Tuesday, May 18, 2021
Tifton, Georgia
GrapeNew
Valerie Wilson, a math teacher at Tift County High School, was one of the teachers honored Friday. From left is TCHS Principal Chad Stone, Ryan Wilson, Valerie Wilson, Laura Cutts and Bill Jackson representing the education foundation, and Tift Schools Assistant Superintendent Kevin Dobard.
TIFTON'S
TOP TEACHERS
EDUCATION FOUNDATION TAPS EDUCATORS
FOR 'EXCELLENCE IN TEACHING'
By FRANK SAYLES JR.
Tifton Grapevine
Six Tift County public school teachers were "tapped" Friday as recipients of the Excellence in Teaching Award by the Tift County Foundation for Educational Excellence.  

Foundation representatives, school officials, and recipients' family members surprised the educators with the honor at their schools. The Foundation plans to tap one additional teacher who was not at school on Friday.

The teachers honored Friday were: Stephanie Roberts, fourth grade, Len Lastinger Elementary; Amy Brooks, special education, J.T. Reddick Elementary; Lauren Duncan, fifth grade, Omega ElementaryMike Beeman, marketing teacher at Tift County High School; Cindy Marzen, science teacher, TCHS; and Valerie Wilson, math teacher at TCHS.

The teachers are nominated by a student, parent, peer or administrator.

“This is the 30th straight year that the Tift County Foundation for Educational Excellence (TCFEE) has ‘tapped’ exceptional teachers in recognition of their outstanding performance in the classroom," said Mike Brumby, TCFEE executive director.

"Like for most everything else this year, COVID raised its ugly head to challenge our educational system, but great teachers always find a way. Honoring them is at the heart of the TCFEE’s mission.”

In the three decades that the Foundation has been recognizing  teachers of excellence  in Tift County public schools, more than 300 educators have been honored.

Tift County's school year formally ends this Saturday with Tift County High's Class of 2021 graduation at Brodie Field.
LAUREN DUNCAN
VALERIE WILSON
STEPHANIE ROBERTS
CINDY MARZEN
MIKE BEEMAN
AMY BROOKS
TIFTON MUSEUM OF ARTS & HERITAGE
Videos will be available to view LIVE at noon each day during the week at www.tiftonmuseum.org/artists   
After they are released, videos will be available 24 hours a day indefinitely.
Latonya Young at her recent graduation from Georgia State University with her friend and mentor Kevin Esch, whom she met when he was one of her Uber passengers.
TIFTON WOMAN GRADUATES AT AGE 44 WITH MOTIVATION FROM HER UBER PASSENGER
By FRANK SAYLES JR.
Tifton Grapevine
Tifton native Latonya Young, 44, a single mother of three boys living in Atlantagraduated this month with a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from Georgia State University – with help and motivation from one of her former Uber passengers.

Her story continues to get national attention. The Washington Post this week told her tale of challenges, motivation and perseverance. When she received her associate's degree in December 2019, Young was interviewed by several national media including CNN, ABC-TVs "Good Morning America" and People magazine.

"Oh my God, I'm still getting calls," Young had told the Tifton Grapevine at the time.

Readers may remember the beginnings of her story: Young, a hairstylist and Uber driver, picked up Kevin Esch, 45, outside of Atlanta's Mercedes-Benz Stadium in May 2018. A few days after a 20-minute car ride and conversation about their respective backgrounds, Young was stunned to find that Esch had paid her $693 college debt so the Tifton native could return to school.

“I was literally blown away. A stranger has never done that, or done anything like that, for me,” Young said. “I maintained my grades, As and Bs, just trying to make sure he knows I appreciate him.”

Young had dropped out of Tift County High School at the age of 16 when she became pregnant. She later got her GED and subsequently enrolled in college but had been unable to continue when a financial hold was placed on her because of the $693 debt. She said she had difficulty paying it because of caring for her children.

She and Esch, an estate manager, became friends, talking frequently. He became a mentor and offered her advice as she juggled two jobs and went to school, all the while raising her children, one of whom is now 14. Esch was there when Young got her associate's degree and was present again recently when she got her bachelor's, becoming the first member of her family to graduate from college.

