Friday, October 23, 2020
Tifton, Georgia
Tifton Grapevine
Several local leaders on Thursday praised the appointment of Brian Marlowe of Tifton as the new state deputy commissioner for rural Georgia and leader of the Governor's Rural Strike Team.

Gov. Brian P. Kemp named Marlowe, president-CEO of the Tifton-Tift County Chamber of Commerce and executive director of the Tift County Development Authority, on Wednesday.

Local officials told the Tifton Grapevine that the news is good for rural Georgia.

"I am excited to have one of our own leading the Rural Strike Force, which will directly affect the South Georgia economy," said Tony McBrayer, incoming chairman of the Tift County Commission.

"Brian certainly has his finger on the pulse of economic development, and his past track record proves he knows how to attract companies to our region. While we regret losing Brian as president of our Chamber of Commerce and Tift County Development Authority, his new office will be located in Tifton, and we can still lean on him for guidance and advice. Gov. Brian Kemp has made a wise choice," McBrayer said.

Tifton Mayor Julie B. Smith said that "Brian’s leadership of the Georgia Rural Strike Force is a tremendous step forward for our state. His success in economic development for Tifton and Tift County will be a stepping stone for building the economic viability of rural Georgia. We look forward to working with Brian in his new role and know he will make Tifton proud. Creating jobs for rural Georgians is key to the ongoing growth and success of South Georgia."

Tiffany Holmes, regional manager of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce's office in Tifton, said that “to have a proven leader from a rural community in our state now dedicated to overseeing rural Georgia’s overall economic growth is a strong testament to Governor Kemp’s commitment to South Georgia."

Holmes noted that rural Georgia faced critical challenges before COVID-19 "and needs the focused leadership of a South Georgian, in Brian Marlowe, to expedite recovery efforts and deliver the resources our farmers, small businesses and local communities require.”

On behalf of the Tifton-Tift County Chamber of Commerce, Chairman Chris Cutts said the organization is elated with Marlowe's opportunity, but "it is with mixed emotions that we celebrate this move for Brian," who has "served us very well in his tenure with the Tifton-Tift County Chamber and the Tifton community."

Cutts added that “we wish Brian well, and words cannot express the appreciation and gratitude we have for what he has achieved with all the economic growth in Tift County."

The governor said his Rural Strike Team has been developed to spur economic growth and opportunity in rural Georgia.

"With more than 20 years spent working in rural economic development, Brian's track record of locating new projects in his community, expanding existing industries, and generating opportunity in South Georgia speaks for itself," Kemp said. "I have every confidence ... Brian will help us move the needle for rural Georgia."

Marlowe, who has been with the Tift Chamber since 2010, said, "I am honored to be trusted with such an important responsibility by Governor Kemp. I've spent my professional life working to promote growth and opportunity in Tift County and throughout rural Georgia."
Tifton Grapevine
Unemployment rose throughout the Tiftarea in September as well as statewide, according to the Ga. Department of Labor (DOL).

Tift Countys jobless rate was 5 percent – 0.5 percent higher last month than it was in August, the DOL reported. Georgia's rate was 6.4 percent, 0.7 percentage points higher. The national jobless rate stands at 7.9 percent.

One year ago, Tift’s unemployment rate was 2.5 percent.

There was some good news in Georgia's September statistics, the DOL said.

"Over the past five months, 340,900 jobs (65 percent) have been gained back from the massive job loss we saw in April," said state Labor Commissioner Mark Butler.

And in September, initial unemployment claims were down by 19 percent (45,833) since August to reach 201,790.

September's jobless rates among counties in the Tiftarea are:

Turner, 8.1 percent (up from 6.9 percent); Ben Hill, 6.3 percent (up from 6.2 percent); Irwin, 5 percent (up from 4.9); Worth, 4.9 (up from 4.7); Berrien, 4.9 (up from 4.4); and Cook, 4.7 (up from 4.3).
Community arts programs in Sylvester and Fitzgerald are among those receiving Vibrant Communities Grants from the Georgia Council for the Arts for fiscal year 2021.

The local grants are to the Worth County Board of Education and to the Fitzgerald-Ben Hill County Arts Council.

