JUNE 26, 2018
Tifton, Georgia


On Monday, Gray Television and Raycom Media announced a $3.65 billion-dollar deal that will make Gray the third biggest owner of local TV stations in the country, altering the local media landscape.

Pending  Federal Communications Commission approval, Gray TV, based in Atlanta,  will 
have  142 stations serving 92 markets when it acquires Raycom

Raycom, which is privately owned, owns WALB-TV in Albany and Community Newspaper Holdings Inc. of Alabama, the parent company of The Tifton Gazette and newspapers across the country, including The Valdosta Daily Times, the Moultrie Observer and the Thomasville Times-Enterprise.

According to The Albany Herald, WALB-TV is in an "overlapping market" between Gray and Raycom and will be sold.

Raycom plans to sell or spin off Community Newspaper Holdings Inc. (CNHI), including the Tifton paper and other community newspapers, according to Thomson Reuters news service. Raycom had just acquired CNHI late last year.  Gray said it will not acquire CNHI as part of the pending deal.

According to its web site,  Gray Television traces its founding to January 1897 with the creation of The Albany Herald. The company acquired a handful of newspapers and television stations and eventually became Gray Communications Systems. In 1993, Atlanta businessman Mack Robinson purchased control of Gray

Since then, Gray divested all of its newspapers and television stations that it owned, other than one in Panama City, and then acquired, and, in some cases built from scratch, three dozen TV stations and dozens of digital-mobile platforms. Currently, Gray owns the leading media outlets in 57 U.S. markets.


Officials at Kelley Manufacturing Co. broke ground Thursday on a 40,800-square-foot repair parts warehouse at the company's headquarters on Vernon Road in Tifton

The new warehouse will have up to seven full-time warehouse employees and seven field service workers. KMC said it is expanding to meet the need for the increased volume of parts for the dozens of agricultural implements produced. 

Jones Construction of Tifton is in charge of the project, which is expected to be complete by early 2019

Kelley Manufacturing was founded in 1966 and serves customers around the world. It builds various equipment for row-crop farming. The company's industrial site currently occupies 28 acres and has a total of 193,000 square feet under roof. KMC employs more than 210 people year round.


During May,  sheriff's deputies arrested 82 people, some on multiple charges, said Sheriff Gene Scarbrough

He said that 34 charges of parole-probation violation were filed, 28 drug violations, seven crimes against persons charges, four property crimes charges, four fraud charges, two child-support violations and 15 other non-traffic charges.

Deputies also served 125 warrants, 109 civil papers and 481 subpoenas. They  conducted 1,401 business and property checks, 640 mobile home park and subdivision checks, 67 school checks and answered 3,181 service calls, the sheriff said.

Traffic stops led to the filing of 16 drug charges, 22 charges of driving with suspended or revoked license, four charges of driving under the influence, the arrests of three people who were wanted on various charges, and the recovery of a stolen vehicle.

Deputies completed 567 reports, 38 accident reports, issued 827 traffic citations, 150 traffic warnings, patrolled 68,239 miles and verified the home addresses of 63 registered sex offenders living in Tift County.

The sheriff said deputies provided 87 transports, totaling 278 hours and 8,792 miles.

Tifton City Council  attended training sessions at the 85th annual Georgia Municipal Association  (GMA) convention in Savannah  this past weekend. 

The convention serves as a time for city officials across Georgia to engage in training seminars about different municipal topics, network with other city officials across the state and participate in various board meetings and policy discussions.
Tifton Mayor Julie Smith is recognized during the GMA's annual convention in Savannah.
Tifton Mayor Julie Smith was appointed to the GMA Board of Directors for the upcoming year. The mayor was also appointed to chair the Municipal Government Hall of Fame Awards Committee  and is a district representative of the GMA/UGA Carl Vinson Institute of Government Municipal Training Board.

Tifton Vice Mayor and District 1 Counilman Wes Ehlers also received a Certificate of Recognition for achieving 42 hours of training.
"I am honored to not only represent Tifton and South Georgia, but to be able to be a part of a highly respected organization that works diligently to uphold the values, services and quality of municipalities across our state," Mayor Smith said.

"Being involved in creating policy, legislation, education and networking with elected and appointed officials from all parts of Georgia is a responsibility for which I am very grateful, and I will use the experience I know I will gain as I continue to serve the City of Tifton," she said.

At the convention, Tifton Vice Mayor and District 1 Counilman Wes Ehlers also received a Certificate of Recognition for achieving 42 hours of municipal training.

Gov. Nathan Deal
was a guest speaker and was given GMA's most distinguished award, the  Georgia Key Citizen Award, which has only been given three times in the past decade.

The GMA convention serves the same purpose as the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia's annual conference that Tift County elected officials attend each year in Savannah. Each of these events allow elected officials from both the city and the county to expand their knowledge, gain experience and network with other officials from around the state. Officials are then able to bring this knowledge back to Tifton to serve the community.


Tifton Vice Mayor  Wes Ehlers was recognized by the University of Georgia's Carl Vinson Institute of Government and the  Georgia Municipal Association (GMA) during the GMA's 85th Annual Convention this past weekend.

Ehlers received the Certificate of Recognition for completing municipal training

UGA's Carl Vinson Institute of Government provides a nationally recognized series of training   opportunities for  city officials.

To receive a  Certificate of   Recognition, a city official must complete a minimum of 42 hours of credit, including at least 18 hours from a list of required classes.

The municipal training program consists of a series of more than 60 courses. 
Based in  AtlantaGMA is a voluntary, non-profit organization that provides legislative advocacy,  research, training, employee benefit and technical consulting services to its  521  member cities.


Auditions  for a late summer comedy, "The Savannah Sipping Society,"  will be held at the Tift Theatre for the Performing Arts on July 9-10 from 6:30-8 p.m. each night.

Dr. Brian Ray, artistic director for the Tift Community Players, said the play includes roles for four women aged 45 to 69 and one non-speaking female role. Performance dates are Aug. 23-25.

Brian Ray
"All auditions are open to any community members interested in performing," said Ray, who is also director of the Baldwin Players at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College. No prior acting experience is required.

"These auditions don't require any prepared material. You will be asked to read selected passages and scenes from the script. You do not need to attend auditions on both nights," he said.

The play is about four Southern women looking to cope with changes in their lives. An impromptu "happy hour" brings them together and begins the path to discovering a renewed determination to live in the moment. Along the way, they make new friends and build new confidence. 

For information, contact Kaylee Stokes at call 229-326-1982, or contact Ray at or 229-391-4969.


Have a project coming up but need a few extra hands to get the job done? The faculty, staff and students at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College are hosting their first Day of Service from 2-6 p.m. Aug. 14 in an effort to give back to the Tifton community. 

Bernice Hughes, dean of students, said ABAC is seeking community partners to be on the receiving end of the free service. Churches, nonprofit organizations, businesses and individuals may submit their project requests here!

The organization or person in need of help must supply all materials and equipment needed; ABAC will provide the people power to get the job done. The project submission deadline is July 24. Community partners will be notified regarding project selection by July 31

"We would like to offer as many service sites as possible but will give preference to sites that can accommodate 20 or more volunteers," Hughes said. "We strongly encourage our partners to provide a rain plan as a backup option."

For information, contact Hughes at or call 229-391-5130.


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