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2008 in review

Connect Statesboro looks back at the last year in news and entertainment


December 31, 2008

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January
    The Short Circuit Traveling Film Festival stops by the Averitt Center for the Arts, bringing 12 short films from the Southeast over two weeks.
    The annual Geoff Elder fencing tournament is held at the RAC. Much stabbing ensues.
    A modern take on Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar" opens at GSU's PAC. More stabbing ensues.
    Statesboro's local dart league starts up, quickly gaining in popularity at several different venues (and taking the place of poker in many players' hearts). More, yet tinier, stabbing ensues.
    GSU faculty and staff compete in "The Biggest GSU Loser," a weight-loss competition modeled after the popular NBC reality show.
    HandsOn Ogeechee hosts a huge 80s-themed part at Midtown Coffeehouse.
    Federal authorities busted a major multi-state auto theft and fraud ring in Statesboro after a two year investigation. A Statesboro Police officer, three towing company owners and 19 other people are arrested.
    A marathon meeting of Statesboro's Alcohol Control Board leads to a start of discussions to revise the city's 50/50 law, which requires that restaurants which serve alcohol make at least half of their money from food sales.
    The Dixie Divas perform at the Emma Kelly Theater.
    After a Valdosta State student is expelled from school for a Facebook posting, GSU officials tell Connect Statesboro that they don't monitor students' activities on social networking sites — unless something is brought to their attention or they come across a violation, that is.
    Statesboro Crossings developers announce that one of the stores in the new development will be a Books-A-Million, to join Hobby Lobby, T.J. Maxx, Rack Room Shoes and Petco.
    In the wake of new inspection guidelines, local restaurants' health scores drop an average of five points. Local owners point out that the restaurants' quality isn't at fault, but that the new guidelines are particularly unforgiving.
    Col. Bruce Hampton appears at the French Quarter Cafe.
    A GSU student comes forward about using prescription drug Adderall to help him study, saying the drug's use is widespread among college students.
    GSU buys Campus Courtyard Apartments, converting them into student housing.
    GSU professor Juan Serna is tried for drugging and sodomizing a male student after a 2006 party. He is found guilty of sexual battery, drug and alcohol charges, but not aggravated sodomy.
    Statesboro gets a grant for city-wide wireless Internet access.

February
    The Hubbard Street 2 dance company visits GSU's PAC for a performance.
    The Last Waltz Ensemble appears at French Quarter Cafe.
    GSU's CRI hosts its first ever swim meet.
    Broadway play "The Producers" opens up at GSU's PAC.
    "The Vagina Monologues" open up at GSU on Valentine's Day for the fourth straight year.
    Nationally renowned ceramicist Stephen Carter shows his work and lectures at GSU.
    The musical "Little Women" plays at GSU.
    Shakespeare's "King Lear" is the first play held in the new Black Box Theatre of GSU's Center for Art and Theatre.
    Statesboro restaurant Southern Buffet hosts a Chinese New Year celebration. Sadly, the restaurant closes later in the year — one of many establishments to fold in 2008.
    Plans for redistricting Statesboro's City Council seats are quietly dropped after folks notice that the new maps try to shut out "college-friendly" candidates and former Georgia Southern Student Government Association president Francys Johnson makes a few calls.
    Talk of amending Statesboro's alcohol ordinances continues, as the Alcohol Control Board examines Sunday sales, abandoning 50/50 and lessening penalties for violations.
    Georgia Southern mourns students Jamie Carter, Melissa Eustice and Jessica Fulmer, who die in a traffic accident near Metter.
    "Eagle Alert," a system to notify students and faculty of campus emergencies via text messages, starts at GSU.
    The Georgia Southern Museum hosts its third annual "Feed the Mosasaur" cooking festival.
    After mystifying Statesboro with signs reading "RPR" for a week, Rise Phoenix Rise plays at Retriever's
    The play "Church Folk" runs in GSU's Russell Union Ballroom.
    The fourth annual "Mr. GSU" competition is held. Student Joey Newton wins after singing a song about "all of my favorite things that were pink."
    A former Thunderbolt and Rincon police officer is arrested for flashing a bogus badge and using the "I'm a cop" line to grope women at Retriever's.
    The Southern Ruggers hold their annual "Black Rose" rugby tournament in Statesboro.
    Caribbean-themed restaurant JaMan opens on South Main Street in Statesboro.
    The Rusty Tavern opens up in the former Woodin Nikel location in University Plaza.

