Tuesday, June 15, 2021
Tifton, Georgia
Tifton Grapevine
The Tift County Commission on Monday approved a $29 million county budget for Fiscal Year 2022 with no tax increase and may even consider a tax millage rate rollback.

"There will be no increase in the millage rate. In fact, we anticipate a 0.25 millage rate rollback, but we have to await the final numbers from the Tax Assessors Office before we can finalize the amount of the rollback," Commission Chairman Tony McBrayer tells the Tifton Grapevine.

“Since FY (Fiscal Year) 2021 was an anomaly because of COVID-19, we felt more comfortable looking at FY 2020 actual revenue numbers, McBrayer explained. "For our FY 2022 budget, we adopted a conservative approach and budgeted $400,000 less than FY 2020 revenues."

The county had reduced last year’s budget by 15%, based upon the state's recommendation for the pandemic. However, county tax collections basically remained on track, resulting in a surplus.

In the FY 2022 budget beginning July 1, McBrayer said the county has "allocated monies to improve our recreational facilities, renovate office space for our probate and magistrate courts, and upgrade public safety vehicles, such as cars for the sheriff’s department and ambulances."

The City of Tifton is scheduled to OK its FY 2022 budget at its meeting next Monday. During last week’s City Council workshop, City Manager Pete Pyrzenski said the proposed $43 million city budget contains no tax hike and includes monies for a 3% employee raise.
Source: WALB-TV
Janet McGill of Tifton reacts as state Sen. Carden H. Summers, R-Cordele, reads a Seante resolution honoring McGill's late husband, Frank McGill (aka 'Mr. Peanut'). At right is Don Koehler, executive director of the Georgia Peanut Commission.
Tifton Grapevine
There was an emotional moment last week when a state resolution honoring the late J. Frank McGill of Tifton was presented to his widow, Janet McGill.

McGill, known as "Mr. Peanut” for his decades of work to increase peanut production in the state, nation and around the world, died in March at age 95. On Thursday, state Sen. Carden H. Summers, R-Cordele, formally presented the Senate resolution to Janet McGill at the Georgia Peanut Commission in Tifton.

Summers read the resolution, passed earlier this year, as McGill's widow wiped her eyes. The resolution calls McGill one of Georgia's "most distinguished citizens" and notes his work with the University of Georgia Extension Service to increase peanut yields in the state from 955 pounds per acre in 1955 to 3,220 pounds per acre in 1974.

Known as the state's peanut specialist, McGill traveled to 21 countries as a peanut consultant and served as a technical advisor to the Georgia Peanut Commission, to the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee, the National Peanut Council and the National Peanut Growers Group.

His honors include being named president of the American Peanut Research and Education Society and chairman of a special U.S. Senate Agriculture Task Force. UGA named McGill a distinguished professor of agronomy, and Progressive Farmer magazine named him Man of the Year. He received UGA's Medallion of Honor and was honored as an Alumnus of Distinction

McGill was inducted into both the Georgia Peanut Hall of Fame and the Georgia Agricultural Hall of Fame, and received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Peanut Council, the American/World Agriculture Award from the National County Agents Association, and the Valor Award from the Southern Peanut Farmers Federation.

McGill was selected as one of 12 UGA scientists whose work has impacted the world in the past 100 years.

The state Senate resolution notes that McGill "was a person of magnanimous strengths with an unimpeachable reputation for integrity, intelligence, fairness, and kindness, and by the example he made of his life, he made this world a better place in which to live."
Worth County High School's principal has shared a letter that a student wrote just weeks before she died in a car crash in Tifton, reports Bobby Poitevint of WALB-TV.

Rose Jolly, 19, died in a vehicle accident at U.S. Highway 82 and Carpenter Road on June 5, one week before she would have graduated from Worth County High.

Last Friday, Principal Melissa Edwards said Rose had a bright future as she wrapped up high school credits early and was gearing up for college.

Edwards said, at one point, she wasn’t sure if Rose had even liked her, but Rose wanted to make it clear that Principal Edwards had meant a lot to her.

She told Edwards exactly how she felt through a letter roughly two weeks before the crash.

The letter read: “Dear Mrs. Edwards, I just wanted to write you a letter to tell you how much I appreciate you for helping me through school. Thanks for telling me that I can do it without a doubt, and look at me now – I did it. I can finally see the light and walk out into the real world. I’m going to miss you; times were hard but we got through it together. I’m gonna miss your beautiful smile; you’re so loving and caring; you’re the best. Love, Rose Jolly.”

Rose’s love will live long after the ink dries.

Edwards said the letter came as a surprise, and she read it again immediately after hearing about the crash and has read it many more times since. She said it was common for Rose to write letters to other faculty members, but this was the first time she gave one to her. After the crash, the letter had a whole new meaning.

“I hung it on my wall after it happened just so that I could see it more often, so that I could look at it and try to see did I miss something the first time around, was there something in here that she was trying to tell me that I didn’t get.

"And you know, I don’t think there was any kind of hidden meaning in there. I think this was Rose just being Rose and showing that she cared, and showing thanks and gratitude and love, but yeah, I’ve looked at it a lot.”

Edwards said that she plans to frame the letter.

Graduation was Saturday at Milt Miller Field at Worth County Stadium, and school leaders said there was a chair with a white slipcover on it in Rose's honor.

It was the same chair that she would have sat in during graduation.

This article is published through the Tifton Grapevine's partnership with WALB-TV.
Tifton's Rashod Bateman, drafted by NFL's Baltimore Ravens, shares this photo of himself posing with the Baltimore Orioles' baseball mascot as Bateman was chosen to throw out the first pitch at a recent home game.
Rashod Bateman, the former Tift County High Blue Devil and University of Minnesota All-American wide receiver, recently got the honor of throwing out the first pitch during the Baltimore Orioles’ home game against the Cleveland Indians at Camden Yards.

