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January 2018

Francys Johnson: Living his best life YMCA: New facility offers fun, fitness, family Tailgate Tattler: New year, new era for Eagle Nation

Jonathan McCollar:

Getting to know the Boro’s new mayor


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Table of Contents

Editorial for January

mirth & Matter Editor’s letter

Daily Specials��������������������������������������������������������������������� 4 Calendar����������������������������������������������������������������������� 6-7 Chaos and Contentment������������������������������������������������������� 8 McCollar ready to ‘stand up’���������������������������������������� 10-12 Tailgate Tattler������������������������������������������������������������������14 YMCA of Coastal Georgia comes to Statesboro ������������������16 Georgia Southern University’s RAC�������������������������������������18 Mrs. Taylor’s grandson: Living his best life���������������������� 20-22 Day Trippin’ ��������������������������������������������������������������������24 The Arts Seen ������������������������������������������������������������ 26-27 The Music Scene ��������������������������������������������������������������28 Overthinking It �����������������������������������������������������������������30

Behind the Scenes People who make it happen

Angye Morrison, EDITOR 912.489.9405 | amorrison@connectstatesboromagazine.com Hunter McCUMBER, ART DIRECTOR 912.489.9491 | hmccumber@statesboromagazine.com Stephanie Childs, MARKETING MANAGER 912.531.0786 | schilds@connectstatesboromagazine.com

Angye Morrison Connect Editor

Well 2018 is upon us, all brand-spankin’ new. It’s exciting, isn’t it?! I’m sure you’ve noticed some changes in the previous few months in Connect, and the new year will certainly bring more as the magazine grows and evolves. We have some new writers and features, and they’re doing fantastic work, that I’m sure you will love. In this issue, we introduce you to some very important people. Mayor Jonathan McCollar is featured on our cover, and we’ve included a piece that allows you to get to know him. There’s no political intent here — just a look at our new mayor on a more personal level. We’ve also spent time talking with local attorney Francys Johnson, who has been an active part of the community. You’ll be inspired and challenged by his words — and his example. Writer Lauren Porter will show you something old and something new — the RAC at Georgia Southern and the new YMCA facility. You can read all about what is available to the community to help you be challenged and fit. As we begin this new year, I’d like to just take a moment to thank our writers, who contribute not only their talents, but their hearts and souls. To some, it might just be words on a page, but to those who write them, the words have life and meaning. Thank you to each of you for all you do. You have helped to shape Connect. Enjoy this issue. And Happy New Year!

Darrell Elliot, Distribution 912.489.9425 | delliot@statesboroherald.com Jim Healy, Operations manager 912.489.9402 | jhealy@statesboroherald.com Connect Magazine is published monthly (12 issues a year). The cover and contents of Connect Magazine are fully protected by copyright laws of the United States and may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, without the written consent of Connect Magazine. We are not responsible for loss of unsolicited inquiries, manuscripts, photographs, transparencies or other materials. Such materials will not be returned unless accompanied by return postage. Address letters and editorial contributions to Connect Statesboro, Angye Morrison, 1 Proctor Street, Statesboro, GA 30458, amorrison@connectstatesboromagazine.com. Copyright © 2017 by Statesboro Publishing Company, Inc. All rights reserved.

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January Sunday

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Open Mic Night Locos - 9 p.m.

DJ & Karaoke Gnat’s Landing 9 p.m. Open Mic Night Eagle Creek Brewing

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Open Mic Night Locos - 9 p.m.

DJ & Karaoke Gnat’s Landing 9 p.m.

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Open Mic Night Locos - 9 p.m.

DJ & Karaoke Gnat’s Landing 9 pm Open Mic Night Eagle Creek Brewing

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The Coasters PAC at Georgia Southern 4 p.m. $22 for adults and $11 for youth

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Open Mic Night Locos - 9 p.m.

DJ & Karaoke Gnat’s Landing 9 pm Open Mic Night Eagle Creek Brewing

Saturday

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F1RST Friday

Live music Locos 9 - 11:30 p.m.

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Live music Millhouse every Thursday, Friday & Saturday evening

An Evening of African-American Poetry at Whitaker Black Box Theater 7:30 p.m . Tickets are $12 for adults and $8 for youth

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Live music Millhouse every Thursday, Friday & Saturday evening

Open Mic Night Eagle Creek Brewing

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The Evening Muse Open Mic: Celebration 41 W. Main Street 7 to 10 p.m.


The Arts John Culver: Worlds Imagined On display at Averitt Center for the Arts, Culver’s drawings bring together his interests in history, science and science fiction. Each piece has a personal and fascinating narrative. His works will be on display through March 3. Putting Us on the Map: Georgia and its Coastal Plain Statesboro Convention and Visitors Bureau A unique collection of maps that tell stories about Georgia, the Coastal Plain and Bulloch County. The exhibit will be on display until April 2018. The CVB is located at 222 South Main Street in Statesboro. Ongoing Give it a Spin! Workshop, 3rd Sunday each month Averitt Center for the Arts For those 16 years of age and up, from 1-4 p.m., this pottery class for beginners covers the basics. Bring a towel with you; all other materials provided. Cost is $25 ($40 for non-members). Paint-N-Party, 2nd Friday each month Averitt Center for the Arts Come and have fun with your friends and your favorite drink (21+ to drink). Price includes a 16X20 canvas and art supplies. Call Tony Phillips at (912) 212-2787 to register. Cost is $35 per session. Art Educators’ Exhibition Averitt Center for the Arts The Youth Gallery at the Averitt features the artwork of Bulloch County students each month. This month the spotlight is on Southeast Bulloch Middle and High School. The exhibit will be on display throughout the month. An opening reception is held on the first Friday of each month at 5:30 p.m.

OTHER Friday, January 5 F1RST Friday: Statesboro – Fashion with Compassion, 5:30 to 8 p.m. Celebrate in the warm indoors, with a fashion show to benefit the Teen Reach Adventure Camp. The event will be held at the Emma Kelly Theater in downtown Statesboro. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for kids. Friday, January 12, 26 Learn to play a featured game at Galactic Comics & Games At 7 p.m., players who are new to Ticket to Ride (Jan. 12) or The Castles of Burgundy (Jan. 26) can come to Galactic and learn from the experts. There will be other events, and other games, featured every other week. Friday, January 19 Tsuro Tournament, Galactic Comics & Games Beginning at 7 p.m., join in the fun for just $2 for non-members and $1 or free for previous tourney participants. The prize is a $10 store credit. Game time is approximately 15 minutes, and is suggested for ages 8 and up. Saturday, January 27 Bob Dylan Tribute, Eagle Creek 7 p.m. Join us for walk down memory lane! A review of music and spoken word of Nobel Prize winner, the great Bob Dylan, in collaboration with talented musicians, STRL staff & Friends of the Library members.

