Friday, February 12, 2021
Tifton, Georgia
GrapeNew
TIFT HAS FEWEST NEW COVID-19 CASES IN THREE MONTHS
By FRANK SAYLES JR.
Tifton Grapevine
Tift County's average daily cases of COVID-19 is now the lowest it has been in three months, now averaging only 20 per 100,000 population, according to Emory University data.

One week ago, the daily average was 43; in early January, Tift was averaging 126 daily cases per 100,000 population. In October, coronavirus cases in Tift County began spiking dramatically, hitting its peak on Jan. 4. Since then, new cases have been steadily declining.

Tift County's current daily average cases are now back at the level last seen on Nov. 9, according to Emory University data.

During the past two weeks, Tift County has reported 65 new coronavirus cases, which is 159 per 100,000 population. The positive testing rate in the county during the period is 5.6 percent, the Ga. Department of Public Health (DPH) reported.

Tift has had a total of 3,311 reported cases and 90 related deaths, the DPH said.

Statewide, 3,363 new cases were reported on Thursday along with 76 additional deaths and 310 new hospitalizations. Since the pandemic began, Georgia has seen 783,821 cases and 13,672 deaths of state residents.
Laura Cutts, TCFEE liaison for Tift County High School, from left, and TCFEE President Kaylar Howard of the Howard Center present a $480 grant to technology teacher Brian Saturday for the Vex Robotics Team at Northeast Middle School.
TCFEE AWARDS
HOWARD GRANTS TO SCHOOLS' ACADEMIC TEAMS
By FRANK SAYLES JR.
Tifton Grapevine
The Tift County Foundation for Educational Excellence (TCFEE) this week awarded the Howard Center Academic Competition Team Grants to eight teams in Tift County schools.

TCFEE President Kaylar Howard of the Howard Center and TCFEE school liaison Laura Cutts made the presentations on behalf of the education foundation.

The grants were:

  • $480 to teacher Brian Saturday at for the Vex Robotics Team at Northeast Middle School;

  • $500 to Heather Hathaway for the Science Olympiad Team at Tift County High School;

  • $200 to Christopher Paulk for the CTI program at Tift County High;

  • $200 each to the following teams at Eighth Street Middle SchoolChloe Adcock, Debate Team start-up; Donna Martinez, Robotics Team; Eve Rogers and Beth Golden, FFA and Ag Department; Maegan Story, HOSA Future Health Professionals; and Laurel Mullen, Future Business Leaders of America.
 
The Howard Academic Competition Team Grants were introduced in 2014 and sponsored by the Howard Center to recognize and encourage Tift County Schools’ best competitive academic student teams.
SOUTHWELL SETS NEW VISITATION LEVELS AT MEDICAL FACILITIES
Southwell has implemented four new visitation levels to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Tift Regional Medical Center, Southwell Medical, Southwell Health and Rehabilitation, and all clinics and departments of the facilities are now using four new visitation levels — yellow, orange, red and purple — to protect, patients and the public.

As of this past Monday, Southwell has been at Level Orange, which means that patients who are positive for COVID-19 cannot have visitors, except for labor and delivery patients, who may have one visitor, and pediatric patients, who may have one parent visit.

For patients who do not have COVID-19, one visitor per day is allowed, with the exception that two parents may visit pediatric patients. Visitation hours are from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. All visitors must wear a mask, participate in the required screening process and sanitize their hands.

The visitation levels are based on data about how COVID-19 is spreading, including state and county public health information. To view the guidelines and get information about the visitation levels, Click Here!
BACK TO THE FUTURE? ABAC TO CELEBRATE 113th BIRTHDAY
As Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College prepares to celebrate its 113th birthday Feb. 20 in the midst of a global pandemic, it's almost a "Back to the Future" moment for the campus.

During the earliest years of the school in 1918-19, the deadliest pandemic of the 20th century occurred when a flu virus resulted in 50 million deaths worldwide and approximately 675,000 deaths in the United States.

