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SPLOST gets the green light

March 30, 2011 Comments off

By Emily Hadden, Staff Writer

SPLOST is a one percent local option sales tax that is often compared to a penny, since a penny is one percent of a dollar. Photo by Ashton Jones

On March 15, Towns County voted for the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax. With votes from nearly 1,500 Towns County residents, SPLOST passed with 90 percent approval.

SPLOST goes into effect July 1, and is a one percent sales tax that applies to property owners in Towns County, visitors and local citizens.

Revenue from SPLOST will provide funding for constructing school facilities. SPLOST will not cause a tax increase and will allow the current sales tax rate to stay the same. SPLOST expires on June 30 and was voted not to renew. SPLOST will benefit both Hiawassee and the city of Young Harris by funding capital outlay projects in the county.

County projects include recreation improvements, such as a multi-purpose recreational and community building and walking trails for citizens of all ages. Road improvements are included with intentions for bridge improvements, cross walks and parking areas.

SPLOST will also provide funds for ambulances, public safety vehicles and improvements for public libraries. Water and sewage developments, which will remove phosphorus, nitrogen, and other harmful wastes in Lake Chatuge, are included as well.

Commissioner Bill Kendall excitedly stated, “We started planning for SPLOST in January 2010, [and] 15 months later the vote finally passed.”

The first SPLOST project the county has planned is funding for the Towns County Fire Department. New equipment such as hoses and fire hydrants will be provided. These will not only benefit the fire department, but will allow lower insurance prices for some Towns County residents.

Local residents seem excited about SPLOST and what it will bring to the community. “It is a very good thing. SPLOST will provide funding for parks and recreational purposes. Without it, we wouldn’t have all of these things,” said Miranda Woody, a resident of Hiawassee.

SPLOST will last for six years and is estimated to raise $12.7 million. The cities of Hiawassee and Young Harris will each receive nine percent of the funds. When the intended projects are complete, SPLOST will be used to decrease county property taxes. Nine percent of SPLOST funding is allotted to the city of Young Harris and may financially aid parts of Young Harris College construction. A statement from YHC is not available at this time.
This post copyedited on April 18, 2011.

Ethics Awareness Week discusses religion, sexuality

March 4, 2011 Comments off

By Emily Hadden, Staff Writer

Campus Minister, Tim Moore gave one of the more popular Ethics Awareness Week presentations this week called, “A Hot Meal: A Conversation about Sex (sexuality and the church) over Lunch." by Karen Rodriguez

Young Harris College hosted Ethics Awareness Week Feb. 21-25. The goal of this event was to provide insight on ethical issues to the Young Harris College community. Ethics Awareness Week was made possible by Jamie Watson, associate professor of philosophy and Ethics Across the Curriculum coordinator. Many students and faculty have been inspired by the knowledge they gained from this event.

Ethics Awareness Week consisted of film showings, book displays and lectures given by YHC faculty and two guest speakers.  Every different portion of the event provided a unique ethical topic to bring about new ideas and discussions.

Katie Holcomb, a junior outdoor leadership major from Hampton, attended as many lectures as she could. Holcomb said, “At first I was attending the ethics presentations for class. However, after attending the first presentation I continued to go to the others because it caught my interest.”

Some of the week’s topics included discussions on different religions, personal health, ethics in the environment and animal welfare. The event was well-attended with equal involvement between students and faculty members.

“I was pleased with the evenhandedness of the discussions,” said Watson said. “Everyone was congenial and seemed to be interested in the topics.”

There were two presentations during Ethics Awareness Week that seemed to spark the most interest in students. The first being “A Common Ground: Buddhist Compassion and Levinas’s Responsibility to the Other,” given by Nathan Eric Dickman, assistant professor of religious studies.

Kelly Bryson, a freshman outdoor leadership major from Wareshoals, SC, really enjoyed Dickman’s presentation. “It opened my eyes to the effects and repercussions of my immediate actions,” said Bryson.

The second topic of the week was “A Hot Meal: A Conversation about Sex (sexuality and the church) over Lunch,” presented by Rev. Dr. Tim Moore, campus minister. The presentation was followed by a student reflection workshop.