“I don’t know what situation I would be in if I hadn’t met Kevin,” Young said, who recently got a new apartment for her family and left public housing after 12 years.

“I hope his kindness inspires other people to help someone,” she said.

On Tuesday, Young told the Tifton Grapevine that she has written a book, “From Broken to Blessed,” which is coming out in a couple of weeks. "It's my whole life story, the things I went through and my sacrifices as a single parent," she said.

"I hope it inspires people to not think of their situation as a hindrance; I want them not to think that they can’t do it."
Refreshing careers for Tifton area CDL drivers and more. 
Click the link below to apply.
TIFT COUNTY REPORTS 20 NEW COVID-19 CASES
By FRANK SAYLES JR.
Tifton Grapevine
Tift County has recorded 20 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 during the past two weeks, five of them in the past week, said the Ga. Department of Public Health (DPH) on Tuesday.

There were no additional coronavirus-related deaths in Tift County during the past week.

Within the past two weeks, Tift's new cases represent 49 per 100,000 population, the DPH reported. Also during that period, Tift had a testing positivity rate of 3.1%.

Since the pandemic began, Tift County has had 3,450 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 97 related deaths, the DPH said.

Georgia reported 531 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday with 21 additional deaths and 106 new hospitalizations. The state has reported a total of 891,073 confirmed cases and 17,825 related COVID-19 deaths in the past 14 months.
The State Bar of Georgia’s South Georgia Office in Tifton
is seeking an Office Manager

This is a full-time position; salary is commensurate with experience

The office manager will run the day-to-day operations of the State Bar of Georgia’s South Georgia Office, including accommodating attorneys from across the state by providing office space for mediations, depositions and client meetings. This position handles correspondence from both lawyers and consumers, and provides information as requested, presenting a positive experience while representing the State Bar of Georgia.

Job Responsibilities include: 
  • Discernment and confidentiality
  • Knowledge of the State Bar of Georgia and its departments 
  • Manage one part-time employee
  • Operate audio-visual components
  • Host continuing legal education programs
  • Serve consumers in person and by phone
  • Host meetings and luncheons for State Bar committees
  • Assist area bar associations by facilitating programs
  • Assist with State Bar meetings as needed, some travel required

Required Skills:
  • Pleasant, accommodating, and hospitable attitude while assisting attorneys and consumers
  • Ability to multitask
  • Strong organizational ability with excellent attention to detail
  • Poise, tact, professionalism, and diplomacy
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office

Education & Experience:
  • Bachelor’s degree in business or related field plus 3-5 years of office management experience

Apply via email with resume to: careers@gabar.org 
no later than Friday, June 4, 2021.

Please type “OFFICE MANAGER TIFTON” as the subject line of email.
Please include a cover letter explaining your interest in the position, summary of
your work experience, at least two references, and your contact information.
STAY IN YOUR LANE!
SECOND STREET REFLECTIVE MARKERS WILL HELP
This crew from Peek Pavement Marking was heading back onto Tifton's Second Street on Tuesday, where the contractor sitting low to the ground was installing raised pavement markers (RPMs) along the newly paved part of the street.

RPMs help drivers identify lanes, which can help drivers stay in their lane and avoid crashes, says the Ga. Department of Transportation. The RPMs have reflective panels so that they are easy to see at night.

The Transportation Investment Act project involves resurfacing Second Street from Virginia Avenue to U.S. Highway 82.
ABAC’s Polly Huff works with Tristin Clements on the shoemaker’s project at the Georgia Museum of Agriculture.
ABAC's POLLY HUFF GETS TOP HONOR FROM GA ASSOCIATION OF MUSEUMS
The Georgia Association of Museums recently honored Polly Huff of Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College with the Museum Professional Award, the industry’s top honor.

Huff, curator at ABAC’s Georgia Museum of Agriculture (GMA) in Tifton, received the award at a virtual conference meeting. “The Middleton Shoe Shop,” an original exhibition that Huff curated, also won the Exhibit Award in the category of projects below $25,000.