Give the Gift of Life Special to Connect January is National Blood Donor Month, and the American Red Cross encourages everyone to contribute to this important work. Knowing your blood type is an important part of donating. There are different blood types because not all blood has the same kinds of red blood cells in it. How can red blood cells be different? You’ve probably heard about blood types from your doctor (or at least your favorite television drama about doctors): A positive, O negative, etc. But what do these labels actually mean? Both the letter and the positive or negative symbol refer to antigens that either are or are not present on the surface of your red blood cells. A-type blood has A antigens, B-type blood has B antigens, AB has both, and O has neither. Whether your blood type is positive or negative depends on the presence or absence of another antigen called the Rh factor. Why is blood type important? Antigens are essential to how your body identifies and deals with infections. If a patient is given a blood transfusion of the wrong type, the body’s antigens will identify the donated blood as a harmful invader and activate the body’s immune system to reject it. This is why people with type O, which has neither A nor B antigens, can donate to anyone, but type A can only donate to others with type A. If you don’t know your blood type, ask your doctor for information so you can help those in need by donating blood. The most important components of blood that are useful for transfusion are red blood cells, plasma, platelets, and cryoprecipitated AHF. January 2018

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Chaos and Contentment • By Cristina Emberton

Everyone on the bus Arriving back to the office after grabbing lunch, I receive a phone call from the elementary school principal about my son and a scuffle on the bus. This leads to bus suspension for a couple of days. I’m fumbling in my purse for keys and my shoulder holds the phone to my ear, “Yes sir. Have you discussed this with both boys? I understand you can’t give me that info….Yes, I have talked with him about self-control. I will definitely be talking with him tonight…..I’ll figure it out….yes, thank you.” End call. Get keys in the door. Phone rings. The school again. Assistant principal. “Hello Ms. Emberton…..I have your daugh8

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ter in my office…….” At this point, I just stand there, listen, repeat. “Yes ma’am. We’ve discussed self-control……” I feel as if I’ve been sent to the principal’s office twice in one day! I feel isolated and disappointed, and not just in my children but myself. Everyone with children has their own struggle. The parent that has the child never in trouble may be worried about social skills. There is a parent that is battling with dyslexia and one that can’t control a child’s anger. There are the parents that deal with a variety of School IEP’s and 504 plans (myself being one of those).

Let it comfort you that we are all on this bus together. When other parents look like superheroes and everything is perfect. Trust me, it’s not. Fifteen years ago I would have never admitted that I might not have clear thinking, be unorganized or forgetful. I am no longer in denial and the freedom this has given me is tremendous. News flash: I’m not perfect and there is no need to stress that I mess things up! I honestly thought I shouldn’t make mistakes, and if I did, I was heartbroken. It would cripple me with embarrassment and hurt my pride. Then I had children and huge amounts of humble pie. Kids, job, bills, family; with all of these things to juggle, there should be no expectation that your child is going to have his hair brushed every day, your 2-year-old have his shirt tucked in, and if her binkie goes into her mouth after touching a germ ridden surface….. really….she will be OK. It does seem overwhelming when one thing gets added to the chaos, especially when you’re seeing a glimmer of hope for relaxation. For instance, you’ve just finished cleaning the entire kitchen and feeling a little better about the state of the house when, wait…..what is that? The sound of the cat throwing up in the next room? Sigh. Everyone else is too grossed out to clean up…..onward Mom with the least amount of gag reflex. This endeavor is minor! Nothing compared to being pooped on, vomited on and stepped on by your own offspring. You are hardcore. You got this. It is crazy to think we can control our children and our environment. We can set parameters, create boundaries and model behavior, but can’t control an outcome! We do our best to love and make decisions; and the outcome usually is not what we envisioned in our head. Sometimes it’s much better! Sometimes it’s not. Don’t let the chaos run your story by engaging in isolating thoughts. Get honest about your reality and reduce expectations. Make the best decision you can make with the information you have today and let go. Wait. Let life unfold rather than manipulate it. Do not assume you know what will happen in the future; there are forces going on that are beyond our thoughts and control. The things we can control? Faith, attitude and expecting promising things for your life and family. The chaos hates contentment so get content with your chaos. It is temporary and before you know it, you won’t have to clean anymore bottles or sippy cups. A new phase begins. And most of all, there is not one parent out there without a struggle……we are all on this bus — or getting kicked off — together!


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Statesboro’s new mayor: McCollar ready to ‘stand up’ By Angye Morrison

Photos by Scott Bryant

Jonathan McCollar made history in Statesboro in 2017 when he was elected as the city’s first African-American mayor. He takes office this month, beginning his term in the city where he has lived all his life. McCollar was raised by his great-grandmother, Estella McClouden. His mother, Patricia Robins, gave birth to him at a young age, and had to continue her education, so his great-grandmother stepped in. He says he had a great childhood. “Though my family did not have a lot, there was never a day that I was hungry or lack plenty of family and friends to play with,” he recalled. McCollar said his grandmother had one simple rule that she lived by, and expected him to as well: “If you want to get ahead in life, then you must help somebody.” This has become his creed in life. “Growing up, I cannot tell you how many people/families that I watched my great-grandmother help in their time of need. However, what I can tell you is that there was no greater satisfaction for her than the simple joy of knowing that she was able to be light in the lives of others. This is the philosophy that I have chosen to live my life by,” he said. One of nine children by marriage in a blended family, McCollar says he is close to all his siblings, but was raised as an only child by McClouden. “I had all the perks of an only child,” he said, adding that although he and his siblings are all quite busy, they all find time to get together frequently. “When we get together or talk, it is like there has been no time [apart] for us. We are all like-spirited people and will do anything to help anyone,” he said. McCollar earned a Master of Public Administration degree from Georgia Southern University, but began his college career at Albany State University. He returned to Statesboro to attend GSU in order to be closer to his family. He is currently employed as assistant campus director for Armstrong State University’s Liberty Campus in Hinesville. Married to “the amazing Adrianne McCollar,” the mayor-elect says the couple dated for several years and has now been married for 10 years. He says she has been extremely supportive. “I will admit that I am not the easiest person to be married to because out of the blue, I may do something like decide to run for mayor. However, through it all, she has been amazing. She has stood by my side every step of the way and has been an intricate part of the entire process,” he said, adding that what makes their marriage strong is that they don’t seek perfection in each other, but instead, the effort to do right by each other. The couple has five beautiful children, and McCollar says they are all unique. “I believe one of them has the political bug, but only the future knows her destiny,” he added. McCollar is involved in the Democratic Party, the NAACP and Beloved Community, and is an active supporter of several other community organizations and initiatives. He is a member at United Fellowship, but often visits other churches in the community. In his free time, he enjoys fishing with his children or attending sportJanuary 2018

