Why not get in mood for a blue Christmas?
Dare to be different. Everybody is going to dream of a White Christmas this week. Why? Because Bing tells them to.

At the Movies: 'The Wild Thornberrys Movie'
"The Wild Thornberrys Movie," a rollicking animated adventure with a plucky, can-do spirit, nearly bubbles over with incident and exotic locales. It's a breeze and a blast, snappily paced and full of frolicsome energy.

Troupe mixes pageant with dining experience
The Christmas pageant gets the dinner theater treatment Saturday night when Creative Impressions stages Behold the Star at Bell Auditorium.

Applause calendar

'The Lord of the Rings' takes in $26 million on opening day
LOS ANGELES -- The fellowship of the ring may have fractured on screen, but it's alive and kicking in theaters.

Mini reviews

Standing ovations
A cast of 49 children ages 6 to 17 will stage The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, a comedy about a Southern church's children's Christmas production, to be staged by the Augusta Players Children's Wing at 7 p.m. today and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday at Hillcrest Baptist Church, 3045 Deans Bridge Road.

Ramblin' Rhodes: Heloise is full of great hints and a love for country music

Applause calendar
CHRISTMAS IN HOPELAND: Holiday light displays in Hopeland Gardens, Whiskey Road and Dupree Place, Aiken; 6-9 tonight-Monday and Wednesday-Saturday, Dec. 28; (803) 642-7631.

Standing ovations

At the Movies: 'Antwone Fisher'
"Antwone Fisher" could have been another "I Am Sam" - a well-intentioned story that aims for Oscar but ultimately is so overwrought that it sags like a multi-hanky made-for-Lifetime flick.

Local bands ready to rock at fund-raiser

Musician aiming high for local jazz festival
Jazzman Wycliffe Gordon keeps a wish list for Augusta on his desk in New York City.

At the Movies: 'Two Weeks Notice'

Ramblin' Rhodes: Heloise is full of great hints and a love for country music
The last person I expected to run into recently at the National Association of Broadcasters meeting in Seattle was Heloise, the helpful hints columnist.

At the Movies: 'The Wild Thornberrys Movie'

Club calendar
Ready for a night on the town? Here's a sampling of specials and entertainment at area nightclubs.

Why not get in mood for a blue Christmas?

Mini reviews
Movies are listed with theater location through Thursday. Reviews without star ratings are from critics other than Roger Ebert. Listings are subject to change. Call theaters for times. For an online movie guide, check out augusta.com/movies.

'The Lord of the Rings' takes in $26 million on opening day

At the Movies: 'Gangs of New York'
There are two ways to approach Martin Scorsese's "Gangs of New York": Go in hoping for a masterpiece given the talent involved and the film's scale, or enter skeptically considering its delayed release and the director's bickering with Miramax chief Harvey Weinstein over the final cut.

Musician aiming high for local jazz festival

At the Movies: 'Two Weeks Notice'
How could Hugh Grant and Sandra Bullock - two masters of dry wit and physical comedy - end up in such a flat movie?

At the Movies: 'Gangs of New York'

'Chicago' receives a leading 8 Golden Globe nominations
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- The movie musical "Chicago" received a leading eight Golden Globe nominations Thursday, while the film version of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel "The Hours" got seven and the comedy "Adaptation" had six.

Video watch

Local bands ready to rock at fund-raiser
If all you want for Christmas is a rock show full of local bands at an affordable price, you must be on Santa's good list this year.

The contenders

The contenders
While it's unlikely that the Southern states will be seeing a white Christmas, the weather has, as the song goes, gotten frightful. Well, at least relatively frightful.

At the Movies: 'Antwone Fisher'

Musician, activist finds joy in the little things
There is a simplicity to Jesse Colin Young's life that belies his place in music history.

'Chicago' receives a leading 8 Golden Globe nominations

Video watch
JUST OUT: Ballistic: Eks vs. Sever and Trapped

Club calendar

Musician, activist finds joy in the little things

Troupe mixes pageant with dining experience

Judge: Historic Bonds ball must be sold, proceeds split
SAN FRANCISCO -- The two fans who claimed ownership of Barry Bonds' record 73rd home run ball were ordered by a judge Wednesday to sell the ball and split the money, worth perhaps more than $1 million.

Judge: Historic Bonds ball must be sold, proceeds split

Christmas cards lead to sticky situations

Aidan Jacob Grayson

Jaden Isaiah Tanner

Kaleb Zachary Johnson

Madyliene Grace
Jeff Winsett and Kimberly Sizemore, both of North Au

Halei Ranae Burke
Bobby and Bridget Burke of Grovetown announce the birth of a daughter, Halei Ranae Burke, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2002, at University Hospital. Grandparents are Mr. and Mrs. Albert Hall and Sheila Taylor, all of Grovetown, and Larry Burke of Wrens.

Aidan Jacob Grayson
Adam Grayson and Desiree Rath, both of Omaha, Neb., announce the birth of a son, Aidan Jacob Grayson, Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2002, at Immanuel Hospital. Grandparents are Larry Rath and Lori Rath, both of Omaha, and Bruce and Georgi Grayson of Martinez.

Summer Victoria Dyches
Toasha Ann Dyches of Warrenville announces the birth of a daughter, Summer Victoria Dyches, Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2002, at University Hospital. Grandparents are Nancy Kneece and Tony and Jannette Babb, all of Warrenville.

Xavier Dantrez Jackson

Dylan Bryce Campbell

Brett London Zerbel
Darryl an

Morgan Elizabeth Newsome

Jasmine Tamera Yancey
Randy and Carmen Yancey of Augusta

Destiny Claudette Burns

Ashantee Renae Wright
Gerald and Tameka Wright of Augu

Alexandria Kaylen Gilpin

Michael Wang
Zhuoqiang and Rongjie Wang of Augusta announce the birth of a son, Michael Wang, Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2002, at University Hospital.

