AUG. 14, 2018
Tifton, Georgia


With instructional  sites spread across  South Georgia Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College begins its fall semester  Wednesday with the  highest enrollment in its  110 -year history.

With the consolidation with the former Bainbridge State College complete, ABAC now offers classes in Tifton, Moultrie, Bainbridge, Blakely and Donalsonville. Students choose among 12 bachelor's degrees on the Tifton campus and two bachelor's degrees on the Bainbridge campus. Associate degrees are also available at both locations.

"There's no question in my mind that attending ABAC is a life-changing experience," Bridges said.

ABAC alumnus Ben Kennedy spoke at the annual Freshman Convocation this morning (Tuesday) before hundreds of bright-eyed, first-year students in Gressette Gym.

"My time at ABAC was amazing, said Kennedy,  a successful home-builder in Bluffton, S.C. "I use what I learned here on a daily basis to make a difference in the lives of others and in my own life."

Also Tuesday, ABAC students spread across Tifton for a Day of Service. Dean of Students Bernice Hughes impressed upon the students that it's important to give back to the community, and from painting walls to odd jobs all over town they did just that.

"Tifton is going to be these students' home for the next four years," Hughes said. "They are going to contribute to the community in the usual ways of buying gas and food, but they also need to contribute in other humanitarian ways."

Latest research shows ABAC had an economic impact of $369,874,664 on Tift and surrounding counties. One contributing factor is that ABAC houses more than 1,300 students in apartment-style complexes on campus. That's more than the population of many small towns in Georgia.


Tifton native and country music singer Cyndi Thomson tells the Kennesaw State University student newspaper that her No. 1 hit song was inspired by a boy she knew at KSU, and that she is grateful for her relationship with God and her small-town background.

Thomson also is  writing a book about her experiences and is working on new music, she told The Sentinel newspaper.

Read her story in KSU's student newspaper here.


The Tift County Public Library Foundation is bringing The Swingin' Medallions, "The Party Band of the South," to Tifton on  Thursday  night, Sept. 13, for the Foundation's annual dinner and show fundraiser at the UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center.

Sponsorships with reserved  tables and seating  are  available . Sponsors are invited to a VIP reception. Once again, individuals will be able to purchase single  dinner/show tickets or  show-only tickets

This is the Library Foundation's only fundraiser for  the year, and  money raised is used to aid the library in sponsoring children's programming and purchasing books and other materials to serve all patrons in Tift County.

The nonprofit  Foundation also aids the library in providing online initiatives, including continuing education and personal development online classes. A portion of the sponsorship and ticket price 
is tax-deductible.

The Swingin' Medallions are known for their high-energy performances, their horn section and their Carolina Beach Music songs. Performing since  the 1960s, their biggest hits are "Double Shot (Of My Baby's Love)," which reached No. 17 on the  Billboard chart, "Hey, Hey, Baby," and "She Drives Me Out 
of My Mind."

A dance floor will again be available for those patrons who want to swing their partners to the infectious sounds of The Swingin' Medallions.

Tickets are available at the Tifton-Tift County Public Library on Love Avenue and online at or Click Here!

Jill Merritt, above, begins her third year as a Student Resource Officer. She has been a SRO at both Tift County High School and Eighth Street Middle School during the past two years.

"I love working with kids and being a positive role model that they can talk to and trust," Merritt said.

At right are students starting their school year Monday at Len Lastinger Elementary School. 

Officials said the school year began relatively smoothly.

Tift County schools opened their doors for the new school year on Monday.

New school/grade configurations welcomed students as well as a new addition to Tift County High School.


Literacy Volunteers of Tifton-Tift County is recruiting sponsors of three-person teams for the 19th annual Carnival of Knowledge Trivia Contest to be held at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 27, at Southern Regional Technical College conference center in Tifton.

A new feature of this year's event is "Howard-Q," an audience-participation game sponsored by The Howard Center, a silver sponsor of last year's Carnival of Knowledge. Audience members will compete for cash prizes in a 12-question timed round, similar to the "HQ" trivia game played on smart phones. Also, the Tift County Reading Association is sponsoring a cake auction at the
The Law Offices of Erika S. Johnson, represented by, from left, Sonya Maxwell, Bryce Johnson and Erika Johnson, won first place in the 2017 Carnival of Knowledge.

