Friday, Oct. 22, 2021
Tifton, Georgia
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GrapeNew
TIFT GRADUATION RATE HITS RECORD HIGH PERCENTAGE
By FRANK SAYLES JR.
Tifton Grapevine
The Tift County High Class of 2021 has obtained a 91.37% graduation rate, the highest in the school's history, Principal Chad Stone announced Thursday.

The announcement was made in a video message with Stone and Tift County Schools Superintendent Adam Hathaway, who had set a goal when he became superintendent in 2019 to have a high school graduation rate of at least 90%.

The Ga. Department of Education (DOE) announced the 2021 four-year graduation rates on Thursday morning. Tift County’s 91.37% rate is a 5 percentage point increase from last year.

"Our graduation rate is above 90% for the first time ever,” Stone said.

“That is absolutely amazing," Hathaway said. ”This is really big news."

In a press release from Dana R. Spurlin, Tift Schools chief information officer, the school system said “this increase is credited to a renewed focus on student success, stronger partnerships, and positive school culture.

"...Graduation is a culmination of all learning, Pre-K through 12th, and we give credit to all system employees for this success. Dr. Chad Stone's motto 'Better Today Than Yesterday' was a driving force behind achieving this goal. Together, we will continue to 'Relentlessly Pursue a Culture of Excellence' in all Tift County Schools."

The state DOE says it calculates graduation rates as required by federal law: The number of students who graduate in four years with a regular high school diploma, divided by the number of students who form the adjusted cohort for the graduating class.

Statewide, Georgia's high-school graduation rate did not change significantly from 2020 to 2021 – the 2021 rate is 83.7%, compared to 83.8% in 2020. But the statewide graduation rate has increased by 14 percentage points since 2012.

In this year's results, 102 Georgia school districts and 223 schools recorded graduation rates at or above 90%. Thirty-seven districts and 98 schools recorded rates at or above 95%.

Combined with the class of 2021's increases in ACT and SAT scores, this is an encouraging indicator about the work being done in public schools. Teachers and students have continued to succeed in the face of challenging circumstances," said State School Superintendent Richard Woods.

Each year, the state DOE identifies schools that need Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI). Two schools in the state improved enough to exit CSI status: Berrien County Schools' Berrien Academy Performance Learning Center and DeKalb County's Clarkston High School.
THIS WEEKEND TO BRING
COOK COUNTY BBQ COOK-OFF, BERRIEN HARVEST FESTIVAL
By BONNIE SAYLES
Tifton Grapevine
Two area festivals are taking place Saturday, and the weather looks great!

The Cook County Cook-Off Classic Backyard BBQ Contest is back this Saturday for its second time around at the Cook County Livestock Arena, 1811 Elm St., in Sparks.

And the Berrien County Harvest Festival is located on the Square in Nashville with activities from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. A tractor parade at 9:30 a.m. is followed by live music at 10 a.m. and Robinson’s Racing Pigs at the Farmer’s Market. A kid’s tractor pull takes place at 11 a.m., followed by music, line dancing and three more demonstrations of the racing pigs on the Square.

Concerning the Cook County Cook-Off, Heather Green, president of the Adel-Cook County Chamber of Commerce, said “Last year, this was brand new. You know our Daylily Festival we’ve been having for 15 years in the spring. Well, last year, because of the pandemic, we had to cancel.”

The chamber board devised the barbecue festival to make up financial losses, and “It was so successful, we decided to make it an annual event.”

The event kicks off with the Hog Jog 5K run at 8:30 a.m. Saturday. Food Trucks, live music, and BBQ sampling take place from 3-6 p.m. The competition awards ceremony is at 6:30 p.m. Ten teams are competing for cash prizes in the categories of ribs, chicken, brisket, and Brunswick stew.
 
Attendance is free, and plates of five samples are $10. They come with ballots to vote for the People’s Choice awards. The food trucks include a New Orleans truck, a stuffed baked potatoes truck, Pammy Cakes for dessert, and the Southern Snow Biz flavored ice.
TIFT SEES 13 CONFIRMED COVID-19 CASES, 3 DEATHS IN PAST WEEK, DPH SAYS
By FRANK SAYLES JR.
Tifton Grapevine
Tift County has reported 13 new confirmed COVID-19 cases and three related deaths during the past week, according to data Thursday from the Ga. Department of Public Health (DPH).

