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.

Player admired Globetrotters when he was growing up
Harlem Globetrotters spokesman and player Eathan O'Bryant owes some of his basketball success to summertime and soap operas.

Work under way to put life back in First Friday
I was ready to call time of death on First Friday: I felt the monthly arts event, once the crown jewel of downtown development efforts, would never recover from the criminal blows that laid it low last fall.

Work under way to put life back in First Friday

At the Movies: 'Tears of the Sun'
"Tears of the Sun," a grim and mournful war movie about U.S. intervention in a fictional conflict in Nigeria, conjures atrocities out of thin air, asking us to respect the sacrifice of implausible U.S. troops and treating them with a reverence that signifies nothing.

At the Movies: 'Tears of the Sun'

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.

At the Movies: 'Bringing Down the House'

Band brings to life Legends of Yesterday
Tomorrow, the Imperial Theatre belongs to Yesterday.

Birthday movies are caked with emotion

Birthday movies are caked with emotion
Today is my birthday. It's also the birthday of Willard Scott, Maurice Ravel, Tammy Faye Bakker and my grandmother. Why is this important, you ask? Well, in the grand scheme of things, it probably isn't. Let's face it, Willard is never going to call me on his birthday to wish me a happy birthday, and humming Ravel's Bolero over a cake full of candles doesn't quite cut it.

Ramblin' Rhodes: A Christmas offering turns into an album

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

Mini reviews

Concert calendar
PART TIME HEROES: Friday, March 21, Crossroads.

Applause calendar

At the Movies: 'Bringing Down the House'
Queen Latifah oozes charisma and talent and absolutely deserves her supporting-actress Oscar nomination for playing prison matron Mama Morton in the musical "Chicago."

Player admired Globetrotters when he was growing up

Guitarists hit right chords as group
In the right hands, 24 strings can offer infinite opportunities.

Standing ovations

Standing ovations
The Augusta Collegium Musicum will present an evening of music by George Fredric Handel at 4 p.m. Sunday at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 605 Reynolds St. Appearing with the choral ensemble will be organist Keith Shafer. Tickets are $10, but there's no charge for students and ensemble patrons.

Club calendar

Ramblin' Rhodes: A Christmas offering turns into an album
When Augusta musician Jamie Jones recorded one of his grandmother's songs as a Christmas gift, he didn't expect it to become a full-blown album, Down by the Railroad Tracks.

Band brings to life Legends of Yesterday

Concert calendar

Video watch
JUST OUT: The Ring, Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie, Biggie and Tupac, Half Past Dead and Weight of Water

Widow sues Tigers over death of husband at park

Widow sues Tigers over death of husband at park
DETROIT -- The widow of a man who died of a heart attack at a Detroit Tigers' game claims the team did not train its employees to handle a medical emergency and did not have lifesaving equipment available.

Longer days mean losing treasured hour of sleep

Abrum Logan Preast

Joshua Nicholas Wilkerson

Shawn Adam Crocker

Alexandria Hope Taylor

Robert Gregory O'Shields III

Garrett Wade Pennington

Nyah Elizabeth Cox
Faron Cox Jr. and Crystal McDowell, both of North Augusta, announce the bir

Meagan Nicole Scritchfield

Derroyn Newa Avi Hodges

Arlie Rose Dipolito

Makena Uyen Griffis

Katherine Jane Higgins
Al

John Huxley Reed

Derroyn Newa Avi Hodges
DoRinda Waiters of Augusta announces the birth of a son, Derroyn Newa Avi Hodges, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2003, at the Medical College of Georgia Hospital. Grandparents are Gary and Eloise Hodges of Augusta and Ruben and Willie Mae Gore of Hephzibah.

John Huxley Reed
Robe

Robert Gregory O'Shields III
Robert and Brandy O'Shields of Washi

Joshua Nicholas Wilkerson
Joshua N. and Audrey L. Wilkerson of Evans announce the birth of a son, Joshua Nicholas Wilkerson, Thursday, Feb. 20, 2003, at Doctors Hospital. Grandparents are Ron and Michelle Eslick of Evans and Tony and Lynn Wilkerson of Appling.

Arlie Rose Dipolito
Marty and Wendy Dipolito of Thomson announce

Tyler Michael Coulson

Shawn Adam Crocker
Hei

Katherine Jane Higgins

Chloe Elizabeth Sligh

Joshua Nicholas Lee Tucker

Victoria Marie Craig
Brett M. and Jennifer N. Craig of North Augusta announce the birth of a daughter, Victoria Marie Craig, Monday, Feb. 10, 2003, at University Hospital. Grandparents are Karen Hathcox and Jon and Tracy Craig, all of North Augusta.

Victoria Marie Craig

Abrum Logan Preast
Toban an

Tyler Michael Coulson
Mic

Thomas Scott McDonald

Jamesha I'veon Joyner
James and Tonya Joyner of B

Conner Todd Street
Aaron T. and Michelle W. Street of Augus

Thomas Scott McDonald
Dennis S. and Sharo

Alexandria Hope Taylor
Shannon and Kelli Taylor of Windsor announce

Garrett Wade Pennington
Brent and Melody Pennington of Augusta announce the birth of a son, Garrett Wade Pennington, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2003, at Doctors Hospital. Grandparents are Mr. and Mrs. David Windes of Eatonton, Ga., and Mr. and Mrs. Wayne Pennington of Ringgold, Ga.

Chloe Elizabeth Sligh
Thomas D. and E. Rachel Sligh of Martinez announce the birth of a daughter, Chloe Elizabeth Sligh, Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2003, at St. Joseph Hospital. Grandparents are Mr. and Mrs. Frederick Slater of Palm Harbor, Fla., and Tommae Sligh of Columbia.

Nyah Elizabeth Cox

Tristan Scott Thomas
James G. and Heather K. Thomas of Martinez annou

Tristan Scott Thomas

Joshua Nicholas Lee Tucker
Danny H. Tucker Jr. and Dixie M. Tucker of Augusta announce the birth of a son,

Conner Todd Street

Makena Uyen Griffis
Darrell and Uyen Griffis of North Augusta announce the birth of a daughter, Makena Uyen Griffis, Saturday, Feb. 15, 2003, at St. Joseph Hospital. Grandparents are Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Nguyen of Aiken and Mr. and Mrs. Richard Griffis of Martinez.

Jamesha I'veon Joyner

Meagan Nicole Scritchfield
Richard W. Schadle and Miranda L. Scritchfield, both of Augusta, announce the birth of a daughter, Meagan Nicole Scritchfield, Friday, Feb. 21, 2003, at St. Joseph Hospital. Grandparents are Mr. and Mrs. Stan Scritchfield of Augusta.

Bible college gets 666 prefix removed from phone number
VANCLEVE, Ky. -- After months of asking for a new telephone number, the Kentucky Mountain Bible College has finally dropped the 666 prefix that disturbed Christians who recognized it as the biblical mark of the beast.

Odds and Ends
FAIRFAX, Mo. -- Farmer Gary Wennihan may have made a meteoric rise to wealth.

Expensive sketch stolen from lobby of jail
NEW YORK -- A sketch drawn by Surrealist artist Salvador Dali for a former Correction Department commissioner was stolen from the lobby of the men's jail at Rikers Island, officials said.

Braves rout Yankees
TAMPA, Fla. -- David Wells struggled in his second spring start, giving up five runs and failing to cover first base in the New York Yankees' 12-2 loss to the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday.

Castilla continues to work on his hitting
TAMPA, Fla. - There was a brief sighting of Vinny Castilla's bat last year, but it also might have been an illusion.

