Metro Spirit 01.16.2003
The Metro Spirit is a free weekly newspaper that serves readers in the Augusta and North Augusta area. Editorial coverage includes Richmond County and Columbia County politics and events, arts, entertainment, people, places and events.
THE METROPOLITAN January 16-22, 2003 Vol. 14/No. 24 www.metspirit.com Arts, Issues & Entertainment WAR DAMES 2 M E T R O S P I R I T J A N 1 6 2 0 0 3 START 2003 OFF WITH A NEW HONDA FROM GERALD JONES HONDA 2003 ELEMENT Presenting the new Honda mega-functional adventure tool. It's the Element, just the thing to partner up with if you what to get all the fun out of life you can. Its side cargo doors and versatile rear seats let you load it up in no time. It cleans up quick inside and out for night duty. And you can even get it with 4WD. 2003 CIVIC $189 per month LEASE SPECIAL plus tax, 36 month lease $1,964 due at inception. First month payment, security and cap cost reduction model #ES1653 2003 ACCORD LX $239 per month plus tax, 36 month lease $2,064 due at inception. First month payment, security and cap cost reduction model #CM5633 2003 INSIGHT Few cars proclaim their advanced technologies with such distinctive style as the 2003 Insight. Its smooth aerodynamics and various breakthroughs allow this first-in-America gasolineelectric hybrid to get the best-in-America highway mileage of 68 mpg. And looks brilliant doing it. 2003 ACCORD EX $249 per month Sunroof � Keyless Entry � ABS Brakes � Electric Seats � Mag Wheels plus tax, 36 month lease $2,500 due at inception. First month payment, security and cap cost reduction model #CM5663 All 2002-03 CIVICS Interest as low as 1.9% with approved credit 2003 CR-V If you do lots of stuff, the CRV is here to help you do it. Its exceptional versatility lets you load it up with whatever and escape. Bring along friends, because it seats five. Available CR-V models come with the fully automatic Real Time 4WD system to give you extra confidence and control. And it's all wrapped in a stylish, refined package. 2003 ODYSSEY EX $349 per month or $27,590 includes extended warranty plus tax, 36 month lease $2,500 due at inception. First month payment, security and cap cost reduction model #RL1863 2003 PILOT EX $399 per month or $29,049 plus tax, 36 month lease $2,500 due at inception. First month payment, security and cap cost reduction model #YF1843 2003 S2000 No other sports car can present the performance credentials of the S2000. At 240 hp, its engine puts out more power per liter than any normally aspirated production car. And it's 6-speed manual gearbox and 4wheel double wishbone suspension reflect 40 years of Honda racing wisdom. GERALD JONES HONDA 2003 Gordon Highway, Augusta A 733-2210 way JANUARY 16-22, 2003 � FREE WEEKLY � METSPIRIT.COM Contents The Metropolitan Spirit Thinking About 3 M E T R O S P I R I T J A N 1 6 2 0 0 3 Contact Lenses? DR. E. JACK MOOMEY PC Over 30 Years Experience with all types of Contact Lenses ON THE COVER Contact Lenses Are Our Specialty War Dames By Phillip Carter .............................18 Cover Design: Stephanie Carroll Art: George Toomer 127 South Belair Road � Martinez GA 706-869-1800 FEATURE Brothers `Til the End By Stacey Eidson ........................................................14 Putting a New Spin on Golf By Lisa Jordan ................................................22 BUY ONE BUFFET, GET ONE 1/2 PRICE Not good with any other offer � Expires 1/30/03 Opinion Whine Line ......................................................................4 Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down ...........................................4 This Modern World .........................................................4 Suburban Torture ............................................................6 Words ...............................................................................6 Austin Rhodes .................................................................8 FRESH SEAFOOD BUFFET NOW SERVING STEAK ON THE BUFFET LUNCH/DINNER OPEN WED-SUN LUNCH & DINNER Metro Beat Free Parking Still Available at the Radisson ..............10 Gold Dome Revue: Complete Coverage of the Georgia 2003 Legislative Session ............................................12 2510 Peach Orchard Rd 790-7556 Arts Make the move to a healthier you! Bring this ad with you to Health Central before Jan. 31 and receive the following when you sign up for a one-year membership: I FREE massage I No enrollment fee, which is valued at $99 I One week FREE After the first year, memberships are on a monthly basis. From resolution to reality � you can make the move to a healthier you at Health Central, University Hospital's COMMUNITY fitness and wellness facility. When you join Health Central, you have access to: I An indoor running track I A whirlpool and a heated lap pool for swimming as well as water classes for managing arthritis, fibromyalgia and multiple sclerosis I A sauna and steam room in each locker room I A basketball/volleyball gymnasium with special flooring system I Group cycling classes I Kickboxing and step aerobics classes held in aerobics studio with AerobafloorTM I Yoga I Tai chi I Personal training I The latest in cardiovascular and weight-training equipment I Child care by certified attendants I Body pump strength classes I FREE personal fitness program development by degreed, certified professionals There are even licensed massage therapists on site to help you work out the kinks, reduce stress and promote relaxation. For more information or to schedule your FREE tour of Health Central, call 706/724-4408. Outside Acts Are Coming to Town ..............................26 Traveling Productions Provide Drama, Opera and Modern Dance ..............................................................33 Local Theatre Offers Comedy and Drama .................34 Symphony's String Quartet at Unitarian Universalist Hall ................................................................................36 Events 8 Days a Week .............................................................28 More to "Lord of the Rings" Star Viggo Mortensen........................44 Cinema Movie Listings .............................................................37 Preview: Hollywood Starts Off 2003 With Major January Releases ........................................................39 Review: "National Security" ........................................40 Movie Clock ..................................................................40 Music "Stronger" Billarabi Rolls Through Town ...................41 Music By Turner ............................................................42 Photographer Larry Hulst Preserves Rock's Legends .........................................................................43 More to "Lord of the Rings" Star Viggo Mortensen Than Meets the Eye .....................................................44 Night Life .......................................................................45 Stuff News of the Weird ........................................................47 Brezsny's Free Will Astrology ......................................48 New York Times Crossword Puzzle ............................48 Amy Alkon: The Advice Goddess ................................49 Classifieds .....................................................................50 Date Maker ...................................................................51 Automotive Classifieds ................................................53 EDITOR & PUBLISHER David Vantrease ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR Rhonda Jones STAFF WRITERS Stacey Eidson, Brian Neill ADVERTISING SALES MANAGER Joe White ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES Kriste Lindler, Jennifer H. Mar tin PRODUCTION MANAGER Joe Smith GR APHIC ARTISTS Stephanie Carroll, Natalie Holle ASSISTANT TO THE PUBLISHER Meli Gurley RECEPTIONIST/CLASSIFIED COORDINATOR Sharon King ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT ASSISTANT Lisa Jordan CIRCULATION DIRECTOR Meli Gurley SENIOR MUSIC CONTRIBUTOR Ed Turner CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Chuck Shepherd, Rob Brezsny, Austin Rhodes, Amy Alkon, Rachel Deahl CARTOONISTS Tom Tomorrow, Julie Larson Voted Best of Augusta for 18 years. THE METROPOLITAN SPIRIT is a free newspaper published weekly on Thursday, 52 weeks of the year. Editorial coverage includes ar ts, local issues, news, enter tainment, people, places and events. In our paper appear views from across the political and social spectrum. The views do not necessarily represent the views of the publishers. Visit us at www.metspirit.com. Copyright � The Metropolitan Spirit Inc. Reproduction or use without permission is prohibited. Phone: (706) 738-1142 Fax: (706) 733-6663 E-mail: email@example.com Letters to the Editor: P .O. Box 3809, Augusta, Ga. 30914-3809 706/724-4408 www.universityhealth.org 4 M E T R O S P I R I T J A N 1 6 2 0 0 3 Whine Line n regards to Austin Rhodes' namecalling, he's an ill-educated, illinformed, insensitive, pencil-headed punk who is trying to emulate his hero, Phil