The Vibrant Communities Grant supports a variety of arts programming opportunities in communities; the state arts council received 115 grant applications from arts organizations, schools, libraries, cities, and community theaters, among others.

Seventy-seven entities in 58 counties will receive more than $585,000 in funding as part of this year’s awards.

“A thriving arts community creates thousands of jobs and contributes to a healthy and diverse economy,” said Commissioner Pat Wilson of the Ga. Department of Economic Development, the umbrella agency of the Georgia Council for the Arts.
During the past seven days, Tift County had 36 new cases of the coronavirus and an additional three related deaths, according to statistics from the Ga. Department of Public Health (DPH).

As of Thursday, there have been a total of 1,924 positive cases and 63 deaths from the virus in Tift County, the DPH reported. During the past two weeks, Tift has had 74 new cases of COVID-19.

The state of Georgia reported 1,824 new cases between Wednesday and Thursday with 27 additional deaths. Total cumulative COVID-19 cases in Georgia are 345,535 with 7,729 related deaths.

Local businesses, organizations and residences displayed luminaries Wednesday night around Tift County to show support for providing safe and caring environments for children.

The annual "Go Light Up Your World" event is meant to be a visual representation of community unity promoting the well-being of local youth.

The Tift County Commission on Children and Youth sponsors the luminary event.
Runners still interested in participating in Saturday's "Run for the Nurses" at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College may still register.

Registration is open in-person today (Friday) from 4-6 p.m. and on Saturday from 6-7 a.m. Registration will be outside ABAC’s Ag Sciences building in the north parking lot, said Josie Smith, one of the run's coordinators.

The half marathon begins at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, and the 5K begins at 7:45 a.m. The half marathon is certified by USA Track and Field and serves as a qualifier for major national races.

The event raises funds for The Lisa Purvis Allison Spirit of Nursing Scholarship in honor of a nurse who died shortly after graduating from ABAC’s nursing school in 2009.
Tifton Grapevine
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and Ruth’s Cottage was the program for the Tifton Rotary Club on Wednesday.

Ruth’s Cottage and The Patticake House is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to end domestic and sexual violence, as well as child sexual and physical abuse.

Executive Director Nancy Bryan said that Ruth’s Cottage moved into its new building on March 13, right before the community shut down for the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“It allowed us to be spread out and spaced out like we couldn’t have been at the former facility,” she said. “We’re a miracle here because we were one of the only programs to remain open. We never closed, and for those who did work from home, we were able to come back together sooner.” 

She said 180 residents have been assisted at the shelter, 60 more than this time last year. The increase is not because of an increase in need. Rather, it’s because of an increase in the shelter’s ability to serve those in need. The crisis line has had 800 crisis calls this year, down from last year. There have been 496 requests for protective orders, and 182 have been granted. 

During the worst of the COVID-19 crisis, Bryan said, many advocates worked from home, and the judges in the judicial circuit “never let us down.”

Ruth’s Cottage and The Patticake House serves Tift, Turner, Worth and Irwin counties. The single big fundraiser, the Champions of Hope Sporting Clays, has been rescheduled for next April. Suitcases for Kids, which provides a suitcase for foster children, is observing its 15th year.

Rachel Elizondo, community relations coordinator for Southwell, shared her story of domestic violence in which her father killed her mother and then himself this past February. She talked about growing up in a family experiencing emotional and physical abuse and not being aware that Ruth’s Cottage was able to help in such situations.

Her story is recorded in a Facebook Live on the Ruth’s Cottage Facebook page. The organization may be contacted at 229-387-9697 or online at
With the new CASE tractor at ABAC are, from left, Hunter Jenkins, Trey Davis, Dr. Mark Kistler, Robert McLeod, Ben Reeves, and Charlie Paramore.
Students will use a new top-of-the-line tractor at the J.G. Woodroof Farm at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College this year thanks to Tidewater Agriculture and Construction.

“The new Case IH Mag 200 CVT AFS will be a tremendous asset to not only our farm operation but, more importantly, to our students and their hands-on learning,” said Dr. Mark Kistler, dean of ABAC’s School of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

The newly designed tractor features a luxury cab with a 360-degree view. New technology and power sources are integrated into the tractor’s system.