Castilla continues to work on his hitting

Giles' sore ankle causing worry
LAKE BUENA VISTA,Fla.- Atlanta second baseman Marcus Giles' sore right ankle concerns the Braves more than they're willing to admit.

Braves' rookie overcomes nerves against Yankees
TAMPA, Fla. - Several years ago Odalis Perez opened the Atlanta Braves' eyes and won a job on the pitching staff with a dominant spring performance against the New York Yankees.

Giles' sore ankle causing worry
LAKE BUENA VISTA,Fla.- Atlanta second baseman Marcus Giles' sore right ankle concerns the Braves more than they're willing to admit.

Trio will battle for at-bats
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - According to the rules of mathematics, three doesn't go into one.

Giles' sore ankle causing worry

Braves rout Yankees

Trio will battle for at-bats

Braves' rookie overcomes nerves against Yankees

Giles' sore ankle causing worry

Economic activity remained subdued in January and February
WASHINGTON -- The Federal Reserve said Wednesday economic activity around the country remained subdued in January and February as concerns about a possible war in Iraq slowed spending by consumers and businesses.

Glut of studies slows work

Tax tip: You might qualify for the Retirement Savings Contributions Credit
This tax credit, which will be available only from 2002 through 2006, could help you offset the cost of the first $2,000 contributed to IRAs, 401(k)s and certain other retirement plans, says the IRS.

Jobless claims rise sharply last week, partly reflecting toll of bad weather

Economic activity remained subdued in January and February

Tax tip: You might qualify for the Retirement Savings Contributions Credit

A new signature for U.S. currency: John W. Snow
WASHINGTON -- It was a Mick Jagger moment. With cameras whirring and clicking, a smiling Treasury Secretary John Snow signed his name with flair, relishing one of the perks of the job: signing his name on the nation's greenbacks.

Augusta area endures increase in job losses

Business briefs
ATLANTA - As Coca-Cola Co.'s net income dropped and it laid off employees, Chairman Doug Daft got a $4 million bonus on top of his $1.5 million salary in 2002, according to a company filing Wednesday.

News signals revival of Washington Group
Washington Group International Inc. had two financial milestones to celebrate Thursday.

Tax tip: Reservists, new enlistees may get deferral for back taxes

Jobless claims rise sharply last week, partly reflecting toll of bad weather
WASHINGTON -- New claims for unemployment benefits rose last week to their highest level of the year, partly reflecting the toll of snow storms that ravaged the East Coast, another setback for an already struggling job market.

News signals revival of Washington Group

Tax tip: Reservists, new enlistees may get deferral for back taxes
Reservists called to active duty and new enlistees in the armed forces might qualify for a deferral of taxes owed if they can show that their ability to pay taxes was impaired because of their military service. The Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act provides this benefit.

Group wants bank clock
After keeping time for shoppers at Augusta Mall for more than 20 years, the Georgia Railroad Bank & Trust Co. clock might return downtown.

A new signature for U.S. currency: John W. Snow

Tax tip: hybrid vehicle buyers get clean fuel tax deduction
If you are the original owner of a qualifying hybrid vehicle - one that combines an electric motor with a gasoline-powered engine - you may be eligible to claim a one-time tax deduction on your federal income tax return, says the IRS.

Business briefs
Sitel Technology Services expects to take on new clients this year and is looking to call back workers it laid off last year.

Augusta area endures increase in job losses
The Augusta-Aiken area lost 1,600 jobs last year, about 400 more than it lost during the previous year.

Glut of studies slows work
There are more than a dozen plans and studies in print dealing with issues facing downtown Augusta.

North Carolina State edges Clemson
CLEMSON, S.C. -- Scooter Sherrill scored a career high 24 points as North Carolina State held off Clemson 63-60 on Wednesday night, improving the Wolfpacks' hopes for an NCAA bid.

Baseball: Tigers beat College of Charleston
CLEMSON, S.C. -- Kyle Frank hit two home runs for four RBIs as Clemson beat the College of Charleston 6-2 on Wednesday afternoon.

Littlejohn unavailable to host NIT game
CLEMSON, S.C. -- If Clemson gets an invitation to the NIT, the Tigers won't be able to host a game at Littlejohn Coliseum because the building needs more renovations before graduation, the school said Wednesday.

Familiar road awaits Jaguars

USC Aiken's forgettable season comes to an end

Augusta State suffers upset

Tennessee seeks sweep of SEC regular-season, tournament title

MSU's LaToya Thomas named SEC player of the year

The worst drivers

Back-to-back homers

A grand alliance

What they forget

Entertainment briefs
LAS VEGAS -- Americans saw an average of 5.7 films each and paid an average of $5.80 per ticket last year, said the president of the Motion Picture Association of America.

Rating looks, bodies increasingly popular on Internet and TV
CHICAGO -- It is a quest for 15 minutes of fame that can turn into a few humiliating moments of shame.

Norah Jones CD sales increase dramatically following Grammy sweep
NEW YORK -- Talk about a Grammy sales bump - Norah Jones' debut album, "Come Away With Me," sold 621,000 copies after her Grammy sweep, almost 500,000 more than the week before - the biggest post-Grammy sales spike ever, according to her record company.

In the know
The temperature is slowly climbing, the days are getting longer ... it can mean only one thing: Prom season.

Buenos Aires is becoming a top filming location
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina -- In sync with cranking 1970s funk, a black Cockney cab blows past a cafe full of well-heeled Londoners, leaving them choking on billows of smoke.

Top 5 list
The top 5 television shows, movies and music:

Food ideas mushroom into new cookbook
From grits to goat cheese and chicken livers with portobello mushrooms, Augusta's Martha Boardman Fleming cooks it all.

Fishing report

Fishing report
After two weeks of false starts, surface temperatures on Strom Thurmond Lake have climbed into the upper 50s, triggering a big bite from hybrid and striped bass and crappies.

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.

Glen Mary Plantation's historic aura threatened
Scenic America has named Glen Mary Plantation Historic Site in Sparta, Ga., to its Last Chance Landscapes 2002-03.

Nightshades have it all
As you put together seed orders, you'll be coming across nightshades - what a tasty, lovely, and eerie group they are. Besides tomato, pepper, potato, petunia, and tobacco, this botanical family includes a slew of other fine, but less well-known, garden plants.

Size plants to the landscape
Rising land and maintenance costs have led to shrinking landscapes around the home. That means there is less lawn to maintain, but it restricts the plants that can be used in the landscape.

Size plants to the landscape

Glen Mary Plantation's historic aura threatened

Nightshades have it all

Eagles top Western Carolina
NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Julius Jenkins scored 20 points to lead five Georgia Southern players in double figures as the Eagles opened the Southern Conference tournament with a 89-81 victory over Western Carolina on Wednesday.

Eagles fall to Coll. of Charleston
NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. -- College of Charleston coach Tom Herrion always knew his team was more than flashy, 3-point shooters.

Baseball: Eagles beat Georgia State
STATESBORO, Ga. -- Rocky Baker's two-run homer helped Georgia Southern score seven runs in the sixth inning en route to a 10-3 victory over Georgia State Wednesday.

Jackets get road win
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- Georgia Tech ended a season of misery on the road and kept Virginia's late-season meltdown going strong Wednesday night, beating the Cavaliers 90-73 for its first road win in 11 tries.

Owings' homerun lifts Jackets
ATLANTA -- Micah Owings hit a two-run homer and Tyler Greene had a solo shot Tuesday to lift Georgia Tech to a 3-1 victory over Campbell despite getting only three hits.

