During the 2018 On The Table Macon event, where community members gather to discuss pressing local issues, Maconites filled out surveys to assess the current issues facing our city. They came to the conclusion that the number one problem in Macon is youth violence. Local organizations hope to make an effort to curb youth violence. Director of Mercer’s Center for Collaborative Journalism Debbie Blankenship is assisting students and faculty with a project titled “Peacing Together,” which will address the concerns related to violence in the Macon area through local journalism. “We are taking a solutions-oriented approach to address the violence in Macon so that we will be able to better understand both the tangible and intangible costs that the ripple effect of violence causes in our community,” Blankenship said. “Peacing Together” will start up in late September. Other community organizations are also taking steps to address youth violence. On Oct.12, the Macon Peace Organization will hold an event titled “Stop-Prevent-Reduce Gun Violence” from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Buck Melton Community Center. The event will focus on why it is important to support the youth in Macon and ways the community can help prevent violence in the Macon area. Organizer and creator of the community organization LJ Malone said he believes that the citizens of Macon desperately need a new approach to handling violence. He got the idea to start this organization while advocating for music artists in the Macon area. “I really enjoyed the music scene here in Macon and started campaigning for the community to stop the violence and start the music. That is when I realized the power that social media has today in our society, and I started the #MaconPeace campaign, hoping to create a more positive presence on social media for the Macon area,” Malone said. With his newly-started campaign, Malone started to rally volunteers, including his fiancee, his mother and other Macon Peace Ambassadors who are dedicated to the cause. He said they all believe that a holistic approach is one way they can bring peace to the Macon community. “I am motivated by God, and I want to bring peace to Macon for both nature and people. Harmony goes beyond color, race or creed. We want to be there for the people who experience injustices in our society,” Malone said. To combat these injustices, Malone said that he and the rest of the Macon Peace team work together to initiate volunteer events and programs locally. These programs include work-ready events where members help attendees get identification cards, food service events to provide meals for those who need them and temporary stay events with the Crystal Lake Organization where members provide places to stay. At the same time, they try to maintain a support system for those with mental illness. Macon Peace said they intend on spreading awareness about these issues through their sign campaigns as well as helping individuals combat them by offering events focused on finding inner tranquility by communing with nature. “If you are interested in becoming a Macon Peace Ambassador or simply want to be a volunteer for the cause, please feel free to contact us through Facebook or give us a call,” Malone said.
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As April approaches, it is time for pranksters to gear up for their favorite day of the year. April Fool’s Day is usually a day when people play tricks on unsuspecting family, friends and strangers. There are typically three categories that tricksters place their pranks in, including shock and awe, horror and annoyance. Shock and Awe The shock and awe category is for pranks that surprise the victim by doing the unexpected. The unexpected will catch the victim off guard like most pranks do, but will also have them laughing afterward. These are different from pranks in the other categories because these types of pranks have zero to little consequences for the victim. These harmless pranks can be used on friends, family or strangers who may not be acquainted with the harsher kinds of pranks. A great prank in this category is called, “The switch.” In this prank, the prankster would fill a clean and empty mayonnaise jar with something they enjoy eating that has a similar color and texture to mayonnaise. Yogurt would work for this prank. Next, all the prankster would have to do was carry around the mayonnaise jar and get their victims to see them eating from the jar. This would shock those around them, because most people would find eating mayonnaise from a jar disgusting. Horror Pranks in the horror category can be used to scare victims. These creepy pranks will have the trickster laughing at the victim’s expense. For the first prank, the prankster would need a cardboard toilet paper roll, scissors and a glow stick for supplies. The next task would require that the trickster cut two holes next to each other in the toilet paper roll so that it looks like the roll has eyes. Once the eye holes are cut, the prankster would need to place the glow stick into the roll. The next step would be for the prankster to hide it somewhere in the victim’s room, so that they would be scared when they caught a glimpse of the roll. Annoyance The final category of annoyance contains the easiest and most common pranks. The prankster needs to remember that these pranks may leave their victim irritated, so proceed with caution. The first prank requires food coloring and access to the victim’s toothpaste. All the trickster would have to do is put a drop of food coloring inside the tube of toothpaste, so the next time the victim brushes their teeth their mouth would be filled with food coloring. Another harmless prank could be accomplished with one rubber band. To do this prank, the trickster would need to wrap a rubber band around the handle on the spray nozzle in a kitchen sink. This way when the victim turns on the water faucet the spray nozzle will spray the victim with water. As the first of April comes closer, remember to stay aware of your surroundings by watching out for mischievous family, friends and strangers. If you are a prankster, then it is time to let loose and take advantage of these harmless pranks to have a little fun with those around you.
