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APRIL 3, 2018
Tifton, Georgia

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TIFTON JOINS OPIOID LAWSUIT
 
The City of Tifton has decided to join a multi-jurisdictional lawsuit against "contributors of the opioid addiction crisis."

During a brief called meeting after Tifton City Council's lengthy workshop Monday night, council  joined with numerous cities and counties across Georgia in the  lawsuit against pharmaceutical manufacturers of prescription opiates and "those in the chain of distribution"  who are "responsible for the opioid epidemic."

City Attorney Rob Wilmot said there is no cost to the city for joining the lawsuit, and the city also will not incur any costs if the litigation is unsuccessful. If damages are awarded, the law firm representing Tifton and others would receive 30 percent.

The Athens law firm of Blasingame, Burch, Garrard and Ashley is representing Tifton and other counties and municipalities at no cost to taxpayers.

Damages awarded could result in an abatement fund to help abate the results of the opioid crisis in the city, such as costs for law enforcement, treatment, counseling, rehabilitation and other costs " incurred in the past fighting the opioid epidemic and/or recover the funds necessary to abate the health and safety crisis.

According to the Georgia Prevention Project, Georgia ranks 11th in the country with the most prescription opioid overdoses. Of the 1,426 Georgians who died of drug overdoses in 2016, 982 of them were from opioids. Nationally, 91 people die each day from an opioid overdose.


TIFT COUNTY HIGH AMONG SCHOOLS GETTING  STATE GRANT FOR 
CAREER ACADEMY LABS

The Ga. Department of Education recently awarded more than $1.1 million to rural school districts, including Tift County, to support them in equipping their Career, Technical and Agricultural Education (CTAE) labs.

The funds -- awarded to schools in Tift, Dougherty, McIntosh and Pierce counties -- will support the implementation of 15 CTAE labs. Each lab will provide immersive learning experiences in high-demand fields such as healthcare sciences, mechatronics, distribution and logistics, film and agriculture.

At Tift County High School, the funds will aid the Tift College and Career Academy's health science, agriculture mechanics and agriculture multi-use labs.

Launched this year, state FastTrack grants are Construction Related Equipment (CRE) grant funds awarded at the midpoint of the fiscal year to support school districts in equipping new CTAE labs. These districts are able to open their labs six months ahead of schedule, while meeting all qualifications for CRE grant funding.

Craig Matthews, Tift schools CTAE director, said it's important for students to be knowledgeable and experienced with the equipment used in modern business and industry.

MATTHEWS
"The FastTrack funds are vital in preparing our future workforce," Matthews said.

Carol M. Smith, a senior vice president at Tift Regional Medical Center, also offered support for Tift's FastTrack grant.

"As you know, construction-related equipment is necessary to expand skills training programs for careers in growing industries in our region," Smith wrote in a letter of support.

 "Obtaining this equipment will allow us to provide training for students in various career pathways offered by Tift College and Career Academy to meet the growing needs of our economy. These grants will help us remain a leader in both innovation and education."

Also recently, American Textile Co., at its grand opening of its latest distribution center in Tifton, donated $35,000  to aid construction of the 9,000-square-foot Agriscience Center at the high school's Tift College and Career Academy.

LOCAL LEADERS GRADUATE FROM
SOUTH GEORGIA LEADERSHIP PROGRAM

Locate South GeorgiaLEADS, (LSGL) presented by Electric Cities of Georgia, graduated its second class March 22

Following an eight-month leadership development experience that included visits to seven
LUKE-MORGAN
GASKINS
South Georgia communities and the state Capitol, 31 regional leaders were congratulated for their commitment to the region by Lowndes County Commission Chairman Bill Slaughter and Valdosta Mayor John Gayle. The graduation ceremony was hosted by the Valdosta-Lowndes County Development Authority and members of Locate South Georgia

Among the participants in the program this year are Lequrica Gaskins with the City of Tifton, Audrey Luke-Morgan of Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, Molly Giddens with the Ga. Chamber of Commerce office in Tifton, Shawn Haralson of the Ben Hill County School System, Neesa Williams of the Fitzgerald-Ben Hill County Chamber of Commerce and Ty Schultz of the Bank of Alapaha.

LSGL represents a partnership among the regional economic development initiative Locate South Georgia, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and the J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development at the University of Georgia. Its purpose is to identify and develop regional leaders who can raise awareness of regional issues across South Georgia.


