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The Wilkins’ Story

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CONTENTS December/January 2011-12






10 Elves From Catie

The Catie Wilkinsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; story.

16 22

Many Faces of Dancing Nancy Nancy Powell takes her love of dance to the streets of Effingham.

Portrait of an Artist Guyton resident Tom Barnes shares his passion for painting.

28 Teen Spotlight

Andrew Irish tackles the challenges of diabetes.

06 December/January 2011-12 | Effingham Magazine


07 Publisherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Thoughts 32 Dining Guide 39 Shop Local....Shop Effingham


On the Cover

The Wilkins Famiy.

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SHOP LOCAL….SHOP EFFINGHAM It’s hard to believe the holiday season is already here….again! It seems like just yesterday that I sat around the table with my family and enjoyed our traditional Christmas meal together. Now, we will be doing that again soon. I really look forward to the holidays. It’s a special time for me…..a time to slow down a little bit and enjoy special moments with the people I love….a great time for family and friends. Just thinking about it makes me smile. After publishing our 5 Year Anniversary Issue, I really thought I would get the joy of taking a break, perhaps a long weekend away to relax and rejuvenate. But, it seems like all good plans are made to be changed. I was sitting in my office one morning just thinking about how nice that was going to be. Then the thought of our holiday issue came into mind. I thought, “What can we do special this year for a good Christmas issue?” Then “business mode” quickly replaced the thoughts of the relaxing long weekend. As a small business owner, I understand the economic downturn, and how it has affected some of our local merchants. Then, the wheels started spinning, and in a matter of a few minutes, my long weekend was nothing but a passing thought! What better for a holiday issue than to promote local shopping? There is so much more available in Effingham than ever before. And, Julie Hales, Publisher what better way to boost our local economy than by spending our dollars in our own community! Decisions had to be made, and quickly. In order to promote local shopping and help our local merchants, we would have to move fast and get this issue out in time for some serious holiday spending. So, deadlines were changed, stories were assigned and salespeople hit the streets…..and remember the long weekend I spoke about earlier, well, it was completely forgotten. Why in the world did I think we could put a magazine out, from start to finish, in a week and a half? What was I thinking? But, here it is! You see it! It took some long hours and serious dedication from some terrific employees. I am blessed to have them on my team! So, take a good look at this issue. Read how Catie Wilkins is still making a difference in the lives of many with the “Elves from Catie” program. And, a special thanks to Tre and Jenny for sharing their story with us. Another special thanks to the Effingham County Chamber of Commerce for all their help with this issue, as we felt the need to work with them to help promote local businesses during this holiday season. Brooke and Rick, thanks for all your support. So, please take a look at our SHOP LOCAL….SHOP EFFINGHAM section. These local merchants have an array of gift items right at your fingertips….right here at home in Effingham. Make your shopping list now. Do your part to boost our local economy. Spend your dollars here… local this holiday season.

Effingham Magazine | December/January 2011-12 07











December/January 2011-12

Clark Byron

Clark Byron is a busy writer and author in Savannah. A recent transplant from Kansas City, Clark fell in love with Savannah’s historic beauty and warm climate during his first visit in 2007. Before coming to Savannah, he enjoyed a successful career in nonprofit leadership. Clark is an award-winning singer/songwriter and an accomplished fingerstyle guitarist. He holds a doctorate in ministry. He is an ardent student of philosophy and a lover of all things nostalgic.

Barbara Russell

Barbara Russell is a freelance writer and photographer, and in the past she was a high school English teacher and a flight attendant. Always an avid horse person and riding instructor, she enjoys writing for equine publications and she is writing a young adult novel about horses. For several years she wrote feature stories and a history column for Effingham CloseUp, and she has been published in a variety of magazines. Currently she enjoys writing for Independence Day Publishing. Interviewing local people and having the opportunity to retell their unique stories is her passion.

Todd Wood

Todd began his professional photography career 12 years ago. He recently stepped down as editor for Effingham Magazine to pursue other interests in business, videography and personal photography. Though he is no longer with the magazine full-time, he could not imagine not working in some capacity with Effingham Magazine . So he still does photography as well as layout and design. Todd’s latest projects have become video oriented and he is working with various musicians and artists in several capacities.

Julie Hales owner/publisher sales manager Todd Wood layout/design/photography Lea Allen administrative assistant/circulation Lane Gallegos account executive / graphic design

SUBSCRIPTIONS Subscribe to Effingham Magazine by submitting a check and subscription information form found in every issue. You may also subscribe by calling (912)826-2760. LETTERS TO THE PUBLISHER Write to us and tell us what you think. Effingham Magazine welcomes all letters to the publisher. Please send all letters via email to Julie Hales at Letters to the publisher must have a phone number and name of contact. Phone numbers will not be published. ARTICLE SUBMISSIONS Effingham Magazine welcomes story ideas from our readers. If you have a story idea, or photo essay you would like to share, please submit ideas and material by emailing Julie Hales at All articles and photos will be reviewed by the publisher, and if the articles and accompanying photos meet the criteria of Independence Day Publishing, Inc., the person submitting the material will be contacted. Stories or ideas for stories must be submitted by email. Only feature stories and photo essays about people, places or things in Effingham County will be considered. CALENDAR SECTION We’re looking for your information about clubs, organizations, events and meetings. For events in February/March 2012, copy must be submitted by January 23, 2012. Please email all copy to Effingham Magazine is published bimonthly by Independence Day Publishing, Inc. Reproduction in whole or in part in any manner without the written permission of the publisher is strictly prohibited. Effingham Magazine 108 International Drive Rincon, GA 31326 (912) 826-2760

08 December/January 2011-12 | Effingham Magazine

Kathryn Turner

Katie is a freelance writer and Effingham County native who enjoys meeting new and interesting people. She earned her English degree at Georgia Southern University, and caught the travel bug while studying abroad in Costa Rica, where she received a minor in Spanish. After college, she worked briefly in Yellowstone National Park, where she enjoyed hiking and photographing the scenery and the wildlife. She is always up for visiting new places, but she loves the south and is proud to call Effingham her home.

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Catie Wilkins’ Priceless Gift Story by CLARK BYRON • Photography by TODD WOOD

10 December/January 2011-12 | Effingham Magazine


er sleepy little eyes open on a brand new day. In bed, with mommy and daddy on either side, 3 year-old Catie Wilkins has but one concern: “Momma, what did my silly elf do last night?” She asks this question just about every morning. Catie has every reason to wonder. As usual, she left a jellybean out before she went night-night, and then nodded off to sleep with her elf in her arms. Elves are a bit like raccoons. They sleep during the day and roam around at night when nobody’s watching. And, they’re full of mischief. Jellybeans are elf treats. Leave a jellybean out at night with an elf around and in the morning, when that silly ol’ elf has gone back to sleep, you’ll find out just what he’s been up to. She rousts mommy and daddy from bed. The hunt is on. They look here–nothing; there, still nothing. He’s an elf and he had a jellybean. He must have done something silly. Then, as they walk into the kitchen, it all becomes very clear. Mommy was baking cookies yesterday and forgot to put away the flour. Now, there’s flour scattered across the countertop and on the floor. We know who the culprit is. He’s lying there fast asleep in the middle of the powdery white mess! Catie laughs and laughs at her funny little elf, just as she did the morning they all woke up to find streamers of toilet paper hanging from the bedroom ceiling fan. Or the time they found the elf snoozing in a pile of underwear he had pulled from the drawer. This kind of thing didn’t happen every night, but it happened a lot. Each time, the music of Catie’s laughter was so soothing. And for a short while at least, Catie could forget how sick she was. On her first birthday, Tre and Jenny received some news about Catie that was about as bad as news gets. Catie was diagnosed with Medulloblastoma, the most common type of brain cancer in children. Treatment for the disease has improved some over recent years but it still claims too many little lives. Catie had received some initial treatment at Memorial University Medical Center but she needed a pediatric neurosurgeon. At the time, there weren’t any close by. So, every month for the next three and a half years, Tre, Jenny and little Catie made the long and arduous trip to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, the Scottish Rite Campus. It was during one of their many stays at the Ronald McDonald House that Catie met her new friend, the elf. He was plush and cuddly and a comfort to hold. And at night, the elf had a magical life of his own that made waking up in the mornings just a bit more bearable for everyone. The elf concept is so simple it’s ingenious. These are

