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Mercer and Florida Gulf Coast Uuniversity meet on the Eagles’ home turf Sunday in a basketball game determining the champion of the Atlantic Sun Conference. Possibly more important to both schools: the champion team of A-Sun gets an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament.
The Bears have a feeling of deja-vu; this time last year Mercer fought FGCU at home in Hawkins Arena for the same chance to go into the NCAA brackets. FGCU won the game and took the NCAA bid, making an amazing run all the way to the Sweet Sixteen as a No. 15 seed.
Some Mercerians said FGCU deserved support in the NCAA tournament last year, but support for FGCU during the 2013 NCAA tournament was hard to stomach for Mercer fans. The Bears watched FGCU celebrate a championship win that could have been Mercer’s, and on their home court to boot.
"I want them to lose on their court," said Mercer student Taylor Feeney.
Mens basketball coach, Bob Hoffman, is confident the team is ready to win the championship on enemy territory.
“It don’t matter where it is or where it’s on,” said Hoffman after the Bears narrowly won against USC Upstate in the A-Sun semifinals Thursday. “Let’s play on the beach or that parking lot they have out there that people are playing on.”
Despite Hoffman's confidence, Mercer is making sure the team gets as much support from home as possible. The Office of the President, SGA and Campus Life pooled resources to foot the bill to bus students from Macon to Fort Myers, Fla. Mercer is covering the buses, tickets, food and hotel rooms at the Hyatt Place in Fort Myers. Latest estimates put the total cost of the trip at $15,000.
“Remember: you are in enemy territory," said Todd Thomas, assistant director of intramural sports to a room full of students volunteering to travel. "Don't get in a shouting match with the [FGCU] students, just ignore them."
True, the Bears fans will be outnumbered almost 45 to 1 at a school that's notorious for being rowdy.
“You guys can make or break it,” said Dean of Students Dr. Doug Pearson to the students. “Stay classy.”
The Mercer Maniacs Twitter feed (@MercerManiacs) has no qualms with trash talk.
"Trying to remember when FGCU was founded.... 1997?? N'Sync is older than them."
"We're the rednecks? When FGCWho started, their classes were in trailers."
Mercer and FGCU battled twice before in the regular season, both winning at home. Between those two games, Mercer scored a total of 129 points with a 38 percent shot efficiency; FGCU scored 130 with a 40 percent shot efficiency. FGCU appears to have a slight advantage over Mercer based on the numbers, but there is no clear favorite for the game.
The Bears are one of only 19 teams to have already won 25 games this season, are ranked among the nation’s top 25 in both field-goal percentage and points per game, and have won eight of their last 12 games away from home.
Perhaps the Mercer men’s basketball team will be the talk of the nation after the game on Sunday. For live updates on the game from a student perspective, follow @MercerCluster or watch the game live on ESPN2.
The fourth midseason finale of AMC’s “The Walking Dead” left fans asking “So...What now?”
Season four returned to using walkers as a force of nature, unlike seasons two and three, which featured humans using walkers as tools and bioweapons. Many fans pointed out that walkers had become a mere background rather than a central character of the show. Season four was quite the aboutface -- during the first half of season four, walker conflict was at an all-time high.
The devastation brought to Rick’s group of survivors at the prison is complete; the Governor’s tank-backed army destroyed every advantage the prison-shelter offered: food, shelter and security.
Episode nine of season four began in the aftermath of the battle; living combatants on both sides of the conflict have run away to escape the walker horde attracted by the sounds of battle.
As much as Sheriff-turned-farmer Rick Grime tried, he couldn’t recreate the life that was before apocalypse. Even more devastating, he couldn’t keep his son, Carl, from growing up in zombieland.
One of my friends frankly encapsulated episode nine, “It’s like Carl went through puberty all at once.”
Rick is truly at his weakest point in the series. He are Carl are on the run from the ruins of the prison and he is still recovering from a fierce fistfight and a bullet wound to the leg. He didn’t even have the strength to defend himself against a single walker and Carl no longer trusts his own father to be the leader of their duo.
Rick tries to reassure Carl, “Hey, We’re gonna be…” Rick can’t bring himself to sentence finish.
Carl spends most of the episode skirting around his father’s weakened authority. Carl is reckless for the sake of defiance against Rick. Carl blames Rick for the death of baby Judith and his mother, Lori, and the loss of the prison camp.
Even with all the hate welling inside Carl, he still fears his father. Carl can only bring himself to confront Rick after he slips into a coma.
“I still know how to survive, lucky for us. I don’t need you. You’re nothing. I’d be fine if you died.”
He’s trying so hard to be a real man, to be resourceful and cunning just like his father used to be. He sets off to find supplies, but settles for eating a large tin of pudding on the roof of a house, blissfully ignoring the zombie that moments before almost succeeded in killing him.
Carl can’t decide if he wants be a man or a child.
Later in the evening, Carl is confronted by the possibility that Rick died in his sleep and has turned into a zombie. Carl readies Rick’s own revolver, to put him down, but gives up. Even as a shell of a man, Rick Grimes is still daunting to Carl.
Rick wakes up and Carl breaks down sobbing. He’s ready to be the weak child his father wanted him to be. He wants his father to protect him and nurture him.
No matter. Rick, in a sudden bout of lucidity, becomes aware of his mortality.
“You’re a man. You’re a man, Carl,” said Rick. “I’m sorry.”
Rick knows he can’t be always be there for his son and makes it painfully clear.
Episode 10 of season four wasn’t nearly the tour de force of episode nine. The episode served mainly to show that most of the main cast are in fact alive, but fragmented across the Georgia wilderness.
Episode 10 did introduce three interesting elements: the hope of sanctuary at a place called Terminus; the return of the exile, Carol; and the mysterious character, Abraham Ford.
The history-savvy among us know that Terminus was a moniker used for Atlanta, which was overrun with walkers at the end of season one. Could a portion of it have been reclaimed? Nonetheless, the name is a bit ominous.
Carol was exiled for killing Karen and David, even if she did it with the intention of preventing the spread of disease. Some fans speculate that Carol took the rap for 12-year-old Lizzie. Lizzie’s on-screen actions are getting darker by the episode.
I won’t taint your viewing experience with recounts of the Walking Dead comic books, but I can say that Abraham, albeit friendly, will be a serious threat to Rick’s authority over the group of survivors.
“Ender’s Game” premiered Halloween day, raking in $9.9 million by Friday and closed the weekend with $28 million. The film cost $110 million to make and analysts predict that the film will make a profit. The movie, starring Asa Butterfield and Harrison Ford, pushed “Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa” to second place in the box office.
