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May 19, 2011 Issue

Body found in Wadley woods
Brutally artful
Changes in HOPE shouldn’t affect dual enrollment

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Body found in Wadley woods

A call from a Wadley property owner about a vehicle resulted in officers finding a dead body Monday, May 16. The property is located on Martin Luther King Extension.

Wadley Police Chief Wesley Lewis said Tuesday the remains had been taken to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab, he said.

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Jefferson County Coroner Edward James said late Tuesday afternoon that the deceased was identified by fingerprint as 43-year-old Anthony Holmes of Dublin.

While Georgia Bureau of Investigation Associate Special Agent In Charge Pat Morgan would not comment on the cause of death, he did confirm that his office is working the investigation as a homicide.

The body was found after the property owner reported an unknown vehicle on his property, said Lewis.

“Myself and Officer EB Marsh went out there,” the chief said. “That’s when we found out from running the tag that the owner of the vehicle was missing. We started walking around because of some of the stuff we saw and went into the woods behind the residence. That’s when we located a body in a wooded area.”

Tuesday afternoon Chief Lewis said that two persons of interest were being interviewed.

“I talked to them on the phone and asked them to come down and they came down. They are at the sheriff’s office in Louisville waiting for agents from the GBI to talk to them,” he said.




Brutally artful

By Parish Howard
Editor/Publisher

Working from old black and white photos and scratched, grainy video slowed to a frame-by-frame progression of lunges, jabs and feints, Jace McTier, of Stapleton, is preserving the historic relationship between world renowned trainer Angelo Dundee and his fighters in a new series of oil paintings that honor the intensity and emotion of the brutal sport of world championship boxing.

In doing so, he is not only stretching his legs as an artist, working on non-commissioned pieces that he loves, but he is also creating a series of images that are earning him attention and some notoriety.

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First a fan
“I’ve always loved the sport of boxing,” Jace said. “I appreciate it. These athletes are like our modern day Herculeses.”

Like many boys of his generation, Jace grew up watching the Rocky movies.

His mother said that before every Little League or Dixie Youth baseball game he just had to watch one of the movies from the series.

“At the time there weren’t many cable channels out here and we didn’t have many movies, so we probably watched the Rocky and Star Wars collections a million times,” Jace said.

But, unlike most kids, what stuck with him wasn’t just the story or that invincible feeling it instills in both little and big boys everywhere, but a genuine love of the sport...and one crystal clear image.

“At the end of Rocky III,” Jace said, “the movie ends with that slow fade from the boxers into this painting by LeRoy Neiman. I bet I could paint it from memory.”

Splashes of deep reds and bright, almost pale blues, smears of yellow-orange, pools of pink surround the flash-bulb popped shapes of two fighters engaged, throwing simultaneous punches.

While Jace may have worked out hitting a heavy bag and even sparring some with his younger brother, he never was a boxer. What he became was a painter.

And for the last several years he has been developing a reputation as a sports portraitist.

His mother always told him to paint what you love, and he loves sports. His portfolio includes paintings of surfers, baseball players, golfers, football players, riders on cutting horses and fox hunters.

In just about any sports portrait, Jace said, he is trying to capture the power and the movement of the athlete, to tell his or her story and express the emotions being felt.

“You’re trying to tell a whole story in just one, still, two-dimensional image,” Jace said. “Painting is not like a movie, you don’t have frame after frame after frame to tell the story.”

“You really have to understand what the athlete is doing,” Jace said. “What his body is going through and what he is trying to accomplish.”

To accurately depict the action on the canvas, not only does he have to understand the sport, but also the bio-mechanics of what is happening in that instant under the athlete’s skin. How the muscles move, where they attach to the bone.

Jace said he first started studying anatomy and movement from his mother and her paintings of cutting horses.

Jace’s first commissioned oil painting was of a Belle-Meade fox hunt with four horses and riders and around 70 hounds.

He went on to cut his teeth as an art student on cutting horses, getting commissions like his mother’s of riders at events like the Augusta Futurity.

“Painting a cutting horse in action is like painting a trainwreck,” said David, Jace’s father.

“Well, the person on the horse is a trainwreck, their expressions, the way they are getting moved around by the animal,” Jace further explained. “The horse itself, its movements are like a ballet…it’s beautiful.”