Effingham Magazine | December/January 2011-12 11

CATIE WILKINS, smiling and laughing during a photo shoot. -Photo by KRISTIN PATE

Santa’s elves, you see. They’ve been working all year long at the North Pole getting everything ready for Christmas. They’ve done a fine job and have earned some time off. Santa gives them a two-week vacation so they can go play with good boys and girls. They somehow appear two weeks before Christmas. For those two weeks, there is mischief galore! Night after night, the elves create funny surprises for children to wake up to every morning. On Christmas Eve, when Santa comes to bring the presents, he picks up the elves and they go back to work. Santa needs them to help with the worldwide delivery of Christmas presents. But they’ll be back again, same time next year. Catie would undergo many chemotherapy and radiation treatments and twelve surgeries before finally losing her courageous battle in January 2007. She was almost 4 and a half when she passed. Exactly one week after Catie died, Jenny gave birth to their second child, a healthy baby girl, Isabella (Izzy). Jenny and Tre were now busy being mommy and daddy again. Catie’s absence left a void that can never be filled but Izzy was such a precious and welcome addition to the family when they needed her most. Two years later, son Chip, arrived on the scene. The blessing of children’s laughter would once again fill their lives. But in the months following Catie’s death, their first Christmas without her was fast approaching. They wondered how they would ever get through it. Izzy wasn’t even a year old–much too young to have any clue about Christmas. Then, Tre said something that would change the course of

12 December/January 2011-12 | Effingham Magazine

elfin history forever. “We should send some kids some elves!” He never forgot what that silly little plush toy had meant to Catie–to all of them. Tre and Jenny decided that the best way to honor Catie’s memory and to make it through this first Christmas without her was to get a bunch of these elves and give them to sick children at the hospital. They would be gifts from Catie! “There were four holiday seasons that we had a sick kid,” said Tre. “We’re fortunate we never spent a Thanksgiving Day or a Christmas Day in the hospital. The whole idea of this ‘Elves from Catie’ thing was for the kids in the hospital that are there on a Thanksgiving or a Christmas Day,” he said. “It gives them something else to think about: What’s my silly elf going to do tonight?” Jenny immediately jumped on the phone to David and Renee Smith of Host an Elf, the company that makes the elves. In 2004, Renee Smith started making these mischievous little characters; complete with a back-story and a plot that requires the complicity of parents. She invited a close friend, Lori Aamoth, to join her. Jenny wanted to purchase 15 elves. She asked Renee and Lori if they might consider a quantity discount. They asked what she planned to do with them. Jenny explained. After she told them about Catie, the company decided to donate the elves. About four hours later, Renee called back. She and Lori had been brainstorming. “What do you think if we start a program where people can donate elves to kids in the hospital?” she said. “We’ll give a portion of the proceeds to the charity of your choice.” This was the magical moment when all those elves became ‘Elves from Catie.’ From that moment on, every sick child that receives one of these elves is receiving a gift from Catie. The Wilkins’ charity of choice is the Atlanta-based CURE Childhood Cancer. Kristin Connor is the director and a close friend of Jenny’s for many years, long before Kristin came to CURE. Connor’s son was diagnosed with brain cancer in utero. After a year and a half or so, his tumor disappeared. It was truly a miracle. Founded in 1975, CURE is dedicated to finding cures for childhood cancers. Its mission is two-fold. The foundation side funds university and hospital based research toward a cure. “About 80 percent of kids with cancer survive,” said Connor. “We focus our research on the 20 percent that don’t, and on

“We could not have planned a better way to honor Catie’s memory,” said Jenny. “I can just see her sitting up on a cloud somewhere, giggling.” answering the question, ‘why don’t they.’” CURE funds about $1.5 million in research each year. CURE also provides a wide range of direct services to assist families caring for a child with cancer. The Wilkins received invaluable assistance from CURE during Catie’s ordeal. Thanks to ‘Elves from Catie,’ little Catie is fast becoming a bit of a celebrity. There’s a children’s storybook–a companion piece called, A Gift from Catie, written by Nila Aamoth and beautifully illustrated by Art Smith. The book opens with a letter from Santa to the child explaining why the elf is there and that on Christmas Eve, vacation time is over and he must return to the North Pole to help Santa deliver presents. What follows is a heartwarming story about Catie and Marty (an elf) finding an elf under their new Christmas tree, well before Christmas. Marty thinks maybe Santa made a mistake but Catie calmly assures him it’s no mistake. She invites Marty to join her and her mom on their regular visit to the children’s hospital. You’ll have to buy the elf and the book if you want the rest of the story. Suffice it to say it illustrates how that with a little help from the grownups, elves will work their playful magic. There’s also a full-fledged elf kit, complete with elf, book, jellybeans and carrying case.

Host an Elf is making ‘Elves from Catie’ available to local vendors on a consignment basis for this holiday season. The same deal applies: Elves are $15 each, with $5 going to CURE. Look for the sign at the store that says ‘Elves from Catie’ are available there. Storybooks and kits are extra and can be obtained from the manufacturer at Jenny said there’s a store in Atlanta that is considering making ‘Elves from Catie’ a yearly charity project. Maybe the good merchants of Effingham County ought to beat them to the punch by declaring this year’s campaign the first of many to come! ‘Elves from Catie’ really are magic. Their magic is love. Renee Smith and Lori Aamoth created the elves and the whole concept behind them out of a deep love for children and families. Their offer to launch ‘Elves from Catie’ is an act of love that brings elfin magic to many sick children and funding to find a cure. The loving participation of parents, nurses and caregivers creates the elfin mischief and allows grownups to share in the holiday magic. The love of a community that joins with Tre’ and Jenny to honor the memory of their daughter by helping others like her is magic. “We could not have planned a better way to honor Catie’s memory,” said Jenny. “I can just see her sitting up on a cloud somewhere, giggling.”

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The Many


Dancing Nancy

16 December/January 2011-12 |Effingham Magazine



ost everybody in Effingham County knows about The Dancing Lady. She can be seen dancing and waving at different places along Highway 21, and her nonstop energized merrymaking elicits a lot of smiles from passersby. But just who is she and how in the world did she get a job like that? Her name is Nancy Powell and she came upon the job by chance. Like many Americans, she was looking for a job, any

job, and it was almost like providence opened the door for her. She heard that there was an opening for a “Liberty Tax Waver” at the Liberty Tax Service office in Savannah, and she thought she might like doing that. When she applied for the job she had to audition – “I had to put on the Miss Liberty costume, stand on the side of the road for half an hour and wave at people and everything, with our sign, Liberty Tax,” she said. “They watched how you worked out there, to see if you got any honks, or if people waved or

Effingham Magazine | December/January 2011-12 17

< NANCY POWELL has many different looks while dancig on the side of Highway 21.

whatever. Then they asked me how I felt about it - I was excited. I was just overjoyed,” she said. She worked in Savannah for a short time, then she became the “Liberty Tax Waver” for the Rincon office. That’s when most of us began to notice her, waving and dancing at Highway 21 near Krystal, wearing the Miss Liberty costume. Powell danced and waved for six to eight hours a day, taking a 15 minute break every two hours. She puts lots of effort into her dancing – she lost 26 pounds the first six weeks! It was obvious that she loved what she was doing, and the response to her was positive and overwhelming. It was income tax season, and while she was waving for Liberty Tax, they did a little over 300 returns. A lot of their business was because of Powell’s attraction. “Richard Barrero, manager at Liberty Tax, told me that out of the 300, I brought in 200 clients,” Powell said. When the tax season ended, Powell turned in her costume. “I love to dance,” she said, “and I cried when the season was over.” Richard wanted to be sure he’d get her back next year, and he let her keep the costume. “He calls me once a week and

says, ‘You’re coming back for me right?” and she assures him that she will, as she loves what she does. “How many people can go and do work that they like to do, get paid to do what they are doing and lose weight?” she asks. It sounds almost too good to be true. Dancing and waving have turned into a full-time business for her – “and that was never, ever in my wildest dreams,” she said. “I wasn’t looking to start a business. They found me.” Her business has grown to ten clients within six months, and she’s getting two more this week. She’s so busy she has a waiting list. After working for Liberty Tax, other businesses approached her. She dances and waves regularly for S & P Automotive, Cash for Gold and The Pit, and many times a business will hire her to dance for just a few hours, or for a couple of days. “I can’t believe how it has escalated,” she said. “I dance about six days a week for six to eight hours, and I’ve been in our St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Relay for Life, the July 4th Parade and the opening parade for the Effingham County Fair. What kind of music does she listen to? “Usually 107.9 FM,” she says, “but I flip the channels a lot.” She’ll dance to any kind of music, fast or slow. “It’s just finding the beat and going to the rhythm of the beat,” she said. Anyone who has seen Powell dance and wave knows that she is working hard out there. Doesn’t she get tired and want to stop? “Oh no,” she says, at least not until I get home and sit down for a few minutes. The one thing that keeps me going is my PowerAde – fruit punch only!” She usually has two or three bottles with her to sip on while she’s dancing. A lot of people comment on her energized dancing and waving, and some will shout to her as they’re driving down the road. “They’ll say ‘I want whatever it is you’ve got! Whatever it is you’re on!’ and trust me when I tell you, this is all natural, no additives, no preservatives. I am just naturally high on life!” “I’m a people person. I like to have a good time making people smile, and that’s the one thing that keeps me going. I get a lot of comments about, ‘You put a smile on my face’. If I can put a smile on only one person’s face, that’s worth a million bucks to me, and you can’t take that away.”

