Sept. 5, 2017
Tifton, Georgia


They have sold out shows at The House Of Blues, The Fillmore, and many other theaters around the country, and now they're coming to Tifton on Thursday, Sept. 21, for a night of memorable music, fine food and spirited dancing.

Touring nationally, the Billy Joel/Elton John "Face2Face" Tribute Show will rock the UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center. Sponsored by the non-profit Tifton-Tift County Public Library Foundation, the show f eatures the hits from both legendary artists.

This is a powerhouse line-up of outstanding musicians featuring two of the most authentic and entertaining tribute artists in the business -- Ronnie Smith as Sir Elton John and Mike Santoro as Billy Joel. Live Nation's first choice since 2010, this is not your typical tribute "act;" this is a true interactive show. 

For the Elton John and Billy Joel fans who expect more than just flashy costumes and sunglasses, this captivating and engaging show is much like seeing Elton John and Billy Joel in the flesh, so much so that you'll quickly forget you're watching a tribute band.

Backed by his band The Str angerMike Santoro, a Levittown,  N.Y., native flashes his fingers  up and down the keys before he    jumps up to grab the mic to belt out such high-ener gy Billy Joel classics as "Only the Good Die Young" and " Uptown Girl."  And Ronnie Smith dons the  iconic sunglasses   and bedazzled suits of a young Elton John as he charts his  style beginning with the 19 70s and such  anthems as " Rocket Man," " Crocodile Rock" and " Bennie and the Jets."

Guests will get the chance to dance the night away to the string of hits by both artists. An optional dinner before the show features fine dining and congenial conversation.  A few reserved sponsor tables are still available for the dinner and show. For reserved seating, contact any Library Foundation board member or call Foundation President Frank Sayles Jr. at 478-227-7126.

For u nreserved seating for the dinner/show and for show-only tickets, they are available at the public library or online:  Click Here! or visit  Unreserved dinner/show tickets are $80 each, and unreserved show-only tickets are $50.


A 72-year-old Tifton man has been charged with making and then detonating small bombs recently in Tift Regional Medical Center's parking lot and elsewhere in the area, authorities say.

Douglas Scott Kennedy of 15 Red Tip Road, Tifton, is charged with  four counts of manufacture/possession of an explosive device, four counts of criminal damage to property, one count of aggravated assault and two counts of possession of a
firearm by a convicted felon. Kennedy was booked into the Tift County Jail, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

During the early morning hours of Sunday, Aug. 27, a "destructive device" was placed on an unoccupied vehicle parked in the employee's parking lot at Tift Regional Medical Center (TRMC). The device was timed and subsequently detonated causing moderate damage to the vehicle, the GBI said in a press release.

Authorities determined that the incident was related to three other similar ones that previously occurred.  On Dec. 24, 2015, a small homemade bomb detonated on the hood of an unoccupied vehicle in TRMC's parking lot. Another device exploded on the door of an occupied apartment in Tifton on Aug. 25, 2016. A fourth device detonated on Aug. 27 this year inside a mailbox located at a Tift County residence. None of the incidents resulted in injuries, the GBI said.

The suspect's arrest came during a  joint investigation by the GBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Tift County Sheriff's Office; and the Tifton Police Department.

" Tift Regional Health System would like to thank law enforcement for arresting and charging a person for allegedly planting a small destructive device on an unoccupied vehicle at Tift Regional Medical Center on Dec. 24, 2015, and Aug. 27, 2017. The arrest charges also link the suspect to two other similar cases within the area," said  Christopher Dorman, president/chief operating officer of Tift Regional Health System.

"In both incidents at TRMC, no bomb threats were made, there were no injuries and each case was considered minor. We still do not know the motive of the suspect, beyond just being possible random acts, and the matter is still under investigation.  Safety for our patients, staff and visitors is paramount, and we would like to commend the TRMC Security Department for their vigilance. In each case, the TRMC Security Department followed protocol and alerted the Tifton Police and Tifton Fire Department," Dorman said.  

"In turn, the Tifton Police worked with the Tift County Sheriff's Department, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the state arson investigator, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and other law enforcement agencies to probe this matter, leading to the eventual arrest. Thanks again to all of the public safety individuals for their efforts."

The investigation is ongoing, and the GBI said additional charges are expected. Anyone with information concerning the case is asked to call the GBI office in Sylvester at 229-777-2080 or the Tift County Sheriff's Office at 229-388-6020.

Bill and Donna Jackson of Tifton try their hand at pickleball on Saturday.


Pickleball, called one of America's fastest-growing sports, is coming to Tifton. A paddle sport for all skill levels, pickleball   combines many elements of tennis, badminton and ping-pong.