The novel “Ender’s Game,” was authored by Orson Scott Card in 1985. The film version of Card’s novel was written and directed by Gavin Hood, director of “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” in 2009.
In 2086, 70 years prior to the setting of the “Ender’s Game,” Earth is invaded by an alien race known as the Formics. The Formic invasion was barely repelled, but due to the self sacrifice of strategic-genius and fighter-pilot Mazer Rackham, the human race survives. The governments of Earth unite under the banner of the “International Fleet” (IF) to prepare for an inevitable a second invasion of the Formics.
Ender Wiggin (Asa Butterfield) is a young student at a government-sponsored military school and the third child of his parents. As a third, he’s a pariah in a world in which strict population control is in effect.
The government allowed Ender to be born because his impressive genetic lineage indicated he would have the strategic-intellectual capability to lead the International Fleet to victory against the technologically superior Formics.
From the very beginning, Ender is depicted as a brilliant boy who, because of his status as a third, reluctantly finds himself in situations in which he must use his intelligence to defend himself. During an early encounter with a school bully, Ender kicks the bully several times even after the fight is over in order to “win all the other fights.”
Impressed by his reaction to the bully, the omnipresent Col. Graff (Harrison Ford) of the International Fleet whisks Ender away to Battle School, a space station in which dozens of child soldiers participate in zero-gravity wargames and train to be future commanders in the IF. Ender quickly rises to distinction, invoking envy and hatred in the other students.
Ender learns to be an empathetic killer, but the better Ender becomes at defeating his fellow classmates, the more he hates himself for exploiting their weaknesses.
“In the moment when I truly understand my enemy, understand him well enough to defeat him, then in that very moment I also love him,” said Ender several times in the film.
Gavin Hood tried to pack too much plot from the novel into the runtime of “Ender’s Game.” The movie is visually stunning, but lacks in the pacing department. Some of the emotional exchanges between the child actors are awkwardly portrayed, making those scenes laughable. The child actors are trying very hard to be adults, but the awkward portrayal does highlight the absurdity of forcing the characters to skip adolescence by training for war. This thought-provoking absurdity and the genius it is suppose to bring about in these children never really gets a chance to shine because of poor character development.
Much of the content from the book not directly portrayed by the movie is referenced indirectly by secondary characters, gumming up the plot. Despite the adaptation’s drawbacks, the plot of the movie does stand apart from the book and it touches, all too briefly, on the true price of war.
The Mercer volleyball team hosted the Northern Kentucky University Norse (NKU) in Hawkins Arena Friday night. The NKU game coincided with Mercer’s senior night which celebrated the Mercer volleyball careers of No. 9 Zoe Becton, No. 4 Carly Iannarino, No. 14 Lizzie Knapper and No. 13 Emily Rochefort.
Mercer played valiantly, but fell to the NKU Norse late in the match. The loss marked the fourth five-set match of the season, but ended in a frustrating loss for the Bears. The game is the 14th-straight loss of the Atlantic Sun Conference, and the 22nd-straight loss of the season.
The defeat caused Mercer to fall to 1-23 (0-14 Atlantic Sun Conference) while NKU jumped to 10-16 (5-8 Atlantic Sun Conference).
Sophomore Molly Locke had a season-high 19 kills and 18 digs, achieving a hitting percentage of 0.275 in the match. Locke made five errors on 51 attempts. Junior Caroline Carlton made 15 kills on 40 attempts.
Senior Emily Rochefort led all players with 28 digs; freshman Ellie James and senior Caroline Carlton each added 13 digs.
Mercer took the first set with relative ease, keeping the Norse at bay. The second set was much closer, leading to a 24-24 tie between the Bears and the Norse. A kill by Caroline Carlton and an ace by sophomore Jordan Gollon caused the Bears to break the tie and secure a two-set lead.
Northern Kentucky handedly took the third set in a reverse of the first. Mercer held a 22-16 during the fourth set, but the Norse made nine-straight scores to tie the set scores 2-2. During the fifth set, Northern Kentucky quickly took a 5-1 lead and maintained the advantage for the remainder of the set.
The next day Mercer hosted the Lipscomb Bisons in Hawkins Arena. The game, marked Mercer’s last home game of the season. Unfortunately, the home court advantage was not enough to ensure victory. The Bears, despite close individual sets, lost to the Bisons 3-0 Saturday. The Bears fell to 1-24 (0-15 Atlantic Sun Conference) on the year while Lipscomb moved to 18-6 (12-2 Atlantic Sun Conference).
Freshman Ellie James made nine kills, four digs and two block assists. Junior Caroline Carlton made eight kills and four total blocks.
Mercer was held a significant 17-9 lead in the first set, but an amazing comeback by Lipscomb result ended the first set in a loss for the Bears. During the second set, the Bears and Bisons alternated to a 10-10 tie. Lipscomb broke the tie, and maintained a solid lead for the rest of the set. During the third set, Lipscomb broke away from another 8-8 tie with five-straight points and again maintained the advantage to secure the game win. Sophomore Molly Locke achieved a team-high 15 digs and senior Emily Rochefort added 11 digs. Senior Carly Iannarino made 16 assists and freshman Tori Penrod added 12.
Mercer volleyball’s next game is at Jacksonville, Nov. 8 at 6 p.m.
The Mercer volleyball team hosted their instate rival, the Kennesaw State Owls, in Hawkins Arena on Saturday. Mercer played valiantly, but fell to the Owls late in the match. The loss marked the second five-set match of the season, but ended in a disappointing loss for the Bears. The game is the 10th-straight loss of the Atlantic Sun Conference, and the 18th-straight loss of the season.
The match started as a tossup with no clear favorite; both the Bears and the Owls had been on a losing streak before the game.
“We ran a different offense on Saturday that put our hitters in a better position to get kills. We had a much higher hitting percentage against Kennesaw St., probably the highest we've had all season,” said senior setter Carly Iannarino.
The Owls won the first two sets by a narrow margin, a four-point and six-point lead for each respective set.
“Going into set one, we knew that the Owls were going to be a good matchup for us. Unfortunately, we came out a little flat and made some stupid, yet fixable errors. We missed too many serves along with some other mistakes. At halftime, we just talked about minimizing those errors and getting ahead early, which we did in the third set, and even more so in the fourth. We couldn't get a kill in the fifth set which led to the loss,” said Iannarino.
The Bears recouped their losses in the second half of the match. They broke a 21-21 tie to take the set by three points. During the fourth match,Mercer stayed consistently ahead, winning the set by eight points.
During the the final set, Mercer initially led 7-5, but Kennesaw pulled ahead in a five-point streak. In a bitter back-and-forth volley, Mercer gained ground. However, a final three-point streak by Kennesaw sealed the match in the Owl’s favor, 15-11.
