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APRIL 24, 2018
Tifton, Georgia

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tiftongrapevine.com
TIFTON LANDS
GA RURAL CENTER
CENTER FOR RURAL PROSPERITY & INNOVATION
TO BE BASED AT ABAC, STATE DECIDES

By FRANK SAYLES JR.
Tifton Grapevine

Georgia's new Center for Rural Prosperity and Innovation was created in the waning moments of this year's state General Assembly, and the statewide center is being based in Tifton, ABAC President Dr. David Bridges says.

Bridges made the announcement to members of the Tifton-Tift County Chamber of Commerce on Thursday during a luncheon meeting of the business group at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.

The new rural center, located at ABAC, seeks to help businesses and communities around rural areas of the the state. Bridges explained that the center will help businesses find and
The new Ga. Center for Rural Prosperity and Innovation will aid both rural businesses and communities.
train qualified workers, will help with marketing expertise, and will help form partnerships for economic growth.

Bridges says he knows of rural businesses that are turning away work because they can't handle it. Among its duties, the Center will help such businesses attain the resources to grow.  

"We've been working on this for three years," Bridges said. The ABAC president said the Center is already operating and will be fully operational by this summer. The General Assembly has allocated $1.7 million for the Center, Bridges said.

He said the Center will look at rural issues statewide but may initially focus on several issues in  South Georgia.

The legislation creating the Center, House Bill 951, was  sponsored by state Rep. Jason
SHAW
Shaw, R-Lakeland, and co-sponsored by Rep. Penny Houston, R-Nashville; and Rep. Sam Watson, R-Moultrie, among others.

" Rural Georgia has not seen the same level of economic prosperity," Shaw told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "The Center for Rural Prosperity and Innovation would provide a central location for research and information on rural development, which is crucial to enhancing economic opportunities."

The state  legislation  notes that "it shall be the duty of the Center for Rural Prosperity and Innovation to provide a central information and research hub for rural leadership training and best practices, which may include: Community planning models for proactively identifying value-added gaps or strengths; industry-specific assistance; and cooperative efforts with nonprofit organizations, religious organizations and other higher education partners."


LAST DAY FOR VOTER REGISTRATION
IN MAY PRIMARY ELECTION

Today, Tuesday, April 24, is the deadline to register to vote in the May 22 primary  election and the July 24 runoff, if needed. Early voting begins April 30.

The Tifton-Tift County Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring two candidates forums, on  Tuesday, May 1, and on Thursday, May 3, both at 5:30 p.m. at the  Leroy Rogers Senior Center, 315 W. Second St. 

On May 1, all candidates from local Districts 1, 3, 5 will be featured, which include: Tift County Commission District 1 -- Donnie Hester and Raymond Teal; District 3 -- Tony McBrayer and Robert Setters; and Tift County Board of Education District 5 -- Jarrett Haswell and Sam Wright. 

On May 3, all candidates from Districts 4 and 6 will be featured, which include: Tift County Commission District 4 -- Jonathan Cassell, Jamie Cater, Ronald Norman and Stan Stalnaker; and District 6 -- Lester Potts and Greg Wood; and Board of Education District 4 -- Jamie Hill and Richard Golden; and BOE District 6 -- Jimmy Cargle, Rusty Harrelson and Jo Windom. 

ALEXIS MAKAYLA KELLY
FAITH MICHELE JONES
MISS SOUTHERN
SPIRIT QUEENS
CROWNED IN
SUMNER

More than 25 contestants vied for division titles Saturday in the Miss Southern Spirit Pageant in Sumner, located just over the Tift County line in Worth County.

The event was a fundraiser for the Worth County High Rams Touchdown Club, the booster organization for the middle and high school football teams.

Head Coach Frankie Carroll noted that he has been a football coach for a long time but this was his first beauty pageant.

Among the winners were: Ms. Division -- Faith Michele Jones; Miss Division -- Alexis 
KAMBREE BARNES
JA'KERRIE WALKER
Makayla Kelly; Teen Miss -- Ja'kerrie Walker; Junior Miss --  Alyssa Hamminger ; Little Miss -- Isabelle Hancock ; Tiny Miss -- Kambree Barnes ; Teeny Miss -- Amara Kay Johnson ; and Baby Miss -- Melody Michele Jones . The People's Choice title went to Cora Leigh Tillery .