Lydia Jean Muns

Ansleigh Victoria Hash

Emily Kathleen Crenshaw

Brianna Alexandria Lee

Dylan Bryce Campbell
Brian Campbell and Elizab

Justin Michael Turno
David M. and Jennifer B. Turno of Ridge Spring

Jasmine Tamera Yancey

Jaden Isaiah Tanner
James Tanner and Tab

Courtney Dianne Johnson

Patrick Brian Sanders
Brian and Eric

Robert De'-Michael Gibson
Chris

Jordan Marie Richardson
Mr

Khalil Denico Johnson

Elysia Jadyn Rains
Nicholas and Farah Rains of Augusta announce the birth of a daughter, Elysia Jadyn Rains, Monday, Nov. 18, 2002, at St. Joseph Hospital. Grandparents are Steve and Vickie McCarter of Louisville, Ga., and Philip and Dreama Rains of Duluth, Ga.

Halei Ranae Burke

Morgan Elizabeth Newsome
James C. and Katherine S. Newsome of Thomson announce the birth of a daughter, Morgan Elizabeth Newsome, Friday, Nov. 15, 2002, at University Hospital. Grandparents are Phil and Rebecca McBeath of Grovetown and Juston and Jean Newsome of Thomson.

Michael Wang

Patrick Brian Sanders

Alexandria Kaylen Gilpin
Larry and Shannon Gilpin of Lincolnton, Ga., announce the birth of a daug

Jordan Marie Richardson

Destiny Claudette Burns
E. Claude and Wanda Burns

Madyliene Grace

Lydia Jean Muns
Frank and Kim Muns of Beech Island an

Justin Michael Turno

Zackory Kylan McCord
Mr. and Mrs. Corey McCord of Grovetown announce the birth of a son, Zackory Kylan McCord, Saturday, Nov. 30, 2002, at St. Joseph Hospital. Grandparents are Mr. and Mrs. Theodis Hudson Jr. of Wrens and Mr. and Mrs. George T. McCord of Evans.

Brett London Zerbel

Jason Emery Little
Jim and Amy Little of Evans announce the birth of a son, Jason Emery Little, Friday, Sept. 27, 2002, at University Hospital. Grandparents are Mr. and Mrs. Rodney Ledford of Evans and Mr. and Mrs. James Little of Martinez.

Summer Victoria Dyches

Brianna Alexandria Lee
Vaughn and Rena' Lee of Augusta announce the birth of a daughter, Brianna Alexandria Lee, Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2002, at University Hospital. Grandparents are Barbara W. Johnson and Willie and Mamie Lee, all of Augusta, and the late Alexander Johnson.

John Lewis Stallings III

Kaleb Zachary Johnson
Kevin and Kim J

Emily Kathleen Crenshaw
Jeff and Rosalind Crensh

Khalil Denico Johnson
Karessa Denise Johnson of Augusta announces the birth of a son, Khalil Denico Johnson, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2002, at Doctors Hospital. Grandparents are Mr. and Mrs. Travalus Lawson of Augusta.

Elysia Jadyn Rains

Courtney Dianne Johnson
Richard D. and Cynthia D. Johns

Jason Emery Little

Xavier Dantrez Jackson
Patrice Denise Jackson of Augusta announces the birth of a son, Xavier Dantrez Jackson, Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2002, at University Hospital. Grandparents are Mr. and Mrs. Earnestine Gathers and Albert Jackson, all of Augusta.

Zackory Kylan McCord

John Lewis Stallings III
Mr. and Mrs. John L. Stallings Jr. of North Augusta announce the birth of a son, John Lewis Stallings III, Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2002, at University Hospital.

Ashantee Renae Wright

Ansleigh Victoria Hash
Vict

Robert De'-Michael Gibson

Teen dies after attempting stunt he'd seen in movie
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- A teenager died while practicing what police say was a stunt he and a friend had seen in the movie "Jackass."

Odds and Ends
QUINCY, Mass. -- Waitress Sarah Nilsen got an early Christmas present in the mail this week: A $10,000 tip from one of her regular customers.

Lost bus driver pleads guilty to disorderly persons charge
MARLBORO, N.J. -- A frustrated bus driver who got lost and then told his passengers "I'm taking you to the Taliban" pleaded guilty to a disorderly persons charge - after getting lost again on the way to court.

Maddux will stay in Atlanta
ATLANTA - Greg Maddux will wear an Atlanta Braves uniform for at least one more year.

Maddux will stay in Atlanta

Maddux stays with Braves, accepts arbitration offer
ATLANTA -- Greg Maddux decided to stay with the Atlanta Braves, accepting the team's offer of salary arbitration Thursday.

Maddux stays with Braves, accepts arbitration offer

Maddux mum on his arbitration plans
NEW YORK -- Greg Maddux has been offered arbitration by the Atlanta Braves. Whether the four-time NL Cy Young Award winner accepts their offer, however, is up in the air.

College break hurts stores
ATHENS - Janna Leech, a waitress at Mellow Mushroom, complains that during this time of year, tips dry up and her wallet empties out.

Chain stores muscle in on roadside sellers of Christmas trees
PORTLAND, Maine -- Operating a roadside Christmas tree stand has never been a huge moneymaker. Now that the big boys have moved into the market it's even tougher.

Leading economic indicators rise

Business briefs

Study: Georgia's economic recovery lackluster

Stocks fall on war fears

College break hurts stores

Downtown group picks new leaders

Leading economic indicators rise
NEW YORK -- A stabilizing job market and higher stock prices helped push up a key measure of U.S. economic activity in November, a sign the nation's financial situation is strengthening, an industry group reported Thursday.

