Friday, May 22, 2020
Tifton, Georgia
Tifton Grapevine
Small American flags will once again honor the graves of veterans in Tifton this Memorial Day weekend through the efforts of local volunteers.

Many traditional Memorial Day activities have been cancelled or curtailed this weekend because of the pandemic , including the annual observance in Tifton .

However, local Vietnam veteran Warren Robinson and his daughter Michelle Robinson Hyde have organized volunteers to meet today (Friday) at 2 p.m. in Tifton's Oak Ridge Cemetery to place flags on veterans' graves .

Robinson said he has bought 210 flags for the graves and is asking anyone who wants to help to meet them this afternoon at the Tifton cemetery . Tyron Spearman and the Exchange Club of Tifton are also joining the effort.

"Let’s show everyone how we take care of our own ," said Robinson , who has written two books about his Vietnam experiences and about some of the men with whom he had served .

"Only one day each year , we, as a nation, take time to honor our nation’s dead veterans by placing a small flag next to his headstone ," Robinson said, noting that such organized events have been cancelled because of the coronavirus .

"Aren’t we blessed our veterans didn’t take time out when the bullets were flying ?" he added.

Traditionally, the  Disabled American Veterans Chapter 38 in Tifton has placed the flags in Oak Ridge Cemetery but many of them have health issues making them more susceptible to the virus . Also, Tifton usually holds a Memorial Day ceremony with a speaker and a procession to the veterans' graves at the cemetery. That event was cancelled this year because of the pandemic .

Nationally, the U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs  announced that public events typically associated with Memorial Day, including group placement of flags at gravesites , will not take place this year, although all VA national cemeteries will be open Memorial Day weekend for public visitation

Memorial Day is Monday , and the weekend is the traditional beginning of the summer season. Georgia's beaches and state parks are open , but state officials said it won't be a typical Memorial Day weekend .

Col. Gary Vowell , commissioner of the Ga. Department of Public Safety and former Tift County sheriff , said state troopers will “saturate” Georgia's beaches to enforce social distancing guidelines and prohibit large gatherings .

Commissioner Mark Williams of the Ga. Department of Natural Resources said the state will monitor parks and may even close them if too many people gather at once .
Tifton Grapevine
Tift County High School is about to graduate its largest class in history with 509 expected graduates , school officials say.

This is the largest recorded graduating class at TCHS since the school began keeping records in 1976 , said Jonathan Judy , spokesman for the Tift County School System .

"In lieu of the COVID-19 pandemic and online learning since March 13 , this is a major accomplishment by our students, faculty and staff ," Judy said.

Last spring, Tift County High had a 458 -member graduating class.

The Class of 2020 would have been graduating this Saturday at Brodie Field if the pandemic had not disrupted the schedule. Instead, TCHS is having an online graduation celebration at 9 a.m. Saturday . Graduates are encouraged to don their caps and gowns and view the celebration with their families . They are asked to share photos for the school's Facebook page.

The online link for the graduation celebration will be posted today on the Tift County School System's website and on social media, said Dana R. Spurlin , Tift School's chief information officer. The celebration will be posted on the school system's website, Facebook page, YouTube channel, and other social media outlets.
Principal Kim Seigler said the high school is still planning to hold a graduation ceremony on Brodie Field once the governor releases the ban on large gatherings . The school is considering June 13 or June 20 for the in-person ceremony if the ban is lifted .

Seigler , who is retiring , recently sent a letter to graduates thanking them for their persistence .

"You accepted the new challenges that come with working from home in a virtual classroom , and you adapted to life during a pandemic . On May 22 , this school year will end , but I hope that your learning will continue ," she wrote.

" Learning does not only occur in a classroom . It occurs every time we challenge ourselves and try new things. Take advantage of the opportunities before you, and continue your learning ! It has been a privilege to be your principal ."
Tifton Grapevine
In a briefing Thursday , Gov. Brian P. Kemp asked Georgians to be patient with state health officials who recently had inconsistencies in reporting state COVID-19 statistics .

"They are taking massive amounts of data from countless sources , putting them into an accessible format under a global spotlight , all at breakneck speed ," Kemp said. "Please afford them some patience ."

Responding to a reporter's question, the governor said, "You can be confident in the data , but we make mistakes . When we do that, we'll own that, change it, and make sure that people are aware of that."

In recent days, officials said there have been computer coding errors involving some data that the state Department of Public Health (DPH) has reported. On its web site , the DPH later admitted the problems and said they were fixed .

