Tuesday, July 28, 2020
Tifton, Georgia
VIDEO: The Rev. Lonnie Lacy’s parody of a song in the Broadway musical ‘Hamilton’ has been viewed online more than 550,000 times.
Tifton Grapevine
YouTube dubs him “the Dancing Priest ,” but to his parishioners at St. Anne’s Episcopal Church in Tifton , he is simply Father Lonnie and known for his sense of humor on display at St. Anne's annual talent show.

And this year, The Rev. Lonnie Lacy , St. Anne's rector, outdid himself as he ended “St. Anne’s Got Talent” – a fundraiser for its missions – with a video parody of “Hamilton” that has gone viral with more than a half-million views just days after being posted on YouTube .

Because of the coronavirus, the talent show was online this year.

"I'm known for my surprise finales , and this year I especially wanted to do something fun and encouraging,"  Lacy told the Tifton Grapevine . "We've not had in-person worship since March , and we really miss each other."

While watching the performance of King George's song "You’ll Be Back” as the Broadway show was streamed on television July 3 , Lacy thought, "Yes! King George means it as a threat, but for us who miss the joy of in-person worship, ‘You’ll be back,’ is exactly the promise we need to hear."

Lacy said that as he "wrote the lyrics to the parody, it felt like writing a love letter to the whole church and to  all who miss gathering for worship , regardless of their faith or denomination.

"Apparently, that has resonated with a lot of people far and wide. I've received so many sweet emails from folks across all denominations who have said it brought them much-needed hope and joy at a time when they really needed it. To me, that's worth being a goofball for 3 minutes and 30 seconds ."

The song-and-dance video parody took Lacy a week to script, storyboard, shoot, and edit, which was all in-house – "Just me, my iPhone, a tripod, and some really late nights at the church," he said.

"We're all making a lot sacrifices these days, including our churches. What I most want people to know is it will not stay this way forever. We'll be back! For me, that's not just an idle hope; it's a promise of my faith ."
Tifton Grapevine
Georgia recorded nearly 4,300 new coronavirus cases Tuesday , as many hospitals across the state, including Tift Regional Medical Center , report that their ICU units are filled to capacity.

The Ga. Department of Public Health reported 4,293 new cases and 54 new deaths in the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 175,052 cases and 3,563 deaths statewide.

Tift County has seen confirmed COVID-19 cases rise by 186 in the past two weeks ; the county now has a total of 1,180 cases with 34 deaths, and a total of 159 hospitalizations.

As of Tuesday , Tift Regional Medical Center ( TRMC ) had 43 confirmed COVID-19 patients, said Dr. Rubal Patel , TRMC's Intensive Care Unit medical director.

"The recent surge in Georgia COVID-19 patients has resulted in hospitals throughout the state having increased numbers of admissions, and unfortunately, Tift Regional Medical Center has been no exception. Most of our patients are either under investigation for COVID-19 or are a confirmed case, Patel said.

The doctor said TRMC is "currently on critical care diversion . This means that our Intensive Care Unit is currently full, and we have to refer patients to other hospitals which have open ICU beds. Also, due to a spike in volume over the past two weeks , some patients needing hospital admission had to remain in our emergency room longer than usual until an inpatient bed became available for assignment.  

"We put elective procedures that require a hospital stay on hold to help open up capacity. Southwell leadership and our incident command team is monitoring this situation on a daily basis."

The ICU director added that “we continue to encourage the public to wear a mask , remember social distancing , avoid large gatherings , and wash hands frequently.  In addition, we ask local residents who may be exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 to first see their primary care provider or visit a convenient care clinic " rather than making the hospital Emergency Room an automatic first stop.

Southwell/TRMC's COVID-19 hotline is 229-353-2819 .
Dr. Susan Roe, fine arts department head, from left; ABAC President David Bridges; and Tim Carpenter, facilities and land resources director, inside the college's new fine arts building.
With large rooms for the concert band and concert choir, and with cozy individual practice areas, the new Fine Arts Building at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College is opening when ABAC students return for the fall semester Aug. 12 .

Also opening is the newly renovated Carlton Center , which has undergone a two-year rehabilitation process that changed the overall look of the building as an integral part of the $21.4 million combined project.

“We have needed a Fine Arts Building on this campus for a long time,” ABAC President David Bridges said. “Our music program is second to none, and those students deserve a first-rate facility.” 

The concert band, jazz band, concert choir, and jazz choir will now have plenty of space to operate at peak efficiency, said Dr. Susan Roe , a voice professor and head of the Department of Fine Arts.

“It is beyond a dream come true,” said Roe, a faculty member since 1999 . “I walked in there the other day. When we walked in, I just had a moment with God, just being in that building. To watch this program transform itself through the years has been great, and now we have this building. Even COVID-19 will not keep ABAC down.” 

The Fine Arts Building will have practice space for a 100-plus member orchestra as well as a separate space for an 80-plus member vocal group, said Tim Carpenter , ABAC director of facilities and land resources.