Stocks fall on weak earnings from Micron Tech

Slow growth on horizon, UGA reports

Chain stores muscle in on roadside sellers of Christmas trees

Business briefs
INDIANAPOLIS - Conseco Inc. said Wednesday it plans to make a quick exit from bankruptcy court protection, even though a group of creditors who were late to the table threaten to delay and potentially tangle the insurance and finance company's reorganization.

Wal-Mart loses case on unpaid overtime

Funeral home obtains new facility in merger
In a move participants say is planned to increase efficiency in a changing economy while reducing operating expenses, two family-owned funeral homes in Aiken are merging their operations.

Conseco files for Chapter 11 protection
INDIANAPOLIS -- Insurance and finance company Conseco Inc., facing $6.5 billion in debt and a federal investigation of its accounting practices, filed for Chapter 11 protection in the third-largest bankruptcy in U.S. history.

Radio stations will end shows
Clear Channel Communications plans to drop local morning shows from at least two of its Augusta stations next year.

Wal-Mart loses case on unpaid overtime
PORTLAND, Ore. - Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, forced employees in Oregon to work unpaid overtime between 1994 and 1999, a federal jury found Thursday in the first of dozens of such lawsuits across the country to come to trial.

Stocks fall on war fears
NEW YORK -- War fears overshadowed encouraging economic reports Thursday on Wall Street, sending stock prices lower for a third consecutive day. The Dow Jones industrials fell to their lowest level in nearly six weeks.

Conseco files for Chapter 11 protection

Study: Georgia's economic recovery lackluster
ATLANTA -- Georgia has been hit hard over the past year in three business sectors it depends on - air travel, conventions and tourism - and the ripple effects will continue to damage the economy next year, researchers reported Wednesday.

Business briefs
People's Community Capital Corp. announced a 5 percent stock dividend to shareholders of record as of Jan. 15, with payment on Jan. 29.

Stocks fall on weak earnings from Micron Tech
NEW YORK -- Disappointing earnings from Micron Technology prompted a sell-off on Wall Street Wednesday, as investors unloaded stocks on renewed anxiety about the strength of corporate profits.

Downtown group picks new leaders
Rick Toole's focus as chairman of Main Street Augusta next year is to get the members to start thinking about making long-range plans.

Slow growth on horizon, UGA reports
ATLANTA - Perhaps it would be best to turn extra calendar pages and skip 2003, considering the economic news presented Wednesday by the University of Georgia.

Whitehurst, Tigers preparing for Texas Tech
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Clemson quarterback Charlie Whitehurst doesn't mind being the other passer at the Tangerine Bowl - for now.

Whitehurst, Tigers preparing for Texas Tech

Marshall prevails

LSU facing early game

Watson fined $100 for traffic violations

LSU facing early game
BATON ROUGE, La.-- As a country kid, Domanick Davis is an early riser. But as a football player he doubts that he's ever played a game at 10 a.m. - not even a neighborhood game in the yard.

Price takes over proud, troubled Alabama program

Watson fined $100 for traffic violations
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Former South Carolina and South Carolina State running back Derek Watson was fined $100 for his traffic arrest in Richland County three months ago.

Whitehurst, Tigers preparing for Texas Tech

Price takes over proud, troubled Alabama program
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Joe Namath escorted Mike Price past the portraits of Alabama's All-Americans and into a packed room adorned with bouquets of red poinsettias, with Paul Bryant Jr. looking on.

Marshall prevails
MOBILE, Ala. - Byron Leftwich threw four touchdown passes in his final game to lead Marshall to a 38-15 victory over Louisville in the GMAC Bowl on Wednesday night.

Whitehurst, Tigers preparing for Texas Tech
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Clemson quarterback Charlie Whitehurst doesn't mind being the other passer at the Tangerine Bowl - for now.

Jaguars pull out victory

Afghan women need help

Chaos in Venezuela

Consider the source

One valuable tool

In the know
French's mustard is letting the fans of the spicy yellow condiment choose what the new flavor should be in the Next Great Mustard Flavor Contest. One grand-prize winner will earn a trip for four to the 10th Annual Napa Valley Mustard Festival in Napa Valley, Calif.

'The Two Towers' packs punch with $26 million opening day
LOS ANGELES -- The fellowship of the ring may have fractured on screen, but it's alive and kicking in theaters.

Architects show plans for site of trade center
NEW YORK - Skyscrapers even taller than the 110-story World Trade Center towers and memorials ranging from twin reflecting pools to a "Park of Heroes" are among the newest round of proposals for rebuilding ground zero.

Oscar wins heralded promising year for blacks on film
LOS ANGELES -- Halle Berry's tearful acceptance speech and Denzel Washington's nod to Sidney Poitier were just the beginning.

Aiken Prep teacher writes spirited history of chemistry
Physical chemistry is defined as the scientific analysis of the properties and behavior of chemical systems primarily by physical theory and technique.

Fishing report

Fishing tournament news

Fishing report
This is the time of year when low pressure systems bring bad weather into the area almost every week. Rain, icy conditions and high winds are among conditions present.

Fishing tournament news
Sponsoring a bass, crappie, catfish or other fishing tournament? Mail or fax your flyer or information to Fishing Editor, The Augusta Chronicle, P.O. Box 1928, Augusta, Ga. 30903-1928. Fax number: (706) 823-3408. Tournament reports must include first and last names of the participants, total numbers of fish caught and total weight of the catch.

Care is crucial for poinsettias
Q: I bought a few poinsettias for my home in early December last year. Unfortunately, they looked good only for a few days. I was so disappointed they didn't look good all the way up until Christmas. Have you got any suggestions for me for this year?

