Friday, Aug. 21, 2020
Tifton, Georgia
Tifton Grapevine
The head football coaches at Tift County High and Tiftarea Academy both said Thursday they are excited about the upcoming season and are proceeding as normal as possible during the pandemic.

“It’s a new season for everybody; there are a lot of unknowns out there, but we’re taking it as normal,” said Tift County Coach Ashley Anders. “It’s different. The kids are learning. They’re used to me hollering ‘Run, run, run;’ now I’m hollering ‘Spread out, spread out, spread out.’”

Tiftarea Coach Eric Soliday said, “we’re a lot like Lewis and Clark this year; we’re exploring new ways of doing things. … As we go, the kids and everybody will get used to it.” Soliday added that he is telling his players to be “really diligent away from football” regarding their health and safety. “We’re telling them to be cautious.”

Anders and Soliday both spoke to the Tifton-Tift County Chamber of Commerce during a virtual membership meeting online Thursday. They gave reports about how their teams are shaping up for this season.

The Tift Blue Devils have 21 seniors this year, and “these same kids have been together since middle school,” Anders said. “Their leadership is already showing.” There are three players at the quarterback position, “and each one will able to contribute.”

He said the offensive line is young with one returning starter, and there will also be several sophomore receivers. But there is experience among the running backs. “We will be young offensively, but we’re super excited about our young positions,” the coach said.

There are six Blue Devils returning to the defense including two returning starters in the secondary, Anders said. Special teams are strong with the kicker, punter and long snapper all returning.

Anders is beginning his sixth year as TCHS coach and is the third-winningest coach in the school’s history. The Blue Devils open Sept. 4 at Crisp County. The first home game at Brodie Field will be Sept. 11 vs. Valdosta High.
Soliday, who has been coaching for 34 years and is starting his third season at Tiftarea Academy, said the Panthers have “seven starters on both sides; the young kids will have to step up.”

He said there is some depth on the offensive line but the running back position “has really been depleted the last three or four years.” Tiftarea also lost a three-year starter at quarterback, but Soliday said he has two kids at that position and, “I feel pretty good at that spot.”

The Panthers have receivers and linebackers returning this season as well as a kicker, who helped win some games last year.

Soliday said Tiftarea faces a “very tough schedule; we got stuck playing just about everybody that was in the playoffs” last year. The Panthers’ season opens Sept. 11 away at Community Christian in Stockbridge. The first home game at the Panther Pit in Chula will be on Sept. 25 against Frederica Academy.
A total of $11.8 million for renovations and new construction at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College is part of the University System of Georgia's capital budget approved at the Board of Regents' August meeting.

The request now goes to the General Assembly.

ABAC President David Bridges said the agricultural facilities enhancement project includes funds for renovation to existing facilities, primarily the Chambliss Building, and new construction to support ABAC’s fast-growing agriculture and natural resource programs. 

“We have just announced a record enrollment in the School of Agriculture and Natural Resources,” Bridges said. “We’re supporting a portion of these students with aging buildings that were not designed for the scope or scale of programs today. Some of our students go to classes in facilities designed for the ABAC enrollment in 1971 when the Chambliss Building was constructed.”

Nearly 4,000 students are enrolled at ABAC this semester as compared to the 1971 fall quarter enrollment figure of 2,153 students. A record 1,371 of this year’s students chose programs in the School of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

“The facilities involved in this enhancement project are woefully undersized and unable to accommodate modern equipment,” Bridges said. “Agriculture is a complex, high-technology business that requires leaders with general knowledge and keen problem-solving skills. Mastering these abilities requires hands-on learning. ... This upgrade will probably prolong the life of these facilities another 30 years.”
Authorities at the GBI Macon Crime Lab are examining human remains found in Omega.

After getting information about possible human remains on property at 456 Urbana Road in Omega, the Tift County Sheriff’s Office requested the Georgia Bureau of Investigation on Aug. 14 to assist in the investigation.

GBI agents and Tift County sheriff’s investigators had obtained a search warrant for the property and excavated human remains after conducting a thorough examination at the scene, authorities said.

The remains have not yet been identified. Anyone with information is asked to call the Tift County Sheriff’s Office at 229-388-6020 or the GBI Sylvester Office at 229-777-2080.
Tifton Grapevine
The Georgia Court of Appeals on Thursday upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit against Tifton’s Chick-fil-A and its owner for burns that a child allegedly received on the restaurant's playground in 2015.

The Tift County Superior Court had previously disallowed testimony about how a cleaning agent could have caused the burns, had denied the parents’ motion for sanctions, and had granted summary judgment to David Pettis, owner of the Tifton restaurant. The parents had appealed the rulings.

The appeals court found “no error” with the Tift County rulings, affirming its dismissal of the suit.

Holli and Craig Stern, the child’s parents, had sued Chick-Fil-A of Tifton and Pettis for negligence, alleging that the boy’s bare feet were burned by “a hazardous condition on the restaurant’s playground.”

Although the Sterns initially did not identify the hazardous condition, they subsequently offered testimony from a biochemistry professor who said the burns could have been caused by Kay-5 sanitizer, a chemical cleaner used on the playground equipment.
The Superior Court excluded the professor’s testimony finding it to be “speculative, unreliable, and not helpful to the jury.” 

The trial found that the professor was not a medical doctor, and although he did not “think it was possible” to get burns “as fast ... and as severe” from standing on hot ground, he had no training on how long and at what temperature skin burns when exposed to heat. The professor had no formal training or education in burn treatment and never reviewed the boy’s medical records, the trial found.

