Mini theatre ends season with drama, piano performances
The Augusta Mini Theatre and Community Arts School ended its fall season with a series of recitals Dec. 6-10.

Expos' move to Washington could come apart
WASHINGTON - Baseball fans in the nation's capital might not have long to cheer their new team.

Schilling expects to miss Opening Day
BOSTON - Red Sox ace Curt Schilling said his right ankle isn't recovering from surgery as quickly as he expected and he doesn't think he'll be ready to pitch by Opening Day.

Majority of fans support ban
NEW YORK - A majority of fans say players who test positive for steroids or other performance-enhancing drugs should be banned from baseball and think such players should be barred from the Hall of Fame, a poll found.

Majority of fans support ban

Expos' move to Washington could come apart

Birth announcements

Birth announcements
Brian Reese Thaxton Jr.: Brian and Dawn Thaxton, of Norwood, Ga., announce the birth of a son, Brian Reese Thaxton Jr., Saturday, Nov. 20, 2004, at University Hospital. Grandparents are Glen and Phoebe Brenchley, of Norwood, Larry and Judy Lendman, of Thomson, and Jay and Elaine Thaxton, of Augusta.

Odds and Ends
CLIFTON, N.J. - A Missouri family's pet snake, missing for a while, turned up alive and slithering in a box they had sent to New Jersey, about 1,000 miles away.

Lap pillow introduced in Japan
Makoto Igarashi, managing director of Tokyo-based toy model maker Trane Co., Ltd., rests his head on his company's novelty "lap pillow" in Tokyo Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2004.

Man accused of biting dog as punishment
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - A man accused of biting his Jack Russell terrier as punishment was jailed on animal cruelty charges, and police say he also used a 200-pound bull mastiff in an attempt to keep officers from arresting him.

Alleged robber caught drinking on the job
COLUMBUS, Ga. - Another reason not to drink on the job.

BellSouth going door-to-door to get new customers
ATLANTA - Your local telephone company is picking up where salesmen of vacuum cleaners, vinyl siding and insurance left off.

Oil futures rise past $44 a barrel

Blockbuster to end late fees in 2005

Oil futures rise past $44 a barrel
Oil futures prices bolted 5 percent higher Wednesday, climbing above $44 a barrel after government data showed a slight decline in U.S. supplies of crude and heating oil as colder weather descended on the northeastern United States, driving up fuel demand.

Wrap up a healthy gift

Sprint acquiring Nextel in $35 billion deal
NEW YORK - The $35 billion merger of Sprint Corp. and Nextel Communications Inc. could challenge Cingular Wireless and Verizon Wireless for supremacy in a ruthlessly competitive business where prices are constantly dropping.

BellSouth going door-to-door to get new customers

Cheney: making tax cuts permanent is critical for economy
WASHINGTON - Vice President Dick Cheney said Wednesday that it is critical to make President Bush's tax cuts permanent during his second term, while achieving broader reforms in the tax code and bolstering Social Security.

Service sector's sales soar

Wrap up a healthy gift
Lamar Crowell wanted to give the gift of health, and he didn't mind spending $12,000 to do it.

Sprint acquiring Nextel in $35 billion deal

Pelzer plant will open in Thomson
THOMSON - A new industry could bring 35 jobs to McDuffie County in the next few months.

Google wins in trademark lawsuit
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - Google Inc. won a major legal victory Wednesday when a federal judge ruled that the search engine's advertising policy does not violate federal trademark laws.

Officials have high hopes for new Applebee's
The roar of diesel engines and the sloshing of freshly poured cement provided the soundtrack to Wednesday's ceremony welcoming Applebee's to south Augusta.

Airport shuttle widens service
A newly opened Augusta shuttle company is expanding its service to include Columbia Metropolitan Airport, in addition to stops at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

Talks of partnership dissolve into quarrels

Airport shuttle widens service

U.S. trade deficit swells to record $55.5 billion
WASHINGTON - America's trade deficit swelled to an all-time high of $55.5 billion in October as imports - including those from China - surged to the loftiest levels on record. Skyrocketing crude-oil prices also contributed to the yawning trade gap.

Fed boosts key interest rate to 2.25 percent

U.S. trade deficit swells to record $55.5 billion

Officials have high hopes for new Applebee's

Talks of partnership dissolve into quarrels
Government officials and business leaders hoping to create a regional industrial recruitment organization were dealt a major setback Wednesday when the plan was torpedoed by a faction of Richmond County officials during a sometimes contentious two-hour meeting.

Pelzer plant will open in Thomson

Cheney: making tax cuts permanent is critical for economy

Conservation Bank protects key sites in S.C.
COLUMBIA, S.C. - The South Carolina Conservation Bank will spend $11 million to preserve about 25,000 acres, including some of the state's most historical and environmentally sensitive properties.

Conservation Bank protects key sites in S.C.

Fed boosts key interest rate to 2.25 percent
WASHINGTON - The Federal Reserve, encouraged by the economy's performance, boosted a key short-term interest rate by one-quarter percentage point Tuesday, the fifth increase this year. Fed policy-makers held the door open to further increases into 2005.

Google wins in trademark lawsuit

Service sector's sales soar
The malls aren't the only places people are spending money this holiday season. From liquor stores to plumbers, many service industries and retailers not typically associated with holiday shopping are seeing green this time of year.