Kent, the meanest journalist to ever walk the streets of Augusta. Austin stays employed because he stirs controversy every day to attract the masses. I also have never seen a used condom or syringe on Broad Street. If Stan Fink wants to close his business, fine. But don't kid us about imaginary Broad Street problems. Amen to the person who responded to the uninformed writer who thought SUV drivers should be drafted. If people really think any of this "war" with Iraq is about oil, you need to be drafted. You obviously don't think for yourself; you just repeat what you hear. If you don't like the strings being pulled on the gas pumps think about why. We have our own oil. We need to drill our own so we are not dependent on these regimes. Maybe the draft should be instituted again so people who don't understand our history of freedom might get it. Think about it. Doesn't it seem, in light of recent events, that Korea never intended to keep its treaty, that the so-called peace negotiated by Jimmy Carter for Bill Clinton was just a ruse to get American dollars to build a nuclear weapon? With his record of success, isn't it time Mr. Carter learns to keep his opinions to himself? Maybe he should do the "Nobel" thing and return the prize. With great sadness I realize soon I'll be too old to ever use the canoe I bought in 1989, in anticipation of shooting the Savannah River rapids on a regular basis. For a long time it's just been a situation of being too human to overcome the hurdles. Thanks, Canal Authority! Maybe you can exhibit the canoe in your fascinating "Celebration of Jim Crow Museum," which is certain to rescue Augusta's I tourist situation, since no other Southern cities ever had a mill. I cannot believe that there could be a service with more incompetents than the Augusta airport. But I was mistaken when I decided to take a bus into Augusta instead. Not only were my bags lost, I seemed to be one of the luckier ones as the guy working at the station was rude to customers to the point where one customer had to say, "You better check your attitude," which garnered the response of, "Oh, it's checked." I feel so bad for anyone who has to travel into Augusta by way of bus or plane. Former state Senator Charles Walker always bragged about how much "pork" he brought home to Augusta, though very little fell out of his pockets. Walker and his Democrat supporters could learn a thing or two about political leadership and public service from state Senator Don Cheeks. Thanks to Senator Cheeks, the Medical College of Georgia will get $8.6 million to construct a new cancer research facility. Well done, Senator. You are a true servant of the people and we are honored to have you in the Republican Party. I think it is bad practice, not on the part of the theater but on that of the distribution company, to emblazon our movie theatre with huge signs that say "Chicago: This Christmas." After the initial shock of finding out Christmas day that December 25th was limited release, I have now found out that it will not hit Augusta theaters until probably Jan. 24th. This is almost a month's difference and is not good advertising policy! Miramax is no longer on my list of studios that make good movies, and for the simple reason that I may never see the movie to know if it is good or not, if they falsely advertise its release date. Ever notice how the liberal trial lawyers are ready to make other professions pay Thumbs Up The Georgia Supreme Court did the right thing by striking down an antiquated, religion-steeped fornication law that had been on the books since the 1800s, forbidding consenting adults from having sex unless they were married. The ruling arose from a 2001 case in which two teen-agers (who were both within the state's consenting age of 16) were caught having sex by a parent. According to The Atlanta JournalConstitution, the male defendant was ordered to pay a fine and write an essay on why he shouldn't have had sex. Instead, the newspaper reported, he wrote an essay on why the courts should not invade people's privacy. Thumbs Down Regardless of the reasons, Augusta is losing yet another asset, signalled by Dr. Bonnie Bragdon's announced resignation as director of Richmond County Animal Control. Bragdon made great strides to bring the agency into the 21st century, in part, through her distinction as being the first degreed veterinarian to run it. While she had her share of critics, it's our bet that Bragdon, who was to resign Jan. 16 to run a private veterinarian's office out of the PetsMart in the Augusta Exchange shopping center, will be sorely missed by the people -- and animals -- of Richmond County. up for their mistakes? But they are unwilling to pass a ruling that would make their members carry liability insurance. The quickest tort reform would be a law that mandates a lawyer must carry liability insurance to maintain their law license. Then they would experience the cost of their profession on society. I can't believe that more people aren't going out to the Augusta Lynx hockey games. They are so much fun. I'm a 58- year-old grandmother who's gone and had so much fun, I've taken my 10-year-old granddaughter and 7-year-old grandson. All the kids have so much fun there. More people should go and give the Lynx some support. It's a great sport. Columbia County has a tax base which takes in money as fast as you can say the word "deforestation." Why then are substitute teachers paid $58 a day? Answer: Because it's equitable, given the paltry salaries of our teachers! Where have we heard the term "equitable" before? This year when Spanish programs were eliminated from elementary schools unable to fund them privately or unable to pull a political favor. Equity means the quality of being just or impartial. The Columbia County board should try it. Dr. Bragdon at the animal clinic: I don't blame her for quitting. Richmond County people treat you like garbage. I should know because I have been working for Richmond County for a lot of years. If she can get more pay by working for PetsMart, that shows you right there how bad salaries are, working for Richmond County. They have promised for years to increase our salaries and nothing has happened yet. So I don't blame her one bit; I'd quit too if I didn't have a family and bills to pay. Plus it's her business if she needs to work a second job. Every last one of us out there (Richmond County workers) have second jobs, because we can't make it on one salary. It's none of Richmond County's business that we have second jobs. Do you think I'd tell them I have a second job? No. I have to make a living and put food on the table. That's why I do it. If Richmond County would pay decently, then I wouldn't have to work two jobs. I can guarantee you I will not listen to Y105 again. Without Mackenzie Clark, it's not worth my time. Why did Mackenzie Clark from Y105 get fired? I want to know. She was great in the mornings, always exciting and bubbly. She helped me wake up. Now I will turn to another station. To all those intelligent individuals berating dumb Republicans for not seeing that President Bush is only after Iraq because they have oil: I have a question for you. If you haven't already done so, when are you going to park your car and throw away the keys, turn off your power to your home, quit buying anything from stores and quit your job? Without oil you'll have none of these things. Since we all know that Democrats are honest, ethical straight-shooters, I'm sure you have already done the things I have listed before you called the Whine Line to complain that President Bush is only concerned about the oil supply. Pet owners are already starting to bellyache about the annual license fees for all cats and dogs. These so called "pet lovers" are an amusing, selfish bunch of hypocrites who continually turn public and private areas into stinking filthy toilets with incessant 24-hour barking and in some cases, personal injury to innocent people or pets. Proposed rates are too low though. One hundred dollars per pet sounds more reasonable, with all pet crimes considered felonies and pet owners to do jail time. continued on page 6 "HealthTalk" on WGAC-580 AM HEALTH PAGE Take care of yourself. Let University help. Tune in Monday, Jan. 20, at 8:30 a.m. to hear Steven M. Roth, M.D., a board-certified vascular surgeon and member of University's medical staff, discuss varicose veins and vein disease. University's Community Education Evening Programs with Physicians presents the following programs: University Hospital dining rooms 1-3 Registration and dinner: 5:30 p.m.; physician presentation: 6-7 p.m. Seniors Club members: $8; advance registration: $9; at the door: $10 To register, call 706/736-0847. 