SRTC Staffer Donates Wheelchair To GED Student

A GED student at Southern Regional Technical College in Tifton is getting help both inside and outside the classroom. New student Kierean Hayes recently began attending classes to obtain his GED. Both Karen Boss, instructional aid for adult education, and Hayes’ instructor, Audrey Bailey, have noticed him struggling with his wheelchair that was falling apart after 11 years of heavy use.  They became concerned this personal barrier could become an issue for him to achieve his life-long goal of obtaining his GED. Student Affairs Assistant Paula Moser also noticed Hayes was unable to maneuver himself easily as he passed by her desk each day on the way to class. Moser decided to donate a wheelchair to Hayes that now enables him to “wheel” the halls with ease. The SRTC staff said they are hopeful this is “one more tool that allows Kierean to achieve his goals and receive his GED soon.” At left is Paula Moser with student Kierean Hayes.

Source: Tifton Grapevine

Perdue Homecoming U.S. AG Secretary Meets Farmers, Local Residents at UGA Tifton

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue came home to rural Georgia on Friday, holding a “listening session” as part of his Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity, and speaking to the Georgia Farm Bureau. The former Georgia governor from Perry has been holding listening sessions around the country and said that he consistently hears four things at nearly every such meeting: A need for fair trade deals; Labor issues are a growing problem; Too many regulations from bureaucrats who don’t understand the issues; The need for widespread broadband in rural areas.

Source: Tifton Grapevine

Recent ABAC Grad Completes Internship in Congress

Brittany Sherrod, daughter of Jim and Bobbie Sherrod from Swainsboro, has just completed an internship in Washington, D.C., with U.S. Rep. Austin Scott, R-Tifton. Sherrod is a recent cum laude graduate of Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College with a degree in agriculture. “Our internship program provides college students or recent graduates an opportunity to learn more about the legislative process while gaining valuable work experience. It allows them to experience how our federal government works first-hand,” Scott said. “I am grateful for the opportunity to serve the constituents in Georgia’s Eighth District. Learning the inner-workings of our government’s legislative process has been an amazing experience, and I would absolutely encourage others to apply,” said Sherrod. Scott offers internships to college-aged students and to recent college graduates who have an interest in the legislative process. Individuals selected to be interns have the opportunity to gain a comprehensive view of the procedures of a congressional office and how the legislative process works. In some cases, college students may be able to obtain academic credit. Students interested in becoming a congressional intern may visit the web site: austinscott.house.gov/services/internships.

Source: Tifton Grapevine

New UGA Tifton Weather Station Offers Data

The University of Georgia Tifton campus now has its very own weather station. The UGA Tifton WeatherSTEM unit sends real-time, local weather information to the Internet, keeps a record of all data collected and provides a STEM-based (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) curriculum for instructors use in the classroom.  Anyone may access up-to-date weather developments through the UGA Tifton WeatherSTEM — and there are daily “cloud cam” time-lapse videos from the Tifton campus. Tifton is the latest UGA site with the new technology. UGA already had installed the weather stations in Athens at Sanford Stadium, at the State Botanical Garden and in two other locations on the main Athens campus.  The stations link to the web and provide tools such as text alerts for changing weather conditions and forecasts. Users also can replay time-lapse videos from attached webcams. The WeatherSTEM systems can be useful for research, teaching and for promoting emergency preparedness.

Mell Baptist Dedicates New Office

On Sunday, Aug. 13, 32 representatives from 11 churches dedicated the new office for the Mell Baptist Association at 817 N. Central Ave. in Tifton. The Mell Baptist Association is composed of 29 Southern Baptist churches and missions in the Tiftarea who voluntarily cooperate to promote missions and evangelism. Its purpose is to encourage and strengthen churches, and partner with churches to reach people with the Gospel. The dedication service included prayers by Steve Davis, pastor of Zion Hope Baptist Church; by Rodney Owens, pastor of First Baptist Church Ty Ty; remarks from Tom Hocutt, associational missionary; and a message by Steve Tucker, pastor of Liberty Baptist Church. The dedicated building was purchased in April and remodeled without debt.