A visit from some big, strange guy at Christmas

Woods, Sorenstam win writers' awards
HOUSTON -- Tiger Woods was voted PGA Tour player of the year Wednesday by the Golf Writers Association of America, the fourth consecutive year he has won the award.

Woods braces for longest layoff to rehab knee
Tiger Woods is giving up golf for swimming and a stationary bike, part of rehabilitation from knee surgery that will force him to take the longest break of his pro career.

Men's golf investigated at University of Minnesota
MINNEAPOLIS -- The University of Minnesota is investigating whether members of the men's golf team received extra benefits in possible violation of NCAA rules.

Woods braces for longest layoff to rehab knee

Woods, Sorenstam win writers' awards

Dublin coach exceeds all expectations

State title game will mark end of an era at Thomson

Screven passes seating challenge

Prep basketball scores

State title game will mark end of an era at Thomson
THOMSON - He's hooked up to an oxygen bag much of the time now, and he must wait a second to catch his break between words.

Bulldogs, Gamecocks show support
The two teams are interlocked by more than coaches, mentors and state championship games.

Screven passes seating challenge
SYLVANIA, Ga. - Screven County won all 10 regular-season games, clinched the Region 2-AAA title for the third straight year and earned home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

Dublin coach exceeds all expectations
Dublin coach Roger Holmes faced a tough task when he accepted his job.

Lemieux leads Eastern Conference All-Star voting
NEW YORK -- Mario Lemieux leads the NHL in scoring and the Eastern Conference in fan voting for the All-Star game.

Lidstrom leads NHL All-Star voting
NEW YORK -- Red Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom leads the NHL in fan voting for the All-Star game.

Lemieux leads Eastern Conference All-Star voting

Lidstrom leads NHL All-Star voting

Christmas cards lead to sticky situations
I'm stumped on stamps.

Lott resigns as majority leader
WASHINGTON -- Bowing to pressure from his fellow senators and the Bush White House, Sen. Trent Lott resigned his position as Senate majority leader on Friday after his colleagues openly began lining up behind Tennessee Sen. Bill Frist.

Jackson only cares about publicity

Burk wrong about National's donations

Moral outrage on Capitol Hill

Be honest: Our nation is segregated

Can't Democrats take a joke?

'The Two Towers' packs punch with $26 million opening day

Architects show plans for site of trade center

Aiken Prep teacher writes spirited history of chemistry

Lynx road report
Friday: vs. Columbus Cottonmouths, Columbus Civic Center, 7:30 p.m.

Lynx's Yetman to play in All-Star Game again
When Lynx forward Patrick Yetman made the trip to Trenton, N.J., for the East Coast Hockey League All-Star Game as a rookie last season, he got a surprise visit from his parents and brother who came down from Newfoundland to see him play.

Lynx's Yetman to play in All-Star Game again

Board approves animal control
JEFFERSON, Ga. - Stray dogs just appear in Jack and Sonja Nelson's Jackson County neighborhood. By their count, dozens have shown up over the past few years, and without an animal control ordinance, the neighbors have had few choices. They could adopt the dog, find someone else to adopt it, dump it in someone else's yard or kill it.

Belushi takes date for show at Masters Gala
Television and film star Jim Belushi will perform at the National Science Center's Fort Discovery Masters Gala 2003 in April.

Subscriber of the day
Today's subscriber of the day is Joy Hilton of Waynesboro.

Pupil catches error in English textbook
While learning a lesson about making words, a South Columbia Elementary School second-grader found that the book's publisher had made a mistake.

Lott resigns as majority leader

Subscriber of the day

Graduation speaker creates debate at UGA
ATHENS, Ga. - U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, no stranger to controversy, will deliver the graduation speech at the University of Georgia School of Law in May - a decision that has stirred debate among professors and students.

Lighting Up
It may be a small town, but at Christmastime downtown Grovetown could be considered the bright and morning star of the area.

Sheriff warns of rules on taxis
Sheriff Ronnie Strength will re-educate deputies on the taxi cab ordinances and tell them to look for violations. Violators will be stopped and given misdemeanor tickets.

Family with ill father needs holiday help
With her husband recently diagnosed with cancer, a North Augusta mother wants to make Christmas special for her family.

School helps parents learn English

Across the area

Facility unites to earn honor

Purse snatcher escapes officer
An Augusta woman was dragged down Broad Street when a man on a bicycle grabbed her purse Wednesday morning, authorities said.

Across South Carolina

News you can use
DEC. 19, 1985 Henry T. Armstrong of Boy Scout Troop 504 has been named Scoutmaster of the year for the Netami District of the Boy Scouts of America. Troop 504 is sponsored by Tabernacle Baptist Church.

Officers prepare dispatch records

Across Georgia
DULUTH - A man was killed near Gwinnett Place mall Thursday in a shooting that police said was related to a dispute over a woman.

Plan helps potential home buyers
The Augusta Neighborhood Improvement Corp. wants to extend its work citywide by helping people with bad credit own their own homes.

Review could bring change

Smallpox planning continues in Georgia

Board evaluates airport director
Out of a possible 340 points on his job performance evaluation, Airport Director Ken Kraemer received 225 - or a 66 percent rating - from the Augusta Aviation Commission at a Thursday meeting of the board.

Across the area

Town residents argue over spelling of name

Parents travel often to help son's recovery

Soldiers return for Christmas
BRUNSWICK, Ga. - Tech. Sgt. Craig Tutorow had a surprise for his two young children - Daddy's home, wearing his desert camouflage and a Santa hat.

Board aims to slow bond vote

Subscriber of the day
Today's subscriber of the day is Diane Moore of Augusta.

