Friday, March 6, 2020
Tifton, Georgia
Pine trees downed Thursday across 20th Street caused power outages to about 1,200 customers.
Heavy rains during the past couple of days have brought flooding throughout South Georgia and have downed trees , causing scattered power outages .

Rainfall in Tift County has measured five to 11.5 inches in various areas of the county , according to the Tift County Emergency Management Agency . In some parts of the region, roads have washed out and some bridges are closed .

In response, Gov. Brian Kemp on Thursday declared a state of emergency for 120 Georgia counties , including all counties in the Tiftarea .

“The state is working to ensure counties impacted by flooding across Georgia have access to all the resources necessary to respond,” Kemp said.

While Tift has not been hit as hard as some counties, it still experienced some issues Thursday. Two pine trees fell in the 700 block of West 20th Street in Tifton at 10:58 a.m. Thursday, taking out several big distribution power lines.

“After four or five hours , power was restored ,” said Pete Pyrzenski , Tifton City manager.

Allison Gregory of Georgia Power said 1,191 customers were initially without power. Customers included Affinity Clinic of Southwell Health System and Northeast Middle School . Affinity representatives had to reschedule its Thursday afternoon appointments.

Because of flooding , Kent Road toward Tift County High School was closed , with traffic routed to New River Church Road . Bill Branch Road had water across the entire road and was temporarily closed .

The flooding has prompted numerous school closures on Friday , including Tiftarea Academy , Worth County, Turner County, Ben Hill County, Crisp County and Coffee County schools.
A clear, sunny weekend is forecast for Tifton's annual Rhythm & Ribs Festival at Fulwood Park .

The barbecue and music event kicks off tonight (Friday) at 6 p.m. with live music on the Syd Blackmarr Stage in Fulwood Park. On Saturday , the all-day festival goes from 10 a.m.-10 p.m.

There will be more than 60 barbecue teams in the professional and backyard competitions that will compete for more than $17,000 in prize money and the title of Grand Champion in both contests.

Barbecue will be available for sale from vendors , along with other foods and beverages. More than 100 vendors will be set up throughout the park selling food, arts & crafts and a variety of items. ATM machines also will be available in the park.

Seven musical acts will perform throughout Saturday on the Main Stage , and six music performers will entertain from the Community Stage . A Kidzone will offer activities for children, such as bounce houses and slides, a mechanical bull , a rock-climbing wall and a zipline . Pets are allowed at the festival if they are on a leash.

Headlining the musical entertainment is award-winning singer-songwriter-guitarist Molly Tuttle . Crowned “Instrumentalist of the Year” at the 2018 Americana Music Awards , Tuttle is becoming known for her flatpicking guitar technique and confessional songwriting .
VIDEO: Molly Tuttle's "Take The Journey"
Since moving to Nashville, Tenn., in 2015, the native Californian has been welcomed into folk music, bluegrass, Americana, and traditional country communities. During the past year, Tuttle has continued to accumulate accolades, winning Folk Alliance International’s honor for Song of the Year for “You Didn’t Call My Name” and taking home her second trophy for the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Guitar Player of the Year (the first woman in the history of the IBMA to win that honor).

Rolling Stone magazine noted, “performer Molly Tuttle, who is nominated for Emerging Artist and Female Vocalist, becomes the first woman ever nominated for Guitar Player of the Year.”

American Songwriter magazine wrote that Tuttle " sings with the gentle authority of Gillian Welch, yet plays astoundingly fleet flat-picking guitar like Chet Atkins on superdrive.”

And National Public Radio said that Tuttle's " songs, singing and solos, much like her demeanor, tend to have an inward-looking elegance to them; they’re the outward expressions of a searching mind and a longtime dedication to cultivating her craft.”
Gov. Brian Kemp , right, swears in former Tift County Sheriff Gary Vowell as interim commissioner of the state Department of Public Safety , which oversees the Georgia State Patrol ( GSP). The department's previous leadership was dismissed after a Trooper School test cheating scandal rocked the GSP . Vowell formally began his duties March 1 . At the recent swearing-in ceremony, he was surrounded by family and friends .
The Tifton-Tift County Public Library will provide free access to computers and assistance in completing the U.S. Census online between March 16-May 8 , Victoria Horst , library branch manager, told the Tifton Rotary Club on Wednesday .
The library will also offer forgiveness of overdue library-material fines to anyone completing the Census , she said. Residents do not have to have a library card to use the computers for Census purposes. 

Horst serves on the Tift County Complete Count Committee , tasked with getting every person in Tift County counted for the Census. She said that postcards will go out on March 12 as an invitation to fill out the Census form online. 

“This is the first Census in history that will be conducted mostly online ,” Horst said. “As you know, there are lots of people who have no Internet access . A large part of the federal dollars that the library receives pays for Internet access. We have a vested interest in making sure we have an accurate count.”

