TIFT COUNTIANS GATHER TO AID LOCALS
BATTLING SUBSTANCE ABUSE
By FRANK SAYLES JR.
Approximately 140 people came out early Saturday morning to learn about establishing a Recovery Community Organization (RCO) in Tift County to address the needs of people with drug addictions.
symposium, held at Southern Regional Technical College, was a way for the community to learn about the substance abuse epidemic plaguing families and how
the community can help.
The local effort has been spearheaded by Tift County State Court Judge Herby Benson, who said that 73 percent of those who use illegal drugs are employed.
In a recent letter to the Tifton Grapevine, Benson said the "majority of our citizens are unaware or in complete denial as to how big the drug problem is in our community. Our judges on all levels see the magnitude of the problem and are attempting to address part of the issues with the institution of accountability courts in both Tift Superior Court and Tift State Court.
"Our courts, however, can only help those individuals who are facing criminal charges related to their addiction," Benson said. "We cannot address the needs of those individuals and their families who are living with the pain of addiction but have not broken the law. Therein lies the need for RCOs."
At Saturday's symposium, Neil Campbell with the Georgia Council on Substance Abuse told the audience that three to four people die of substance abuse each day in Georgia.
The audience also heard from people with Recovery Community Organizations throughout the state, including Warner Robins, Jesup and Decatur, as well as testimony from individuals recovering from substance abuse -- including some from Tift
"Our RCO Symposium was a tremendous success on Saturday.
Special thanks goes out to the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities and the Georgia Council on Substance Abuse for the support and guidance in this symposium. Tift Regional Medical Center, the Sylvia Barr Center and S
outhern Regional Tech made significant contributions and work in putting on the symposium," Benson said.
"We've still got a lot of work to do to open a Recovery Community Organization in Tift County, but the ground work has been laid. Now it's on to phase two."
The judge said an RCO is whatever a community wants it to be; it is specific to the needs of a individual community and the goals that that community wants to achieve.
NEW EMERGENCY ROOM, PATIENT AREAS
Tift Regional Medical Center (TRMC) will be constructing a
$150 million four-story
tower with a new
emergency room and which will allow more
private rooms and patient
Hospital Authority of Tift County voted last week to expand TRMC.
Groundbreaking for the 263,000 square-foot tower is expected within a year, and construction will take about two years.
was originally designed to accommodate about 20,000 patients per year, and we currently see close to 50,000 patients per year," said
President/CEO Chris Dorman.
new emergency room will better serve a larger volume of patients, which will decrease wait times. When we have a high census at the hospital, especially during flu season, patients now have to wait for long periods of time to be admitted, but with this
new tower comes
Dorman said "this will be an advanced, contemporary, and patient-friendly facility connected to the current TRMC building. It will transform our main entrance on 18th Street. The project will also include some renovations to the current facility to make a seamless connection to the new building. It will not increase our 181-bed acute care licensure, but will offer more private rooms and additional observation beds.
"Patients won't have to share a room any longer, which ensures privacy, helps minimize the spread of infection and enhances overall satisfaction," Dorman said.
Approximately 60 percent of the financing will be through a USDA rural development loan; the remaining 40 percent will be funded through internal reserves.
TIFT REGIONAL RESTRUCTURES
IN ORDER TO EXPAND SERVICES
Tift Regional Health System (TRHS) will
transition from a
hospital authority operation to a federally designated
nonprofit organization, the
Hospital Authority of Tift County has decided.
The hospital board said the corporate restructuring will better position TRHS to meet current and future health care challenges.
At its monthly meeting last week, the
Hospital Authority Board of Trustees voted unanimously to take steps to
convert TRHS into a
charitable nonprofit organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Service code. The restructuring
process is estimated to take about a
"About 16 percent of Georgia's 159 hospitals still operate under a hospital authority," said Jimmy Allen, Tift Hospital Authority chairman.
"Most hospitals converted to a
501(c)(3) organization years ago. Our current structure under a hospital authority has its advantages, but it can also constrain outreach and growth."
Hospital authorities can only undertake projects
specifically authorized under the
Georgia Hospital Authorities Law. Additionally, that law
limits the ability of a
hospital authority to
own or operate health care
facilities outside its own
outside county does not touch the
Tift County border, we are
restricted on the services we can establish in that county, even if specific
medical needs have been
identified," said Allen. "When Tift Regional
restructures, the system will be able to
broaden its scope of
Area health care facilities that no longer operate as a hospital authority include Archbold Memorial Hospital in Thomasville, Coffee Regional Medical Center in Douglas and Crisp Regional Hospital in Cordele.
Tift Regional and South Georgia Medical Center in Valdosta are the only two remaining large hospital authority-owned organizations in Georgia.
SGBC NAMES WOODY DAVIS TIFTON CITY PRESIDENT
South Georgia Banking Co. has promoted Woody Davis to city president of the Tifton market.
Davis first came to SGBC 17 years ago as a loan officer.
