Positive Parenting Tips: Infants

During the first year of life, babies learn to focus their vision, reach out, explore, and learn about the things that are around them. Cognitive development means the learning process of memory, language, thinking, and reasoning. Learning language is more than just making sounds or saying “ma-ma” and “da-da”. Listening, understanding, and knowing the names of people and things are all a part of language development. During this stage, babies also are developing bonds of love and trust with their parents and others as part of social and emotional development. The way you cuddle, hold, and play with your baby will set the stage for how he will interact with you and others. Following are some things you, as a parent, can do to help your baby during this time: Talk to your baby. She will find your voice calming. Answer when your baby makes sounds by repeating the sounds and adding words. This will help him learn to use language. Read to your baby. This will help her develop and understand language and sounds. Sing to your baby and play music. This will help your baby develop a love for music and will help his brain development. Praise your baby and give her lots of loving attention. Spend time cuddling and holding your baby. This will help him feel cared for and secure. Play with your baby when she’s alert and relaxed. Watch your baby closely for signs of being tired or fussy so that she can take a break from playing. Distract your baby with toys and move him to safe areas when he starts moving and touching things that he shouldn’t touch. Take care of yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally. It is easier to enjoy your new baby and be a positive, loving parent when you are feeling good yourself. Parenting can be hard but rewarding work! For more information on child development, visit www.cdc.gov.

Protecting Their Eye Sight

Annual Eye Exams is the best way to make sure your child’s eyes are allowing them to do their best in school. August has arrived and that means that many parents are preparing their children for another school year. August has been declared Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month by Prevent Blindness America. When 80% of learning occurs through the eyes, healthy vision is essential to a child’s success in the classroom. In addition to buying school supplies and new clothes, don’t forget to add scheduling a comprehensive eye exam as part of your back to school to-do list. Having a child’s vision tested by an eye-care professional can lead to greater success in the classroom because much of a child’s learning occurs visually. Studies have shown that some students where learning disabilities have been diagnosed actually have undiagnosed vision problems instead. Although an eye exam is the ideal way for parents to know whether their children have vision problems, there are some signs and behaviors parents can watch for that may indicate a child is struggling with his or her vision. Do you know what your child’s eyes look like? Eyes don’t line up, one eye may appear to cross or look inwards or outwards, Eyes are red, crusty or swollen, Eyes seem to be red or watery and Eye rubbing can be a sign that your child is having eye problems. How your child acts matter as well. Does your child rub their eyes frequently? Close or cover an eye? Thrust head forward, hold in an unusual position or tilt their head especially when reading or looking at small objects far away? Has any trouble or delays in reading, trouble doing close work, or pulls objects in very close to see? Avoids up close work? Blinks more than usual? Tends to squint or frown? Get headaches? Feel sick or nauseous? Listening to your child is very important too. Does your child ever make comments like My eyes are blurry?, My eyes feel scratchy? My eyes are burning? I can’t see very well? Things look double? If you notice these symptoms, make sure you schedule an appointment with an eye care professional. Amblyopia, strabismus, color blindness and refractive errors are the most common conditions that affect children’s vision. Eye safety is also another important part of your child’s eye health. Each year thousands of kids sustain some form of eye injury. Taking proper precautions such as wearing protective eyewear can prevent about 90% of those injuries. From sports to toys and fireworks, eye injuries can happen any time anywhere. You can help to safeguard your child’s vision by purchasing age-appropriate toys and encouraging them to wear protective eyewear during sports and other recreational activities. Of course accidents do happen, so if your child does experience an eye injury, make sure they do not rub or touch their eye and seek medical attention from a trusted eye care professional as soon as possible.

Clear the Shelters Adoption Event Scheduled for August 19th

It’s time again to Clear the Shelters! This year’s nationwide Clear the Shelters adoption event will be held August 19th. People across South Georgia will be able to adopt pets with little or no fees. The nationwide day of action last year literally emptied dozens of animal shelters across the country and inspired local communities to take action and open their homes to animals in need. For more information about the national pet adoption drive, visit www.ClearTheShelters.com. You can also follow the effort on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram by using the hashtag #ClearTheShelters. Additionally, Clear the Shelters themed Snapchat filters will be activated on August 19th for pet adopters and supporters to enjoy as they document their day. Best Friends Humane Society will be participating. Their contact information is 787 Ephesus Church Road Poulan, GA 31781 Phone: 229-777-7774 Hours: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Website: https://www.bfhsworth.com/. Let’s spread the word and help our furry friends at BFHS find their furever home. Please check your current location for participating shelters.

