Friday, June 25, 2021
Tifton, Georgia
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GrapeNew
REAPPORTIONMENT
REDRAWING DISTRICT LINES COULD ADVERSELY AFFECT TIFT & REGION, SENATOR SUMMERS SAYS
By BONNIE SAYLES
Tifton Grapevine
The redrawing of state legislative district lines – reapportionment – could hurt Tift County and other rural counties in South Georgia, state Sen. Carden H. Summers, R-Cordele, told the Tifton Rotary Club on Wednesday.

“The reality of reapportionment is that’s where our clout comes from. Once we lose political clout in South Georgia, we can’t get it back,” Summers said.

Every 10 years, Georgia, along with all other states, must redraw its districts according to the population determined by the decennial U.S. Census. It must be completed by the end of the year.

“We have 10.7 million residents in Georgia,” Summers said. There are 56 state senators in Georgia, so that number divided by 56 is 191,000, nearly 200,000 residents.

Much of the population growth in Georgia has been in the Atlanta area, so Summers is concerned that his district will change in demographics as district lines are redrawn to reflect more residents in what he calls “the doughnut” surrounding Atlanta.
 
Summers represents nine counties including Tift. His district encompasses 175,000 residents in predominantly rural South Georgia.

He encouraged residents to email, call and write to state Sen. John Kennedy, the chairman of the redistricting effort, asking him to keep Summers' 13th district rural.

Also, he said Tift County must involve young people in boards, commissions and local government to keep them here.

“You’ll make them see there’s a place for them in Tift County. We won’t lose them to the 'doughnut.' Utilize their skills. They think they have to go to Atlanta and make more money.” 

Addressing the current employment crisis, Summers noted that Georgia's pandemic unemployment benefits will stop in the coming week. Unemployment has been paying about $300 a week to those who qualify. He said Georgia had a $2 billion slush fund for unemployment, and with the shutdown in 2020, “we went through that in six months. We’re using federal money now.”

As of July 1, there will be no more executive orders from the governor in regards to the pandemic. “He (Gov. Brian P. Kemp) had the power to do anything he wanted to do without calling us (the state Legislature),” Summers said.

“The reason Tift County is flourishing today is that Brian Kemp opened up Georgia,” Summers said.

The senator ran through a list of legislation passed this year, including the changes to voting in the state.

“There’s not one bit of disenfranchisement in the bill. Basically, it will give us true and fair elections across the board,” Summers said. Drop boxes need to be monitored 24 hours a day, he said. The ones that were used because of the pandemic were not monitored.

“Now the drop boxes will be in the polling place, not on every corner.” 

Summers also lamented the partisanship he sees in the General Assembly.

“Under the gold dome, there’s a lot of division. If the Republicans are for something the Democrats are against it, and if the Democrats are for something, the Republicans are against it. That’s the way it is. It must change.” 
FARMERS NEED A 'SAFETY NET,' TIFT FARMER TELLS CONGRESS PANEL
By FRANK SAYLES JR.
Tifton Grapevine
A Tift County farmer told a Congressional agriculture subcommittee on Wednesday that farmers need a safety net and that the crop insurance program is vital in the next federal farm bill.

"We need a very, very strong safety net; crop insurance is a vital tool for farmers, and Congress must not do anything to undermine it," Wes Shannon, a third generation peanut and cotton farmer in Tift County, told the U.S. House Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management.

Shannon was one of five witnesses to appear virtually at the Washington hearing, which involved farmers from across the country. He said severe weather events during the past few decades have forced him to refinance his family farms.

"Despite the assistance we have received from safety-net programs, I've had to refinance our farms for the third time. Our dreams of of having our farms paid for continues to evade us Our stress and anxiety levels run high," Shannon said.

"I wish I could tell you that our experience is an isolated case, but it is not. Many farmers across the South share similar stories."

Shannon added that peanut and cotton relief programs are "a must to allow farmers to service farm debts during tough times. Peanuts are a very unique and cost-intensive crop which requires equipment that cannot be used for any other purpose on our farms.”

Congressman Austin Scott, R-Tifton, the ranking member on the subcommittee, said the federal government needs a way to get relief to farmers faster during disasters.

