Pinatas prove to be problem inside the house

Odds and Ends
CHESTER, Va. -- Police are looking for a man with a familiar description who robbed a drug store at gunpoint: long white hair and beard, a white-fur-trimmed red suit and hat, black boots, prominent belly.

Guinea pigs destroy home in Michigan
ROYAL OAK, Mich. -- Hundreds of guinea pigs did so much damage to a house that authorities called in a demolition crew to raze it.

Stores attract shoppers with longer hours, discounts
NEW YORK -- Retailers who have watched with dismay as the pre-Christmas rush hasn't produced big bucks are now hoping customers will show up in the next few days - or soon after the holiday season.

Government report praises IRS performance in 2002
WASHINGTON -- The Internal Revenue Service did a good job handling tax returns and refunds this year despite complications caused by tax law changes and the terrorist and anthrax attacks, a report commissioned by Congress finds.

Investors should remain wary about fund mergers

Uncertain holidays for those facing cutoff of jobless benefits
PHILADELPHIA -- A Christmas tree is on display in Linda Bissinger's home, but she expects few presents to appear beneath it. Though eager for seasonal cheer, she heads into the holidays angry, uncertain and out of work.

Bad investments in 2002 give hope to better new year
NEW YORK -- If 2002 felt worse than Wall Street's previous two losing years, there's a good reason. Stock investors really had no place to hide.

Stores prepare for return rush
Although today ushers in a final push of last-minute gift buyers, it doesn't mean retailers expect things to slow down when they reopen Thursday.

Stores attract shoppers with longer hours, discounts

Stocks show little direction in holiday week trading
NEW YORK -- Stocks closed mixed in quiet pre-holiday trading Monday as mildly encouraging economic news helped offset retailers' reports of disappointing sales.

Consumer spending rises slightly in November

Bad investments in 2002 give hope to better new year

Stocks show little direction in holiday week trading

Investors should remain wary about fund mergers
NEW YORK -- As many investors fled stocks for safer havens in 2002, mutual fund firms have scrambled to liquidate poor-performing funds. While the wave of closures is touted as cost-saving, investors should be wary of what's happening to their money.

Stores prepare for return rush

Discrepancies in credit reports can be harmful
WASHINGTON -- Just how accurate are those credit reports that agencies keep on you? A study by advocacy groups suggest that many have errors or omissions that can hurt your chances of getting a good interest rate on a loan.

Discrepancies in credit reports can be harmful

Uncertain holidays for those facing cutoff of jobless benefits

Business briefs
NEW YORK - Citigroup became the first financial institution to quantify its potential damages from a massive settlement with securities regulators, saying Monday that it will take a charge of $1.5 billion against its fourth-quarter earnings.

Consumer spending rises slightly in November
WASHINGTON -- Early bird holiday shopping helped to lift consumer spending in November by the largest amount in four months. That, plus solid income growth, underscored economists' belief that consumers will keep spending, supporting the economic recovery.

Quarterback leads Texas Tech rout
ORLANDO, Fla. - Tommy Bowden sighed after Monday's Tangerine Bowl, his holidays officially ruined.

Clemson tops Cincinnati

Tangerine Bowl notebook

Tigers at play

Quarterback leads Texas Tech rout

Clemson tops Cincinnati
ANDERSON, S.C. -- Edward Scott scored all of his 20 points in the second half as Clemson continued its best start in seven seasons with a 58-51 victory over Cincinnati on Sunday.

Tigers at play
ORLANDO, Fla. - This is what bowl week should be about. Clemson knows it better than anyone.

Tangerine Bowl notebook
ORLANDO, Fla. - To watch Clemson struggle through the first half of Monday's 55-15 loss to Texas Tech in the Tangerine Bowl required a strong stomach and gallons of Maalox.

Tire Bowl exceeding Charlotte's expectations
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Traffic is bad, a hotel room can't be found within a 20-mile radius and a ticket to the Tire Bowl is almost impossible to find.

Tire Bowl exceeding Charlotte's expectations

S.C.'s scary DUI stats

Charles Fraser

Painful step forward?

