Metro Spirit 03.06.2003
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.
March 6-12 | Volume 14 | Issue 31 | www.metspirit.com THE METROPOLITAN CLIPPED WINGS: A u g u s t a R e g i o n a l A i r p o r t 's Scaled Back Future ARTS, ISSUES & ENTERTAINMENT PA G E 1 7 2 M E T R O S P I R I T M A R 6 2 0 0 3 NONSTOP: HOUSTON. NEXT STOP: THE WORLD. Introducing the only daily nonstop jet service from Augusta to Houston. Starting March 2, you can fly the only nonstop jet service from Augusta to Houston. From there, you can connect to over 130 destinations worldwide, including 19 cities in Mexico. And for a limited time you can earn double OnePass� miles each way between Augusta and Houston. Seems the good news doesn't stop. To register for the double OnePass mile offer, visit continental.com or call 1-800-346-6090 and mention promotion code 53017. For reservations, call your travel agent or Continental Airlines at 1-800-523-FARE, or ticket online at continental.com. Poor Thing ... Feeling Empty? Get your plate & glass filled at Work Hard. Fly Right. � Flights operated by ExpressJet Airlines, Inc. d/b/a Continental Express. All terms and conditions of the OnePass program apply, including Continental's right to modify or terminate the OnePass program. � 2003 Continental Airlines, Inc. 437 Highland Ave, Augusta, GA � 706.737.6699 � Fax 706.733.8644 Mon-Sat Lunch & Dinner but Now thru March 31st Simplify, Connect and Save! Starting at KNOLOGY HIGH SPEED INTERNET CABLE $28 95 per month $12 KNOLOGY PHONE per month/ 12 months 706-364-1084 or 706-364-1000 *Some restrictions apply; internet connection includes up to 7 e-mail accounts; phone costs denotes base price for 12 months for local service only. Long distance is extra. Expanded basic cable service required with intronet offer. Contents The Metropolitan Spirit M A R C H 6 - 1 2 � F R E E W E E K LY � M E T S P I R I T. C O M 3 M E T R O S P I R I T M A R 6 2 0 0 3 ON THE COVER Hootie's Back ... But Will Anybody Listen? By Dan Cook ........................16 Cover Design: Natalie Holle Cover Art: Jeff Trodahl Photo courtesy of Atlantic Records FEATURES Answers Still Sought in Sex-Offender Case By Brian Neill................................14 Clipped Wings: Augusta Regional Airport's Scaled-Back Future By Stacey Eidson..............................................................................................17 Opinion Whine Line ......................................................................4 Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down ...........................................4 This Modern World .........................................................4 Suburban Torture ............................................................5 Words ...............................................................................6 Letters to the Editor .......................................................7 Guest Column: Georgia State Flag ................................8 Austin Rhodes ...............................................................10 Metro Beat Arts Gold Dome: Complete Coverage of the Georgia 2003 Legislative Session ............................................12 "The Butler Did It" at Abbeville Opera House ...........36 Symphony, Choral Society Join Forces for Verdi's "Requiem" ....................................................................38 Symphony, Choral Society Join Forces for Verdi's "Requiem"..38 Events A Whole Lot of Horse Racing ......................................27 8 Days a Week .............................................................29 Cinema Movie Listings .............................................................39 Review: "Bringing Down the House" .........................42 Movie Clock ..................................................................43 Music Quiet Riot's Still Feeling the Noize .............................44 Silver Dash Music Draws From Tradition ...................46 Music By Turner ............................................................47 Music Minis ...................................................................48 Night Life .......................................................................49 Stuff Eats: Village Deli ...........................................................26 News of the Weird ........................................................51 Brezsny's Free Will Astrology ......................................52 New York Times Crossword Puzzle ............................52 Amy Alkon: The Advice Goddess ................................53 Classifieds .....................................................................54 Date Maker ...................................................................55 Automotive Classifieds ................................................57 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 Advanced Air Technology energy saving agreement Get real peace of mind with an 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: firstname.lastname@example.org Letters to the Editor: P .O. Box 3809, Augusta, Ga. 30914-3809 (706) 868-6111 4 M E T R O S P I R I T M A R 6 2 0 0 3 Whine Line h, come on, Thumbs Down. Lay off the color-coded terrorism alerts. I mean, they do have an upside to them. They make you want to run out and buy bags of Skittles and M&M's? Enough! Jemani? Livingroom Legends? Neato Torpedo? Wax Bean? Black-Eyed Susan? If I want their opinion on the music scene, I'll ask them while they're refilling my sweet tea! Was there not one person in the U.S. that qualified for a heart/lung transplant beside an illegal alien? Shame on Duke! This is in regard to Richmond County schools teaching Spanish, which is wrong: They are there to teach proper English. You should teach Spanish kids and any other kind of foreigners proper English, not the other way around. No wonder the school system is so bad down here, and the kids can't speak properly. For all you whiners who I know are going to whine about this poor little immigrant girl that recently died from the botched heart/lung transplant, that she should not have been given the transplants in the first place because she was not an American. Let me tell you something: She was a human being and her life was just as important as any American's was! The Spirit's quote last week of Senator Joey Brush regarding a salary cut for State department heads has to validate Brush's stupidity. He is quoted as saying, "They didn't create the problem, and they don't have any votes up here." Why does Brush think the budget has grown, and who does have votes except elected legislators? Someone needs to remind Brush that he'd be better off remaining silent than speaking out and confirming everybody's suspicions -- that he's clueless! I can't comment enough on the importance of stressing diversity to our children especially during these times of possible war. I hear people commenting on programs scheduled at the schools like the celebration of Black History Month (February) and National Women's History Month (March). Our children need to be reminded of our importance O in this world today and every day. You know it's a real shame when you