DUI death rates differ across line
All it takes is a drive across the Savannah River into South Carolina to greatly increase your chance of being killed in a drunken-driving crash.

Across the area
An Augusta grandmother was charged Thursday with leaving her grandson alone in a vehicle last weekend, authorities said.

Town residents argue over spelling of name
HAYNEVILLE, Ga. - On his death bed, William "Hoke" Harper had only one wish: that someone would correct his hometown's misspelled name.

Educators given gifts from A to Z
As area schools let out for the holidays, tiny Santas have been busy, and it's gifts from the heart that mean the most, teachers say.

Rants and Raves
TO THE LANEY High School Football Team. As a 53-year-old Augustan, I went to the Dome to follow our team. I want you to know you made Augusta proud. My brother-in-law just happens to be a scout for the Falcons and I see a lot of Falcons on that field. Well done, young men!

Across the area
Two Aiken men were arrested Wednesday on charges of robbing an Aiken convenience store.

Across Georgia
ATLANTA -Gov.-elect Sonny Perdue said Wednesday he will adopt a business model for managing government when he takes office next month, appointing a chief financial officer and a chief operating officer for the state.

Thieves take boxes of gifts from charity
Police are looking for an Augusta Grinch who broke into a Catholic charity and hauled away 14 boxes of new toys and gifts destined for needy families.

Across South Carolina
YORK, Pa. - Two white men convicted in the fatal shooting of a young black Aiken woman during the city's 1969 race riots were sentenced Wednesday to more than four years in prison.

Purse snatcher escapes officer

Smallpox planning continues in Georgia
Digital photos of suspicious rashes examined by "smallpox warriors" could be part of Georgia's response to an outbreak of the disease, a state official said. It's one of the ideas being considered as officials prepare plans for pre-emptive smallpox vaccinations.

Rants and Raves
TO THE LANEY High School Football Team. As a 53-year-old Augustan, I went to the Dome to follow our team. I want you to know you made Augusta proud. My brother-in-law just happens to be a scout for the Falcons and I see a lot of Falcons on that field. Well done, young men!

Board aims to slow bond vote
A bond referendum that would pay for nearly $200 million in capital improvement projects, including a new performing arts center and a regional sports arena, could go before voters as early as March, but it probably won't, Augusta commissioners said Wednesday after a capital improvement work session.

Family with ill father needs holiday help

Track owner broke zoning rule
AIKEN - Jack Wetzel, a prominent Aiken horseman recently nominated to the city's Historic Preservation Commission, violated the board's guidelines in late March, according to city records obtained this week.

Across South Carolina
GREENVILLE - A lawyer for a strip club says Greenville County deputies ticketed two of the businesses using part of a law that no longer exists.

Fund helps teenager replace stolen bike

Graduation speaker creates debate at UGA

School helps parents learn English
ATHENS, Ga. - Rafaela Delgado used to be afraid to talk to her co-workers. Shy and unsure of her grasp of English, the Mexican native - who moved to Athens eight years ago - avoided talking to people, afraid she wouldn't be able to understand them and they wouldn't be able to figure out what she was trying to say.

Facility unites to earn honor
Cindy Lunsford is not sure what her reward will be for trying to help coordinate a regional cancer effort for Augusta, Athens and points between.

News you can use
DEC. 20, 1975 AIKEN - Aiken County Commissioner Forest Kirby said Friday he plans to discuss with officials in Columbia on Monday the Hill-Burton funds granted to the Aiken County Hospital.

Review could bring change
A $75,000 independent review of North Augusta's park system, which could result in major changes to Riverview Park, will begin in January with citizen surveys, Parks and Recreation Director Bob Brooks said Thursday as he walked through Bunting Park.

Board approves animal control

Subscriber of the day

Parents travel often to help son's recovery
It's been exactly a year since Robert Levin took his last photograph.

Across Georgia

Judge allows pets to remain
AIKEN - On the day a judge could have decided to euthanize some of her dogs, a prominent Aiken horse trainer agreed to keep them from hurting others.

Soldiers return for Christmas

Workers await new complex
Construction on the new Broad Street offices is expected to last a year.

Across the southeast

Parents of four want special Christmas
Financial problems have created hardships for an Augusta family.

Board evaluates airport director

Fund helps teenager replace stolen bike
The hug seemed to last forever.

Rants and Raves
I HAVE A RANT for all the parents who want to prosecute these boys who are two to four years older than their daughters who are getting pregnant. If these parents would watch these kids, they wouldn't be sexually active.

Across the southeast
NEWTON, Miss. -A tornado smashed into stores jammed with holiday shoppers and flipped over trucks Thursday, injuring about 50 people, at least two critically, authorities said.

Schrenko broke rule on travel
ATLANTA - Even though her department has banned out-of-state travel, Georgia School Superintendent Linda Schrenko spent state money on a trip to New Orleans a month before leaving office.

Officers prepare dispatch records
AIKEN - The Aiken County Sheriff's Office has received an anticipated letter seeking public records for the past six months on its dispatch response times.

Lighting Up

Holiday Closings
The following holiday schedules have been announced for Christmas and New Year's:

Plan helps potential home buyers

News you can use

DUI death rates differ across line

Judge allows pets to remain

Belushi takes date for show at Masters Gala

Parents of four want special Christmas

News you can use

Genetics work in favor of Thomson quarterback
THOMSON - He doesn't share his name, but people in Thomson know the connection.

A visit from some big, strange guy at Christmas
It was Christmas. Well, technically, the night before Christmas. I was the only one still up.

Radio team rocks Thomson
Across McDuffie County on that late November evening, car stereo woofers and Walkman headphones shook like they never shook before.

