Friday, Nov. 12, 2021
Tifton, Georgia
GrapeNew
NEW GA HOUSE MAP
PLACES TIFT IN
2 DISTRICTS
COUNTY CURRENTLY IN 3 HOUSE DISTRICTS
By FRANK SAYLES JR.
Tifton Grapevine
Tift County would be split into two state House districts rather than the current three under a new legislative map for state House of Representative districts.

In the new district map for the state Senate, Tift remains in the district currently represented by state Sen. Carden Summers, R-Cordele.

The map lines were finalized this week as state lawmakers redrew the legislative districts to reflect updated U.S. Census data, as is required every 10 years.

Currently, Tift County is split among three House districts represented by Penny Houston, R-Nashville; Clay Pirkle, R-Ashburn; and Sam Watson, R-Moultrie. Under the new map, Watson's district no longer comes into Tift County.

Instead, Tift is primarily within Houston's district, which encompasses the City of Tifton, Berrien, and the eastern part of Cook County. Northern Tift County falls into Pirkle's district, which includes Turner and Irwin counties, and most of Coffee County.

Houston told the Tifton Grapevine that each House district will have approximately 60,000 people. She said her District 170 population will be comprised of 18,160 from Berrien, 34,614 from Tift, and 7,342 from Cook County.

The new House map was approved in the House of Representatives this week along mostly party lines. The Senate Redistricting and Reapportionment Committee has also OK'd it.
The Senate has also approved its new map this week. Tift County remains in Senate District 13, represented by Carden Summers, but that district itself is changing. Summers said he lost Dooly, Sumter, Wilcox, and Dodge counties, but picked up Ben Hill, Irwin, Berrien, and the western half of Coffee County.

And now I'll be representing over 200,000 people," he said.

"We all get set in our ways and change seems to always cause apprehension. Under the new reapportionment maps, we have lots of changes and things can seem confused and our comfort level goes out the window," Summers told the Tifton Grapevine.

"Having said that, change can bring new ideas and new opportunities; we must always look to the positive. My pledge to all is to never stop advocating for South Georgia, especially our areas new and old. I appreciate every person I represent no matter their political persuasions."
Photos by Frank Sayles Jr.
Chaplain John Jacobs of the Hasan Shriners Temple in Albany gives the keynote address Thursday during Tifton's Veterans Day ceremony at downtown's Veteran Park.
TIFTON SALUTES VETERANS AMID A CALL TO SERVE
By FRANK SAYLES JR.
Tifton Grapevine
Tifton honored veterans Thursday with patriotic pageantry, a stirring rendition of "God Bless the USA," and a call for all Americans to serve their communities.

The annual Veterans Day Tribute at Tifton's Veterans Park is largely organized by longtime Tifton businessman Jack Stone, a U.S. Army veteran.

Chaplain John Jacobs of the Hasan Shriners Temple of Albany, a Williacoochee native, was the keynote speaker. He praised veterans, saying that the "military has molded you to be the character you are today."

Jacobs said the military teaches discipline, responsibility, and teamwork, and we all need to thank veterans for their service – but we all can also serve in some way.

“The challenge for us Americans is to serve more, serve mankind. ... We, too, can serve; we can serve our family, our home; we can serve in church; we can serve in society. We can all be servants; we can all say 'Thank you.’"
The ceremony also honored the memory of U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Jim Willkomm of Tifton, who died Oct. 23 at age 93 and worked with the Tifton Police Department for more than 20 years, up until 2016.

During the ceremony, the Tifton Fire Department handled the presentation of colors, and local singer Brenda Saunders sang both the National Anthem and "God Bless the USA. Tyron Spearman once again was master of ceremonies, Mayor Julie B. Smith provided the welcome, and the Rev. Danny Ray handled both the invocation and the benediction.

As always, an empty chair was placed on stage during the ceremony in honor of the late state Rep. Henry Bostick, who was a Tifton attorney, a U.S. Navy veteran of World War II, a former VFW commander, and a tireless supporter of military veterans.
The ceremony took on a somber note at its end when it was announced that 13 crosses had been placed at Veterans Park with the names of the American soldiers who died as the U.S. was preparing to leave Afghanistan this past summer.

The audience was silent as Megan DuBose solemnly played "Taps."
S.C. COMMUNICATIONS FIRM ACQUIRES PLANTTEL
TruVista Communications of Chester, S.C., has acquired PlantTel of Tifton, which encompasses Plant Telephone Co. and Plant Telecommunications Sales & Services.

TruVista, part of iCON Infrastructure Partners, is a 125-year-old leading provider of broadband services and associated applications to residential and business customers in the Midlands region of South Carolina and in North Georgia.

