Friday, Dec. 3, 2021
Tifton, Georgia
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GrapeNew
TRMC OPENS 4-STORY PATIENT TOWER
$152 MILLION EXPANSION ADDS 263,000 SQUARE FEET
Two-and-a-half years after its groundbreaking, the four-story tower at Tift Regional Medical Center (TRMC) opened Wednesday as patients from the Emergency Department, the Orthopedics Unit, and the Intensive Care Unit moved into the new Tifton facility. 

“This new patient tower has been a vision for our facility for years, with construction starting back in the summer of 2019,” said Alex Le, TRMC chief operating officer. “We are grateful that we have been able to expand and grow as a system, especially during the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic."

The $152 million patient tower is a four-story building expansion onto the existing TRMC structure and adds 263,000 square feet to the medical center. Part of the project also includes renovations to the current facility to allow for a seamless connection to the new building, changing the main entrance.

TRMC will retain its 181-bed license with the new tower, but it will allow all semi-private rooms to be converted to private. It will also allow for more observation rooms in the Emergency Department. 

“We know that having all private rooms for our patients will greatly improve our patients’ experience and overall satisfaction,” Le said. “We are incredibly excited to be able to offer only private patient rooms in the future and have a larger ER capacity to serve patients as well.” 

As part of the construction project, TRMC worked with the City of Tifton and Tift County to close a part of 18th Street and to reroute a portion of John Orr Drive. This allowed for the construction of the new tower as well as new parking areas for employees, patients, and visitors.
LET'S GET 'MERRY ON MAIN' THIS WEEKEND
By FRANK SAYLES JR.
Tifton Grapevine
’Tis the season to get "Merry on Main Street” with holiday activities planned today and Saturday, including First Friday, Saturday's Christmas parade and city tree lighting.

Downtown Tifton's annual Christmas celebration kicks off this afternoon with the First Friday event and a "Tacky Christmas Sweater Party," live entertainment by the Mood Doctors, downtown merchants offering extended hours, and food and adult beverages available with plastic to-go cups.

The Exchange Club of Tifton, in partnership with the Kids Advocacy Coalition, has a mini Christmas tree display inside City Hall with ornaments made by the after-school students.

Saturday's activities include the Kiwanis Club's "Pinch the Grinch 5K and One-Mile Fun Run" beginning at 8 a.m., children’s arts and crafts from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. in Tifton Gardens, and a vendor pop-up market and food trucks, which will also be available through the evening.

The Tifton Christmas Parade begins at 5 p.m., with the Christmas tree lighting at City Hall at 6:30 p.m. Christmas llamas will be available for photos, the UGA Candy Cane Express will take folks to Fulwood Park to view the Winter Wonderland Festival of Lights, a free showing of the film "The Santa Clause" will be at 2 and 7 p.m. in the Tift Theatre, and local shopping and dining will be available all day and throughout the evening.

And, of course, Santa will make an appearance, so there’s no reason not to get "Merry on Main."
CITY OF TIFTON CRAFTING RULES FOR LIQUOR STORES, MAYOR TELLS ROTARIANS
By BONNIE SAYLES
Tifton Grapevine
The City of Tifton will hold a public meeting within the next month to discuss issues to be decided with the recent voter approval of liquor package sales in the city, Mayor Julie B. Smith told the Tifton Rotary Club on Wednesday. 

“We want to hear what the residents want,” Smith said. “At our last meeting, the (City) Council approved the ordinance allowing package sales,” Smith said. “The law goes into effect Jan. 1. It will be a financial benefit to the community.”

“What we’re looking at is one store per 4,000 people, so with Tifton’s population being just over 16,000, we’re looking at no more than four liquor stores,” she said. 

“We’re looking at putting them in areas with other businesses, and we are looking at the esthetics of the store, as well,” Smith said.