In the opinion Thursday authored by Appeals Court Judge Amanda Mercier, she acknowledged that the restaurant cleaned parts of the playground with Kay-5 sanitizer each morning. However, she noted that the playground’s floor was not sanitized with the chemical, and that plaintiffs offered no evidence that the child’s feet came in contact with any other playground surface.

“Because no evidence connects the burns on (the child’s) feet to the Kay-5 chemicals,” the court wrote, “any finding of liability based on the restaurant’s use of the sanitizer would be mere conjecture.”
In the video above, Georgia Public Broadcasting takes a look at Tift County Schools' nutrition program, which continues to rise to the challenge of feeding students during the pandemic.
TRMC celebrates halfway point
of expansion project
Tift Regional Medical Center (TRMC) held a “topping out” celebration with contractors and construction workers on Aug. 19 to commemorate the midway point of construction for the hospital’s new patient tower. TRMC, located in Tifton at 901 East 18th Street, is the flagship hospital for Southwell.

“Southwell thanks all of its contractors and construction workers for their tireless efforts in building this new healthcare showcase, especially in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Alex Le, Chief Operating Officer for TRMC. “Our team, and our community, appreciate their hard work and diligence.”

TIFTON CITY COUNCIL has a special called meeting at noon today (Friday, Aug. 21) to consider a resolution requiring face masks in all city-owned and city-leased facilities. Mayor Julie Smith says the governor’s latest executive order now gives cities the ability to do this, which previous executive orders had prohibited. ... SYLVESTER GOLFER IN SENIOR PGA: Sylvester resident Sonny Skinner, 59, qualified Tuesday for the the 32nd Senior PGA Professional National Championship on Oct. 15-18 in Port St. Lucie, Fla. Skinner plays out of Spring Hill Country Club. ... ALAPAHA NATIVE RETIRING: Norcross City Manager Rudolph Smith, an Alapaha native and ABAC graduate, has announced his retirement after spending 40 years in municipal government in Georgia. ... TIFTONITE CHAIRS STATE COMMISSION: Paul W. Williams of Tifton has been elected board chairman of the State Charter Schools Commission. Williams is vice president of external affairs and chief advancement officer at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College. ... LEADING SOUTH GA: Several Tiftarea residents are among 31 participants in South GeorgiaLEADS, a regional economic development organization. They include: Sara Hand, Eric Larson, Tom Mark and Katie Murray of Tifton; Melissa Dark of Fitzgerald; and Heather Green and Chris Posey of Adel.
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This kitty is available for adoption at the Tift County Animal Shelter, located at 278 Georgia Highway 125 S., in Tifton. The shelter is open to the public for adoptions from 1-6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.

For more information, call 229-382-PETS (7387).
Pets of the Week are sponsored by:
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205 Belmont Ave., Tifton, 229-382-6055  
Important Phone Numbers & Web Sites
AUG. 12
Floretta Maude Brewer, 91, Tifton
Russell Caunell "Caudy" Potts, 89, Doerun
Valera Parrish Clements, 93, Adel
Rebecca Lynn Reynolds, 39, Fitzgerald
Diane H. Wright, 60, Sylvester
James R. Hilton, 67, Moultrie
Sandra B. McKenzie, 67, Hahira
Marcus S. Pledger, 60, Fitzgerald 
Christina Lynn Bass, 41, Tifton

AUG. 13
Jean Bramlett Wilson, 86, Tifton
Jack Stanley Johnson, 60, Tifton
Janelle Donahoo Wright, 89, Ft. Pierce, Fla.

AUG. 14
Carl Branston Grant Jr., 58, TyTy
Gilbert Lee Douglas, 69, Sylvester
Linda Gail Harper, 67, Alapaha
Mary Teresa Malehorn, 93, Nashville
Edward "Bob" Chase III, 85, Nashville
Ned Allen Simmons, 97, Quitman
Lelia Mae Wilburn, 67, Sylvester

AUG. 15
Pamela "Pam" Brantley, 67, Nashville
Mary Ann Bridges, 77, Tifton
Annie Will "Beauty Belle" Hicks, 93, Sylvester
Larry Dale Hall, 72, Lake Park
T.W. Watts Jr., 68, Tifton

AUG. 16
Julia Ann Easom Davis, 72, Enigma
“Elizabeth” Nettie Hall Stracke, 91, Albany
Evelyn Lucille Tyson Morris, 89, Ocilla
Lonzia Seymore, 88, Adel

AUG. 17
Betty Jean Martin Davis, 88, Live Oak, Fla.
Evelyn Lorraine Townsen, 84, Nashville
Myrtle Malnar Vonk, 96, Fitzgerald
James I. "Jim" Brown, 75, Ashburn
Earl Wayne Simmons, 52, Nashville
AUG. 18
Constance A. Kruger, 93, Roswell
Brenda Watson Brandt, 65, Sylvester
Douglas B Jones, 65,
Mitchell County

AUG. 19
Mary Kathleen Griffiths, 76, Nashville
Alvin Mack Lovett, 82, Nashville
Nelson Tucker, 84, Alapaha
Corrine Tripp, 94, Ashburn

AUG. 20
James "Larry" Hobbs, 78, Tifton

Tifton Grapevine
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Frank Sayles Jr.
Editor & Publisher
Bonnie Sayles
Managing Editor
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