“It was disappointing that we lost, but we have to keep our heads up and look forward. I think that the adjustments that we made on Saturday will really help up get some wins to finish up the season,” said Iannarino. “We play Kennesaw St. again in a couple of weeks and I know we will be able to come out with the victory.”
The Mercer volleyball team nearly hit their watermark with a 0.210 hitting percentage for the game. The team accrued 56 kills, 167 attempts and 21 errors.
Senior Carly Iannarino led the team with 32 assists during the match, breaking 1,000 assists in her career.
“Getting 1,000 assists isn't unusual for a senior, but it's definitely something that I'm excited about. After tearing my ACL and being out for a season, it's an awesome accomplishment. It shows that my hard work post-surgery really paid off and that with determination success will come,” said Iannarino.
Iannarino also commented that the success of the team is far more important than her individual accomplishments. “We all have been working hard to continue getting better, despite our losing record. We still have eight regular season games left and with a few wins, we can really turn the season around. Ultimately, it’s the success of the team that matters the most.”
Four Mercer players hit double-digit digs, led by senior Emily Rochefort’s 23 digs. Freshman Ellie James contributed 17 kills, a team high for the match.
Last week the Mercer volleyball team played Lipscomb in a three-set loss, Northern Kentucky in a four-set loss and South Carolina Upstate in a three-set loss.
Mercer’s next conference match will be at 6 p.m. against East Tennessee State on Oct. 22.
“Gravity” hit theaters last weekend, raking in $55.6 million, the largest ever haul for an October-opening-weekend release. The movie, starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, easily bested competitors “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2” and “Runner Runner.”
Astronauts Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) and Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) are servicing the Hubble Space Telescope in low-Earth orbit. Kowalski is an aging veteran of the space program; Stone is on her first mission. Kowalski and Stone are spacewalking and chattering over the radio, swapping stories while working on the telescope. If it wasn’t for the breathtaking view of the the space shuttle against the Earth, the radio chatter would sound like any other day at the office.
Paradoxically, their surrounding is disturbingly quiet. There’s no background noise. The title sequence reminds the audience that there is no air to carry sound in space, reminiscent of the “Alien” tag line, “In space, no one can hear you scream.” All the sounds of the astronauts’ work are muffled, because we’re hearing them through their suits.
Suddenly the crew receives a report from Houston that a Russian satellite has exploded, sending a cascading shower of debris, traveling thousands of miles per hour, in their direction.
Before Kowalski and Stone can get back to safety, the debris silently riddles the shuttle and telescope. The debris punches holes clean through both craft, killing the remaining crew and sending car-sized chunks of spacecraft careening. Kowalski and Stone are left stranded in space with no radio to communicate with Houston.
The two know that the shower of debris is going to circle the Earth and hit them again, so they attempt to maneuver to the International Space Station in hopes of finding an intact escape vehicle.
Hollywood rarely produces a science-fiction action movie that does justice to the science it presents. Only the most nitpicky of astrophysicists will be pulled out of the movie because of its unrealistic portrayal of physics (e.g. Neil deGrasse Tyson). Even Buzz Aldrin of Apollo 11 said “Gravity” was excellent.
There are no paranormal or extraterrestrial elements in “Gravity,” just the haunting reality of Stone and Kowalski being stranded in space, low on oxygen, hours away from burning up in the atmosphere and minutes from being turned to swiss cheese by space debris.
The camera makes no attempt to give the audience a stable reference point orienting the camera to get the best composition rather than setting any part of the scene as “down.” The disorientation is purposeful, but not sickening. The camera zooms in and out, seamlessly flowing from one character to another in long uncut scenes.
“Gravity” is sure to remind viewers of films like “2001: A Space Odyssey” or “Apollo 13.”
The imagery beats the audience over the head with symbolism, but it is beautiful nonetheless.
The characters’ peril are expertly portrayed. I was never once sure that either Kowalski or Stone were going to survive. They were both equally disposable in the eyes of the space debris. You’ll have to see the movie to find out if they live to see the end credits. Either way, “Gravity” was a wild ride, sure to inspire awe in the unforgiving, yet beautiful environment of space. If your wallet will allow, see “Gravity” in IMAX 3-D.
Macon Pops, Macon’s first pops orchestra, will debut Oct. 26 at Macon City Auditorium. The concert will mark the first of a three-concert series.
Grammy-nominated percussionist Steve Moretti and Grammy-winning arranger Matt Catingub announced their plans to start Macon Pops during a press conference in August. Catingub on keyboard, Moretti on drums, and Chris Riggenbach on bass performed "Jeepers Creepers" and “Watermelon Man” during the conference to give attendees a taste of Macon Pops’ sound.
The idea of creating a pops orchestra in Macon came to Moretti and Catingub after they performed at Cox Capitol Theatre in February. They had already created pops orchestras in California and Hawaii.
“We had done this around the world. Why not start the Macon Pops? We’re having a cultural renaissance here,” Moretti said.
Moretti’s wife, Amy Schwartz Moretti, directs the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings at the Townsend School of Music.
"We've run the numbers on it, conservative numbers. And we can pretty much break even just on ticket sales, to be honest. And that's the great thing about this model with just the one rehearsal," Moretti said.
The Oct. 26 concert entitled, “Dancing Through the Decades,” will feature music from the big band era of the 1950s through the 2000s. The Dec. 7 performance will contain variations on traditional holiday music featuring local choirs and local hip-hop artist Floco Torres. The third concert, March 1, will be country music themed, featuring country music artist JoDee Messina.
“These innovative performances showcasing highly regarded studio and symphony orchestra musicians will blend the best of pop music while covering a broad musical spectrum,” Moretti said in a press release. “Macon Pops will complement our rich musical heritage and add a brand new ﬂavor to our local music scene.”
During the performances, Macon City Auditorium will be decorated as a nightclub, complete with dance ﬂoor, catered food and bar.
Catingub, who created the soundtrack for the Oscar-nominated motion picture “Good Night and Good Luck,” said the pops orchestras he and Moretti put together contain no more than 40 musicians, all of whom are brought together for a single rehearsal the day of the concert.
“It may sound scary, but that’s why they are professional musicians,” he said. “Because they can do it.”
Macon Pops has already seen ﬁnancial support for the concert series from local citizens. Moretti said that one supporter has issued a “challenge donation:” they will donate $1 for every $1 raised by the community, up to $50,000.
According to a press release, tickets went on sale Sept. 1 and can be purchased through Ticketmaster online or by calling 800-653-8000. Tables will be available on the ﬂoor at a variety of prices and balcony seats will be $10 each.
