The Mercer men’s tennis team has won more contests since Feb. 1 of this year than they did during the entire 2015-2016 season. Since losing 4-0 to Florida Atlantic on Jan. 15, the Bears (17-2) have won 16 straight including a 5-2 win over conference rival Wofford on March 14. “It’s pretty amazing, actually,” said Sam Philp, a junior on the team. “We’ve never been on anything like this. I’ve never personally been on a roll like this . . . so it’s definitely something different. You can feel it within the team. Everybody’s got a lot of confidence. We’re all clicking together.” The streak has included some blowout wins including 7-0 victories over Berry College and the Citadel, but also some nail biting 4-3 wins over Appalachian State and Charlotte. The turning point in the season came in that early season game against Charlotte, Philp said. “That was a great win,” he said. “We fought back from behind. After that, I think, the team really realized how good we were. Everybody sort of started to trust each other after that match.” The team has improved dramatically from their 10-16 mark last season — having only been 4-11 at this point in 2016 — with very little upperclassmen presence. There are no seniors. Philp and Belgian Ruben Vanoppen are the only juniors. Philp said he and Vanoppen have had to step into leadership roles and show the youngsters the ropes, but for the most part, the team is good about directing itself. “Everybody is pretty good about leading themselves in a way,” he said. “[Ruben and I] haven’t had to give the team much direction. Everybody sort of knows what to do and how to go about it.” The Bears have one more out of conference match against Georgia Southwestern on March 18, a game that was rescheduled after being postponed on Feb. 18. After that, the Bears enter a long stretch of Southern Conference play. Mercer will stay home to play ETSU, UNCG and Samford, and make trips to Furman and Chattanooga. “I’m definitely nervous about conference play. We’ve always been in a tough conference with some good teams,” Philp said. “We have some high expectations, but I think we can achieve what we want to achieve — a championship. It’s really going to test us.” The Bears close their season against Kennesaw State on the road.
Use the fields below to perform an advanced search of The Mercer Cluster's archives. This will return articles, images, and multimedia relevant to your query.
51 items found for your search. If no results were found please broaden your search.
The Mercer Players will present playwright Qui Nguyen’s “She Kills Monsters” at Tattnall Square Center for the Arts Nov. 10-13 and Nov. 17-20. Nguyen’s comedy chronicles the adventures of heroine Agnes Evans, a straight-laced high school teacher from a small town in Ohio, as she looks to soothe her grief by learning more about Tilly, her younger sister, who died in a car crash at the age of 15. The coping medium: Tilly’s custom Dungeons and Dragons adventure. Knowing nothing of the D&D world, Agnes enlists the help of local comic store employee Chuck to serve as her guide. As Agnes progresses, her attitude towards geek culture and her estranged relationship with her departed younger sibling improves. Set in the middle of the 1990s, the play is sprinkled with pop culture references that will resonate with today’s college crowd — think flannel and angsty grunge music.[related title="Related Stories" stories="19936" align="right" background="off" border="none" shadow="off"] Scot Mann, Mercer Theatre Director, said in an email that this is part of the play’s appeal and one of the reasons they chose to put on the show. Ashley Greene, the actress playing Agnes, said that the show is “silly” compared to other more serious works the group has done before, like “Hedda Gabler,” but that doesn’t mean that this work won’t “hit you in the feelings.” Beyond issues of geek culture and the death of a family member, the play addresses issues of identity, gender and fantasy escapism. “I was tearing up reading the script,” she said. Greene said that preparation and casting began in mid-September because of the play’s many fight scenes. The cast features a lot of freshman new to stage combat, Greene said. “We had to have that much time,” she said. To help prepare, Mann, a Fight Master with the Society of American Fight Directors, trained the cast in the Filipino martial art Kali, which includes double stick work and traditional Japanese sword Shinkendo. The balance between safety and entertainment, Mann said, is paramount. “We use real steel on stage, but we are not protected by fencing masks and padded equipment since the characters would not be wearing them. Kali was instrumental in training the cast how to have that control while selling the illusion of violence,” Mann said. “It was excellent training for a show that features a lot of action scenes, and the cast had fun learning something useful and new.” In addition to the intricate fight scenes, the show will also feature adult language and sexual humor — enough for Greene to call her mother to tell her that she might not like the show. “I’m very proud of the work that is being done on the entire production. The creative team has produced a killer set, great special effects, stunning costumes, and the actors are doing them all justice,” Mann said. “This is an exciting show with a nice human touch. It does involve adult situations and language, but what D&D adventure doesn’t?” Tickets for the play are $15, and $10 with a Mercer I.D. Advance purchase is recommended, but tickets will also be available at the door. Showtimes are at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 10-12 and 17-19, and 2:30 p.m. on Nov. 13 and 20.
The Mercer men’s tennis team traveled to Puerto Rico for the Palmas Del Mar tournament to challenge four teams that finished last season ranked in the ITA-Top 50 — No. 7 Georgia, No. 18 Illinois, No. 26 Florida State and No. 46 N.C. State — in singles and doubles action. Mercer’s Fernando Guardia was the Bear’s bright spot on day one of the tournament. The sophomore defeated FSU’s Terrance Whitehurst in two sets of 6-3, 7-6. "Fernando had a good win today and several other players were in position to win but could not close it out," said head coach Eric Hayes in a Mercer Athletics press release. "Teams at this level do not play lose points and we must do the same to be successful. I'm very excited about this team and what we are capable of." Day One - 2016 Palmas Tournament Puerto Rico // Sept. 11, 2016 Doubles Results Jan Zielinski/Nathan Ponwith (UGA) def. Sam Philip/Olivier Stuart (Mercer), 6-3 Emil Reinberg/Walker Duncan (UGA) def. Ruben Vanoppen/Efstathios Tsirandis (Mercer), 6-3 Wayne Montgomery/Robert Loeb (UGA) def. Fernando Guardia/Nicolas Guillon (Mercer), 7-5 Alex Knaff/Singh Bhullar (FSU) def. Sam Fried/Sachin Khurana (Mercer), 6-2 Alex Phillips/Andy Martinez (UGA) def. Sam