Blockbuster to end late fees in 2005
DALLAS - Blockbuster Inc., the nation's biggest movie rental company, says it will eliminate late fees on games and movies as of Jan. 1 - but if you keep them too long, you buy them.

Clemson offers Byrnes coach job

Clemson offers Byrnes coach job
Clemson has apparently offered one of its vacant assistant jobs to a South Carolina high school legend in the making.

N.C. State tops Louisiana-Lafayette

Huskies make history with two black coaches

Jackets trounce former assistant

Freshman guides Blue Devils

Club Car scores with plan to provide lessons for employees

Find more prison space
There's no doubt that incarceration is the best deterrent to crime, violent or nonviolent. Why? Because it's 100 percent effective. If one is locked up behind bars, one cannot be out in society engaging in lawbreaking.

What are we thinking?

Curbing bus violence
Here's the way to curb violence on Richmond County public school buses: zero tolerance. No warnings, no lectures, no excuses. Any pupil who's violent on school buses gets the boot - and will have to find another way to get to and from school.

Bodman and SRS
President Bush, it is said, enjoys befuddling pundits with his surprise Cabinet choices. He certainly succeeded with his second-term pick to head up the federal Department of Energy. Samuel W. Bodman is not only a little-known figure in the energy community - he is little-known, period, except in the Treasury Department, where's he's been serving as a deputy secretary for nearly a year, and before that in the Commerce Department.

Bodman and SRS

Curbing bus violence

Braid bill unravels
Chalk up another example of level-headed leadership from South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford. Sanford recently vetoed a bill that would have required hair braiders to undergo 60 hours of cosmetology training.

What are we thinking?
Nearly as repugnant as the sociopathic wife-and-baby killer Scott Peterson is America's morbid fascination with him.

Braid bill unravels

Find more prison space

The late Freddie Prinze gets Hollywood star
LOS ANGELES - Freddie Prinze Jr. shed tears Tuesday as he unveiled a Hollywood Walk of Fame star for his late father, who committed suicide in 1977.

The top five list
Top five in entertainment list.

Club calendar
BLIND PIG: 1251 Broad St.; Shameless Dave and the Miracle Whips Friday and Saturday; 722-7335; www.blindpigblues.com

Barry Manilow to perform at Las Vegas Hilton
LAS VEGAS - Barry Manilow, famous for songs such as "Mandy" and "Copacabana," has signed a long-term deal to perform at the Las Vegas Hilton hotel-casino.

People in the News
Anna Kournikova and Enrique Iglesias were married in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, a few weeks ago, Us Weekly magazine reports.

People in the News
NEW YORK - "Desperate Housewives" star Eva Longoria says she'll be at the Golden Globes next month to cheer for her fellow cast members.

Concert calendar
The codetalkers featuring col. bruce hampton, david childers: Tonight , Smith's Olde Bar, Atlanta

Event 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.

James Brown's surgery a success
NEW YORK - James Brown underwent successful surgery Wednesday to treat his recently diagnosed prostate cancer.

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.

SkyMiles program changes to win back customers
ATLANTA - Struggling Delta Air Lines Inc. announced a raft of changes to its frequent flier program on Wednesday, ranging from making it easier to get upgrades to simplifying fees, in hopes of winning back customers angered by previous changes to the program.

SkyMiles program changes to win back customers

What's for Lunch
FRESH CATCH FISH MARKET AND RESTAURANT 3213 WRIGHTSBORO ROAD SIGNATURE DISH: Fried bream, with french fries, hush puppies and coleslaw, $4.99; with shrimp-fried rice and vegetable rice, $5.99

Pecan, sage jazz up trout
Here's a simply stylish dinner recipe with a Georgia flavor that will take only about half an hour to make, using fresh trout sauteed in a pecan-bread crumb crust, and served with a buttery sage sauce.

Small bites

Food can be a family's 'great communicator'
NEW YORK - Find yourself spending a lot of time in the kitchen lately?

What's for Lunch

Small bites
NEW YORK - The artist known as Bascove has edited a collection of 77 poems and prose pieces about food, published along with some of her paintings in a small, quietly appealing volume.

Pecan, sage jazz up trout

Marzipan is merrily versatile
HYDE PARK, N.Y. - You don't have to be a pastry chef to create marzipan garnishes. With a touch of food coloring and a little imagination, you can make deliciously sweet one-of-a-kind creations just like the professionals, for the holidays or any season.

Food can be a family's 'great communicator'

Pepper ignites healthful linguine
Diavolo is Italian for devil; fra diavolo means brother devil - and when used to describe food it could mean something has a wicked peppery bite.

Marzipan is merrily versatile

Georgia Southern beats Arkansas St
STATESBORO, Ga. - Terry Williams' four 3-pointers in the second half helped Georgia Southern rally to an 85-70 victory over Arkansas State Wednesday night.

Jackets' defense seeks good returns
ATLANTA -- The statistics say Georgia Tech has the 14th-best defense in the nation.

Jackets trounce former assistant
ATLANTA -- One of the unwritten codes of coaching is never fraternize with the opposition the day of the game.

Georgia Southern beats Arkansas St

Jackets trounce former assistant

Jackets' defense seeks good returns

Tiger Woods might have the last laugh

Tiger Woods might have the last laugh
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. - Tiger Woods was atop the leaderboard going into the weekend and talking about how excited he was that everything was starting to come together. And then it all fell apart.