The Mercer volleyball team competed in four Atlantic Sun Conference games over the past two weeks. Stetson University beat the Mercer volleyball team Sept. 27 3-1 (25-22, 18-25, 25-12, 25-20) at the Edmunds Center in DeLand, Fla. The loss caused the Bears to drop to 0-3 in conference, while Stetson remained unbeaten at 3-0.
Sophomore Molly Locke made 16 kills during the game, the match high, but Stetson had four players reach double-digit kill totals. Locke's 16 kills came on 51 swings, paired with seven digs.
The Bears lost the first set by three points, but evened the match out in the second set with a .375 hitting percentage. Locke made five of her 16 kills in the frame on just eight attempts, while four other Mercer players recorded at least a kill.
Stetson quickly took the lead, 5-1 in the third set, and held it for the rest of the match eventually scoring 25 points to Mercer’s 12. In the fourth set, the teams were tied 20-20 before Stetson scored 5 points in a row to win the match.
Mercer-senior Emily Rochefort made 16 digs in the final set and junior Carly Iannarino made 34 assists.
The next day Mercer volleyball traveled to Fort Myers, Fla. to battle the Florida Gulf Coast University Eagles at Alico Arena.
Junior Caroline Carlton led the team with 15 kills and only four errors. However, Mercer's volleyball team fell to Florida Gulf Coast. 3-0 (28-26, 25-13, 25-1).
In the first set, Mercer led the match 24-22 before the Eagles came back to claim the victory. In the second set, the Eagles broke away from a 7-7 tie and led the rest of the set
Senior Emily Rochefort and sophomore Molly Locke combined for 23 digs in the loss. Senior Carly Iannarino passed out 30 assists while recording four digs, a kill and a service ace.
The defeat marked Mercer volleyball's twelfth-straight loss, dropping the team to one win in 14 games and no wins out of four conference games. The game was Florida Gulf Coast's third-straight victory and moved them to a season 4-10 and 3-1 in the Atlantic Sun.
Carlton achieved a .355 hitting percentage because her 15 kills were on 31 assists. She also had four service aces and four digs. Mercer-senior Zoe Becton, had six kills on 14 attempts for a .357 attacking efficiency, narrowly beating her teammate.
The following weekend the Mercer volleyball team hosted the University of North Florida and Jacksonville University consecutive days. Mercer suffered a 3-0 (25-19, 25-18, 25-20) loss to North Florida Friday and a 3-0 (25-19, 25-16, 25-15) loss to Jacksonville Saturday.
Freshman Ellie James led the team Friday with seven kills on 22 swings with just three errors for a .182 hitting percentage. Sophomore Jordan Gollon led the team in attacking efficiency, achieving a hitting .444 hitting percentage.
Mercer lost three sets in a row, reluctantly yielding the game to North Florida.
Senior Emily Rochefort collected 15 digs in the loss and senior setter Carly Iannarino registered a team-high 16 assists.
Mercer volleyball’s game against Jacksonville played out in a similar fashion. The team fell in straight-sets to Jacksonville Jacksonville moved to 14-2 season, 5-1 in the Atlantic Sun conference and the Bears dropped to 1-15 season, 0-6 Atlantic Sun conference.
Junior setter Carly Iannarino made 17 assists, two digs and a kill. Senior Emily Rochefort added another eight digs, two assists and two service aces.
“The World’s End” is the third and final installment in the “Cornetto Trilogy” produced and directed by Edgar Wright, written by Wright and Simon Pegg, and starring Pegg and Nick Frost.
For those of you who do not know, the “Cornetto Trilogy,” also known as the “Blood and Ice Cream Trilogy,” includes the movies “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz,” which also starred Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.
Gary King (Simon Pegg) is literally the top dog of his high school living the good life in the early 90s. The opening monologue depicts King and his friends attempting to complete the “legendary” Golden Mile, a circuit of 12 pubs, all in one night.
Their attempt at the Golden Mile is admirable, but one by one they drop out of the campaign due to a combination of girls, beer, and alcohol.
King laments at the end of the monologue that no point in his life will be better than the night he tried to complete the Mile.
In the present day, King wants to try his hand at the Golden Mile again. Even after 20 years King hasn’t changed at all. He wears the same clothes and drives the same car, living in a perpetual state of the “best night of his life.”
The first 30 minutes of The World’s End plays like a belated coming of age movie. King has to accept that he is growing up and, to the disgust of his friends, he is the same drunkard they knew during high school.
King’s friends are about to abandon their second attempt at the Golden Mile, but then the aliens attack. I really shouldn’t have expected anything else from a Cornetto Movie, but I was honestly surprised.
The moment aliens are introduced into the plot, the movie falls into the same rhythm as the other movies in the trilogy. Tightly-shot fight scenes are paired with exposition about the right course of action. Do they run away or try and complete the Golden Mile?
King chooses the Mile and his friends reluctantly follow.
“The World’s End” draws a massive parallel between earth’s role in the galaxy and King’s own role in high school. The aliens try to control humanity, but King, with courage provided by 12 pints of beer, fights for humanity and his precious Golden Mile.
I highly recommend seeing the comedy-action movie, especially if you enjoyed “Hot Fuzz” or “Shaun on the Dead”. On a scale of Midnight Movie to full price, I give The World’s End “full price.”
An NCAA rule allows university athletic teams to take 10 extra days of practice should they take a foreign tour.
“In all honesty I was being selfish; I wanted ten extra practice days this summer,” said women’s basketball head coach, Susie Gardner. “When we got to Ghana, I realized this is so much bigger than basketball.”
The Mercer women’s basketball team, in collaboration with Mercer on Mission, performed community service in Ghana for three weeks. Mercer on Mission was able to get the student’s scholarships to cover most of the trip, and Mercer Athletics covered the remainder.
The team served one week in the capital city, Accra, hosting basketball camps for girls and boys. Dynasty Basketball Association, a local non-profit youth development organization facilitated the camp.
While working with the camps, the team met the director of Developing Unity Nurturing Knowledge (DUNK). DUNK is a basketball program specifically geared toward under-privileged Ghanaian children.
“[They had] no shoes, no balls, no anything,” said junior Alicia Williams. “We ended up donating all of our basketballs and [athletic] clothes to DUNK.”
According to Williams, DUNK only needed the equivalent of $20 to purchase a new basketball goal for another basketball organization. The team was easily able to collect the money from their own pockets.
When the team wasn’t busy teaching campers, they played a couple of games against professional Ghanaian teams.
“The kids from DUNK and Dynasty came to both games,” said Williams. “The kids from the camp would cheer and would try their best to cheer on the team, yelling ‘Mare-sar!’ repeatedly.”