Fried/Sachin Khurana (Mercer), 6-1 Aron Hiltzik/Aleksandar Kovacevic (Illinois) def. Sam Philip/Olivier Stuart (Mercer), 7-6 Julian Childers/Gui Gomes (Illinois) def. Ruben Vanoppen/Efstathios Tsirandis (Mercer), 6-4 Schmidt/Singh Bhullar (FSU) def. Fernando Guardia/Nicolas Guillon (Mercer), 6-4 Singles Results Wayne Montgomery (UGA) def. Olivier Stuart (Mercer), 6-0, 6-1 Emil Reinberg (UGA) def. Nicolas Guillon (Mercer), 6-2, 6-3 Walker Duncan (UGA) def. Sam Philip (Mercer), 4-6, 7-6, 1-0 (10-8) Nathan Ponwith (UGA) def. Efstathios Tsirandis (Mercer), 6-4, 6-3 Jan Zielinski (UGA) def. Ruben Vanoppen (Mercer), 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 Singh Bhullar (FSU) def. Jordan Mark (Mercer), 6-2, 6-1 Fernando Guardia (Mercer) def. Terrance Whitehurst (FSU), 6-3, 7-6 Alex Knaff (FSU) def. Sachin Khurana (Mercer), 6-1, 6-0 The Bears failed to win a single set in doubles and singles competition on day two, though Guardia nearly won his second game of the tournament. Guardia blanked UGA’s Alex Phillips in the second set before falling in the third, 6-3, 0-6, 1-0. Day Two - 2016 Palmas Tournament Puerto Rico // Sept. 10, 2016 Doubles Results: Alex Phillips/Andy Martinez (UGA) def. Fernando Guardia/Nicolas Guillon (Mercer), 6-3 Jose Gracia/Terrance Whitehurst (FSU) def. Sam Philip/Olivier Stuart (Mercer), 6-3 Alex Knaff/ Guy Orly Iradukunda (FSU) def. Ruben Vanoppen/Efstathios Tsirandis (Mercer), 7-5 Jake Albo/Jack Haffey (FSU) def. Sam Fried/Sachin Khurana (Mercer), 6-4 Singles Results: Alex Phillips (UGA) def. Fernando Guardia (Mercer), 6-3, 0-6, 1-0 Andy Martinez (UGA) def. Sachin Khurana (Mercer), 6-1, 6-2 Samuel Dromsky (UGA) def. Jordan Mark (Mercer), 6-1, 6-1 Jose Gracia (FSU) def. Nicolas Guillon (Mercer), 6-4, 6-3 Alex Knaff (FSU) def. Sam Philip (Mercer), 6-2, 7-6 Singh Bhullar (FSU) def. Efstathios Tsirandis (Mercer), 6-3, 6-2 Jake Albo (FSU) def. Ruben Vanoppen (Mercer), 6-1, 3-6, 6-1 Jack Haffey (FSU) def. Sam Fried (Mercer), 6-2, 6-1 Mercer’s Sam Philp won a three-set match against University of Illinois’ Aleksandar Kovacevic on the third and final day of the tournament. Philp dropped the first set, 7-6, but won the second, 6-4, to force a tiebreak. Philp came out on top, 1-0. Eight members of the Bears team took on players from UGA, FSU and the University of Illinois respectively. Day Three - 2016 Palmas Tournament Puerto Rico // Sept. 11, 2016 Singles Results Julian Childers (Illinois) def. Nicolas Guillon (Mercer), 6-3, 7-6 Sam Philp (Mercer) def. Aleksandar Kovacevic (Illinois), 6-7, 6-4, 1-0 Gui Gomes (Illinois) def. Efstathios Tsirandis (Mercer), 6-4, 6-3 Robert Loeb (UGA) def. Ruben Vanoppen (Mercer), 6-2, 6-3 Jake Albo (FSU) def. Sachin Khurana (Mercer), 6-2, 6-1 Andy Martinez (UGA) def. Jordan Mark (Mercer), 6-0, 6-1 Guy Orly Iradukunda (FSU) def. Olivier Stuart (Mercer), 6-4, 7-5 Samuel Dromsky (UGA) def. Sam Fried (Mercer), 6-0, 6-0
A lack of coins or Bear Card funds will no longer stop you from washing your sweaty, ripening shirts and socks. Mercer students living on-campus won’t be charged when they load their laundry in a washer or dryer. The plan is something that has been talked about by Auxiliary Services and Residence Life for the past couple of years, said Jeff Takac, director of housing, and Ken Boyer, director of auxiliary services. “It just makes sense,” he said. “It’s one less thing the students have to worry about.” But the service isn’t free. The university is still paying Caldwell and Gregory, the company that provides the equipment and maintenance. Mercer is in the middle of a five year contract with that vendor, Boyer said. Students will also be paying more for their housing this year, but the changes weren’t directly related to the inclusion of no-charge laundry. Takac said the changes weren’t an unreasonable hit, pointing to the potential increase in electricity and utilities use as some of the reasons for the increase. The university’s more affordable options and those with community style bathrooms saw the smallest or no increases in price at all, Takac said. A two person room in Plunkett Hall that was $2,490 during the 2015-2016 school year is now $2,540. A four person Garden Apartment runs for $3,265 — an increase from the $3,140 from the previous year. Prices for double occupancy rooms in Boone, Dowell and Roberts Halls remained the same. Costs for single occupancy rooms in Sherwood and Shorter Halls decreased by $95, according to housing price documents provided to The Cluster by the Office of Residence Life. Though most students are paying more for on-campus housing, Residence Life will not (nor have they ever) get a cut of the laundry money, Takac said. One of the concerns is that the machines may be overused by students elsewhere coming on campus to wash their clothes, but Boyer dismissed the concern. “Most schools who have converted to this model find that the wear and tear on the equipment is considerably less. Typically students will be more likely to abide by the weight restrictions and not overload the equipment as much,” Boyer said. Takac agreed as well. “It’s important that the residents are using it and that we don’t have non-residents coming in to use it. If you live in downtown and you want to come up here and do your laundry, I don’t think you’re going to do that.” If that doesn’t deter them, Boyer said usage can be monitored. “Each machine has electronic meters that track usage every time the machine is cycled,” Boyer said. Sophomore Emily Marosek said she’s excited about the change because she won’t have to worry about using her friend’s free washer, putting money on her Bear Card or coming up with quarters. “Now I can do it more often,” she said. Colin Whalen, also a sophomore, said he feels ambivalent because on-campus housing is overpriced. “It’s cool but ... It feels like a pat on the back or a nice treat,” he said. Boyer said the program will continue as far as he knows, but ultimately, the decision is left up to Residence Life.
Mercer University has a new Title IX coordinator. Brittany Raygoza took over the position Aug. 8, said Kyle Sears, director of media relations, in an e-mail. Raygoza replaces Melissa Nunn, the university’s former Title IX coordinator, who left the job July 15 to accept the Title IX coordinator position at the University of Florida, according to an email from Nunn. Raygoza comes to Mercer from Arizona State University where she served as an advocacy coordinator and assisted with Title IX cases. She has undergraduate and graduate degrees in criminal justice from Arizona State, Sears said. “Ms. Raygoza is well-qualified to provide leadership for [Mercer’s] Title IX initiatives,” Sears said. Mercer University’s Title IX coordinator is responsible for organizing the university’s compliance with sex-based discrimination laws and regulations on a federal and state level, according to Mercer’s Title IX website.
