George Washington portrait tours America
OKLAHOMA CITY -- America's first president stands tall in understated black, a controlled expression on his face and one arm outstretched as if beckoning to future generations.

Viewers squint at portrait for a Ventura Code
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Chalk it up to "The Da Vinci Code," but folks in Minnesota's Capitol are squinting for hidden meanings in a new portrait of ex-Gov. Jesse Ventura.

Marquette University to obtain more Tolkien material
MILWAUKEE -- Marquette University, which already owns the original manuscript of J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings," says it is now acquiring a major collection of secondary sources about the author.

Richard Dreyfuss to headline London production of 'The Producers'

George Washington portrait tours America

Richard Dreyfuss to headline London production of 'The Producers'
LONDON -- Richard Dreyfuss will star in the London production of "The Producers," the Mel Brooks musical that made Broadway history two years ago by winning a record 12 Tony Awards.

Actor Paul Newman's 'prank' proves profitable
It all began as a lark. A famous actor and a cantankerous writer, a bucket of beer at their side, mixing a potion with a wood paddle in a barn.

Five show-biz veterans hit the road in 'Nunsense'
NEW YORK -- The lunchtime conversation zigs and zags - and the topics range from J. Fred Muggs to Mother Teresa to Hugh Jackman to the tribulations of touring.

Five show-biz veterans hit the road in 'Nunsense'

Viewers squint at portrait for a Ventura Code

Marquette University to obtain more Tolkien material

Franco re-signs with Mets

Franco re-signs with Mets
NEW YORK -- Reliever John Franco re-signed with the New York Mets on Wednesday for his 15th season with the club.

Rock 'n' roll, Christmas don't mix

Caleb Gage Avret
Jeffrey A. and Karissa E. Avert, both of Grovetown, announce the birth of a son, Caleb Gage Avret, Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2003, at University Hospital. Grandparents are Paul Fort, of Augusta, Richard and Mary Bryant, of Harlem, and Odell and Rachel Avret, of Grovetown.

Cole Meredith Mitchell
Mr. and Mrs. Shannon M. Mitchell, of Evans, announce the birth of a son, Cole Meredith Mitchell, Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2003, at St. Joseph Hospital. Grandparents are Mr. and Mrs. Charles Keller, of Martinez and Mr. and Mrs. John M. Mitchell, of Augusta.

Tajanaie Elaine Ruffin
Wallace L. Ruffin Jr., of Fayetteville, S.C. and LaToya Lakita DeQuair, of New Orleans, announce the birth of a daughter, Tajanaie Elaine Ruffin, Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2003, at University Hospital. Grandparents are Dolores DeQuair, of New Orleans and John and Debra Morning, of Fayetteville, S.C.

Madison Nicole Wells

Landyn Ryan Geisler
Ryan and April Geisler, of Grovetown, announce the birth of a son, Landyn Ryan Geisler, Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2003, at University Hospital. Grandparents are Mr. and Mrs. Jeff Williams, of Langley, Jan Price, of Clearwater, and Tim and Jeanie Geisler, of Grovetown.

Caroline Grace Plowman

Halley Ann Rickerson
Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Rickerson, of Grovetown, announce the birth of a daughter, Halley Ann Rickerson, Friday, Dec. 5, 2003, at St. Joseph Hospital. Grandparents are Mr. and Mrs. Richard Pearre Sr., of Augusta, and Mr. and Mrs. Buford Rickerson, of Grovetown.

Graysan Clark Russell

Charles Griffith Pyles
Mr. and Mrs. Charles D. Pyles, of Augusta, announce the birth of a son, Charles Griffith Pyles, Friday, Dec. 5, 2003, at St. Joseph Hospital. Grandparents are Mr. and Mrs. Joseph C. Griffith, of Columbia, and Mr. and Mrs. Charles B. Pyles, of Atlanta.

Cole Meredith Mitchell

Dawson Christian Mayson
Mr. and Mrs. Christopher O. Mayson, of North Augusta, announce the birth of a son, Dawson Christian Mayson, Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2003, at St. Joseph Hospital. Grandparents are Mr. and Mrs. Hugh G. Jones Jr., of Harlem, and Mr. and Mrs. Harling Mayson, of North Augusta.

Kellen Layne and Irish Peyton Miles

Allison Rose Roberts

Taylor Nichole Wright
Gary L. and Tracy L. Wright, both of Appling, announce the birth of a daughter, Taylor Nichole Wright, Friday, Dec. 12, 2003, at University Hospital. Grandparents are Mr. and Mrs. Steven L. Halbert, of Appling, Mr. and Mrs. Richard Cooper, of Asheville, N.C. and the late Larry W. Wright.

Charles Griffith Pyles

Melanie Beth Reed
Steven and Mary Ann Reed, of Augusta, announce the birth of a daughter, Melanie Beth Reed, Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2003, at University Hospital. Grandparents are Galan and Lorraine Rogers and Lynn and Delilah Reed, all of Burley, Idaho.

Melanie Beth Reed

Allison Rose Roberts
Mr. and Mrs. E. Jason Roberts, of North Augusta, announce the birth of a daughter, Allison Rose Roberts, Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2003, at St. Joseph Hospital. Grandparents are Mr. and Mrs. Bruce Altemose, of Effort, Pa., Bill Roberts, of Summerfield, Fla. and Sandra Kelley, of Stroudsburg, Pa.

McKenzie Leigh Thompson
Charles E. Thompson IV and Angela R. Thompson, both of Martinez, announce the birth of a daughter, McKenzie Leigh Thompson, Monday, Nov. 17, 2003, at Doctors Hospital. Grandparents are Mr. and Mrs. Ernie Glover, of Harlem and Mr. and Mrs. Charles Thompson III, of Martinez.

Graysan Clark Russell
Clark A. and Kathryn M. Russell, of Martinez, announce the birth of a daughter, Graysan Clark Russell, Thursday, Feb. 27, 2003, at Doctors Hospital. Grandparents are Mieko Mullikin, of Martinez, Allen and Susan Russell, of Augusta and the late Chester R. Mullikin.

Taylor Nichole Wright

Caroline Grace Plowman
Jamie and Kari Plowman, of Evans, announce the birth of a daughter, Caroline Grace Plowman, Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2003, at University Hospital. Grandparents are Mr. and Mrs. Lon Klusmannn, of Dacula, Ga. and Dr. and Mrs. Kent Plowman, of Martinez.

Macy Jordan Icenhour

Kellen Layne and Irish Peyton Miles
Leslie W. and Kimberly E. Miles, of North Augusta, announce the birth of a son and daughter, Kellen Layne Miles and Irish Peyton Miles, Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2003, at University Hospital. Grandparents are Rodney and Cleo Taylor, of Kingsport, Tenn. Evelyn Miles, of North Augusta and the late Charlie B. Miles.

Dawson Christian Mayson

Macy Jordan Icenhour
Ron and Paige Icenhour, of Clearwater, announce the birth of a daughter, Macy Jordan Icenhour, Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2003, at University Hospital. Grandparents are Mr. and Mrs. Tony Tipton, of Beech Island and Mr. and Mrs. David Icenhour, of Clearwater.

Tajanaie Elaine Ruffin

Kayla Nicole Evans
Michael and Amanda Evans, of Augusta, announce the birth of a daughter, Kayla Nicole Evans, Friday, Dec. 12, 2003, at University Hospital. Grandparents are Anna Lane, of North Augusta, Michael Highland, Janis Evans and Mr. and Mrs. David Evan, all of Augusta.

Kayla Nicole Evans

Madison Nicole Wells
Jeremy R. and Jaclynn F. Wells, both of Augusta, announce the birth of a daughter, Madison Nicole Wells, Monday, Dec. 8, 2003, at University Hospital. Grandparents are Bilinda F. Fort and Jerry A. and Kelly D. Wells, all of Augusta and Timothy G. Wells, of Arlington, Va.

McKenzie Leigh Thompson

Landyn Ryan Geisler

Halley Ann Rickerson

Odds and Ends
NEW CITY, N.Y. -- The Grinch stole Christmas, and now someone has stolen the Grinch.

Odds and Ends
NAPLES, Fla. -- A suspect in jewelry heist got caught after he tried to get away - in the sheriff's car.

Toadfish mating call gives clues to fighting human muscular diseases
BERKELEY, Calif. -- The love song of the lonely toadfish is giving scientists new insight on fighting human muscular diseases.

Cell phone call costs NFL player $30,000
NEW ORLEANS -- New Orleans Saints receiver Joe Horn was fined $30,000 by the NFL on Tuesday for making a choreographed cell-phone call in the end zone to celebrate a touchdown.

