Tuesday, July 7, 2020
Tifton, Georgia
GrapeNew
TIFT SCHOOLS OPEN AUG. 3 – BUT HOW?
OFFICIALS PLAN FOR VARIOUS SCENARIOS
By FRANK SAYLES JR.
Tifton Grapevine
Tift County Schools plan to open on time Aug. 3 , but as Superintendent Adam Hathaway told the Board of Education recently, officials are still working "to see what that is  going to look like ."

“Gov. (Brian) Kemp has not given approval to start back yet” with face-to-face instruction, Tift County Schools spokesman Jonathan Judy told the Tifton Grapevine on Monday .

The school system is operating under three scenarios involving possible community spread of the coronavirus , as determined by state and local health officials: Levels Green, Yellow and Red .

Level Green (low/no spread) means schools are open and will run in a traditional manner following proper precautions.

Level Red (substantial spread) would mean that all schools and facilities are closed with all students, faculty and staff working from home.

Level Yellow (minimal/moderate spread) is still being determined for Tift County Schools. The school system has been surveying parents for possible scenarios involving a combination of physical and online instruction, and/or staggered daily schedules and separated classrooms.

" Feedback from the survey will be used to assist us in developing the plan," Judy said. There have been more than 3,000 responses to the survey.

"We’re working as if Aug. 3 is going to be Green ,” Judy said. “We’re planning to start school normally, but also getting ready for Yellow and Red ; we plan on starting school with three different options."

But Judy added: "We are waiting on the state to give us guidelines . We still have a month where anything can happen ."
COLLEGES TO REQUIRE FACE MASKS AS COVID-19 CASES SURPASS 100,000 IN STATE
By FRANK SAYLES JR.
Tifton Grapevine
The University System of Georgia (USG) has backtracked and now will require everyone to wear face masks in campus buildings at public colleges and universities as students return to campuses for the fall term.

Meanwhile, confirmed coronavirus cases surpassed 100,000 on Tuesday in Georgia and reached nearly 900 cases in Tift County , say health officials.

And as cases continue to rise in the Peach State, Gov. Brian P. Kemp has begun a safety campaign to remind Georgia businesses and the public of the importance of following COVID-19 safety guidelines.

After initially declining to mandate face masks on campuses, the USG announced late Monday that, effective July 15 , all USG institutions will require "all faculty, staff, students, and visitors to wear an appropriate face covering while inside campus facilities/buildings where six feet social distancing may not always be possible."

The university system said masks are not required in one’s own dorm room, when alone in an enclosed office or study room, or in campus outdoor settings where social distancing requirements are met.

The move is an acknowledgment that COVID-19 remains widespread in the state. A total of 3,406 additional cases were reported Tuesday in Georgia , bringing the statewide total to 100,470 , according to the Ga. Department of Public Health (DPH).
As of Tuesday afternoon, the state reported 2,899 deaths related to the coronavirus, with hospitalizations totaling 12,226 .

Tift County reported a total of 892 positive cases, 26 deaths and 113 hospitalizations as of Tuesday. The number of cases in Tift grew by 142 in the past week, the DPH reported.

On Monday . the governor kicked off his "Georgia Safety Promise" campaign, which Kemp called a " pledge between business owners and the public to join together to maintain a safe environment following Georgia Department of Public Health and CDC guidelines ."

The campaign asks Georgians to commit to wearing face masks, to social distance, to
wash hands frequently and to sanitize surfaces – and to promote their commitment on social media and in businesses around the state.
Tift County EMA Director Vickie Hickman, from left, Tift County Fire/Rescue Chief Allen Owens and Tift Public Safety Department Chief Joey Fowler distribute masks Tuesday.
FREE MASKS FOR TIFT COUNTIANS
Free face masks for Tift County residents are still available today while they last.

The Tift County Emergency Management Agency received 5,000 masks from the Georgia Emergency Management Agency to distribute. The Tift EMA has been offering the masks since Monday , and more than half have been given out.

They will be available between 11 a.m.-2 p.m. daily this week, while supplies last, at the EMA building, 316 W 2nd St. in Tifton.