PlantTel provides high-speed data, video, voice, and other communications services to the greater Tifton area. The company’s network includes more than 1,500 fiber route miles, as well as a hybrid-fiber coaxial cable and legacy copper network. PlantTel has been working to expand its fiber-to-the-premise (“FTTP”) network in rural markets, which will continue under TruVista’s ownership, according to a press release.

"The sale of PlantTel to TruVista and iCON represents the logical next step in the transformation of PlantTel into a regional fiber-based broadband solutions provider. With TruVista's resources, PlantTel will be well-positioned to continue to serve its existing markets while expanding the availability of its high-quality communications services to new communities," said Danny Sterling, PlantTel president and CEO.

"Our family has owned PlantTel for 126 years, and we are confident that TruVista and iCON will be the ideal stewards of PlantTel's legacy of providing industry-leading communications services to the customers and communities of South Georgia," Sterling said.

Brian Singleton, CEO of TruVista, said his company is "pleased to welcome the PlantTel team to the TruVista organization. PlantTel has a long history of providing high-quality and affordable services to customers in Southern Georgia, and their focus on local communities fits perfectly with the culture we have built throughout team TruVista. This combination is a great outcome for the customers, employees, and stakeholders as we expand high-speed fiber broadband networks throughout our markets."
Caroline Bostick's third-grade class at J.T. Reddick Elementary show their new dictionaries provided by the Rotary Club of Tifton. In the back row are Tracy Monk with the Tift County Foundation for Educational Excellence, Rotarian Amy Hightower, and Rotarian Bennett Harrison.
TIFTON ROTARY CLUB GIVING DICTIONARIES TO ALL 3rd-GRADERS
November is Family Literacy Month, and the Tifton Rotary Club is observing it by distributing dictionaries to third graders in Tift County. 

Armed with dictionaries, club members Bennett Harrison and Amy Hightower visited J.T. Reddick Elementary on Thursday, joined by Tracy Monk representing the Tift County Foundation for Educational Excellence.

Rotary members will continue to visit schools and distribute dictionaries next week. 

Member Bonnie Sayles, chair of the club’s dictionary distribution project, told the Rotary Club on Wednesday that one feature of the dictionary is its list of the longest words in the English language. 

“What do you think one of them is?” she asked. “Supercalifragilistic,” answered one member. “…expialidocious,” continued another. 

“Who knows what that means?” Sayles said. “According to Mary Poppins, ‘it’s the word to say when you don’t know what to say!’”

Another word defined in the dictionary is literacy, “the ability to listen, speak, read, write, view, represent, compute, and solve problems at levels of proficiency necessary to function in the family, in the community, and on the job."

Sayles spoke to Rotarians about literacy and said that low literacy costs the U.S. at least $225 billion a year in crime and unemployment.

“Children of parents with low literacy skills have a 72% chance of being at the lowest reading levels themselves. Our Tift County school superintendent Adam Hathaway is determined to get all third graders reading at grade level. And Literacy Volunteers is working to improve the reading skills of their parents and other family members.”
One in five adults in the U.S. cannot read or write, she said.  About 18% of residents in Tifton do not have a high school diploma.

Adult literacy can change everything. Improving literacy makes a difference in our local workforce and our economy,” said Sayles.

Literacy Volunteers of Tifton-Tift County started in the 1980s as a chapter of Literacy Volunteers of America. It is a nonprofit governed by a board of directors to coordinate and assist the local efforts to help people study for the GED exams, to learn English, and to improve their reading and math skills.

“We recruit and train volunteers who are assigned clients to help them in these areas,” Sayles told the Rotarians. 

She introduced the new director of Literacy Volunteers of Tifton-Tift County, Andrea McLemore, who has a master’s degree in English education and a bachelor’s degree in English literature, both from the University of Tennessee.

She has taught high school English in Stillwater, Okla., and in Knoxville, Tenn. 

McLemore explained a new program in which Literacy Volunteers is helping some students with transportation to GED classes at Southern Regional Technical College.
UGA TIFTON PLANT PATHOLOGIST IMPROVING WORLD, ONE PEANUT
AT A TIME
Dr. Bob Kemerait, a peanut pathologist on the University of Georgia Tifton campus, has been honored with the 2021 Southern Region Excellence in Extension Award by the the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

“When we mention model Extension specialists, Bob’s name comes to mind instantly. His technical expertise, passion, and people skills are the foundation for the impact he has on both our agent workforce and the commodities he supports,” said Laura Perry Johnson, head of UGA Cooperative Extension. “Dr. Kemerait is a true public servant in all aspects of his life.”

In July, Kemerait was chosen as the recipient of The American Phytopathological Society (APS) 2021 Excellence in International Service Award for “outstanding contributions to plant pathology by APS members for countries other than their own.”

He has been central to UGA's international extension efforts in Guyana, Haiti, the Philippines and, most recently, Gambia, traveling intercontinentally to help small-scale farmers improve peanut production as an important source of nutrition and income.

