Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019
Tifton, Georgia
Nakia McCoggle, left, of K&K Custom Creations accepts the awards for Most Original, Greatest Variety, Best Presentation and Best in Show at the "Choc-it-Up for Literacy" event Tuesday night at Spring Hill Country Club. Presenting the awards is Bonnie Sayles, executive director of Literacy Volunteers of Tifton-Tift County.
A chance to sample and choose Tifton's top chocolate desserts Tuesday night brought approximately 125 people to Spring Hill Country Club for the 7th Annual Choc-it-Up for Literacy fundraiser for Literacy Volunteers of Tifton-Tift County .

K&K Custom Creations received the most votes in several categories "Most Original," "Greatest Variety" and "Best Presentation" – capturing "Best in Show."
Fresco Italiano received the most votes for "Best Taste" for its chocolate desserts .

The crowd also got the opportunity to bid on various items, such as vacations, quail hunts, art work and jewelry, with the proceeds going toward adult literacy programs in Tift County, such as tutoring and GED preparation in Tift County.

The Howard Center in Tifton added a fun twist to the night by having "Oompa Loompas" offering everyone a "Wonka Bar" with one of the chocolate bars containing a "golden ticket" for a $100 bill. Gail Barnard of Tifton had the "golden ticket," and she immediately donated the $100 to the literacy program.
An "Oompa Loompa" (Melisa Carter of the Howard Center), left, offers Gail Barnard a $100 bill for having the "golden ticket" in her "Wonka Bar."
Because of a higher number of students, more employees and more expensive off-campus housing, the economic impact of Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College on South Georgia soared to a record $529,838,507 in fiscal year 2017 , according to a statewide study .

The University System of Georgia (USG) sanctioned the statewide economic impact study , conducted by the Selig Center for Economic Growth in the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business.

Tifton's and South Georgia's benefits , according to the report, include 444 jobs at ABAC resulting in 1,382 jobs off campus for a total impact of 1,826 jobs in the area. The previous fiscal year report in 2016 showed ABAC with 230 on-campus jobs resulting in 886 off-campus jobs for a total impact of 1,116 jobs in the area.

“More jobs at ABAC means more jobs in South Georgia ,” said Dr. Renata Elad , dean of ABAC's Stafford School of Business.  “ABAC had a much bigger employment impact plus the cost of housing went up, and the average rent in Tifton went up that year.  Personal expenses for entertainment, apparel and services were also up .”

Elad analyzed the USG numbers for ABAC and found its economic impact is 31 percent higher than the $369,874,664 impact in the 2016 fiscal year.

“ABAC needs South Georgia , and South Georgia needs ABAC,” Elad said. “With total employment of over 1,800 jobs directly from student spending activities and an overall labor impact of almost $66 million , ABAC is definitely a strong partner in regional growth .”

ABAC’s enrollment increased to 3,475 students for the 2016 fall from 3,393 students in the 2015 fall term. The enrollment also increased in the 2017 spring and summer terms.  

With instructional sites in Tifton, Moultrie, Bainbridge, Blakely and Donalsonville during the 2018 fall term and a record enrollment of 4,291 students, ABAC President David Bridges believes the school's economic impact of ABAC will soar again next year.

“It’s inevitable that the impact will be even higher because we teach classes in so many more locations, and we have quite a few more students,” Bridges said. “We are also in our 11th year of offering bachelor’s degree programs, and you can’t discount the value of students staying here for four or five years instead of two or three years .”
Tift County Sheriff Gene Scarbrough is warning area residents about renegade paving companies operating in Tift County with more than 10 complaints received in the past week.
The scam pavers often claim to have extra material from an earlier job and offer to patch or repave your driveway or parking lot for a bargain price and ask you to pay half the price upfront.  

“Don’t do it,” Scarbrough says. “Be safe and aware; if they don’t have a business license call 911 .”  

Most of these individuals are from out of state and have not received a business license through the local Code Enforcement Office, the sheriff says. The licenses can be issued in a day with the appropriate documentation for a $45 fee.
These rogue companies often look for driveways in need of repair, pull up to the home and blow the horn of their work trucks to get the owners to come outside and are especially looking to prey on elderly homeowners .
James magazine has inducted Monty Veazey of Tifton into its Top Lobbyists Hall of Fame during a recent ceremony in Atlanta .
Monty Veazey is a respected veteran lobbyist who is well known for doing his homework and articulating his clients’ needs before legislators and the public,” said Phil Kent , the magazine's publisher.