5 M E T R O S P I R I T J A N 1 6 2 0 0 3 Make the Move to a Healthier You! Special offer with this ad � Bring this ad with you to Health Central before Jan. 31 and receive s FREE massage s One week FREE s No enrollment fee, which is valued at $99 After your first year with Health Central, memberships are on a monthly basis. From resolution to reality -- you can make the move to a healthier you at Health Central, University Hospital's COMMUNITY fitness and wellness facility. For more than 22 years, Health Central has stood on a tradition of excellence, helping people in our community be the best they can be. When you join Health Central, you have access to: s An indoor running track s A whirlpool and a heated lap pool for swimming as well as water classes for managing arthritis, fibromyalgia and multiple sclerosis s A sauna and steam room in each locker room s A basketball/volleyball gymnasium with special flooring s Group cycling classes s Body pump strength classes s Kickboxing and step aerobics classes held in aerobics studio with special AerobafloorTM s Yoga s Tai chi s Personal training s The latest in cardiovascular and weight-training equipment s Child care by certified attendants s FREE personal fitness program developed for you by degreed, certified professionals Presented by Steven M. Roth, M.D. TODAY, Jan. 16 University Hospital dining rooms 1-3 What causes varicose veins? Who is at risk? Why do they hurt? What can you do to ease their discomfort and improve their appearance? "Varicose Veins: Causes, Prevention and Treatment" Voted Best of Augusta for 18 years. Featuring Paul E. Cundey Jr., M.D. Feb. 11 University Hospital dining rooms 1-3 Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) is prevalent today throughout the United States in both men and women and can lead to heart attacks and the need for medical intervention. Learn about new treatments and intervention. "Preventive Strategies for Coronary Artery Disease in 2003" 706/724-4408 www.universityhealth.org There are even licensed massage therapists on site to help you work out the kinks, reduce stress and promote relaxation. For more information or to schedule your FREE tour of Health Central, call 706/724-4408. Your resource for healthy living. Healthy Adults Optifast� Weight Management Information Session Thursdays 5-6 p.m. University Hospital Weight Management and Nutrition Center Registration is requested. Call 706/774-8917. "Osteoporosis � The Bone Facts" Featuring Douglas R. Phillips, M.D. March 20 Learn about causes, risk factors and prevention of osteoporosis, a disease that strikes both women and men. University Hospital dining rooms 1-3 Registration and dinner: 5:30 p.m.; physician presentation: 6-7 p.m. Seniors Club members: $8; advance registration: $9; at the door: $10 To register, call 706/736-0847. Healthy Older Adults The following programs are held at the University Seniors Club, Daniel Village Shopping Center unless otherwise stated. For more information or reservations, call 706/738-2580. FREE Glucose Screenings FREE Blood Pressure Checks FREE Height and Weight Measurements Jan. 22 9 a.m.-noon No appointment necessary Lunch with the Doctor "Sleepless in Georgia" Presented by Bashir A. Chaudhary, M.D. Jan. 29 11:30 a.m.�1:30 p.m. University Hospital dining rooms 1-3 Seniors Club members: FREE; nonmembers: $5 Reservation is required. Healthy Women FREE Mammograms Available Through a grant from the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade, University Breast Health Center offers a FREE mammogram, individual screening and education for any woman 40 or older who qualifies. Call 706/774-4141. Breast Self-Exam Class Feb. 10 5 p.m. University Breast Health Center No charge For more information, call 706/774-4141 "Focus on Healing" An educational program through dance and movement for breast cancer survivors sponsored by University Breast Health Center and Walton Rehabilitation Hospital Feb. 4, 11, 18, 25 6-7 p.m. Outpatient Classroom, Walton Rehabilitation Hospital $30 To register, call 706/823-5294. "Taking Charge of Your Health -- A Program for Women of All Ages" Featuring Jacqueline W. Fincher, M.D. Feb. 27 First Baptist Church of Augusta, 3500 Walton Way This comprehensive program will focus on why all women must take charge of their health needs, covering health issues spanning a woman's lifetime. Registration and buffet dinner: 5:30 p.m.; physician presentation: 6-7 p.m. Seniors Club members: $8; advance registration: $9; at the door: $10 For reservations, call 706/736-0847. Healthy Parents All classes are held in the Women's Center classroom on the third floor unless otherwise stated. Registration is required. Call 706/774-2825 for information or to register for the following classes: Sibling Birthday Party TODAY, Jan. 16 3-4 p.m. FREE Breast-Feeding TODAY, Jan. 16 7:30-9:30 p.m. Babies R Us, Bobby Jones Expressway FREE Cesarean Section Jan. 20 7-9 p.m. $10 Grand-parenting Jan. 26 3-5 p.m. $10 Childbirth Preparation Class Six-week series Tuesdays, Feb. 4, 11, 18, 25, March 4, 11 Thursdays, Feb. 6, 13, 20, 27, March 6, 13 7-9:30 p.m. $75 Featuring Kellie V. Lane, M.D. Feb. 20 Learn about what lab results mean, what are considered normal values and what medications and treatments are available to help when the numbers are not within the normal range. "Cholesterol and Medications" Save The Date! March 30 12:15-5 p.m. University Hospital Levi W. Hill III Auditorium, First Floor BabyFest is a FREE, funfilled, informative afternoon designed for new and expectant parents. Pediatricians and infant care medical specialists conduct classes and provide educational materials designed to answer your questions about parenthood and your baby's first year. Log on to learn more: www.universityhealth.org Speech and Hearing Screening For Adults and Children To schedule an appointment, call 706/774-5777. MUST PRESENT COUPON Redeemable at University Speech & Hearing Center, corner of R.A. Dent Blvd. & St. Sebastian Way OR FREE University Health Care System has been named the National Research Corporation's Consumer Choice Award winner in the Augusta area for the fourth consecutive year. F OR FREE 24- HOUR HEALTH INFORMATION , CALL ASK�A�NURSE AT 737-8423 (SER-VICE) 800/476-7378 (SERV) TODAY ! 6 M E T R O S P I R I T J A N 1 6 2 0 0 3 Suburban Torture BY JULIE LARSON continued from page 5 On behalf of Columbia County, thank you very much, Green County Partnership of Greenville, Tenn., for hiring Bryan Quinsey. In spite of questions about his performance in Columbia County, no one in either the Metro Chamber or on the County Commission had the spine to deal with Quinsey. Good luck, Green County! It's about time Mrs. Schrenko comes clean with the shady contracts totaling $500,000 she doled out last year. These contracts (11 total) should be investigated thoroughly. Wow! I wish I knew where to get one of those little black stickers with the blue line in the middle, so I could drive at a high rate of speed, swerving from lane to lane without a turn signal, and not being the one getting pulled over. Could someone tell me where to get a "get-out-of-anything-police-officer-related-free" sticker? Hello, little miss cashier who's so "disgusted" with her job. Go back and look at your application, and I'll bet you'll find your own name signed there. That's right! You asked for the job, elaborate procedures and all the orders that come with it. Why are you complaining? If you're so starved for employment that doesn't require you to serve a customer, then biggie-size your education and don't ask for things you don't want. Otherwise step to the side and let someone who wants to work get the job done. not like and to quit using the Whine Line as a political forum: You are absolutely correct! Forget the draft. I volunteer. Put me at the front lines. I am a young, minority female. Bush would find me perfectly expendable. I am ready and eager to die for all the viewers of The Jerry Springer Show and beyond. Oh sorry. I was daydreaming again. I'd rather wait for the draft instead. Why would anyone belong to an organization that keeps its financial status a secret from those who support it? Not only does it smack of elitism, but it also provides an opportunity to cover up mismanagement and incompetence. That's the situation with the Metro Chamber of Commerce, and the time for Columbia County to break away and form one solely for Columbia County is long overdue. To the person defending Curtis Baptist's actions based on the fact that they have been an entity on Broad Street for over 200 years: Your calculations on 200 years must be the same reasoning that Curtis Baptist uses with alcohol. The church was founded in 1876. Poor Linda Schrenko! She's short just 12 days for a permanent place at the public trough. Why doesn't she just go back to her cleaning job since that's what she wanted to do anyway? Well, I see that Mildred Goolsby, the lottery queen, has her building up for sale. You may remember she was the pain in the rear that caused the Augusta Golf and Gardens so much trouble. I'll buy it for $1 and preserve it as a monument to Augusta's small-mindedness. Yes, damn it, I own an SUV and I intend to keep it! Might even buy another one just to hack you off more! You're so Augusta if you were born in early January exactly nine months after Master's week. - Call our Whine Line at 510-2051 and leave your comments. We won't use your name. Fax your whines