Black Tie Banquet is Set

1982 Worth County Graduate David Cuffie, Jr. will be the keynote speaker at the Mary Alice Shipp Community Development Corporation’s Yearly “Black-Tie” Banquet. Come out and support the Worth County Youth as they are working hard to bring you one of the best events of the year. To purchase tickets visit the Sylvester-Worth County Chamber of Commerce or go online at The Mary Alice Shipp Community Development Corporation is a Georgia nonprofit organization started in 2009, our mission is to improve the quality of life for low to moderate income families through informational activities, education, crime prevention and housing resources. MASCDC general areas of development includes: (1) volunteering in the community for different agencies, (2) Responding to the community’s needs and goals, (3) increasing citizen participation (4) re-routing teen drop-outs to viable programs to receive a high school Diploma or GED (5)providing assistance to youth in the area of entrepreneurship (6) assisting with re-entry and  (7) providing senior citizens with computer training and cell phone classes. Since 2009 The Mary Alice Shipp CDC (MASCDC) has supervised the Young Entrepreneurs Society (YES) program which is an organization for youth ages 9-21. YES’ mission is “to help low to moderate-income youth find and follow their own paths to prosperity through entrepreneur-ship, job readiness, professional ethics and financial education” . Our Goals as it Pertains to the Youth in Our Community is to produce model citizen for the betterment of our community, to produce young adults to understand the art of entrepreneurship and the value of learning a craft and to produce literate and educated citizen that will give back to their community. We realize that many plants and businesses in our area have closed. We want our young people to learn about owning and running a viable business and aid with the economic development of our community. So please make your plans now to attend this years Black Tie Banquet.

National Council on Fireworks Safety Urges Consumers to Do Their Part to Promote Fireworks Safety

Using consumer fireworks on our nation’s birthday is as traditional as cookouts and parades. And it is equally safe if a few common sense rules are followed, says Nancy Blogin, President of the National Council on Fireworks Safety.   Along with the safety tips listed below, Nancy urges families to promote and teach fireworks safety by using fireworks responsibly and setting a good example for children, young adults, friends and family.  Have a designated shooter that knows each firework; how it performs and how to safely light the firework.  Make your backyard celebration not only a fantastic show for the family, but a teaching lesson for everyone present.  Let this 4th of July celebration be the happiest and safest celebration ever. You can visit the National Council on Fireworks Safety website for a complete list of safety tips and videos at   Please follow these common sense safety tips:

•    Parents and caretakers should always closely supervise teens if they are using fireworks.
•    Parents should not allow young children to handle fireworks.
•    Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Save your alcohol for after the show.
•    Do not hold a firework in your hand unless specifically stated in the caution label.
•    Fireworks should only be used outdoors.
•    Always have water ready, both in a bucket and in a charged hose, if you are using fireworks.
•    Have a Designated Shooter for the fireworks and make sure he/she reads the caution label before
•    Obey local laws. If fireworks are not legal where you live, do not use them.
•    Wear eye protection (safety glasses) whenever using fireworks.
•    Only light one firework at a time.
•    Never relight a “dud” firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
•    Used fireworks should be soaked with water and placed in a nonflammable trash can outside; several
feet away from a house, garage, deck area or anything else flammable. 
•    Do not use homemade fireworks, professional fireworks or illegal explosives; they can kill you!
•    Report illegal explosives, like M-80s and quarter sticks, to the Police or Fire Department.

