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Very little can help us identify a heathen more than ratty jeans and a trash can, but J. Bryant Steele advises us to watch out for those end zone dances, as well. Holly Lynch has returned this month because she has realized the power of three little words: I need help. This month, Jim Alred takes on a touchy subject among baseball fans, the reasons behind the National Baseball Hall of Fame not picking The Rose.

Rome and Floyd County has put their money where their long and floppy tongues are. Welcome to P.A.W.S., the newest addition to our community for animals in need.


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PUBLISHER 'S NOTE It’s July and you know what that means. We celebrate our nations independence by blowing stuff up! Yes, indeed! Unlike many holiday traditions, history is on our side with this past time. John Adams wrote to his wife, Abigail, on July 3, 1776 and said the event should be commemorated, “with pomp and parade, with shews, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other from this time forward forever more.” OWNER & CEO Ian Griffin If that isn’t a ringing endorsement to set off some Whiz Poppers, I don’t know what is. While most Americans choose to go to a public fireworks display, throw down a blanket and have a picnic in the park, others like to put on their own display at home, because the only thing that’s more American than watching something explode in the sky is lighting the fuse yourself. How can you blame them? Thanks to some recent changes with laws concerning fireworks, Georgians can now purchase and launch the kind of mortar-based explosives that leave audiences wide-eyed in their very own backyards, and leave those state-line stores on our neighbors borders a little less annual revenue. While there is certainly a rush involved with sparking the fuse yourself, I implore you all to be safe. Explosives are explosives, pretty or not, and when you mix a little alcohol and good-old American ingenuity into equation things can go wrong quickly. I recall a certain Independence Day my family spent with my aunt and uncle in Columbia, SC, when my Uncle David loaded a bucket with hundreds of bottle rockets and seemed together a single fuse to light them all. The bucket wasn’t ready for all this action and what ensued was a high-stakes game of tag in which the Whistling Moon Chasers were “it” and the rest of us were running for our lives. Every time it sounded like the game was over we would come out from cover only to have another rocket take off. This went on long enough to make us all laugh hysterically for the rest of the night. I think a few minor burns were sustained, but other than that we all escaped unscathed. Another near disastrous situation in my personal 4th of July history also took place in the great state of South Carolina. I was living on James Island and invested a ridiculous amount of money in the aforementioned mortars that had been (and still are) legal in the Palmetto State. I had so many, in fact, that I had enough to spare for a special arrival concoction for a friend who was joining us after nightfall that evening. I filled a plastic double-bubble gum container with flour, eggs, food coloring and 10 fireworks, with one fuse. The plot was to post a friend with a spy radio (yes, we used a radio because back then you were lucky to have a flip phone) near the end of the road where they made their turn, so that we could light the fuse and blow up the bucket has they turned in the driveway. The plan worked perfectly; sparks flour and colorful liquid spewed everywhere and properly scared the daylights out of the unsuspecting passengers. The driver, a dear friend to this day, was not amused. After a heated exchange and a promised (and delivered the next day) car detailing, he calmed down. But, that could have gone horribly wrong, too! So, the moral to this story is: I’ve been lucky. Other’s haven’t been so lucky, losing limbs, eyes, suffering burns, started forest fires or worse. Feel free to celebrate the birth of our nation with sparklers, smoke bombs, bottle rockets and our new addition to the arsenal, the mortar! John Adams wanted you to! Get lucky and make a memory, but try your best to braid your fuses responsibly.

