Toy Safety: A Must at Christmas Time

The holidays are here and your children may already be receiving gifts from friends and family. While most toys may seem harmless, every year many children are injured by their favorite toys. It is very important to inspect your child’s toys and adhere to all age suggestions listed on the packaging. Not all toys are right for all children. The following tips can help ensure you have a safe holiday season.
Read the label. Warning labels give important information about how to use a toy and what ages the toy is safe for. Make sure your child knows how to use the toy the right way.

2. Make sure all toys and parts are larger than your child’s mouth to prevent choking.

3. Avoid toys that shoot objects into the air. They can cause serious eye injuries or choking.

4. For younger children, avoid play sets with small magnets and make sure batteries are secured within the toy. If magnets or batteries are ingested, serious injuries and/or death can occur.

5. Look for stuffed toys that are well made. Make sure all the parts are on tight and seams and edges are secure. It should also be machine washable. Take off any loose ribbons or strings to avoid strangulation. Avoid toys that have small bean-like pellets or stuffing that can cause choking or suffocation if swallowed.

6. Inspect toys for sturdiness. Your child’s toys should be durable, with no sharp edges or points. The toys should also withstand impact.  Dispose of plastic wrapping material immediately on toys as they may have sharp edges.

7. Inspect all toys before purchasing.  Monitor toys that your child has received as gifts to make sure they are appropriate for your child’s age and developmental level.

8. Avoid toys with toxic materials that could cause poisoning. Make sure the label says “nontoxic.”

9. Avoid hobby kits and chemistry sets for any child younger than 12 years. They can cause fires or explosions and may contain dangerous chemicals. Make sure your older child knows how to safely handle these kinds of toys.

10. Be careful when buying crib toys. Strings or wires that hang in a crib should be kept short to avoid strangulation. Crib toys should be removed as soon as your child can push up on his hands and knees.

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The Light Shines In His Cards

I know I have said all the great things I love about Christmas. Let me tell you another favorite of mine. I LOVE Christmas cards! I love, love them so much. Reading Christmas cards from everyone is the neatest thing. They are made with all designs and precious words. I received one recently that was a Thomas Kinkade card. It was very beautiful. I love his art. I am at loss for words over his paintings. According to his biography, in the very beginning of his artistic career, Thomas Kinkade put his entire life savings into the printing of his first lithograph. Though at the time he was already an acclaimed illustrator, Thom found that he was inspired not by fame and fortune, but by the simple act of painting straight from the heart, putting on canvas the natural wonders and images that moved him most. It was this dedication and singular-minded focus on the ultimate goal of Sharing the Light™ that made Thomas Kinkade, a simple boy with a brush from the small country town of Placerville, California the most-collected living artist of his time. Throughout his life Thomas Kinkade shared his joy and used his paints in support of hospitals, schools, and humanitarian relief. Though the recipient of countless awards and honors, it was Thom’s profound sense of purpose that his art was not just an accessory, but also a ministry, that continues on as his legacy. From custom images that were sold for The Salvation Army, Hurricane Katrina relief, Rotary International, to donations that now grace the halls of St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, the White House, The Vatican, and Britain’s Tate Museum, Thom raised hundreds of thousands of dollars over his lifetime for charity. The artist was also a devout and loving family man. It was this devotion for his family that inspired him to add symbols of his love to his artwork. Numerous paintings contain hidden “N’s” representing Thom’s lovely wife Nanette and many other paintings include the numbers 5282 as tribute to their wedding date May 2, 1982. Thom’s four daughters were also included in his artistic process- after the birth of each of his daughters, Thom painted adoring images in each of their namesake; Evening at Merritt’s Cottage, Chandler’s Cottage, Winsor Manor and Everett’s Cottage. Thomas Kinkade, the Painter of Light™, emphasized simple pleasures and inspirational messages through his art – and the branded products created from that art. From textiles, to collectibles, to music and books, Thom gave credit to a higher power for both the ability and the inspiration to create his paintings. His goal as an artist, who was Christian, was to touch people of all faiths, to bring peace and joy into their lives through the images he had created. Thom’s dearest wish had always been that his artwork would be a messenger of hope and inspiration to others – a message to slow down, appreciate the little details in life, and to look for beauty in the world around us. As millions of collectors around the world sit back and enjoy his artwork in their homes, there is no doubt that Thomas Kinkade had indeed achieved his goal of Sharing the Light™. I hope everyone enjoys this Christmas Season and thank you to everyone that I have received cards from. I absolutely love them all!

