Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Tifton, Georgia
GrapeNew
LAWSUIT ADVANCES INVOLVING IRWIN DETENTION CENTER
OCILLA FEDERAL FACILITY AMONG THOSE ACCUSED
OF BLOCKING IMMIGRANTS' ACCESS TO LAWYERS
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security cannot split a lawsuit against it over the lack of legal access in three detention centers – including one in Ocilla – into three separate suits, a federal judge has ruled.

The lawsuit will now proceed as one case in Washington, D.C., where the Department of Homeland Security is headquartered .

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) filed the lawsuit last year alleging that there are barriers to accessing attorneys at immigrant detention facilities in Ocilla ; in Lumpkin, Ga. ; and in Jena, La.

These federal detention facilities, operated by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are all in remote areas, several hours by car from big cities where lawyers, interpreters and other resources are located , the lawsuit says.

Remote communication by phone or video link is difficult , and lawyers who make the trip often face long waits and then have to meet with their clients in inadequate conditions , the suit says.

SPLC Deputy Legal Director Lisa Graybill  praised the ruling in a statement released today ( Tuesday ): “Friday’s ruling allows us to litigate the merits across all three detention centers so there is proper nationwide enforcement of standards governing access to attorneys for people in detention .”
ANNIE BELLE CLARK SCHOOL RAISES $4,844 FOR SOPHIA FISHER SCHOLARSHIP
Faculty, staff and students at Annie Belle Clark Elementary School has raised $4,844 for the Sophia Ruth Fisher Endowed Scholarship at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College through their annual “Maggie Lee for Good Day.”

Betsy Jones , a teacher at Annie Belle Clark and coordinator of the "Maggie Lee for Good Day," said that for nearly 10 years  "Maggie Lee for Good Day" has had an impact through its motto of "One Day, One Deed, One Difference"  as it honored the life of Maggie Lee Henson , a 12 -year-old who died from an injury on her way to youth camp .

" Maggie Lee Henson and Sophia Fisher were precious young ladies who left legacies of caring for others,” Jones said. “Their lives will continue to touch the lives of people by inspiring each of us to serve others."

Last fall, Annie Belle Clark sold "Be Happy" T-shirts, which was Fisher's motto and approach to life. Fisher , a Tift County High student, died in an accident last June ; the ABAC Alumni Association created the Sophia Ruth Fisher Endowed Scholarship at ABAC in her memory .

Fisher was the daughter of Lynda and Richard Fisher . Lynda serves as ABAC alumni director and is an ABAC alumnae. Richard is the principal at Len Lastinger Elementary and former assistant principal at Annie Belle Clark .

“The Fisher Family has had a tremendous impact on the Tift County School System and the entire region through the way they live their lives. The outpouring of love and generosity to create this new scholarship has been truly inspiring with more than $34,000 given to date," said Dr. Deidre Martin , ABAC's chief development officer.
TIFTON WELL-REPRESENTED AS
AMERIS OPENS NASDAQ
Sharp-eyed observers of the opening bell of the Nasdaq stock exchange on CNBC-TV this morning ( Tuesday ) may have spotted William Bowen of Tifton at the far right of the screen. In the photo, Bowen is at right on the front row.

Ameris Bancorp rang the opening bell in New York City in observance of the bank's 25 years on the Nasdaq , with board members and executive members of Ameris in attendance. Bowen is on the board of directors .

Ameris President Lawton Bassett III , a Tifton native, can be seen in the center back row , just under the "B" and "a" in Bancorp.
SECRETARY OF STATE MEETS WITH TIFT BOARD OF ELECTIONS OFFICIALS
Georgia Secretary of State  Brad Raffensberger  visited the Tift County Board of Elections on May 8 and spoke to local election officials and the board about Georgia's new voting system and security .

He said officials will know by this summer which company will provide the state's new voting system . Pictured, from left, are Stephanie McKee, Leila Dollison, Shekia Holley, Pat Robinson, Raffensberger, Amos Kimbrough, Perry Taylor and Thad Paulk .
TIFTON-TIFT COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE RIBBON CUTTING
Legacy Behavioral Health Services
334 Tifton Eldorado Road, Tifton
May 9
FREE AT LAST!
Tiftarea Academy graduates celebrate Friday evening in front of First Baptist Church in Tifton following their commencement.

The class of 53 graduates have been offered $1,030,620 in merit-based scholarships .
GDOT DISTRICT ENGINEER RETIRING
Ritchie Swindell , who led the Southwest District of the Ga. Department of Transportation through hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and winter weather , is retiring after 30 years with GDOT .

Swindell's last day at the district office in Tifton is Wednesday, May 15 . He will be on leave until his effective retirement date of July 1 . A successor has not been appointed .

Swindell came to the Southwest District in August 2017 . "Right after I got here, there was Hurricane Irma . Then we had snow and ice , then we had the hurricane , then we had flooding , then we had tornadoes ," Swindell said.

His tenure ends as the district continues debris pick up from Hurricane Michael , which struck in October . Damage was widespread and recovery has been lengthy , but the teamwork Swindell witnessed will remain one of his best memories .

"Nobody said, 'I can’t do that, that’s not my job.' Everybody did what was asked of them and went above and beyond ," he said.
DINNER-DANCE SET FRIDAY NIGHT
The Leroy Rogers Senior Center  in Tifton is the site for this Friday's dinner and dance sponsored by SELF Seniors Enjoying Life Forever .

Attendees are asked to bring their favorite food dish. Doors open at 6 p.m. , with dinner at 7 p.m. , and dancing following at 8 p.m. to "golden oldies" performed by the Fred Hand Band.

For information , email  dashers@windstream.net
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