During the past two weeks, Tift County recorded 45 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 76 total cases when rapid Antigen positive cases are added, the DPH said.

Tift County’s confirmed cases in the past two weeks represent 110 cases per 100,000 population, and 186 cases with Antigen positives. Tift's testing positivity rate for the virus was 6.3% during the two-week period, the DPH reported.

There have been a total of 4,846 confirmed cases and 132 deaths in Tift since the pandemic began, according to DPH data.

On Thursday, the DPH reported 1,014 new confirmed cases within 24 hours in Georgia, along with 567 new Antigen cases, 80 additional related deaths, and 190 new hospitalizations. The state has recorded a total of 1,256,278 cases with 24,239 deaths, the DPH reported.

According to DPH data, as of Thursday afternoon 39% of eligible Tift countians were fully vaccinated against the virus, while statewide the number was 49%.
ABAC TO DEDICATE HISTORY ROOM TO MIKE CHASON
Using his signature salutation, it will be "a great day under the blue skies at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College" on Nov. 5 when longtime Public Relations Director Mike Chason is honored with the dedication of the History Room in ABAC's Tift Hall.

“During the past 42 years, Mike Chason has put in countless hours for the betterment of Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College,” said President David Bridges. “He is the official historian of the college, and it is quite fitting that we dedicate the History Room in his honor.”

Bridges said the ground-floor room in the historic ABAC administration building will become the Michael D. Chason ABAC History Room in a ceremony at 11 a.m. Nov. 5. The public is invited.

“This is a tremendous honor, and I appreciate the faith and trust that ABAC has placed in me over the past 42 years,” Chason said. “When I began my career here in 1979, I had one goal in mind, and that was to spread the good word about ABAC to as many people as possible on a daily basis.”

Chason retired from ABAC in 2011 after a distinguished 32-year career as the director of public relations. He was selected for the E. Lanier Carson Award as ABAC’s top administrator in 2002 and has received the Pacesetter and Superior Pacesetter awards from the ABAC student newspaper. Chason returned to work part-time at ABAC and in 2012, he was named public relations director emeritus.

The Ga. Education Advancement Council honored Chason with its annual Communications Award in 1994 and with its Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010. He was the organization's president in 1991 and chair of the University System of Georgia Public Relations Administrative Committee in 1993.

The Tifton Kiwanis Club recognized Chason as a Hixson Fellow in 2001. A past president of the club, Chason received the Kiwanian of the Year award in 1991 and the Legion of Honor in 2010 for 30 years of service.

A native of Lakeland, Chason was instrumental in creating the collection of materials, pictures, and artifacts in the History Room. The venue displays the history of ABAC from the first day of classes in 1908 through recent years. Chason has also compiled a 287-page history of ABAC on the college’s website.

He is a former sports editor of The Valdosta Daily Times and has been the voice of Valdosta State University basketball for 31 years.
Ms. ABAC Bridget Dixson poses outside the ABAC building at the Sunbelt Ag Expo. She sang the National Anthem on Thursday to kickoff the Expo's final day.
TIFTON WELL-REPRESENTED AT SUNBELT AG EXPO
By FRANK SAYLES JR.
Tifton Grapevine
The 43rd Annual Sunbelt Agricultural Exposition – North America’s Premier Farm Show – successfully ended its three-day run Thursday at Moultrie's Spence Field, and the Tiftarea was well-represented.

Many of the vendors and agricultural equipment companies were from the greater Tifton area, as were farmers, visitors, and officials. Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, the University of Georgia Tifton Campus, Southern Regional Technical College, and the Tifton-based Georgia Peanut Commission were all well-represented.

Personnel with the Tifton-Tift County Tourism Commission staffed the media room; and Bridget Dixson, the reiging Ms. ABAC and a junior agriculture communication major, sang the National Anthem to begin the final day of the Expo on Thursday.

