Video watch

Rosy romances can turn thorny
Not to sound like a jaded cynic, but I'm not really a Valentine's Day fan. For me, the chocolates, flowers and softly lighted dinners that mark mid-February have always felt forced, as though couples are scrambling to fill some sort of annual romance requirement. So, while most couples are donating small slices of the children's college funds to confectioners and the greeting card industry, I plan on celebrating cinematically with a batch of the least-romantic movies imaginable. These movies eschew the soft-focus idealism of Hollywood heart-warmers in favor of harsher romance hells:

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

Standing ovations
The Tuesday Music Live concert at St. Paul's Episcopal Church features the Atlanta trio Cowboy Envy, which has a sound reminiscent of the Sons of the Pioneers and Riders in the Sky.

Video watch
JUST OUT: My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Possession, Brown Sugar, Swept Away, Full Frontal and 8 Women

Ramblin' Rhodes: Singer's popularity goes beyond Texas
Texas troubadour Robert Earl Keen says folks in his hometown of Bandera still don't know what he does for a living, although his national following includes the new governor of Texas and twins with close ties to the president.

'Reaper Calls' for mix of comedy and reality
The components are simple: an isolated cabin, two couples and a murderous heart. It's the recipe for a thousand murder mysteries that have come before.

Applause calendar
GET LISTED: Send your event or group's schedule, pricing and other information to Steven Uhles, The Augusta Chronicle, P.O. Box 1928, Augusta, GA 30903-1928. Send information by fax to 722-7403. Send e-mail to feature@augustachronicle.com. Please include a contact name and phone number.

At the Movies: 'Daredevil'
"Daredevil" is a dispassionate affair, buffed to a sheen throughout - from the digitally touched-up images to Ben Affleck's exquisitely tousled mop-top to the painstaking setup of a sequel in the final reel.

Mini reviews

'Les Mis' production seems tired
The touring production of Les Miserables, in residence at Bell Auditorium through Sunday, opened lock, stock and hydraulically

At the Movies: 'Daredevil'

Children will find magic in 'Enchanted Well'
Princes and princesses, a magician and a happy ending are the stuff Storyland Theatre is made of.

'Les Mis' production seems tired

Club calendar

Ramblin' Rhodes: Singer's popularity goes beyond Texas

At the Movies: 'The Pianist'
Adrien Brody's long, slender fingers make him an apt choice to play the title role in "The Pianist," but what one really takes away from the performance are his ceaselessly haunted eyes.

Applause calendar

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.

'Reaper Calls' for mix of comedy and reality

Band directors to play for students
The Savannah River Winds will flex their musical muscles tonight when they perform in honor of the teen musicians in the 10th District Honor Band.

At the Movies: 'The Pianist'

Shakespeare 'n' lust
The Augusta Theatre Company will do away with the kind hearts and carnations associated with Valentine's Day with a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream painted in earthy tones.

Children will find magic in 'Enchanted Well'

Rosy romances can turn thorny

Shakespeare 'n' lust

Jimenez, Ibanez settle, Beltran goes to hearing
TAMPA, Fla. -- Kansas City outfielder Raul Ibanez and Colorado closer Jose Jimenez settled their arbitration cases Thursday, and Royals outfielder Carlos Beltran went to a hearing.

Garcia wins; players and owners 2-2 in arbitration

Garcia wins; players and owners 2-2 in arbitration
TAMPA, Fla. -- Seattle pitcher Freddy Garcia was awarded the third-highest salary ever in arbitration when he won his case against the Mariners on Wednesday.

Jimenez, Ibanez settle, Beltran goes to hearing

Valentine's Day gifts come easier for some

Trevel Amon Tillman

Laurel Elizabeth Monroe

Brayden Joseph Benton
Robert and Barbara Benton of Augusta announce the birth of a son, Brayden Joseph Benton, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2003, at University Hospital. Grandparents are John Walls of Evans, Shirley Drake of Grovetown and Ronald and Barbara Benton of Augusta.

Jessica Lauren Matthews
Kevin Douglas and Karen Lee Matthews of Gloverville announce the birth of a dau

Trevel Amon Tillman
Elton Recardo Tillman Jr. and Tawanna Monique Tillman of North Augusta annou

Selena Lynn Lopez
April Lott

Hannah Nicole Rice

Zackary Phoenix Landrum
William Robert Landrum Jr. and Sh

Zackary Phoenix Landrum

Christopher Michael Williams Jr.
Christopher Michael Williams Sr. and Jackie Lynn Cooper, bo

Chance Anthony Whisnant
J

Brayden Joseph Benton

Ian Harris Hayes
John David and Amy Bartlett Hayes of Martinez announce the birth of a son, Ian Harris Hayes, Friday, Jan. 31, 2003, at University Hospital. Grandparents are Donna Pinyan of Warner Robins, Ga., and Mr. and Mrs. Ben Hayes of Blakely, Ga.

Hannah Nicole Rice
Lashanda Lott and Michael Rice, both of Grovetown, announce the birth of a daughter, Hannah Nicole Rice, Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2003, at Doctors Hospital. Grandparents are Tony and Donna Abrams of Grovetown and Conway and Tammy Rice of Blythe.

Jonathan Matthew Taylor Jr.

Selena Lynn Lopez

Brianna Nicole Garcia
Daniel and Debbie Garcia of Martinez announce the birth of a daughter, Brianna Nicole Garcia, Friday, Jan. 31, 2003, at St. Joseph Hospital. Grandparents are Mr. and Mrs. John Arzbach of Greenville, S.C., and Mary Ann Garcia of Charleston, S.C.

Katelyn Rose Beasley

Skylar Re'Gene Cunningham
Sam and Cheryl Cunningham of Hephzibah announce the birth of a daughter, Skylar Re'Gene Cunningham, Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2003, at St. Joseph Hospital. Grandparents are Joel and Janet Walker of Augusta and the late Sam and Susan Cunningham.

Laurel Elizabeth Monroe
Christopher J. Monroe and Sherry Melissa Morris, both of Graniteville, announce the birth of a daughter, L

Sophie Helena Crawford
Stephen B. and Lorin Anne Crawford of Augusta announce the birth of a daughter, Sophie Helena Crawford, Monday, Jan. 27, 2003, at Doctors Hospital. Grandparents are Loren and Carol Marsh of Augusta and Max and Beverly Crawford of Cohutta, Ga.

Copelyn Marie Hodges

Sarah Elizabeth Chester

Taylor Theron Brawn Hoar
James Hoar and Dana Baldridge, b

Bradly Fernando Carrillo
Fernando Carrillo and Ana Jimenez, both

Samuel Lane Tyler
C. Wyman Tyler III a

Kyrie Sierre-Lyonne' Williams
Chris and Nicole Williams of Augusta announce the birth of a daughter, Kyrie Sierre-Lyonne' Williams, Thursday, Jan. 30, 2003, at University Hospital. Grandparents are Ernest and Birda Bell and Thomas and Maxine Williams, all of Augusta.