Baseball: Eagles beat Georgia State

Eagles top Western Carolina

Eagles fall to Coll. of Charleston

Owings' homerun lifts Jackets

It's up to you whether I give you the business

Nicklaus on tour again with an eye toward the Masters

Els starts title defense in Dubai
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Tiger Woods posters are everywhere. His photo is even on the tournament's official magazine.

Els trails by one stroke at Dubai Desert Classic
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Ernie Els shot a 6-under-par 66 Thursday and was one stroke behind Scotland's Alistair Forsyth after the first round of the $1.9 million Dubai Desert Classic.

Owen calls for Qatar Masters to be canceled
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Britain's Greg Owen urged the European PGA to cancel next week's Qatar Masters because of the threat of war in Iraq.

Els starts title defense in Dubai

Nicklaus on tour again with an eye toward the Masters
MIAMI -- Sweat was streaming down Jack Nicklaus' face even before he got to the first tee. He was met by more than 100 people, an unusually large gallery considering this was only a pro-am round, and the midday heat was stifling.

Els trails by one stroke at Dubai Desert Classic

Hephzibah follows its leader

Jenkins survives Key, Landmark

York's Latta to cap amazing career in title game

Taylor County routs Athens Academy

Glenn Hills suffers semifinal loss

Lady Rebels keep hopes for title alive

Griffin gets win over Cedar Shoals

Mays ends Glenn Hills' run

Class AAAA capsule

Thrashers-Capitals game ends in tie
WASHINGTON (AP)- Jaromir Jagr broke out of a slump with two goals and an assist and Ivan Ciernik scored with 2:57 left in regulation to lift the Washington Capitals into a 4-4 tie with the Atlanta Thrashers on Thursday night.

NHL players in Boston golf tournament

NHL players in Boston golf tournament
CONCORD, Mass. -- NHL players will move from the ice to the fairways when they play on the PGA Tour's 50-and-over circuit at the FleetBoston Classic.

Massive bombing expected in opening days of Iraq war
Opening days of war in Iraq to see 10 times the bombing of first Gulf war, Pentagon says

Iraq destroys more missiles, a third now flattened
BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Iraqi bulldozers flattened six more Al Samoud 2 missiles Thursday, meaning the country has now destroyed a third of its known stock of the banned rockets on the eve of a key report to the U.N. Security Council about its disarmament.

Shouting match breaks out between Iraqis, Kuwaitis at Islamic unity summit
DOHA, Qatar -- Iraq's vice president shouted, "Shut up, you monkey!" at a Kuwaiti diplomat Wednesday during an emergency summit of Islamic nations that sought but failed to develop a new position on preventing a possible U.S.-led war against Iraq.

Pakistani minister says two bin Laden sons arrested
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- The top police official in Pakistan's Baluchistan province said on Friday that two sons of Osama bin Laden were arrested in southwestern Afghanistan in a joint operation involving Pakistani and U.S. forces. American counterterrorism officials disputed the claim.

Britain explores possible deadline for Saddam
UNITED NATIONS -- Seeking a compromise ahead of a key Security Council meeting on Iraq, British diplomats floated the idea of giving Saddam Hussein a short deadline to prove he has no more banned weapons - or face war.

Text of President Bush's prime-time news conference
Text of President Bush's prime-time news conference Thursday evening, as transcribed by eMediaMillWorks Inc.:

France, Germany and Russia to block U.N. war resolution
PARIS -- The foreign ministers of France, Germany and Russia said Wednesday they will "not allow" passage of a U.N. resolution to authorize war against Iraq.

Blair meets Russian foreign minister to discuss Iraq
LONDON -- War in Iraq can still be avoided if Saddam Hussein fully complies with the United Nations or goes into exile, Prime Minister Tony Blair said Wednesday.

Top Turkish general backs deployment of U.S. troops
ANKARA, Turkey -- Turkey's powerful military chief said Wednesday that the army backed the deployment of U.S. troops in the country for a war in neighboring Iraq.

Powell says Saddam trying to divide international community
WASHINGTON -- Secretary of State Colin Powell accused Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein on Wednesday of maneuvering to divide the U.N. Security Council and "split us into arguing factions." He conceded that key differences remain among members on using force.

CIA director meets with Kuwaiti officials
KUWAIT -- CIA director George Tenet was meeting Wednesday with security officials in Kuwait, a U.S. official said, as American forces gathered here for a threatened war against the emirate's northern neighbor, Iraq.

Bush says he won't leave Americans at 'mercy of Iraqi dictator
WASHINGTON -- President Bush, preparing the nation for the possibility of war, said Thursday night the United States will drive Saddam Hussein from power if it comes to war in Iraq - with or without support from France, Germany and other skeptical allies.

Seeking war surprise, U.S. escalates air patrols over southern Iraq
WASHINGTON -- Setting the stage for possible war, the United States and Britain have nearly tripled the number of air patrols in the "no-fly" zone over southern Iraq, a senior defense official said.

Powell plots two-day blitz to win backing for using force to disarm Iraq
WASHINGTON -- In a two-day diplomatic blitz, Secretary of State Colin Powell will try to overcome U.N. resistance to using force to disarm Iraq - warning that holding back would send a "terrible message" to tyrants everywhere.

Bush to hold prime-time news conference
WASHINGTON -- Edging toward war, President Bush scheduled a rare prime-time news conference Thursday in an effort to counter stiff opposition to his plans for disarming Iraq

Longer days mean losing treasured hour of sleep
You've probably noticed the days are getting longer.

Slaying suspect surrenders
A Columbia County man wanted in the brutal beating death of an Augusta man surrendered today to police, and authorities were holding two others in the crime.

Man protests war with Iraq outside Augusta National
The first protester outside of the Augusta National Golf Club arrived Friday from Charlotte, N.C. However, the lone voice wasn't there to protest the Masters at all.

Hephzibah falls in state championship game
ATLANTA - A second straight trip to the Georgia Class AAAA state championship game provided a second dose of frustration for the Hephzibah girls basketball team Friday.

Supports professional lawman for sheriff

Hunt demonstrates ability to be sheriff

Diversity is here to stay

Stress diversity to children now and always

Rowland strong supporter of public schools

Diversity is applying differing perspectives

Rowland the only prepared candidate

Why hasn't Sellers backed Rowland?

Rowland's education, commitment lead the way

MOX article disappointing journalism

How conscious are we of our differences?

Cheeks stood up for a constituent - period

It will take all races to remove barriers

Rating looks, bodies increasingly popular on Internet and TV

In the know

Top 5 list

Entertainment briefs

Buenos Aires is becoming a top filming location

Food ideas mushroom into new cookbook

Lynx road report

Roy heats up Lynx in time
Philippe Roy is built like a fire hydrant and skates like a hook-and-ladder speeding to a three-alarm blaze.

Lynx notebook
The Augusta Lynx hit the road Wednesday for one of their most important trips of the season with forwards Josh St. Louis and Jeff Szwez on board.

Roy heats up Lynx in time

Lynx road report
FRIDAY & SATURDAY: vs. Florida Everblades, TECO Arena, 7:30 p.m.

Lynx notebook

Across the area

Senate passes bill to extend exemption on unemployment compensation tax
ATLANTA -- The Georgia Senate passed a bill Wednesday that would extend an exemption on the unemployment compensation tax for businesses - a move labor organizations say is a mistake that would deplete the state's unemployment fund.

Lending bill splits parties
ATLANTA - Party ties are straining as lawmakers jockey to pass legislation that corrects problems in last year's predatory-lending law.