are supposed to work with adults, but you find out they are nothing but very young children who don't know how to clean up after themselves. Even though a business has a cleaner come in to do the big cleaning, the employees should clean up after themselves when they spill something or make a big mess and not wait for someone else to do it for them. This is plain lazy and childish. To you I say, "Grow up!" Ron (the double-cross) Cross now has the reins of the Columbia County Commission. One of his first acts was to hold an appreciation dinner for all the various boards and their spouses at the Pavilion. Some 300-plus attended. What's ironic is that just a few weeks ago the commission was bemoaning the situation of the budget and attendant shortfall in revenues. Seems like it's business as usual from our leaders, and truthfulness is still elusive! The "So, You Want To Be a Millionaire" question for Columbia County Commission Chairman Ron Cross has to do with N. Belair Road. Mr. Cross, will N. Belair Road have four, three, two or zero lanes? Do you want to use your lifeline? What is your final answer? Incidentally, no waffles will be accepted! I can't believe that Austin Rhodes is so uninformed. Had he listened to some of the "white" music that has been popular for quite some time, he would realize that it is just as full of violent and misogynistic lyrics. Bands like Pantera and Hatebreed have been making the same kind of "offensive" music for years. Limp Bizkit has been very popular for years by putting out songs with lyrics such as: "Don't make me have to call a sniper and wash your brains off my windshield wiper." Freedom of expression is a great thing. I could understand that if you just wanted to comment on how violence has gotten out of hand in music today, but to blame it all on one genre of music is ignorant. What have Charlie Norwood, Joey Brush, Ben Harbin and Bill Fleming ever done for the people of Columbia County and this area? Nothing! We could fill a hot-air bal- Thumbs Up Thank God Augusta Regional Airport now has a flight going somewhere in direct fashion, other than to Atlanta to get on another plane. This week marked the beginning of Continental Express nonstop service from Augusta to Houston and Newark, N.J. Let's hope we can keep this service intact. Thumbs Down The atmosphere inside the Richmond County jail seems little different than that of a strip club, judging from recent reports that one male jailer had oral sex with a female inmate and others allegedly snuck peaks at her showing her breasts. This is an inmate, by the way, who happens to be charged with playing a part in the murder of a 16-yearold. Sheriff Ronnie Strength acted swiftly to curtail the activity (one of the officers has already been fired), but even though the inmate was in a special medical ward, the question still remains: Why are male jailers allowed anywhere near female inmates -- and vice-versa -- in the first place? That can only spell trouble. loon with all their "hot air and gas" and let them float away into the sunset. Don't you hate it when you loan a "friend" money because they are broke and due to an emergency they need to borrow money? Then the next week they show you all of the things they bought on a shopping spree. Who cares? Who cares that women are not allowed in the Augusta National or the Masters Golf Tournament? I am a woman and I understand that women want the right of equality. I understand that some women think it is "sexist," but goodness people, don't we as a nation have more important things to worry about than whether women have the right to play golf and be a member of an all-male golf club? Thank goodness MSNBC pulled the plug on Phil Donahue and said adios to him. When Phil Kent appeared as a guest on his show last month, I knew Donahue was scraping the bottom of a barrel. Did Donahue really think Kent would boost his TV ratings? Fat chance! Kent will now have to find another TV talk show to fulfill his fat ego. I was both pleased and annoyed by your article on abortion in Augusta. I appreciated that you carefully covered both sides of the argument and I couldn't really tell which side Stacey Eidson falls on. Just reading about the everyday effects of having an abortion was scary without any mention of the possible physical risks to the mother along with STDs. I was bothered by the first case the story addressed. I think a third-case story would have been useful to fully present the issue. My parents had everything America can afford except the ability to conceive the children they longed for, but luckily some young women didn't choose abortion. All you have to do is find someone who was adopted to know that stopping their life because it would inconvenience ours is a tragedy. Yes, there is a major problem with promiscuous sex in this country, but why should the children be the ones to face the fire for it? If the Augusta police would pry their butts off the stools at the local doughnut shops and check out the Calhoun Expressway on any given Sunday between the hours of 4 and 6 p.m., they would get a chance to see one of the best high-speed motorcycle races ever! You know I read your whines every week and I get so tired of reading about Austin Rhodes. If you don't like the man then stop listening to him. I am sure you have enough education to change the channel. The man only speaks his opinion, but that's a crime, right? I remember reading a while back when everybody was griping about South Carolina drivers, and you people wrote an article in your paper saying that you were not going to print any more whines about them. Now why can't you do the same for Austin? Is there nothing else to gripe about out there? Can someone (anyone) please acquaint Austin Rhodes with a dictionary and coach him on the meaning of the word "literally"? It means "actually," and he must think it means "figuratively" because every time I hear the word come out of his mouth he's using it incorrectly. My favorite example: Shortly after moving here three years ago, I heard him say on his show that the Augusta commissioners were "literally beating a dead horse." Is English his second language or something? Linda Schrenko had it right when she said the Georgia Republican Party is a network of good ol' boys. However, she failed to point out the power-grabbing behavior of elected Republicans in Columbia County, better known as the "All White Male Club." Only Commissioner Diane Ford has withstood two re-elections, but is still treated like an outsider by Ben Harbin, Joey Brush, Barry Fleming, Charlie Norwood and the other commissioners. And Norwood wonders why the local party is flat on its back? Give it a few years, and the state Republican Party will follow suit! continued on page 6 HEALTH PAGE Take care of yourself. Let University help. Tune in Monday, March 17, at 8:30 a.m. to hear Douglas R. Phillips, M.D., a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon and member of University's medical staff, discuss osteoporosis and bone health. 