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ing events. He also spends a lot of time volunteering in the community, and loves to read. He is a music lover, and has eclectic tastes. McCollar listens to everything from rhythm and blues to hip-hop to blues to alternative. When asked about his decision to run for mayor, McCollar is quick to say that he would have told you not so long ago that he had no desire to get into politics. But as he served the community, he began to see that public policy was the biggest barrier for the most vulnerable. He said he also saw a lack of leadership to address the real issues that affected people. McCollar first ran for mayor in 2013, but lost to outgoing Mayor Jan Moore, who also made history as Statesboro’s first female mayor. In 2017, the tables turned, and McCollar was victorious in his second bid for the office. Both bids for the mayoral office came from his deep passion for people, McCollar said. He says the biggest takeaway from this election was that it was the biggest in the history of the city. “This election was the largest municipal election in the history of the city with nearly 60 percent of the people that came to the polls voting for change,” he said. “I believe that this sends a resounding message that the people were tired of the politics of old where only a few benefitted and they felt as though their concerns had fallen on deaf ears.” He believes the biggest needs for local residents include the ability to take care of their families and to have equal opportunities for everyone. “I believe that the people are the greatest resource that any city has,” he said. “I believe that it is a moral injustice to have so many people in our city to get up and go to work every day and still be below or at the poverty level. I believe that it is time for the city to have purposeful leadership that is going to fight to not only attract large-scale wealth-building jobs to the area but fights to put the people in a position to be prepared for those opportunities.” McCollar is keenly aware of the significance of his election as mayor. “It means a lot to me. But more than that, I believe that there is a great responsibility that is associated with this honor. I know that my path to the mayor’s office is much different from anybody’s that have come before me. It is in this truth we are able to see that our city is growing and changing. So, now is the time that we must take advantage of the opportunities of being the diverse southern jewel that we are. I believe that God’s genius is in the diversity of his people and if we are going to meet the potential of this city then we must embrace that,” he said. McCollar believes he will be a strong leader, because he says he is willing to “stand on the right even if I am standing alone.” “I believe that if we are going to move our city forward, then we must be bold and willing to stand for our beliefs,” he said. As he takes office, McCollar said his chief goal will be to lift families in Statesboro out of poverty. “I love this city and its people, so I am going to fight every day for them,” he said.

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Tailgate Tattler • By Chandler Avery

Time to relax, Eagles: It’s in good hands With a new year here, it is a time to look forward to the next 365 days and get off to the right start. But to look forward, it is nice to look back. This past month I had the awesome opportunity to attend the Army-Navy game in Philadelphia. That’s right, America’s game. As the only FBS game all week, the national spotlight was turned to the City of Brotherly Love, and I was right in the middle of it. However, indirectly I was not the only thing Georgia Southern mixed into the atmosphere. Between the two rival academies, eight of the combined 28 coaches had direct ties to Georgia Southern: six from Army and two from Navy. But more than the personnel connections were present; the offensive philosophies on both sides of the ball stemmed from Paul Johnson’s offense that was made prominent in Statesboro. Granted it was a slushy day on the field thanks to the snow all day long, but I was in heaven watching the option being run effectively. One thing I noticed, along with most football fans, is that the two offenses had their own individual tweaks. Keeping in mind that both head coaches were disciples under Paul Johnson, you could determine the differences in the offenses. In the first two drives of the Army-Navy game, there were about seven distinct different formations of the offenses, only one of which was the under-center flexbone lineup us Eagles are all

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accustomed to seeing. However the results of these two drives? Twenty-two plays (11 each), 137 yards (Army 73, Navy 64), 14:05 time of possession combined. Tying this to the current state of Georgia Southern, I think it is funny how over the past two months people all across the social media groups, message boards, and other outlets all are up in arms over what the type of offense will be. Every day I see posts claiming “Georgia Southern needs to go full flexbone offense” or “We need the Willie Fritz/Doug Ruse offense back.” While everyone has their opinion, I can assure you that the only way you will see the true version of the Paul Johnson flexbone is by hiring Paul Johnson himself. The only way you will see the exact replica of the Doug Ruse offense is to hire, you guessed it, Doug Ruse. Basically, when an offensive coordinator comes in to a new place, it is an opportunity for him to build his own individual offense. The point that I am moving towards is this: No offensive scheme is exactly the same. I can assure you that Coach Bob DeBesse’s offense will have its own intricacies to it that differ from Willie Fritz’s offense. For those unaware, DeBesse was Fritz’s Offensive Coordinator at Sam Houston State in 2011 and 2012. If you watch the New Mexico offense side by side to Georgia Southern’s 2014-15 offense you can begin

to determine some differences. If my memory serves me correct, Fritz ran one play from under center, which was the fumble at the goal line against NC State. Everything outside of that was out of the shotgun or pistol formations. With DeBesse, I am seeing a few more plays from under center. This won’t be enough to garner the title of a flexbone offense by any means, but it will certainly be a presence that is greater than what we have seen in the past year. The other fold in the DeBesse offense that is different is one that is not visible to the casual football fan. While watching approximately four hours of New Mexico game film, I finally was able to put my thumb on it. The majority of Georgia Southern’s big plays in 2014-15 were runs that were right up the middle of the field. However, New Mexico’s blocking schemes set up where their big plays are directed off the tackles. The difference that this will lead to is that the plays might take a half-second longer to develop, but will allow the quarterback and halfback to pick up a better read on the holes, allowing runs to spring for big gains quicker. In the end, be happy we have the option back in Statesboro, and regardless of the style of option, it will work and it will win. Overall, I am thoroughly excited to have DeBesse and the rest of the new staff that Coach Chad Lunsford has brought in for the Eagles. In fact, I speak on behalf of most of Eagle Nation when I say that we are excited! It may be nine months before the football season begins, but it would be hard to find a fan base more enthusiastic than the one in Statesboro. There will always be naysayers, but that is to be expected with any coaching hire. I think that Lunsford has done a great job in his tenure as both interim and full time head coach. What I saw was a coach who genuinely understands what Georgia Southern football means to the players, students and community, something that I had not seen from a head coach since Fritz. Coach Lunsford wasted no time at all turning the attitude around, and though he may have only scored two wins on the field, the momentum gained around the entire atmosphere was a tremendous boost. Time is about to move fast for Georgia Southern football with National Signing Day quickly approaching in February. The entire Eagle coaching staff has a lot working for them this recruiting season, as Georgia Southern’s campus, athletic facilities and traditions will help attract recruits as it always has. On top of this, the new staff is filled with great recruiters, as Lunsford, Coach Scot Sloan and Coach Vic Cabral are widely known as some of the top recruiters in the Southeast, and will definitely bring some firepower in this spring. That being said, sit back, relax, and be excited to know that the future of Georgia Southern football is in great hands with the new coaching staff.


