Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2021
Tifton, Georgia
GrapeNew
TIFT LEADING STATE IN DAILY AVERAGE OF NEW COVID-19 CASES
TIFT COUNTY SEES HIGHEST DAILY CASE AVERAGE
OF PANDEMIC AS HOSPITAL REMAINS CROWDED
By FRANK SAYLES JR.
Tifton Grapevine
Tift County is experiencing a dramatic rise in COVID-19 cases, leading the state in the daily average of new cases and far surpassing the county’s previous daily average set in January, according to data from state and federal sources.

As of Aug. 16, Tift was averaging 188 new cases daily per 100,000 population, far exceeding every county in Georgia, according to Emory University's Health Equity Dashboard. In comparison, Georgia’s daily average was 55 cases per 100,000, and the U.S. average was 40, according to Emory.

Tift County’s previous daily average high was 126.4 cases per 100,000 on Jan. 4.

According to the Ga. Department of Public Health (DPH), Tift has recorded 421 confirmed coronavirus cases during the past two weeks – but the county’s number rises dramatically to 6,542 new cases for the period when the rapid Antigen tests are added.

Tift's confirmed cases represent 1,031 per 100,000 population, the DPH reported Tuesday, along with a 22.1% test positivity rate. There have been a total of 4,078 confirmed cases in Tift County with 106 related deaths, the DPH said.

Meanwhile, Tift Regional Medical Center's emergency department remains "severely overcrowded” and is still on critical-care diversion, which means the Tifton hospital is not accepting new critical patients, says the Georgia Coordinating Center for hospitals.

The University of Georgia Extension is offering a free drive-thru vaccination clinic from 8 a.m.-noon this Thursday, Aug. 19, at the UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center. No appointment is needed for the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine, and UGA giveaways will be available while they last.

Southwell Medical Clinic (formerly Affinity Clinic) is also offering COVID-19 vaccinations through Sept. 9 at 2225 Highway 41 N. in Tifton. The community can also receive vaccinations at Southwell’s WorkSmart Occupational Health clinic in Tifton at 4468 Union Road.

Vaccinations are by appointment only. For either of the above locations, request an
appointment online at www.MySouthwell.com/Vaccine/ or call 229-353-2200.

On Tuesday, Georgia recorded a total of more than 1 million confirmed COVID-19 cases, reaching 1,000,872 with 19,044 related deaths, the DPH reported. Within 24 hours, the state saw 4,257 confirmed cases, 24 deaths, and 220 additional hospitalizations.
PREP FOOTBALL'S OPPONENT:
COVID-19 HITS SCHEDULES
The pandemic is causing some prep football schedules to be reshuffled this weekend, including in Tifton.

The Tift County High Blue Devils are still scheduled to open their regular season Friday night at Brodie Field but against a different team than was initially scheduled. Westover High in Albany will come to Tifton rather than Crisp County High, which canceled because of COVID-19 cases affecting the team.

Westover was free to visit the Brodie after scheduled opponent Sumter County canceled because of the coronavirus.

In Fitzgerald, Friday night's scheduled game against Cairo has been postponed until Friday, Sept. 17. Fitzgerald High is going through COVID-19 protocols as its number of cases continue to rise.
Dr. Gary Burtle and Dr. Greg Fonsah, both of UGA Tifton and wearing khaki pants, meet with farmers and stakeholders in Nigeria, West Africa, about new farming techniques involving growing rice and producing fish together.
UGA TIFTON PROFESSORS WORK WITH NIGERIAN FARMERS ON INTEGRATING RICE-FISH PRODUCTION
Two professors from the University of Georgia's Tifton campus have just returned from Southern and Northwestern Nigeria, West Africa, where they worked with farmers on integrating rice and fish production together.
 
Dr. Gary Burtle of UGA's Department of Animal & Dairy Science and Dr. Esendugue Greg Fonsah, professor in the UGA Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, said their research and extension activities covered two major states in Nigeria.

Although the integrated rice-fish technology transfer project has been successful in Asia, scientists in the United States, Nigeria and Italy are bringing the technology to farmers in Nigeria

This grant project is sponsored by the U.S. Agency for International Development and is a collaboration among UGA, the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, West Africa, and the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, Italy.  

The project's primary objectives are to develop integrated rice-fish production technology, develop management practices among farmers and stakeholders, and to determine productivity, profitability margins and the willingness for producers to adopt this new technology along with consumers' willingness to consume fish and rice produced from an integrated farming system. 

Burtle and Fonsah visited fish-rice research sites in communities that are the most vulnerable to food and nutrition insecurity compared to other Nigerian states. Including integrated fish production in their rice fields would be beneficial to these farmers by helping to "reduce the exponential cost and (increase) access to fish in these vulnerable communities and populations," the professors said. 