Talks going nowhere
TORONTO - The NHL rejected last week's proposal by the players' association and then had its own counteroffer turned down Tuesday during a 3-hour negotiating session.

NHL and union meet for another negotiating session
TORONTO - The NHL and the players' association met for 3 hours Tuesday in the second negotiating session in less than a week.

NHL running out of time as lockout continues

NHL and union meet for another negotiating session

NHL running out of time as lockout continues
The NHL is disappearing right before our eyes, and the reason is simple.

NHL veterans don't think they'll play until 2006
TORONTO - National Hockey League veterans Chris Pronger and Jim McKenzie think this lockout is far worse than the one that wiped out half a season 10 years ago.

Toffee trifle is sweet treat
A fabulous dessert doesn't have to take all day to prepare, and this week I'm layering a toffee trifle that will feed many but comes together in minutes.

James Brown's surgery a success
NEW YORK - James Brown underwent successful surgery Wednesday to treat his recently diagnosed prostate cancer.

Multicounty marketing partnership dealt a major setback
Government officials and business leaders hoping to create a multicounty marketing organization to lure new industry to Augusta were dealt a major setback Wednesday after a faction of Richmond County officials torpedoed the plan during a sometimes emotional two-hour meeting.

Richmond county murder suspect sentenced to life by Jefferson County judge
A man facing a death penalty trial for the 2003 shooting of an Augusta convenience store clerk has been found guilty by a jury today in a Jefferson County home invasion that happened days before the clerk's murder, officials said.

Usher in era of personal freedom
Let's begin with the simple facts. The Social Security trust will begin paying out more in benefits than it collects in payroll taxes in 2018. Herbert A. Edney IV, Augusta

Usher in era of personal freedom

Work to reverse moral backslide

Color is irrelevant; winning isn't

Human-animal genetics flourishes

Color is irrelevant; winning isn't
Regarding "Gamecocks draw ire of association" (Sports article, Dec. 9): The Black Coaches Association is acting like it makes the rules. They should ask for more black coaches, but they are very wrong right now. Michael Webb, Martinez

Human-animal genetics flourishes
The current big debate in the scientific community involves the mixture of human and animal genes in somewhat secretive studies that involve the transposition of genetic material from higher life forms into lower life forms and vice-versa. Carl Langley, Aiken, S.C.

Parents can help schools succeed
It is a delight and an honor to recognize that folks such as Tom Swatzel, president of South Carolinians for Responsible Government, take the time to delineate a major problem we have with our school systems. Walter Lamb, Aiken, S.C.

Race majorities happen for reason
This is in response to the letter titled "Work crew typifies racial disparity" (Dec. 11). The writer expresses a logical fallacy that is all too common in today's world: that if a region has a certain racial ratio, then any sample of that group will have the same ratio. Kirby Coggin, Windsor S.C.

Work to reverse moral backslide
After the 2004 election, articles stated the religious right won the election and runs the country. If so, where is school prayer? Or more PG-rated movies? Meanwhile, on the tube, there are reality shows rife with profanity and degradation. Ralph Norman, Hephzibah

Holiday season turns into binge session

Keep kids active and healthy during the holidays

Two books highlight Southern tastes, trip

Google to scan books from big libraries

West Nile likely to be persistent Gulf Coast problem

West Nile likely to be persistent Gulf Coast problem
NEW ORLEANS - Big West Nile numbers in the far West got most of the attention this year, but it appears to be a more persistent problem in the South - especially along the Gulf of Mexico.

Two books highlight Southern tastes, trip
Good food can do more than satisfy an appetite; it can tell a story, give voice to the cook and connect generations.

Keep kids active and healthy during the holidays
As if keeping children fit and trim isn't challenging enough, now you have dreams of dancing sugar plums to contend with.

Holiday season turns into binge session
It's just a pound or two, right? Cut a few carbs, hit the gym and they'll be gone by February.

Google to scan books from big libraries
SAN FRANCISCO - Taking a trip to the library may take little more than a computer's Web browser. Working with major libraries, Google is hoping to scan millions of books and periodicals into its popular Internet search engine during the next several years as part of an effort to bring more of the world's collective knowledge online.

Augusta Lynx player feeling frisky

Augusta Lynx player feeling frisky
It's amazing what a few points can do for a hockey player's spirit. Matt Dzieduszycki scored his first goal Saturday since suffering a high ankle sprain in October and added a pair of assists in the Augusta Lynx's 4-3 loss to the Charlotte Checkers.

Board shows off new offices

Guardsmen train for service in Iraq

Cell-phone restrictions begin with new year
A new policy prohibiting the use of cell phones while driving on Fort Gordon goes into effect Jan. 1.

Textile plant lays off 35 workers
ATHENS, Ga. - The Christmas season lost some of its merriment and brightness Monday for a number of employees with the Voyles Road Invista plant in Athens.

Some question hand gel effects

Sanford will push for more officers
AIKEN - A proposal to add 425 officers to South Carolina's threadbare law enforcement agencies will be included in the executive budget Gov. Mark Sanford plans to release in January, he announced Tuesday.

Man jailed for abuse jailed again
An Augusta man who beat his girlfriend less than two weeks after completing a jail sentence for abusing her earlier this year is headed to prison.