On Feb. 12, rapper 21 Savage was released from an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainment center where he had been held for nine days. 21 Savage, whose real name is Shayaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, was initially held for an expired visa, according to CNN. 21 Savage left the UK and arrived in the United States legally at the age of seven, and remained here until 2006 when his visa expired, according to BBC News. Throughout this entire process, many different artists have voiced their support for 21 Savage, including Cardi B, Meek Mill and Offset. Jay-Z is one artist who has been particularly vocal in his support for 21 Savage. According to BBC News, Jay-Z even hired a New York-based immigration lawyer, Alex Spiro, to prevent 21 Savage from being deported. Jay-Z is so vocal about this situation that he even posted on his Facebook page in regards to 21 Savage and said he, "deserves to be reunited with his family immediately.” It is clear Jay-Z believes that even though 21 Savage’s visa has expired, he deserves to be in this country because he has a family here. The BBC article said that 21 Savage has three children who are United States citizens. I agree that 21 Savage deserves to stay in this country, partly because of his family, but I also have other reasons as to why he should be allowed to stay. One of the reasons is the fact that he has provided a service to our population as an artist. He has released music that has influenced and helped many people in the nation cope with their problems because they are able to relate to his lyrics. Some people disagree, and most likely believe he has caused more problems than he has solved since his visa has expired. According to the article by BBC News, ICE claims that 21 Savage should be deported because he has a criminal record, but his lawyer Spiro denies this accusation. BBC News said that ICE offers evidence of their claim because of records of drug offenses 21 Savage was charged with in 2014, but Spiro and 21 Savage’s legal team deny this by saying that these offenses were subsequently removed from his record. "What we have here is someone who overstayed their visa with an application pending for four years - not a convicted criminal that needs to be detained and removed but, by all accounts a wonderful person, father and entertainer who has a marijuana offense which was vacated and sealed,” Spiro said in a BBC article. In my opinion, 21 Savage was targeted by ICE and his contributions to the United States clearly outweigh his past transgressions. There are roughly 4.2 million black immigrants in the United States and 619,000 who are undocumented, according to The Guardian. Just because 21 Savage is famous is no excuse for him to be targeted and deported.
There are several ways to make a perfect artsy day in Macon. According to Sherry Singleton, director of Communications at the Museum of Arts and Sciences, the museum is a great place to slow down and relax. The museum has a planetarium, an animal show and a rotating showcase of local artists. “The Museum is a gift. This community and the students that live in Macon can and should take care of and enjoy. It belongs to every one of us. If we don’t utilize the facility and make it our mission to educate those around us about the arts and sciences, on a fundamental level, then places like the Museum of Arts and Sciences won’t thrive,” Singleton said. After seeing all of the exhibits that the Museum of Arts and Sciences has to offer, the Barefoot Tavern is an excellent spot for lunch, known in Macon for its truffle fries. It’s just a short walk away from the Tubman Museum, the largest museum in the Southeast dedicated to African American art, history and culture. A student at Mercer University, Alexis Albert, believes that it is important for students to immerse themselves not only in one’s native culture, but as well in the new culture one may have appropriated for oneself. “I find that it is important to understand one’s past or native heritage so that they are better able to understand who they are and how they want to live their lives in their current culture,” she said. The Big House offers its patrons historical information on Macon’s past musical legends, The Allman Brothers. Once immersed in the past of the historical musical legends, grab a bite to eat at The Rookery, which features burgers named after the band. The Rookery is also famous for its Jimmy Carter burger, which has peanut butter on it. Chris Tutterow, Mercer student, says even though he does enjoy the Jimmy Carter burger, he also enjoys many other entrees that the restaurant has to offer. “Not only does the Rookery have delicious appetizers, but they also have the vampire slayer which is a yummy burger between two grilled cheeses,” he said. After dinner at the Rookery, enjoy live music at the Capitol Cox Theater. Hubble Beasley, manager at the Capitol Cox Theater, says that there is music there for an inclusive audience, so that everyone can enjoy themselves. “We are able to bring people from all walks of life together to share a love of live music. We try and bring diverse groups in so that we have something on the schedule for everyone,” Beasley said. With all of the great artistic opportunities that Macon has to offer, anyone can find something that interests them. It is great to see people “not worried about anything else in the world at that moment,” Beasley said.
As winter comes to a close, students are gearing up for the spring season, and most importantly, spring break. Sadly, this break can leave many students broke as prices for activities, travel and food get pretty expensive. To avoid the pitfalls of spending too much money during your spring break, here are a few things to do before your trip to help your budget. Before The Trip: 1.Plan your expenses The first thing you should do when planning ahead is to be inclusive. When you start planning your trip, think of every possible expenditure you may have along your journey, including food, travel and spending money. It may even be helpful to think of your destination and whether or not you will have access to a kitchen or if you will only be able to go out to eat. If a kitchen is available, you can buy groceries and cook there, which will cut down on your costs. 2. Prepare food beforehand Another alternative if you are not confident in your cooking skills is to ask your parents or friends for help and prepare meals before you leave. This cuts down on time you will spend cooking as well as costs for groceries, because your parents may help you with cooking techniques and the grocery bill. 3. Look for coupons Another tip to save money is to look for discounts before you go. There are several places that are offering discounts on places to stay, food and activities in certain locations. For instance, Groupon is a great place to look when you want to save on activities in a specific location. You may also want to think about fully discounted trips. For example, during spring break there is a backpacking trip that is being offered to Mercer students for only $100, and it includes travel, food and camping supplies. 4. Sharing is caring The fourth tip to sticking to a budget is sharing. You can cut costs by sharing a place with family or friends. Bringing more company makes you merrier because the cost of the lodging and the activities will be a little bit cheaper. 5. Save money The final tip for before you go is to of course save money. This one may seem like common sense, but there are a few extra things you can do to save for your small budget goal so that you can have spending money. For example, instead of loosely dealing with your change after you pay in cash you can put it in a change jar and force yourself to break bills throughout the time leading up to the trip, specifically so you can save it to reach your budget goal. During the trip: 1. Don’t feel pressure to give gifts One way to stay under your budget is to remember that “I was thinking of you” souvenirs are acceptable. In other words, remind yourself that regardless of what you buy your friends and loved ones they will still appreciate you. 2. Stick to your budget The final tip for sticking to your budget is motivation. When on vacation it can be difficult to manage food costs, but try to cook at the destination or limit yourself on how much you will spend eating out. Friends or family can help with this by motivating you to cook or eat at cheaper places. This can be done by simply standing in the kitchen with you or telling you no if you request a more expensive location. Overall, it is important to remember not to stress over your budget. It is only in place to guide your spending habits and should not dictate the majority of your time on vacation. After all, it is a vacation, and you should make the most out of it.