The best way to learn about a city is to sample its food. Cooking is like any other artform; the end product is just one you consume with your mouth rather than with your hands, your eyes or your ears. The methods of preparation and presentation are creative expressions influenced by time and place, and Macon’s food scene paints a one-of-a-kind picture. The goal of this list is to give starting points for your own exploration. You will find it includes no chains and is by no means all-encompassing. Prices range from $ on the low end to $$$$ on the high end. Only one of the restaurants listed is located in Mercer Village (we still love you guys), but you will find restaurants on the list that are Mercer staples and some that are off the beaten path. This is an updated list from last year’s article “19 Must Eats in Macon.” Bearfoot Tavern (American/Traditional) ($$) Bearfoot reopened in early 2016 after moving to a new location, and the restaurant is slowly becoming one of my top five favorites in Macon. 468 2nd St., 478-305-7703 Open: Mon.–Thurs. 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Fri.–Sat. 11 a.m.–11 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.– 9 p.m. Recommended dishes: J.L. Dagg burger, the Rufus burger Biscuits, Burgers & More 101 GA-49 (31211), 478-746-0533 Open: Mon.–Fri. 6 a.m.–2 p.m. Recommended dishes: Dickey Betts’ burger, pork chop biscuit and cheese grits. Tip: Go for breakfast. Mike Seekins, the man who runs the operation, is one of the nicest guys you'll meet so be prepared to have a good conversation as you eat. Chico and Chang’s (Korean/Mexican fusion) ($) This Korean/Mexican fusion spot opened about four months ago and is just as good as you imagine. 3850 Riverside Drive, 478-477-1688 Open: Tues.–Sun. 11 a.m.– 10 p.m. Recommended dishes: spicy chicken quesadilla, beef pasta Cox Cafe (Southern) ($) 694 Lower Poplar St., 478-745-7171 Open: Mon.– Fri. 6 a.m.–2 p.m. Recommended dishes: catfish, chicken and dumplings Dovetail (Southern) ($$$) Open: Tues.–Thurs. 5:30–9:30 p.m.; Fri. 5:30–10:30 p.m.; Sat. 11 a.m.–2:30 p.m., 5:30–10:30 p.m.; Sun. 11 a.m.–2:30 p.m. 543 Cherry St. Suite B, 478-238-4693 Recommended dishes: fried black grouper and rabbit pappardelle Note: Downstairs is the Rookery El Camino ($ to $$) El Camino is the first foray by the Moonhanger Group — the company behind other ventures like the Rookery and H&H — into Mexican food. It’s Macon’s only Taqueria and Cantina. Open: Tues.–Thurs. 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Fri.–Sat. 11 a.m.–10:30 p.m. Recommended dishes: the good shepherd (el pastor) taco, bandito torta Fish N’ Pig (Seafood/BBQ) ($$ to $$$ depending on your craving.) 6420 Moseley Dixon Road, 478-476-8837 Open: Tues.–Thurs. 4:30 – 9 p.m., Fri.–Sat. 4:30–10 p.m. Recommended dishes: low country boil or any of the Fish n’ Pig combos. Fresh Air BBQ (Barbeque) ($) 3076 Riverside Drive, 478-477-7229 Open: Sun.–Thurs. 11 a.m–8 p.m., Fri.–Sat. 11 a.m.–9 a.m. Recommended dish: pulled pork (on bun) and brunswick stew Tip: Keep an eye out for the daily specials. They have great deals. Grey Goose Players Club (American) ($$) 4524 Forsyth Road, 478-471-0987 Open: Mon.–Sat. 11 a.m.–10 p.m. Recommended dish: gooseburger Grow (American/Farm-to-Table) ($$) 1019 Riverside Drive, 478-743-4663 Open: Mon.–Fri. 11 a.m–3 p.m., (not in the summer) 4:30–7:30 p.m. Recommended dish: southwestern chicken and grow chicken tacos H&H (Soul food) ($) 807 Forsyth St., 478-621-7044 Open: Tues.–Sat. 7 a.m.–3 p.m., Sun. 10:30 a.m.–3 p.m. Recommended dishes: fried chicken, turkey and dressing and caramel layer cake for dessert. Tip: The lunch menu changes daily, but fried chicken is served everyday. Joe D’s on Ingleside (American/Sandwiches) ($) 2329 Ingleside Ave., 478-745-4118 Open: Mon.–Fri. 10:30 a.m.–3 p.m. Recommended dishes: chili and cold cut plate J&F Caribbean Delight (Jamaican) ($$) 1686 N Atwood Drive, 478-476-1108 Open: Mon.–Sat. 10:30 a.m.–8 p.m. Recommended dishes: oxtail, jerk chicken and beef patties Note: J&F’s oxtail may be my favorite dish served in Macon. Macon Pizza Company (Pizza) ($) 5978 Zebulon Road, 478-474-0000 Open: Sun.–Thurs. 11 a.m.–9 p.m., Fri.–Sat. 11 a.m.–10 p.m. Recommended dish: super pepperoni and dixieland specialty pizzas Nu Way (American/Hot Dogs) ($) Several locations throughout Macon. My favorite is 6016 Zebulon Road, and there is now one in Mercer Village. The original location, 430 Cotton Ave., was heavily damaged in a fire in March 2015. Open: Mon–Sat. 6:30 a.m.–10 p.m. Recommended dishes: slaw dog, chili cheese fries and malts Pho Saigon (Vietnamese/Pho) ($$) 3076 Riverside Drive, 478-477-1117 Open: Mon.–Sat. 11 a.m.–9 p.m., Sun, 12–4 p.m. Recommended dishes: pho tai nam gau Rookery (American/Burgers) ($$) 543 Cherry St. Suite A, 478-746-8658 Open: Sun.–Thurs. 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Fri. and Sat. 11 a.m.–10:30 p.m. Recommended dishes: Big "O" burger, Jimmy Carter burger, Allman burger and rookery burger. Shogun Japanese Restaurant (Japanese) ($$ to $$$ depending on your craving) 900 Northwoods Plaza, 478-743-3100 Open: Mon–Thurs. 11:30 a.m.–2 p.m., 4:30–9:30 p.m.; Fri. 11:30 a.m.–2 p.m., 4:30–10:30 p.m.; Sat. 4:30 p.m.–10:30 p.m.; Sun. 4:30–9 p.m. Recommended dishes: lobster tempura boat, fuji roll and honto roll The Backburner Restaurant (International/fusion) ($$$ for diner, $$ for lunch) 2242 Ingleside Ave., 478-746-3336 Open: Tues.–Sat. 11:30 a.m.–2:00 p.m., 5:30 p.m.–9:30 p.m. Recommended dishes: braised veal short rib osso buco, herb-crusted new zealand rack of lamb. Tip: A good place for a fancy date night or if the parents are paying. Make reservations. Also, dress is business casual. Tic Toc Room (American/Fusion) ($$$) 408 MLK Blvd., 478-744-0123 Open: Mon.–Thurs. 5–9:30 p.m., Fri.–Sat. 5–10:30 p.m. Recommended dishes: filet oscar, Chairman Reserve 16 oz. ribeye Tip: Great for date night or if your parents are paying. Note: A previous version of this article listed Biscuits, Burgers & More's address at 2497 Millerfield Road. This is the address listed in Google Maps and will take you across the street from the restaurant. The eatery is located inside C & J's Supermarket at 101 GA-49 (31211).