“The presentation was enlightening because we were given an accurate understanding of certain scriptures. We were challenged to test for ourselves what we have heard in church all of our lives. I’ve always been told that homosexuality was a sin but now I’m re-thinking it,” stated Amanda Noonan, a junior English major from Smyrna.

While this is not YHC’s first event with Ethics Across the Curriculum, Ethics Awareness Week is new to campus. In the past, YHC hosted ethics awareness workshops for faculty members only. This week allowed students and the community to participate as well as faculty.

Jennifer Gianfalla, assistant professor of English said, “I think that Ethics Awareness Week allows students to develop connections to different issues that they would not have access to in the classroom.  The workshops provide students with the opportunity to be exposed to more ethical issues, therefore allowing them to make more ethical decisions.”

A Midsummer Night’s Dream runs successfully

March 2, 2011 Comments off

By Christelle Vereb, Staff Writer

Cast members Michelle Honaker and Sarin Rossi put on the finishing touches to their costumes for one of the final performances of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Photo by Emily Hadden

The Young Harris College Theater department performed Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream on February 17-26 at Dobbs Theatre. The show sold out all 100 seats every night of showing.

In order to sell out each night, Director Rachel Chaves enlisted the performances of YHC theater students. The cast included Austin Freeman as Theseus, Ashley ware as Hippolyta, Josiah Bridges as Egeus, Sarin Rossi as Hermia, Ryan Bender as Lysander, Sam Walker played Demetrius, Michelle Honaker played Helena, and Nancy Soule played Petra Quince. While Brandon Engelskirchen played Nick Bottom, Tyler Ogburn played Francis flute, Hayley Hoopingarner played Snout and Chase Alford played Starveling.

The cast continues with Hannah Guest as Snug, Matt Jones as Puck, Tory Gravitt as Peaseblossom, Eddie Collins theater teacher played Oberon. To finalize the cast Misty Barber as Titania, Stephanie Sexton played Cobweb, Alyssa Lowery played Mustardseed, while Nicole Conrad played Moth, and Jordan Fleming played Philostrate and Seth Peters played the musician.

As the show was to be put on, the performers had to learn the lines Shakespeare, Nicole Conrad the character of Moth said, “I didn’t have many lines to learn, but I think the toughest part about putting on the show was learning the lines. Shakespeare writes with a rhythm, with an iambic meter, if a person messes up on one word, then that throws off the rest of the sentence. Therefore, we had to work really hard on that.”

Others contributing to the show includes scene and sound designer, Rob Sturgess, costume designer Kari Beth Rust and lightning designer Robert B. Fulton.

The production staff included Rob Sturgess as technical director, custom shop supervisor Kari Beth Russ, stage manager Riley Noble, assistant director, and fight director Josiah Bridges, composer Seth Peters, choreographer Misty Barber, movement consultants Ki Curtis and George Koller. Assistant costume designer Tyler Ogburn, assistant lighting designer Becca Armstrong,  assistant sound designer and sound board operator Evan McLean, assistant stage manager Ashley Loyd,  properties artisans Marvin Hemphill, Brittany Hester and Laurie Tossing.

Production staff continues with scenic artists Michael Brown and Liz McEntyre, light board operator Paige Crawford, scenic construction crew included Josh Gentry, Brittany Hester, Haley Hoopingarner, Ashley Loyd and Riley Noble. The electric crew included Rebecca Armstrong, Emily Espy, Austin Freeman, Josh Gentry, Brittany Hester, Hayley Hoopingarner and Riley Noble. The wardrobe crew included Rebecca Fordyce, Katie Marlowe, Megan Ray, Dontay Scott and Sierra Vennes.

Scenic artist Liz McEntyre said, “I was really worried about the art in the show, but everything turned out really good. The actors did a really great job, and the scenes looked really good.”

With sold out shows every night, audience responses have been positive thus far.

Freshman Kelly Dessomes, a native of Statesboro and undecided major, was in attendance. Dessomes said, “It was really funny. I had a great time. The actors and actresses were excellent. The atmosphere was great, and the singing at the end made my night.”

While YHC students enjoyed the show, perspective students from other schools also came to enjoy the show.

Visiting student Annie Lavvorn a freshman of Jacksonville State University said, “The show is really good. Most of the actors are really good. The way they get into their characters is great, and because of that the show is made into a really fun experience.”