OWNER & CEO Ian Griffin EDITORIAL MANAGER Oliver Robbins MAG ART & DESIGN Ellie Borromeo WRITERS J. Bryant Steele, Oliver Robbins, Erin deMesquita, Holly Lynch Tripp Durden, Greg Howard, Lauren Jones-Hillman, Jim Alred, Emory Chaffin EXECUTIVE PHOTOGRAPHER Cameron Flaisch CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Caleb Timmerman AD SALES + CLIENT RELATIONS Chris Forino Laura Green AD DESIGN Laura Allshouse Ellie Borromeo PUBLISHER V3 Publications, LLC CONTACT 417 Broad Street Rome, Ga. 30161 Office Phone 706.235.0748 v3publications@gmail.com CREATOR Neal Howard

V3MAGAZINE.COM Ian Griffin, Owner


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The Sinner’s New Clothes

Cents & Sensibility with J. Bryant Steele


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“CLOTHES MAKE the man.” I don’t know how the phrase originated; maybe it was some copywriter’s master stroke. I’ve heard it repeated all my life; it was ingrained by adolescence. I don’t hear it as much nowadays, but I think of it every time my appearance elicits a reaction, such as the recent Sunday morning when a woman at church said, “Oh, you be stylin’ today!” I especially liked that one because I had made more than the usual

effort that morning to assemble pieces I had never combined before, just to get a different look. I don’t have to get dressed up to get reactions, though. I was walking along Broad Street the other day in my favorite Grateful Dead T-shirt. A woman on the sidewalk noticed and said, “Oh! I loved Jerry Garcia (the dead Dead guitarist.) The woman was stone-cold gorgeous, and the only reason I didn’t take the bait is because I am trying to be faithful

to the woman I’ve been dating for almost three years. So, I just said, “Me, too.” In the winter, I wear a nice alpaca overcoat or a camelhair topcoat (both of which I bought in the offseason to save money), or I wear an old Army surplus jacket that is the warmest thing in the cold (other than lying next to a woman under a blanket). In the old Army jacket, people offer me assistance. In the alpaca or camelhair coats, people ask me for money. Then there’s the matter of hair, which, after all, is just a fashion accessory. Despite how painstakingly I pick out my clothes, I can’t control my hair. My hair could make a living on its own posing for the left-side photo in “before and after” ads. I have tried mousse, gels, hair tonic, hair spray, and a variety of combs and brushes, to no avail. I once even got a perm. (A woman, naturally, talked me into it.) I hated it, but had to live with it for six months. Now I’ve reached an age where people say, “At least you’ve got hair,” so I’ve got that in my favor. It’s when I’m looking halfway ragged that I reflect more on people’s reactions. Last week I was taking out the trash. I don’t get all dressed up for that. A couple strolled by. The woman stopped and said, “Excuse me, but are you hungry?” I said “no” and looked away, thinking, “Good grief! I’m throwing out garbage; I’m not scrounging through garbage.” The woman was persistent, though. “Because if you’re hungry, you can walk with us over to Heritage Park and get a free meal.” “Thanks, but I just ate.” “I just thought you might need a meal and to hear the word of God.” Ah, therein lies the rub. If I’m in torn jeans, next to a garbage can, I must be not only hungry

but also in need of salvation. Had I not wanted only just to get back indoors to my computer, I might have invited the couple to come with me across the street to Moe’s for barbecue and a discussion of Merton, Nouwen, Buechner, etc. Yes, that would have been snobbish of me. But no worse than the presumption that I am a hungry sinner because I don’t put on a tie to take out the trash.

Biz Bits

Gregg Allman’s recent death didn’t leave a void, as some off-the-top-of-the-head postings on social media asserted, for a couple of reasons: One, the Allman Brothers Band ceased to be creatively relevant a few years ago. Two, thanks to the times in which the group emerged and flowered, most of their moments, including remote stages before small audiences, are preserved. I first heard the Allman Brothers Band at the old Municipal Auditorium on Courtland Street in Atlanta in the mid-1960s.They were the warm-up act. I can’t even remember who the headliner was. I was instantly hooked. The blended sound was different, yet with familiar strains. Music critics cast about for descriptive labels, like Southern rock or (groan) “white blues.” I last heard the Allman Brothers Band live in a farm field in Pennsylvania in the 1990s. I once crashed on a couch that the drummer Jamoie had also crashed on. That was in the home of Scott Freeman, the author of the definitive book on the ABB, “Midnight Riders.” I’m sure it’s out of print, but you could certainly obtain a copy at Dogwood Books here in Rome. Scott’s working title for the book was “Hellhound on Their Trail,” probably more apt but rejected by the publisher. Thousands lined the streets as the hearse made its way toward Macon’s beautiful, serene Rose

