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Mercer Hosts First Post-Season Tournament Game

It's been less than two weeks since the Mercer Bears last graced the court in a semi-finals A-SUN conference tournament loss to Florida Gulf Coast. Now they have another chance at reedeming themselves.

The 22-11 Bears are practicing today, preparing for the College Insider.com tournament home opener Tuesday night, when they host Ohio Valley Conference runner-up Tennessee State.

Mercer received the tourney invite last week, but their opponent was officially confirmed Sunday night and the Bears are looking forward to accomplishing more team goals in the postseason. This is the first season the Bears have been a part of this 32-team tournament.

Blossoms On Time for Cherry Blossom Fest

The cherry trees are blooming throughout Macon, just in time for the Cherry Blossom Festival's 30th anniversary.

Director of sale and marketing, Stacey Campbell, says she spotted her first blossom right outside her office.

"It looks like right now, we are right on schedule. I drove in this morning. A lot of them are doing what we call popping. When they do bloom, they pop like popcorn," she said. "They might be a little sporadic the first weekend, but normally by mid-week, the end of next weekend, they'll be in full bloom, and it should be a fabulous cherry blossom festival."

She says more than 300,000 trees are scattered around the city. Clusters can be found on Third Street, Central Park City, and Wesleyan Woods. 

The cherry blossom first got started in Macon at The Fickling Farm.

On about 140 acres, Fickling says there are more than 1,000 Yoshino cherry blossom trees growing. 

St. Louis Conductor Plucked For Macon Symphony Orchestra

The Macon Symphony Orchestra board has chosen St. Louis Symphony resident conductor Ward Stare to be the new music director and conductor of the MSO, as well as a distinguished artist and conductor of the Mercer University Orchestra.

"After a long and intensive search, we have found, in Maestro Stare, a musical artist with the gifts, charisma, and vision to lead the MSO toward a bright and successful future while shaping Mercer University's Orchestra into a world-class chamber ensemble," said John Dickson, dean of Townsend School of Music at Mercer.

Gene Dunwoody Jr., MSO board president headed up the search for a conductor. He said Stare rose to the top of the pool of candidates because he fit the needs of both the Mercer Orchestra and the MSO.

"He can help us develop our orchestra to a higher level, when we go out and seek sponsors and patrons, expand our demographocs and attract a younger audience," said Dunwoody.

One Dead in I-75 Car Accident

One person died in a car accident Monday afternoon on Interstate 75 south, near Hartley Bridge Road.

Lieutenant Sean Defoe with the Bibb County Sheriff's Office, says 42-year-old Eliva Granados-Garcia died after the SUV being driven by her husband, slammed into the center concrete retaining wall.

It happened around 2:30 Monday afternoon.

Fidel Alcantar of Gwinnett County was the driver, which also carried 7 other people, all related. 29-year-old Sarah Vallejo is listed as critical, but stable. The other family members are in stable condition.

Defoe said their 2004 Chevy Tahoe was traveling northbound when it ran off the road into two, parallel guard rails. The SUV then hit a concrete retaining wall, spun around in air and landed in the southbound lane, according to Defoe.

The Tahoe was the only vehicle involved in the accident.

Howard Student Charged With Bringing Pellet Gun to School

A Howard High School student was suspended for nine days after bringing a bullet and a pellet gun to school.

That's according to David Gowan, the director of risk management for Bibb County schools.

It's at least the third gun incident at Howard this school year, he said.

Gowan says the student's mother called the school on Thursday, worried that her son had left school and gotten a gun from their home.

Campus police and school administrators eventually learned that the student had not left the school, but they searched him and his car.

That's when they found the pellet gun and the 9mm bullet.

Gowan did not identify the student.

He said they also found two rifles and a Glock pistol in the student's home, but they were not illegal or connected to the suspension.

Authorities did not file criminal charges against the student, Gowan said.

Mount de Sales Academy Varsity Cheerleaders Active in Multiple Benefit Programs

Mount de Sales Academy Varsity Cheerleaders Active in Multiple Benefit Programs

MACON, GA.--Mount de Sales Academy 2011-2012 varsity cheerleaders have stepped up-to-the-plate as they take an active role in service projects benefiting local, state, and national programs.

Mississippi State Edges Mercer

STARKVILLE, Miss. - The Mercer baseball team fought hard all night long, but came up just short in a 5-3 loss to No. 23 Mississippi State on Friday evening in front of 1,211 fans at Dudy Noble Field.

Mercer (11-4) couldn't overcome 10 men left on base as Mississippi State (13-2) stole a season-high six bases to take home its seventh-straight victory.

The Bulldogs wasted no time getting on the board when freshman Wes Rea singled to left field to take an early 1-0 lead.

Mercer responded right back in the top of the second, when sophomore Nate Moorhouse collected an RBI on a fielder's choice to tie the game at 1-1.

Mississippi State went back in front in the bottom half of the second after sophomore Taylor Stark pulled an RBI single to left to go up by a 2-1 advantage.

The back-and-forth affair continued in the top of the fourth when junior Travis Benn crushed a solo home run, his fifth of the season, to tie the game back up at 2-2.