Hayden Andrew Stemple
John and Heather Stemple of Evans announce the birth of a son, Hayden Andrew Stemple, Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2003, at St. Joseph Hospital. Grandparents are Mr. and Mrs. Martin Hoffman of Fairmont, W.Va., and Mr. and Mrs. Robert Stemple of Clarksburg, W.Va.

Jonathan Matthew Taylor Jr.
Jonathan and Christie Taylor of Augusta announce the birth of a son, Jonathan Matthew Taylor Jr., Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2002, at University Hospital. Grandparents are Susan Rhodes and David Taylor and Phylliss Mosley, all of Augusta.

Faith Marie Rawlins
Christopher and Am

JoiChanteyanna' Kamilah Imahi Jackson
Brian S. Freeman a

JoiChanteyanna' Kamilah Imahi Jackson

Copelyn Marie Hodges
Brandon Cl

Brianna Nicole Garcia

Katelyn Rose Beasley
John Lawten and Betty Joyce

Sarah Elizabeth Chester

Hayden Andrew Stemple

Sophie Helena Crawford

Jorja Natascha May

Skylar Re'Gene Cunningham

Chance Anthony Whisnant

Nicole Breen Price
Bill and Suzanne Price of Atlanta announce the birth of a daughter, Nicole Breen Price, Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2003, at Northside Hospital in Atlanta. Grandparents are Earll and Sue Waller and Bill and Barbara Price, all of Augusta.

Taylor Theron Brawn Hoar

Nicole Breen Price

Jessica Lauren Matthews

Faith Marie Rawlins

Samuel Lane Tyler

Bradly Fernando Carrillo

Brianna Rose Widener

Kyrie Sierre-Lyonne' Williams

Ian Harris Hayes

Brianna Rose Widener
Brian James Widener and Melissa Hope Summerall, both of Aug

Jorja Natascha May
Gene and Tammy May of Grovetown announce the birth of a daughter, Jorja Natascha May, Saturday, Jan. 18, 2003, at St. Joseph Hospital. Grandparents are Richard and Gertrude Lamont of Grovetown and Ronald and Mary May of Jackson.

Christopher Michael Williams Jr.

Odds and Ends
ATLANTA -- The new Georgia governor is ready to do something about government fat.

Bowling ball makes bad Valentine's Day gift
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- A survey conducted for Wal-Mart Stores found that men will spend 62 percent more on Valentine's Day gifts than women, but experts say that hardly means males are more romantic.

Glavine ready to put Braves in past
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Tom Glavine checked into camp with the New York Mets on Thursday and immediately found himself talking about his old team.

Braves begin spring training with unanswered questions
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - When you've been with the Atlanta Braves longer than any player in uniform, as John Smoltz has, you gain a unique perspective on things.

For the newest Braves, losing was getting old
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Roberto Hernandez and Robert Fick couldn't stop smiling. Paul Byrd and Ray King didn't want the day to end.

Surhoff agrees to minor league deal, invited to O's camp

New faces boost Braves pitching

Braves begin spring training with unanswered questions

New faces boost Braves pitching
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - As bullpen catcher Alan Butts strode across the clubhouse Thursday morning, he spotted Russ Ortiz unpacking a duffel bag. He offered a greeting that brought back not-so-pleasant memories of last October: "Thanks for beating our butts twice."

Glavine ready to put Braves in past

Fugitives from losing teams happy to join Braves
KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Atlanta Braves pitchers and catchers report for spring training Friday, and among them are at least four players who couldn't be happier to get camp started.

Fugitives from losing teams happy to join Braves

For the newest Braves, losing was getting old

Surhoff agrees to minor league deal, invited to O's camp
BALTIMORE -- Outfielder B.J. Surhoff returned to the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday, agreeing to a minor league contract that included an invitation to spring training.

National registry to block unwanted telemarketing calls coming this year, lawmakers say

South Carolina will try to collect internet sales taxes

Panel awaits dispute on tax
Persuading downtown property owners to levy a tax increase on themselves is not going to be an easy task, members of the committee looking to create a business improvement district acknowledged Wednesday.

Business briefs
Delta Air Lines and its subsidiary Atlantic Southeast Airlines will add 30 flights, more than 3,300 seats, between Augusta and Atlanta during Masters Week, company officials announced Thursday.

Business briefs
The Augusta Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau announced that more than 4,300 people are scheduled to attend area conventions, conferences and sporting events during February.

Candle makers turn coconuts into cash crop
Nestled next to the pink flamingos and bobbing hula dancers in Tiki Jim's Myrtle Beach, S.C., novelty stores, several quirky candles made from hollowed-out coconut shells sit, ready to be snatched up by tourists.

A global market

Hospital hands out life-saving devices
It's somewhat ironic that today, Tony Daniels will be learning what to do with a broken heart.

Candle makers turn coconuts into cash crop

Stocks trading lower following mixed retail sales news, on war jitters
NEW YORK -- A mixed retail sales report and Wall Street's fears of war with Iraq dragged stocks lower Thursday, extending the market's sell-off to a third day.

Stocks fall on war fears, Greenspan's testimony

Oil stocks decline further to 28-year low

Experts caution love can be costly

Hospital hands out life-saving devices

Fed member details optimism
ATHENS, Ga. - The U.S. economy likely will weather the current onslaught of economic woes and dodge the threat of deflation, said Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Roger W. Ferguson.

Stocks fall on war fears, Greenspan's testimony
NEW YORK -- Investors fell deeper into their morass of fear about terrorism and war with Iraq Wednesday, sending stocks lower for a second straight day.

A global market
Israeli vendor Peretz Blasberg holds a mirror for Jessica Whitten, 14, as her mother, Michele Whitten, puts on a necklace she bought Thursday at the Ramada Plaza Hotel. The hotel was host for TAL Tours' "Buy Israel Now" caravan. The group of Israeli merchants is on a 75-day, 45-city tour of the nation to stimulate Israel's struggling economy. The Augusta stop was sponsored by Watchmen Broadcasting Productions International.

South Carolina will try to collect internet sales taxes
CHARLESTON, S.C. -- While several large online retailers now are charging sales tax to residents of almost 40 states, South Carolina is not among them. Instead, the will try to collect sales tax from those companies on its own.

Experts caution love can be costly
All the single people without valentines today can take solace in at least one headache they don't have to worry about - the financial pitfalls of love.

Oil stocks decline further to 28-year low
WASHINGTON -- The nation's oil supply dropped another 4.5 million barrels last week, leaving inventories the lowest since 1975 and below what the industry considers necessary for smooth operation.

National registry to block unwanted telemarketing calls coming this year, lawmakers say
WASHINGTON -- A national "do-not-call" list intended to help consumers block unwanted telemarketing calls is moving closer to becoming reality and lawmakers say it will likely go into effect this year.

