APRIL 18, 2017
Tifton, Georgia


Following months of discussion, Tifton City  Council  on Monday decided to keep current Historic District guidelines in place allowing "electronic graphic display" (EGD) signs within the district.

Council voted 3-2 to defeat a proposal to amend the Historic District guidelines to add that EGD signs are "not appropriate" within the district. That proposal came from a citizens committee appointed by the mayor and was endorsed by both the city's Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) and the city's Planning and Zoning Commission.

Councilmen Wes Ehlers, Jack Folk and Johnny Terrell voted against the proposal. Councilman Frank Sayles Jr. and Mayor Julie Smith voted for the change.

"This is about the integrity of the Historic District," Sayles said. He previously had noted that LED signs are not a problem in the Historic District right now but said he's concerned about the future and "what kind of town we want to have."

Jeffrey Daniel, a member of the citizens committee, told council the panel had much discussion and was concerned about the possible number of electronic signs that could potentially fill Downtown Tifton.

The committee's proposal would not have affected signage in areas outside the Historic District.

Vice Mayor Wes Ehlers was the most vocal in his opposition to limiting EGD signs within the district. He said modern advertising has evolved and electronic signs are one way for some businesses to advertise.  At a previous council meeting, Ehlers said he didn't think the city should "penalize" a business for being located within the Historic District.

Tifton Environmental Director Houston Shultz has explained that the current law does not give the city Historic Preservation Commission any discretion in the appropriateness of an EGD sign. "Currently, if they (a business) come up with a LED sign that meets size requirements and square-footage requirements, they (HPC members) have to let it pass," Shultz has said.

"It's a very significant issue that could have long-term effects," City Attorney Rob Wilmot told council during a council meeting Feb. 17.

In 2004 when the city first approved EGD signs in the Historic District, the Ga. Department of Natural Resources' Historic Preservation Division (HPD) sent Tifton a letter noting that electronic display signage "is not appropriate for a historic district; if they are to be allowed, against the advisement with concern from HPD, this should only be under special circumstances on a case-by-case basis."

Electronic graphic display signs are permitted in downtown core and neighborhood commercial zones within Tifton's Historic District. The total area of an EGD sign may not exceed 50 percent of the total allowable sign area for a lot; the transition for each electronic display may occur within three seconds, and the display shall remain fixed for a minimum of seven seconds.


Former local Congressman Dawson Mathis, 76, of Nashville, died Monday night at Tift Regional Medical Center.
Circa 1970s 

Mathis served Georgia's 2nd Congressional District as a Democrat in Washington, D.C., between 1971 and 1981 . Before that, he was  anchor and  and news director at WALB-TV in Albany from 1964 until 1970. He later worked as a self-employed lobbyist.

A product of  the Nashville public schools, Mathis attended South Georgia College in Douglas

In  1980 , he sought the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate .

Mathis  was born Nov. 30, 1940, in Berrien County He was a member of Byne Memorial Baptist Church in Albany and attended Nashville United Methodist Church

A memorial service is scheduled at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 29, in Nashville.


Twelve high school jazz bands from across Georgia will perform in free mini-concerts 10 a.m.-3 p.m. April 20 in the annual ABAC Jazz Festival on the campus of Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College. The community is invited.
Tift County High School's 'Blues Devils' perform at a previous ABAC Jazz Festival.

Sponsored by the ABAC School of Liberal Arts and the ABAC Arts Connection, the Jazz Festival promotes jazz and jazz education in South Georgia. The jazz bands will perform under tents in The Meadows at the center of thecampus. The ABAC Jazz Choir will cap the day with a 3 p.m. performance.
  • Tift County High School kicks off the Jazz Festival at 10 a.m.; followed by:
  • Albany High, 10:25 a.m.; 
  • Worth County High, 10:50 a.m.;
  • Colquitt County High, 11:15 a.m.;
  • Americus-Sumter High, 11:40 a.m.;
  • Heritage High, 12:05 p.m.; 
  • Lee County High, 12:30 p.m.;
  • Thomas County Central High,12:55 p.m.; 
  • Valdosta High, 1:20 p.m.; 
  • Lanier County High, 1:45 p.m.;
  • Hampton High, 2:10 p.m.;
  • Riverdale High, 2:35 p.m.  
Visitors may bring their lunch or just come and listen to the music. In the event of rain, the Jazz Festival will move to Howard Auditorium

A Jazz Clinic for the high school students will be held at 4 p.m. in Howard Auditorium following the performances.

Internationally acclaimed trumpeter Terell Stafford will perform with the ABAC Jazz Ensemble at 7 p.m. in Howard Auditorium in the final concert of the ABAC Presents! performing arts series for the year.


May is Older Americans Month and the 2017 theme is "Age Out Loud," says Craig Sowell T ift County Older American Month chairman. 