Healthy habits for a happy immune system If you’re dreading the return of seasonal cold and flu viruses, be proactive. Healthy habits will help keep your immune system in tiptop shape and primed to stave off unpleasant infections. A healthy person’s immune system doesn’t need any outside help to stay in good condition, as it’s naturally designed to defend your body and heal itself. However, some behaviours may affect your body’s capacity to fend off attackers (viruses, parasites, cancerous cells, foreign bodies, etc.). A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE A balanced diet is essential in preventing nutritional deficiencies, which weaken the immune system. As well, getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, avoiding stressful situations, learning to manage anxiety, and not smoking

are all habits that contribute to your immune system’s good health.

Improving bone strength through sports

IMMUNIZATION Getting vaccinated is the best way to defend yourself against certain types of illness. Other than that, there’s no magic formula for a healthy immune system: you just need to take good care of yourself.

IMMUNE SYSTEM 101 Your immune system is one of your body’s most vital allies: without it, the tiniest scratch would leave you vulnerable to life-threatening infections. It comprises various organs, including bone marrow, the thymus, the spleen and the lymph nodes. In addition, your skin and mucous membranes are the first line of defense against foreign attackers.

Weight-bearing exercises help strengthen the bones.

Taking good care of your bones is important at any age, but even more so as you get older. Weak bones are vulnerable to severe fractures, especially in the hips and spine. While exercise in general plays an important role in maintaining a healthy body, certain types of sports are especially beneficial to keeping bones strong and preventing osteoporosis.

Americanized versions of our articles are includ ed in the online page folder when necessary. Documents are identified as follows: TITLE_US.doc .

A balanced diet prevents nutritional deficiencies that weaken the immune system.

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Weight-bearing exercises are ideal for improving bone density. Speed walking, jogging and step are excellent ways to strengthen the bones in the legs and spine, which carry the bulk of your weight all day. Sports that involve jumping and moving around a lot, such as dance, volleyball, soccer, tennis and basketball, have a similar protective effect.

Muscle-strengthening activities also contribute to bone strength. Resistance exercises (involving elastic bands or free weights, for instance) are particularly beneficial, as they solicit and reinforce the tendons that connect bones to muscles. To sum things up, staying active is the key to a healthy skeleton. A sedentary lifestyle causes bones to lose density and become brittle, so get moving!

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Photo by Scott Bryant

YMCA of Coastal Georgia comes to Statesboro By Lauren Porter It was once the home to Sallie Zetterower Elementary School — 409 Clairborne Avenue. My best friend, Alyssa, and I would walk from Florence Avenue to the playground at Sallie Z when we were kids. We spent countless hours growing up there, and it remains in the forefront of my memory as an adult. Our after-school tradition was cut short when Sallie Z moved locations in 2009. For eight years, the property remained abandoned and slowly lost its life. In place of the school was a worn out, dilapidated structure that clung to a fading memory of knowledge and youth. Over the last four years, the old building has sparked interest in a new vision, one that is vital to Statesboro’s wellness and growth. In support of this vision, community members traded the dust and cobwebs for clean floors and fresh paint. After a commendable rehabilitation process, 409 Clairborne Avenue is now the face of Statesboro’s very own YMCA. Since its grand opening in October, the facility and its staff have

received a warm embrace from the community. They now serve more than 400 members in a state of the art gym facility, complete with the latest model of Precor exercise equipment, a boxing studio, child watch and group fitness classes. With the history of the building still intact, the Y is a diverse and hospitable environment that welcomes everyone, regardless of age, income or background. It serves as a safe place for youth development by teaching four core values: respect, responsibility, honesty and caring. Through various programs, it also provides opportunities for members to learn about healthy living and social responsibility. Tory Joyner, director of the Statesboro YMCA, has been affiliated with the organization for over 21 years. He brings prolific insight to the young branch. “Programs will flourish here because we can meet the community’s needs in many different ways. This is a family town, and the neighborhood is safe. Families can have a life with re-

spectable memories to look back on, especially the kids. The Y is a place that people of all ages and backgrounds tell stories about because it helps them grow,” he said. Growth is definitely on the horizon for the Statesboro Family YMCA as it climbs in number and build programs, particularly for youth involvement. Starting this January, Y Leaders is a youth leadership program designed for ages 11-18. It promotes civic engagement, college readiness and career exploration. The Y will also host Project Lift, which is a 10-week Olympic weightlifting program that combines strength and circuit training for all fitness levels. In addition to these programs, the Y will implement classes such as Kidz Zumba and Circuit Boxing for adults. The members intend to plant a community garden by this spring that will be ready in time for learning opportunities at summer camp. To learn more about the Statesboro Family YMCA, visit YMCAofcoastalga.org for updates and stop by for a free tour.

409 Clairborne Avenue, Statesboro GA 30458 Phone: (912) 225-3534 | Online: YMCAofcoastalga.org Hours of Operation: Monday-Thursday, 5 a.m. - 9 p.m. | Friday, 5 a.m.- 8 p.m.; Saturday, 7 a.m. - 6 p.m.; Sunday, 1 p.m. - 6 p.m.