Four sexual assaults were reported during the spring 2016 semester. Records recently released from the university indicate incident reports for sexual assaults were filed on Feb. 1, Feb. 14 and May 11. The Cluster previously reported on an assault that was reported April 9. The two cases in February were recently upgraded based on “additional information,” said Larry Brumley, the university’s senior vice president of marketing communications, in an email. The first incident report was filed Feb. 1, and the reported assault took place in the Phase 4 lofts, also known as The Lofts at College Hill. The incident was handed over to Mercer Title IX coordinator Melissa Nunn, according to the report. The second incident was originally reported Feb. 14, and Mercer Police officers were dispatched to Navicent Health Center. According to the report, the woman was heading to a party downtown on a Friday night with a date and some friends. Before they left, she was already drunk. Once downtown, her date continued to buy her drinks. She blacked out downtown and lost her memory for a few hours, according to the report. She woke up during the night but didn’t understand what was going on and just wanted to go to sleep. When she woke up the next morning, he was still in the room, according to the report. The third incident was reported May 11. A woman was allegedly assaulted after going downtown to The Hummingbird with a man on Monday night. She told officers that she didn’t remember anything after leaving the bar and that she woke up the next morning at 7 a.m. in his bedroom, she told police. Mercer Police were dispatched to Navicent Health Center, according to the report. In all four of these incidents, the victims were female. None of the victims have chosen to press charges, according to the police reports. The count is double the total of reported sexual crimes listed on Mercer Police’s crime log during the 2015 calendar year. For 2015, an incident report for a rape in Mercer Hall was filed Jan. 17. A sexual assault that took place in the Sigma Nu house was reported Sep. 18. Mercer crime logs have only one rape listed in 2014. In 2013, Mercer crime logs have only one sexual crime listed -- a reported sexual battery in Mercer Hall. The numbers of total cases from the past few years increase when taking into account the number of cases not reported to Mercer Police but to other officials such as the Title IX coordinator. There were four reported sexual crimes in the 2014 Campus Security Report that was emailed to students Oct. 1. This report follows Clery Act guidelines, a 1990 law that requires all colleges and universities who receive federal funding to share information about crime on campus and their efforts to improve campus safety. Crimes not reported to law enforcement -- such as cases that only go through an investigation by the Title IX officer as part of their role to investigate alleged sexual assaults or a school judicial hearing -- are included in these counts. According to the 2014 Campus Security Report, two rapes occurred on campus and two occurred off campus. The 2013 reports list one forcible sexual offense that occurred on campus. The 2015 report must be sent to students before the Oct. 1, 2016, federal deadline. The FBI also keeps a table of criminal offenses reported to law enforcement officials under the Uniform Crime Report. The UCR compiles voluntarily submitted data from nearly 18,000 city, university, county, state, tribal and federal law enforcement agencies, according to the group's website. The FBI has only published preliminary data from 2015 from January to June. However, data from the 2014 calendar year is posted on the FBI's site. For the entire year, much larger schools like the University of Georgia had 70 rapes reported while Georgia Tech had 20, Emory had 18 and Georgia State had 12, according to the data. Smaller universities similar to Mercer in size like Georgia College and State University and Columbus State University reported six and one rape, respectively, according to the UCR data. From Fall 2013 to Fall 2015, Mercer's undergraduate enrollment rose from 4,429 to 4,694 students, according to data from the Office of Institutional Effectiveness. When questioned further via email about the four assaults, Mercer officials declined to comment
A Mercer student reported that she was sexually assaulted April 9 at one of the Mercer loft buildings. According to the Mercer police report filed April 11, they were dispatched to the Medical Center emergency room on April 11 regarding the assault. The victim said she reported the incident to Mercer’s Title IX coordinator. She said she didn’t want to press charges at this time but reserved the right to do so at a later date, according to the report. No additional details were available regarding the reported assault. Five other criminal incidents were reported between April 11 and April 25, according to Mercer Police records. This included two reports of 1st degree Arson in the Science and Engineering Building and Sherwood Hall. During the Sherwood fire, only the fire alarm in the front lobby went off, and the sprinklers didn't activate, according to the police report. Graduate Hall Director Casey Hopson was told by Auxiliary Service that the systems didn't activate because there were no fire alarms in the hallway, and the fire wasn't hot enough to trigger the sprinklers. However, the report mentions the fire was only six inches from the ceiling. The incident was not initially reported to Mercer Police. Instead, Resident Assistants told the students that if no one came forward, all the students would be charged $10, according to the report. A male student reported someone had broken into his Chevy Silverado and taken change, a phone charger, a pack of Newports and his food. A short time later, a Mercer Police officer found two suspects. One of them, a 17-year-old boy, was eating the Mercer student's cheeseburger. The young man advised that a 14-year-old boy took the items from the truck. The Cluster filed an open records request on May 16 to obtain reports that were entered in the university's police system following April 25. Any tips? Contact writer Nick Wooten at firstname.lastname@example.org A full copy of the reports can be found at this link: Incident Reports.Wooten request.050116-ilovepdf-compressed (2)
Mercer University students were targets in a string of weekend crimes following Bearstock Saturday April 9. The most violent involved a Mercer University student being robbed at gunpoint inside of his room at the 1503 Garden Apartments. Two men brandishing black pistols entered room 106 around 11:30 p.m. while the student was watching TV. One of the men pointed the gun at his head and demanded his cellphone and wallet while the other man began going through the student’s room. Once inside, the pair spent only a few minutes in the room. By the time they left, the men made off with the student’s wallet, a $1,500 Samsung computer, a $400 Xbox, a $600 iPhone 6 with a Star Wars case and an Apple Watch valued at $300, according to a Mercer police report. The men also took items from the student’s roommates, which included a Playstation 3, an army combat uniform shirt, a pair of combat boots and a MacBook Pro. Surveillance video captured the two men making their way through the center entranceway of the apartment complex and down a hallway. They waited a short time before entering the room. Students also spoke to the alleged robbers before the incident. One was seen leaving, carrying a duffel bag. “There was a lot of activity in the area during that time,” said Mercer Police Cpl. Mike Kondorf. Kondorf said the door to the apartment was unlocked. The same pair was also connected to one of the “dozen or so” reported phone thefts or missing phone reports made following Bearstock, Kondorf said. As of Monday, April 11, there was one filed police report involving a cell phone theft. In the filed report, a student was walking through the park when a man matching the description of one of the gunman snatched her phone from her back pocket. According to police records, other apartments in the area were also hit. Two residents in room 201 in the 1751 Garden Apartments had items stolen. One had a $200 pair of headphones taken and the other discovered that $10 worth of quarters was missing. Both left the room in the evening and came back around midnight. Two students in room 301 in the 1751 Garden Apartments had a black Playstation, a microphone, headphones, an audio box and some clothes stolen from their room. Reports also indicate that a student in room 203 had a Playstation 4 with controllers and games, a 32-inch television, two pairs of tennis shoes, $200 in cash, a Mercer-issued football bag with books and a G-Shock watch taken from his room. The student was told that a man with a duffel bag was also seen leaving his room. All of the cases are still under investigation, said Mercer Police Chief Gary Collins.
A Mercer University student was robbed at gunpoint inside of his room at the 1503 Garden Apartments Saturday night. Two men entered the on-campus apartment around 11:30 p.m. and the pair made off with several items. Only one resident was home at the time of the incident. “It is still under investigation,” Mercer Police Cpl. Mike Kondorf said. “I believe I heard one of the officers say that a MacBook Pro was taken.” Kondorf went on to say that the Mercer Police officers planned to follow up with the student and his roommates later in the day. Surveillance video captured the two men entering through the center entranceway of the apartment complex and making their way down a hallway. They waited a short time before entering the room. Once inside, the pair spent only a few minutes in the room before leaving in opposite directions. One was carrying a duffel bag. Kondorf said the door was unlocked, but doors in the 1503 Garden Apartments lock automatically once they are completely closed. However, some of the doors in the building can be manually unlocked. “It’s a possibility [that the door wasn’t closed well],” Kondorf said. “I can’t tell by the video because it's obscured by the stairway because [the room] is right there on the end.” Students also spoke to the alleged robbers before the incident. “There was a lot of activity in the area during that time,” Kondorf said. The same pair was also connected to one of the “dozen or so” reported phone thefts or missing phone reports made following Bearstock. There are also reports of another robbery in one of the other Garden Apartment buildings, Kondorf said. Please return to The Cluster for updates as the story develops.