The National Council on Fireworks Safety is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization whose sole mission is to educate the public on the safe and responsible use of consumer fireworks. For a full list of consumer fireworks safety tips and a safety video, please visit
Source: The National Council on Fireworks Safety

Volunteering for our Furry Friends

Recently, Best Friends Humane Society held a fundraiser event to raise monies for the shelter. The fundraiser was a Dog Wash. They dogs love to be washed and the volunteers love to meet all the furry friends and their families. BFHS works extremely hard to take care of the animals in Worth County and does many fundraiser events to help provide the supplies they need to do so. Many people ask how they can volunteer. Becoming a volunteer couldn’t be easier! First determine what you’d like to help out with: Shelter Tasks or Fundraising/Event Tasks (or both!). Shelter tasks include Walking Dogs, Washing Dogs, Playing with Dogs, Cleaning Cat Litter, Playing with Cats, Feeding/Watering Animals and so much more. Fundraising/event tasks include Handing out Flyers, Putting up Posters, Setting up Events, Cleaning after Events, Being a Ticket Taker, Manning a Tent Table and so much more. If you would like to help with Shelter Tasks, drop by the Shelter at 787 Ephesus Church Road or call the Shelter Director at 229-777-7774. 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.

A Must Read from Times in Poulan

Mr. Hugh Harris West is excited to have his book complete! “My little book of memoirs is finally ready. Now that the deed is done, I feel a certain amount of ambivalence. Hopefully, it will be accepted for its honesty and simplicity in telling part of my early story” stated Mr. West. This book can be found on Amazon. Be sure to get your copy today. Mother has already ordered hers and is anxiously awaiting it’s arrival.

When I saw this on facebook recently, I started asking my mother questions. Mother did not grow up in Poulan but had an aunt that lived there. Mother has great memories of Poulan and is so excited to read this book to reminiscence on the good ole days. I spent an hour with mother when only planning to tell her that this book was for sale because she wanted to tell me several memories from those Poulan days. It sparked my interest so I began looking into Mr. West. This article from 2009 in the Valdosta Daily Times paints such a wonderful picture of Mr. West, his life and career as well as his family. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Hugh Harris West grew up in Poulan, in Worth County, in a three-room shack with an outhouse. He said they didn’t count the outhouse as a room. West said Poulan was a thriving little cotton mill village. Although it wasn’t luxury fare, he said they always had enough to eat. West said he was born out in the country at home and was told he was named after an older first cousin. Actually, he said the cousin was about the same age as his mother. “Mama said they put names in a hat and drew a name from it. Hugh was his first name and Harris was his last name, hence Hugh Harris West was my name. I never saw my namesake until I was about 40 years of age. He had been in the merchant marines all those years and died a few years ago. I saw him only twice in my lifetime,” he said. His name has caused confusion all his life, he said, because people never seem sure what to call him.

West said he used to beg plants off neighbors who were well off, which he then planted around the foundation “so you couldn’t see up under the house.” “You have to know ugliness to appreciate beauty,” he said. West said that, due to necessity, he always had a strong work ethic. “I have been earning wages since before the age of 12. At one time, when I was around 12, I had three jobs,” he said. He said he concurrently helped in a grocery store at 35 cents an hour, helped deliver Sunbeam bread at $5 per Saturday, and worked seven nights a week at the drive-in movie theater for $1 per night. Each of the jobs contributed a great deal to his development and education, he said. “I especially remember a great lesson learned on the bread route,” he said. “We delivered bread all over Worth County. Sweet Lucy’s Cafe in Sylvester, Ga., was an African American cafe that specialized in fried mullet sandwiches. My mouth watered each time I got near the place. I will never forget the small but poignant sign posted near the cash register that read ‘If You Ain’t Got No Money Then You Done Et.’ I have tried to remember that lesson in spite of having to buy on credit most of my life.”

After graduating from Sylvester High School in 1956, West went on to obtain a degree in science education from Georgia Southern University. He taught science and biology in the Americus city school system from 1960-63. “Americus was a historic town with wonderful folks,” he said. “I was there for three years. My salary was about $250 a month. During my last year there, I helped with the Junior/Senior Dance. It was a spectacular production that required lots of talent, work and dollars. We transformed the gym into the city of Rome and beyond to Greece with the Parthenon and even chariot races. Parents and spectators came from miles around to see the decorations.” A post-Sputnik grant to improve science education enabled West to attend the University of Georgia from 1963 to 1968, where he said he received a master’s degree in microbiology, plant pathology and mycology, the branch of biology dealing with fungi. The title of his doctoral dissertation was “Sexual Reproduction in the Genus Aspergillus.” Mushrooms are the largest and most conspicuous organisms in the fungal kingdom, he said.