Barbie gets hipper, trendier to fight the competition
NEW YORK -- Forget pink ballgowns and feather boas. This Barbie's got attitude.

Check store policy before taking gifts back
At one time or another, everyone has gotten that hideous sweater from Aunt Hilda for Christmas.

In the know
A little girl uses a wish to aid her struggling songwriter father in Fox's Santa Baby, which airs Tuesday at 8 on WFXG-TV (Channel 54). Gregory Hines, Patti LaBelle and Vanessa Williams provide the voices.

Sci Fi Channel's audience taken to new heights 'Taken'
NEW YORK -- "Taken" took the Sci Fi Channel to basic-cable leadership during its two-week run - and even beat broadcast networks UPN and the WB.

Billy Mays enjoying the fruits of his TV pitches
PALM HARBOR, Fla. -- Out in his three-car garage, next to the brand new black Bentley, TV pitchman Billy Mays keeps a long cabinet stocked with the cleaning products that are making him a household name.

Actor has fun making rounds on NBC's hospital comedy 'Scrubs'
NEW YORK -- There are many ways that "Scrubs" mirrors the healing profession.

Workers watch for more than waste
Joyce Lynne of Augusta has been busy this holiday season. So busy that she forgot to put her trash can by the curb for more than a week.

Dancing in boxers will get you noticed
DETROIT -- Pulling away from the airport rental car company, baseball cap on his head, cellular headset in his ear, Vaughn Lowery didn't expect to be recognized.

'The Osbournes': Bad comedy, bad taste
NEW YORK -- When it comes to the Osbournes, my favorite member of that family is 19-year-old Aimee.

'Two Towers' rings up $102 million haul in first five days
LOS ANGELES -- Hobbits are lords of the box office again. "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers" took in $62 million in its opening weekend and $102 million since debuting last Wednesday.

Masters invitations in the mail to 87 players

Masters invitations in the mail to 87 players
The final world golf ranking of the year was published Monday and set in motion a holiday tradition like no other: Masters invitations are in the mail.

Prep basketball scores

Thrashers recall goalie from AHL
TORONTO -- The Atlanta Thrashers have recalled goaltender Milan Hnilicka from Chicago of the AHL.

Thrashers recall goalie from AHL

Pinatas prove to be problem inside the house
In our family, we remember it as the Christmas of the Pinata.

Jackson's mission not worthwhile

Celebrate season by helping homeless

Criticisms of verdicts undermines juries

Teen wants prayers in schools

Peacemaker correlates with Christmas

Arts play key role to progress

'Yes, Virginia ...'

Readers restore his faith in people with bicycle saga

Actor has fun making rounds on NBC's hospital comedy 'Scrubs'

Billy Mays enjoying the fruits of his TV pitches

'The Osbournes': Bad comedy, bad taste

Sci Fi Channel's audience taken to new heights 'Taken'

Workers watch for more than waste

Dancing in boxers will get you noticed

'Two Towers' rings up $102 million haul in first five days

Check store policy before taking gifts back

Barbie gets hipper, trendier to fight the competition

As temperatures drop, fire risk increases

Commissioners criticize Kolb
Augusta City Administrator George Kolb was on the hot seat Monday when some commissioners criticized his response to their order to help end an impasse between the city's primary ambulance contractor, Rural/Metro Ambulance, and its competitor, Gold Cross Ambulance, over mutual aid.

News you can use
DEC. 23, 1959 Gov. Ernest Vandiver came here Tuesday afternoon and found himself "on the fence." Actually two of them.

Subscriber of the day

Makeup artist offers magic touch
AIKEN - Four seventh-grade girls said they felt like princesses Monday as they experienced what it was like to be pampered Hollywood movie stars.

Taylor takes greater role within party
ATLANTA - For Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor, the days since the Nov. 5 elections have been a strange time.

Woman hopes to see her grandchildren smile
An Aiken grandmother wants her grandchildren to wake up smiling on Christmas morning.

Woman hopes to see her grandchildren smile

Across Georgia
EAST POINT -An East Point police officer and a motorist were killed Sunday in a hit-and-run accident while they scuffled on Interstate 285.