Lavvorn is planning on transferring to YHC next semester to major in music.

The show has received raving reviews, setting up big expectations for YHC’s production of Rogers and Hammerstein’s Carousel.

The theater will host Delta Gamma’s The Actor’s Nightmare on March 2-3, Rogers and Hammerstein’s Carousel on April 15-17, and Delta Gamma’s Doubt in April. All these performances will be held in Dobbs Theatre.

YHC to get lesson in ethics

February 25, 2011 Comments off

Ethics Awareness Week is a unique event for Young Harris College. During this week, there are film presentations and lectures to foster campus discussion. Photo by Leila Shearon

By Emily Hadden, Staff Writer

Young Harris College will be presenting Ethics Awareness Week, February 21-25.  This week-long event is sponsored by Ethics across the Curriculum. Students, faculty, and the community are invited to attend the conference which will consist of lectures, film showings and special displays on campus.

Jamie Watson, associate professor of philosophy and Ethics across the Curriculum coordinator, hopes that the conference will bring about a conversation among faculty and students that will be robust and ongoing.  He also anticipates that the week’s topics will be controversial and interesting enough to get the campus involved.

“I’m very excited,” said Watson. “I think it’s going to be an interesting week, and hopefully it will generate discussions that will last many years to come.”

Ethics Awareness Week is a unique event for YHC.  Unlike the college’s usual ethics workshops, this five-day event will reach out, not only to faculty, but students and the community as well.

Ki Curtis, adjunct instructor of physical education, said, “It is wonderful to offer opportunities where we share information and possibility reevaluate our choices that so often are unconsciously made. To make wiser choices as to what we think with our minds, what we put in our bodies, how we treat ourselves, each other and the planet is a sacred evolution forward for us all.”

The conference will hold lectures every day of the week during noon and in the evening along with film showings Tuesday through Friday in the Wilson Lecture Hall. Each will be followed by a short discussion.

Duckworth Library will also have special book displays throughout the week. The official schedule of events can be found on the YHC webpage. The lectures will be given by two guest speakers as well as five YHC faculty members and Director of Health and Wellness Services, Linda Kniess.

During her presentation, Kniess said “I hope to heighten awareness of various ethical issues that surround food production, healthy food consumption and personal, industrial and governmental responsibility for maintaining health and wellness.”

Ethics across the Curriculum is a national program that seeks to bring about awareness on ethical issues to YHC.  The program aims to help non-philosophy and ethics faculty raise these issues in the classroom as well as on campus. Some of these issues, for example, deal with ethics in genetics, business and English.  One of the goals of Ethics across the Curriculum is to provide greater awareness for how people act by using rational discussion for reasons for actions.

YHC has participated in Ethics across the Curriculum since 2008.  Typically YHC hosts annual workshops for faculty to attend. These include an in-house workshop in the fall and a guest speaker in the spring. Watson expects Ethics across the Curriculum to continue to grow at YHC

YHC reacts to snow

January 27, 2011 Comments off

By Emily Hadden, Staff Writer

Many YHC faculty, staff and students woke up to find their driveways covered in snow during the first weeks of classes. Photo by Ashton Jones

In the state of Georgia, snowfall is a very rare occurrence.  At first, most celebrate the joys of the fluffy, white mass covering the ground. However, after a day or so, the realization of being stranded comes into play.

At the beginning of the semester here at YHC, the snow, which turned into ice, became a huge problem for students and faculty members.

Laci Scott stated, “My shoes needed more traction than my tires” in regard to the slippery sidewalks.

Because of the weather, YHC had to delay the start of the semester which put the school behind schedule. Many students and faculty members were not able to travel due to the inclement weather. The roads were covered with snow and ice which made for a dangerous drive.

According to www.weather.com, the city of Young Harris received 2.1 in. of snowfall.

During the storm, the college used the YHC notification system.  The college was able to keep students and faculty updated on the weather and the delays to start school. YHC has an Emergency Cancellation and Closing policy for fires, power failures and severe weather. Disruption to the normal operations of the college may result in the closure of the school.

“Young Harris College places the highest priority on the safety and well being of its students, faculty and staff. Everyone is encouraged to exercise extreme caution when traveling under hazardous conditions,” said the YHC webpage.