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Georgia Southern University’s RAC serves Statesboro community By Lauren Porter One of the finest attributes of Georgia Southern University is the Recreation Activity Center (RAC). The 215,000 square foot facility opens its doors to more than 5,500 people each day. The center extends its services to the community by offering a variety of challenge courses that build leadership skills. This is done by implementing core values such as empathy and trust. The Southern Adventures Challenge Course program gives individuals the unique opportunity to design a custom course that corresponds with the needs of the group. To learn more, call (912) 478-7227 or visit the Southern Adventures Center during normal hours of operation. The RAC also allows public access to their 18hole championship golf course. It encompasses 167 acres of land, and the course is 6,900 yards of lush, TifEagle Bermudagrass. On site is a 30-station practice range, complete with 10,000 square foot putting green, a chipping green\greenside bunker, and a fairway bunker. A golf skills camp is offered at the course to adults and youth. Students get hands on training with PGA professionals through different activities that lead to success on the course, and in everyday life. Complementary to the avail-

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able programs are the different tournaments and leagues that compete here. Every Tuesday at 5:30 p.m., from March 12 through September 26, the facility will give competitors the opportunity to win prizes in a 9-hole scramble. Groups that are interested in programs and hosting their tournament at the Georgia Southern Golf Course can call Marten Olsson, director of golf, at (912) GSU-GOLF for fees, availability and scheduling. In addition to the courses offered by the RAC, the public is also encouraged to visit the Georgia Southern University Shooting Sports Education Center. The facility provides a structured environment for the shooting sports in our region. The range serves a diverse group of people by giving instructional programs, training classes, recreation, competition and other special events. Included in the facility is an archery center, which is accommodating to students of all skill levels. In affiliation with the GSU Sports Center is the GATA Archery League. They welcome the public to challenge themselves to a different target each month. Approved users have a chance to win pro shop credit. With classes and programs available for all

ages, the facility is an outlet for participants to practice using their firearms in a responsible way. For inquiries, call the GSU Shooting Sports Education Center at (912) 478-7732, or visit their website at recreation.georgiasouthern.edu.


Stephanie comes to Connect Magazine with more than 15 years of sales and marketing experience both internationally and nationally. Currently serving as the Marketing/Sales Manager for Connect Magazine and GSU Eagle Nation (gsueaglenation.com), she is also a Multimedia Sales Strategist for the Statesboro Herald. She has extensive knowledge in providing strategic marketing planning to ensure her clients are reaching their desired goals. Stephanie prides herself in providing integrated advertising plans; campaign management; understanding the market and key competitors; and working collaboratively to determine creative messaging for all her clients. Stephanie has extensive marketing and sales experience – B2B and B2C - in various industries including: business services; consumer products; food and beverage; financial, government; hardware; health care; recreation/leisure; and not-for-profit. She places strong emphasis on integrating traditional marketing principles into her clients’ digital strategies to maximize their exposure so they receive the best ROI. A native of Statesboro, Stephanie enjoys spending time with her son Jackson; staying active at her son’s school, Bulloch Academy; traveling; cooking; and taking continuing education courses to stay abreast of all the changes and industry trends that affect marketing and communications.

Q: What is Hyper-Local Targeting for Mobile? A: Hyper-local targeting for mobile allows you to target users based on real-time location data regardless of platforms: desktop, smartphone, and tablet. The integration of geo-fencing allows you to target users at a particular geo-location and pinpoint users who fall within a certain radius of that point of interest. Still wondering exactly how? Let’s dive in a little further. As the advertiser - you can target mobile users based on their precise location via device GPS; enabling you to deliver the right message at the right time. The user tracking allowed by handheld devices is unprecedented, allowing for targeting to a radius as small as ten meters. For example, advertisers can be more specific and create locations grouped by building type, property agents, supermarkets, car dealerships, gyms, or restaurants (to name a few merely). This method of advertising allows you to expand your marketing message based on where your customers are per their geographical location. Your advertising messages can be tailored based on, store locations, weather, the proximity of friends and consumers, and transportation roads. You now have the resources to tap into their habits and also entice them with specific offers that not only make sense but relates to their location. I will provide two examples below: (E.G.) Imagine a Statesboro newcomer is walking through the Market District while she is on holiday. As she is perusing the area and is browsing on her phone, she sees an ad for 40% off lady’s scarves from your store. Not familiar with the area, she hits the get location on the rich media ad. Your store shows 600 meters away from her current location. She then uses the directions provided to walk into your retail store and hopefully become a conversion. (E.G) It is lunch time in the Boro, and there are hungry folks who are browsing their phone. Guess who sees your ad? Moreover, they see your restaurant is less than 600 meters away from their office, with today’s specials and a free dessert coupon. Your lunch spot has set up a contextually targeted ad, geo-fenced within a 1.5 km radius around the business area with offices. You have a “Call Now” button on the ad, and he makes a call directly to book a table, enquire about hours, or additional information. This particular use of target marketing has proven to be an intricate part of successful marketing strategies for many businesses; helping to drive traffic to their stores and increase conversions. Hyper Local-Targeting for Mobile can be one of the most compelling strategies to drive purchase and increase store visits, which translates to an explainable return on your investment (ROI). Interested in learning more? Feel free to give me a call, 912.531.0786 or contact your local Statesboro Herald advertising executive for more information.


Mrs. Taylor’s grandson: Living his best life By Angye Morrison Francys Johnson has a great life in Statesboro. If you sit down to talk with him, he’ll tell you just that. Johnson was raised in Sylvania, Georgia, on his grandfather’s farm. After he finished high school in Screven County, he attended Georgia Southern University, and then went on to the University of Georgia to attend law school. Since then, Johnson has worked as legal counsel with the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association in New York. He says he is quite proud of the work he did there, as he helped to set up programs that were aimed at helping Latino and African-American people, and the LGBTQ community. In 2010, he returned to Statesboro to raise his family and practice law, establishing The Johnson Firm. He’s also taught courses in Constitutional Law, Race and the Law, Criminal Law and Judicial Process at Georgia 20

