July 19, 2016
        Tifton, Georgia

   (478) 227-7126


Ronnie Milsap, 73-year-old Country Music Hall of Famer, is scheduled to perform in Tifton this Friday night, July 22, rescheduling his show originally set last Friday at the UGA Tifton Campus Conference  Center.

After meeting local well-wishers backstage in Tifton last Friday night, Milsap suddenly became ill and was taken by ambulance to Tift Regional Medical Center just before he was to go on stage. By early Saturday, he had been discharged and was headed to a Saturday night performance  at the Saddle Up for St. Jude benefit concert in Tuscumbia, Ala.

"Thanks to the wonderful doctors, nurses and staff at Tift Regional Medical Center in Tifton, Ga., who took such good care of me. I was back on the road the next  day and had a great show in Alabama, and we will be back in Tifton, Ga., on this Friday, July 22. Look forward to seeing all our South Georgia friends; you were very understanding," Milsap wrote Sunday on his Facebook page.

The country music icon and longtime member of the Grand Ole Opry is known for such hits as "Smoky Mountain Rain," "I Wouldn't Have Missed It for the World,"  "Please Don't Tell Me How the Story Ends," "Daydreams About Night Things," and "What a Difference You've Made in My Life."

While in Tifton last Friday, Milsap told WALB-TV that he has no plans to retire:  "I don't want to retire to anything. I want to keep playing my music all over the country, all over the world."

At this Friday's show, t he  Danny Dawson  Band is scheduled to open again for Milsap. Dawson performed as the  opening  act last Friday in Tifton, receiving a warm reception.


College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
University of Georgia

Watermelon production this year has been good despite prolonged drought in South Georgia during May and early June, combined with soaring temperatures that are burning the remaining watermelons in the field, say University of Georgia agriculture officials.

"I would say that overall yields have been pretty good. Prices are average; they aren't great, but they are OK," said Tim Coolong, UGA Extension vegetable horticulturist

"We've had spots of disease, but we haven't had anything terrible that I'm aware of. I think it's probably been a decent year."

Coolong was told by farmers that watermelon prices were averaging 15 cents per pound for 45-count melons in late June. Those bins are reserved for fruit averaging between 13.5 and 17.5 pounds, totaling about 700 pounds for the bin.

Lack of high-disease pressure is attributed to a lack of rainfall in South Georgia. The UGA Tifton Campus received 5.39 inches of rain from May 1 to June 30 this year, down from the 11.29 inches recorded in 2014 and 15.92 inches the year before, according to the Georgia Automated Environmental Monitoring Network.

During that same timeframe, at the Sunbelt Ag Expo in Colquitt County, 8.18 inches of rainfall were recorded, compared to 12.31 inches in 2014 and 12.15 inches in 2013.

"I would say the decrease in watermelon diseases this year is due to the lack of rain, and growers tend to be on pretty good spray schedules," Coolong said. "Disease management is key in watermelons, especially with foliar diseases like gummy stem blight, downy mildew and anthracnose. If farmers aren't diligent with their treatments, they can be a problem. Fortunately, it seems we haven't had a bad year with these diseases."

The week leading up to July 4 is peak market season for Georgia watermelon producers. This time of year, though, with the sun scorching the melons, most growers are finishing up production. Coolong estimates that 15 percent of Georgia's watermelon crop was planted late, but the majority of those plantings are not expected to continue past another week.

Watermelons are a South Georgia crop and accounted for $134.2 million in farm gate value in 2014 .


A cappella country group Home Free, whose members include Tifton native Austin Brown, has just released a new music video offering their own take on a current country music hit,  Maren Morris', "My
VIDEO: Click to see Home Free's new music video

According to the Country Rebel web site, t he song's lyrics "have a gospel vibe, as Morris figuratively describes country music as being her 'church.' But when it came to their cover, Home Free decided to take it one step further by giving it a real gospel twist."

The web site said, " Home Free managed to take it and make it entirely their own. The members switched off singing lead, but came together on the chorus and at the end of the song. Those moments can only be described as chill-inducing, due in large part to their perfect harmonies."

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Entering freshmen will experience college life for the first time Aug. 5 with the start of the annual Welcome Week activities at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College

Celebrating its 10th year in its current format, Welcome Week introduces new students to the college through a number of activities and experiences, leading to the start of the fall semester on Aug. 10.