by dialing (706) 733-6663 or e-mail your whines to firstname.lastname@example.org. Style is in Full Bloom... Monday � 7:30pm Channel 4 ! New Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Unity Breakfast Program Director Johnny Holmes for the community and yourself KEEPING THE DREAM Marilyn Joyce, The Forget-Me-Not Her four hand engraved petals reach for the morning sun...holding a magnificent Doris HeartStar diamond, proudly proclaiming the will of his heart.. The Forget-Me-Not will accommodate a center diamond from .50 to 1ct and features a matching platinum wedding band. motivational speaker & author Regarding your Thumbs Down of Jan. 915 in which you castigated the protesters who took the time to "flag" poor Governor Barnes at his gala Marietta party last week: You missed the point. Poor Governor Barnes spent two years dismissing, downplaying, discrediting and bluntly criticizing his opponents on the flag issue. Instead of mimicking Barnes by calling them "embarrassing and spiteful rednecks," you should call them motivated and persistent citizens who chose to exercise their First Amendment rights. They should be applauded for reminding arrogant and spiteful politicians that they serve the people, not the other way around. To the person whining about whiners not doing something to change what we do Special Musical Guest Quiet Storm Augusta Opera "Side by Side by Sondheim" Augusta Museum of History exhibit Magnolias Flowers Of The Old South Platinum TM "30 Years of Rock 'n Roll" See the entire Collection of Classic Hand Engraved Engagement Rings and Antique Reproductions in the Southern Tradition Priced from $1295 and available exclusively from.... Words "I believe that the `big guy' and the `bald guy' are going to work well together." Plus Comcast Kids! Call in your questions & comments to 739-1822 or e-mail at email@example.com Replays: Daily at 12 Noon, 3pm, and 10:30pm on Fine Jewelers & Diamond Merchants Channel 66 Since 1940 -- State Senator Eric Johnson (R-Savannah), as quoted in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, about Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor and incoming Governor Sonny Perdue, respectively. 2820 Washington Rd. 10am-6pm Monday-Saturday Closed Sundays 733-6747 or 800-798-6747 Member American Gem Society 7 M E T R O S P I R I T J A N 1 6 2 0 0 3 The redefined 2003 Volvo S40 comes equipped with standard safety features some other cars in its class don't even offer as options. Things like full-length Inflatable Side Curtains and a Whiplash Protection Seating System. The very same standard features that make a Volvo a Volvo. We can also safely say it's more stylish than ever, with a redesigned exterior that's more agreeable to the eye. The redefined Volvo S40 certainly has a lot to offer. Including of course, safety features other imports have yet to even import. Visit your local Volvo retailer or volvocars.com. *MSRP of the 2003 Volvo S40 as shown with optional equipment is $24,350. Price does not include destination charge, tax and title. See your authorized Volvo retailer for complete details. �2002 Volvo Cars of North America, LLC. Volvo for lifeTM is a registered trademark of Volvo. Always wear your seat belt. G E R A L D J O N E S V O LV O " 1 8 0 1 G O R D O N H I G H WAY 738.2561 I'm offering my $189 Furnace Super-Tune-UpTM for only $79... and I guarantee your system won't break down this Winter or my service is FREE! management and marketing systems. I am serious about my profession; proud of my entire staff; and completely dedicated to each and every one of my clients... new and old. Now, how am I going to prove all this to you if I can't get your attention? Right! I make you a spectacular offer you can't refuse and wine you as a new client for life. Back to my offer. My Super-Tune-Up includes a painstaking and thorough examination of more than 50 potential problem areas in your furnace. 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We are professionally and continually trained in the skills of service, repair, system replacement and All-Star Team Building business " "FIXED RIGHT OR IT'S FREE!TM" -- John Haynie, PE Owner Since 1926 �AIRTIME500 706-722-5304 S I X M O N T H S S A M E A S C A S H F I N A N C I N G AVA I L A B L E F O R J A N U A RY 8 M E T R O S P I R I T J A N 1 6 2 0 0 3 ZOOM ZOOM ///// 626 Opinion: Austin Rhodes GOP and Dems Stymied by the Real Bad Guys epublicans make Democrats furious; Democrats make Republicans cringe. But let's all give credit where credit is due to the group we can come together to despise: those damn lawyers. Last year Georgia Lt. Governor Mark Taylor had all his weight (and that is saying something) behind a bill that would elevate serious child endangerment to felony status. It was a concept Gandhi and Stalin could have agreed upon. If parents (or others) put children at serious risk of injury, they were to be charged with a felony and subject to all the trouble that goes with it. The need for such a bill was illustrated by several very sad cases in metro Atlanta where children died because of the idiotic actions of "well meaning" adults. Because evil intent could not be proven in any of those cases, the child killers could not be charged with anything other than misdemeanor crimes. It was clear a serious upgrade in law was needed. In fact, Georgia is the only state in the union where such serious neglect could not be prosecuted as a felony. Here comes the lieutenant governor with his plan. Given Taylor's role as a majority party player, with a majority party governor and state senate backing him strongly, the common sense bill should have flown through the majority party Statehouse like Michael Vick through Green Bay. Instead, the bill hit the house judiciary committee like a south Georgia junebug on a windshield. As the lieutenant governor told listeners to my radio show Tuesday, the lawyers that populate that @#$!*x! House judiciary committee refused to move on the bill, first, because they were concerned that some parents may face prosecution for legitimate discipline (that excuse is a real load of ca ca del toro), but mainly, because they wanted to punish him for not getting several of their pet measures through the state Senate fast enough. I am all for legitimate political games when it comes to farm equipment taxes and road improvement projects, but when it comes to punishing insane grown-ups who hurt children with their asinine behavior, the Gold Dome shenanigans have to stop. The recent case involving the Swafford family right here in Augusta is a prime example of one of these situations. The horrific pictures that garnished the even more disturbing story in Saturday's Augusta Chronicle introduced local folks to the twisted life of Dustin and Dana Swafford. The disturbed pair were living in a state of squalor that would disgust most Calcutta street people. Dirty diapers feeding the families of rats and mice that ran freely through the home, enough garbage to gag even the most hardened veteran cops. Richmond County R 2002 626 NEW 4-door sedan well equipped ///// $13,995 Augusta's Sandwich Shoppe * * Includes all rebates & dealer cash to dealer ANDY JONES MAZDA ISUZU (803) 202-0002 WWW.ANDYJONESMAZDA.COM OPEN MONDAY-FRIDAY 9AM-8PM, SATURDAY 9AM-7PM AT THE TOP OF THE RISE ON THE AIKEN-AUGUSTA HIGHWAY IN NORTH AUGUSTA lawman Major Ken Autry remarked, "That's the worse damn house I've ever seen." And he has seen some doozies. Before the bleeding hearts make mental illness excuses, consider this: There were two adults in that house, deciding to live that way. Dana Swafford worked full time at a local grocery store; she was capable enough to handle that. The pair actively concealed their chamber of horrors from outsiders; they knew what they were doing was wrong. If the Swaffords wanted to live that way themselves, that is one thing, but they were raising a 14-month-old daughter in that filth. The little girl was already being treated for developmental problems directly caused, doctors believe, by her living environment. Even the little girl's grandmother is convinced her health problems are directly connected to the hellhole she had for a home. Not a stretch by any notion. The instant the Swaffords heard they were being investigated by authorities, they hightailed it to Tennessee. Thank the good Lord they were discovered and arrested. Baby Sierra is in state custody, and has been rescued from a lifestyle too unbearable to even contemplate. It is likely local officials will drum up additional charges to throw at the Swaffords to make their jail stay longer. Things like interstate flight to avoid prosecution come to mind. But isn't it amazing that if the cops had caught the nutty pair right there at home, they would have faced little more than misdemeanor charges for all they did to their precious baby? Had the lieutenant governor's law been enacted last winter, the Swaffords, and anyone else in their position, would face real jail time and consequence for the devastating toll their actions took on their own innocent child. The officials who sit on the House judiciary committee are about to become some very well-known people. All by themselves they kept the Swaffords and their ilk from facing real consequences. I would like to punch every one of them right square in the mouth. Funny thing -- if I did, I would face more jail time than the Swaffords. If a loudmouth, right-wing radio talkshow host in Augusta can agree with a left-wing former blowhard lieutenant governor (kinda hard to be a blowhard when you've lost most of your power), then the nimrods on the House judiciary committee can get their butts in gear to do the right thing. How many free passes have they given to those who torture children? -- The views expressed in this column are the views of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the publisher. The archived Austin Rhodes columns can now be seen at www.wgac.com. 