5 M E T R O S P I R I T M A R 6 2 0 0 3 "HealthTalk" on WGAC-580 AM Understanding Colorectal Cancer March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. In observance, read further to know how you can prevent colorectal cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends colorectal screenings Mallory Lawrence, M.D. begin at age 50. If your Colon and Rectal Suregon mother, father, brother or sister has had the disease or you suffer from inflammatory bowel disease, screenings should begin earlier. These tests can detect problems long before symptoms occur and greatly increase your chances for survival. Watch for these symptoms: � A change in bowel habits such as diarrhea, constipation or narrowing of the stool that lasts more than a few days � A feeling that you have to have a bowel movement that doesn't go away even though you've had a bowel movement � Bleeding from the rectum or blood in the stool � Cramping or steady stomach pain Unfortunately, the disease may be advanced before symptoms occur, so regular screenings are the best defense. Follow these prevention guidelines: � Eat five or more servings of fruits and vegetables and lots of whole grains every day. � Avoid high-fat, low-fiber foods. � Exercise regularly and maintain a healthy body weight. � Stop smoking. Regular exercise is particularly important, as it may cut your risk for colon cancer in half. That's because exercise stimulates movement through your bowels and reduces the time your colon is exposed to harmful substances that may cause cancer. Try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise almost every day. For more information on colorectal cancer, for FREE 24-hour health information or to find a physician, call University's HealthService Center at 706/737-8423 (SER-VICE) or 800/476-7378. University Presents a Family Life Series � "Part I: Challenges and Changes Facing Adolescents Today" Featuring Pediatrician Alan G. Getts, M.D. March 11 Registration and dinner: 6:30 p.m.; physician presentation: 7-8:15 p.m. "Osteoporosis � The Bone Facts for Women and Men" Featuring Orthopaedic Surgeon Douglas R. Phillips, M.D. March 20 Registration and dinner: 5:30 p.m.; physician presentation: 6-7 p.m. Both of the above programs will be held in University Hospital dining rooms 1-3. Seniors Club members: $8; advance registration: $9; at the door: $10 To register, call 706/736-0847. Save The Date! March 30 12:15-5 p.m. University Hospital Levi W. Hill III Auditorium, First Floor BabyFest is a FREE, fun-filled, educational afternoon designed for new and expectant parents and grandparents. 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. For more information, call 706/774-2825. Log on to learn more: www.universityhealth.org Your resource for healthy living. Healthy Adults Fresh Start Smoking Cessation Program Sponsored by the American Cancer Society March 6, 13, 20, 27 6-7 p.m. University Hospital dining room 1 FREE To register, call 706/774-8900. Optifast� Orientation Session Optifast� is University Hospital's medically monitored weight management program. Every Thursday except the last Thursday of the month March 6, 13, 20 5-6 p.m. University Hospital Weight Management and Nutrition Center FREE Registration is required. Call 706/774-8917. Surgically Assisted Weight Management Seminar March 27 5-6 p.m. University Hospital Weight Management and Nutrition Center FREE Registration is required. Call 706/774-8917. "Health Risk Assessment Follow-up: Taking the Next Step" Featuring Holly Ford, program manager, University's Weight Management and Nutrition Center, and Susan Cota, R.N., M.S.N., C.N.S., community relations manager, University Health Care System *March 17 or March 31 Participants in February's heart month programming received a FREE health risk assessment (HRA) to complete. They are invited to come back in March for this one-hour dinner program on either March 17 or March 31 in which the results of the HRA will be given to them. *Participants should register for only one of these two programs. Registration and buffet dinner: 5:30 p.m.; presentation: 6-7 p.m. Seniors Club members: $8; advance registration: $9; at the door: $10 Reservations are required. To register, call 706/736-0847. Healthy Older Adults For more information, call 706/738-2580. Glucose Screenings Blood Pressure Checks Height and Weight Measurements Every Wednesday during March 9 a.m.-noon University Seniors Club, Daniel Village Shopping Center University Senior Club members only: FREE No appointment necessary Cholesterol Screening and Lipid Profile Third Wednesday of each month March 19 9 a.m.-noon. Requires 12-hour fasting. Senior Club members only: $5 No appointment necessary Healthy Women Registration is required. FREE Mammograms Available Through a grant from the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade, University Breast Health Center offers a FREE mammogram and education for any woman 40 or older who qualifies. Call 706/774-4141. Breast Self-exam Classes March 10 5 p.m. Presented by registered nurses of the University Breast Health Center FREE Registration is required. Call 706/774-4141. 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. Cesarean Section March 10 7-9 p.m. $10 Women's Center Tour March 13 7-9:30 p.m. FREE Baby School March 18, 20, 25, 27 7-9 p.m. $50 Breast-Feeding March 20 7:30-9:30 p.m. Babies R Us, Bobby Jones Expressway FREE LOOK WHAT'S HAPPENING IN AUGUSTA EVENTS CALENDAR BEGINS ON PAGE 29 April 26 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Warren Baptist Church, 3202 Washington Road Learn more about the unique you as you traverse the emotional, physical and spiritual journey of life. This event, sponsored by University Community Education and Seniors Club, focuses on wellness and heart health for all women in the community. Festivities will include door prizes, lunch, a fashion show and much more. Seniors Club members: $10; general public: $15. Attendance is limited to 200. Reservations are required and will be taken after March 15. For more information or to register, call 706/738-2580 or 800/413-6652. An Event Just for Women 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) OR 800/476-7378 (SERV) TODAY ! 6 M E T R O S P I R I T M A R 6 2 0 0 3 Style is in Full Bloom... ! New Words Monday � 7:30pm Channel 4 2003 GEORGIA GENERAL ASSEMBLY Mid-Session Legislative Update "We are going to stand up for the rights of the Augusta National to choose whomever they want to choose as a member of their club." -- J.J. Harper, imperial wizard of the Ku Klux Klan of Cordele, Ga., as quoted in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Augusta National, in its refusal to admit women members, has now found itself saddled with the strange bedfellow and ally, the historically vicious and segregationist KKK. 