Friday, Oct. 1, 2021
Tifton, Georgia
State Sen. Carden Summers, second from left, and Rep. Clay Pirkle, right, talk with Tifton-Tift County Chamber of Commerce members at the legislative breakfast Thursday morning at the State Chamber of Commerce office in Tifton.
Tifton Grapevine
South Georgia population numbers are "under reported" in the recent U.S. Census, two members of Tift County's state legislative delegation said Thursday.

"I don’t believe the Census data," state Sen. Carden Summers, R-Cordele, told Tifton-Tift County Chamber of Commerce members at a breakfast meeting.

"It's under reporting," said state Rep. Clay Pirkle, R-Ashburn. “There's no way Tift County grew by (only) 1,200 people over 10 years.” He said the pandemic may have caused some residents to avoid the Census, and others may have avoided being counted because they "don’t trust the government."

"We are losing population in rural Georgia,” Summers added. The senator said that Census numbers can still be appealed. The Census is the basis for state and federal legislative districts that are being redrawn, known as "reapportionment."

"We are going to lose four to five representative seats in rural Georgia, which is a tragedy," Summers said. "We will lose one Senate seat."

Summers praised the recent election changes passed by the General Assembly, saying it focuses on election integrity. "We fixed problems with the general election," the senator said. "It's a great, great bill" which "stops ballot harvesting."

Summers said he was disappointed that former President Trump, during his rally in Perry last Saturday, continued to criticize Georgia's governor. "Brian Kemp is working for rural Georgia," Summers said." I wish we could kind of put 2020 behind us; we can’t dwell on the past."

Pirkle spoke about the importance of bringing broadband Internet to rural communities in the state. He said it is going to take "real money to solve a real problem.” Pirkle said he always looks at the return on investment (ROI) when public money is spent, but in this instance it is going to be a negative ROI initially.

But, "this is the role of government," he said.

"In my opinion, the Eisenhower interstate highway system is the best investment the country has ever made," Pirkle said. "It started as a negative ROI, but it is the best investment that we have made as a country in economic development, and so is rural broadband."
Tifton Grapevine
Tift County has reported 35 new confirmed COVID-19 cases and five related deaths during the past week, according to data Thursday from the Ga. Department of Public Health (DPH).

During the past two weeks, Tift County recorded 78 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 175 total cases when rapid Antigen positive cases are added, the DPH said.

Tift County’s confirmed cases in the past two weeks represent 191 cases per 100,000 population, and 429 cases with Antigen positives. Tift's testing positivity rate for the virus was 10.7% during the two-week period, the DPH reported.

There have been a total of 4,774 confirmed cases and 121 deaths in Tift since the pandemic bean, according to DPH data.

On Thursday, the DPH reported 3,922 new confirmed cases within 24 hours in Georgia, along with 1,216 new Antigen cases, 157 additional related deaths, and 240 new hospitalizations. The state has recorded a total of 1,223,189 cases with 22,483 deaths, the DPH reported.

According to DPH data, as of Thursday afternoon 38% of eligible Tift countians were fully vaccinated against the virus, while statewide the number was 47%.
Nashville Mayor Taylor Scarbrough, 57, was convicted this week on theft and damage charges stemming from an incident last year and was sentenced Thursday in Superior Court.

Scarbrough, who resigned as mayor prior to sentencing, was convicted of theft by conversion, theft by deception and criminal damage to property in the second degree.

He was sentenced to 10 years on the conversion charge, with the first six months to be served in the Berrien County Jail. Scarbrough also received 10 years on the deception charge and five years on the criminal damage charge – to be served concurrently with the conversion sentence, according to the Alapaha District Attorney's Office.

The former mayor also must serve 200 hours of community service.

After serving six months in the county jail, Scarbrough may serve the rest of his sentence on probation if he follows court-ordered conditions.

