This Week in Tifton, Georgia  
Nov. 15,

A service of
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Tifton Grapevine


Thirteen years ago today -- Nov. 15, 2000 -- more then 7,500 Tiftonites packed the football stadium celebrating Tifton's designation as "the Reading Capital of the World," as Tifton amassed 1 million Accelerated Reader points.


The Reading Capital has now hit another milestone; on Thursday, Nov. 14, Mike Brumby

announced that Tifton has now surpassed 5 million AR points. 


"It's a new world record!" exclaimed Brumby, executive director of the Tift County

'Rikki Reader,' the Reading Capital mascot, with Tim Smith, a former Rikki Reader masco

 Foundation for Educational Excellence.


"This represents all the points since the AR program began" in 1997, Brumby said. "We've had readers from age three to 90."


Since the AR program's debut, there has 

now been a total 5,006,430 AR points amassed by readers in Tifton. Readers take a computerized test on books read and are assigned AR points depending upon their knowledge of what they read and the difficulty of the book.


A total of 3,941,069 books have now been read in Tifton through the AR program.


The Reading Capital's Summer AR Program, administered by the Foundation for Educational Excellence, returned this past summer after a one-year hiatus. It was held up in 2012 until contract negotiations were resolved between the Tift County Board of Education and AR parent company Renaissance Learning.


The program was based this year at the United Way of South Central Georgia's Betty Ro Roach Community Center. 


"Through the joint efforts of the United Way and the Foundation, we got the program back on track this year and set a new record," Brumby said.


The education foundation is planning a community celebration for reaching the 5 million mark.


Courson The late Joe Courson of Tifton, a retired broadcast and print journalist, educator and videographer, has been chosen as this year's honoree at Albany's 23rd Annual Celebration of Lights Christmas parade on Dec. 7.


Each year, parade organizers honor an individual for an accomplishment or for the person's contribution to the greater Albany community. Courson, as a longtime correspondent for WALB-TV, for years provided color commentary during television coverage of the Albany parade.


"Joe Courson absolutely loved this parade," said Lori Farkas, assistant general manager of Albany Water, Gas & Light Commission. "We're sure he will be looking down on it from heaven."


In Courson's honor, his wife, Jean Courson, will light Albany's 40-foot, red cedar Christmas tree adorned with more than 2,000 LED lights. 


"I have been very humbled on his behalf," Jean Courson said. "It would have meant a lot to him."


Courson died July 30 at the age of 62.


Farkas, who first organized the event 23 years ago, said the Albany parade draws more than 40,000 people and has become the regional holiday parade in Southwest Georgia.


It begins at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7.


A House and Senate conference committee in Congress has begun hammering out differences in the chambers' farm bills in hopes of getting legislation passed this year.


Some of the sticking points deal with assistance programs such as food stamps, called "SNAP" -- the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The House farm bill proposal would cut nearly $40 billion from SNAP. Opponents say the House plan would cause 4 million people to lose food assistance entirely; 850,000 households to see benefits reduced by an average $90 per month; and 210,000 children to lose free school meals.

Rep. Scott Delivers Opening Statement at First Public Farm Bill Conference Committee Meeting
VIDEO: Rep. Scott, of Tifton, speaks during farm bill deliberations in committee.


Rep. Austin Scott, R-Ga., is on the committee and said, "I know nutrition programs have been contentious issues throughout our discussions. Our focus should be on changing the culture of these programs, to provide recipients with a lifeline when they need it most while creating greater economic opportunities for individuals to rise beyond these circumstances."


Scott said, based upon his experience serving in state government, "I believe nutritional programs can run under greater efficiency if administered by the state. I hope we can set these programs on a path for future state administration."


This week, more than 1,300 state and local hunger-relief charities sent a letter to Congress urging it to strengthen and protect hunger-relief programs in the farm bill. The letter calls on Congress to protect SNAP from funding cuts and harmful policy changes and to support at least the House funding level of $300 million for The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP).