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After all, who would be crazy enough to pay for parking downtown? Well, now patrons of the downtown area should feel free to find a nice, comfy spot in the Radisson Convention Center Parking Facility and stay all day if they wish. Thanks to the city, the gates are open and the parking is absolutely free. It's now up to Augusta Commission to determine how long this free ride lasts. Since the beginning of November, the city has been without a company to operate the parking facility. The reason the deck has gone unmanned, according to County Attorney Jim Wall, is because the former operator, McLaurin Parking, had not been maximizing the revenue collected for the past 10 years at the parking facility. "I think we've been losing money and have been losing it throughout the years," Wall told the commission's finance committee on Jan. 13. "Apparently, the mechanism by which hotel guests come in the parking facility, there is not a ticket spitter there to give them a ticket. So, a lot of the guests have been paying through an honor system. "And it's my understanding that the patrons of the hotel's restaurant and the bar have also not been paying. That's revenue, in my mind, that ought to be captured." Wall also said that it's difficult to say exactly how much money the city has lost during the past 10 years, but he said the gross revenue collected each year by McLaurin was never able to cover its operating costs of approximately $195,000 a year. Therefore, in order to help patch some of the revenue holes in the parking deck, the city sent out a request for proposals from companies interested in operating the facility. Wall said 18 companies were contacted with the city's request and only one company responded, Republic Parking Systems of Tennessee. This is the same company that currently operates the airport's parking. "I think Republic has some good ideas about how to maximize the revenue at the parking garage and capture some of the revenue that has been lost," Wall said. "While it's difficult to say what that revenue is going to be, there are incentives built into the contract." According to Wall, Republic has agreed to BY STACEY EIDSON A "How long are we going to continue to allow free parking to go on over there? I was over there this weekend and I started to go back and put a white shirt on and stand out there myself and collect money because the parking lot was full." � Augusta Commissioner Bobby Hankerson operate the facility for $195,845 a year. And if Republic manages to generate net revenue in excess of $100,000, that revenue would be divided between the city and Republic in a graduated formula. For example, if the net revenue is between $100,001 and $200,000, the city would receive 70 percent of the net revenue and Republic would receive 30 percent. A representative from Republic said, on average, most of the parking facilities the company manages generates a net revenue of approximately $150,000 a year, but City Administrator George Kolb told the commissioners that he would be happy if the city simply breaks even. The reason the parking deck has gone unmanned since November is because the city was hoping to have Republic's contract approved by the commission by Nov. 15, Wall said. But contract negotiations were stalled in November when the company's attorneys needed additional time to review the proposal. Kolb added that the city wasn't interested in trying to run the facility itself because he believes it would be too expensive. He esti- mated that it would cost the city approximately $260,700 a year to operate the parking deck. Meanwhile, in late December, the local news media reported that the city was looking for a company to operate the facility. When Daniel Cross Sr., president of CSRA Security, Investigative and Consulting Services, Inc., heard the news, he contacted his commissioner, Tommy Boyles, asking if he could submit a bid. "At the time, I had no knowledge we were in negotiations on a bid," Boyles said. Boyles contacted fellow commissioner Marion Williams and told him that Cross was interested in operating the parking deck. Cross informed the commissioners that he would be willing to operate the facility for $120,000 a year. "We've been in operation for 21 years," Cross told the committee on Jan. 13, adding that his company has worked for local churches and private parking facilities. "When you are talking about parking and what's needed, we are very familiar with it." Williams immediately asked that the commission rebid the contract and allow Cross, who was not contacted by the purchasing department about the bid last year, to submit his $120,000 offer. However, during the meeting, Cross acknowledged to the commission that his $120,000 bid did not include all of the services requested by the city. For example, Cross said he was not prepared to handle the maintenance and cleaning of the facility or supplying equipment to the parking deck such as tickets or receipts for customers. Republic also informed the committee that, regardless of which company is chosen to manage the facility, that company must make sure that the guests at the hotel are paying for the cost of parking through the price of their rooms. And that must be handled independently by the company with the Radisson. Kolb added that, if the commissioners decide to rebid the contract, the process would take approximately 90 days and a company would not be chosen until at least the end of March. That answer did not sit will with Commissioner Bobby Hankerson. "How long are we going to continue to allow free parking to go on over there?" Hankerson asked. "I was over there this weekend and I started to go back and put a white shirt on and stand out there myself and collect money because the parking lot was full. "I'm telling you, we are losing revenue as we speak." Commissioner Ulmer Bridges also felt it was unfair for the commission to send out another request for proposals after Republic had already bid on the contract. "I have a problem with that because we already have a company that has gone through the process," Bridges said. "I think we need to move forward with the firm that has made the bid because I know the contract is for only one year. So, I say, award it to Republic this year and go ahead and go out for bid on next year's contract." The committee agreed with Bridges with a vote of 3-1, Williams voting against the motion. The final decision will be made by the full commission on Jan. 21. Cross said his main concern was that the city's bidding process should be fair to all companies. "I should have been in on the bid and I wasn't in on it," Cross said. "And the consequences, what are they? Mr. Kolb said he apologizes. Well, it may mean a little more than just apologizing to me." What a Catch! 11 M E T R O S P I R I T Now Celebrating Our 50th Year in Augusta Voted Best Seafood Catfish Hush Puppies 3416 Mike Padgett Hwy (Bobby Jones to Exit 9, then South on Hwy 56) Any faster and we'd have to install a drive-thru window. Our tax professionals will help you get more money back, as fast as possible, and with less hassle. JERRY BRIGHAM & ASSOCIATES 211 Pleasant Home Rd 706-650-1700 Call Us Today! www.jerrybrigham.com J A N 1 6 2 0 0 3 798-4145 AFRAID TO "Best investment we've ever made!" BATHE? Let us re-do your tub! W e hear that a lot. Many customers wish they'd replaced their old heating and cooling systems sooner! You may think a new system is "too much" until you realize your old system's real cost. 