Friday, July 23, 2021
Tifton, Georgia
GrapeNew
Actress Caitlin Carmichael, a Tifton native, portrays a teen who is abducted in the new thriller “Midnight in the Switchgrass” which opens today. The film stars Bruce Willis, Megan Fox, and Emile Hirsch.
TIFTON NATIVE'S LATEST MOVIE
OPENS TODAY
'MIDNIGHT IN THE SWITCHGRASS' THRILLER STARS
BRUCE WILLIS, MEGAN FOX
By FRANK SAYLES JR.
Tifton Grapevine
Tifton has recently become a site for filming movies, but The Friendly City has had its own native film star for more than a decade – and her new movie with Bruce Willis and Megan Fox is being released today.

“Midnight in the Switchgrass” stars Willis, Fox, Emile Hirsch – and Tifton's own Caitlin Carmichael. The movie will be available in select theaters – including one in Moultrie – on Apple TV and everywhere movies are rented. It will also be available on Blu-ray and DVD on July 27.

Carmichael plays a 16-year-old who is abducted by a serial killer in Florida who preys upon young girls. Willis and Fox are FBI agents on the killer's trail. Hirsch is a Florida state officer leading the local manhunt.

The cast includes Lukas Haas and Sistine Rose Stallone, daughter of Sylvester Stallone.

Carmichael said she knew that playing the character "Tracey" would be a challenge. "I was excited to film a kidnapped storyline that didn’t shy away from the realness and brutality of the situation," she said.
"Doing my own stunts during Tracey’s escape – breaking through the sewage pipe and crawling through the switchgrass with my hands really zip-tied together – allowed me to actually put myself through what Tracey was experiencing and mirror her determination with my own."

Carmichael, 17, just finished her sophomore year at UCLA. The Tifton native is majoring in American literature and culture, and minoring in film, TV, and digital media. A seasoned film veteran, Carmichael has been acting on film since she was 3 years old. She has appeared in numerous television programs and movies.

Her numerous credits include the female lead in the TV series "Dwight in Shining Armor," the films "Life Itself," "Epiphany," "Wheelman," "300: Rise of an Empire," and the TV miniseries "Bag of Bones" with Pierce Brosnan.
COVID-19 CASES CONTINUE RISING IN TIFT COUNTY WITH 72 CONFIRMED
DURING PAST TWO WEEKS
By FRANK SAYLES JR.
Tifton Grapevine
New cases of COVID-19 continue rising dramatically in Tift County with 72 confirmed cases in the past two weeks, according to the Ga. Department of Public Health (DPH) on Thursday.

This time last week, the number of new cases during the previous two-week period was 15.

Tift County now has a daily average of 31 new cases per 100,000 population, the county’s highest daily average since Feb. 5, according to data from Emory University. In comparison, the state's daily average of new cases per 100,000 population is at 13.

DPH statistics show that Tift's new cases within two weeks represent 176 per 100,000 population with a 9.6% positive test rate. Tift County has had a total of 3,550 confirmed cases with 102 related deaths, says the DPH.

In Georgia, 1,440 new cases were recorded within 24 hours along with 11 additional deaths and 79 new hospitalizations. The state has had a total 916,373 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 18,655 related deaths, the DPH said.
JOBLESS RATES RISE IN JUNE IN LOCAL AREA, SAYS GDOL
BUT UNEMPLOYMENT DECLINES SLIGHTLY IN STATE
By FRANK SAYLES JR.
Tifton Grapevine
Although Georgia's unemployment rate dropped slightly in June, the jobless rate rose throughout the Tiftarea during the month, according to data released Thursday by the Ga. Department of Labor (GDOL).

The state’s unemployment rate dropped by a 0.1 percentage point to reach 4% in June, lower than the national rate of 5.9% and down 8.5% from April 2020, the GDOL said.

“We have gained back 76% of the jobs lost in the pandemic and currently have over 190,000 job listings that need to be filled. We are working with employers across the state to fill those positions because if they continue to go unfilled, it will stall out new job creation,” said state Labor Commissioner Mark Butler. “Several job sectors are already breaking all-time highs as we continue to see Georgia’s economy recover.” 

But local counties did not fare as well in June. Tift County’s jobless rate was 4%, an increase from 3.5% in May. However, there were 1,174 more Tift countians employed than one year ago, the GDOL said.

Tift's labor force in June numbered 20,927 with 834 residents jobless, according to GDOL data.

Unemployment rates for June compared to May in other area counties include: Turner, 6.7% in June vs. 6.2% in May; Worth, 4.4% vs. 3.9%; Irwin, 4.9% vs. 4.2%; Cook, 3.8% vs. 3.4%; Berrien, 4.2% vs. 3.7%; and Ben Hill County, 5.9% in June vs. 5.1% in May.
UGA CAES photo
UGA Tifton Entomology Professor Glen Rains works on the robotic arm controls of his cotton-harvesting robot.
UGA TIFTON AT FOREFRONT OF AG TECHNOLOGY
A recent article in a University of Georgia publication spotlights some of the work in precision agriculture technology being conducted on the UGA Tifton campus.