This year's Sunbelt Ag Expo, which was canceled in 2020 because of the pandemic, was an "ultra success," said Chip Blalock, the executive director. More than 1,200 exhibitors displayed and demonstrated products at the 100-acre show site.

Plans are already underway for next year's Expo, set for Oct. 18-20, 2022
Among Tiftonites at the Sunbelt Ag Expo were Michael and John Bowen exhibiting their invention BevMate, a magnetic cup holder that attaches to any metal surface, such as toolboxes, work vehicles, lawn mowers, tractors, and RV's.
TIFT COUNTY 'LIGHTS UP' TO SUPPORT LOCAL CHILDREN AND YOUTH
The eighth annual "Go Light Up Your World" Tift County event had 110 participating sites Wednesday evening, and many pictures of the luminaria were shared on Facebook with the hashtag #lightyourworldtift21. 

"Tift County was a beautiful place to be with all the community coming together with displays of lights showing support for the children and youth of Tift County," said Lillie McEntyre, executive director of the Tift County Commission on Children and Youth.

"It is a wonderful feeling to know that our youth are so well supported."

The event started in 2015 as a way of showing opposition to the growing presence of gangs at the time and has evolved to emphasize the community's concern for the safety, health, and wellbeing of local children and youth
WOODMENLIFE VOLUNTEER TO REHAB LOCAL AGENCY'S PROPERTY
Representatives of WoodmenLife recently pressure-washed, painted, repaired, and landscaped the house and property for Tift County Commission for Children and Youth (TCCCY).

The Woodmen organization is committed to community care and volunteered to rehabilitate the house where TCCCY has been located for more than 15 years, replacing the mailbox and latticework trim, removing dead shrubbery, and mulching.
TIFTON
2012 Pineview Ave., Tifton, Ga 31793
Baltimore Ravens photo
Baltimore Ravens' first-round draft pick Rashod Bateman, right, of Tifton, makes a catch during Sunday's game against the Los Angeles Chargers.
TIFTON'S BATEMAN MAKES NFL DEBUT
Tifton's Rashod Bateman finally made his NFL debut last Sunday as his Baltimore Ravens defeated the Los Angeles Chargers, and Bateman is getting positive reviews.

After missing the beginning of the football season recovering from surgery for a groin injury, Bateman, the former Tift County High Blue Devils star, caught four passes for 29 yards in the victory. All four of Bateman's catches went for first downs with three them ultimately leading to Ravens' touchdowns.

"He made some key first-down catches," Coach John Harbaugh said of Bateman after the game. "I liked that he caught it, put it away, and got straight up field. It’s a simple thing, but in the NFL, it’s not an easy thing to learn, and he did a great job of that.”

Harbaugh did note that Bateman's performance wasn't perfect. The wide receiver missed a pass in the fourth quarter that resulted in a Chargers interception.

“That’s the one he’ll probably learn the most from, but he was good," Harbaugh told the press.

Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson also praised Bateman.

"He looked pretty good for his first game back – his first NFL game," Jackson said. "He was making tough catches, getting north, getting up field. He did great," the quarterback told CBS Sports.
WEARING PURPLE FOR
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS
Members of the GFWC Tifton Woman's Club on Thursday donated toiletry items to Ruth's Cottage, along with a check for $250 to purchase a fundraising brick in the walk at the administrative offices, in recognition of Wear Purple Day for Domestic Violence Awareness. Pictured are, from left, Nancy Nehring, Club President Genie McCook, Ruth's Cottage-The Patticake House Executive Director Nancy Bryan, Karen Hendricks, Darlene Moran, Bonnie Sayles, and Debbie Thompson. Prevention of domestic violence is a national issue for the General Federation of Women's Clubs (GFWC). 
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YOUR GUIDE TO ACTIVITIES THIS WEEKEND IN THE TIFTAREA