Braves sign Alfonseca
ATLANTA -- Free-agent reliever Antonio Alfonseca agreed Friday to a one-year contract with the Atlanta Braves.

Sheffield-Yankees deal finalized
NEW YORK -- Gary Sheffield already is bracing for it.

Former Brave Eddie Perez rejoins team

Braves sign Alfonseca

Former Brave Eddie Perez rejoins team
ATLANTA -- Eddie Perez, backup catcher for the Atlanta Braves in seven division-winning seasons, agreed to a two-year contract on Wednesday to rejoin the team.

Euro continues climb, hits new high against dollar
BERLIN -- The euro reached a fresh all-time high against the U.S. dollar Thursday, climbing to $1.2436 as it pursued a relentless rise rooted in concerns about the U.S. budget and trade deficits.

Bush plan to cut deficit ignores long-term budget crunch, critics say
WASHINGTON -- President Bush's goal of halving this year's projected $500 billion deficit by 2009 distracts from the more serious crunch the government faces later as the huge baby boom generation ages, critics say.

FCC approves new frequency for intelligent highway systems
WASHINGTON -- Federal regulators approved a step Wednesday toward developing smart highways, where warning signals automatically transmitted to drivers can prevent traffic accidents.

Multimedia PCs still not at home in the living room
Personal computers are powerful enough to replace just about every electronic component in the living room entertainment center. Yet the PC still doesn't quite seem at home there.

U.S. reaches free trade agreement
WASHINGTON -- Overcoming a last-minute snag on textiles, the United States reached a free trade agreement on Wednesday with four Central American countries.

Study finds billions in fee overcharges
ATLANTA - Consumers who borrow from payday lenders are overcharged an estimated $3.4 billion yearly, according to a study by a coalition of buyer-protection groups. But the trade association for the payday loan industry rebuts the study and notes that borrowers are aware of the costs.

Jobless claims fall sharply last week
WASHINGTON -- New claims for unemployment benefits fell sharply last week, a sign that businesses are feeling more confident in the economic recovery and less inclined to hand out pink slips to workers.

Study finds billions in fee overcharges

Federal regulators seeking fines from former Freddie Mac executives
WASHINGTON -- Federal regulators on Thursday filed administrative charges seeking a total $8.4 million in fines and the recovery of millions more in severance benefits from two ousted top executives of Freddie Mac for their role in the mortgage giant's $5 billion accounting scandal.

Nova BioGenetics subregisters three companies

FutureCall closes its headquarters
FutureCall has officially closed its Colorado Springs, Colo., headquarters, and the future of its Stevens Creek Road facility is in question.

Business briefs

Nova BioGenetics subregisters three companies
ATLANTA--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dec. 19, 2003--Nova BioGenetics (OTC Bulletin Board: NVBG) announces it has sub-registered ANABEC Inc., Kor-Chem, Inc., and WorldCHEM products with the US EPA.

Missed deadline will equal fines

Business briefs
LOOK AHEAD

Genesee & Wyoming to Acquire Railroads from Georgia-Pacific Corp.

Cap jury awards, some say

Dollar drops against euro, gold rises in Europe

Cap jury awards, some say
Paul Webster says he spends about a third of his workday practicing what he calls "defensive medicine."

Genesee & Wyoming to Acquire Railroads from Georgia-Pacific Corp.
GREENWICH, Conn., and ATLANTA -- Dec. 19 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Georgia-Pacific Corp. (NYSE: GP) and Genesee & Wyoming Inc. (GWI) (NYSE: GWR) today announced they have signed an agreement for GWI to acquire three short- line railroads from Georgia-Pacific for $55.6 million.

Saab will add midsize SUV to North American lineup
DETROIT -- Saab Automobile AB, continuing a product offensive, plans to add a midsize sports utility vehicle to its all-car lineup, the Swedish automaker said Wednesday.

Euro continues climb, hits new high against dollar

Missed deadline will equal fines
For the first time since a taxpayer-funded construction project got off the ground in the Laney-Walker business district, its owner - the Augusta Neighborhood Improvement Corp. - has set a firm deadline for completion and strict penalties if that deadline is missed.

Business briefs
Bank shareholders to get 2-for-1 split

Wal-Mart and Toys "R" Us battle for holiday sales
NORTH BRUNSWICK, N.J. -- The annual holiday wars between the nation's two largest toy sellers is well under way. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Toys "R" Us Inc. are cutting prices and deploying brigades of Barbie and Elmo dolls as they joust for market share.

Dollar drops against euro, gold rises in Europe
LONDON -- The U.S. dollar fell against most major currencies and continued its record decline against the euro in European trading Wednesday. The euro has risen nearly 18 percent against the U.S. currency this year.

Jobless claims fall sharply last week

Multimedia PCs still not at home in the living room

Wal-Mart and Toys "R" Us battle for holiday sales

Clemson falls to Cincinnati

Lady Tigers get close road win

Clemson falls to Cincinnati
CINCINNATI -- By the head coach's exacting standards, No. 16 still isn't tough enough. By most other measures, the unbeaten Bearcats are a handful.

Lady Tigers get close road win
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - Senior Lakeia Stokes and sophomore Julie Talley combined for 51 points to lead Clemson to a 79-75 victory over Youngstown State on Friday night.

Going bowling
The GMAC Bowl in Mobile, Ala., pits Louisville (9-3) against Miami of Ohio (12-1), 7:30, ESPN2.

Augusta State barely beats Allen

UConn women earn school's 600th win

Gerald withdraws from South Carolina

Help out or stay out

Another big score

Another big score
For many around the world, Augusta is the center of the golf universe.

Tale of 2 administrators
If you want to see an idyllic relationship between a city manager and elected officials, then look to Aiken. For a flawed relationship look to Augusta, where administrator George Kolb is just one vote shy of being terminated.

Is the left nuts?

Trips a good investment
Richmond County Board of Education member Johnny Hatney was right to challenge several of his board colleagues and School Superintendent Charles Larke for spending money out of the school district's tight general fund to travel to Virginia, North Carolina and Florida.

Insanity

Help out or stay out
If there's a 2003 award for "telling it like it is," then Iraqi's interim foreign minister, Hoshyar Zebari, should win it hands down.

Is the left nuts?
In a Saturday Night Live skit just hours before the capture of Saddam Hussein became public knowledge, a faux Al Gore "endorsed" a faux Howard Dean for president because Dean understood that George W. Bush was the "worst" leader in history. Hitler was No. 3 on the list; Nixon was apparently No. 2.

Insanity
Unbelievable. A psychotic man who nearly assassinated a president - and did, in fact, permanently maim a close presidential aide - is given permission by a federal judge to roam freely in the same neighborhood where another president and his White House aides live.

People in the News
NEW YORK -- Gretchen Mol will be Broadway's new merry murderess, Roxie Hart, in 2004.

'Cold Mountain' leads Golden Globe nominations
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- The Civil War epic "Cold Mountain" collected a leading eight Golden Globe nominations Thursday including best drama, as Hollywood marked the start of its annual trophy-giving season.

Journalist Hunter S. Thompson recovering from broken leg
HONOLULU -- Journalist Hunter S. Thompson is recovering but faces surgery after breaking his leg in a fall at his Waikiki hotel, his wife said Tuesday.

'Rings' fans sing praises of trilogy's final installment
NEW YORK -- One of the stars of the "Lord of the Rings" movies is Gollum, an emotionally conflicted goblin - but fans were anything but two-minded as they left early screenings of the trilogy's final installment early Wednesday.

Famous celebrity smiles
With BC-Film-Julia Roberts, Bjt

Attorneys general push Hollywood to cut down on smoking in movies
BALTIMORE -- Attorneys general are encouraging Hollywood executives to reduce the amount of smoking in films, which they say can encourage young people to smoke.

Prosecutor's actions have added to drama in Jackson case
LOS ANGELES -- Hollywood and Michael Jackson's Neverland are about 100 miles apart, but the psychological distance between the two fantasylands is shrinking daily as movie-style drama engulfs the pop star's child molestation case.

Video watch
JUST OUT: Freaky Friday, Seabiscuit and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

100 years ago, 'Train Robbery' launched feature film industry
LOS ANGELES -- A fierce-looking outlaw aims his six-shooter at a cluster of law-abiding citizens sitting in the darkness. He pulls the trigger and smoke pours out of the gun barrel. Men shriek. Women faint.