Eighty percent of the population is expected to complete census forms online , she said. Others will have forms mailed to them. Census Day will be April 1 .

“You can do the Census beforehand. If you don’t do the Census by the middle of May, Census workers will come to homes that haven’t completed the forms,” Horst said. 

The U.S. Census is still hiring part-time temporary workers at The nationwide count effort is expected to be completed by the middle of July , she said. 

Libraries have traditionally been a source of accurate and good information . People are getting calls asking for donations, social security numbers and other pieces of information that others have no business knowing,” she said. 

Census workers will not call you. If you call them, you can do the Census over the phone, ” Horst said. That is an alternative for people who may be sight-impaired

Prime Time Family Literacy programs are paid for by federal funds, Horst said.
The federal government determines the funding for this program based on the Census count.
Lewis Taylor Farms of Tifton is partnering with Loxahatchee, Fla.-based J&J Family of Farms, expanding fresh produce product lines.

J&J Family of Farms is a locally grown, nationally known marketer and distributor of fresh produce. With the new alliance formed, Lewis Taylor Farms brings superior production with  6,500 acres of produce as well as  81 greenhouses for 275 million vegetable transplants and 65 million pine tree seedlings.

According to a press release , J&J’s new partnership with Lewis Taylor will expand its portfolio significantly in the form of greens, broccoli, mini watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew . Lewis Taylor , in turn, gains a powerful ally in the peppers, cucumbers, squash, and eggplant categories.

Lewis Taylor Farms began farming operations in the 1930s and is now one o f the  largest privately owned vegetable and greenhouse operations  in the Southeast , known for its focus on sustainable agriculture .
Michael D. Chason , ABAC's public relations director emeritus, is among eight individuals and one team to be inducted into the Athletics Hall of Fame on April 3 at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College .

The 2020 class also includes the 2002 women’s state championship basketball team , tennis player German Dalmagro , three-sport letterman Clayt Hurst , softball player Lee Davis Watson , soccer standout Nikita Morris , tennis player, coach, and contributor Margaret Treadway , contributor and volunteer assistant softball coach James Winfred “Vic” Vickers , and contributor and volunteer assistant softball coach Jimmy Spurlin .

“This is our largest group of inductees , and they cover a lot of ground,” said Athletics Director Alan Kramer . “From all the way back to the ABAC football team to the soccer field and even the broadcast booth , we’ve got it covered this year.”

Chason was named public relations director in 1979 . As a former sports editor of The Valdosta Daily Times , he loved sports and got involved in the ABAC basketball program by broadcasting the Golden Stallions and Golden Fillies ’ games on the radio from 1979 to 2008 . In 2008, as a part of ABAC’s 100th birthday celebration, Chason originated the idea for the ABAC Athletics Hall of Fame .
The T ifton-Tift County Chamber of Commerce 's  TAL:K Youth Leadership Class  visited the  Georgia Legislature  last week. TAL:K – "Tomorrow’s Aspiring Leaders: Kids" – are a group of 50 eighth graders from  Eighth Street Middle School Northeast Middle School  and  Tiftarea Academy. They visited with  Rep. Penny Houston Rep. Clay Pirkle  and  Rep. Sam Watson , who all represent Tift County. TAL:K sponsors are  Colquitt EMC Georgia Power Heatcraft Refrigeration South Georgia Banking Co. Synovus , and  Tift Regional Health System .


Newly elected state Sen. Carden Summers , R-Crisp, who represents Tift County , visited the Rotary Club of Tifton on Wednesday to thank Tift countians for their support .

In the photo, Summers , left, chats with Joe Pope and Andy Borem.

  • Rhythm & Ribs Kickoff, 6 p.m., Fulwood Park stage, Tifton

  • Annual Rummage Sale, 7 a.m.-Noon, Our Divine Saviour Catholic Church, Tifton
  • Rhythm & Ribs BBQ Festival, 10- a.m-10 p.m., Fulwood Park, Tifton
  • Ceramic Artists Exhibit Opening, 5-7 p.m., Plough Gallery, Tifton
  • ABAC Wildlife Beast Feast, 6 p.m., Gressette Gym, ABAC, Tifton
FEB. 27
Johnnie Lamar Parker, 75, Fort McCoy, Fla. 

FEB. 28
Herman E. Henry, 72, Brookfield
John Torry Pisciotta, 79, Omega
Dr. Raymond J. Young, 93, Sumner
Minnie Shermalee Benefield, 88, Nashville

FEB. 29
Eddie Lee Musick, 61, Quitman

Marthalyn Abbott Carr, 87, Tifton
Mary Ruth Davis, 91, Ashburn
Ira Michael Moore, 70, Quitman

Jerry Wayman Bishop, 72, Destin, Fla.

Elnita Hendley Thomas, 91, Tifton
Billy D. Lewis, 77, Sycamore
Tifton Grapevine
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