This past offseason has been a busy time for both the women’s and men’s lacrosse teams. Each team has been working tirelessly to improve themselves after a fall season that saw Mercer’s women’s team 9-11 and the men go 4-10, respectively. As SoCon play approaches once again, each team is focused on honing their skills and ensuring home wins. Senior women’s lacrosse player Kelly Hagerty was adamant about how hard they have been working to improve their playing skills. “This past fall season was full of a lot of hard work and learning new things,” Hagerty said. “We worked really hard this fall and are excited to see that hard work pay off this season.” As for the men’s lacrosse team, Head coach Kyle Hannan described the past season as successful. He said that it can be difficult for some first-year players to acclimate to the team, but returning members help the transition by providing leadership for new teammates. “Helping new players acclimate is important, but most of the coaches have to learn the team’s identity and attack the strengths and weaknesses. The team’s results proved to be positive going undefeated through four exhibition games,” Hannan said. According to the Mercer Athletics website, the men’s lacrosse team will play 13 games and the women’s team will play 17 games. Each team said they are excited about their upcoming seasons. “We are looking forward to a fresh start and playing new teams we haven't seen before. We’re also excited to defend our title of SoCon champions,” Hagerty said. While the men’s team is also looking to winning their own SoCon championship, they’re also focused on overcoming the difficulties they may face. "Difficult situations will arise all season long. The key is for the team and coaches to identify these adverse situations and deal with them appropriately,” Hannan said. “In any sport, at any level, the teams that fight through the difficult situations are successful,” he said. The positive attitudes of both teams make it easier for them to overcome the adversities they might face as a team. The women’s team says that obstacles are inevitable, but that they have strategies for overcoming any difficulties that they may face. “There will be obstacles in our way, such as difficult workouts or challenging games, but as a team, we will rise and get through the difficulties together,” Hagerty said. As both teams gear up for the new season it is important to keep in mind how much both teams are practicing to make Mercer proud. "I would encourage Bears fans to come out and watch the Mercer lacrosse teams in action,” Hannan said. “The game is fast-paced, physical and fun to watch. Go Bears!”
For sports lovers, the experience of watching games is important. It’s because of this that the members of Mercer’s ESPN3 team work hard to record games for all students, employees and those watching from home. According to ESPN3 member Iran Imbert, every production usually consists of cameramen (up to six cameras depending on the sport), a director, producer, technical director, one or two replay operators, a time out coordinator, graphics operator, audio operator and usually an on-field engineer. Imbert also said that the ESPN3 team has sideline shooters during games and that footage is usually used for highlight videos for each of the team’s Instagram pages. Outside of games, Imbert said that for some of the sports they just have sideline shooters go and get footage of a tournament or event to recap it on Instagram. Videos from the ESPN team help bring exposure to upcoming games and highlight previous games. They even show a bit of the behind-the-scenes for sports fans. Imbert expresses that her favorite part of the job is sideline reporting. She said she’s grateful to be a part of the ESPN team. “I didn’t really have much experience with cameras before working with ESPN, and it’s something that I’ve found that I really enjoy doing,” Imbert said. Another ESPN worker, Erika Thomas, said she shares Imbert’s enthusiasm for her job. Thomas said that the working environment is pleasant and discusses why she feels so passionately about her job. “I didn’t need any experience because they taught me how to run all the equipment and the scheduling is very flexible,” Thomas said. According to Sophomore Clare Reverri and Junior Miles Lewis, two leaders on the ESPN team, students handle almost every part of broadcasting, including video, cameras, marketing and editing. They both said that one of their favorite parts of the job is seeing new students start with nothing and finally seeing their finished products. When asked why she joined the ESPN team, Reverri said she always knew she wanted to pursue a career as a sports journalist and so working at ESPN was an obvious choice. “I enjoy all parts of my job, but one of my favorite parts is being able to meet and work with very talented people,” she said. Lewis said he sought out the job by asking admissions what jobs on campus he could do that he could use his interest in cameras for. “I wanted to use my camera skills for something and being right in the action is very exciting,” he said.