Source: WALB & The Martin News

Downtown Sylvester’s Farmers Market Under New Direction

Looking for something yummy or maybe unique? The Downtown Sylvester Farmers Market has a variety of items to offer you every Saturday. The Market is open on Saturday’s from 8am-1pm. Each week they have something different and wonderful offered to you from our farmers and vendors The market is now under the direction of Lexie West. Lexie is excited about this new endeavor and hopes to rebuild the Downtown Sylvester Farmers Market to be even bigger and better than it has been in the past. “I want to help grow the Farmers Market again” stated Lexie “I want it to be a place where people want to come and shop.” Lexie has many ideas of events that she would like to get started over a period of time and hopes to get one going in the next few months. Please be sure to like the Downtown Sylvester Farmers Market page on Facebook to keep in touch with all upcoming events and to see great pictures like these. In order for any event to be successful in any town, the community support is a must so please be sure to support Lexie and her efforts to rebuild our great farmer’s market. She is looking to add vendors as well so if you are interested, please give Lexie a call at 229-776-5717.

Worth County Schools News

Worth County Schools are back in full swing. Students, Teachers and Faculty have started the 2017-2018 school year off to a GREAT start! Be sure to like each school’s Facebook page and the Worth County School’s Facebook Page. There is always news and pictures to see.

WCPS Media Center is excited for a new school year. Tiffanie McClung, the WCPS Media Specialist and Courtney Edwards are ready to help students start checking out books. Kindergarten and 1st grade will be able to checkout one book per visit while 2nd grade will be able to check out two books per visit. Pre-K students will be able to check out a book to keep in their classroom until the teacher feels that they are ready to start carrying books home. The Media Center staff asks that you encourage your child to take care of the book that they have checked out. The book fair is coming up too which students get very excited about. The book fair is August 25th through September 1st. Other news from WCPS is from the music and art departments. The Music Department will continue to participate in several programs to raise money for music materials. Currently they are participating in the Box Tops for Education, Tyson A+ and Labels for Education. All you have to do is clip those labels and turn them into the school. Mrs. Welch in the Music Department will greatly appreciate it. And last but definitely not least, let’s not forget about the Art Department. They use the “My Coke Rewards for Schools” to help raise monies for the art department. They are collecting the coke bottle caps and cardboard coke can packages.
Exciting news at WCES that all the students enjoy. The WCES Ram Buck Store opened for business! The Ram Buck Store is where students can spend their Ram Bucks on school spirit items, school supplies, candy, etc. Students can save their Ram Bucks and even purchase a new bicycle! Students can also purchase the incentives that are listed in their agendas. This past Saturday, Principal at WCES, Dr. Steven Rouse ran his first 5K to help support the Ram Color Run. He finished first in his age group. Way to go Dr. Rouse!

WCMS is getting busy with sports. Coach Holton would like to let parents know that if your child is playing football, please remember that practice is completed around 6:15 PM. Please be ready to pick up your child at that time. The season outlook for the Worth County Middle School Rams looks bright. The Rams are solid on both sides of the ball and look forward to leaving their mark on the Deep South Conference this year. On offense quarterback Chip Cooper will call the signals from behind a huge offense line handing the ball off regularly to running backs, Keonis Williams and NanTravious Toomer. The defense will be anchored by defensive tackle Nehemiah McCloud and linebacker Christopher McGahee supported by a host of up and coming Rams. The Rams kick of their season with a Jamboree at Milt Miller Stadium on August 16, at 5:00 please come out and support them. The Lady Rams Softball held their season opener on Thursday. The team’s home opener will be Monday, August 21th against Thomasville with a start time of 4:00 p.m. The Worth County softball team and coaches are eager to hit the diamond.  As head coach, Mitch Mitchell enters his 12th season at the helm of the Worth County softball program; he looks to continue to take the Lady Rams to new heights.  The middle school team welcomes 19 players to this year’s softball team, which includes six 6th graders, seven 7th graders, and six 8th graders.  Coach Mitchell’s initial thoughts about this year’s team, “The players and especially the eighth graders are excited about what this team can accomplish this season.  Several girls have worked very hard during the off season on their fundamentals and that will pay off during the season for us.”  The Lady Rams are coming off of a 12-11 record last season with a fourth place finish in the Deep South Conference regular season. Five starters moved up from last year’s team leaving the coaching staff with many holes to fill. Not only are the sports getting busy at WCMS but so are the classrooms. Students in Mrs. Rachels Gifted Physical Science class built molecules using pipe cleaners and beads. They are learning about the principles of matter and energy.