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. � Lawmakers talk to Connect Live about key bills on the floor that effect you* � Georgia State Flag issue* � "Women's Right to Know" bill* � Proposed new Augusta civic center* � The future of Fort Discovery* � The MCG Cancer Center and more* continued from page 5 I still don't know who to blame for the increase in insurance premiums but I appreciate the article on tort reform. This issue does affect everyone. Those hiding behind their so-called cleanwhite sheet robes and masks are laughing it up. Why? Because the media took the bait. I'm talking about the Klan's plan to "protest" at the Masters. (How's that for irony?) As soon as this inkling of information hit the wire, they could not wait to get it on the local airwaves. Don't you realize when you've been duped? I like to watch the news on Channel 12, but I have been annoyed lately when they show the weather forecast--or should I say not shown it. Many times when the five-day forecast appears, it disappears before I can finish reading it! This has happened a lot lately. Why even spend time on the weather if they're not going to leave the forecast on the screen long enough to read it? Why would Columbia County taxpayers want to buy into a regional arena built in Richmond County? That's a good question, Commissioner (Marion) Williams. If you want to know the answer, go look in a mirror and take Lee Beard, Willie Mays and Andy Cheek with you. I think the new auditorium/civic center should be built over by the Hippodrome in Aiken County. It's right near the new highway that's coming through and Billy Morris can possibly donate the land. Since it already smells like a barnyard, we don't have to build a new barnyard. Listen up citizens of the CSRA: Spring is coming and pets will be breeding if they aren't spayed or neutered. If you are one of Magnolias Flowers Of The Old South Platinum TM those irresponsible pet owners who haven't fixed his/her pets, you are a big part of the problem of pet over-population. Those of us who take care of our pets are tired of your ignorant, inhuman and selfish behavior. Why doesn't the Health Department enforce the hairnets and gloves to be worn by food preparers? These people in fast-food restaurants are scratching themselves all over their bodies, then handling your hamburgers and buns, lettuce and tomatoes. Somebody needs address this issue. Instead of complaining about Austin Rhodes so much, why don't you do what I do and turn the ignorant, right-wing *%&!*#! off! As a registered nurse, I want to report two serious safety problems at the new Columbia County courthouse. The front steps were designed for a woman's foot size 7 1/2 or smaller. Make sure you use the ramp to ensure you don't fall off the two narrow steps. Second, the bathrooms are located in a hallway with a closed door. I understand there is a camera in the hallway, but if someone was hurt in the bathroom, they could not be heard. The bathrooms should have been built to open to main area so voices could be heard. These two serious safety problems should be addressed. That poor little girl in last week's cover story was damaged for life, and yet the doctor continues to practice medicine. Consumers cannot trust their health care anymore. The situation is getting worse and heading for disaster. I bet a large percent of people polled would indicate that they don't trust the healthcare system in this country. - 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 email your whines to email@example.com. See the entire Collection of Classic Hand Engraved Engagement Rings and Antique Reproductions in the Southern Tradition Priced from $1295 and available exclusively from.... - P LUS COUNTDOWN TO THE 2003 Garden City Music Festival Fine Jewelers & Diamond Merchants *Pre-recorded Replays: Daily at 12 Noon, 3pm, and 10:30pm on Since 1940 2820 Washington Rd. 10am-6pm Monday-Saturday Closed Sundays 733-6747 or 800-798-6747 Member American Gem Society Channel 66 Dot Holland's SEMI-ANNUAL SALE UP TO 60% OFF Feminine Fashions For All Seasons & Occasions dresses, sportswear, accessories highlighting special occasion dresses for mother of the bride and groom. Award-Winning Actor Tom Key Presents "C.S. Lewis on Stage" Thursday, March 13, 7PM Tom Key's dramatic monologue highlights scenes from C.S. Lewis' life. C.S. Lewis On Stage has been presented at the Kennedy Center, Oxford, Harvard and Yale Universities, and across the United States and Canada. An event in the series from A 4-Week adventure through the world of c.s. lewis FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH OF AUGUSTA 733-2236 or visit www.fbcaugusta.org For More Information: Surrey Center � Fountain Level Mon-Fri 10-5:30 � Sat 11-4 736-3037 Letters to the Editor Suburban Torture BY JULIE LARSON 7 M E T R O S P I R I T M A R 6 2 0 0 3 Columbia County Republicans Are Headed for Trouble Dear Editor. Based on what I have heard at the coffee shop and what I have read in the papers, the Columbia County Republican Party is totally messed up. As a lifelong Democrat, (I feel) nothing better could have happened for our county, at least as I see it. I hear that three of our state legislators -- Brush, Fleming and Harbin -- are causing the mess, and they have signed on with U.S. Representative Charlie Norwood and Commission Chairman Ron Cross to put the current party chairman out to pasture. Also, former Chairman Harold Mays and former Commissioner U.H. Pittman are major players in this unseating since both of these GOP (Greedy Old People) members just want to renew their places at the county trough. The reasons the perpetrators are using are that Chairman Alvin Starks has "failed to raise money" and Columbia County " has no status within the state." If Starks failed to do these things, I'd hate to see what would have happened if he had any clout, for everything from the county level to the Statehouse and even Washington is now Republican. I believe that the real truth of the matter is that Starks, who also happens to be a black conservative, has required accountability and adherence to the party's philosophy. With him gone, we Democrats stand a very good chance to rebuild and start winning again. For that I certainly thank Cross, Norwood, Brush, Fleming and Harbin. As I see it, their behaviors may even have been racially motivated. That's all the better, for racism is the kiss of death for Republicans and that will help the Democratic cause. Just remember what happened to Trent Lott! If the above-named officials lose their jobs as Republicans, they will probably be welcomed by the Democrats as they will have earned a place in history for ridding Georgia of its current Republican stronghold. At least they get my thanks for freeing us from those Republican carpetbaggers and "tax raisers" who have been plaguing us for years. -- C.L. Cheatham 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 8 M E T R O S P I R I T M A R 6 2 0 0 3 TICKETS WANTED MR. EDWARDS (706) 651-8354 ENTER THE VOX HOLLYWOOD DREAM GIVEAWAY! Get the Hollywood star treatment � enter for your chance to win one of (5) VIP trips to Hollywood where you and a guest would receive: Two first-class tickets & luxury accommodations Opinion: Guest Column for one week in Los Angeles Hair & make-up by a celebrity stylist Limo service for the week Visit with a celebrity stylist for a new wardrobe Go on a set visit to a Miramax film Go to a nearby VOX retailer to enter for a chance to win. Log on to Details.com for sweepstakes information and Voxvodka.com for product information. Flaggers: Modern-Day