Greenspan praised by Democrats opposing Bush tax cuts
WASHINGTON -- Democrats praised Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan on Wednesday for criticizing President Bush's new round of $1.3 trillion in tax cuts as too expensive in light of soaring budget deficits. The White House, meanwhile, was pushing ahead with efforts to build support in Congress.

Customers show few signs of terrorist fears
The government may be on high alert, but some here are taking the warnings in stride.

Stocks trading lower following mixed retail sales news, on war jitters

Customers show few signs of terrorist fears

Governor backs bill to pay Nebraska football players
LINCOLN, Neb. -- Gov. Mike Johanns backs a legislative proposal to pay Nebraska football players.

Cornwell sets USC Aiken mark

Tennessee State's Phillips breaks barrier

No graceful way out

Political hypocrisy

Go for rail relocation

Connecting the dots

Reducing road risk

Family scrapbook
The Brownies from Troop 12 recently visited the residents at Morningside assisted living center.

From the editor
One of the great joys of my life is watching my kids accomplish something. Whether it's in sports or academics or some new skill, it's a fun to watch them try.

Top movies to cuddle by
Whether you are with your sweetie or your single friends, there's a slew of romantic flicks out there. So grab a pillow, some popcorn and take in one of these movies:

Surving the winter BLAHS
Maybe it hasn't happened yet, but it will: There will come a time this winter when the weather is awful, the kids are stir-crazy, and you feel like tearing your hair out.

The things kids say
If I've learned anything as a mom it's this: children call it like they see it! You've got a few goodies tucked away in your memory, I'm sure. Their first reference to a bad toupee, a seriously overweight person, or someone of a different race. It's innocent enough when they're little, but that can change quickly, can't it?

Books depict personal struggles
Black History Month is celebrated each year in February. The Children's Department is currently in the process of updating two booklists in celebration of this month. Don't limit yourself to reading these books in February; these are good reads for anybody any time of the year.

A box of Valentine's Day trivia
Roses, chocolates, cards to your sweetest. Romance comes alive every February 14. Sure, you know that life is like a box of chocolates, but just how much do you know about the holiday? Here's trivia for you.

Family calendar
Valentine's Day Disco Friday, February 14 This is an annual event for students ages 12-18 with valid student ID. Located at the Smith-Hazel Recreation Center, Aiken from 7-10 p.m. Cost is $3 per person. Please call (803) 642-7635 for details.

Simple and satisfying
How does one say, "I love you" to their family? I am a firm believer that it is not so much what we say, but what we do.

Tips for a romantic and memorable Valentine's Day
The Valentine's Day gift you choose for your loved one says a lot about your relationship, so give something that has real meaning to you both. Gifts that come from the heart don't have to be expensive. Since the traditional gifts of flowers or chocolates don't last, express your love in unique, memorable ways:

At the Movies: 'The Quiet American'
"The Quiet American" is the first film that Michael Caine shot after winning his second Academy Award in March 2000 for "The Cider House Rules."

Miramax roars back with huge nominees list
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- Miramax, whose aggressive strategizing helped heighten Hollywood's awards season to the intensity of a political campaign, once again is dominating the Oscars after a three-year dry spell.

'Adaptation' earns nomination for writer Kaufman
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- Donald Kaufman is a rarity among Academy Awards nominees this year or any year: He doesn't exist.

Comedy will hit episode No. 300
LOS ANGELES - The characters may be yellow but The Simpsons hasn't mellowed as it marks its 300th episode Sunday.

Tidbits and trivia from the Academy Award nominations
Trivia from this year's Oscar nominations:

Better loving through chemistry
This Valentine's Day, show your love the traditional way - with a good old box of theobromine mixed with some anadamide.

Special to air a different view of Michael Jackson interview
NEW YORK -- The Michael Jackson media wars continue, with Fox agreeing to air outtakes the singer selected from his controversial interview with a British journalist.

At the Movies: 'The Pianist'
Adrien Brody's long, slender fingers make him an apt choice to play the title role in "The Pianist," but what one really takes away from the performance are his ceaselessly haunted eyes.

Lake legend Shaw marks 80th

Fishing tournament news

Fishing report

Lake legend Shaw marks 80th
Tommy Shaw's 29-year memories of Clark Hill Lake, later called Clarks Hill and now called Strom Thurmond Lake include violent wind storms, high water levels and low water levels.

Fishing report
The fish are beginning to turn on at Lake Strom Thurmond as water level and surface temperatures begin to rise.

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.

Love will keep blooming
This Valentine's Day, give your love a Chrysler Imperial, French Perfume and French Lace without going into debt.

Plant a primitive garden

Red tips respond to heavy pruning
I have red tips growing along a fence row. I want to keep them as a privacy boundary but they have become very tall and will not fill in at the bottom. A friend told me to cut them back to about a foot above ground and they will bush out and grow new stems. Do you have any suggestions?

Plant a primitive garden
Dinosaurs are such popular reptiles these days that it seems appropriate to plan a garden in which they would feel at home. A number of plants whose leaves rustled at the swish of dinosaurs tails are still around today.

Red tips respond to heavy pruning

Love will keep blooming

Jackets fall to North Carolina State
RALEIGH, N.C. -- Levi Watkins scored a season-high 18 points and Julius Hodge's only field goal was a key one down the stretch as North Carolina State edged Georgia Tech 63-57 Wednesday night.

Childhood classmates fading from the picture

Sorenstam accepts invitation to play Colonial
FORT WORTH, Texas -- Annika Sorenstam accepted an invitation Wednesday to play in the Colonial, which would make her the first woman in 58 years to compete on the men's pro tour.

Jaguars remain second
The buzz around the Augusta State campus Wednesday was the Jaguars were about to be ranked No. 1 in Division I golf for the first time in school history.

Sorenstam accepts invitation to play Colonial

Tiger back - and all over the place

Els goes back to work after short break

Defending champ, three ex-winners commit to Heritage
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. -- Defending champion Justin Leonard and four-time Heritage winner Davis Love III have committed to this year's tournament, held at Harbour Town Golf Links in April.

Tiger back - and all over the place
SAN DIEGO -- The gallery crammed around the first tee and stood elbow-to-elbow on a clubhouse balcony to get a glimpse of Tiger Woods, playing in his first tournament Thursday since knee surgery two months ago.

Nicklaus looking to complete full-field Champions Tour event
NAPLES, Fla. -- Jack Nicklaus completed one tournament last year on the Champions Tour. Now that his bad back has improved, Nicklaus hopes to finish more events - and win them.

Nicklaus looking to complete full-field Champions Tour event

Els goes back to work after short break
PERTH, Australia -- After a short break in Bali, Ernie Els is back at work.

Els leads Johnnie Walker Classic

Els leads Johnnie Walker Classic
PERTH, Australia -- Ernie Els entertained thoughts of breaking 60. He settled for the lead.

