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   July 15, 2016
           Tifton, Georgia

    (478) 227-7126


INTERIM CITY MANAGER
TIFTON BRINGS BACK EX-CITY MANAGER HUNTER WALKER 

Tifton City Council   in a special meeting Thursday unanimously appointed Hunter Walker as interim city manager, effective Monday, July 18.
 
WALKER
Walker, who had served as Tifton's city manager from 1988 to 1995, recently retired as county administrator of Santa Rosa County, Fla., population 160,000, on the Gulf Coast, spending 20 years in that  position.
 
He has been hired in Tifton as an independent contractor on a month-to-month basis. In his role as interim city manager, Walker will handle all duties of the position and will assist the city in the search and employment of a city manager.
 
Mayor Julie Smith praised Walker's experience and said the city has an opportunity for a "fresh beginning."

While  previously  serving as  Tifton city manager Walker served simultaneously as  Tift County manager from  1992-94 under an  employment services agreement between the  city and county .
 
Before coming to  Tifton in  1988 Walker was county administrator for  Grady County, Ga. , from  1986-1988 ; was city planner for  Beaufort, S.C. 1985-1986 ; and was regional planner for the  Lowcountry Council of Governments in  Yemassee, S.C. , beginning in  1979 .
 
Walker received a bachelor of arts in political science/economics from the University of Alabama in 1977 and received a master of public administration from Alabama in 1978.


NEW HEADMASTER
STACEY BELL TAKES OVER AT TIFTAREA ACADEMY

Tiftarea Academy has  appointed Stacey Bell  as headmaster. Bell, of Fitzgerald, began his tenure on July 1.

"We are thrilled with this new hire and are looking forward to the progressive direction Stacey will move our school," said Board Chairman Derrick Jones

"He has proven leadership within the public school system, and we feel confident he will lead Tiftarea Academy to new heights," Jones said.

Bell has served as principal of Fitzgerald High School since 2012. Under Bell's leadership, the school's graduation rate increased significantly, and the school has been recognized as a High Progress Reward School, among other accomplishments. 

Before moving to Fitzgerald, Bell served the Worth County Board of Education in various roles for more than 13 years, 11 of which were spent in administration. During Bell's tenure, Worth County High School received the Governor's Cup for improved SAT scores, and the graduation rate increased by nearly 15 percent. In total, Bell has served 31 years in education with 16 specifically in administration.

" Tiftarea is one of the premier independent schools in this area, and I am grateful for the opportunity," Bell said. "I am looking forward to getting to know the faculty, staff, students and parents, and working in conjunction with them to ensure the school reaches its greatest potential."

Classes begin Aug. 18 for Tiftarea Academy's 2016-2017 school year.


BRIGHTON ROAD OVERPASS REOPENS

The new Exit 66/Brighton Road overpass on Interstate 75 in Tift County opened to traffic shortly before 6 p.m. Tuesday

When it opened, a small amount of asphalt work remained to be done but was not expected to create major traffic interruptions, state highway officials said.

The new overpass replaces a bridge that was built in 1959. The interchange closed last December for reconstruction, which included relocating and improving the ramps for improved sight distance and additional distance to slow down to exit or speed up to merge.

The construction cost of the project was $16 million. The prime contractor was The Scruggs Co. of Hahira. Subcontractor Southern Concrete Construction Co. Inc. of Albany dismantled the old bridge and built the new overpass. 

"We know people who live and work in the area have been eager to see this project completed," said Chad Hartley, Southwest District engineer with the Georgia Department of Transportation.

"We are pleased to provide drivers with an updated and safer interchange that meets current design standards. These are much-needed improvements to our infrastructure, and we appreciate the public's patience during construction."


COLQUITT COACH'S SUSPENSION WAIVED

Colquitt County High head football coach Rush Propst will not be suspended for a year for head-butting one of his players during a game last December, the Georgia Professional Standards Commission decided Thursday.
Propst after head-butting a player last season.
Propst, coach of the two-time 1-AAAAAA defending state champion Colquitt County High Packers, had appealed his suspension to an administrative law judge, who recommended a reprimand. The state commission then approved the recommendation.

During the second quarter of Colquitt County High's state semifinal game against Mill Creek High last season, an over-energized and excited  Propst walked over to a player returning to the sideline and head-butted him. The player, place kicker Luis Martinez, was wearing his helmet. Propst, naturally, was not, opening a bloody gash on the coach's forehead

The incident was broadcast live statewide as the game was on  Georgia Public Television.



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REAL (Read Aloud) "Celebrities" County Commissioners Grady Thompson (chairman) and Buck Rigdon are joined by two readers from Atlanta, Emerson and McKenzie. The girls had heard that Tifton was aiming to become the "Read Aloud Capital of the World." Note the girls' Reading Capital T-shirts.

READ ALOUD 'CELEBRITIES' HELP CONCLUDE 
TIFTON'S SUMMER AR CENTER

Superintendent Patrick Atwater reads on Thursday.
The Summer Accelerated Reader (AR)
Center, sponsored by the  Tift County Foundation for Educational
Excellence, ended its six-week session on Thursday, and many local "celebrity" readers visited in recent days to help Tifton become the "Read Aloud Capital of the World."