Hill Cemetery, where Gregg was laid to rest near his brother Duane and bassist Berry Oakley. The funny thing is, back when the band was making Macon home and gaining stardom, the city leaders wouldn’t acknowledge even the existence of the ABB – long-haired, filthy hippies, you know. The National Football League has said it will relax its restrictions on end-zone celebrations, which had led some to say the NFL stood for the No Fun League. Personally, I don’t like end-zone celebrations in the first place. When you cross the goal line, act like you’ve been there before and just hand the football to the referee. You don’t see me spiking my laptop or dancing on the windowsill when I finish an assignment. Swallowing Tylenol, maybe. I received an advertising flyer from a department store that was timed for Father’s Day. Tucked among the glossy photos of men’s clothing was a camera-equipped drone for just $89.99! I had no idea you could buy a drone at a department store. Or that a drone was so affordable. I don’t know what I’d do with a drone, so I didn’t rush over to the store to buy one. But my imagination has been in overdrive ever since. So, if you’re wondering what to get me for next Father’s Day... Bumper sticker seen on a pickup truck with Henry County license plates: “Love God. Carry a Pistol.” Someday, somebody is going to have to explain the connection to me. J. Bryant Steele has won awards for business reporting, feature writing and opinion columns, and is based in Rome. *The views expressed in this column are those of the writer, and do not represent the opinions of V3 Magazine.

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Help Me, Rhonda


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Trends & Traditions with Holly Lynch

EVERAL YEARS AGO, when I was still a one-woman operation working from home, I felt so overwhelmed by things I needed to do to keep up with my growing business, I actually hired a friend of mine to drive me to an appointment in Atlanta so that I could use the time in the car to get some work done. I needed help and I was smart enough to ask for it. Fast forward a few years, and people are reaching out to help me when I didn't even realize it. Other business owners helped me get my first office, and friends became “employees” to help manage multiple events. Business was growing, and the capacity to do more kept expanding. Fast forward a few more years and here we are at our 10th anniversary. There's people all around managing different sides of this business, and I seem to have forgotten how to ask for help. In looking around at everyone doing their part, I have lost the ability to look at my own list and ask someone specifically to help me for a specific task. It’s hard to say, “I need help.” But it’s even harder to say, “I need help with _____________.” At the age of 42, I'm now balancing caring for older family members, while still caring for myself and my husband. Of course, I do not have the added stress of caring for children, and I don't know how people in the "sandwich generation" are managing. But I do have a growing business to run, and clients to take care of. I’m a list maker, and usually manage to get it all done. But everything came to a head this past week when I needed to find a way to be in two places at one time. I had two people I loved who needed me, in two different locations, at the same time. I finally broke down and called my precious sister and said, “I need help.” Thankfully, I was able to specifically articulate what I needed and she was more than happy to jump in.

I was raised to be pretty tough, and I think I’m fairly independent. I’m supposed to be able to do everything by myself. But the reality is that you can’t. There are some things you just can’t do by yourself. There’s a risk in asking for help – rejection, of course, but also the (irrational) fear that I will be seen as weak or needy. In the midst of these last crazy months, I’ve had a friend working through a medical crisis as well. It’s a medical crisis he can’t fix himself. As I’ve watched him, I see how hard it is for him to ask for help. He’s young, and feels like he’s invincible. But he’s not, and he hasn’t figured out how to ask for help, at least not to the right people who won’t reject or judge him, and he can’t seem to ask for the very specific help he needs. Luckily, the help is already happening all around him. Most people don’t see the work that is being done around them. People who love you are already, most of the time, working to assist you before you realize you even need their help. What a blessing to have a community, a system in place. But it’s up to us to find the courage to speak up when we need to “call in the troops.” To that end, I’ve hired another event planner to help manage clients (and bring in more) so that the company can continue grow. I’ve asked my