When he started teaching at Valdosta State University, West said he was quickly called upon to identify mushrooms that had been eaten by children to help determine whether they were poisonous. His training didn’t require him to become an expert in mushroom identification, he said. “I was supposed to know about mushrooms since I had a Ph.D. in mycology. I needed to at least learn to identify the most deadly and poisonous forms. I set out to learn a little about mushrooms. I was only a little better prepared at identification during subsequent ingestion of mushrooms by children. I might add that some adults also became ill due to mistaking some harmful species for the psilocybin group. I never became an authority on mushroom identification,” he said. West taught biology and microbiology at Valdosta State College from 1968 to 1994. He was also the pre-pharmacy advisor at VSC. On weekends and afternoons, West worked as a landscape gardener “to supplement a meager salary from teaching.” When he started teaching at VSC in 1968, West said his annual salary was $10,000 per year. It was a big improvement, he said, over what he made as a public school teacher in Americus — $3,300 per year — with a $500 annual supplement for agreeing to sell basketball tickets. However, he said money was not his primary incentive for choosing a teaching career. “Seeing the growth, development and success of students was rewarding in itself,” he said. “I still miss the students very much. I am sure I made many mistakes over the years and hope I am not too well remembered for them.” The most troubling aspect of teaching was assigning grades. West said he made every attempt to be fair, even bent over backwards in some instances, but there were still cases in which he could not justify a passing grade. There were many successes with his VSC students, however, many of whom stand out professionally today, he said. “These students would have been successful regardless of who their teacher was,” he said. “I was only fortunate to have them come my way.” West shared several anecdotes from his teaching days. He said he was teaching a freshman biology lab once, in which the exercise called for crossing a blond hair with a black hair and mounting it in water on a glass slide under a cover slip. As he was giving instructions, he quickly pulled a blond hair from a surprised female student. “When I tried to pull a black hair from another female student, she and I both were startled and the entire class went into pandemonium. The girl with the black hair was wearing a wig. The individual black hair did not come loose and the whole wig came off her head. I am not sure very much was learned in lab that day,” he said.

West recalled another occasion when, on microbiology lab day, he was in the small prep room adjacent to the main lab preparing materials for the next session. A pre-med student came from the hall into the lab and asked some other students who had arrived a bit early, “Is that old b—— here yet?” “He was referring to me, of course, so I stuck my head out of the prep room and said, ‘Yes, I am here.’ I will never forget his expression. I believe he made an ‘A’ in spite of it all,” West said.

West did landscape gardening for 30 years and said he landscaped the yards of many homes around Valdosta. He enjoys putting plants together in ways that accent the architecture of the house he’s working around and said he regards landscape gardening as an art form. The garden walkway behind the home he shares with his wife, Jerry Register, a retired nurse, testifies to his skill and love of weaving plants and architecture into aesthetically satisfying combinations. The landscaping income was only a side benefit to something he had a great passion for, he said. “The need for artistic expression and achievement was far greater than any financial rewards,” he said. “My professional landscaping simply evolved from a hobby and an art form that I was close to.” He said he enjoyed getting to know and making friends with so many folks over the years. After he and one of his clients had settled on a landscaping plan, the man remarked, “Some folks say Hugh and some folks say Harris, so which is it?” Trying to be funny, West said, “Some folks call me Hugh and some folks call me Harris. Some folks call me Hugh H. and some folks call me H.H. or Hugh Harris. My friends call me Harris, but you can call me Hugh.” As can be imagined, that didn’t come off correctly, he said, adding that the man never let him forget it. “He is a friend but still calls me Hugh,” he said. West said he always gave detailed instructions to his landscape helpers on how to dig an appropriate hole for a plant. “You must dig a 50 dollar hole for a 50 cent plant,” he said. He explained that the hole should be bigger around than the plant in the pot and that it should be made as wide at the bottom as at the top, in other words the hole should not be cone shaped. He said his No. 1 son Guy and his buddy Court Smith must not have appreciated the fact that he thought they didn’t know how to dig an appropriate hole. They were ahead of him digging while he was behind planting, but they were surreptitiously observing his whereabouts. “Suddenly I came upon a hole that was completely square or cube shaped,” he said. “There were a few other shapes that followed which were not round. They had a real holler when they experienced my reaction.”