“I’m a people person. I like to have a good time making people smile, and that’s the one thing that keeps me going. If I can put a smile on only one person’s face, that’s worth a million bucks to me, and you can’t take that away.” 18 December/January 2011-12 | Effingham Magazine

“People honk and wave, and sometimes they want to stop and dance with me and take pictures.” She’s even gotten some wolf whistles and some shouts of ‘Hey Baby!’. “I had a girl stop by with her boyfriend, and they pulled over and she jumped out of the car and said, ‘All I want to do is dance with you!’ and I handed her a pair of pom poms and said ‘Let’s go! – and she was really good.” “All the people of Effingham are wonderful – all the honks and the toots – and it’s funny, because they’ll be coming down the road, and I can see their faces, and they’ll be looking to see if I’m there – they are just great!” She used to work at the Huddle House in Springfield and Rincon as a server. “It’s funny, because even when I was at work I was dancing, and they (the owners) thought it was awesome!” she said. Since she’s become The Dancing Lady, Powell did a one day event for Huddle House at their grand reopening. “I was dressed up in what they call the Huddle Huck.” It’s a football theme and the costume has a football jersey and helmet. Speaking of costumes, Powell has 16 different costumes that she wears, and when I went to her house for the interview, she had them piled high on the couch. Lady Luck had been with her recently. She went to a yard sale and bought 11 awesome professionally made costumes for $1 each. The lady with the yard sale used to have a dance studio, and she had costumes of all sizes priced at $3 each. She recognized Powel as The Dancing Lady and said, “It’s you isn’t it?! Oh, you can have the costumes for $1 each!” Needless to say, Powell was delighted, and she loves wearing different costumes. Sometimes she’ll be a hippy, a baseball player, or a genie, and she has a Joker outfit, a Viking outfit, and even what she calls ‘an American tu tu.’ Some of her costumes are black and slinky with long fringe and rhinestones, and of course she still has the Miss Liberty costume. Accessories for her costumes were laid out on her kitchen table. There was an array of hats, wigs, sunglasses, bracelets, rings and earrings, and most were decorated with sparkly stones, mostly rhinestones. “There’s lots of sparkly stuff,” I said. “Oh yea,” she replied with enthusiasm, “I like bling bling! I like stuff that sparkles and shines.” I didn’t know what bling bling was, but I do now – it’s sparkly stuff! When I left she gave me a big bling bling butterfly ring that I’ll have fun wearing. She was dressed to go to work in one of her new dance costumes - a sassy black dress with black tights covered with sparkly things. Her accessories were long dangling diamond earrings, a big sparkly butterfly ring, a really big bling bling bracelet, and of course, some dancing shoes. The Dancing Lady loves all the sparkly stuff, but no matter how much sparkly she puts on, it will never outshine her personality! She loves the people of Effingham and they love her. If you’ve taken any videos or pictures of Nancy, she would love to see them, and you can post them on facebook:, or you can call her at 912481-9846.

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Tom Barnes outside the front door of his art studio in Guyton.

22 December/January 2011-12 | Effingham Magazine

Artist Profile

Upon entering Tom Barnes’ art studio in downtown Guyton, a vibrant portrait of a lady stands to greet all who visit. “That’s Clarisse,” Barnes says, as though he were introducing an old friend.


That same painting, a watercolor close-up in Barnes’ signature style, has received quite a bit of attention recently. Clarisse has been chosen to be exhibited this December in the Carrousel du Louvre in Paris, France. And if that weren’t enough to make any artist proud, Barnes accomplished something even more impressive this year—He was chosen to become a member of the prestigious Society of Fine Arts. Barnes was raised in Jesup, Georgia, but says visiting Savannah with his grandmother, Lila, and her sister, Bess, really influenced his appreciation of art. “They took me to the Telfair Academy of Arts and Sciences in the 50s,” he recalls. “It was the first museum I ever saw.” And even though Barnes has always been artistic, he never really entertained the idea of becoming an artist. He worked for twenty-five years in the newspaper business before he began painting. “At some point it just seemed like a good idea to go to the library and get these books on watercolor,” he says. After that, he got some supplies and began teaching himself to paint. “It was really from just trying and experimenting that I realized there was something there and I would keep going with it,” he

Portrait of an Artist Photos by TODD WOOD

says. Barnes was forty years old at the time. One would hardly expect him to become an artist with his degree in Experimental Psychology, but then again, Barnes breaks the mold in many ways. He has a great sense of humor and jokes that his degree from UGA has virtually no relevance to his current career. “There are no answers to why,” he chuckles. “Again, it just seemed like a good idea at the time!”   In the past twenty years, Barnes has completed approximately 4,000 paintings. He is always eager to display his work, and his paintings have been

Effingham Magazine |

December/January 2011-12 23

Above and Left - Barnes working with watercolors, demonstrating some of the techniques he uses while creating his paintings.

Right - One wall of Barnes’ studio in Guyton showcases many of his works and commissioned pieces.

shown in numerous states throughout the country. Now he is particularly eager for his upcoming exhibit of Clarisse in Paris this December. Barnes’ style and method of painting watercolors is unique. The most common support for watercolor paintings, traditionally, is paper, but Barnes has been breaking the mold by painting watercolors on canvas. “It’s not the traditional watercolor idea, mainly because I’m self-taught,” he says. His artwork is extremely vibrant and colorful. The paintings of long neck ladies, with their exaggerated features and warped dimensions, are exotic and compelling. Even their jewelry comes to life with real 14K gold, which Barnes uses in his paintings to give them a little extra sparkle. The “long neck ladies” have become so popular that they are now known as Barnes’ signature paintings. Despite their popularity, however, Barnes tries to vary his subject matter as much as possible. He paints florals, stills and landscapes in addition to the “long neck ladies,” and is exquisitely adept at them all. “There can’t be a favorite, because I would always gravitate towards doing that,” he says. “I’ve trained myself to enjoy all of it.” He has painted thousands of pieces over the years, yet he still remembers the very first painting he ever sold. “It was

24 December/January 2011-12 | Effingham Magazine

tulips, and I didn’t like it, but I was very excited to sell it,” he recalls. Barnes says he is sometimes overcritical of his work, and he is constantly going back to pieces and assessing them. He says he learned something valuable in selling that first painting. “It taught me that, really, I’m probably the least equipped judge of my work,” he says with a laugh. Barnes maintains that lessons like these help him to grow as an artist. He is always trying to learn from the masters that came before him, and he is constantly studying art for inspiration and knowledge. He looks around the art- filled walls of his studio, and he seems to recall each brush stroke of his beloved paintings. While he talks passionately about his art and his experiences in learning his craft, his eyes come to a small painting of red flowers. “You see the big red flower in the middle?” he asks. “That was all there was to that painting for a while. It was just this red blob,” he explains. Barnes says he looked at that red blob for months and months before something finally occurred to him. He has held onto that “red blob” painting for 21 years now, and he proudly displays it in his studio. “It reminds me that there aren’t really any mistakes,” he says. “It reminds me that I learned one time that you can take a red blob and make a fairly attractive floral out of it. There’s just something about that lesson I learned.” With the success that Barnes has earned throughout his career, one might think his proudest accomplishment would be having a painting displayed in the Louvre or even becoming a