business partner and co-workers for specific help; I’ve written down the items that need someone else’s attention. I’ve told my family members what I can and cannot do in a day or a in a week, and we’re finding creative solutions to meet everyone’s needs. I took a break from writing this column, so there was one less person I was letting down (my editor) during a time when I feared I was letting everyone down. I’ve also done the hardest step of all: I’ve forgiven myself not being able to do everything on my own. While the last six months have been, in a word, frenetic, the lessons are long-lasting. I only hope others reading can remember that help is just one question away. Pause long enough to look around and see who is already there, who is already setting up the safety net. That’s the community to call on. Circle the wagons, gather your troops. Whatever allusion helps you see the bigger picture of your crisis, do it. Just ask. Holly Lynch is the owner of The Season Events, a full service catering, event planning and design company located at 300 Glenn Milner Blvd. in Rome. *The views expressed in this column are those of the writer, and do not represent the opinions of V3 Magazine.

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Every Rose Has It’s Thorn For the Love of the Game with Jim Alred


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TWO WORDS. Two syllables. Utter them around baseball fans or aficionados and get ready to run for cover. Pete Rose. Any sportswriter covering baseball or knowing anything about baseball has written a column about Rose. So, why would I tackle what I consider to be a controversial topic? Because two things occurred in mid June, thrusting Rose back into the spotlight. The baseball hall of fame upheld Rule 3E, and the Cincinnati Reds unveiled a statue depicting Rose’s legendary headfirst slide. In the early 1980’s, I played baseball in the small town of Morristown, Tennessee. Buddy Gresham, a standout baseball and football player at both Coosa High School and later Carson Newman, was my coach. During those days, baseball was king or at least it was in my world. One day during practice, I took a big lead off first base, and the pitcher didn’t pay any attention. When he delivered the ball, I took off for second. I don’t know if I beat the throw from the catcher. I can’t remember if I was safe or out, but I do remember launching into a headfirst slide into second base a la Rose. During and after practice, all of my teammates commented on the slide. When I told my dad that night about the Pete Rose slide, he smirked and commented that there were a lot more players than Rose who slid headfirst into bases. I respect Rose. I tried to emulate Rose during my brief baseball playing days, but I stand opposed to any and all that wish him to enter the hall. For many fans, Rose exists in an ethereal realm. Yes. He’s baseball’s all-time hits leader. But many people also recall the almost frenzied way he played the game. He earned the nickname Charlie Hustle, because every time he was on the field he hustled. Hit a routine grounder, and he sprinted to first as if the Devil himself was chasing him. Coming into a base and knowing the ball is ahead of him, well that headfirst slide made him look more like a freight train. He might be out, but the fielder would pay for making the tag. Google Pete Rose and headfirst slide, and sit back and marvel at the images. When the inning ended or began, he sprinted to or from the field. The man loved to play baseball. I’m not so sure pine tar and resin didn’t ooze from his pores instead of sweat. The man deserves to be in Cooperstown. The problem lies in the rulebook. Pete Rose bet on baseball, and two rules keep him from joining the greats enshrined in upstate New York.

Major League Baseball’s Rule 21D (I’m shortening it here) states any player or manager betting on a game in which they are playing or managing receives a lifetime ban from the game. Hall of Fame Rule 3E states any player on baseball’s ineligible list is not an eligible candidate. During the late 1980’s, it’s been reported that Pete Rose bet on teams he managed. He got busted and then lied to investigators. In every Major League clubhouse, there is a notice on the wall reminding players not to bet on baseball. At spring training every year, players must sign forms saying they won’t bet on baseball. It’s not some obscure rule hidden in the back corner of the baseball rule bible. It’s right there to be seen every single day in every clubhouse. Rose saw this and signed these forms for more than 20 years and chose to ignore it. While Rose portrayed so many great player traits, he also allowed hubris to get the better of him. He knew the rules. He broke the rules, and he now pays penance. Many people believe it’s unjust. Many people believe it’s just. I enjoyed watching Rose play baseball. I tried to emulate him on the field, even if it was a pale comparison. He broke what has to be considered one of the toughest records in all of sports when he passed Ty Cobb on the all-time hits list.