Kemerait has also been instrumental in the continuing development of the Peanut Rx tool that was created by peanut scientists at UGA and in neighboring states to help producers make critical crop decisions based on a number of risk factors.

"I have been given the opportunity to integrate every aspect of my career into things that make a difference both statewide and locally. Through the course of professional activities, joint projects, and training graduate students, the University of Georgia has impact on an international scale,” said Kemerait.
TIFT SEES 6 CONFIRMED COVID-19 CASES, 3 DEATHS
IN SIX DAYS, DPH SAYS
By FRANK SAYLES JR.
Tifton Grapevine
Tift County reported six confirmed COVID-19 cases and three related deaths during the period Nov. 4-10, according to the Ga. Department of Public Health (DPH).

During the past two weeks, Tift County recorded 15 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 36 total cases when rapid Antigen positive cases are added, the DPH said.

Tift County’s confirmed cases in the past two weeks represent 37 cases per 100,000 population, and 88 cases with Antigen positives. Tift's testing positivity rate for the virus was 2.2% during the two-week period, the DPH reported.

There have been a total of 4,874 confirmed cases and 139 deaths in Tift since the pandemic began, according to DPH data.

On Wednesday, the last day that data is available, the DPH reported 683 new confirmed cases within 24 hours in Georgia, along with 473 new Antigen cases, 67 additional related deaths, and 134 new hospitalizations. The state has recorded a total of 1,271,271 cases with 25,255 deaths, the DPH reported.

The DPH was closed Thursday for Veterans Day and will update the data by 3 p.m. today (Friday).
Georgia Power Area Manager Lynn Lovett, left, with Destination Ag student instructors Jessica Brogdon and Kayleigh Fowler, and Destination Ag staff member Kelly Scott.
GA POWER AIDS DESTINATION AG,
ABAC STUDENT SCHOLARSHIPS
The Georgia Power Foundation recently made a donation to support Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in two areas, student scholarships and the Destination Ag program at ABAC’s Georgia Museum of Agriculture.

“Georgia Power is proud to support ABAC student scholarships and innovative programs such as Destination Ag,” said Georgia Power Area Manager Lynn Lovett.

“Education at all levels is very important to the quality of life in all of the communities that our company serves and being actively involved in supporting these efforts is one way we can invest in the greater good.” 

Lovett recently visited the museum to meet some of the ABAC students who are instructors for the pre-kindergarten through fifth grade students participating in the field trips and interactive programs associated with Destination Ag.  

Museum Director Garrett Boone said Destination Ag's mission is to connect students and teachers through educational activities to illustrate the importance of agriculture and natural resources in their daily lives. More than 20,000 area students and teachers are expected to visit Destination Ag during the 2021-22 school year.
TIFTON
2012 Pineview Ave., Tifton, Ga 31793
TIFTON-TIFT COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE RIBBON CUTTING
Southern OB-GYN Associates
1610 John Orr Drive, Tifton
Nov. 3
TIFTON-TIFT COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE RIBBON CUTTING
McDonald's Grand Re-opening
1816 Tift Ave., Tifton
Nov. 4
PLIGHT TO HONOR TIFTON COUPLE
FOR 'PARENTING EXCELLENCE'
Tifton residents Willie and Janice Dean will be honored as the 2021 recipients of the Rev. and Mrs. Amos Ryce II Parenting Excellence Award at the annual PLIGHT Banquet, 7 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 18.

Tickets for the event, to be held at the Leroy Rogers Senior Center, are $20 and may be obtained by calling 391-9299.  

Tifton residents for more than 40 years, the Deans were married June 17, 1984, and are members of First Deliverance Holiness Church. Willie Dean worked at Horizons Mill and then Shaw, retiring after more than 30 years and being recognized for outstanding attendance. Janice Dean worked as a bookkeeper in the Tift County School System for more than 25 years.
 
The Deans were involved parents with consistent expectations and strong family values, according to their nomination. “They also contributed much to the community as faithful church members and givers, supportive of school activities and school system initiatives, as well as advisors to other parents in the community,” said Caroline Day.
 
Both of their adult children are principals in the Tift County School System. Their daughter, Jennifer Dean-Johnson, is principal of Northeast Middle School. The Deans’ son, Willie Dean, is principal of J.T. Reddick Elementary School.

“The Deans are known for their dedication and consistency. Loving, trustworthy, accepting, and always willing to help others—these are just a few adjectives that describe this couple,” said Leila Dollison, president of PLIGHT (Proud, Loving Individuals Giving a Hand to Teens).
TIFTON-TIFT COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE RIBBON CUTTING
Savor the Flavor
224 Main St., Tifton
Nov. 5
LITERACY VOLUNTEERS TO HOLD
CARNIVAL OF KNOWLEDGE
TRIVIA COMPETITION
Literacy Volunteers of Tifton-Tift County will hold the 21st annual Howard Center Carnival of Knowledge trivia competition at 6 p.m., Nov. 30, at the Georgia Museum of Agriculture’s conference room.