Airport shuttle widens service
A newly opened Augusta shuttle company is expanding its service to include Columbia Metropolitan Airport, in addition to stops at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

Restaurant ratings
The following is a listing of restaurant ratings by the Richmond County Department of Environmental Health. Listed are the restaurant name, address, inspection date and the establishment's score (out of a perfect 100).

Cold weather could be preview of chilly winter
COLUMBIA, S.C. - Temperatures dipping into the 20s across most of South Carolina this week are likely just a preview of a winter that should be colder and wetter than normal, forecasters say.

Holiday market helps art institute
The Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art was the place to find one-of-a-kind holiday gifts during the ninth annual holiday artists' market Dec. 9-11.

Checkups will gauge dump's closing date

Events calendar

Judge throws out lawsuit by Streat

Rants and Raves
Comments from readers:

Man took $32,000 to Schrenko's campaign chief

USC breaks ground on research campus
COLUMBIA, S.C. - University of South Carolina officials broke ground Wednesday on two buildings that will be part of a planned 5-million-square-foot research campus in downtown Columbia.

This week

Sanford will push for more officers

Married couples remain healthier

Community interest
HEPHZIBAH LIONS CLUB: 7 p.m. second and fourth Thursdays, Hephzibah Community Center, Windsor Spring Road; Beverly Roberts, 592-2982

Cell-phone restrictions begin with new year

Organization honors community work

USC breaks ground on research campus

Across South Carolina
COLUMBIA - Customers of South Carolina Electric and Gas will see higher electricity rates starting next month. The Public Service Commission on Wednesday approved an overall 2.89 percent increase in the base rates.

Across South Carolina

Across the area

Across the area

Man found dead in cell

Pet of the week

Kid of the Day
Kaylyn Doe is today's Kid of the Day.

Restaurant ratings

Married couples remain healthier
WASHINGTON - Married people are healthier than other adults, though husbands have a tendency to pack on some extra pounds, said the National Center for Health Statistics.

Judge sends boy to youth facility

This week
Let all mortal flesh keep silence: Columbia County Choral Society presentation 7:30 p.m. Friday ; First Baptist Church of Evans, corner of Belair and Washington roads; $8 general admission, $6 students, seniors; 650-2311.

Ailing divorcee seeks help for her 2 children
A divorced mother suffering from health problems needs help to provide her two children a memorable Christmas.

Pupils given lesson about fire safety
Lt. Randy Justice, of the Augusta-Richmond County Fire Department, has taught fire safety for almost two decades, but the message became personal when his hands, arms and back were burned in a house fire.

Business owners await boon from new office
Felton Mitchell was hopeful the new Board of Education building would mean a boost in business for Silla Caf, his Broad Street restaurant.

Billboard rule could cost state millions
ATLANTA - The state Department of Transportation Board on Wednesday continued struggling with the issue of billboard rules and how to avoid losing as much as $66 million in federal transportation funds if the rules aren't changed.

Navy school might be safe from closings
ATHENS, Ga. - The key to the Navy Supply Corps School's survival during next year's round of military base closings might be its ability to adapt to changing times and technology, experts say.

Year ends without water woes
With less than a month to go, weather officials say it looks as if 2004 will end as a normal year for rainfall.

Police shooting hurts man, 82
AIKEN - Police continued an investigation Tuesday that could lead to criminal charges against an elderly Aiken man who was wounded in a gun battle with an off-duty officer who had knocked on his door to investigate a complaint about loud music, authorities said.

Organization honors community work
A nonprofit organization recognized and awarded community members for their achievements and service Dec. 7 at its annual meeting at the Augusta Towers Hotel and Convention Center.

Single office saves money
Savings from consolidating school departments in a downtown building could pay the salaries of four teachers.

Report clears school leader

Ex-deputy is charged in supervisor's death
ATHENS, Ga. - A former Clarke County sheriff's deputy has been indicted on murder and related charges in the shooting death last month of an Athens poultry processing plant supervisor.

Session might change policies

Rock hall of fame voters again snub Lynyrd Skynyrd
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - For the sixth consecutive year, Jacksonville band Lynyrd Skynyrd was nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. And for the sixth consecutive year, it was jilted.

Post Happenings
Post Happenings lists events, programs and other community notices from Fort Gordon. Send information to Fort Gordon Calendar, attention Rebecca A. Smith, The Augusta Chronicle, P.O. Box 1928, Augusta, GA 30903-1928.

Perdue wants to count up property
ATHENS, Ga. - Georgia government owns an unknown number of buildings and parcels of land scattered across the state, like a doddering old uncle who has tucked stock certificates under sofa cushions, between books on the shelf and behind the picture frames.

Across Georgia
MARIETTA - Fired Cobb County Police Chief Lee New has reached a settlement with the county that gives him a $26,000 severance package, the county announced.

Party builds path to reading for elementary school pupils
Don't buy them candy all the time. Buy a book. That's the message Principal Ruby Stewart likes to tell parents of children attending Jenkins-White Elementary School.

Retirees are called key to city's growth

Across South Carolina
COLUMBIA - An attorney and former psychologist at the Department of Mental Health has been named to the agency's commission, officials said Tuesday.

In search of home

School zoning vote is put on hold
The Columbia County School Board voted not to vote Tuesday on the zoning of a new elementary school.

Community interest

Report clears school leader
AIKEN - Midland Valley Preparatory School principal Lilian Thomas was cleared of any wrongdoing after a three-month investigation, even though the Aiken County school board would not listen to the entire report at its meeting Tuesday night.