Bateman, a Tifton native, was a first-round draft pick by the NFL's Baltimore Ravens. He is fast becoming a star in Baltimore, whose media gives Bateman rave reviews for his impressive performances in recent practices.

During a recent rookie minicamp, Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh said that Bateman is “as advertised from a talent standpoint” after watching him on the field for the first time as a pro.

After playing in 31 games at the University of Minnesota, Bateman racked up 2,395 yards and 19 touchdowns on 147 receptions in three years. Last year, he caught 36 passes for 472 yards and two touchdowns in five games.
Tifton Grapevine
Tift County has recorded 10 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 during the past two weeks, the Ga. Department of Public Health (DPH) said Tuesday.

There were two additional coronavirus-related deaths in Tift County during the period, the DPH reported.

Within the past two weeks, Tift's new cases represent 24 per 100,000 population, the DPH reported. Also during that period, Tift had a testing positivity rate of 2.7%.

Since the pandemic began, Tift County has had 3,477 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 101 related deaths, the DPH said.

Georgia reported 292 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday with nine additional deaths and 43 new hospitalizations. The state has reported a total of 899,784 confirmed cases and 18,307 related COVID-19 deaths since the pandemic began.
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Georgia Power Tifton Area Manager Lynn Lovett, from left, SRTC President Jim Glass, Georgia Power Moultrie Local Manager Brent James, and Georgia Power Bainbridge Area Manager Fred Rudbeck.
The Southern Regional Technical College (SRTC) Foundation last week received a $10,000 donation from the Georgia Power Foundation to support nontraditional student scholarships.

Lynn Lovett, Georgia Power’s Tifton area manager who also serves as SRTC board chair, presented the check Wednesday to SRTC President Jim Glass.  

The donation will fund scholarships to students for their academic achievement in programs where their gender is underrepresented. The scholarships will also provide students with financial assistance for tuition, books, and other fees.

By offering more scholarships, the foundation and SRTC hope to improve the skills, technical training, and educational level of local residents.
In addition to their financial contributions, Georgia Power provides company representation and decision-making leadership on the SRTC Board of Directors. Lovett, a longtime Georgia Power employee, first joined the SRTC Board of Directors in 2012 with the former Moultrie Technical College and began her role as board chair in September. In that role, she helps advise the college on program direction, and assists with the development and implementation of College goals, objectives, policies and procedures. 

“As a board member, I have already witnessed the remarkable impact that technical education makes on our communities. I hope this donation assists the college in its mission to provide for the educational and career needs of our students, and the workforce development needs of our area,” Lovett said.
Tifton Grapevine
South Georgia will hold a Juneteenth Celebration over three days this weekend, according to Rue’Nette Melton, one of the organizers.

A community canvas of neighborhoods in Tifton will commence on Friday, June 18. “We are going to the community, just waking everyone up, and finding the big movers and shakers,” she said, to let them know about events on Saturday and Sunday.

A community parade will begin lining up at 9:45 a.m. Saturday, June 19, at Community Mortuary, 102 West 13 1/2 Street, in Tifton.

“We are inviting people to walk, fly, ride, drive, and bring their friends, family, dogs, cats, whatever,” she said. The parade will start at 10 a.m. and end at the Tift County Courthouse, where the community Juneteenth Ceremony will take place on the courthouse steps.
The keynote speaker is Fenika Miller, one of Georgia's electors in the presidential election.

“We’ll have free food and a candlelight vigil in memory of our ancestors and of those who died in police brutality,” Melton said. A release of red, black, and green balloons will take place.

“We will re-enact the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation with Abraham Lincoln and re-enact the Juneteenth event for our young people to see what went before,” Melton said. 

After the ceremony on the courthouse steps ends, the celebration will move to Reed Bingham State Park in Adel, where there will be music and performers, food, games, fishing, and swimming.

“We will come together and enjoy ourselves,” Melton said.

On Sunday, June 20, the observation will start up again at 10 a.m. with jazz in Fulwood Park and a talent exposition for young people and the young at heart. At 3 p.m., Gospel choirs and spouses of earlier speakers are invited to participate in a “7-Up Drop the Mic” event. The observation will continue with a candlelight vigil and release of yellow balloons in memory of COVID-19 victims. 

Juneteenth is celebrated among all ethnic groups and nationalities,” Melton said. “It is to share a declaration of love and what we can do to move forward together.”

Juneteenth celebrates the end of slavery across the United States. Officially, Juneteenth is June 19. "Juneteenth" is a combination of the words "June" and "Nineteenth." Celebrations are usually held on the third Saturday of June.

The event's origins date to when the Union Army arrived at Galveston, Texas, on June 18, 1865, two months after Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's surrender and President Lincoln's assassination. The following day, June 19, Gen. Gordon Granger, commander of the District of Texas, announced the war's end and put the Emancipation Proclamation into effect across the state.

Texas was the last Confederate state to end slavery following the Civil War.

For more information about this weekend's events, call Melton at 229-392-1979.

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
"Spike," a two-to-three-year-old male cat, needs a home and is available for adoption at the Tift County Animal Shelter. To adopt your next pet, visit the 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
– JUNE 14, 1915
Tifton's newest industry was met with excitement June 14, 1915: The Tifton Ice Cream Manufacturing Co. made 40 gallons of ice cream during its first 24 hours.

The company was started by B.H. Bates and G.L. Blaylock.


In the photograph at left, two young women enjoy ice cream cones somewhere in Georgia, circa 1915.

Source: Library of Congress
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