Crowded skies, not highways, await travelers

Program offered
A weight-management program, A Taste for Life, teaches how to live a balanced, healthy life from a Christian perspective.

Police find suspects in holdup

Georgia's Bethlehem is growing

Rants and raves
HIS IS A rave for J.K. Sabb, No. 5 for the Lucy Laney Wildcats. Thanks for four great years and congratulations to coach Eric Parker on a great season.

LeBlanc accusers have few regrets

Subscriber of the day
Eloise Porter of Augusta is today's subscriber of the day.

LeBlanc accusers have few regrets
If she had known beforehand how it would turn out, that Aaron LeBlanc would be acquitted of her accusation of rape, Amanda Revis still would have reported the crime to police and still would have spoken out publicly, she said.

New drug may help patients' motion
It might be writing his name or just walking in a straight line down the hallway. After 16 years of living with Parkinson's disease, Mike Lummen has learned to adjust and appreciate what he can do.

Across the area
A 14-year-old boy was charged Sunday with leading police on a chase that ended when a 1994 Ford Explorer overturned on Wheeless Road.

Woman watches over neighborhood cleanup

Inmate program spreads holiday
Sally and Latasha Heath haven't seen their mother, Marilyn, in more than a year.

Rants and raves
HIS IS A rave for J.K. Sabb, No. 5 for the Lucy Laney Wildcats. Thanks for four great years and congratulations to coach Eric Parker on a great season.

Across the area
A Fort Gordon soldier is under investigation by military police after he reported an assault but had injuries that appeared to be self-inflicted, Richmond County authorities said.

Dancing and ringing
Salvation Army bell ringer Joyce Ross dances around in front of Wal-Mart on Deans Bridge Road. Ms. Ross was at the store collecting donations for the charity Monday afternoon.

Police find suspects in holdup
Police had three men in custody Monday night after a morning holdup at Augusta VAH Federal Credit Union on Augusta West Parkway.

Across Georgia
DOUGLASVILLE - A woman and two young brothers were killed Sunday night in a car-truck wreck on Interstate 20 in Douglas County.

Across Georgia

Across South Carolina
CHARLESTON - A Dorchester County man has been charged with sexually assaulting a 9-year-old girl while holding her and three other boys hostage inside his home for two hours, authorities say.

New drug may help patients' motion

As temperatures drop, fire risk increases
Rose Hunter had no idea her world was being turned upside down this month while she was out shopping for a telephone.

Taylor takes greater role within party

News you can use

Christmas Day jackpot grows to $280 million

Inmate program spreads holiday

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

Dancing and ringing

Police look into home invasion
Three armed burglars wearing ski masks invaded an Augusta home during the weekend, terrorizing the woman who lived there and tying up her 21-year-old son, authorities said.

Christmas Day jackpot grows to $280 million
COLUMBIA - South Carolina lottery officials said Monday they expect more record ticket sales as the Christmas Day Powerball jackpot reaches an estimated $280 million.

Campaign makes galloping start
AIKEN - A joint fund-raiser involving the Aiken Center for the Arts and the United Way of Aiken County, aimed at generating $150,000, is off to a good start.

Across the Southeast

Across South Carolina
COLUMBIA -Two of every 1,000 students at the College of Charleston have reported being sexually assaulted in the past four years, according to a newspaper analysis.

Family problems keep grandmother from buying gifts
A Harlem mother and grandmother wants to make Christmas special for her family.

Woman watches over neighborhood cleanup
A newspaper article Camilla Goolsby read more than a decade ago has had the South Nellieville neighborhood resident working to keep her community clean ever since.

Across South Carolina

Crowded skies, not highways, await travelers
Prepare for a crowd at the airport this week, but on the road, travel officials say, you should have a little more room to maneuver this holiday season.

Across South Carolina

Norwood praises cadets at lunch
Current, former and future military leaders attended the annual Military Academy Special Christmas Luncheon held Monday by U.S. Rep. Charlie Norwood.

News you can use

News you can use
BACK IN TIME DEC. 24, 1952 Augusta City Council's Finance Committee voted yesterday to come to the rescue of University Hospital by turning over to the hospital $37,916 remaining in the city's 1952 appropriation for indigent care and recommending approval of a $275,000 bank loan to pay off past-due debts.

