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Failing to say "Merry Christmas" will erode meaning of holiday
The "war on Christmas" is a masquerade; it's really a "war against Christianity" to eliminate its moral influence from our society through political correctness and judicial means.

Planners focus on steps taken to improve county
Thursday's Columbia County Planning Commission meeting focused on good news in the county from 2009. Much of the meeting was devoted to an update given by the planning and zoning board, planning staff and restructuring of the Development Services division.

Survey finds shoppers want more retail outlets in county
A new study shows that Columbia County residents often travel beyond the county's borders to meet their shopping needs.

Dancer from Martinez is thrilled after competition
Standing anxiously on a stage next to two fellow dancers last Wednesday evening, Kathryn McCormick waited, along with millions of TV viewers across the nation, to learn her fate on the Fox reality competition, So You Think You Can Dance.

Amputee plans to remain in the Army
Quitting has never been an option for U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Luis Elias. "Going back has been my goal since I've been here, from day one," said Elias, who was released from the Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center on Friday to return to active duty as a drill sergeant at Fort Benning, Ga.

When Sister Mary saw Christ's face, it was illuminating event
A few quick swipes of the knife blade and the forehead appeared. By the time Sister Mary Vladimira Havelock was finished delicately scraping away layers of the dye, Christ's face, surrounded by a glowing halo, looked out at several ladies at St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Church.

Churches will offer Christmas services
While some churches are opting to not hold Christmas Eve services this year, there are still a lot of churches open for residents wishing to attend a house of worship the day before Christmas.

Get up and go
Augusta-area podiatrists are collecting shoes for the homeless through Dec. 30 at any podiatrist's office. For information, call Dr. Kent Kronowski at (706) 724-0586.

Away in a Manger
The Naffziger family traveled from Alaska to play the roles of Mary, Joseph, Jesus and a shepherd at the Martinez United Methodist Church's Bethlehem Village. Family members are Hayden, 5, Nancy and Ralph Naffziger and 2-month-old Ty. The Naffzigers have relatives who attend the church.

Bethlehem Village
The nativity scene at Martinez United Methodist Church's Bethlehem Village features Dan Hatch (from left), Karen Hancock, Karen Naffziger, Ty Naffziger, 2 mo., Ralph Naffziger, Barry Bailey and Raymond Gurley.

Vacation photo
Tom Sorrells (from left), and wife Linda Sorrells and Dave Dillard, all of Evans, visited Pikes Peak Oct. 17. They were Colorado Springs, Colo., for a National Day of Prayer Summit at Focus on the Family.

Preschool Signups
Bible Cathedral at 1116 Furys Ferry Road has spaces available in its mother's day out program. For information, call Cynthia Turner at (706) 863-7090.

Brookwood Christmas Concert
Brianna Biggs (left) and Brianna Buck sing Christmas songs in Brookwood Elementary's Christmas Concert.

Adoption spotlight
These pets are available for adoption from Columbia County Animal Care and Control. For more information, call (706) 541-4077 or visit www.columbiacountyga.gov and follow the links to Animal Care and Control.

Current events
Columbia County's Community Events Department has free 2010 calendars available at the Community Events office in Building B of the county government complex, Recreation Department offices, county libraries and The Columbia County News-Times.

Police blotter
Several men were arrested last week at a Columbia County motel and charged with pandering.

Governor helps out
Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue, a licensed veterinarian, prepares to neuter a dog named McCoy on Friday morning at the Columbia County Humane Society's Dogwood Park Spay/Neuter Clinic in Appling.

You said...
The Columbia County News-Times asked children at Bel Air Elementary School: "What do you want for Christmas?"

Elvis isn't the only one blue
Christmas is almost here and we have yet to receive a single Christmas letter at my house. We've received lots of Christmas cards, of course. But no letters. No essays from relatives and far-flung friends detailing how fabulous, how over-the-top incredible, their year has been.

Celebrate Christ's birth with love, joy
I trust it will be a delightful time of love and joy, peace and good will - everything Jesus stands for. I hope you'll come ready to laugh for the sheer joy of it, to celebrate the One who gives light and life.

Editorial cartoon
Editorial cartoon for the Wednesday, December 23, 2009 Columbia County News-Times.

Wishes for a calm and Merry Christmas
The busiest day for mailing, traditionally, is the Monday before Christmas. The busiest shopping day, for the past couple of years, has been Christmas Eve. So it's an understatement that this is a busy week. After the seasonal storm, may all of us have a calm and Merry Christmas.

Augusta Prep downed in doubleheader
Augusta Prep played host to Augusta Christian's girls and boys basketball teams Friday, with the visitors taking the sweep. Augusta Christian's girls won 50-42, with Amaura Brandt leading the Lions with 22 points. Augusta Christian's boys took a 60-43 victory behind 16 points from senior Brant Herzwurm.

Wolfpack, Knights dominate first team
Kevin Hunt could point to a variety of things he did to help mold his daughter into one of the country's top high school softball players. Kaila, the Greenbrier standout and University of Alabama signee, is The Columbia County News-Times' Softball Player of the Year.

Sports calendar
The Jordan River Foundation 5K Classic will be held Jan. 23 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Lakeside High track. Cost is $20 and includes a shirt and brunch. There will be a shorter run for children 13 and younger.

2009 gave sports fans plenty to remember
There are many local sports moments worthy of end-of-the-year recognition, whether it is a local team winning a state title, a former county standout doing well in college or the pros, or one of our local Little League teams capturing a World Series crown.

Robolli's Christmas Basketball Tournament
Evans High School, Dec. 28-30

Wolfpack's Mischel signs with Shorter
Lloyd DeFoor kept the newspaper clipping on his desk three weeks before he was able to reach Greenbrier High School's homecoming queen.

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