When Jibri Bryan backed his white Monte Carlo into the Flash Foods parking lot on the corner of College and Forsyth streets, he was there to buy drugs, said a Bibb County investigator. Joe Kovac Jr. and Amy Leigh Womack of the (Macon) Telegraph reported that during a court hearing Wednesday the investigator recounted a statement made by one of Bryan’s alleged killers, 24-year-old Jarvis Miller, to police. Miller said his alleged partner, Damion Deray Henderson, tried to sell Bryan fake Xanax. When Bryan refused to buy them, Henderson threatened the Mercer graduate student and basketball player to “buy them or else,” said investigator Shaun Bridger. Bridger’s testimony matches early hints that drugs were involved. Reporters were told that investigators found $300 in cash and a suspicious bottled substance at the scene. Unanswered questions remain in the case. Bridger revealed that there are no eyewitnesses to the murder other than Henderson and Miller. Miller — who was also shot that afternoon — and Henderson’s stories conflict. Henderson said he was standing by the car when he heard gunshots. Miller, however, said that Henderson fired the shots that killed Bryan and then turned the gun on him. The physical evidence in the case matches Miller’s story, Bridger testified. Reports state that Miller was seen fleeing to the nearby Ronald McDonald House after the shots rang out. It was there that police found a jammed .380 caliber handgun behind a trash bin at the back of the building, Bridger said. A 9 mm pistol was found near an abandoned Nissan Sentra that Miller and Henderson rode in to meet Bryan. Shell casings from the 9 mm were found in the Flash Foods parking lot. Henderson said he borrowed the car from a local woman and left it close to an apartment on Orange Terrace where he sometimes lived with his mother. Desmond Ringer, Mercer basketball player and close friend of Bryan, declined to comment. Sports Editor Justin Baxley contributed to this report.
Campus crime increased in 2015 Crime on and around Mercer University’s Macon campus rose from 70 incidents in 2014 to 85 during the 2015 calendar year, according to internal reports provided to The Cluster by Mercer Police. More than half of the offenses were entering an automobile (25) or theft by taking (22). Two sexual crimes were reported on campus. The document lists a rape at Mercer Hall that was reported on Jan. 17, 2015. Another person reported a sexual assault at the Sigma Nu house on Sept. 18, 2015. According to reports, the incident at the Sigma Nu house remains active while the Mercer Hall case has been “exceptionally cleared.” According to FBI Uniform Crime Reporting documents, agencies can declare cases exceptionally cleared when elements beyond their control prevent them from making an arrest. Four conditions must be met in order to declare a case exceptionally cleared. Agencies must identify the suspected offender; gather enough information to support an arrest, make a charge and turn the offender over for prosecution; identify the location of the suspect so he can be taken into custody immediately; and encounter an outside circumstance that prevents the agency from arresting, charging or prosecuting. The document lists three specific reasons — the death of the offender, the victim’s refusal to cooperate with the investigation, or the denial of extradition — among others for the exceptionally cleared status to be granted. Cases could also be cleared — though not exceptionally — through a university judicial hearing, said Mercer Police Chief Gary Collins. These listed sexual crimes are an increase from the one rape listed in 2014 and the zero rapes reported in 2013. There was, however, one count of sexual battery and one count of sexual assault was listed in Mercer Police’s 2013 internal reports. Below is a map of the listed incidents. If you reported something and do not see it listed online, please contact Nicholas Wooten at email@example.com. z=1& Mercerians still the target of car-related crimes Some people don't lock their doors. But sometimes it doesn't matter. Early in 2016, Mercer students still found themselves the targets of car-related crimes. Of the six incidents that have occurred since Jan. 23, four of them were automobile related. Jan. 26 – The owner of a 2008 Infinity GTS had her side passenger window smashed. Nothing was missing from the vehicle. Jan. 26 – A student returned in the morning to find his blue 2004 Honda Civic missing its front passenger window. Overnight, someone had broken the window and stolen his backpack, which was filled with school supplies and his laptop. The brand and serial number of the laptop is unknown. Jan. 27 – A student reported seeing a vehicle with a busted window just across from his residence hall. Once the owner of the 2010 Toyota FJ Cruiser was contacted, he searched the vehicle and found nothing missing. The responding officer noticed a large gash on the side of the vehicle made by the stick which was used to break the window. Feb. 8 – A man had his black 1999 GMC Denali Yukon stolen. He parked near the football stadium at 12:30 p.m. When he returned three hours later to get his umbrella, the SUV was gone. Inside the vehicle was a ring valued between $300-400. The man told officers he left a key in the CD player like he always does. The vehicle was recovered Feb. 17.
Bearfoot Tavern is back from an extensive facelift. I’m probably not the first person to say this, but it's about time. In the past, when a friend suggested a meal at Bearfoot, I felt my taste buds protest in disgust. Now, with a new menu, a new location and a pub-esque façade, the recently re-opened Bearfoot could be downtown’s preeminent casual restaurant. The GOOD: The J.L. Dagg This puts any burger I’ve had at the Rookery to shame. The spicy tomato jam, aged cheddar and candied bacon coupled with their perfectly cooked patty and buttery brioche bun was the perfect melding of sweet and salty. At times, there was too much jam, but this is my recommendation and go-to meal at Bearfoot. Parmesan Truffle Fries They were crispy and rich. I didn't want to put them down. Please be aware that these fries were drizzled with Truffle oil, not garnished with shaved truffle. They don't need ketchup, so please don't use it. I'm not going to lie; I was slightly worried after the Parmesan cheese/wood pulp news broke recently. Then again, I'm sure I’ve consumed worse. Decor I’m a sucker for lamp posts and ornate signs with bear heads on them. The large windows facing the streets are inviting, and the oak bars and close tables make any meal intimate. The QUESTIONABLE: Wait time It wasn't terribly busy, but Justin and I waited for about half an hour for lunch. Granted, it’s reopening and busy. But we felt the need to mention it. The BAD: 420 Fish and Chips Justin felt this belonged in the QUESTIONABLE section, but I disagreed. The cod itself was great, but the batter was terrible. The Sweetwater 420 batter was flavorless and made the fish sponge. If you’re going to market yourself as a gastropub, your fish and chips should be a staple. I almost ordered this. I'm glad I didn't. Poor Justin. The Rookery should be looking over its shoulder. Bearfoot Tavern will soon be downtown Macon’s hottest eatery. RATING: Justin: 4/5 Nick: 4/5
