Presence on Internet speeds holiday help
Processing its Christmas assistance applications went much quicker for Augusta Urban Ministries this year.

Special provides pianist national exposure
Blake Brandenburg began playing the piano when he was just 8 years old. Fast-forward 11 years, and the 19-year-old is using his musical talents in college as he pursues a major in commercial music.

Ministry gives children toys
Volunteering at 8:30 on a Saturday morning might not be how most teenagers would want to spend their day, but for those who helped with the Augusta Urban Ministries' White Christmas giveaway, it was worth it.

Hotel-less Harlem passes hotel tax
Harlem doesn't have a hotel, but it does have a hotel-motel tax.

Tools will delight gardeners
With Christmas just two days away, there might be some last-minute gifts to be purchased. If there's a gardener on your list, there are a number of items that can be big hits this season.

Commission OKs proposal's withdrawal
Columbia County Commission agreed to withdraw a proposal to rezone 27 acres of residential property on Blanchard Road for professional use at its meeting Tuesday.

Pupils take journey on 'Polar Express'
Christmas is all about traditions, and River Ridge Elementary School repeated one of its favorite holiday rituals Wednesday.

Food, movies still available on holiday
Wal-Mart will close. Kroger will close. All liquor stores are closed. Even the 24-hour IHOP will close. On Christmas Day, only a few businesses in the Evans area will remain open.

Christmas Eve service remains tradition for many
Christmas Eve is special to many people for lots of reasons: making gingerbread cookies, riding around looking at holiday lights, lighting candles to remember lost loved ones, or going to church for a service.

Council approves expansion, new construction projects
Harlem officials expect to see the expansion of one city building and the construction of a new one complete by the summer.

ROTC member fast-tracks to graduation, college, Army
Growing up, Robert Smith Jr. was surrounded with stories of military service. From his father, uncles and grandfather, Robert learned about service to his country and service above self.

Vacation photo
Bill and Marcia DeHaven took a vacation in late October that included a visit to Graceland in Memphis, Tenn., and the William J. Clinton library in Little Rock, Ark. They also made a stop in Branson, Mo., and saw the arch in St. Louis.

Divorces
Veronica Sisson Hutto and David Dewayne Hutto, Dec. 17, 2007.

Santa stops by dance class
Debbie Dye's 3 and 4-year old dance ballet class at the Augusta Youth School of Dance's Christmas party.

Health calendar
The Health Calendar is a listing of support groups, activities and lectures.

Church presents live Nativity
Members of Martinez United Methodist Church staged a live Nativity as part of their 10th annual Bethlehem Village. The angel is Karen Hancock; Mary is Jennifer Sapp; Joseph is Drew Sapp; baby Jesus is Cadence Sapp. The Wise Men are "Murphy" Murphy (from left), Tom Vaught and Ashley Neal.

Time capsule
As reported 47 years ago in the pages of The Columbia News, Thursday, Dec. 22, 1960:

Patriots take first in tournament
The Columbia County '98 Patriot Boys U-10 soccer team won first place in their division at the GSA Academy Invitational Soccer Tournament in Gwinnett County on Dec. 2. Team members are: Nolan Boulineau (front, from left), Nathan Pak, Trey Hammond, Gabriel Millar and Jacob Vaiden; coach Wes Meadows (back), Jacob Hightower, Michael Ward, Noah Gilbert, Mekhi Honore and coach Ryan Marshall.

Holiday fun
The Shop-With-a-Doc program allows former pediatric patients at the Doctors Hospital Burn Unit to shop with their doctors. This year's program was held Tuesday at Mullins Crossing.

Police blotter
A Martinez woman returned home Monday evening and discovered that more than $1,500 in electronic items had been stolen from her home.

Get Up and Go
St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Church is offering a six-week program, Catholics Returning Home, to help nonpracticing Catholics return to the church. The series begins at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 8 in Meeting Room 3 at the church, 4921 Columbia Road, Grovetown.

School Councils
- The North Harlem Elementary School council will meet at 5:15 p.m. in the media center on Jan. 10, March 6 and May 1.

Property transfers
Virgil H. Flink to John F. Jensen and Kelly A. Jensen, 1060 Waltons Pass, $175,500.

Class Reunions
The Evans High School classes of 1982, 1983 and 1984 will hold a joint reunion June 21. For information, go to www.ehs838384reunion.com.

Current events
Columbia County libraries will be closed through Wednesday and reopen for regular hours Thursday.

American Legion dedicates marker
William Wren (from left), his mother, Mary Wren, and American Legion post commander Jim Whelan stand with a granite marker and dock dedicated in honor of Willie B. Wren outside the post on Legion Drive in Evans.

Voices from the street
The News-Times asked preschoolers at Wesley United Methodist Church what they want for Christmas. We then asked some grown-ups to recall their all-time favorite present. Here are some of their answers.

Adoption spotlight
Frankie has gone through her heartworm treatment and will be available for adoption in January.

Blue Ridge Elementary presents musical
The fifth grade classes at Blue Ridge Elementary presented the musical, A Christmas Carol, on Dec. 3, in three performances. Christine McCollum was the drama director and Margaret Wiggins directed the music. There were 120 pupils participating.

Gift of bicycle was the best
Each year we send a reporter out to ask children what they want for Christmas, and to balance it off we ask adults to tell us about the best gift they've ever received.

Joseph was part of the divine plan
He might have been married by then, had there been any prospects in his small New England town, or he hadn't been too shy to pursue that girl down on Main Street. Instead, an escape route - or providence - intervened.

Editorial cartoon
Editorial cartoon for Sunday, December 21, 2007.

Amid the hustle, don't forget the message
The pace of Christmas seems to grow more frantic every year. But the phenomenon is nothing new.

Greenbrier succeeds on mat
Greenbrier's wrestling team (8-1) beat Oconee (51-21), Hart County (51-27) and Washington Wilkes (54-27) last week.

Tournament will feature 16 teams
While most Columbia County students will take it easy during Christmas break, most of the county's basketball teams will go to work.

Young, Bowles win records for Lakeside
As we put the fall sports season behind us and move indoors for basketball and wrestling, the final postseason awards for our fall teams has come to an end.

Lady Eagles extend streak
Greenbrier High School's girls basketball team set a school record last season with an undefeated regular season, but it's not the longest winning streak in Columbia County.

Sports Calendar
The CSRA Junior Tennis League will have open registration for the spring 2008 tennis season from Dec. 30 to Jan. 15 for children ages 5-18.

All-area defense has top players in county
Editor's Note: This is the third of three football all-county columns. Today's column will concentrate on the defensive all-county team and the honorable mention list. The coach and player of the year awards ran Dec. 16, and the offensive all-county team ran Wednesday.

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