Friday, October 2, 2020
Tifton, Georgia
This map from the White House Coronavirus Task Force report for the period ending Sept 25 shows Tift County as the only South Georgia county in bright red for its percentage of new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population.
Tifton Grapevine
A new private report from the White House Coronavirus Task Force dated Sept. 27 puts Tifton and Tift County in the "Red Zone" for new cases and infections while showing that Georgia as a whole is improving.
The Task Force defines “Red” as an area reporting both new cases greater than 101 per 100,000 population and a viral lab test positivity result greater than 10.1 percent.

According to data from the Ga. Department of Public Health (DPH), Tift County reported 367 new cases per 100,000 population and a 13 percent test positivity rate for the 14-day period ending Sept. 25.

Meanwhile, the White House Task Force moved the state of Georgia out of the Red Zone and into the Orange Zone, the second-most severe zone for new cases; the state is in the third zone, Yellow, for test positivity. The Task Force said Georgia has seen a decrease in new cases and in test positivity; the Peach State now has the 23rd-highest rate of new cases in the nation, a marked improvement from mid-August when Georgia had the highest rate of new cases in the country.
The latest White House report for Georgia was obtained by the Center for Public Integrity, a Pulitzer Prize-winning nonprofit newsroom in Washington, D.C., and shared with the Tifton Grapevine, among other news organizations.

The White House Coronavirus Task Force issues weekly reports to governors about the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic but doesn’t make those reports public, keeping key city- and county-level data and federal advice to states out of sight, according to the Center for Public Integrity.

The report lists Tifton as No. 6 among Georgia cities with new cases reported during the period. Tift County is ranked 10th among state counties in the Red Zone.

Emory University data shows that Tifton and Tift County experienced a dramatic spike in coronavirus cases for the period addressed in the White House report. On Sept. 17, Tift County had 15.1 cases per 100,000 population but jumped to 34.2 cases per 100,000 residents by Sept. 24, more than doubling.

As of Thursday, Tift had 23.9 cases per 100,000 population, the DPH reported. Tift County has had 58 new cases of COVID-19 reported since last Friday, according to DPH data. There have been a total of 1,805 positive cases in Tift since the pandemic began with a total of 57 deaths.

Georgia reported 1,376 new cases on Thursday for a total of 319,334. The state reported 43 new deaths Thursday for a total of 7,063 coronavirus-related deaths, the DPH said.
Mike Day of Fitzgerald, a welding and joining technology instructor at Wiregrass Georgia Technical College, has been named the state’s top technical college instructor for 2020.

Day received this year’s Rick Perkins Award for Excellence in Technical Instruction from the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG).

“Mike embodies everything you want in an outstanding instructor — a passion for teaching, expertise in their field, and most importantly, a love for their students,” said TCSG Commissioner Greg Dozier.

“I know everyone at Wiregrass Georgia Technical College and TCSG is extremely proud to have Mike represent the very best of technical education in Georgia,” Dozier said.

The Rick Perkins Award, now in its 29th year, highlights excellence in technical instruction and recognizes the most outstanding instructors at the 22 TCSG colleges. As the award winner, Day will make public appearances as a representative for technical education during the next year, including meeting with Gov. Brian P. Kemp and addressing the General Assembly.

Day received a crystal award and a $1,000 check. Wiregrass Technical College has campuses in Valdosta, Fitzgerald and Douglas, and a center in Sparks.
Morgan Fritze, left, from Daytona Beach, Fla., and Kayla Ming from Lake Placid, Fla., will be assisting with both upcoming ABAC Horticulture Club community programs. Fritze is president of the club, and Ming is vice president.
Local residents may take advantage of two classes that the Horticulture Club at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College is offering to the community on air plants (Oct. 15) and on succulents (Oct. 22).

Horticulture Club President Morgan Fritze said tickets are available for each class on the ABAC Horticulture Club’s Facebook page. The cost is $20 per person for the air plant care and design class, and $15 per person for the succulents class.

“The air plant care and design class will include all materials for participants to create their own design, which they can take home with them,” Fritze said. “Attendees at the succulents class will learn how to care for succulents and create arrangements for their home.”

Dr. Frank Flanders, agricultural education professor, will present an interactive demonstration of the proper way to care for and create air plants and succulent designs. Horticulture Club members will then assist attendees in selecting materials and creating designs.

Both classes will be held in the ABAC Chambliss Building. The college requires face coverings and social distancing. For information, contact Fritze at 407-212-1037.
Brian Yost and Mona Crawley were the overall winners Saturday of the Race Tifton 5K Flashover Dash to benefit the Tifton Fire Department.

Yost had a final time of 19:25, and Crawley's final time was 26:38.

