FEB. 24, 2017
11-PLUS YEARS AFTER TARA GRINSTEAD'S DISAPPEARANCE
CHARGED WITH MURDER
FORMER IRWIN HIGH STUDENT ARRESTED IN TEACHER'S DEATH
In an 11-year-old case that baffled authorities and caught the nation's attention, a former Irwin County High student
has been charged with the murder of teacher and former Miss Tifton Tara Grinstead, who disappeared without a trace in Ocilla in October 2005.
Ryan Alexander Duke
, 33, who graduated from
Irwin County High School
while Grinstead taught there,
is being held in the Irwin County Detention Center, authorities said
Duke appeared in court Thursday and was formally charged with burglary, aggravated assault, murder and concealing a death.
The warrants read in court
broke into Grinstead's home and used "his hands in an offensive manner with the
intent to do
bodily harm," caused Grinstead's death and "did knowingly, intentionally and willingly
remove the deceased body of Tara Grinstead from her residence, with the intent to conceal her death for discovery."
At a press conference earlier Thursday in the Irwin County Courthouse, Special Agent J.T. Ricketson of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation declined to give specifics about Grinstead's death, her remains or the suspect's motive.
"I'm not allowed to answer that," Ricketson said. The GBI agent did say that Duke "never came up on
our radar during the
Ricketson said that "a few days ago, an individual came forward who had information about Tara's disappearance."
Following several interviews, authorities had "enough probable cause" to charge Duke, the agent said.
Duke was taken into custody on Wednesday afternoon, and a warrant was issued Thursday morning, Ricketson said.
"This investigation is still very
, and the GBI expects to conduct several more
and investigative acts in the next few weeks," according to a
GBI press release
continues," the GBI press release
When she disappeared on Oct. 22, 2005, Tara Grinstead was 30, a Hawkinsville native who lived in Ocilla. She was Miss Tifton in 1999 and had gone on to be a contestant in the Miss Georgia pageant.
She lived by herself and had
taught at Irwin County High School for about eight years.
On that October day, a Saturday, Grinstead had helped at the
Miss Georgia Sweet Potato Festival pageant in
later went to a cookout at a friend's home.
She was reported missing after not showing up at school on Monday. The clothes she had worn to the Saturday cookout were found at her house. Her cellphone was charging in her bedroom, and her car was in her driveway.
Two years ago,
authorities acting on a tip, drained a pond in Fitzgerald but found nothing to crack the case.
AIDS STORM VICTIMS
'SOUTH GA STRONG' SUNDAY IN TIFTON
Thirteen national and local/regional country music stars will take the stage Sunday in Tifton for "South
Georgia Strong," a concert to benefit survivors of the recent deadly tornadoes that devastated several
areas in the region.
McAlpin Entertainment in Tifton has put together the concert, which includes John
Berry, T. Graham Brown, Cyndi Thomson, Buddy Jewell, Ray Scott, Ben Wells, Daniel Parrish, Faith Jackson, Landis Frier, Derrick Dove, Ryn Crider, TJ Mauldin and Anne Cline.
Berry, Brown and Thomson all have had No. 1 hits on the national country charts and all have local connections: Berry lived for awhile in Tifton in recent years before returning to Nashville Tenn.;
is a native of Arabi in
Crisp County; and Thomson is a Tifton native who grew up here and still has family in Tifton.
Austin McAlpin of McAlpin Entertainment
said all artists are donating their time to perform, and
of every ticket sold goes to benefit local storm victims.
Doors open at 5 p.m. Sunday at the UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center.
Tickets are $30 and may be purchased here.
TAX CREDITS AVAILABLE FOR RURAL
HEALTH CARE CONTRIBUTIONS
Irwin County Hospital, which has been ranked as having the state's top
financial need, is reminding residents that state legislation passed last year helps
rural hospitals by encouraging Georgians to
contribute to rural
health care services.
Under the new law, individual
who contribute to rural health care can apply for a
income tax credit
percent of the amount of the contribution or
, whichever is less. Married couples filing jointly can get a tax credit for the lesser of
percent of the contribution or
businesses, the tax credit is either
70 percent of the amount they contribute or
75 percent of their state income tax liability, whichever is less.
The tax credits expire at the end of 2019.
Rural hospitals have struggled for years, largely because of a high percentage of uninsured and/or indigent patients. Some hospitals have gone bankrupt and forced to close their doors.
