MAY 18, 2018
Tifton, Georgia


Saturday is a big day for more than 450 Tift County High School seniors and their families -- at 8:45 a.m., the processional begins for the school's graduation ceremony at Brodie Field.

The TCHS Class of 2018 has  459 graduates with 139 of them honor students. Of those 139 students, 41 are superior honor graduates.

"This is such a fantastic time for everyone -- the students, their families, and the faculty and staff
Last year's ceremony at Brodie Field had 415 TCHS graduates.
who have been a part of this educational 
journey," said Patrick 
Atwater, superintendent. "I've been lucky to work in the Tift County School System for 26 years, and graduation day is always one of my favorites of the year."

The school system asks that friends and family members be seated by 8:30 a.m. Saturday to avoid interrupting the processional. Although the National Weather Service forecasts a 10 percent or less chance of rain Saturday morning, there are  weather contingency plans. (Rain is expected later Saturday afternoon and into the evening.) 

"The chance of rain on Saturday morning is very small. In all likelihood, we will be at the stadium as planned so anyone and everyone can attend," says schools Communications Director Stacey G. Beckham

"If the weather prevents us from holding graduation at the stadium Saturday morning, the ceremony will be held at the UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center."

The school system says  having the ceremony at the conference center would not be ideal, and "we hate there is even a small chance that we would have to limit the number of people who could attend." Graduates received six tickets for attendees to use if the ceremony has to be moved to the conference center.

A decision on the weather affecting the ceremony will be made late Friday or very early Saturday morning. Students and their families will be notified via the internal Remind 101 system and on the school's system's Facebook page.


High school graduation is a time of celebration in young people's lives. It shows they are a step closer to adulthood and comes with the decision of whether to continue their education or join the work force. 

One Tift County High School senior is already way ahead in this milestone moment. Mackenzie O'Berry will not only receive her high school diploma Saturday, but she will also graduate with
an associate's degree in criminal justice from Southern Regional Technical College at the same time. 

During the summer after her sophomore year of high school, O'Berry began the Dual Enrollment Program which allowed her to take classes at TCHS along with classes at Southern Regional. She was also able to earn her Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) certification.

"It was tough," she said. "But I would remind myself that it would put me ahead. It opens a lot of doors, being 18 and already having an associate's degree. I know a lot of people don't get that until they're 20."
After finishing at two schools, O'Berry doesn't know exactly where life will take her, but she knows where to start. She plans on finishing her bachelor's degree at Valdosta State University and looks forward to her future.

"I know people change in college, and I'm excited to see that change in myself but I know I will always keep my school first, so I can pursue my dreams," she said.
"The Dual Enrollment Program is such a helpful resource for many of our students," said Mickey Weldon, chief academic officer at Tift County Schools. 

"It allows our students to earn both high school and college credit simultaneously while also getting a jump on choosing a career field. Students are able to participate in the program without having to pay college tuition or use the HOPE Scholarship, which is a huge benefit for them and their families."
O'Berry is looking forward to a summer where she has no schedule to keep for the first time in her life. 

"I am going to relax, and I mean it," she said. "I want to have no responsibilities for just a little while -- at least until school starts again."


At the Tifton-Tift County Chamber of Commerce's May membership meeting on Thursday, the Students of the Year were honored. 

Colton Stone was selected from Tift County High School, and Marlee Marlowe was selected from Tiftarea Academy. The students received a plaque sponsored by Tift Regional Health Systems and a check from Synovus Bank.
In the photo above, pictured from left are Kelly Daniell, chair of the Chamber Business and Education Workforce Committee; Patricia Brooks of Synovus; TCHS Student of the Year Colton Stone; his parents Tommy and Angie Stone; his grandmother Libby Stone; and Gabe Reese with Tift Regional Health Systems.
In the photo below, pictured from left are Kelly Daniell of the Chamber's Business and Education Workforce Committee; Patricia Brooks of Synovus; the student's mother Marla Marlowe; Tiftarea Academy Student of the Year Marlee Marlowe; her father Brian Marlowe; and Gabe Reese of Tift Regional Health Systems.