After council approval, it will take 180 days to get a liquor store up and running. 
State regulations spell out many of the requirements that the city must abide by, such as one liquor store owner can have only two stores in the entire state. Also, a liquor store can only be one story. A second story, even if used for storage, would constitute a second liquor store.

A combination liquor store and convenience store would not be allowed, the mayor said. 

Smith also shared the city’s new annual report for 2020-2021. Among the past year's efforts, she said, “the Urban Redevelopment Board and staff are making a tremendous difference in neighborhoods that have needed our support for many years.

“We are thrilled to work with the public and private sector to create a unified Tifton that is safe, attractive and prepared to welcome new families and businesses into the fold. Everybody in the city deserves a safe neighborhood.”
TIFT SEES 8 CONFIRMED COVID-19 CASES, NO DEATHS
IN PAST WEEK, DPH SAYS
By FRANK SAYLES JR.
Tifton Grapevine
Tift County reported eight confirmed COVID-19 cases and no related deaths during the past week, according to the Ga. Department of Public Health (DPH).

During the past two weeks, Tift County recorded 12 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 34 total cases when rapid Antigen positive cases are added, the DPH said.

Tift County’s confirmed cases in the past two weeks represent 29 cases per 100,000 population, and 83 cases per 100,000 with Antigen positives. Tift's testing positivity rate for the virus was 2.7% during the two-week period, the DPH reported.

There have been a total of 4,892 confirmed cases and 139 deaths in Tift since the pandemic began, according to DPH data. Tift's vaccination rate against the disease is at 40%, the DPH reported. Georgias' vaccination rate statewide is at 51%.
GBI PROBING DEPUTY-INVOLVED SHOOTING IN BEN HILL COUNTY
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) is investigating an officer-involved shooting that occurred Wednesday in Rochelle in Ben Hill County.

The Ben Hill County Sheriff’s Office had responded to a domestic dispute at 348 Marigold Road in Rochelle. When deputies arrived, they found Jeremiah Hasenbalg, 38, of Rochelle, holding a gun in each hand, the GBI said.

The man refused to comply with the deputies’ commands to drop the weapons and advanced toward one of the three deputies, who then shot the man, the GBI reported.
 
Deputies performed first aid on him until EMS arrived. Hasenbalg was transported to Tift Regional Medical Center in Tifton, where he was in stable condition under the custody of the Ben Hill County Sheriff’s Office.

No deputies were injured during the incident.

The Ben Hill County Sheriff’s Office requested that the GBI conduct an independent investigation which, upon completion, will be turned over to the Cordele Circuit District Attorney’s Office for review.
SRTC students pinned Wednesday were, top row from left: Rebekah Hughes, Alexis Crawford, Kayla Moore, and Haley Jones; bottom row from left: Alanah Woodell, Erica Moore, Haley Green, and Roberta Barfield.
ASHBURN STUDENT AMONG SRTC RESPIRATORY CARE GRADUATES
Rebekah Hughes of Ashburn was among eight Southern Regional Technical College (SRTC) respiratory care graduates honored Wednesday during a pinning ceremony at SRTC-Thomasville.

The students completed two semesters of prerequisite courses as well as four semesters of rigorous occupational coursework, including a series of clinical rotations at local hospitals

Besides Hughes, other students recognized were Roberta Barfield, Erica Moore, and Kayla Moore of Thomasville; Alanah Woodell of Cairo; Haley Green of Bainbridge; Haley Jones of Pelham; and Alexis Crawford of Albany

Upon successful completion of self-assessment examinations (SAE), these students will be eligible to sit for National Board for Respiratory Care credentialing exams to obtain the registered respiratory therapist (RRT) credential.