Standing ovations
Athens duo Dromedary, whose multi-instrumental take on world music has been featured on National Public Radio's All Things Considered, will perform at 10 tonight at Stillwater Tap Room, 974 Broad St. The group will perform with guitarist Jonathan Byrd, who plays in the flatpick style. For more information, call 826-9857.

Top 20 Concert Tours
The Top 20 Concert Tours ranks artists by average box office gross per city and includes the average ticket price for shows in North America. The previous week's ranking is in parentheses. The list is based on data provided to the trade publication Pollstar by concert promoters and venue managers.

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.

Top 5 in entertainment
Here are the top five TV shows, films, records, concerts and videos.

Mature roles rare for older women
LOS ANGELES - Diane Keaton recalls her skepticism over lunch a few years back with writer-director Nancy Meyers, who was pitching a romantic comedy centered on a woman in her 50s and a man in his 60s.

Florida attraction could reopen under new management
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Cypress Gardens, the venerable Florida attraction known for its water ski shows and Southern belles, could reopen by spring under new management, officials said Tuesday.

People in the News
NEW YORK -- Butters has become one of Trey Parker's favorite "South Park" characters.

Joey Buttafuoco arrested in LA in insurance fraud case
LOS ANGELES -- Joey Buttafuoco, whose affair with a teenager led to his wife's shooting in New York, was arrested Wednesday and charged with insurance fraud for allegedly making phony repair estimates at his auto body shop.

Club calendar
Here's a list of entertainment at Aiken-Augusta nightclubs.

NYSE names Goldman's John Thain as new chief executive
NEW YORK -- Moving quickly after federal regulators approved an overhaul plan for the governance of the New York Stock Exchange, the Big Board named Goldman Sachs investment firm president John Thain as the exchange's new chief executive.

Bonds decline

Bonds decline
NEW YORK -- Bond prices finished somewhat lower Friday in the absence of fresh economic reports for investors to ponder.

NYSE splitting chairman, CEO roles
WASHINGTON -- Federal regulators, responding to a pay scandal at the New York Stock Exchange, approved an overhaul of the exchange Wednesday after the NYSE agreed to split its top executive positions to avoid concentrating excessive power in one person.

Putnam fires nine more over market timing

Natural gas prices surge this winter
WASHINGTON -- Residential heating costs, already expected to be higher this winter than last, could take another jump after natural gas prices soared by nearly 50 percent within the past three weeks.

Report: Grand jury investigating mutual fund trading abuses
BOSTON -- U.S. attorney Michael Sullivan has convened a grand jury to investigate an array of trading abuses in the mutual fund industry, according to a published report.

Putnam fires nine more over market timing
BOSTON -- Putnam Investments has fired nine more employees for alleged improper trading, the fund company disclosed in a letter to shareholders announcing the results of its internal investigation into market timing.

Natural gas prices surge this winter

Orbitz stock trades heavily in roller-coaster debut
CHICAGO -- Orbitz Inc. made a roller-coaster debut as a publicly traded company Wednesday - its shares initially surging 18 percent and then falling back in heavy volume that underscored investors' revived interest in IPOs.

NYSE names Goldman's John Thain as new chief executive

Orbitz stock trades heavily in roller-coaster debut

Stocks gain on decline in jobless claims
NEW YORK -- A trio of positive economic reports - from jobless claims to manufacturing - boosted Wall Street Thursday as investors grew more confident that the economic recovery was firmly under way. The Dow Jones industrials climbed 102 points to a 19-month high.

NYSE splitting chairman, CEO roles

Rates on 30-year and 15-year mortgages dip for second straight week
WASHINGTON -- Rates on 30-year and 15-year mortgages declined for the second week in a row, offering more good news for the red-hot housing market.

Oil Prices at highest level since Iraq war

Rates on 30-year and 15-year mortgages dip for second straight week

Stocks end mixed on weak dollar, earnings news
NEW YORK -- Stocks ended mixed Wednesday as sluggish earnings from Circuit City Stores Inc. and FedEx Corp. prompted investors to cash in some gains from the previous session's big rally. A weak dollar also pressured shares.

Oil Prices at highest level since Iraq war
NEW YORK - Oil prices in New York soared Wednesday to heights not seen since immediately before the war in Iraq, jumping as much as 3 percent to near $34 a barrel after government data indicated crude inventories dwindled to the lowest level ever recorded in the month of December.

Stocks end mixed on weak dollar, earnings news

Dollar gets a reprieve from selling pressure
NEW YORK (Dow Jones/AP) - The dollar enjoyed a brief respite from relentless selling pressure Friday as investors took profits ahead of the holidays.

CKE touts 'low-carb' burger; dietitians warn of high fat content
ST. LOUIS -- Hardee's and Carl's Jr. fast-food chains consider it thinking outside the bun - capitalizing on America's low-carbohydrate craze, they're launching a bunless, lettuce-wrapped burger with just a handful of carbs.

CKE touts 'low-carb' burger; dietitians warn of high fat content

Yellow Jackets dominate Bulldogs
ATLANTA - Georgia Tech lived up to its No. 5 ranking in the first half of Wednesday night's game with Alabama A&M. That was more than enough against the overwhelmed and timid Bulldogs.

Hewitt prepares to play Red Storm
ATLANTA - Paul Hewitt found out midway through Friday's practice that his team's next opponent had fired its head coach. He said nothing to his fifth-ranked Georgia Tech team, and practice continued uninterrupted.

Yellow Jackets dominate Bulldogs

Devils enjoy being underdogs

All-area team

Hawkinsville carries belief in 'No. 1 defense'

Devils endure another problem

Prep basketball scores

Devils enjoy being underdogs
LINCOLNTON, Ga. - Last week's Class A semifinal game between Clinch County and Hawkinsville was really the contest that would determine the state champion.

Devils endure another problem
Lincoln County has fought through injuries and sickness all season. Now, coach Larry Campbell will have to fight his way through another one. This time, he's the one that's sick.

All-area team
Player of the Year: Albert Webb, Swainsboro

Hawkinsville carries belief in 'No. 1 defense'
Hawkinsville defensive end Charles Johnson has all the tools to be successful.

Rock 'n' roll, Christmas don't mix
I don't know anything about music. In my line you don't have to.

Fire destroys Augusta apartment
A fire early Wednesday at a south Augusta apartment complex destroyed one apartment and displaced three families, officials say.

Body found in rock quarry is identified
Authorities have identified a woman whose body was found dumped along a rock quarry in Augusta on Wednesday, and they are asking for the public's help in finding another woman wanted for questioning.

Woman's vision for community realized
I attended the Brookfield Park dedication Nov. 14. It was a fitting end to a long journey for Fran Stewart. Patsie Bargeron, Evans, Ga.

The pot calling the kettle black
President George W. Bush is being labeled a liar. To my knowledge, former President Bill "Slick Willie" Clinton is the only president who has lied under oath. Let us not forget that the liberal Democrats, including their lying hero, also endorsed going into Iraq. They just didn't have the guts to do it. Jim Campbell, Augusta

Taking Christ out of Christmas

Editorial restores faith in humanity
Regarding your Thanksgiving Day editorial on Nov. 27, "The texture of gratitude": Arnold J. Throckmorton, Hephzibah, Ga.

Editorial cartoon hateful, not ignorant
Adding to Daniel Fawaz's comments of Dec. 12, "Cartoon about Ramadan ignorant": It concerned editorial cartoonist Rick McKee's cartoon attacking Ramadan. I agree his cartoon linking Ramadan to terrorism is hateful, but not ignorant.

Start investing in the rest of Augusta
Why is there a debate about where to put the proposed Augusta sports arena? It seems obvious that the old Regency Mall site is the best option. Bo H. Handy, Augusta

Celebrate Christmas by celebrating Christ

Women's Right to Know bill based on lie
Regarding Vern J. Simon's Dec. 10 letter, "Planned Parenthood fights Women's Right to Know bill": Mary Beth Pierucci, Augusta

Marriage an institution, not a right
Andrew Schocket's Nov. 26 column, "Massachusetts bridges gap between jurisprudence and popular opinion," compared the decision of the Massachusetts Supreme Court to legalize gay and lesbian marriage with that court's decision in 1793 to grant freedom to escaped slaves. David Paine, Martinez, Ga.

A gift of thanks for Sheriff Strength
The Immaculate Conception School Boosters Club parks cars on the Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church's parking lots for functions at the Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center and the Bell Auditorium. James L. McLeod, Augusta (Editor's note: The writer is the director of development at the Immaculate Conception School.)