School turns off ESPN deal for James

Prep girls statistics

Prep basketball scores

Prep boys statistics

Thomson sends Greenbrier home

Lady Panthers fall just short

Players of the week

New steps down as Tigers coach
Saying he - and the Washington-Wilkes football program - needed a change, Tigers coach Ross New said Wednesday he resigned from his position late last month.

Capitals rout Thrashers

Avs moving toward playoffs

Capitals rout Thrashers
ATLANTA -- Just four minutes into the game, the Atlanta Thrashers already had given up a 3-on-1 and a 2-on-1 - both times with Jaromir Jagr carrying the puck for Washington.

Avs moving toward playoffs
DENVER -- Ray Bourque's jersey hangs from the rafters, and he hasn't laced up skates since leading the Colorado Avalanche to a Stanley Cup title in 2001. His contributions, however, are unending.

Washington's air defenses strengthened
WASHINGTON -- Air defenses around the nation's capital have been strengthened amid a heightened terrorism alert and a warning from CIA director George Tenet that al-Qaida attacks could occur as early as this week, defense officials said Wednesday.

Prime Minister Tony Blair makes moral case for war against Iraq
LONDON -- Going to war with Iraq may be a better solution than continuing economic sanctions that will kill thousands of innocent people, British Prime Minister Tony Blair said Wednesday.

Air Force buys six new unmanned spy planes from Northrop Grumman
SAN DIEGO -- The Air Force is buying six of Northrop Grumman Corp.'s newest unmanned spy planes for $303 million, company officials said Tuesday.

Pentagon calls up nearly 40,000 more reservists
WASHINGTON -- A huge increase in the call-up of National Guard and reserve troops in the past week has pushed the number now serving in the counter-terror war to more than 12 percent of the total force, the Pentagon said Wednesday.

Key developments concerning Iraq
Developments in the Iraq crisis:

Man thought to be Osama bin Laden urges followers to back Saddam
DOHA, Qatar -- The purported voice of Osama bin Laden tells his followers to help Saddam Hussein fight Americans even though his government is of "infidels," words U.S. officials said showed the Iraqi leader's ties to the al-Qaida terror network.

U.N. inspectors to destroy first banned weapons
BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Chemical weapons experts trekked into the Iraqi desert on Wednesday to destroy their first batch of prohibited Iraqi arms under the new U.N. inspections regime, 10 leftover artillery shells filled with burning, disabling mustard gas.

U.S. plans to give Iraqis control of their country after ousting Saddam
WASHINGTON -- In case of war, the United States intends to oust Saddam Hussein and liberate Iraq, not occupy it, and then will turn over control of the country and its oil to Iraqis as soon as possible, administration officials told a Senate committee Tuesday.

Foreign Ministers of Russia, China, France to attend critical Security Council meeting on Iraq Friday
UNITED NATIONS -- The foreign ministers of China, France and Russia will return to the United Nations Friday to hear a crucial report from the chief weapons inspectors that will likely set the tone for a heated debate about war with Iraq.

Lawmakers denounce France, Germany in NATO dispute
WASHINGTON -- Angry lawmakers say U.S. allies have betrayed the United States and the NATO military alliance in a dispute over a possible war with Iraq.

More U.S. military women edging closer to combat positions
WASHINGTON -- Two months after settling into what she thought would be her dream job at Langley Air Force Base, security officer Nina Augustine got her rifle and shipped out.

Powell to confront critics of war with Iraq
WASHINGTON -- Secretary of State Colin Powell, on the eve of another faceoff at the United Nations over disarming Saddam Hussein, said Thursday the American people should be "prepared for a fairly long-term commitment" in Iraq.

Valentine's Day gifts come easier for some
How best to explain today's Valentine's Day?

Plants quarantined at Evans High School
The Georgia Department of Agriculture has quarantined hundreds of geraniums in Columbia County because the plants might be infected with a serious plant disease listed on the U.S. Department of Agriculture's bioterrorism list.

Their behavior will be remembered

Diversity a weakness?

Speak out against war before it's too late

Local government too often does more harm than good

Could Columbia disaster have been prevented?

Thankful to have Bush as our leader

Putting protest in perspective

Parkway should be renamed in Connell's honor

Grovetown police Nazi-like

Appalled by fellow senator's behavior

Representatives wrong to support Venezuelan leader

Special to air a different view of Michael Jackson interview

At the Movies: 'The Quiet American'

Better loving through chemistry

'Adaptation' earns nomination for writer Kaufman

Books depict personal struggles

At the Movies: 'The Pianist'

The things kids say

Comedy will hit episode No. 300

Miramax roars back with huge nominees list

Tips for a romantic and memorable Valentine's Day

A box of Valentine's Day trivia

Surving the winter BLAHS

Family scrapbook

From the editor

Top movies to cuddle by

Augusta Lynx Game Weekend
Friday: vs. Jackson Bandits, 7:35 p.m.

Former Lynx come calling

Lynx forward faces ECHL fine

Former Lynx come calling
More than 100 trades are made in the ECHL each year, and many end up more like a bitter divorce than an amicable parting of ways.

Lynx forward faces ECHL fine
Playing for a last-place team, Augusta Lynx center Andrew Williamson probably won't win his second MVP award this season.

Augusta Lynx Game Weekend

Pride crush Lynx

Pride crush Lynx
The Augusta Lynx ran into their two biggest nemeses Wednesday night: the Pee Dee Pride and themselves.

Across the area
Three sex offenders wanted in Richmond County for failing to register have been arrested.

Sanford open to charging Governor's school tuition
GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Gov. Mark Sanford says he would be open to allowing the two governor's schools in South Carolina to charge tuition to parents who can afford it.

Subscriber of the day

Athens proposes collection meters to target panhandlers
ATHENS, Ga. -- Pay a few cents into Athens parking meters and shop for a few hours without getting a ticket. Then add whatever pocket change is left to another meter and keep aggressive panhandlers away.

Computer glitch causes headaches for drivers, police
CHARLESTON, S.C. -- A glitch in a Division of Motor Vehicles computer system have caused problems for both drivers and police after it incorrectly flagged motorists as having suspended licenses, authorities say.

Doctor denies owning weapon
A former Martinez physician testified Wednesday that he had never seen the fully automatic assault rifle that investigators found at his home the day they discovered his wife covered in bruises.

Man is sought in theft of trailers, balloon

Men face murder charge
Three Augusta men serving prison terms for beating an elderly man now face murder charges.

Study faults medical schools

Army reservists head overseas
The second half of the Augusta-based 319th Transportation Company will deploy overseas today as part of the United States' war on terrorism. The first half left Wednesday morning from Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Ga.

Children in 'Les Miserables' must hit the books on road
Like many children, Justin Steinagle said his favorite part of school is the field trips, but these aren't your average field trips and he's not your average pupil.