The charges stem from an incident in August 2020. It was determined that Scarbrough had taken another person's excavator without permission and caused "significant damage" to the machine.
Six of the 23 published authors of the Tifton Writers Initiative read excerpts from the book "Tifton Young Writers 2021" at the Tifton Rotary Club meeting. From left are Natalie Rich, Michal Gregus, Benjamin Wilson, Tate Harvin, Anyston Lyon, and Josh Bowyer.
Tifton Grapevine
At the Rotary Club of Tifton on Wednesday, six Tift County High School students read excerpts from their original stories just published in the book “Tifton Young Writers 2021.”

The book is the result of the Young Writers Initiative, a project of the Rotary Club and the Tift County Foundation for Educational Excellence. Tift County 9th-12th-graders in public, private, or home schools were invited last spring to submit original stories of 3,000 words or less in any genre, fiction or nonfiction, for a chance to become a published author. 

Last year's Foundation Board Chair Dr. Kaylar Howard introduced the students, saying a committee selected 23 stories or poems for publication from 89 submissions. Other student authors will be invited to read excerpts of their stories and poems at future meetings.

Howard and Rick Register, past president of Rotary, were co-chairs of the Young Writers Initiative. A committee judged submissions on originality, creativity, and story structure. Each student author will receive a copy of the book. 

Junior Tate Harvin, author of “Paper Like Thin Ice,” said his English language arts teacher Peter Pinnow gave the class an assignment to write. “I was not aware it was going to be for a competition, so here we are today. I got published with that story.” 

Senior Michal Gregus read an excerpt from “When in Paris.” Senior Josh Bower read an excerpt from “The Rounded Doorway,” senior Benjamin Wilson read an excerpt from “Father and Son,” senior Natalie Rich read an excerpt from “Into the Breach,” and junior Anyston Lyon read an excerpt from “Burning.” 

“We plan on continuing to do this every year, so spread the word,” Howard said about the Young Writers Initiative. “We are planning to expand it to get some middle schoolers and eventually elementary students in there, too. You all are very talented, and you need to have your work out there, so we’re happy we’ve been able to help.” 

“Tifton Young Writers 2021” is available for ordering on
Tiftarea Academy has announced its 2021 Homecoming attendants.

Pictured on front row, from left, are: Senior representatives Whitney Hancock, daughter of Andy and Heather Hancock of Doerun; Anslee Jones, daughter of Derrick Jones and Tracy Darnell of Tifton; and Laura Ann Jones, daughter of Tiffany and Reid Jones of Chula.
In the back row, from left, are: Eighth-grade representative Kate Phillips, daughter of Kevin and Nan Phillips of Fitzgerald; freshman representative Rylee Bryant, daughter of Russ and Renee Bryant of Chula; sophomore representative Shelby Whitfield, daughter of Jeff and Carrie Whitfield of Tifton; and junior representative Josey Haskins, daughter of Gil and Christy Haskins of Sylvester. 

Tiftarea Academy's homecoming game will be at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 22, in Chula. The homecoming queen will be crowned during the halftime festivities. 
2012 Pineview Ave., Tifton, Ga 31793
The Chi-Town Transit Authority, a Chicago tribute band, brought the sounds of the grammy-winning band Chicago to the UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center Thursday night for a fundraiser hosted by the Tifton-Tift County Public Library Foundation. The band got the crowd on their feet after dinner to such songs as "Saturday in the Park," "Make Me Smile," and "25 or 6 to 4."
The Tifton Fire Department will be conducting routine fire hydrant maintenance in all areas of the city beginning the first week in October. Along with the maintenance program, the fire department will be flushing hydrants.
Flushing helps to maintain water quality and keeps Tifton’s water fresh. The preventative maintenance allows crews to assess the condition of the water distribution system and fire hydrants. It also helps keep insurance premiums manageable for Tifton’s residents, the city said. Information gathered by crews is used by the Insurance Service Office to rate Tifton’s fire-suppression abilities. 

Releasing water at high velocities from hydrants scours and scrubs water mains, which leads to the removal of film and sediment. If left unattended, the deposits could eventually impede water flow, which can also affect fire protection and could cause taste and discoloration issues. 