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After all, with the ascension of Georgia's first-ever elected Republican governor (those Reconstruction `Pubs were appointed, not elected -- no, we won't even go there, smartalecks) and a major shift in the state Senate, there were bound to be some sharp elbows and bruised feelings. But, on the whole, the opening session actually smacked of -- dare we say it? -- statesmanship. The Unexpected Governor, Sonny Perdue, assumed his new duties amid glittering hoopla at Atlanta's Philips Arena before an audience including his gubernatorial predecessors all the way back to Ernest Vandiver, with the unexplained absence of Jimmy Carter, whose recent Nobel Prize was nonetheless noted in Perdue's comments). And those comments were both cordial and conciliatory, with a heavy emphasis on Perdue's plan to push comprehensive ethics legislation in Georgia, and rework some of the education reforms implemented by Gov. Roy Barnes. But Perdue didn't let Barnes get away without one last not-too-subtle jab, vowing to "replace partisanship with partnership" and, quoting the Prophet Isaiah, to "do away with yoke of oppression" under which Georgians have apparently labored during the long, dark night of the ancien regime. The new guv didn't waste any time on the ethics issue: In his first official act, Perdue signed an executive order barring state employees from lobbying at the Statehouse for one year after leaving office; banning lobbyist gifts, trips or meals valued at more than $25; prohibiting state employees from using their influence to get jobs for relatives (good thing that's not retroactive; entire state departments would have to shut down ); and forbidding judicial candidates from making political contributions to the governor within 30 days of a judgeship coming open. He also signed two other orders: One creates the position of inspector general to oversee government operations and ferret out waste and corruption; the other does away with the "Supercop" position created by Barnes last year, allowing the head of the Y "No grants, no increases anywhere," says Burmeister. "In fact, I'm asking the people in my district to help come up with ideas for places to save ... It's going to be a tough year." - Rep. Sue Burmeister Department of Public Safety to oversee all law enforcement-related agencies in the state. Earlier, both houses of the Legislature managed to get through the morning with a minimal amount of bloodshed -- with the notable exception of Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor, who was cordially stripped of his once-enormous powers to appoint committee members and control the flow of legislation. With the postelection defection of three Democratic senators, control of the Senate is now in Republican hands and, while new Senate President Pro Tem Eric Johnson (RSavannah) smilingly promised that "the Big Guy and the Bald Guy" (a reference to Taylor's self-assumed campaign moniker and Johnson's own follicly challenged pate) would "work well together," new rules ensure that Taylor's duties will henceforth approximate those of the Miss Freedom statue atop the Gold Dome. Under the new rules, committee assignments will be decided by a three-man committee made up of Taylor, Johnson and newly installed Senate Majority Leader Tom Price (R-Roswell), who took the well to promise a fair distribution and even-handed leadership -- traits sorely lacking under the Big Guy's iron rule. In the House, a fevered weeks-long game of arm-twisting and bribe-offering finally came to naught as Republican plans to install a GOP-friendly Democrat as House speaker sputtered out on Monday morning. Emboldened by the Senate turncoat takeover, Republican House members had been trying to get Rep. Larry Walker (RPerry) elected to the post. Walker, a longtime Democratic leader, is also an old friend of Perdue's, and had promised to allow more Republicans into leadership roles and help push GOP initiatives if a coalition of the House's 70 Republicans could enlist the Democratic votes necessary to elect him. But the Democratic Caucus' anointed candidate, Rep. Terry Coleman (D-Eastman), was able to hold his troops in line, and the "coalition candidate" withdrew from the running just hours before the election. When the vote finally came up, all the Democrats and two Republicans supported Coleman, while the Republican draftee, Rep. Len Westmoreland (R-Sharpsburg), drew 70 votes, allowing Coleman to congratulate the assemblage for his "bipartisan" victory. The resultant legislative split, while a disappointment to Gov. Perdue and his troops, may well work out to his advantage as some contentious issues come up -- particularly since the nastiest battles are likely to be the ones Perdue himself helped inspire in those seem- ingly long-ago days as a dark horse candidate with a snowball's chance in a south Georgia summer of winning. Which brings us to The Flag. While there were no Confederate or old Georgia flags to be seen inside the arena at Perdue's inauguration -- such displays were banned by organizers and the ban upheld by advocates of the old flag -- the issue, which Perdue exploited so well as a candidate, is nowhere near forgotten. On Monday, three airplanes circled the Capitol towing banners of the old flag with the legend: "Let us vote. You promised." On Tuesday, hundreds of demonstrators seeking a referendum on the flag marched to the Capitol. Such items present a problem for Perdue, who has been urged by business leaders not to resurrect the issue, as well as for Senate leader Johnson, whose Savannah district has just been selected as the site for a new Diamler-Chrysler plant. It's highly unlikely that the plant's owners would relish a contingent of angry anti-Confederate flag pickets such as those in South Carolina and Mississippi, and officials of the Stuttgart, Germany-based automaker are probably uncomfortably familiar with the sensitive nature of wartime relics perceived by some to represent oppression, exploitation and systematic murder. So a divided Legislature will allow Perdue & Co. to posture for the old-flag crowd, and blame their ultimate defeat on the same bogeymen coalition of Uppity Black Folks and Damn Libruls that changed it to begin with. On Tuesday, Perdue indicted a willingness to get the matter behind him as quickly as possible, telling reporters he's going to push for a non-binding, statewide referendum on the flag. Such a vote would still require a legislative vote to actually initiate any changes. At any rate, the flag is rapidly receding as a priority for the new governor, who called a breakfast meeting Wednesday to give GOP lawmakers a preview of his budget. In a nutshell, says Rep. Sue Burmeister (R-Augusta), "Georgia is in dire straits. We're running a 14-percent deficit after 10 years of increasing revenues and spending." So what does that mean for the Augusta area which, until this year, was home to both the House speaker pro tem and the Senate majority leader? "No grants, no increases anywhere," says Burmeister. "In fact, I'm asking the people in my district to help come up with ideas for places to save ... It's going to be a tough year." 13 M E T R O S P I R I T J A N 1 6 2 0 0 3 30 years ago, the Supreme Court decided the choice should be yours. We, like many citizens of the CSRA, agree with the essence of Roe v Wade - that abortion is a personal, moral, and medical decision, not one for the government. This momentous decision dramatically improved maternal mortality rates and overall family health. Roe has allowed women to complete their education, reach their goals, fulfill their potential, and participate in all aspects of life in our nation. Michelle Arnold Dr. Joyceen Boyle Connie M. Bush Tonya P. Coleman Tonya Coleman-Smith Kimberly M. Datz Jamie Epps Jerri K. Gilbert June Hart Betty & Don Hostetler Paula Hotard Rev. Daniel King & Ms. Nina Benedetto Teddi McLeskey Moss Children Brooke Nielsen Mary Beth & Dino Pierucci Staff of Planned Parenthood Reproductive Health Services, Inc. Leola Reis Luis Rolon Richmond County Democratic Party Amber Rose Kay Scott Claire Shannon John Steimke Richard Topolski, Ph.D. Ted Weatherred Jessica Wilson Barbara Witt Monica Angie and Others. In honor of: Tiffany Bridges Gloria Feldt Nora F. Nixon Margaret Sanger Sarah Weddington *This ad was paid for by those listed. Planned Parenthood� Reproductive Health Services, Inc. If you support a woman's right to choose without government interference, get involved, make your voice heard. Learn more about pro-choice issues by logging onto our website at www.pprhs.org. 14 M E T R O S P I R I T J A N 1 6 2 0 0 3 Brothers `Til the End By Stacey Eidson Augusta Commissioners Marion Williams and Andy Cheek hey say you can always depend on family. That's why, for the last three years, the Augusta Commission's "twin brothers" have looked to one another for guidance and direction. "Me and Andy (Cheek) brought a different flavor to the commission," said Augusta Commissioner Marion Williams, sitting next to Cheek in the mayor pro tem's office in the municipal building. "I guarantee you, people had never seen two people � black and white � who were totally different, get along so well. "We came along, calling each other brother and meaning it, not just saying those words, but really meaning it. And people really couldn't understand that." When voters elected the two commissioners to office in November 1999, Cheek was known as a white, Savannah River Site research supervisor from south Augusta, who was often seen attending neighborhood association meetings and coaching Little League games. Voters from District 2 knew Williams as a black minister from an inner-city church, who was a retired employee of CSX Railroad and served as the