Solar Eclipse Shortens School Day in Tift County

The solar eclipse on Monday will not only shorten the amount of daylight; it will also shorten the local school day. The eclipse is expected to be at its peak in Tifton at approximately 2:40 p.m. Monday, Aug. 21, and local schools will dismiss students early. Tift County public schools will be releasing early on Monday as, it says, a “safety precaution.” Each school will dismiss students three and a half hours earlier than the normal dismissal time. Tiftarea Academy will also dismiss early — at noon Monday — for the solar eclipse. In Tift public schools, for example, students normally released at 3:30 p.m. will be let out at noon. Students will receive lunch before they leave, the school system said. The Kids Advocacy Coalition after-school program will be closed. Student athletes are asked to talk with their coaches about practices on Monday. Practices can be held after 4 p.m., but it will be up to each coach whether or not to do that because transportation could be an issue. “After thoughtful deliberation and research concerning the upcoming solar eclipse, the decision has been made to release students early Monday, Aug. 21, 2017. As superintendent, I realize there are many items for consideration with the most important being student safety,” Tift Schools Superintendent Patrick Atwater said in a written statement. “As a school system, we have plans for natural disasters, fire drills, tornado drills, bomb threats, inclement weather, chemical threats, intruders on campus and multitudes of other protective plans for faculty, staff and students. However, we do not have a plan for a 100-year solar eclipse,” Atwater said. “After consulting with local ophthalmologists, reviewing research from NASA and other reliable sources, it has been determined for the safety of students, we will dismiss early. … We strongly encourage parents/guardians to educate their children of the dangers of improperly viewing the solar eclipse.” Tiftarea Academy noted that solar eclipses are never safe to watch without taking special precautions.  “The solar eclipse will occur throughout our normal dismissal time. In order to ensure the safety of our students and staff, we will follow our early dismissal schedule. This action is being taken as a result of safety concerns related to this event. We feel it will be safest for our students to be off of the buses and roads during the actual eclipse,” Tiftarea Academy said in a statement released. *We realize this is an educational moment, and each teacher will use this opportunity to teach their students about the event in the days leading up to it. However, the safety of our students is always our No. 1 priority.*  Tiftarea Academy will follow a normal half-day schedule with no lunch or break. Bus riders will be dismissed at noon, and car riders/drivers at 12:10 p.m.

Source: Tifton Grapevine

College Course Expand with Five New Bachelor’s Degrees

When fall semester classes begin Wednesday at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, a record number of students will be enrolled in bachelor’s degree programs; among the 13 bachelor’s degrees are five new programs approved Aug. 8 by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia. “This is the largest number of bachelor’s degrees we have offered in the history of ABAC,” says President David Bridges. “It’s also the most number of students enrolled in bachelor’s degree programs in the history of ABAC. I think it bodes well for the future of this institution.” The Tifton college says 1,973 students are enrolled in bachelor’s degree programs as compared to 1,828 students enrolled in those programs in 2016. At its most recent meeting, the Board of Regents approved ABAC bachelor’s degrees in agribusiness, agricultural communication, history and government, rural community development, and writing and communication. “We already have about 200 agribusiness majors. That program is off to a very strong start. I think the addition of the new degrees gives us a broad range of programs for students to choose from for their ABAC education,” Bridges says. “I have said it before, and I’ll say it again: The value of an ABAC education is absolutely priceless. The ABAC experience is life-changing for these students.” ABAC offered only associate degrees for 75 years until 2008 when 41 students enrolled in bachelor’s degree programs. Bridges says ABAC added nursing and agricultural education last year, “Adding ag education to our curriculum last year is going to have a phenomenal impact on our legacy in agriculture,” Bridges says. “The more ag education teachers we have out there, the more students we will get back. I believe ag teachers have more influence on the students they teach than maybe any other teacher in high school.” ABAC also offers bachelor’s degrees in agriculture, biology, business and economic development, environmental horticulture, natural resource management, and rural studies. Bridges expects the overall enrollment to be close to the 3,475 students enrolled during the 2016 fall term, which included students from 154 of Georgia’s 159 counties, 21 states and 26 countries. “We have increased our enrollment over the previous year in three of the past four fall semesters,” Bridges says. Freshmen began moving into ABAC Lakeside and ABAC Place on Saturday. Bridges said both housing complexes are almost full with 1,300 students living on campus. Combined with the students who are living in the community, the start of fall semester classes grows the Tifton population by several thousand people within a few days. Those students are a big reason why ABAC has a $330 million annual economic impact on Tift and surrounding counties, the college says.
Source: Tifton Grapevine