Teams this year will consist of four to six players, and all teams will compete against each other simultaneously the entire event. 

David Holmes, an experienced trivia master, will conduct the competition, with a first-place prize of $1,000. The team sponsorship fee is a donation of $200, to benefit Literacy Volunteers. 

As in the past, the public may sign up to serve on sponsored teams by contacting Literacy Volunteers at tiftlv@gmail.com, said Bonnie Sayles, the organization's president.

“Businesses, civic groups, organizations, or individuals may sponsor teams,” she said. "Second and third place teams will also receive exceptional prizes. After taking a year off last year due to the pandemic, we’re glad to come back with a socially distanced event.”

Sayles said the trivia competition is "one of Literacy Volunteers’ most popular events, and we greatly appreciate The Howard Center as platinum event sponsor, Georgia Power as a bronze sponsor, and all the team sponsors of the past.”

Support of the event allows Literacy Volunteers to recruit and train tutors to work with individuals needing to improve their reading, writing, math, and English-speaking abilities. Also, this year, Literacy Volunteers is providing transportation to some students attending GED classes at Southern Regional Technical College.
 
Those wanting to play, sponsor a team, donate a prize, or volunteer to help may call Literacy Volunteers at 229-391-2527.
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YOUR GUIDE TO ACTIVITIES THIS WEEKEND IN THE TIFTAREA

This Saturday, Nov. 13, is Sadie Hawkins Day, a day when ‘traditional’ gender roles are reversed, and women become the pursuers of their crushes and ask men out on dates or for a dance. The idea grew out of a storyline in the “Li’l Abner” comic strip in 1937 with an unmarried character named Sadie Hawkins who, each November, became the aggressor and chased the boys.
FRIDAY, NOV. 12
  • Bula's Antiques & Collectibles Christmas Open House, 4-8 p.m, Main Street, Tifton
  • Tift County High Blue Devils football @ Marietta High Blue Devils, 7:30 p.m., Marietta

SATURDAY, NOV. 13
  • Wiregrass Farmers Market, 9 a.m.-Noon, Ga. Museum of Agriculture, Tifton
  • United in Him with Bethany Wohrle and Dante Bowe of Bethel Music, 7 p.m., South Georgia Church of God Tabernacle, Tifton

SUNDAY, NOV. 14
  • Christmas Artisan Market - Fitzgerald-Ben Hill Arts Council, 1-6 p.m., The Depot, Fitzgerald
TIFTON GRAPEVINE'S DOG OF THE WEEK
“Winnie," a female pooch, is available for adoption. If you're interested in adopting Winnie and providing her a good home, visit the Tift County Animal Shelter on Highway 125 South 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  
candle-flames-banner.jpg

NOVEMBER 4
Charles “Gary” Soles, 60, Tifton
Regino Garcia-Cruz, 48, Fitzgerald
John Oliver Hall III, 81, Ocilla

NOVEMBER 5
Stephen Michael McLean, 64, Tifton
Cynthia “Cindy” Hyde LaHue, 55, Tifton
Evelyn A. Carter, 90, Sparks
Harry Albert Nielsen, 89, Nashville
Vida Elizabeth Hudson Dix, 92, Ocilla
Johnny Lee Brady, 50, Rebecca

NOVEMBER 6
Troy Dale West Jr., 59, Poulan
Dr. Jacquelyn Ann Doyal Clayton, 82, Irwin County

NOVEMBER 7
Tina Lynn Smith, 59, Fitzgerald
William "Billy" Edward Connell, 78, West Berrien Community


NOVEMBER 8
Deborah King Harris, 69, Fitzgerald
Charles Allen Thomas, 79, Warwick
Tim Ellington, 58, Cleveland, formerly of Fitzgerald
Jeanette C. “GG” Fletcher, 83, Fitzgerald
Michael D. McDonald, 64, 
Fitzgerald

NOVEMBER 9
Jackie Ellen Hand Stripling, 73, Tifton
Harold Carlton Benson, 83, Tifton
Huey L. Hancock, 62, Nashville
Janet Robertson, 69, Cecil
Alicia Wheeler-Hill, Sylvester
NOVEMBER 10
Roger Moore, 68, Adel
Jerry Richard Nutt, 64, Rebecca
Joel Holmes, 65, Adel

NOVEMBER 11
Sandra Newbern Baldree, 73, Tifton
Michael Odum, 44, Worth County
Joe David Thomason, 69, Tifton
Melanie Morrow, 43, Ashburn
Tifton Grapevine
e-published every Tuesday and Friday

Frank Sayles Jr.
Editor & Publisher
Bonnie Sayles
Managing Editor
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