"With three job seekers for every one job opening and all SNAP households having just received a cut to their monthly food benefits on Nov. 1, it is inconceivable that Congress would make cuts to hunger relief; yet SNAP remains at risk of further cuts in the farm bill," said Bob Aiken, CEO of Feeding America, the nation's leading domestic hunger-relief charity.


La'Chelsea King of Tifton, fresh off her regional "American Idol" auditions, is holding a 

concert Saturday, Nov. 16, for the release of her Christian/Gospel single, "There is a Name."


The concert begins at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Leroy Rogers Senior Center on Second Street and will include Minister Jericho Nether and Pages of 

Life, Minister Harry King and Family of Friends, and gospel jazz artist Alacia Reynolds.


King placed second in Albany's Fox 31's "American Idol" auditions in Tifton during the summer and was invited to the regional Idol auditions in Atlanta.

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"Hands on Tifton," a day for community service, is this Saturday, Nov. 16.


There will be at least 16 work sites and various projects under way simultaneously around Tifton from 8 a.m.-noon, including trash pick-up, community gardening, and food packaging for food banks and soup kitchens.


Approximately 275 people have already signed up to volunteer, said the Rev. Paula Lewis, associate pastor of Tifton's First United Methodist Church


She said the church was already planning a community service project when the city began planning a clean-up day, spearheaded by Councilwoman Julie Smith


"So, the church joined with the city," creating Hands on Tifton, Lewis said.


Following the project at noon, participants may gather at Fulwood Park for lunch provided by local restaurants and music by local churches.


Some of the work sites include:

  • Fulwood Park
  • Downtown Tifton: Three work areas for picking up trash and foreign objects
  • Tifton Housing Authority sites: Peterson Apartments, Deas Apartments, Elderly Village, and Dixie Avenue
  • Community Gardens: Brother Charlie's Mission and Pocket Park (1/2 block North of 14th and Central Avenue behind First United Methodist Church)
  • Gleaning sight to package food for distribution is located at First United Methodist Church back parking lot
  • Salvation Army Store
  • Brother Charlie's Store (Love Avenue)
  • Adopt-a-Mile clean-ups along Virginia and magnolia avenues, and along Ferry Lake Road.

Habitat for Humanity will be involved helping some local residents, and Tift County school volunteers will help parents at Housing Authority sites access the school system's "parent portal" online, Lewis said.


Those who have not signed up for a work project may come to the Cato Knight Parking Lot downtown at 8 a.m. to be matched with a suitable project of their choice. Or folks may wish to simply clean up their own neighborhoods. The primary trash drop-off will be a row of containers at the Cato Knight Parking Lot, north of of the railroad tracks running from Central to Love avenues.

To sign up for Hands on Tifton, call 229-382-6100 or 229-339-1776.

Participate in Tift Regional's Community Needs Survey
We value your input! Participate in Tift Regional Health System's Community Needs Survey by December 13. The survey, which asks your thoughts on the health status of our community, only takes about 10 minutes to complete.
Your input will help shape the role of medical care in our region. You can participate anonymously, but all participants who provide their name will be entered into a drawing for the following items:
  • iPod Touch
  • $100 Walmart Gift card
  • $50 Longhorn Gift Card
All responses remain confidential and are used for a blinded study only. Remember: the survey closes December 13, 2013.
Georgia Museum Of Agriculture A Showcase Of State's Ag History
VIDEO: Ga. Museum Of Agriculture showcasing farm life of yesteryear.


From the mule-powered cane mill to the smell of syrup cooking, visitors will step back into South Georgia on Saturday, Nov. 16 and 23, at the annual cane-grinding and syrup-making parties at the Georgia Museum of Agriculture and Historic Village at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College


For many Southerners, cane grinding and syrup cooking are family traditions passed down through generations. 


The museum is one of the few places left where one may see sugar cane grinding with a mule leading the way. The sweet juice pouring from the cane mill will then be transferred to the syrup shed where it will be cooked down in a cast iron kettle to make cane syrup. 