first black firefighter for the city's fire department in 1968. As a child, Williams once lived in a shotgun house in downtown Augusta, while Cheek spent his early years in that familiar, smalltown atmosphere south of the Gordon Highway. These two strangers should have had nothing in common, but instead, they were a perfect match. "Andy is my best friend," Williams said. "And I'm serious when I say that. I trust him like no other. I mean, I've known other commissioners like Willie (Mays) and Lee (Beard) for a while, but if Andy says, `Marion, we are going to agree,' then, I'm going to agree because Andy can speak for me. He knows my heart." But, now entering the final year of their four-year commission term, the friendship of Cheek and Williams is threatening to possibly put an end to the political career of at least one member of the dynamic duo. Rumor has it out in south Augusta that some voters aren't happy with the fact that Cheek has teamed up with Williams � a commissioner described by the editorial page of The Augusta Chronicle as a "maniacal micro-manager" who is on a "jihad" to control the city government. Some voters are also disturbed by the fact that they feel Cheek has upset the racial balance of the commission by frequently voting with the five black commissioners. Less than a year after The Chronicle endorsed both Williams and Cheek for office, the paper's former political columnist, Phil Kent, claimed that Cheek had entered an "unholy alliance" with the five black commissioners. Kent later nicknamed this alliance, the "Gang of Six." "It's amazing to assess the damage to Augusta that two new commissioners � Cheek and Williams � have done in nine months all in the name of `progress,'" Kent wrote on Oct. 22, 2000, stating that the two were responsible for running off former city administrator Randy Oliver and presiding over a city financial department in "shambles." "It's clear The Chronicle has a problem with me occasionally voting with the black commissioners," Cheek said, shaking his T head. "But my question would be, if there are people who never vote outside their color line, shouldn't those be the ones that we need to be questioning? "The truth is, the newspaper is trying to guide the city. The paper wants things to be run their way, but my constituents want their representatives to represent them. They don't want The Chronicle representing them." From the very first commission meeting Williams and Cheek attended in January 2000, they made it clear that they weren't going to lie down and take orders from their more seasoned colleagues. At that meeting, the duo shocked Augusta by making a motion to delay the reappointment of County Attorney Jim Wall in order to force the commission to address the issue of creating an in-house legal department as stipulated by the city's consolidation bill. Eventually, the commission created a hybrid law department, which kept Wall as the outside lead attorney, while the city hired three in-house attorneys under Wall's charge. "We were elected to shake things up," Cheek said. "And Marion and I bring a powerful force to the commission. Anything that I want to be brought up during a commission meeting, I've got a second (motion) for it. And the same is true with Marion's issues. So, whether people like it or not, we are going to get our issues on the floor and air them out." However, Cheek said, since he took office the local media has been trying to convince his constituents that he and Williams are guilty of micromanaging the local government. For example, Cheek pointed to a September editorial in The Chronicle that called him an "exponent of commission meddling" because he had requested that a homeowner in Hephzibah be given a less noticeable drainage inlet in her front yard during a $70,000 public works project. According to The Chronicle, that change ultimately caused flooding problems in neighboring yards. "I did go to bat for a homeowner that had a $150,000 home that didn't want a big concrete box out in front of her home," Cheek said. "They called that micromanaging. I call that being an advocate for the citizens I represent." But that's just how the local media works, Williams said. When the newspaper endorsed Williams in 1999, it stated, "We need more `whistle-blowers' on improper government activities. And we think Marion Williams, as a commissioner, will be one of them." Today, Williams' highly vocal approach to problems he finds in local government is called "madness" by the same newspaper. "It don't matter to me what The Spirit, The Chronicle or nobody else writes about me," Williams said. "I promised one thing when I ran. I promised I would make some noise about what's going on in this city. And I've kept that promise." But when it comes to people criticizing Cheek for being his friend, Williams doesn't take those sentiments so lightly. "I don't get the flak that Andy gets," Williams said. "When people start to tell Andy that he shouldn't be calling me brother, I can't believe it because nobody has never told me, `You ought to distance yourself from Andy Cheek' or `You need to leave Andy Cheek alone.' Everybody that supports me, supports Andy. So, that's not fair." Cheek immediately cut Williams off, telling him not to worry about people who don't like him associating with Williams. "This man is my friend. I will not abandon him, even if we have differing political views. I don't abandon my friends," Cheek plainly said. "And if the downtown boys or anybody else wants to send someone to run against me, it better be somebody who's been active in the community and not somebody who just shows up at election time. "Because if they are not active now and participating in the district, then we don't need them." In the past few months there have been several names batted around as potential candidates to run against Cheek. For example, there have been rumors that former Augusta Mayor Larry Sconyers may run for the District 6 seat; however, no one has formally announced their intentions to run against Cheek in November. "I've heard talk about certain people running against me and I know there are some folks out fishing for a candidate, but it's my understanding that those people who are fishing for someone new, their continued on page 16 DUI -- -- --ATTORNEY AT LAW -- -- -- 15 M E T R O S P I R I T J A N 1 6 2 0 0 3 Free Phone Call William Sussman (706) 724-3331 347 Greene Street � Augusta, Georgia Exciting New Shipments English & European "It's clear The Chronicle has a problem with me occasionally voting with the black commissioners. But my question would be, if there are people who never vote outside their color line, shouldn't those be the ones that we need to be questioning?" � AUGUSTA COMMISSIONER ANDY CHEEK Antiques Have Arrived Pine, Walnut, Oak, Mahogany, Porcelain and more classic garden & antiques Louise Mulherin SHOPPING HOURS: TUES-SAT 11-6 National Hills Shopping Center 2701 Washington Road � 706.738.8111 y Fabulous Sandwiches, Wraps, Pasta, Salads ... & Hot Dogs, too! y y Outdoor Dining Available 1450 Greene Street, Downtown � 706-262-4003 Mon-Fri 7:30am-3:30pm www.enterprisemill.com From Greene Street, Take West Entrance, Second Door � Plenty of Parking y 16 M E T R O S P I R I T J A N 1 6 2 0 0 3 Butter...Lemon... Mmm Heaven Friday Nights 5 - 10 PM WHOLE MAINE LOBSTER Only $4 Extra With Seafood & Prime Rib Buffet 2651 P ERIMETER PARKWAY continued from page 15 main complaint is that I call Commissioner Williams my twin brother," Cheek said, laughing. "So, the people that are more concerned about me abandoning my friendship or me voting occasionally with the black commissioners, to me, they are as big of bigots as people who don't like white people or black people." The problem with politics in Augusta, Williams said, is that you have three or four groups within Richmond County who think they know what's best for local government. "These three or four groups around Augusta don't want to be elected, they just want to tell you the way they want you to vote," Williams said. "That's the whole problem. They want to run this city and tell you how to be a commissioner. Well, I'll tell you what I always tell them: There's a right and wrong side on every issue, and that doesn't change depending on what side of town you're on." Williams also wanted to make it clear that he wasn't talking about just white political groups meddling in the city's business. He said there are plenty of black groups out there as well. It's widely believed that former state Sen. Charles Walker has a great deal of interest in the way local government operates. In fact, when Williams was first campaigning, many of his supporters told him to seek Walker's help in getting elected. "I remember when I ran for office people told me, `If you go to Senator Walker, he will help you with your campaign and he will give you twice as much money as anybody else will give you,'" Williams said. "And I said, `Well, then, he's going to want twice as much.' So, I treat Senator Walker the same way as everyone else. If he's right, I'm going to support