Into the realm of the ring
One of Jace’s first boxing paintings to garner the attention of Dundee and other notables of the sport is McTier’s portrait, “Impact,” which depicts Muhammad Ali’s knockout punch that put a young George Foreman on the mat.

“I was looking around and I didn’t see anything out there that shows the technique behind that knock-out punch from the Ali-Foreman fight,” Jace said. “Ali had been off for a couple of years and was trying to make a comeback and facing Foreman who was by far the baddest man in the world. I mean, he had taken out guys in a round or two that Ali had struggled with. For the biggest part of the fight Ali had taken a beating and then there was the punch where Ali came from a defensive pose, leaned back on the ropes almost into the first row and then sprang forward into this punch that knocked out the greatest fighter in the world.”

The painting depicts the momentum of the punch, trailing from the defensive posture all the way through the jaw-popping concussion.

When Ali’s trainer, Angelo Dundee, first saw the image, Jace said, “He told me, ‘You did it right kid.’”

“I want to portray their athleticism,” Jace said. “Take Ali, and the way he moves. He’s so fluid. There’s no wasted movement. If you painted him still, you’ve really missed something.”

Jace watched old videos of the fight and said that in super slow motion, he gets a better idea of how the subject moves.

Jace compares Ali’s punch to Bobby Jones’ swing.

“They’re next to impossible to copy,” he said. “They’re both so fluid. They were great athletes. To capture them on canvas you have to pull from what you know, the motion and physics of it.”

Jace has also done a series of still-life boxing glove paintings that depict well-worn gloves in the colors of traditional boxing countries’ flags. The gloves trail rivulets of blood that in several images outline the shape of the country of the boxer’s origin. So far he has done six or seven different countries.

“I want to bring boxing back to the people, to the mainstream,” Jace said. “I believe it’s making a comeback, especially in places like Miami with the reopening of the Fifth Street Gym. All it needs is that flamboyant personality to get it back in the people’s eye.”

It seems to him that the sport’s popularity rises and falls with personalities like Ali, Mike Tyson and others.

“Think about the Mickey Ward and Arturo Gatti fights,” Jace said. “These guys were friends. To me, the human spirit and will are on display in boxing more than in any other sport.”

The Dundee series
The love and appreciation for the sport, athletes and trainers were there already. And no other trainer has had the stable of world champion boxers that Angelo Dundee has.

Then, about nine months ago, Jace discovered a connection to Angelo’s family through a friend of Jace’s wife’s, Rachel’s, family.

“We put in a call to Angelo’s son and Angelo called us back,” David said. “It was amazing. Angelo is 89 years old. I didn’t really expect him to call me back. When I told him that he told me he returns all his calls. ‘It costs nothing to be nice,’ that’s what he said. He’s a real class act.”

When Angelo and his people saw the quality of the work, it was a go.

In September of 2010 Jace and his family attended the reopening of the historic Dundee’s Fifth Street Gym in Miami where several of Jace’s paintings were on display.

Dundee was there as were several of his fighters, including Muhammad Ali.

The Miami Herald and papers from across the world used McTier’s paintings in their coverage of the event.

Jace met fighters like Ali, Shannon Briggs, Tommy Morrison and Pinklon Thomas.

From that trip, and the relationships built there, grew Jace’s current series of portraits depicting Angelo and his champions.

“I want to show the relationship between the trainer and the athlete,” Jace said. “There’s a closeness between these two that you don’t see in other sports. Maybe it’s the life and death nature of the sport.”

The trainer is the one there, day in and day out leading up to the fight and then, during the fight itself, he is there, in the boxer’s corner...the voice advising the fighter…watching the fight and providing the boxer a perspective he doesn’t have inside the ring.

There has to be trust, there has to be fire…there has to be colors invisible to cameras, that the men feel and perhaps only an artist sees.

“Angelo is a student of technique,” Jace said.

As a trainer, Dundee studied the motion and anatomy of a fight and helped his fighters employ their strengths and shake off their weaknesses.

“Angelo takes what you bring to the table and makes it better, teaches his fighters to use it,” Jace said. “There are other trainers who want to mold their fighters to be this or that, but I don’t think that ever would have worked with Ali. Angelo even taught Ali how to talk.

“Before, you never heard an athlete being interviewed. The reporters always talked to the trainers or promoters. Angelo and Ali changed all sports in so many ways. I can’t separate the two in my mind. It’s like eating a cookie. To really appreciate it you have to know what all went into the batter.”

