Tag: Kaitlin Fleming

JSU looks to start Athletic Training Masters Program

Kaitlin Fleming, Editor in Chief

After 14 years of athletic training at Southside High School, Chris Clark recently became a full-time professor of Kinesiology at Jacksonville State University in July of 2019.

Continue reading “JSU looks to start Athletic Training Masters Program”

Local rock group to release new music

August 29, 2019

Kaitlin Fleming, Editor in Chief

A local rock band is set to release new music on Friday, August 30.

The Sunsets, a band that can only be described as an alternative, new wave, post punk pop, rock group, will release “Space Love” on all major streaming platforms and the band members are excited for the public to hear what they have been working on.

The group, made up of two brothers and some friends, released their first full album, Heartbeat Massacre in July of 2018 and released their first EP, Fatal Attraction, in 2016, just one year after the band began.

The two brothers are lead vocalist Torsten Dryden and drummer Breihan Dryden and the friends are bass guitarist Jack Vermuth and guitarist Trent Johnson, as well as saxophonist Quincy Chapman.

“This is the strongest incarnation the band has ever had,” said Torsten Dryden. “We’re taking a more collaborative approach.”

Every member of the band has given some of themselves to the music in some way or another.

“This is the first [bass guitar] part that I wrote with The Sunsets,” said Vermuth.

Johnson said the group makes every song feel like “you’re a part of it” and that each member has “split duties”

In fact, anyone who has seen a live performance by this band will know that there is sometimes a shuffling around on stage and trading of instruments. People who have been to any show recently would also know that “Space Love” has been a work in progress for some time now.

The funky sci-fi jam titled “Space Love,” which is all about exploring the unknowns of a new relationship, has seen several musical changes.

“We originally wanted ‘Space Love’ on Heartbeat Massacre but we just weren’t happy with it yet,” said Torsten Dryden.

To pay for studio time and mastered songs, the band has been playing at local venues and selling merchandise. They also play for charity events, like the recent “Bands for Bri” benefit concert, which helped pay medical bills for a lady who was accidentally shot and paralyzed.

The group has a “busy fall” according to Torsten Dryden. Apart from playing at local gigs, there are some exciting things in the works, like music videos, new songs and a new EP coming later this year, possibly in November.

As far as videos for “Space Love” goes, there will be a lyric video dropping with the song release this Friday. Jason Lugo created the lyric video and Dylan Baugh created the artwork for the release.SPACE-LOVE text.png

The song, and a few others that are under lock and key for now, were recorded in Nashville with WireBird Productions. Brett Ryan Stewart mixed and mastered the recordings.

“Brett is good at getting things right, right out of the gate,” said Breihan Dryden.

For more information on The Sunsets, check them out on social media by searching @thesunsetsrock on all major platforms. If you can’t wait for the newest song, you can always stream the Heartbeat Massacre album on Spotify, Apple Music and more.






Professor, veteran journalist dies

Kaitlin Fleming, Editor in Chief

On August 15 the Jacksonville State University family lost a colleague and friend when retired journalist and Professor Emeritus Jerry Chandler died. 

Chandler’s career in journalism began in Anniston after returning from the Vietnam war, where he was a medic with the 101st Airborne Division, an assignment that led to him being awarded a Purple Heart. 

He began working in local radio at WDNG and then WHMA. He was news director for WHMA when he witnessed the aftermath of the Delta Airlines Flight 191 on August 2, 1985 at the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport in Texas.

The tragedy and subsequent news stories led to sweeping changes in flight safety. Chandler’s experience led him to write “Fire and Rain,”which was a New York Times best-seller.

His work was featured on many aviation industry websites and magazines, including Frequent Flyer and Aircraft Maintenance Technology. Chandler’s work was also featured in The New York Times, The Financial Times of London and Time magazine.

Chandler was a guest on national media outlets, including NPR and CNN, and contributed to the PBS documentary, “Why Planes Crash”

After a long and successful career as a reporter, Chandler became a professor at JSU in 1987 where many of his students respected him and his feedback.

According to the obituary that was released, he was a humble and hard working man.

“His writing skills were matched only by his humility and work ethic. You would never find him resting on any laurels – just working on his next story,” read the online obituary.

Since his death, those who worked with Chandler at JSU and those who had him as a professor have shared stories and advice that he gave them.

Pamela Hill, a former student and colleague of Chandler’s said he was always “very supportive.”

“When I started as an undergrad in 1999 he was my advisor,” said Hill, a part time instructor for the Communication Department. “I had five undergraduate classes with him, he kind of was my favorite. He was so excited when he found out that I would be an adjunct here. He had a huge smile on his face and said he was glad I decided to give back to the department we both loved.”

Hill went on to say that Chandler never “spoon-fed” his students and always demanded the best they could do.

“You knew you better be prepared because he had a way of letting you know that he really wanted you to do your best work. He had a red pen that would bleed all over your projects. He would be very honest. He would tell you what you needed to do and expected you’d be able to fix it.”

Hill wasn’t the only former student who had fond memories of Chandler. Lauren Jackson Lee, a staff writer with the Hartselle Enquirer and former Chandler student said he taught her the importance of deadlines.

