JAN. 23, 2018
Tifton, Georgia


Tifton Grapevine

Tifton Mayor Julie Smith is one of approximately 75 mayors from across the nation who have been invited to meet Wednesday with President Trump and federal officials at the White House to discuss issues and challenges that cities are facing.

Among Georgia mayors invited with Tifton's mayor are  Albany Mayor Dorothy Hubbard Augusta
Mayor Hardie Davis
Dallas Mayor Boyd Austin Dublin Mayor Phil Best, Hampton Mayor Kay Pippin Johns Creek Mayor Mike Bodker LaGrange Mayor Jim Thornton, Loganville Mayor Rey Martinez and  Union Point Mayor Vince Williams.

"I don't know how they chose who to invite," Smith said. The Georgia Municipal Association was asked to submit a list of mayors to the White House, and the attendees were culled from the list.

During "Mayors' Day at the White House," Trump is scheduled to talk with the mayors at 3 p.m. 

Following the meeting with the president, the mayors will attend a reception at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, directly adjacent to the White House, where they will meet with  representatives from several agencies including the Small Business Administration, Department of Energy, Department of  Education, Department of Transportation, Environmental Protection Agency and the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs.


Public meetings are scheduled next week on the list of proposed projects that would be funded under the Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, or T-SPLOST, that will be on the ballot May 22.

Meetings will be held Monday, Jan. 29, from 4-6:00 p.m. at the Pearson Sports and Civic Complex, 786 Austin Ave. East, in Pearson; and an open house on Tuesday, Jan. 30, between 10 a.m.-6 p.m. at the Southern Georgia Regional Commission office, 327 West Savannah Ave., in Valdosta.

The proposed one-cent sales tax would encompass 18 counties and would be used only for transportation infrastructure,  such as pavement maintenance, road construction, bridge, safety, transit, aviation, bicycle and pedestrian projects. 

A regional committee has selected 150 projects, totaling more than $296 million throughout the region, with each county in the region is represented by at least one project. The sales tax is estimated to generate more than $513 million in the next decade for transportation purposes.

Twenty-five percent of the proceeds, or $128 million, will be divided by a formula to each city and county in the region. If the sales tax is passed by the voters, local jurisdictions will also see a reduction from 30 to 10 percent in the match they pay on annual Local Maintenance Improvement Grant funds they receive from the Ga. Department of Transportation.

The special district for the proposed regional transportation sales tax involves Atkinson, Bacon, Ben Hill, Berrien, Brantley, Brooks, Charlton, Clinch, Coffee,Cook, Echols, Irwin, Lanier, Lowndes, Pierce, Tift, Turner and Ware counties.
The "Draft Constrained Project List " is available online here.

We're Seeking a
Church Pianist

Tifton First United 
Methodist Church

107 W 12th St., Tifton, GA

Tifton First United Methodist Church has an opening for a part-time church pianist.
The pianist is responsible for preparing for and practicing with 
the chancel choir, orchestra and ensemble every Wednesday evening for about two hours and for playing at Sunday 
traditional services  at  9 a.m. and 11 a.m., as well as at special services at Christmas, Easter, etc.  

Interested persons should contact Angie Carr at 
or call   229-382-6100 .

Tifton Mayor Julie Smith and City Councilman Frank Sayles Jr. were both recognized by the Harold F. Holtz Municipal Training Institute during the Georgia Municipal Association's (GMA) Mayors' Day conference this past weekend in Atlanta.

Smith received the Certificate of Achievement, and Sayles received the Certificate of Recognition.

The Harold F. Holtz Municipal Training Institute, a cooperative effort of GMA and the University of
Georgia's Carl Vinson Institute of Government, provides a nationallyrecognized series of training opportunities for city officials.

To receive a Certificate of Achievement, a city official must complete a minimum of 72 hours of training credit. 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
"These are outstanding achievements," said GMA Executive Director Larry Hanson. "We commend Mayor Smith and Councilmember Sayles for this accomplishment and for the dedication they have shown in using this valuable resource to become a more effective city official."
Based in Atlanta, GMA is a voluntary, non-profit organization that provides legislative advocacy, research, training, employee benefit and technical consulting services to its 521 member cities.

The community can help endow a chair for the Tift County Foundation for Educational Excellence (TCFEE) by  sponsoring a tennis player in the foundation's Fifth Annual Rally for Reading, to be held Feb. 4.

Tennis Coach Dale White and his  international team at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, which is usually a contender for the national championship, are donating their time and talent to help raise money for the  Terri Nalls Reading Angel Chair.
The event is 1:30-4:30 p.m. Feb. 4 at ABAC's Red Hill Tennis Center

Entry fee is a $100 tax-deductible donation to the TCFEE. Individuals may sponsor a player or may enter to participate themselves.  Players will be grouped by age (starting at age seven-plus) and skill level, with at least one ABAC player for a doubles rotation.  Each participant will play three rounds.

To create a foundation chair, $25,000 is needed. The campaign to fund the chair to honor Terri Nalls kicked off when she retired last spring as media specialist at Charles Spencer Elementary School Her friends and family have already given $8,000 toward the chair, and  George McCarty, a long-time TCFEE supporter, has offered $5,000 if the remainder can be raised.