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Southern and Savannah State. Johnson has worked for the NAACP as its regional director, and managed the organization’s administrative and public policy agendas in the Southeast, the heart of the Civil Rights movement. He recently stepped down as state president of the organization, after a total of 30 years of involvement, beginning with his service as a youth member. “It was a wonderful opportunity to be the trustee of that kind of legacy,” he said. In addition, Johnson serves as pastor to two area churches: Mt. Moriah Baptist Church in Pembroke, and Magnolia Baptist Church, located between Brooklet and Statesboro. Mt. Moriah was founded in 1890, while Magnolia was established in 1914. Johnson speaks fondly of both congregations and of the legacy each has in their respective communities. “It’s such a treasure to be able to be a part of people’s lives when you are a pastor of a

small church. Church means something here. It may not mean something anywhere else, but it means something here. Those relationships are pretty important,” he said. Johnson believes that being a pastor helps him be a better lawyer. “The role of a pastor helps keep me grounded as a lawyer, that I don’t lose sight of what really matters,” he said. “Lawyering helps me to be more practical as a preacher. I’m not always talking about the hereafter, or the by-and-by. People need a real practical ministry to help them live their best lives today. So I think one helps keep me grounded and one helps to keep me practical.” Johnson credits his grandmother, Louise Riley Taylor, with much of his success. “She had such dignity and integrity and purpose. She knew that her job was to push me further than she was able to go. She made a way for me to always be involved in the kind of activities that would prepare me


for my future and sent me to school,” he said. “This keeps me grounded, this woman who sacrificed for me.” Johnson speaks with much respect of his grandmother, who washed clothes for and cleaned the homes of white women, and took care of their children. He names her as one of his heroes. “She never had the opportunity to finish high school or go to college. I don’t ever remember her having the dignity of being called by her proper name. She was always Aunt Louise or something,” he said. Her sacrifices have set the tone for his life. “That’s a word we don’t hear enough anymore, the word sacrifice,” he said. “We have a generation of takers, who are not necessarily builders, and sowers, and givers. That’s kind of scary.” In Statesboro, Johnson has found ways to give back to the community. One such way was serving as president of the Averitt Center for the Arts. “Art has a great impact on the community. Making it accessible to the people is wonderful. Art is transformative. I’m really excited to be a part of it and its expansion,” he said. Another organization that Johnson was involved with was The Teal House, which he helped to establish from the ground up. The Teal House is a local place for victims of sexual assault and children who have been abused. “It was an answer to a problem the community faced,” he said. “The nearest sexual assault center was in Swainsboro or Savannah, an hour away. Creating that place from literally nothing, and to now have The Teal House, which is a full service facility, it’s an amazing thing to have been a part of.” Johnson has also worked with Boy Scout Troop 357, and proudly says they have had five Eagle Scouts in the past seven years. “It’s a wonderful program for the making of better men. I have been privileged to be involved in several projects around Statesboro, but this is what we are called to do. To whom much is given, much is required,” he said. Johnson learned to put feet to his faith from Pastor Eddie Lee Jenkins, who pastored Lawton Grove Baptist Church in Sylvania. “He didn’t preach like the other preachers; he preached about our responsibility to make where we are now more like the heaven we want to get to,” he said. “He understood that the gospel is about more than the afterlife. It should cause us to be able to transform the world, so he had a social January 2018

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gospel that I’ve been trying to emulate.” In addition to those he looked up to in his own life, Johnson said he looked up to great leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and many women whose rich legacies didn’t receive their rightful place in the history books — women like Septima Clark, Ruby Hurley and Esther Garrison. Another woman who has made a significant impact on Johnson’s life is his wife, Dr. Meca Williams Johnson, a psychologist who is a tenured professor at GSU. “My wife is an amazing, incredible woman. She does great work. Her research focuses on teacher efficacy, and motivation. She helps make our very good educators here better and more effective. She is very rewarded in her work,” he said. The couple been blessed with sons Thurgood Marshall Joshua Johnson and Langston Hughes Elijah Johnson, and a third son, who passed away at just six months old. Even in that tragedy, the couple found a way to give back. “It really solidified to me the value of a community like this because we had such an outpouring of love. We had a great avenue to pour back into the community through the March of Dimes and some other things. We were able to help some other families and mothers in the area who have gone through similar things,” he said. Johnson is proud of his sons, and is hopeful not just for their future, but for the future their generation will help to create. He says the legacy he hopes to leave for his sons points back to an old hymn that he remembers from his childhood — “If I can help somebody as I pass along, then my living will not be in vain.” “I think that’s what we’re called to do. We’re called to help each other. We’re called to do that with our gifts that we’ve been blessed by God to have,” he said, adding that you can live your best life in places like Statesboro. “Why not Atlanta? Why not somewhere else? There are lots of opportunities in places like Statesboro, in Springfield,” he said. “Hopefully [my sons] will see these places with new eyes, and will bring their own courage, and will continue to move it forward.” As for his own future, Johnson is eyeing a possible run for public office. When asked why, he says it is because “we spend so much on things that at the end of the day don’t move us forward.” “I look around and I see good people leaving the public space, and I see people who have practical experience leaving the public space. Space that is filled with such shrill voices that only see the least common denominators among us,” he said. “That’s unfortunate because I think the solutions to our problems are common. We all want clean water to drink and air to breathe. We all want a safe environment to raise our children. We all want to be able to do something useful with our lives, to have good jobs that pay a living wage, and allow us to give something to our children, to get them to the next level. This is not hard. These things are common to all of us.” While he considers that bid for office, Johnson says he finds hope in the eyes of Thurgood’s classmates. “They are asking the right questions. They are going to call us out on our hypocrisy. They’re not going to let our mealy-mouthed answers about how we did so little with so much, stand. And I’m encouraged by that. They will construct a world that is more just than ours. So I’m very hopeful about that,” he said. This gives Johnson hope for his community as well. He says the quality of people in Statesboro is what makes this community such a rich place. “Every day I get to meet people in the practice of law who have real life problems and challenges and I get to leverage relationships and knowledge of the law as well as a sense of life to help them live better lives. I really am having the time of my life.” 22

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TOP 10 REASONS to advertise frequently

ADVERTISING IS

KEY Stephanie Childs Marketing/Sales Manager 912-531-0786

1. People may not need your product or service today, but they may need it tomorrow. 2. Frequency builds trust. 3. Frequent advertising adds credibility to your message. 4. When an ad is seen frequently, it gets the consumer yearning for your service and they will take action to buy it. 5. Advertising frequently helps put your name out in front of the competition’s. 6. Frequency is the best way to get lower advertising rates. 7. Advertising frequently is a lot like repeatedly inviting a friend to come see you. One day, they are bound to visit! 8. Frequent advertising helps you build a steady source of incoming sales. 9. Out of sight, out of mind. 10. You make more money when you do! It’s plain and simple.


