Friday, January 15, 2021
Tifton, Georgia
Tifton Grapevine
Georgia stepped up its COVID-19 vaccinations Thursday as the state recorded its third consecutive day of more than 100 deaths from the virus, while cases continue declining slightly in Tift County.

Meanwhile, Tift County Schools says it plans to remain on its rotational “Yellow" status at least through Jan. 22.

A new U.S. News and World report ranks Georgia last in vaccinating residents against the coronavirus. The report claims that fewer than 1.3 percent of Georgians have received a vaccine.

However, the state refutes that and says hospitals are behind in their reporting. On Thursday, the state said about 326,000 doses of the vaccine have been given, a 43,000 increase from the previous day.

But related deaths continue to rise in the Peach State with 142 recorded within 24 hours. Georgia also had 6,407 cases reported Thursday, bringing the total to 660,720; there have been a total 10,721 deaths in the state since the pandemic began.

Tift County’s case numbers, while still high, continue dropping from its record average daily cases of 126 per 100,000 population recorded Jan. 3 and 4, according to data from Emory University. Tift's average daily cases as of Jan. 13 was 81.

During the past two weeks, Tift County has had 218 new cases, translating to 534 per 100,000 population, the Ga. Department of Public Health (DPH) said. Tift's total cases have reached 3,107, with 76 deaths reported.

Tift County Schools said this week that "after careful consideration and conversations with both DPH and Tift Regional Medical Center, the decision has been made to remain on Yellow' status through Jan. 22 ... We will evaluate the numbers again next week to make a decision for the following week."
U.S. Rep. Austin Scott, R-Tifton, voted against impeaching President Donald J. Trump in the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday.

The House voted 232-197 to impeach Trump, with 10 Republicans joining Democrats to charge the president with incitement of insurrection.

"Make no mistake about it – these calls for President Trump’s removal would not be happening without the leader of the Democratic Party, President-elect Joe Biden’s, support," Scott said in a written statement.

"Speaker Pelosi and liberal Democrats seek to further divide our nation rather than work towards unity – unity that many on both sides of the aisle have stated is critical for our country at this time. I voted no on the 25th Amendment resolution and the article of impeachment against President Trump," the Tifton congressman said.

Last week, Scott voted to accept the Electoral College results certifying Biden as the incoming president. At that time, Scott said that "Congress does not have the constitutional authority to overturn a state’s electoral votes, nor does the vice president, and I believe my decision to support the Electoral College fulfills my sworn oath to the Constitution."

Scott had previously joined with more than 120 other GOP members of Congress backing Texas' attempt to overturn the results of Georgia's presidential election, The U.S. Supreme Court in December rejected that attempt to undo Biden’s election wins in the key swing states of Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Those members of Congress had joined the Texas lawsuit after all 50 states had already certified their election results and the U.S. Department of Justice had said that no evidence of widespread fraud had been uncovered.
Monday is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and while it’s still a holiday the day's observances will be different this year with the pandemic.

A free, virtual "Black YOUth Matter Watch Party" is being held online for students in fourth through 12th grades, sponsored by the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority's Sigma Alpha Omega Chapter of Tifton.

The event will be held online via Zoom from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Monday with music, door prizes and discussion of social issues and "why black YOUth matter."

Registration, which is free, is required. Students in grades four and five must be accompanied by an adult.

To register, Click Here!
Dr. Lisa Baxter, assistant professor at the University of Georgia Tifton campus and Extension forage agronomist, has received the Early Career Award from the American Forage and Grassland Council.

She was honored during the organization’s annual conference last week in Savannah.

Additionally, Baxter’s online outreach effort, “Lego Forage Specialist,” won first place in the council’s video contest. In the video, she uses a Lego figure to get her point across about the importance of forage and grasslands.