March

    A memorial exhibition of Lissa Addington's photography opens at the Averitt Center.
    The play "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" opens at GSU's PAC.
    Dance teams from all over the Southeast perform at GSU for the "Fall Out '08" hip-hop competition.
    Local favorite Harry O'Donoghue talks about Irish music and performs in GSU's College of Education.
    Paintings from Joseph Olson are featured in the Averitt Center for the Arts.
    Steak house 119 Chops opens on West Main Street in Statesboro.
    Local author Sonya Huber-Humes reads from her memoir "Opa Nobody" in GSU's College of Education.
    Comedy impresario Everett Robinson starts a series of shows at the Averitt Center that later move to Main Street Billiards.
    Statesboro icon "Dirty" Rick Seckinger passes away.
    Problems with tour schedules, studio dates and cold, hard cash keep Paulson Stadium silent during the spring after two years' worth of huge concerts.
    Jewelry artist Iris Sandkuhler returns to Statesboro to teach students at the Averitt Center how to make unique pieces.
    Popular children's book "Charlotte's Web" comes to life in a play at the Averitt Center.
    Statesboro High School students hold their annual Vaudeville show in the Emma Kelly Theater.
    GSU starts using Statesboro's treated wastewater for irrigation at Glenn Bryant Field. No word yet on whether that accounts for the Eagle's 2008 season.
    A "Carbon Neutral Concert" with local bands at GSU wraps up LivinGreen month.
    Rappers and divas appear at the "Rip the Runway" fashion show at the PAC.
    BusinessWeek's chief economist Michael Mandel tells Connect Statesboro that the economy's next five years look bright for college students. We now know that he was being irrationally exuberant.
    "Rations for Raptors" combines food and flight at the Lamar Q. Ball Raptor Center.
    Hard-touring rockers Lynam play Retriever's. At no point in an interview with Connect Statesboro does Dave Lynam admit to knowing Tony Mason.

June

    New steakhouse Millhouse opens, and quickly becomes a favorite venue for local music.
    Restaurant Emma's opens inside the new Holiday Inn on Veterans Memorial Parkway.
    Statesboro MMA fighters share their tips with Connect readers, including Colin Smith's immortal "Groin shots are your friend."
    The Tailgate Tattler outs himself as veteran sports writer Matt Yogus, ensuring that he never has to pay for a fine dinner or country club membership ever again.
    Galactic Comics and Games hosts a giant Southeastern Pokemon tournament, bringing players from as far away as Tennessee.
    Georgia Southern archaeologist Sue Moore tells Connect that real life archaeology isn't much like Indiana Jones.
    NoJoe's Clown Circus comes to the Averitt Center, teaching the necessary clown skills for life.
    A year after cutting towing fees, the Statesboro City Council votes to raise them again.
    GSU actors present a redneck version of Shakespeare's "Merry Wives of Windsor" in the new Black Box Theater.
    Gin Miller, the inventor of step aerobics, trains the public at GSU's RAC.
    Savannah's Beer Parlor Ramblers perform at the Emma Kelly Theater.
    Silver Creek hosts its annual June Jam, featuring bands Georgia Rhythm, Traintown, Slick Nickel, Southpaw, Amy Taylor, Ricky Collins, Dude Sumner, Dead Man's Hand and Silversmith.
    Local restaurant owners complain that rising food costs are affecting not only them but their clientele.
    Hairstylist Tracy Baer trades her services for canned food to go to the local food bank.
    Christopher's To Go opens, offering specialty foods and precooked meals.
    Georgia's election board releases the results of their investigation into Statesboro's 2007 City Council election. Their findings? Not much at all.

July

    Bands, fireworks and other activities keep Statesboro busy at Mill Creek Park's annual Firecracker Fest.
    As enrollment numbers increase at GSU, faculty and students prepare to feel a slight pinch.
    Faced with rising gas prices, more and more people in Statesboro pick up motorcycles and look at alternatives to driving.
    Statesboro Police Chief Stan York says that departmental changes will discourage officers from going astray, like three former officers indicted in a car theft ring.
    A biweekly farmer's market starts up in downtown Statesboro.
    Statesboro's Kathryn Sharbrough chains herself to a doghouse in front of Pets and People (with their permission, Pets and People doesn't mistreat animals) to protest mistreatment of animals nationally.
    Connect Statesboro debuts its new, improved Web site.
    Club Zone owners announce that their new venue will open in August — but troubles with Statesboro's City Council delay that opening date for several weeks.
    The Sherso Bakery opens up on North Main in Statesboro.
    Local bail bondsman Kevin Chapman shares some of his psychological secrets with Connect Statesboro readers. Just don't call him a "bounty hunter." He hates that.
    Several area bands come together for a benefit concert at Oasis to help out Sofia Vargas, a child diagnosed with Angelman Syndrome.
    Area luminaries share their hook-up tips, including Jai Jenkins' "The top floor of the RAC is where it’s at."
    The Averitt Center and Statesboro Regional Arts Association host their annual invitational show of area work.
    Statesboro bartenders tell Connect readers about their favorite summer drinks, including Gnat's Landing bartender Robert Leasure's secret recipe for lemonade.
    Local musician John Brown hits it big with a song he wrote about a Portal couple who won a $60 million lottery jackpot.