“In my state of Georgia, after Hurricane Michael, we saw the shortcomings of the crop insurance program,” Scott said. He noted that the Georgia state Legislature went into special session after the hurricane to give state farmers a loan to help them get by until federal disaster relief was available.

Congressman Sanford Bishop, D-Albany, suggested that Congress establish a "rainy day fund" or an interest-bearing account to be used for farm relief when major disasters occur rather than waiting on Congress to pass a a supplemental spending bill to address the issue, which takes several weeks and possibly months.
Ga. Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner's Office photo
A man died in a mobile home fire Wednesday on Youngblood Road in Sylvester.
MAN DIES IN MOBILE HOME FIRE IN SYLVESTER
A 57-year-old man died in an accidental fire early Wednesday in Sylvester, according to the state insurance and safety fire commissioner.

Charles Stacy Watson was killed in the mobile home fire on Youngblood Road, said Commissioner John F. King.

Investigators arrived on the scene at approximately 1:30 a.m. Wednesday and found the 25-year-old mobile home with heavy smoke and heat damage throughout the residence.

“Mr. Watson’s body was found in a bedroom at the end of the structure,” King said. “Our investigators determined that a container of cigarette butts discovered near the mattress in the bedroom was the cause of this fatal fire.

"Unfortunately, there were no smoke detectors found in the home.”

This is the state's 74th death this year from a fire, according to King's office.

The Georgia insurance and safety fire commissioner's Fire Investigations Unit assisted the Worth County Fire Department and Worth County Sheriff’s Office in the investigation.
TIFT JOBLESS RATE CONTINUES TO FALL AS LABOR FORCE INCREASES
EXTENDED PANDEMIC BENEFITS END SATURDAY
By FRANK SAYLES JR.
Tifton Grapevine
Tift County’s preliminary unemployment rate in May continued to fall, according to data released Thursday by the Ga. Department of Labor (DOL).

During May, Tift County recorded a jobless rate of 3.4%. The county’s revised rate in April was 3.5%, the DOL said. In May 2020, Tift had an unemployment rate of 6.3%, as some business was curtailed because of COVID-19.

Tift County’s labor force, the number of residents able to work, continues to grow. During May, the county’s labor force numbered 20,965, of which 20,260 Tift countians were employed. In the previous month of April, Tift's labor force was 20,889, according to DOL data.

In the latest preliminary state data, the May unemployment rates in Tiftarea counties include: Worth, 3.8% (3.7% in April)Turner, 6.0% (6.0% in April)Irwin, 4.1% (4.2% April)Cook, 3.3% (3.7% April)Berrien, 3.6% (5.7% April); and Ben Hill, 4.9% (4.9% April).

Georgia’s statewide unemployment rate in May dropped another 0.2 percentage points to reach 4.1%, the DOL said.

This Saturday, June 26, will end the state's participation in the federal unemployment insurance programs enacted through the CARES Act and the American Rescue Plan Act.

Currently, more than 74,000 claimants are receiving benefits through the pandemic assistance program designed for self-employed, gig workers, and part-time workers who have been unable to work as a direct result of COVID-19.

Almost 93,000 Georgia claimants are receiving extended benefits through the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. Payments for both of these programs will stop on Saturday.

Also, more than 56,000 state claimants are currently receiving regular unemployment payments, but after this week they will no longer receive the additional $300 federal weekly supplement.
TIFT COUNTY REPORTS 2 NEW
COVID-19 CASES IN PAST WEEK
By FRANK SAYLES JR.
Tifton Grapevine
Tift County has recorded two additional confirmed coronavirus cases in the past week, according to data from the Ga. Department of Public Health (DPH).

As of Thursday, the DPH said Tift has had 101 deaths and 3,480 total confirmed cases of COVID-19. There were 5 new confirmed cases in the past two weeks, the DPH reported.

Tift County's positive testing rate during the two-week period is 1.2%.