member of the Society of Fine Arts, but not for Tom Barnes. At the Children’s Hospital in Norfolk, Virginia, Barnes sold fifteen paintings in less than three hours for a fundraiser to benefit the hospital. When asked about the most memorable moment of his artistic career, he goes without hesitation and picks up a child’s painting and a plaque that was given to him as the hospital’s token of appreciation. Sarah, a 14-year-old cancer survivor, had painted her rendition of one of Barnes’ pieces. He says it was his proudest moment. “It was really the highlight—when you can do something that touches some kids,” he says. “That was special for me.” His passion for painting is visible in his eyes as he speaks of his art, and that intensity resonates in his every word. “Anything I paint is my favorite thing to paint,” says Barnes. “I love to paint. Period.” He genuinely appreciates the people who buy his art and credits them with affording him the opportunity to keep doing what he loves. “I always try to remember them and thank them generously and graciously, because if nobody bought the work, I would die penniless,” he says of his patrons. “And I certainly wouldn’t be able to be as free to do my work as I am.” He can paint almost anything to suit his patrons’ needs—he even does commissions. “It is not insulting to me to try to blend my art with your décor,” says Barnes. He guarantees satisfaction on his commissioned work, and he enjoys collaborating with patrons of his art. How much do his paintings usually bring in? “It’s about a buck eighty-seven a square inch,” Barnes says with a grin. When asked what the best part about painting is, Barnes enthusiastically says, “The most exciting thing in the world is a

blank canvas.” Since he never knows what the finished product will look like, Barnes says he looks forward to the process of watching it unfold. Paradoxically, he says the most difficult aspect of painting is also that blank canvas, but he always welcomes the challenge of filling it. Barnes says the best advice he can give is this: “Live your passion.” He believes we were all created for a purpose, and the least we could do with this life is to follow what we are truly passionate about. It may have taken him forty years to find what he was born to do, but when he found it, he never turned back. “When you’re teaching yourself and when you’re learning from what you’re doing, you’re never done,” says Barnes. “My plans for the future are to have a future and to continue to do this.” And the fans of Tom Barnes’ work know that he has a long and prosperous future ahead of him. He is a prolific painter with a unique style and superb talent, and the community looks forward to his coming success in Paris this December. For more information on Tom Barnes and his artwork, visit TOM BARNES SHOW SCHEDULE November 26-27

St. Augustine Arts Association Festival in St. Augustine, FL December 8-11 Societe Nationale des Beaux-Artes / Carrousel du Louvre in Paris, France

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TEEN Spotlight

Tackling the challenge of Diabetes • Story by BARBARA W. RUSSELL Photos by TODD WOOD •


ourteen year old Andrew Irish is a superb athlete and an honor roll student. Whether he’s playing football or competing in wrestling matches, he excels. But when he was hospitalized and diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, he thought that his days of playing sports were over. Labor Day Weekend 2009 – nothing seemed out of the ordinary for Andrew Irish when he went with his mother to get a hair cut – nothing except that he was really thirsty. He bought a soda and downed it, and it went right through him. Then he bought another with the same result. This seemingly unusual act concerned his mother, Jennifer Wright, who is a certified medical assistant and an EMT. She had also noticed that Andrew had been losing weight. She owed it to the fact that he was still growing, and that his football practices at Ebenezer Middle School were more strenuous than his practices at the Recreation Department. “When he went from Recreation Department football to middle school, his practices went from 2 times a week for 1 – 1 ½ hours, to everyday practices for 3 hours after school,” she said. “He had lost a lot of weight, but he was still growing.” She also thought that was the same reason why he had been more tired than usual after football practices, and Andrew said, “I’d come home from practice, shower and go to bed.” Andrew’s mother had tried to comprehend his fatigue and loss of weight, but that day when she also observed his excessive thirst and learned of his frequent urination, she recognized that he had the classic symptoms of diabetes: excessive thirst, frequent urination, weight loss and fatigue. She took him home to check his blood sugar levels, and they were extremely high. A normal count is 70-110, and his read 500. That was a dangerous level, but she thought maybe her test strips were old and the reading was incorrect, so she took him to the closest EMS to have them check – their result also read “high”. He was immediately taken to the emergency room at Memorial Hospital where he was diagnosed with Type I diabetes. Andrew was hospitalized for three days. “I’ll never be able to play sports again,” was all Andrew could think about as he lay in his hospital bed, hooked up to an IV. “It about broke my heart to know I’d never be able to play the sport I love (football) again,” said Andrew. “I was thinking of the game on Tuesday, and I was thinking I was going to be in the hospital and maybe never play again. I told my mom, and as soon as I told her she said, ‘Don’t worry, you’ll be able to play again,’ which I

28 December/January 2011-12 | Effingham Magazine

“I was thinking of the game on Tuesday, and I was thinking I was going to be in the hospital and maybe never play again. It about broke my heart to know that I’d never be able to play the sport I love again.” honestly didn’t believe her because I was laying in the hospital with an IV in my arm, pumping insulin in me, and checking my blood sugar. I believed her because she has knowledge of the medical field, but I was still thinking to myself that I wouldn’t be able to play.” ut his mother knows more about diabetes than just the symptoms – she knows that people with diabetes can lead normal lives and that playing sports can actually help control blood sugars. Andrew did play in the next football game. “He got out of the hospital on a Monday,” said his mother, “and played in a football game on Tuesday. He played almost the whole game and did fine.” How did it feel? “It felt amazing,” said Andrew. “I was back to the sport I loved. It was like my mom seeing me take my first steps – seeing me tackle the challenge and accomplishing something great.” “The coach was a little nervous,” said his mother, “but I told him the doctors said he could play – that physical activity is good for diabetics, and that my husband or I would be at every ball game, and there would be a blood sugar meter on the sidelines. So for two years of middle school football we were at every football game. I was allowed to be on the sidelines and that was fun.” How did Andrew feel about his mother being on the sidelines? “I liked it – she cheered and screamed loud. You could hear her above the crowd – she was the loudest one out there.” When football season ended Andrew was ready to begin


30 December/January 2011-12 | Effingham Magazine

another sport. He challenged himself again and tried something new – wrestling. “He always played basketball for the Recreation Department for the winter season,” said his mother, “and when he came home and said he wanted to try out for wrestling, I was kind of heartbroken because we’ve always enjoyed basketball so much, and he tried out for wrestling and enjoyed it.” Not only did he enjoy it, he excelled in it. In the 8th grade, he was a first year wrestler, and he got the most wins in a middle school wrestling competition. He also placed in the Regional level of wrestling which qualified him to wrestle at state. This year Andrew began 9th grade at ECHS. He’s had diabetes for two years now but he has continued to be a strong football player. He played JV football, first string at defensive end, all season, and of course, his parents are always there to support him. “It’s harder for me this year in high school,” said his mother, “I don’t have that connection - I have to sit in the bleachers this year….they have an athletic trainer so….” Her voice holds disappointment and trails off as she speaks, but I’m sure that at the games she’s still one of the loudest ones yelling. o learn to live with diabetes, Andrew had to learn how to give himself four shots a day in either his abdomen or the back of his arms. He also has to check his blood sugars regularly, especially before strenuous activity, and he had to learn how to recognize symptoms of his blood sugar being high or low. “I check my blood sugar whenever I get shaky or cold sweats,” said Andrew. “My teammates help out a lot with that, cause they can tell me when I get cold sweats.” “I had to educate my teammates,” said Andrew. “They just


noticed I was drinking and eating a lot before practice, and they’d see me checking my blood sugar, and they’d ask me what I was doing. At first they were ‘creeped out’ but then when they found out what I was doing, they thought it was kind of cool.” iabetes can be a difficult disease to control. At first Andrew was taking four shots of insulin a day, but he’s done so well that now he takes three shots a day. “Kids with diabetes can be educated about it,” said Andrew. “They still can play sports. It still affects them, but not as much as they think. All you have to do is be prepared for the worst.” Being an excellent athlete is not Andrew’s only area of accomplishment -he’s also an excellent student. He’s on the “A” Honor Roll, and he has already decided that he wants to have a career in some area of agriculture, possibly landscaping, and he’s already laying a foundation for that career. He won 2nd in the FAA state competition for Floriculture - identifying plants, and diseases of plants, and parts of plants. He also won Area this year for floral design, and is going to State for it on December 3rd. He’s certainly a well-rounded and versatile young man, and he can bench press 265 pounds? Andrew has had diabetes for two years. Yes, his life has changed, but he has pushed himself to succeed in sports and academics, and he hopes to be an inspiration to others. He’s only at the beginning of his high school years, but he looks to the future and he’s determined to continue being an outstanding athlete, and he continues to challenge himself. “I plan to go throughout football season, to wrestling season, to soccer season and to make state in all the sports,” he said, “and I’m going to go to college and play football for LSU and get a degree in the agricultural field.” That’s quite an aspiration for any high school athlete, but his confidence and ability is also recognized by Effingham High School’s head football coach, Rick Tomberlin: “Andrew is one of our brightest and most promising freshman football players. Andrew is tough, works hard and is a real team player. He has worked his way up from a JV substitute to the Major alternate status on our Varsity Defense. I expect him to continue working hard on the football field, in the weight room, in the classroom and as a leader in the hallways at ECHS. Andrew has a very bright future and I fully expect him to develop into an outstanding student athlete and have a chance to play college football one day.” Those words will be sure to inspire Andrew as he continues to be an inspiration to others.


