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.

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.

Discrepancies in credit reports can be harmful

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 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.

Stocks show little direction in holiday week trading

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.

Stores attract shoppers with longer hours, discounts

Bad investments in 2002 give hope to better new year

Consumer spending rises slightly in November

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.

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.

Uncertain holidays for those facing cutoff of jobless benefits

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.

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.

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

Tigers at play

Tangerine Bowl notebook

Quarterback leads Texas Tech rout

Clemson tops Cincinnati

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.

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

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.

Tire Bowl exceeding Charlotte's expectations

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.

S.C.'s scary DUI stats

Charles Fraser

Painful step forward?

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

'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.

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

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

'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.

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.

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.

Masters invitations in the mail to 87 players

Prep basketball scores

Thrashers recall goalie from AHL

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

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

Criticisms of verdicts undermines juries

Readers restore his faith in people with bicycle saga

Jackson's mission not worthwhile

'Yes, Virginia ...'

Peacemaker correlates with Christmas

Celebrate season by helping homeless

Arts play key role to progress

Teen wants prayers in schools

Check store policy before taking gifts back

Barbie gets hipper, trendier to fight the competition

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

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

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

Dancing in boxers will get you noticed

Workers watch for more than waste

'The Osbournes': Bad comedy, bad taste

Billy Mays enjoying the fruits of his TV pitches

Across the Southeast

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.

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

Across South Carolina

Rants and raves
Comments from readers:

News you can use

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

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

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.

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.

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.

Commissioners criticize Kolb

Across Georgia

Across the area

Police find suspects in holdup

New drug may help patients' motion

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.

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.

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.

Inmate program spreads holiday

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

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
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.

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.

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.

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.

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

As temperatures drop, fire risk increases

Georgia's Bethlehem is growing

Christmas Day jackpot grows to $280 million

Dancing and ringing

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.

Program offered

LeBlanc accusers have few regrets

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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.

Crowded skies, not highways, await travelers

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.

Taylor takes greater role within party

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.

Woman hopes to see her grandchildren smile

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

News you can use

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

Woman watches over neighborhood cleanup

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.

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

Subscriber of the day

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.

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 South Carolina

Subscriber of the day

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

Pacers top Hawks

Davis placed on injured list with torn Achilles tendon

Second concussion could sideline Christian permanently

Steelers clinch AFC North championship

AFC playoff spots still up for grabs

Falcons tame Lions

Buchanan, Bolden hope to be healthy for Cleveland

Civil rights group likes NFL diversity statement, wants stiffer penalties

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

Mr. Edwin Coleman (WRIGHTSVILLE, Ga.)

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

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

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

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

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

Mrs. Sarah Wright (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

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

Mrs. Muriel McPeake (EVANS, Ga.)

Mr. Alfred Bryant (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mrs. Louise Durshimer (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mrs. Gwendoline Martin (WASHINGTON, Ga.)

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

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

Mrs. Dolores Kukoly (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mrs. Rosalia Holcomb (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mr. John Rudolph (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mrs. Sarah Wright (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Miss Angel Freeman (CUMMINGS, S.C.)

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

Mr. Alfred Bryant (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mrs. Kathryn Guillebeau (ATLANTA, Ga.)

Mrs. Beatrice Courtney (EVANS, Ga.)

Mrs. Nellie Adams (THOMSON, Ga.)

Mrs. Sara Palmer (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Ms. Shirley Walker (WARRENTON, Ga.)

Mr. Neal Amason (LINCOLNTON, Ga.)

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

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

Mrs. Johnnie Jean (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mrs. Marie McCoy (HEPHZIBAH, Ga.)

Mr. Neal Jones Jr. (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mr. Reginald Watkins (ALEXANDER, Ga.)

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

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

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

Mrs. Esther Jones (MARTINEZ, Ga.)

Ms. Tonia Jones (STATESBORO, Ga.)

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

Mr. Reginald Watkins (ALEXANDER, Ga.)

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

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

Mr. Charles Moye (RIDDLEVILLE, Ga.)

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

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

Mr. Billy Harrison (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

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

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

Mr. Earl Edwards (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

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

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

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

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.

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

'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.

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

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.

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

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

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.

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?

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

Sew inspiring

Audio best

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:

Artist's corner

'Towers' is visually stunning

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.

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

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

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.

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

Christmas is a time to give thanks

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

Having self-confidence can help boy attract girls

Question of the week

Your style

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

'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.

Xtreme calendar

My ride

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

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.

Odds and Ends

Guinea pigs destroy home in Michigan

Scientists study how brains change over time

Pushing through pain

Lawyer-in-a-box

Techbits: cool laptops, unused computing power

Judge: Microsoft must put Sun's Java in Windows