Court sentencing

Emergency personnel shortage costly to fix
AIKEN - Aiken County needs to shell out an additional $650,000 next year if it plans to fully staff and keep its existing emergency responders and paramedics, an advisory committee said Tuesday.

Billboard rule could cost state millions

Across Georgia
COLUMBUS, Ga. - A suspect in at least two dozen Columbus-area armed robberies was arrested after police linked him to a can of beer.

News you can use
Activities and entertainment events scheduled for this week include:

Across the area
An autopsy shows that a south Richmond County man involved in a fiery single-vehicle crash early Tuesday morning died of blunt force trauma, officials said.

Weather, car issues cause lack of money
An Augusta woman having financial problems wants to make sure Santa Claus stops by her home this Christmas.

News you can use
Activities and entertainment events scheduled for this week include:

Man took $32,000 to Schrenko's campaign chief
ATLANTA - The case against former state school Superintendent Linda Schrenko might have gotten tougher for her to dispute Wednesday with the guilty plea of a computer executive who admitted to delivering $32,000 in cash to the manager of her gubernatorial campaign.

Legislators learn ropes before session begins
ATHENS, Ga. - The Augusta area's freshman legislators may be part of the rookie class heading to Atlanta next month, but they'll hardly be wet behind the ears when they get there.

Brown upbeat after his surgery
ATLANTA - James Brown underwent successful surgery Wednesday to treat his recently diagnosed prostate cancer.

Session might change policies
The future of Augusta's Bethlehem Historic District is at stake tonight as area preservationists and growth advocates debate changing guidelines concerning demolition and renovation work in the neighborhood.

Rants and Raves
Comments from readers:

Man found dead in cell
State and local authorities are investigating the Wednesday morning death of a Richmond County jail inmate as a probable suicide, officials said.

Judge throws out lawsuit by Streat
A federal judge has tossed a lawsuit filed by a former state senator against a former federal prosecutor.

In search of home
Paul Martin, of Augusta, carries his 2-year-old son, Cahir, down Broad Street in Augusta. Mr. Martin and his wife were searching for an apartment complex.

Board shows off new offices
Comparing it to a big Christmas gift for downtown Augusta, Mayor Bob Young helped school officials dedicate the new board headquarters Wednesday.

Across South Carolina

Guardsmen train for service in Iraq
In the freezing but peaceful cold of a Wednesday morning at Fort Gordon, National Guard soldiers were trained as if gunfire were erupting around them.

Year ends without water woes

Bomb scare empties U.S. Courthouse
The U.S. Courthouse at Telfair and Eighth streets was evacuated Wednesday after a man put a suspicious package near the southwest side of the building. Authorities later determined the box contained six bottles of wine.

Textile plant lays off 35 workers

FBI looks to local officers for task force
ATLANTA - The FBI announced Wednesday it is inviting local police agencies in Augusta, Savannah and Brunswick to assign officers to a Savannah-based task force that would combat terrorism.

Checkups will gauge dump's closing date
Just think of it as a doctor checkup with the inevitable already determined. The only question left for the Baker Place Road Landfill in Columbia County is exactly what month it will meet its demise next year.

Harbin seeks powerful job
ATLANTA - House Republicans are staying tight-lipped as they choose committee leaders. But some are pointing to Columbia County Rep. Ben Harbin as a strong contender to head one of the body's most powerful committees.

Judge sends boy to youth facility
A 13-year-old Edgefield County boy was sentenced in a Columbia County court Wednesday to treatment and incarceration at a youth detention facility after he pleaded guilty to two counts of child molestation.

Zoning board member resigns
AIKEN - A member of the city's Board of Zoning Appeals resigned Tuesday over a vote by the Aiken City Council that blocked a hairdresser from appealing how she can use her property.

Harbin seeks powerful job

FBI looks to local officers for task force

Kid of the Day

Some question hand gel effects
About 15 to 20 times a day, Valerie Richberg reaches into her bag for a can of foaming hand sanitizer, before, after and sometimes during a patient visit.

Man jailed for abuse jailed again

Kid of the Day
Carolina Helen Wallace is today's Kid of the Day.

Richmond County school lunch menu
TODAY: Breakfast burrito and salsa, fruit or juice and milk *Sausage biscuit and hash browns

Retirees are called key to city's growth
Financial planner Woody Merry wants to make Augusta into America's retirement destination to spur economic growth and save the city from the bankruptcy his reform group is predicting in five years.

Court sentencing
Sentencing, paroles and indictments.

Ailing divorcee seeks help for her 2 children

Breakfast benefits Paine College operation, students
The Augusta alumni chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity wants to spread Christmas cheer by helping students this holiday season.

Navy school might be safe from closings

Kid of the Day

Across Georgia

Single office saves money

Party builds path to reading for elementary school pupils

News you can use

Emergency personnel shortage costly to fix

Richmond County school lunch menu

Rock hall of fame voters again snub Lynyrd Skynyrd

Across Georgia

Ex-deputy is charged in supervisor's death

Events calendar
The Augusta Symphony presents a Pops! at the Bell concert, The Songs and the Season, at 8 tonight at Bell Auditorium, 712 Telfair St. Folk-based roots performer Kathy Mattea will be the special guest. Tickets range from $10-$40. For more information, call 826-4705 or visit www.augustasymphony.org.