Symptoms of Diabetes: Excessive thirst Frequent urination Fatigue Weight loss •As of 2000, at least 171 million people worldwide have diabetes, or 2.8% of the population. • Insulin is the principal hormone that regulates uptake of glucose from the blood into most cells (primarily muscle and fat cells, but not central nervous system cells). Therefore deficiency of insulin or the insensitivity of its receptors plays a central role in all forms of diabetes.

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The best foods in Effingham G reat

Mexico City Restaurant Mexico City Restaurant in Rincon has been serving up authentic Mexican cuisine since 2003. Owner Juan Alonzo and Manager Alfredo Alonzo have created an exceptional dining experience with old family recipes and new original creations. Customers continually give it rave reviews. “Once they come here, they’re hooked!” said Alfredo. The Alonzo family came to Georgia from Texas in 1973. The family had been in construction when that market stalled, so they moved to Atlanta, where an aunt and uncle opened a To Advertise Mexican restaurant. Juan and in the dining Alfredo’s mother worked in the guide, or to kitchen at that first restaurant. find out how Since then, the family, to get your including brothers, sisters and restaurant, cousins, has built an empire pub or bar listed please that would make Montezuma envious. Various family call Julie at (912)657- members own and operate multiple establishments in 4120 or seven southeastern states, each Lane at (912)677with its own distinctive name. 6526 First off, can they get you something to drink? Oh, yeah! The full service bar yields the tastiest, most refreshing margaritas around. The cerveza selection includes a wide variety of popular domestic beers, like Bud, Bud Light, Coors, Coors Light, and Michelob Ultra. For the authentic Mexico City experience, there’s no substitute for beers brewed south of the border. An ice-cold Corona, Corona Light, Do Equis, Negra Modelo, Modelo Especial, or Tecate, is just the thing to ready your taste buds for the fiesta to follow. Mexico City’s amazing appetizers make that beer or margarita go down so smooth. Start with extraordinary renditions of these popular favorites: Nachos, cheese dip, cheese dip with chorizo, bean dip, guacamole dip, fajita nachos, hot wings, and quesadillas. Order another round of cool libations and you’re ready for the feature presentation. It’s always festive at Mexico City. As one would expect, Mexico City Restaurant offers the standard fare of Enchiladas, Tacos, Burritos–standard perhaps,

32 December/January 2011-12 | Effingham Magazine


but never ordinary. Nobody does these favorites like the cooks at Mexico City. But it’s the specialty dishes that turn dining at Mexico City into love at first bite. One of the most popular and distinctive menu items is the Acapulco Chimichanga. Cruise on into your favorite port-of-call with this deep fried flour tortilla filled with an amazing blend of shrimp, mushrooms, spinach, and cheese dip. It’s an explosion of flavor! People are getting hooked on fish tacos all over the country, and nowhere are they tastier than at Mexico City. Two flour tortillas are filled with grilled whole fish fillets and pico de gallo, and served with a side of rice and beans. The Grilled chicken platters turn first-time customers into regulars with the very first bite. For a Caribbean vacation on a plate, it’s Pollo Cozumel. It is an unforgettable experience. A grilled chicken breast is stuffed with shrimp, mushrooms, spinach, cheese, and covered with Mexico City’s flavorful chipotle cream sauce, and served with rice and steamed vegetables. Grilled Chicken Chipotle Pasta is an artful blend of cultures. Grilled chicken breast is smothered in chipotle cream sauce, served over linguini, and topped with parmesan cheese. Mexico City Dip is a delicious cheese dip platter with chicken, steak and shrimp, topped with Pico de gallo and served with flour tortillas. And yes, there are amazing vegetarian selections, like the favorite Mushroom and Spinach Quesadilla with rice, lettuce, tomato, and sour cream. Did you save room for dessert? You’d better! Complete your with Mexico City dining experience with a decadent Cheesecake

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Effingham Magazine | December/January 2011-12



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34 December/January 2011-12 | Effingham Magazine

Visit Us At

Worship Directory Bethel Lutheran Church 1984 Highway 21 N., Springfield (912) 754-6561 Rev. Dr. Robert LeFavi

Faith Baptist Church 1951 Highway 119 S., Guyton (912) 772-6259 • (912) 663-0044 Dr. Calvin Bradley, Pastor

Gateway Community Church at Ebenezer Elementary 1198 Ebenezer Road, Rincon Andy Lamon, Pastor

Jerusalem Evangelical Lutheran Church 2966 Ebenezer Road, Rincon (912) 754-3915 Rev. John Barichivich

Springfield United Methodist Church 210 Cleveland Street, Springfield (912) 754-6646 If you wold like you church lited in our Worship Directory, please call us at 826-2760 for details.

Bethel Lutheran Church Biblically-Based Christ-Centered Mission-Minded 140-year history

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Call for holiday worship times. 754-6561 36 December/January 2011-12 | Effingham Magazine


Holiday Worship Services November 27 6 PM Hanging of the Greens Service Springfield United Methodist Church November 30 6:15 PM Jerusalem Lutheran Church Advent Vespers and Meals in the social hall, worship following in the sanctuary


December 7 6:15 PM Jerusalem Lutheran Church Advent Vespers and Meals in the social hall, worship following in the sanctuary December 11 6 PM Children’s Musical “C.H.R.I.S.T.M.A.S. The Mystery of the Missing Manger” Springfield United Methodist Church December 14 6:15 PM Jerusalem Lutheran Church Advent Vespers and Meals in the social hall, worship following in the sanctuary

December 18 6 PM Christmas Cantata “Hope is Born Emmanuel”- Springfield United Methodist Church December 21 6:15 PM Jerusalem Lutheran Church Advent Vespers and Meals in the social hall, worship following in the sanctuary December 24 5 PM Candlelight Service Springfield United Methodist Church 10:30PM Christmas Eve Service Jerusalem Lutheran Church December 25 10 AM Sunday Morning Worship Springfield United Methodist Church 10 AM Christmas Day Service Jerusalem Lutheran Church

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Sundays @ 10:00 am Effingham Magazine |