The team canceled their third game of the week after they won the first two games by more than 80 points.
The team spent their remaining two weeks of service in the townships of Dodowa and Agomeda. Along with Mercer on Mission and the Fuller Center for Housing, the women helped in the construction of four houses.
“You travel through Ghana, you can’t go 50 yards without seeing an unfinished house. [Ghanaians] don’t take out loans, so if they run out of cash, the houses just sit there until they get more cash.”
“We had a three hour ride from Accra to Dodowa. We were rolling up and a lot of us had fallen asleep and we wake up and see all these people and drums and dancing and cheering. They were so excited that we were there,” said Williams.
“They had a parade for us, they were beating drums, they were blowing the horns, the whole side of the road was lined with the locals,” said Gardner.
The townspeople followed them from the stopped bus about a quarter mile to the church where a welcoming ceremony took place.
The team stayed the night in Dodowa and commuted 25 minutes via bus to the construction sites in Agomeda.
The women were supervised by local Ghanaian craftsmen, but did a majority of the grunt work of the construction of the concrete houses. They retrieved water for concrete, mixed mortar, laid bricks, and plastered the finished walls of the houses.
“I wanted them to try every task that there was. They found out what their strengths were,” said Gardner. “We heard the word ‘Level!’ ‘Mortar!’ ‘I need a block!’” said Gardner.
According to Gardner the conditions of the campsite were primitive. The houses were isolated from the community because the property was donated.
“There was no electricity, we had to get water from a well with a string and bucket,” said Gardner. “[The bricks] were piled up on the ground maybe 30, 40 yards away from the houses.”
The players loaded the bricks from their resting place and wheel barrowed them, uphill, to the masons working on the houses.
“We worked hard, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. everyday,” said Gardner.
Alicia Williams’ preferred job was plastering.
“We took a scoop of it and threw it on the wall and it’d just fall off; the people who had been doing it for years would do the same things and make it stay,” said Williams.
Williams did say that she got better over the course of construction period.
Both Gardner and Williams said the families whose houses they were building were thankful for the assistance.
“It’s hard to put into words how wonderful of a trip it was,” said Gardner. “We were all touched and moved greatly.”
I’m stressed. Odds are, you’re stressed too. College is the first time many of us leave our homes for an extended period of time. We leave behind friends, family and significant others.
Move-in day barely ends before the new students dive headfirst into classes and possibly one-too-many extracurricular activities.
We form new relationships while fighting to preserve the old ones: all on an empty stomach.
Even with the best of time-management skills, college life can be overwhelming. We may be able to relieve stress by binge-watching “New Girl” and “Doctor Who” (what, just me?). Unfortunately, these tactics only treat the symptoms and don’t even address more pressing issues than stress.
For those who need more than a night of wearing sweatpants and a cookie-monster approach to desserts, Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) offers free counseling sessions to Mercer students.
“Between the number of students that come to the CAPS office for services, participate in a CAPS program or are involved with a CAPS initiative, we potentially impact every student,” said Assistant Director of CAPS, Brent Meyer.
Meyer is one of two licensed therapists on site at CAPS, the other being Director Emily Piassick. Two more graduate-level clinical interns work part time at CAPS as counselors.
The counselors of CAPS try to work with students to identify the source of problems by listening to students and suggesting action to help improve negative situations. Two Mercer students shared their CAPS experiences with The Cluster on the condition of anonymity; the first chose to use the pseudonym “Amy Pond.”
“I was having conflicts in certain personal relationships and I was angry and I wanted to know if my feelings were justified,” said Pond. “I got angry and kind of snapped at a person. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t as crazy as I thought.”
The second student, chose to use the pseudonym “Jessica Day.” Day was beaten by home invaders in her off-campus house. She said she was visited by a CAPS representative while recovering in the hospital after the attack. Following the recommendation of her professors, she scheduled an appointment with CAPS the day after her release from the hospital.
“Students come to seek CAPS services for a variety of areas,” said Meyer.
The counselors of CAPS are working to dispel the taboos associated with seeking outside help for a personal problem. Seeing a counselor is not an admission of a broken mental state, just acknowledgement of a broken situation.”
“I felt like I needed to (go earlier), but was too afraid to go. I could have resolved it much more quickly,” said Pond.
Day said she was initially self conscious about being seen going into CAPS.
“Something terrible happened to me, why am I embarrassed?” said Day. She said she reevaluated her position toward CAPS.
“Stigma related to mental health and mental illness is persistent in all communities. CAPS strives to break down those barriers so that students feel comfortable when seeking our services,” said Meyer.
Pond said it was much easier to set up an appointment than she thought it would be. She called on a weekend and by business hours Monday, she had an appointment scheduled.
“The first session was just me telling the story. (The Counselor) posed a lot of questions and let me do the talking,” said Pond.
“We treat all students with dignity and respect and understand that it is difficult at times to initiate that first phone call to seek services, ” said Meyer.
Meyer said that the therapists at CAPS are trained in both psychology and counseling; they can address student concerns from a different perspective than other individuals in a student’s life.
“Students appreciate being able to talk to someone that is apart from their everyday life and activities,” said Meyer.
Together, Pond and her counselor concluded that Pond was in a bad situation and her feelings were appropriate given the circumstances.
“Getting that confirmation made me feel more empowered,” said Pond.
Day said she was able to “normalize” the experience of being attacked after her first two sessions with CAPS.
“It’s a free service, why not take advantage of it?” said Day.
CAPS is located behind Mery Erin Porter (MEP) residence hall. For more information go to studentaffairs.mercer.edu/counseling or call (478) 301-2862.
Bottoms Up, a bar on Cherry Street, closed it doors for good early in August.
“Bottoms Up was open just shy of four years. We opened it to be a Mercer college bar and it turned out that we started to get away from that and we didn’t like where it was going,” said Joey Burtner, owner of Bottoms Up.
Burtner graduated from Mercer in 2006 with a degree in accounting in finance from Stetson School of Business.
“It helped me a lot in the business aspect of (running a bar). The aspect of getting people to come in and have fun was not taught in school at all,” said Burtner.
Burtner said Bottoms Up was attracting a crowd that was older and less collegiate than he would have liked.
“We had a bye bye Bottoms Up party and had a couple regular customers help tear down the wall,” said Burtner.
The aftermath of the night’s demolition exposed the original brick wall on the left side of the bar. Five days of remodeling and $5,000 later, the bar, now renamed The Wall, opened for business.
“I thought (the name) was kind of catchy,” said Burtner.
Burtner said the new name for Bottoms Up was inspired by a bar from another college town.