Commissioners criticize Kolb

Georgia's Bethlehem is growing
BETHLEHEM, Ga. - Robert Holman no longer feels as though he lives in the little town of Bethlehem.

Across the area

Across the Southeast
LAFAYETTE, La. -The serial killer tied to the deaths of three women near Baton Rouge struck again in the Lafayette area last month, authorities said Monday.

Subscriber of the day

Program offered

Subscriber of the day
Emolene Campbell of Augusta is today's subscriber of the day.

Rants and raves
Comments from readers:

Pacers top Hawks
INDIANAPOLIS -- Al Harrington scored a career-high 40 points, Brad Miller added 22 points and 11 rebounds and Ron Artest had 24 points as the Indiana Pacers beat the Atlanta Hawks 112-97 Monday night to become the first Eastern Conference team with 20 wins.

Davis placed on injured list with torn Achilles tendon

Pacers top Hawks

Davis placed on injured list with torn Achilles tendon
ATLANTA -- The Atlanta Hawks put guard Emanual Davis on the injured list Monday, two days after he tore his right Achilles tendon against Philadelphia.

Falcons tame Lions

Steelers clinch AFC North championship

Second concussion could sideline Christian permanently

Buchanan, Bolden hope to be healthy for Cleveland

AFC playoff spots still up for grabs

Civil rights group likes NFL diversity statement, wants stiffer penalties

Mr. Charles Moye    (RIDDLEVILLE, Ga.)
Mrs. Nellie Adams    (THOMSON, Ga.)
Mrs. Laura Wittschen-Brown    (SULLIVANS ISLAND, S.C.)
Rev. John Brown    (TRENTON, S.C.)
Mrs. Louise Durshimer    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Rev. John Brown    (TRENTON, S.C.)
Mrs. Dolores Kukoly    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Mr. Alfred Bryant    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Mrs. Charlotte Mance    (EDGEFIELD, S.C.)
Mr. Edwin Coleman    (WRIGHTSVILLE, Ga.)
Mr. David Haltiwanger    (WEST COLUMBIA, S.C.)
Mrs. Beatrice Courtney    (EVANS, Ga.)
Mr. Earl Edwards    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Mr. James Elam    (BELVEDERE, S.C.)
Mrs. Dollie Wilson    (NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C.)
Mrs. Ruby Elliott    (AIKEN, S.C.)
Ms. Shirley Walker    (WARRENTON, Ga.)
Mrs. Kathryn Guillebeau    (ATLANTA, Ga.)
Mrs. Ophelia Abney    (NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C.)
Mr. David Haltiwanger    (WEST COLUMBIA, S.C.)
Mrs. Sarah Wright    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Mr. Billy Harrison    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Mrs. Esther Jones    (MARTINEZ, Ga.)
Mrs. Rosalia Holcomb    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Mr. Ewart Brabham Jr.    (OLAR, S.C.)
Mr. Nathan Hutto    (GRANITEVILLE, S.C.)
Mr. William Fennell    (GROVETOWN, Ga.)
Mrs. Elester Jones    (NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C.)
Mr. Louis Mozone Jr.    (AIKEN, S.C.)
Mr. Neal Jones Jr.    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Mrs. Muriel McPeake    (EVANS, Ga.)
Ms. Tonia Jones    (STATESBORO, Ga.)
Mrs. Marie McCoy    (HEPHZIBAH, Ga.)
Ms. Emily Kaney    (WINDSOR, S.C.)
Mrs. Sherry McCall    (NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C.)
Mrs. Eva Landrum    (EDGEFIELD, S.C.)
Mr. Reginald Watkins    (ALEXANDER, Ga.)
Mrs. Charlotte Mance    (TRENTON, S.C.)
Mrs. Sarah Wright    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Ms. Marie Thomas    (BATH, S.C.)
Mr. Neal Amason    (LINCOLNTON, Ga.)
Mrs. Gwendoline Martin    (WASHINGTON, Ga.)
Mrs. Judith Maguire    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Mrs. Sara Palmer    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Mrs. Ophelia Abney    (NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C.)
Mrs. Thelma Robbins    (DENMARK, S.C.)
Mrs. Frances Bohler    (THOMSON, Ga.)
Mr. Irvin Stanley    (NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C.)
Mrs. Johnnie Jean    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Mr. Reginald Watkins    (ALEXANDER, Ga.)
Mr. George Bishop Jr.    (WARRENVILLE, S.C.)
Mrs. Sherry McCall    (NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C.)
Mr. Woodrow Toole    (HEPHZIBAH, Ga.)
Mrs. Alethia Williams    (FRONT ROYAL, Va.)
Miss Angel Freeman    (CUMMINGS, S.C.)
Mr. Anderson Smith    (LANGLEY, S.C.)
Ms. Mary Fallaw    (WILLISTON, S.C.)
Mr. John Rudolph    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Mr. Kenneth Walker    (COLUMBIA, S.C.)
Mr. Alfred Bryant    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Mr. Neal Jones Jr. (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mrs. Kathryn Guillebeau (ATLANTA, Ga.)