Segregationists Led by Governor Perdue By Rev. Paul L. Cook uring the last two years there has been a lot of commentary about the Georgia state flag. But, before I offer my comments I'd like to introduce myself. I am a 67-year-old white male who was born in South Carolina and lived my entire life in Georgia and South Carolina. I am also an ordained Southern Baptist minister. I am a Southerner by birth, yet my loyalty is to our wonderful country, the United States of America. Since many people say that the Confederate flag represents their "Southern heritage," I want to remind those who never lived through our shameful past of racial prejudice just what that "Southern heritage" really is as represented by the Confederate flag. I believe the best reminder is to share the following experience: On Sept. 25, 1997, I had the privilege of hearing Dr. Leon Bass speak at Paine College. Dr. Bass is a distinguished African-American and a proud veteran of World War II. In 1943 when Dr. Bass was 19 years old, he answered the patriotic call to join the U.S. Army. He was living in Pennsylvania, but after joining the Army he was stationed in a Southern state for basic training. He said that the first time he tried to drink from a public water fountain, he was told that he "wasn't good enough" to drink from the same fountain that white people used, even though he was willing to fight for their freedoms. On one occasion, he went to town with a white soldier. They were both hungry and his buddy went into a restaurant to eat, but Leon was not allowed to come in and eat with white people. He asked if there was anywhere in town he could get something to eat and was told he could go to the back door of that same restaurant and they would sell him some food, but he "wasn't good enough" to eat with white people even though he was willing to fight for them. On another occasion he had to make a two-hour bus trip. When he boarded the V O D K A D MODEL SEARCH We're looking for you! ENTER TO WIN A FREE PROFESSIONAL PORTFOLIO Visit or call the studio for details All females 18-26 yrs old Spring ial Spec PORTRAIT � GLAMOUR � BOUDOIR � WEDDING � GRADUATION � PORTFOLIO Pro Image PHOTO $14.95 PORTRAIT STUDIO 102 Prince Drive, Suite B � 706-869-9369 (next to GMC Pontiac Master on Washington Rd.) Studio hours: Mon, Wed, Thur, Fri & Sat 10-7 Tues Closed, Sun 11-6 1 5"x7" plus 20 wallets y Fabulous Sandwiches, Wraps, Pasta, Salads ... & Hot Dogs, too! y Outdoor Dining Available bus, even though he was proudly wearing the military uniform of his country, the bus driver told him he "wasn't good enough" to ride in the front with white people. The back of the bus was full and even though there were empty seats up front, Leon had to stand in the back for two hours. Shortly after that he was shipped overseas to fight the Nazis. All of us who lived through those times realize that for an African-American to be prohibited from drinking at a public fountain, or from eating in a restaurant with white people, or from riding in the front of the bus was mild compared with the beatings, lynchings and other terrible acts perpetrated against them. After many years of struggle things began to improve for our black citizens due to the courage and dedication of great men and women such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, and Thurgood MarshalI. Sadly, in 1956, a group of racially prejudiced legislators changed the state flag by adding the Confederate symbol as a protest against school desegregation. During the subsequent 45 years there was no outcry to hold a referendum on the flag. Now the modern-day segregationists led by Governor Sonny Perdue are coming out of the woodwork to demand a referendum. I say we do not need a referendum on the flag. What we need is a group of compassionate, courageous state legislators and a governor who will adopt a new state flag that all Georgians could be proud of and live under. The best symbol to represent all Georgians is a simple flag with the Georgia state seal in the center on a solid color background. As Georgians we need to retire the Confederate flag to a museum because it still represents hatred as espoused by organizations from the Ku Klux Klan to numerous white supremacy groups. It has no place in today's society because it is offensive to all Georgians. --The views expressed in this column are the views of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the publisher. 1450 Greene Street, Downtown � 706-262-4003 Mon-Fri 7:30am-3:30pm www.enterprisemill.com y From Greene Street, Take West Entrance, Second Door Plenty of Parking Aiken's Triple Crown Begins This Weekend See Page 27 y 9 M E T R O S P I R I T M A R 6 2 0 0 3 Stage 1: March 9, 16, 23 and 30 Sunday Morning Pulpit Exchange Four pastors from First Baptist, Good Shepard, Trinity on the Hill, and Reid Memorial will rotate pulpits all month and preach on themes related to C.S. Lewis. A FOUR-WEEK ADVENTURE IN FOUR Stage 2: Sunday Nights, Join together at FBC (Nursery Provided) For Adults and Youth: 6-7 PM March 9 - Dr. Maurice Boyd March 16 - Rev. Perry Bramlett March 23 - Dr. Stan Mattson March 30 - Roar of Love For Children ages 5 thru 5th grade: 5:45-7 PM - Activities Building A four-part multimedia presentation on The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe AUGUSTA CHURCHES Stage 3: Wednesday Nights, All Churches March 12, 26, April 2 - MRS. JANE HOWINGTON - DR. JERRY HOWINGTON - DR. WAYNE HUNSUCKER - DR. RODGER MURCHISON A Grief Observed Screwtape Letters The Chronicles of Narnia Mere Christianity FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH OF AUGUSTA THE CHURCH OF THE GOOD SHEPHERD REID MEMORIAL PRESBYTERIAN TRINITY ON THE HILL FOR MORE INFORMATION: BAPTIST CHURCH 706-733-2236 WWW.FBCAUGUSTA.ORG At FBC - March 19, 6-7 PM Dr. Earl Palmer Lewis specialist Stage 4: At FBC Thursday, March 13, 7PM C.S. Lewis On Stage A one-man play featuring Tom Key Stage 5: C.S. Lewis "The Oxford Years" For Reservations call 733-2236 Senior Adult Luncheon at FBC Tuesday, March 11, 11AM FIRST 10 M E T R O S P I R I T M A R 6 2 0 0 3 /// A True Sports Sedan 2003 Mazda 6 Opinion: Austin Rhodes National Media Quiet on Burk/Jackson Lies f you ever wanted proof positive that there is a left-wing spin present in much of America's national media, look no further than the handling of the Martha Burk/Augusta National affair. What made new headlines in the course of the last few weeks? Was it the comment Burk made in The New Yorker magazine that she has already "won" the battle against the National because she has "tainted" them and sullied their reputation? Perhaps the comments in the same piece, where Burk says that whenever men gather in private the first thing they do is "denigrate women," while women never deign to discuss men at all in their "girl" time. The only women I have ever known that don't rag on men when they get together are lesbians. Perhaps that says something about Burk's circle of friends. Not that I have anything against lesbians, mind you. I believe, deep down, I have been one for many years. But I digress. Having been a man most of my life (I was a man in