Project map expands
New road projects could be coming to outlying areas of Augusta, transportation officials said Wednesday.

Across Georgia
JONESBORO -A suspicious device that prompted the evacuation of a suburban Atlanta high school Thursday turned out to be a container of hand cream with a kitchen timer attached to it.

Teenager gets out of detention center
Donna Luke gave her son a long, tight hug when he walked into the gatehouse Wednesday morning at the Augusta Youth Development Campus.

Rants and Raves
I AM CALLING about the guardrail recently installed on Windsor Spring Road in Hephzibah. I think we have a more serious problem now. I have seen boys walk on the top of that guardrail. God help them.

Crime labs face DNA backlog
As police increasingly rely on DNA evidence to find "whodunit," the demand for analysis of the biological samples has led to an overload at crime labs in some states.

News you can use

Fire inside closet brings early end to school day
Pupils at Morgan Road Middle School were sent home without lunch Wednesday afternoon after a suspicious fire in a utility closet spread smoke into classrooms and hallways.

Doctor cleared of gun charge

Decoy assists in robbery
A pair of thieves attacked and robbed an Augusta man of $5,000 by using a child as a decoy, a police report states.

Few leads in Lee County church fire

Officials respond to letter about jail
AIKEN - Problems inside the Aiken County Detention Center, detailed in copies of an anonymous letter to county and state officials, either have been remedied or are being investigated, officials said Wednesday.

Group promotes crime team
The Augusta area took a step Thursday in finding a new way deal with sexual-assault crimes.

1776 Walton locket returns to Augusta
A small locket that decorated the neck of one of the city's most famous residents more than two centuries ago has returned to Augusta.

Sheriff invites people to visit
AIKEN - For the second time in two weeks, interim Aiken County Sheriff Jody Rowland announced a policy change in his office.

Across the area
A Fort Gordon soldier was charged with impersonating a Georgia Highway Patrol officer early Wednesday after deputies found him while investigating a possible vehicle theft, authorities said.

Senate passes bill that raises penalty for elder abuse
ATLANTA -- A bill that would raise the penalty for abusing senior citizens from one year up to five was passed unanimously in the Senate Wednesday.

School board foresees higher taxes
Another round of state budget cuts has left school administrators reeling, predicting a second consecutive year of tax increases.

House approves budget
ATLANTA - After vowing to do all they can to avoid raising taxes, members of the Georgia House overwhelmingly passed a midyear budget Thursday that could end up requiring a tax increase.

Subscriber of the day
Today's subscriber of the day is John Nixon of Augusta.

Some show little love for Valentine's Day
Valentine's Day is the holiday of love, to be sure. It's also the holiday that many singles - with ever-increasing zest - love to hate.

Council plans fee increase on backyard garbage pickup
AIKEN - Richard Graybill has enjoyed the city's backyard garbage pickup for six years.

Across the area

Across Georgia
ATLANTA -A bill that would raise the penalty for abusing senior citizens from one year to five years was passed unanimously in the Senate on Wednesday.

House approves budget

Across South Carolina
COLUMBIA - The parents of an 8-year-old killed at a bus stop have sued, saying the state Education Department, Richland School District 1 and others were negligent in their daughter's death.

Officials work on new plan for ASU

News you can use
FEB. 13, 1958 A bill that may pave the way for construction of a $100,000 juvenile detention home in Richmond County was passed by the Georgia House yesterday.

Toxins delay plant cleanup

Rants and Raves
LET ME REMIND all of you who always complain about the weathermen: God is in charge of the weather.

Flu outbreak closes more state schools

Rants and Raves
LET ME REMIND all of you who always complain about the weathermen: God is in charge of the weather.

Business is blooming

1776 Walton locket returns to Augusta

House approves spending limit bill
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- The House on Wednesday unanimously approved a bill that would limit government spending and growth.

Across the area

Governor calls for vote on flag
ATLANTA - Reopening one of the state's most controversial issues, Gov. Sonny Perdue presented a plan Wednesday that would let voters help select the state flag.

Decoy assists in robbery

Officials work on new plan for ASU
In the fall, Augusta State University officials hope to present a new master plan that would carry the institution into the next decade.

Midyear budget clears House committee
ATLANTA -- The state's midyear budget is on its way to the Georgia House after clearing a legislative committee Wednesday.

Toxins delay plant cleanup
Cleanup activities at a defunct manufactured gas plant on Eighth Street have been halted after air monitors showed elevated levels of toxic benzene.

Three research universities want more freedom
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Officials at the state's top three research universities want to break away from the group that coordinates the state's higher education system.

Flu outbreak closes more state schools
ATLANTA - The flu is showing no signs of subsiding across Georgia, forcing more schools to close.

News you can use
FEB. 14, 1963 Sparks from a coal stove were blamed by fire officials yesterday in the death of an elderly semi-invalid North Augusta woman.

NAACP threatens boycotts over Georgia flag referendum
ATLANTA -- The nation's largest civil rights group is warning of economic boycotts if Georgia voters choose a state flag dominated by the Confederate battle cross.

Professor fired in MCG attack
A part-time faculty member at the Medical College of Georgia allegedly attacked a supervisor who had ordered him to leave, spit in a police officer's eye and had to be subdued in the administration building, the college said.

Doctor cleared of gun charge
A former Martinez physician was acquitted Thursday of an illegal-weapon charge.

News you can use

Rants and Raves
I AM CALLING about the guardrail recently installed on Windsor Spring Road in Hephzibah. I think we have a more serious problem now. I have seen boys walk on the top of that guardrail. God help them.

Teenager gets out of detention center

Subscriber of the day
Today's subscriber of the day is Ronald Pound of Augusta.

NAACP threatens boycotts over Georgia flag referendum

Study faults medical schools
You would think Viagra wouldn't need to come with instructions.

Crime labs face DNA backlog

Airport halts renovation plan
Citing a lack of state and federal funding because of the Sept. 11 attacks, the Augusta Regional Airport Aviation Commission voted Thursday to re-evaluate its master plan - effectively tossing the airport's future into the air.

Subscriber of the day

DOT launches program to refill job pool
These days, the Georgia Department of Transportation concedes it's having a problem hiring young people.

Athens proposes collection meters to target panhandlers

Across South Carolina
COLUMBIA -An innovative court that handles domestic violence cases in Lexington County is effectively addressing one of South Carolina's worst problems, officials and researchers say.

Governor calls for vote on flag

Sanford proposes Medicaid reform

Man is sought in theft of trailers, balloon
A career criminal was being sought on theft charges Thursday after police recovered a hot-air balloon that was stolen along with its trailer in December.

Business is blooming
Floral designer Jasmeen Kahn designs a bouquet as part of the holiday rush for Valentine's Day at Martina's Flowers and Gifts on Washington Road. The business has people working around the clock in preparation for today's deliveries.