Mrs. Eva Landrum (EDGEFIELD, S.C.)

Mrs. Dollie Wilson (NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C.)

Mr. Earl Edwards (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mr. Irvin Stanley (NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C.)

Ms. Shirley Walker (WARRENTON, Ga.)

Mr. Louis Mozone Jr. (AIKEN, S.C.)

Mr. Kenneth Walker (COLUMBIA, S.C.)

Mrs. Beatrice Courtney (EVANS, Ga.)

Mr. Anderson Smith (LANGLEY, S.C.)

Mr. David Haltiwanger (WEST COLUMBIA, S.C.)

Mrs. Nellie Adams (THOMSON, Ga.)

Mrs. Elester Jones (NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C.)

Mr. George Bishop Jr. (WARRENVILLE, S.C.)

Rev. John Brown (TRENTON, S.C.)

Mrs. Sherry McCall (NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C.)

Rev. John Brown (TRENTON, S.C.)

Mrs. Ruby Elliott (AIKEN, S.C.)

Mrs. Marie McCoy (HEPHZIBAH, Ga.)

Mr. Reginald Watkins (ALEXANDER, Ga.)

Mr. David Haltiwanger (WEST COLUMBIA, S.C.)

Mrs. Sara Palmer (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mr. Reginald Watkins (ALEXANDER, Ga.)

Ms. Mary Fallaw (WILLISTON, S.C.)

Mrs. Sarah Wright (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mr. Alfred Bryant (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mrs. Esther Jones (MARTINEZ, Ga.)

Mrs. Ophelia Abney (NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C.)

Mrs. Muriel McPeake (EVANS, Ga.)

Mr. Nathan Hutto (GRANITEVILLE, S.C.)

Mr. John Rudolph (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mrs. Rosalia Holcomb (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mrs. Laura Wittschen-Brown (SULLIVANS ISLAND, S.C.)

Ms. Tonia Jones (STATESBORO, Ga.)

Mr. Charles Moye (RIDDLEVILLE, Ga.)

Mrs. Thelma Robbins (DENMARK, S.C.)

Mrs. Gwendoline Martin (WASHINGTON, Ga.)

Mr. James Elam (BELVEDERE, S.C.)

Mrs. Charlotte Mance (EDGEFIELD, S.C.)

Mr. Edwin Coleman (WRIGHTSVILLE, Ga.)

Mrs. Dolores Kukoly (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mrs. Sarah Wright (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Miss Angel Freeman (CUMMINGS, S.C.)

Mr. Billy Harrison (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mrs. Johnnie Jean (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mr. Neal Amason (LINCOLNTON, Ga.)

Mrs. Sherry McCall (NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C.)

Mrs. Louise Durshimer (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mrs. Ophelia Abney (NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C.)

Mr. Alfred Bryant (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Ms. Emily Kaney (WINDSOR, S.C.)

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

'Yes, Virginia ...'
Traditionally, it had been the Augusta Herald's custom at this time of the year to reproduce an editorial that appeared in the old New York Sun in 1897, and which has been handed down as a journalistic classic. The author was Francis Pharcellus Church, but it was not until his death in 1906 that the Sun revealed that the editorial came from his pen.