Solutions to coping with the flu at that time included isolation, quarantine, good personal hygiene, use of disinfectants, limited public gatherings, and face coverings. Photos from that era show folks wearing cloth masks over their faces, as is the case today on the ABAC campus.

During the earlier pandemic, ABAC was an area high school named the Second District Agricultural and Mechanical School. Tift Hall was the main classroom building, and Lewis Hall and Herring halls were dormitories.

Because of World War I, there were nursing shortages during the 1918-19 flu outbreak. And today, once again, there is a shortage of nursing professionals across the country; but this time, ABAC's nursing program is helping to fill the need.
REP. PENNY HOUSTON STARTS ANOTHER TERM
State Rep. Penny Houston, R-Nashville, whose district includes part of Tift County, was recently sworn in to another term at the General Assembly, where she has served since 1997.

"Thank you to the people of the 170th District for trusting me to represent you and your families in Atlanta," Houston said.

She is pictured in the House chamber accompanied by her daughter Lowery May at right.
Click Here for Available Positions.
John Quarterman, the Suwannee riverkeeper, advocates for conservation and stewardship of the Suwannee River and its tributaries.
WATERSHED GROUP PLANS SEVERAL RIVER EVENTS IN AREA
By BONNIE SAYLES
Tifton Grapevine
Suwannee Riverkeeper John Quarterman on Wednesday told the Tifton Rotary Club about upcoming river events in the watershed area and explained how WWALS Watershed Coalition Inc. got started and serves the area.

WWALS stands for the rivers Withlacoochee, Willacoochee, Alapaha, Little, Santa Fe and Suwannee

Quarterman said 300,000 people live in the watershed areas of these rivers. The biggest Georgia cities in the area are Valdosta and Tifton, and in Florida, Gainesville.

People involved with WWALS not only enjoy the scenic canoe and kayak tours of the rivers, but also participate in river clean ups. 

At 9 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 13, WWALS is presenting an Adopt-a-Stream Training online via Zoom, followed by a field portion of the program in Valdosta. Those interested may contact WWALS Executive Director Gretchen Quarterman at 850-290-2350, email wwalswatershed@gmail.com or visit the website WWALS.net
 
A local favorite event is the BIG Little River Paddle Race at Reed Bingham State Park at 8 a.m. Saturday, April 24. Quarterman said Reed Bingham rents canoes and kayaks to those who contact the park ahead of time.
GARDEN CLUBS MARK
'CAMELLIA DAY' IN TIFTON
The Tifton Council of Garden Clubs celebrated "Camellia Day" in Tifton this week. Club members shared camellias at Tifton City Hall, restaurants, schools, doctor offices, hospital lobbies and places where visitors might see them. Because of the pandemic, members also shared flowers with local shut-ins.

Connie Ewing, Tifton Council of Garden Clubs president, is pictured at City Hall with a display that notes the clubs’ recent project erecting a Gold Star Memorial Marker at Veterans Park. The downtown marker honors those who gave their lives while serve the United States during military service.
UGA TIFTON NAMES AMBASSADORS
The University of Georgia Tifton Campus has named its spring 2021 College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences ambassador team. From left are: Montana Hall, Summer Steele, Thomas Maddox, "TUGA," Austin Winkler, Maribeth Tomberlin, and Morgan Sysskind.
'CHOC-IT-UP FOR LITERACY' BECOMES ONLINE AUCTION THIS YEAR
Literacy Volunteers of Tifton-Tift County is re-engineering its annual "Choc-It-Up for Literacy fundraiser as an online auction just before Easter to celebrate spring.

For eight years, the event has celebrated not only the cause of literacy, but also chocolate and love near Valentines Day. This year, the event is inviting local businesses to put together Easter baskets for bidding on Facebook. The auction will be on Thursday, April 1.
 