 WCHS has kicked off a great year as well and very busy in sports and the classroom too. WCHS wants to congratulate Jessica Lane on winning the 2017 Georgia High School Reader of the Year Award!  Jessica is a junior at WCHS and has been invited to attend the Superintendent’s Recognition Ceremony on Wednesday, September 6tth at the GaDOE in Atlanta.  This ceremony will honor students who have achieved excellence in education. WCHS is so proud of Jessica and this huge accomplishment! The WCHS Band is proud to announce they recently had 36 WCHS Band parents and school system volunteers attend Mandated Reporter training led by Ms. Jaki Johnson, WCMS Parent Involvement Coordinator. It takes numerous volunteers in the school system to help put on events, work sporting events and so much more. Thank you to all school and community volunteers. 
 Source: WCSD Web & Facebook Pages & The Martin News

Total Solar Eclipse August 21, 2017 : Safety First For Our Students

The Earth, the sun, and the moon all orbit in space in predictable paths.  On August 21, 2017, there will be a celestial alignment of the three resulting in a solar eclipse.  The moon will move between the sun and the Earth blocking the light of the sun.  Thus, the moon will cast a shadow on the Earth. Some lucky areas of Georgia will experience a total solar eclipse while most of us will experience a partial eclipse. This is a wonderful educational moment for all of us no matter where we live, but it can also be dangerous if one looks directly at the sun.  Student Safety: Most of us know we should not look directly at the sun, but during an eclipse, our curiosity and wonder can overtake our common sense.  We just want to look up!  Below is critically important information for our students and community about how to safely view an eclipse.  This event will be happening around school dismissal time.  Student Safety is Critical: Our schools are being proactive in sharing this information with students and reinforcing safety measures as we approach the eclipse date.  After school sports practice times are also being altered on this date.  The #1 rule for observing a solar eclipse, or for looking directly at the Sun at any other time, is safety first. As noted elsewhere on this site, with one exception, it is never safe to look directly at the Sun without a special-purpose safe solar filter. That exception is during totality, when the Moon completely blocks the dazzlingly bright face of the Sun. On August 21, 2017, this will happen only within the roughly 70-mile-wide path of the Moon’s dark inner shadow from Oregon to South Carolina — and only for a minute or two. Before and after totality, and at all times outside the path of totality, you must use a special-purpose safe solar filter when looking directly at the Sun. “Special-purpose” means designed exclusively for looking directly at the everyday Sun. Filters for direct viewing of the Sun are typically sold in the form of wearable “eclipse glasses” or “eclipse shades” or as solar viewing cards that you hold in your hand. What makes them special is that they reduce sunlight to safe levels so that you don’t injure your eyes. Our daytime star shines about a half million times brighter than the full Moon in visible light and emits potentially harmful ultraviolet (UV) and infrared (IR) radiation too. Looking directly at the Sun through anything that isn’t specially made to deal with all that visible light and invisible radiation is a recipe for serious eye injury, perhaps even blindness. Note that special-purpose solar filters are many thousands of times darker than ordinary sunglasses! What to Look For: How do you know if your eclipse glasses or handheld solar viewers are truly safe? You need to know that they meet the ISO 12312-2 (sometimes written as ISO 12312-2:2015) international safety standard. Filters that are ISO 12312-2 compliant not only reduce visible sunlight to safe and comfortable levels but also block solar UV and IR radiation. Unfortunately, you can’t check whether a filter meets the ISO standard yourself — doing so requires a specialized and expensive piece of laboratory equipment called a spectrophotometer that shines intense UV, visible, and IR light through the filter and measures how much gets through at each wavelength. Solar filter manufacturers send their products to specialized labs that are accredited to perform the tests necessary to verify compliance with the ISO 12312-2 safety specifications. Once they have the paperwork that documents their products as ISO-compliant, they can legitimately use the ISO logo on their products and packaging. Even more unfortunately, unscrupulous vendors can grab the ISO logo off the internet and put it on their products and packaging even if their eclipse glasses or viewers haven’t been properly tested. This means that just seeing the ISO logo or a label claiming ISO 12312-2 certification isn’t good enough. You need to know that the product comes from a reputable manufacturer or one of their authorized dealers. The AAS Solar Eclipse Task Force has been working diligently to compile a list of such vendors, now posted on our Reputable Vendors of Solar Filters & Viewers page. We’ve checked manufacturers’ ISO paperwork to make sure it’s complete and that it comes from a recognized, accredited