Driver Safety Course Open To All

An AARP Smart Driver Safety Program is scheduled 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Feb. 24 at the Leroy Rogers Senior Center in Tifton. The program is open to all drivers age 16 and up. The cost is $20 per person, with a $5 discount for AARP members with identification card. AARP initially developed the six-hour classroom refresher course to help drivers age 50 and older improve their skills and prevent crashes, but now the course is open to all drivers. It covers age-related physical changes, safety tips, rules of the road and updates on recent changes in the law. Participants may be eligible for up to a 20 percent discount on their automobile insurance premium. For class information or reservations, call 229-391-3956 or 229-391-9299 or email fkinchen@tifton.net

Source: Tifton Grapevine

Georgia Senate Recognizes Tifton’s Eunice Mixon As “Distinguished Older Georgian”

Eunice Lastinger Mixon, Tifton’s “grande dame” and a retired educator, was honored in the Georgia state Senate last week as the Distinguished Older Georgian for 2018. The resolution, introduced by Sen. Greg Kirk, R– Americus, commends Mixon for her decades of service to the state and to her community. “Mrs. Mixon served as a doorkeeper for the Georgia state Senate for 12 years and retired just before her 80th birthday. Mrs. Mixon has won numerous awards for her work throughout the state of Georgia and her experience is remarkable,” Kirk said. “Mrs. Mixon’s service to our community and state goes beyond the politics as seen in her personally raising more than $25,000 for Alzheimer’s disease, among many other selfless acts. I am honored to sponsor this resolution for my friend, a woman that has dedicated so much of her life to serving the citizens of our state inside and out of her work.”  The Senate resolution notes that Mixon was honored by an Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College scholarship recognizing her 23 years of service on the Georgia Student Finance Commission and was named a Distinguished Alumnus of ABAC; was recognized as one of the 40 Most Influential South Georgians by South Georgia Business Magazine; received the inaugural Eunice L. Mixon Award, created by the State Bar of Georgia to be presented annually to a non-lawyer Georgian for lifetime contributions to the judicial branch; was named one of 25 Women of the 21st Century by a Ga. House of Representatives resolution, sharing this honor with such women as Rosalyn Carter, Coretta Scott King and Betty Talmadge; served as a charter director of the Tift County Foundation for Educational  Excellence; served as the first chairman of the state’s Hope Scholarship Committee; and was appointed by the state Supreme Court to the Disciplinary Board of the State Bar of Georgia, serving from 1997 until 2013.

Source: Tifton Grapevine

Tiftarea Academy Names Football Coach

Tiftarea Academy is adding a popular name amongst South Georgians to its varsity football coaching staff: Coach Erik Soliday will trade in his Americus-Sumter High Panther gear for some Tiftarea Panther wear this fall. Headmaster Stacey Bell and Athletic Director Tim Hathcock made the announcement with Soliday at the school Monday afternoon. Originally from West Virginia, Soliday has been a South Georgia football household name since 1989 when he joined the Turner County Rebels as an assistant. He has spent the majority of his 29-year career in Ashburn, Americus and Perry. He led Americus High to back-to-back state championships in the early 2000s, and he has been named Coach of the Year countless times during his career. Hathcock and Bell echoed each other in their enthusiasm for the new coach. “Coach Soliday is an exciting addition to our staff. We feel he has all the tools necessary to lead our program to new heights,” said Hathcock. Bell added that Soliday’s principles of discipline on and off the field will translate to success at Tiftarea. A motto Soliday likes to live by is an old quote from former Notre Dame Coach Lou Holtz: “Why settle for second place when first place is available.” Tiftarea Academy had a 6-5 season last year under former Coach Tully Payne.