The city said that hydrant flushing may cause water to appear cloudy or discolored. Though not harmful, discolored water may stain laundry.

If you find your water is discolored
• Wait until the nearby hydrant flushing is complete. 
• Clean out faucet aerators or filters. 
• Allow cold water to run through faucets or outside spigots until the water is clear. 

Residents are urged to check that their water is running clear before starting any laundry during this time. Updates on the areas that will be flushed will be added to the Tifton Fire Department and City of Tifton social media and website.

For more information, call the Tifton Fire Department at 229-391-3972
Trucks and tractors of all shapes and sizes will rev their engines and roar down the track this weekend at the AET Truck and Tractor Pull sponsored by the Agricultural Engineering Technology Club at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.

During the event tonight (Friday) and Saturday night, trucks and tractors pull a weighted sled down a dirt track. The weight moves toward the front of the sled as the vehicle pulls it down the track. Trucks and tractors are divided into weight classes.

ABAC has had two pulling tractors, Altered Allis and Cracker Jack. Recently, the AET Club has been building a pulling truck for the four-wheel drive 6000 pro street class.

The Southern Pullers Association will feature professional pullers. Admission is $15 for adults; $10 for children 6-10 years old; $10 for students with an ABAC ID; and free for children five and under.

Gates at the ABAC truck-pull arena open at 6 p.m. today (Friday), and pulling will start at 7 p.m. On Saturday, Oct. 2, gates open at 5 p.m., and pulling starts at 6 p.m.
A Fall Fresh Flower Floral Centerpiece workshop, coordinated by the Horticulture Club at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, will be 6-8 p.m. Oct. 14 in Room 126 of ABAC’s Environmental Horticulture Building.

Horticulture Club President Morgan Fritze said attendees will learn to care for tropical plants and create an arrangement to take home. The workshop is open to the public.

Cost of the program includes all materials for participants to create their own design. A limited number of tickets are available for $15 and may be purchased on the Horticulture Club Facebook page. 

The class presentation and demonstration will be followed by a laboratory session in which Horticulture Club members assist attendees in selecting materials and creating arrangements.

For information, call 407-212-1037.

South Georgia native Jimmy Carter, the oldest living U.S. president, turns 97 years old today, Friday, Oct. 1, and the Carter Center in Atlanta offers an opportunity to sign a digital birthday card for the Plains resident.

To sign the card and read notes that others have written, Click Here!
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Today, Friday, Oct. 1, is International Coffee Day, celebrating the world's favorite beverage (after water, that is). Oct. 1 is also National Pumpkin Spice Day, so go ahead and sprinkle some pumpkin spice in that mug of joe!
  • ABAC AET Truck & Tractor Pull, 7 p.m., Truck Pull Arena, ABAC, Tifton
  • Tift County High Blue Devils football @ Valdosta High Wildcats, 7:30 p.m., Valdosta
  • Tiftarea Academy Panthers vs. Trinity Christian Crusaders, 7:30 p.m., Panther Pit, Chula

  • Tiftarea YMCA Cancer Awareness Walk, 9 a.m., YMCA track, Carpenter Road, Tifton
  • Wiregrass Farmers Market, 9 a.m.-Noon, Ga. Museum of Agriculture, Tifton
  • Ground Cover Restoration Field Day, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Gaskins Forest Education Center, 3359 Moore Sawmill Road, Alapaha
  • Power in the Park Revival, 9 a.m., Fulwood Park, Tifton
  • ABAC AET Truck & Tractor Pull, 6 p.m., Truck Pull Arena, ABAC, Tifton
Tifton Grapevine
During a 9 p.m. visit Wednesday to the Tifton Dog Park in Fulwood Park, I thought I saw a statue of a dog near the gate. The white dog with a sad face was standing stock still in the darkness, and there didn’t seem to be an owner in sight. As we drew closer, we saw a nice-looking satchel inside the gate. 

I called out “Hello?” to the darkness and got no human response. Our dog Buddy wanted nothing to do with him, so we went to the smaller dog park to take care of business.