For 23 years, I’ve avoided putting my thoughts into writing. I’ve learned talking about this is akin to lighting a firecracker and tossing it into an oil refinery. Except in that case, you at least have a chance to run fast and escape the explosion. I believe Pete Rose deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, but I believe his actions preclude him from consideration. Rules apply to us all, even Charlie Hustle. If Major League Baseball wants to reinstate Rose, my opinion changes. Sportswriters pen columns across the country trying to pull a fast one, pleading to allow the hall of fame voters to decide about Rose. The issue most outside of the profession don’t realize is those same writers hold the votes and if allowed, would put Rose in the Hall if allowed to vote for him. In a day and age when we tell ourselves rules matter and we pine for players who work hard, put their bodies on the lines for their teams and emulate hard work and hustle, the best thing we can do is uphold those ideals. If you break the rules, you pay the price no matter how hard it may be. *The views expressed in this column are those of the writer, and do not represent the opinions of V3 Magazine.

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The good thing about these new temporary digs for animals, is more of them have the chance to leave and find a home. TEXT Emory Chaffin PHOTOGRAPHY Cameron Flaisch

E’VE ALL SEEN the heartbreaking photos that interrupt the light-hearted comedy running on TV; the abused, neglected, or abandoned creatures rarely fail to jerk a tear. We’ve all seen the strays wandering the neighborhood, or even worse the victim of a hit-and-run. Even those who don’t own pets are hard pressed not to feel empathetic to the plight of these poor animals. The folks at Floyd County’s new Public Animal Welfare Services facility, P.A.W.S. for short, located at 99 North Ave., Rome, are hoping to make these travesties a thing of the past. The $6 million S.P.L.O.S.T. funded facility provides a jawdropping improvement in capability for animal control officers.

Construction on the new P.A.W.S. center began in January 2016 and the new building was occupied by December. Boasting 232 enclosures that can hold up to 300 animals, with 48 dedicated to felines and 40 dedicated to large dogs, the new facility is able to house more abandoned or neglected animals in need. The large dog enclosures alone are equal to the entire capacity of the old building. The new 18,000 square foot P.A.W.S. is state-of-the-art with a medical HVAC system, visitation rooms, enclosed exercise yard, laundry rooms, secured medical storage, separate intake and adoption areas, and full grooming facilities. There is a small galley, and lockers and showers for staff to keep themselves groomed after a long day in the field. The enclosures themselves are designed to be flexible enough to handle whatever comes in, with v3 magazine


the ability to open or close off sections as needed; they are even lined with a bacteria resistant coating to mitigate the spread of diseases through the animals housed there. Jason Broome, Director of Animal Control for Floyd County, is very happy with the new home of P.A.W.S. Broome started as a road officer in 1998 and became full-time director in 2006. He has seen everything from snakes to injured bobcats during his time with Floyd County. The staff at P.A.W.S. are incredibly excited about the new capabilities at their disposal, including the surgery center aimed at providing sterilization services. Volunteers and county employees are hoping that the beautiful facility will help to foster a shift in the citizens of Floyd County towards an educated and engaged culture of animal lovers and pet owners alike. P.A.W.S. hopes that the new facility will allow them to provide their guests with a slew of services like medical testing and treatment, grooming and sterilization of incoming strays. The facility was designed with increased capacity and comfort in 24

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mind, but those involved with the program would probably rather see it stay empty. Stray cats and dogs can be a nuisance and even a danger to homeowners and their pets alike, but most of us would rather see them in a loving home than in a kennel. The sad fact is that most of these animals are not dangerous or unhealthy, but more likely lost, abandoned or neglected. The P.A.W.S. staff and volunteers work tirelessly to care for and house these poor animals, but are focusing efforts on stray prevention and sterilization campaigns in an attempt to reduce the