Gift ideas abound for racing fans
HAMPTON, Ga. - Pam Harris thought the gift shop at Atlanta Motor Speedway had everything to satisfy the most ardent race fan. She was wrong.

Yates put son in charge in restructuring

Drivers get a fraction of revenues
ATLANTA - The NASCAR Winston Cup Series is ranked first in attendance and second in television ratings among all professional sports.

Melling Racing suspends operations
CONCORD, N.C. -- Melling Racing suspended operations Thursday because it couldn't find a sponsor for the upcoming season.

Melling Racing suspends operations

Yates puts son in charge of NASCAR operation
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Robert Yates made sweeping changes to his NASCAR operation Wednesday, putting his son in charge of daily operations and moving crew chief Todd Parrott into management.

Yates put son in charge in restructuring
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Car owner Robert Yates made sweeping changes to his NASCAR operation on Wednesday, putting his son in charge of the daily operations and moving crew chief Todd Parrott into management.

Yates puts son in charge of NASCAR operation

Gift ideas abound for racing fans

Drivers get a fraction of revenues

Extra practices toughen up USC Aiken
AIKEN - Heading into Thursday's Phillips 66 Christmas Classic, USC Aiken held five practices in three days.

Jaguars, Pacers ready for event
Starting today, Augusta State and USC Aiken will play their final basketball games before Christmas this week as the teams will kick off the two-day Christmas Classic.

Jaguars pull out victory
AIKEN - Chills, fever and everything associated with the flu couldn't stop Gary Tuell from coaching Thursday night.

Injuries, lack of playing time wear on Duckett

No Titans in Pro Bowl, but a Bengal and two Texans make it

Vick, Brooking voted to NFC team

Fantasy Football: Time to pick 2002's best, worst

Walls may be near end of line at Carolina

Mr. Thomas Bruno    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Lt. Gregorie Taitague    (GROVETOWN, Ga.)
Ms. Shirley Glisson    (SYLVANIA, Ga.)
Mr. Jerry Brown    (HEPHZIBAH, Ga.)
Mrs. Johnnie Patterson    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Mr. Harold Blumberg    (SAVANNAH, Ga.)
Mr. Max Eugster    (LOUISVILLE, Ga.)
Mr. Warren Yates    (MARTINEZ, Ga.)
Ms. Myrtice Ayer    (WINDSOR, S.C.)
Mr. Aldreco Booker    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Mrs. Martha Evans    (EVANS, Ga.)
Mr. Luther Blalock Jr.    (NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C.)
Mrs. Phrontis Heath    (AIKEN, S.C.)
Mr. Cecil Bishop    (ADRIAN, Ga.)
Mrs. Mildred Cowart    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Mr. Myron Fogel    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Mr. Raymond Askew    (SPARTA, Ga.)
Skidasha Wright    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Ms. Latonya Garnett    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Mr. John Small    (AIKEN, S.C.)
Mr. Hayse Weeks    (NEW ELLENTON, S.C.)
Mrs. Ruby Williams    (THOMSON, Ga.)
Ms. Martha Floyd    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Mr. Ralph Futch Jr.    (SYLVANIA, Ga.)
Mr. Charles Sikes    (BLYTHE, Ga.)
Mrs. Esther Walters    (DETROIT, Mich.)
Mr. Bobby Nelson Sr.    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Mrs. Mildred Cowart    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Mrs. Thelma Levesque    (DEARING, Ga.)
Ms. Betsy Cullars    (LINCOLNTON, Ga.)
Mrs. Pearl Cannady    (SWAINSBORO, S.C.)
Mr. Melvin Cummings    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Mr. Jeffrey Cushman    (BILOXI, Miss.)
Ms. Marie Thomas    (BATH, S.C.)
Mrs. LeeAnn Ferguson    (LINCOLNTON, Ga.)
Mrs. Frances Shurley    (THOMSON, Ga.)
Mrs. Frances Green    (NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C.)
Ms. Eurdis Oglesby    (BROOKLYN, N.Y.)
Mr. Jessie Givens    (GIRARD, Ga.)
Mr. George Miller Jr.    (HARLEM, Ga.)
Mr. Luther Blalock Jr.    (NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C.)
Mr. Jack Mercer    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Mr. Charles Yates    (MARTINEZ, Ga.)
Mrs. Leola McKie    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Mrs. Mamie Turnage    (HEPHZIBAH, Ga.)
Mrs. Thelma Levesque    (DEARING, Ga.)
Mr. Michael Dorland    (AIKEN, S.C.)
Mr. Kevin Kimball    (GROVETOWN, Ga.)
Mrs. Alethia Edwards    (CLAXTON, Ga.)
Mrs. Edith Johnson    (MILLEN, Ga.)
Mr. John Small    (AIKEN, S.C.)
Mr. David James    (MARTINEZ, Ga.)
Mrs. Frances Shurley    (THOMSON, Ga.)
Ms. Latonya Garnett    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Mr. Grant Orr Jr.    (WILLISTON, S.C.)
Mrs. Zona Gibson    (WRIGHTSVILLE, Ga.)
Mrs. Eula Mitchell    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Mrs. Frances Green    (NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C.)
Mr. Douglas Linyear    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Mrs. Julia Guillebeau    (LINCOLNTON, Ga.)
Featured obituary: Mrs. Johnnie Patterson
Johnnie Patterson's devotion to others was evident in her work in the Environmental Service Department at University Hospital.