Blue Cross to Stay in Tiftarea But Leaving Behind 74 Georgia Counties

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia has agreed to offer health insurance coverage in the state insurance exchange in the 85 counties that will have no other health plans in 2018, including most counties in the Tiftarea. Tift, Turner, Ben Hill, Irwin, Cook and Berrien counties are among the 85 that the insurance company will continue to offer coverage. The local counties were at risk of having no health insurer available to provide individual coverage next year. The agreement was reached with state Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens after Blue Cross announced in June that it was planning to leave the entire individual insurance market in Georgia next year. Insurance exchanges were created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to help individuals, who do not have job-based or government health benefits, to buy their own coverage. “It’s a big deal,” said Jay Florence, deputy insurance commissioner. “If they had decided to pull out, people in those counties would have had to move, change jobs or go without coverage,” Georgia Health News reported. The insurance exchanges’ long-term future has been uncertain with the recent congressional attempts to repeal and replace the ACA, known as Obamacare. This year, Blue Cross has offered individual plans in all 159 Georgia counties but said, “A stable insurance market is dependent on products that create value for consumers through the broad spreading of risk and a known set of conditions upon which rates can be developed. … The continued uncertainty makes it difficult for us to offer individual health plans statewide.” President Trump has threatened to eliminate the subsidies that go to insurers in the exchanges to help customers, with modest incomes, to obtain health insurance. A lack of subsidy funding, Blue Cross said, “introduces a level of volatility which compromises the ability to set rates responsibly.” More than 490,000 Georgians signed up for exchange coverage this year, federal officials reported.

Source: Tifton Grapevine

“Monkeying Around” at Tifton City Hall Fun Channel’s Bobo Finds New Home

Some folks may refer to local politics as a circus; well, Tifton City Hall now has its own resident monkey. But it’s not just any monkey — “Bobo,” the famous fixture that sat on Second Street for more than 15 years, has a new home on the second floor of City Hall. Bobo is the 275-pound concrete monkey that was a sort of mascot for Hayward Fowler’s “Fun Channel” local-access cable TV station, now known as “Your Local Tifton Channel.”  For many years, Bobo watched traffic across the street from Fowler’s office. Residents and visitors alike took their photos with Bobo through the years. Some left candy and other items in Bobo’s arms. “There was a rumor that if you rubbed his head six times and turned around, and if you were trying to get pregnant, you would get pregnant,” Fowler said. “Now, that’s just a rumor.” Bobo received widespread fame when he was kidnapped about a dozen years ago. The Tifton Gazette ran several articles about Bobo’s disappearance. “A couple of college kids took him to Florida to the beach,” Fowler said. “They sent me pictures.” Fowler ultimately got a tip about Bobo’s whereabouts on Ferry Lake Road. He confronted the students and made them return the monkey to his rightful spot. He was then secured with Liquid Nails. Bobo also had a “girlfriend” for awhile. “Miranda,” a similar concrete monkey, sat next next to Bobo until a motorist backed into her, damaging her beyond repair.  Fowler said the time came for Bobo to find a new home. There was concern that someone would trip over him, or that he would be stolen again. The city recently pulled him loose to do some sidewalk work, and Fowler thought about bringing him home but his wife Glenda wasn’t keen on that idea. Instead, City Manager Pete Pyrzenski told Fowler the city would be glad to give Bobo a new home, from Second Street to the second floor of City Hall. “We are trying to preserve some of the fun relics in Tifton, and they will be secure inside City Hall for all to see,” Pyrzenski told the Tifton Grapevine. “Bobo will be safe on the second floor, hopefully never to disappear again, and it will always remind a few of Downtown Tifton.” “I have let the city have my monkey,” Fowler announced in a Facebook video. “He’s given us a lot of pleasure in Tifton. We have mixed feelings about moving him off of Second Street, but I think it’s going to be all right. He looks pretty good in his new spot.” Fowler noted that the city has spruced up Bobo, and he looks better than ever. “He looks good; I’m very proud of him,” Fowler said. “I used to think that I would be in City Hall, but Bobo beat me to it. I guess he made a monkey out of me,” Fowler said, chuckling. “If he made people smile, then it did what it’s supposed to.”
Source: Tifton Grapevine

SRTC Auto Tech Program Receives Highest Accreditation

Southern Regional Technical College’s (SRTC) automotive technology program was recently awarded the highest possible industry accreditation by the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF). “Achieving master level accreditation solidifies our program’s standing among the top-rated schools in the nation for automotive technology. We understand that students have a choice of where they receive their education, and we want to make that choice easier by offering superior instruction and relevant work experience,” said Mason Miller, SRTC automotive technology program chairman. Since 1983, NATEF, the educational equivalent to ASE (a master mechanic certifying agency), has accredited qualified automotive service programs in schools across the country. “Institutional and program accreditations are important as they indicate quality and excellence within an institution and its academic programs. We are proud to inform the public and the business and industry community that our automotive technology program has once again achieved NATEF accreditation and that our students are graduating from a highly regarded, accredited and industry-recognized program of study,” said Dr. Craig Wentworth, SRTC president. SRTC offers more than 148 degree, diploma and certificate programs and 27 general education courses that transfer to the University System of Georgia institutions and 19 private colleges and universities in Georgia. SRTC has sites in Ashburn, Cairo, Camilla, Moultrie, Thomasville, Tifton and Sylvester. Fall semester begins Aug. 22.
Source: Tifton Grapevine