“Maybe his owner left him there while they went to the store or got called away for some reason,” my husband said. 

“I think someone left him there,” I replied. I went back to the larger dog park to investigate. The white dog ran in fear when I entered the gate, and I looked inside the dark green cloth satchel near him. I found an unopened bag of dog food, Milkbone treats, two dishes, a leash, a collar, a harness and a “tire toy.” Another dish with water was beside the bag.

Just as I thought, someone had left this sad little dog to spend the night alone in the dog park. A note on a torn piece of lined paper was stuck in there, explaining that the dog’s owner was moving and couldn't keep him and hoped that someone would find him a home. They said that he was an “indoor dog” and needed to be fed twice a day. 

The note said the dog’s name was “Cooney,” probably because he may have been a coonhound. I called him and sat on the bench, petted him, threw a stick that he brought to me, took pictures, reread the note, and made friends. Cooney kept looking at the gate as though certain his owners would return at any moment. 

“This was a last resort. We figured someone would be by in the morning. ... He’s a great dog. I wish I could have done him better. … Take good care of him,” the note read.

I called 911 to ask for Animal Control. Cooney couldn’t stay out here by himself all night. The dispatcher was very sympathetic and shocked about an owner abandoning the dog. About 20 minutes later, our Animal Control director, Candice Hernandez, arrived. Instead of a catchpole, she had a slip leash, and she talked soothingly to Cooney. She squatted down, and the nervous dog approached her cautiously. She was able to pet him, and soon she had the leash around his neck. 

“Let’s get you to the noisy shelter,” Hernandez said.

Both of us knew this skittish pup, one year old according to his note, would be frightened, albeit safe and well cared-for, at the animal shelter. At 10:30 p.m., they were off, and the search for a new owner who could provide a better home was just beginning. 

If you're interested in adopting Cooney and providing him a good home, visit the Tift County Animal Shelter on Highway 125 South. To see him and all pets available, visit the shelter 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  

William Collins, Worth County
Shelley Dianne Herndon Gowdy, 53, Albany, formerly of Worth County
William M. Collins, 73, Worth County
Florence Giddens Hayes, 68, Tifton
Judith Ann Wirtz Lafferty, 74, Ray City
Lavon Hooks Dickens, 75, Omega
Ottis Harper, 78, Ocilla
Joseph Howard Neese, 66, Ashburn
James Ryan Tomberlin, 41, Cochran
Sharon Jean Long, 69, Fitzgerald
Michael Paul McLamb, 46, Fitzgerald
Dwight Culpepper, 68, Mystic
Helen White Cravey, 79, Poulan
Jane Myrtis Day Howard, 78, Tifton
Mike Sweat, 50, Fitzgerald
John Wayne "J.W." Bowen, 66, West Berrien
Calvin McCluster, 50, Adel
Charlie Davis Jr., 79, Cordele
John P. Coniglio, 65, Sumner
Dorothy Genell Powell Young Roberts, 100, Tifton
Dorothy Jean Moore, 95, Lake Park
James Walter Russ Jr., 70, Fitzgerald
Jewel Deloney, 92, Tifton
Alfred Pursell, 92, Nesbit, Miss., formerly of Tifton
Ray Hayes, 70, Worth County
Betty “Jane” Mankey Alisi, 80, Tifton
Samuel Davies Funfrock, 85, Tifton
Loudelle Whiddon, 79, Adel, formerly of Nashville
German Ramos, 47, Fitzgerald
Seberne Timothy “Tim” Mangham Jr., 73, Tifton
Mary Louise Fountain, 69, Adel
Billy James “Bill” Tennison, 81, Alapaha
Mary Ella Sweet, 60, Tifton
John "Johnny" William Cooper, 68, Albany
Ernest Richard Cravey, 74, Tifton
Raymond Lane Jr., Warwick
William “Dirk” Cravey, 60, Fitzgerald
Thomas David Fitzgerald, 64, Tifton
Arya Cleghorn, 1 year old, Worth County
Carl Henry Helms, 57, 
Tifton Grapevine
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