Friday, Sept. 10, 2021
Tifton, Georgia
Tifton Grapevine
It seems like yesterday.

Twenty years ago tomorrow (Saturday), the United States suffered its worst terrorist attack in history. Terrorists used commercial passenger planes as weapons, crashing into the World Trade Center in New York City, into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and abruptly into a field in Pennsylvania after doomed passengers on that latter flight fought the terrorists who were aiming for Washington.

At that moment, I was at my desk in The Tifton Gazette office on Tift Avenue. My mother-in-law in South Carolina called me to say that a plane had hit the World Trade Center in New York. We turned on the office TV in time to watch live as the second plane hit the twin buildings.

I was the newspaper's publisher at the time, and Chris Beckham was the editor. We didn’t say much, just solemnly and briefly discussed the situation and quickly moved on to get our news coverage underway.

At that moment in Washington, D.C., another Tift countian was busy with the attack's aftermath. Army Lt. Col. John R. Tibbetts, a 1979 Tift County High graduate and a West Point graduate, was on duty inside the Pentagon when it was struck.

Fortunately, the Pentagon is a large building, and the damage was relegated to a specific area away from where Tibbetts was serving.

"The day started out like any other. Little did we know how it would end," Tibbetts said in 2004 at a 9/11 remembrance ceremony in Tifton's Veterans Memorial Park.

"When my buddy came running up screaming that the Pentagon had been attacked, I thought he was joking, as always. But the Pentagon and our country had indeed been attacked," Tibbetts said.
During that 2004 speech, Tibbetts also said, "We can't stay in a state of emergency forever. We must get back into the daily routine of our lives, be vigilant, or the bad guys have won."

Today, his comments still echo that sentiment.

Tibbetts, who retired from the Army and is a former local educator who was the 2018 Georgia Teacher of the Year, now lives in Oregon. When contacted Thursday, he told the Tifton Grapevine:
"I remember much of the events that day as if it were yesterday. Little did we know just how much our world would change as the result of the cowardly attacks."

But he added, "We need to remember not the events of 9/11, but the way the world was before the attacks; 20 years of un-normal is enough. My hope is that we honor those who perished on that day – and in 20 years since – by doing all we can to return to the way our lives once were: More secure, less political, more trusting of our neighbors, and more worthy of their trust."
Tifton Grapevine
After a one-year hiatus, the Omega Pepper Festival is back this weekend opening today; it’s the 18th annual event, counting from the date it started, says one of the organizers, LaDonna Stripling.

“We’ve got a lot of entertainment Friday night and all day Saturday, and a large Kids’ Zone,” Stripling said. “The food and craft vendors are overflowing!”

Cecile Gilliard is another organizer, and Patricia Dunn is signing up parade participants. Anyone wanting to have a float or vehicle in the parade should call Dunn at 229-528-4942

“We all have been so excited about it and just praying about holding it or not,” Stripling said. “We recommend that people wear masks, although it is up to their personal preference. We will have hand sanitizer at each gate. 

“Just use common sense and don’t get in each other’s faces,” she said.

The event is held in Ponder Park in Omega.
Music and dancing gets underway Friday night after the opening ceremony at 6 p.m. A Hispanic DJ will play music from 6:30-7:30 p.m., and the Los Campos De Nuevo Leon Band will rock the night away from 8-10 p.m.
The parade lines up at 9:30 a.m. Saturday on Georgia Avenue. It starts at 10:30. Participants include the Tift County High School Blue Devil Brigade band and the Colquitt County High School band.

“We’ll have antique cars and tractors, decorated vehicles and floats, and the Dixie Divas – that’s my band – will have a vehicle in the parade,” Stripling said. Decorated golf carts and ATVs are welcome and will be judged for prize money. 

Music continues Saturday with the Naturally Southern Band from noon to 2 p.m., the Dixie Divas start at 2:15 p.m., and Steven F. Meders at 3:45 p.m.