Mrs. Zady Hampton    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Mr. Zelema Bussey    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Mrs. Edith Johnson    (MILLEN, Ga.)
Mr. Atwood Carter    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Ms. Martha Floyd    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Ms. Betsy Cullars    (LINCOLNTON, Ga.)
Mr. Herman Fulmer    (GAINSVILLE, Ga.)
Mr. Michael Dorland    (AIKEN, S.C.)
Mrs. Johnnie Jean    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Mrs. Martha Evans    (EVANS, Ga.)
Jason Feutral    (HARLEM, Ga.)
Mr. Atwood Carter    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Mrs. Zady Hampton    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Mr. David James    (MARTINEZ, Ga.)
Mr. Lucius Hunter    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Ms. Dorothy Johnson    (SYLVANIA, Ga.)
Mr. Willie Huff Sr.    (TIGNALL, Ga.)
Mrs. Delores Harrison    (HEPHAZIBAH, Ga.)
Mr. Forest McCorkle    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Ms. Shirley Glisson (SYLVANIA, Ga.)

Mr. Douglas Linyear (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mr. Aldreco Booker (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mrs. Zona Gibson (WRIGHTSVILLE, Ga.)

Mrs. Johnnie Jean (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mrs. Mildred Cowart (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mrs. Thelma Levesque (DEARING, Ga.)

Mr. David James (MARTINEZ, Ga.)

Mr. Grant Orr Jr. (WILLISTON, S.C.)

Mrs. Julia Guillebeau (LINCOLNTON, Ga.)

Mrs. Frances Shurley (THOMSON, Ga.)

Ms. Dorothy Johnson (SYLVANIA, Ga.)

Mr. Forest McCorkle (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mrs. Eula Mitchell (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mr. Jack Mercer (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mrs. Martha Evans (EVANS, Ga.)

Mrs. Edith Johnson (MILLEN, Ga.)

Mr. Charles Sikes (BLYTHE, Ga.)

Mrs. Pearl Cannady (SWAINSBORO, S.C.)

Mr. Luther Blalock Jr. (NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C.)

Mrs. Phrontis Heath (AIKEN, S.C.)

Mr. Lucius Hunter (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mr. Michael Dorland (AIKEN, S.C.)

Ms. Marie Thomas (BATH, S.C.)

Mrs. Zady Hampton (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mr. Max Eugster (LOUISVILLE, Ga.)

Mr. Atwood Carter (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Ms. Betsy Cullars (LINCOLNTON, Ga.)

Ms. Betsy Cullars (LINCOLNTON, Ga.)

Mrs. Zady Hampton (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mr. Willie Huff Sr. (TIGNALL, Ga.)

Mr. David James (MARTINEZ, Ga.)

Mr. George Miller Jr. (HARLEM, Ga.)

Mr. Jeffrey Cushman (BILOXI, Miss.)

Mrs. Frances Shurley (THOMSON, Ga.)

Ms. Latonya Garnett (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mrs. Delores Harrison (HEPHAZIBAH, Ga.)

Mr. Zelema Bussey (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mr. Warren Yates (MARTINEZ, Ga.)

Mr. Kevin Kimball (GROVETOWN, Ga.)

Mr. Bobby Nelson Sr. (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mr. Jessie Givens (GIRARD, Ga.)

Mr. Raymond Askew (SPARTA, Ga.)

Mr. Luther Blalock Jr. (NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C.)

Mrs. Alethia Edwards (CLAXTON, Ga.)

Ms. Eurdis Oglesby (BROOKLYN, N.Y.)

Mr. Atwood Carter (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mrs. Frances Green (NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C.)

Mr. Cecil Bishop (ADRIAN, Ga.)

Mrs. Martha Evans (EVANS, Ga.)

Mr. Charles Yates (MARTINEZ, Ga.)

Ms. Martha Floyd (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mr. Ralph Futch Jr. (SYLVANIA, Ga.)

Mr. John Small (AIKEN, S.C.)

Jason Feutral (HARLEM, Ga.)

Mrs. Esther Walters (DETROIT, Mich.)

Ms. Latonya Garnett (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mrs. LeeAnn Ferguson (LINCOLNTON, Ga.)

Mr. Hayse Weeks (NEW ELLENTON, S.C.)

Skidasha Wright (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mr. Thomas Bruno (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mrs. Edith Johnson (MILLEN, Ga.)

Ms. Myrtice Ayer (WINDSOR, S.C.)

Mr. Melvin Cummings (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mrs. Johnnie Patterson (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

One valuable tool
What was once derided as "Star Wars" when President Reagan first proposed a missile defense system in the mid-'80s is back on the front burner. The critics are not happy. They thought this project, for all practical purposes, was dead and buried.

Jackson only cares about publicity
This is what angers me: I am a white woman who has plenty of black friends. But I have to say that the Rev. Jesse Jackson is nothing more than a publicity pig. He goes where he thinks there might be a little, if not a lot, of publicity for him. Christy Long, Aiken, S.C.

Burk wrong about National's donations
Regarding "Burk responds to Augusta shelter" in the Dec. 17 Chronicle, Martha Burk reported that her organization's groups have and are working with domestic-violence issues. This is good news! R. Lee Smith Jr., Augusta

Afghan women need help
There may be no creature that walks the Earth that has had a tougher time of it in the past few decades than the endangered Afghan woman.

Moral outrage on Capitol Hill
It would seem that Sen. Trent Lott's, R-Miss., praise of Sen. Strom Thurmond, R-S.C., has landed him in quite a fix. His future as majority leader is in serious trouble. It is altogether possible he will be ousted as leader. Herbert A. Edney IV, Augusta

Consider the source
From the spin being put on the recent Pew Global Attitudes Project survey, you'd think that America might want to fold up its embassies all over the world and slink back home, a defeated and shamed occupying force.