“Tidewater Agriculture and Construction is once again proud to partner with ABAC on the yearly use of a tractor,” said Robert McLeod, the companys Tifton branch manager.

“This year, the tractor is a new AFS Connect Magnum 200 CVT. CASE IH recently launched the AFS Connect version of the Magnum earlier this summer, and we are excited to get some great feedback from the ABAC staff and students, he said.

“This generation of students are naturals with technology, which makes them very qualified critics. Along with keeping the college on the cutting edge, the ABAC staff is going to allow some of our Tidewater employees to come out to the farm and get some much needed ‘seat time’ so that we are educated for our customers."
Tifton’s Leroy Rogers Senior Center will have counselors on site to help seniors with Medicare questions beginning at 10:30 a.m. on Nov. 10.

The 2021 Medicare Open Enrollment period is open and will run through Dec. 7. Open enrollment is a time when people with Medicare can review health and drug plans and make changes to their healthcare coverage for next year, based on their financial and medical needs.

More than 4,800 Medicare Advantage plans are offered for 2021, compared to about 2,700 in 2017. Similarly, more Medicare Part D plans are available, and the average basic Part D premium has dropped 12 percent since 2017, according to Congressman Austin Scott's office.

The congresssman's office also said there has been a 34 percent decrease in average monthly premiums for Medicare Advantage plans since 2017, making average monthly premiums the lowest since 2007.

To schedule a session with counselors at the Leroy Rogers Senior Center, call Tasha or Fran at 229-556-6189.
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This dog is currently on stray hold at the Tift County Animal Shelter. If not reclaimed, will be available for adoption or rescue at the Animal Shelter, located at 278 Georgia Highway 125 S. It is open to the public for adoptions from 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  
Important Phone Numbers & Web Sites
• Georgia Department of Public Health:
• State of Georgia Hotline: 844-442-2681 
• U.S. Centers for Disease Control:
• City of Tifton: 229-391-3957 /
• Tift County: 229-386-7856 /
• Tift Regional Medical Center / Southwell Hotline: 229-353-2819
OCT. 15
Tommie Lee West, Ashburn
Jarrius D. Fudge, 34, Tifton
Arthur Hill, 70, Fitzgerald

OCT. 16
Sally Ann Bennett, 86, Valdosta
Clyde James Cater 74, Tifton
Thomas Warren “Tommy” Phillips Jr., 81, Irwin County
Donald Gerald Harrison, 75, Irwin County
Judith Tanner Hannah, 80,
Minnie Vail Williams, 88, Ashburn

OCT. 17
Teri Parsons, 58, Worth County
Kathleen Marie "Kathy" Heath, 72, Alapaha
Micah L. Wolfe, 38, Fitzgerald
A.J. “Hoss” Myers, 90, Sycamore

OCT. 18
Michael Wade Walker, 64, Tifton
Kenneth M. Futch, 71, Fitzgerald
Shirley Hardy, 78, Adel
The Rev. James Gilbert Sr.,

OCT. 19
The Rev. Dewey Lee "Buddy" Morris Sr., 77, Lenox
Curtis Leon Bullington, Fitzgerald
Merlon M. Miles, 88, Fitzgerald

OCT. 20
Robert John Philbrick, 86, Haines City, Fla.
Edna Hunt, 71, Tifton
William Henry "Billy" Britt Jr., 67, Ashburn 
Annette Brown Moate, 71, Tifton

OCT. 21
Lennie Johnson Baxter, 84, Tifton
Eschol Graham “Mac” McDaniel, 94, Tifton
Beverly Ann Hannan Howell, 72, Bainbridge
George D. “Buck” Whitley, 92, Fitzgerald
Betty Sparks, 87, Omega

OCT. 22
Gerald Marvin Deese, 85, Ashburn
Margaret Ann Hall, Ashburn

Tifton Grapevine
e-published every Tuesday and Friday

Frank Sayles Jr.
Editor & Publisher
Bonnie Sayles
Managing Editor
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