Burk, ACLU apply for protest permits

House Democrats feel shortchanged in budget
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- House Democrats will have to scramble to put their two cents into the state budget that landed on their desks this week.

Burk seeks permission to protest at Masters front gate

News you can use
MARCH 6, 1936 Bobby Jones, "here on business," as he put it, stepped from under the shower in his suite at the Partridge Inn last night and declared as he stroked his sun-tanned body with a towel, "I am scoring much better than I am shooting," his way of saying that luck has played a big part in the sub-par rounds he shot consistently in Florida recently.

Cab violations bring big fines for drivers

Across Georgia
DECATUR - An independent medical examiner for insurance companies has been accused of making inappropriate prostate and pelvic exams on policy applicants for his own sexual gratification.

Rants and Raves
AM I THE ONLY one in the Augusta area appalled by all of these anti-American/anti-war protesters. I have some words of advice for all anti-war supporters in our area and our country: You need to thank God that you live in the United States and have the freedom to protest whatever you darn well please.

South Georgia faces flood warnings after three days of heavy rain
Three days of heavy rains in south Georgia have authorities keeping a close watch on potential flooding of the St. Marys River and others rivers near the Florida line.

Sheriff candidates present ideas
AIKEN - Democratic candidates for Aiken County sheriff spoke out Thursday night about how they would improve the office, which has been criticized recently for poor response times and public communication.

Commerce leader says MLK holiday controversy bad for business

UGA not yet in crisis, leader says
ATHENS, Ga. - University of Georgia President Michael Adams said the state's flagship school is in a not-so-rosy budget situation.

Children's districts could get funds cut

Woman, son apprehended in drug raid
Narcotics officers arrested a woman and her son and shot and killed a pit bull terrier Thursday during a drug raid on Haynie Drive in Augusta.

Senator proposes agency for Black Belt poverty
WASHINGTON -- Georgia Sen. Zell Miller unveiled his plan to revive the Southern Black Belt by proposing a new $100 million agency Wednesday to address poverty in the swath of heavily black counties.

Conservation group urges protection of environmental funds

Blaze damages Soul Bar
The Soul Bar nightclub in downtown Augusta will shut down for at least two weeks to recover from a fire that damaged the popular hangout Wednesday morning.

Dems plan to work on restoring HOPE scholarships to budget

Group seeks higher tax on product
COLUMBIA - As House members prepared for next week's debate on the $5.1 billion state budget bill, a group of about 100 people gathered at the Statehouse on Wednesday to implore lawmakers to raise the state's cigarette tax.

Conservation group urges protection of environmental funds
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- The South Carolina Wildlife Federation wants legislators to avoid raiding cleanup funds and other environmental protection accounts to deal with the state's budget crisis.

Georgia Senate OKs spending cuts in budget
ATLANTA - The Georgia Senate voted Wednesday to impose steep spending cuts on state agencies to avoid tax increases proposed by Gov. Sonny Perdue.

Lending bill splits parties

Property clerk, teen charged in missing evidence case
cgre-jmh

News you can use

Perdue affirms support for faith-based initiatives
ATLANTA -- Republican Gov. Sonny Perdue sent a clear message of support Thursday for a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow faith-based groups to bid for state contracts to provide services for the poor.

Judges debate critics of seal

Man purchases costly procedure to help cure pet

South Georgia faces flood warnings after three days of heavy rain

Dems plan to work on restoring HOPE scholarships to budget
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- As House members prepare to debate the state's $5.1 billion budget next week, Democrats say they will focus on restoring funding to HOPE and needs-based scholarships.

Senate passes bill to extend exemption on unemployment compensation tax

Military pupils to get help with transition

News you can use

March execution date set for convicted murderer
ATLANTA -- Convicted murderer Larry Eugene Moon has been scheduled to be the eighth inmate put to death in Georgia by lethal injection, the state Department of Corrections said Wednesday.

MCG, Fort Gordon form disaster course

Rants and Raves
A FEW OF us military wives got together to respond to the hateful military wife who slammed Augusta. We are embarrassed and outraged by her behavior.

Subscriber of the day

Scandal leads sheriff to fire three deputies
Three Richmond County jailers who are accused of paying a female murder suspect to expose herself were fired Wednesday, but Sheriff Ronnie Strength said it appeared unlikely they will be charged with a crime.

Across South Carolina

Rhodes denies murder charges
Jimmy Lee Rhodes, on trial for his life if convicted, looked jurors in the eyes Wednesday and denied any involvement in the robbery and slaying of an Evans couple five years ago.

Group seeks higher tax on product

Across South Carolina
CHARLESTON - Charleston County, joining area municipalities, has agreed that bars in unincorporated areas of the county must close at 2 a.m.

MCG, Fort Gordon form disaster course
Officials at the Medical College of Georgia, Fort Gordon and other universities are working to develop a disaster course for the general public, MCG officials said.

Judges debate critics of seal
ATLANTA - Three federal appeals judges deciding whether the depiction of the Ten Commandments on the Richmond County Superior Court seal is unconstitutional sounded reluctant Wednesday to scrap the 131-year-old symbol.

Willis takes charge of challenged office
Howard Willis, sworn in as Augusta's Emergency Management Agency director Wednesday, has carried for the past 1 1/2 years the memory of his visit to ground zero in New York City, just a few weeks after terrorist attacks leveled the World Trade Center's twin towers.

Relatives lay wreath on grave of only Georgia woman ever electrocuted
CUTHBERT, Ga. -- Relatives of Lena Baker, the only woman ever executed in Georgia's electric chair, placed a wreath on her grave Wednesday to mark the 58th anniversary of her death.

Increase in drink fees gets support

Georgia's groundhog moving to new home
LILBURN, Ga. -- Georgia's groundhog will be moving from his Gwinnett County home in suburban Atlanta, but probably won't go far.

Increase in drink fees gets support
COLUMBIA - State Law Enforcement Division Chief Robert Stewart hopes the Legislature increases alcohol licensing fees to help pay for more agents and equipment.

Lawmakers loosen teen driving law
ATLANTA -- Georgia lawmakers are taking a second look at the rash of get-tough teen driving laws they passed in the past five years.

Children's districts could get funds cut
Local school systems could see a cut in the amount of funding they receive from the federal government for military children.

Bill requires high school personal finance classes
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Legislators want to help students avoid falling into credit card debt during their first year of college by requiring them to complete a personal finance class to graduate from high school.

Military pupils to get help with transition
Local school systems are teaming up with Fort Gordon to improve communications regarding the education of military-connected children.

Organizers try again to get Atlanta approval for festival
ATLANTA -- Hip-hop festival organizers met Thursday with Atlanta city officials in another effort to get a permit for a three-day event in April at the Turner Field parking lots.

Burk seeks permission to protest at Masters front gate
The lead critic of Augusta National Golf Club's all-male membership asked permission Thursday for more than 200 people to stage a one-day protest during the Masters tournament, with a small number posted at the gate to Magnolia Lane.

House lending measure passes

Hephzibah falls in state championship game

Correction

Jury says Rhodes guilty of murder

Across South Carolina

Woman, son apprehended in drug raid

Walker County correction officers arrested for sex with inmates
LaFAYETTE, Ga. -- Two Walker County correction officers have been arrested and charged with engaging in sexual activity with female inmates.

UGA not yet in crisis, leader says

Commerce leader says MLK holiday controversy bad for business
GREENVILLE, S.C. -- The new leader of the Commerce Department says the fight over whether or not Greenville County should officially celebrate a holiday honoring Martin Luther King Jr. is bad for business.