Lofts Phase V Criminals continue to target Mercer University construction sites. From Oct. 2 to Dec. 6, these areas were either burgled or vandalized a total of seven times, and all but two incidents involve the new Lofts Phase V on Mercer University Drive. According to estimates made in Mercer police reports, total damages and labor costs associated with fixing the new lofts are nearly $14,000. All of these cases are still active. According to Mercer Police Chief Gary Collins, the area is not fenced in, and there are no cameras surveying the area. “We patrol the area,” he said. “We have stopped people over there. We have run people off. Thefts are very easy in construction sites.” The National Association of Home Builders and the National Equipment Register estimates job site thefts cost the construction industry one billion dollars a year. Notable Offenses: Dec. 3 – At a Mercer construction site, a person stole a hammer drill and a drill bit valued at $700 total. According to the report, there was no damage to the lock of the container that laid at the front of the site. The witness interviewed told officers he believed the drill was stolen the previous day during working hours. Dec. 6 – A person broke into a construction office trailer at the Lofts Phase V site and stole a microwave valued at $160, a side grinder valued at $250 and a circular saw valued at $100. The perpetrator got into the trailer after breaking out a window and using a barrel to boost themself up. Footprints were left near the scene. Dec. 7 – An office trailer at the Physical Plant building construction site was broken into a day after the Lofts Phase V site. The person made off with a microwave and some toilet paper. There was no information on the make or model of the microwave or how much paper was lifted. Value estimates were not included by the reporting officer. First Reported Criminal Incidents of the Year Mercer students have returned to begin the winter semester, and it didn’t take long before Mercer Police were called to handle a criminal offense. As of Jan. 22, two incidents have occurred. Someone stole a radio from a person’s car which was parked in the MEP lot, and someone stole a student’s phone in the UC gym. To provide crime tips, please email Nicholas Wooten at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let me be frank: Indian cuisine is not in my gustatory wheelhouse. I come from a poor, white Southern family that fries anything that can be floured and cooks nearly every vegetable with pork. But, as with my love of sushi, my parents’ taste will not indefinitely define my own. I’ve had Indian food before here in Macon, but I found it to overwhelm my tastebuds with unfamiliar spices and complex tastes. Perhaps I wasn’t fair in my first assessment. So, the Bear Bites crew found ourselves at Metropolis Curry & Kabob at 2460 Riverside Drive to sample Indian, Greek and Mediterranean food. THE GOOD: Mushroom Korma: One thing I am a fan of is mushrooms. I put them on pizza, fry them and consume them in any manner possible. This mushroom curry was thick and the sizeable cuts of mushroom were fluffy. Cooked with onions and tomatoes, the spices came on and comfortably tapered off smoothly with each bite. Atop basmati rice, I could have eaten a few platefuls. Aloo Tikki: Oh, these potato patties were wonderful. They were half-dollar sized and lightly breaded and spiced. They reminded me of caked hash browns. I got several helpings, and Justin did as well. Chicken curry: Despite my previous misgivings, I do enjoy curry. I prefer Japanese, but the chicken curry at Metropolis was delicious. The chicken was tender, and the gravy base wasn’t too thick or runny. The dishes’ spices had been toned down for Macon’s tastes. Nonetheless, it was delicious. THE QUESTIONABLE: Small buffet: While the buffet was only $7.99, there was little variety in the offered dishes. I wish I could have tried more items. Gyros: From the buffet, Gyros are offered by the halves. They weren’t bad, but there was something missing. The meat layers were thin. There wasn’t enough tzatziki sauce, and there weren’t any tomatoes. BAD: Nothing was bad. If you’re looking for an introduction to Indian cuisine with helpful and attentive service, or you’re a hardened veteran looking for a good meal close to campus, Metropolis Curry and Kabob is your place. RATING: NICK 3.5/5 JUSTIN 3/5
In their first season, the Mercer club cricket team is nationally ranked, and two players have been recognized as the best American college players of 2015. It’s been an exciting few weeks for the team, said teammates Sameer Anand, Wesley Evermon and Sam Brunk. At the end of December, American College Cricket announced the winner of the John Bard King Award. The award, named after one of America’s greatest cricketers who played the game from 1893 to 1912, is awarded to American players whose parents did not come from a cricket playing country. Most recipients have “learned to play the game in college,” according to the American College Cricket’s website. Evermon and Brunk were awarded the prize. The pair have been playing cricket for less than a year. Evermon and Brunk were recruited by fellow Alpha Tau Omega brothers Yash Patel and Sameer Anand. Patel and Anand had played the sport in Toronto and Atlanta, respectively. They wanted to bring the sport to Mercer. Brunk’s interest in cricket developed slowly. The sophomore spent time hanging out with Patel and Anand as the three watched matches late at night. Sam had played baseball—cricket’s American cousin—competitively since he was 13 and throughout high school, he played varsity tennis. He took his first swings with a cricket back in February. “We had been playing three-person cricket. It was kind of sad, actually. We had one guy keeping, one guy bowling and one guys batting,” Brunk said. Evermon came to his first practice in April. He’d played baseball since he was able to pick up a bat and played all the way through high school. Evermon got a few scholarship offers from D2 and D3 schools, but chose instead to come to Mercer. He wasn’t getting D1 offers, so he decided to give baseball up. Evermon soon found cricket, and he was a natural. “I could see the big part about [cricket] was hand-eye coordination. That’s what you have to have to play the game,” Evermon said. “Baseball did that for me. It wasn’t the same, but it definitely helped in the beginning.” The two were chosen for their stellar on-the-field performance. In their first four games against Georgia Tech, Georgia Southern and two in the Southeastern regional, Wesley scored 55 runs in 31 balls with 6 fours and 3 sixes vs Georgia Southern, and 28 off 35 balls with 2 fours vs USF. Brunk took 3 wickets for 10 runs in 3 overs vs Georgia Southern. The accolades didn’t stop. [sidebar title="Useful cricket terms" align="right" background="on" border="all" shadow="on"] Boundary -- The edge of the playing area, usually 50 to 80 metres from the wicket and marked by a line, rope or fence. Bowler -- Similar to a pitcher in baseball, this person propels the ball towards the batsmen. In cricket, this person attempts to take the wickets and get out the batting side. Four -- A ball which crosses the boundary after having first touched the ground, and which scores four runs. Six -- A ball which crosses the boundary in air, and which scores six runs. Wicket -- The structure of three vertical stumps and two horizontal bails, 28 inches high by nine wide, at either end of the pitch, that it is the batsman's primary responsibility to defend and swing from. [/sidebar] In mid-January, American College Cricket released their Top 50 ranking. The Mercer Bears were #39 out of 70 total teams. In four matches this season, the Bears are 1-3. With losses to Georgia Tech (#31), Florida State University (#42) and University of Southern Florida (#3). The two losses to Florida State and USF were particularly trying, the three teammates said. “There’s a really big gap [between them and us],” Evermon said. “It was embarrassing. We had no idea what was coming and it hit us. It was a good experience. We realized where we are and what position we are in and how we can ... better ourselves.” Moving forward, Anand says the team is looking to secure more funding. They received $3,000 from the university, while Anand and Patel donated $750 of equipment each. But cricket is an expensive sport. “The mat alone was $1,700, so that takes up most of your funds,” Brunk said. The team had been practicing in Tattnall Square Park, but once Mercer began giving time practice time on Orange Field, the team moved there. The new field wasn’t as crowded, but it has also posed some geographic challenges—the field isn’t large enough. “We’ve lost a ton of balls because they’ve been hit in the woods or over the street,” Evermon said. When the ball is replaced, the way the game is played changes, Anand said. “The average life of a ball in cricket is at least 480 [bowls],” he said. “The way the ball altered, the way the ball is hit, the way the ball is shined affects the way the game is played. It’s a big deal. It’s a very bad thing to lose a ball.” In spite of the monetary and logistical challenges, the cricketers must move forward. Their next match is Saturday, Jan. 30 at 1 p.m. on Orange Field against Georgia Southern.
