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Georgia should join other states in enacting a hate-crimes law
In opposition to hate crimes laws, The News-Times trots out the often repeated arguments that hate crimes laws - which have been adopted in 45 states - are unequal, discriminatory and unnecessary. ("'Hate crimes' law? As opposed to what?" Sept. 23).

There's nothing 'racist' in opposition to health care 'power grab'
According to Democrats and the American left, anybody who opposes or questions President Obama's policies are racist.

'Public option' for health insurance would force 'realistic' fees
I have read a great deal about how poorly managed and uncaring government health care is in responding to folks with physical illness. My personal experience with these programs happened when I lost my wife of 50 years in April 2007.

Police blotter
Columbia County authorities are searching for a man they say was scared off by a sheriff's deputy while trying to rob a Martinez convenience store Wednesday.

Grovetown rezoning
Grovetown leaders will consider a request at a Monday city council meeting to rezone a 34-acre parcel of residential property to include four commercial buildings and a subdivision.

Barbecue winners
Harlem's 2010 Census Barbecue Cook-Off and Barbecue Sauce Contest was held Sept. 12 at the Harlem United Methodist Church field.

Drug testing policy gives way to classes
The Columbia County school board on Tuesday abandoned a policy requiring random drug tests of pupils attending the county's alternative school.

Current events
Wesley United Methodist Church and all area Pizza Joint restaurants are teaming up to collect "flood buckets" filled with cleaning supplies for Atlanta-area residents whose homes were damaged in recent floods.

Festival has economic benefits
More than 30,000 people are expected to gather at Oliver Hardy's birthplace Saturday for a festival in his honor.

Schools gain pre-k programs
New pre-kindergarten programs start Monday at two Grovetown elementary schools.

New recycling center should ease load on county landfills
A recycling center in Columbia County is just days away from opening.

Boost for drama
The Harlem High School Drama boosters recently played host to Kim Bowers-Rheay in a drama workshop.

'Bugz' at Brookwood
The second grade at Brookwood Elementary performed Bugz for pupils and parents Sept 22. In the musical, a bunch of insects learn how to get along in the world.

Money for children
Special Photo The funds were from proceeds of the annual concert of Ed Turner & No. 9 at the Imperial Theater.

Harlem might tap Thom son water
Harlem officials agreed Monday to partner with the city of Thomson to provide water to some Harlem residents.

Snapdragon, ornamental vegetables provide colorful alternatives for fall
Last week I wrote about pansies. They are one of the all-time favorite winter annuals in gardens. But there are a number of other annuals that will work well in our landscape during the winter months.

Preschool signups
All American Martial Arts Academy, 4495 Columbia Road, Ste. 3, is holding registration for its after-school program. For information, call (706) 210-0944.

Divorces
Andrea Hope Price and John Cullen Price III, Sept. 11, 2009.

Property Transfers
Choice One Home Builders Inc. to Joseph E. Pringle Sr., 245 Lynbrook Way, $86,900.

Pet adoption showcase
CSRA Happy Tails Rescue Inc. is a nonprofit licensed animal-rescue group committed to the welfare of stray and unwanted dogs and cats in the CSRA.

School lunches
Peanut butter-and-jelly sandwich

School councils
- Riverside Elementary School: 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 8, Feb. 23 and April 27.

School information
Oct. 9: End of nine weeks

Flu clinics
Columbia County Health Department has scheduled seasonal flu clinics.

Marriage licenses
Nathan Steven Olson and Beverly Marie Betsch applied for a marriage license on July 30, 2009, and were married Aug. 15, 2009, in Martinez.

Class reunions
- The Evans High School class of 1999 reunion is scheduled for Oct. 2-3. For information, go to http://ehs1999 reunion.blogspot.com. For reservations, call Christie Soparas McTier at (706) 951-0019.

Bring in plants to save them for spring
Fall has arrived, so before the temperatures get too low, be sure to bring in any plants that you want to save for next spring.

Ideas are gold in free society
There was a sitting-room-only audience for the sunshine law forum held Monday night at the Richmond County Board of Education auditorium.

Editorial cartoon
The editorial cartoon for Sunday, September 27, 2009.

Praise for traveling emergency workers
When the largest wildfire in Georgia's history roared through the Waycross area in May 2007, Martinez-Columbia Fire Rescue firefighters were among hundreds from around the state driving to south Georgia to help protect homes in those communities.

Funding approved to spruce up facilities
Martinez-Evans Little League's facilities should soon get a boost.

Sports calendar
The Augusta Junior Rowing Team is accepting members. Practices are held Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 4-6:30 p.m. at The Boathouse on Riverfront Drive in Augusta.

Benefit ride to be held in Harlem
While thousands of people will descend on Harlem on Saturday to celebrate the life of an obese comedian, many will shed hundreds of calories to remember Oliver Hardy and award pupil citizenship.

Aiken Cup champions
As part of their regular August overnight campout, Boy Scouts from Troop 15, of Martinez United Methodist Church, climbed to the top of Table Rock Mountain near Pickens, S.C.

Prep calendar
Evans at Hephzibah, 5 p.m., Tuesday

Family stops by football institution
Alex Miles, a student at Lewiston Elementary School, spent his Labor Day weekend at the Pep Boys 500 in Atlanta. He loves the film Days of Thunder and had the opportunity to enjoy the race with actor Tom Cruise.

Lacrosse takes off in county
Some time next month, Barry Smith will attend a conference and make another pitch to members of U.S. Lacrosse that Columbia County is an area where the sport is thriving.

Knights on a roll in region play
Inside the home dugout of the Evans High School softball field is a quote from Kay Yow, the late North Carolina State women's basketball coach, who died in January after battling breast cancer.

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