Augusta State students protest Iraq war
Some students from Augusta State University didn't get much sleep Tuesday night.

Investigators question agency procedures for project

Company goes to court over pollution citations
A sewage treatment company in Aiken, which state authorities say has contaminated local waterways since 2001 despite being repeatedly warned to stop, will contest the allegations in court next month, an environmental official said Monday.

Subscriber of the day
Today's subscriber of the day is Jimmy Whyte of Augusta.

Walker County correction officers arrested for sex with inmates

Across Georgia

Subscriber of the day

Lawmakers loosen teen driving law

Burk, ACLU apply for protest permits
Martha Burk, the chairwoman of the National Council of Women's Organizations, has teamed up with the American Civil Liberties Union to request two permits to protest outside Augusta National Golf Club on the Saturday of Masters Week - one for a group of 24 demonstrators and the other for an estimated 200.

Investigators question agency procedures for project
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Juvenile Justice Department officials failed to follow procedures when they provided documents to a group that wants to build a $47 million youth home in Fairfield County, Senate investigators say.

Correction
A news brief in Thursday's editions of The Augusta Chronicle about the murder conviction of Pennenton Raymond Mills should have said a statement by Deputy Coroner Mark Bowen was from an earlier news story. Mr. Bowen's statement - that Mr. Mills told him he was playing around with a gun when it went off - was not part of court testimony.

Bill requires high school personal finance classes

Rants and Raves
AM I THE ONLY one in the Augusta area appalled by all of these anti-American/anti-war protesters. I have some words of advice for all anti-war supporters in our area and our country: You need to thank God that you live in the United States and have the freedom to protest whatever you darn well please.

Rhodes denies murder charges

Across the area
Male jailers at Richmond County's Phinizy Road facility will no longer be allowed to inspect the outside of the female pods, Sheriff Ronnie Strength said Thursday.

Slaying suspect surrenders

News you can use
MARCH 7, 1939 Recommendations that will enable Augusta to operate on a balanced budget were reluctantly adopted by the City Council last night.

Company goes to court over pollution citations

Transport device will aid EMTs
A new device is taking a big load off Columbia County emergency responders.

Willis takes charge of challenged office

Survey examines family ties
A survey of area high school students appears to confirm what some already might have suspected: Children's relationships with their parents can influence whether they will cheat, smoke, drink or do drugs.

House Democrats feel shortchanged in budget

4 teens make innocent pleas
Four teenagers accused of kidnapping and killing an Evans man in November pleaded innocent Thursday in Columbia County Superior Court.

Across Georgia

Subscriber of the day
Today's subscriber of the day is Barri Calloway of Martinez.

Harris commissioners reject $250 million orphanage project

Across Georgia
ATLANTA -Convicted murderer Larry Eugene Moon has been scheduled to be the eighth inmate put to death in Georgia by lethal injection, the state Department of Corrections said Wednesday.

Across the area

Across South Carolina
WATEREE -A worker painting the U.S. Highway 601 bridge over the Congaree River has died after the scaffolding he was standing on collapsed, authorities said.

Senator proposes agency for Black Belt poverty

House lending measure passes
ATLANTA - A predatory-lending bill criticized as weak by victim advocates cleared the Senate on Thursday, after an aggressive lobbying effort by Gov. Sonny Perdue.

Relatives lay wreath on grave of only Georgia woman ever electrocuted

3 suspects arrested in man's death
Scott Nattinger was killed by people he considered friends, police said.

Mental health inquiry ending
State investigations into a troubled Augusta mental health center will wind up soon, Georgia Department of Human Resources Commissioner Jim Martin promised.

Cab violations bring big fines for drivers
The grace period is officially over for Augusta taxicab drivers.

Across the area
Richmond County authorities were working on several leads Wednesday in the slaying of an Augusta man.

Jury says Rhodes guilty of murder
Five years after an Evans couple was gunned down in their bedroom, a jury convicted Jimmy Lee Rhodes of murder, armed robbery, burglary and a weapon charge.

Man purchases costly procedure to help cure pet
Oscar and Mr. Requarth look over photos taken by Todd Lista at Veterinary Services, where Oscar was named Pet of the Month because of his fight with cancer.

Harris commissioners reject $250 million orphanage project
HAMILTON, Ga. -- After six hours of debate, Harris County commissioners rejected a rezoning application Wednesday, blocking plans for a $250 million center to house abused, neglected and orphaned children in west Georgia.

It's up to you whether I give you the business
Have I been rude to you lately? If so, I was probably your customer.

Loyal caller adds flair to daily talk radio show
Every morning, Rex Davis sits alone in his bedroom with his Walkman tuned in to the oldies. He's old school. Loves all kinds of 1970s music, especially Elvis Presley and Diana Ross and the Supremes.

Q&A with Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Speeds all relative at NASCAR's fastest track
HAMPTON, Ga. -- When Atlanta Motor Speedway was redesigned in 1997, the facility gained a 37,000-seat main grandstand, 44 luxury suites and an expanded press box. Most importantly, the track became the fastest on the Winston Cup circuit.

State backs Bruton for Atlanta's races

RJR's decision to leave NASCAR leaves some mystified
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- For 33 years, R.J. Reynolds and NASCAR have gone together like fast cars and Victory Lane.

RJR's decision to leave NASCAR leaves some mystified

Atlanta plays dating game
HAMPTON, Ga. - The battle to keep racing dates on the NASCAR Winston Cup Series schedule will make a pit stop at the Georgia state Capitol.

Racing facts: Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500

Team will examine weather at races
HAMPTON, Ga. - When the NASCAR Winston Cup Series moves to the Atlanta Motor Speedway every spring, two things come to mind: fast speeds and weather.

State backs Bruton for Atlanta's races
ATLANTA - In a rare moment of bipartisan cooperation Thursday, Georgia politicians pledged their support for keeping two NASCAR races in the Atlanta area.

Q&A with Dale Earnhardt Jr.
ATLANTA - Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished second last week at Las Vegas and feels his team finally is on track to contend for the NASCAR Winston Cup Series championship. As he prepares for Sunday's Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, the third-generation driver answered some questions about his season.

Speeds all relative at NASCAR's fastest track

Racing facts: Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500
Here are facts about this weekend's Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 race.

Team will examine weather at races

NASA chief urges changes to attract employees to space agency

Investigation board holds first public hearing on shuttle accident

Crews searching forest for shuttle debris sickened by chemical fumes

Molten aluminum, burst tires provide clues for shuttle investigators

Hawks defeat Cavaliers

Hawks defeat Cavaliers
CLEVELAND -- Carlos Boozer lost 12 games in four years of high school in Alaska, and just 13 in three years at Duke. He's already lost 50 as an NBA rookie.

Augusta State gears up for contest
COLUMBUS, Ga. - The Augusta State and USC Aiken women's teams learned the advantage of drawing a bye in the Peach Belt Conference Tournament.

Augusta State suffers upset
COLUMBUS, Ga. - After Augusta State's 61-55 overtime loss to Francis Marion on Thursday night, senior forward Sabrina Jones spoke as through her career might be over.

Tennessee seeks sweep of SEC regular-season, tournament title
NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Whether it's a down year or an up year for women's basketball in the Southeastern Conference, Tennessee weathers the storm.

MSU's LaToya Thomas named SEC player of the year
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi State forward LaToya Thomas, who is averaging 25.6 points per game, has been named women's player of the year in the Southeastern Conference.