Kemp also said there is encouraging news with coronavirus-related hospitalizations below 1,000 for the first time in nearly a month .

The DPH also reported Thursday night that Georgia had 40,663 positive cases of the virus and 1,775 deaths. The state has conducted 407,748 tests, the DPH said.

In Tift County , there have been 204 positive cases and 14 deaths – nine men and five women , the DPH said. The deaths of Tift countians range in age from 62 to 90-plus , the DPH reported.

Albany/Dougherty County has 1,716 cases and 138 deaths; Sylvester/Worth County, 207 cases, 20 deaths; Moultrie/Colquitt County, 267 cases, 13 deaths; Ashburn/Turner County, 90 cases, 12 deaths; Valdosta/Lowndes County, 229 cases, 5 deaths; Adel/Cook County, 40 cases, 2 deaths; Fitzgerald/Ben Hill County, 53 cases, 1 death; Ocilla/Irwin County, 23 cases, 1 death; and Nashville/Berrien County, 30 cases and no deaths .
Will Graham announcing the Tiftarea Celebration during a reception last September at the UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center.
The Tiftarea Celebration with Will Graham , originally planned for March 20-22 but postponed because of the pandemic , is expected to be rescheduled either this summer or early fall in Tifton .

Graham , grandson of the late evangelist Billy Graham , is still planning for the multi-day  evangelistic outreach that will feature  music  from  Christian artists  and encouraging  messages  from Graham , who is vice president of training for the  Billy Graham Training Center .

“No matter where I go in the world,  people  seem to be  searching  for the  same things  in life,” Graham said last fall in Tifton. “They want  hope  and  purpose, peace  and  security . I believe that all of these elusive elements can be found in  Jesus , and I’m looking forward to sharing that message in  Georgia ."
Bob Hickling , the celebration's director, said it is hoped that a rescheduled date will be announced soon .

“I want the people and churches in and around the Tiftarea to know that I have a burden to share the hope and love of Jesus there, and I prayerfully anticipate being with you as soon as possible ,” Graham said.
Jaylee Bass from Adel has been selected as the top student in the School of Arts and Sciences at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College , receiving the Award of Distinction .

B a ss has compiled a 3.97 grade point average on a 4.0 scale in the bachelor’s degree in writing and communication . An ABAC Foundation scholar , she received the AT&T Georgia scholarship from the ABAC Foundation.

“This scholarship has allowed me to get a well-rounded education while at ABAC," Bass said. "As a part of that education, I went to France for a month visiting World War II sites with my classmates on a study abroad trip. That experience is one that I will cherish for the rest of my life."

Bass is a member of the ABAC Ambassadors leadership team and the ABAC Honors Program . She presented research at her first Honors Conference in February .
Despite unexpected hurdles, 389 exceptional students at Southern Regional Technical College (SRTC) earned all “A” grades and the recognition of either President’s List or Deans’ List for the spring term.

“Each of these students overcame unexpected challenges presented to them by the COVID-19 crisis to earn these high marks last semester,” said President Jim Glass . “The work ethic and dedication to overcome in the face of adversity that they have demonstrated will no doubt translate to further career and life successes as they move forward in life.” 

Each semester, SRTC recognizes students who have accomplished high academic achievement through the President’s List . In order to qualify, students must meet earn a grade of “A” in all coursework and be enrolled in 12 semester credit hours or more.

For the spring semester, 221 students were named to the President’s List , including:
William Swilley and Jordan Hough, Adel ; Loren Seabolt, Arabi ; Daniel Graham, Kayla Callejas, Dykeriah Jackson and Kayla Register, Ashburn ; Jessica Anderson, Lenox ; Tyre Schultz and Wendall Bass, Nashville ; Amari Tillman, Arnijah Serieux and Nayeli Hernandez, Omega ; Gabriel Burger, Sumner ; Sheyanne Wheeler, Sycamore ; Stephen Brown, Cameron Slack, Alyssa Craft, Takiyah Timmons and Amanda Moore, Sylvester ; Crystal Tovar, Nathen Branam, Sidney Lawson, Brittany Chapman, Alana Johnson, Charlea Justice, Brisa Tovar, Lucia Pena, Cody Lankford, Lashonda Prince, Amanda Black, Chaeli Clack, Karla Maton, Emily Walker, Abigail Woodall, Laura Herrera, Chelsea Goddard, Angel Medina, Stephan Bowen, Madison Giddens, Amber Cummings and Ty Cummings, Tifton ; Lauren Montgomery and Esmeralda Olguin Cornejo, Ty Ty.

