Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2021
Tifton, Georgia
GrapeNew
TIFT EMPLOYMENT HIGHEST EVER
COUNTY LABOR FORCE ALSO AT ALL-TIME HIGH
By FRANK SAYLES JR.
Tifton Grapevine
Both Tift County and Georgia are now employing the highest number of residents ever, according to figures released by the Ga. Department of Labor (GDOL).

The number of employed Tift countians was up 203 in November from October to an all-time high of 21,068. The number of employed Georgians in November was up 11,983 from October to 5,027,981, the GDOL reported.

And Tift's labor force is at an all-time high of 21,444 recorded in November. The labor force is the number of people eligible to work in the county. The number of employed is the number currently working.

Tift County also had another record low unemployment rate of 1.8% in November, a decease from October's record of 2.2%. In November 2019, before the pandemic, Tift's jobless rate was 2.7%.

The state had a 2.8% unemployment rate in November, the lowest in Georgia's recorded history.

"We have fully recovered from this pandemic when it comes to employed Georgians, employing more people today than before the pandemic struck," said state Labor Commissioner Mark Butler.

"The hard work is still in front of us as job creation is outpacing new workers in the labor force. ... It's a good problem to have and shows how strong Georgia's recovery has been especially compared to other states our size."

Compared with Tifton's 1.8% jobless rate last month, Valdosta's was 2.4%, and Albany's, 3.4%. Moultrie's was also at 1.8%.

Among unemployment rates in Tiftarea counties, Worth (Sylvester) was 2.3% in November, vs. 2.6% in October; Turner (Ashburn), 3.3% vs. 5.9%; Irwin (Ocilla), 2.5%, vs. 2.9%; Cook (Adel), 1.9% vs. 2.1%; Berrien (Nashville), 2.1% vs. 2.2%; and Ben Hill County (Fitzgerald), 2.9% in November vs. 3.4% the previous month.
SOUTHWELL LIMITS VISITORS AS PRECAUTION
WITH RISING COVID CASES
TIFT SEES 39 CONFIRMED CASES IN WEEK, 2 DEATHS
By FRANK SAYLES JR.
Tifton Grapevine
As COVID-19 cases rise locally, all Southwell clinics and departments, including Tift Regional Medical Center (TRMC), have upgraded to "Level Orange," meaning that, in most instances, only one visitor is allowed for non-COVID patients.

The visitor restrictions became effective Tuesday as new confirmed coronavirus cases in Tift County reached 39 during the past week, as opposed to six during the previous week, according to the Ga. Department of Public Health (DPH).

“COVID infection rates within our community are already starting to spike, so we went to Level Orange to help minimize the potential spread of COVID to our patients and staff,” said Alex Le, TRMC chief operating officer. “This will allow us to maintain operations and not have to stop any services.”

In a statement to the Tifton Grapevine, Southwell officials said the upgrade to Level Orange visitation is designed as a "preemptive measure against the Omicron variant. According to the CDC, Omicron will likely spread more easily than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus. A surge in COVID cases is expected nationwide after the holidays."

Tift County is already seeing a spike in cases. During the past two weeks, 42 confirmed cases of COVID-19 were reported; only 10 were recorded in the county in the previous two weeks, the DPH said.

When rapid Antigen test results are added, Tift saw 111 total cases in the latest two-week period. Tift's cases during the period represent 103 per 100,000 and 272 per 100,000 when Antigen results are added.

Tift County's test positivity rate in the past two weeks was 6.7%; it was 1.1% in the two weeks before, the DPH reported.

Tift has seen 4,950 total cases of the coronavirus with 142 related deaths – two during the past week. The county's vaccination rate is at 41%, the DPH said.

Georgia has recorded 1,370,825 total cases with 26,313 related deaths. On Tuesday, the state reported 8,315 new cases and 37 more deaths, along with 396 new hospitalizations. The state's vaccination rate is 53%, the DPH said.
TIFTON MAN DIES AFTER COLQUITT COUNTY WRECK
A 31-year-old Tifton man died following a vehicle wreck Thursday night in Colquitt County, said the Georgia State Patrol (GSP).

Malcolm Dean Brown of Tifton suffered fatal injuries and died Friday morning at Tallahassee (Fla.) Memorial Hospital, authorities said.

Brown, driving a 2011 Kia Optima, was allegedly involved in a vehicle pursuit with Colquitt County deputies.

Shortly after 9 p.m. Thursday, the Kia Optima was traveling north in the southbound lanes of Ga. 35 on Veterans Parkway when it entered into the intersection at Ga. 133, hitting a 2017 Nissan Altima on the passenger side, authorities said.