USC Aiken's forgettable season comes to an end
COLUMBUS, Ga. - With rebounding and defense, Clayton State pulled the plug on USC Aiken's season Wednesday night.

USC Aiken holds on
COLUMBUS, Ga. - After winning the Peach Belt Conference regular-season title in 2002, USC Aiken made an early exit in the conference tournament.

Familiar road awaits Jaguars
COLUMBUS, Ga. - The task for the Augusta State men's basketball team is very familiar: Win the Peach Belt Tournament and advance to the NCAA Division II Tournament.

Panthers re-sign Peete, add Delhomme

Mrs. Ida Mackins    (WADLEY, Ga.)
Mrs. Doris Gary    (ATLANTA, Ga.)
Mrs. Nellie Brown    (SEASIDE, Calif.)
Mr. Richard James Jr.    (NORFOLK, Va.)
Mrs. Mary Jackson    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Mrs. Mary Jackson    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Mrs. Malinda Turnbull    (LINCOLNTON, Ga.)
Mr. Ernest Ivery    (LIVE OAK, Fla.)
Mr. Leonard Bussey    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Mrs. Ruvine Heyward    (TRENTON, S.C.)
Mrs. Mattie Hall    (AIKEN, S.C.)
Mrs. Kathryn Hegler    (MIDVILLE, Ga.)
Mrs. Hattie Kirkland    (GRANITEVILLE, S.C.)
Mr. Thomas Greenway    (LOUISVILLE, Ga.)
Mr. Wallace Rodgers    (WASHINGTON, Ga.)
Mrs. Alicia Gonzalez    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Mrs. Florrie Kofford    (NORTH AUGUSTA, SC)
Mr. Roger Fease    (HEPHZIBAH, Ga.)
Mr. John Powell    (THOMSON, Ga.)
Mr. Gene Faulkner Jr.    (GREENVILLE, S.C.)
Mr. Gene Faulkner Sr.    (BATH, S.C.)
Mrs. DeAlva Dukes    (MILLEN, Ga.)
Mrs. Alicia Gonzalez    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Mr. Richard Clark    (WINDSOR, S.C.)
Mrs. Ruvine Heyward    (TRENTON, S.C.)
Mrs. Lillian Carrow    (DEARING, Ga.)
SMG Hughlon Johnson    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Mr. Peter Bennett    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Mrs. Florrie Kofford    (NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C.)
Mr. Charles Baldwin    (STATESBORO, Ga.)
Mr. Ronnie Stanley    (EVANS, Ga.)
Mr. Charles Alexander    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Mr. James Westley    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Mr. Leroy Wright    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Mrs. Evelyn Townsend    (WRIGHTSVILLE, Ga.)
Mrs. Maryzena Wilson    (BROOKLYN, N.Y.)
Mr. Currie Linder    (MACON, Ga.)
Mrs. Rosa Jenkins    (WAYNESBORO, Ga.)
Miss Meshayla Nesbitt    (AIKEN, S.C.)
Mr. Lamar Kendrick    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Ms. Tomeka Brown    (LOUISVILLE, Ga.)
Mrs. Lois Showalter    (WARRENVILLE, S.C.)
Mr. John Charleston Jr.    (SPARTA, Ga.)
Mr. Arthur Smith Sr.    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Mrs. Annie Gardner    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Mr. Jimmy Spears    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Mrs. Mamie Gibbs    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Mr. Ronnie Stanley    (EVANS, Ga.)
Mr. Metz Hackle    (WAYNESBORO, Ga.)
Mr. Jack Moore    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Mrs. Kathryn Hegler    (MIDVILLE, Ga.)
Morgan Mosley    (TRENTON, S.C.)
Mrs. Ruby Howard    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Mr. Scott Nattinger    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Mrs. Rosa Jenkins    (WAYNESBORO, Ga.)
Meshayla Nesbitt    (AIKEN, S.C.)
Mr. Willie Terry    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Mr. William Owens    (BARNWELL, S.C.)
Mr. Walter Knight    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Mrs. Lucille Reeves    (MILLEN, Ga.)
Mrs. Annie Lawson    (WAYNESBORO, Ga.)
Mr. Carlos Rouse    (AIKEN, S.C.)
Mrs. Debra Jenkins    (AIKEN, S.C.)
Mrs. Lois Showalter    (WARRENVILLE, S.C.)
Mrs. Annie Myers    (WILLISTON, S.C.)
Mr. James Stone Jr.    (LOUISVILLE, Ga.)
Mr. Luther Nelson    (WRENS, Ga.)
Mr. James Taylor, Jr.    (NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C.)
Mr. Willie Osburn    (PEABODY, Kan.)
Mr. Willie Terry    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Mr. John Powell    (THOMSON, Ga.)
Mrs. Malinda Turnbull    (LINCOLNTON, Ga.)
Ms. Lillie Rikard    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Mrs. Opal Walker    (ADRIAN, Ga.)
Mrs. Mildred Sharpe    (SYLVANIA, Ga.)
Mrs. Stella Willis    (GRANITEVILLE, S.C.)
Mr. Arthur Smith Sr.    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Mr. Leroy Wright    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
Mr. Howard Stephens    (COLLEGE PARK, Ga.)
Mr. Robert Bedingfield    (COLUMBUS, Ga.)
Ms. Brenda Boggs    (AIKEN, S.C.)
Mr. Joel Jones    (WAYNESBORO, Ga.)
Mrs. Kathryn Hegler (MIDVILLE, Ga.)

Ms. Tomeka Brown (LOUISVILLE, Ga.)

Mr. Howard Stephens (COLLEGE PARK, Ga.)

Mr. Gene Faulkner Jr. (GREENVILLE, S.C.)

Mrs. Ruvine Heyward (TRENTON, S.C.)

Mr. Arthur Smith Sr. (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mr. John Charleston Jr. (SPARTA, Ga.)

Mr. Roger Fease (HEPHZIBAH, Ga.)

Mrs. Lois Showalter (WARRENVILLE, S.C.)

Mrs. Lois Showalter (WARRENVILLE, S.C.)

Mrs. Mary Jackson (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mrs. Opal Walker (ADRIAN, Ga.)

Mr. Charles Baldwin (STATESBORO, Ga.)

Mrs. Lillian Carrow (DEARING, Ga.)

Mrs. Annie Lawson (WAYNESBORO, Ga.)

Mr. Jimmy Spears (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mr. Gene Faulkner Sr. (BATH, S.C.)

Mrs. Ruvine Heyward (TRENTON, S.C.)

Mrs. Malinda Turnbull (LINCOLNTON, Ga.)

Mr. Ernest Ivery (LIVE OAK, Fla.)

Mrs. Hattie Kirkland (GRANITEVILLE, S.C.)

Mrs. Rosa Jenkins (WAYNESBORO, Ga.)

Morgan Mosley (TRENTON, S.C.)

Mr. Richard James Jr. (NORFOLK, Va.)

Mrs. Lucille Reeves (MILLEN, Ga.)

Mrs. DeAlva Dukes (MILLEN, Ga.)

Mrs. Mattie Hall (AIKEN, S.C.)

Mr. Ronnie Stanley (EVANS, Ga.)

Mrs. Ida Mackins (WADLEY, Ga.)

Mr. Leroy Wright (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mrs. Rosa Jenkins (WAYNESBORO, Ga.)

Mrs. Mary Jackson (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mrs. Evelyn Townsend (WRIGHTSVILLE, Ga.)

Miss Meshayla Nesbitt (AIKEN, S.C.)

Mrs. Ruby Howard (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mrs. Nellie Brown (SEASIDE, Calif.)