training, before then), I can honestly say that, with the exception of praising the occasional young woman's physical accouterments I rarely, if ever, discuss ladies with my male friends. The reason is simple: I don't want the guys to know how utterly clueless I am with the opposite sex. In the meantime, every woman I have ever known freely admits to comparing notes, and complaints, when it comes to the men in their lives. Their shared experiences seem to empower them. Men hate to admit their befuddlement; women love to bask in their superiority. If there is any doubt women are in control in this country, consider this: Women control half the money, and all the sex. If that ain't power, I don't know what is. Again with the digression. Burk's honest, yet disturbing, confessions have received virtually no national press play. There were a few sports guys that talked about it, but not much beyond that. So, what did earn a headline? Some backwater hick with a white hood announcing he was "The Klan," and he was going to show up Masters week to protest Burk. Whoop-de-doo. On one hand, I am amazed and amused that one little bitty racist can get so much attention; on the other I am delighted that the once-powerful KKK has eroded so severely that one Hee Haw devotee from Cordele, Ga., now gets credit for being an imperial wizard. Speaking of whizzes, did you catch Jesse Jackson on CNN's "Crossfire" last week? The man who can summon the masses (but can't manage to find a condom) actually said I " ...the 6 looks athletic. The stance is aggressive, the proportions dynamic and the silhouette tense." --Car & Driver 6/02 " ...the Mazda 6 proved to be a stable cruiser, providing a comfortable, quiet ride even into triple-digit speeds." --Car & Driver 6/02 "Behind the wheel, the driver is greeted by a well-executed interior brimming with quality" --Car & Driver 6/02 that the golf tournament in Augusta was called the Masters because only the white slave owners were allowed to play. The following was lifted from the official CNN transcript of the show: Host: "This is something you said yesterday on an Atlanta radio station, AM 680, about the Masters Tournament. "The name does not really come from being the master of golf," you said. "You know it really comes from slave masters." Now that's untrue. Why did you say that?" Rev. Jesse Jackson: "Well, that is its original meaning. It was. It's on a plantation. It was about only the masters could play, the while male masters. "It was slave masters. And for a long time, they held on to that policy. The secret society of only white men." I can't make this stuff up. Did that get national attention? Of course not. When one wrinkled up, senile member of the National resigns, protesting the club (and weeks later, keels over dead), that gets headlines. When the most powerful businessman in the world (Bill Gates) joins the Club in the same time frame, it gets nothing. This entire fiasco is proof positive that there is an agenda alive and well in this story, and it is being executed on a daily basis by those who buy ink by the barrel. Colclough needs a map. Someone needs to buy Augusta Mayor Pro Tem Richard Colclough a map of Richmond County, with a special highlighted line where Columbia County and Richmond divide. Tell you what, Mr. Colclough, if you shut up about the Brassell case, we promise not to sic Clay Whittle on Kester Uzochukwu. More Dirty Bookstores Coming? There are more than just a few whispers floating about that a few businessmen from Atlanta are looking at the success the owner of Video X-Mart had against local politicos, and there may be a migration of other adult businesses on the way. It has long been noted that all it takes is about 100 grand to bankroll a short, but loud, court challenge to many of the local ordinances restricting such businesses, and the flood gates would open. It gets cheaper every time the rules are challenged. The city attorney is scrambling to head off the possibility, but the fight could be brought to him any minute. Stay tuned. -- 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. "Steering and stopping were equally impressive. The rack-and-pinion setup exhibited precise linearity and seemed to be weighed perfectly, delivering driver input almost intuitively." --Car & Driver 6/02 Check out the all new Mazda 6 at 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 What' s Going On With The Airport? See Page 17 11 Frustrated Contractor is "Giving Away" $2150 Furnaces for $499 with Off-Season Central Air Conditioners... (This is great financial news if your furnace is over 8 years old) Yes, it's absolutely true. You can actually replace your old (and probably very inefficient) furnace and air conditioner as a package for at least $1,600 less than you would have to pay at any other time. Let me explain. Every year, the months of January, February and March can "Kill" my business. I end up losing a ton of money during these "Killer" months and it can take me the remaining nine months to make up for them. And I'm looking for the same thing to happen this year. My Problem Is Your Opportunity I've decided to give up trying to make a profit during the "killer" months. If I can only minimize my losses during January, February and March, I will come out ahead in the other nine months. Here's how this (admittedly daring) offer came about. Every year, the big manufacturers of air conditioners have to guess how many to build to meet the demand. Of course, they're never exactly right. So, they always have some inventory they must hold over until the next summer season. I went to one of these companies and contracted for the purchase of 18 premium air conditioners and furnaces in the four most popular sizes used in the Augusta area. Because of the quantity and time of year, I was able to buy them at drastically reduced, dirt cheap, out-of-season prices. They are brand new 2002 models. And they are NOT the seconds or "blems" or standard "builder" models. They are factory-fresh, premium air conditioners and furnaces and have a full factory warranty. Here's How You Can Get A Furnace For Peanuts By putting this furnace and air conditioner package together (then "Jaw-Boning" the factory) and committing to a do-or-die purchase agreement of 18 systems, I was able to buy both the furnace and the air conditioner for less than anyone should have a right to pay! So, if you buy one of these normal 18 15 new, premium air conditioners (but only if one of the four sizes I have will fit your house, of course), I am "giving" you the furnace and all I ask for is the $499 in labor it costs to have your furnace installed. Here's How Just call us at 722-5304 anytime. We will come out and measure your home (and determine the availability of the proper size). Don't forget, I only have 18 15 matched systems in four sizes. When they are gone, this remarkable offer ends also. I will show you the real world price on the air conditioner that fits your home. Then, I will show you the substantial savings now. And it will include all labor and installation materials. Nothing is left out. The Concept Is Simple Really By letting you win big now, I will win at the end of the year. I'm betting that if I make you an offer that is "irresistible" (at least it should be if your furnace or air conditioner is over 8 years old) and I barely mark it up above the price I paid, I will accomplish two things: 1. I will cover my rent, utilities, insurance and taxes in the "killer" months. 