West is old school in the best sense, a product of a liberal arts education. He believes a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, as the poet Robert Browning said. He quoted Dr. Clyde Connell, former head of the Biology Department at VSC, who told him the purpose of a liberal arts education is “to liberate us from ignorance.” “Dr. Connell was the salt of the earth, as well as the pepper,” West said.

West and his wife have been married over 50 years. They have five children, two stepsons from her first marriage, Guy and Robert Bryant, whom he adopted, and three that were theirs together, Hugh and Jeff West, and their youngest, Amanda Wierling. Amanda has a degree in finance and economics from VSC and lives in Smyrna, he said. They have many grandchildren and great-grandchildren whom they adore. “I always preferred that my children and grandchildren refer to me as ‘Harris.’ I wanted them to know me first as a person and secondarily as a father and grandfather. The family unit is the basis of our society, but we must remember that individuals compose this unit,” he said. West said they always tried to have their children with them at mealtime around the table. He said he remarked on more than one occasion that “this is going to be a quiet supper,” but it hardly ever turned out to be quiet. At one breakfast he was attempting to teach son No. 2 how best to cut his pancakes on the plate. “With all eyes and ears on me I said, ‘You simply cut-cut and cut,’ but about that time the pancakes filled with syrup flew off my plate and into my lap. I am certain that the kid learned how not to cut pancakes,” he said. West said his son, Guy Bryant, whom he refers to as “No. 1 son,” in the manner of Charlie Chan, is a pharmacist, world-traveler, and shoots award-winning photos. Guy and Amy Sturkey sent in separate entries to a photography contest for Conde Nast Traveler magazine a few years ago, he said. Out of a field of over 200 contestants, both Guy and Amy were among the 20 finalists. Her finalist photo was a picture of two lions rampant, while his son’s was a nature shot of Horseshoe Bend in Arizona. Guy also does a lot of underwater photography, West said.

West and his wife also love to travel and since he retired he said they have been to Thailand, Cambodia, China, Africa, Germany, Hong Kong, Nova Scotia, Italy, England, Spain and France. He said they loved St. Croix and Costa Rica, among other destinations. West expanded his artistic endeavors to include painting. His own paintings are indistinguishable in quality from others that adorn his walls, despite his never having had any lessons. He is also a passing good chef and makes some mean homemade chili, he said. He has always tried to maintain a sense of humor, he said, even though it may be dark at times. “A sense of humor is even more important now that I am closer to the back door of life than the front,” he said.

~ Dates to Remember ~


26th ~ Casa New Volunteer Orientation in Tifton
26th ~ Ashburn Chamber of Commerce Book Drive
27th ~ Ashburn Chamber of Commerce Book Drive
27th ~ Books and Bubbles at The Margaret Jones Public Library in Sylvester 10:30am
28th ~ Kiwanis Club Meeting in Sylvester
28th ~ Ashburn Chamber of Commerce Book Drive
29th ~ Ashburn Chamber of Commerce Book Drive
29th ~ Margaret Jones Public Library in Sylvester hosts Build A Better Balloon Dog
30th ~ Last Day of Ashburn Chamber of Commerce Book Drive


