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Capture of Saddam Hussein 'in top 10' of momentous events
Editor: In my 22 years as a U.S. citizen, I have had many proud moments in my life. Graduating from high school, going to college, accepting Jesus as my Lord and Savior - you get the picture.

Debate over new logo comes as commissioners seek more money
What is next for Columbia County taxpayers?

Sheriff re-institutes outdoor work details
A new program by the Columbia County Sheriff's Office puts prisoners to work collecting litter.

Churches plan live Nativities
Sleigh bells, holiday feasts and Santa Claus are common in households during the holiday season.

Post office extends deadline for McDuffie ZIP surveys
A deadline to answer a survey for Columbia County residents with McDuffie County ZIP codes has been extended for 30 days.

Grovetown works to avoid rate increase
With Grovetown's housing developments growing faster than the city's water and sewage lines can keep up with, new solutions are needed to avoid a drastic rate increase, officials said Saturday during a work session about the issue.

Retired ranger recounts adventures in new book
Jim Hethcox saw the wild side of wildlife during his 27 years as a game warden for the state of Georgia.

A common thread
Myrtle McGee always enjoyed needlework but couldn't find much time for it.

Health department runs out of flu vaccine
The Columbia County Health Department ran out of the flu vaccine about sunrise Friday morning and doesn't expect to get any more this season.

Cities carefully watch fire service's future
The mayors of Harlem and Grovetown will be keeping a close eye on how the county decides to switch from subscription fees to a countywide tax for fire services.

Harlem doubles up on Christmas cheer
Columbia County's final Christmas parade of the year took place in Harlem on Saturday alongside a new Christmas festival for the city.

Officials seek education answers
Government and school officials have set up a series of meetings Thursday to discuss education issues ranging from pupil-teacher ratios to the new federal No Child Left Behind Law.

Community calendar
Augusta Technical Colleges Thomson/McDuffie campus is accepting applications for the beginning air-conditioning technology diploma program for winter quarter 2004. The program will be offered in the evening beginning Jan. 6. Financial aid is available for those who are eligible. For more information, call Julie Langham, (706) 595-0166.

Christmas calendar
Brookwood Elementary School will perform its annual Christmas concert Friday at 2:15 p.m. The concert features approximately 25 soloists from all grade levels K-5. The audience will also participate in several familiar sing-alongs. Most of the music will be taken from the 1997 Christmas CD recorded by Brookwood pupils. The event is free. For more information, call 855-7596.

Time capsule
As reported 37 years ago in The Columbia News, Dec. 15, 1966:

School Lunch Menus
Here are school lunch menus through Friday.

Parading around
The Harlem High School band maches in the city's annual Christmas parade Saturday. Harlem also held its first Christmas in the Heart of Downtown Harlem on Saturday, featuring games, children's choirs and entertainment.

Police blotter
The following accounts were taken from reports filed with the Columbia County Sheriff's Office.

Get Up and Go
Happy Tails Rescue will hold pet adoptions each Saturday from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and 4-6 p.m., and Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m., at Superpetz on Bobby Jones Expressway in Martinez. For more information, call 863-5310.

Current events
The Appling office of the Columbia County Tax Commissioner's Office will close at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday and reopen for regular business hours Dec. 29. The Evans Motor Vehicle office will close at 2 p.m. Dec. 23, and reopen Dec. 29. Both offices also will be closed Jan. 1.

Pets of the week
Animal control employees Dan Yelton (left) and Stephania Jones hold an 18-month-old German shepherd and a 2-year-old German shepherd. The 2-year-old, Gus, has had obidience training. His owner was in the military and had to leave him behind when he was deployed. For more information, call Roman Howerton at 541-4077 or visit and follow the links to Animal Care and Control. Adult animals, such as today's Pets of the Week, cost $25 to adopt and the adoption fee for puppies and kittens cost $20. All animals must be spayed or neutered.

Homecoming court
Jessica Crouse of Martinez was selected to the 2003 Homecoming Court at Florida State University. Crouse is a junior majoring in industrial engineering and is a 1999 graduate of Evans High School. She is the daughter of Tom and Joni Crouse of Martinez.

Mistake to sidestep vote on fire tax
Columbia County commissioners have plenty of good reasons to support their surprise move last Friday to raise taxes for fire service. The switch from subscription fire services to a fire tax is badly needed and long overdue.

Tough to be a Jew at Christmas?
Kenny from "South Park" laments that "it's tough to be a Jew at Christmas" because of all of the commercial attention that is thrown at the holiday. I say it's just the opposite. Christmas time is exactly the time to celebrate Channukah and to celebrate being Jewish. After all, that is what the holiday is all about.

Mrs. Claus tells all
Boy, am I a good reporter or what? I have landed the interview of the year. This lady agreed to talk with me after the first phone call. You wouldn't believe some of the things she told me about her famous husband. I smell Pulitzer already! The following is an interview with the lady behind the man in the red suit.

Revised versions
If there's a school-aged child in your family you must have heard the reworked version of Jingle Bells: "Jingle bells, Batman smells, Robin laid an egg..." Also, as if the musician in me weren't already in shock, I've just heard snatches from a collection of fractured Christmas carols barked by a dog. (At least the chipmunks of my generation sang the right words!) The tunes I knew but, the satirists are working overtime this year to add their ho, ho, ho's to our holiday celebrations.

Moving! What a stupid idea!
How about that: Time magazine decides to get religion and put Jesus on the cover, just as our boys in the Fourth Infantry Division nab Sad-dam Hussein. That bumped Christ off Page 1.

Athlete Spotlight
One isn't exactly common Folk, and the other is definitely a rare Bird.

Bottom Line: Lakeside shows flashes of brilliance
Let me start by saying that this column is in no way meant to diminish the talents of Matt Scott.

Teams play for local bragging rights
When play tips off this week in the Columbia County Christmas Tournament, forget peace on earth and good will toward men.

State champ's return visit has a pleasant ring to it
This was a Christmas homecoming Taylar Stallings will never forget.

Sports briefs
The Augusta Soccer Alumni match will be played Dec. 27 at Augusta Soccer Park. The tournament, which begins at 10 a.m., features a round-robin play with 11 vs. 11 or 6 vs. 6 teams, depending on participation.

Greenbrier High School Fall Sports Awards
Football and cheerleading: Rashad Dunn (from left), Wolfpack Award; Whitney Blanchard, Junior Varsity Spirit Award; Matt King, Junior Varsity Most Improved Player; Mandy Finnell, Varsity Spirit Award; Stephen Young, Coca-Cola Golden Helmet Award.


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