Abortion one of many choices
In her Dec. 6 letter, "Abortion is Planned Parenthood's 'life's blood,"' Karen Cox is misinformed about Title X dollars. The National Family Planning program Title X dollars do not go to abortion services. These funds are provided for reproductive health care, including birth control. Elizabeth Johnson, Augusta

Women's Right to Know bill based on lie

Taking Christ out of Christmas
As my weekly routine began Monday morning, my eyes caught a stack of sales papers in the living room. Standing there with a cup of freshly brewed coffee in my hand, I had a few minutes to spare. Leo Conner, Hephzibah, Ga.

Editorial restores faith in humanity

The pot calling the kettle black

'O come, let us adore Him'
Joy to the world! Christmas is here again, reminding us of the triumph of Christianity above all false religions and the power of that babe born in a manger to put down his enemies with a militancy the world has never known. Timothy Dwight Fellows Jr., Augusta

Start investing in the rest of Augusta

Proposes annual rerun of Thomas' Christmas column
I do not always agree with Cal Thomas and what he writes. In particular, I disagree with his stance on the Palestinian situation. But I do read his columns regularly, and I find myself in 100-percent agreement with his Dec. 3 column titled "Each year Christmas gets harder to keep." He has certainly stated what has happened to Christmases past. With undisguised broadsides, he has attacked those groups and industries that would blatantly eliminate the true meaning of the holiday. David G. Keller, North Augusta, S.C.

Celebrate Christmas by celebrating Christ
Christmas is such a wonderful time of the year. A time of giving and receiving. A time of loving fellowship with family and friends. A time of joy and laughter. But most of all, Christmas is when Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God. The Rev. Paul L. Cook, Augusta

A gift of thanks for Sheriff Strength

Holiday birthday is a blessings and curse

Taiwan reports first SARS case in five months

Flu outbreak doesn't stop children, parents from visiting Santa

Experts worry about an especially bad flu season for children

Health and fitness calendar

Intel to develop chip for digital TVs

Photo with Santa, new sweater - pets get family treatment for holidays

Proper frame preserves artwork

What to do when the flu hits children?

Sony's dancing humanoid robot learns how to jog

30,000-year-old figurines give glimpse at early man

There's more in store for 2004 - great stamps, that is

Group's founder teaches responsibility on, off stage

30,000-year-old figurines give glimpse at early man
Small figurines carved from mammoth ivory more than 30,000 years ago have been discovered in a cave in Germany. Among the earliest undisputed artworks ever found, they are providing new clues into the migration and religious beliefs of early humans.

Sony's dancing humanoid robot learns how to jog
TOKYO -- Sony Corp.'s walking robot already knows a few hip dance steps and can kick a miniature soccer ball. Now, it can jog - a new trick that developers say is ingenious because it requires the machine to jump off the ground, even for a fraction of a second.

Experts worry about an especially bad flu season for children
Flu sweeping across the country appears to be hitting unusually hard at young children, and experts say occasional reports of deaths among otherwise healthy youngsters are especially worrisome.

What to do when the flu hits children?
WASHINGTON -- It can be hard to tell when a child's flu is bad enough to go to the emergency room or doctor's office - or whether toughing it out, perhaps with some physician phone advice, is enough.

Group's founder teaches responsibility on, off stage
With a small tilt of the head and a slight furrowing of the brow, Evelyn Ellis, the creative director of Creative Impressions, listens as the complex stew of vocal parts and primal percussion teeter on the edge of cacophony.

Flu outbreak doesn't stop children, parents from visiting Santa
OMAHA, Neb. -- A severe flu outbreak blamed in the deaths of at least 20 children isn't keeping some parents from taking their youngsters on the annual visit to Santa Claus.

Holiday birthday is a blessings and curse
When Mitch Quarles, of Augusta, makes the holiday rounds from house to house next week, he's sure a birthday cake with his name on it will pop up somewhere.

Photo with Santa, new sweater - pets get family treatment for holidays
AP Graphic HOLIDAY PET GIFTS

NY Attorney General, Microsoft sue alleged spam network
NEW YORK -- Microsoft Corp. and New York's attorney general filed lawsuits Thursday against what they said was a spam ring responsible for sending billions of illegal e-mail messages.

First report of blood donor and recipient dying of mad cow disease
LONDON -- The British government reported on Wednesday a patient died of the human form of mad cow disease after a blood transfusion from an infected donor - the first time such a connection has been reported.

Intel to develop chip for digital TVs
SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Intel Corp. plans to develop a chip that could lead to slimmer and cheaper rear-projection TVs.

Taiwan reports first SARS case in five months
TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taiwan reported its first SARS case in five months on Wednesday - a scientist who allegedly ignored World Health Organization safety rules and worked with spilled virus samples without wearing a protective gown and gloves, officials said.

Proper frame preserves artwork
Scenes from a marriage. The husband, short nails gripped in his teeth, juggles a print, poster or painting and hammer while his wife, from across the room, tries to gauge the piece's proper placement. Later, perhaps after a reversal of roles, a single nail is hammered in and the piece is placed on the wall. Sure, it tilts a little, but who can be bothered to go through the worry and woe of making it level? Finally, one spouse or the other speaks.

Young adults who flunk treadmill tests face health risks
Young adults who flunk treadmill tests face health risks 15 years later

Emergency rooms inundated with flu sufferers
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Sniffling, achy people suffering from the flu are crowding hospital emergency rooms around the country, creating long waits in the ER and frustrating doctors who can do little more than treat the symptoms.

There's more in store for 2004 - great stamps, that is
The 2004 U.S. stamp calendar runs the gamut of commemoratives, from the natural living beauty of the Pacific coral reef to the National World War II Memorial in Washington, and from candy heart stamps to the Lewis and Clark expedition which opened the American West.

Living briefs
With the recent release of the movie Elf and the popularity of the Lord of the Rings characters Legolas (above) and Galadriel the Elf Queen, children are crazy for elves.

Health and fitness calendar
The health and fitness calendar is a listing of support groups, activities and lectures. Send information to Health Calendar, The Augusta Chronicle Newsroom, P.O. Box 1928, Augusta, GA 30903.

Hamerlik's call-up leaves coach searching for backup

Hamerlik's call-up leaves coach searching for backup
The Lynx will be without goalie Peter Hamerlik for about three weeks, which leaves coach Stan Drulia scrambling to find a proven backup.

Surgeons' gift to aid MCG
Joseph M. Still already has a burn center named after him at Doctors Hospital but soon there will be a chair with his name on it.

Georgians support displays
ATLANTA - Georgians overwhelmingly support the posting of the Ten Commandments in public buildings and want more religious influence in their government, according to a poll released Thursday.

State settles suit by ex-juvenile detention officer

Armed Services chairman to visit

Across South Carolina
ST. STEPHEN - A masked gunman wounded when he tried to rob a liquor store later turned his gun on himself, officials said.

Review cites tax office in shortfall

Murder-for-hire case ready for deliberation

Soldier pops question on TV

Wind farm powers town's economy
FLUVANNA, Texas - On clear days, the giant turbines of the Brazos Wind Ranch can be seen about 20 miles away.

Airport leaders admire ranking

County doesn't mind losing land
ATHENS, Ga. - South Georgia's Effingham County will lose about $12,000 in property tax revenue as the result of a 1,339-acre gift to the University of Georgia.

County access to grow

Thurmond's biracial daughter speaks to media
COLUMBIA - Essie Mae Washington-Williams told the world Wednesday her father was deceased South Carolina legend Strom Thurmond, a secret she said she held to protect his political career.

Wind farm powers town's economy

Students ready to work to recoup lost funds
ATLANTA - Some Georgia college students are looking for part-time jobs and reconsidering their summer plans as momentum gathers behind a proposal to remove book and fee allowances from the HOPE scholarship.

Council debates tax spending

Family has difficult time living off single income
A Graniteville man writes that he needs help to make Christmas special for his wife and three sons.

Families confront deployment

Gunmen hurt store manager
Instead of waiting to see what two masked men wanted Wednesday night, Family Dollar manager Trudy Bunch hit the gas pedal, only to be shot in the back as she sped away from the Augusta store.

Legislators hear calls for funding

Ethics panel gives Schrenko more time
ATLANTA - Dissatisfied with Linda Schrenko's accounting of about $20,000 in missing campaign funds, the State Ethics Commission on Friday gave the former Georgia school superintendent 60 days to provide a fuller explanation.

Thurmond's biracial daughter speaks to media

3 local companies pay environmental fines
Fines were paid by three local companies this month over environmental violations that included a 40,000-gallon nitric acid spill at an Augusta factory, according to Georgia's Environmental Protection Division.