1st ~ Sylvester Downtown Farmer’s Market
3rd ~ City of Sylvester Work Session
4th ~ Happy Independence Day from The Martin News
5th ~ Kiwanis Club Meeting in Sylvester
8th ~ Sylvester Downtown Farmer’s Market
11th ~ Books and Bubbles at The Margaret Jones Public Library in Sylvester 10:30am
12th ~ Kiwanis Club Meeting in Sylvester
15th ~ Sylvester Downtown Farmer’s Market
15th ~ Fishing Rodeo
17th ~ City of Sylvester Council Meeting
18th ~ Books and Bubbles at The Margaret Jones Public Library in Sylvester 10:30am
19th ~ Kiwanis Club Meeting in Sylvester
22nd ~ Sylvester Downtown Farmer’s Market
25th ~ Books and Bubbles at The Margaret Jones Public Library in Sylvester 10:30am
26th ~ Kiwanis Club Meeting in Sylvester
29th ~ Sylvester Downtown Farmer’s Market
31st ~ Worth County Schools Start

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Please email your questions or event listings to
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Thank you for your support to The Martin News.

Worth Co. Fire & Rescue in dire need of volunteers

Worth County Fire and Rescue are in dire need of volunteers.  The Fire Chief is looking for more volunteers willing to dedicate time to help support the 14 stations in the county. Having volunteers on hand at Worth County Fire & Rescue means more manpower to respond to emergencies and lower insurance rates for residents.  They held a call to action meeting to attract more volunteers.  “I love what I do, we’re saving people’s property, we’re saving people’s lives,” said Shivok.  After watching a house go up in flames five years ago, Mike Shivok, 71, chose to dedicate his free time at the fire station. “I get more out of it, than I feel I give,” explained Shivok.  He mans the fire station one, keeping it clean and going over the equipment making sure it works properly. But his adrenaline really gets going when he gets a call. “Its helping the people really going  to the fire, getting it the fire out as quick as we can and making sure the people are safe,” said Shivok. Shivok remarked at the meeting, that volunteers like him work to “get the ISO rating down in the different areas so we can get their insurance dropped.” The rating is based on all sorts of factors, grading fire departments and how well they protect the areas they serve. If you’re 18 years and older, Chief Tim Hayes said the department will teach you everything from using protective equipment to EMS training. ‘So valuable to our organization and they help us out like day-to-day not only just going to calls but helping us with vehicles,” explained Hayes. And Shivok’s hours of volunteer time doesn’t go unnoticed. “During the storms I don’t even think he slept, he was out trying to help people…through the American Red Cross and doing stuff for us,” said Hayes.  Worth County Fire and Rescue had a few new people to sign up Monday night.  Fire Chief Hayes said there are several volunteer jobs ranging from helping on the scene, assisting with the rehabilitation of firefighters, or providing administration support.

Source: WALB

New Tobacco Variety May Curtail Black Shank Disease

University of Georgia Cooperative Extension research on new tobacco varieties could help farmers reduce black shank disease in their fields to 15 percent, says Tony Barnes, agriculture and natural resources extension agent in Atkinson County. If the research proves successful, Georgia tobacco farmers who plant these new varieties could save as much as $1,463 per acre as compared to farmers who grow varieties hit by black shank disease. “We are seeing success in some of the newer varieties, but in a severe year it doesn’t matter what the variety is; black shank will eat it up,” Barnes says. “We are getting better responses from these varieties, though.” Black shank is a fungus that turns the tobacco plant yellow as it slowly wilts and dies. The disease spreads through the field and to other fields through water and equipment. Chemical treatment must be applied to ensure older tobacco varieties withstand the disease, which can wipe out a crop under the right conditions, Barnes says. UGA scientist Paul Bertrand, who studies tobacco diseases on the UGA Tifton campus, recommends growers plant varieties such as CC-143, NC-925, NC-938, CC-1063 or GL-925 in fields with a history of black shank disease. “A farmer generally makes about $4,180 per acre. If the farmer takes a 50 percent loss due to black shank, which is not uncommon with some of our older varieties, the financial return is reduced to $2,090 per acre. That is just not profitable after input costs are calculated,” Barnes says. UGA Extension’s research goal is to reduce the loss from black shank disease to 15 percent. Farmers can sustainably produce tobacco with low levels of black shank disease, Barnes says. The weather plays a role in treatment applications in severe years. Since black shank moves upward through the tobacco plant, chemical applications must be made to the base of the roots. The roots must then absorb the treatment before it leaches out. If it rains, farmers can’t get into the field to apply the treatments, leaving their plants vulnerable. Georgia tobacco farmers are learning more about black shank disease during the Georgia-Florida Tobacco Tour this week. Participants will learn about tobacco research when the tour visits the UGA Tifton campus on Tuesday and Wednesday, June 13 and 14.