There will be a cooking demonstration from 1-1:45 p.m. Saturday with Hugh Hardy from Carroll’s Sausage, using meats, and “of course, a variety of peppers,” Stripling said. Wes James from Big Country, WAAC 92.9 in Valdosta, will be there from 1-3 p.m. with a live remote.
“We’ll be raffling gift baskets after that, and wrap up the evening with the Blue Holler Band and the Danny Dawson Band,” Stripling said. 

The Kids Zone includes a rock wall, a train, a human catapult – “They strap you in and slingshot you!” Stripling said. “And human water balls, a bowling game, dunking booth, and the High Striker game. Vendors will do face painting and sand art.

Hayward Fowler with Fun Channel America will be filming the parade and walking around the festival filming, greeting and talking to people, so y'all come out and say 'hey' to Hayward also.” 
Tifton Grapevine
As of Thursday, 35% of eligible Tift countians have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, a 1% increase in the past week, according to state data.

The Ga. Department of Public Health (DPH) reported that of those fully vaccinated in Tift County, only 37% of them are male.

Statewide, 45% of the eligible population has been fully vaccinated, the DPH said.

During the past two weeks, Tift reported 232 confirmed cases and 538 total cases, when rapid Antigen positive cases are added, the DPH reported.

In the past seven days, Tift reported 71 new confirmed cases, one additional death, and had a 18.4% test positivity rate. Overall, Tift County has had 4,627 confirmed cases and 110 related deaths, the DPH said.

On Thursday, the DPH reported 4,829 new confirmed cases within 24 hours in Georgia, along with 2,996 new Antigen cases, 155 additional related deaths, and 488 new hospitalizations. The state has recorded a total of 1,144,884 cases with 20,453 deaths, the DPH reported.
Tifton Grapevine
Tonight's football contest at Brodie Field – the "Red, White and Blue Devils" game – will be a battle of the undefeateds.

Both the Tift County High Blue Devils and the Appling County High Pirates have perfect 3-0 records. Tift beat Banneker High by 29-15 on Friday, while Appling tromped South Effingham High, 41-10, last week.

Tift County has dubbed tonight's match as the "Red, White and Blue Devils" game – the Blue Devils will wear special patriotic jerseys sporting the names of local military veterans to honor them.

Meanwhile, the Appling Pirates will have all day to think about tonight's game at the Brodie. Appling County schools closed today because of a bus shortage, according to the school district.

Its superintendent, Scarlett Miles Copeland, wrote on the school district’s website that "approximately nine buses" will be needed to transport the band, cheerleaders and football team to Tifton for tonight’s game.

“Our schools will be closed due to shortages on buses. We will have approximately 9 buses that will transport our band, cheerleaders, and football team to Tift County and will leave around 2. In addition, we are already short 5 buses for afternoon routes that are double- or triple-run routes currently," the superintendent wrote.
"Mamma Mia!" at Theatre Albany
Sept. 17-26
514 Pine Ave., Albany, GA
Nightly Performances at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday performances at 2 p.m. on Sept. 19 & 26

Told through the legendary music of ABBA, 
"Mamma Mia!" has become a worldwide sensation
that has audiences everywhere dancing.

For Tickets, Click Here!

Visit Our Website:
Several area professionals participated recently in the Georgia Academy for Economic Development's program "The Essentials," held in Moultrie.

Participants were community and economic development professionals, elected officials, public servants, business leaders, educators, and engaged citizens from across Georgia. "The Essentials" provided attendees an opportunity to understand the complexities of economic and community development on local, regional, and state levels. 

Among area participants were: Melody Cowart, Tift County; Melissa Dark, Ben Hill County; Jessica Griner, Ben Hill County; Shannon Starnes, Ben Hill County; and Teresa Sumner, Worth County. 