You can watch her video here on Facebook or by clicking the photo below:
Keep Tift Beautiful's (KTB) residential "Beauty Spot" for January is the McDaniel family’s home at 215 Donaldson St. The KTB group will enter each month's residential winner into a drawing for a $50 gift certificate to Bob's Nursery that be awarded at year's end.
New breakthrough research finds that turfgrasses can be a food source for bees and other pollinators, contrary to past beliefs, says a USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) geneticist in Tifton.

"We have challenged commonly held scientific beliefs and found that a turfgrass serves as a food source for five genera of bees. We suspect other turfgrasses may serve as a food source for pollinators as well," said Dr. Karen Harris-Shultz, a research geneticist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's ARS Crop Genetics and Breeding Research Laboratory in Tifton.

She said turfgrasses sometimes get a "bad rap" for not giving bees and other insect pollinators a helping hand on the food front. But ARS research in partnership with the University of Georgia suggests that reputation is unfair.

The team's findings are published in the November issue of "Insects."

Worldwide, 70 percent of the main crops used for human consumption at partly depend on bees and other pollinators. Yet, worldwide, pollinators have been in decline for decades. Turfgrasses are often blamed with the belief that they are wind-pollinated and thus, useless for pollinators.

"This is vital research as we aim to protect the natural environment of pollinators that are the foundation of our food supply," Harris-Shultz said. "This new knowledge sets the baseline for future research to show that turfgrasses can serve as a food source for pollinators."

Centipedegrass is a popular turfgrass found mainly in the Southeastern U.S. and is known for heat tolerance and low maintenance, but prior research had suggested it is of little use to pollinators.

However, for many years Harris-Shultz had noticed bumblebees and honeybees collecting pollen from the flowers of centipedegrass lawns. She mentioned this to UGA entomologist Shimat Joseph and UGA physiologist David Jespersen. They decided to start research projects to identify pollinators that pass through centipedegrass lawns and differentiate them from insects that directly collect pollen from centipedegrass flowers.

"Our collaboration with the University of Georgia has been exceedingly fruitful," Harris-Shultz said.
The Tiftarea YMCA’s Jason Bishoff, left, recently accepts a donation from Mandy Brooks of the Tift Regional Medical Center Foundation.
The Tift Regional Medical Center Foundation recently donated $15,000 to the Tiftarea YMCA. 

The funds will be used to provide nourishment for the Tiftarea YMCA’s after-school program. Before the pandemic, the program fed 450 to 500 children at eight outreach sites throughout the community in the summer and two after-school sites with approximately 50-60 kids per day during the school year.

The donation was made possible from the foundation’s “Hearts and Diamonds” gala, which assists community projects as well as lifesaving medical equipment for Emergency Medical Services.
Box Drop Mattress & Furniture
163-D Virginia Ave., Tifton
Jan. 8

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 all letters to: and note that it is a Letter to the Editor.
TO THE EDITOR: Along came 2020 and the Tift County Foundation for Educational Excellence (TCFEE) was COVID-battered like just about everything and everybody else. Our traditional fundraiser Lobsterfest" morphed into "Surf & Turf." Allow me to tell the tale...

The idea of Lobsterfest was the brainchild of TCFEE board member Tom Coogle back in 2015. The UGA Tifton Campus under TCFEE board member Joe West offered the pavilion at Black Shank Pond, which turned out to be the perfect venue. The entire 21-member board and many others rallied to produce a fundraising success that has gained momentum each year thereafter. 

There was no way to stick with this polished format in 2020. While I mostly pouted, stronger spirits came to the rescue. Coogle and the veteran Lobsterfest ‘Cooking Team’ of Mike and Judy Bland, and Lamar and Sissy Martin combined determination, ingenuity and hard work to come up with and execute Plan C" (COVID), i.e. cook/prepare a scrumptious Surf & Turf dinner at one location for board members to deliver or host small gatherings. Coogle provided the food, including delicious steaks and boiled shrimp. First United Methodist Church offered its excellent kitchen to allow the Cooking Team to work its magic. TCFEE President Kaylar Howard and the foundation’s directors were nothing short of terrific.