To understand the government shutdown that just ended, we have to first understand how we entered the shutdown. According to CNN, on Dec. 11, 2018, Democrats in Congress disagreed with President Trump on spending roughly $5 billion on a Southern border wall. After the disagreement, Senate leaders worked hard to renegotiate maintaining the existing barriers, but they didn’t reach an agreement. Since they were unable to compromise, the government shut down. On Jan. 12, the government shutdown became the longest in United States history, lasting a total of 34 days, according to CNN. The previous longest shutdown lasted for 21 days from Dec. 16, 1995 to Jan. 5, 1996 under the leadership of President Bill Clinton. Due to the shutdown, many different government offices were unable to pay their workers, which affects the whole country. On Jan. 15, the Trump administration called roughly 50,000 government workers back to work without pay, according to thebalance.com. These workers are promised a reimbursement of their wages by Congress after the shutdown ends, but workers are currently not receiving any wages for their work, according to thebalance.com. Though it is unclear what effect garnished wages have on the workers, it can be assumed that the workers may be taking less pride in doing their jobs. For instance, I recently went through Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, and it only took me 20 minutes to get through airport security. This is interesting because previously I had to make sure I was there three hours before my flight to get through security. This shows that the Transportation Security Administration workers have changed their work ethic by not spending as much time as they should looking to see if people are bringing in contraband or other potentially harmful items through security. Even though they are still doing their jobs, the TSA agents are no longer spending the time and care they should to ensure the safety for all in the airport, which may have a dangerous effect on travelers. When workers are not paid what they deserve to do their jobs, we all suffer. If they are not getting what they need or what they think they deserve, they don’t put as much effort into their jobs. Affected workers are employees of service jobs including the Internal Revenue Service, the Department of Labor and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Other affected workers are employees for government agencies such as the Department of Commerce, the Department of Energy and the Food and Drug Administration. It is clear that Trump believes that a $5.7 billion wall is the only way to deal with the problem at the border, but he also believes that the government shutdown should end. Many oppose his opinion, including Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, who disagrees with Trump’s proposal to end the government shutdown without compromise. According to CNBC, now that the government is open, Trump says that he will accept no less than $5.7 billion for building the wall. This means that another government shutdown may be imminent, because Trump believes that there is less than a 50 percent chance that a compromise can be reached before the next government funding lapse on Feb. 15.
On Nov. 12 Stanley Martin Lieber, better known as Stan Lee, passed away at the age of 95 from pneumonia. Co-founder of Marvel Comics, Lee was born on Dec. 28, 1922, in Manhattan, where he first started pursuing his career as a writer. According to Time, Lee started his career as a writer for Timely Publications and he used many pseudonyms to keep his identity a secret. In the 1970s he realized that he was fond of the pseudonym Stan Lee and that became his nickname throughout the comic and live action world. When Lee started to transition into Marvel Comics, he was not only a writer but also the editor, publisher and promoter of his works. This is where he coined the Marvel method, which is a process he used to create his comics. In the Marvel method, Lee would first work with an artist to create all of the scenes that he wanted within the comic. Then, he would add in the dialogue only after all of the scenes were already created, which was different from the way that typical comics were created at the time, according to comicbookhistorians.com. This was not the only revolutionary change that Lee inspired in the comic book community. He also created many of the superheroes that are well known within the comic book and film industry, such as Iron Man, Thor, Spiderman, The Fantastic Four and Black Panther. According to an article from the Huffington Post, the creation of Black Panther was another major accomplishment for Lee, because Black Panther was the first black superhero to be presented in the comic book industry. Not only did Lee create the first black superhero, but he also did it a crucial time period. Since Black Panther was created in the 1960s, during a time when racial tensions were high, it signifies something important about Lee’s character. He was not afraid to create something controversial to make the point that he was against the racial oppression that he witnessed during that time period. It is clear that Lee drew from his everyday life to inspire his work and that is one reason why the superheroes he created possessed more human characteristics than most superheroes. The superheroes of his time, such as Superman or Batman, held more godlike power and aloofness than the characters Lee created. Lee’s characters faced everyday difficulties, were aware of social trends and most importantly possessed a sense of humor. With these humanizing characteristics, the superheroes were able to connect to others better and, therefore; were able to connect with the audience. Lee also made the superheroes connect to one another. Before Lee became well known in the comic book industry, most writers thought that crossovers would lessen the impact of the story they were trying to tell. Lee, on the other hand, thought differently and was able to unite the worlds of various superheroes together to create a more cohesive understanding of the comic world. It is this radical thinking that will forever be missed in the comic book and film industry. One can only hope that Marvel will continue to uphold the revolutionary techniques that Lee provided.
On every Tuesday from 7:30-9 p.m. at Marco Ristorante Italiano in Macon, dancers come together to practice the Argentine Tango. This group dedicated to learning and dancing Argentine Tango is under the instruction of Clint Rauscher. Rauscher has been dancing Argentine Tango for roughly four years, but has been dancing for closer to 16 years. Every last Sunday of the month he comes down from Atlanta to teach the students of the Argentine Tango dance group in Macon. “I love sharing my love for this dance with others and it having a positive impact on their lives. I have had so many people tell me that they look forward to their weekly class and dances,” Rauscher said. One of the members of the Argentine Tango group, Carol Frayne, said she greatly enjoys the art of the Argentine Tango. She started dancing with Rauscher nine years ago. “The music is enticing, because it is played with a bandoneon. The bandoneon is like an accordion. If a dancer uses endless movement, (it) can show off the leader’s dance skills with good direction,” she said. Rauscher said that in order to fully understand and enjoy the dance, the participants must be willing to interact with others. Not only does Rauscher believe that it is important for dance students to interact with one another, but it is also crucial for dancers to interact with the music. “It is about the connection with our dance partner, the other people sharing the floor with us and our connection to the music,” he said. Even though Rauscher believes that being connected to one’s partner, other dancers and the music is important for a successful dancer, he does offer private lessons for dancers who may be shy or desire one-on-one attention. The group lessons are $15 for an hour and a half while the private lessons are roughly $7 for an hour and a half. “We live in a world where people can easily retreat from society with their computers and devices, and often don't know their neighbors that well. When you are part of a dance community you meet and embrace people that you ordinarily might not get to meet. And you can all come together over a shared passion,” Rauscher said.