News you can use

Pet of the week
Watson, a 9-week-old male beagle and basset mix, is available for adoption from Molly's Militia.

Cold weather could be preview of chilly winter

Reservists volunteer to set up computer lab
It was a project the volunteers felt they had to stay to complete.

Business owners await boon from new office

Across the area
An Aiken business has donated 85 acres in Graniteville for a new elementary school.

Legislators learn ropes before session begins

Auction raises money for Augusta-area charities
The bidders didn't have numbers; instead, the auctioneer gave them nicknames.

Mascot, fans couldn't block Bloedel's kick
As its name would imply, the Punt, Pass and Kick competition has a very specific list of requirements for its participants.

'Polar Express' chugs along to $100 million

At the Movies: 'Flight of the Phoenix'
Like the mythical phoenix bird rising up from its own ashes, yet another remake is coming in for a landing at movie theaters.

'Polar Express' chugs along to $100 million
LOS ANGELES - After a slow start out of the station, "The Polar Express" just keeps chugging along.

At the Movies: 'Lemony Snicket's'
The key word in the mouthful of a movie title "Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events" is "series."

At the Movies: 'Lemony Snicket's'

'I, Robot' is shiny but disappointing sci-fi flick
Part police procedural, part big-budget blockbuster and part (albeit a small part) cerebral sci-fi, I, Robot, now available on DVD, makes the too-common mistake of trying to be all things to all audiences.

At the Movies: 'Spanglish'

'Mary Poppins' gets super makeover in new DVD set

'I, Robot' is shiny but disappointing sci-fi flick

'Mary Poppins' gets super makeover in new DVD set
LOS ANGELES - Movie animation has come a long way since Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke frolicked with cartoon penguins, sheep and carousel ponies in "Mary Poppins."

At the Movies: 'Flight of the Phoenix'

At the Movies: 'Spanglish'
James L. Brooks may be the best at what he does, turning slick sitcom story lines into engaging big-screen fare.

Gordon is giving Augusta another Christmas treat
Jazz trombonist Wycliffe Gordon will be home for Christmas.

Mattea knows importance of great song selection
Whether she is backed by a simply strummed guitar or a symphony, the song always remains the same for Kathy Mattea.

Hall of fame voters again snub Lynyrd Skynyrd

B.B. King stays true to his music

B.B. King stays true to his music
B.B. King still feels blessed by the blues. The legendary guitarist, 78, has made strapping on the guitar he lovingly calls Lucille and stepping out onto a stage a nearly nightly routine since the 1950s. Each time, his goal is the same - let his songs tell stories.

Musician spotlight: Armen Boyajian

Musician spotlight: Armen Boyajian
Armen Boyajian AGE: 50 HOMETOWN: Binghamton, N.Y. Moved to Augusta from Baltimore in 1993

Mattea knows importance of great song selection

Hall of fame voters again snub Lynyrd Skynyrd
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - For the sixth consecutive year, Jacksonville band Lynyrd Skynyrd was nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. And for the sixth consecutive year, it was jilted.

Top 20 Concert Tours
he Top 20 Concert Tours ranks artists by average box office gross per city and includes the average ticket price for shows in North America.

Gordon will hand out scholarship awards to pupils
At his annual Christmas in the Garden City concert at the Imperial Theatre on Friday, trombonist Wycliffe Gordon will give more than a musical show.

Looking ahead to Daytona
ATLANTA - All Joe Nemechek wants for Christmas are some more races this year.

NASCAR: Sprint-Nextel merger won't harm Cup series
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - NASCAR is not expecting any immediate changes to its top-tier racing series following the merger between telecommunications giant Sprint Corp. and Nextel Communications Inc.

Looking ahead to Daytona

Newsmaker: An interview with Martin Truex Jr.

Newsmaker: An interview with Martin Truex Jr.
Newly crowned NASCAR Busch Series champion Martin Truex Jr. will return to defend his title next year for Dale Earnhardt Inc.

Labbe to be crew chief for Mayfield

NASCAR: Sprint-Nextel merger won't harm Cup series

Labbe to be crew chief for Mayfield
ATLANTA - Richard "Slugger" Labbe originally was hired at Evernham Motorsports to give the team a hand with restrictor-plate racing. Now he's being asked to bring much more.

Rockets shoot down Hawks
HOUSTON - Yao Ming wouldn't let the Rockets lose another home game, especially to the reeling Atlanta Hawks.

N.C. State tops Louisiana-Lafayette
RALEIGH, N.C. - Andrew Brackman scored a career-high 20 points and made several key plays during a decisive second-half run Wednesday night to lift No. 12 North Carolina State past Louisiana-Lafayette 78-72.

Jackets trounce former assistant
ATLANTA - One of the unwritten codes of coaching is never fraternize with the opposition the day of the game.

Huskies make history with two black coaches
SEATTLE - Tyrone Willingham and Lorenzo Romar are recognized as accomplished college coaches, the biggest reason Washington administrators are glad to have them working the sidelines.

Freshman guides Blue Devils
DURHAM, N.C. - Freshman Wanisha Smith scored a career-high 22 points to lead six players in double figures and help third-ranked Duke roll over Jacksonville State 99-36 on Wednesday night.