The carnival is under the direction of past winner and trivia expert Dottie Freeman. It begins with a free pasta dinner for participants and attendees, who are encouraged to "Use Your Noodle!" Freeman encourages family members to come out to watch and volunteer to serve on sponsored teams that don't have team members.

"The goal is 24 teams signed up at $150 a team, and the general public can fill in on sponsored teams for no charge," said Bonnie Sayles, executive director of Literacy Volunteers. Individuals, church groups, civic organizations and businesses may sponsor teams. "Even if they  don't have members to play, they may sponsor a team," Sayles said. 

"When local trivia buffs fill in for free, the entertainment value is enhanced. Audience participants may come empty-handed and go home with some awesome prizes. We are keeping the price of a team low so more teams can participate," Sayles said. "It's a lot of fun to play and fun to watch."

Door prizes for attendees will include meals at local restaurants, manicures, home decor and gift certificates. Those wanting to play, sponsor a team, donate a prize or volunteer to help may call Sayles at 229-391-2527.

"If you believe that improving literacy in Tift County is key to our economic success, you need to support this fundraiser in the strongest way possible," Sayles said. "Each school dropout that earns a GED diploma, each person that learns to read better or speak English better helps to
improve our society as a whole. We owe it to ourselves to make sure we can continue the programs that make this possible."

Sayles noted that Georgia has  1.1 million citizens over the age of 18 who have less than a high school education --  18 percent of Georgia's adult population. In Tift County, that number is 21 percent, according to the statewide Certified Literate Community Program, of which Literacy Volunteers of Tifton-Tift County is a member. 


Tifton First United 
Methodist Church

107 W 12th St., Tifton

Tifton First United Methodist Church has an opening for a nursery worker. This is a part-time position 
  available after September 18.

Regular schedule is 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Sundays. Wednesdays from 6-8:30 p.m. is optional. 
The hourly rate is $10 per hour.

Applicants must be at least 21, meet background check for working with children, learn and enforce the Safe Sanctuary policy, and must be able to work with a wide range of people in a personable and friendly manner.  

Interested persons should send a letter of application stating their experience, qualifications 
 and relevant information to:

FUMC Church Secretary
Re: Nursery Worker
107 W. 12th St.
Tifton, GA 31794


Auxence Muhigwa Akonkwa, a Fellow from the Democratic Republic of Congo in central Africa, is visiting the University of Georgia Tifton campus through the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders program.

While at UGA Tifton, Akonkwa is participating in Professor Greg Fonsah's banana research; studying
Professor Greg Fonsah, left, with Auxence Muhigwa Akonkwa, a Fellow from the Democratic Republic of Congo.
the fresh-food market value chain, including fruits, vegetables and soybeans; attending research and UGA Cooperative Extension field days and lectures; collecting production, marketing and post-harvest data; and learning to develop business plans and economic analyses.

Akonkwa is also auditing Fonsah's "Agricultural Selling" class and will give a presentation on his experience in Georgia to faculty and students at the end of the fellowship, which ends  Sept. 14.

"I am extremely excited to be part of this distinguished Mandela Washington Fellowship program for Young African Leaders. I am equally happy that the University of Georgia and the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, in particular, have been recognized as one of the leading land- and sea-grant universities capable of providing the necessary expertise needed by these future African leaders," Fonsah said.

Launched in 2014, the Mandela Washington Fellowship is the flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a program of the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The program fosters closer relations and empowers young African leaders through academic coursework, leadership training and networking opportunities.


The Keep Tift Beautiful committee congratulates Mr. and Mrs. H. Bailey at 804 Murray Ave.  for being this month's residential Beauty Spot of the Month award winner.


The Georgia Peanut Commission is seeking eligible peanut producers interested in serving as an alternate member on the National Peanut Board

The Peanut Commission will hold a nominations election to select two nominees on Sept. 13 at the commission's Tifton headquarters. Eligible producers are those engaged in the production and sale of peanuts and who own or share the ownership and risk crop loss. 

Neil Lee of Bronwood serves as the current alternate for Georgia. His term expires Dec. 31.    

The U.S. Department of Agriculture requires two nominees from each state for the alternate position. The National Peanut Board will submit Georgia's slate of nominees to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, who makes the appointments.

USDA's policy is that membership on industry-government boards and committees accurately reflect the diversity of individuals served by the programs.


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