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SEPT. 27, 2016
Tifton, Georgia

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STATE BOE BACKS
GOV'S SCHOOL PLAN
TIFT BOE HAS NO POSITION ON BALLOT PROPOSAL

The governor-appointed Georgia state Board of Education (BOE) has endorsed Gov. Nathan Deal's Opportunity School District (OSD) Amendment on the Nov. 8 ballot.

At its meeting last Thursday, the state school board passed a resolution backing 
the OSD "in order to improve the education of Georgia children trapped in failing schools."

If voters approve the amendment to the state Constitution, the governor gets sweeping new powers to take over schools determined failing by their performance on state tests. The governor may take over failing schools and place them and their local funding under an appointed OSD superintendent. The schools may then be reconstituted, turned over to charter management or closed.

"I commend the members of the state Board of Education for their formal resolution in support of the Opportunity School District," Deal said in a statement released by his office. 

"There is a shared mission between the proposed Opportunity School District and the state school board, which is to establish an environment where every public school in Georgia is successful and every child can thrive. Students across our state have been left behind to  languish in failing schools for far too long, and I believe   Georgia can and must do better ," the governor said.

Not everyone supports the proposed amendment. A group
called "Keep Georgia Schools Local" is fighting the governor's plan.

"The state Board of Education, a board comprised completely of political  appointees, acted against the interest of parents across the state," the group's spokesman, Louis Elrod , told the Atlanta Journal Constitution .

"By passing the governor's school takeover resolution, the state Board of Education is telling Georgia parents, students and teachers that they support gutting local control of our schools. The school takeover is a power grab that would silence parents by handing over our public schools to an unelected political appointee. The appointee could fire teachers without cause, close schools or give schools to out-of-state, for-profit corporations, all while taking $13 million from school budgets for 'administrative operations.' "

Tift County School Superintendent Patrick Atwater and the Tift County BOE have not taken a position on the matter.

"At this time, Mr. Atwater, nor the board, has an official position on the Opportunity School District. They are simply encouraging all voters to thoroughly read the legislation, not just the ballot language, and understand exactly what is being proposed before voting," said Stacey Beckham, Tift schools' spokesman.


GOOD PECAN CROP
LACK OF RAIN HELPED, EXPERT SAYS
Expectations are high for this year's Georgia pecan crop, says University of Georgia Cooperative Extension pecan specialist Lenny Wells.

Despite Hurricane Hermine's visit Sept. 2, which led to damaged pecan trees throughout South and Southeast Georgia, Wells projects this year's crop to yield more than 100 million pounds.

"It's one of the better crops we've had in a while," Wells said.

One reason is Georgia's lack of rain this summer, which meant a sharp decline in pecan scab disease. Scab results from a fungal pathogen. When temperatures rise in the spring, the fungus becomes active and produces new spores, spread by rain and wind.

Georgia's drought-like conditions this summer meant few, if any, spores were spread from one tree to another.

"As long as the farmers had irrigation, many places actually benefitted from the lack of rain because they didn't have much scab and they didn't have to go out and spray as often," Wells said.

It was dry until the first days of September, when Hurricane Hermine moved through and dropped more than five inches of rain in some areas. Wells said the storm damaged pecan trees on a path starting in Thomasville, then went east and north as far as Screven County. Wells said Berrien experienced the most damage.

"There were some growers in the Berrien County area who had more than 1,000 trees laid down because of the wind," Wells said. "Most of these trees were 15 years old and younger."

However, the wind doesn't have to blow the tree over to cause damage.

"Most of the growers I've heard from have reported about 30 percent of the nuts being blown or shaken out of the tree by the wind," Wells said.


'FIRST TUESDAY'
ALL ABOUT JAZZ

The sweet sound of jazz from Dr. Thomas Heflin on trumpet will serenade the audience at 7 p.m. Oct. 4 at the season's opening night for the First Tuesday Concert Series at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College

Heflin, assistant professor of jazz in the School of Liberal Arts, will be on stage in the Chapel of All Faiths as the popular series kicks off with "A Night of Jazz Music."
HEFLIN
This concert is open to the public at no charge.

The First Tuesday series, now in its 15th year, features regional professional artists on the first Tuesdays of five months during the year.

Heflin will be joined by other ABAC jazz faculty including Brandon Robertson on bass, Rob Walker on guitar, Miles Bozeman on drums and special guests. The lineup for the evening includes a mix of jazz standards and original compositions.

Heflin placed second in the Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet Solo Competition in Seattle. He has released three albums as a leader on Blue Canoe Records, the last of which was a collaborative CD with Ron Westray, former lead trombonist with Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra.

A former member of the Knoxville Jazz Orchestra, Heflin has served as the Central Greenough artist-in-residence in Western Australia as well as an artist-in-residence with the Always on Stage Festival in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada.