Mason Jars Full of Goodies

I say this is my favorite time of the year and I guess it really is. I love all times of the year and can always find fun things to do but it seems at this time of the year there is so many neat crafts and fun gift gestures to fix for friends and family. Look at these adorable Mason jars full of goodies. You are able to fix goodies or if you are like me just have somebody make them for you and then put them in the jars and decorate the jars. It’s hard for me to say which one my favorite of these are but I am leaning more toward the reindeer. It is ADORABLE. You can fill them with Chocolate Milk Balls. For all the others, just pick something in the color theme, decorate the jar, fill it up and share with friends! Happy Holidays!

Helping Georgia Lions Lighthouse Foundation by Donating Glasses

The Georgia Lions Lighthouse Foundation receives donations of used prescription eyeglasses, over the counter readers and sunglasses. Lighthouse volunteers wash, read, label and pack the donated glasses to get them ready to go overseas. Church groups, medical missions and other volunteer groups contact the Lighthouse throughout the year to get glasses for their relief and mission trips. The Lighthouse provides over 100,000 pairs of glasses for oversees use every year. The following are stories of the people the Lighthouse Foundation helps through eyeglass recycling. The people of Prislop, Romania have limited access to healthcare and no vision care. In rural Romania, they are far from most amenities that we take for granted here in the US. The best they can do is to rely on the goodwill of others – people to donate glasses here in the US and mission/relief trips to deliver the glasses. Most of the people trying on glasses would hold a book and try to read it. If the glasses didn’t help, they would put on another pair. This process was repeated over and over again by each person until everyone found a pair that helped them to see clearly. But one woman wasn’t holding a book; she was holding a syringe and pointing it at her arm. She was a diabetic and was testing to see which glasses would help her see the correct medication amount and the veins to inject herself. Without these glasses she may have had other medical difficulties because she was unable to see her syringe. Lion Cecil Davis took a trip to Jinja, Uganda with a small group of people from the Faithful Servants Missionary Team in Carrolton, GA. He had never been on a mission trip before and learned a lot about the continent of Africa and the country of Uganda. Before the trip he had taken a class on how to use a FOCOMETER®, a device that measures nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. The group had an interpreter to help when screening the patients and they were able to help 425 people in a ten day period! Since his trip, Cecil has received additional training on how to use the device and is planning to take another trip to South Africa. Recently a church group, led by a member of a local Lions Club from North Georgia, took 500 pairs of donated glasses to Honduras. Many of the women there sew for a living and without glasses they are unable to work. The women were thrilled, after trying on glasses, to be able to see to thread a needle. That meant they could work again! They would be able to earn a living and help to provide for themselves and their families. Collecting glasses is an easy thing we can do to help. Please help by donating glasses to The Martin News as my son collects glasses to give the Georgia Lions Lighthouse Foundation to help others. You can email me and I will be glad to get the glasses. My email is Thank you to everyone for your help!

Helping Our Furry Friends This Holiday Season

While you are out and about shopping this holiday season, be sure to remember our furry friends at Best Friends Humane Society. There are boxes set up at Wal-Mart and Snipes Piggly Wiggly for you to be able to drop off much needed supplies. Also FBLA and WCHS presents Cause for Paws. They are asking to please help them to help our local animal shelter by donating any of the following items and attend the special assembly on December 19th. The items they are requesting is paper towels, puppy can food, Purina Kitty Chow, Bleach, cleaning products, dish soap and laundry detergent. WCHS will host a fun assembly on December 19th and students are asked to please bring one of the above items to your first period teacher to be donated to BFHS. The mission of the Best Friends Humane Society in Worth County is ‘Striving to eliminate neglect, abuse and cruelty for all companion animals in Worth County through adoption, advocacy, education and action.’ In addition, the Best Friends Humane Society seeks to incorporate the Best Practices, wherever possible, as noted in the “Guidelines for Standards of Animal Care in Animal Shelters” by the Association of Shelter Veterinarians, 2010

Winners of Georgia Peanut Calendar Photo Contest Announced

The Georgia Peanut Commission hosted a photo contest June 7-Oct. 1, 2017, to fill the pages of the 2018 Georgia Peanut Calendar, “Photos from the Field.” Peanut farmers from across Georgia were encouraged to submit their best high-resolution photo of peanut production on their farm for a chance to feature the photo in the 2018 calendar. Nearly 100 entries were submitted from across the peanut belt and only 12 were selected as a monthly feature. Photos were selected based on quality, originality and diversity in the field. Since many outstanding photos were submitted, but only 12 could be used as monthly features, honorable mentions were also selected. Winners and honorable mentions are as follows:

January: Ashley Moore, Crisp County
February: Luke Brown, Wilcox County
March: Aaron Moore, Crisp County
April: Casey Cox, Mitchell County
May: Chandler Starling, Emanuel County
June: Judson Clark, Lee County
July: Lauren Turner, Decatur County
August: Jay Blanton, Brooks County
September: Jonathan Smith, Coffee County
October: Linda Powell, Worth County
November: Haley McGuffin, Twiggs County
December: Roger Wayne Davis, Miller County

Honorable Mentions:
Brandy Hussey, Sumter County
Greg Brown, Crisp County
Haley McGuffin, Twiggs County
Casey Cox, Mitchell County
Judson Clark, Sumter County
Jay Blanton, Brooks County
David Cromley, Bulloch County
Linda Powell, Worth County
Sherrill Napier, Cook County

Photo submissions will also be used in promotional materials produced by GPC throughout the year. To obtain a copy of the 2018 Georgia Peanut Calendar, stop by the GPC office located at 445 Fulwood Blvd. Tifton, Georgia, 31794. For more information on GPC programs and to view the winning photos, visit

2017 King Cotton Awards Presented to Sawyer and Miller: Taylor R. Sills, Georgia Cotton Commission

Georgia’s cotton farmers rely heavily on their local University of Georgia (UGA) Cooperative Extension agent for many things.  Agents are known for delivering timely and accurate information, which is instrumental for the success of Georgia’s farmers. For the seventeenth year in a row, the Georgia Cotton Commission sponsored the King Cotton Awards to recognize outstanding contributions of county agents to Georgia cotton producers. The Senior Award is for agents with 10 or more years of experience, while the Junior Award, named the Allen B. Fulford Award, is for those with less than 10 years of service. The latter award honors the accomplishments and memory of Allen B. Fulford as a county Extension agent and state cotton agronomist.  The awards were presented at the 2017 Georgia Association of County Agricultural Agents Annual Meeting & Professional Improvement Conference held in Columbus in November. The 2017 Senior King Cotton Award winner is Andrew Sawyer of Wilcox County, where he serves as Agriculture & Natural Resources Agent.  He previously served as the ANR agent in Thomas County.  Sawyer has conducted variety trials with producers, and has put an emphasis on educating growers about new technologies and techniques.   He has worked tirelessly to educate the community on cotton through various means, including a weekly radio show that reached over 250,000 people.  For this, he received the Communications award from the Georgia Association of County Agricultural Agents.  Sawyer also has a blog that gives farmers, agribusinesses, and the general public with timely tips and educational information concerning agriculture and the environment.  He received both a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture and a Master of Plant Pathology and Pest Management from the University of Georgia, where he also was a member of the Redcoat Marching Band. The 2017 Allen B. Fulford Award recipient is Jennifer Miller of Jeff Davis County, where she serves as ANR Agent.  She began her career with Gold Kist, and came to UGA Extension in 2006 as the 4-H Agent in Wheeler County.  She later served as the ANR Agent in Montgomery County and covered Treutlen County for part of that time.  Miller participates in the Statewide On-Farm Variety trials, a statewide project managed by county agents and Dr. Jared Whitaker, UGA Cotton Agronomist.  She has also conducted trials that have focused on irrigation and nematodes.  Miller has a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture degree from UGA, where she majored in Agriscience & Environmental Systems. The Georgia Cotton Commission is a producer-funded organization located in Perry, Georgia. The Commission began in 1965. Georgia cotton producers pay an assessment enabling the Commission to invest in programs of research, promotion, and education on behalf of all cotton producers of Georgia. For more information about the Georgia Cotton Commission please call 478-988-4235 or on the web at

Voting is Open for Park Ranger of the Year: Former Worth County High School Graduate has been Nominated