Easter baskets may contain such items as restaurant coupons, certificates for manicures and massages, gifts and chocolate treats, etc., which will make a friend or family member’s Easter special. Those who win bids will go to the business to pick up the item, supporting local businesses. 

For information about participating, email tiftlv@gmail.com or call Literacy Volunteers at 229-391-2527.

The Howard Center is sponsoring the event, which benefits literacy programs in Tift County. LVTTC provides and trains tutors to work with local residents wanting to improve their reading skills or work toward earning their GEDs.   
REGISTRATION OPEN FOR
'TOUR DE TIFTON' BIKE RIDE
The Tiftarea YMCA's 11th Annual Tour de Tifton/Ilse Boyette Memorial Bike Ride will be Saturday, March 27.

Registration on event day opens at 7 a.m., and the mass start begins at 8 a.m.

The ride begins and ends at the YMCA's Hunt Park campus at 1823 Westover Road in Tifton. There will be a beginner’s 11-mile course, intermediate level 24- and 45-mile loops, and 62- and 100-mile century routes for advanced riders (everyone must finish within seven hours).

The routes pass through gently rolling countryside in Tift and surrounding counties. Helmets are required, and children under age 16 must be accompanied by a parent or legal-guardian rider.

The entry fee is $35 through March 17; $45 through March 26; and $50 on the day of the event. For online registration, Click Here!

Pre-registered participants will receive a T-shirt; event day registrants will be eligible for T-shirts while supplies last. All participants will get snacks/drinks at authorized stops along the course and will receive a post-ride meal. Participants completing either of the century courses will receive a special gift.

Proceeds benefit Tiftarea YMCA missions and outreach programs and the Ilse Boyette nurses' book fund at Tift Regional Medical Center. For information, visit www.tiftareaymca.org or call 229-391-9622.
TIFT COUNTY HOLDING
‘MARCH MADNESS'
CANNED FOOD DRIVE

The Tift County Board of Commissioners is sponsoring a "March Madness" canned food drive to benefit local food pantries and food banks.

Until March 31, canned food is being collected at the county’s Charles Kent Administration Building at 225 Tift Ave. N., and at participating local businesses showing the “Team Tift" logo.
BLUE DEVILS WIN; NO. 1 IN REGION
The Tift County High Blue Devils basketball team edged Camden County High by a score of 44-43 Thursday night, making Tift No. 1 in the region.

The Blue Devils will next play in the region championship on Feb. 19. Their opponent will be either Lowndes, Colquitt or Camden, depending on who winds the semi-finals.

Also Thursday, the Tift Lady Devils defeated Camden County High, 51-26.

Thursday was senior night for Tift County High School.
GA CAR INSURANCE 7th HIGHEST IN U.S., ACCORDING TO NEW REPORT
Georgia is the seventh-most expensive state for auto insurance in 2021, according to a new report by WalletHub, an online finance network.

Based on WalletHub’s analysis, across Georgia:

  • Full-coverage car insurance costs 126 percent more than minimum coverage, on average.

  • 16-year-olds pay 373 percent more for car insurance than 55-year-olds, on average.

  • Married drivers pay 8 percent less for car insurance than single drivers, on average.

  • Drivers with a DUI pay 95 percent more for car insurance than drivers with a clean record.

Also, according to the report:
 
  • 61 million Americans have reduced their car insurance coverage because of COVID-19.

  • 105 million Americans think they’re not getting their money’s worth from their car insurance.

  • 55 million Americans, primarily in urban areas, have second thoughts about owning a car because of COVID-19.
ABAC students can take advantage of a new agreement with Murray State University to complete their graduate degree with a master of science in agriculture.
ABAC, MURRAY STATE INK AGREEMENT FOR AG GRADUATE-LEVEL PROGRAM
A new agreement between the Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College School of Agriculture and Natural Resources (SANR) and Murray State University’s Hutson School of Agriculture gives ABAC graduates the opportunity to further their education in a graduate-level program.