Costumed interpreters will explain the cane grinding process and the intricacies of producing a bottle of cane syrup.


The 1917 Vulcan locomotive will also be available for rides.  


There is an admission fee. For information, call 229-391-5205.

Tifton Mall opens at 8 p.m. Thanksgiving day, Nov 28
and will stay open through 10 p.m. Friday night, Nov. 29

Santa arrives at 1 p.m. Friday, Nov. 29, and will be giving away free toys to the first few visitors. 
Santa will be at the Tifton Mall until Dec. 23.  
We will be offering photos. Sorry; no cameras or cell phone pictures are allowed, unless you buy a package of photographs.

Your Hometown
Holiday Headquarters
Virginia Avenue
Tifton, Georgia

Dr. Michael Garbee






Dr. Richard Beasley


Tift Regional welcomes

 new neurologist, pulmonologist


Tift Regional Health System announced that a new neurologist and pulmonary medicine/critical care specialist has joined Affinity Clinic in Tifton.


Neurologist Michael Garbee, M.D., will work alongside fellow neurologist Brad Lindsey, M.D., in providing the diagnosis and treatment of neurological conditions to include epilepsy; movement disorders; dementias and other cognitive conditions; cerebrovascular diseases; stroke; and, concussions. 


Prior to joining Affinity Clinic, Dr. Garbee practiced in Mississippi. After earning his medical degree at the American University of the Caribbean, Dr. Garbee completed residency training programs at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center and Virginia Commonwealth University.


Pulmonary medicine/critical care specialist Richard Beasley, D.O., is available to provide consultative, diagnostic and therapeutic services to include lung cancer diagnosis and treatment; chronic obstructive lung diseases including asthma; interstitial lung diseases; pulmonary vascular disease including pulmonary hypertension; acute and chronic respiratory failure; and various lung infections. He will be working with fellow pulmonary medicine/critical care specialists Rubal Patel, M.D. and Jian Li, M.D. Dr. Beasley earned his medical degree from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences and followed with a residency at Maine Medical Center and a fellowship at Tufts Medical Center. Prior to serving as a pulmonary medicine/critical care specialist with Affinity Clinic, Dr. Beasley worked as a hospital medicine physician at Tift Regional Medical Center through Affinity Hospital Medicine.


To make an appointment for Dr. Garbee or Dr. Beasley, call 229-391-4100.


 Affinity Clinic, a part of the Tift Regional Physician Group, is a multi-specialty practice located in Tifton at 2225 Highway 41 North. Visit for more information.

NOV. 19

The Rural Studies Program and Stafford School of Business is holding a Career and 

Network Day from 10 a.m.-2 p.m Nov. 19 in Room 100 at Bowen Hall on the campus of Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.


There is no fee for employers seeking new employees and/or interns and schools seeking graduate students. Lunch will be provided for registrants.

Students attending are majoring in areas that prepare them for careers in business and economic development, non-profits and governmental agencies, writing and communication fields, and business administration. The event is designed to provide students and employers an environment to build relationships while helping identify and recruit graduate students, interns and/or employees. 


For information, contact Lyndsey Walters,

Annual Tree of Life lighting ceremony on Dec. 12


Purchase a light in honor or memory of a loved one, friend or co-worker, all for a

good cause.


Area residents will honor family and friends and remember lost loved ones at the Tree ofLife lighting ceremony to be held on the front lawn at Tift Regional Medical Center (TRMC) on Thursday, Dec. 12 at 6 p.m.


An annual holiday tradition in its 28th year, the Tree of 

Life is sponsored by the Tifton Junior Woman's Club, raising money for a special fund benefiting patients of the TRMC Oncology Center and Hospice of Tift Area with special needs.  With various giving levels, lights for TRMC the tree are purchased in memory or honor of a special family member or friend. The Tree of Life provides much needed aid to cancer, hospice or seriously ill patients who are feeling financial pressures while undergoing treatment or care. The fund helps to pay for utility bills, groceries or special comforts.


