Friday, August 27, 2021
Tifton, Georgia
Tifton Grapevine
Tift County's unemployment rate fell dramatically in July, dropping to 2.6% from June's 4% jobless rate, but that doesn’t mean the county is nearing full employment, officials say; instead, Tift's labor force declined during the month.

Local businesses continue to have difficulty filling positions, with some businesses having to curtail operations because of a lack of staff.

Ashley Mobley, Tifton branch manager of Labor Finders, said that Tift's low unemployment rate is not “a reflection at all of what we are seeing.” She said more than 100 jobs are available through her client businesses.

"Job retention is more of a problem," she said. "The turnover rate is 85% at some of our companies. I’m not sure why.”

Tift County's current unemployment rate is in line with the statewide drop of 1.3% in July, Kersha Cartwright of the Ga. Department of Labor (DOL) told the Tifton Grapevine on Thursday after releasing the preliminary statistics.

"In Tift County, the labor force dropped by 205, the number of employed increased by 90, and the number of unemployed dropped by 295, so the primary reason for the drop in the unemployment rate was a decrease in the labor force," Cartwright explained.

The labor force is considered to be county residents aged 16 and older.

Dr. Renata Elad, dean of the Stafford School of Business at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, said the jobless rate is based upon how the government calculates the numbers.

"Unemployment is determined by the number of people without jobs who recently had jobs and/or are actively searching for jobs. People not searching for jobs are eventually dropped from the count of unemployment after a given period. Unemployment rate equals unemployed/labor force," Elad told the Tifton Grapevine.

"If a sizable number of people who were previously categorized as unemployed are no longer actively searching, it is possible for that to impact the overall calculations of the unemployment rate. This means it is possible that the recent decrease in unemployment reflects a decrease in unemployment, which itself is the result of people no longer actively searching for work," Elad said. 

Initial unemployment insurance claims in Tift County fell from 478 in June to 193 in July, a 60% decrease, with most of it in the accommodations and food services sector, said the DOL's Cartwright.
Potential employees meet with the 41 local businesses and agencies at Thursday's Job Fair sponsored by the Tifton-Tift County Chamber of Commerce.
Tifton Grapevine
Representatives of 41 local businesses and at least 100 job-seekers interacted Thursday at the first Job Fair sponsored by the Tifton-Tift County Chamber of Commerce at the Tift County Recreation Department.
“It’s been steady ever since they opened the doors. Nonstop. I was shocked,” said Lynda Turner, area market manager for Georgia Living Senior Home Care.

“I contribute the success of this event to all the advertising and promotion the Chamber did. The candidates have been good, too,” she said. “They are dressed for interviews. They are engaged and asking good questions.” 

Turner said the shift is changing with more people who are already employed looking for better jobs.

“We spoke to that. We listen to their pain points and speak to their needs,” she said. As if to punctuate her comment, Stephanie Davis stepped up to the table, saying she works in Moultrie, lives in Tifton, and wants to find something closer to home. Davis’ friend, Fajysien Jones, recently left a job that wasn’t a good fit and wanted to get back in line with her career choice, being a certified nursing assistant.
Taurus Morgan, owner of Tifton McDonald's, and his wife, Ashley, the hiring manager, were showing applicants how to use QR codes to apply for jobs. “We’re telling them how much the salary is for various management positions and talking about employee benefits such as college tuition reimbursement,” Morgan said. 

Brenda Thomson, patient care advocate with Vision Source, said, “We feel we have a good strong list of applicants.” They have openings in optical sales and a clinic technician.

Ashley Mobley, Tifton branch manager of Labor Finders, said, “This is the best job fair ever. … the best turnout that I’ve seen in a long time. We’ve got some great prospects.” 

Dion Hale, recruiter for Coca-Cola United, said his company “had a real good turnout. We’ve talked with over 40 people.” He said he has 39 positions to be filled, including Class A CDL drivers.

“This is the best job fair I’ve been to in the last 10 years,” said Amanda Brock with Quality Employment. “I am very impressed; it’s refreshing to me that people are eager to get back out. It’s been nonstop.”

“It’s been so fabulous,” said Eve Copeland-Brechbiel, the Chamber of Commerce communications manager. “This was Melody’s idea, and she’s only been with the Chamber for four months.”

Melody Cowart is the recently hired Chamber president and chief executive officer.

Asked why she organized and hosted the Chamber’s first job fair in decades, if ever, Cowart said she “felt it was something that our community needed. I’m glad it was a success, and this is something that we’ll continue to do.”

Lynda Floyde, Chamber membership manager, said in the 22 years she has been at the Tifton-Tift County Chamber of Commerce, there hasn’t been a job fair. “All our members have called us asking for help hiring people, so this was to help our membership,” she said.
Tifton Grapevine
Suspected COVID-19 cases in Tift County during the past two weeks total nearly 3% of the county's population, based on data Thursday from the Ga. Department of Public Health (DPH).