SANR graduates from ABAC who meet the criteria will be accepted for admission to MSU’s master of science in agriculture online degree program. If students wish to seek admission for the face-to-face option, they will be given full consideration.

“Both institutions share the same values and prepare work-ready graduates through an experiential learning approach,” said Dr. Mark Kistler, ABAC’s SANR dean.

“What is appealing to us about this master’s degree program are the many options available for our students including concentrations in agricultural education, agribusiness/economics, sustainable agriculture, and veterinary hospital management.”

MSU is located in Murray, Ky.
UGA REPORT: EXPECT SOD PRICES
TO GROW THIS YEAR
If seeing the Tifton-developed turfgrass during the Super Bowl has you itching to unfurl sod for a new lawn, it will likely cost a bit more than usual, according to a report by the University of Georgia.

Price increases for sod could range from 2 to 8 percent above 2019 prices, says Clint Waltz, UGA Cooperative Extension turfgrass specialist and crop and soil sciences professor. While still greater than 2019 prices, bermudagrass will have the lowest price increase relative to other species. “Growers are not forecasting a significant price increase in early 2021,” he said.

The price data comes from an annual survey of producers coordinated by the Georgia Urban Ag Council. Because of an insufficient sampling size of the turfgrass industry, there was not a 2020 sod survey, so results were compared to 2019.

“With potentially thin inventories for bermudagrass, zoysiagrass and centipedegrass, it can be speculated that prices will be greater than the increases forecast in this survey,” said Waltz.

The average price for certified grass, labeled to ensure pure variety quality, increased to 3 cents per square foot.

The farm gate value for turfgrass was $118 million in 2018, the highest it has been since the Great Recession in 2008. Top counties for production were Cook, Macon, Peach, Gordon, and Carroll.
Tifton’s Locally Owned Digital Newspaper
To Subscribe, Click Here!

Your free subscription allows you to automatically 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
TIFTON GRAPEVINE'S DOG OF THE WEEK
This male pooch, 2-3 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  
candle-flames-banner.jpg
FEB. 4
Vina Lackey Myers, 82, Chula
Quenton Saylor, Worth County
Nellie Sue Daniel Lindsey, 88, West Berrien
Stuart Knight, 66, Adel
Rachel New Luke, 78, Ocilla

FEB. 5
Christine Williams Whitley, 92, Lenox
James Walker “Bud” Tucker, 95, Alapaha
“Skip” Edward Roland Hill III, 65, Fitzgerald
Maudell “Missie” Delaney, 71, Fitzgerald

FEB. 6
Carol Ruth Baker Simmons, 87, Tifton
Eileen Evans Trawick, 94, Raleigh, N.C.
Marvin Joe Davis, 88, Ashburn

FEB. 7
Harvey Gandy Jr., 70, Nashville
Rebecca "Becky" Powell, 72, Fitzgerald
Katherine M. Wilkes, 92, Ocilla
Dr. Lewis Ray Clayton Jr., 82, Irwin County
Roberta Green, 83, Albany

FEB. 8
Richard Gary Rice, 67, Tifton
Stacy Dawn Hogan, 42, Fitzgerald
Dorothy Kay Lawler, 59, Ray City
Nina Gunby Broome, 62, Irwin County
Nuraul Jones, Ashburn

FEB. 9
Harry Frank Dale Jr., 59, Tifton
Mary Jo Hasty Gibbs, 91, Ty Ty
Peggy Dean Virginia Darby Royce, 92, Tifton
 Elizabeth "Lib" Senkbeil Gwines, 94, Gordy
Randall Joiner, 77, Alapaha
FEB. 10
M.Sgt, (Ret.) David Ray "Dave" Wallen, 74, Sylvester
Diane M. Jackson, 72, Fitzgerald
Thelma A. Trent, 87, Lenox
Anelda Griner, 84, Nashville
Hiram Wilson, 72, Rebecca
Growing Family?
Need More Room?
Give Us a Call Today!
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