All went incredibly well. Just over $25,000 was added to the foundation’s coffers. Now we just need a plan for the auction. I’m all ears....

Thank all of you who support "Academic Excellence in our Schools."
Mike Brumby
Executive Director
Tift County Foundation for Educational Excellence
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This male pooch, who is 40-45 pounds and five to seven years old, is available for adoption at the Tift County Animal Shelter, located at 278 Georgia Highway 125 S. The shelter is open to the public for adoptions from 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  

Each Friday, area yard sales can be
advertised in this space to reach
thousands of local residents!
Fees are $1 per word, paid in advance
JAN. 6
Margaret Tyson, 96, Nashville
Betty Irene Vickers, 90, Nashville
Sylvia Marie Smith, 67, Fitzgerald
Katheryn H. Barrett, 82, Tifton
Joshua Nichols, 32, Tifton
William Walter Jenkins, 81, Fitzgerald
James E. Echols, 84, Fitzgerald
Helen Jane Harris Fitzgerald, 85, Macon
Brenda Joyce Morgan-Williams, 75, Auburndale, Fla.

JAN. 7
Betty McLain McClanahan, 86, Tifton
Jodi Cawley Medford, 35, Ashburn
Michael Lance Smith, 56, Americus
Michael Dewayne Caulder, 52, Tifton
Almeta Gates Carter, 93, Warwick
Patricia Marion “Pat” MacDonald, 53, Nashville
Alan “Craig” Bishop, 54, Fitzgerald
Gerald H. “Flop” Fletcher, 69, Fitzgerald
Frances Horton, 78, Ashburn
Mack Ellison, 75, Moultrie

JAN. 8
Kathryn Partain Berisford, 81, Leesburg
Linda Kaye Paulk Pope, 72, Ocilla
Willie White Jr., Sylvester
Terry R. Davis Sr., 60, Tifton
Richard David “Pete” Hatten, 81, Fitzgerald

JAN. 9
John Melvin “Butch” Davis, 75, Tifton
Estelle Norman Hilliard, 98, Tifton
Betty Rose Shivers Sumner, 87, Tifton
Nora Pettiford, 76, Tifton
Willie B. Bell, 90, Tifton
Robert Sidney Ross, 79, Ocilla
Marion P. Sandlin, 79, Sylvester
Margaret Mitchell, 82, Fitzgerald
Evelena R. Carter, 78, Palatka, Fla.
Kelvin Pollard, 44, Moultrie

JAN. 10
Luther S. Emerson Sr, 77, Lee County
Gary Parker, 61, Sylvester
Dora L. Hornback, 64, Dawson
Fred Shook, 64, Adel
Emma Lou Fauske Rector, 92, Nashville
Earl Easom, 66, Fitzgerald
Edward Lester Rogers, 80, Dixie

JAN. 11
Joe Wallace, 82, Sparks
James "Ricky" White, 61, Douglas
Ruthie Lee Gray Gordon, 94, Ty Ty

JAN. 12
Robert Pilkinton, 84, Tifton
Roberto “El Primo” Garcia Torres Sr., 58, Tifton
William Charles Lohsen, 94, Tifton
Donald Millar MacDonald, 96,
Roger L. Rutherford, 68, Sylvester
Diane Bellamy, 64, Fitzgerald
Martha Lynn Simpson, 67,
James Arthur Woodruff, 86, Sycamore

JAN. 13
Jake Lamar Coker, 68, Enigma
Penny Peters, 57, Omega
Pearl Graydon, 86, Tifton
Jessie James Durham, 57, Tifton
Mildred Louise Bozeman Patterson, 94, Scooterville
David Thomas Wimberly, 68, Nashville
Myra Latham Jones, 84, Fitzgerald

JAN. 14
Reggie Terrell, Valdosta
Tifton Grapevine
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