August

    The Swingin' Medallions perform to a sold-out crowd at Silver Creek Saloon.
    Volunteers work hard at a mobile food pantry distribution event at Grady Street Park.
    In a move that makes trees happy everywhere, Connect Statesboro does the ecologically responsible thing by trimming its page height by an inch.
    New club Shennanigan's takes over the main part of Oasis in Stadium Plaza.
    Statesboro's best young performers play a show at the Averitt Center as part of the American Music Series.
    GSU alumna Lori Perez starts a regular board game night at coffee house Latte Da.
    Construction continues at Centennial Place, a new GSU housing complex expected to hold 1,001 students, after a Portal teen dies during building of the structure.
    After closing thanks to alleged alcohol violations, Statesboro Brews reopens downtown with a new look.
    GSU buys the Harvest Lane bowling alley, planning to turn it into storage space.
    In giving advice to incoming GSU freshman, the Tailgate Tattler admits a deep, abiding and passionate love for a certain downtown barbecue joint.
    Connect Statesboro editor Jake Hallman learns just how family-friendly Statesboro really is when the magazine runs a cover of a topless woman (showing none of the goodies, by the way). Nobody ever cared when it was a topless guy on the cover.
    "A Life Done Right," a play about the life and times of legendary GSU football coach Erk Russell, runs in the Emma Kelly Theater just one more time.
    DJ Flux tells Connect Statesboro that he's planning to perform on BET's "Rap City."
    Several college presidents nationally call for lowering the drinking age to 18. GSU's Bruce Grube isn't one of them.
    After major renovations — including a brand-new stage and sound system — longtime nightspot favorite Retriever's reopens in University Plaza.
    Area crooner Scotty Cram appears at Rumrunners and 119 Chops.
    Statesboro city clerk Judy McCorkle is fired suddenly by city manager Shane Haynes.
    Area business owners breathe a sigh of relief as students return — they love 'em and their money, they tell Connect Statesboro.
    Photographic exhibit "Through Students' Eyes" opens in the Center for Art and Theater.
     

September

    Rapper Yung Joc performs at GSU along with Cartel and MC Lars.
    Several bands play a benefit show at Dos Primos for the Caring Voice Coalition.
    A veteran tailgater shares his tips, including "make sure your beverage of choice is as incognito as possible."
    Statesboro's Alcohol Control Board recommends sweeping changes to drinking ordinances that meet with skepticism from local venue owners.
    Local rapper Slimm Duddy gets signed to Warbucks/Universal Motown.
    Jazz, pop and Celtic group Annie Moses performs at the Averitt Center for the Arts.
    The Salon at Village Square hosts a "cut-a-thon" to benefit Tucker Lanier, who suffers from Hunter Syndrome. Coincidentally his mom, Casey Hurst, wins Connect Statesboro's bikini contest.
    Hip-hop ground The 17th Floor performs at Retriever's.
    Market District officials announce that The Mellow Mushroom will be opening a location there. By the end of the year, we're still waiting for pizza and hummus.
    GSU's ShuttleGus service works hard to stop DUIs and make sure that students have a safe ride home after a night on the town.
    The GSU opera presents its fifth annual "Night of Opera" at the Averitt Center.
    Art from 16 MFA candidates opens in the MFA Biennial Exhibition at the Center for Art and Theatre.
    The Eric Mintel Quartet performs a tribute to jazz legend Dave Brubeck at the GSU PAC.
    Local entrepreneur and artist Leslie Neville opens up coffehouse The Mud Shack downtown.
    Trinity Episcopal Church starts its yearly benefit concert series with a bluegrass and dulcimer show.

