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No excuse for dozens of absences from school
Editor: I loved two of Barbara Seaborn's recent columns, "On the witness stand" and "History's trivia pursuit"!Bill Scholly Evans

Road connection through subdivision 'insanity'
Editor: I could not believe my eyes when I read Sunday's letter by J. Moore III of Greenwood, S.C., "Heritage Hill needs new access." Joseph Graves Martinez

Commissioner announces re-election bid
Tom Mercer, surrounding by family, friends and peers, announced at the Columbia County Justice Center on Thursday that he will run for a second term as Columbia County's District 2 commissioner.

Commission takes on trees, noise and zoning
Commercial-district restructuring, parking islands at Gerald Jones Auto Mall and racing noise were the most debated topics at a Columbia County Planning and Development Services Committee meeting Thursday, where much was discussed but little action was taken.

Cities shy further from fire plan
Harlem and Grovetown leaders said they are growing more skeptical of signing on with Columbia County's plan to oversee countywide fire service.

Program encourages edible tools for learning
Four-year-old Brayden Barber bit off the tip of a sugar cone and plopped it in the center of a pile of chocolate pudding on his plate.

Sporting program shoots for excellence
As young shooters sight along their gun barrels toward soaring clay discs, their aim actually is on the future.

County commissioners honor top employees
Whether providing life-saving help or getting a better return for taxpayers' dollars, there are county workers who go largely unseen by the public.

Ice storm pays off for some merchants
Last week's ice storm heated up the profit margin for some local businesses.

Region champs
The Evans High School Varsity Competition Cheerleading squad won 1st place in the 7-AAAAA GHSA Cheerleading Regionals on Jan. 31, 2004, in Tyrone, Ga., for the second year in a row. Team members are: Randi Jones (front row, from left) Whitney Harbin, Holly Halliday, Chelsea Beavers, Ellisha Sims, captain Melissa Marcontoni, co-captain Nicole Thomas and Kayla Wheatley; Sam McCormick, (second row, from left) Chrissy Price, Lauren Wetherbee, Ashleigh Raborn and Kasey Bandy; Coach Kelly Garnto (back row, from left) Megan Clendenning, Katie Osborne, Gabi Pinckney, Ashton Speegle and Kasey Patterson.

Read all about it
Frank Marion tosses pine limbs into the brush dump at the Sample and Son landfill on Columbia Road.

Twisters make finals
The Hayden's Allstar Twisters competitive cheerleading squads were finalists in the Cheersport Nationals Cheerleading and Dance Competition on Jan. 17-18 in Atlanta. The Youth Squad, Junior Black Squad and the Senior Squad earned second place in their divisions and the Junior Silver Squad earned fifth place in their division. There were over 18,000 cheerleaders representing 812 teams from 34 states. All four Hayden teams will compete in the Clash of the Titans national competition in Jacksonville, Fla., and the Junior Black Squad will compete at the National Cheerleading Association competition in Dallas.

Harlem Middle School Honor Roll
The following pupils have been named to the second nine weeks A honor roll at Harlem Middle School:

School lunch menus
Here are area school lunch menus for the remainder of the week.

Drawing attention
The Augusta Chronicles political cartoonist, Rick McKee, gave a presentation to several seventh-grade classes at Evans Middle School. Teacher Lorraine Hall organized the visit.

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

Pet of the week
This 10- to 12-week-old female Golden retriever mix is playful and energetic. She will be available for adoption Thursday from Animal Care and Control. For more information, call Roman Howerton at 541-4077 or visit and follow the links to Animal Care and Control. Adult animals cost $25 to adopt and the adoption fee for puppies, such as today's Pet of the Week, and kittens cost $20. All animals must be spayed or neutered.

Out for blood
Columbia County and Shepeard Community Blood Center collected 125 pints of blood during the county's annual blood drive Thursday.

Current events
Traffic flow through Fort Gordon's Gate 1 will be restricted at time during construction of a visitors center and vehicle registration building starting Monday. Motorists are encouraged to use gates 2, 3 and 5 during construction, scheduled to continue through Feb. 21.

The following pupils' names were left off the North Columbia Elementary School's honor roll list published in The Columbia County News-Times on Jan. 25:

Lewiston Elementary School Honor Roll
The following pupils have been named to the second nine weeks A honor roll at Lewiston Elementary School:

Martinez Elementary School Honor Roll
The following pupils had perfect during the second nine weeks at Martinez Elementary School:

Time capsule
As reported 43 years ago in The Columbia County News, Thursday, Feb. 2, 1961:

Citizens help reduce crime rate
Pick sides early, if you're so inclined, in what promises to be a tough race for sheriff this year. Criticize the incumbent's aloofness (as some do) or bemoan the challenger's inexperience (as some will). But no matter who is in charge, one thing is undeniable: As Columbia County's population has grown, its crime rate has fallen.

Baby, it's awful outside
When people complain about the traffic, the economy or inefficiency at City Hall, they're upset. When they complain about the weather, no matter how awful it is, they're having fun. And no one this winter can deny the popularity of this highly competitive winter sport.

Gather 'round the (kerosene) fire
One would think people of fairly normal intelligence would have been better prepared. We should have had granola stockpiled, the fireplace set and a generator hooked up out back. According to People Who Know These Things, we should have had the house cleaned, the laundry done and a first-aid kit stashed in a "clearly marked plastic storage container."

Parkway name should remain
Some Columbia County folks, especially public officials, were a little disappointed recently when Bill Kuhlke was named to replace Jimmy Lester as the local representative on the Georgia Department of Transportation board.

Lakeside falls to Cross Creek in region wrestling title match
The visitors must have missed the poster about no bullying allowed at Lakeside High School.

Harlem High athlete signs dual scholarship
Brandy Braswell wears her heart on her sleeve, in more ways than one.

Bottom Line: Fund-raiser takes A.B. to court
I got beat, but it was for a good cause.

Panthers, Knights split at swim meet
The Super Bowl took center stage on Sunday, but last week the local Super Bowl of swimming splashed down at Augusta Aquatics Center.

Sports briefs
The Lakeside Panther Athletic Association golf tournament will be played Feb. 16 at Jones Creek Golf Club.

Athlete Spotlight
When Sharday Taylor says she tries to not take basketball too seriously, there might be a self-defense mechanism at work.


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