The Wall also received a new paint job of Mercer orange and black.
“We’re trying to get back to that Mercer theme,” said Burtner. “(We’re) gearing up for the football term.
Everyone’s pretty gung-ho about (football). It’s going to bring a lot of people to Macon and give people something else to do on the weekend,” said Burtner.
In line with the bar’s new theme, Burtner is instituting an array of promotions geared toward college students.
“We have a drink card and you have a year to drink everything on the drink card. Once you finish everything on the drink card, you get a free T-shirt (and) your name on a little plaque that goes on a brick on the wall. So that’ll be your brick and you’ll get a mug and that’ll be your mug,” Burtner said.
People who complete the drink card get a special discount on all future purchases at The Wall.
“I remember when I was an undergrad, it was the cool thing to go to the Rookery and sign your name on their wall,” said Burtner.
Burtner said the mugs and plaques will give his customers a chance to establish a legacy. They can come back years later and say “that was me.”
Burtner is also starting a running club for The Wall. Every week he’ll host a 5K, after which the runners can come back to The Wall to get free pasta. If a runner participates in enough 5ks in a row, they get a free T-shirt.
“I’m trying to get involved in the community more. I’m trying to get my employees involved more,” said Burtner.
Burtner said the date of the grand reopening of The Wall will be later next week.
[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="500"] Photo Credit: Patrick Hobbs / Cluster Staff[/caption]
Mercer University is expanding its student housing portfolio on the North side of campus. Sierra Development broke ground this summer in the construction of the third phase of the Lofts at Mercer Village.
Jim Daws, president of Sierra Development, is looking forward to transforming the College St. entrance of Mercer University. Daws estimates that the building will cost eight to $8 to $9 million and should be completed in a year.
“I’m hoping to have the same wow impact,” as the first two loft apartment buildings, said Daws.
The new residential building will have 111 bedrooms; a necessity due to larger class enrollments and University imposed restrictions on off-campus housing. Starting in Fall 2014, all students must live on campus for their first three years at Mercer.
Larry Brumley, Senior Vice President for Marketing Communications, said that discussions regarding student housing beyond the third phase of the lofts is already underway.
Jim Daws hopes that he can expand the Mercer Lofts all the way through the College Corridor into downtown Macon.
Sierra Development is adding more amenities to the new building because of its distance from restaurant-oriented Mercer Village. Daws said the completed building will include a Wi-Fi cafe, coffee bar, tv lounge, game room, and study rooms will dot the floors of the building.
Daws said the coffee bar will most likely be managed by employee of Sierra development, but he is considering reaching out the Jittery Joes in Mercer Village.
Daws said Sierra Development is hiring a interior decorator out of Atlanta to design the rooms in the post-modern style of new apartments in New York City. At the very least, the apartments will feature bamboo flooring and stainless-steel appliances.
The lofts are being constructed on property owned by Mercer University, between Alexander II Magnet School and 1268 College St., the derelict yet historic Jordan Apartments building.
The Jordan Apartments building was originally slated for demolition to make room for an outdoor pavilion at the lofts said Daws. However, Historic Macon Foundation raised the funds necessary to rehabilitate the Jordan Apartments building and convert it into four two-bedroom student apartments.
[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="500"] Photo Credit: Patrick Hobbs / Cluster Staff[/caption]
Monday evening marked the conclusion of humanity’s weeklong battle against the zombie horde on Mercer’s Campus. Humans finally developed a way to permanently kill the zombies.
In the end, only six humans survived.
Humans fell to their turned brethren in droves, but the population of zombies quickly reached carrying capacity. Zombies must feed every 48 hours or starve to death. Even though a single human kill could feed two zombies, there were simply not enough careless humans remaining to support a zombie population that numbered in the hundreds.
So hit the great zombie famine toward the end of the week. Zombies were starving out of the game.
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that the entire battle was an elaborate game of Humans vs. Zombies. Humans vs. Zombies (HvZ) is a game of moderated tag in which most players start out as “human,” designated by a white bandana wrapped around the forehead.
If tagged by a “zombie” player wearing an orange bandana, the human player becomes a zombie themselves. With the exception of the final battle, humans could only defend themselves with thrown paper balls, which rendered zombies inert for 15 minutes upon impact.
All academic buildings were out of the bounds of play.
About 250 participants started out the week. By the second day of gaming, 64 humans had been transformed into zombies. The following day the zombie’s numbers grew to 105, but another 10 of the undead starved to death. By the final battle, less than 30 humans remained. The remainder had been turned into zombies.
Humans embarked on two missions during the course of the battle: one to hunt for vials of zombie vaccine and another to escort a researcher to the Willett Science Center so that she could develop a permanent cure. Unfortunately, the escort mission was a failure and the researcher became a zombie herself.
Mercer, Shorter and Sherwood halls joined forces to form the Merterwood government who in turn organized Humans vs. Zombies at Mercer. According to the president of Merterwood, Alfred Lee, members of the Merterwood government conceived the idea earlier this spring.
Merterwood used Humans vs. Zombies Source, a free website, to help organize Humans vs. Zombies. The website assigned each player a unique ID code as well as kept up the current status of each player: living, or undead, or starved. The website also recorded the kill count for each zombie.
When a human player was tagged by a zombie player, the human had to give up their ID to the zombie so that the killer could register it on the source website.
Human players spent most of the week constantly checking over their shoulders and avoiding ambush staged by smarter zombies.
“I walked out of the caf and turned to a friend and said ‘hey there are some zombies, we should get out of here’ and then I got tagged,” sophomore Michael Roberts said.
Roberts was a human for barely 30 minutes. He spent the rest of the game stalking his still-human friends.
“You start picking out people that you want to kill, but it’s all in good fun. I loved it,” Roberts said.
Senior Lee Godsey survived as a human until the final battle.
“I’m a fan of zombie type games and movies, It seemed like a fun change into reality,” Godsey said. “I was on my bike and there were two in front of me. I had to get off my bike and two more came up behind me. I had to fight all four of them off on my own.”
The game was sometimes bewildering to non-players. Mercerians were perplexed as fellow students would suddenly take off running at the first sight of a nearby zombie. Others were happy to watch the carnage unfold in front of them, like a spectator at a Roman gladiator game.
“It’s like watching a lion hunt on National Geographic, you root for the humans, but you kind of want see them get eaten,” Senior Brittani Howell said.
Rain failed to deter many community members from attending the Magnolia Street Soap Box Derby on April 14. The derby, organized by InTown Macon and College Hill Alliance, attracted a crowd of over 1,000.
Attendance was down from 2,500 attendees last year but according to InTown Macon’s Koryn Young, the turnout was decent despite the rainy weather. Young organized the annual event.
