Date set for Wal-Mart opening
The Evans Wal-Mart will officially open Feb. 20 at 8 a.m.
That's when various local leaders have scheduled a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Washington Road supercenter.
The 205,000-square-foot store will be open 24 hours a day and will have a full-line grocery store, pharmacy, hair salon, nail salon, portrait studio, McDonald's restaurant, embroidery shop and candy boutique.
Track doesn't sell
The future of stock car racing in Columbia County is uncertain.
Silver Eagle Speedway, near Grovetown - the county's only racetrack - went up on the auction block Tuesday at the county courthouse in Appling, but there were no takers.
The opening bid was set at $410,000 by First National Bank & Trust Co., which filed a foreclosure notice on the track last month.
H. Wilson Haynes Jr., a representative of the bank, said the track was being sold to pay back a loan default. He said the bank will continue to keep the track up for sale until there is a buyer.
Tim Young, the senior planner for Columbia County's Planning and Development Services Department, said the property could possibly be rezoned if it lies vacant for five years.
Bill cuts sales tax
A bill introduced by local legislators could save Columbia County fire departments - and other volunteer fire departments across the state - thousands of dollars in sales tax on purchases.
While county- and city-funded fire departments in Georgia do not have to pay sales tax on equipment, volunteer fire departments - including private departments such as Martinez Fire Department - do.
The bill would have saved Martinez $12,000 on the recent purchase of a fire truck from a South Dakota company, Chief Doug Cooper said.
The bill - HB1243 - is being pushed by State Sen. Joey Brush (R-Appling), State Rep. Ben Harbin (R-Evans) and State Rep. Bill Jackson (R-Appling).
Spanish programs in budget jeopardy
Gov. Roy Barnes' proposed fiscal year 2003 budget would eliminate Georgia's Elementary School Foreign Language Model Program.
That means Spanish classes at Stevens Creek Elementary School and South Columbia Elementary School could be stopped.
But legislators say they hope to restore the $2.1 million program as the budget passes through various subcommittees in the next few weeks.
Parents and pupils from Stevens Creek Elementary are writing letters to elected officials to show their support for the program, Principal Michelle Paschal said.
Eliminating state funding would directly affect 77 teachers at 27 elementary schools in 15 school districts in Georgia and could indirectly affect 10 teachers and pupils at five additional sites that are locally funded.
In the Augusta area, 10 teachers could lose their jobs and about 2,000 pupils could be affected if the funding is cut.
The Rose's discount store in Columbia Square shopping center will close by May, its parent company said this week.
A spokesman for Variety Wholesalers Inc. said the store's three-dozen employees would be offered jobs at the new Maxway store it plans to open this spring in south Augusta.
Wilson Sawyer, Variety Wholesaler's senior vice president of stores and merchandise, said the Rose's store will begin liquidating merchandiseFriday. The Rose's store in Aiken will remain open.
Rose's exit from the Columbia Square shopping center in Columbia County had been anticipated since November, when Augusta car dealer Andy Jones purchased the 16-acre property with plans to convert it into an auto mall.
Mr. Jones bought out the remainder of Rose's lease on the shopping center's 53,000-square-foot space, which the store has occupied since the center was built 28 years ago.
Columbia County kindergartner Isabella Zeiler's face will be featured on boxes of KRAFT Macaroni & Cheese box.
Isabella won the honor through the "I Want the Blues!" contest, part of KRAFT Macaroni & Cheese's 65th birthday celebration. She also won a $10,000 college scholarship.
To win the contest, applicants were asked to submit essays, videos or drawings expressing why they love KRAFT Macaroni & Cheese.
"I said I would give my teacher 1,000 apples, hang upside down 1,000 times and turn cartwheels 1,000 times for Kraft Macaroni & Cheese," said Isabella, who says that Kraft Macaroni & Cheese is her favorite food. "I eat it a lot, whenever mommy fixes it for me."
Isabella, the daughter of John and Aleta Zeiler of Martinez, is a pupil at Westminster Schools.
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