Tuesday, March 17, 2020
Tifton, Georgia
GrapeNew
MOST AREA EVENTS CANCELLED OR POSTPONED
By FRANK SAYLES JR.
Tifton Grapevine
Following recommendations from state and federal officials, most public events have been postponed or cancelled throughout the Tiftarea as a result of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.

And before Gov. Brian Kemp declared a public health emergency and ordered all schools to close until at least March 31 , Tift County schools announced its closure on Friday . The University System of Georgia has also closed all of its colleges and universities for the remainder of the semester , switching to online-only classes.

As of Tuesday afternoon , there were 146 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Georgia and one death , according to the Ga. Department of Public Health . There are no confirmed cases in Tift County . Among counties with confirmed cases are Dougherty with six ; Lowndes with four ; and Lee County with two confirmed cases.

Southwell health system, which includes Tift Regional Medical Center , is restricting visitors and has set up a hotline for folks who believe they have may have the virus and for those who have questions about the virus – 877-719-5787.

The City of Tifton and Tift County governments remain open but said, in a press release, that "you may experience some disturbance in normal business activity as it relates to your local interaction with some of our departments as there will be some adjustments with hours, services, and interaction with the public."

The city and county said, however, that the Leroy Rogers Senior Center , the Tift Theatre for the Performing Arts , and the Tift County Recreation Department are all closed until further notice.

The Tifton-Tift County Public Library is closed through March 30 , and fines are waived during the period. 

Downtown Tifton's Spring Fling event has been postponed to an undetermined time. Also postponed is Ashburn's Fire Ant Festival . Fitzgerald's Wild Chicken Festival has been cancelled . Nixon Funeral Home's Manna Drop to distribute food boxes has been postponed .

The  Tiftarea Celebration with Will Graham   at the UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center has also been postponed until an undetermined date.

At Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College , activities cancelled for the spring semester include the Homecoming Celebration , the Gee Haw Whoa Back Rodeo , the Folk Life Festival , and commencement ceremonies in Tifton and Bainbridge .

For up-to-date information about COVID-19 in Georgia , Click Here!
THE TIMES THEY
ARE A-CHANGIN'
A WORLD, A NATION, A STATE, A CITY UNDER QUARANTINE
By FRANK SAYLES JR.
Tifton Grapevine
Seemingly, everything changed overnight .

One day we were going to our offices , taking kids to school , eating lunch at local restaurants , attending sporting events and festivals and movies and meetings . And then, suddenly, everything stopped .

Now, we are asked to remain at home , avoid large gatherings , and wash our hands frequently.

Some call it the "new normal." I would not go that far because it implies that things have changed for good; it's the "new abnormal." One day, and it may be a little while, things will return to "normal" – essentially how we operated before the advent of COVID-19 .

But some aspects of our "new abnormal" life may – or should – remain with us: For example, frequent and thorough hand washing . Most of us have been guilty in the past of not washing our hands for as long, as thoroughly , and as often as we should. Doing so is one of the best ways to keep ourselves well and from contracting any virus or common cold . One hopes this becomes a new habit .

Another thing we can all take from the current situation is to stay home when sick . Too often, many of us have attempted to power through an illness and still go to work and to outside events , even though we may be contagious to others. Such conduct isn't smart and can be dangerous to others with health issues . None of us are so indispensable that we must absolutely be at work rather than miss a day or two .

Likewise, employers need to be more understanding so that employees with a legitimate illness do not drag themselves to work for fear of losing their job or being thought of as a wimp .

And being more cognizant about the effect that our own health can have on those around us would be a positive result of the current pandemic .

In the meantime , stay home if possible, monitor your health and that of those around you , and please leave some toilet paper on the store shelves for your neighbors ; I'm still searching for those elusive precious rolls .
VELLIDIS GETS TITLE OF
'UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR' AT UGA
Two faculty members at the University of Georgia, including one in Tifton , have been named University Professors , a title bestowed on those who have had a significant impact on UGA in addition to their normal academic responsibilities.

The 2019-2020 University Professors are George Vellidis , professor in the department of crop and soil sciences in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) at UGA Tifton ; and William Kisaalita , Georgia Athletic Association distinguished professor of engineering in Athens .

This is the first time since 1984 that more than one University Professor has been named.

“This year’s University Professors are international leaders in their fields and agents of change here at the University of Georgia ,” said S. Jack Hu , UGA senior vice president for academic affairs and provost.

Vellidis’ research focuses on water resources and precision agriculture . He applies principles of engineering and the sciences to measure, model and manage the interaction between agricultural production systems and the environment . Vellidis serves as academic affairs director for the UGA Tifton campus .

In 2001 , Vellidis began market research to determine if there was a demand for an undergraduate major at the Tifton campus. His research showed that there was a significant demographic who wanted a degree from UGA but could not leave South Georgia.

Vellidis was one of two leaders who helped establish the CAES teaching program on the Tifton campus. The program's graduates of this program now populate many of the agricultural companies that provide precision agriculture and laboratory services in South Georgia.

Vellidis was also one of the leaders who developed the dual master’s degree in sustainable agriculture between UGA and the University of Padova in Italy .

“Dr. Vellidis’ career at UGA exemplifies the spirit of the University Professorship ,” wrote Samuel Pardue , dean and CAES director. “While at UGA, he has become an i nternationally recognized researcher in precision agriculture, but he has also contributed significantly to the university in many other ways.”

Vellidis was a principal investigator for grants totaling $3.6 million used to construct the $8 million National Environmentally Sound Production Agriculture Laboratory (NESPAL) facility in Tifton . He also played a key role in securing $1 million to fund the NESPAL Technology Development Center addition , a joint effort between UGA and the Tift County Development Authority.

University Professors receive a permanent salary increase of $10,000 and a yearly academic support of $5,000 . Nominations from the deans of UGA’s schools and colleges are reviewed by a committee, which makes a recommendation to the provost .
TIFTON-TIFT COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
RIBBON CUTTING
D & D Construction
3635 Highway 82 West, Tifton
March 13
FRESHMAN CROWNED MS. ABAC
Bridget Dixon , a freshman agricultural communication major from Kite , was selected as Ms. ABAC 2020 at the 51st annual event on Thursday at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.

As winner of the event, sponsored by the Ag Communicators of Tomorrow , she received a $500 ABAC scholarship .

“It’s very humbling to me that as a freshman I was able to win,” Dixon said.

“I just entered to have fun, and I wound up with this amazing opportunity. I chose ABAC because I knew I would get the best education from here that I could possibly get.”

Other finalists included Abigail Zerwig , freshman from Metter , first runner-up; Charley Ann Lollis , sophomore from Perry , second runner-up; Kerstin Grace Hall , sophomore from Tifton , third runner-up; and Jaylee Bass , senior from Adel , fourth runner-up. 
A DOWNTOWN TIFTON HAIRCUT – 'TWO BITS'
MARCH 17, 1893
On March 17, 1893, William West , manager of the barber shop on Tifton's Main Street , advertised the following prices: " Shaving , 10 cents; Hair Cutting , 25 cents; Shampooing , 25 cents; Mustache Dyeing , 25 cents; Razor Honing , 25 cents."
AVAILABLE FOR RESCUE OR ADOPTION
AT TIFT COUNTY ANIMAL SHELTER
Visit them at the Tift County Animal Shelter, 1-6 p.m., Mondays-Fridays, 
at 278 Ga. Highway 125 South in Tifton.
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