RRT's are specialized in the care of patients of all ages with cardiopulmonary disorders. Graduates of the associate of applied science degree in respiratory care who obtain the RRT credential are also eligible to sit for additional specialty credentialing.
Kim Bridges, President David Bridges, and ABAC Alumni Association President-Elect Melissa Pierzchajlo gather at Thursday’s ABAC commencement ceremony when the top award for bachelor’s degree graduates was renamed the David and Kim Bridges Award.
ABAC NAMES GRADUATION AWARD FOR DR. DAVID & KIM BRIDGES
President David Bridges and his wife Kim were surprised Thursday when the Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College Alumni Association named its top award for bachelor’s degree graduates in the couple's honor.

The announcement was made during the morning fall commencement ceremony, one of two that ABAC held Thursday.

“Beginning today and from this day forward, the ABAC Alumni Association is changing the name of its top award for ABAC graduates who participate in the ceremony and receive bachelor’s degrees to the David and Kim Bridges Award. Thanks for all you have done for ABAC,” said Melissa Pierzchajlo, Alumni Association president-elect.

The Bridgeses are both 1978 ABAC graduates and met while they were students in Rosalyn Donaldson’s English class. David Bridges is the only ABAC president to have been a student at the college. In his 16th year in the role, he is also the longest serving president among the 26 colleges and universities in the University System of Georgia (USG) and the longest serving president in ABAC's history.

He has announced his intention to retire in the coming weeks or months.

“This is a wonderful surprise for both of us,” Dr. Bridges said. “Kim and I both love ABAC, and we will always treasure our time here. I have always said there are two kinds of people in this world – those that came to ABAC, and those that wish they had. We are glad we came to ABAC.”

ABAC began offering bachelor’s degrees during Bridges’ tenure. The college had offered only associate degrees for the previous 75 years before making junior and senior level classes available in 2008.

The award for the top associate degree graduate has long been named the George P. Donaldson Award in honor of the ABAC president who served from 1947-61.
COOK COUNTY UNVEILS MEMORIAL
TO 2017 TORNADO VICTIMS
A memorial monument in honor of those who died during a devastating tornado in 2017 was unveiled Wednesday at the Cook County Courthouse in Adel.

Seven people died when the tornado swept through Cook County on Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017.

The victims lived at Sunshine Acres Mobile Home Park in Adel. Of the park's roughly 100 mobile homes, 45 were destroyed – 35 of which were obliterated. Overall, the tornado killed 11 people along a 25-mile track in several counties during a 29-minute period.

It was said to be the worst natural disaster in Cook County's history.
TIFTON
2012 Pineview Ave., Tifton, Ga 31793
UGA plant pathologist Bhabesh Dutta examines onion seedlings in research facilities on the UGA Tifton campus. 
UGA TIFTON RESEARCHERS FIND
NEW 'ONION-EATER' BACTERIA
University of Georgia researchers on the Tifton campus have identified a new species of bacteria, which they have named Pseudomonas alliivorans — from “allium vorans,” which translates as "onion devourer" or “onion eater."

As part of a multi-state, four-year project, UGA Cooperative Extension vegetable disease specialist Bhabesh Dutta of the Tifton campus and his team surveyed onions at every stage of production — from seedling to mature bulb and all the way to storage — to understand what diseases are present, how they manifest, and how to prevent them.

In a paper published in Systematic and Applied Microbiology, the researchers describe how they found bacteria during the onion seedling stage that looked like the type that causes bacterial streak and bulb rot, known as Pseudomonas viridiflava.

However, when they analyzed the DNA of these bacteria, they were surprised to see that they were not the familiar bacteria — or indeed any known bacteria — but a new species.

Although bacterial streak and bulb rot is not as severe a problem to Georgia’s onion production as center rot or sour skin, it has been a lingering issue, said Dutta, an associate professor of plant pathology in UGA's College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

Onions represent a $150 million industry in Georgia, and every year 2% to 4% of the profits can potentially be lost to bacterial diseases that affect onions,” Dutta said.

He said it is important to know what bacteria affect onions “so that when you breed onions against bacterial pathogens, we know what representative pathogens we should screen against.”

The researchers believe that the newly identified bacteria have been around and causing disease in onions for a while, but because of their similarities with P. viridiflava, they had been misidentified until now.