A new organization on Mercer’s campus, Students for Liberty, held a debate on abortion Nov. 14 in Willingham Auditorium. The moderator, group founder Christian Watson, allowed two students, Madison Moore on the pro-life side and Ana Muntean on the pro-choice side, to debate their perspectives. Moore said in an opening statement that she believes life begins at conception and that economic disparities, which often play a role in women’s decisions to terminate a pregnancy, should be addressed instead so women are not faced with this choice to begin with. “I decided to do this debate because I wanted to challenge students to think about an alternate view that they may have not been exposed to before,” Moore said. Muntean explored topics such as public warfare, domestic violence and bodily autonomy in her argument in support of legal abortion. “This event is not about who is right and who is wrong, but it’s more about being able to listen to another person’s ideas and seeing things from their viewpoint,” Muntean said. Freshman student Madison Wright said she attended the event because it was a space for students to converse about a controversial topic and form their own stances. “This event was professionally heated, meaning no one said anything irrational out of anger and were respectful of other people’s ideas,” she said. One of the main arguments that Moore used in her rebuttal to the pro-choice opening statement was that racial disparities are the main reason why women have abortions. “Racial disparities and economic inequality is the main reason why most women get abortions and it is the inequality that needs to be fixed, not the murder of potential human lives,” she said. Muntean agreed about the causes of abortion, but said she doesn't believe that the overarching issue can be tackled easily. She also focused on bodily autonomy and how it interplays with the problem of racial inequality. “It is statistically proven that women of color are more likely to have an abortion due to their socioeconomic status, but having a child may potentially keep them from growing or reaching their potential goals,” she said. Watson, the moderator, took turns asking each candidate a question that opposed their stance on abortion to encourage reflecting on the opposing viewpoint. Watson asked Moore, “Are there any circumstances where abortion is permissible?” She said abortion may be acceptable if the mother’s life is at risk, such as in the case of an ectopic pregnancy, when a fertilized egg gets stuck when it is going to the uterus and damages the fallopian tube, causing intense pain and bleeding. Watson also asked Muntean a question that opposed her stance “At what stage of pregnancy is it unacceptable to have an abortion?” he asked. Muntean said that it is not acceptable to have an abortion after 26 weeks of pregnancy unless the mother is in physical danger. Both debaters agreed on the reasons that women seek abortions and shared similar concerns over ectopic pregnancy and other maternal health risks. It is this understanding of one another’s views that freshman student, Jasmine Mujawar, found most interesting about the debate. “This event gave everyone a chance to voice their opinions without having people simply trash the other person’s perspective, which allows for interesting conversation and understanding,” she said.
Tyler Ovington, a product developer at Southern Spine, came to Mercer’s campus to discuss his job and how he obtained his position with students Nov. 12. As the only engineer at a small medical product design company in downtown Macon, Ovington said he enjoys his various day to day tasks. Ovington said he wants engineering students to understand that the biomedical engineering field is very diverse and that not all students will go into product development, a fulfilling but difficult field. “The process that the product goes through can be strenuous and has many steps,” he said. Ovington said that with some products, it will take months before the company can bring them to the market. These steps are concept generation and design testing, manufacturing and finally, release. “While working with doctors to create products that are needed in the medical field, I have learned that communication is a key skill to being successful,” he said. Not only is the process sometimes time-consuming, but it can also be very expensive, he said. With this in mind, Ovington must make sure that the product he is creating is cost-effective before he submits it to the Food and Drug Association. In other words, he must make sure that the product will cost less than $510,000 to make. Along with the cost of the product, the basic requirements for patenting are also important to Ovington’s job, because he is a part of a smaller company. Smaller companies must work diligently on patenting their products so that big companies cannot make the same product and claim it as their own, he said. The product must be novel or new to the medical field to obtain a patent, meaning it should not resemble a product that is already on the market. Another basic requirement for a patentable product is that it needs to be a unique product to manufacture. It needs to be a product that cannot be replaced by a simpler method or commonly used material. Before joining Southern Spine, Ovington worked in Vietnam for two years, but now he typically works with spine implants, infusion pumps and biomaterials, he said. He also deals with inventing products that are needed in the medical field. Christopher Tutterow, a biomedical engineering student at Mercer University, attended the event and said he was glad Ovington came to speak to students who would like to pursue similar careers in the future. “It is important for speakers like Ovington to come and talk students about their careers, because it helps students ponder whether or not the career path they have chosen is right for them or not,” he said.