The current issue of "southscapes,” a publication for alumni and friends of UGA's College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), notes that agriculture is Georgia’s oldest and largest industry, contributing approximately $73 billion to the economy each year, and UGA is making a "substantial investment" in agriculture technology.

Among the work noted is that of Glen Rains, a research professor on the UGA Tifton campus and an expert in robotics who is developing a small-scale solar-powered robot for harvesting cotton.

Conceivably, a small fleet of such robots could be deployed to identify and pick individual cotton bolls at their precise peak, ginning it automatically before bringing it back to unload.

Also highlighted is some of the field-work technology being conducted by George Vellidis, a professor of crop and soil sciences on the Tifton campus.

Agriculture is a critical part of our state and who we are, and as a land-grant university, we have an obligation and responsibility to support that industry and ensure that it is successful, sustainable, and profitable for many years to come,” said Nick Place, CAES dean.

“I envision a time when we’re going to be able to breed plants that will get what we need into our diet based upon the health conditions we have, including plants that can help combat those particular diseases or strengthen our immune system,” he said.

“I think it’s going to be here sooner than later. I think in five years we’ll see some big development, but in 10 years I think we’re going to see a tremendous amount of change in this whole area, and we absolutely want to be at the forefront of that."

To read the entire article, Click Here.
GA ROTARY STUDENT PROGRAM PROMOTES 'PEACE, UNDERSTANDING'
By BONNIE SAYLES
Tifton Grapevine
Rob Kellner, chair of the Georgia Rotary Student Program, discussed the program’s history and impact with the Tifton Rotary Club on Wednesday.

“Our job is to develop leadership,” Kellner said. Through this sponsorship of foreign college students in local Georgia communities, he said, “we attract people who promote peace and understanding around the world.”

The program is celebrating its 75th anniversary Aug. 20-21 in Thomasville, where the program was founded by Rotarian Will Watt. During the past year, in which no students were sponsored because of the pandemic, the program's leaders conducted strategic planning and hired a marketing and development director, Katherine Fields.

“We’re working to move the organization forward,” Kellner said.

The sponsorship of foreign college students by individual clubs across the state is unique to Georgia. It was started before the Rotary Foundation was initiated, so now it is allowed to fundraise and operate outside the foundation.

The Tifton Rotary Club has been involved with the program for decades, sponsoring foreign students to attend Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College. Local Rotarians serve as host families for the students.
 
There are 43 students selected for participation in this year’s state program, and 24 students have been accepted for sponsorship by Rotary clubs in the state. The students, from 19 countries, are in the process of getting visas to the U.S.

Students who participate get to be ultimate tourists, participating in all available activities and events during the year. Examples are attending UGA football and Braves baseball games, and rafting and ziplining in Columbus. They must attend a conclave and a convention, and up to six student weekends with other participants across the state. 

Relationships are made for a lifetime,” Kellner said, not only with host families but also among other students. In 2017, the program held a reunion, and about 75 former students came back. 

A garden at a new Marriott Courtyard in Thomasville will recognize donors to the program and will be unveiled Aug. 20 during the anniversary celebration. Kellner said a former participant from Israel recently donated $20,000, and a German parent sent a check for $10,000 to be used for that year’s students. 

Students return to their home countries with a new perspective on the United States; the program "promotes peace and understanding,” Kellner said.
FAMILIES, KIDS GET BACK-TO-SCHOOL SUPPLIES, INFO AT RESOURCE FAIR
Several hundred children and their families attended the Community Resource Fair and School Supply Giveaway Thursday at the Tift County Recreation Department.

Sponsored by the Jay Deason Fund, Tift Regional Medical Center, the Tift County Commission on Children & Youth (TCCCY), and the Recreation Department, the event featured exhibitors giving away thousands of pencils, notebooks, crayons, and other school supplies

"We were pleased to have such a good turnout of families," said Lillie McEntyre, TCCCY executive director. "Children who attended left the event with bags full of much-needed school supplies. 

"It was so good to have nearly 40 community partners set up displays to share resources and give out school supplies. This was a perfect example of how collaboration benefits the whole community." 
Photos by Bonnie Sayles
PANTHA
PRICE
WORLEY
VORIS
SCOTT
KHATIWADA
ABAC PROMOTES FACULTY, GRANTS TENURE
Four faculty members at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College will begin the 2021-22 academic year with promotions and tenure. One other faculty member will also be promoted, and another will be granted tenure at the college.

Faculty receiving promotions and tenure include Dr. Buddhi Pantha, Dr. Rachael Price, Dr. Ryan Voris, and Dr. Elizabeth Worley. All four are being promoted to associate professor in the School of Arts and Sciences.

Dr. Jason Scott in the School of Agriculture and Natural Resources will be promoted to professor. Dr. Bal Khatiwada in the School of Arts and Sciences will be granted tenure.

