Feb. 2, 2016
       Tifton, Georgia

   (478) 227-7126


Georgia's jobless rate has dropped to 5.5 percent in December; it was 5.6 percent in November. Meanwhile, Tift County's unemployment rate remains steady at 5.3 percent, according to the  Georgia Department of Labor (DOL).
The DOL has released the latest seasonally adjusted rates for December.

Last week,  Brian Marlowe, Tifton-Tift County  Chamber of
 Commerce  president , told Chamber members that 400 new jobs were created last year in Tift County. He said the completion of the Carpenter Road and Hunt Road projects will spark more retail activity and signal  a strong local economy.

Five years ago the Tift County unemployment rate was over 12 percent, Marlowe said, noting that it has fallen to 5.3 percent. One year ago, the jobless rate was 6.6 percent.

According to the DOL, other local counties' unemployment rates for December were: Worth County, 5.8 percent; Turner, 5.9 percent; Irwin, 8.2 percent; and Ben Hill County, 8.5 percent.

State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said in a written statement that Georgia's statewide jobless rate is now at its lowest level in nearly seven years. He said Georgia employers are continuing to create jobs, with the private sector adding about 6,000 jobs in December.


American Textile Co., based in Duquesne, Pa., and which has a large manufacturing/distribution facility in Tifton, was profiled recently in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, along with a mention of Tifton.

The company is  one of the nation's largest bedding producers. The newspaper notes that America Textile, which is  90 years old, makes pillows, sheets, comforters, mattress covers and other bedding products that are sold in 40,000 stores in the United States, Canada and Mexico, including being available from  Wal-Mart, Sears, Bed Bath & Beyond and 

It has experienced "double-digit" sales growth in each of the last 10 years, as it expands in the pillow industry and brings new bedding products to market, Blake Ruttenberg, the company's executive vice president,  tells  the Tribune-Review.

While most sheets, blankets and mattress pads are imported from low-cost Asian factories, pillows are one of the few American-made bedding products, Ruttenberg said. That's b ecause pillows lose their shape if compressed and require a lot of cargo space, making them uneconomical to ship from abroad.

The "company recently added a second production facility in Tifton, Ga., to help it meet demand for online pillow sales," the newspaper notes.

American Textile has facilities  totaling  more than 400,000 square feet in Tifton and has more than 150 employees here.

"Tifton has been an integral part of our growth but perhaps most importantly, we enjoy doing business here," said company CEO Lance Ruttenberg when the local expansion was announced in 2014

"Tifton is a Southern home for us now. It's a great place to make investments that create jobs and contribute to the quality of life in the community. The hospitality, friendliness and charm complement the business dynamics," Ruttenberg said.


Lt. Garfield Rhaney of the Tifton Police Department has been recognized as Officer of the Year by the Tifton Exchange Club.

Rhaney  was also recognized by Tifton's mayor and City Council.

In the photo at left is Regenia Wells, Rhaney and Tifton Police Chief Buddy Dowdy.


Punxsutawney Phil the groundhog didn't see his shadow this morning, predicting an early spring at the annual Groundhog Day ceremony in Pennsylvania

More importantly, here in GeorgiaGeneral Beauregard Lee at the  Yellow River Game Ranch in Lilburn did not see his shadow either, predicting that spring will come early. 

"Beau Lee" has been recognized for his forecasting efforts by four Georgia governors and has twice been commended for his accuracy by the National Weather Service.

According to the legend, if the groundhog sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter and freezing weather. If he does not, an early spring is to be expected. Groundhogs have been offering weather predictions such as this since 1887.

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Bret Wagenhorst shared this photograph of local gardeners and small-scale farmers sharing their surplus plants and seeds with others in the community at the Wiregrass Farmers Market Plant and Seed Swap last Saturday at the Georgia Museum of Agriculture.

The   Peach State Opera Company will perform Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's "Don Giovanni" at 7 p.m. Feb. 11 in Howard Auditorium on the campus of Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College. The opera is a part of the ABAC Presents! Performing Arts Series.

ABAC Arts Connection Director Wayne Jones said "Don Giovanni" is one of the greatest comic operas of all time. An unscrupulous and single-minded ladies' man, the notorious Don is compelled by dastardly schemes and shenanigans. But both Lorenzo de Ponte's libretto and Mozart's music guarantee that the grave results of those schemes are as obvious as their humor.

The Peach State Opera Company is an Atlanta-based touring company that enriches the cultural life of communities in Georgia.

Individual tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students under 18. Tickets can be purchased online at or by phone at 229-391-4895.


The ABAC Wildlife Society will hold its fourth annual Beast Feast on Feb. 27 at the Georgia Museum of Agriculture and Historic Village at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.

Doors will open at 6 p.m. with dinner beginning at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance and $13 at the door.

The wildlife supper will allow patrons to sample a variety of dishes prepared from venison, wild hog, alligator, bobcat, various fish species and more. A number of raffles will also be held during the event for items including a shotgun, a chartered fishing trip for four in Florida, artwork from wildlife artist and former Atlanta Falcon Jose Portilla and limited-edition framed prints.

For information, call  Dr. William Moore, associate professor and department head of forest resources, at 229-391-4805 or Dr. Jason Scott, assistant professor of forest resources, at 229-391-4806.

For information, contact Becky Arnold, 229-391-5024,
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