3 local companies pay environmental fines

Jury finds pair guilty
Although one juror bailed out of deliberations, it took less than two hours Friday for a jury to find two men guilty of an execution-style murder for hire.

Across the area

Police gather property of Jefferson coroner

Faculty members see loss of perks

Across the area
A Richmond County sheriff's deputy who shot a 16-year-old boy last weekend has been placed on administrative duty until a state investigation is complete, Sheriff Ronnie Strength said Wednesday.

News you can use

Mayor questions organization's use of state money

DeMint tests system with trade-bill support

Police seek identity of body
Authorities were trying Wednesday evening to identify the body of a woman found at a west Augusta rock quarry, officials said.

Inmate-work bill pushed in Atlanta

City of Grovetown shines brightest

Brunswick soldier is killed near Baghdad

DeMint tests system with trade-bill support
AIKEN - U.S. Rep. Jim DeMint placed a big political bet on the state's new economic order Thursday, voicing loud support for a Central American free trade agreement vehemently opposed by South Carolina's textile executives.

Department will run marinas

Final arguments heard in case
Jurors had the night to ponder the parting words of attorneys before they try this morning to decide the fate of two Augusta men accused of murder.

CDC investigates flu deaths

O'Keeffe painting vanishes
AMARILLO, Texas - A painting by Georgia O'Keeffe, one of only three known oils she painted in the Texas Panhandle, is missing from a Santa Fe Museum.

County doesn't mind losing land

News you can use

Teenagers' bond hearing closed

Lawyers appeal to get commandments back up
ATHENS, Ga. - Habersham County lawyers have asked the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn a federal judge's decision ordering the removal of Ten Commandments displays from the county courthouse and swimming pool complex in northeast Georgia.

Ethics panel gives Schrenko more time

Former Augusta leader dies
Former Augusta businessman and civic leader James Curtis Cullum Sr., who died Friday at his home, was dedicated to his God, his family and his community, according to one of his sons.

Farmers see large profits with business from retailers

Yarbrough: Scares remind us of what matters
I had a bit of a health scare recently that hopefully will be determined to have been just that - a scare.

Final arguments heard in case

Woman celebrates 108 years of life
MEEKER, Okla. - Dressed in a blue satin gown, she greeted everyone with a loving kiss, hug or pat on the hand.

Beauty queen is charged in attack

Families confront deployment
AIKEN - It was difficult enough for Jeanette Ingram to watch her brother Sgt. David Ingram, 39, of Aiken, board a charter bus with the rest of the 450th Ordnance Company.

Textile execs decry trade pact

Textile execs decry trade pact
AIKEN - A proposed Central American free trade pact would threaten more than 2,800 jobs in the Aiken-Augusta area, textile executives said Friday, including a denim finishing plant in Augusta and five out of six mills centered around Graniteville.

Teachers love gifts from pupils' hearts

Officials to meet on state budget
The continued lean times at the state level are expected to dominate discussions today between Columbia County's legislative delegation and local officials.

Fire destroys Augusta apartment

Police gather property of Jefferson coroner
LOUISVILLE, Ga. - Authorities have seized two computers, a stack of paperwork and four death certificates in an ongoing investigation of Jefferson County Coroner Johnny Nelson, according to search warrants obtained Wednesday.

The 450th Ordinance company bid farewell

Mayor questions organization's use of state money
Augusta Mayor Bob Young hand-delivered a letter to Gov. Sonny Perdue on Wednesday questioning the expenditures of the Augusta Neighborhood Improvement Corp. and criticizing the financial stewardship of its oversight agency.

Jury finds pair guilty

Armed Services chairman to visit
A top congressional official will visit Fort Gordon today, a visit that will help Augusta as it looks to stave off base closure in 2005, officials say.

Kid of the day

Morning blaze guts apartment; residents of complex unharmed
A Wednesday morning fire at a south Augusta apartment complex destroyed one apartment and displaced three families, officials say.

Friends pray for missing student

Florida firm to assume control of Augusta YDC
The operation of the Augusta YDC is about to change hands again.

Officer reports Iraqi relief

Officer makes horse calls

Former Augusta leader dies

Florida firm to assume control of Augusta YDC

Yarbrough: Scares remind us of what matters

Farmers see large profits with business from retailers
RIDGE SPRING, S.C. - It's hard to believe Joe Watson's small storefront, the size of a walk-in closet, helped the largest pecan grower in South Carolina account for more than a fourth of his sales last year.

Faculty members see loss of perks
ATHENS, Ga. - While possible layoffs at the University of Georgia have dominated talks of looming budget cuts, some UGA faculty members have other concerns as well.

Across South Carolina
SIX MILE - The twin brother of a 3-year-old boy who drowned last month in a neighborhood pond also has died, authorities say.

Legislators hear calls for funding
The state's coffers will remain tight next year, and members of Columbia County's legislative delegation know not everyone will be happy after the budget is balanced.

Pupils learn one Lego at a time
NORTH AUGUSTA - In the midst of taking semester exams, some eighth-grade pupils at Paul Knox Middle School found a way to learn without penciling in a multiple choice answer or laboring over an essay.

Kid of the day
Today's kid of the day is Christopher "Brandon" Hensley, 7, of Harlem.

The 450th Ordinance company bid farewell
AIKEN - A folded American flag was the last thing Spc. Jeff Bates tucked in his guitar case before he said goodbye to family and friends and boarded a charter bus to Fort Stewart and probable service in war-torn Iraq.

Counties rank high in wrecks
As long as there are deer and cars in Columbia County, Dan Yelton knows his job is secure.

Tip, stakeout lead to arrest
A drug stakeout paid off for Richmond County investigators with Thursday's arrest of a man whom police called a "major dealer" and the recovery of a half-kilogram of cocaine and nearly $15,000, authorities said.

Rants and raves
Because we receive a number of comments and questions about The Augusta Chronicle, we use Saturday's Rants & Raves column to set the record straight.

Police look for data on woman
A homeless woman whose body was found dumped along a rock quarry in Augusta had been beaten to death, authorities said Thursday.

Rants and raves
Because we receive a number of comments and questions about The Augusta Chronicle, we use Saturday's Rants & Raves column to set the record straight.

Officer reports Iraqi relief
AMARILLO, Texas - The capture of Saddam Hussein was followed by demonstrations of support for the fallen dictator in Tikrit, anti-Saddam rallies elsewhere and the smoking of victory cigars by the soldiers who nabbed him.

Brunswick soldier is killed near Baghdad
BRUNSWICK, Ga. - Army Spc. Chris Holland, 26, of Brunswick became the first soldier from the Glynn County area to die in Iraq when he was killed in a patrol Wednesday night near Baghdad, his father said.

Kid of the day

Across South Carolina

CDC investigates flu deaths
Diana Dennis knew it wasn't the usual sniffles when she suddenly had a severe cough that was followed by a high fever.

Airport leaders admire ranking
The online survey results are in, and the top vote-getter wasn't Augusta.

Pupils learn one Lego at a time

Gunmen hurt store manager

Beauty queen is charged in attack
SAVANNAH, Ga. - A 21-year-old Georgia beauty queen has been accused of shooting and critically wounding her boyfriend in what police say was an attack motivated by jealousy.

Kid of the day

News you can use
BACK IN TIME DEC. 18, 1995 A developer's plan to add docks to a new South Carolina riverfront subdivision has Georgia officials concerned about the potential impact on major Savannah River boating events.

Family struggles to provide for two sons

Officials question reform provision
Grovetown Middle School Principal Carolyn Fries took a front row seat during a meeting Thursday with U.S. Rep. and Senate candidate Johnny Isakson.

Rants and raves
I CERTAINLY AGREE that the Academy of Richmond County's mascot's name should not be embroidered on the girls' basketball shorts. It should be embroidered across their (chests) just like volleyball and soccer - so it is clearly visible as they jog down the court and does not distract the boys.

County access to grow
AIKEN - Aiken officials completed a deal Thursday that will provide high-speed fiber-optic lines to the county's industrial parks, cities and schools that are capable of rapidly transmitting large volumes of information to all corners of the world.

Across Georgia
Soldier denies guilt on charges of rape

Rants and Raves
I JUST WANT to say I hope George Kolb leaves this one-horse town because it is run by a commission, a gang of idiots who don't know anything and don't want to learn anything. So I hope he leaves and finds a job worthy of his talent.

Family struggles to provide for two sons
A Wrens, Ga., woman with two children is seeking help this holiday.

Across the area
Sheriff's investigators are still looking for a woman wanted for questioning in the case of a woman found dead at a west Augusta rock quarry Wednesday, officials said.

