Friday, August 13, 2021
Tifton, Georgia
GrapeNew
Area children join Tifton city officials with ceremoniously moving dirt Thursday at the site of South Tifton’s new Youth Center.
CITY YOUTH CENTER CONSTRUCTION GETTING UNDERWAY
By FRANK SAYLES JR.
Tifton Grapevine
The City of Tifton's planned Youth Center in South Tifton has "been a vision and a dream for many years" and represents "positive change," said Mayor Julie B. Smith on Thursday during the ceremonial groundbreaking of the $911,207 facility.

The center, to be located at 511 West 17th St. across from Matt Wilson Elementary School, is being funded through a $750,000 Community Development Block Grant from the state along with city funds.

The center will be a partnership with the Tiftarea YMCA, which will offer recreational opportunities for children, after-school activities, and a summer feeding program; and with Southern Regional Technical College, which will offer adult literacy classes to help adults move forward in the workplace.

Other activities may include cooking classes and financial literacy instruction.

"It will be a safe, caring and nurturing environment" for children as well as adults in the community, the mayor said.

"This is a day of celebration," said Bruce Green, a city consultant on the project. "This has been a long time coming."
JOB OPPORTUNITY
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Kids' Advocacy Coalition

This is a Full-Time Position
Salary: $42,000
Reports to: KAC Board of Directors
Required QualificationsCertified School Teacher or Early Childhood Education, Prior Experience Working Directly with Children or Related Field with Experience - Minimum of 3 Years

The Executive Director is responsible for overseeing the administration, programs, and strategic plan of the KAC. Other key duties are social networking within our community, fundraising, marketing, seeking alternate funding sources, and performing public relations.

For more information please call or email: 229-382-9919
Or visit us at: www.kactift.org

Send applications to:

Kids’ Advocacy Coalition
P.O. Box 243, Tifton, GA 31793

Last date of submission of applications is August 27, 2021

KAC is an active non-profit organization 
offering after-school care to all children over the past 30 years.
BEN HILL COUNTY SCHOOLS GO VIRTUAL AS COVID-19 SURGES
By FRANK SAYLES JR.
Tifton Grapevine
The COVID-19 surge in the Tiftarea has prompted all Fitzgerald area schools to revert to virtual learning for at least a week.

Effective today (Friday) all Ben Hill County school instruction is online until Friday, Aug. 20, the school system said.

Superintendent J. Shawn Haralson said that the Ben Hill County System made the decision because it is seeing a “large increase in the number of students that are either positive or being quarantined for COVID-19 at all schools.

“...Given the uncertainty of the rapidly changing situation with COVID-19, we know this is the best plan of action for protecting our students, staff, and faculty members,” Haralson said.

Meanwhile, Tift Regional Medical Center remains on critical-care diversion, meaning that the Tifton hospital is not accepting new critical patients as COVID-19 has kept the emergency department overcrowded.

During the past two weeks, Tift County has seen 337 confirmed COVID-19 cases. However, the Ga. Department of Public Health (DPH) said that when presumptive positive antigen cases are added to confirmed cases, the number of presumptive new cases in Tift totals 523 for the past seven days.

Tift's confirmed cases translate to 825 per 100,000 population, the DPH said. Tift County's confirmed positive testing rate during the past two weeks is 21.4%.

There have been a total of 3,944 confirmed coronavirus cases in Tift County, and 105 related deaths, the DPH reported.

Georgia recorded 4,995 new cases Thursday during the previous 24 hours, the DPH said, with 32 additional deaths and 194 new hospitalizations. The state has seen a total 977,482 confirmed cases with 18,942 deaths.
LIFE-SIZED SCULPTURE TO HONOR HAROLD HARPER
The late Harold G. Harper, a primary force in the renovation and modern revitalization of Downtown Tifton, will be honored with a life-sized bronze sculpture to be unveiled at 10:30 a.m. Aug. 21 on the corner of First Street (Harold Harper Way) and Main Street.

The sculpture, by nationally recognized artist Susie Chisholm of Savannah, is designed to invite passersby to sit for a spell with Harper, seated on a bench with his trademark hat

Harper, who was a business owner, developer, and investor, was first credited with bringing businesses back to Downtown Tifton in the 1980s when he purchased and renovated the old Wilton Hotel on Main Street.

He is best known for the public-private partnership with the City of Tifton resulting in the renovation of the former Myon Hotel, the building which now houses City Hall, office complexes, apartments, and retail stores.
 
Up until his death in 2019, Harper continued to invest in renovation projects, most recently turning the twin warehouses on Tift Avenue into apartments and a restaurant. Among his other projects were “The Avenue” apartments, the Union Depot apartments, and renovating the old Georgia Power and old Tifton Bank & Trust Co. buildings. He also led the Tift Theatre renovation.
 
The Georgia Cities Foundation in 2016 honored Harper with the Renaissance Award, which recognizes an individual who has made a significant contribution to the revitalization of Georgia’s cities

“It was his citizen participation and willingness to invest in these projects that continues to spur redevelopment in the downtown area,” said Mayor Julie B. Smith at the time.

Harper's family, with support from the Tifton Downtown Development Authority, commissioned Chisholm, a University of Georgia graduate, to create the Harper sculpture.

It will join other public art downtown, which includes the bronze sculptures “Joy” at the Tifton Museum of Arts and Heritage, and “The Readers” at the Tifton-Tift County Public Library, as well as the “Citizens Art Collection" in City Hall and the bas-relief wall “Our Town Tifton” in Tifton Gardens.
ENROLLMENT INCREASES CONTINUE AT ABAC's
SCHOOL OF AGRICULTURE
The School of Agriculture and Natural Resources (SANR) shattered its previous enrollment record this week as fall semester classes kicked off at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.