On Thursday, Georgia reported 256 new cases with 18 additional deaths and 25 new hospitalizations. The state has had a total of 901,926 confirmed cases and 18,443 related deaths, the DPH said.
TIFT'S 'BEAUTY SPOTS' FOR JUNE
The Keep Tift Beautiful committee has named the Pfledderer residence at 1401 Larkin Ave. as the residential Beauty Spot of the Month for June (pictured above), and named Atwater Insurance Agency at 622 Tift Ave. N. as the June commercial Beauty Spot.
TIFT SCHOOLS OFFERING ONLINE OPTION TO K-5th GRADE STUDENTS
The Tift County School System plans to open the 2021-2022 school year with normal, face-to-face instruction but is offering an online learning option to students in kindergarten through fifth grade.

Parents are asked to make a commitment for their child by July 9.

The school system said it understands that face-to-face learning "may not be the best option for all students and families," so the online option is being offered to younger students "in an effort to offer the best possible learning environment for each student and support our community."
Jennifer Johnson is pictured with her husband, Kevious, and daughters Kacie and Kyndal.
Shae Tucker is pictured alongside her husband, Brady, her son Cam and her
daughter Gabbi.
NEW PRINCIPALS FOR NEW SCHOOL YEAR
Among personnel changes in Tift County Schools for the coming year are new principals at Northeast Middle School and at G.O. Bailey Elementary School.

Jennifer Johnson has been named principal at Northeast Middle, and Shae Tucker is the new principal at G.O. Bailey Elementary.

Johnson, who most recently was an assistant principal at Tift County High School, will succeed Chris Martin, who became the school's new athletic director.
 
Johnson is a 2004 graduate of Tift County High and has been employed with the system since 2008. She taught middle school math before becoming an assistant principal in 2017.

Tucker takes the helm at G.O. Bailey Elementary after just completing her 24th year as an educator with 20 of those years in Tift County.

She has served as a science teacher at Tift County High and as an assistant principal at Annie Belle Clark Elementary, at TCHS, and most recently, at Len Lastinger Elementary.
BOBBY MITCHELL
LUKE NICHOLS
JILLIAN WEAKLAND
3 TEENS ATTEND YOUTH TOUR REPRESENTING COLQUITT EMC
Colquitt EMC’s Youth Tour delegates attended a three-day virtual event June 22-24. The delegates representing Colquitt EMC are Bobby Mitchell, Luke Nichols, and Jillian Weakland.

Bobby Mitchell is the son of John Mitchell of Norman Park. Bobby is active in the FFA, 4-H, and Leadership Colquitt County Programs. He volunteers at the Storehouse of Heritage Church, the Colquitt County Food Bank, and the Colquitt County Extension office, where he teaches S.T.E.M. (science, technology, engineering and math) day camps. 

Luke Nichols is the son of Carl and Teresa Nichols of Enigma. Luke is active in the FFA, 4-H, Beta Club, Young Farmers Association, and is on the soccer and math teams at Berrien County High School. Luke volunteers with his church, the Berrien County Livestock Association, the Special Olympics Rodeo, and Children’s Farm Day. 

Jillian Weakland is the daughter of Joey and Leigh Weakland of Moultrie. Jillian is active in Peer Leadership, Journalism Club, and cheerleading. She volunteers with her church, helping with vacation bible school and various youth bible studies.

As Georgia’s oldest leadership program for teens, the Youth Tour allows participants to experience federal government and U.S. history while honing leadership skills, having fun, making new friends, and learning about careers in public service.
ABAC RECOGNIZES TOP STUDENTS
Students who achieved academic excellence in their course work during the spring semester were recently recognized at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.

ABAC cites its top academic students each semester. The President’s Honor List is the highest academic honor possible, with each student attaining an “A” in every subject, resulting in a perfect 4.0 grade point average (GPA). The students had to carry a minimum of 12 hours of academic work.

Students who qualified for the Dean’s Honor List attained a minimum GPA of 3.5. The Distinguished Achievement List is composed of students who complete between six and 11 hours of academic work with a GPA of 3.5 or higher.
 