Across South Carolina
WESTMINSTER - A man and his stepson have died in an early morning fire while three other family members escaped the blaze.

Inmate-work bill pushed in Atlanta
ATLANTA - State prison inmates could earn enough money to help cover the costs of their incarceration while learning valuable job skills under a proposal pitched by two Democratic lawmakers Thursday.

Hospital system allows direct access to files
It will save Mac Bowman a lot of steps.

Woman dies in jail while awaiting rehab
Authorities are investigating the death of a woman who was in the Washington County jail awaiting treatment at a drug rehabilitation facility.

Across Georgia
STATESBORO - The Statesboro City Council approved a ban on smoking in most public places Tuesday over protests from some in a community where tobacco farming is prevalent.

Review cites tax office in shortfall
Limited oversight in the Richmond County Tax Assessor's office and a lack of involvement by its governing agency - the Board of Assessors - might have contributed to problems in the city office, including this year's unexpected decline in property tax collections.

Across the area

Lawyers appeal to get the commandments back up
ATHENS, Ga. - Habersham County lawyers have asked the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn a federal judge's decision ordering the removal of Ten Commandments displays from the county courthouse and swimming pool complex in northeast Georgia.

Students ready to work to recoup lost funds

Across Georgia

School reaches all goals

Department will run marinas
Two city marinas will come under the temporary control of Augusta's Parks and Recreation Department while city officials consider a plan to privatize the Savannah River facilities.

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

Council debates tax spending
AIKEN - After watching Aiken County's 1-cent sales tax pave dirt roads, build parks and put millions of dollars in government coffers since 2000, county council members are clamoring to decide where the tax's future dollars go.

Rants and raves
I CERTAINLY AGREE that the Academy of Richmond County's mascot's name should not be embroidered on the girls' basketball shorts. It should be embroidered across their (chests) just like volleyball and soccer - so it is clearly visible as they jog down the court and does not distract the boys.

Teenagers' bond hearing closed
Two Greenbrier High School students accused of sexual assault were back in court Friday requesting bond.

Kid of the day
Today's kid of the day is Ja'Quez Demontray Redfield, 3, of Hephzibah.

Kid of the day
Today's kid of the day is Amy Rosenberg, 11, of Augusta.

Rants and Raves
I JUST WANT to say I hope George Kolb leaves this one-horse town because it is run by a commission, a gang of idiots who don't know anything and don't want to learn anything. So I hope he leaves and finds a job worthy of his talent.

Soldier pops question on TV
SAVANNAH, Ga. - A Georgia soldier asked his girlfriend this week to marry him by paying a local television station to broadcast his proposal as a commercial.

Across the area
A fire that destroyed one apartment and damaged several others at a south Augusta apartment complex was found to be accidental, an Augusta-Richmond County Fire Department investigator said Thursday.

Animal rights group urges prosecution of 13-year-old
A 13-year-old Augusta boy accused of stomping a kitten to death should be fully prosecuted and ordered to undergo psychiatric treatment, an animal rights group told District Attorney Danny Craig on Friday.

City of Grovetown shines brightest
The small town of Grovetown is once again shining in a big way this Christmas season.

GOP attacks school tax plan
AIKEN - South Carolina Republicans fired back at state Superintendent and U.S. Senate hopeful Inez Tenenbaum's proposed 1-cent sales tax increase Friday, blasting the Democrat's plan and proposing to give parents more choice for their children's education.

Across the area

Across Georgia
ROSSVILLE - Police say a northwest Georgia electronics store was selling more than just computers. The owner has been charged with growing and distributing marijuana at the store.

Across Georgia

Officer makes horse calls
AIKEN - In a town where the horse reigns supreme, you could call Aiken Public Safety Animal Control Officer Jeff Wilson the equine community's top cop. When a horse lands in trouble, he usually gets the call.

School reaches all goals
AIKEN - Ridge Spring-Monetta High School's small student body helped it look impressively big Wednesday in the eyes of South Carolina Department of Education officials.

State settles suit by ex-juvenile detention officer
The state has settled a lawsuit filed by a former juvenile corrections officer who was fired amid the criminal allegations that led to the privatization of the Augusta YDC last summer.

Murder-for-hire case ready for deliberation
Jurors will be asked to decide this afternoon whether they have become convinced this week that Lorenzo Lindsey hired John Lawton to kill an Augusta man.

Teachers love gifts from pupils' hearts
If you're aiming for an F in teacher gift-giving, send a mug or apple ornament to school with your child.

Holiday closings
The following holiday schedules have been announced for Christmas:

Family has difficult time living off single income

Animal rights group urges prosecution of 13-year-old

Friends pray for missing student
STATESBORO, Ga. - Pastor Anthony Chavers is resigned to the likelihood that the remains of a woman and a fetus found on the Fort Benning Army post are those of missing Georgia Southern University student Ardena "Dena" Carter and her unborn child.

'Return of the King' makes $8 million from midnight showings
LOS ANGELES -- The midnight hour proved profitable for Frodo and the gang.

Classic movies added to National Film Registry
WASHINGTON -- The Western outlaw romp "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" and the more obscure "The Chechahcos," with its frenzied dogsled pursuits in Alaska, have been added to the National Film Registry.

At the Movies: 'Mona Lisa Smile'
Blindly following society's edicts and becoming a housewife is bad. Thinking for yourself and following your own path is good.

'Return of the King' makes $8 million from midnight showings

Mini reviews
Movies are listed with theater location through Tuesday.

Classic movies added to National Film Registry

At the Movies: 'Mona Lisa Smile'

Mini reviews

Mini reviews

Mini reviews
"You should never trust a junkie," says Nathalie, a heroin addict who becomes the unlikely heroine of "The Barbarian Invasions." "They make a habit of lying."

Urban development was inescapable in music in 2003
Numbers tell the story of music in 2003.

12 Bands adds rock to Christmas music
On Sunday, a dozen local bands will gather at the Imperial Theatre on Broad Street for the third annual 12 Bands of Christmas concert, benefiting the Medical College of Georgia Children's Medical Center. A compact disc featuring Christmas songs performed by the bands also was released in conjunction with the concert to boost the show's profile.

Concert calendar
Here's a list of upcoming area concerts. The list includes concerts that are withing easy driving distance from the Augusta area.

Concert calendar

DA announces intention to file Jackson charges, hires PR firm
LOS ANGELES -- Santa Barbara County prosecutors said they will file charges in the molestation case against Michael Jackson on Thursday or Friday, and they have hired a public relations firm to handle the expected crush of news media inquiries.

12 Bands adds rock to Christmas music

Wayne Newton and company crank up USO tours
SCHENECTADY, N.Y. -- Wayne Newton has received plenty of standing ovations in his day, but the response he got on a USO tour of Iraq was still extraordinary.

Wal-Mart starts test of online music offering

Wal-Mart starts test of online music offering
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Wal-Mart Stores Inc. began a test Thursday of its new 88-cent-per-song online music service, trying to capture more of the music market at a price that undercuts the 99-cent standard of its competition.

Urban development was inescapable in music in 2003

DA announces intention to file Jackson charges, hires PR firm

Singer excited to play for hometown crowd

Wayne Newton and company crank up USO tours

Singer excited to play for hometown crowd
After a year on the road performing with high-profile acts Train, Third Eye Blind and Jewel, Augusta native Josh Kelly is bringing his debut album, For the Ride Home, home.

NASCAR's Rookie of the Year
ATLANTA - Jamie McMurray didn't win a race during his rookie season on the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. No, he won his first race before he was a rookie.

CART buyers expect at least 15 races in 2004
INDIANAPOLIS -- The buyers of Championship Auto Racing Teams expressed confidence Wednesday that they can quickly bring the CART open-wheel series out of bankruptcy and run the 2004 season with at least 15 races and 18 cars.

CART buyers expect at least 15 races in 2004

NASCAR changing for new sponsors
ATLANTA - There are signs of change all over the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series.

NASCAR changing for new sponsors

Interview with Kasey Kahne
Twenty-three-year-old Kasey Kahne will step into some big shoes in 2004 when he takes over for Bill Elliott on the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series. He also will drive for Winder, Ga., businessman Brad Akins on the NASCAR Busch Series. He talked about how everything fell into place to land two premier jobs at the same time.

NASCAR's Rookie of the Year

Interview with Kasey Kahne

Mourning undergoes kidney transplant surgery

Judge in Bryant case sends potential witnesses home, speaks to lawyers in private

Judge in Bryant case sends potential witnesses home, speaks to lawyers in private
EAGLE, Colo. -- Putting off testimony at a key hearing in the Kobe Bryant case, the trial judge sent witnesses home Friday and met privately with defense attorneys who want access to his rape accuser's medical history.