Tift's PCR and rapid Antigen positive cases total 1,103 for the period, the DPH reported.

PCR tests confirm the virus' genetic material in a person, while rapid Antigen tests look for an antigen or a protein of the COVID-19 virus. The Antigen test gets results quicker but is considered less reliable.

There were 449 confirmed coronavirus cases in Tift during the past 14 days, the DPH reported, representing 1,100 cases per 100,000 population. Total cases including Antigen results represent 2,701 cases per 100,000 population, the DPH said.

During the two-week period, Tift had a 23% test positivity rate.

Latest statistics from the Georgia Coordinating Center, which tracks patient distribution in state hospitals, continues to list Tift Regional Medical Center (TRMC) on ICU/critical care diversion, which means new critical-care patients are being diverted to other hospitals, and notes that TRMC's critical-care unit is at a "saturated" level.

There have been 4,394 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Tift County since the beginning of the pandemic reporting with 108 related deaths.

On Thursday, the DPH reported 7,917 new confirmed cases within 24 hours in Georgia, along with 3,194 new Antigen cases and 87 additional related deaths. The state has recorded a total of 1,056,788 cases with 19,451 deaths, the DPH reported.
A Tifton man is charged with felony murder in the shooting death Saturday night of another Tifton man, according to the Tifton Police Department.

Ernest Branner, 32, was taken into police custody and charged with felony murder. Tifton Police said they are still investigating, and additional charges are pending.

At approximately 11:20 p.m. Saturday, Tifton Police responded to the 600 block of E. 6th Street in reference to a gunshot victim. There, officers found Adarius Dennard, 24, with gunshot wounds. He was transported to Tift Regional Medical Center, where he died on Sunday as a result of his injuries, police said.

Tifton Police said that no other details are being released right now, because the investigation is still active.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call police Detective Ryan Kelly at 229-382-3132 or the Tifton Police Department Tip Line at 229-391-3991
A retired educator died in a house fire outside Adel early Wednesday, authorities said.

At 1:54 a.m. Wednesday, the Cook County Fire Department was dispatched to a house fire on Caulie Harris Road just outside Adel.

Vera Walker Jones, who lived at the residence, died in the fire.

The Cook County Sheriff’s Office was first on the scene and said the fire had spread in the house and its roof had already collapsed when deputies arrived. A small shed was also burning.

"Due to the circumstances involving the fire, the State Fire Marshal’s Office was contacted to investigate," the Cook County Fire Department said.
Tifton Grapevine
Jason Bishoff, CEO of the Tiftarea YMCA, told the Tifton Rotary Club on Wednesday that when he became CEO, he had three goals: “Get us out of debt, build partnerships, and have an after-school program.” 

In the past two and a half months, he said, the Y has paid down $200,000 in debt. It also provides two after-school programs at no charge to participants, at Springfield Baptist Church and Traveler’s Rest Missionary Baptist Church.

Bishoff said the Y has seen kids in their programs improve a letter grade, while also giving them something positive to do rather than “run the streets.” 

“At the YMCA, we’re involved in kid’s lives for generations to come, and adults' lives as well,” Bishoff said. The after-school programs provide a safe environment, a meal, tutoring, and working with participants in sports.
The Y also has a paid after-school program at Crossview Baptist, and holiday camps when school is out. When schools were closed during the pandemic, the Y ran a School Out program, helping students with virtual classes. Summer camps were held at First Baptist and Victory Baptist churches. 

Dustin McAlpin, YMCA health, wellness and development coordinator, told Rotarians about the LiveStrong program, a free, 12-week initiative that enables cancer survivors to reclaim their health, wellness, and quality of life.

“It enables us to serve this community and let those families facing cancer know they are not alone,” McAlpin said. “Three of five individuals will have cancer at some time. During treatment, energy levels are low and they are fatigued.”

Trainers will work with participants to gain their strength back.

The Y's first Cancer Awareness Walk will be held on Saturday, Oct. 2, at the track behind the YMCA. It is free to participate, and sponsors are asked to donate in honor of someone they know who has had cancer. All proceeds are going back into the LiveStrong program to help local families battling cancer.
Southern Regional Technical College (SRTC) recently recognized exceptional students achieving the President’s List and Dean’s List for the summer term, which ended July 30.

In order to qualify for the President’s List, students must earn a grade of “A” in all coursework attempted and be enrolled in 12 semester credit hours or more. 

The President’s List includes: Jaycey Reddick of Adel; Crystal Tronnes of Chula, Abigail Elrod of Doerun; Christa Stokes of Fitzgerald; Shanna Entrekin of Sumner; Amanda Miss, Jessica Fowler, and Tyler Lasseter of Sycamore; Nathan Jackson, Chris Luke, Kelly Halstead, Tonya Harp, Aubrey Hill, Anna Douglas, Sarah Leverett, Kowavie Toney, Cameron Mathis, Brittney Taylor, and Devin Wimberley of Tifton; and Charles McWilliams of Ty Ty.