Tenure may be granted to a faculty member who has at least reached the rank of assistant professor and has shown potential for making significant contributions to the college and to the person's field of study.

The promotions and tenure become effective Aug. 1. ABAC's fall semester begins on Aug. 10.
TURPENTINE DISTILLING SET SATURDAY AT GA MUSEUM OF AGRICULTURE
The running of the turpentine still will be the featured demonstration beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Ga. Museum of Agriculture at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.

“Our visitors that day can enjoy a seldom-seen piece of South Georgia history,” Museum Director Garrett Boone said. “Guests will see up close and personal the age-old process of turpentine distilling that is central to South Georgia’s cultural heritage.”

In addition to the turpentine processing demonstration, guests may also ride train cars pulled by the museum’s 1917 steam-powered locomotive and tour the grounds of the museum, which include a grist mill, cotton gin, school, and other structures from Georgia’s past.
RAINS POSTPONE SUNBELT AG EXPO'S
ANNUAL FIELD DAY UNTIL AUG. 12
The Sunbelt Ag Expo Field Day is rescheduled for Aug. 12; it had been set for this past Thursday but a recent "overabundance of rain" prompted the date change, Expo officials said.

"Mother Nature’s outpouring of rain over the past few days has left the fields in an impassable condition. Regrettably, we are postponing this year’s Field Day until lots of sunshine dries out the farm," the Expo said in a statement.

The annual Field Day allows farmers to get practical information from top agricultural scientists about the newest agricultural technologies that can improve farm operations.

The half-day event will take place at the 600-acre Darrell Williams Research Farm, located at the Expo show site at Spence Field in Moultrie.

“Each year, our mission is to provide a place where research can be done to benefit all row crop and forage farmers — especially those who might not have the resources or land to just go out and try a new variety or technology on a hunch,” said Cody Mitchell, Sunbelt Ag Expo farm manager.

This year's Sunbelt Ag Expo is scheduled Oct. 19-21.
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YOUR GUIDE TO ACTIVITIES THIS WEEKEND IN THE TIFTAREA

This may make you feel old: On Saturday, July 24, Bob Dylan's iconic song "Like a Rolling Stone" was released 56 years ago in 1965. So, as the songs goes, "How do you feel...."
FRIDAY, JULY 23
  • Disney's "Winnie the Pooh Kids," 7 p.m., Tift Theatre for the Performing Arts, Downtown Tifton

SATURDAY, JULY 24
  • Wiregrass Farmers Market, 9 a.m.-Noon, Georgia Museum of Agriculture, Tifton
  • Turpentine Still Demonstration, 10 a.m., Georgia Museum of Agriculture & Historic Village, Tifton
  • Tiftarea Auto Club Cruise-In, 6:30 p.m., Buffalo Wild Wings, U.S. Highway 82, Tifton
  • Disney's "Winnie the Pooh Kids," 7 p.m., Tift Theatre for the Performing Arts, Downtown Tifton
TIFTON GRAPEVINE'S DOG OF THE WEEK
This black lab is on stray hold at the Tift County Animal Shelter on Highway 125 S. If unclaimed, the lab will be available for adoption.To see all pets available for adoption, visit the shelter between 1-6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. For more information, call 229-382-PETS (7387).
Pets of the Week are sponsored by:
Branch’s Veterinary Clinic
205 Belmont Ave., Tifton, 229-382-6055  
candle-flames-banner.jpg

JULY 15
Helen Bridges Cook Jackson, 89, Fitzgerald
Jessica Lynn Woods Peebles, 44, Nashville
Gregory Steven Tyson, 61, Valrico, Fla.
Helen Bridges Cook Jackson, 89, Fitzgerald
 
JULY 16
Surajben Vishnuprasad Patel, 84, Tifton
David Edward Keller, 63, Fitzgerald
Bobby Carrington, 83, Albany
Johnny Talmadge Harpe, 72, Nashville
Teresa Ann Hauber, 73, Rebecca
Betty Graydon, 59, Tifton
 
JULY 17
Mukeshkumar Patel, 52, Tifton
 
JULY 18
 Wanda Jean Gorham Roberts, 70, Chula
Vivian Louise Lyles Counts, 73, Hahira, formerly of Tifton
Mary Ann Ramsey Moore, 60, Summerville, S.C.
 
JULY 19
Keaton J. Loyd, 17, Sumner
Ira Harold “Knocker” Gibbs Jr., 71, Brookfield
 
JULY 20
Floyd Franklin Farmer, 65 Worth County
Sara Gwendolyn "Gwen" Jones Woody, 77, Culloden, formerly of Omega
 
JULY 21
Jerrod Lane Stalvey, 6, Sparks
James Alfonso Davino, 61, Alapaha
JULY 22
Patricia Ann McNeese Beckham, 95, Tifton
Ruth L. Smith, 95, Fitzgerald
Robert Joseph “Bob” McDonald, 84, Doerun
Tifton Grapevine
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Frank Sayles Jr.
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Bonnie Sayles
Managing Editor
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