Midyear budget clears House committee

Suspicious device found in school is hand cream

Across South Carolina

Efforts to mark King Day being heard

Officials respond to letter about jail

Across Georgia

Three research universities want more freedom

DOT launches program to refill job pool

Project map expands

Sheriff invites people to visit

Efforts to mark King Day being heard
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- The Rev. Jesse Jackson and two state lawmakers are gaining support in their push to require all 46 South Carolina counties to recognize Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Children in 'Les Miserables' must hit the books on road

Senate panel approves predatory lending bill
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- A Senate subcommittee approved a bill Thursday that targets high interest rate loans and the practice of repeatedly refinancing them.

Plants quarantined at Evans High School

Sanford proposes Medicaid reform
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- In an attempt to save millions of dollars and reform the Medicaid program, Gov. Mark Sanford on Thursday said he would seek to establish a preferred drug list.

Professor fired in MCG attack

Senate approves standards for redistricting
ATLANTA -- The Senate approved a bill Thursday that would set standards for future redistricting, prohibiting bizarre-shaped districts and splitting counties or cities for political reasons.

Airport halts renovation plan

Republicans join Democrats in passing midyear budget
ATLANTA -- House Republicans joined with Democrats for the first time in years Thursday to pass a midyear state budget. It helped that the budget proposal was crafted by a Republican governor.

Republicans join Democrats in passing midyear budget

Perdue's ethics bill unanimously passes Senate
ATLANTA -- The Senate unanimously passed the governor's ethics bill Thursday, approving stricter standards on legislators and prohibiting them from trying to influence the treatment of prisoners.

Senate panel approves predatory lending bill

Few leads in Lee County church fire
LEESBURG, Ga. -- Fire investigators have few leads in a church fire in Lee County, but said they have no evidence it was arson.

Group promotes crime team

Suspicious device found in school is hand cream
JONESBORO, Ga. -- The suspicious device found in a Clayton County high school Thursday morning turned out to be a container of hand cream with a kitchen timer attached to it.

Some show little love for Valentine's Day

Helping hearts
Kathy Harte, the director of dining services at Mattie C. Hall Health Care Center in Aiken, pins a corsage on resident Rose Lybrand before the Sweetheart Dinner. The dinner was held Thursday by the center to help raise money for the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life. The event was open to the public.

Across South Carolina

It's not all doom and gloom in South Carolina
COLUMBIA - It has been suggested by more than a few fine citizens of the Palmetto State that some of the opinions expressed in this column might skew to the negative side regarding the institutions of higher learning and athletic achievement in their fair state.

Childhood classmates fading from the picture
While cleaning out the closet recently, I came across my class photo from the seventh grade. I'm ashamed to admit that, although all the faces were familiar, some of the names escape me now.

Pacers' webcasts let fans connect
For most Div. II schools, multimillion dollar revenues and huge operating budgets are something athletic directors and sports information directors dream about.

NASCAR notebook

NASCAR officials say Daytona 500 name not for sale

NASCAR notebook
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Brooke Gordon's attorneys say their attempts to deliver subpoenas at Daytona International Speedway in her divorce with four-time NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon is all about business.

Earnhardt Jr., Robby Gordon win qualifiers
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Two races down, and two to go for Junior.

Only female driver in truck series ready for first start
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Tina Gordon appreciates her role as the only female full-time driver in one of NASCAR's major series, even though she refuses to let it define her.

Only female driver in truck series ready for first start

Racing Newsmaker
Q&A with Sammy Packard, the only surviving member of the group that founded NASCAR.

Thursday's qualifying races crucial for some
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- For some drivers, the twin 125-mile qualifying races are simply a warmup for the Daytona 500. For others, they are their only chance to get into Sunday's race.

Racing Newsmaker

Thursday's qualifying races crucial for some

Teamwork wins twin qualifiers
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Forget the new body styles, the smaller gas tank and the stricter inspection process that were all designed to make every car equal in Thursday's Gatorade Twin 125-mile qualifying races.

Foyt only full-time driver going home
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Rookie Larry Foyt ran out of gas. Former Daytona 500 champion Derrike Cope hardly had a chance.

NASCAR officials say Daytona 500 name not for sale
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Fenders and hoods on racecars are adorned with decals of big-dollar sponsors. The horizon at most racetracks is cluttered with billboards. Most race names read like a corporate directory. Track names have been auctioned like mint condition Mickey Mantle baseball cards on the Internet.

Still the one: Lester remains only black driver in sport's upper echelon
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- For the sober and uninitiated, the walk through the infield at Talladega can be intimidating.

Earnhardt Jr., Robby Gordon win qualifiers

Cool it? Every cooler to be checked at Daytona
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Impossible as it may sound, security personnel at Daytona International Speedway will attempt to check every single cooler that comes into the track during race week.

Still the one: Lester remains only black driver in sport's upper echelon

Foyt only full-time driver going home

NASA: no problems on Columbia suggested any safety risk

NASA changes rules for panel investigating shuttle accident

Shuttle investigative board receives unsolicited tips

Tapes from Mission Control provide glimpse into final frantic moments of Columbia

Raptors edge Hawks

Raptors edge Hawks
TORONTO -- Vince Carter has the Toronto Raptors playing their best basketball of the season.

Cornwell sets USC Aiken mark
GREENWOOD, S.C. - Jami Cornwell became USC Aiken's all-time leading scorer as the Lady Pacers beat Lander 72-63 on Wednesday night in a Peach Belt Conference game.

Tennessee State's Phillips breaks barrier
CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. -- The prospect of making history didn't hit Teresa Phillips until right before she boarded a bus for the one-hour ride to Austin Peay.

Mrs. Phyllis Ford    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Mr. James Beale    (MILLEN, Ga.)
Ms. Rutha Sams    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Mrs. Ophelia Vaughns    (AIKEN, S.C.)
Mrs. Ethel Arcuri    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Mrs. Poh Bedinger    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Ms. Michelle Johnson    (NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C.)
Mrs. Oma Boatwright    (NORTH AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Mr. King Thurmond    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Mr. Jimmie Bostic    (STATESBORO, Ga.)
Miss Holly Thompson    (BLYTHE, Ga.)
Featured obituary: Mrs. Ethel Arcuri
There weren't many things in Ethel Arcuri's life that were more important than her faith.