Local tennis coach Mike Brumby is formally bringing the sport to Tifton. Brumby has scheduled an orientation for Saturday morning, Sept. 23, for local folks to learn about pickleball and to begin playing it. He is keeping the initial orientation class to 24 people aged 45 or above; the cost is $25 per person. Brumby has purchased the equipment, is using his courts, and said he is merely hoping to break even on the cost.

The rules are simple, and the game is easy for beginners to learn. A pickleball paddle is smaller than a tennis racquet but larger than a ping-pong paddle. The ball is unique, with holes through it similar to a wiffle ball. The court is also shorter than a tennis court.
Brumby said he is  focusing  on people aged 45 and above to offer them a sport that is easier than tennis on muscles and joints, and doesn't require as much movement and stamina. Players use underhand serves.

"It's not going to be strenuous," Brumby said. "Most people don't get enough exercise. This combines exercise; it combines fun; and it's got a little bit of competition in it."

Brumby said the orientation will entail doubles play, and he will pair the participants.

"Pickleball is fun, competitive and very social," Brumby said. "You're much closer to your opponent."

According to the t he USA Pickleball Association (yes, there is such a thing) there are more than 2.5 million pickleball participants in the United States, and the sport has been around the 1960s.

Anyone interested in  pickleball may contact Brumby at 229-382-7515 or at


Literacy Volunteers of Tifton-Tift County is recruiting sponsors of three-person teams for the 18th annual Carnival of Knowledge Trivia Contest to be held at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 28, at Southern Regional Technical College Conference Center in Tifton.

The carnival is under the direction of past winner and trivia expert Dottie Freeman. It will begin with a free pasta dinner for participants and attendees. Freeman encourages family members to come out to watch and volunteer to serve on sponsored teams that don't have team members. She said to anticipate a fun-filled evening complete with free family entertainment, food and prizes.

"The goal is 24 teams signed up at $150 a team, and the general public can fill in on sponsored teams for no charge," said Bonnie Sayles, executive director of Literacy Volunteers. She noted that individuals, groups, civic organizations and businesses may sponsor teams.

"Even if they don't have members to play, they may sponsor a team. When local trivia buffs fill in for free, the entertainment value is enhanced. Audience participants may come empty-handed and go home with some awesome prizes," Sayles said.

"We are keeping the price of a team low so more teams can participate. It's a lot of fun to play and fun to watch."

In addition to bragging rights as Tifton's trivia experts, the top three teams will receive prizes. This year, top winning team members each receive three nights at a mountain cabin in Dahlonega, courtesy of Literacy Board member Liz Carson Keith, who is also being honored that night for her long service on behalf of adult education and literacy

Door prizes for attendees will include meals at local restaurants, manicures, home decor and gift certificates. Those wanting to play, sponsor a team, donate a prize or volunteer to help may call Sayles at 229-391-2527.
"If you believe that improving literacy in Tift County is key to our economic success, you need to support this fundraiser in the strongest way possible," Sayles said. "Each school dropout that earns a GED diploma, each person that learns to read better or speak English better helps to improve our society as a whole. We owe it to ourselves to make sure we can continue the programs that make this possible."

Sayles added that Sept. 8 is International Literacy Day, focusing attention on worldwide literacy needs. She said that 25 percent of Tift countians over the age of 18 have less than a high school education.


The Tiftarea Greenways Association is hosting a presentation on "Complete Streets,"design for safe travel and access on roads by all users -- pedestrians, cyclists and automotive drivers.

The information program is at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 7, at the Tift County Recreation Department at 401 Victory Drive in Tifton. It  features a talk by  Ariel Godwin, a senior planner with the Southern Georgia Regional Commission.  

Topics will include:
  •  What be done in Tifton to provide recreational and fitness opportunities for residents and visitors?
  • Are there adequate sidewalks, bike paths, multi-use paths and appropriately marked streets, for walkers, joggers, kids on tricycles and bicycles, wheelchairs, baby strollers, skateboards, dog walkers, etc.? 
  • Are our streets friendly for all individuals, not just those in cars? 
The public is invited to attend.


Tifton's "first responders" who had to work on Labor Day received lunch Monday, courtesy of Tifton Olive Garden restaurant and the Leroy Rogers Senior Center.

Olive Garden workers volunteered their time to help. Members of the  Tifton Police Department, Tifton Fire Department, Tift County Fire/Rescue, Tift County Sheriff's Office and Tift County EMS were all provided a free lunch.

Olive Garden General Manager Michele Bassett Cavenaugh said the lunch was held at the Leroy Rogers Senior Center in Tifton in order to serve up to 100 first responders.



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