December/January 2011-12 37



Looking Forward

s we prepare to enter a new year most of us try to take project at the state and/or federal level would provide industrial stock of the past year and plan for the upcoming. I prospects with a level of assurance that we believe would almost have recently been thinking about our wish list for immediately attract new investment to the area. the upcoming year and our achievements over the The Transportation Investment Act (TIA) of 2010 will put past year. There are many things that would provide Effingham the future of Georgia’s transportation in the hands of the voters County help in recruiting new industry and help our existing next summer via referendum. Each region will decide locally industries expand. Some of these things are within our control whether the region will implement a one cent sales tax for local while many are not. There are also many accomplishments to and regional projects. All of the region’s collected funds will stay take pride in which will provide us with a within that region. Effingham County has two better competitive stance. major transportation projects on the regional list that will impact our ability to promote I will begin by pointing out a few of the Industrial Development Authority’s and develop two major industrial sites. accomplishments this past year. We have The Georgia Portway (formerly Effingham refinanced our debt to insure the most Parkway) is a limited access four-lane flexibility for attracting industry to our divided highway that will extend through the properties while achieving the best market county from Interstate 95 at Jimmy DeLoach rates available. We have launched a new Parkway to Highway 119 and eventually to professionally designed website to aid in Highway 21 north of Springfield. This project attracting new investment to our community. runs through the heart of the 2,600 acre We have both attained Georgia Ready Research Forest and adjacent to Effingham for Accelerated Development (GRAD) County IDA’s potential mega site featuring certification on our Governor Treutlen dual-rail capabilities. The other major project manufacturing site and prepared the site to is the Interstate 16 interchange with Old be truly shovel-ready. We have worked with River Road adjacent the Effingham IDA’s our partners to achieve designation as a Work Interstate 16 industrial tracts. That project Ready community. Additionally, we have will provide a much needed improvement issued the first contract for construction of upon the existing interchange and road infrastructure (water tower) on our Interstate improvements to Effingham’s only Interstate John Henry IDA Chief Executive Officer 16 properties. interchange. As Effingham County will be a beneficiary county upon approval of the We have worked and continue to work with many prospects. Though the competition is much fiercer, referendum, we will be watching this one closely. we have seen several much larger projects in the market this The Georgia Competitiveness Initiative is bringing state year at a greater frequency than over the past twenty four government and the business community together at the months. It seems to take much longer of a process now for request of Governor Nathan Deal to gain input and to develop industries to decide and negotiate a new site. We have been a long-term strategy for the state’s economic development working with a couple of projects going on two years now. efforts. We are hoping to see practical changes to the state’s Industry expansion overall seems to be picking up some tier status system that deems Effingham County to be a momentum. We must continue to strive to have an inventory comparatively wealthy county and prevents us from being able of readily available sites with adequate infrastructure to attract to access the same statutory economic incentives as all of our new jobs. Prospect activity appears to be very promising, but the immediate neighboring counties. The inequality created puts economic conditions and capital markets still pose a significant our community at a distinct disadvantage against not only our hurdle. neighbors, but lessens our competitiveness against communities throughout the southeast. We will be watching to see what Our wish list for the next year consists primarily of several large issues being resolved to the point where they provide some legislative priorities arise from this initiative in January. reliability. Of those issues the Savannah Harbor deepening The next year will be a big year for us. We certainly hope project, the regional transportation funding referendum, and the that the nation will turn the corner and shake off the malaise State of Georgia’s Competitiveness Initiative outcomes are at the wrought upon us by the “Great Recession”. All in all we have top of the list. had a very productive year and plan for 2012 to be even more productive. We will be running numbers in January to get a A majority of the industrial projects that we have been involved with over the past couple years are port dependent and better statistical representation of what has happened in our a larger majority of the large scale manufacturing operations community over the preceding twelve months. For now, we are port dependent. One of the greatest assets to attract will keep pushing forward as we continue to move in the right industry that Effingham County has is the proximity to the direction. Port of Savannah. The future of the ports in Savannah will As always, please feel to contact me at help to determine the economic future of our county and our or visit our website at region. A firm commitment to funding the harbor deepening

38 December/January 2011-12 | Effingham Magazine

S hop LocaL Shop Effingham La Dee Da Gnann’s Fix-It Butterducks Winer y New Life Flowers & Gifts Teach Right Madrac Farms The Salon at McCall Plaza Green Gables Antiques and Gifts Merle Norman Cosmetic Studios Low Countr y Baseball and Softball Academy Von Sauna Salon Glaze Yawn’s Gym The Loft Cafe Sweet Peas Noah’s Ark Wiley ’s One Of A Kind Design Curiosity Shoppe Twinkle Twinkle Little Shop Simple Things by Tammy Lovett ’s Tradin’ Post Sweet Peas Ever After Bridal Yawn’s Karate Medicap Pharmacy Live Oak Public Librar y Effingham Chamber of Commerce

Chamber calls in reinforcements for Shop Local Campaign Story by CLARK BYRON he Effingham County Chamber’s annual Shop Local campaign is an important event for local businesses. Its continuing theme is to raise consumer awareness of what local businesses have to offer, and keep dollars local. But Chamber director, Rick Lott, admits the results over the years have been a bit spotty. “We keep trying different things to see if we can hit on something that really seems to work that hasn’t in the past,” said Lott. “We just keep going year to year to see what we find.” Lott and the Chamber really need this year’s event to be a big success, so they’ve called in the Infantry. Right now, an entire brigade of little green elves in lockstep is drawing nearer. Their mission: Take the entire area for Catie–and take it by storm! It’s called, Operation Elf-ingham, or just Elf-ingham for short. Of course, we’re talking about little Catie Wilkins, young daughter of Tre and Jenny Wilkins, who succumbed to brain cancer in 2007. The cover story in this issue tells their story. It explains why these elves are not ordinary plush toys. Catie’s elf was her constant companion during her three-year battle with cancer. What we didn’t know is that he was also running recon for the Elfin Army, scouting out Effingham County and relaying the information back to his headquarters in South Carolina. The Chamber of Commerce finalized the battle plan and now the troops have been deployed. This is what we know so far: The elves are coming because it’s getting close to Christmas. They are coming en masse to invade as many local stores and shops as they can. Ultimately, their plan is to occupy the area by taking up residence with little children. This is what our intelligence forecasts: When the elves have


40 December/January 2011-12 | Effingham Magazine

gained a stronghold in the stores and shops, they will draw curious shoppers from all over the county. In the process, hundreds, if not thousands of local residents will discover treasures heretofore unknown to them, right in their own community. Almost everything they could ever want or need is available here, and there are many unique and one-of-akind items that just can’t be had anywhere else. Shoppers will understand that there is no need to spend their money elsewhere. They will gladly surrender. The elves are coming thanks to the generous cooperation of their makers, David and Renee Smith, owners of Host an Elf. The company is located in Chapin, South Carolina, near Columbia. These particular elves are called ‘Elves from Catie.’ These elves are great fun for children of all ages. Many go to comfort sick children in pediatric hospitals around the country. Five dollars from every elf purchase goes to CURE Childhood Cancer in Atlanta. Tre and Jenny chose them. Elf-ingham kicks off on November 20 at the annual Holiday Classic and Business Expo. The expo will take place at Effingham High School on Sunday, November 20, from noon to 4 p.m. There will be live entertainment from local dance groups. The 4-H Club will provide a mouthwatering meal, and there will

Pictured left and above - Catie Wilkins, the inspiration behind Operation Elf-ingham.

be many booths showcasing area businesses. “We hope that a lot of elves get sold because of the cancer research connection,” said Lott. “But our real goal here is for our merchants to do well and for more of our county residents to get used to the idea of shopping local.” The Chamber chair and president, Brooke Burns Graham, is leading the charge. Graham is visiting local vendors. In addition to encouraging merchants to carry the elves, Graham is listening to local business people. The Chamber is always looking for ways to serve the business community more effectively. Over the past decade, Effingham County has ranked sixth in the nation in fastest growing mid-sized counties, and in the top 80 of all U.S. counties in rapid growth. This expansion will continue and even escalate. Among other things, this means that the availability of goods and services that can be obtained locally will only grow. That’s why people need to get in the habit of looking here first. What’s more, many merchants in the county have treasures you just can’t find anywhere else. For example, Effingham County is rich with some of the finest and most imaginative gift shops. These shops are extremely proud to offer the wares of local artisans. From food and wine, to jewelry and needlework, to candles and soaps, to children’s clothing and toys, Effingham can offer these and most of the ordinary things people need.

“Maybe you can’t get everything you need here,” said Lott, “but there’s a lot more that people can get here than they could 15 or 20 years ago.” Some people like to browse and buy from the comfort of their own home. If you prefer to shop online, no problem. Most local merchants offer this option. And you can probably save on shipping if you want to swing by and pick up your purchase next time you’re out-and-about. When dollars stay in the community, locally owned businesses thrive. This means jobs–jobs that are provided, not by some company with its home office in Toledo, but by our own friends and neighbors right here in Effingham County. In spite of the devastating economic downturn and record unemployment rates, there are communities across the country with substantially lower unemployment. Why? Because they have found ways to keep their dollars in the community. This not only bolsters local businesses, it keeps more tax revenue local, where it directly benefits the citizens who pay it. Elf-ingham stands to become one of the more successful Chamber campaigns. Go get an elf and share it with a child who will enjoy it. Help eradicate childhood cancer. Do so by going into a locally owned business, especially one you don’t know much about. Discover the bounty of the county: Our local business community.

Effingham Magazine |

December/January 2011-12 41


La Dee Da...

a children’s boutique As a mother of six and daughter of a former New York fashion buyer, Julie Lanham is no stranger to kids or fashion. “Kids are fun and unique and their style should reflect that.” La Dee Da is a children’s boutique known for it’s whimsical decor, unparallelled selection and supreme customer service. “Our goal is to provide our families with quality children’s products at affordable prices”. La Dee Da has added furnishings, bedding and decor to their inventory and will offer a larger selection for boys and increased sizes for girls, beginning spring 2012. Simone Curry, Julie’s mother and store manager says, “We strive to meet the needs of our moms and grand moms and offer styles ranging from trendy and chic to simple and classic”. The boutique boasts a playroom, monogram services, and easy layaway plan. “We understand our parents and grandparents work hard and our goal is to provide them with value, convenience and a pleasant shopping experience- it’s that simple”. Located at the Goshen Park Plaza, Next to Milano and Baibry’s 135 Goshen Road Ext. • Suite 106 • Rincon, GA 31326 (912) 295-5470

Gnann’s fix-it 1015 South Laurel St. • Springfield, GA 31329

(912) 754-3745 “LOCaL BUsinEssEs REinVEst in tHE LOCaL ECOnOMY 60% MORE tHan CHains.”