The pageant was directed by Lynn Meeks Manley and Milissa Dobbins. Day Story and Caitlin Tucker provided entertainment, along with The Dance Station

Master of ceremonies was Luke Cooper, 15, a Sylvester native and Worth County High sophomore. He is president of Region 1 Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) and holds the state title in the Client Services Division with Georgia FBLA.

Judges were Cody Smith, who operates a pageant consulting business, has been a judge for local, state and national pageants across the United States, and has worked at Walt Disney World; Thomas Swain, founder of the Georgia State African American Chamber of Commerce, based in Albany; and Frank Sayles Jr., president of Sayles Unlimited Marketing of Tifton and editor & publisher of the Tifton Grapevine.

The spring fundraiser was the first Miss Southern Spirit Pageant, and organizers hope to make it an annual event.


ABAC JAZZ FESTIVAL HITS HIGH NOTES

Renowned alto saxophonist  Tim Green, in photo above, performs last Thursday with the ABAC Jazz Ensemble at the annual ABAC Jazz Festival.

The festival on the campus of Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College promotes jazz and jazz education in South Georgia

Green conducted a jazz clinic for members of 10  high school jazz bands from across Georgia, who also performed free mini-concerts outdoors in the ABAC Meadows.

The Dougherty County High Jazz Band performs at right in ABAC Meadows.


TIFT COUNTY HOLDS ANNUAL SPECIAL OLYMPICS
 
The  Tift County High Junior ROTC, at left, present the colors Friday at the E.B. Hamilton Sports Complex to help kick off the annual  Tift County Special Olympics.

The event allows special needs children, who don't always have an opportunity to compete in sporting events, to do so.


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TIFTAREA ACADEMY STUDENTS GET COLLEGE CAMPUS EXPERIENCE

Tiftarea Academy seventh graders received some on-campus college experience last week. 

Teacher Haley Crosson took her class for a tour of  Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College  as a culminating activity for their recently completed "Planning My Path" projects for Career Week. The students toured the facilities and learn about the amenities ABAC has to offer right here in Tifton

Campus tours were provided by ABAC Ambassadors. Enrollment counselor Brooke Jernigan told about the programs of study offered at ABAC, ways to get involved, campus life and opportunities to study abroad. 

Some of the middle schoolers are already preparing to become a future Stallion.


NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER SET MAY 3

The  National Day of Prayer  will  be observed in  Tifton at   7 p.m., Thursday, May 3, at the Tift County  Recreation Department gymnasium.

prayer service will be conducted for local churches, local government, health care, first responders, education, youth, family, state government and federal government 
representatives.

The community  is invited to pray together.

TIFTON-TIFT COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
RIBBON CUTTING

LORI M. TURNER
LAW OFFICE
212 W. 12th Street, Tifton
April 23


'MULE' TO AID CATTLE OPERATION

Deep South Kawasaki recently loaned Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College a Kawasaki Mule through its 11-month loan program. The Mule will be utilized in the ABAC Beef Cattle operation for checking and feeding cattle and tagging calves.

ABAC has a working beef unit with 100 head of cattle as a part of the J.G. Woodroof Farm, which covers more than 300 acres on campus.

In photo from left are: ABAC Dean of Agriculture and Natural Resources Mark Kistler, Deep South Kawasaki Parts Manager Tony Layfield, Deep South Kawasaki Dealer Principal Patricia Holtzclaw, Professor Mary Ellen Hicks, students Hannah Taylor and Claire Hunkler, ABAC staffer Doug Hicks and Deep South Kawasaki Dealer Principal West Holtzclaw. 

GA CHAMBER STAFF STOPS IN TIFTON

Georgia Chamber of Commerce President and CEO  Chris Clark, at right in photo, led the discussion during the organization's stop at the Ga. Chamber's Tifton office last Tuesday.

The meeting was part of the State Chamber's statewide tour. Clark talked with local leaders about the Chamber's  "8 for 18 Priorities," a scorecard of how legislators vote on legislation that the Chamber believes is key, and how political candidates in view these topics as well. 

The priorities include business climate, infrastructure, prosperity and diversity, workforce, trade and commerce, healthcare, rural Georgia, and enterpreneurship and innovation.


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