Day Trippin’ • By Kenley Alligood

Literary Georgia John Steinbeck in his book Travels with Charley said, “What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.” It’s the contrast between the two seasons which makes them both special. I love to be outside hiking or kayaking, but when winter comes and the days get shorter there’s nothing I love more than curling up in my chair with a book. With that in mind I thought I’d suggest something for my fellow bibliophiles. Georgia is famous for many things: peaches and peanuts, Coke, the church and resting place of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Gladys Knight and her iconic “Midnight Train to Georgia,” President Jimmy Carter, Ray Charles’s “Georgia On My Mind” and its authors. Georgia has a long history with the written word. In 1762 James Johnston established the first newspaper and print shop in the young colony. The first edition of the Georgia Gazette which rolled out from 24

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Johnston’s shop on Broughton Street also included an advertisement for books published in-house. Savannah’s most famous author, one whose stories are required reading for every high schooler in the state and every American Short Story class in the nation, is Flannery O’Connor. The home is an unassuming gray building situated tightly between two other residences and located diagonally across a small square from Savannah’s beautiful cathedral. A bronzed historical marker is the only thing which outwardly differentiates the building from any of the others in the row, but stepping inside reveals a home meticulously restored to its Depression Era glory, just as it would have been when the young Flannery lived there. The home is open every day except Thursdays from 1 to 4 p.m. for 30-minute guided tours. The entry fee is $6. The Childhood Home Foundation also hosts public readings and events, and a schedule

can be found on their website. Savannah shares O’Connor with the city of Milledgeville where she and her family moved in 1940. She attended what is now Georgia College and, as her Lupus worsened she returned to Andalusia, the family farm where she lived for the last 13 years of her life and wrote some of her most famous works. The O’Connor family farm is now owned and operated by the college as a museum, though it is temporarily closed for ongoing restoration. O’Connor is buried in Milledgeville in Memory Hill Cemetery. Another famous Georgian and O’Connor’s contemporary was Columbus native Carson McCullers. She is one of the hallmarks of the Southern Gothic tradition in literature and, though she spent the majority of her life outside of the south, her work reflects her roots. Her childhood home is now owned by Columbus State University and houses a museum as well as the Carson McCullers Center for Writers & Musicians. Tours are offered by appointment. Perhaps Georgia’s most famous literary work, known for its petulant heroine and her roguish lover is Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind. The Civil War era novel which examined the fall of the idealized Antebellum South has remained controversial over the years but the book’s popularity has not waned. The Margaret Mitchell House, the home in which she wrote her famous novel, is now a museum operated by the Atlanta History Center. Exhibits explore not just Mitchell’s life as an author and journalist, but Gone with the Wind’s iconic film adaptation starring Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh. Guided tours run daily. Adult admission is $13. Last but not least, any tour of literary Georgia must include the little town of Eatonton, Georgia. Eatonton is the location of the Georgia Writer’s Museum and the birthplace of novelist and poet Alice Walker. The museum honors the 46 authors inducted into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame and houses permanent exhibits dedicated to the authors it touts as locals: Flannery O’Connor, Joel Chandler Harris and Alice Walker. The city of Eatonton also offers an Alice Walker Driving Tour which takes visitors to important locations in her life including the church she grew up in, the cemetery where her parents are buried, and her childhood home. More information on the tour can be found at the Visitor’s Center. Alice Walker is still publishing today with two works released in 2013, but her most famous work remains The Color Purple.


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Photo 1: Susan Jackson, accompanied by Robert Cottle, rehearses for Souvenir: A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins. In the title role, Jackson said she was looking forward to getting lost in the character, who she found fascinating. Cottle played Cosme McMoon, Jenkins’ friend and accompanist. The two-person show was performed in early December. Photo 2: John Parcels and Karen Taylor Lambie smile for the camera before hitting the stage in The Nutcracker. Photo 3: Donning the familiar curls and dreaming of her Nutcracker prince in the 2017 production was Anna Nessmith, who played Clara. Photo 4: Professional guest artists for The Nutcracker were Regine Metayer and Chad Jones, shown here. Photo 5: A stellar cast brought the timeless story of The Nutcracker to life at the Averitt Center for the Arts in November. Cast members worked hard for weeks and weeks leading up to the performance, pouring their love of the story and passion for dance into every performance. Madelyn Wolfe, who danced the role of the Dewdrop Fairy in this year’s production, is shown backstage. Photos by Scott Bryant and John Parcels

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arts seen The Arts SEEN! Send photos, along with information about the event, as well as the names of those pictured, to amorrison@connectstatesboromagazine.com.

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The Music Scene • By Brandi Harvey

We resolve: Resolutions for a new year of music It’s the time of year when everyone makes those drastic, albeit often necessary, commitments to significant change. Whether it’s more consistent gym visits, a nicer disposition or finally clearing the clutter, often we find ourselves staring in the mirror mid-February wondering what happened and whether we should recommit a month in or just wait until next year. As a town with a rich musical heritage that is chock full of talented artists and music lovers, perhaps we could all take this year to commit to a few needed changes to create an even more wonderful experience for music lovers and the artists they support. We commit to stop saying, “There’s no good music anymore.” Let’s be honest. We’ve all said it, thought it, heard it. While we may not be fans of the newer country music or the pop sensations that are taking over VH1, MTV (remember when they actually played music?), TMZ and E!, to imply that every single drop of new music that is produced today is rubbish is simply inaccurate. True, popular music is all starting to sound the same, and autotune has potentially contaminated an entire generation from understanding what it means to have actual vocal chops. Yet, there are artists out there, locally, regionally and nationally, who still make great music — the

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creative kind that makes you think and feel. We may have to dig a little harder to find it, but it’s out there. You can look at NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts and Prairie Home Companion as an example of a place to find fantastic music from lesser known artists who would LOVE support as they blossom onto the national scene. In our own region, there are artists who are talented and producing not only amazing covers, but soul penetrating originals. From bluegrass and country to blues and pop and jazz, Statesboro has some wonderful artists performing locally who would love for you to follow them and support them as they create great music. This leads us to our second resolution. We commit to listen. Bars and restaurants are a great place to hang out with friends, party and enjoy some live entertainment. Unfortunately, as a performer, it can sometimes feel as though we are little more than the radio playing ambient music while patrons go about their evening. Here’s what your local artists would love to experience (and I promise, it’ll make your experience more enjoyable as well): listen to the music — especially original music — that is being performed. This will help you with carrying out resolution No. 1! If you are looking for good music, they will share it if the audience is receptive.