him. And Senator Walker never gave me a dime. I never asked him for anything." Williams believes the only way Augusta will get beyond its racial problems is if the citizens will stop labeling matters that come before the commission as either white or black. "There are no issues in the government (706) 855-8100 Try Some Romance that are going to affect just black folks or white folks," Williams said. "That might have been true before, when this city was segregated, but we are one community now." And just because Williams and Cheek are friends, doesn't mean that they always agree, Cheek said. A prime example is Williams' opinion of City Administrator George Kolb. For almost a year, Williams has been highly critical of the manner by which Kolb has run the city with respect to hiring department heads, providing timely information to commissioners and settling disputes between private entities working with the city. "When you've got an administrator in a position and you're trying to work with him, with the type of money he makes, I mean $125,000, he ought to be willing to try to work with you, not against you," Williams said. "I don't expect a lot out of him. I expect him to do his job and I expect him to be fair." The one thing that Williams said Kolb has never understood is that he is an administrator, not a city manager. To Williams, there's a big difference. "When you hire a manager, you turn him loose and he runs everything," Williams said. "When you hire an administrator, he works for the mayor and commission and he should make recommendations to the 10 of us (commissioners) and the mayor. Mr. Kolb has never agreed with that." Cheek said Williams' objection to Kolb has probably been their strongest bone of contention. "I see a lot more good out of George than I see faults," Cheek said. "But just because Marion and I don't always agree, that doesn't mean that I should change calling him friend and brother. I don't always agree with my own brothers." In their fourth year on the commission together, Williams and Cheek will be facing several controversial issues that promise to cause them to make a lot more noise. One of the biggest topics this year will be Kolb's proposal to extend the city's current, one-cent sales tax an additional 10 years in order to pay for future capital improvement projects like the proposed $89 million civic arena in Augusta. Perfect for Valentine's Day starting at $99 King & Queen Rooms Private Fireplaces Whirlpool Tubs Romantic Getaway Packages "I promised one thing when I ran. I promised I would make some noise about what's going on in this city. And I've kept that promise." � AUGUSTA COMMISSIONER MARION WILLIAMS 312-316 Greene Street Augusta, GA 30901 724-3454 Both Cheek and Williams believe that the city is asking a little too much of its citizens. "We cannot allow the much-needed roads and drainage, community centers, libraries and fire stations that should be funded through sales tax be replaced by a new civic center," Cheek said. "And I think the proposed performing arts center would be a great thing for downtown, but is it more important than people's homes flooding out? "I mean, I can't look my people in the eye and say, `I'm going to let you flood out because I want a performing arts center.'" Williams agrees, saying that his District 2 has some of the worst drainage problems in the entire county. "I'm in total disagreement with the sales tax list, 100 percent," Williams said. "I've got people in my district that still have ditches in front of their house. There are no sidewalks, no curbs and then I'm going to lock the sales tax in for 10 years to be spent on things like a new civic center? I'm never going to do that. And put an emphasis on never." Both Williams and Cheek realize that being so outspoken has made them a target for both members of the media and politicos looking to replace them, but both assure their constituents that they will never stop fighting for what they believe is right. "This seat is not for sale," Williams said. "If somebody is going to try and get this seat, they better put their track shoes on because they are going to have to run for it." "I'm running and I don't care what the media or the critics have to say about it," Williams added. "A lady told me one day, `The news media is watching you. They are waiting for you to mess up.' I just told her, `When I started preaching they said the same thing, "You aren't going to last long." So there's already a line of naysayers waiting for me to mess up. Everybody else better get in line behind them.'" Cheek said, God willing, he will be back in his District 6 seat next year because his constituents will see that he has accomplished everything he promised in his 1999 campaign. But regardless of what happens, Cheek said he doesn't regret any votes he has cast as commissioner, especially those in which he's agreed with the five black commissioners and it has resulted in a 64 vote. "I'm very proud of every one of those votes," Cheek said. "I wouldn't change them today to make a few rednecks happy. Because, to me, I'd rather be right than be caught up in color, any day." Both Cheek and Williams believe their legacy will live on long after they have left office. "The strongest validation that Marion and I are working in the right direction and Augusta has departed from the status quo is when commissioners Tommy (Boyles) and Bobby (Hankerson) came on board," Cheek said. "Tommy sat back as an independent observer and saw the same thing that I did. Now, it's no longer just 6-4, it's a 7-3 vote. 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But until combat engineers could clear a path, the tanks would be sitting ducks for nearby tank and artillery fire. And without cover, the engineers would likewise be pinned down. At the prearranged moment, a column of armored smoke vehicles commanded by Capt. Streigel of the 46th Chemical Company threaded its way cautiously forward, laying down a thick haze to mask the engineer teams. In less than an hour, the engineers had opened a gap and 1st Brigade moved through to its objective, thanks to the precision teamwork under fire of Streigel's soldiers and the other ground units. Like most battles at the National Training Center, this one was hard -- the closest approximation to combat that the Army can create in peacetime and a rigorous test for the military's newest tactics and equipment. As war looms with Iraq, these training exercises, along with others taking place in the Louisiana swamps and on the German plains, assess combat skills before the real bullets start to fly. The California exercise in particular was a good indicator of how American soldiers will fight a war against Iraq -- and also how much has changed since the Gulf War. Over the last decade, the Army has digitized its equipment, upgraded its tanks, and added capabilities like peacekeeping to its mission, all part of a sustained, high-profile effort to adapt to war in the 21st century. But one quieter transformation was also on display in the desert: Capt. Streigel -- first name: Jennifer -- is a woman. Ten years ago, Streigel could never have commanded a frontline chemical company in the U.S. Army. But the next time the United States goes into battle, women will be as close to the front lines as any infantryman. During its minefield operation, Streigel's company fought shoulderto-shoulder with the combat engineers and deployed more armored vehicles than a tank company -- and four of its five officers were women. In fact, Streigel is just one of thousands of women who, since the Gulf War, have been steadily migrating to assignments that place them at or near the line of battle. Since the Gulf victory in 1991, a series of largely unnoticed policy changes have opened new opportunities for women to fight alongside, and even to lead, front-line troops. The Navy and Air Force, with some fanfare, allowed women into the cockpits of fighters and bombers. But less well known is how vastly the Army has expanded the role of women in ground-combat operations. Today, women command combat military police companies, fly Apache helicopters, work as tactical intelligence analysts, and even serve in certain artillery units -- jobs that would have been unthinkable for them a decade ago. In any war in Iraq, these changes could put thousands of women in the midst of battle, far more than at any time in American history. This new role for female U.S. troops is the product of three different forces. One is congressional pressure to integrate the military by gender as it previously had been integrated by race. Another is the ongoing enlistment shortage: The military remains reluctant to admit women, yet is unable to recruit enough competent men to staff an all-volunteer Army. But the most important reason has been pressure from women within the Army who need combat experience to advance their careers, nearly all of them in the officer corps. And yet this experiment has been conducted largely below the threshold of public awareness. The wisdom of this integration is sure to be tested i