"It will improve nutritional status and economic well-being of the farmer household. It will further provide employment and entrepreneurship opportunities, especially for women and youths. Moreover, it will boost the general economy of these states by triggering and empowering the value-chain actors and diversifying food productivity, and increase smallholder farmer profitability and improved resilience from having an alternative source of livelihood.”
  
Fonsah and Burtle said that by the end of the project, it's anticipated that a minimum of 200 farmers and 45 extension workers in the two selected states of Nigeria (Kebbi, Ebonyi) will benefit and be trained through the farm diversification process, with at least 40% of the farmers being female and youths.
CHI-TOWN TRANSIT AUTHORITY TO BRING MUSIC OF 'CHICAGO' TO TIFTON, BENEFITTING LOCAL LIBRARY
Chi-Town Transit Authority, a tribute group to the band "Chicago," is coming to Tifton on Sept. 30 for a night of memorable music, fine food and spirited dancing to benefit the Tifton-Tift County Public Library.

Sponsored by the Tifton-Tift County Public Library Foundation as a fundraiser for the library, Chi-Town Transit Authority is an 8-piece group dedicated to reproducing the "Chicago" concert experience. Chi-Town achieves this by featuring the powerful horns, dynamic vocal harmonies and rocking rhythm section for which the band Chicago is famous.

Chi-Town's emphasis is on the kind of live show that brings down the house and makes the audience get up and dance.

All of Chicago’s big hits from “25 or 6 to 4" to "Saturday in the Park" to “Colour My World,” and "Does Anybody Really Know What Time it Is?” will be covered in this 90-minute concert that offers a fun-filled, live experience.

An optional dinner before the show at the UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center features fine dining and congenial conversation. Reserved sponsor tables are still available for the dinner and show. 

For reserved seating or for show-only tickets, Click Here! A portion of the dinner-show tickets are tax deductible.

This is the only fundraiser for the Tifton-Tift County Public Library Foundation, a 501(c)3 charitable organization that supports the local library. The foundation has awarded more than $80,000 to the library for children’s programming, summer reading programs, books, and online initiatives.

For more information, call Penny Peters, foundation chair, at 229-392-3366.
TIFT FOUNDATION FOR EDUCATIONAL EXCELLENCE RECOGNIZES
YOUNG WRITERS, RECEIVES
DONATION FROM PRINCE TOYOTA
In its first in-person meeting since the pandemic began, the Tift County Foundation for Educational Excellence (TCFEE) board of directors met Monday and recognized two of the student-authors who contributed to the "Tifton Young Writers 2021" book that the foundation and the Rotary Club of Tifton recently published jointly.

From left in the photo above are Kaylar Howard, past TCFEE president who oversaw the foundation's efforts in the book project; current TCFEE President Nathan Johnson; Ridley Sims, a student writer from Tiftarea Academy; Michael Gregus, a student writer from Tift County High School; and Rick Register, past Rotary Club president who oversaw the club's efforts in the book project.

Both Ridley and Michael read excerpts from their stories in the book, which showcases young writers in Tift County and is available for sale in paperback and electronically from Amazon.com

Also during Monday's meeting, Prince Toyota doubled its donation to the Tift County Foundation for Educational Excellence through Toyota Motor Sales dealer match program, making a total $5,000 donation to the foundation.

The Toyota Dealer Match program was established to support local Toyota dealerships and their community involvement by matching dealership contributions to qualifying nonprofits.
 
Pictured below, from left, are TCFEE President Nathan Johnson receiving a check from Heather P. Stripling and Heidi P. Massey of Prince Automotive; at right is TCFEE Executive Director Mike Brumby.
GET COUNTING! GREAT GA POLLINATOR CENSUS SET FOR FRIDAY & SATURDAY
The Census? Wasn’t that last year? Yes, for humans ... but for insects such as bees and butterflies, it’s this weekend!

The Third Great Georgia Pollinator Census is this Friday and Saturday. It is an opportunity to celebrate Georgia's native plants and the insects that pollinate them. The Pollinator Census is a statewide citizen science project, coordinated by the University of Georgia, to collect data on which insect pollinators are active on different plants at different times of the day.

Members of the GFWC Tifton Woman’s Club will join Georgians across the state in the Pollinator Census this weekend. The club is encouraging others to participate.
Georgians will count insects that land on a favorite pollinator plant for 15 minutes, putting these insects into categories.

The Tifton Woman's Club is a member of the General Federation of Women's Clubs (GFWC), and the environment is one of its community service programs (CSP).
 
“It only takes 15 minutes, and you’ll be counting bees, wasps, flies, butterflies and other pollinators at a location of your choice,” says Lisa Smith, environment CSP chair for the Tifton Woman’s Club. “Where will you be counting?” she asks.

Smith says the steps for counting are easy: Take time now to pick a location in your yard or a nearby park that has a pollinator plant that shows insect activity.