2. I can pay my professional staff of 14 technicians to work instead of paying them to sit at home or sweep floors. If I can accomplish these two objectives, I will minimize my losses and the rest of the year, I can be a winner. No Obligation Even after I completely explain the installation, there is absolutely no obligation. If you decide you don't want to take advantage of the spectacular savings... that's okay. I want you to think well of SIG COX even if you don't buy. You Can Buy With NO Cash You don't even have to pay me right away. I have set up a terrific bank rate financing plan. I even decided not to mark up the interest rate like some companies do. Consider this. If you M E T R O S P I R I T M A R 6 2 0 0 3 John Haynie, Owner decide to make monthly investments instead of paying cash the entire amount of your payments might be more than offset by the savings on your utility bills. It's like "having your cake and eating it too". Why This Offer Can't Last You must act before March 18th . Here are two reasons why. 5 1. I can only have 6 of each of the three sizes. When all of the air conditioners are sold and all the furnaces are "given" away in a particular size, that's it. There are no more at this price. 15 2. If I have any of the 18 systems left on March 18 (although I doubt I will), this offer still ends. Here's why. The only reason I am making this virtually no-profit (for me) offer is because of the "killer months. Give us a call now at 722-5304, and we will set an appointment for your no-obligation survey. "FIXED RIGHT OR IT'S FREETM" Sig Cox, Inc. AIR CONDITIONING and HEATING 1431 Greene Street Augusta, Georgia 30901 722-5304 � 2001 AT500 12 M E T R O S P I R I T M A R 6 2 0 0 3 Gold Dome Revue BY GREG LAND Complete Coverage of the Georgia 2003 Legislative Session Super-Size That Reality Sandwich for Ya? ard to believe that it's only been two months since the New Regime marched into the Statehouse, flags unfurled and girded for battle. Under Republican rule, the "fraud and waste" that characterized previous budgets would be exposed and excised, the old flag would be the new flag, hated educational reforms would be undone and business would be unshackled from the irritating bonds of do-gooder regulation. Funny how things change. As The Spirit goes to press, the General Assembly is preparing for yet another recess for budget meetings, hoping to head off a $640 million funding shortfall in the current budget that threatens to loom even larger in 2004. The outrage that greeted Gov. Sonny Perdue's initial call for tax increases has grudgingly given way to semi-acceptance (the state Republican Party, of all people, on Tuesday released a poll showing that 82 percent of the state's population supports higher tobacco taxes), and the Senate's GOP leadership is ready to pass a spending bill so laden with painful cuts that even party loyalists foresee an embrace of the new taxes as virtually unavoidable. And all that budget "pork" that fueled such bitter party-line sniping over the years? Turns out that hog was leaner than she looked, it seems. Who knew? On the flag front, the steady mountain of irony is becoming almost too embarrassing to watch as the governor twists in a political gale of his own making. As his Republican legislative stalwarts resolutely refuse comment, Perdue last week looked elsewhere for help in "healing" the issue, appealing to Democratic Cong. John Lewis, former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young and even the all-time favorite GOP bogeyman, ex-president and Nobel Laureate Jimmy Carter, to help pull his fat out of the fire. Sad. Funny, but sad. In other areas, the shifting political landscape has caused some unusual alliances. Legislation authored by Rep. Judy Manning (R-Marietta) and supported by many GOP lawmakers, aimed at reigning in the authority of power companies to condemn private property for high-voltage transmission lines, has drawn the support H of enviro-friendly Democrats -- and the concern of Statehouse heavyweights of both parties, who know the value of those power-company campaign dollars. More complex are the bitter battles over competing "predatory lending" legislation, which almost erupted into fisticuffs between a lawmaker and lobbyist (again) last week. The fire was stoked by Tuesday's House vote to replace a bill, painstakingly authored by Sen. Don Cheeks (R-Augusta) to meet concerns raised by mortgage lenders over last year's reform package, with another version that essentially nullifies the consumer protections. Cheeks, who chairs the Senate Banking Committee, has sworn to fight for his version, which passed the Senate unanimously last month. The whole mess has pitted the House Democratic leaders and the Legislative Black Caucus against a sizeable portion of their own party, which has joined with Republicans to push the bank-friendly measure, and allowed Cheeks to emerge as an unlikely hero to the crowd of citizenlobbyists favoring the Senate version. Similarly, legislation dealing with the allocation of water (discussed here last week) has also spurred cross-party alliances. At a Senate hearing last week, the author of a House bill dealing with the issue and state Environmental Protection Division Director Harold Reheis were peppered with pointed questions from Senate Majority Leader Eric Johnson (RSavannah) and Sen. Rene Kemp (DHinesville), author of competing legislation favored by environmental interests. Of particular concern was the prospect of water being withdrawn from the Savannah River and discharged into the Chattahoochee in north Georgia -- an inter-basin transfer that would, Reheis confirmed, be allowed under the House bill. Senators were also interested in the rationale for charging fees for new monitoring equipment to some "recreational" users like water parks, while other seemingly similar users were exempted. Among those mentioned were golf courses, which are classified as "agricultural" users. "The Legislature specifically passed that years ago," said Reheis. (Note: There is no move AS THE SPIRIT GOES TO PRESS, THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY IS PREPARING FOR YET ANOTHER RECESS FOR BUDGET MEETINGS, HOPING TO HEAD OFF A $640 MILLION FUNDING SHORTFALL IN THE CURRENT BUDGET THAT THREATENS TO LOOM EVEN LARGER IN 2004. afoot to change that status -- which should come as a relief to any golf course concerns that may be in the Augusta area.) In other areas, the new dominant party is finding itself fighting not only Democrats, but its own ideology. An example: reforming education reform. While the governor campaigned hard against Roy Barnes' education initiatives, his own package of changes -- which includes relaxing requirements for smaller class sizes and some restored measure of "fair