For the spring semester, 168 students were named to the Deans’ List including:
Jaycey Reddick and Alana Bloser, Adel ; Johnny Brown, Tonja Hillmon, Anjali Patel, Zuriel Palma and Naqirah Garcia, Ashburn ; Vincent Thompson and Emma Haswell, Chula ; Kenya Curry, Fitzgerald ; JoLyn Schultz, Nashville ; Mary Tatum, Ocilla ; Peyton Donaldson, Charles Hutchinson, Kloie Varnadoe, Mattie Jinright and Rebecca Jinright, Omega ; Madison Burger and Marley Sutton, Sumner ; Hunter Cameron, Sycamore ; Amber Smith, Morgan Carmichael, Keahjana Hill, Jarvis Wright, Chloe Moore, Hally Branch, Mary Newbern, Kesha Turner, Chelsea Satterfield, Maxwell Hornbuckle, Erin Page, Madison Young, Abbigail Moore, Madison Ingram, Annslee Bassett, Kenslee Webb, Karrigan Turner, Noemi Reyes, Patricia Henderson, Melanie Smith, Kylie Tanton, Autumn Rice, Carrie Engram, Rylee Watson, Collin Maye, Savannah Owens, Ashley Watson, Sara Muterspaugh, Anna West, Maronda Carridine, Bernadino Silos, Macie Green and Daisey Estrada, Tifton .
Second Harvest of South Georgia , the region’s leading domestic hunger-relief charity , will offer another free food distribution in Tifton today, Friday, May 22 .

This will be the third distribution in Tift County this spring. Food boxes will be available beginning at 7:30 a.m. at the Ga. Museum of Agriculture on Whiddon Mill Road.

Second Harvest has stepped up food distribution throughout the region during the pandemic. The food bank has distributed 91 percent more food than was distributed during the same period last year .

Food boxes are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis; no proof of income is required. Boxes will be placed in the trunks of vehicles with no physical contact.

Second Harvest of South Georgia serves nearly 30 counties and is a member of the Feeding America  network. Headquartered in Valdosta , the organization has locations in Tifton and Thomasville in order to serve its 12,000 -square-mile service area.

For information, call 229-244-2678 .
This young gray and white cat is among the animals available for adoption at the Tift County Animal Shelter.

The shelter , located at 278 Georgia Highway 125 S. , in Tifton , is now  open  to the public for adoptions  1-6 p.m. Mondays  through  Fridays .

For information, call 229-382-PETS (7387).
Pets of the Week are sponsored by:
Branch’s Veterinary Clinic
205 Belmont Ave., Tifton, 229-382-6055   
Important Phone Numbers & Web Sites
MAY 14
Charles Gary Pate, 62, Tifton
Billie Joe Davis, 82, Sylvester
Brenda Gail Kelley, 64, Adel
David Byrd, 72, Homerville
Wayne “Yogi” Mixon, 77, Fitzgerald
Bobbie Lynn Burton Griffin, 90, Irwinville
Carolyn Wynell Dean Rogers, 83, Dallas
Eugene Henry "Stonewall" Jackson, 50, Nashville
George Wilson "G.W." Walden Jr., 90, Lenox

MAY 15
James Randall “Randy” Powell, 62, Elberton
Virginia Kay Webb Denhoed, 66, Worth County  
Johnny Warren Sumner, 86, Irwin County

MAY 16
Charles “Wayne” Fletcher, 66, Enigma

MAY 17
Gerald Autry Ross, 82, Irwin County
Susan L. M. Davis, 76, Ashburn

MAY 18
Alma Lee Boyd Beech, 42, Nashville
Cynthia Davis Smith Johnson, 66, Tifton
Teddy Leon Gray, 72, Douglasville
Barbara Malcolm Hendley, 82, Fitzgerald
Gladys Partin, 98, Nashville
Joel Franklin "Joey" Watson, 61, Nashville
Martin Keith Seymour, 51,  Bibb County

MAY 19
Reginald Lee Graham, 83, Tifton
Manjulaben Patel Desai, 69, Tifton  

MAY 20
Henry A. “Bo” Miller Jr., 88, Tifton
Clair Edward Troxell Jr., 87, Tifton

MAY 21
Kenneth “Ken” Jeffery Rhodes, 55, Albany

Tifton Grapevine
e-published every Tuesday and Friday

Frank Sayles Jr.
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Bonnie Sayles
Managing Editor
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