“One of my earliest memories with Mr. Chandler is attending the summer journalism institute in high school,” said Lee. “He jumped right into teaching and held a mock press conference then asked us to write a news article on it. Even though we were in high school he set the ‘deadline’ in an hour. After having completed the assignment I felt certain journalism was the correct career for me.” 

Lee also said that Chandler wanted his students to reach their “full potential.”

“Although I would say Mr. Chandler initially comes across as strict, he is someone that genuinely cared for his students,” said Lee. “Everything he did was for his students. His classes were sometimes challenging, but always rewarding in the end.”

Former student Jason Bozeman said he viewed Chandler as a friend and mentor.

“I watched the Super Bowl with him and his family every year for about five years,” said Bozeman. “It was such a special time every year, because I was always treated as a member of the family, even though I was a disgruntled Oakland Raiders fan.”

Bozeman said that Chandler was a “an incredibly important mentor to hundreds of students.”

“If I do anything good as a broadcaster, it is because he taught me how. I spent just as many hours in his office asking advice on how to run 92J [the college radio station], as I did in any class. And it always ended with him telling me how proud he was of me.”

2005 JSU graduate Julie-Anne Dentici said Chandler “pushed” her and “challenged” her with her writing and one time, when she received an “A” on a project he said it was “fine work” and that he knew she could do it. 

“Chandler wasn’t one to give compliments easily or freely,” said Dentici. “So, when he did give them, you knew that he meant it. I took him for several classes, but I think my favorite was Media Features.”

Mike Stedham, a communication professor and friend of Chandler’s said he was a man of “great religious faith” and that he had faith in “the power of journalism” to make society better.

 “He was a stickler for accuracy whenever he wrote a news story, and he insisted on accuracy in every class he taught here at JSU,” said Stedham. “He inspired his students, and he inspired me to be a better teacher every semester. He was the heart and soul of the Communication Department.”

Stedham and Hill weren’t the only colleagues that had kind things to say about Chandler. Associate Professor and Department Head of Communication Dr. Patrick McGrail said one of the first people he met when he came to JSU 11 years ago was Chandler.

“It was obvious he was held in high esteem by everyone, and yet he seemed like such a humble man,” said McGrail. “But I would hear students say, ‘I’ve got Mr. Chandler after this. Is he hard?’ And another student would say, ‘But you’ll learn so much.’ So I knew he was the real deal. Although I was an experienced professor at that time, I still came to regard Jerry Chandler as a mentor figure for me. He just knew students, his material, and the lay of the land. It was great. I even had a thorny question that had come up regarding television coverage of a certain military plane, and Jerry gave me his opinion and lots of info about it, and I realized that coverage of the plane was biased and wrong. It was obvious that I was in the presence of greatness.”

Chandler retired from teaching in 2017 and in June 2017,  he was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Aerospace Media Awards in Paris, France. 

A Funeral Mass will be held at 10 a.m. on Friday, August 23 at Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church in Anniston. Burial with military honors will follow at Forestlawn Gardens. The family will receive friends at the church on Thursday evening from 5 – 7 p.m. followed by a prayer service at 7 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Chandler’s honor to Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church in Anniston, the Parkinson’s Foundation at parkinson.org or JSU’s Department of Communication.

Letter from the Editor in Chief: The sound of memories being made

Kaitlin Fleming, Editor in Chief

I began my first semester at Jacksonville State University in August of 2016. I had just completed my Associate’s degree at Gadsden State Community College and I was ready to move on to a real university. 

I love to tell the story of the day I knew Jacksonville State is where I belonged. My mother and I drove down to Jacksonville to tour the campus and meet with my future advisor in April of 2016. As we were driving in on Highway 204, I saw the top of the Houston Cole Library and I was immediately at peace. 

Our first stop was at my advisor’s office in Self Hall. I met Mr. Stedham for the first time that morning. I brought a notebook with questions already written down and a list of all the classes I wanted to take in the following semester.  

Walking into Self Hall was like walking into my house. I knew that I would spend most of my time there. So far, I have been correct. The first year I was a student here, I spent most of my lunches in the Self Hall student lounge. I survived off Wendy’s Four for Four deals, that were then half priced for JSU students, and vending machine snacks. It should be no surprise that I gained roughly 30 pounds my first year here. 

Now that I am finishing my last year and I have been brought in as Editor-in-Chief of the Chanticleer, I might as well bring an air mattress to my office! The good news is, I have lost most of that weight from having no time to eat. In other news, the Pepsi vending machines have been upgraded to Coca Cola machines and now they take debit cards. It’s rather unfortunate for my bank account. 

I have made so many memories while here at this university. Some of them are life lessons learned but most of them are pleasant. This campus is filled with so many kind people. There is a reason it is known as the “Friendliest Campus in the South.” 

Jacksonville is a beautiful town, even after the destructive tornado in March of 2018. When I am overwhelmed with tests and assignments, I like to sit under the big trees around the campus and look off toward the mountain. If you close your eyes and listen you can hear the sound of a 20J playing in the distance or the sound of the Bibb Grave’s bell chiming at the top of every hour (and five minutes after.) If you listen even harder you can hear the sound of memories being made, happiness being spread and traditions that go back decades. 

Welcome home Gamecocks! 

P.S. Do us communication students a favor and pick up a newspaper, turn on the news or tune in to a local radio show!