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Operation Zero Tolerance helps keep roads safe during holidays
While December brings holiday cheer, the holiday season unfortunately will bring highway tragedy for some. The Christmas travel period can be deadly both here in Georgia and across the country.

Personnel changes, pay hikes approved
Columbia County commissioners Tuesday adopted numerous personnel changes, including hiring more judges, transferring the animal control manager and granting raises.

Rainy days offer us opportunity to prepare tools for season to come
All the rain that we have received this fall has been a blessing because we needed the water. It has made planting and transplanting plants easier, and plants didn't need to be watered as much.

County school officials thank businesses for their support
Thanks to a partnership between the school system and Mercedes-Benz of Augusta, Allison Palfy drives a Mercedes C300 to school every day. A year-long lease for the luxury car was included as part of her prize when the Cedar Ridge Elementary School teacher won county Teacher of the Year honors.

Evans man helped launch history
Jim Brown vividly remembers his involvement in a historic moment 51 years ago that truly was out of this world. Brown was a supervising engineer on Operation SCORE, which allowed President Dwight D. Eisenhower's voice to be the first message broadcast from an Earth-orbiting satellite.

Candlelight service set Wednesday
An Evans church that routinely conducts a community Easter sunrise service now is inviting the public to a candlelight Christmas service.

List of gift ideas for your gardening friends grows
Jim Mayfield knows all about gardening gifts. He's been given his share of gardening-related Christmas gifts and has even helped shoppers find the perfect item for those on their shopping lists.

Living Well recognizes resolve to lead full life
Rachel Taylor can't recall the moment that made her an inspiration to so many. However, Rachel likely will never forget the recent afternoon when she was presented with the Living Well Award by Doctors Hospital during her chorus class.

Police blotter
An Appling man was arrested Wednesday afternoon on firearms charges at a Graniteville, S.C., elementary school.

Class Reunions
Harlem High School class of 1989, is planning a reunion April 24 at Red Oak Manor in Harlem. E-mail harlemreunion89@live. com, or search for Harlem High class of 1989 on Facebook.

Get up & go
The Rotary Club is seeking student applicants for an expenses-paid study trip to Norway next summer. For information, call Pam Lightsey at (706) 729-2484, or e-mail plightsey@aug.edu.

Current events
Ballerina Julia Foley Morgan will perform an original ballet solo, Breath of Heaven , as part of the worship service at 10:30 a.m. today at Church of the Holy Comforter, 473 Furys Ferry Road, Martinez. The church also will hold Christmas Eve services at 5:30 and 11 p.m.

Brookwood gets artistic
Rogelio and Kathy Abrahams and their daughter Rachel look over the artwork at the Brookwood Elementary School student art show on Dec. 10. All pupils from Brookwood participated and the school had about 500 guests come to view the art.

Plant a kiss on the donkey
Belair Elementary School fourth-grade teacher Jessica Williams kisses Daisy, a 1-year-old Bethlehem donkey, after her pupils raised $552, the most raised by any class, for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. The school raised nearly $3,600.

River Ridge Elementary School First Nine Weeks Honor Roll

The doc prescribes shopping
Brandi Crocker, of Spartanburg, S.C., shows Dr. Rich Cartie, a pediatric doctor at the Joseph M. Still Burn Center, a doll she picked out for her twin sister at the Evans Walmart during Making Christmas Bright, a Shop with a Doc event.

Newsmakers
Bishop Moore, a sixth-grader at Columbia Middle School, received an award for placing second in the Georgia Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner's Statewide Fire Safety Essay Contest.

On Vacation
A group from Abilene Baptist Church, led by Dr. Bill Harrell, the pastor, took a tour of sites in the Holy Land from Oct. 19-28.

Property Transfers
John K. Eskew to Kimberly A. Wooten and Matthew S. Deufel, 2122 Magnolia Parkway, $180,000.

Divorces
Angie Thomas Dye and Jackie Lawson Fitzgerald, Nov. 19, 2009.

Newsmakers
The Larry Bray Memorial Foundation presented University Health Care Foundation a check for $18,000 for University Hospital's Diabetes Services. The donation will be used for its Camp Juliet program for children with diabetes.

Adoption spotlight
CSRA Happy Tails Rescue Inc. is a nonprofit, licensed animal rescue group. Adoptions are held each Saturday and Sunday from 1-4 p.m. at Tractor Supply Co. on Bobby Jones Expressway in Martinez. For information or to adopt, call Barb at (706) 955-0438 or go to www.csrahappytails.com.

Living Christmas Tree
The Abilene Baptist Church choir performed its Living Christmas Tree concert Dec. 11-13.

Editorial cartoon
Editorial cartoon for the Sunday, December 22, 2009 Columbia County News-Times.

Where is taxpayer's Santa Claus?
Columbia County officials have done an outstanding job this year of lowering employee costs across the board while reorganizing and streamlining county departments. But there just is no way to avoid the perception that government workers are seeing light at the end of the recession tunnel a lot sooner than working stiffs in the private sector.

Good guy gets a full-time gig
Columbia County commissioners were just brimming with pre-Christmas generosity the other night when they granted county employees a 2 percent raise.

Finding the joy of Christmas giving
My wife, Lisa, had just walked out the door to "do a little Christmas shopping." And so it began. For the next two weeks, there would be carefully implanted hints and whispered secrets accompanied with the traditional, "You'll never guess!"

Race car driver attends opening
NASCAR driver Free Pennington holds his son, Chase, as he poses for a photo by his car with Evan Charney (from left), Tyler Nelson, Sarah Charney, Luke Charney and Gracie Kate Pennington during the grand opening Wednesday of the new Food Lion grocery store on Columbia Road.

Gunners claim championship
The Augusta Arsenal Gunners U12 girls team played up an age group in the James Island Cup soccer tournament in Charleston, S.C., and won the U13 Black Division championship.

Undefeated season
The Columbia County Girls U12 soccer team won the Fall 2009 Division Championship. They were undefeated with one tie.

It's usually easy to shop for sportsmen
Terry Ellis stood chatting with his wife Wednesday as he waited for his newest toy to be fine-tuned.

Some help requested in picking best player
Dear Santa, I don't know how you do it. Each year, lists of names need to be classified "naughty" or "nice." Each year, you get it done. How about a little help? Can your methods be applied to choosing athletes?

Defense helps Spartans win battle of unbeatens
The Glenn Hills and Lakeside girls teams entered Monday night's meeting as the last two remaining unbeatens in Region 3-AAAA. The season continued to go the Spartans' way during their 42-30 victory.

Knights can't stay with Musketeers
The Evans High School boys basketball team knew the quality of its opponent Monday. With a 20-game region schedule, the 3-AAAA race is a long one. Along the way, there are tests like the one Evans faced last week.

Impressive field of candidates makes naming the season's top football player a difficult task
The choice for this year's News-Times Football Player of the Year is going to be one of the toughest calls in a long time.

Sports calendar
The Jordan River Foundation 5K Classic will be held Jan. 23 from 11 a.m. at Lakeside High School's track. Cost is $20. There will also be a shorter run for children 13 and younger. For information, call Amala Sarvepalli at (706) 877-0136.

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