The decorative tree will be illuminated with a ceremonial pull of the switch by family members of patients who have received services from Hospice of Tift Area and the TRMC Oncology Center.


The evening will also feature live holiday music, a poignant candlelight ceremony and  a visit from Santa Claus, as well as a free dinner presented by the TRMC Food Services Department. "Real" snow will even cover the ground.


"Tree of Life is a reflective event, but we also wanted it to be a celebration," said Joy Davis, event coordinator. "We'll remember those we've loved and lost, honor those still with us and celebrate the joy of life."


Donations to the Tree of Life are being accepted until the end of December. To make a contribution, visit or call the Tift Regional Outreach and Development Department at (229) 353-6316.



The award-winning documentary, "deep south," will be screened in Howard Auditorium at
6 p.m. Nov. 21 at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College. The film is free and open to the public. The showing is part of an effort by ABAC Rural Studies faculty to open a dialogue about health care issues in the rural south.


Beneath layers of history, poverty and now soaring HIV infections, four Americans redefine traditional Southern values to create their own solutions to survive. The film is directed and produced by Lisa Biagiotti, who will be at the screening for a question-and-answer session.


Biagiotti has written and produced stories for the Los Angeles Times, PBS, Current TV and Human Rights Watch. Her work focuses on complex, under-reported social issues. She won the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award in 2009 for stories she produced on the humanitarian crisis in the eastern Congo. She teaches storytelling to first-time filmmakers and speaks internationally about digital journalism and independent filmmaking.  


The event is sponsored by the ABAC Foundation, South Health District of the Georgia Department of Public Health, Center for Teaching and Learning, the ABAC Schools of Human Sciences, Liberal Arts, and Nursing and Health Sciences, the Honors Program, Georgia Association of Nursing Students, Rural Studies Club, SPECTRA, and the Tifton-Tift County Arts Council.


For information, call 229-391-5020.

A true "treasure chest":  Man finds $98,000 in used desk bought online (Yahoo News)   Click Here!
Everyone's a critic! Pianist could face jail for practicing in his apartment (Associated Press) Click Here!

Paging Mr. Lucky... Man wins million-dollar lottery -- again! (Associated Press) Click Here!

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               At a Glance.... 
  • Hands on Tifton community service day, 8 a.m., various locations, Tifton.
  • Cane Grinding & Syrup Making, 9 a.m., Ga. Museum of Agriculture and Historic Village, Tifton.
  • Tiftarea Academy Fall Festival, 4 p.m., Tiftarea Academy, Chula.
  • La'Chelsea King concert, 6 p.m., Leroy Rogers Senior Center, Tifton.
  • Tiftarea Academy Alumni Basketball Game, 7 p.m., Tiftarea Academy, Chula.
  • Tift County High Girls' Basketball vs. Thomasville, 7 p.m., Tift County High School, Tifton.

In Memoriam


Nov. 7
Mary Thelma Shepherd Barrentine, 98, Enigma

Nov. 8
Tony James Powell, 51, Tifton
Maggie Lee Stembridge Ward, 93, Tifton 
Rexanna Marie Parramore, 52, Sparks 
Louise McDaniel Harper, 83, Adel 
Ralph Daniel "Dan" Hayes, 71, Sycamore 
Nov. 9
Frank Douglas Koran, 90, St. Simons Island
The Rev. Olem Bennett, 95, Enigma 
Irma J. Mackey, 65, Ashburn 
Nov. 10
Coy Lasseter, 87, Tifton
Frederick Green, 49, Ashburn 
Nov. 11
Dorothy Parrish Akins, 91, Nashville 
Nov. 13
William "Bill" Arthur Roets, 62, Lenox 
Glenda Braswell McCall, 65, Tifton 
Nov. 14
Carroll Craven, 69, Nashville 
Mae Elizabeth Golden Willis, 78, Tifton
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