The Academy's Board of Directors represent public and private economic development organizations and agencies across Georgia. Georgia EMC and Georgia Power provide facilitators for the program. Since its inception in 1993, the Academy has provided training for thousands of Georgians.
2012 Pineview Ave., Tifton, Ga 31793
Anyone age 15 and older may audition today (Friday) for "A Wiregrass Christmas Carol" at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College’s Georgia Museum of Agriculture.
Prospective cast members are not required to have anything prepared but will read from the script during their audition, which begins at 3 p.m. and ends at 6 p.m. Sept. 10. Those interested should meet in the Peanut Museum conference room behind the museum’s Country Store. 

’A Wiregrass Christmas Carol’ will be unique because our tram will take guests on a route through the village and each stop will be a scene in the play. This gives us the chance to do multiple performances,” said museum lead interpreter Chloe Holbrook

The performance is scheduled 5-6 p.m. Dec. 17 at the Museum of Agriculture as part of the annual "Wiregrass Christmas" celebration. Tickets will be available for purchase before the event.

For more information, email or call 229-391-5213.
Congressman Austin Scott, R-Tifton, has scheduled mobile office hours in counties throughout Georgia’s 8th Congressional District.

Staff from Scott’s district offices will offer individual assistance with federal issues such as Medicare, Social Security, immigration and passports, IRS and veterans' benefits.

The mobile office schedule includes:

Wednesday, Sept. 15

Worth County2-4 p.m., Margaret Jones Library-Worth County, Sylvester

Thursday, Sept. 16

Irwin County – 10-11:30 a.m., Irwin County Library, Ocilla
Turner County – 2-4 p.m., Turner County Agriculture Building, Ashburn

Tuesday, Sept. 21

Berrien County – 9:30-11:30 a.m., Nashville Community Center, Nashville
Cook County – 1:30-3:30 p.m., Cook County Library, Adel

Thursday, Sept. 23

Ben Hill County – 10-11:30 a.m., Ben Hill County Library, Fitzgerald

For more information, call Scott’s Tifton office at 229-396-5175.
A 4-H youth team from Worth County placed first in the Junior Division, and another 4-H Worth team placed second in the Senior Division in recent state competition.

More than 25 Georgia 4-H youths participated in the 2021 State Land Judging Contest at the University of Georgia’s C.M. Stripling Irrigation Research Park in Camilla.

The first-place Junior Division team consisted of Adam Blech, Eric Mullis, Charlie Pate, and Browning Watts of Worth County. Placing second in the Senior Division was the Worth County team of Dakota Farmer, Mark Hancock, Annika Blech, and Khristopher Still.

The 4-H Land Judging Program offers youth the chance to build critical thinking, science-based education, and life skills in soil science. The youth analyze soils from North and South Georgia in pits and trays at four stations.

At each station, youth must identify soil characteristics and identify the crop rotation and utilization for that soil.

"Land judging participants see first-hand how what they have learned about soil and its management for crops, forests, and pastures comes together when we hold the contest on one of our research farms,” said Craven Hudson, state 4-H specialist for University of Georgia Cooperative Extension.

The Junior Division competition is for youth in grades four through eight, and the Senior competition is for grades nine through 12.

The first-place senior team winners from Coweta County will represent Georgia at the National Land Judging Contest in Oklahoma.
Source: University of Georgia
A University of Georgia lab in Tifton was recognized in August for its efforts to expand the number of underrepresented, first-generation and rural students who choose careers in science, technology, math, and engineering.

The exploratory academy at UGA’s Tifton Veterinary Diagnostic & Investigational Laboratory received a 2021 Inspiring Programs in STEM award from Insight into Diversity, the oldest and largest diversity publication in higher education.

According to a recent Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. government data, diversity remains lacking in STEM jobs, particularly among black and Hispanic workers. The UGA exploratory academy is the first laboratory-centered instruction model for undergraduate and high school students from underserved rural communities in South Georgia.