The state association singled out Huff for “more than two decades of producing innovative exhibits, maximizing limited resources in incredibly creative ways, and being an advocate for the museum field.” 

In her role as ABAC curator, Huff oversees a collection of more than 100,000 GMA artifacts. She has designed and installed more than 100 exhibitions; overseen the institutional archives on campus and at the museum; handled curatorial duties at ABAC’s Fulwood Garden Center; and is the staff liaison for Tifton’s Wiregrass Farmers Market. 

“The Middleton Shoe Shop” project took the museum’s curatorial staff on a journey across the country and back to the 1800s when a cache of mysterious shoe-shop artifacts donated by an Indiana resident was discovered at the GMA 40 years after the donation. 

Months of research with the assistance of museum colleagues from across the country eventually identified the shoemaker in the lone photograph with the artifacts as James Middleton, a Tifton shoemaker who lived and worked in the area in the late 1800s-early 1900s. 

Huff and restoration specialist David King built an exhibit duplicating the scene of Middleton’s shoe shop depicted in the photograph. Working with local restoration photographer Charles Styer, Huff recreated a life-sized rendering of the shop with a wall mural of the Middleton wagon, a lifelike museum replica of Middleton himself, and a display of several hundred shoemaking artifacts. 

The exhibit’s wooden shoe forms were treated with a special museum wax, which infused the experience with the scent of vintage shoeshine paste.  

When the pandemic brought everything to a halt in 2020, Huff and her senior media intern, Tristin Clements from Tifton, filmed the exhibit installation and converted the opening into a virtual event, offering it with an 1890s musical soundtrack.              
Dr. Matthew Anderson, left, dean of ABAC’s School of Arts and Sciences, with Award of Distinction recipient Luke Guy.
FITZGERALD STUDENT RECEIVES
ABAC DISTINCTION AWARD
IN SCHOOL OF ARTS & SCIENCES
Luke Guy from Fitzgerald has been selected as the top student in the School of Arts and Sciences at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.
 
Dr. Matthew Anderson, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, said Guy is receiving the 2021 Award of Distinction.

Guy majors in the bachelor’s degree program in biology, pre-professional track. He has compiled a 3.98 grade point average on a 4.0 scale and has been on both the President’s List and Dean’s List.

Two clubs on campus would not be established if it were not for Guy. He is the president and founder of both the Pre-Med Mentoring Program and ABAC Gives Back service organization.

Guy also serves as a level three certified math and science tutor for students in the ABAC tutoring center and as a tutor for Literacy Volunteers of Tifton-Tift County. He tutors ESL students in reading and writing in English so that they can eventually receive a GED.
TIFTON – WAY BACK WHEN
The Downtown Tifton Facebook page has been sharing old photographs of Tifton recently in honor of Historic Preservation Month.

This scene of Second Street looking east in the 1930s shows the Dollar Dry Cleaner, Ritz Theater, Kent's Furniture, and the water tower at far right behind the site of the twin brick buildings and at the location of the old Tift mill. The courthouse is located behind the end of the buildings at left.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR POLICY: 

Letters must address local issues only. All letters are subject to editing for brevity, for libelous statements and for egregious language. 

Include your name, phone number and address for verification purposes. Email letters to: IHeardIt@tiftongrapevine.com
TIFTON GRAPEVINE'S CAT OF THE WEEK
"Petey," a male polydactyl kitten that needs a home, is available for adoption at the Tift County Animal Shelter. To adopt your next pet, 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
INDUSTRY GROWS IN TIFTON
– MAY 20, 1892
Tifton was named headquarters for the Georgia Lumber Exchange, and H.H. Tift was elected its president, according to news dispatches on May 20, 1892. Tifton "has a fine hotel, two fine churches, one of the largest saw and planing mills in the state, a turpentine distillery which turns out 3,000 barrels of turpentine per annum, many brick buildings, and many fine residences," the press reported. "Captain Tift will soon complete a large shingle mill," and "there will soon be in operation one of the largest barrel factories in the state."
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Tifton Grapevine
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Frank Sayles Jr.
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Bonnie Sayles
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