Although the numbers are far from finalized, a total of 1,446 students were enrolled in the SANR on the second day of classes Aug. 11. That tops the previous record of 1,360 SANR students enrolled last fall.

“I believe it’s an affirmation of the reputation and legacy of ABAC,” said President David Bridges. “Agriculture is Georgia’s largest industry, and we are preparing students every day to become a part of that industry.”

Agriculture is the largest SANR major with 565 students. Other top choices for students are agribusiness with 273; natural resource management, which includes forestry and wildlife, with 266; and agricultural education with 213.

Dr. Mark Kistler, SANR dean, said that SANR enrollment has increased by 79% in a decade, and this year’s enrollment includes 801 males and 645 females.
Early numbers indicate ABAC's total enrollment this fall will be comparable to last year's 3,990 students, the second largest in the college's history.
DOT REPLACES BRIDGE OVER WILLACOOCHEE RIVER
The Ga. Department of Transportation (DOT) recently opened a new bridge, reopening State Route 158 along the Berrien and Irwin counties line.

Located about seven miles northeast of Alapaha, the new bridge over the Willacoochee River replaces the original one built in 1958.

The bridge project, which includes the approach to the bridge, cost approximately $3.7 million, the DOT said.
CLASSES BEGIN AT TIFTAREA ACADEMY
Tiftarea Academy in Chula opens its doors today for the new school year. Founded in 1969, “TA" is an independent, coeducational, college preparatory, nonprofit school serving more than 600 students in grades pre-kindergarten through 12th.
LIBRARY RECOGNIZES TOP READERS DURING SUMMER PROGRAM
Davis and Bethany Wilson were both among top readers this summer at the Tifton-Tift County Public Library's Summer Reading Program, achieving first place in their age groups. Baby Emersyn is also excited about winning a free book for her participation.
MUNICIPAL GROUP NAMES TIFTON MAYOR
AS FIRST VICE PRESIDENT
Tifton Mayor Julie B. Smith has been elected first vice president of the Georgia Municipal Association.

Smith is in line to become president of the more than 500-member city organization in 2022.

She founded Advantage Realty in 2007 and has served on Tifton City Council since 2012. Smith was elected as Tifton’s first female mayor in 2015.

She has been a member of the GMA board of directors since 2015 and is a member of the executive committee. Along with earning more than 90 hours of training through the Howard Holtz Leadership Institute, she served on the GMA training board. In addition, she is a past member of the organization's Member Services Advisory Council.
Tifton’s Locally Owned Digital Newspaper
To Subscribe, Click Here!

Your free subscription allows you to receive our MidWeek and Weekender editions in your in-box, along with occasional Sponsored Editions.

Your subscription is free because of the support of local advertisers.
Please support the businesses and organizations who make this possible.

To Contact Us, Call 478-227-7126
YOUR GUIDE TO ACTIVITIES THIS WEEKEND IN THE TIFTAREA

This Saturday, Aug. 14, is
V-J Day, (Victory in Japan) the day Japan surrendered in 1945, ending World War II. On Aug. 6, 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb over the city of Hiroshima, Japan. A second atomic bomb was dropped on Aug. 9 over the city of Nagasaki. News of the surrender was announced to the world on Aug. 15.
FRIDAY, AUG. 13
  • Tiftarea Academy First Day of School, Chula
  • Tifton Food Truck Friday, 5-9 p.m., Country Store, Ga. Museum of Agriculture, Tifton

SATURDAY, AUG. 14
  • Run for Love 5K/1m benefitting Tift County Cross Country, 8 a.m., ABAC Tennis Center, Tifton
TIFTON GRAPEVINE'S DOG OF THE WEEK
“Roxie," a female pooch, 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  
candle-flames-banner.jpg

AUGUST 4
Maj. Robert Wayne Duffell, 73, Chula
James “Harvey” Nichols, 74, West Berrien
Michael Olen McGuire, 79, New Port Richey, Fla.
 
AUGUST 5
Piyushbhai Patel, 59, Tifton
 
AUGUST 6
Lamar M. Roberson, 71, Irwin County
Katherine "Kathy" C. Bentley, 61, Tifton
 
AUGUST 7
Thomas Edmund “Eddie” Sklany, 76, Tifton
Doris "Mildred" Crumley Gibbs, 91, Tifton
 
AUGUST 8
John Willis “Jack” Smith, 88, Tifton
Nellie Patricia “Pat” Gray Wirebaugh, 69, Enigma
Roger Dale Henry, 67, Tifton
 
AUGUST 9
Mike Myers, 60, Valdosta, formerly of Adel
Leaman Dakota Sirmans, 28, Nashville
June Smiley, 83, Adel
Sheila Faye Whittington, 65, Worth County
 
AUGUST 10
William "Buddy" Jones, 76, Nashville
Michael W. “Mike” McBrayer, 76, Tifton
Minnie Louise Gibbs, 76, Fitzgerald
Susan Lee Wilson McDonald, 67, Fitzgerald
Gustavo Rodriguez, 55, Fitzgerald
Earl Wayne Sumner, 79, Sparks
AUGUST 11
Sarah Finley Thompson, 76, Adel
Nell Dean Graham, 77, Fitzgerald
 
AUGUST 12
Glover Lamar Manning, 84, Chula
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