Immigration debate diverts attention from 'real issue': switch to fair tax
Editor: There has been a lot of discussion regarding immigration lately. We must realize we are at a fork in the road concerning immigration, and we have two clear choices: 1) send all illegal immigrants back, or 2) tighten the borders, pass a fair tax and implement a process to identify all current illegal aliens.

Rather than put Guard on the border, vets should be hired for patrol
Editor: To use a hackneyed expression, I am so saddened, perplexed and exasperated that I could spit nails!

Few attend final discussions on bond
A notably sparse turnout marked Columbia County's third and final public meeting to hear opinions on which capital improvement projects should be included in a proposed $40 million general obligation bond.

Power Tour cruises through Thomson, breaking hearts
Doug Brown, the owner of Doug's Auto Service, couldn't stop waving. His friend, Thomas Stidd, couldn't stop drooling. They were standing outside Brown's business on West Hill Street on June 6 watching as participants in the 2006 Hot Rod Magazine Power Tour drove through Thomson.

Flock of businesses is set to open
Entrepreneurs keep rolling new businesses into the Martinez-Evans area, and several celebrated recent arrivals or are set to open in coming weeks.

Meeting to focus on drugs
The Augusta-Aiken chapter of the Society of Human Resource Management is inviting all professionals in the field to learn about drugs in the workplace at the group's Friday meeting.

Workshop brings nature in close
Mistletoe State Park will be holding another event in its Wilderness Survival Series on Saturday for people interested in learning how to stay protected when outdoors.

Here she is ...
The Miss Georgia crown will be up for grabs next week, and one Martinez beauty queen says she is excited about her trip to the pageant.

Sales tax revenues set record
Stronger sales at the Mullins Crossing retail outlets have boosted Columbia County's special purpose local option sales tax revenues to record-breaking heights, the county's finance director says.

Health care aid reconsidered
The $75,000 commissioners are considering allocating to help a group called Project Access expand into Columbia County will be enough to begin helping uninsured residents, at least said Dr. Terrence Cook, the president of the organization.

Jewelry company aids cancer effort

Get Up and Go
Columbia County 4-H has discounted Six Flags tickets available. For information, call (706) 868-3413.

Newsmakers
Morgan Leigh Joines, of Martinez, graduated May 5 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from The Women's College of Brenau University.

Pet of the week
This playful kitten is about 4 weeks old. She is available for adoption Thursday from Columbia County Animal Care and Control. For more information, call 541-4077 or visit www.columbiacountyga.gov and follow the links to Animal Care and Control. Adult animals cost $25 to adopt and puppies and kittens cost $20. Animals must be spayed or neutered. Visitors must wear closed-in shoes to visit the kennel area.

Red Hat Classics travel
Augusta's Red Hat Classics traveled to Elizabethton, Tenn., on May 12 for a regional gathering of the women's group geared to promoting fun and friendship after age 50. The event provided opportunities for shopping, live music, train rides and competition, followed by a Mother's Day Service. The Augusta group won first place in the talent competition for its rendition of Are You Lonesome Tonight?

Woodmen honor pupil
Olin Newby (from left), the area manager of Woodmen of the World, poses after presenting a history award to Mitchell Hauff, an eighth-grader at Riverside Middle School. Parents Joan and Tony Hauff look on. Mitchell is a contributor to discussion of Georgia History Studies. Lodge 1571 in Martinez sponsored the award.

Roadrunners are runners-up
The Roadrunners were runners-up in the May Madness tournament. Brooke Sarver pitched her second no-hitter of the year, and Rachel Nimmons led the team in hitting with a .545 average and an .824 on-base percentage for the weekend. Newcomer Kayla Clem helped the pitching staff, and the team batting average was over .300. This was the team's fifth tournament and second time placing. The players are coach Mary Sarver (back row, from left), Katie Shead, Amber Davison, Becca Olson, Maggie Evans, Kayla Clem, coach Ken Sarver, Brooke Sarver (front row, from left), Rachel Nimmons, Kiauna Chang, Kayla Cates and Morgan Tickerhoof.