Among recent readers were Tift County Commissioners Grady Thompson and Buck Rigdon, and Tift County Schools Superintendent Patrick Atwater.

Also, children at the Reading Center got a special treat when  local author Tamika Royster visited to share her book, "Ben Frog's Birthday Party."



T he center was hosted  at the Betty Jo Roach Community Center by the United Way of South Central Georgia.

Readers, besides getting the intrinsic value of reading, took computerized tests on the books they read and earned AR points for the school media center or library of their choice to buy new books.

This year, Omega School operated a satellite Summer AR Center to make it more convenient for residents there.



Local author Tamika Royster, at left, reads to children at the Summer AR Center on Thursday before the center closes its doors  for another season.




MOSQUITO-BORNE ILLNESS CONFIRMED IN LOWNDES COUNTY

A horse in Lowndes County has tested positive for Eastern equine encephalitis, the Georgia Department of Public Health reported this week.

"While we see these types of reports each year, it's still important for us to remember the importance of preventing mosquito bites whenever possible," says Kenneth Lowery, district epidemiologist. "Mosquito-borne illnesses can cause severe sickness, brain damage or death in some cases."

Most mosquito-borne illnesses are transmitted to humans and animals through the bite of an infected mosquito. 

"Even though it's rare for a human to be infected with these illnesses, anyone can become ill after being bit by an infected mosquito. The risk is higher for people who spend a lot of time outdoors, live in wooded or swampy areas, or have traveled overseas to certain areas," says Lowery.

Public health officials are encouraging South Georgians to :
  • Use insect repellent containing DEET, picardin, IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus on exposed skin and/or clothing.
  • Wear long sleeves and pants when weather permits.
  • Have secure, intact screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out.
  • Eliminate mosquito breeding sites by emptying standing water from flower pots, buckets, barrels, wading pools and other containers. Drill holes in tire swings so water drains out.
  • Be sure to use repellent and wear protective clothing from dusk to dawn or consider indoor activities during these times due to peak mosquito biting hours.



VA MEDICAL CENTER TO HOLD ANOTHER
INFORMATION SESSION IN TIFTON 

The Carl Vinson Veterans Affairs Medical Center will host an informational fair at the  Leroy Rogers Senior Center in Tifton from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. today, July 15, in anticipation of the opening of the new Tifton VA Clinic.
 
The fair will  provide information about VA programs and services and serve as a VA "meet-and-greet" with the Tifton community, says Tifton VA Clinic manager Donna Ammons.

Veterans will hear about services to be provided at the Tifton clinic and how to start receiving their basic health care at the new location.

The Tifton VA Clinic will be located at 1824 Ridge Ave. North in Tifton. Hours of operation will be Monday-Friday from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; services will include primary care, mental health and other basic health care. Additional services will be available through Tele-Health, a new VA initiative that allows veterans to access some healthcare needs using interactive visual technology. 
 
For information, contact Ammons at  Donna.Ammons@va.gov  or 478-272-1210 ext. 2427.

A PLANT OF THE 'CENTURY'

A " century  plant," or agave, has flowered near the corner of King Street and Baldwin Drive (seen at left) in Tifton.

Such plants only flower once in their lives and then die. Although called a century plant, it typically only lives 15 to 30 years.

Near the end of its life, the plant sends up a tall stalk that can shoot up to about 30 feet with yellow blossoms at its top.



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YOUR WEEKEND pool-lanes.jpg
                 ...at a Glance


FRIDAY, JULY 15
  • GRPA BC State Swim Meet, 9 a.m., Tift County Recreation Pool, Baldwin Drive, Tifton
SATURDAY, JULY 16
  • GRPA BC State Swim Meet, 9 a.m., Tift County Recreation Pool, Baldwin Drive, Tifton
  • Downtown Tifton Farmer's Market, 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Old Train Depot Platform, Tifton
  • Wiregrass Farmers Market, 9 a.m.-Noon, Georgia Museum of Agriculture, Tifton
  • Ronnie Milsap, 8 p.m., UGA Campus Conference Center, Tifton

In Memoriam
BowenDonaldson

JULY 7
Betty Lewis Connell, 91, Fitzgerald
Roger Dale Howell Jr., 45, Tifton
Robert William "R.W." Youngblood, 82, Fitzgerald

JULY 8
Ronnie Croft, 59, Fitzgerald

JULY 9
Linton Alvin Griffin, 73, Ty Ty
Harold Thomas Foster, 85, Ray City
Eugene "Gino" Maddamma, 80, Irwin County
Roy Exum, 77, Cochran

JULY 10
Misty Dawn Trent, 53, Albany
Hazel Adkison McElmurray, 81, Ashburn
Maurice Curry, 38, Sylvester

JULY 12
Clifford Joseph Domingue, 75, Tifton
Eugene G. Pirkle, 95, Sycamore

JULY 13
Stephen Wayne Mullis, 47, Blairsville

JULY 14
Charles A. Perry, 83, Tifton
Jashubhai M. Patel, 83, Tifton
Edna Faye Decker Whittington, 86, Tifton
Sammy Odom, 76, Adel
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    Dwana Coleman

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