Source: Tifton Grapevine

How To Raise A Reader Article Recommended by The Margaret Jones Public Library

From the moment you’re expecting your first child, you are bombarded with messages about the importance of reading. For good reason: The benefits of reading at every stage of a child’s development are well documented. Happily, raising a reader is fun, rewarding and relatively easy. First, Reacquaint Yourself With Reading. If you’ve let reading slide to the margins of your life, now is the time to bring it back. Make the space, and time, for books you read for yourself, and books you read with your child. If you want to raise a reader, be a reader. Baby Books Are a Necessity. You may think you’re off the hook with books until your baby is at least vertical, but not so. Even newborns benefit from the experience of hearing stories (and they can’t complain about your taste in books). So take advantage. Here’s how: Read out loud, every day. Any book. You can read anything to a newborn: a cookbook, a dystopian novel, a parenting manual. The content doesn’t matter. What does matter is the sound of your voice, the cadence of the text and the words themselves. Research has shown that the number of words an infant is exposed to has a direct impact on language development and literacy. But here’s the catch: The language has to be live, in person and directed at the child. Turning on a television, or even an audiobook, doesn’t count. Sure, it’s good to get started reading aloud the children’s books that will be part of your child’s library. But don’t feel limited. Just be sure to enjoy yourself. Use your senses. Babies who are read to are learning that reading is fun and can involve all the senses: the feel of the pages, the smell of the glue (don’t go crazy), the visuals of the illustrations, the sound of the parent’s voice. Try it: Texturized books are especially good for your child’s tactile experience. Mind your audience. Make eye contact, but don’t look for a particular reaction. It may seem like babies are not listening, but they are absorbing the experience. And the patterns, routines and attentive habits that are set now will last a lifetime. Get your baby talking. Babies may start making sounds in response to your reading. This is why many books for this age contain nonsense words or animal sounds — they’re easier to mimic. Try it: If your child makes a noise, respond. It may make no sense to you, but it’s communication. There’s a straight line from this moment to your first parent-child book club. It’s hard to overestimate how important reading is to a toddler’s intellectual, social and emotional development. When you read with toddlers, they take it all in: vocabulary and language structure, numbers and math concepts, colors, shapes, animals, opposites, manners and all kinds of useful information about how the world works. What’s more, when you read out loud, your toddler connects books with the familiar, beloved sound of your voice — and the physical closeness that reading together brings. You are helping build a positive association with books that will last a lifetime. Keep in mind: Reading happens throughout the day. Nightly bedtime reading is a familiar routine for parents of toddlers — what better way to get your little ball of energy to relax before bed? Make sure the atmosphere is soothing and not rushed, and choose some of the many books that end, strategically, with a peaceful going-to-bed scene (though friskier books about sleep-avoiding children are fun, too). But read with your toddler during the day, as well. Offering to read books with toddlers is one of the best ways — some days, it can seem like the only way — to get them to slow down and focus. Sit close, and enjoy these moments of connection while it’s still light outside. Introduce your own taste. You’ve been reading a long time, and you have a sense of what you like in grown-up books. As a parent, you have the chance to rediscover your taste in children’s books. Pull out your old favorites, and find what’s new that catches your eye when you’re in bookstores, libraries or friends’ homes. The good news is that the best authors and illustrators of children’s books aim to please their grown-up audience, too. Try it: Tweak the text when you’re reading out loud. Many classic children’s books are now considered sexist, racist, outdated and, in certain ways, downright awful. Feel free to make them better. Respect your child’s preferences. Your child is already surprising you with independent tastes and opinions. Just as your child doesn’t like your kale salad, he or she may not appreciate the exquisite black-and-white crosshatching of Robert McCloskey’s “Make Way for Ducklings” as much as you did as a child. You may not be all that excited about fairies or talking trucks, but your child might be. Encourage children to express what they like about their books, and find more books like those. The parent-child pas de deux. The more you can make reading mutually satisfying, the more it will be associated with pleasure and reward. If your child doesn’t like your silly ogre’s voice, don’t use it. Remember, it’s your child’s story time, too. Try it: Let your child turn the pages, to control the pace. (It’s also great for developing fine motor skills.) It’s O.K. to interrupt. Don’t get so caught up in your own reading that you ignore your child’s comments and queries. Interruptions show that your child is engaged. Try it: If you find yourself saying, “Just let me finish this page,” stop and ask your toddler to repeat the question. If children don’t seem engaged by the words, ask what they see in the pictures. Point at things and invite them to explain or narrate the action. Expand your toddler’s world. Sometimes toddlers seem “stuck” on a certain book you’re not crazy about. Don’t deny them the books they like, but try to actively steer them toward other books as well. Most important, don’t be afraid to expose toddlers to subjects they don’t have any context for. All topics — even geology, the history of art, and life in different cultures — can be broken down into small parts and made interesting by a great children’s book. Try it: At a certain age, children may start to gravitate exclusively to stories that feature a protagonist of their own gender. This is not true for toddlers. Take advantage of this time to expose them to a balanced menu of characters. Choose diverse books. All children need to see themselves reflected in the picture books around them. If your child is a member of a racial or ethnic minority, seek out books that feature children who look similar to yours — they are getting much easier to find. White children also benefit from books that show children with different skin tones and ethnicities. All children need to encounter books that present the variety of cultural traditions and family structures that coexist in our communities. Exposing children to diversity in books will prepare them for life in a diverse world.