The paintings
Jace’s first painting for the series depicts Dundee, Ali and Drew Bundini Brown in Ali’s corner before one of Ali’s European fights.

In the photo Jace based the painting on, Angelo is wearing a tie.

“I wanted to be historically accurate,” Jace said, so he called Angelo’s son to ask what color the tie might have been.

“Angelo said there was no way he was wearing a tie,” Jace said with a laugh. “He said he never wore a tie to a fight. But there it was, I was looking at it in the picture.”

The tie looked dark in the picture, so he painted it dark.

In the same way, he collected information about the color of Ali’s trunks, the color of the stripes on his shoes.

“As an artist, I’m telling a story through color,” Jace said. “That’s what art is all about. But since this is based on a real image, I want it to be historically accurate.”

When Angelo saw the painting he launched into a story about Ali’s shoes, saying it was the fighter’s first pair of Adidas and they were especially made for Ali.

The second painting is of Dundee and another man holding a battered but ecstatic Carmen Basillio on their shoulders after his win over Sugar Ray Robinson, a fight Basillio was not expected to win.

“It was probably the most amazing and brutal 15-round decision fight of all time,” Jace said. “In the end it came down 9-1 in favor of this small-town guy taking the Middle Weight Championship. He was an underdog who put it all on the line. And while I was painting it I was taken by the look on Angelo’s face. There was this shine in his eye in the photograph. I worked on that shine, trying to figure out where it was coming from. I was having trouble translating it until I realized that it was a tear. He was so excited for this man.”

The third painting is of Dundee with Willie Pastrano when he was light heavy weight champion of the world.

“It’s these two Italian guys there together,” Jace said. “Ali trained a lot with Willie and if you know what you are looking for, you can see where that had an influence on him. There’s a gracefulness in the way he moves, a fluidity.”

This image does not exist in photo form. Jace created it as an amalgam of different images of both the fighter and Dundee.

“This means so much for the Italian boxing community,” Jace said. “They’re so excited to see their history brought to life like this.”

“I feel like I am bringing history to life for my generation,” Jace said. “The only way my generation sees most of these fighters is in old black and white photographs. They’re grainy and scratched. What video there is isn’t very good. I’m bringing it to life in full color. And I’m looking for one image, a single two-dimensional image that tells the story from the whole event.”

Jace recently finished the fourth in the series, a painting of Dundee passionately engaged with George Foreman during the big man’s comeback at 45 years old.

“Angelo said that George wouldn’t sit down between rounds,” Jace said. “He decided that he expended more energy getting up and down than he would just standing there waiting for the bell.”

There is a psychological aspect to their relationship the painter was striving to communicate in this piece.

“Foreman hired him (Dundee) because he almost had Ali whipped in Zaire, and then Angelo hollered out ‘Don’t play with that sucker,’ and all of a sudden Ali changed and he knocked Foreman out,” Jace said. “So, when Foreman was on his comeback he said, ‘I’ve got to have him in my corner, not just because he’s the best but because I don’t want him in the other man’s corner either.’

“Angelo brought a whole different game to the table.”

In the painting Foreman props calmly in the corner with his head bowed almost reverentially to Dundee to hear what his trainer is saying. The brightest colors and the rawest emotions in the image are emanating from Dundee.

“Rockwell captured the drama and spirit of American life at the time,” Jace said. “That’s what I’m trying to do with these paintings. I want to capture the spirit of the sport and the history behind it.

"Think about it, there was George, at 45, doing something no one thought was possible.”

Jace has already started sharing both his passion for the sport and for his artistic portrayal of it with the youngest generation, namely his nearly-1-year-old son Eric, who has even contributed a few strokes to the Foreman painting.

"Every day he wants to sit down with me at this one and put some paint on the canvas,” Jace said. “I know that it’s going well if he sees it and points to it and gets engaged with it. You can definitely tell if he isn’t into one of them.”

Since Eric was 6 months old, since Jace began the series, these painting have been a part of the toddler’s life.

“Anytime I’m painting he will come in the room and look at what I’m doing,” Jace said. “If he likes it he’ll quit crying and just look. I can tell which ones he likes and what he doesn’t like. If he looks at it and doesn’t say anything, then I know I need to keep working on it.”