Irwin County Hospital has been ranked as the rural hospital with the top
financial need in the state, according to the
Ga. Department of Community Health. I
n a ranking of financial need among rural hospitals in the Georgia HEART ("Helping Enhance Access to Rural Treatment") program, Irwin was ranked No. 1.
Other local hospitals ranked for financial need include Dorminy Medical Center in Fitzgerald at No. 6, Phoebe Worth Medical Center in Sylvester at No. 26, and Cook Medical Center in Adel at No. 40.
"Because donors will receive a state income tax credit for contributing to our hospital, the HEART tax credit program gives their contributions a 'booster shot' that exceeds the benefits of the usual charitable deduction," says Paige Wynn, chief operating officer of Irwin County Hospital.
Proud in-network participants of:
Tiftarea Psychiatric and Counseling Services
223 East Second Street, Suite B
Post Office Box 1613
Tifton, Georgia 31794
229.339.3721 - Phone
229.472.9151 - Fax
TIFT'S TEACHERS OF EXCELLENCE
Tifton Rotary Club and the
Tift County Foundation for Educational Excellence honored
12 public school teachers with
Excellence in Teaching Awards on
Tuesday at the
26th annual awards banquet. The teachers were nominated by students, parents, peers and other school officials.
Pictured from left are:
Colandra Copeland of Eighth Street Middle School;
Kailan Fonsah, Northeast Campus;
Chanon Collins, Tift County High;
Patti Dean, Annie Belle Clark Primary;
Stephanie Kimbrell, Len Lastinger Primary;
Jeremy Moore, Tift County High;
Molly Turner, Charles Spencer Elementary;
Bryson Daniels, J.T. Reddick School;
Lauren Duncan, Omega School;
Tanesha Dotson, Omega School;
Kisha Rowe, J.T. Reddick School;
Sherrye Chambers, Northeast Campus.
TIFT YOUTH LEADERS VISIT CAPITOL
The Tifton-Tift County Chamber of Commerce's youth leadership class -- "T.A.L:K," or "Tomorrow's Aspiring Leaders: Kids" -- visited the state Capitol on Tuesday in Atlanta.
The T.A.L:K class, comprised of 50 eighth graders from Eighth Street Middle School and Tiftarea Academy, met the governor and visited with local legislators.
With the students are, from left in the photo above: Principal Chad Stone of Eighth Street Middle School, Sen. Greg Kirk,
Gov. Nathan Deal and his wife Sandra, Rep. Clay Pirkle, Tift Chamber President Brian Marlowe and Tift Chamber Operations Manager Linda Floyde.
Sponsors of the youth program are Tift Regional Health System, Heatcraft, Colquitt EMC, First Community Bank of Tifton, Georgia Power and South Georgia Banking Co.
TIFTON-TIFT COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
Suit Yourself Swimwear & Boutique
605 W. 2nd Street, Tifton
Miss Rita's School Mobile
This Summer, Take Only Six Weeks to a Better Grade!
Private Tutoring - 401 N. Ridge Ave., Tifton
CALL OR TEXT
FOR SESSIONS BEGINNING
JUNE 12 - JULY 21
Miss Rita will be in Tifton
during the week of March 13
for you to meet her & pick up your student's materials
You Must be Registered and
Make an Appointment
to see Miss Rita in March
Patience * Persistence
GA & FL Certified Reading Specialist
References available upon request
Pool party on June 24
for registered students
at Tift County Rec Pool!
Miss Rita's Tutor Room has been operating in Manatee and Sarasota Counties in Florida for the past 40-plus years.
She brings to Tifton her teaching talents as Reading Specialist through Miss Rita's School Mobile, and is eager to build a strong foundation in the youths who are struggling readers.
Other areas of expertise include math, language arts and violin.
Serving the Tiftarea since 2009
CITY, ABAC RECOGNIZE ARBOR DAY
The City of Tifton and Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College recognized Arbor Day on Feb. 17 by planting trees.
and members of the
Tifton Tree Board
gathered at the corner of
and young oak trees were planted along
to replace trees that had died or had become diseased.
Also that day, ABAC opened an arboretum with an initial donation of pine and hardwood seedlings from ArborGen.
An arboretum is a place where trees or shrubs are cultivated for their scientific or educational interests.
Located in a former cattle pasture across Moore Highway from the Yow Forestry-Wildlife building, the ABAC arboretum will be used for classes in dendrology, silviculture, herbaceous plant communities and soils.