Mr. Horace Richardson    (AIKEN, S.C.)
Mr. Timothy Burton    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Mrs. Ollie Hayward    (AIKEN, S.C.)
Mrs. Margaret Cumbee    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Mrs. Betty-Jean Lockett    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Mrs. Birdie Cyrus    (RIDGE SPRING, Ga.)
Mrs. Virginia Teeters    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Mr. Angelo DAstoli    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Mrs. Ethel Arcuri    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Mr. Carl Dukes    (WAYNESBORO, Ga.)
Ms. Mary McCray    (NEW ELLENTON, S.C.)
Mr. Buddy Dunn    (WASHINGTON, Ga.)
Mrs. Virginia Rogers    (LYONS, Ga.)
Ms. Angela Durden    (MILLEN, Ga.)
Mrs. Mae Powell    (HARRISON, Ga.)
Mrs. Carolyn Harper    (CHARLOTTE, N.C.)
Ms. Barbara Roberson    (AIKEN, S.C.)
Mrs. Agnes Harris    (SPARTA, Ga.)
Mrs. Julie Greene    (AIKEN, S.C.)
Mrs. Ollie Hayward    (AIKEN, S.C.)
Mr. Charlie Howard    (COLUMBIA, S.C.)
Mrs. Leslye Hoffman    (BARNWELL, S.C.)
Mrs. Louise Jordan    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Mrs. Mary Thompson    (SYLVANIA, Ga.)
Mr. Oscar Brown    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Mrs. Rosa Horton    (THOMSON, Ga.)
Mrs. Annie Sapp    (STATESBORO, Ga.)
Mr. James Hughes    (WAYNESBORO, Ga.)
Miss Holly Thompson    (BLYTHE, Ga.)
Mr. Sammie Jenkins    (LOUISVILLE, Ga.)
Mrs. Mary White    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Mrs. Mary Cooper    (WILLISTON, S.C.)
Mrs. Mary Atkinson    (WAYNESBORO, Ga.)
Mr. Tracy Jenkins    (NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C.)
Mrs. Mabel Chantler    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Mrs. Oren Kemp    (SYLVANIA, Ga.)
Mrs. Norma Miller    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Mrs. Betty-Jean Lockett    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Mrs. Lilly Pritchard    (AIKEN, S.C.)
Mr. Theodore Martin Sr.    (HEPHZIBAH, Ga.)
Mr. Timothy Burton    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Ms. Elizabeth Smith    (NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C.)
Mrs. Martha Beasley    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Mrs. Norma Miller    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Mrs. Fannie Mitchell    (AIKEN, S.C.)
Mrs. Pearl Olsen    (MCCORMICK, S.C.)
Mr. Carl Dukes (WAYNESBORO, Ga.)

Mrs. Annie Sapp (STATESBORO, Ga.)

Mr. James Beale (MILLEN, Ga.)

Ms. Mary McCray (NEW ELLENTON, S.C.)

Mrs. Betty-Jean Lockett (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mrs. Rosa Horton (THOMSON, Ga.)

Ms. Rutha Sams (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Miss Holly Thompson (BLYTHE, Ga.)

Mr. Buddy Dunn (WASHINGTON, Ga.)

Mrs. Louise Jordan (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mrs. Mae Powell (HARRISON, Ga.)

Miss Holly Thompson (BLYTHE, Ga.)

Mrs. Norma Miller (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mr. Angelo DAstoli (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mrs. Oren Kemp (SYLVANIA, Ga.)

Mrs. Ethel Arcuri (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mr. Sammie Jenkins (LOUISVILLE, Ga.)

Mr. King Thurmond (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mrs. Leslye Hoffman (BARNWELL, S.C.)

Mrs. Pearl Olsen (MCCORMICK, S.C.)

Mr. James Hughes (WAYNESBORO, Ga.)

Mrs. Virginia Rogers (LYONS, Ga.)

Mr. Theodore Martin Sr. (HEPHZIBAH, Ga.)

Mrs. Ollie Hayward (AIKEN, S.C.)

Mrs. Poh Bedinger (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mrs. Julie Greene (AIKEN, S.C.)

Mr. Jimmie Bostic (STATESBORO, Ga.)

Mrs. Martha Beasley (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mrs. Birdie Cyrus (RIDGE SPRING, Ga.)

Mrs. Lilly Pritchard (AIKEN, S.C.)

Mr. Tracy Jenkins (NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C.)

Ms. Michelle Johnson (NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C.)

Mrs. Ollie Hayward (AIKEN, S.C.)

Mrs. Ophelia Vaughns (AIKEN, S.C.)

Mrs. Agnes Harris (SPARTA, Ga.)

Mr. Timothy Burton (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mr. Timothy Burton (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mr. Charlie Howard (COLUMBIA, S.C.)

Mrs. Oma Boatwright (NORTH AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mrs. Mary Cooper (WILLISTON, S.C.)

Ms. Barbara Roberson (AIKEN, S.C.)

Mrs. Fannie Mitchell (AIKEN, S.C.)

Mrs. Mary Atkinson (WAYNESBORO, Ga.)

Ms. Angela Durden (MILLEN, Ga.)

Featured obituary: Mrs. Ethel Arcuri

Mrs. Margaret Cumbee (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mrs. Phyllis Ford (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mrs. Mary White (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mr. Oscar Brown (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Cheeks: 'I thought I was doing the right thing! I still think I did!'
I BELIEVE THAT a person is innocent until proven otherwise! The news media, however, have taken it upon themselves to be prosecutor, judge and jury in the Bobby Clark Brassell Jr. case. I would like to give my side of the story.

Their behavior will be remembered
This is in response to the Feb. 4 article about Sen. Don Cheeks, R-Augusta, helping a child molester ("Cheeks intervenes for convict," Metro). Eric Treesh, Hephzibah, Ga.

Could Columbia disaster have been prevented?
It appears obvious the Columbia space shuttle burned up on re-entering the Earth's atmosphere. It also seems obvious the chunk of foam from the fuel tank must have damaged or knocked loose a number of the ceramic tiles that protect the ship from burning up on re-entry. James Cline, North Augusta, S.C.

Political hypocrisy
If Richmond County Democrats had a history of calling to account politicians of their own party who engaged in ethical lapses, then Tuesday's attack on state Sen. Don Cheeks, R-Augusta, by Chairman Lowell Greenbaum would have some credibility.

Thankful to have Bush as our leader
What a beautiful and moving tribute to our fallen astronauts of the Columbia family on Feb. 4. What a loss of seven such fine, dedicated members of mankind. And what wonderful, supportive families they had. The memorial service of Feb. 4 was very inspiring. The events were well-planned and impressive. Mrs. Evelyn R. Thompson, Aiken, S.C.

Speak out against war before it's too late
As one who wore the uniform of his country proudly in World War II and who believes military force is sometimes necessary, I still favor those who are protesting a preemptive strike against Iraq. Roy C. DeLamotte, Augusta

Appalled by fellow senator's behavior
I am appalled that Sen. Don Cheeks, R-Augusta, has put the children of Richmond County and the country at risk by protecting a convicted sexual batterer and by trying to conceal the fact that there is a sex offender living in the community. Shame on him! State Sen. Nadine Thomas, Ellenwood, Ga.

Diversity a weakness?
Regarding the Feb. 2 letter by Lon Purvis, "Diversity creates weakness," only a racist could possibly believe America's diversity is its weakness. Bernard W. Clark, Keysville, Ga.