Early voting ends  today in the May 22 primary election. Polls are open from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. today at the old gym at 222 Chesnutt Ave. in Tifton.

After today, polls reopen on Tuesday, election day, from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. If a runoff is needed, that election will be July 24.

Voters must choose the political party for which to vote in the primary election. There is a large slate of statewide and local candidates, along with nonpartisan races and a special election on a one-cent T-SPLOST -- a Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax to finance transportation projects in an 18-county South Georgia region, including Tift.

If passed, the money raised will be split among the regional counties for roads, bridges, airport, bike/pedestrian and traffic safety projects.  

For information on your polling place and for sample ballotsClick Here!


Tifton Grapevine

Tifton "hit the lottery" in the recent state budget, state Rep. Penny Houston, R-Nashville, told the Tifton-Tift County Chamber of Commerce on Thursday

During the annual Legislative Luncheon, Houston kicked off comments from the Tift County legislative delegation. 

Among projects that came to Tift County in the budget, Houston mentioned: $17.7 million to ABAC for a new library and Fine Arts Building; $900,000 for a food/animal haul-in facility for the Tifton Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, so livestock farmers don't have to take their large livestock out of the area; and $600,000 for repairs and equipment at the new lab

She cited the statewide Center for Rural Prosperity and Innovation, being housed at ABAC, and
Tift County Legislative Delegation at the Chamber lunch: From left, Reps. Clay Pirkle, Sam Watson, Penny Houston and Sen. Greg Kirk.
how Valdosta State almost got the facility until legislators agreed with the local delegation that it should be at a school that teaches rural studies

"We only have one of those in the state," Houston beamed, referring to ABAC.

She cited $340,000 for six new 
4-H positions -- family development educators. She said the state budget has "page after page" of funding for rural Georgia. She also cited $436,000 for a mobile audiology unit for deaf and hard-of-hearing children in rural areas 

Sen. Greg Kirk, R-Americus, said for the first time in recent history, the Georgia Legislature lowered the state income tax. He said the local delegation all work together as a team. " Miss Penny leads the way, and Sam, Clay and I sing in harmony with her," he said.
Rep. Clay Pirkle, R-Ashburn, said he was most proud of the fact that " 45 cents of every tax dollar goes to K-12 education. Educating our kids is absolutely the most important thing we do." Also, he said, "We fully funded QBE," or Quality Basic Educationa state funding formula for local school systems.

Rep. Sam Watson, R-Moultrie, told Chamber members that he was "part of the team that created the Rural Development Council." He said $123 million went to rural Georgia projects last year.  Legislators "learned to put the word 'rural' in their projects to get them passed."  

He said he was proud to be part of establishing a deputy commissioner for rural development, and that Amy Carter, who grew up in rural Georgia, has been appointed to that position by the governor.


The Ga. Professional Standards Commission has approved the Agricultural Education Teacher Preparation Program at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, which is now fully accredited; ABAC says it is ready to help to fill a void of agricultural education teachers in Georgia.

"Having our agricultural education program approved by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission as an educator preparation provider and educator preparation program is a major accomplishment," says Dr. Mark Kistler, dean of the ABAC School of Agriculture and Natural Resources. 

"Our students can now be certified to teach agricultural education at the middle and high school level in Georgia."

The University System's Board of Regents in 2016 OK'd ABAC to offer the agricultural education bachelor's degree. Since then, ABAC has been working to ensure that it is able to recommend candidates for teacher certification upon their completion of the bachelor of science in agricultural e ducation degree program, says  Dr. Marcus Johnson, Education Department head.

"This vote makes it official that ABAC can submit teachers for candidacy to the Professional Standards Commission," Johnson says. "Students who complete the rigorous and content-heavy ABAC agricultural education program and pass licensure exams will be certified to teach agricultural education in the State of Georgia."