number of homeless dogs and cats being taken in. Some easy tricks to prevent strays from wandering into your back yard are as simple as making sure that trash is secured, and avoid leaving pet food unattended outdoors. To keep your own furry friends from becoming feral felons, make sure that they have a secure area to play outside, and always walk them with a secure leash and harness or collar. Buying an engraved I.D. tag with an address and phone number is a cheap and easy way to increase the chances that a lost pet will be able to return home safely, and of course be sure to display their current rabies tag as well. P.A.W.S works closely with several local non-profits to help educate the community and direct pet owners to low-cost spay and neuter clinics, and quality vet care. They also work together to help find homes for our furry friends still living

in cages, sometimes connecting a pet with a loving new owner across the country. Floyd Felines is one such group focused on cat rescue. Last year 1500 cats were brought in, however only 27 were returned home to their owners. With so many lost felines coming through the facility, Floyd Felines helped christen the new facility with a donation of 12 pallets of cat food worth roughly $200,000. The Animal Rescue Foundation has worked for the last six years to help provide vet care for the sick and injured animals that find their way to P.A.W.S., including transportation. Working in conjunction with the Environmental Health Dept. local vets offer a low-cost rabies clinic around the end of the summer each year, and the National Spay Alliance has a recently opened facility in Calhoun offering low cost services to locals. Through the combined efforts of these local groups the live release rate has increased form 20 percent

in 2008 to 75 percent in 2016, and euthanasia has dropped from 65 to 14 percent. If interested in adopting one of the guests at P.A.W.S there are a few things to keep in mind: You must be at least 18 to adopt a pet, have written permission if you are a renter, and no ordinance violations within the past two years. The adoption fee is $40 for dogs and $35 for cats, however nocost adoptions are available for felines around September. P.A.W.S. has all the information on adoption as well as educational resources for pet owners on their official website, www.romefloyd.com/ departments/animal-control. Questions may also be directed to the P.A.W.S. staff by calling 706-235-4545.

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INNOVATE INVEST INSPIRE What started as one student’s passion, has grown into a place where technology meets the Three-Mile Road.

TEXT Greg Howard PHOTOGRAPHY Caleb Timmerman


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E LIVE IN AN AGE of advanced and ever-changing technology. It is in the cars we drive, the phones that connect us, in our homes and in our places of work. They say that necessity is the mother of invention, but any great inventor will say that it takes much more than necessity to develop and market the very devices that fuel our world and make our daily lives easier. It takes curiosity, perseverance, and a set of learned skills and expertise that are all required. No one is born with the ability to prototype their own inventions, or build usable technology from scratch. It starts with the curiosity which leads them to their discovery. In between, an inventor must learn how to make what is in their heads into a physical (or virtual) reality, and then how to go about introducing what they have created to the world around them. At Berry College in Rome, Georgia, the HackBerry Lab is teaching their student body and surrounding community not only the importance of technology, but how to create and build it. It’s no surprise that it all started with a student passionate about creating technology, with the desire to share his passion with others.


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While taking computer science courses at Berry, Zane Cochran expressed interest in working some of his own experiments. So, the college gave him the keys to a small storage room that was not being used, and he soon set up shop. The space was small, but he made due, soon creating his own circuits and small devices using skills he was learning in class. “I started building things; circuits and robots – even 3D printing,” Cochran remembers. “This, of course, sparked the interest of other students who wanted to join in. It got to the point where a lot of people – students and faculty – soon were crammed into the small space.” Interest in what Cochran was doing continued to grow, and then Cochran met the partner who would help bring his lab to the next level. John Grout, who studied management science and at the time was the Dean of the Campbell School of Business at Berry College, was posed by the provost of the college to develop a new program. From this challenge, John took his own love of innovation and interest in 3D printing, and posed that the college develop a “Creative Technologies” major. Grout and Cochran teamed up

I would love to see this program grow. Our goal is to have up to 80 creative technology majors in the near future.

and received the approval for a new, much larger lab to be built at a designated place on campus. They then went on to approve classes that students could take to build their skills in the lab, using the lab itself to practice building and prototyping their inventions. Currently, Berry College offers a major and minor in Creative Technologies, in which 50 students study under to date. In the spring of 2016, the college decided to designate a new space in which to build a lab that would house the various equipment, tools and work stations necessary for the creative workspace.