Surgery slows down Duckett

Recent Monday nighters haven't been 'meaningless'

Mr. Cayce Owens    (BARNWELL, S.C.)
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Mr. Gregory V. Holston    (LANGLEY, S.C.)
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Judson L. Dukes, Sr.    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
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Mrs. Katherine Nichols    (AIKEN, S.C.)
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Mr. George William Youngblood    (AIKEN, S.C.)
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Mr. Woodrow Wilson Gantt    (AIKEN, S.C.)
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Mrs. Patricia Lee Horner    (NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C.)
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Mr. William Lawrence Wells, Jr.    (WILLISTON, S.C.)
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Mr. Joseph "Jack" Jones, Jr.    (NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C.)
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Mr. Leroy Johnson, Sr.    (HEPHZIBAH, Ga.)
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Mr. Jerry Yoder    (DUBLIN, Ga.)
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Mrs. Marian Jenkins Broome    (ATLANTA, Ga.)
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Mrs. Janie Templeton Phillips    (GIBSON, Ga.)
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Mr. Angus Porter Godbee    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
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Mrs. Rose Marie Turner    (NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C.)
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Mr. Henry A. Robinson    (MARTINEZ, Ga.)
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Mr. John Henry Dunbar    (AIKEN, S.C.)
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Mrs. Tecora Gaston Burt    (MCCORMICK, S.C.)
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Mrs. Ethel Wolf McKinney    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
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Mr. Milton Barksdale    (WASHINGTON, Ga.)
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Mr. Brantley Cofer    (NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C.)
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Mr. "Billie" Bill Joseph Tarvin    (BLYTHE, Ga.)
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Mrs. Laura Davis Avery    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
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Mr. Hamilton H. Blackstone, Sr.    (WARRENVILLE, S.C.)
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Mrs. Rose Wilder    (SAVANNAH, Ga.)
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Mrs. Dale Hamrick Stephens    (MILLEN, Ga.)
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Mr. Henry A. Robinson    (MARTINEZ, Ga.)
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Mrs. Carolyn Y. Hastings    (NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C.)
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Mrs. Myrtle Peebles Curry    (SWAINSBORO, Ga.)
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Mrs. Mary Bonner    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
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Mr. Henry W. Loman    (CONYERS, Ga.)
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Mr. Walter C. Hill, Sr.    (WASHINGTON, Ga.)
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Mrs. Elise Howard Aldrich    (STATESBORO, S.C.)
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Mr. Brantley Cofer    (NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C.)
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Mrs. Annette Green Williams    (BATH, S.C.)
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Mrs. Beatrice Hobbs    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
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Mrs. Janie Templeton Phillips    (RIVERDALE, PA)
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Mr. Samuel L. Ross    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
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Mrs. Ruth Toney Branham    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
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Mrs. Mary Elizabeth Griffis    (EDGEFIELD, Ga.)
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Ms. Amelia "Bebe" Green    (JACKSONVILLE, Fla.)
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Mr. Kyle Franklin Randolph    (AIKEN, S.C.)
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Mrs. Ruby Atwood Gabriel    (COLUMBIA, S.C.)
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Mr. Hamilton Blackstone, Sr.    (WARRENVILLE, S.C.)
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Mrs. Jeanette Jenkins    (MITCHELL, Ga.)
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Mr. Larry Andrew Morris    (AIKEN, S.C.)
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Mrs. Yvonne A. Faulkner    (AIKEN, S.C.)
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Mrs. Ethel Wolf McKinney    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
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Mr. Joseph Marion Jakes    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
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Mr. Thomas J. Boone    (AIKEN, S.C.)
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Mr. Rory Dan Segen    (LAKELAND, Fla.)
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Mrs. Laura Davis Avery    (AUGUSTA, Ga.)
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Mr. Earnell Emery Bodiford    (WILLISTON, S.C.)
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Mr. Samuel L. Ross (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mrs. Mary Bonner (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mr. Hamilton Blackstone, Sr. (WARRENVILLE, S.C.)

Mrs. Rose Marie Turner (NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C.)

Mr. Brantley Cofer (NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C.)

Mr. George William Youngblood (AIKEN, S.C.)

Mrs. Ruby Atwood Gabriel (COLUMBIA, S.C.)

Mr. Larry Andrew Morris (AIKEN, S.C.)

Mr. Henry A. Robinson (MARTINEZ, Ga.)

Ms. Amelia "Bebe" Green (JACKSONVILLE, Fla.)

Mr. Walter C. Hill, Sr. (WASHINGTON, Ga.)

Mr. Henry A. Robinson (MARTINEZ, Ga.)

Mrs. Ethel Wolf McKinney (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

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

Judson L. Dukes, Sr. (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mr. Brantley Cofer (NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C.)

Mrs. Mary Elizabeth Griffis (EDGEFIELD, Ga.)

Mrs. Katherine Nichols (AIKEN, S.C.)

Mr. Woodrow Wilson Gantt (AIKEN, S.C.)

Mr. Henry W. Loman (CONYERS, Ga.)

Mr. Hamilton H. Blackstone, Sr. (WARRENVILLE, S.C.)

Mr. Rory Dan Segen (LAKELAND, Fla.)

Mrs. Marian Jenkins Broome (ATLANTA, Ga.)

Mrs. Beatrice Hobbs (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mrs. Carolyn Y. Hastings (NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C.)

Mr. Thomas J. Boone (AIKEN, S.C.)

Mr. Angus Porter Godbee (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mr. Jerry Yoder (DUBLIN, Ga.)

