Across the area

Blanchard Road talks to resume

A public hearing concerning the proposed rezoning of more than 30 acres of Blanchard family-owned property in a residential neighborhood will resume today at a Columbia County Planning Commission meeting.

Superior Court Judge James G. Blanchard, Joe E. Blanchard and Billie June Morgan recently petitioned county planning officials to change the residential zoning of the land on Blanchard Road in Evans for commercial and professional purposes.

The proposal incited the ire of many Blanchard Road residents, several of whom spoke against the rezoning at a November planning commission meeting. The Blanchard family was unable to attend that meeting and convinced planning commissioners to extend the public hearing, which will continue at 6:30 p.m. today at the Evans government complex.

Information available on parkway extension

The Georgia Department of Transportation will hold an open house today about a proposed extension of William Few Parkway.

The open house, which will be from 4 to 7 p.m. at Greenbrier High School on Riverwood Parkway, will provide information about the proposed reconstruction and extension of William Few Parkway to Hardy McManus Road.

No formal presentation will be made, but DOT representatives will answer questions and project layouts will be on display, said DOT spokeswoman Cissy McNure.

Construction is expected to begin in late summer and take 18 to 24 months to complete, Ms. McNure said.

Bobby Jones lanes to be closed tonight

Nightly lane closures on both sides of Bobby Jones Expressway near the Interstate 20 overpass are planned through today, according to the Georgia Department of Transportation.

The closures will occur between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. while crews attach overhead beams for the new I-20 bridge.

North Augustans open homes for holiday tour

The North Augusta Christmas tour of homes will be from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Friday and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

The tour stops are: the home of Vince and Linda Dwan, 460 Shoreline Drive in River Club; the Stewart House, the home of Chris and Melody Garrison, 419 W. Martintown Road; the home of Deborah Holmes, 463 Arrington Ave., Hammond's Ferry; the home of Skip and Jean Jones, 910 Carolina Ave., Olde Towne; the home of Kevin and Lee Little, 468 Front St., Hammonds Ferry; the home of Steve McElmurray, 141 Savannah Point, Campbelltown Towne Landing; and the home of Donnie Thompson, 930 River Oaks.

Advance tickets cost $15 and are available until 2 p.m. Friday. Tickets can be purchased at the North Augusta Chamber of Commerce, Communigraphics, Jim Bush Flower Shop and Parks Pharmacy. Call (803) 279-5074 for more information.

After Friday, tickets cost $18.

A tour brunch and fashion show, with fashions by Coldwater Creek, will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at the North Augusta Community Center. Admission costs $10, with tickets available where tour tickets are sold.

Alzheimer's is topic for lunch program

Kathy Tuckey, the programs director of the Augusta Alzheimer's Association, will discuss "Communication: The Language of Alzheimer's" at the free Lunch and Learn program Tuesday.

The program is held at the Medical College of Georgia Alumni Center, 919 15th Street (across from the hospital). RSVP by calling Dr. Shirley Poduslo at (706) 721-0609 or the Alzheimer's Association at (706) 731-9060 by noon Monday .

Richmond County schools seek opinions

The Richmond County school system is seeking comments about the quality of its education.

The public is invited to give input and identify key issues at open houses from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesday at two locations: the Academy of Richmond County and Cross Creek High School.

Comments can be made online at surveys.mgtamer.com/3233/public_forum.cfm. The meetings are part of the school system's performance management review, a countywide audit.

Welcome home event planned for soldiers

Fort Gordon will hold a welcome ceremony for the more than 100 Task Force Lightning soldiers returning from Afghanistan on Monday, according to a news release.

The ceremony will be at 1 p.m. at the 513th Military Intelligence Brigade motor pool.

Task Force Lightning has been deployed to Afghanistan to provide intelligence collection since December 2006.

The 513th Military Intelligence Brigade is on Chamberlain Avenue between 15th and 12th Streets.

-- From staff reports