Be honest: Our nation is segregated
OK. Enough is enough. I have never seen so much meaningless, inconsequential and utter unimportant bashing by the media as I have in the past week concerning Sen. Trent Lott's, R-Miss., statement that we would be better off today if Strom Thurmond had won the presidency in 1948. Now since Sen. Thurmond, R-S.C., ran on a segregationist ticket, the label "racist" is being attached to Mr. Lott. Will Tinney, Aiken, S.C.

Can't Democrats take a joke?
Look all around. Look over your shoulder and make sure no one's there. Now that you're sure, go ahead and tell your joke... Charles G. Newton III, Thomson, Ga.

Chaos in Venezuela
As if the United States doesn't have enough hot spots to deal with in the Mideast and the Korean Peninsula, now along comes Venezuela. The country is in chaos, on the verge of civil war.

Overtime

Sampras to play in 2003; will skip Australian Open

Radio team rocks Thomson

Forrest remains focused on bout

Forrest among nominees for fighter of the year

Forrest among nominees for fighter of the year
NEW YORK -- Welterweight champion Vernon Forrest's two wins over Shane Mosley earned the Augusta native a nomination for fighter of the year by the Boxing Writers Association of America.

Forrest remains focused on bout
Vernon Forrest has been named the World Boxing Hall of Fame Fighter of the Year. USA Today presented him with a similar award, and The Ring magazine will honor him as its Fighter of the Year.

United States to play Japan in Seattle
CHICAGO -- The U.S. soccer team will play Asian champion Japan in an exhibition game at Seattle on March 29.

Sampras to play in 2003; will skip Australian Open
LOS ANGELES -- Pete Sampras plans to play in 2003, after skipping the Australian Open.

ATP will start testing for EPO in 2003
Tennis players must take random blood tests to check for the banned endurance-enhancing substance EPO starting next month.

Overtime
The Augusta-Aiken Swim League finished third of 19 teams last weekend at the Georgia Senior State Championships for its best result in the event.

Prep basketball scores
Here are scores from area prep basketball action.

Vick, Brooking voted to NFC team
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- When they arrived at work early Thursday morning, Michael Vick and Keith Brooking had their minds on the Detroit Lions. Neither player expected an early Christmas present.

Walls may be near end of line at Carolina
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Wesley Walls was in a hurry, anxious to hit some stores Wednesday to buy a Christmas present for his wife and in no mood to discuss his future at Carolina.

No Titans in Pro Bowl, but a Bengal and two Texans make it
NEW YORK -- The Tennessee Titans just got new incentive in their quest for an NFL title.

Injuries, lack of playing time wear on Duckett
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- After playing just one snap in the second half of the Atlanta Falcons' overtime loss to Seattle last week, first-round draft pick T.J. Duckett was struggling to keep his spirits up.

Fantasy Football: Time to pick 2002's best, worst
The next to last week of the NFL season is this weekend, and that means fantasy season is basically over.

Sauerbrun wants big money with second Pro Bowl selection
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- With his selection to his second-straight Pro Bowl, Todd Sauerbrun proved Thursday he's one of the best punters in the league.

Genetics work in favor of Thomson quarterback

Bringing photos back from the dead
Digital cameras have added new capabilities for photographers, but also new ways to mess up. Press the wrong button and the camera will happily erase the prize-winning image you had captured a moment earlier.

World's fastest computer spawns high-tech race
YOKOHAMA, Japan -- It's a machine so fast it performs more computations per second than there are stars in our galaxy. It's so large it's housed in a building the size of an aircraft hangar.

Transplant drug could improve success of cancer radiation therapy
FRANKFURT, Germany -- Researchers have discovered that a drug normally used to prevent the rejection of kidney transplants might improve radiation therapy by keeping cancer tumors from growing between doses.

FDA approves new childhood vaccine combination
WASHINGTON -- A new childhood combination vaccine that will reduce the number of required vaccines for infants from nine to three has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

Internet access coming soon at 35,000 feet
NEW YORK -- For many busy people, a long airplane flight is one of the last places in life with guaranteed down time, away from the tentacles of e-mail and requests from the office.

Study suggests diuretics be first choice to treat high blood pressure
CHICAGO -- An old-fashioned diuretic is as good, if not better, than some newer, more expensive medicines for treating high blood pressure and preventing its complications, according to a government-sponsored study released Tuesday.

Richt on the run in New Orleans

Georgia wins center's return
ATHENS, Ga. - Steven Thomas missed seven games, but it felt like a whole lot more.

Georgia wins center's return

Bulldogs expect best from 'Noles

Richt on the run in New Orleans
ATHENS, Ga. - Competition might not keep Georgia coach Mark Richt from taking a familiar jog with some of his former colleagues in New Orleans.

Dogs have respect for Seminoles despite four losses and Rix

Bulldogs expect best from 'Noles
ATHENS, Ga. - Of all the lessons Bobby Bowden imparted to Mark Richt during Richt's 15 years at Florida State, the ability to spin a negative into a positive might have been the most valuable.

Dogs have respect for Seminoles despite four losses and Rix
ATHENS, Ga. -- Even though Florida State is a four-loss team that has to break in a new starting quarterback, Georgia coach Mark Richt said Wednesday the Seminoles have the respect of the fourth-ranked Bulldogs.

Gamecocks rout Louisiana-Lafayette
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Jocelyn Penn scored 25 points and No. 18 South Carolina used its strong, tiring defense to hold Louisiana-Lafayette to two field goals in the opening half for a 70-41 victory Wednesday night.

Gamecocks rout Louisiana-Lafayette

Odds and Ends

Lost bus driver pleads guilty to disorderly persons charge

Internet access coming soon at 35,000 feet

FDA approves new childhood vaccine combination

Bringing photos back from the dead

World's fastest computer spawns high-tech race

Transplant drug could improve success of cancer radiation therapy

Study suggests diuretics be first choice to treat high blood pressure