Report: Mourning to receive kidney transplant Friday
MIAMI -- Less than a month after retiring from the NBA, Alonzo Mourning is scheduled to undergo kidney transplant surgery Friday in New York, The Miami Herald reported Wednesday.

Mourning undergoes kidney transplant surgery
NEW YORK -- Former NBA All-Star center Alonzo Mourning underwent kidney transplant surgery Friday and was in good condition.

Solid shooting sinks USC Aiken
AIKEN - After a four-point loss to Augusta State on Tuesday night, Fort Valley State coach Lonnie Bartley decided to change his approach.

UConn women earn school's 600th win
HARTFORD, Conn. - Diana Taurasi had 15 of her 22 points in the second half to lead top-ranked Connecticut to its 600th victory, 81-55 over Arizona State on Thursday night.

Gerald withdraws from South Carolina
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- South Carolina guard Jarod Gerald has left the team and withdrawn from school, coach Dave Odom says.

In focus
Reviewing and previewing local college basketball:

Augusta State barely beats Allen
AIKEN - Sometimes you snooze, but don't lose. Take Augusta State, for instance.

Phillips hopes players regain focus

Certain performances give fantasy owners room to cheer

Bucs welcome challenge of containing Vick

Mrs. Eula Drew    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
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Mrs. Irene Nappier    (LANGLEY, S.C.)
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Mrs. Nettie Bowen    (WAYNESBORO, Ga.)
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Mrs. Frances Anderson    (THOMSON, Ga.)
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Mrs. Camilla Hughes    (MILLEN, Ga.)
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Mrs. Helen Wren    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
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Mrs. Carrie Barnhill    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
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Mrs. Morgree Sauls    (BATH, S.C.)
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Mr. Roger Zeigler, Sr.    (SYLVANIA, Ga.)
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Mrs. Ora Shelton    (AIKEN, S.C.)
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Mr. Timothy Way    (SWAINSBORO, Ga.)
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Mr. Marvin Rhoades    (CLEARWATER, S.C.)
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Mrs. Annie Bray    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
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Mr. Linnie Jowers    (FOLLY BEACH, S.C.)
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Mrs. Hattie Crawford    (AIKEN, S.C.)
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Mrs. Ellen Gibson    (RCBOE AUGUSTA, Ga.)
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Mr. Carl DeLoach    (HARLEM, Ga.)
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Mrs. Mary Darby    (BEAUFORT, S.C.)
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Mrs. Eula Drew    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
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Mrs. Annie Bray    ( AUGUSTA, Ga.)
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Mr. Richmond Dunn    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
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Mr. Ravi Sohal    (AUSTIN, Tex.)
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Mr. Wayne Ehrhart    (AIKEN, S.C.)
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Mr. Ravi Sohal    (AUSTIN, Tex.)
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Mr. Walter Gordon Jr.    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
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Mrs. Lela Smith    (WARTHEN COMMUNITY, Ga.)
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Mr. Wallace Henderson    (AUGUSTA)
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Mrs. Mary Scales    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
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Ms. Renay Johnson    (WARRENTON, Ga.)
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Mrs. Patsy Poss    (TIGNALL, Ga.)
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Mrs. Hattie Kernaghan    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
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Mrs. Gayle Lyon    (WAYNESBORO, Ga.)
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Mrs. Willie Murray    ( AUGUSTA, Ga.)
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Dr. Joyce Jay    (LANSING, Michigan)
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Mrs. Lois Otis    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
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Mr. Wallace Henderson    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
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Mr. Larry Owens    (AIKEN, S.C.)
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Mr. Judson Edwards    (JEFFERSONVILLE, Indiana)
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Mrs. Patsy Poss    (TIGNALL, Ga.)
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Mr. Carl DeLoach Sr.    (HARLEM, Ga.)
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Mr. Marvin Rhoades    (CLEARWATER, S.C.)
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Christian Caldwell    (SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, HI)
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Mrs. Connie Rolland    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
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Mr. Willie Brown Sr.    (HEPHZIBAH, Ga.)
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Mr. Lawrence Saggus    (TUCKER, Ga.)
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Mr. Johnny Braxton    (TRENTON, S.C.)
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Mr. Leander Williams    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
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Mr. Ulysses Williams    (HEPHZIBAH, Ga.)
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Mr. Thomas Tutt Jr.    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
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Mrs. Grace Smith    (SANDERSVILLE, Ga.)
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Mr. Brisco Tutt    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
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Mrs. Mary Scales    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
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Ms. Linda Taylor    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
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Mrs. Sallie Beach    (BARNWELL, S.C.)
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Mr. Johnny Braxton (TRENTON, S.C.)

Mr. Ravi Sohal (AUSTIN, Tex.)

Mrs. Grace Smith (SANDERSVILLE, Ga.)

Mr. Wayne Ehrhart (AIKEN, S.C.)

Mr. Wallace Henderson (AUGUSTA)

Mrs. Frances Anderson (THOMSON, Ga.)

Mrs. Irene Nappier (LANGLEY, S.C.)

Mrs. Helen Wren (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mr. Timothy Way (SWAINSBORO, Ga.)

Ms. Linda Taylor (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mr. Carl DeLoach (HARLEM, Ga.)

Mr. Roger Zeigler, Sr. (SYLVANIA, Ga.)

Mrs. Gayle Lyon (WAYNESBORO, Ga.)

Mr. Leander Williams (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mrs. Hattie Crawford (AIKEN, S.C.)

Mrs. Mary Scales (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mrs. Patsy Poss (TIGNALL, Ga.)

Mr. Ravi Sohal (AUSTIN, Tex.)

Mr. Linnie Jowers (FOLLY BEACH, S.C.)

Mrs. Connie Rolland (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mrs. Morgree Sauls (BATH, S.C.)

Mr. Marvin Rhoades (CLEARWATER, S.C.)

Mr. Walter Gordon Jr. (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mrs. Hattie Kernaghan (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mr. Ulysses Williams (HEPHZIBAH, Ga.)

Mrs. Sallie Beach (BARNWELL, S.C.)

Ms. Renay Johnson (WARRENTON, Ga.)

Dr. Joyce Jay (LANSING, Michigan)

Mr. Carl DeLoach Sr. (HARLEM, Ga.)

Mr. Willie Brown Sr. (HEPHZIBAH, Ga.)

Mrs. Patsy Poss (TIGNALL, Ga.)

Mr. Marvin Rhoades (CLEARWATER, S.C.)

Mr. Brisco Tutt (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mrs. Ora Shelton (AIKEN, S.C.)

Mrs. Lela Smith (WARTHEN COMMUNITY, Ga.)

Christian Caldwell (SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, HI)

Mr. Larry Owens (AIKEN, S.C.)

Mr. Thomas Tutt Jr. (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mrs. Ellen Gibson (RCBOE AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mr. Wallace Henderson (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mr. Judson Edwards (JEFFERSONVILLE, Indiana)

Mrs. Carrie Barnhill (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mrs. Camilla Hughes (MILLEN, Ga.)

Mr. Richmond Dunn (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mrs. Annie Bray ( AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Rays of light in a troubled land
I WAS IN Israel recently representing the Augusta Jewish Federation at the General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America. Our federation is one of 156 federations in North America helping Jewish people in need locally, nationally, in Israel and around the world.

Rays of light in a troubled land
I WAS IN Israel recently representing the Augusta Jewish Federation at the General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America. Our federation is one of 156 federations in North America helping Jewish people in need locally, nationally, in Israel and around the world.

The Georgia Lottery at 10 years a victim of its success
GEORGIA GOV. Sonny Perdue is preoccupied with saving the state lottery. Begun 10 years ago, the lottery is a victim of its success and of the excessive generosity of Georgia politicians. Many more students than anticipated receive HOPE scholarships - over 50 percent of high school graduates - so that the program is now more of an entitlement than a scholarship.

Student's view of UGA 'ecolodge' in Costa Rica
A MAJOR aspect of the heated controversy facing the Michael Adams administration relates to the University of Georgia's purchase of an "ecolodge" in Costa Rica.

Student's view of UGA 'ecolodge' in Costa Rica
A MAJOR aspect of the heated controversy facing the Michael Adams administration relates to the University of Georgia's purchase of an "ecolodge" in Costa Rica.