Mrs. Mamie Gibbs (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mr. James Taylor, Jr. (NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C.)

Mr. Luther Nelson (WRENS, Ga.)

Mr. Richard Clark (WINDSOR, S.C.)

Mrs. Maryzena Wilson (BROOKLYN, N.Y.)

Mrs. Kathryn Hegler (MIDVILLE, Ga.)

Mrs. Annie Myers (WILLISTON, S.C.)

Mrs. Malinda Turnbull (LINCOLNTON, Ga.)

Mrs. Alicia Gonzalez (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mr. Thomas Greenway (LOUISVILLE, Ga.)

Mr. Willie Osburn (PEABODY, Kan.)

Mr. Willie Terry (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

SMG Hughlon Johnson (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Ms. Brenda Boggs (AIKEN, S.C.)

Mr. Leroy Wright (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mr. Lamar Kendrick (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mr. William Owens (BARNWELL, S.C.)

Mr. Ronnie Stanley (EVANS, Ga.)

Mr. Leonard Bussey (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Meshayla Nesbitt (AIKEN, S.C.)

Mr. Charles Alexander (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mrs. Annie Gardner (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mr. Arthur Smith Sr. (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mr. Walter Knight (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mr. Scott Nattinger (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mr. James Westley (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mrs. Mildred Sharpe (SYLVANIA, Ga.)

Mr. James Stone Jr. (LOUISVILLE, Ga.)

Mr. Joel Jones (WAYNESBORO, Ga.)

Mrs. Stella Willis (GRANITEVILLE, S.C.)

Budget cuts put South Carolina school improvements at risk
SOUTH CAROLINA'S 30-point SAT improvement over the past four years is the nation's best. College Board Vice President Lee Fails says that no state with an SAT student participation rate as high as ours has made as much progress in so short a time.

Aiken Technical College has impact on economic development
AIKEN TECHNICAL COLLEGE is the most important institution in our community for creating a large pool of skilled workers by offering high-quality worker training programs. In looking at the needs of the community for a trained work force, three points should be made.

Stress diversity to children now and always
I can't comment enough on the importance of stressing "diversity" to our children, especially during these times of possible war. I hear people commenting on programs scheduled at the schools, like the celebration of Black History Month in February and National Women's History Month in March. Our children need to be reminded of the importance of African-Americans in this world - today and everyday. James E. Frails, Augusta

Budget cuts put South Carolina school improvements at risk
SOUTH CAROLINA'S 30-point SAT improvement over the past four years is the nation's best. College Board Vice President Lee Fails says that no state with an SAT student participation rate as high as ours has made as much progress in so short a time.

Diversity is here to stay
Today diversity is getting a great deal of attention. It appears that we are acting as if we have discovered a new thing. This isn't the case. If we accept diversity as defined in the dictionary as "a state of unlikeness" or "the condition of being different," we are compelled to acknowledge its existence before our time. Johnny L. Hampton Sr., Augusta

Back-to-back homers
The U.S. Supreme Court this week struck a blow against recidivist criminals by upholding important components of "Megan's Laws" in Connecticut and Alaska and the "three strikes and you're out" law in California.

Rowland strong supporter of public schools
Jody Rowland is by far the most qualified and experienced candidate for Aiken County Sheriff. He has the best education (a master's degree in Criminal Justice), the best training (FBI National Academy) and the best experience (chief deputy for Aiken County). Art Hadden, Jackson, S.C.

Rowland's education, commitment lead the way
I support and publicly thank interim Aiken County Sheriff Jody Rowland for giving me a start in the criminal justice field, which I love. Michael Bush, Elizabethtown, N.C.

It will take all races to remove barriers
Since the powerful speech by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the Washington Mall in 1963, our country has made extraordinary leaps in the fields of technology and science. However, when it comes down to race relations, we still see too many issues within our society in only two colors - black and white. We spend too much time finger-pointing, blaming each other for our present and past problems, while obfuscating our own responsibilities as citizens. Alex L. Neupert, New Ellenton, S.C.

The worst drivers
Do you know where you can find the zaniest, most dangerous drivers? Speeding along an interstate construction site.

Diversity is applying differing perspectives
The definition of diversity goes beyond the traditional traits that make each of us different and focuses on those traits that make each employee unique. Creating an atmosphere that fully utilizes the talents and abilities of every employee is critical to the mission of any business. The ability to bring people into harmony with our positive intentions is one of the most fundamental and powerful tools for business success. Valuing diversity is not tolerating differences; it is truly appreciating and applying differing perspectives and experiences to achieve goals. Donald Williams, Aiken, S.C.

A grand alliance
It wasn't an ordinary meeting between our two-state area movers and shakers that was held at the Pinnacle Club last week. It was history in the making - at least, we hope, significant local history.

What they forget
It's fascinating, even quaint, to see that some of our college students have remembered how invigorating it can be to protest something. It's also easy, and it can get you out of class for a day.

Aiken Technical College has impact on economic development
AIKEN TECHNICAL COLLEGE is the most important institution in our community for creating a large pool of skilled workers by offering high-quality worker training programs. In looking at the needs of the community for a trained work force, three points should be made.

Cheeks stood up for a constituent - period
I believe Dr. Geoffrey E. King's Feb. 27 letter, "Was accused man really guilty?," concerning the Bobby Brassell Jr. case, sums up the situation better than anything else I have read. These are the same facts that Sen. Don Cheeks, R-Augusta, gave on the Austin Rhodes radio program one Friday. ... He told Mr. Rhodes when he heard he was the topic of the program that he swung by the station so he could tell his side of the story live on the air. I was in my automobile, and feel I was blessed to be able to hear him tell what happened as he knew it. Sarah R. Brown, Augusta

Why hasn't Sellers backed Rowland?
As the race for Aiken County sheriff is going into the home stretch, I'm still waiting for former Sheriff Howard Sellers to weigh in with his opinion or recommendation as to his successor. To the best of my knowledge, this has yet to occur. Ernie E. McFerrin, North Augusta, S.C.

Supports professional lawman for sheriff
I have been an emergency medical technician from 1980-2002, and I have had the opportunity to work with law-enforcement officers from across Aiken County. One of these officers whom I have had the opportunity to see in action is Lt. Mike Hunt with Aiken Public Safety. Anthony Fulmer, Windsor, S.C.

Rowland the only prepared candidate
I am a registered voter of Aiken County supporting interim Sheriff Jody Rowland. Sheriff Rowland is the most qualified candidate for the upcoming election on March 25. Sheriff Rowland has over 20 years of hands-on experience, including 10 years of management in the Aiken County Sheriff's Office and graduation from the FBI National Academy. With the current threat of war and terrorism in our society, we need his network of contacts from the national level to the local area. The professionalism of the sheriff's office needs his experience to continue to lead the department to meet the demands of Aiken County. Leslie M. Kiefer, Warrenville, S.C.

Hunt demonstrates ability to be sheriff
On Feb. 24, the Aiken Republican Club held a forum between the two Republican candidates for sheriff. While both candidates were articulate and knowledgeable, I believe that Mike Hunt made the best overall presentation. Pearlious Bledsoe, Graniteville, S.C.

How conscious are we of our differences?
Diversity is defined as "a state of unlikeness" or "the condition of being different." An earlier letter written by Norris Bunch, published on Feb. 16 and titled "Want diversity? You've got it," referred to the diversity in our country. Yes, there is diversity in the sports and entertainment industry. The question is, how conscious are we of diversity in our society as a whole? Terrell W. Bailey, Beech Island, S.C.