Many students had already moved back in to their residence halls in front of the storm. Beginning on Monday, January 10, maintenance attempted to clear paths for the students. First priority was to clear a path to the cafeteria along with handicap ramps so that students would not be deprived of meals. Next, a path to the recreation center was cleared to give the students an option to rid themselves of cabin fever.

Kaitlin Naumik said with relief, “The rec center kept me from going crazy, because I was running out of things to do while stuck in my room.”

After taking care of these two concerns, maintenance started working around campus clearing as much snow and ice as they could.  They did this by shoveling and using de-icer which consists of salt, gravel, and sand. Some students even volunteered to help clear the campus of ice to make the paths safe for walking.

Although the weather caused many problems, the snowfall was not all that bad.  Students on campus enjoyed snowball fights, making snow angels and sledding on our mountainous campus.  Some went as far as building a fort, giant snow men (and snow women) and even a snow yeti named Archimedes.

Kappa Sigma colony receives charter from nat’l office

January 26, 2011 Comments off

By Emily Hadden, Staff Writer

Photo by Ashton Jones

After a year of organizing and rallying support on campus, the Kappa Sigma colony will soon be recognized as an official chapter from their national organization. This recognition allows Young Harris College students to be members of an official Kappa Sigma chapter; however, Kappa Sigma is still unrecognized by YHC.

“It’s something this school has never seen before. We hope that we can bring a positive influence to this campus,” said Bo Edgemon, president of the YHC chapter of Kappa Sigma.

While the move seems to be a step closer to official recognition for Kappa Sigma as part of YHC’s Greek system, to some it might be a step back.

The Inter-Greek Council has no comment at this time except to reiterate that the college does not recognize Kappa Sigma as an official organization.

After hearing news of this event, Cat Durham  a communication major from Macon said, “good for them; however, they don’t need to get in our face, and we won’t get in theirs. Eventually nationals and locals will coexist, but locals have been here for a very long time and should not be forgotten.”

Rolando Fernandez a music major from Canton, shared similar views saying, “they are not recognized at YHC, yet they have the right to advertise Kappa Sigma fraternity. I think this is ludicrous.”

When a national fraternity creates a charter, they are given a Greek-letter designation usually in order of the Greek alphabet. The chapters start with Alpha and descend as new charters are given.  Kappa Sigma has chapters on over 250 college campuses and the Rho Pi chapter is their newest addition.

According to Kappa Sigma’s webpage, “[we are] the fastest growing fraternity in the world. For over six years, more men have chosen Kappa Sigma than any other fraternity.”

Colony President and founding father Bo Edgemon, a media communication major from Kennesaw, has been looking forward to the chapter announcement. Kappa Sigma  initiation ceremony is to be held on Feb. 19. On this day, they will no longer be considered a colony, but an official chapter of Kappa Sigma fraternity.

“I am excited about having the first national fraternity on campus,” Edgemon said. “We’re anticipating new members and we hope that the nationals and locals will coexist with one another.”

Although Edgemon and his brothers are eager to grow their membership, this might be difficult as IGC does not recognize Kappa Sigma as an official organization. They are not able to participate in Rush Week this semester. However, Edgemon is still confident they can talk to new members in other ways.

“We have a great group of guys and we pride ourselves on being different,” said Edgemon. “This fraternity will grow as we meet new people and create friendships.”

Although many students on campus are aware of Kappa Sigma’s presence at YHC, this is not true for all YHC students.

When asked about Kappa Sigma’s national recognition, Jake Beggs, a outdoor leadership major from Hayesville asked “who is Kappa Sigma?”

There has been much debate about bringing nationals to campus, with some local fraternities fearing that national Greeks might be more attractive to new members. These fears are associated with national Greeks having more name recognition to incoming students. IGC did not wish to comment on this story, but they did reiterate that while Kappa Sigma is recognized by their own national organization, they are not recognized by YHC or IGC.

Like local Greeks,  Kappa Sigma members are sworn to a code of responsibility. Their Four Pillars – as they are called internally – are fellowship, leadership, scholarship and service. The Rho Pi chapter was founded by 28 students, 22 are currently on campus.