Readers restore his faith in people with bicycle saga
Since adulthood, the joy of Christmas for me has been the reactions of my sons, and now my grandchildren, on Christmas Day. This year is somewhat different. Wayne Johnson, Evans, Ga.

S.C.'s scary DUI stats
"Isn't that disgusting?" was Aiken County Coroner Sue Townsend's appropriate response on learning that South Carolina is tied with Louisiana and Montana for the highest rate of drunken-driving fatalities.

Jackson's mission not worthwhile
So, the Rev. Jesse Jackson - self-anointed mediator and peace activist - is coming to protest the Masters Tournament and "stir the pot," so to speak. Buford Thompson, North Augusta, S.C.

Peacemaker correlates with Christmas
Christmas is that special time of the year when Christians all around the world celebrate the birth of Jesus - the only one who can bring peace between man and God, and between man and man. More than 2,000 years ago, Jesus said, "Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God." (Matthew 5:9 KJV) Paul L. Cook, Augusta

Teen wants prayers in schools
I am 14 years old and attend John S. Davidson Fine Arts School. I decided that schools needed prayer after I learned it was illegal to have a religious discussion in the classroom, or even pray with a couple of your friends who are willing. I was furious. I believe people should have the right to pray or talk about God whenever they have the urge to. Heather Poole, Augusta

Painful step forward?
If a month ago you had been able to foresee Saturday's headline in the Jackson, Miss., Clarion-Ledger saying a "scandal" had brought down Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, you'd have wondered: Will it be a financial scandal? Will it be philandering? Will it involve a dead body?

Charles Fraser
It's easy to enjoy the fruits of human achievements while forgetting about the labor that brought them forth.

Arts play key role to progress
What a refreshing pleasure it is to see the promising plans for the Augusta area that include a new arena, performing-arts center and other important new constructions. It is good to see extensive research done, with planning that can point us toward a progressive journey and with hope toward an exciting future. Judith Goodwin, Evans

Celebrate season by helping homeless
When I was a child, I - like all other children - believed in Santa. As I sit here today, I can't help but wonder why, as adults, we lose the fantasy and become so self-absorbed that we lose sight of the true meaning of this holiday. Beverly Redmond, Warrenville, S.C.

Criticisms of verdicts undermines juries
I read - with disappointment - your article on Dec. 8 ("Man is cleared of rape charge," Metro section), concerning the Raymond Wayne Huffman trial. District Attorney Danny Craig and his staff must stop criticism of juries. We fight the issues in court under rules which protect fairness to both parties, but we should never fight in the media. Feeding the media with slanted interpretations and/or inaccurate information only demeans our cherished jury system. Mr. Craig's statement that "the evidence shows a very dangerous person has been released onto our streets" is a gross insult to the factual determination by the jury. Victor Hawk, Augusta

Overtime

Overtime

Overtime
Golden State forward Chris Mills was suspended for three games without pay on Sunday for fighting with Portland's Bonzi Wells after Friday night's game, going after him in the locker room and then blocking the Trail Blazers' bus.

Jury finds Oracle's radar illegal but no penalty imposed
AUCKLAND, New Zealand -- No penalty was imposed on Oracle of San Francisco on Tuesday, even though a jury ruled the syndicate broke America's Cup rules by using a sophisticated radar system during races.

Overtime
Deion Sanders was released by the Washington Redskins on Monday, clearing the first of several obstacles for him to play for the Oakland Raiders.

Prep basketball scores
Scores from Monday's prep basketball games.

Prep basketball scores
Scores from Sunday's games

Second concussion could sideline Christian permanently
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Falcons fullback Bob Christian will not play this weekend with a concussion and acknowledged Monday his career could be over.

Civil rights group likes NFL diversity statement, wants stiffer penalties
NEW YORK -- The civil rights group that helped initiate the NFL's recent push for minority hiring believes the league's new policy should have stiffer penalties.

Buchanan, Bolden hope to be healthy for Cleveland
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Left cornerback Ray Buchanan likely will return to his starting spot when the Atlanta Falcons visit Cleveland on Sunday.