The academy is a full-day series of workshops that give participants a glimpse of careers in veterinary medicine, biotechnology, molecular biology, microbiology, and pathology through interactions with the faculty and technologists working at the lab.

“Our intent is to give these students an idea of what career opportunities exist besides being a veterinarian,” said Hemant K. Naikare, lab director and associate professor of infectious diseases.

“Students learn about infectious diseases, public health, food security, etc. We increase their awareness and exposure to veterinary medicine with an emphasis on lab diagnostics.”

The lab has offered several full-day workshops as well as a competitive two-week paid internship in each of the four microbiology disciplines: bacteriology, molecular diagnostics, serology and virology, and clinical pathology and anatomic pathology.

Selected students observe and shadow faculty and staff and receive hands-on experience and training in different veterinary para-clinical specialties. Overall, 150 students participated in the workshops, including several students from the 4-H programs of the surrounding middle and high schools.
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This Saturday, Sept. 11, is "Patriot Day," a National Day of Service and Remembrance honoring the bravery of American citizens and uniformed personnel in the face of one of the world’s most terrible terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
  • Auditions for "A Wiregrass Christmas Carol," 3-6 p.m., Peanut Museum, Ga. Museum of Agriculture, Tifton
  • Food Truck Friday, 5-9 p.m., Country Store, Ga. Museum of Agriculture, Tifton
  • Omega Pepper Festival, 6-10 p.m., Ponder Park, Omega
  • Tift County High Blue Devils football vs. Appling County High Pirates, 7:30 p.m., Brodie Field, Tifton
  • Tiftarea Academy Panthers @ Frederica Academy Knights, 7:30 p.m., St. Simons Island

  • Toddler Time: Apple Adventures, 10 a.m., Peanut Museum, Ga. Museum of Agriculture, Tifton
  • Omega Pepper Festival, 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m., Ponder Park, Omega
“Bailey" a male dog, is available for adoption at the Tift County Animal Shelter on Highway 125 S. To see all pets available, 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  

John Eston Lindsey, 71, Enigma
Eddie Nichols, 85, Tifton
Krishna R. Martin, 48, Tifton
Joe Walker Sr., 85, Worth County
Christopher Shaun Kinsey, 42, Tifton
Velma Cornelius Mitchell, 63, Fitzgerald
Ralph Edward Causey, 71, Poulan
Wallace Eugene White, 46, Hogansville
Jeremy Brian Holton, 26, Sylvester
Howard Kenneth “Ken” Taylor, 89, Tifton, formerly of Lenox
Teresa Karen Hanson Ballantyne, 56, Tifton
Kristin Renee Martinez, 39, Tifton
Drew L. Thomas, 71, Ocilla
Charles Harry Hudson, 80, Ocilla
Phillip Myles Harris, 44, Lenox
Victor Darell Johns, 84, Sylvester
Richard Wayne Hargett, 77, Sparks
Michael Leonard “Mike” Conger, 65, Tifton
Margie Ross Hunter Swanson, 78, Fitzgerald
Joel Wayne “Dobie” McDuffie, 73, Ocilla
Cathy C. Ray, 54, Fitzgerald
Wilfredo “Fredy” Nieves, 62, Fitzgerald
Geary "Woody" Wayne Woodworth, 79, Albany
Sujette Peacock Hudgins, 87, Meadowview, Va., formerly of Tifton
Edna Cortez “Corky” Phelps Manning, 84, Tifton
Dennis Monroe Eason, 60, Tifton
Jimmy C. Gray, 77, Fitzgerald
Philia Burke Bradbury, 72, Sparks
Joy Roberts, 70, Nashville
Lacey J. Martin, 38, Fitzgerald
Debra Charlene Hickman Treadwell, 57, Ocilla
Tifton Grapevine
e-published every Tuesday and Friday

Frank Sayles Jr.
Editor & Publisher
Bonnie Sayles
Managing Editor
A Service of Sayles Unlimited Marketing LLC, Tifton, Georgia