The lab itself is divided into four major areas including an ideation and creation area, a design studio for prototyping, a wood shop, and a lounge that also doubles as a space for larger projects. The lab currently houses seven 3D printers, used for prototyping. Recently, the lab just took in a large storage container they will be turning into a metal shop. “We wanted to build a space where students could simply come and create new things where everyone is welcome” says Grout. “We have a lot of students who use the space for their major, some who come to take a few courses, and some who come and work in the space that don’t have any sort of classwork here at all. I would love to see this program grow. Our goal is to have up to 80 creative technology majors in the near future.” Berry College is known for their hands-on method of education, which the HackBerry Lab certainly proves. “It’s all about understanding our v3 magazine



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world,” Grout suggests. “The world around us is becoming increasingly technologically oriented, and one of the many things a student gets when they are taking one of these classes is the ability to open something up and see what’s really going on inside. What’s even cooler is after you have taken a couple of these courses, you can look under the hood of your electronic devises and understand what is going on behind the scenes. “We try to take the shackles off our students, allowing them to be freely creative. So, that’s what makes our new lab so important,” says Cochran, who now teaches several classes found within the Creative Technologies Major. “(The lab) is a bit off the beaten path on campus – which is clever – because it really gives our students the ability to explore and develop new ideas without

interruptions or getting in anyone’s way. However, our lab is known as an open lab, meaning we want anyone to be able to walk through these doors, even if they have never programed or even heard of a 3D printer. If they have any sort of interest, we will gladly take them in.” To help engage the student population at the college, the HackBerry Lab puts on monthly “hacka-thons” in which students are challenged to come to the lab to create and show their creations against their peers. Students have a total of four hours to build their creation, which will be judged in the end to decide on a winner. History majors, music major, business majors or really any student that wishes to learn more about how to create their own technology can take on a creative technology major or minor.

Since the program has started, businesses have been created by students who have continued to grow and operate them after college; creative solutions have been developed and created to solve problems or just make the world a better place. One student in particular, Rachel Leroy, who was on the equestrian team, used the lab to help develop a sensor that a horse can wear to provide the rider priceless information and, in turn, preventing injuries to the animal. Whatever the passion of the individual inventor, there is a space in the HackBerry Lab for them. The lab is continually growing, and has big plans for the future. They not only openly accept, but encourage members of the community to come and visit the space and become involved in the work. It takes a team of creative minds to create and build the technology that will improve our everyday lives, come show your support. To get involved with the creative revolution at Berry College’s HackBerry Lab contact them online at info@hackberrylab.com or call at 706-232-5374 ext. 1216

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v3 magazine



THERAPY They’re not soldiers, they just crush a lot.  TEXT Ian Griffin PHOTOGRAPHY Cameron Flaisch v3 magazine



N A SUNNY DAY, driving through the Blue Ridge Mountains is always a worthwhile experience. Scenic views of the lush greenery are around every bend, leading you from one quaint mountain town to the next. Some travel there to enjoy the landscape alone, others to take advantage of the endless outdoor opportunities available the them. From great restaurants to unique shopping experiences, there are many reasons to make the drive, but on a muggy day in June, V3 photographer Cameron Flaisch, a few close friends and myself had a different mission…to crush a car, with a tank. Needless to say, the excitement between a few fellas aching to go on a machine-fueled rampage was palpable, making the almost two-hour drive seem much shorter. In what seemed like no time at all, we arrived at Tank Town USA. The parking lot was flanked with military cargo vehicles leading to an entrance with a viewing area of the tank course. Rows of chairs lined the bunker-like area that overlooked the mayhem in which we were about to participate in.