The response
Jace’s critic’s have not all been toddlers.

Angelo Dundee himself has seen every one of the images.

“Louie Pastrano is a handsome guy, but what he did with him was magnificent,” Dundee said. “What he did had so much class to it, it made me feel like a million bucks.”

Until recently, all of the paintings have been hung in a Tampa, Fla., restaurant. Pssghetti’s, owned by Frank Mongelluzzi, has a section dedicated to the life-time carreer of Angelo Dundee.

“The paintings bring a lifelike dimension to the Angelo Dundee and company environment,” Mongelluzzi said. “They bring to life the uncaptured events and the events of the mind that are boxing and Americans would like to remember but can’t because there are so many exciting rounds with the boxers that are involved. Foreman, Ali, Sugar Ray…we could go on and on. But he has captured the best of Angelo’s mind, the best of the crop. He has captured it and he has captured the adulation of not only boxing’s fans, but I think more importantly the art buffs. That is a creditation in itself. This kid, to boxing, is a modern day Neiman. He works hard.

“And he’s especially respectful of Angelo, my friend, and his family. He has done so much to make sure that they haven’t been violated or stepped on their feelings. That’s very difficult when you are dealing in the arena that Jace is because there is a lot of ego and emotion on both sides.”

Not long into the series, as a gift, Jace painted a portrait of Dundee’s recently departed wife, Helen, who died in December of 2010.

“He was speechless,” Jace said of the moment when he presented the painting. “But he loved it. He is giving me such a great opportunity by allowing me to do this that I wanted to give him something to thank him.”

Over his long career near the ring, Dundee says he has become friendly with a number of well known artists, including Neiman.

"The thing about artists, they have their own technique, their own way about them,” Dundee said. “(A European painter) did a painting of my wife when I was there with Mohammad…and now Jace has done the same thing.

“My wife left me in December and right now I’m sitting here looking at her thank God to Jace and she’s going to be with me forever.”

They were married 58 years.

“I’ve been a very dear friend of LeRoy Neiman,” Dundee said. “LeRoy used to come to fights and sketch behind me with Carmen Basillio. I have a lot of input with guys who are artists because I admire them for their artistry or how good they are and Jace has just joined the club.

“Let me tell you, everybody wants to know who this artist is who did all this good stuff that’s in Dundee’s corner.”

Now Maongelluzzi and his executive corporate chef, Robert Hesse, who did a two-season stint on Fox Broadcasting’s realtiy TV show Hell’s Kitchen, are collaborating on a restaurant based on Dundee’s Corner, tentatively called Angelo’s for either Las Vegas or Miami that will feature Jace’s paintings.

According to Hesse, planning stages for the restaurant are in the works.

“We have a deal struck and we’re just looking for properties that will meet our needs,” Hesse said. “From the chef’s standpoint, I envision a high end quality Italian traditional food at a fair price. Angelo Dundee is a living legend. People ask who Angelo Dundee is. He is boxing, OK. He trained every great there ever was in some respect. He has all these world champions under his regime. You gotta give it up to him.

“Not only does Angelo Dundee bring his clout, but he brings all of boxing with him. When you walk in you’re going to get a piece of Pacquiau, a piece of Mohammad, George Foreman.

“The guys you grew up with, the guys you loved to watch, Jake LaMotta, all these guys, that’s Angelo Dundee. He brings that to the restaurant.

“It’s basically a boxing HardRock Café in my opinion. A tribute to boxing from Latino boxers all the way to American boxers…it’s going to touch on everything. We expect to have a lot of A-list celebrity involvement because you know Angelo trained with Matt Damon, Will Smith, Russell Crowe and Robert Deniro for all of these fight roles. So there should be a high peak of interest.

“And we’re paying homage to a lifetime career, to a beautiful man. We want to make sure when you’re in these areas that you say, I’ve gotta go to Angelos.”

Both Hesse and Mongelluzzi bow to Angelo’s appreciation for Jace’s paintings.

“Considering that Angelo brought him (Jace) into the mix...” Hesse said. “I want (his) Sistine Chapel, I’m not going to restrict him from anything. This is going to be like his living, breathing gallery forever. Forever how long the place survives.”

Mongelluzzi agrees.