Proceeds from the 5K run and one-mile run/walk will be used for fire prevention materials and the department's smoke detector program.
Jonathan Taylor times Bret Wagenhorst during the run Saturday. Wagenhorst came in first place in the 51-60 age category.
Brian Yost and Mona Crawley were the overall winners Saturday of the Race Tifton 5K Flashover Dash.
Photo by Brad Rempel, University of Minnesota
Former Tift County Blue Devil Rashod Bateman, an All-American wide receiver, has decided to return to college play this season at the University of Minnesota.

University of Minnesota star receiver Rashod Bateman, a former Tift County High Blue Devil, has received NCAA clearance to play the fall season in college after initially opting out, the team announced Wednesday.

Bateman, who opted out Aug. 4 and signed with an agent to begin preparing for the NFL draft, opted back in after the Big Ten Conference reinstated its fall football season recently.

Bateman has been practicing with Minnesota but needed his eligibility restored for competition. Minnesota is to open its season Oct. 24 at home against Michigan.

He said he initially opted out of the season because of health and safety concerns related to the pandemic.

Bateman will wear No. 0 this season, becoming the first Minnesota Gopher ever to do so. He is switching from No. 13 to No. 0 because, he said, there is zero tolerance for racism in Minnesota's culture, and it is a call to action to end racism in society.

He was named Third-Team All-American last season, All-Big Ten First Team and was the Big Ten Receiver of the Year as a sophomore. The Tifton native, who was also one of 12 semifinalists for the Biletnikoff Award, caught 60 passes for 1,219 yards (second most in a single season in school history) and 11 touchdowns (tied for second most in a single season).
Tift County public schools' students meet in a Supervised Learning Program classroom recently at Southern Regional Technical College in Tifton.
In response to Tift County schools’ classroom rotation plan when schools opened in August, Southern Regional Technical College's Office of Economic Development created a supervised, safe place to study for children of working parents.

Tift schools had initially opened under a "Yellow designation, which meant that students were only allowed to attend school in person for two days per week on a rotating schedule. Some parents worried that their children would not have access to a safe, supervised environment while the parents were at work. 

The SRTC economic development team quickly developed the Supervised Learning Program, which served students from pre-K to sixth grade. On their off days, students were able to attend a secure classroom setting at SRTC's Tifton campus with a low student-to-teacher ratio.

Proper health and safety procedures were followed, including social distancing, handwashing, frequent classroom cleaning and sanitizing, and mask-wearing. Students brought in classwork assigned by Tift County schools. SRTC faculty assisted students in completing assignments, as well as providing additional learning activities. 

“This crisis has made the Division of Economic Development more aware of immediate needs in our community,” said director Kelly Daniell. “I am proud that we were able to develop timely options like the Supervised Learning Program in a matter of days to meet those needs.”

After serving 49 students for two weeks, the Supervised Learning Program ended when the school system moved to the Green" designation, and students were able to return to a normal schedule.

The program stands ready to offer the same opportunities to students and their families should the need arise again, SRTC officials said.
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This dog is currently on stray hold at the Tift County Animal Shelter. If not reclaimed, will be available for adoption or rescue at the Animal Shelter, located at 278 Georgia Highway 125 S. It is open to the public for adoptions from 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  
Important Phone Numbers & Web Sites
SEPT. 24
Doris L. Yarbrough, 94, Tifton
Donald James Hamm, 81, Worth County

SEPT. 25
Tena “Mama Tena” Carol Alvarez Douglas, 73, Tifton
Amanda Michelle Payne, 37, Douglas
E. Wayman Revels, 75, Fitzgerald
Andrea Nichole Gary, 48, Tifton

SEPT. 26
Mary Lou Blevins Kirby, 82, Tifton

SEPT. 27
John Dalton Hayes, 88, Tifton
Ann Moore Riner, 76, Tifton

SEPT. 28
Maura Hernandez, 93, Tifton
Nell Tillery Rugg, 79, Mitchell County
Thomas A. Townsend, 59, Tift County
William Fleetwood "W. F." Marks, 81, Nashville
JL Stanford, 89, Nashville 
Robert Hall, 59, Ashburn
Terrence Teemer, Albany

SEPT. 29
Dr. Clifford Allen "Buddy" Walker Sr., 70, Tifton
Charles Allen Davis, 75, Leesburg
Evelyn Irma Williams Hall, 85, Nashville

SEPT. 30
Demetrio “Moro” Reyes, 58, Omega
Rhonda Rigsby, Sylvester
Stephen Dean Ramsey, 55, Morgan
Jean West, 75, Fitzgerald
Laura K. Parks, 51, Fitzgerald

OCT. 1
Rhonda Rigsby, 53, Sylvester

Tifton Grapevine
e-published every Tuesday and Friday

Frank Sayles Jr.
Editor & Publisher
Bonnie Sayles
Managing Editor
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