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Directly to the left was the sign-in area and there was no mistaking who the man in charge was. A group that had just finished stood atop the platform, still riding the high from their experience and covered in a thick layer of mud, stood with their host and owner of Tank Town, Todd Liebross. He wore the smile of a proud father in contrast of the ear-to-ear grins of his guests. “It never gets old,” says Liebross. “I’ve been at this four years now and have been a part of every car crushed here. It’s a rush every time and seeing people enjoy it for the first time is even better.” The course is essentially a mud-pit and, thanks to our overly wet month of June, is particularly sloppy on our visit. Liebross had us covered for the muddy conditions, though. We were fitted for mud boots upon arriving, sent out to decorate our victim with spray paint and armed with a sledgehammer to have a little extra fun before we flattened it like a pancake. “Just leave the back windshield and driver’s side window,” Liebross instructed. “Those two look the best in photographs when the tank rolls over it.” From there we gave our best artistic effort to create a post-apocalyptic V3 demolition derby

My oldest driver was a


and even on a cold, wet day he had no issues getting in and out of the tank. He enjoyed himself and so far, I haven’t had a customer that didn’t.

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Todd Liebross

car, out of the sea-green Ford Escort that laid before us. Upon completion of our masterpiece, we took turns wielding the sledgehammer, smashing windows, mirrors, tail lights and so much more. The trip was already worth it and the tank was still to come. It was at that point that Liebross led us to our vessel, a FV432 armored personnel carrier used by the British Army. These carriers were built in the 1960’s and were used to safely transport troops through dangerous areas and rough terrain.

Tank Town’s fleet is made up of three such vehicles, all maintained and cared for by Liebross himself. “I graduated from UGA with a B.A. in History,” recalls Liebross. “So, naturally I ended up working in the engine room on a commercial cargo ship.” “That job allowed me to travel all over the world, but I moved back to Blairsville and eventually started a family. That’s not easy to manage when you’re gone all the time, so I started looking for different options. Oddly enough, I stumbled on an article on Yahoo Finance titled, ‘Guy Makes Money Driving Tanks’, which sounded like something I would enjoy. The rest is history.” His mechanical expertise allows him to be a one-man show, but he had on his tour-guide hat during our visit and the main event was now on the table. After making sure everyone was secure, he shouted out the driving instructions and turned us loose on the course. The mud was thick enough to slow down the best off-road trucks, but the

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tank bullied its way through the muck effortlessly. Liebross essentially rides side saddle to help the driver navigate and most importantly line up for the proper crushing technique. The objective is to get one track on the car, with the other on the ground to achieve the cleanest crush. Drivers get to hit the car from every angle, but the first crush is the sweetest and the tank’s weight and power made it feel like the equivalent of a fat man stepping on a jumbo package of marshmallows. When the mud settled, the heap of flattened metal barely resembled the Ford it once was and the four of us that tagged, hammered and crushed it agreed that the therapy session we just took part in was a huge success. We weren’t telling Liebross anything he didn’t already know, but he seemed to enjoy our jubilation none the less. “I have eight crushes scheduled this weekend, but on average I do about five a week,” says Liebross. “The car crushing is the ultimate experience, but we also offer 10 and 20 minute drives, Excavator operation and soon will have a machine gun firing range for guests to enjoy. I started this in 2013 and I love every minute of it. I’m always looking for things to make Tank Town a better experience for our visitors.” “I like to think that anyone can enjoy this experience,” says Liebross. “The tanks are really pretty easy to drive and I’ve had about an equal split of men and women drivers. My oldest driver was a 91-year-old WWII Veteran and even on a cold, wet day he had no issues getting in and out of the tank. He enjoyed himself and so far, I haven’t had a customer that didn’t.” Our rag-tag team certainly joined the ranks of satisfied “crushtomers” and the conversation about the experience made that scenic drive home seem even faster than the journey there. Tank Town USA is located at 10408 Appalachian Hwy Morganton, GA 30560 And can be reached at 706.633.6072 www.tanktownusa.com


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Make it a meal worth remembering. Where to eat in Northwest Georgia.

Make it a meal worth remembering. Where to eat in Northwest Georgia. Make it a meal worth remembering. Where to eat in Northwest Georgia. v3 magazine 47 Make it a meal worth remembering. Where to eat in Northwest Georgia.


3-7 OCTOBER 2017

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