SAVE THE DATE: LIBRARY FOUNDATION
SETS DINNER-SHOW FUNDRAISER

The Tift County Public Library Foundation is bringing The Swingin' Medallions, "The Party Band of the South," to Tifton on  Thursday  night, Sept. 13, for the Foundation's annual  fundraiser at the UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center.

Sponsorships for the event are available. Once again, individuals will be able to purchase dinner/show tickets or show-only tickets. This is the Library Foundation's only fundraiser for  the year, and money raised is used to aid the library in sponsoring children's programming and in purchasing books and other materials to serve all patrons in Tift County.

The Swingin' Medallions are known for their high-energy performances, their horn section and their Carolina Beach Music songs. Performing since the 1960s, their biggest hits are "Double Shot (Of My Baby's Love)," which reached No. 17 on the Billboard chart, "Hey, Hey, Baby," and "She Drives Me Out of My Mind."

A dance floor will again be available for those patrons who want to swing their partners to the infectious sounds of The Swingin' Medallions.

Tickets will be available at the library and at the conference center in the coming weeks.


Congressmen Scott and Bishop, at center of table, lead discussion at ABAC.

REPS. SCOTT, BISHOP TO ADDRESS
RURAL HUNGER IN FARM BILL

Congressmen Sanford Bishop, a Democrat from Albany, and Republican Austin Scott of Tifton jointly held a roundtable discussion on rural hunger last week at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton.

"Hunger is a stubborn issue in rural communities, particularly those experiencing decreases in full-service grocery stores. The lack of full-service grocery stores leads to diminished food choice and increased costs," Bishop said.

"Our discussion centered on the upcoming Farm Bill debate, the future of the SNAP program and the importance of ensuring that nutrition and agriculture regulations take into account the specific needs and capabilities of rural communities."

SNAP -- the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program formerly known as Food Stamps -- is funded through the Farm Bill.

"It was a great discussion," Scott said. "I look forward to taking many of the points we covered back to D.C. with me as we continue to address food assistance and hunger relief policies through crafting of the 2018 Farm Bill."

TIFTON ACTRESS TO GUEST STAR ON TV'S 'THE MICK'

CARMICHAEL
Tifton native Caitlin Carmichael is scheduled to appear as a guest on "The Mick" sitcom at  9:30 p.m. today (Tuesday ) on Fox TV .

Carmichael, 13, is a longtime actress in TV, commercials and film productions. She recently received good reviews as a star in the Netflix movie "Wheelman" with Frank Grillo. She recently appeared on the TV sitcom "Young Sheldon" and will be appearing in the upcoming major motion picture "Life Itself," coming to theaters this fall, starring Olivia Cooke, Antonio Banderas, Mandy Patinkin, Samuel L. Jackson, Olivia Wilde and Annette Bening.

Tuesday's episode of "The Mick," which stars Kaitlin Olson, is the season finale of the Fox sitcom.


SIGN OF THE DAWGS

There are two new additions at the front of the University of Georgia Tifton campus: New UGA Tifton signs  can spotted off Moore Highway.

The signs are part of a landscape improvement project on the campus.


TIFTAREA ACADEMY STUDENTS WIN
AT KIWANIS ART & MUSIC SHOWCASE

Tiftarea Academy was well represented at the recent Kiwanis Art & Music Showcase. Sophie Compton won first place in the fifth grade division art showcase; Brittni Conger took home the top honor of best in show in the high school division art showcase; Julie Funk took third in the fourth-sixth grades musical showcase; Ellie Funk participated as a fourth-grader in this division as well and performed an instrumental piece; Ansley Hutto won second place in this division as well; Jim Howard won first place in the seventh-eighth grade musical division; Christian Massa took second; and Mia Savelli placed second in the ninth-12th grades musical division. 


ROTARIANS HEAR ALL THAT JAZZ

Members of the ABAC Jazz Chorus performed Wednesday for the Tifton Rotary Club. The chorus, led by Dr. Susan Roe, includes students Shana Mormon, Nyjee Sykes, Landon Chavis, Ashley Luke, Hope McMillan, Jordan James, Alejandro Lopez, Grant Hudson and Natalie Shell, accompanied by percussionist Juan Carlos Hernandez Diaz.


NEW TIFT DEPUTIES, DETENTION OFFICER
JOIN SHERIFFS OFFICE

Last week, Tift County Sheriff Gene Scarbrough swore in four new deputies and one detention officer

Pictured from left are Chad Middlebrooks, Deputy Stone Sirmans, Scarbrough, Deputy Joshua Lupo, Deputy Anthony Tripp and Detention Officer Joseph Schroeder.


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