In 2009, he received his doctorate in music performance with a jazz emphasis from the University of Texas. Shortly after, he moved to New York City and served as program manager and on the jazz faculty at the Manhattan School of Music precollege division.

For information on the First Tuesday Concert Series, 229-391-4943.










MONDAY, OCT. 3 ~ 5:30 p.m.
Veteran's Park Amphitheater
           Downtown Tifton

Remembering Victims, Celebrating Survivors and Honoring Those Who Dedicate Themselves to the Protection of 
Family Violence Survivors  

Event Speaker:  Silke Deely
Executive Director of  The Liberty House,
   a non-profit agency in Albany providing services for 
domestic violence victims, their children, families and friends  

Presented By Ruth's Cottage & The Patticake House in Tifton


TCHS STUDENTS WIN AT FCCLA MEETING
FAMILY, CAREER & COMMUNITY LEADERS OF AMERICA 

Tift County High School students attended the FCCLA Fall Leadership Conference near Covington recently. Cynthia Vargas, TJ Acree and Leonela Hernandez participated in leadership sessions and networked with other students from across the state. 

The TCHS students also came home as winners. Their Membership Display Board, seen above, received third place. Also, Vargas passed the FCCLA Statesmen Test, which tests a student's knowledge of FCCLA from the past to now. She had to receive an 85 percent or above to pass.

FCCLA -- Family, Career and Community Leaders of America  -- is a national career and technical student organization that provides personal growth, leadership development and career preparation opportunities for students in Family and Consumer Sciences education.


TRUCK & TRACTOR PULL
ROLLS IN OCT. 6-8

The 2016 AET Truck and Tractor Pull, sponsored by the Agricultural Engineering Technology Club at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, will take place Oct. 6-8 at the ABAC Pull track.

On Oct. 6, ABAC students and the community may participate in amateur night beginning at 7 p.m. The admission fee will be $5 per person. Participants may enter their vehicles for a cost of $5 per pull. Children six and under get in free.

At 7 p.m. Oct. 7 and 6 p.m. Oct. 8, the Southern Pullers Association and Lucas Oil Pro Pulling League will feature their professional pullers. Admission will be $15 for adults; $10 for children six-10 years of age; $10 for students with an ABAC I.D.; and free for children five and under.

For information, contact club advisors Ray Lundy at rlundy@abac.edu or Todd Hicks, thicks@abac.edu
DOWNTOWN TIFTON'S UNIQUE ADDRESS
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MULTICULTURAL EDUCATION DIRECTOR
HELPS OTHERS -- JUST LIKE SHE WAS HELPED
PAYING IT FORWARD
For young Olga Contreras Martinez, the process was simple: Pick oranges out in the Florida sunshine. Put them in the basket. Tomorrow, it would be grapefruits or tangerines or kumquats. As the seasons change, her family moves to Georgia to harvest peppers, squash, eggplants and green beans.

Martinez no longer picks fruits and vegetables for a living, but she is harvesting young minds and preparing them for productive futures through her new role as
MARTINEZ
multicultural education program director at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.

"I am just here to pay it forward," Martinez said. "I am so grateful for all the people who helped me along the way."

In her new role, Martinez has responsibility over the High School Equivalency Program (HEP), the College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP), the Upward Bound Program, the African-American Male Initiative, and the Consortium Migrant Education Program.

An ABAC employee since 2001 when she was hired as HEP coordinator, Martinez was promoted to the HEP associate director in 2011

"I finally get my wish to be associated with the CAMP Program," Martinez said.  "They used my story and my struggle when I was a student here in 1994 to write the first CAMP grant."

Martinez was a sophomore at Atkinson County High School in 1992 when she participated in a two-week Migrant Education Leadership Program coordinated by Dr. Rosemary Johnson, former ABAC counseling director.

"She talked about college, but I never really thought that plan was for me," Martinez said. "Then, when Dr. Harold Loyd was president of ABAC, he came to speak to 20 students in the group. He told me to make plans to be an ABAC student one day.  I'll never forget what he said: 'If it is to be, it is up to me.' That really affected me."

A 1994 graduate of Atkinson County High School, Martinez began attending ABAC that fall. Marshall Harper, a migrant education program coordinator, helped pave the way.

"My mom wanted me to ask Mr. Harper how much we owed him for helping us," Martinez remembered. "He said that if you really want to pay me, do the same thing for others. Now I get to do that every day."


"Best-Selling Truck for 39 Straight Years"
511 West 7th Street
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EDUCATION FOUNDATION AWARDS
OMEGA SCHOOL FOR READING

Paige Keith, center, liaison to Omega School for the Tift County Foundation for Educational Excellence, presents a check for Accelerated Reader points earned at the Summer Reading Center to school Principal Dr. Victoria Melton, left, and media specialist Lacy Cargle.


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