Welcome Week  begins with First-Year Move-In at 1 p.m. for all students attending  orientation on Aug. 5.
Remaining freshmen and returning students may move into ABAC Place and ABAC Lakeside on Aug. 6 from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. The day's events culminate with a Glow Party in Lakeside Lobby from 8-11 p.m.   
On Aug. 7, two sessions of College 101 will be held in Gressette Gym and are designed to give students the tools needed to be successful in college.

Keynote speaker Tom Krieglstein, co-founder of Swift Kick, will talk about student leadership on Aug. 7 at 7 p.m. in Gressette Gym. Krieglstein, and co-founder Kevin Prentiss, have worked with more than 550 schools and trained more than 200,000 campus leaders through Swift Kick. Their work has been named the best student leadership training program five times by the Association for the Promotion of Campus Activities and is the only program to win the award three consecutive years. 

Through Krieglstein's work in education, he also created The Student Affairs Collective as the ultimate online community of peer-to-peer learning for student affairs professionals. Following Krieglstein's speech, there will be an 8:45 p.m. meeting in Gressette Gym for all freshmen living on campus

A number of activities will take place Aug. 8, beginning with the ABAC Bookstore Open House for freshmen, 9 a.m.-noon. Students may also meet with their assigned Stallion Society member for answers to questions and to find classrooms before a lunch break from noon-2 p.m.

The annual Town and Gown Connection will be Aug. 8 from 4-6 p.m. in Gressette Gym. Local businesses and churches welcome ABAC students. Free food, games, school supplies, coupons and job applications will be available. At 7:30 p.m., Dr. William Mitchell, a hypnotist, will entertain all ABAC students.

On Aug. 9, the Freshman Convocation begins at 11 a.m. in Gressette Gym.  To culminate the Welcome Week festivities, students may participate in "So You Think You Can Tye-Dye" from 6-8 p.m.  A limited amount of shirts will be provided.

Friday, July 22, 2016      9 a.m.-Noon

Tift County Health Department
      305 12th St E., Tifton

Tift County Health Department's 6th annual Back to School Bash 
in conjunction with Tift Regional Medical Center, 
Tift County Commission on Children & Youth,  and The Jay Deason Fund
"We look forward to this event every year. Year after year, it continues to be a huge success," says Mecca Reeves, RN, county nurse manager. "Students have the opportunity to come to the health department for all of their back to school needs in a fun environment."
Any child entering a Georgia school for the first time will need a Georgia Immunization Certificate (Form 3231), a certified birth certificate, and a hearing, vision, dental and nutrition screening (Form 3300). Students born on or after Jan. 1, 2002, and entering the 7th grade need proof of an adolescent pertussis (whooping cough) booster and adolescent meningococcal vaccines. 

All of these services are available anytime at the Tift County Health Department; however, they will be the focus of the day on July 22.
"There will be face painting, a bouncy house and games for the kids," says Reeves. "There will also be free school supplies, door prizes, and school and community resources. This is a great opportunity for parents to get their kids prepared for the upcoming school year."
For information, contact the health department at 229-386-8373 or online at:


A Sylvester native and Worth County High School alumnus has been  named commander of the Continental U.S. North American Aerospace Defense Command Region-1st Air Force (Air Forces Northern).

Lt. Gen. Scott Williamsan F-16 Viper pilot, comes to Tyndall Air Force Base from Kuwait, where he served at the U.S. Embassy as the chief of the Office of Military Cooperation. Before that he served as commander, Air National Guard Readiness Center, at Joint Base Andrews, Md.

Williams, a command pilot with more than 3,900 flying hours, including  300 combat hours, said he's looking forward to immersing himself in his new responsibilities.

"I'm both proud and humbled to join this outstanding team in the accomplishment of its critical, no-fail mission," Williams said. "Together, we'll continue to expand the capabilities and strengthen the operations that keep our fellow Americans and our neighbors safe from harm."

Williams received his commission in 1984 after graduating from the Georgia Institute of Technology
His three-decade Air Force career has seen him decorated with many accolades, including the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with four bronze oak leaf clusters, the Southwest Asia Service Medal with three bronze service stars and the Iraq Campaign Medal with bronze service star.

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