“Angelo summed it up when he saw the painting of his wife, he said ‘I love it’ and he broke down. He said ‘It’s so much like her.’ And he broke down in tears,” Mongelluzzi said. “That’s the life he has brought from a black and white to a color canvas and there are several boxers who have come in...George Foreman’s son the fourth was in the other day and his comment was ‘I’ve never seen anything so lifelike with my dad.’ Some pretty big compliments.”

Hesse, a collector of sports memorabilia, has a sketch Jace did of Babe Ruth’s called shot. He said he has it on display next to a $6,000 Ruth autograph.

“Jace’s work appeals to the masses, whether it be athletes, celebrities or just the average Joe,” Hesse said. “It really captures the grittiness of that moment and the color scheme…just brings everything to life with bursts of color.

“Definitely, it brings a nostalgic reminiscence of boxing. The actual moments in time that were pivotal moments for Angelo Dundee’s career. Jace gives you real good insight into those moments. People get lost in those paintings.”

What’s next
Jace continues to work on the series while Mongelluzzi and Hesse work out their plans.

“I would like to paint Angelo with all of his fighters,” Jace said.

There is a photograph he has seen that he would like to do…an image of Angelo wrapping Ali’s hands.

“That’s where it begins,” Jace said. “There’s an intimacy there. The trainer protecting his fighter’s hands. If they aren’t wrapped correctly, he won’t be able to perform.”

So, he continues to use layers of paint to not just recreate images from photographs, but to tell the stories of these events from Dundee’s career.

There are times when he builds the boxer, painting the muscles first in their full, meaty red glory and then layers the flesh and shine of sweat on later.

“That’s what you do when you get stuck,” Jace said. “You go back to basics, to the skeleton and the muscles.”

As an artist he breaks these moments down to their basic parts to get to the spirit behind them, and uses the subtlety of imagination to reinvest in this piece of American history that he feels so sorely needs to be protected and shared.

Jace’s work can be seen online at his family’s website www.mctierart.com.




Changes in HOPE shouldn’t affect dual enrollment

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

Dr. Lloyd Horadan, president of Sandersville Technical College recently stated that the changes in HOPE grant and HOPE scholarship funding will not adversely affect the students or the schools.

The changes will allow dual enrollment students, those high school students taking college courses, to enroll in any number of college courses without it counting against HOPE’s cap of allowed credit hours, he said.

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“The legislation changed HOPE so that it will now only pay 90 percent of a student’s base tuition calculated on fiscal year 2011 rate and does not pay any other required college fees or book allowance. On average, this would cost each dual enrollment student $600 to $700 per year,” he said.

Horadan said Georgia House Bill 186 was amended April 14 to provide full FTE funding for dual enrolled students so that neither the college or local board of education will be harmed financially by students’ participation in dual enrollment programs.

Dr. Donnie Hodges, an assistant superintendent with the Jefferson County Board of Education, said Tuesday, May 10, the school system is very hopeful it can continue to offer dual enrollment classes to the Jefferson County High School students at no cost to the students despite the recent cuts to the HOPE funding.

“Because of recent legislation, funds have been restored to the public schools for students who take dual enrollment courses. Therefore we can take that money and pay the technical college fees so that the expenses are met without the students having to pay anything out of pocket. We’re still doing budgeting and working with the technical college. We haven’t signed an agreement with them yet, but we’re close and we think we’ve got everything ironed out so it will work,” she said.

Hodges said the technical colleges are losing some of their funding because of the cuts to HOPE.

“We are pleased that we can continue to offer these dual enrollment opportunities to our high school students. In recent years, over half of senior classes have graduated with a high school diploma as well as an endorsement from the technical college,” she said.

“Up until the end of the legislative session, we were very worried that our high school students would not be able to pay the increased costs for the technical college courses because of the cuts to HOPE and the school system could not just absorb those costs. The legislation passed at the end of the session restored the funding for dual enrollment that Gov. (Sonny) Perdue cut out about two years ago,” Hodges said.

“We appreciate everyone that worked hard to get that funding restored,” she said.

“With the passage of the amended version of House Bill 186, the availability of full funding to the local board of education and the waiver of some college fees, students will be able to participate in dual enrollment programs like those at Sandersville Technical College with no additional cost to the student,” Horadan said.

A fact sheet compiled by the agency that oversees technical colleges in Georgia may be found online at http://www.sandersvilletech.edu/uploadedFiles/HOPE_Change_Background_Summary_v.7.pdf.






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