Friday, Oct. 22, is National Nut Day, an observance to remind us of the health benefits of snacking on nuts, which are an important part of our local economy with peanuts and pecans.
FRIDAY, OCT. 22
  • Tifton City Tire Amnesty & Electronic Recycling, 8:30 a.m.-Noon, Cato Knight Parking Lot, Downtown Tifton
  • Unleashed Escape Room, 5 p.m., Ga. Museum of Agriculture, Tifton
  • Tift County High Blue Devils football vs. Camden County High Wildcats, 7:30 p.m., Brodie Field, Tifton
  • Tiftarea Academy Panthers football (Homecoming) vs. Brookwood School Warriors, 7:30 p.m., Chula

SATURDAY, OCT. 23
  • Tifton City Tire Amnesty & Electronic Recycling, 8:30 a.m.-Noon, Cato Knight Parking Lot, Downtown Tifton
  • Cook County Cook-Off Classic Backyard BBQ: Hog Jog 5K - 8:30 a.m; Music, BBQ, Food Trucks - 3-6 p.m., Cook County Livestock Arena, 1811 N. Elm St., Sparks
  • Wiregrass Farmers Market, 9 a.m.-Noon, Ga. Museum of Agriculture, Tifton
  • Berrien County Harvest Festival, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., Nashville
  • Free Genealogy Session, 10 a.m., Blue and Gray Museum, Fitzgerald
  • Family Costume Party for the Tiftarea, 6 p.m., Leroy Rogers Center, Tifton
  • Halloween Carnival, 6 p.m., Jefferson Davis Memorial Historic Site, Irwinville
TIFTON GRAPEVINE'S DOG OF THE WEEK
Kodak," a male pooch, is available for adoption at the Tift County Animal Shelter. If you're interested in adopting Kodak and providing him a good home, visit the Tift County Animal Shelter on Highway 125 South between 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  
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OCTOBER 14
Nina “Faye” Taylor, 87, Tifton
Peggy Stinson Bennett, 76, Enigma
Ernest Royce Bishop Sr., 80, Tifton
Alice Marie Harper, 66, Gaffney, S.C., formerly of Ocilla
Kaye Bailey Goodwin Medcalf, 77, Tifton
Vigene Fullwood Jordan, 74, Abbeville, formerly of Fitzgerald

OCTOBER 15
Peggy Jean Parks Evans, 89, Ty Ty
Bertha Duren Rountree, 79, Sparks
Emery "Gene" Haviland, Worth County
Robert Milton “Bob” Battle, 82, Nashville
Betty Jean Fulford Dorminy, 85, Fitzgerald

OCTOBER 16
Merrill Larue Rigsby, 98, Tifton
James Dyman Cool, 74, Poulan
Thomas Lester “Shorty” McGrady, 78, Florida, formerly of Alapaha
Henry Lewis Stokes, 68, Omega
Brian K. Young, 50, Fitzgerald
Amanda Busbin Walters, 30, Fitzgerald
Jimmie Trawick, Ashburn
Lasonya Evett Wilburn, 44, Tifton

OCTOBER 17
Rhunelle Golden Branch, 95, Chula
Patricia "Pat" Collier Shiver, 80, Sylvester
Vera Owen, 107, Crestview, Fla., formerly of Ashburn

OCTOBER 18
Jimmie Darvin Vaughn, 82, Tifton
Charles Wynnton Bass, 85, Elgin, S.C., formerly of Warwick
Peggy Ann Brewer Davidson, 67, Tifton
James “Jimmy” MacNamara, 49, Fitzgerald

OCTOBER 19
Jimmie Sue Crumbley, 79, Adel
Venita “Jo” Breckenridge Andrew, 81, Tifton
Luther Leston “L.L.” Denton Jr., 84, Osierfield
Graham Mason Emrich, 6, Adel
Gary Cobb, 56, Tifton
Ellen Marie Holton, 77, Tifton

OCTOBER 20
James “Jim” Robert Sanderson, 68, Tifton
Sibbie Tomberlin Anderson, 90, Yulee, Fla., formerly of Worth County
Rachel Pearson Barfield, 74, Tifton

OCTOBER 21
Dollie McSwain, 88, Tifton
Annis Marchant McMillian, 67, Tifton
Paul Bryan Dunn, 92, Fitzgerald

Tifton Grapevine
e-published every Tuesday and Friday

Frank Sayles Jr.
Editor & Publisher
Bonnie Sayles
Managing Editor
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