In Valdosta This Week

Staff Report

Friday, July 31st, 2020

12th Annual Valdosta People’s Choice Photo Contest Winners Announced at July 20 Awards Reception

Valdosta Mayor Scott Matheson and Coleman Talley representative Russ Henry announced the winners of the 12th Annual Valdosta People’s Choice Photo Contest at an Awards Reception at the Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts, on Monday, July 20.

For the past month, citizens have voted for their favorite contest photos, which are currently on display in the Art Center’s Tillman Gallery.

This year’s winners are:

First Place: Nicholai Courtenay, Heavenly Glow

Second Place: Rena Taylor, Where Did He Go?

Third Place: Kalyn Wilson, Facing Our Future Together

Honorable Mentions:

Tawanna Southall, Lace Face

Marvin Smith, Redhead

Michael Chapman, Splash of Color

Sara Halbert, Sunset Through the Pines

Nicholai Courtenay, Nature’s Beauty

Youth Winner: Brooke Felkel, Observant Owl

Youth Honorable Mention:

Stella Cofield, South Georgia Snow

A $300 cash prize was awarded for first place, $200 cash prize for second place, and a $100 cash prize for third place from among the adult-submitted entries. Five honorable mentions were also selected.

The public also voted on the first-place youth photo (ages 16 and under) and one honorable mention. The youth first-place winner received a $100 cash award.

The photographs will remain on display in the Tillman Gallery through Wednesday, July 29, at which time they will become part of a traveling display that can be viewed from August until December 2020 in various communities. Photo contest participants may pick up their works from the Turner Center on Thursday, July 30 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. or from the Public Information Office at City Hall beginning Friday, July 31, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The partnership between the City of Valdosta and the Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts, co-organizers of the Photo Contest, recognizes the importance of the arts as a quality of life, civic engagement and economic development tool in the community.

For more information, call the Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts at (229) 247-2787 or the City’s Public Information Office at (229) 259-3548.



Valdosta Mayor Scott James Matheson launched a ‘Mask Up Valdosta’ campaign on Thursday encouraging Valdosta residents to wear a face covering in public as a safeguard to slow the spread of COVID-19. This voluntary mask campaign is done in full support of Governor Kemp’s "Wear a Mask" Flyaround Tour of Georgia held earlier this month.

“We want to keep our economy open and ensure our healthcare system has the capacity to treat all patients who need medical care,” said Mayor Matheson. “My mask protects you and your mask protects me. Together, we all can stop the spread of COVID – 19.”

Health experts recommend that people wear cloth face coverings in public settings and when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.

To practice social or physical distancing:
• Stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from other people
• Do not gather in groups
• Stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings

Currently, surgical masks and N95 respirators are critical supplies that should be reserved for healthcare workers and other first responders. Face coverings can be more than just masks. Scarfs, bandanas, etc. will also serve the purpose. Wearing a cloth face covering limits the spread of germs. Residents should wash their cloth face coverings every day.

Residents are encouraged to take photos wearing their face covering and share via social media using the hashtag #MaskUpValdosta.

“We all have a responsibility to slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep our communities safe. Let’s all do our part to protect one another!” said Matheson.



The Valdosta Police Department is seeking applicants for its 32nd Session of the Citizen’s Police Academy (CPA) which will be held each Thursday night from September 10, 2020 to November 5, 2020.

The goal of this nine week program is to give citizens a better understanding of the internal workings of a modern day law enforcement agency and at the same time, promote a team concept between the Valdosta Police Department and the citizens we serve. During the academy, students are exposed to a variety of topics to give students a more in-depth understanding of law enforcement. Students will be given a tour of the Valdosta-Lowndes Regional Crime Lab, experience shooting simulation training, and the opportunity to ride along with patrol officers, as well as an introduction to the function and mission of each bureau within the department. 

There are no fees to attend and all materials needed are furnished free of charge. The students will meet each Thursday evening at 6:30 p.m. to around 9 p.m. during the nine (9) week class and there will be a graduation ceremony at the end of the academy. 

Citizens who are interested need to contact Captain Kari Williams at (229) 293-3099 or for an application. The class is limited in size and applicants are selected on a first come basis. The CPA is given twice a year, once in the spring and again in the fall. Those applicants not selected for this session may be selected to attend the CPA in Spring 2021.