The drive-through distribution requires residents to show proof of residency ; masks may be picked up for the number of people in a household.
CHARLIE DANIELS ‘LARGER THAN LIFE'
TO YOUNG JOURNALIST
By FRANK SAYLES JR.
Tifton Grapevine
Country musician Charlie Daniels died the other day. There have been many testimonials to Daniels and what he meant to music – I first heard of him in 1969 when he was part of Bob Dylan’s “Nashville Skyline” album and later saw him in concert with Hank Williams Jr. and the Marshall Tucker Band .

But what I thought about upon his death was the brief encounter I had with Daniels in 1984 at U.S. Sen. Strom Thurmond ’s home on the Congaree River just outside of Columbia, S.C.

Thurmond had hosted a private party on his lawn overlooking the river as a charity fundraiser whose details are lost to the mists of time. I was there as a South Carolina political journalist who sometimes covered Thurmond and had dealt with him and his wife Nancy on several previous occasions, so I found myself with an invitation.

For some reason, many of country music’s royalty was also at the party, not only Charlie Daniels but Barbara Mandrell , the Oak Ridge Boys and South Carolina’s own Marshall Tucker Band . Among them all, Daniels was larger than life.
I was struck by the deference that the other musicians showed toward Daniels. As I stood in the yard chatting with Daniels, the Oak Ridge Boys exited a bus and walked toward us up the driveway. They immediately headed for Daniels.

“Hi Charlie,” said the Oak Ridge Boys’ Joe Bonsall , extending his hand. “How are you, sir?” he asked respectfully.

During my chat with Daniels , I asked him how well he knew Thurmond , thinking that they may be longtime acquaintances; the musician was known to lean toward conservative politics. I was taken aback when Daniels began bristling at my mundane questions, and very quickly our talk was over.

I guess I should have stuck to asking about music

Rest in peace Mr. Daniels .
KIWANIS NAMES BETSY JONES
ART CITIZEN OF YEAR

Betsy Jones of Tifton has been named the 2020 Kiwanis Art Citizen of the Year by the Tifton Kiwanis Club .

Jones is a music teacher at Annie Belle Clark Elementary School and an accomplished cellist.

“She is a cheerleader and coach for music and the arts in Tift County ,” the Kiwanis Club said. She received the award for “excelling in supporting, encouraging and enhancing the arts for children in Tift County.”
AVAILABLE NOW THROUGHOUT JULY!
Present for the presentation of ABAC’s Masonic Lodge Scholarship are, from left, Jeremy Hobbs, Bert Connell, Tyler Horne and Joey Woods.
EAGLE SCOUT RECEIVES MASONIC LODGE SCHOLARSHIP TO ABAC
Tyler Horne of Tifton has been awarded the Masonic Lodge of Tifton No. 47 and No. 745 F&AM Endowed Scholarship from the ABAC Foundation at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.

A graduate of Tift County High School , Horne has achieved the level of Eagle Scout . As an incoming freshman biology major, Horne will begin his ABAC career Aug. 12 when classes begin for the fall semester.

ABAC Chief Development Officer Deidre Martin said the purpose of the scholarship is to provide support to a Tift County graduate who demonstrates high standards of character and personal integrity. Recipients must be enrolled fulltime at ABAC with a grade point average of 2.5 or higher. 

“I am so proud of the great work of the members of the Masonic Lodge of Tifton Nos. 47 and 745,” Martin said. “I want to give special thanks to the late Lamar Jackson and Mr. Gerald Branch who led the effort to make this endowed scholarship possible.

“The members of the Masonic Lodge have set a great example for other organizations as they support young people pursuing their dream of a college education.”
TIFTON GRAPEVINE'S PET OF THE WEEK
There are many available cats for immediate adoption at the Tift County Animal Shelter . This feline is among those facing euthanization if folks do not step up to rescue cats within the next few days.  Visit the 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
TIFTON’S EMPIRE GARDEN FAIR UNDERWAY
– JULY 7, 1897
The fourth annual Empire Garden Fair is underway this week, July 7, 1897 , in Tifton with many booths and exhibits of “ farm produce ... jellies, wines, pickles, preserved fruits, honey, etc., and handiwork and embroidery, china paintings and oil paintings, flowers, fruits and vegetables." About 500 people attended the fair’s first day, which had games and races during the afternoon.
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