Falcons tame Lions
ATLANTA - Warrick Dunn made four trips to the playoffs in five seasons with Tampa Bay. Helping the Atlanta Falcons reach their postseason goal is no different.

AFC playoff spots still up for grabs
There has never been anything like it: Only four of the 16 AFC teams have been eliminated entering the final week of the regular season.

Steelers clinch AFC North championship
TAMPA, Fla. -- The Pittsburgh Steelers made the Tampa Bay Buccaneers look like championship pretenders again.

New Jersey to require 'smart guns,' but technology not yet in place
TRENTON, N.J. -- New Jersey on Monday became the first state to enact "smart gun" legislation that would eventually require new handguns to contain a mechanism that allows only their owners to fire them.

Pushing through pain
CRAWFORDVILLE, Ga. - For Henry Heath, every movement is a triumph.

Lawyer-in-a-box
Nature sends fleas to irritate dogs and lawyers to irritate humans. In both cases, the pests are after blood, and while dogs can turn to flea-collars, there is, as yet, no effective lawyer collar.

Techbits: cool laptops, unused computing power
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Imagine a lighter, more powerful notebook computer that doesn't feel like it's burning up in your lap.

Scientists study how brains change over time
Scientists have found a way to track tiny features of individual brain cells in living mice, providing a glimpse at how brains change over time. In one case, they watched the animals' brains rewire after their whiskers were clipped.

Judge: Microsoft must put Sun's Java in Windows
BALTIMORE -- Microsoft must include rival Sun Microsystems' Java programming language in its Windows operating system, a federal judge ruled Monday, handing Sun a victory as it pursues a private antitrust case against Microsoft.

Georgia routs Appalachian State
ATHENS, Ga. - After Sunday's game, Appalachian State head coach Houston Fancher smiled and told Georgia's Jarvis Hayes that he was still 2-1 against him.

Gamecocks waste halftime lead
FORT COLLINS, Colo. - Ronnie Clark scored 17 of his 21 points in the second half as Colorado State remained unbeaten at home with an 81-67 victory over South Carolina Sunday.

Question of the week

My ride

Artist's corner

Audio best

Question of the week
What are you doing for New Year's Eve?

Having self-confidence can help boy attract girls
THIS WEEK'S PROBLEM: I'm an 18-year-old poet and I believe in treating girls right. How do I get a girl to move past the way I look and see the way I feel? - Augusta boy

Christmas is a time to give thanks
What does Christmas really mean?

My ride
THE FACTS: Sharla Hall, 18, a senior at Augusta Christian School

Xtreme calendar

Having self-confidence can help boy attract girls

'Towers' is visually stunning

Audio best
Weekly charts for the nation's best-selling recorded music as they appear in Billboard magazine. Platinum signifies more than 1 million copies sold; Gold signifies more than 500,000 copies sold:

Christmas is a time to give thanks

Artist's corner
Mark Eyrich, 17, is a junior at Alleluia Community School. He wrote this untitled poem, his first time writing, for a friend.

Sew inspiring

Your style

Xtreme calendar
New on video and DVD: Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever, starring Antonio Banderas and Lucy Liu; The Adventures of Pluto Nash, starring Eddie Murphy as a futuristic night club owner who refuses to sell his club to a space Mafia; and Trapped, starring Charlize Theron and Stuart Townsend as parents who turn the tables on their daughter's kidnappers.

'Towers' is visually stunning
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers is a phenomenal film. In some aspects, it surpasses director Peter Jackson's take on the first installment of J.R.R. Tolkien's trilogy, Fellowship of the Ring.

Your style
THE FACTS: Z'Andra Manning, 14, an eighth-grader at Langford Middle School.

Sew inspiring
When she was just a little girl, before her feet could even reach the pedals of her mother's sewing machine, Adrienne Mathues was determined to sew her own way.

Deadline extended to work on Lennon bus
If you've ever dreamed of working in a studio with music professionals, here's your chance.

Odds and Ends

Guinea pigs destroy home in Michigan

Lawyer-in-a-box

Techbits: cool laptops, unused computing power

Scientists study how brains change over time

Judge: Microsoft must put Sun's Java in Windows

Pushing through pain