending a Ford ACE partner college obtain knowledge of Ford/Lincoln vehicle systems . Upon completion of each course, students receive Ford certifications . These modules are a subset of the same courses taken by current dealership technicians . In addition to the WBT courses, Robert Hutson will support students with internship opportunities , career events and mentoring .

Ford Field Service Engineer Bethany Toups said that nationwide , the average automotive technician is now about age 55 . “We have an entire generation of highly skilled and experienced technicians that are nearing retirement and not enough young technicians positioned to take their places .”

The Ford ACE Program is a collaborative effort to solve that problem by increasing interest in automotive careers while giving students additional tools towards launching their careers .
BULLDOG 'BUCK' STOPS HERE
The latest University of Georgia bulldog statue in Tifton was unleashed Friday at Ameris Bank . "Buck" is the ninth bulldog statue in town sponsored as part of a fundraiser for the UGA Tifton Agribusiness Club and Collegiate FFA .

Josh Bowen , Ameris' Tifton market president, was joined by Ameris team members as well as Dr. Joe West , Dr. George Vellidis  and other UGA Tifton campus representatives to cut the ribbon for " Buck. "

Buck , in his business suit and UGA tie , was painted by artist  Jill Whitley .
EX-TIFTONITE CHARLESTON CARTER
GETS COURT MANAGER CERTIFICATION
Charleston Carter , the trial court administrator in Charlotte-Mecklenburg County, N.C. , and previously of Tifton , has received the Certified Court Manager (CCM) certification from the National Center for State Courts Institute for Court Management .

Carter completed all six courses required for the designation.

“This investment in professional development has already provided valuable skills required in my role as trial court administrator,” Carter said. “ CCM is the catalyst for further training to be an effective manager , to stay focused on organizational goals and objectives , and to strengthen the role of management in court administration .”

Before assuming the role of trial court administrator in Charlotte during 2017 Carter served as the circuit court administrator for the Tifton Judicial Circuit headquartered in Tifton .
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