Founded in 1964 by Bowers Gnann Jr., Gnann’s Fix-It Shop repaired lamps and small home appliances. As we all know, times have long since changed. Now, in our throwaway society, people don’t try to repair such things anymore. Service shops like these rapidly disappeared. Gnann’s Fix-It Shop was able to change with the times. The company has grown considerably in its 47-year history. Brothers Clarence and Charlie Gnann now run the family business that their father started so long ago. The shop employs eight and specializes in the sale and repair of lawn equipment and ATVs. With the holiday season approaching, the Gnann brothers are stocking up on ATV’s. They carry well known models such as ARCTIC CAT and Eton. ARCTIC CAT has great financing plans available. They also have several great factory rebates. Gnann’s Fix-It wants to make your Holiday Shopping as easy and convenient as possible. They offer an inhouse lay-away plan... and they will even store your purchase for free until Christmas Eve! So come on by and do your Holiday Shopping at Gnann’s.

utterducks Winery is a small farm winery owned and operated by Bill & Barbara Utter. What may have started as a hobby has turned in the love of wine and winemaking. Our goal is to make fine wines from 100% Georgia Grown fruit and grapes. We take great pride in using only Georgia Grown. We have an extensive wine collection including Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon along with Blueberry, Blackberry, Muscadine, Scuppernong, and our Gold Medal winning Sweet Peach Wine just to name a few. A total of twenty different wines ranging from dry all the way to Super Sweet. You are sure to find a wine that suits your tastes. We have a gift shop and tasting room at the winery which provides you with a unique experience of tasting the wines before you purchase them. Our gift shop is full of wine related items such as picnic baskets, wine chocolates, cheese and crackers, candles, cork pullers along with custom made gift baskets for every occasion. With the holidays coming, we have expanded days and hours for your shopping needs. We are now open Thursdays through Christmas! Open Thursday, Friday & Saturday from 11:00 am - 5:00 pm and open Sunday 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm. Expanded days and hours through the holiday season, see our website for a complete list of shopping days.

ButterduckS WINerY

3332 Blue Jay Road Guyton, Georgia 31312 (912) 728-WINE




New Life Flowers & Gifts It looks a lot like Christmas already at New Life Flowers & Gifts. Trees are up, wreaths are hanging, lights are blinking and the magic is in the air. Stephanie Long, owner, and her staff are excited about the upcoming season and ready to serve you with your holiday shopping. In addition to the regular holiday items, New Life Flowers & Gifts also has “Elf On The Shelf” items. And, don’t forget they carry a great line of Woodwick Candles, Willow Tree Figurines, plush animals, monogrammed items and an entire Georgia Bulldog section. New Life also offers on site decorating. “I’m out at one of my largest clients for three solid weeks at Christmas,” said Stephanie. “We put up about 40 Christmas trees each year there and 200 wreaths,” said Stephanie. So, for a full service holiday experience, visit the staff at New Life.

New Life FLOWERS & GIFTS 826-4261 • Hwy 21 • Rincon

Teach Right is the “go-to” shop in Rincon for parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles who are looking for unique educational toys and games for the children in their lives. The shop specializes in educational resources for students aged 0 – 10. Teach Right’s owner, Marian Hodge, is proud of their selection. The shop carries Usborne Books, Peter Pauper Scratch and Sketch and Carol Marsh Mysteries. They have puzzles by Ravensburger and Melissa & Doug, craft kits from the Orb Factory and space age ant farms from Fascinations. The shop has a great stock of puppets, wooden train sets and classic toys for the preschool set. The list goes on and on. A few of their bigger items are art easels, doll houses, shopping carts and wooden blocks. Oh, let’s not forget the games: Pressman, Blue Orange, Smethport, Lauri, Wonder Forge, Fat Brain… games that encourage creative thinking. If you are searching for the perfect gift, Teach Right has it. Beyond educational toys and games, Teach Right has gifts for your child’s teacher. While you shop the children have a children’s play area all their own. Don’t forget to buy your Elves from Catie at Teach Right!

586 S. Columbia Ave., Unit 11 • Rincon, GA 31326 Behind Subway and Sonic


with Madrac FarMs

Madrac FarMs

580 Ralph Rahn Rd. • Rincon, GA 31326 (912)704-7651

The Salon at McCall Plaza offers full-service hair care, including cut-and-style, color, perms and more. The Salon serves men, women and children. Owner Debbie Sykes takes great pride in the family friendly atmosphere. Naturally, women enjoy it but so does the rest of the family. “Men are very comfortable in our salon,” she said. “We serve a lot of men.” There’s also a Kids Room where kids can watch a DVD while mom or dad gets their hair done. “We run a lot of specials in this tight economy,” said Debbie. “And we have great specials for the holiday season. We have gift certificates available, gift sets, blow dryers, flat irons, and an array of Paul Mitchell products! Come by and see us for some special holiday purchases!”

6014 GA Hwy 21 S. • Rincon, GA 31326

(912) 826-3791

Christmas tree and sit with Santa Claus at the same time?” said Melissa Reagan. “We’ve taken that concept and just gone a few steps further.” A lighted hayride, roasting pits for marshmallows, Christmas music and entertainment, Santa, and even a 15-minute light show will top off festivities at the farm. Admission is just $5 to enjoy A Country Christmas. Visit for more information, or check out their Facebook page for daily updates - Madrac Farms, Rincon, GA.


A Country Christmas

“We just want to create a place where families and friends can start new holiday traditions, and make great memories.” That’s just one of the mottos that Madrac Farms owners Melissa and Guerry Reagan have when it comes to their farming business. In it’s first year, the farm has made a splash with its produce delivery service, and had over 1200 visitors with Effingham County’s first and only real pumpkin patch. Business has been so good; they’ve extended their offerings at the farm, with their first Christmas festival - A Country Christmas. Beginning on December 2, Madrac Farms will offer a festive, family atmosphere to celebrate the season. Georgiagrown Christmas trees and Fraser Firs from North Carolina will be for sale through the month of December, but what the Reagans are most excited about it is the festival held each Friday and Saturday night in December. “Where else in Effingham can you go to purchase your

Shopping Experience...

• Holiday Gifts • Ornaments • Byrd Christmas Cookies • Tervis Tumblers • Mud Pie • Lindsey Phillips • Monogramming • Much More!

Guyton’s Little Shop On The Corner...


Your local Merle Norman Cosmetics Studio is the perfect one-stop location to look your best at all of this season’s holiday parties. The Merle Norman Winter 2011 Color Collection and holiday gifts have arrived just in time for the hustle and bustle of the season. Along with the introduction of the new “Hussy Perfume”, we are excited to offer our customers a large selection of Brighton Jewelry, Holiday Dresses, Holiday Sweaters, Monogrammed Scarves, Fashion Jewelry, Spanx, and Purses, all to please that special person in your life. Complementary gift wrapping is available for all your holiday purchases. You are invited to call for an appointment for your special holiday makeover.

Gables Antiques & Gifts 200 Central Blvd. Guyton, GA 31312

(912) 433-0053 Hours: Tues-Thurs 11:00 - 5:30 Fri 11:00 - 6:00 Sat 11:00 - 4:00

Lowcountry Baseball & Fast Pitch Softball Academy is Effingham County’s choice for maximizing the skills of young players. The Academy serves boys and girls, ages 8 to 18, with the finest in power hitting, high-velocity baseball pitching, and overall agility training. The Academy boasts seven batting cages. Several training options are available, including team training and one-on-one instruction by the lesson or through the All Star Package, which offers discounts for ongoing instruction. The academy offers velocity classes twice weekly to those wanting to improve arm strength, power and speed. Velocity training also improves bat speed.

Merle Norman Cosmetics and Boutique 163 Commercial Drive, Rincon GA. MaryJane Brinson, owner (912) 826-1101

Von’ Sauna Salon


For Your Holiday

Lowcountry Baseball & Fast Pitch Softball Academy welcomes teams to come and work out. Hours are Monday through Thursday 4 - 9 p.m. Friday through Sunday by appointment. Lowcountry Baseball offers gift certificates for the holiday season. Come by and pick one up for your favorite young player.