The Georgia Lottery at 10 years a victim of its success
GEORGIA GOV. Sonny Perdue is preoccupied with saving the state lottery. Begun 10 years ago, the lottery is a victim of its success and of the excessive generosity of Georgia politicians. Many more students than anticipated receive HOPE scholarships - over 50 percent of high school graduates - so that the program is now more of an entitlement than a scholarship.

Old foes to square off for holiday event

Tapia hospitalized after possible overdose

Couple dedicate long hours to Team Velocity

Overtime

Overtime

Austria's Hosp wins her first slalom

In the game spotlight

Overtime

Tapia hospitalized after possible overdose
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Five-time world champion boxer Johnny Tapia was taken to a hospital Friday for treatment of what police said was a possible overdose of pills.

Blatter accuses rich clubs of 'despicable' recruiting
LONDON -- The head of soccer's governing body accused rich European teams of robbing poor countries of their best young players.

Overtime
In New York, a judge rejected Mike Tyson's bid to have his assault case thrown out and ordered him to stand trial Jan. 20

Old foes to square off for holiday event
Are you a soccer has-been?

Overtime
The fourth annual Holiday Round Ball Classic will begin today at Richmond Academy and Cross Creek High Schools and conclude Monday.

Couple dedicate long hours to Team Velocity
Chuck and Cindy Ivey describe in great detail the hard work and the long hours and the financial commitment it takes to run a motorcycle racing team.

Overtime
Ohio State investigators found no evidence of academic misconduct by suspended star tailback Maurice Clarett or other athletes.

In the game spotlight
Today's In the game spotlight falls on Reese Glisson, 14, of Evans.

Austria's Hosp wins her first slalom
MADONNA DI CAMPIGLIO, Italy -- Austria's Nicole Hosp was the fastest skier in both runs and won her first World Cup slalom race Wednesday.

Prep basketball scores
SALUDA GIRLS 52, RIDGE SPRING-MONETTA 49

Hephzibah hangs on in opener
LaCoya Terry tied a game-high 21 points as Hephzibah Lady Rebels defeated the Richmond Academy Lady Musketeers 49-46 in the first round of the Holiday Round Ball Classic at Richmond Academy.

Bucs welcome challenge of containing Vick
TAMPA, Fla. -- Warren Sapp gives a simple explanation for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' success against Michael Vick.

Phillips hopes players regain focus
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- With the Atlanta Falcons enduring so many distractions in the last week, interim head coach Wade Phillips tried Wednesday to help his players focus on football.

Certain performances give fantasy owners room to cheer
This is what you all have been waiting for: Championship Week.

Ramblin' Rhodes: Singer couldn't abandon another dream

Bethlehem faces another gloomy Christmas
BETHLEHEM, West Bank -- The Church of the Nativity was empty, a few ornaments hung forlornly on trees in a deserted Manger Square and no tourists or pilgrims were to be found in the town where Jesus was born, just over a week before Christmas.

Hanukkah gains significance by proximity to Christmas
Only one other Jewish family lives in Wendy Grosser's Minneapolis neighborhood, where the Christmas season arrived in twinkling lights and Nativity scenes on front lawns.

Faith and Fellowship calendar
The Faith and Fellowship Calendar is a roundup of church and temple activities. Space is limited. Deadline is noon Monday. Send items by e-mail to vanorton@augustachronicle.com; send a fax to 722-7403; or mail to Faith and Fellowship, The Augusta Chronicle Newsroom, P.O. Box 1928, Augusta, GA 30903-1928.

Faith digest
Organist Keith Shafer will play Christmas music at 3:30 p.m. Sunday at Trinity Episcopal Church, 200 Church St. in Abbeville, S.C.

Religion news in brief
GENEVA -- World leaders must do more to eradicate religious hatred, which is growing, Iran's president told a global church body.

Tracking the Star of Bethlehem
"A star will rise from Jacob; a scepter will emerge from Israel." (Numbers 24:17).

Hanukkah toy puts spin on Yiddish
A Hanukkah toy, a four-sided top called a dreidle, bears a Hebrew acronym for "a great miracle happened there."

French President wants law banning Islamic head scarves in public schools
PARIS -- French President Jacques Chirac said Wednesday he will ask parliament to pass a law banning Islamic head scarves and other religious insignia in public schools, a dramatic and potentially explosive move aimed at shoring up the nation's secular tradition.

European Jews fear 'new' anti-Semitism
REGENSBURG, Germany -- Even in this storybook city on the Danube, where Oskar Schindler lived among Jews he saved and David Ben-Gurion shopped for Israel's first air force, the old dread looms.

Book displays Hanukkah menorahs across the centuries
The story underlying Judaism's Hanukkah festival is told in the Bible - but not in Bibles used by Jews. It's contained only in the Bibles of Catholic and Orthodox Christians that include 1 and 2 Maccabees, two of the "deuterocanonical" books that are not considered Scripture in Judaism (nor in Protestantism).

Report cites curbs on religious freedom in many countries
WASHINGTON -- A State Department report released Thursday said Saudi Arabia continues to impose strict limitations on religious freedoms. It also criticized Israel and several European allies for varying degrees of religious intolerance.

Ramblin' Rhodes: Singer couldn't abandon another dream
One of the brightest jewels in Nashville, Tenn., this Christmas season is singer/songwriter Buddy Jewell.

Need a cold remedy? Go tropical

Dodge withdraws sponsorship from Lingerie Bowl
DETROIT -- Chrysler has withdrawn its sponsorship from a Super Bowl halftime football game between lingerie-clad models, saying its role has become a distraction.

NBC's Olympics guru, Dick Ebersol, signed through 2012
NEW YORK -- NBC Sports has locked up its Olympics guru, Dick Ebersol, in a new contract that keeps him at the network through 2012, or five more Olympic games.

NBC's Olympics guru, Dick Ebersol, signed through 2012

Paris Hilton proves bigger TV draw than President Bush interview

Paris Hilton proves bigger TV draw than President Bush interview
NEW YORK -- Paris Hilton was a bigger television draw than President Bush this week. So, for that matter, was Mark Harmon.

Rankings for basic cable networks

Rerun networks TV Land and Nick at Nite are developing new series
NEW YORK -- TV Land and Nick at Nite, for which time has always stood still, say they will start producing new series for the first time.

CNBC names Seigenthaler to replace Williams on CNBC news program
NEW YORK -- NBC News anchorman John Seigenthaler will replace Brian Williams at the helm of CNBC's nightly broadcast, "The News," starting in January, the network said Tuesday.

Rankings for basic cable networks
Rankings for the top 15 programs on basic cable networks as compiled by Nielsen Media Research for the week of Dec. 8-14. Each ratings point represents 1,084,000 households. Day and start time (EST) are in parentheses.

'Cold Mountain' leads Golden Globe nominations

Famous celebrity smiles

People in the News

Club calendar

Journalist Hunter S. Thompson recovering from broken leg

100 years ago, 'Train Robbery' launched feature film industry

Prosecutor's actions have added to drama in Jackson case

Top 5 in entertainment

Standing ovations

'Rings' fans sing praises of trilogy's final installment

Mature roles rare for older women

People in the News

Applause calendar

Pollack still undecided, Davis says he's staying
ATHENS, Ga. -- Georgia defensive end David Pollack weighed the pros and cons, consulted with his family and an NFL draft advisory board, then finally decided whether to stay for his senior season.

Georgia awaits pro decisions from players
ATHENS, Ga. - If Georgia's football players know who among them is going to leave school early for the NFL, they're doing a masterful job of keeping it a secret.

Pollack still undecided, Davis says he's staying

Georgia awaits pro decisions from players

Johnson, Bailey ineligible for Capital One Bowl
ATHENS, Ga. -- Georgia receiver Michael Johnson and cornerback Kenny Bailey were ruled academically ineligible by the Southeastern Conference for the Capital One Bowl.

Johnson, Bailey ineligible for Capital One Bowl

Need a cold remedy? Go tropical
Need a cold remedy? Go tropical

Lou Holtz says he is taking over offense from his son

Lou Holtz says he is taking over offense from his son
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- South Carolina coach Lou Holtz said Thursday he is taking over the offense from his son, Skip, after the Gamecocks finished another disappointing 5-7 season.

Toadfish mating call gives clues to fighting human muscular diseases

Cell phone call costs NFL player $30,000

Odds and Ends

Bethlehem faces another gloomy Christmas

European Jews fear 'new' anti-Semitism

Tracking the Star of Bethlehem

Faith digest

Hanukkah gains significance by proximity to Christmas

Book displays Hanukkah menorahs across the centuries

Hanukkah toy puts spin on Yiddish

Report cites curbs on religious freedom in many countries

Faith and Fellowship calendar

Religion news in brief