testing facility, and we’ve personally examined manufacturers’ products. We’ve asked manufacturers to identify their authorized resellers, and we’ve asked dealers to identify the source of the products they’re selling. Only when everything checks out do we add a vendor to our listing. If we don’t list a supplier, that doesn’t mean their products are unsafe — only that we have no knowledge of them or that we haven’t convinced ourselves they are safe. How can you tell if your solar viewer is not safe? You shouldn’t be able to see anything through a safe solar filter except the Sun itself or something comparably bright, such as the Sun reflected in a mirror, a sunglint off shiny metal, the hot filament of an unfrosted incandescent light bulb, a bright halogen light bulb, a bright-white LED flashlight (including the one on your smartphone), or an arc-welder’s torch. All such sources should appear quite dim through a solar viewer. If you can see lights of more ordinary brightness through your eclipse glasses or handheld viewer, and you’re not sure the product came from a reputable vendor, it’s no good. Safe solar filters produce a view of the Sun that is comfortably bright (like the full Moon), in focus, and surrounded by dark sky. If you glance at the Sun through your solar filter and find it uncomfortably bright, out of focus, and/or surrounded by a bright haze, it’s no good. You should contact the seller and demand a refund or credit for return of the product, then obtain a replacement from one of the sources listed on our reputable-vendors page. What if you received eclipse glasses or a handheld solar viewer from a relative, friend, neighbor, or acquaintance? If that person is an amateur or professional astronomer — and astronomers have been handing out eclipse viewers like Halloween candy lately — they’re almost certainly ISO-compliant, because astronomers get their solar filters from sources they know and trust (in other words, from the ones listed on our reputable-vendors page). Ditto for professional astronomical organizations (including college and university physics and astronomy departments) and amateur-astronomy clubs. If you bought or were given eclipse viewers at a science museum or planetarium, or at an astronomy trade show, again you’re almost certainly in possession of ISO-compliant filters. As long as you can trace your filters to a reputable vendor or other reliable source, and as long as they have the ISO logo and a statement attesting to their ISO 12312-2 compliance, you should have nothing to worry about. What you absolutely should not do is search for eclipse glasses on the internet and buy whatever pops up in the ads or search results. Check our list of reputable vendors and buy from one of them. In addition to making sure your eclipse shades or handheld viewers come from a reputable source, make sure they’re in good condition: If the filters are torn, scratched, or punctured, discard them. If the filters are coming loose from their cardboard or plastic frames, discard them. Note: If your eclipse glasses or viewers are compliant with the ISO 12312-2 safety standard adopted in 2015, you may look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed Sun through them for as long as you wish. Furthermore, if the filters aren’t scratched, punctured, or torn, you may reuse them indefinitely. Some glasses/viewers — even new ones — are printed with warnings stating that you shouldn’t look through them for more than 3 minutes at a time and that you should discard them if they are more than 3 years old. Such warnings do not apply to eclipse viewers certified to meet the ISO 12312-2:2015 standard and may be ignored. What to Avoid: Ordinary sunglasses (or multiple pairs of sunglasses), neutral density or polarizing filters (such as those made for camera lenses), smoked glass, photographic or X-ray film (unexposed, exposed, or developed), “space blankets,” potato-chip bags, DVDs, and any other materials you may have heard about for solar viewing are not safe. In some cases these homemade filters may seem like they dim the Sun to a comfortable level, but that doesn’t mean they do so across the whole electromagnetic spectrum. While you’re enjoying a “comfortable” view of the “dim” Sun, solar infrared radiation could be cooking your retinas. And you wouldn’t know till later, because your retinas don’t have pain receptors. Only after the eclipse, when you notice blind spots or other vision problems, would you realize you’d made a catastrophic mistake. What about welding filters? The only ones that are safe for direct viewing of the Sun with your eyes are those of Shade 12 or higher. These are much darker than the filters used for most kinds of welding. If you have an old welder’s helmet around the house and are thinking of using it to view the Sun, make sure you know the filter’s shade number. If it’s less than 12 (and it probably is), don’t even think about using it to look at the Sun. Many people find the Sun too bright even in a Shade 12 filter, and some find the Sun too dim in a Shade 14 filter — but Shade 13 filters are uncommon and can be hard to find. Our Reputable Vendors of Solar Filters & Viewers page doesn’t list any suppliers of welder’s filters, only suppliers of special-purpose filters made for viewing the Sun.