Cheeks: 'I thought I was doing the right thing! I still think I did!'
I BELIEVE THAT a person is innocent until proven otherwise! The news media, however, have taken it upon themselves to be prosecutor, judge and jury in the Bobby Clark Brassell Jr. case. I would like to give my side of the story.

Putting protest in perspective
Americans are allowed to gather and to protest. Since the Augusta National Golf Club is in America, why are we afraid of lawful protests? A peaceful protest done in a reasonable way should be no problem. Jason Jarrard, Augusta

Reducing road risk
"This project has been many years in the planning stages, and we are excited that construction will begin soon. The improvement of median openings and intersections, as well as the closing of some median openings, should enhance the operational and safety aspects of Deans Bridge Road."

No graceful way out
Gov. Sonny Perdue may be just a cut below King Solomon.

Representatives wrong to support Venezuelan leader
According to the news, 16 members of the House of Representatives mailed a letter to Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez, telling him of their support of his regime. Luis Rodriguez, Warrenton, Ga.

Go for rail relocation
Every five years the federal government appropriates hundreds of millions of dollars for a national transportation plan, part of which is spent to relieve traffic congestion in metropolitan communities.

Local government too often does more harm than good
Quoting Robert D. McTeer Jr., president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, "Growth comes through change and causes change." As a resident of Richmond County, I'm convinced that in order for my community to grow and prosper, it's evident that many drastic political changes must be made. E. Maner, Augusta

Parkway should be renamed in Connell's honor
I applaud Augusta Democratic Reps. Henry Howard, Quincy Murphy and Pete Warren for introducing a bill that proposes to rename River Watch Parkway in honor of retired Rep. Jack Connell, D-Augusta. Sonny Pittman, Augusta

Connecting the dots
It's amazing the lengths Islamic extremists will go to draw the Muslim world into a war with America.

Grovetown police Nazi-like
I had an unpleasant experience in Grovetown recently. It is time the honest citizens of Columbia County rise up and put an end to their archaic and Nazi-like police practices. This is the city that 35 years or so ago was subjected to a state investigation for giving out more citations than Atlanta. Not much has changed. Larry Waks, Harlem, Ga.

Overtime

Area duo in Titan Games

State title at stake this weekend

Pacers' webcasts let fans connect

Overtime

Overtime
Outfielder B.J. Surhoff returned to the Baltimore Orioles, signing a minor league contract that included an invitation to spring training.

State title at stake this weekend
When Ken Heis looks at Christian Kata he sees more than a teen-ager.

Seles knocked out of Qatar Open
DOHA, Qatar -- Defending champion Monica Seles was ousted in the second round of the $170,000 Qatar Open on Wednesday, losing 7-5, 7-5 to wild card Lina Krasnoroutskaya.

Area duo in Titan Games
Two amateur boxers from the Augusta area are in San Jose, Calif., this weekend to participate in an inaugural festival which incorporates eight sports.

Dormant Stallions might be through
Augusta Stallions operator Frank Lawrence might be looking to expand his sports holdings into Cajun country.

Overtime
Tim Duncan, Ray Allen, Jason Kidd and Tracy McGrady were the first four players chosen for the 2004 U.S. Olympic men's basketball team, with Kobe Bryant conspicuously absent - for now.

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

Prep girls statistics
Here are statistics for area prep girls basketball players.

S.C. prep poll
Here is the South Carolina prep basketball pol.l

Players of the week
Here are profiles for the area prep players of the week.

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

School turns off ESPN deal for James
CLEVELAND -- LeBron James will be getting a little less TV exposure.

Thomson sends Greenbrier home
Earlier this season, Thomson annihilated a Greenbrier team minus the area's leading scorer.

Rebounding, defense save Hephzibah girls
The shooting was not pretty, the turnovers even less so.

Lady Panthers fall just short
Lakeside had its dream within reach, but Baldwin Countysnatched it away in the Region 3-AAAA girls tournament on Wednesday at Cross Creek.

Prep boys statistics
Here are statistics for area prep boys basketball players.

It's not all doom and gloom in South Carolina

NASA: no problems on Columbia suggested any safety risk
WASHINGTON -- NASA's top official, saying he was "saddened beyond words" about the shuttle Columbia tragedy, told Congress Wednesday the orbiter exhibited no problems during its 16-day mission suggesting the crew's lives were threatened.

Shuttle investigative board receives unsolicited tips
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- The board investigating the Columbia disaster has received unsolicited letters and documents from former NASA workers and others offering tips on why the shuttle may have disintegrated, the panel's chairman said Thursday.

Tapes from Mission Control provide glimpse into final frantic moments of Columbia
SPACE CENTER, Houston -- NASA has released transcripts from some of Columbia's final radio transmissions, chronicling the efforts of Mission Control engineers as they became painfully aware that the shuttle had broken apart.

NASA changes rules for panel investigating shuttle accident
WASHINGTON -- Responding to criticism by some lawmakers, NASA's top official has formally changed some rules for the board investigating the Columbia accident to remove references suggesting the space agency is overseeing the probe of itself.

Something nice about Microsoft
Microsoft's Windows updates have often been a mixed bag, fixing one problem and causing others, but there's one available that deserves a look.

New photograph shows universe forming
WASHINGTON -- NASA released what it called the most vivid snapshot of the infant universe ever taken, capturing such stunning detail that it may be one of the most significant scientific achievements of recent years.

Smith & Wesson introduces .50 caliber revolver
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- Dirty Harry is now outgunned: Smith & Wesson has introduced its biggest handgun ever, a .50-caliber Magnum.

Diamond Dogs bid for third straight NCAA trip

Bulldogs prevail in two overtimes

Diamond Dogs bid for third straight NCAA trip
ATHENS, Ga. -- Entering his second season as Georgia's baseball coach, David Perno has the kind of team he always dreamed of - a squad full of shortstops.

Bulldogs prevail in two overtimes
Call this an instant classic.

Simple and satisfying

Gamecocks top Tigers

Overall athletic grades fall slightly
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Things were not quite as rosy in the classroom this past semester for South Carolina athletes, including the football and men's basketball teams.

Gamecocks top Tigers
COLUMBIA - With 2:45 left, Chuck Eidson swiped a rebound and was fouled by Edward Scott.

Overall athletic grades fall slightly

Family calendar

Odds and Ends

Bowling ball makes bad Valentine's Day gift

Man thought to be Osama bin Laden urges followers to back Saddam

U.S. plans to give Iraqis control of their country after ousting Saddam

U.N. inspectors to destroy first banned weapons

More U.S. military women edging closer to combat positions

Lawmakers denounce France, Germany in NATO dispute

Powell to confront critics of war with Iraq

Washington's air defenses strengthened

Pentagon calls up nearly 40,000 more reservists

Air Force buys six new unmanned spy planes from Northrop Grumman

Prime Minister Tony Blair makes moral case for war against Iraq

New photograph shows universe forming

Something nice about Microsoft