James is pleased to salute the hard-working professional by placing him in its elite Lobbyist Hall of Fame.”
Veazey has served as the president and CEO of the Georgia Association of Community Hospitals for 34 years, and he lobbies for numerous other clients as well. Veazey won election to the state House in 1976 , becoming the youngest member ever elected in the House of Representatives , serving Tift, Berrien and Cook counties ; he left office in 1983 .
“I greatly appreciate this recognition from James magazine, and it’s an honor to join so many friends and colleagues who have received this award in the past,” said Veazey .

“I’m incredibly lucky that I’ve worked throughout my career on issues that improve the quality of life for Georgians in communities like Tifton . Community hospitals provide high-quality healthcare that’s crucial to our families, and beyond that they are crucial to local economies.
“I get the best of two worlds. I work at the state Capitol where there’s so much going on for our state – but then I get to leave it all behind and come home to Tifton .”
Veazey serves on the Synovus Bank board as well as the Georgia Chamber of Commerce . He and his family are members of First Baptist Church in Tifton .
Colony Bank market presidents recently presented a $5,000 check to the Ruth’s Cottage Capital Campaign for a new domestic violence shelter and administrative offices.

From left are Bill Marsh (Colony Bank of Tifton), Johnny Bryan (Colony Bank of Sylvester),  Andy Johnson (Colony Bank of Ashburn), and Jim Laycock and Nancy Bryan from Ruth’s Cottage.
Builders Club members ( sixth- through eighth-grade students) at Tiftarea Academy have collected more than 50 teddy bears for a service project this month coordinated with the Kiwanis Club of Tifton . The Kiwanis Club is giving the teddy bears to children in the hospital's pediatric ward for Valentine’s Day .
Sigma Alpha Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. will celebrate a Founders’ Day program at 2 p.m. Feb. 16 , at Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church in Ty Ty.
Alpha Kappa Alpha ’s program reflects the communal consciousness steeped in the AKA tradition and embodied in its credo: “To be supreme in service to all mankind .”

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority 's current program theme is "Exemplifying Excellence Through Sustainable Services."  The international program includes five targets designed to advance the mission of AKA with excellence and underscore a commitment to sustainable services.

The five targets are: HBCU for Life: A Call to Action, Women’s Healthcare and Wellness, Building Your Economic Legacy, The Arts , and Global Impact .
The Tiftarea Board of Realtors is looking for a motivated individual to work closely with membership to maintain compliance with the state and national association; keep membership informed of board-related activities; assist in planning meetings, classes and events; multiple listing service administrator; record keeping and light bookkeeping.

Please send resume to  tiftareamls@birch.net  by February 10 . Background check required.
Singer, songwriter and actor Jonathan Blanchard will offer a musical journey celebrating African-American history on Feb. 19 in Howard Auditorium at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.  

The noon performance is free and open to the public .

A two-part information session titled “Then and Now” will be held in Bowen 100 at 5 p.m. Feb. 19 , highlighting contributions and inventions of African-Americans .

To close the program, a panel discussion will look at student experiences in the present setting. A reception will follow.

Blanchard has been called a preserver of the negro spiritual and has released his first studio album , “Freedom’s Soul … the REVOLUTION.” He has been among the artists on stage when the Southern Christian Leadership Foundation honored Civil Rights icon and trailblazing entertainer Harry Belafonte

Blanchard also performed at the Memphis Music Hall of Fame induction of gospel great Lucy E. Campbell , where he opened for ZZ Top , saxophonist George Coleman and the late Bobby “Blue” Bland .

His stage credits include roles as diverse as The Priest in  “Your Arms Too Short to Box with God,”  Bernardo in  “West Side Story,” Simeon and Potifer in  “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” and the lion in  “The Wiz.” Blanchard has also done voice-over work for local and national programs.

He has a b achelor of science in commercial music and a master of science in music education degrees from  Tennessee State University.
Tifton Grapevine
e-published every Tuesday and Friday

Frank Sayles Jr.
Editor & Publisher
Bonnie Sayles
Managing Editor
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