The student edition of Real Talk #NoFilter will take place Dec. 4 in the Connell Student Center in December. There will be five student speakers who will all speak on struggles that they have faced throughout their personal and academic lives and how they demonstrated resilience in these situations Event co-chairs Shailey Shah and Robyn Guru said have been working tirelessly alongside Emily Halstead, assistant director of student success, and Hannah Vann, associate director of Mercer’s Quality Enhancement Plan, to prepare the speakers for this event. In other words, they coach the speakers to help them become more comfortable with their story and expressing who they are within just one short talk. “This event is important for speakers to take the time to reflect and process their journeys, but it is also just as important for the audience members who learn from each story at the event,” Guru said. “We simply coach to provide support for speakers to share what they feel is the most compelling part about their story.” Guru is not the only one who feels that it is important for the speakers to become more comfortable with themselves and their stories. Vann also said that it is crucial for the speakers to cultivate their stories so that it will be easier for them to connect to the audience. “I’m so proud of our students for having the courage to be vulnerable and share their stories with others,” Vann said. “All five of the speakers are motivated by a sense of responsibility to help their peers feel less alone, and their stories are humble, authentic, and relatable.” Donald Blankenship, senior religion major at Mercer, said that he decided to be a speaker at Real Talk because he felt the responsibility to his peers that Vann described. He said he wants to make a positive impact on other students and be able to relate to them in order to make them feel less alone. “Real Talk brings important topics and subjects to light which people would normally feel uncomfortable speaking about,” Blankenship said. “I felt like I had a responsibility to share something that could help others.” Shah said talking about these experiences can also help the speakers themselves. “Sharing is the first step in reflecting on the events that shape us so we can learn to be more resilient,” she said. The speakers will also take questions from the audience members to bring groups together in order to find a common solution, and that is what Shah says she values most about Real Talk Student Edition. “Real Talk is so good at bringing out the strength in our community of students on campus, and I think that message is so important to share,” Shah said. “Our lives never stop throwing obstacles at us, but the more motivated we are to ask for help when we need it and to improve ourselves, the more resilient we can become to adversity.” Though their main goal is to continue this event to help more students on Mercer’s campus become more vulnerable with themselves and one another, both Shah and Guru said they look forward to a future where students feel comfortable and capable addressing their problems. They see themselves not only mastering the technique of helping others in person but having also progressed to a more everyday way of helping Mercer students with their problems. “Currently, we are producing (a) podcast for the event to continue sharing these conversations more frequently. After our event in December, we will be launching the podcast, so be on the lookout for it,” Shah said.
This year on Nov. 9 and Nov. 10 the Fine Arts Society of Middle Georgia, the nonprofit organization supporting over 110 artists across Middle Georgia, sponsored the 2nd Annual Artists Market. “Christmas on the Circle” was held at the FAS Gallery at 149 S. Commercial Circle in Warner Robins. Typically, the “Christmas on the Circle” event is focused on the value of the arts by offering artists the opportunity to set up a vendor booth and sell their art. According to a press release from the Fine Art Society of Middle Georgia, this year the market had a second building for vendors that patrons can browse and buy from. The press release also listed some of the possible items up for purchase at the market, including sculptures, paintings, jewelry and decor. It also said that the event included home-baked goods and holiday decor, as well as live entertainment. Linda Frazier, an employee with the Fine Art Society of Middle Georgia, said she feels this event is important to the community of Macon. “Christmas on the Circle (helps) support the gallery and two seniors in high school in Houston County, who will receive a college scholarship to major in art,” she said. Frazier believes it was important to attend this event because it supports the community and helps further the education of two local students. Along with enjoying the scenery and shopping, this event offered people in the community an opportunity to connect with other individuals who enjoy supporting the community and appreciating art. Mercer students were also involved in this event. Senior Bailey Noles, said that this event is important to the Macon community and to the continuation of supporting the arts. “I’m glad to see them come together for this event, because it is important to support art. It is an irreplaceable part of human expression and healing,” she said.
The Lacs, also known as artist Clay “Uncle Snap” Sharpe and “Rooster” King, lead vocalist and guitarist, will be in town on Dec. 8 at 7 p.m. to have a concert hosted by The Hargray Theatre. The Hargray Capitol Theatre, located on 382 2nd St, is known throughout Macon for offering a place for music and entertainment. The Hargray Capitol Theatre typically offers an arrangement of different performers with different styles, such as country or jazz, but this year the theatre will be hosting artists with a distinct style. The Lacs, which stands for “loud ass crackers,” will be continuing their “Deplorables Tour” by performing their unusual style of music to the citizens of Macon. Their style of music is country rap, often referred to as hick-hop, which is a blending of country tunes and hip-hop rapping. Originally from Baxley, Ga., The Lacs have returned to play their music for their fans in their home state. According to The Lacs’ website, it was roughly 20 years ago when The Lacs first started making beats and coming up with rhymes. As time went on and they began performing, their crowds grew and they were able to perform at bigger and bigger venues. As their fan base grew, The Lacs started to perform more and more and realized that just because they were more popular now did not mean that they would stop performing from where they grew up. According to The Lacs’ website, “the soul of The Lacs is right where it’s always been, front and center in their music, infused by pride in their country, love for their family, an inclination toward rowdy celebration and an unexpected tenderness when it comes to the ladies in their lives.” The website also states that the only different thing The Lacs are doing is improving their music by using their situations and those around them. If anything, The Lacs are trying to stay true to who they are and where they came from in order to better their musical style. It seems that The Lacs only want to share their unique view of their pasts as well as where they see themselves going in the future. They refuse to let go of their identities and have continued to spread their perspective through music on their tour throughout all of the United States. Tickets are available through the Hargray Capitol Theatre website as well as through The Lacs’ website.