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

~ Dates to Remember ~


15th ~ Books & Bubbles at The Margaret Jones Public Library
16th ~ Kiwanis Club Meeting in Sylvester
16th ~ Weekly Bible Lesson at FBC Sylvester
17th ~ Picture Day at WCMS
18th ~ Worth County Rams Football
19th ~ Sylvester Downtown Farmer’s Market
21st ~ Solar Eclipse
22nd ~ Books & Bubbles at The Margaret Jones Public Library
22nd ~ Pre-K Parent Orientation and Open House at WCPS
22nd ~ 1st Annual Sylvester – Worth County Chamber of Commerce Mix N Mingle
22nd ~ Senior Make up Picture Day at WCHS
23rd ~ Picture Day at WCHS
23rd ~ Kiwanis Club Meeting in Sylvester
23rd ~ Weekly Bible Lesson at FBC Sylvester
25th ~ Worth County Rams Football
25th ~ Wild West Book Fair at WCPS
26th ~ Sylvester Downtown Farmer’s Market
26th ~ Peanut Pageant
26th ~ Mary Alice Shipp CDC Community Awards Banquet
27th ~ Ugandan Thunder Live at Unity Baptist Church
28th ~ Wild West Book Fair at WCPS
29th ~ Wild West Book Fair at WCPS
29th ~ Books & Bubbles at The Margaret Jones Public Library
30th ~ Weekly Bible Lesson at FBC Sylvester
30th ~ Kiwanis Club Meeting in Sylvester
30th ~ Wild West Book Fair at WCPS
30th ~ Worth County Schools Progress Reports
31st ~ Title I Annual Parent Meeting at WCPS 5:15pm
31st ~ PTO Kick-off Meeting and Open House at WCPS 6pm
31st ~ Wild West Book Fair at WCPS
31st ~ Eggs & Issues Political Forum with the Sylvester – Worth County Chamber of Commerce
31st ~ Worth County Rams JV Football

Do you have an event that needs announced?
Please email your questions or event listings to info@themartinnews.com
and we will get them listed on the calendar.
Thank you for your support to The Martin News.

Ribbon Cutting at Angel’s Photography

There was a good turn out for the Ribbon Cutting held on Friday, August 11, 2017, at Angel’s Photography.  On behalf of the Sylvester-Worth County Chamber and Board of Directors, we would like to thank you for making an investment in Sylvester-Worth County.  Ms. Sheryl Williams would like you to contact her if you are looking to have photos made. Please give them a call at 229-395-5214. Angel’s Photography is located at 09 West Kelly St. Sylvester, GA 31791. You can email any of your questions to photography_angels@yahoo.com. Thank you for all the support to Angel’s Photography.

Source: Sylvester – Worth County Chamber of Commerce & The Martin News