Lowcountry Baseball & Fast Pitch Softball Academy 606 Laurel Street, Springfield, GA 31329

(912) 695-5296

gift certificates available Von’ Sauna Salon 171 Commercial Dr. Rincon, GA 31326 (912) 826-1124



Yawn’s Fitness Center oF rinCon

Full Gym featuring free weights, machines, cardio equipment and more! Personal trainer and exercise Classes available

over 7,500 sq feet of workout space (Purchased equipment from former Body works)

(912) 826-5008

250 Chimney road, rincon, Ga 31326 Gift CErtifiCatEs availablE fOr Christmas

OPEN 24/7

Stuff Your Stocking And Your StomAch With Gift Certificates From The Loft! (912) 826-5733

135 Goshen Park • Suite 130 • Rincon, GA 31326

For All Your Holiday Needs...


Boarding Small & medium-Sized dogS Grooming Tues-Sat 9-5 All Natural Grooming Materials Christmas Portraits Being Taken Again This Year, Call For Appointment! Serving Effingham County for 15 Years

826-7387 • 165 Commerical Drive • Rincon,GA

Vaughan Bassett - Elkin, North Carolina Carolina Furniture - Sumter, South Carolina Hinkle Chair Co - High Point, North Carolina Eagle Industries - Bowling Green, Kentucky Southern Motion - Pontotoc, Mississippi Country Expressions - Double Springs, Alabama Serta - Grovetown, Georgia Restmaster - N. Augusta, South Carolina Best - Ferdinand, Indiana England - New Tazwell, Tennessee

912-826-2932 Hwy 21 North, Rincon Just South Of The Effingham YMCA

Home Center


We Buy AmericAn So You Can Too!


See Our New

Christmas Room!

Curiosity Shoppe Jewelers 210 N. Columbia Ave. (Hwy 21) Rincon, Ga 31326

(912)826-5885 Monday-Saturday 9-6 Special Holiday Hours: Open until 7PM every Thursday in December Open Sunday December 18 2PM-5PM

• New & Vintage Furniture • Antiques • Home Accessories 105 N. Laurel Street, Springfield • (912) 754-0042 email:

Christmas OpeN HOuSe

December 1-3, 2012 Thurs 5PM-7PM Fri & Sat 9AM-6PM

Select Christmas Items, Dickens & Snowvillage 50%OFF Lenox - Spend $100, receive $20 rebate

Door prizes • Refreshments

Twinkle Twinkle Little Shop is a locally owned children’s consignment shop carrying name brand children’s clothing, maternity and baby equipment for local moms who enjoy the thrill of finding high end fashion for their children at awesome prices! We provide a wide range of items including children’s and infants’ toys and accessories. We also have maternity clothing and furniture for babies, children, and teens. There is a whole room dedicated to school uniforms, carrying every school’s colors, and a room full of nothing but toys, toys and more toys!

Hand-Made Gifts For The Holidays • Bibs • Toys • Diaper Bags • Purses • Children’s Clothing

Now Offering Quilting and Sewing Classes

“Simple Things” by Tammy

Embroidery, Leather Work, Alterations, Patches, etc. Custom made - Formal & Casual, Infants to adults Come See Our Antiques 107 A N. Laurel Street • Springfield, GA 31329






(912) 826-2461 5519 McCall Road Rincon, GA


Shop Lovett’S for all your ARIAt gifts this Christmas Season! Western and english Boots and Apparel


BRIDAL GOWN SALE (20 to 50% OFF) Saturday, December 3rd 9AM - 4PM

Ever After Bridal Full Service Bridal Boutique

754-1696 • 102 N. Laurel St. Springfield

Martial arts...


Great for Kids!


fun resPeCt DisCiPline Positive attituDe

sign up today!

Yawn’s Professional Karate & fitness Center of rinCon 250 Chimney Rd, Rincon, GA 31326


Gift Certificates Available For Christmas!

Amy Jacobs, PharmD Pharmacist/Owner Diabetic Certified, Immunization Specialist Medicap offers a full range of prescription and over-the-counter medications, nutritional and vitamin supplements, and many other health maintenance products. There’s a convenient drive-thru window. Flu shots are also available. You’ll find a variety of home health products, and a complete line of durable medical equipment. The pharmacy carries a full line of diabetes care items, such as diabetic shoes, testing supplies and hosiery. Medicap can file Medicare Part B and Part D claims for covered items and accepts all insurances. Amy conducts monthly diabetes education classes. Soon, she’ll be adding a heart

healthy class where attendees learn effective ways to maintain heart health. For your convenience, there is a digital photo processing machine and dry cleaning drop-off and pick-up service. The store also carries a selection of greeting cards. Medicap has many loyal customers because of the expert care, personal attention, and competitive prices they receive from Amy and her staff. When all you need is a great pharmacy, you can avoid the clutter and confusion of those other national drug store chains and go right to the source, pharmacist Amy Jacobs. Come by and meet Amy and her staff and expereince the Medicap difference.

We’ll always make time for you. 1 Hidden Creek Drive • Guyton, GA (912) 772-9100 Hours: Mon-Fri 9-6 • Saturday 9-1:30

Adopt a library book Adopt a library book to remember honor to remember or or honor someone special. someone special. With your donation With your donation of $25, thethe library of $25, library willwill buybuy a book to to a book be be placed in a placed inbranch a branch of your choice, with aa of your choice, with book plate indicating book plate indicating both donor and honoree. both donor and honoree. Purchase a leaf forfor $100 ononThe TheGiving GivingTree Treeatatthe theSouthwest Southwest Chatham Chatham Branch Branch Purchase a leaf $100 Library. TheThe library is is our newest Library. library our newestbranch, branch,located locatednext nextto toSavannah Savannah Mall. Mall. Or,Or, make your end-of-year and make your end-of-yeardonation donationtotothe thelibrary libraryand andhelp help fund fund programs programs and services all all year long! services year long! ForFor information: 912-652-3605 information:

Online donations: Online donations:

RinconLibrary Library Rincon

Storytimes Storytimes E-books E-books Dog Days Reading Dog Days ReadingPrograms Programs Guest GuestAuthors Authors Summer SummerReading ReadingProgram Program Savannah Children’s Book Savannah Children’s Book Festival Festival Auto AutoRepair RepairManuals Manuals Online Online GA GAState StatePark ParkPasses Passes and andmuch muchmore! more!

17thStreet Street&&Hwy. Hwy.21, 21,Rincon Rincon 17th (912)826-2222 826-2222 (912) Hours: Hours: Mon10-7; 10-7;Tue Tue2-6; 2-6; Mon Wed, Fri & Sat 10-6; Wed, Fri & Sat 10-6; Thu&&Sun SunCLOSED CLOSED Thu

SpringfieldLibrary Library Springfield 810Hwy. Hwy.119 119S.,S.,Springfield Springfield 810 (912) 754-3003 (912) 754-3003 Hours: Hours: Mon 2-6; Tue10-7; 10-7; Mon 2-6; Tue Wed 10-2; Thu 10-6; Wed 10-2; Thu 10-6; Fri,Sat Sat&&Sun SunCLOSED CLOSED Fri,


Thisholiday holidayseason, season,please please paws paws This momentto toconsider consider a amoment giftsthat thatbenefit benefit gifts yourpublic publiclibrary. library. your

Elf-ingham Holiday Shopping Tour Shop LOCAL This Holiday Season It’s almost time for the Holidays and we would like to invite you to SHOP LOCAL and get your Holiday gifts here in Effingham county. There are so many choices to be found right here in Effingham. While you’re out shopping Effingham, look for stores participating in the ‘Elfingham’ Shopping Tour. Select Chamber member’s stores will feature Christmas Elves and sales of the loveable elves and books support childhood cancer research by C.U.R.E. This great program was begun right here in Effingham County, when Tre and Jenny Wilkins lost their precious Catie to cancer. Catie loved her little elf and someone you love will too. Give a fun gift and help find cures for childhood cancers at the same time. So look for the ‘Elfingham’ signs and get your Elf now! This Holiday season, make someone happy and support your county at the same time. There are many great choices of retail shopping in the county. Please support our Chamber members!

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Dec 2011/Jan 2012 Effingham Magazine  

Magazine for Living, Entertainment, and Culture for Effingham County, GA

Dec 2011/Jan 2012 Effingham Magazine  

Magazine for Living, Entertainment, and Culture for Effingham County, GA