This year, “Small Business Saturday” falls on Nov. 24. In celebration of this day, Brent and Catherine Meyer, owners of 7th Street Salvage, will be holding their own event focused on supporting local businesses. The event will take place at 7th Street Salvage Store from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. There will also be 18 other vendors there who will be selling their own goods. Not only are the Meyers concerned about supporting local businesses, but they are also interested in strengthening the community. The Meyers said they believe that expanding Macon’s businesses will help strengthen the community by offering consumers more options for places to shop, and will, therefore, most likely bring more people to Macon. “Macon is growing and one reason is that more and more businesses are strengthening our community. We want this to continue and will do whatever we need to, so that Macon continues to hopefully grow,” they said. While supporting local businesses is important, the Meyers also have another idea of how to support the community. They will also be hosting three local non-profit organizations during their events. “Supporting local non-profits allows for more great services to be provided to the residents and visitors of Macon,” they said. Attendees will be able to visit and learn about the non-profit organizations and how their services or resources contribute to the community. The patrons will also be able to donate to these organizations if they wish. Along with the abundance of shopping opportunities that accompany this event, there is also something for the children of Macon. The “Small Business Saturday” event will also host a visit from Santa Claus from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. At the courtesy of 7th Street Salvage, pictures with Santa Claus will be free of charge to anyone who attends. The Meyers only ask that instead of paying for the pictures with Santa, the participants donate to one of the non-profit organizations. “Hopefully, by having this event here in Macon, it will bring people from all over the region to this great city,” the Meyers said.
Managing a small business, going to school, and having a social life is difficult. Luke Kolbie, owner of Kingfisher Leather Co. and Mercer freshman, said he believes that it is possible to manage all of these moving pieces in his life. “My strategy has been to go hard all week with school and business in between classes, and then use the weekends for social activities,” Kolbie said. “Business obviously has to take a back seat in most cases to maintaining my academics, so it takes a lot of planning to figure out when the best times for certain business tasks are.” Even though his education is his main priority, Kolbie continues to take pride in his leather creations and his company. Kolbie’s luxury leather brand provides custom pieces, such as bags, purses, gun cases and wallets. He said he works hard to make sure that his customers are pleased with his handmade creations every time. “For me, the relationships that come as a result of owning Kingfisher and the satisfaction of our customers is the best part of being a small business owner,” he said. Not only does Kolbie love making sure that his customers are happy with their products, he also enjoys making every piece from scratch by hand. He said he focuses on the details of every product, so that he can personalize each order himself. “My favorite times are spent in the nitty gritty details of size, shape, function and aesthetics of each rivet and stitch,” he said. Kolbie realized he had a talent for making things by hand at the age of 12 when he made his first bag. From there, he started accepting orders from people in his hometown of Dublin, Ga. and began to grow his business. He kept making new items in order to develop his skills, and in 2016, he started selling his products in a local jewelry store in downtown Dublin. As he continued to take more orders and make more items, he started learning about the logistical side of owning a business. In 2017, he was awarded the Young Entrepreneur award by the National Federation of Independent Businesses. He was also selected as one of the top 100 Young Entrepreneurs on the National Federation of Independent Entrepreneurs’ list that same year. “In the next 15 years, I plan to build Kingfisher into one of the top American luxury leather brands,” he said. “I want Kingfisher to represent American quality and craftsmanship in the sporting, travel and professional markets.” Kolbie said that the key to owning a business is to be self-motivated and determined. He said that people who want to start a business, especially while balancing college, should plan and take advantage of their available resources. “My greatest suggestion would be to thoroughly flesh out your business idea with local business people and get their advice. Use the resources available to you, like the Mercer Innovation Center,” he said. Kolbie said that like any business owner, he has learned to continuously work toward improving his business. He strives for a balance between “achieving” and “maintaining.” “When I set out on this adventure, I had a vision that I have adhered to, but I didn’t know where it would lead. Even today, I look at the future as a time of working to be prepared for the right opportunities,” he said.
