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Criticism of Patriots Park finances is back-door effort to privatization
There are very few things left in Columbia County untouched and uncontaminated by developers. The lake, the upper part of the Augusta Canal with Savannah Pavilion, and Patriots Park with its playing fields and gym are a few. The cheap strip malls or the required entertainment facilities or fast food joints are not there, just great scenery, biking paths, fresh air and a great work-out facility. The county commissioners and developers have for years been drooling over the lake and land along the canal. What is now open to everyone would be sold to a few to enjoy, for a high price and profit to developers. Remember! This lake is in the top 10 fishing spots in the U.S.A.

Grovetown man dies after crash
A Grovetown man died four days after his Ford pickup flipped in a wreck with two other trucks Thursday afternoon on Harlem-Grovetown Road. The man, Thomas Richard Crawford, 78, of Louisville Road in Grovetown, was pulling a trailer westbound. He came around a curve and collided with a white Chevrolet truck, driven by Harold C. Burch, who was stopped to turn into a driveway. Burch, 83, of Wildwood Drive in Harlem, was not injured in the wreck. Columbia County sheriff's Deputy David Herrity said Crawford's truck became airborne and flipped, colliding head-on with an oncoming truck, driven by Michael Sumsong, of Avera, Ga. Sumsong also was not injured. Sumsong's truck caught fire, but it was extinguished by Martinez-Columbia Fire Rescue firefighters. Crawford was airlifted to the Medical College of Georgia Hospital where a hospital spokesman said Crawford later died.

Meetings to cover concerns
Columbia County officials want to hear from the public on needed projects in the county and will seek input with three public meetings.

Short life, big legacy
In only 19 years of life, Harlem's Andrew Heathman left quite a legacy, his parents say.

New stores Petco, Marshalls opening at Mullins Crossing
The Petco pet store is the newest shop to open in the still-growing Mullins Crossing Shopping Center, and the doors to a Marshalls department store next door will open to the public Thursday.

Tax deadline at hand
Procrastinating taxpayers will not meet April 15 with the same sense of urgency as most years.

Property getting a makeover
Tim Pirtle has a plan to revamp a neighborhood recreation facility into a community jewel.

Jazz will open amphitheater
The new amphitheater in Evans will be christened Thursday to the sounds of smooth jazz.

Chef Jeff will bring cooking to your television
The owner of Cutie Pie's restaurant hopes to become a television darling when he airs a local weekly cooking show.

Prom warning
Michelle Autrey, a ninth-grader at Harlem High School, was one of more that 100 students who painted their faces white to signify people who have died in alcohol related deaths. The demonstration was presented to make students aware of the problem as the school's prom approaches.

Georgia Force wins Battle of Aiken
The Georgia Force 9-and-under tournament team went undefeated (4-0) to win the Battle of Aiken on Feb 25-26. Team members are: Matthew Anderson (front, from left), Brandon Hensley, Nick Sandlin, Conner Murray and Luke Gamblin; Joshua Smith (back, from left), Alex Thompson, Peyton Jones, Kyle Anderson and Bailey Handy. Coaches are Don Smith, Steve Anderson, Bill Jones and John Sandlin (not pictured).

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

Pet of the week
This small male Golden retriever mix is very sweet, loving and playful. He is about a year old. He is available for adoption from Columbia County Animal Care and Control. For more information, call 541-4077 or visit and follow the links to Animal Care and Control. Adult animals, such as today's Pet of the Week, cost $25 to adopt, and the adoption fee for puppies and kittens is $20. All animals must be spayed or neutered. Visitors must wear closed-in shoes to visit the kennel area.

Relay for Life 3-on-3 basketball tourney winners
First place winners in the Relay for Life 3-on-3 basketball tournament are: Wesley Gower (from left), Jonathan Holley, Sean Petro and Chad Sweeney. The tournament was held March 4 at Harlem Middle School gym and raised $1909.25 for the American Cancer Society. Ten teams entered the tournament.