Sowell said that a local committee has created activities to highlight and show appreciation for seniors. The George A. Wright Memorial Award luncheon, which is the kickoff for the month-long activities, will be held at 11:30 a.m., Tuesday, May 2, at First Baptist Church.

The luncheon is in Wright's honor for his local contributions, and the award in his name will be given to individuals aged 60 and older who exemplify the qualities that Wright exhibited.

Fran Kinchen, a Tifton Older American Month (OAM) committee member, said the theme "Age Out Loud" proves that getting older doesn't mean what it used to mean. For many aging Americans, it is a phase of life where interests, goals and dreams can get a new or second start, she said.  

Since 1963, OAM has been a time to celebrate older Americans, their stories and their contributions.   The Tifton community will use OAM to focus on how older adults locally are redefining aging through work and family interests, through taking charge of their health and staying independent for as long as possible, and through their community and advocacy efforts.
Sowell said that throughout the month, the local Older American Committee will conduct activities and share information designed just for our seniors. Among them, are community lectures, exercise classes, concerts, a senior fish fry, games and a senior picnic.

For information, contact Sowell at 229-382-3262, or Kinchen at 229-391-9299.


511 West 7th Street
(229) 382-1300

The City of Tifton has several events for Georgia Cities Week, April 22-29. This year's theme is "Cities in the Mix." 

Georgia Cities Week is a celebration for cities to showcase services provided to residents and also contribute to the 
 quality of life of their communities.

Run the City 5K and Fun Run kicks off the week at 8 a.m. Saturday, April 22, at Fulwood Park. Following the run will be a Kick-Off Kids Carnival from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Fulwood Park. The carnival will feature games, prizes, activities, music, food and more. Donations and can goods will be accepted to support the Legal Food Frenzy to combat childhood hunger.

On Monday, April 24 at 5:30 p.m., the Tifton Fire Department and Tifton Police Department face off in a softball game for bragging rights. The community is invited to Eve Park to cheer for our local heroes. This event is being sponsored by the U.S. Army Recruiters.      

On Tuesday, April 25, join Tifton City Council members for "Coffee with Council" from 7:30-9:30 a.m. at Espresso 41.  

On Friday, April 28 is Customer Appreciation Day, and the city celebrates with snacks and drinks at City Hall.

On Saturday, April 29, Keep Tift Beautiful will hold an on-site Shredding and E-Cycle Event at the Tifton Police Department. Drop off any documents for shredding or bring in old discarded electronics between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. 

Entries in a Kids Art Contest will be displayed in City Hall all week for voting. Winner of the contest will be announced by Mayor Julie Smith at the Arts In Black Festival on Saturday, April 29 at 11 a.m. 

For information, contact Becky Moore at 229-391-3937.


Tift County High School teacher Mike Beeman, center, is seen running during his 40th consecutive Boston Marathon on Monday in Massachusetts. Beeman, who once again finished the 26.2-mile run, is one of seven people currently participating in the annual marathon with the most consecutive appearances.

Tifton's MGA Cheer Extreme squad was recognized Monday night at Tifton City Council.

The squad won top regional awards, and the Infinity team won First Place in its division, along with the "Wow Factor Award" and the Grand Champion Award, receiving a paid bid to the U.S. finals during May in Orlando.


For the fourth consecutive year, Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College will host a "Carry The Load Step-Off" event beginning at 5 p.m. April 26 and continuing for 24 hours, a prelude to the National Carry The Load Relay that seeks to restore the true meaning of Memorial Day.

The community is invited to participate in the local event, which involves a constant 2.5-mile relay through the campus.  The Carry The Load Step-Off culminates in front of Herring Hall at 5 p.m. April 27 with a send-off for the eight ABAC students who will participate in the National Carry The Load Relay.

The goal of Carry The Load is to restore Memorial Day's meaning by connecting Americans to the sacrifices of military, law enforcement, firefighters and rescue personnel. Carry The Load was established in 2011 by former members of the Navy's Sea, Air, and Land ( SEAL) teams.

The national relay which begins in West Point, N.Y., on May 1 and ends in Dallas, Texas, on Memorial Day. In its inaugural year on the ABAC campus, ABAC sent seven students to the national relay. In 2015, ABAC had 700 participants at the Step-Off event on campus, and seven ABAC students then walked or pedaled a bicycle the 2,000-mile trek from West Point to Dallas for the national relay. 

In 2016, 800 participants were involved in the ABAC Step-Off event, and 11 ABAC students took part in the national relay.

ABAC students participating in the national relay this year are Hunter Gainous from Brunswick; Shannon Kehoe from Myakka City, Fla.; Ginger Orton from Tifton; Landon Rowe from Ocilla; Mitchel Sheffield , from Donalsonville; Dustin Thomas from Plainville; Collin Vickers from Alapaha; and Madison Woodson from Jesup.

For information, e-mail at


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