In the photo below, some of Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College's
natural resources faculty along with members of the
Society of American Foresters student chapter at ABAC gather to plant the first tree in the
ABAC Arboretum. They planted a
live oak, which is the
state tree of
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HOUSING AUTHORITY 'READS ALOUD'
Tifton Housing Authority, in collaboration with the
Tift County Foundation for Educational Excellence, kicked off the Housing Authority's
Read Aloud program on
Saturday, Feb. 18.
50 children, parents and community leaders gathered to promote reading aloud to children as Tifton seeks to become the
"Read Aloud Capital of the World."
The Tifton Housing Authority said it is dedicated to improving the lives of its children and families by helping create and sustain an environment of literacy and motivation for reading.
"It is imperative that parents know the importance of reading to their children at an early age," the Housing Authority said.
"The Tifton Housing Authority encourages early literacy skills so children enter school prepared for success. We will provide books and encouragement for families to make reading aloud to their children a part of everyday life," the Housing Authority said in a written statement.
PEANUT MUSEUM TO HAVE 'LITTLE FOXES'
Cast members have been selected for
"The Little Foxes," the Baldwin Players' upcoming
spring production at
Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.
, theatre troupe
, said "The Little Foxes" will be staged at the
the Georgia Museum of Agriculture at
7 p.m. March 9-11
Ray said the production contains strong language and may not be suitable for all ages.
drama is about a wealthy, powerful family in southern
1900. In a male-dominated society and culture of the time, a strong and
determined woman works to assert herself into the world of business along with her brothers. The troubled family dynamics are drenched in issues of gender, money, power, love and hatred.
Cast members include
Angela Ramos, Austin Clements, Chandler Kuck, Devun Pitts, Caroline Kirkland, Dylan Bennett, Mary Faith Jones, Ty Gore, Martin Silva and Maya Cody.
ADVANTAGE: SUNSET TIFTON
Advantage Realty on
Love Avenue hosted the
Tifton-Tift County Chamber of Commerce's
Sunset Tifton business after-hours on
Thursday. The realty company is celebrating
In the photo, Advantage's
Melissa Brock, Randy Clements and
Julie Smith are being interviewed by
Hayward Fowler (behind the camera) of
Your Local Tifton Channel.
..at a Glance
SATURDAY, FEB. 25
- Sweetheart Run 5k/1 mile, 9 a.m., Rehab Services of Tifton, Old Ocilla Road, Tifton
- ABAC Fillies softball vs. South Georgia, 2 p.m., ABAC, Tifton
- Bids for Kids television auction, 5 p.m., Channel 11, Tifton
- Tift County Forestry & Pine Seedling Scholarship Pageant, 6 p.m., Tift Theatre for the Performing Arts, Tifton
SUNDAY, FEB. 26
- Tiftarea Academy Open House, 2-5 p.m., U.S. Highway 41, Chula
- "South Georgia Strong" benefit concert, 5 p.m., UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center, Tifton
David Wayne Tomberlin, 80, Nashville
Richard "Rickey" Johnson Vaughn, 77, Enigma
Darby Barrington Roberts, 88, Enigma
Mary Lou Register, 79, Adel
Ralph Willis Jr., 71, Tifton
John Lee Boyer, 40,
Michael Lee Kirkland, 45, Carrollton, formerly of Tifton
Lois Evelyn Smith Hintermeier, 94, Tifton
Marcus Baker, 80, Omega
Ronald "Ronnie" Keith Skipper, 57, Nashville
Cory Greene, 29, Sparks
Wendell Ray Turner, 68, Tifton
Karleen Vickers, 80, Hahira
Gerald Lee, 67, Moultrie
John David Davis, 95, West Berrien Community
Clara Jones Tibbets, 94, Tifton
Jeanette Sumner Richartz, 88, Fitzgerald
Virginia Dixon Evans, 82, Perry
John Thomas Dailey Jr., 88, Morven
Patricia Lucille Howell Vickers, 69, Tifton
Nell Rose Solomon Nugent, 75, Alapaha
Kim Farmer, 59, Ashburn
Betty Martin Hewett Nolan, 82, Adel
Gordon Lamar Burkhalter, 71, Dasher
Charles Phillip Pearson, 62, Tifton
Sara Eugenia "Jennie" Adams Gay, 89, Irwin County
Laura "Oleeta" Danner Britt, 82, Tifton
Wilma Inez "Patsy" Yarbrough, 90, Lands Crossing community
Virginia H. Nelson, 83, Ocilla
Troy "Gary" Swann, 49, Quitman
Janie Mack, Ashburn
Mary W. "Bo" Goode, 79, Tifton
Mildred Arrington Davis, 91, West Berrien Community
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