Source: Tifton Grapevine

Ex Tift Regional CEO Named to Hall of Fame: Tift Chamber Banquet Honors Locals

William T. Richardson, who recently retired as president/CEO of Tift Regional Health System, was named to the Tifton-Tift County Chamber of Commerce’s Wall of Fame during the chamber’s Annual Meeting & Banquet Thursday night at the UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center. Other honorees Thursday included former state court judge and state Sen. John “Dickie” Crosby, who received the Stafford Award; Melinda Moore, named the Prince Business Woman of the Year; Danny Griffin, who received the John Hunt Entrepreneur of the Year; Jody Benson, winner of the J. Lamar Branch Award; Austin McAlpin, who received the Rotary Club of Tifton’s Ethics in Business Award; and Allison Powell, named Chamber Ambassador of the Year. Richardson, a native of Brewton, Ala., began as CEO of Tift General Hospital in 1988 and led its growth to Tift Regional Health System, a network serving 12 counties. Under his leadership, the hospital’s services grew to include specialties such as oncology, cardiovascular care and dialysis. Today, Tift Regional has 2,500 employees and a $554 million impact on the local economy. Crosby began practicing law in Tift County in 1962 and served as both a state court judge and Tifton city commissioner from 1971-78. He was elected as a judge to the Tift Superior Court in 1980 and served in that capacity for 20 years. In 2008, he was elected to the state Senate, where he represented this area for six years. He was named to the Chamber’s Wall of Fame in 2015. Moore is senior vice president of operations at South Georgia Banking Co. and is responsible for maintaining operations of the bank’s nine locations in five counties. She serves on the Board of Directors for Brother Charlie’s and on the finance committee at First Baptist Church. She has been a mentor with Big Brothers/Big Sisters and has been involved with the Tift County Cooperative Extension and 4-H Endowment Board and was a past officer of the Organization of Professional Women. Griffin has led the growth of his family business since joining his father Dan to buy the local Ford dealership in 1986. Today, he owns Griffin Ford Lincoln and Griffin Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram. He has served as the chamber’s economic development chairman, as a Tiftarea YMCA board member, board chairman for the Georgia Automobile Dealers Association and is a member at First Baptist Church. Benson, a sales consultant with Georgia Premier Services, is active in the Chamber of Commerce, serving as an ambassador. The J. Lamar Branch Award is given to a “rookie” chamber member who best exhibits Branch’s character, professionalism and leadership. McAlpin, through his company McAlpin Entertainment, has changed the local music scene by bringing big-name acts to the area, such as Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard and Vince Gill. Along with his wife, Kirsten, he has created the McAlpin Foundation to serve disadvantaged local youth. Proceeds from each of his concerts go back into the community in the form of school supplies, Christmas gifts and scholarships for kids to participate in organized athletics. Powell, with Rehabilitation Services of South Georgia, has been a chamber ambassador for several years, attending ribbon cuttings, groundbreakings and serving at special events, such as the annual golf tournament and other networking events. Also at the dinner, Chamber Chairman Tyron Spearman welcomed Bill Marsh, who will serve as chairman for 2018. Marsh is Tifton city president at Colony Bank. Brian Marlowe, chamber president and CEO, noted accomplishments in economic development during the past year, including construction of American Textile Co.’s new facility and several other industries who relocated or expanded.

Source: Tifton Grapevine

Air Race to Include Tifton

A Florida-based chapter of the International Organization of Women Pilots is launching a new air race this spring that will stop overnight in Tifton. The inaugural Paradise 600 Air Race will take place May 24-26. The starting point will be Key Field Airport in Meridian, Miss. The 600-nautical-mile route will terminate at Punta Gorda Airport in Punta Gorda, Fla. Flyby and overnight stops will be made at Moton Field Municipal Airport in Tuskegee, Ala.; Henry Tift Myers Airport in Tifton; and Williston Municipal Airport in Williston, Fla., according to the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. “The goal of the race is fun and stretching your wings for an exciting cross-country adventure,” said Terry Carbonell, a member of the Paradise Coast Chapter of The Ninety-Nines, which is hosting the event. Carbonell is handicap coordinator for the race.  The race will be flown in daylight conditions. Airplanes are limited to stock, modified stock and experimental airplanes of not more than 600 horsepower. Each team should consist of at least two participants, but only one needs to be a certificated pilot. Proceeds from the race will benefit the Paradise Coast chapter’s scholarship fund.