Source: New York Times

Keep Your Library Card Handy

This Summer, many children are getting their library card for the first time. The Margaret Jones Public Library is excited that so many children are ready to read. Did you know that your library card can be stored on your smart phone? It’s so easy and convenient to save your library card on your phone using the Key Ring App. Just download the app from the app store or Google play. Create your mobile wallet and never leave home without your library card. If you have any questions, please feel free to give them a call at the library. Their number is 229-776-2096.

Taking Control of Nematodes Cotton Grower – May/June 2017 – Beck Barnes

Any number of factors can drive a cotton producer’s decisions from year to year. For Johnny Cochran, one of those factors has remained consistent on his Sylvester, GA cotton and peanut operation: Nematodes. Located amid the picturesque pine forests of South Georgia, Cochran’s operation is a pleasant place. His wife prunes a lush rose garden not far from his farm shop. At harvest time, his fields are flush with showy cotton. But don’t be fooled by the aesthetics. In addition to its beauty, South Georgia also has a reputation for harboring yield-robbing pests like resistant pigweed and, most notably to Cochran, nematodes. The microbial pests impact any number of Cochran’s in-season decisions. They’ll even dictate what crop he should plant in a given field. “Cotton root knot nematodes, on these sandier soils we have, have been our number one problem,” Cochran says. Like countless cotton producers across the country, Cochran was forced to re-evaluate his crop protection program when Temik was phased out of use in the cotton industry due to Environmental Protection Agency regulation. In the year immediately following the loss of the aldicarb product, Cochran knew he had a serious problem on his hands. “We would see nematode numbers just going up, with our soil sampling, so we knew we were going to have to do something,” he says. “We were seeing hotspots develop. That first year we planted a small plot of DP 1558NR B2RF, and we saw a significant reduction in root knot nematode population. So I knew then that this had a lot of potential for – not replacing aldicarb – but helping deal with the loss of aldicarb.” As a participant in the New Product Evaluator program, Cochran is able to get a first look at pre-commercial Deltapine varieties. In 2014, that meant he was able to plant what would eventually be named DP 1558NR B2RF on his own farm, one of the earliest nematode resistant varieties from Deltapine. He soil sampled for nematode populations the year prior to planting the variety, and then again after he had harvested it. “We saw drastic reductions in nematodes,” he says. “So we know that the technology works.” Still, the loss of Temik caused significant challenges. Like many other cotton producers across the Cotton Belt, it’s hard to overstate how heavily Cochran relied on the nematicide to help control an often rampant root knot nematode population. He says he used the aldicarb product in both his cotton and peanut fields, year in and year out. “We were keeping them suppressed with Temik,” Cochran says. Without that tool in his toolbox, he was forced to get creative in how he dealt with the pest. Cochran developed a crop rotation system that helped keep the