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Columnist 'off base' in commentary on Air Force F-22 fighter jets
I was dismayed at Tom Crawford's Aug. 12 column, " Chambliss, Isakson show their priorities," in reference to support for the purchase of seven additional F-22s.

Grovetown band is aware of its place in school lore
When Renae Capers, 16, marches onto the football field Friday, she knows it'll be the beginning of a legacy. As the drum major of the new Grovetown High School's marching band, the junior will lead her 90 bandmates in their first halftime performance.

County crews will take over mowing duties from state
Because of state budget cuts, motorists will see Columbia County work crews doing more of their own cutting. The Georgia Department of Transportation announced earlier this year that it is cutting back on how often it will mow medians and rights-of-way on state roads.

Board gets lower offer for football ambulances
Columbia County school officials might consider a less expensive ambulance service for Friday football games. The board pays about $11,000 annually to Gold Cross for the company to station an ambulance near each field during varsity games.

Panic figures in many accidents
When Haley Van Pelt's vehicle ran off Hardy McManus Road on July 22, she reacted the way many other drivers would -- she over-corrected. Such reactions are common, said Columbia County Sheriff's Office Staff Sgt. Ray Childress, who oversees the Traffic Unit.

Accident victim gives it the good old college try - again
John Paul Richardson is excited about starting his college experience. Again. The 2008 Greenbrier High graduate spent three weeks last year at Atlantic Armstrong State in Savannah, when a near-fatal wreck forced him back into his parents' Evans home after more than two months in the hospital.

Spot held for injured bandmate
As members of Greenbrier High School's marching band practice their formations in the school parking lot, the gap isn't always noticeable. The open spot belongs to Haley Van Pelt, an Evans clarinet player who was seriously injured in a single-car wreck July 22 on her way to band camp.

Course will teach seniors how to defend themselves
Seniors can learn self-defense skills at a class Tuesday at the Columbia County Library. "We're going to start out with how to avoid attack," said Melissa Baggett, who will aid the course instructor, Steven Huffman. "There will be a lot of verbal self-defense more than anything."

Current events
Grovetown Masonic Lodge 730 has a collection box at Grovetown City Hall for its school-supply drive.

Back to school
Jeffrey, 6, and Emily Ball, 8, pose on the first day of school at Brookwood Elementary. Jeffrey is in Pat Everette's first-grade class, and Emily is in Meredith Hinson's third-grade class. Jeffrey and Emily are the children of Jim and Kim Ball of Grovetown.

Get up and go
Ga-Lina Christian Singles will hold a dance party from 7 to 11 p.m. Saturday at the Elks Lodge off Furys Ferry Road, with free dance lessons from 7 to 8 p.m. Admission costs $10. For information, call Elizabeth Connor at (706) 863-1214.

Police blotter
The following accounts were taken from reports from the Columbia County Sheriff's Office. Additional reports are available at

Pet adoptions
These pets are available for adoption from Columbia County Animal Care and Control. For more information, call (706) 541-4077 or visit and follow the links to Animal Care and Control. Adult animals cost $25 to adopt.

Vacation photos
Dalton and Jasmine Childress and Steve Pruitt spent a weekend white-water rafting and picnicking on the French Broad River in North Carolina.

Marching Bands Schedule
Football season just wouldn't be the same without the school marching bands filling halftime with elaborate performances. Columbia County's high school bands have been working to have performances ready to wow football fans.

First day photos
Allyson and Scott Rachels arrive for their first day of school at Brookwood Elementary School. Allyson is in fifth grade and Scott is in third.

Editorial cartoon
Editorial cartoon for the Wednesday, August 19, 2009 Columbia County News-Times.

Candidates start visits
The parade has been slow, but steady. In the case of Austin Scott, that's literally true. He's one of two candidates running for governor in Georgia who has dropped in to see me so far. His visit last week came during his 750-mile walk around the state.

Take precautions against concussion
A concussion may seem like a rite of passage, just part of the game of life. But it's not. As with a traumatic brain injury, even a minor concussion can have long-lasting effects.

Football ambulances are just for show
One of the tougher jobs of elected officials is striking the proper balance between spending wisely to keep citizens safe, vs. spending money merely to create the appearance of safety.

Sports calendar
Evans author Eddie Hulsey will sign copies of his book, Defensive Handgun for the Armed Citizen , from 1-3 p.m. Saturday at American Sportsman, 4088 Washington Road, Martinez. Copies will be available.

Wolfpack tackle difficult schedule on road
The biggest challenge Greenbrier's football team faced a season ago will present itself again in 2009. All Greenbrier's sports teams have dealt with the issue of travel since the school was reclassified and its teams began competing in Region 2-AAAAA, with the majority of schools based in the Atlanta area.

Meet the Super Nine
The Columbia County News-Times staff has put together its own "Super Nine," profiling what we see as the nine best football prospects in the county.

Depth among concerns for the Bulldogs
Harlem football coach Jimmie Lewis had requested a calendar item run in The News-Times during the summer announcing the Bulldogs were looking for players. Lewis said he received his first call from the announcement during the first week of practice.

Local products ready to shine in Statesboro
Georgia Southern University will be on the road at South Dakota State University on Sept. 12 for its second game of the 2009 football season, and a couple of Columbia County players will be making the nearly 1,700-mile trip with the Eagles.

Knights want to build off '08
The philosophy remains the same for the Evans Knights football team in 2009. W.I.N. is the team's acronym: "What's important now?" The phrase keeps the Knights focused on the task at hand: to win every play.

Athlete Spotlight: Grovetown High School
Xavier Crain never imagined this. The Grovetown High junior reflected last week on his transition from sophomore receiver at Harlem High last season to starting quarterback and safety at the county's newest and largest high school.

Panthers leaning on D
Lakeside coach Jody Grooms has no plans to shake up his entire offensive scheme because of the graduation of one player. But when that player is Chad Chandler, a three-year starter at quarterback, it will make Grooms think about how he will be replaced.

Grovetown looks to establish traditions in inaugural season
At some point Friday, Grovetown High assistant football coach Eddie Lord might yell, "Hey, hey!" And Warriors football players should respond, "Hey, hey!" The chant might not be categorized as a tradition, just a quirky phrase that sprang from weeks of practice that started during the spring.

Augusta Christian moves ahead with new head coach, QB
Augusta Christian will begin the 2009 season with plenty of transitions. A new head coach and new starting quarterback stand out as some of the bigger changes. But some things never change.


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