“Take a counting sheet (you can print one from the project website here) and a pencil, along with your phone or another timer, to the garden. Get comfortable with maybe a chair and a sweet tea,” Smith says.

“Set your timer for 15 minutes. Count the pollinators that land on your plant during that 15 minutes and put them into one of eight categories.” The categories are carpenter bee, bumble bee, honey bee, small bee, wasp, fly, butterfly/moth, or other insect.

Next, she says, “Upload your counts to the website. Then, print out your certificate from the website and display it with pride. Share the ‘I Counted’ meme on social media. Give yourself a pat on the back for being part of something big for Georgia's pollinators.”

Again this year, Gaskins Forest Education Center in Alapaha invites Georgians to participate in a free, guided Pollinator Census event from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Leading the program are wildlife biologists Tony Kroeger of the Ga. Department of Natural Resources and Jennifer Ward of Quail Forever. Call 229-420-1183 to register.

Gaskins Forest Education Center is at 3359 Moore Sawmill Road in Alapaha. Pollinator Census events are being held on the same days throughout the state.

"It's a big weekend for pollinators," says Becky Griffin, pollinator census project coordinator for the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. "It is a big weekend for Georgia – protecting Georgia's pollinators one count at a time."
TIFTAREA BOARD OF REALTORS, COCA-COLA UNITED BOTTLING DONATE BOTTLED WATER
TO TIFT COUNTY, TIFTON FIRE DEPARTMENTS

In a joint effort, the Tiftarea Board of Realtors and the Coca-Cola Bottling Co. United's distribution center in Tifton recently provided bottled water to both the Tift County Fire/Rescue Department (pictured above) and the Tifton City Fire Department (below).

The water is for the fire departments to use as they work in the August heat.
SRTC FOUNDATION AWARDS FALL SCHOLARSHIPS OF $45,900
For the 2021 fall semester, which began Tuesday, Aug. 17, the Southern Regional Technical College (SRTC) Foundation awarded scholarships to 53 students totaling $45,900.

The funds assist students with education-related costs such as tuition, fees, books, and classroom and lab supplies. 

Among the students who were awarded scholarships are: Emily Boyd of Nashville; and Kelly Halstead, Mora Hart, Amelia Hillmon, Chasitie Roberts, Ashley Watkins, and Devin Wimberley of Tifton.

During SRTCs past spring semester, Coca-Cola Bottling Co. United and the Rural Development Partners created a scholarship program, committing $50,000 for the technical education scholarship for students in Colquitt, Tift, Turner, and Worth counties.
TIFTON POLICEMAN GETS PROMOTION
TO SENIOR PATROL OFFICER
Tifton Police Officer Nicholas Ascani was recently promoted to senior patrol officer through the Tifton Police Department career pathway. Tifton Police Chief Steve Hyman, left, said he was especially honored to present Ascani his certificate, because as a 12-year-old, Ascani had attended a Junior Police Academy class that Hyman had taught.
COVID SURGE PROMPTS CANCELATION
OF SOME AREA FESTIVALS
The surge in COVID-19 cases has prompted the cancelation of some annual events this year in the Tiftarea.

La Fiesta del Pueblo, the largest Hispanic heritage festival in South Georgia, has canceled the silver anniversary of the festival that was scheduled in Tifton’s Fulwood Park during September.

Organizers said that the performers and volunteers needed could not be secured because of the current number of COVID-19 cases. The festival is rescheduled for September 2022.

In Sylvester, the Annual Kids Day in the Park, scheduled Sept. 4 at Jeffords Park, has been canceled. Organizers Men United and Family Connections said they felt it was "the best decision for the community with the rise in COVID numbers."

However, plans are still underway to hold the 18th Annual Omega Pepper Festival on Sept. 11 in Omega, and Tifton's Rhythm & Ribs BBQ Festival on Oct. 9 in Fulwood Park.
TIFTON GRAPEVINE'S CAT OF THE WEEK
"Mystic," a female tabby, is ready for a new home. To adopt "Mystic" and to find your next pet, visit the Tift County Animal Shelter from 1-6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, or call 229-382-PETS (7387).
Pets of the Week are sponsored by:
Branch's Veterinary Clinic
205 Belmont Ave., Tifton, 229-382-6055
ABAC ANNOUNCES IMPROVEMENTS
– AUG. 17, 1940
Dr. George H. King, president of Abraham Baldwin College, on Aug. 17, 1940, announced a number of improvements at the Tifton college. The new library was being equipped with venetian blinds, new dressers were being placed in the male dormitory at Herring Hall, and the female dormitory, Lewis Hall, was being rewired.
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Tifton Grapevine
e-published every Tuesday and Friday

Frank Sayles Jr.
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Bonnie Sayles
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