We commit to SING ALONG. OK, I know this is likely asking a lot from most of the population, but come on! Live music is so much more fun when everyone is enjoying themselves and singing along. So when the performer breaks into “Sweet Caroline,” don’t leave him hanging. Sing! You may be the only one singing at first, but chances are good that others will join in, and you can be part of something magical when the whole room fills up with “BUM, BUM, BUM” and “So good. So Good! SO GOOD!” Who wouldn’t want to help create that moment? We commit to make space. I’m going to take a moment to be a bit more editorial on this one because this is something I’m really passionate about. We have some great venues for live bands, and I’ve written about them extensively this past year. We have two amazing facilities for professional shows in the PAC and the Emma Kelly Theater. However, what we don’t have is a great venue for up and coming artists. I have a dream that in the near future, Statesboro will have a venue where local and regional musicians can find a place to perform for audiences who are there to listen to new music. (I already have the business plan written. That is how passionate I am about this.) It is disappointing that a college town of this size doesn’t have a venue artists can share their music and the community can support them. Bands can’t afford to rent spaces like the PAC and the Averitt Center because the cost of operating those facilities necessitates a high rental fee and/or high ticket prices. Restaurants and bars are great for cover bands, but for actual performances, they aren’t ideal because folks are coming and going and that’s not really what those spaces are for, anyway. Let’s start a conversation about making a space for performances to happen — an affordable concert venue where patrons can come to hear local and regional artists. If you happen to be someone with the funding and the power to make that happen, please contact me! I’d love to be a part of that creation! We commit to STOP getting in our own way. As the little old lady in my dad’s church used to say, “[She] done gone to meddlin’!” Yes, I am about to meddle a bit. It is anecdotally well known that with a little liquid courage and a large group of people, a show can get a lot more fun. Visit many of the music venues in Atlanta, Athens and Savannah, and you will find that alcohol helps keep those businesses open. You see, it’s not feasible to keep the doors of a music venue like the one described above open and affordable to the average person without some additional income. The problem that venues in our area run into is, while alcohol sales help a venue afford live bands, because of the complicated ordinances we have, they are unable to stay open because even as a performance venue, such as the Averitt Center or the PAC, without a kitchen in the facility that


provides food sales equaling a large percentage of the revenue of the sales, these venues are considered “night clubs,” and cannot admit patrons under 21 years of age. HOLD ON JUST A MINUTE! Let’s say that a different way. If a venue, for example the anchor of downtown the Averitt Center for the Arts, were to purchase the necessary permits to sell wine and beer or mixers and cocktails the same way that the Johnny Mercer Theater in Savannah does, that venue would be unable to admit persons under the age of 21. Call me crazy, but that seems a bit extreme to me. It seems like we are getting in our own way. We are creating complicated ordinances that are preventing additional revenue for the city and additional performance and event venues for our community. Can we commit in the coming year to make some necessary changes in this area so that we can continue on a positive growth and development trajectory as a community? One of the many reasons I love this town is because I, like many of you, see the potential for something magical. When I moved back three years ago, we were just in the beginning of the “America’s Best Communities” competition, the “Town and Gown” relationship seemed to be taking a new positive turn, commercial and industrial development was at an upswing and the arts were picking up momentum. It’s a well-known and well-studied fact that a strong and healthy arts community directly correlates to the growth and development of a community. As we begin this new year, let’s keep the conversation going to continue the momentum that was palpable three years ago. Let’s resolve to do what we can do make the music scene in Statesboro one of the many reasons we are one of America’s best communities. Happy New Year, everyone!


Overthinking It • By Katherine Fallon

Reflections of a new year I was reading an article recently about the 1990s being the best decade in history. The argument was a sound one, although I needed no convincing. I was a child and teenager of the 90s, and it all seems pretty great to me in retrospect. I have particularly fond memories of New Year’s celebrations during that decade, when my parents would allow me to invite over whoever I wanted. We leafed through Delia’s catalogues, played original Nintendo, and rented a lot of Stephen King from Blockbuster. We bounced off of the walls after eating boxes of NERDS or tubes of chocolate chip cookie dough. It was easy to stay up late, and easy to sleep in. As I got older, we were even left alone to do what we wanted. Which was — rebels that we were — go to Kroger and buy hair dye and hope no one got in trouble with their parents for coming home a redhead or with a bright green shock. We had spar-

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klers and grape juice in plastic flutes, and, of course, we watched the ball drop. In the 1990s, New Year’s Eve was a celebration of the past 12 months and an excited anticipation of the next 12, but these past few years have felt more like attempts at burial, and looking forward into a blizzard. The year 2017 has brought with it a lot of fear, grief and discord. It has been inconvenient, tiresome, lonely, cacophonous and too quiet. As is true for most adults, the actual celebration surrounding the new year has faded into a tired trust fall as I have gotten older: primarily, I reflect upon all of the road blocks I encountered in the previous year, and hope that the next will yield less death, more tenderness, and, if I am feeling particularly optimistic, perhaps financial gains, increased self-esteem and stronger friendships. The years have also begun to feel predict-

able, each a sloppy collection of pretty typical human experiences, the lines between which blur and wobble. Someone gets sick at the end of one year and stays sick the next year and dies in the middle of the next. Someone is engaged in one season and married the next, divorced the next. People announce their pregnancies in summer and give birth in spring. The most significant experiences transcend the tidy package of a calendar year. In retrospect, there are some new year’s eves that do feel like true celebrations: in 2006, I was at an oyster bar in Brooklyn, where strangers kissed at midnight, and there was lipstick on the teeth of more women than is reasonable. In 2007, my partner and I were so sick with head colds that we watched a marathon of the “L Word” from the bed, took NyQuil, and fell asleep by 8 p.m. In 2010, in the Colorado mountains, I walked outside in my bathrobe, warm from scotch, to watch the farm community set off bright, loud fireworks for the children, who clung to the adults’ legs and clapped from time to time, when they forgot to be afraid. These scenes play like motion pictures now, and while those years weren’t perfect — the people who were with me in each of those examples were not with me the next year, I drank too much, I was broke — there is a complicated joy within them. The context around them becomes clearer the further from them I get: not just the moment but what surrounded and led up to it. Those times in my life bleed out of each scene, take shape like a napkin absorbing water. It’s got nothing to do with years, but with stages. The mistake is in believing that New Year’s Eve celebrations are most significant in the present. The point is not the precipice between one year and the next, but to create a kind of mile marker to be gazed back upon in the future. I may not feel particularly celebratory on December 31, 2017, but 10 years from now, nostalgia will showcase a more honest truth: grief, fear and depression mute their surrounds, but do not erase them. There was great joy in me in 2017, and it will grow more evident in reflection.


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Connect magazine 1 2018  

Statesboro Herald Connect Magazine January 2018 Edition

Connect magazine 1 2018  

Statesboro Herald Connect Magazine January 2018 Edition

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