Tift County students recognized include: 

TIFTON President’s List – Diane Arias, Joseph Aultman, Sawyer Bass, George Bates, Lily Bates, Tania Bautista, Seth Bishoff, Josh Burnsed, Arianna Calcatelli, William Cox, John DeMerlier, Ruth Dorries, Thao Anh Du, Megan Gaines, Javontae Gaskins, Erin Gilleland, Kaycee Goodman, Andrew Jimenez, Giovani Jimenez, Bailey Jones, Zaeli Lopez, Jordan Lowery, Meredith Lowery, Tiago Marques, Kendall Maxwell, Sara McMillan, Emma Moroney, Lina Nguyen, Harley Normand, Khloe Parker, Vivek Patel, Timmie Paulhill, Jordan Pittman, Yolanda Powell, Andre Quiroz, Lucy Roach, Saranpahon Siriwanichkul, Nicholas Spader, Nathan Stainback, Alyssa Sparks, Sara Spradley, Margaret Sullivan, Jesse Tucker, Whitney Watchorn, Samuel Wells
 
TIFTON Dean’s List – Malorie Adkins, Ja'mi Barnes, Rachael Boney-King, Autumn Bowen, Lauren Brenneman, Brittney Carelock, Paola Collazo, Colton Creel, Jennifer Duque-Sanchez, Samuel Eaton, John Foskey, Francisco Garcia, Kyle Gillespie, Clark Hall, Kemper Hall, Kerstin Hall, Emily Henderson, Madison Ingram, Landon Johnson, Chayla Lopez, Matthew Lumsden, Jordan Mai, Alivia Mathis, Tucker Matthews, Kalvin McCloskey, Alyssa McDaniel, Mahala McDaniel, Alexxus Medders, Baptiste Mercier, Savanna Merritt, Kaelyn Morgan, Vinicius Outor, Nina Parker, Madeline Pate, Janki Patel, Nikul Patel, Kayle Perez, Bradley Peterson, Samuel Phillips, Christian Phillippi, Terrie Powell, Brandon Prudhomme, Michael Royal, Hoke Rutherford, Claire Ryland, Luke Smith, Melanie Smith, Connor Stephan, Isaac Stephenson, Adeline Tran, Luis Viruegas, Tristin Wilson, Madison Young 

TIFTON Distinguished List – Hannah Abell, Sandra Adcock, Amber Anderson, Laine Anderson, John Aultman, Hannah Barry, Sydney Barry, Owen Bates, Dontavious Bell, Kristin Bowling, Alexandria Branch, Andi Branch, Zachary Brey, Analeigh Brooks, Mary Burns, Lleyton Callison, Geraldine Carrera, Tori-Anne Chambers, Casey Cheshire, Alyssa Creel, Jenna Davis, Rheudean Dorman, Samantha Dorminey, David Edge, Lyndsey Foster, Mark Gladden, Trace Glausier, Michal Gregus, Shelby Harper, Sydnee Harper, Denix Hernandez, Chalee Hill, Juliana Hooks, Emma Hughes, Olivia Jenkins, Chadwick Jones, Noelle Konich,Karsyn Long, Cesar Lopez, Kevyn Lopez, Owen Manning, Michael Martin, Lauren May, Thomas Mcdonough, Ryan Mercer, Charles Miller, Abbigail Moore, Blair Moore, Maggie Moore, Allen Moretz, Akosua Owusu, Kajal Patel, Nilima Patel, Viran Patel, Brittany Payne, Marisa Pearman, Bailey Pitts, Elizabeth Pridgon, Dominique Prince, Anna Putnal, Karina Rodriguez, Kristen Rozier, Julia Ryland, Leah Shoniker, Rene Silva, Rebekah Slaven, Rhett Stephenson, Anna Sumner, Cameron Sumner, Kylie Tanton, Heriberto Torres Serna, Gabbi Tucker, Breanna Walls, Lauren Whitley, Marley Whitley, Anna Willis, Madeline Willis 

CHULA President’s List – James Applewhite, Caroline Clark, Sarah Lott, Emily Staton 

CHULA Dean’s List – Benjamin Brock, Samuel Lawson, Jared Roach, Cailey Swett
 
CHULA Distinguished List Katherine Clark,Luke Dorman, Johnna Kendrick, Chrys Kirby, Shellie Webb 