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

Greenbrier presents soccer awards
Luke Gibb (from left) won the coach's award, Jonathan Shackelford won outstanding defensive player and Will Dunaway won outstanding defensive play at the Greenbrier High School soccer banquet May 16. At left, Jennifer Dye (left) won the coach's award and Bridget Lyons won most valuable player.

Places to Go
Church of the Holy Comforter will sponsor a concert of patriotic music by the Savannah River Winds at 5 p.m. June 25 at Savannah Rapids Pavilion, 3330 Evans to Locks Road, followed by a barbecue dinner. The concert is free; tickets for the barbecue are available by calling (706) 210-1133.

Homeland visit
Pilar and Eva Torrejon dressed as flamenco dancers for the Feria del Caballo in southern Spain. Their family (parents Tracy and Pedro, siblings Sam and Lucas and the girls) recently spent 10 days in Spain, Pedro's homeland.

Rotary presents awards
Taylor Cason, daughter of Adam and Sam Cason, and Jared Williams, son of Thad and Jan Williams, were presented with the Johns Award by the Rotary Club of Columbia County West. They are fifth-grade pupils at Brookwood Elementary School.

Current Events
The Columbia County Choral Society will present the choral concert Treasures and Jewels at 7:30 p.m. Friday at First Baptist Church of Evans. Tickets cost $15, or $10 for students and senior citizens.

Lady Patriots clinch tourney
The Lady Patriots clinched the Sandlapper League U10 Girls Select Division for spring. The team went undefeated with eight wins and a tie, scoring 49 goals and allowing six. The team also won first place in the fall Sandlapper end-of-season tourney. The players are Haley Fortson (front row, from left), Madison Campbell, Jesse Wright, Christina Rentas, Kayla Mills (back row), Katie Herold, Rebecca Flavin, Kymberlee Sines and Katie Belser. The team is coached by Wes Kendrick, Karen Belser and Jason Campbell.

Society sisters
Keller Newman (left) and Sarah Elaine Brandenburg were inducted recently into the National Honor Society, Phi Kappa Phi, at Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville. Keller is a 2003 graduate of Greenbrier High School and Sarah is a 2003 graduate of Lakeside High School.

Board's seal is set in stone
Columbia County's Board of Education held its first scheduled board meeting Tuesday at the new board office on Hereford Farm Road.

Dream teams conquer two states
If we could have just one more high school baseball game this season, wouldn't it be great to have the Greenbrier Wolfpack play the Augusta Christian Lions?

What I did at my summer job
Long before kids spent the summer at band camp, swim camp, sports camp or just plain camp-camp, there were plenty of things for the out-of-school set to do that were just as much fun.

Diagnosis tests long relationship
In the beginning of the summer of 1969, Jay and I met a couple through mutual friends and spent the evening thoroughly enjoying their company. Not in my wildest dreams would I have imagined the friendship that would grow from that one evening. The four of us spent every Saturday night together for several years.

Knob Hill dives into sport
Less than a year ago, 6-year-old Harrison Upton couldn't quite swim across the pool.

Augusta FireBall continue to turn up heat on pitch
With an undefeated 5-0-1 record, the Augusta FireBall are blazing through the Professional Development League. The soccer team picked up another win last weekend with a 2-1 victory in Nashville, Tenn., and hopes to do the same to finish the week with games on Thursday and Sunday.

Talk about close calls
Middle school baseball ended in mid-April, but the county's finest seventh- and eighth-graders took the diamond one last time this season for the first-ever Columbia County Middle School All-Star Baseball Game.

Several top players get call from big league
Once again this year, Columbia County had a reason to be proud after the Major League Baseball draft. Two high school standouts and two college standouts who once starred in the county got a call on day two of the draft.

Sports Calendar
Evans High cheerleaders will hold a cheer camp for children in kindergarten through fifth grade Monday through June 23. The cost is $100, which includes lunch. The camp will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, contact Robin Santagata at (706) 863-1198 ext. 214 or e-mail rsantagata@ccboe.net.

County rivals head down same path in Major League draft
Greenbrier High School right fielder Rafael Parks and Evans High School center fielder Shawn Ward can't afford to be great friends. After all, they're on opposite sides of the county's biggest rivalry in the county's biggest sport.

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