News you can use

Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff
Clockmaker Chad Bearden (left) examines a grandfather clock as Kent Strickland works on a Gustav Becker clock at Furman Jewelers in Augusta.



CREMINS AT BUTLER: 7 p.m., Butler High School, 2011 Lumpkin Road, during school's basketball and cheerleading sports banquet; with Bobby Cremins, men's basketball coach at College of Charleston and former coach at Georgia Tech.

SPRING LUNCHEON: 9:30 a.m. meet and greet, 10 a.m. program, Town and Country spring luncheon at Houndslake Country Club, 901 Houndslake Drive; guest speaker is Marti Healy; (803) 649-9166

CELEBRATING THE ARTIST FUNDRAISER: 7 p.m., enjoy entertainment, hors d'oeuvres and bid on art; Blue Horse @ D. Timm's, 302 Sixth St.; $40; benefits the work of the Art Factory; (706) 731-0008

CONSERVATION BANQUET: 6 p.m., Savannah Rapids Pavilion, 3300 Evans to Locks Road, Evans; raffles, drinks, auctions and dinner; admission costs $50 (includes annual membership), available at the door; corporate tables available; held by the Georgia Waterfowl Association; (706) 414-2656


JAMES BROWN BIRTHDAY: The Soul Generals with Lauren Hartley and Morningstar will perform beginning at 6 p.m. at Augusta Common to celebrate the birthday of the late James Brown. Admission is free. The event is part of Augusta's monthly First Friday program.

CINCO DE MAYO LATIN FESTIVAL: Friday-Sunday, Barton Field, 25th Street, Fort Gordon; noon Friday, 9 a.m. Saturday, noon Sunday; carnival, music, food, craft vendors, salsa contest, live bands, flea market, bike show; a photo ID is required for ages 16 and older; (706) 791-6779,

LOBSTER RACES: 5:30 p.m. The Lobster Race returns to Aiken for the 23rd time as an annual downtown festival on Newberry Street. Proceeds benefit clients served by Hitchcock Healthcare, Tri-Development and Aiken County Special Olympics. Conceived as a spoof of the Kentucky Derby, the lobster races will be held at 7:30, 8:30 and 9:30 p.m.

AUGUSTA CANAL SUNSET CRUISE: 7-9 p.m., Canal Interpretive Center at Enterprise Mill, 1450 Greene St.; hors d'oeuvres, desserts, wines served before and after cruise; raffle for diamond necklace; cruise tickets $25; raffle tickets $10; benefits the Jud C. Hickey Center for Alzheimer's Care; (706) 738-5039


Here are local bills that passed in the Legislature this year:


- HOUSE BILL 533: Election years for county commissioners ACTION: Passed House, Passed Senate DESCRIPTION: Gradually moves commission elections to even-numbered years to coincide with gubernatorial and presidential elections.

- HOUSE BILL 554: Election years for marshal ACTION: Passed House, Passed Senate DESCRIPTION: Gradually moves marshal elections to even-numbered years to coincide with gubernatorial and presidential elections.

- SENATE BILL 107: State Court judge ACTION: Passed Senate, Passed House DESCRIPTION: Adds a third State Court judge for Richmond County and makes all three on equal footing by removing associate judge labels.

- SENATE RESOLUTION 133: Hyde Park study committee ACTION: Passed Senate, Referred to House Natural Resources committee DESCRIPTION: Creates a joint study committee made up of House and Senate members to take a closer look at the environmental conditions of the Hyde Park neighborhood and whether any action from the state is needed.


- SENATE BILL 209: Superior Court judges' supplement ACTION: Passed Senate, Passed House DESCRIPTION: Gives each of the eight Superior Court judges in the Augusta Judicial Circuit a $10,000 annual bump in the money Columbia County contributes toward their salaries.

- SENATE BILL 317: Redevelopment Powers Law ACTION: Passed Senate, Passed House DESCRIPTION: Allows Richmond County's commission to create tax allocation districts and issue tax allocation bonds for the redevelopment of blighted areas. Voters have to approve the tool in a referendum.


- HOUSE BILL 685: Board of Education salaries ACTION: Passed House, Passed Senate DESCRIPTION: Implements a $50 pay raise for each Burke County Board of Education member this summer, a year earlier than previously approved.

- SENATE BILL 311: Burke County sheriff salary ACTION: Passed Senate, Passed House DESCRIPTION: Gives the sheriff of Burke County a $10,000 annual pay raise, starting in October.

- Morris News Service