“I think we found the new species because we were surveying for onion-pathogenic bacteria extensively,” said Dutta. “We are trying to assess whether there is seasonality with the occurrences of different bacterial pathogens in onion.”
TIFTAREA ACADEMY STUDENTS COMPLETE SERVICE PROJECT FOR RUTH'S COTTAGE
AND PATTICAKE HOUSE
Students in the Jones Building on the Tiftarea Academy campus completed their annual service project this week. Each year, they gather items for Ruth's Cottage & The Patticake House. The project helps to teach them the importance of helping others.

Ruth's Cottage & The Patticake House is a non-profit organization whose mission is to end domestic and sexual violence, as well as addressing child sexual and physical abuse. The organization provides a temporary shelter for victims of abuse.
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YOUR GUIDE TO ACTIVITIES THIS WEEKEND IN THE TIFTAREA

This Saturday, Dec. 4, is National Cookie Day, just in time for the holidays. In America, the Dutch word “koekje” was Anglicized to “cookie.” The sweet treat came to America through the Dutch in New Amsterdam in the late 1620s. In 1853, Godfrey Keebler (the first elf?) opened his neighborhood bakery in Philadelphia, popular for its cookies. In 1912, Oreos were created – which were a knockoff of Hydrox, the original chocolate sandwich cookie. And in 1937, the Toll House Restaurant in Whitman, Mass., created the Toll House Cookie, considered the first chocolate chip cookie.
FRIDAY, DEC. 3
  • Christmas in the Park, 6 p.m., Ocilla
  • Tifton First Friday: Tacky Christmas Sweater Party, 6:30 p.m., Downtown Tifton

SATURDAY, DEC. 4
  • Tifton's Merry on Main Street:
– 8 a.m., Kiwanis Pinch the Grinch 5K & Fun Run;
– 10 a.m., Children's Arts & Crafts;
– 2 p.m., "The Santa Clause" movie, Tift Theatre for the Performing Arts;
– 5 p.m., Tifton Christmas Parade;
– 6:30 p.m., Tifton Christmas Tree lighting;
– 7 p.m., "The Santa Clause" movie, Tift Theatre for the Performing Arts
TIFTON GRAPEVINE'S DOG OF THE WEEK
“Angel," a female pooch, is available for adoption at the Tift County Animal Shelter on Highway 125 South 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  
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NOVEMBER 24
Bryan Austin Douglas, 19, Poulan
David Paul King, 56, Tifton

NOVEMBER 25
Linda Cheryl Reynolds Rutland, 76, Fitzgerald
Sherry Potts Smith, 56, Doerun, formerly of Worth County
Aubrey James “A.J.” Nichols, 19, West Berrien
Ronald Steven “Ronnie” Hall, 61, Tifton

NOVEMBER 26
Louie L. "Don" Davis, 81, Sylvester
The Rev. Johnny Laverne Smith, 70, Nashville
Frances Crozier, 91, Fitzgerald
Nadine Capan, 88, Adel

NOVEMBER 27
Geraldine Kilburn Markham, 87, Tifton
Jackie Blair Benson, 84, Irwinville

NOVEMBER 28
George Washington Chambless, 87, Adel
Joseph Carlton Fletcher, 83, Chula
Diane Slappy Suggs Collier, 69, Sylvester
Mary Elizabeth Hutto Barrentine, 85, Irwin County

NOVEMBER 29
Gladys Fletcher Troup, 101, Valdosta formerly of Tifton
Thomas Jorden Flanders, 92, Ocilla
NOVEMBER 30
Charline Gilbert Faulkner, 83, Enigma
Mariela “Mary” Hernandez Mayorga, 39, Omega
Betty Lasseter, 81, Sparks

DECEMBER 2
Donna Posey Goddard, 56, Warwick
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Tifton Grapevine
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Frank Sayles Jr.
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