OMEGA President’s List – Claudia Lara, Diana Renteria
 
OMEGA Dean’s List – Halle Walker
 
OMEGA Distinguished List – Gisselle Elizalde, Mattie Jinright, Rebecca Jinright, Savannah Lavender, Pedro Mendoza, Diana Rojas, Jacob Turner, Kloie Varnadoe, Javonte Walker, Macy Weldon 

TY TY President’s List – Ivey Cook, Ronald Cook, George Patterson
 
TY TY Dean’s List – Madison Lentz 

TY TY Distinguished List – Elizabeth Barfield, Summer Bennett, Savannah Frazier, Hayle Moore,Andrew Oliver, Neel Patel, Callie Patterson 
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YOUR GUIDE TO ACTIVITIES THIS WEEKEND IN THE TIFTAREA

Friday, June 25, is National Catfish Day, first proclaimed in 1987 by President Ronald Reagan. Catfish is healthy because it’s low in calories, rich in omega-3, and has healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and lean protein.
FRIDAY, JUNE 25
  • American Red Cross Blood Drive, 2-7 p.m., Tifton Mall, Tifton

SATURDAY, JUNE 26
  • Wiregrass Farmers Market, 9 a.m.-Noon, Georgia Museum of Agriculture, Tifton
  • Thrive Jiu Jitsu & Fitness Open House, 9 a.m.-3 p.m, 120 E. Third St., Tifton
  • Healing Paws Animal Hospital, 10 a.m.-Noon, 116 Hunt Road, Tifton
  • Kids at Art, 10 a.m.-Noon, Tifton Museum of Arts & Heritage, Tifton
  • June ARTistic Expressions - Ages 5-7, 10 a.m.-Noon, Turner Center for the Arts, Ashburn
  • June ARTistic Expressions - Ages 8-12, 1 p.m., Turner Center for the Arts, Ashburn
  • Miss Georgia Forestry State Scholarship Pageant, 1 p.m., Performing Arts Center, Tift County High School, Tifton

SUNDAY, JUNE 27
  • Miss Georgia Forestry State Scholarship Pageant, 3 p.m., Performing Arts Center, Tift County High School, Tifton
TIFTON GRAPEVINE'S DOG OF THE WEEK
“Clyde” is available for adoption at the Tift County Animal Shelter on Highway 125 S. To see pets available for adoption, visit the shelter between 1-6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. For more information, call 229-382-PETS (7387).
Pets of the Week are sponsored by:
Branch’s Veterinary Clinic
205 Belmont Ave., Tifton, 229-382-6055  
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JUNE 17
Glenn Lamar Boyer, 74, Tifton
Talbert H. DeWitt Sr., 96, Sumner
Linda Gail Shirah, 71, Ashburn
Iris Bradfield Morris Shealy, 91, Quitman
James Stacy “Lump” Lumpkin, 52, Lenox
Mary Davis, 95, Ashburn

JUNE 18
Fred Jackson Porter, 87, Enigma
Shirley McKie Dobbins, 78, Fitzgerald
Edna Boxx, 81, Quitman

JUNE 19
Christopher Chad Bradford, 40, Nashville
Johnnie Best "J.B." Royster, 89, Sylvester

JUNE 20
Sharon Skinner Exum, 47, Sparks
Richard F. Ellenberg, 87, Adel
Rhonda Lea Smith, 62, Nashville

JUNE 21
Robert O’Neal Patrick, 83, Tifton
Johnny Mosley, 65, Tifton
Tommy Lamar Gay, 43, Atlanta, formerly of Tifton
Thelma Griffin Starr, 92, Fitzgerald

JUNE 22
Laverne Hardage Hortman, 97, Sylvester
Sarah Elizabeth Campbell, 41, Tifton

JUNE 23
Terry Day, 67, Abbeville
Gerald Wayne Hobbs, 75, Tifton
JUNE 24
Dr. Freddie Clinton "Pete" Waltz, 72, Tifton
Devaughn J. Harris, 77, Worth County
Mary Louise Etheridge, 76, Worth County
Lanny James "Big Daddy" Franks, 70, Tifton
Tifton Grapevine
e-published every Tuesday and Friday

Frank Sayles Jr.
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Bonnie Sayles
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