According to a preliminary report, neither the driver nor the passenger in the Kia Optima was wearing a seatbelt. A passenger in the Kia Optima suffered serious injuries; the driver of the Nissan Altima was also injured, the GSP said.
BATEMAN GETS FIRST
NFL TOUCHDOWN
Rashod Bateman of Tifton on Sunday made his first touchdown in the National Football League.

The Baltimore Ravens rookie caught a four-yard pass in the end zone from quarterback Josh Johnson, giving the Ravens a brief lead in the game.

The Cincinnati Bengals, however, roared back and won the game 41-21.

Bateman caught four passes for 26 yards during the game. He was the Ravens' first-round draft choice this year.

Bateman, a former Tift County Blue Devil, was a star wide receiver for the University of Minnesota, setting team records and earning All-Big Ten and All-American status.
TIFTON CITY COUNCIL THANKS TERRELL, EHLERS FOR SERVICE
Tifton City Councilmen Johnny Terrell Jr. and Wes Ehlers, pictured above from left, attended their last official City Council meeting recently and were thanked for their service.

Denny Joshua Reynolds will take over Ehler's District 1 council seat in January; Ehlers did not seek re-election.

Lester Cromer will succeed Terrell to represent District 3 on council.
GDOT NAMES NEW DISTRICT ENGINEER FOR SW DISTRICT BASED IN TIFTON
The new year brings new leadership to the Ga. Department of Transportation’s (GDOT) Southwest District, headquartered in Tifton, with the promotion of Scott Chambers and the retirement of Van Mason.

The two have been sharing the title and duties of district engineer since Nov. 1 to aid in the transition. Mason’s retirement is effective Dec. 31; Chambers formally takes over Jan. 1.

Chambers began working with GDOT in 1993, fresh out of Georgia Southern University with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering technology. He has experience in construction operations and has been district maintenance engineer since 2017. He lives in Tifton.

Chambers will supervise all facets of operations in the 31 counties of the Southwest District. In addition to the district office in Tifton, the department staffs area offices in Valdosta, Douglas, Donalsonville, Moultrie, and Albany. The work force is approximately 500 people.

Mason, a Lee County resident, was named district engineer in 2019 and leaves the department with 32 years of experience.
TIFTON
2012 Pineview Ave. Tifton, Ga 31793
LOCAL 'POLAR BEARS' TO PLUNGE
INTO YMCA POOL ON JAN. 1
The Tiftarea YMCA is holding its annual Polar Bear Plunge on New Year's Day to help support local nonprofit organizations.

Seven challengers are vying to raise the most contributions for their charity of choice. The charity of the person raising the most will get 100% of that person's fundraising, as long as the individual takes the plunge into the YMCA pool on Jan. 1.

All other charities represented will receive a 50% split with the Tiftarea YMCA if their corresponding representative takes the plunge.

This year's challengers are: Paul Horst, raising contributions for the Tift Area Greenways Association (TAGA), Vikki Taft for Hospice of Tiftarea, Mac Sims for Tifton Animal Rescue, Mike Beeman for Ruth's Cottage, Andy Marzen for the Tift County Foundation for Educational Excellence, Bret Wagenhorst for Meals on Wheels, and Jason Bishoff for the YMCA.

The plunge into the "arctic chill" will take place at 11 a.m. Jan. 1, at the Stafford Aquatic Center at the YMCA's Hunt Park, 1823 Westover Road in Tifton.

To contribute to the "plunger" and their respective nonprofit, Click Here! Donations must be made by 6 p.m. Dec. 29.
TIFTON GRAPEVINE'S CAT OF THE WEEK
"Miss Whiskers," a young female cat, is ready for a good home. To adopt Miss Whiskers and to see other pets available for adoption, 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
SLOGAN FOR NEW YEAR:
'KEEP TIFTON TRADE IN TIFTON'
~ DEC. 31, 1934
G.N. Herring was the new Tifton Board of Trade president for 1935, and on Dec. 31, 1934, announced the slogan for the new year: "Keep Tifton Trade in Tifton." Other officers serving on the Board of Trade for 1935 were P.D. Fulwood as first vice president; C.W. King as second vice president; S.B. Lassiter, third vice president; and B.H. McLeod, treasurer.
REACH THOUSANDS OF FOLKS IN THE TIFTAREA ~
ADVERTISE IN THE TIFTON GRAPEVINE!
Call Us at 478-227-7126


Your Locally Owned Digital Newspaper!

To Subscribe, CLICK HERE!
or Text TIFTON to 22828

Our MidWeek Edition includes 'This Week in Tifton History'
Our Weekender Edition includes Recent Local Deaths

A HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS
We're here to help you with all your Real Estate needs, 
even during the holidays. Our experienced agents 
are available 24/7. Give us a call anytime.
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