As Charles Spencer Elementary's media specialist from 1996 to 2017, Nalls helped lead the charge for Tifton becoming the Reading Capital of the  World. Along the way, she ran Tifton's popular and successful summer reading AR (Accelerated Reader) program

"Many of us know this about Terri, but not everybody knows how popular and successful she was at getting her students hooked on reading," says Mike Brumby, TCFEE executive director. "She had read and remembered every book in her media center. She would magically get to know all the students and match them up with 'just the right book.' "
For information, contact Brumby at  229-392-2100 or email


In a time where success is expected and excess celebrated, Jay Gatsby is a god among men, yet without the love of Daisy Buchanan he is unfulfilled.

On Feb. 1, the National Players will explore that story in a 7 p.m. performance of "The Great Gatsby" as a part of the ABAC Presents! Performing Arts Series in Howard Auditorium at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.

The first time being staged by the National Players, this fast-paced adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic novel brings the Jazz Age of New York to life as Daisy's cousin, Nick, guides audiences through a world where love, opportunity, deception and tragedy are always just around the corner.

ABAC Arts Connection Director Wayne Jones said the National Players include 10 cast members who devote three months of their summer to rehearsals for three shows and then tour the country for nine months performing in a specific show at the discretion of hosting locations. 

Tickets will be available at the door for $20 for adults and $10 for students who 18 and under. For information, call 229-391-4895

After performing "The Great Gatsby" at ABAC, The National Players , America's longest-running tour company , will also be performing Shakespeare's "Othello"   for the students and faculty of Tift County High School on Friday, Feb. 2.

Remaining events in the ABAC arts series include the  California Guitar Trio on  Feb. 15An Evening at the Cinema with Jared Starr and Andy Lagrimas on  March 15, and saxophonist  Tim Green with the ABAC Jazz Ensemble on  April 19.

The Faithful Servants, local Southern Gospel singers, are celebrating their decade of singing together with a 10th Anniversary Sing at 6 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 27, at Victory Baptist Church, 3917 U.S. Highway 319 South in Tifton.

An appreciation meal will be served in the church's social hall immediately following the sing.

The Faithful Servants group features three-part harmony and has been singing in churches, auditoriums and outdoor festivals throughout the region during the past decade.

Members are Pam Purvis, Brenda Saunders, Gary Graham and Steve King.


The Tift County High Blue Devils Swim & Dive Team  are the Region 1-7A champions for the fourth consecutive year.

The boys and girls Blue Devils teams won the region swim meet on Friday at South Georgia College in Douglas.


On Monday, Southern Regional Technical College (SRTC) recognized exceptional students achieving the honor of President's List, Dean's List and Merit List for the fall term.  

President's List designees include: Tyus Clark, Alexander Hubbard, Kimberly McDuffie, Madison Pritchard, Tyler Walker and Katelyn Watson of Ashburn; Taylor Whitfield of Chula; Tiffani Lassetter and Ezekiel Stoyle of Enigma; Shannon Alainz, Seth Clark, Ashton Brooke Hughes, and Joshua Miley of Enigma; Adrianna Conger of Fitzgerald; Whitley Royals of Nashville; Danielle Benton, Anthony Lewis, and Chance Turner of Norman Park; John Phillips and Charles Thornton of Ocilla; Tatyana Brooks and Miranda Guzman of Omega; Anna Sumner of Sumner; Brittany Acord, Kannetha Cheryl Clem, Deanna Daniel, Richard Dooley, and Cindi Ortega of Sylvester; Mary Alex Anders, Jeffrey Baker, Shaina Carroll, Tammi Carter, Caitlin Cattell, Brittney Coates, Andrew Floyd, Deysi Gutierrez, Kimjuana Ivey, Lorenzo Jones, Meghan Massa, Jordan McGahee, Erin Page, Amber Plair, Armando Popoca, Kayley Register, Felipe Rodriguez, Emmanuel Santillan, Laura Santillan-Cruz, Janique Segers, Kay Nicole Lavender, Sarah Taylor, Felix Torres, Jeremy Ryan Turner, and Jessica Dawn Willis of Tifton; Abigail Woodall, Brittany Michelle Chambless, Randall Nipper, and Elizabeth Stout of Ty Ty.

Dean's List students include: Alexis Anderson and Tucker Parrish of Adel; Alexisana McCloud, Edwin Zapote, Carlee Ward, Nohadia Palma, Triston Raper, and Tyisha Martin of Ashburn; Elizabeth Morgan and Evan Joyner of Enigma; Marianna Harrell, Megan Cooper, Krishna Keair Turner, and Tiffany Diana Moreno Smith of Norman Park; Jenny Varnadoe, Peyton Madison Elrdo, Mackenzie Pippin, and Becky Ann Hernandez of Omega; Michael Burger, James Patrick Watkins, and Mathew Luke of Sumner; Kathleen Alford of Sycamore; Michael Causey, Cherie Cason, Samantha Marie Marshall, Britany Nachole Duckworth, Sydney Wilson, and Jodine Adkins of Sylvester; Queen Rouse, Kimberly Cochran, Karen Ann Kinard, Christopher Hill, Samantha Bruner, Christopher Littlefield, Leonyne Leach, Chasity Drawdy, Katie Lott, Collin Maye, Sabrina Smith, Kyla Hughes, and Jamesha McCray of Tifton; Melissa Henry Brown of Ty Ty. 

Additionally, 852 students were recognized for making the Merit List.

Due to what has been called "unforeseen circumstances," the Baldwin Players will not be on stage in Howard Auditorium on Jan. 25-26 for the previously announced production of the one-act play "The Dumb Waiter" at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College

Baldwin Players' Director Brian Ray said the play has been canceled The next production for the Baldwin Players will be "I Do! I Do! I Do! I Do!" on March 9-11 at 7 p.m. at the Georgia Museum of Agriculture.


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