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

Greenbrier pageant winners
The Miss Greenbrier High School scholarship pageant was held March 11. Winning first place, a $500 scholarship and other prizes totaling more than $500 was senior Meredith Tannehill, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Bruce Tannehill. First runner-up was senior Mandy Wheeler, and second runner-up was junior Kasey Hardin. Other finalists were seniors Whitney Blanchard and Jessica Limper. Meredith Tannehill was also voted Miss Congeniality by the other contestants. Pictured are: Kasey (from left), Jessica, Mandy, Meredith and Whitney.

Tape benefits hospital
Grovetown Elementary School pupils Quiara Smith (left) and Kyla Olsen tape Principal Robert Boyd to a pole at the school. For $1, pupils could buy a three-foot piece of tape for the March 31 event to aid the Medical College of Georgia Children's Medical Center.

Martinez Elementary School Honor Roll
Here is the Martinez Elementary School Third Nine Weeks honor roll.

MCG doctor honored
Dr. Jatinder Bhatia, the chief of the section of Neonatology and vice chairman for clinical research in the Medical College of Georgia Department of Pediatrics, has been named president of the Southern Society for Pediatric Research. Bhatia, a Martinez resident, was elected March 2005 as president-elect of the 800-member society, which represents Southern states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. He served as a council member for the society from 1995-98, as secretary-treasurer from 2000-05 and on the Clinical Young Investigator Awards Committee from 1996-2000. Bhatia is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Nutrition and is on the editorial board of the Journal of Perinatology and a reviewer for journals including Journal of Pediatrics, Pediatrics, Journal of the Southern Medical Association, Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine, Pediatric Research, Nutrition and Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition.

River Ridge Elementary School Honor Roll
Here is the River Ridge Elementary School Third Nine Weeks honor roll.

Things to Do
The C-CASE PTO and Parent to Parent of Georgia will present a discussion on Katie Beckett issues and other waivers at 5:30 p.m. Monday at Evans High School.

Current Events
Columbia County Community Events and Knology will present the county's annual Easter egg hunt at 10 a.m. Saturday at Patriots Park, with more than 8,000 eggs for children to hunt by age groups and photos with the Easter bunny available. For infomation, call (706) 868-3484.

Greenbrier Middle School Honor Roll
Here is the Greenbrier Middle School Honor Roll Third Nine Weeks honor roll.

Easter Events
Mosaic United Methodist Church will hold a special service of healing and Holy Communion at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the church's new location, 478 Columbia Industrial Blvd., Evans.

Time Capsule
As reported 48 years ago in the pages of The Columbia News on Thursday, April 17, 1958

Ides of April offer much to celebrate
While living in Europe, compliments of Uncle Sam, our family spent a few days in London, even though we should have known our pre-teenaged sons wouldn't be as thrilled about scouring the inside of Westminster Abbey as we were. But what a surprise it was when one of the boys made a discovery that turned their bored, can't-we-go-somewhere-else sighs into, "Hey! What a neat place!"

Biggest gripe is compliment
With a couple of weeks under its belt, Columbia County's library has been a tremendous hit.

Protect Harlem's past, and its future
There can be little doubt that Columbia County's smallest city has had its share of bigger-than-normal challenges in recent years.

Athlete Spotlight
When Harlem baseball player Eric Schnitzler began summer ball games almost a year ago, the soon-to-be senior could feel something was wrong.

Track star is one runner who flies
When it comes to competition on the track, Augusta Christian alumnus Howard Walls is a fast man.

Greenbrier team could be legend in the making
As the Greenbrier Wolfpack baseball team continues to pour it on their opponents this spring, fans are starting to debate where this team ranks with the all-time best in Columbia County.

Region shift comes with good news, bad news
After two years as a part of the Georgia High School Association's Region 2-AAAA, the region landscape for Evans, Greenbrier and Lakeside will look dramatically different during the next two years.


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