Jan. 8, 2019 Tifton, Georgia
Sandy Hester, director of the Coastal Plain Regional Library headquartered in Tifton , has been named Georgia's Public Librarian of the Year .

The Georgia Public Library Service made the announcement, also naming DeKalb County Public Library as Georgia’s Public Library of the Year, and selecting Dan Aldridge, president of Friends of Georgia Libraries , as Library Champion of the Year .

This year’s recipients will be recognized at a ceremony during the Georgia Council for Public Libraries’ annual Public Library Day at the Capitol on Feb. 13 . Hester will also be celebrated at 5:30 p.m. Jan. 30 at the Coastal Plain Regional Library headquarters in Tifton .

The state library service applauded Hester for successfully merging two library systems in a way that benefited everyone. In early 2018 , she served as interim director in both the Fitzgerald-Ben Hill County Library and in the Coastal Plain Regional Library systems .

During this time, the Fitzgerald-Ben Hill Board of Trustees decided to join the neighboring Coastal Plain Regional Library.

Sandy Hester considered the needs of the communities involved by speaking with elected officials, board members and many other stakeholders,” said State Librarian Julie Walker . “This was no small feat to negotiate between these two library systems . Sandy genuinely cares for the patrons who use the libraries, and she led with integrity and innovative thinking .”

Hester has worked in public libraries for 25 years and grew up in Tifton

“Georgia’s public library world is filled with dedicated individuals who strive to provide excellent service to their communities every day,” Hester said. “I am deeply honored that my friends and colleagues felt me worthy of this award. I am fortunate to work with a brilliant staff , fully engaged library boards and passionate community members who love libraries as much as I do.”
The City of Tifton has named Bruce Green as interim Downtown Development Authority (DDA) and Main Street manager. He assumed the temporary duties on Monday .

Green will serve as interim until the positions are filled , which the city anticipates could take three months. 
Green will provide professional oversight to the Main Street office, provide guidance to the DDA board , assist with pending projects and further establish our relationships at the state level for continued growth in the downtown area,” said City Manager Pete Pyrzenski .

A Valdosta native, Green previously served as Tifton's Main Street manager in the 1980s/early '90s , coordinating a successful revitalization program for more than eight years that eventually led to Tifton being recognized as one of the Best Small Towns in America.

Green then moved to Atlanta as director of the Office of Downtown Development with the Georgia Municipal Association . Following his GMA work, he served as the director of communications, research and rural development with the Georgia Department of Community Affairs . He then created a consulting company, Bruce Green & Associates.
Now retired , Green most recently served as director of Tourism Product Development with the Georgia Department of Economic Development , where he worked with communities, private corporations and non-profits across Georgia to increase investment in and development of new tourism initiatives.
He has a bachelor of science degree in biology from Valdosta State and did master's work in secondary education. At 25 , Green served as a councilman in the City of Remerton in Lowndes County .
Three Georgia Peanut Commission board members, including Armond Morris of Tift County , were recently renominated without opposition to the commission’s board of directors.

The Georgia Farm Bureau Federation conducted the nomination meetings for three of the commission’s districts. Morris is the District 2 commissioner; District 4 Commissioner Rodney Dawson , Pulaski County ; and District 5 Commissioner Donald Chase , Macon County , all previously held the seat for their respective districts.

Officials said since only one person was nominated for each district, no election is required , and the nominated person automatically becomes a member of the Peanut Commission board. They will serve Georgia peanut farmers on the board for the next three years.

The Georgia Peanut Commission represents more than 4,500 peanut farm families and conducts programs in the areas of research, promotion and education.
The 20th Annual Tifton Hometown Holiday Christmas Celebration , originally scheduled Dec. 1 , but postponed for inclement weather , will not be rescheduled .

Sponsorship funding will be used for the 21st Annual Hometown Holiday event set for Dec. 7 this year.

In a press release , the city said the event committee's decision "was not made lightly . There were several factors that went into the decision, including vendor and entertainment availability and the proximity of time until the Rhythm and Ribs Festival held at Fulwood Park .

"The committee would like to thank all the vendors and sponsors for their continued support over the last 20 years of the Hometown Holiday Christmas Celebration . We are already looking forward to the event (in December ) and hope the community will rally behind the decision we were tasked with making."
Tifton firefighters began the new year with a Stairclimb Challenge . On Jan. 2 , Tifton Fire Department  firefighters completed 50 flights of stairs as fast as they could in full gear and while breathing air .

The firefighters used the equipment at  Destiny Fitness of Tifton .

Placing first in the training challenge was firefighter Jacob Carter ; second place was firefighter Jonathon Pereze ; and third place, Jason Demos .
Georgia has been awarded a $2.9 million federal Preschool Development Grant to help ensure that children from birth to age five have access to high-quality early childhood care and education .

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Education awarded the grant, says the Ga. Development of Early Care and Learning (DECAL).

DECAL will serve as the lead agency in carrying out the grant's initiatives. The grant will benefit all children and families in Georgia and will focus on the needs of children and families living in poverty , experiencing homelessness , living in foster care , living in rural areas and living with disabilities .

The grant initially covers one year . Later in 2019 , the states that received grants will be eligible to compete for additional funding of up to $45 million over three years .

The Tifton Grapevine is now publishing yard sales in Friday editions . The yard sales are text only, no photos , and is part of a list linked from the Grapevine edition to our web page .

The cost is $1 per word , and yard sales must be paid in advance via credit card or PayPal .

For information , email
Tifton Grapevine
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