Source: Tifton Grapevine

Georgia Peanut Farm Show Provides A Day Of Education For Farmers

More than 1,300 attendees were able to fine-tune their farming operations with information gained at the 42nd annual Georgia Peanut Farm Show and Conference on Jan. 18, 2018, at the University of Georgia Tifton Campus Conference Center in Tifton, Georgia. The show is sponsored by the Georgia Peanut Commission. The one-day show offered farmers a chance to view the products and services of more than 109 exhibitors, as well as a day of education. The University of Georgia Peanut Team presented an educational peanut production seminar focusing on insects, fertility, disease and nematodes as well as a year in review of the 2017 crop. An industry seed seminar was held, which highlighted peanut varieties available for 2018. The Georgia Peanut Commission presented awards to individuals and businesses for their service to the peanut industry and promotion of peanuts across the United States. The award recipients are: Distinguished Service Award – Jeff Johnson, retired president of Birdsong Peanuts; Research and Education Award – Albert Culbreath, University of Georgia plant pathologist; Media Award – Craig Harney, video producer of special projects at WTOC; and Georgia Peanut Special Award to Matt Baldwin, professional bullfighter who promotes Georgia peanuts. The Outstanding Georgia Young Peanut Farmer Award, sponsored by the Georgia Peanut Commission and BASF, was presented to Elton Baldy of Norman Park, Georgia. The award is presented to one Georgia peanut farmer based upon the applicant’s overall farm operation; environmental and stewardship practices; and leadership and community service activities. Baldy’s farming operation includes 750 acres of cropland where he grows peanuts, soybeans, corn, wheat, hay and vegetables. On the farm, Baldy has implemented a variety of important stewardship practices including cover crops, strip tillage, crop rotation and using non-drift nozzles when spraying. Baldy also uses Peanut Rx to help with managing diseases in his peanut crop. He continues to incorporate multiple modes of action when applying herbicides to assist with weed control. Baldy also utilizes irrigation with low pressure nozzles to conserve water and grid soil sampling to identify areas of a field that need improvement. Baldy was active in 4-H and FFA through high school. He continued to be active in many agricultural organizations including Georgia Farm Bureau and Georgia Young Farmers. He currently serves as a board member on the board of directors for the Colquitt County Farm Bureau. In addition to farming, Baldy provides auction services for the sale of farm equipment, livestock and other aspects of the ag industry. Baldy receives a sign to display at his farm and a trip to the Southern Peanut Growers Conference in July. In addition to the Outstanding Georgia Young Peanut Farmer Award, the Georgia Peanut Commission and Agri Supply presented the Outstanding Georgia Peanut Farmers of the Year Award to individuals representing each of the commission’s five districts. The GPC board members started this award to honor farmers each year who have the passion, diligence, leadership and desire to see the peanut industry in the state of Georgia continue to be the highest quality. Winners include: District 1 – Ike Newberry, Arlington; District 2 – Chip Dorminy, Fitzgerald; District 3 – Charles Smith Jr., Wadley; District 4 – James ‘Roy’ Malone Sr., Dexter; and District 5 – Marvin and Dania DeVane, Cuthbert. These farmers received a sign to display at their farm and a $100 gift card from Agri Supply. At the close of the day, the presentation of the Grand Door Prize package donated by Kelley Manufacturing Co. was presented to Lamar Merritt of Wray, Georgia, and Shane Pridgen of Broxton, Georgia. Merritt received one season’s use of a new KMC peanut combine and the option of purchasing the combine from a KMC dealer with $15,000 off the list price at the end of the 2018 season. Pridgen received one season’s use of a new KMC digger shaker inverter or dump cart and the option of purchasing the peanut digger or dump cart from a KMC dealer with 10 percent off the list price at the end of the 2018 season. Amadas Industries also provided the Grower Door Prize to Stanley Corbett of Lake Park, Georgia. Corbett received one season’s use of a new Amadas peanut digger/inverter or a certificate good for the amount of $10,000 towards the purchase of a new Amadas self-propelled combine or $5,000 towards the purchase of a pull-type peanut combine. For photos and additional information on the Georgia Peanut Farm Show and Conference, visit the Georgia Peanut Commission website at gapeanuts.com.

Grant Providing Car Seats To Eligible Tift Families

The Tift County Sheriff’s Office has been awarded a 2018 Car Seat Mini-Grant by the Georgia Department of Public Health, Injury Prevention Program. Through the Mini-Grant, the Sheriff’s Office and the Tift County Health Department will work together to provide car seats and education to financially eligible families in Tift County. This program, funded by the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, help ensure Georgia’s children are safe while riding in motor vehicles. Since 2007, the education, car seats and booster seats provided through the program prevented serious injury or death and saved 344 of Georgia’s children who were involved in crashes. “It’s our responsibility to keep our children safe,” said Tift County Sheriff Gene Scarbrough. “The Car Seat Mini-Grant is a great opportunity to help our community and help protect our children from serious injuries or death in motor vehicle crashes.” In Tift County, the Sheriff’s Office and the health department will educate parents and caregivers on how to properly install and use car seats, will offer car-seat inspections and provide car seats and booster seats to financially eligible families.  Each recipient must meet certain economic guidelines. They then sign up at the health department for a monthly class that members of the Sheriff’s Office teach, pay a $10 fee and attend the two-hour training class. The class is held the last Tuesday of each month at the health department from 5 to 7 p.m. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), car seats reduce fatal injuries by 71 percent among infants and by 54 percent among children ages one to four years old in passenger cars. Car seats offer the best protection for children in the event of a crash, and they are most effective when installed and used correctly. Nearly three out of four car seats are not used properly, placing children at unnecessary risk, the NHTSA says. For information about the Tift County car seat program, call the Sheriff’s Office at 229-388-6021 or the Tift County Health Department at 229-386-8373. If you would like information regarding other counties in the program, contact the Ga. Department of Public Health’s Child Occupant Safety Project at injury@dph.ga.gov or by calling 404-463-1487.