Among the vanities housed at Bryan Nichols’ storage building sits stacks of someone else’s treasure. There are ticket stubs from every Allman Brothers Band concert in 1974-1975, photographs of artist Andy Warhol and newspapers that chronicle the rise of the presidential peanut farmer Jimmy Carter. The story of Capricorn Records — and southern rock — lives in the boxes and bins Nichols’ team lifted from the former Capricorn office space. Nichols hopes Mercer University will soon house them. 'I BETTER JUST TAKE THIS BOX.' Nichols said he never expected to find documents. The real estate developer purchased the former Capricorn office space sometime around January 2015 from the Ocmulgee Land Trust. He originally planned to renovate the property and preserve as much of the original building as possible. It wasn’t his first attempt at a renovation project. He had done the same with the Taste and See coffee shop and various residential units downtown. Nichols had owned the property a “month or so” before he began finding things. The first thing uncovered was a box that he initially thought was trash. When he brought members of Historic Macon to tour the property, he thumbed through the contents of the box and found but trash. “The next thing you know, I’m finding some more stuff, and I’m like ‘I better just take this box.’ I left there immediately and brought it and just spread it all over the place. I was going ‘Holy Cow! There’s stickers that you put on your car to get into the White House.’” He kept sifting and found handwritten letters from First Lady Rosalynn Carter to Phil Walden, co-founder of Capricorn Records, thanking him for all of his help. After that, Nichols said he knew he had something. 'BOX AFTER BOX AFTER BOX.' When Nichols was making his first walk-through, the building was in terrible shape. It hadn’t been occupied since Capricorn Records auctioned off the property after filing for bankruptcy. But during the late 60s and into the late 70s, the building was home to music dynasties. Before the Waldens embraced southern rock, RedWal Records, which became Capricorn, owned the property. While president of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity at Mercer, Phil Walden began booking R&B artists for fraternity shows. Eventually, Phil and his brother Alan formed a booking agency and developed a relationship with “The Big O” Otis Redding. They originally rented property on Mulberry Street before they purchased the former chicken processing plant on Cotton Avenue. Nichols said he was told by Alan and others that they had to sweep out chicken heads after purchasing the building that would house RedWal. Although Nichols said this fact seemed strange, he began to believe the plausibility when tearing back the drywall revealed tiled walls. “It’d be easier for them to clean,” he said. “Once they slaughtered the chickens, they could just wash down everything.” The building served as office space for the Waldens who worked with Redding and other R&B/Soul artists, such as Sam and Dave, Percy Sledge and Al Green. The company changed direction after Redding’s untimely death in 1969. The Waldens built their new company around a long-haired Muscle Shoals session guitarist by the name of Duane Allman. Frank Fenter joined the Waldens, and the newly formed Allman Brothers Band became the face of Capricorn Records. The label became so influential that then Georgia governor Jimmy Carter announced his presidential bid at a Capricorn picnic. The Allman Brothers played benefits, and Walden threw his music industry muscle behind Carter; and the dark horse candidate found himself being sworn in as the nation’s 39th president. Southern rock hit its zenith. But that was long ago. Today, inside the water-damaged building in Macon’s historic African-American business district sits the relics. Nichols said he knew some of the history. Now, he wanted to put together all the individual pieces. When he found the first box, the hunt for the rest was on. But it wasn’t going to be easy. A slow water leak had contributed to the building’s deterioration. As he explored, Nichols learned the property was actually two separate buildings that shared one facade after a 1975 remodel. He started with the first building. “The stairs in that building had collapsed, and there were some old records. But they had been crushed,” Nichols said. “So, we went through that with a fine tooth comb only to find that under that there was a bookshelf that had a bunch of stuff on it and in there we found a few things. I thought that was going to be it.” Nichols employed a bold strategy when searching the second building because parts of the second floor had caved and crumbled. “We cut a hole in the Sheetrock ‘cause you couldn’t get up there, and I kind of stuck my head onto the second floor, and there was just box after box after box,” he said. It was similar to some of the stuff he found in the first box. The newspapers, magazines and ticket stubs poured in. Nichols even found the famous Mountain Dew can that sat in the window. Nichols said he knew he had a lot of work to do. ‘WELL, WHAT’S A GOLD MINE?’ Aside from some of the filing boxes that survived all those years, Nichols and his crew began to haul away the memorabilia. “We brought it out in every kind of thing you could think of: tubs, boxes, whatever we could find to put it in,” Nichols said. He wasn’t sure how to organize or store it all. “The elevator [in his personal storage building] is actually full of a bunch of [filing boxes] that I took the files out of and threw them away because they we falling apart and disintegrating. I didn’t want to pick them up again.” At first, Nichols sifted through all the documents and tried to locate band members or the authors of fan letters via Google or Facebook. But Nichols — who is also the co-owner of Taste and See, a board member of NewTown Macon, facilities director and technical director at Christ Chapel Church, and a drummer — doesn’t have the time. He not only had the building to fix but also “nearly 50 medium sized boxes” full of Capricorn Records memorabilia to hold onto, and others wanted to get involved. Nichols began getting calls from people wanting to help him with the rebuild. Others kept telling him he was “sitting on a gold mine.” But Nichols doesn’t see it that way. “Well, what’s a gold mine? Is a gold mine $100? Is a gold mine $10,000? Is a gold mine $1 million? This stuff is not worth that much money, but it’s a lot of history. History is worth something, but it’s not worth a gold mine like people think,” Nichols said. Nichols said there are two items, however, that might be worth some money: the tickets from every Allman Brothers Band concert in 1974-1975 and the Andy Warhol picture. “If I called Andy Warhol and he had never seen the pictureand he was really good friends with Phil [Walden] and just absolutely had to have that picture, and then I was a greedy SOB who thought well I’m gonna get rich off this,” he said. “But you know what I’d probably do? I’d probably say ‘Dude, this picture belongs to you,’ and give it to him.” Nichols keeps hearing suggestions to turn the property into “a museum or a music place.” He isn’t keen on that idea but is willing to do it if someone else who wants that rents the property. Citing the Big House Museum, which is also located in Macon, Nichols said he isn’t sure a Capricorn museum would be feasible. “Museums have a hard time. They struggle. It’s just not something beneficial financially to put that much money into a museum that nobody comes and supports,” he said. Nichols said he has reached out to Mercer University’s Special Collections and the Washington Library to house the material. Nichols said Mercer seems more feasible because he want to maintain his ownership. Laura Botts, associate director for Mercer’s Special Collections, said in an e-mail that she hasn’t heard from Nichols but looks forward to future talks. Mercer may be able to house the material “depending on the size of the collection,” Botts said. Before finding out what will occupy the property or where the information will go, Nichols and company will have to rebuild. ‘WELL, THAT’S WHERE I’VE RUN INTO AN ISSUE.’ Nichols had to gut the property. There are beams, wires and severed air conditioning tubes hanging from the ceiling. The roof is gone, and recent rains have flooded the basement floor. The building is just bones. The building process has stalled because Nichols isn’t sure what he wants to do with the building. Usually, he collects tax credits for his restoration projects. But the 1975 remodel makes the situation a little more complicated. “Well, that’s where I’ve run into an issue,” Nichols said. “In order to get historic tax credits, the building must have historical significance. Usually, if the building is 50 years or older, it automatically qualifies. That building is not 50 years or older now.” Nichols is fighting the state and federal government for recognition to get the tax credits. He said government officials have tentatively agreed that if he returns the building to the exact way it was before it collapsed, the building would be on the Georgia’s historic places list but not the National Register. But if he puts it back exactly the way it was, it limits what Nichols can do with the building. “Back in those days, they had a mail room. They had secretaries. They actually had a black room in there . . . because everything had to be done in house,” Nichols said. “Now, everybody does things off of e-mail. People’s offices are their cell phones.” Nichols said other potential uses include a restaurant or lofts like he’s doing in the buildings next door at the Melba Lodge. But nothing is certain. “We’re still in that debating stage,” Nichols said. As of now, Nichols just has the pieces.