He served as branch
manager of the bank's Tift Avenue location from 2004-2017. Additionally, he has managed the bank's Business Continuity Plan. In March 2017, Davis moved from Tift Avenue to the bank's Second Street location to help manage the commercial and agriculture business.
While other SGBC markets have had a city president position, the Tifton market has not had one because the senior management team is located in Tifton and has managed that market. However, the overall bank is now a $450 million operation, which requires the focus of senior management and necessitates creating the position for the Tifton market.
SGBC, a locally owned bank, has locations in Tift, Colquitt, Turner, Crisp and Dooly counties.
TIFTAREA ACADEMY STUDENTS COLLECT ITEMS FOR KIWANIS CLUB'S 'CALLED TO CARE' DRIVE
's sixth- and seventh-grade math students at Tiftarea Academy recently participated in a goods drive, organized by the Kiwanis Club of Tifton, for "Called to Care."
Called to Care is an organization whose mission is to ease the suffering of vulnerable children domestically and abroad by engaging and ministering through adoption, foster care and missions.
Deidre Martin of the Kiwanis Club and Whitney Jordan of Called to Care visited to collect the items last week.
ABAC representatives participating in the All College Choir include, from left, front:
Natalie Shell and Hope McMillan; from left, back: Shana Mormon, Dr. Kevin Fenton, Ashley Luke, Landon Chavis, Grant Hudson, Jordyn James and Nyjeé Sykes.
ABAC SINGERS PARTICIPATE
IN ALL COLLEGE CHOIR
Eight auditioned Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College singers participated in the All College Choir at the recent Georgia Music Educators Association In-Service Conference in Athens.
The GMEA includes more than 4,100 teachers in the areas of band, orchestra, chorus, general music and piano from elementary to college levels.
Dr. Susan Roe, head of the ABAC Department of Fine Arts, said the ABAC students performed with other auditioned students from programs across the state. The students also had the chance to view music industry opportunities in business, education, performance, conducting and others.
ABAC students attending included Shana Mormon, a voice major from Lowndes County; Natalie Shell, a voice major from Cook County; Ashley Luke, a voice major from Worth County; Hope McMillan, a voice major from Irwin County; Grant Hudson, a biology major from Tift County; Jordyn James, a teacher preparation major from Liberty County; Landon Chavis, a music major from Jeff Davis County; and Nyjeé Sykes, a business major from Long County.
The All College Choir performed under the direction of Dr. Kevin Fenton, professor of choral conducting and ensembles, and director of the Florida State University Singers.
Tifton First United
107 W 12th St., Tifton, GA
Tifton First United Methodist Church has an opening for a part-time church pianist.
The pianist is responsible for preparing for and practicing with the chancel choir, orchestra and ensemble every Wednesday evening for about two hours and for playing at Sunday traditional services at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m., as well at special services.
'FARM AGAIN' WORKSHOPS KICK OFF WEDNESDAY AT UGA TIFTON
The Farm Again program is hosting a workshop on Wednesday, Feb. 28, at the University of Georgia Tifton campus to introduce potential farmers to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs and loans.
This is the
first of a
series of workshops to be held this spring. UGA
Cooperative Extension, within the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (
CAES), and the Institute on Human Development and Disability (
IHDD), manage Farm Again.
The workshops introduce
program components to first-time or small-scale
, IHDD associate director. She and
, CAES professor, co-direct the Farm Again program.
"We're doing this because we see people encounter big
roadblocks. First, people need to understand what's available and how they qualify for it. They also need to solve the problem of not having the
resources to successfully grow their operations,"
During the workshop,
experienced farmers serve on a panel and share their experiences with past USDA program applications.
Future Farm Again workshops to be held this spring at UGA-Tifton: "Selling at the Farmers Market" on Tuesday, March 13; "Growing Organic Produce" on Wednesday, April 18; "Tractors 101" on Thursday, April 26; and "Soil 101" on Wednesday, May 16.
All workshops last from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Space is limited.
To register for any of the workshops,
CITRUS GROUP SAYS CROP
GROWING IN GEORGIA
citrus farmers from South Georgia and North Florida gathered Monday in Tifton at the 2nd Annual Georgia Citrus Association Conference.
Lindy Savelle, association president, says the citrus crop is doubling in Georgia. In 2016, the state had about 2,100 citrus trees; by the end of 2017, there were about 4,200 trees in the ground.
Savelle said the crop should double in size again this year.
At Monday's conference, farmers heard about how to plant citrus trees as well as how to keep the product growing.
The conference included break-out sessions for both beginner and advanced growers.
FORMER PEACE CORPS
Scoot Dimon, pictured at right
, brother of
Moppy Brumby of
Tifton, was the guest speaker at the
Rotary Club of Tifton last
Dimon, formerly of
Atlanta and now living in
Naples, Fla., spoke about his time as a
Peace Corps volunteer in
Africa during the
His talk was part of the Rotary Club's current program theme "Vietnam Era: Reflection, Reconciliation & Respect," noting the various ways folks served during the Vietnam era.
Wednesday with guest speaker Capt.
Laurie Croft, U.S. Army - Ambush Patrol.
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