The Macon-Bibb County Convention and Visitors Bureau offers two guided tours through Macon to expose citizens to the historic sites in the community. One tour focuses on the musical history in Macon by visiting places such as the Allman Brothers Band Museum, the historic home of the iconic southern rock group. The second tour includes more historic sites dedicated to remembering Georgia’s history as a whole. This second tour is called “The Soul Sights” tours, because its purpose is to remind or introduce people to the “soul” of Macon. Steven Fulbright, director of tourism at The Macon-Bibb County Convention and Visitors Bureau, believes these locations hold emotional significance. “The Soul Sights Tour is a general tour of Macon in which we talk about Macon’s heritage, and current affairs and development. It’s a one hour tour designed to give a quick overview of our town that encourages our guests to visit our sites more in depth on their own,” he said. According to the Macon newsletter, “Visit Macon,” The Macon-Bibb County Convention and Visitors Bureau focuses its “Soul Sights” tour on “architectural masterpieces [and] the places that inspired musical legends” The tour is available every Friday and Saturday at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. The cost of the tour is $8 for adults and $7 for children 12 and under. The Macon-Bibb County Convention and Visitors Bureau offers a Macon resident, military and senior discount. Most of the historic Macon sights include museums such as the Tubman Museum, The Big House, the Museum of Arts and Sciences, the Hay House, the Cannonball House and the Woodruff House. These sights provide historical information to those interested in art, history and culture. “The best thing about the tour is that it highlights Macon’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, including ancient Native American history, early colonization, African-American history and world renowned music legacy,” Fulbright said. The Tubman Museum, for example, shows patrons the importance of African-American culture and showcases how African-American culture impacted the Macon community and the lives of all Americans. Other artistic traditions are available at other sites offered by this tour, such as the St. Joseph Catholic Church and the Grand Opera House. While the St. Joseph Catholic Church pertains to religious history, the Grand Opera House is dedicated to keeping live performance alive. The St. Joseph Catholic Church is the first parish in Macon that was created in the 1800s. This site left a spiritual mark on Macon’s history and contributed architectural aesthetic to the surrounding area. The Grand Opera House, on the other hand, plays classic movies, such as “Casablanca” and offers live entertainment. The live entertainment varies, but mostly includes plays and musicals. Fulbright hopes that by going on the tour patrons will learn extensively about the community that they live in. “I think that anyone that takes this tour will come away with a sense of pride about Macon and even more importantly I think that they will develop a curiosity to know more,” he said.
The Office of Research that Reaches Out at Mercer University hosted the fourth annual Student Visionary Panel on campus Oct. 25 and 25 from 6 to 8 p.m. Fifteen students spoke on the panel for the chance to win funding to support their vision. This year, the theme was social responsibility. Each student presented for five minutes on what they thought was the most pressing issue in the Macon community and how they thought it could be solved. Afterward, the audience offered feedback and discussion. Students Tayler Johnston and Regina Liu presented on the lack of financial resources for food available in the Macon community. “It is a misconception that if you go to Mercer, you are not struggling,” Johnston and Liu said. Johnston and Liu first discussed the lack of financial resources for students at Mercer. Even though Mercer students attend a private university with high tuition costs, it does not mean that they are immune to financial struggle, they said: roughly 70 percent of Mercer students have scholarships or extensive loans. To make food more accessible in the local community, Johnston and Liu pitched food pantries created by collaborative efforts from Mercer and Macon. Johnston and Liu were not the only ones who had ideas to help the city as a whole. Student Jackson Crean presented his idea on public service as well. Crean said it’s more difficult to keep a community safe if there’s a lack of trust for civil servants. To alleviate this problem, he pitched a bridge between community leaders and citizens. “The main focus of this project is to produce a neutral and lighthearted environment between the public and the civil servants,” he said. Freshman student Gabrielle Miller attended the panel. She said student Victoria Whitehead’s presentation impacted her on a personal level. Whitehead talked about the need to improve both health care and health education in the community, and Miller has a brother with chronic illness. “There is a disconnect in understanding disease prevention, treatment, and management. Hospitals are making it difficult for residents to seek care and treatment,” Whitehead said. Miller said the lack of health resources in rural communities is an important issue for her. “Victoria Whitehead’s speech impacted me the most, because not only do I have a brother with a chronic illness, but I am also pursuing a major in biology,” she said. Freshman Kymberly McCalla said the theme of social responsibility was relevant because it’s important to get involved in the community. “It is important to learn about the community, so you can relate to those around you and be able to foster new relationships with others,” she said. The student presenters will receive both judge and audience feedback to help them develop their ideas and create a grant application, as they are also eligible to apply for funding from the Quality Plan Initiative (QEP). The winners will be announced by Nov. 30, according to the QEP website.
Are you interested in internships that allow you to learn more about Macon’s history? Then consider The Big House Museum. Located at 2321 Vineville Ave, The Big House has been a famous Macon landmark since the 1970’s, when it became a place for famous bands, such as the Allman Brothers Band, to live and practice their music. This historic home soon became a museum dedicated to Macon’s very own musicians in order to promote the future of musical inspiration. Currently, The Big House is interested in hiring students to become more involved with Macon’s history and its future, according to the Big House website. Maggie Reimer, employer at the Big House, said there are four student positions available that will have different duties, but all students will be able to see the operational perspective of a non-profit program offered by The Big House. Some of the hired student’s responsibilities will be to greet visitors and to discuss with them how a membership will further promote the understanding of Macon history. Other duties may include more clerical work such as data collection and analysis of member surveys, which will require an understanding of Microsoft Office and Excel. Other requirements include sales experience and strong interpersonal skills in order to interact effectively with visitors and other employees. Flexibility to work during business hours, meaning possibly on weekends, for 10 or more hours weekly is also needed. Though interns are needed during the week, mostly during business hours Reimer said that they “have concerts, book signings, private rentals, etc. that are often super enjoyable.” Even though The Big House does not offer compensation, Reimer said that “students will gain experience in several areas: customer service, organizational skills, teamwork, independence, and creativity.” This internship ensures eight weeks of historical enrichment along with the learning experience of what it is like to work to better the future of music. If interested in this internship opportunity please complete an application and send it to Maggie Reimer at email@example.com