ABAC expects 27 students to be ready for student teaching duties in January 2019. Approximately 140 students are enrolled in the degree program, says Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs Darby Sewell.


Tifton's Cade Marlowe was recognized as the University of West Georgia's top male student-
athlete at the school's annual athletic awards banquet this week.

Marlowe earned the recognition  as "Mr. Wolf," becoming the first junior to ever receive the honor.
The recognition is awarded to the student-athlete who succeeds on the field, in the classroom and in the community. Marlowe, who graduated from Tiftarea Academy, was a major force behind West Georgia's prolific offense during the 2018 baseball season when the Wolves were ranked as high as ninth nationally. 

Marlowe ranked near the top of every offensive category for the Wolves and in the Gulf South Conference. His consistent production earned him top honors from the conference as a member of the 2018 All-Conference First Team, selected by the league's 14 head coaches. He finished the season with a .366 average, 70 hits, 50 RBIs, 39 runs scored, 24 stolen bases and 24 multi-hit games. 

Marlowe was also awarded the Gold Glove award for the Wolves at the banquet. He  has a 3.85 grade point average as a pre-med major and also volunteers in the Carrollton community. Marlowe is the son of Brian and Marla Marlowe of Tifton


Nope, it's "flying squash" during summer squash-pickin' time as Kalen Fleming, a University of Georgia Tifton campus graduate student,  picks a few of the vegetables at UGA's Hort Hill Farm this week.


Two photographers and one assemblage artist reflect on the passage of time, memory and nostalgia in an exhibit opening with a reception Saturday, May 19, in Tifton.

Jack Deese, Diane Speight and Glenn Josey will each display their work at Plough Gallery on Eighth Street. The free opening reception is 5-7 p.m. Saturday.

Atlanta photographer Deese will display "Timeshare." He writes: "What was supposed to be a trip with my father to our family's timeshare became a solo venture after he suddenly passed away that summer." 

Deese spent three days combing through Myrtle Beach, exploring it to better understand his father and himself. He has a 
master's of fine art degree in photography from Georgia State University

Speight's work, titled "Material Memory," uses found objects and materials such as paper scraps, old photos and bottle caps. Her work "often centers on themes such as religion, family ties and memory," she says.

Speight resides in Winder and has a master's of fine arts in graphic design from Georgia State University.

Plough Gallery co-owner Glenn Josey photographs a "rapidly changing rural Southern landscape" in his photo series "Unsung." Josey explains, "The deteriorating inanimate objects I enjoy photographing, I do not photograph in order to preserve, record or document their existence. Instead I photograph them as a way of conversing with them." 

Josey, a Tifton resident, is a clinical nurse educator at Tift Regional Medical Center.


A " Pink Out the Park" 5K and fun run for breast cancer awareness is scheduled  beginning at 7:30 a.m.  Saturday, June 2, at Tifton's  Fulwood Park.

Registration forms and payment may be made at Never the Same Boutique on Kennedy Road.


The Tifton Police Department sponsored a church security class last Saturday, May 12, at  Tifton's First Church of the Nazarene.

Representatives from 10 local churches participated in the training. Chris Owens of First Line Security, seen in photo, talked about forming church security teams and dealing with active shooters.


Tifton's "Seniors Enjoying Life Forever," or "SELF," is having its monthly senior dance todayFriday, May 18, at the Leroy Rogers Senior Center in Tifton

Doors open at 6 p.m. 

Following a shared meal, dancing  will commence.

All local seniors are invited and are asked to bring their favorite dish to share.