“We’re very excited that it worked out so well,” Young said.
Nineteen teams representing local businesses and organizations from around Macon showed up at noon with cars for a test run on the Magnolia Street Course.
Unfortunately, the cars of Macon Aces, a disc golf club, and Legal Eagles, Mercer University’s Law School, both lost during the initial test run.
The teams that survived the test run competed for first, second and third place prizes in the Grand Prix. The cars competed one at a time in the time trial.
The Bearfoot Tavern team received the best time, retaining its status as the reigning champion of the derby.
The Cotton Avenue Hustlers provided live music during the Soap Box Derby.
A last minute cancellation by the audio technician briefly put the music in peril, but a volunteer was able step in.
The derby was scheduled to coordinate with the Second Sunday Concert in Washington Park, adjacent to the derby’s course.
However, the concert was relocated to Grant’s Lounge later in the evening.
Street entertainers, including Streetline percussion, performed despite the weather.
Streetline, whose derby car came in fourth place at 10.9 seconds, is a non-profit organization that specializes in teaching percussion to at-risk youth.
“Our drums are marching equipment made for weather. We don’t cancel,” said Danny Rantz, Head Adviser of Streetline.
Event organizers decided to push up the schedule of the day to ensure that crowds stayed for the entire derby.
As a result, many members of Streetline had to rush to Magnolia Street and performed in formal church clothes.
The Soap Box Derby is supported by dozens of volunteer groups, including Boy Scout Troop 8, who lined Magnolia Street with hay bales they provided.
Many cars crashed into a wall of hay at the end of the course.
The scouts rebuilt the wall and cleared the course after each race in preparation for the next one.
“Boy Scout Troop 8, they’re basically the unsung heroes of every single year [at the derby],” Young said.
This year marked the first that InTown had volunteer security workers to keep the spectators and belongings off the track and hay bales.
Magnolia Street residents contributed their yards and porches for spectators to get a better view of the race.
InTown does not plan any significant changes to next year’s derby, but does want to increase community involvement so the derby resembles a festival more than a race.
“We’d like to keep the formula the same because it’s worked so well for us the past few years,” Young said. “We’d like to have 40 cars next year. We’d like to invite more of the community to participate and more businesses to participate, so we can have a professional level and more novice level.”
This year featured some unique and creative derby cars, including Rodeo Beach’s horse drawn carriage and Georgia Public Broadcasting’s car resembling radio towers.
Middle Georgia Derby Demons featured a giant skate as their car; Middle Georgia Ambulance raced with a miniature ambulance car with working lights, siren and confetti cannon; and Mercer Law showed up with a giant gavel car with the name “Legal Eagles.”
Local business, Francar’s, had a Harley trike car with chicken wings in back.
Also apparing in the soapbox derby were representations of the famous Flintstone car, a kayak, a Model A hotrod and trashcans.
The air traffic control tower at the Middle Georgia Regional Airport will remain open until June 15. The tower was expected to close April 21 due to stymieing of federal funding from the Federal Aviation Administration. However, the FAA delayed cuts, citing legal and safety concerns.
“This has been a complex process, and we need to get this right,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “Safety is our top priority. We will use this additional time to make sure communities and pilots understand the changes at their local airports.”
The FAA announced last month it would be cutting federal funding to 149 air traffic control towers across the nation, including control towers in Albany, Athens, Kennesaw and Lawrenceville.
The FAA made the decision to cut funding to control towers at small airports in response to across-the-board spending cuts initiated by the Budget Sequester of 2013. The FAA must make up for $637 million in cuts.
The decision to cut spending has met stiff resistance from airport operators, and some have threatened legal action.
According to an FAA press release, “This additional time will allow the agency to attempt to resolve multiple legal challenges to the closure decisions.”
Doug Faour, manager of the Middle Georgia Regional Airport, spoke to the Public Properties Committee to discuss post-funding options.
When councilman Lonnie Miley asked Faour how many jobs would be cut at the airport, Faour replied, “Anywhere from two to four employees.”
Miley then asked Faour what options were on the table.
“We are continuing to look for ways to keep the tower open,” Faour said. He said the airport has contacted both “state and local officials.”
The airport is talking with Warner Robins Air Force Base and Middle Georgia State College about providing assistance. Macon State operates a control tower at the Eastman airport.
Faour is also looking for alternative funding sources. The airport could try to assume the FAA contract, hire a private contractor (which would cost less than what FAA pays the tower operators) or pay city employees to operate the control tower.
Committee chair Rick Hutto reaffirmed to his fellow committee members that the airport is looking for options not requiring the city to “write a check.”
The city could, of course, let the control tower close, but pilots using the airport would have to self-regulate air traffic via radio.
According to the Macon Telegraph, the end of funding from the FAA will not affect Silver Airways’ planned passenger flights which began April 1.
If the tower stays closed, it will have a serious impact on the airport’s efforts to encourage air service development and facilitate maintenance, repair and overhaul of aircraft, Faour told the Public Properties Committee last month.
New regulations could make your internet slower, but only if you live off-campus
A 2007 report by the Institute for Policy Innovation estimates that music piracy causes some $12 billion lost in annual sales revenue for the music industry.
Add an additional $18 billion in global losses for movie piracy and another few billion dollars revenue lost due to television piracy and we get a very rough estimate of $30 billion lost globally annually due to piracy.
Whether or not we believe in the current system for the dissemination of media to the masses, the law clearly defines piracy as copyright infringement.
What is unclear, is who is responsible for enforcing copyright law on the internet. The user who uploads the pirated media? The user who downloads it? The websites that hosts the data? The owners of the servers that host the website that hosts the data? The Internet service providers who make the entire transfer of illicit information possible? (The list goes on)
The U.S. government has apparently given up on targeting individual people in violation of copyright over the internet. There are thousands of websites hosting pirated media, far too many to investigate and take punitive action against.
A majority of those website’s servers are hosted outside the the borders of the United States.
Instead, the government went after Internet Service Providers (ISPs). They are the only entities that have the resources to ultimately detect and curb the rampancy of online piracy.
As law abiding businesses, the government and media organizations can strong arm ISPs into self regulation.
In recent years, five ISPs--AT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Verizon--joined forces with the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), the Independent Film and Television Alliance (IFTA) and the American Association of Independent Music (A2IM) to form the Center for Copyright Information (CCI).
The CCI’s official stance on piracy is that it is illegal, but the average user doesn’t actually know when they are pirating media. Therefore they take it upon themselves to educate the average internet user on the ins-and-outs of copyright infringement.