Mrs. Yvonne A. Faulkner (AIKEN, S.C.)

Mrs. Myrtle Peebles Curry (SWAINSBORO, Ga.)

Mr. Kyle Franklin Randolph (AIKEN, S.C.)

Mrs. Laura Davis Avery (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mr. Gregory V. Holston (LANGLEY, S.C.)

Mr. Milton Barksdale (WASHINGTON, Ga.)

Mrs. Tecora Gaston Burt (MCCORMICK, S.C.)

Mr. Leroy Johnson, Sr. (HEPHZIBAH, Ga.)

Mrs. Laura Davis Avery (AUGUSTA, Ga.)

Mr. William Lawrence Wells, Jr. (WILLISTON, S.C.)

Mr. "Billie" Bill Joseph Tarvin (BLYTHE, Ga.)

Mrs. Janie Templeton Phillips (GIBSON, Ga.)

Lawsuit filed by track star
SAN FRANCISCO - Olympic track star Marion Jones filed a defamation lawsuit Wednesday against BALCO head Victor Conte, who told a national TV audience he gave her steroids and watched her inject herself with them.

Marion Jones sues BALCO founder, denies steroid use

Overtime

Scholarship honors teen killed in crash

Overtime
Augusta State returns tonight to the scene of its greatest moment in school history. The 24th-ranked Lady Jaguars (6-3) travel to No. 5 Shaw (4-0) in Raleigh, N.C., at 6 p.m.

Scholarship honors teen killed in crash
Former Lakeside soccer players will reunite at Panther Stadium on Saturday in memory of one of their own.

Marion Jones sues BALCO founder, denies steroid use
SAN FRANCISCO - Track star Marion Jones filed a defamation lawsuit Wednesday against the man whose company is at the center of a federal investigation into illegal steroid use among some of the nation's top athletes.

Overtime
Laney's Robert Dunn has been selected Region 7AA offensive Player of the Year. Jeremy Hayes, Curtis Sapp and Corvey Irvin also from Laney, won for their play at guard, wide receiver, and defensive end.

Recent Monday nighters haven't been 'meaningless'
You've no doubt heard the early-season rumblings about moving regularly scheduled Monday Night Football games to Sundays in order to put a more competitive game in their place.

Surgery slows down Duckett
ATLANTA - Only two days after he set a team record by rushing for four touchdowns in the win that clinched the Atlanta Falcons' division championship, running back T.J. Duckett had knee surgery Tuesday and will miss at least one game.

Move to Nashville pays off for country music's new star

Lights flicker on at Vatican's Christmas tree
VATICAN CITY - Two children lit up the Vatican's Christmas tree in St. Peter's Square on Wednesday, with shimmering lights reflected in the gold and silver ornaments of the 100-year-old fir.

Move to Nashville pays off for country music's new star
One person pleased with the way 2004 turned out is Dierks Bentley, who co-headlined the WKXC-FM Million Pennies for Kids Guitar Pull in November at Bell Auditorium.

Mascot, fans couldn't block Bloedel's kick

Movies shine brightest when their characters truly connect

'Grand Theft Auto' is big winner at Video Game Awards
LOS ANGELES - It's bound to be an unusual awards show when Snoop Dogg shows up to argue with a computerized version of himself, sexy women in lingerie seductively coo secret video game codes to viewers and bubbly model Brooke Burke beats out stately Dame Judi Dench for best actress.

Daughter reunites with biological father in TV show
NEW YORK - The Fox network said Tuesday it will air a special next month, "Who's Your Daddy?", where a daughter given up for adoption as an infant attempts to guess the identity of her birth father for a $100,000 prize.

'Housewives' beat 'Survivor' finale in the ratings
NEW YORK - ABC's "Desperate Housewives" is doing so well, it turned a "Survivor" finale into a run-of-the-mill event.

Study: TV series slight Hispanic characters

Trump undecided on which 'Apprentice' to pick
NEW YORK - Donald Trump is usually in high-rise buildings. Right now, he's on the fence.

Study: TV series slight Hispanic characters
LOS ANGELES - Television series feature largely white casts even when the setting is an ethnically diverse city such as Los Angeles or New York, according to a study released Tuesday.

'Housewives' beat 'Survivor' finale in the ratings

'Grand Theft Auto' is big winner at Video Game Awards

Daughter reunites with biological father in TV show

People in the News

The top five list

Barry Manilow to perform at Las Vegas Hilton

Event calendar

Club calendar

James Brown's surgery a success

Applause calendar

Concert calendar

Movies shine brightest when their characters truly connect
We are all connected in some way.< A man pulls off the road to buy a gallon of milk, and he affects traffic behind him, the people he interacts with in front of the dairy case and the farmer who spent time with Bessie to give said guy his 2 percent.

Williamson decides to leave school
COLUMBIA - After a rather lengthy and draining period of deliberation, South Carolina receiver Troy Williamson decided Wednesday to forgo his senior season and declare himself eligible for the NFL Draft.

Williamson decides to leave school

Club Car scores with plan to provide lessons for employees
You've got to applaud the initiative of Club Car Inc. president and CEO Phil Tralies, and only hope executives in other golf-related companies follow his lead.

Man accused of biting dog as punishment

Lap pillow introduced in Japan

Odds and Ends

Lights flicker on at Vatican's Christmas tree