NONPROFIT GRANTS: The United Way of South Central Georgia has set an "intake process" time for nonprofits to receive an application for a Community Impact Grant for the coming year. Grants are invested in nonprofits that  provide programs and  services aligned with the United Way's priority areas of education, f inancial stability and health in Ben Hill, Cook, Irwin, Tift and Turner counties. A nonprofit agency's representative must be present at 10:30 a.m.  May 24, at the  United Way office at 211 4th St., Tifton, to receive an application. An RSVP is mandatory. Email  
...  FOOD FRENZY: L aw firms and legal organizations across Georgia raised a record $400,325 and 18,809 pounds of food during the 7th Annual Georgia Legal Food Frenzy. This is the equivalent of 1.61 million meals for Georgia's food banks 
and a 21.3 percent increase from last year,  said Ga. Attorney General Chris Carr.

NEW SOCCER COACH:  A former starting sweeper for Black Sea Technical University in Trabzon, Turkey, is the new head soccer coach at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College. Aliriza Sisman is only the second head coach of women's soccer at ABAC. He succeeds  Jimmy Ballenger, who stepped down to assume fulltime classroom duties. Ballenger was hired as ABAC's first soccer coach in 2006 when the Fillies had no soccer balls and no soccer field. He compiled a 116-84-7 record in 12 seasons. By the way, ABAC now has a beautiful on-campus soccer field for the team.


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         . a Glance

  • Early Voting in Primary Election, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Old Gym, Chesnutt Ave., Tifton
  • 'SELF' Senior Dance, 6 p.m., Leroy Rogers Senior Center, Tifton

  • Tift County High School Graduation, 8:45 a.m., Brodie Field, Tifton
  • Wiregrass Farmers Market 9 a.m.-Noon., Ga. Museum of Agriculture, Tifton
  • Affinity Pediatrics Patient Appreciation Day10 a.m.-1 p.m., Kent Road, Tifton
  • Pretoria Fields Tap Takeover, Noon-4 p.m., Collins, U.S. Highway 41 S., Tifton
  • Photo & Art Exhibit Opening Reception, 5-7 p.m., Plough Gallery, Eighth Street, Tifton
  • James Gregory, Comedian, in Concert, 7:30 p.m., Tift Theatre for the Performing Arts, Tifton 

  • Carolyn Ellis School of Dance Spring Recital, 1 p.m. & 4:30 p.m., UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center, Tifton

In Memoriam

MAY 10
Jeanette Brogdon, 88, Nashville
Darlia Ann Gardner, 71, Fitzgerald
Gary Wayne Edenfield, 59, Tifton

MAY 11
Mary Louise Tygart Woellert, 99, Brunswick, formerly of Tifton
Annette Bryant Griffin, 84, Ocilla
Pondie Chappell, 78, Ashburn
Phyllis Spradley, 66, Adel
Infant Clayton Rich Hayes, Quitman

MAY 12
Brad Hatfield Sr., 73, formerly of Sylvester
Ret. State Patrol Master Trooper James Harold "Jimmy" Cochran Jr., 65, Sylvester
Sedric Carithers, 44, Ashburn
Kathleen Adrian, 82, Nashville
Sarah Strickland Baugher, 66, Ashburn
Jerry Reynolds, 66, Morven
Edward Lee Godwin, 80, Quitman

MAY 13
Zeni Marie Travis, 47, Cottonton, Ala., formerly of Tifton
Neal Eugene Watson, 83, Omega
Marlene Maxwell, 67, Adel

MAY 14
Vivian Gaskins, 91, Tifton
James "Lou" Giddens Sr., 67, Poulan
Ret. SFC Bobby C. Raper Sr., 82, Ochlocknee
James Daniel "Boone" Smith, 24, Ashburn
Helen Barker DeWitt, 85, Quitman

MAY 15
David Davis Sr., 73, Tifton

MAY 16
Sandra Peugh Vance, 76, Tifton
Kenneth Lee Mayfield, 61, Tifton
William M. "Bill" Jones, 83, Adel

604 E 12th St., Tifton GA
MLS#  128192

This 2,226-square-foot home has 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, wood floors, a walk-in closet, patio, and a utility building


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