A quote on their website says, “today, there are many different ways to access digital entertainment like music, movies, TV shows, games and books. With so many options, it can be unclear what’s legal and what’s not.”
In February, the ISPs of the CCI implemented the Copyright Alert System, taking a “six strikes” approach to copyright infringement education.
Accounts identified as downloading pirated material will be sent a successive series of six warnings and educational videos. Each warning will be more strongly worded than the last.
Here’s where it gets serious: if an internet account continues to download pirated material after the warnings- are issued, then the account’s ISP has the authority to severely reduce the speed of the account’s internet connection.
The CCI currently makes no effort to separate users or devices connected to internet account from the account holder.
In a network like Mercer’s, a few campus pirates can cause the entire network of Mercer’s to be throttled back to 200 kb/s, slower than a basic 3G cellphone connection. Needless to say, internet use on campus would be severely hindered.
The CCI told The Cluster that the Copyright Alert System is reserved for residential connections and does not apply to businesses, universities and public libraries. Even then, Mercer’s ISP is Cox Communications which is not a member of the CCI.
The pirates of Mercer can’t relax just yet. According to a statement issued to The Cluster by Mercer’s IT department, “Mercer Information Technology leverages network equipment and software systems such as firewalls, intrusion detection devices and bandwidth managers to block inbound and outbound P2P traffic.”
A whirlwind of a week for the Bibb County Board of Education has resulted in Superintendent Romain Dallemand’s resignation and the subsequent appointment of Susanne Griffin-Ziebart as his temporary replacement. The events of the Board of Education continued to unfold on the front cover of the Telegraph and other news outlets for several days in a row last week.
According to the Telegraph, Susanne Griffin-Ziebart said she is going to focus on maintaining the stability of the school district by planning next year’s budget.
She will hold the temporary position for a month or until board members choose an interim superintendent.
Last week, school board members voted to buy out the remainder of Romain Dallemand’s contract for $350,000. Dallemand served as superintendent of Bibb County schools for two years.
Griffin-Ziebart has been the district’s deputy superintendent of school improvement and redesign since 2011.
“I am excited to serve the district and the kids and to help through this transition until the board is ready to name an interim superintendent,” she said at a news conference Friday.
Griffin-Ziebart previously worked at Rochester Public Schools for 23 years, most recently as the Executive Director of School Improvement and Accountability. She held a variety of positions while at Rochester including: pathologist of speech and language, principal of several schools and interim director of special education.
According to the Telegraph, interim school board president Sue Sipe said she is “very confident” Griffin-Ziebart will be able to handle the responsibility of overseeing the district for the immediate future.
The board members are going to meet plan to meet this week to discuss the next steps in choosing an interim superintendent, Sipe said.
According to the Telegraph, Griffin-Ziebart did not say whether she wants to be considered for the interim superintendent job, citing her desire to focus on her role as acting superintendent.
Griffin-Ziebart said she has enjoyed her role as deputy superintendent and having the chance to interact with principals and develop leaders within the district.
“I am perfectly comfortable in the acting superintendent’s role,” she said.
The school system’s four deputy superintendents, including Griffin-Ziebart, briefly were in charge of the school system for four days between Dallemand’s buyout and Griffin-Ziebart’s acceptance to be acting superintendent.
Griffin-Ziebart was hired to work in Bibb County in June 2011, only a few months after Dallemand became superintendent.
Griffin-Ziebart received her bachelor’s degree in communication disorders from the
University of Wisconsin River Falls, a master’s degree in speech and language pathology from the University of Wisconsin Madison and an education specialist equivalent in educational policy and administration from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, according to Bibb County Schools’ Web site.
Despite Dallemand’s abrupt exit, Griffin-Ziebart credited him with the establishment of programs that, on paper, will increase student achievement.
“I would be prepared to stay if this district felt that I was a good match for what they wanted to move forward, but I’d also have to be prepared to move on as well,” she said.
I’m a student who has to go from the Center for Collaborative Journalism to the Engineering Building between back-to-back classes. With great difficulty (and much running), I may get to class on time. I’m consistently late if you add the weight of books, laptop and camera gear. Others may be able pull it off, but I can’t, at least not on foot.
Ask any of my friends and they will tell you that I am meant to be on a bicycle, and my off-campus house is the perfect distance for riding. Not to mention everywhere downtown is accessible via bicycle. Before my bike was stolen (again), I was never late to class, and I easily rode five miles a day without spending a cent on gas.
So, if you want to circumvent high prices, get to class on time and get good exercise while you’re at it, invest in a bicycle, but it’s important to know a few rules first.
To ease the fear that I might die while riding, for the sake of my friends and my mother I looked over Georgia law regarding bicycles. Believe it or not, bicycles are considered vehicles in Georgia.
According to Section 40-6-144 of the Georgia Code, “No person shall drive any vehicle upon a sidewalk or sidewalk area except upon a permanent or duly authorized driveway.” Since the law uses the word “vehicle” (as apposed to motor-vehicle), this law applies to bicycles as well.
However, sidewalks on campus are on private property, and the law does not necessarily extend to them. But it is important to know that when you ride on public roads adjacent to campus, you should be aware that your bike is considered a vehicle in the eye of the law, and should therefore not be ridden on the sidewalk.
We’ve all experienced a bicyclist passing our car at stop light in order to cross the street or make a right turn. It’s not just annoying and dangerous; it’s also illegal. The reason for bicycles being considered vehicles is a sound one. Bicycles enter intersections so quickly that cars literally have no time to react. Bicycles can go fast--must faster than jaywalkers.
The average pedestrian walks at three to four mph. The average bike travels at around 20 mph. Cars who technically have right of way can yield it to a pedestrian in time to stop. Not so for bicycles; collision avoidance is almost null.
In general, bicyclists should slow down on campus. Even though there are no cars, there are a lot of pedestrians to worry about. Bicyclists should treat intersections of sidewalks the same as if they were a four-way yield on a public street.
Bicyclists should also signal every turn; they are required to by law. People simply don’t expect bicycles to blast around corners. A collision between a bicycle and a pedestrian could lead to broken bones, concussions and internal hemorrhaging to both parties. Not pretty. Slow down, signal, and check both directions so you don’t you hit a pedestrian at 20 mph.
You really should wear a helmet. Unfortunately, the Georgia law requiring bicyclists to wear helmets only applies to persons under age of 16.
Georgia law specifically requires bicyclists to have a front light for night riding. If the police actually cared, you could be ticketed for not having a front light.
I’ve been pulled over by a police officer in a patrol car while riding my bicycle. While it does give you an adrenaline rush, I do not recommend it. To avoid being pulled over yourself, just use common sense. If you use common sense, you are less likely to kill people while riding around campus.