October

    GSU starts a ride-sharing carpool program for students and faculty.
    The play "Look Homeward, Angel" starts its run in the Black Box Theater.
    MTV stars Big and Bam Bam perform at Rude Rudy's.
    J.J. Grey and Mofro play a show at French Quarter Cafe.
    Pet boutique "Bark in the Boro" opens up in downtown Statesboro.
    Hammered dulcimer artist Scott Williams appears at the Averitt Center, and gives presentations at several local schools.
    Rappers BFO tell Connect Statesboro "We want the world." They play a show along with Slimm Duddy, Marsha Brady and Witness to benefit autism research at Dos Primos.
    Statesboro's City Council finally takes action on alcohol law changes, passing major changes as a first reading.
    The yearly Kiwanis-Ogeechee Fair takes place, bringing a brand new ride — the Crazy Mouse.
    Local band Stoneheart performs at Dos Primos and tells Connect Statesboro "Today's musicians are lazy. You never hear solos any more, all you hear are the same three chords."
    Country star Matt Stillwell appears at Jackson's.
    The Statesboro Crossing development finally opens.
    Rapper Witness tells Connect Statesboro it's tough for hip-hop groups to get local shows at times.
    The "Vote" and "Foundations" exhibits open in the Center for Art and Theatre.
    Connect shares its tis on how to avoid dying from the CDC's leading causes of death for the under-30 set.
    Local rockers Almost Blue tell readers that record labels aren't necessarily a good thing for bands to associate with.
    Silver Creek Saloon owners ask the Bulloch County Commission to revise its alcohol laws to be in line with Statesboro's proposed ordinances.
    "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" returns to Statesboro with a performance at the Emma Kelly Theater.
    A special Halloween show at the Averitt Center for the Arts features Jack o'Lantern art.
    Connect Statesboro hosts its first-ever Halloween party at Retriever's. Ad manager Courtney Caldwell tracks down an animal, kills and skins it for her costume.
    The ballet "Dracula" opens at the Averitt Center for the Arts.
    The GSU football Eagles score the most impressive comeback in NCAA history, scoring 28 unanswered fourth quarter points with seven more in overtime to knock off the Western Carolina Catamounts.
    Thomas Lee Jones is found guilty of murder for shooting Julius McReynolds at Jackson's during Homecoming 2007.
    GSU students present the play "A Streetcar Named Desire" at the Averitt Center for the Arts.
    The Lunch Box Deli opens on Brampton Avenue.
    Exotic restaurant Coconut Thai opens in the College Plaza shopping center.
    The annual Iron Eagle Challenge adventure race is held across GSU's campus.
    Cherie Sayer's "L is for Life" exhibit opens at the Averitt Center for the Arts.
    A Connect Statesboro reader writes in to tell us she's irritated that the Tailgate Tattler used the word "pissed" in a column. Hope she doesn't read this.
   

November

    Students react to Barack Obama's history-making presidential win with impromptu, spontaneous celebrations on the streets near campus.
    Students Eara Merritt and Ashley Evans vie for positions on MTV's reality show "The Real World."
    The Statesboro City Council revises tax reporting for alcohol-serving establishments, and allows them to stay open an extra hour on Saturday nights. Changes that would abolish the 50/50 rule, however, and dissolve the Alcohol Control Board, are put off... until January.
    "Anne Frank: A History for Today" opens at the GSU Museum.
    Rockers Tiberius headline a Homecoming show at Shennanigan's.
    The band Rehab brings its hits, including "Sitting on a Barstool" to Retriever's.
    Statesboro's Smith Baggett prepares for a career in rodeo..
    The fourth annual International Festival is held at Mill Creek Park.
    GSU tailgater John Laurens is one of five finalists selected for the Tostitos "Beat My Tailgate" challenge.
    Restaurant Buffalo's returns to Statesboro in its old location with a bigger deck, but just as many turtles in the pond.
    GSU reaches out to students with anorexia and bulimia with treatment programs and counseling.
    Scott Tyler performs at Gnat's Landing.
    The annual community production of "The Nutcracker" starts in the Emma Kelly Theater.
    Nashville star Luke Bryan performs at Jackson's.
    Experimental rockers BoomBox play a show at French Quarter Cafe.
    GSU President Bruce Grube announces that he's resigning in 2009. He tells Connect Statesboro that post-resignation "If I want to have a Margarita on Tuesday, I can do that without worrying about feeling sleepy the next morning."
    GSU alum Jeremy Foreman talks to Connect Statesboro about HandOn Ogeechee and its work in community development.
    Area rapper J-Rock da Gift announces that he's releasing his debut album in January.
   

    December

    Several churches rail against loosening alcohol laws at a public hearing by the Statesboro City Council, which listens, but doesn't change plans to revise ordinances.
    Local artist Betty O'Berry shows off her work at the Averitt Center for the Arts.
    The "State of Change" tour brings rappers, rockers and Iraq vets to French Quarter Cafe (which closes shortly after) to protest the war in Iraq.
    Graduating art majors at GSU present their work at the Center for Art and Theatre in the "Exit 2008" show.
    The Sanders Family performs at the Emma Kelly Theater.
    The Hushpuppies, Eric Lee Beddingfield and Dude Sumner all play big New Year's Eve shows in Statesboro.
    GSU announces the purchase of Jackson's (formerly known as Legends) and Apex. It's the end of years of contention between the university and the longtime Old Register Road party spots.
   
   


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