Bryan Gray, a 1998 graduate of Worth County High School, has been nominated for Park Ranger of the Year. Bryan has been the manager at Stephen C. Foster located inside the Okefenokee Wildlife Refuge for over six years. When he arrived at the park to begin his duties, the refuge was in the midst of the Honey Prairie Fire. He learned valuable lessons from that fire that helped him to be able to provide valuable assistance in this year’s West Mims Fire that burned thousands of acres around the park. This fire was followed shortly after Hurricane Irma that greatly impacted operations at the park. Irma arrived just over one year after Hurricane Matthew impacted the park. Bryan led clean-up at several sites along the coast of Georgia following both storms. Bryan is widely recognized as a leader in Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites. There are currently four park managers and two assistant managers working on other parks that trained under him at Stephen C. Foster. Under Bryan’s direction, the park provides guided interpretive boat tours of the world famous Okefenokee Swamp. Due to its isolated location, Bryan was able to secure for the designation as a Gold Level Dark Sky Park from the International Dark Sky Association. The park now offers a wide range of astronomy and dark sky programs year round. Bryan operates two units of the park separated by 17 miles in one of the most remote locations in Georgia. Under his direction both units have seen record growth in visitation, revenue, and occupancy. ServiceWear Apparel was looking for park rangers who have gone above and beyond to serve their park and community, and who have demonstrated dedication to preservation of the park and its natural environment, leadership through obstacles to create the best possible park experience for visitors and staff and commitment to safety and protection of park and visitors by smart thinking and intentional action. Nominees must be actively serving as a park ranger of a park in the United States to be eligible to win. Using the criteria outlined above, ServiceWear Apparel selected a group of finalists. Public online voting on the finalists takes place from November 27, 2017 to December 20, 2017. Anyone is invited to vote, once per day, for any one of the finalists. You are able to do so by visiting The winning park ranger will receive a $1,000 grand prize and $1,000 worth of work wear for his or her park. The nominator with the winning submission will receive a Red Kap® Soft Shell Jacket. In the event the ranger cannot accept prizes, the award can be donated to the park or the charity of the winning park ranger’s choice. So spread the word and invite your friends and co-workers to vote now and vote often for Worth County’s favorite park ranger! Your vote determines the winners, so standby for the winner announcement on January 2!

~ Dates to Remember ~


11th ~ Downtown Sylvester Christmas Parade
11th ~ WCMS Basketball Games
11th ~ Math Inventory – WCMS
11th ~ Hunter Safety Courses at The Margaret Jones Public Library
12th ~ Hunter Safety Courses at The Margaret Jones Public Library
12th ~ Books & Bubbles at The Margaret Jones Public Library
12th ~ Choral Concert at Unity – Worth Schools
12th ~ After School Program at WCMS
13th ~ Kiwanis Club Meeting in Sylvester
13th ~ Free Legal Help at The Margaret Jones Public Library
14th ~ WCMS Basketball Games
18th ~ City of Sylvester Council Meeting
18th ~ Band Concert at WCMS
19th ~ PJ Day at WCPS
19th ~ Last Day of School for Worth County Schools for Christmas Break
19th ~ City of Warwick Council Meeting
19th ~ Good Behavior Break at WCMS
19th ~ Books & Bubbles at The Margaret Jones Public Library
20th ~ Kiwanis Club Meeting in Sylvester
20th ~ Intervention Day at WCMS
20th ~ Worth County Schools Out
21st ~ Worth County Schools Out
22nd ~ Worth County Schools Out
25th ~ Merry Christmas from The Martin News
26th ~ Sylvester – Worth County Family Connections Meeting
26th ~ Disaster Relief Support Group at The Margaret Jones public Library
26th ~ Worth County Schools Out
27th ~ Worth County Schools Out
27th ~ Kiwanis Club Meeting in Sylvester
28th ~ Worth County Schools Out
29th ~ Worth County Schools Out

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

Good Ole Gingerbread Houses

Gingerbread House Day is a day that can be celebrated in a wide variety of fun ways and will be a day that children in particular will really enjoy and always remember. Celebrating National Gingerbread House Day involves creating a gingerbread house. But, the best part is that once the house has been created it can be devoured! And it will be yummy! Gingerbread House Day should be a social event and be used as something that engages children and adults alike. Children and parents can make a gingerbread house together and then, later, the gingerbread houses can be eaten at a party especially laid on for the occasion. Alternatively, a giant gingerbread house can be created by several people, with guests invited to decorate it with icing, sugar or sweets. Did you know that charities also benefit via Gingerbread House Day. Portions of a gingerbread house, or mini gingerbread houses can be sold to raise funds for the charity which is used as a great fundraiser. Larry and I love to build gingerbread houses because you don’t have to be perfect in building it and you can be as creative as you want or not creative at all. We love to build the houses but then we love to eat some of it too! Have fun building your gingerbread house today and be sure to post them on Facebook for everyone to see.