Source: Tifton Grapevine

Scientists Map Peanut Genetic Code

An international group of agricultural scientists have mapped the genetic code of the peanut, according to the non-profit Peanut Foundation, which directs and supports peanut research on behalf of the peanut industry. The culmination of a five-year research project will give scientists around the world a map with which to unlock some of the genetic potential of the peanut plant. The data will be openly available to all scientists. This discovery by the Peanut Genome Consortium, a group of scientists from the U.S., China, Japan, Brazil, Argentina, Australia, India, Israel, and several countries in Africa, gives scientists the capability to find beneficial genes in cultivated and wild peanuts that can lead to greater yields, lower production costs, lower losses to disease, improved processing traits, improved nutrition, improved safety, better flavor and virtually anything that is genetically determined by the peanut plant. “Study of peanut genome structure and order makes a great detective story, where many clues are found and linked together to unlock mysteries of genetics and gene regulation. This is exciting work,” said University of Georgia Professor and Eminent Scholar Scott Jackson, chair of the Peanut Genome Consortium. The U.S. team included scientists from the University of Georgia, University of California-Davis, Texas A&M University, N.C. State University, Auburn University, University of Florida and the USDA-ARS in Tifton and Griffin, and in Stillwater, Ok.; Ames, Iowa; and Stoneville, Miss. In 2012, the United States peanut industry urged the Peanut Foundation to initiate research to map the genetic code of the peanut plant. The International Peanut Genome Initiative was, and remains, the largest research project ever funded by the industry, with the $6 million cost shared equally among growers, shellers and manufacturers.  “Mapping the genetic code of the peanut proved to be an especially difficult task, but the final product is one of the best ever generated,” said Steve Brown, executive director of the Peanut Foundation. “We now have a map that will help breeders incorporate desirable traits that benefit growers, processors, and most importantly, the consumers that enjoy delicious and nutritious peanut products all over the world.”

Source: Tifton Grapevine

The Bells of ABAC Chapel’s Chimes Ring After 5 Years of Silence

When the graduates of Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College streamed out of Gressette Gym after the fall commencement ceremony last Thursday, they heard the chimes from the Chapel of All Faiths serenading them on their accomplishments. Silenced for the past five years because of technical problems, the chimes rang out loud and clear on a crisp blue-sky day as the graduates celebrated. ABAC Media Productions Coordinator Matthew Reid said it has been a long process to restore the music from the bell tower.  “It couldn’t have happened without everyone’s commitment and teamwork,” Reid said. Reid said the new digital system features a high-definition speaker that will produce a deeper sound throughout the front of the campus. “There are currently 5,000 song options, and we have the ability to add an additional 1,000 more,” Reid said. “It is truly a new technology to enhance an old system. We plan to ring the chimes on the hour just as they did when the chapel opened.” Reid said Paul Willis, vice president for finance and operations, was instrumental in bringing the project to fruition along with Arts Connection Director Wayne Jones, Fine Arts department head Susan Roe, and Chief Development Officer Deidre Martin.  Martin said restoring the chimes is only one step in a larger improvement plan for the chapel in the coming year. Donations from alumni and friends led by alumnus Tyron Spearman helped to get the project underway.

Source: Tifton Grapevine

Higher Fencing A “Deerterrent” to Animals on I-75

Any driver who’s hit a deer or spotted one standing on the shoulder of the road understands why new fencing is being placed along portions of Interstate Highway 75 in the Greater Tiftarea. Old fencing with a height of four or five feet has being replaced with eight-foot game fence in various locations in Crisp, Turner, Tift and Lowndes counties through Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) maintenance service contracts.  Fence replacement just wrapped up in Lowndes County and must be inspected by GDOT. The other counties are now complete.  Contractors were also asked to use wire to fill in bottom gaps at low spots to prevent deer from getting under. Given a space of a foot or 18 inches, deer will “lay on their belly and scoot right under it.  “They’re pretty agile animals,” said Charlie Killmaster, state deer biologist with the Ga. Department of Natural Resources. Last year 15,479 motor vehicle collisions with animals were reported on all routes statewide. Those specified as collisions with deer totaled 8,263. However, not all agencies and officers report in the same manner, so some of the 7,216 collisions with “animals” may also have been deer. The collisions resulted in 969 injuries and 16 fatalities statewide. Those are just the collisions that were reported through law enforcement. “It’s nothing for a deer to jump a five-foot fence. The eight-foot fence may reduce the number of deer that get onto the highway, which can prevent crashes and injuries to motorists,” said Scott Chambers, GDOT maintenance engineer.  While deer can jump eight feet, “they generally don’t unless they’re pressured,” Killmaster said. The fence height also reduces the chance of a pedestrian accessing the interstate from private property.

Source: Tifton Grapevine