As the holiday season approaches, thefts are on the rise. From Oct. 12 to Nov. 23, thirteen criminal offenses occurred on the Macon campus. Nine of these cases were thefts by taking. CRIMES OF NOTE: Oct. 30: A person stole $200 worth of copper refrigeration tubing from the roof of Mercer Lofts Phase V. The tubing was later found on the roof of building ‘B’. Labor costs for replacing the tubing is estimated at $300. There is no surveillance in place at the Phase V construction site. Nov. 8: Two men crashed an on-campus party at the Kappa Alpha Psi house and stole three partygoers phones after becoming agitated for some unknown reason. One of the victims turned on the lights to ask where his phone was when one of the men responded ‘We got your damn phone.’ According to the report, one of the men then pulled out a gun and fired a single shot into the air. The partygoers ran for cover. No one was injured, and the suspects fled on foot. Nov. 12: A Mercer professor reported an Apple 11’’ MacBook Air given to her by Mercer stolen. On Nov. 11. she left the laptop and a stack of recently completed exams on her desk. Around lunchtime the next day, the laptop and the exam papers were missing. She reported that her office door had been open most of the time, except when she left the building. The professor later found her laptop. She told the officers a friend had placed it in her bag. No word on what happened to the exams. Nov. 15: A student in Dowell Hall had a $40 bottle of Ed Hardy perfume and $60 brown boots stolen from her room. She claims that her roommate lends their room key to friends and never locks the door.
Georgia’s historic heartland is not the first place that comes to mind when someone mentions hockey. But the winter sport has a rich and interesting history in Macon. The Macon Mayhem’s inaugural season began late October and continues a tradition that began in 1973. The Mayhem (2-4-2) sit seventh in the nine team Southern Professional Hockey standings. Their two wins came against the rival Columbus Cottonmouths. Coach Kevin Kerr said the team’s first win was huge in an interview with The Telegraph. "It was an all-around good team effort; we actually looked like a hockey team,” Kerr said. “We had a system coming in and we stuck to it," But it was almost not meant to be. The Mayhem — then Riverhawks — called the city of Augusta, Georgia their home. The team won the 2011-2012 regular season title, but in October 2013 the Riverhawks had serious problems. The ice refrigeration system at James Brown Arena, the team’s facility, malfunctioned. Team owner Bob Kerzner, the city of Augusta and arena operator Global Spectrum could not reach an agreement on repairing or replacing the 1.2 million dollar system. The team sat out the 2013-2014 season. Kernzer considered relocating the team to Tallahassee, Florida or Greensboro, North Carolina. But Macon contacted the SPHL to express interest in hosting a franchise. The move made sense. Macon’s first minor league team, the Macon Whoopees, played in the Southern Hockey league during the 1973-74 season. The league folded in 1977. Hockey returned to the city in 1996 as the Whoopee franchise was resurrected. The team played in the Central Hockey league until the Whoopee folded in 2001. When the SPHL started up in 2004, one of the original teams that joined was the Macon Trax. The team folded in 2005, 3 years after its founding. When the Macon-Bibb city council approved a five year deal for the Mayhem to play in the Macon Coliseum last June, hockey was officially back. “I think there is a lot of buzz in the city about, because we are the only professional sports team here," said Alec Kessler, the team’s broadcaster. The team sat out the 2014-2015 season to develop their fanbase, and Kessler said the crowds have delivered. At their season opening exhibition against Columbus, the Mayhem recorded the attendance at 2,012. “The everyday people showed so much support for having hockey back in Macon," Kessler said. Players have gained some notoriety. John Schiavo was the first member of the team to be called up. He spent time this summer in the New York Islanders organization before coming to Macon to try out for the Mayhem. Last week, he was called to the the Missouri Mavericks of the ECHL. Although his team in Macon was short, Schivao says he enjoyed being around the fans and the team. “It was good...playing in front of fans that haven't seen hockey in ten years,” Schiavo said. “That building was amazing," The team plays the Fayetteville Fireantz Nov. 21 then heads on the road for a five game road trip. The return home Dec. 11 to play Fayetteville. For more information on the team, visit their website.
Mercer University Police Chief Gary Collins advises students to protect themselves and be safe. Mercer students have been victimized in a string of auto-related crimes. From Sept. 2 through Oct. 12, two vehicles have been stolen, and there have been five documented incidents of entering autos. Signs of forced entry were only present in one instance. “Don't make it easy,” said Mercer Police Chief Gary Collins. “If someone enters an unlocked car, we will not know the car is broken into. Please, help us help you.” From Sept. 30 to Oct. 12, there were three documented criminal incidents—one entering auto, one criminal damage to property and one simple battery. These cases were transferred from from paper files to Mercer’s police systems database Wednesday, Oct. 20. Friday, Oct. 2 through Monday, Oct. 5: A person without permission entered the Loft Phase 5 construction site on Mercer University Drive behind Five Star Stadium sometime over the weekend of Friday, Oct. 2 at 5 p.m and Monday, Oct. 5 at 9 a.m. The person cut various types and sizes of wire a few feet short of the connection. Ten units on the second, third and fourth of Building 1-B were vandalized. There was no surveillance available, and damages totaled near $8,000. Monday, Oct.12: Someone entered a student’s vehicle and took her GPS from the glovebox of her vehicle. The student was unsure if her vehicle was locked. There were no signs the perpetrator made a forced entry. Monday, Oct. 12: A verbal argument between two individuals turned violent on Mercer’s campus. The suspect took a tire iron from the victim’s car and busted out the front and back windows. While fleeing, the victim struck another vehicle. As the victim stopped and waited for officers to respond to the accident, the offender approached and struck the victim with a tire iron on the head and shoulders. The pair were both issued issued a warning for criminal trespassing. Not included in these tallies is the suspicious person sighted on campus late on the night of Sunday, Oct. 18 and into the early morning hours of Monday, Oct. 19. Mercer Police officers and Bibb County Sheriff's officers responded to the incident. Once the individual saw the blue lights, he hightailed it down Ash Street and got away. Collins says the blue lights may have scared students, but there was no evidence to indicate the person had a firearm. Emails and text alerts were not sent to the students because Collins and the police department felt there wasn't a threat. “If we thought there was [a threat], we would have notified the community,” Collins said.