To qualify for Dean’s List students must have completed between 9 and 11 semester credit hours and have earned an A in all coursework attempted.

The summer Dean’s List includes: Emily Steverson of Alapaha; Rebekah Hughes of Ashburn; Shelby Braswell and Olivia Walker of Lenox; Brooke Young and Mason Sellars of Nashville; Hunter Barnes and Alexius Holton of Norman Park; Alexandria Bennett of Omega; Brianna Roberts of Sparks; Kourtney Barfield of Sylvester; Anayali Rangel, Arturo Vicente, Rodrique Taylor, Allison Smith, Brittany Chapman, Patricia Sanderson, Julia Gil, Allyson Gaskins, Aaliyah Brantley, Agustin Olguin, Jaime Gomez Rodriguez, Sidney Lawson, Elizabeth Barber, and Gabriel Langston of Tifton; James Webb, Kole Gray, and Charles Cottle of Ty Ty.
Tifton’s Locally Owned Digital Newspaper
To Subscribe, Click Here!

Your free subscription allows you to receive our MidWeek and Weekender editions in your in-box, along with occasional Sponsored Editions.

Your subscription is free because of the support of local advertisers.
Please support the businesses and organizations who make this possible.

To Contact Us, Call 478-227-7126

This Saturday, Aug. 28, is National Red Wine Day.
Red wines, including merlot, pinot noir, Bordeaux, cabernet sauvignon, and blends like shiraz, don’t always have to rest at a temperature of between 65-70 degrees before you can enjoy a glass. In fact, some experts say it’s perfectly acceptable to refrigerate red wines and drink them cold, especially during hot weather.
  • Tift County High Blue Devils football (Senior Night) vs. Dutchtown High Bulldogs, 7:30 p.m., Brodie Field, Tifton
  • Tiftarea Academy Panthers vs. Central Fellowship Christian Academy Lancers, 7:30 p.m., Panther Pit, Chula
  • Marshall Tucker Band, 7:30 p.m., Albany Municipal Auditorium, Albany

  • Kids at Art, 10 a.m., Tifton Museum of Arts & Heritage, Tifton
  • Tom Petty Tribute, 7 p.m., Big Stump Creek Music Park, Ocilla
“Hershey," a male pooch, is available for adoption at the Tift County Animal Shelter on Highway 125 S. To see all pets available, visit the shelter 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  
Kenneth Wayne "Buddy" Evans Sr., 79, Sumner
Norman R. Lorenzen, 86, Rebecca
LeiAnna McClearen Ishler, 45, Biloxi, Miss.
Shirley Ann McKellar, 86, Norman Park

Walter Randall "Randy" Brooks, 55, Tifton
John David Lambert, 71, Sylvester
Ethel Davis, 74, Ashburn
Clifford Dale Ulmer, 68, Ray City
Mel Marie Watson, 83, Nashville
Ricky Emory Padgett, 54, Fitzgerald
Charles J. “Chuck” Muzzey, 89, Ocilla
Lillis Beasley Lavender, 93, Ashburn 
Lois Marie Simmons, 86, Adel

Celia Annette Yates Walls, Adel

Agustin Arias-Hernandez, 44, Tifton
Mark Alan Burchett Sr., 58, Worth County
Billy Lee Evans, 79, Poulan
Lucy "Merle" Coker Slater, 82, Lady Lake, Fla., formerly of South Georgia
Cynthia Jeannine “Jeannie” Baggett Steed, 42, Tifton
Warren Wiseman, 73, Tifton
Christine M. Willis, 74, Tifton
Mary “Evelyn” Dawson, 86, Tallahassee, Fla., formerly of Fitzgerald
Joyce Ann Foreman, 80, Fitzgerald
Judy Ann Meadows, 71, Lenox

Sara Frances Howell Gibbs, 88, Tifton
Yvonne Marie Blalock McKellar, 72, Valdosta, formerly of Tifton
Joann Joseph, 63, Tifton
James “Jim” Andrew Owens, 57, Ocilla
Jed Earl Jackson, 62, Brookfield
Benjamin Eurey “Ben” Flowers, 40, Nashville
Tyrone Lester, 50, Tifton
Deacon Rudolph Mason, 93, Tifton
Kathy Louise Paul, 66, Worth County

Javier Martinez Paredes, 52, Omega
Ruthie Jean Ferguson 85, Tifton
Dontae Walker-Dedrick, Tifton
James Carol Wiggins, 70, Rochelle
Jimmy Alexander, 74, Fitzgerald

L.V. McClain, 89, Adel
Tifton Grapevine
e-published every Tuesday and Friday

Frank Sayles Jr.
Editor & Publisher
Bonnie Sayles
Managing Editor
A Service of Sayles Unlimited Marketing LLC, Tifton, Georgia