MOX article disappointing journalism
Your Feb. 25 news article ("Public gets news on MOX plant," 2B) on the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed MOX (mixed-oxide fuel fabrication) plant at Savannah River Site does not give a balanced view of the adequacy of the statement, and is not a credit to your journalistic ability. L.A. Heinrich, Aiken, S.C.

Overtime

Sports, governments back first global drug code

Davenport wins opening match at Pacific Life Open

Loyal caller adds flair to daily talk radio show

Overtime

Overtime
Augusta State's Oliver Wilson has been named to the watch list for the Ben Hogan Award, given to the top collegiate golfer in all divisions.

Davenport wins opening match at Pacific Life Open
INDIAN WELLS, Calif. -- Fourth-seeded Lindsay Davenport, struggling with inconsistency and motivation, overcame Daja Bedanova in three sets Thursday to join Jennifer Capriati and Amelie Mauresmo in the third round of the Pacific Life Open.

Greenbrier senior nears 100 goals
Senior Joey Grigsby is fast approaching a milestone he never thought about.

Overtime
In Atlanta, Micah Owings hit a two-run homer and Tyler Greene had a solo shot to lift Georgia Tech to a 3-1 victory over Campbell.

Sports, governments back first global drug code
COPENHAGEN, Denmark -- Sports bodies and governments from around the world on Wednesday approved a global policy for unifying doping rules and punishing drug cheats.

Class AAAA capsule
Here is a capsule look at the girls Class AAAA state title game.

Lady Rebels keep hopes for title alive
ATLANTA - For the second consecutive season, the Hephzibah girls basketball team will make a trip to the GHSA Class AAAA final. This time, the Lady Rebels won't have to play county rival Glenn Hills for a chance at the state crown.

Mays ends Glenn Hills' run
ATLANTA - A few seconds remained on the clock, but Glenn Hills guard Marian Whitfield saw her last-ditch shot sail wide, and she laid on the Alexander Memorial Coliseum floor with her arms covering her face.

Taylor County routs Athens Academy
MACON, Ga. -- Megan Kirksey scored 10 points and Taylor County held Athens Academy to nine points in the first half of a 40-26 win in a state Class A semifinal on Wednesday.

Jenkins survives Key, Landmark
MACON, Ga. - Ashley Key played herself to exhaustion Wednesday night.

Glenn Hills suffers semifinal loss
ATLANTA -- Ramona Okonya scored 12 points and Mays used a 9-0 run in the third quarter to beat Glenn Hills 36-32 in the Girls AAAA semifinals Wednesday.

York's Latta to cap amazing career in title game
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Dreher coach Teresa Jones couldn't help but laugh when she was asked how she planned to stop York's Ivory Latta in Saturday's Class 3A state championship game.

Griffin gets win over Cedar Shoals
ATLANTA -- Griffin put on a third-quarter aerial circus and held on to defeat Cedar Shoals 91-71 in a Boys Class AAAA semifinal Wednesday.

Hephzibah follows its leader
He's had better players and better teams, but Hephzibah girls basketball coach Wendell Lofton has not had a better opportunity.

Panthers re-sign Peete, add Delhomme
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Carolina Panthers shored up their quarterback corps Wednesday, re-signing Rodney Peete and adding former New Orleans backup Jake Delhomme.

NFL opener: Jets at Redskins
NEW YORK -- The New York Jets will play at Washington in the NFL's season opener Sept. 4, the second straight year the league will begin its schedule on a Thursday night.

Molten aluminum, burst tires provide clues for shuttle investigators
HOUSTON -- A spray of molten aluminum found on much of Columbia's debris and burst tires from the left landing gear are providing concrete clues for shuttle accident investigators a month into their probe.

Crews searching forest for shuttle debris sickened by chemical fumes
LUFKIN, Texas -- Searchers combing the Sabine National Forest for pieces of the downed space shuttle Columbia have become ill after being exposed to chemical fumes, officials said.

Investigation board holds first public hearing on shuttle accident
HOUSTON -- An engineer whose team of experts found flaws in the safety and operations of the space shuttle program was among four witnesses called to testify at the first public hearing of the Columbia accident investigation board.

NASA chief urges changes to attract employees to space agency
WASHINGTON -- NASA's administrator is urging Congress to allow the space agency to change the ways it recruits and retains its brightest scientests and engineers.

Today's Sponge contraceptive goes on sale again
ALLENDALE, N.J. -- The Today's Sponge contraceptive is back on the market, eight years after it disappeared from U.S. drug store shelves in an alarming turn famously depicted on a "Seinfeld" episode.

Study: Preventable side effects common in older outpatients
CHICAGO -- Largely because of doctors' errors, older non-hospitalized Americans suffer about a half-million preventable drug side effects each year, ranging from nausea to life-threatening kidney failure, a study suggests.

Two men arrested for allegedly stealing $136,000 from bank using Internet
TOKYO -- Two Japanese were arrested for allegedly hacking into bank accounts through the Internet and stealing $136,000, police said Thursday.

UGA not yet in crisis, leader says
ATHENS, Ga. - University of Georgia President Michael Adams said the state's flagship school is in a not-so-rosy budget situation.

Firing follows claims

Georgia fires Jim Harrick Jr.

Georgia fires Jim Harrick Jr.
ATHENS, Ga. -- Georgia fired assistant basketball coach Jim Harrick Jr. on Wednesday after he was accused of academic fraud and paying a former player's bills.

Diamond Dogs edge William & Mary

Inquiry bothers coaches
Like most other basketball coaches in the Southeastern Conference, South Carolina's Dave Odom considers Jim Harrick a friend. He respects Harrick professionally, and he likes Harrick's family.

UGA not yet in crisis, leader says

Inquiry bothers coaches

Diamond Dogs edge William & Mary
ATHENS, Ga. -- Will Startup pitched 7 1/3 innings of solid relief, and Georgia rallied from a 4-0 deficit to a 6-5 victory over William & Mary Wednesday.

UGA not yet in crisis, leader says
ATHENS, Ga. - University of Georgia President Michael Adams said the state's flagship school is in a not-so-rosy budget situation.

Firing follows claims
One Harrick down. One to go?

Harrick stands ground
Embattled Georgia basketball coach Jim Harrick says nothing - not even an NCAA investigation that has led to the firing of his son and possibly others - will dampen his enthusiasm for the rest of the season.

Gamecocks fall to Tide
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Kennedy Winston and Maurice Williams scored 22 points apiece as Alabama continued to make its case for an NCAA tournament bid, beating South Carolina 82-59 on Wednesday night.

Penn says her ankle is healing nicely
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- South Carolina's Jocelyn Penn is tired of answering questions about her right ankle.

Odds and Ends

Bible college gets 666 prefix removed from phone number

Expensive sketch stolen from lobby of jail

Massive bombing expected in opening days of Iraq war

Powell says Saddam trying to divide international community

Iraq destroys more missiles, a third now flattened

Powell plots two-day blitz to win backing for using force to disarm Iraq

France, Germany and Russia to block U.N. war resolution

Bush to hold prime-time news conference

Text of President Bush's prime-time news conference

Bush says he won't leave Americans at 'mercy of Iraqi dictator

Pakistani minister says two bin Laden sons arrested

Seeking war surprise, U.S. escalates air patrols over southern Iraq

CIA director meets with Kuwaiti officials

Britain explores possible deadline for Saddam

Top Turkish general backs deployment of U.S. troops

Blair meets Russian foreign minister to discuss Iraq

Today's Sponge contraceptive goes on sale again

Study: Preventable side effects common in older outpatients