nematodes in check. “We grow about 2/3 of our acreage in cotton and 1/3 in peanuts,” he says. “And we’re on a two year rotation with our peanuts. That’s where the nematode-tolerant varieties fit into my program – in the second year of my cotton rotation, we try to put in a variety that will withstand the nematode pressure. “The first year a particular field is in cotton, we expect the nematodes will be suppressed from the peanut rotation the year prior,” Cochran says. “So we’ll grow one year of whatever cotton variety we want to plant there, regardless of the nematode resistance. Then the second year is when we try to put in a nematode tolerant cotton variety in the field.” Of course, a key to that system working was the development of high-yielding varieties that also happened to feature nematode resistance. Raising the Yield Bar. Mercifully, a staple of Deltapine variety advancement, the company’s representatives say, is that the new varieties must yield on par with, or better than, their existing offerings. So the nematode resistant varieties the company developed also featured improvements in yield potential. “These nematode varieties were moving along in the research and they were coming up with varieties that were nematode resistant that would still yield and grade,” Cochran says. “So we opted to use these nematode varieties to help control our problem.” Much of Cochran’s farm is dryland acreage, so he is always on the lookout for a variety that will yield well in occasionally stressful irrigation conditions. When planting dryland cotton behind peanuts, a scenario where he doesn’t expect to encounter high nematode populations, he turns to DP 1555 B2RF – “a good high yielding variety” he says. The result has been that Cochran has had to raise his expectations for what he could accomplish on dryland. “I’ve been growing cotton for 25 or 30 years,” he says. “I can remember when you wanted to average two bales with irrigated cotton – you thought you were burning the barn down with that. We now look for three bales on irrigated land and two bales on dryland.” The fickle nature of Georgia rainfall from year to year has made it hard for Cochran to gauge what a normal crop should be in recent years. “2011, 2012 and 2013 really spoiled us, where we had some really good growing seasons,” Cochran says. “We were yielding three bales on irrigated and three bales on dryland, and that sort of changed our yield goals there.” Of course, conditions aren’t always ideal. Cochran says 2016, which featured a long dry spell, forced him to once again re-evaluate what a successful dryland yield number should be. Ground Zero for Resistance. Glyphosate resistance was first discovered in Cochran’s corner of the Cotton Belt, and pigweeds still pose a serious threat in this area. But just as he’s done with nematodes, Cochran has developed a successful strategy for dealing with resistance weeds. “We’ve been able to maintain our Roundup-based program,” he says. “We do a lot of hand pulling. As we go through the field, we try to reduce our seed bank from Palmer amaranth. That’s been the biggest thing to help us maintain our system. Any time we see a Palmer amaranth weed, we stop what we’re doing, no matter what it is, and go out there and pull them. Unless there’s a large population out there in a given area, then we’ll come back with an ATV and haul the weeds out.”