The first floor of the building includes the band rehearsal room, instrument storage, the band and choral music library, the choral rehearsal room, band and choral storage, music faculty offices, and a keyboard laboratory.

The second floor features individual music practice rooms, a recording control room, art faculty offices, painting/general art labs, a visual arts material storage room, a student work storage room, a display area, and a computer design lab.

The Carlton Center’ s primary purpose since it opened in 1990 has been as the home for the Baldwin Library . The rehabilitated 51,600-square-foot center will be home for the library and many other services, including student academic support, the bookstore, information technology, veterans’ lounge, archives, and reading and study areas.
Bill Anderson, left, and John Berry at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tenn.
"Don't Think I Ain't Country,”  a song never released to radio as a single by Grammy-winning singer-songwriter  John Berry , a former Tifton resident, has reached No. 1 on the Christian Music Weekly Country Chart .

The tongue-in-cheek tune with catchy lyrics was co-written with Country Music Hall of Famer and Grand Ole Opry member  Bill Anderson . It was released on Berry's 2018 EP,  "Thomas Road." The Christian Music Weekly Country Chart lists it as No. 1 for the week of July 24 .

“I am taken aback at the news that this fun song I wrote with my friend Bill Anderson has topped the Christian Music Weekly Country Chart," Berry said. "I have loved this song since the day we wrote it. I was driving down I-65 to meet with Bill for a writing appointment, and I really had no ideas for a song to write that day.

"About that time a very large 4x4 pickup truck blasted past me on the interstate, and I said out loud, 'Don't think I ain’t country 'cause I don’t drive a big truck,'" Berry said. "I couldn’t get to Bill's office fast enough.”

During the 1990 's and early 2000's , Berry placed 20 singles on the country charts, six of which went Top 5 , with  "Your Love Amazes Me"  scoring a No. 1 on the Billboard and Radio & Records Country Chart , as well as  "Standing on the Edge of Goodbye"  and  "She’s Taken a Shine"  earning the No. 1 slot in Radio & Records. He has earned multiple gold and platinum records.

The award-winning entertainer has been described as "one of the most remarkable voices in music."
The Sunbelt Ag Expo , North America's premier farm show, has been canceled this year because of the pandemic.

The 43rd annual show was scheduled for Oct. 20-22 at Moultrie's Spence Field . The Sunbelt Agricultural Exposition Board of Directors said in a press release: "While the Expo staff has worked diligently over the past several months to put together an action plan that would enable a safe and successful show, it has become abundantly clear that we must change course .

"Unfortunately, we simply cannot safely blend networking, commerce and education while representing the rich history of the Sunbelt Ag Expo . Additionally, the board's decision to cancel the 2020 Sunbelt Ag Expo was greatly impacted by its concern for valued attendees' and exhibitors' expenses, and their need to plan."

The 2020 Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Ag Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year winner and the Southeastern Hay Contest award winners will still be announced at a later date. The Holiday Arts and Crafts Show , hosted by the Sunbelt Ag Expo, is still scheduled at this time for Nov. 14-15
Prince Toyota in conjunction with Toyota Motor Sales has made a $5,000 donation to the Tift Regional Medical Center Foundation , a grant that has been made for 10 consecutive years.

Prince Toyota has part of the Tifton community for more than 50 years. 

“Throughout that time, we’ve supported the community in many ways, and we thank our customers, friends, and family for supporting the Prince Automotive Group ”, said John Prince. 
Several Georgia residents have received unsolicited packages containing seeds that appear to have come from China , and the seeds are being tested at the Ga. Department of Agriculture's Seed Lab in Tifton .

The agriculture department strongly advises recipients of such packages not to open them or handle the seeds.

"At this time, we are not sure what the seeds are and therefore are urging everyone to be exceedingly vigilant ," Agriculture Commissioner Gary W. Black said. "If you have received one of these packages in the mail, please use extreme caution by not touching the contents and securing the package in a plastic bag."

The types of seeds in the packages are unknown at this time and may be invasive plant species , Black said. The packages were sent by mail and may have Chinese writing on them. Unsolicited seeds have been showing up in mailboxes of residents in several Southern and Midwestern states .

Invasive species wreak havoc on the environment, displace or destroy native plants and insects, and severely damage crops. Taking steps to prevent their introduction is the most effective method of reducing both the risk of invasive species infestations and the cost to control and mitigate them, officials say.

Anyone who has received unsolicited seeds in the mail from China or any other country is asked to contact the GDA Seed Lab at 229-386-3145 or email  SeedLab@agr.georgia.gov
These felines are among those available for immediate adoption at the Tift County Animal Shelter .  Visit the Animal Shelter from 1-6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, or call 229-382-PETS (7387).
Pets of the Week are sponsored by:
Branch's Veterinary Clinic
205 Belmont Ave., Tifton, 229-382-6055
– JULY 28, 1966
Tifton honored the new Miss Georgia with "Maudie Walker Day" on July 28, 1966 . Tifton' s new queen won the title the previous Saturday night in Columbus .
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