dismissal" hearings for teachers prior to termination -- has run into trouble in the House. There, Democrats last week passed a bill providing for even stronger protections for teachers, challenging the governor's floor leaders to "stand up for teachers," even as Perdue's own bills have languished in committee. In response, Sen. Joey Brush filed mirror legislation in the Senate, hoping to get at least part of the governor's package through this session. But it could still be tricky; Republicans -- who began attacking fair dismissal as "tenure" years ago -- are being urged not to relent, even as Democrats are seeking the higher ground by insisting on the popular smaller classes and stronger dismissal protections. Perdue knows that angry teachers helped elect him -- and that they can just as easily take a walk next time around. So, faced with a gridlocked Legislature and no money, what do frustrated lawmakers do? Speechify, of course. In an exhaustive display of pointless posturing last week, the Senate passed Sen. Cheeks' "Woman's Right To Know Act," a measure which -- if it stood a snowball's chance in Hell of passing the House (it doesn't) -- would require women to wait 24 hours after requesting an abortion, and mandate that doctors present a wealth of discouraging material or face losing their license. In the face of sure defeat, this is what lawmakers adoringly call "sending a message," and even the most level-headed aren't above it. An example is our own Sue Burmeister (R-Augusta), who generally spends her time on nuts-and-bolts issues like the legislation she dropped this week calling for a simple majority vote to pass items before the Augusta-Richmond County Commission. Burmeister is among the sponsors of a "Woman's Right" bill in the House, but she's also signed onto a more far-reaching bill declaring all abortions a felony. When queried, she first allowed that she didn't realize the bill went that far; when pressed, she admitted that she knew the bill stood no chance of getting out of committee, much less of passage. "I am pro-life," she said. "I thought it was time to send a message." Send a message? Idle hands, etc. 13 M E T R O S P I R I T M A R 6 2 0 0 3 Success. One reason MCG is the region's leading cancer center. At MCG, we are committed to successfully treating cancer and finding a cure. And because of this commitment, we have earned the highest possible rating in a national approval program by the Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons. We are ranked among the nation's top cancer centers, which means that the very best in cancer care is at MCG. As part of an academic medical center, we offer state-of-the-art technology, groundbreaking research and specialists with the expertise to bring the latest results to patient care today. MCG has more oncology specialists than any other area hospital and the region's only Pediatric Oncology Program, Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplant Program, and Gynecological Cancer Prevention Center. MCG is committed to being at the forefront of medicine and providing the region's most comprehensive cancer care. Tomorrow's Medicine, Here Today. SM Medical College of Georgia Health System, Augusta GA 14 M E T R O S P I R I T M A R 6 2 0 0 3 Answers Still Sought in Sex-Offender Case By Brian Neill ow can some city officials be investigated and have their names dragged through the mud for more than three years -- none of them ever being prosecuted -- while the matter involving the district attorney, a state senator and a superior court judge effectively rigging a sex offender's sentencing requirements gets swept under the rug in a mere few weeks? That's a question on the mind of Lee Beard and other Augusta commissioners, even as a motion to further investigate the matter was pulled from the agenda at the last minute at the March 4 Augusta Commission meeting. The city has waited with bated breath for some type of closure on the special grand jury's findings, which alleged, among other things, illegal activity on the part of former Augusta H Richmond County District Attorney Danny Craig Fire Chief Ronnie Few, and even suggested that Richmond County Purchasing Director Geri Sams be fired. Meanwhile, Richmond County District Attorney Danny Craig, Superior Court Judge Carl Brown and state Sen. Don Cheeks were all implicated in a matter involving Bobby Clark Brassell Jr., a local man who pleaded guilty to misdemeanor sexual battery on a child, but was allowed, contrary to law, to keep his name off a sex-offender registry. Beard, for one, said he is puzzled by how so much controversy and discussion can continue to surround the special grand jury presentments about alleged corruption in local government, while talk of Craig, Brown and Cheeks' actions seems to have "evaporated." "Nobody says anything about it and everybody seems to be covering it up," Beard said. "And you don't feel good about this when you know that for three and a half years, this body (the Augusta Commission) has been put under a microscope and continues to be put under a microscope and there doesn't seem to be any closure to this." In fact, Beard made those concerns known to Craig at the Feb. 18 Augusta Commission meeting at which Mayor Pro Tem Richard Colclough first introduced the motion to further investigate the matter. That motion failed to pass. Colclough again placed the item on the agenda of the March 4 commission meeting, but pulled it at the last moment without explanation. He said he would bring it back up at a future meeting. If nothing else, it appears that Beard and others may at least find closure in the near future on the matter of the special grand jury. A Georgia Bureau of Investigation official and Craig both confirmed that an investigative report surrounding the special grand jury's presentments should be completed in about a week. "Our financial investigative unit, this office, and Danny Craig are currently meeting. We've had one meeting recently and are scheduled to have at least one more meeting," said Mike Seigler, special agent with the GBI. "And then at that time Danny will make a decision or have some input as to the way we go from there. "Hopefully, he should have some answers within the next week or so." Craig said he was ethically prevented from commenting on the report or the likelihood of charges resulting from it. "Of course I can't discuss indictments but I can tell you I've received about half of the investigative report that the GBI has been developing," Craig said. Beard said he welcomes indictments if it means closure is achieved, adding that he, himself, was a subject of special grand jury presentments. But Beard said he hopes the sudden action on the special grand jury front isn't some type of smokescreen to further draw people's attentions away from the Brassell case. "I would hate to think that they've waited all this time just because people are caught up in a situation, that they bring an indictment in to kind of circumvent the other thing that's on the table at this time," Beard said. "Do you understand what I'm saying? I hope that after three and a half years, and all the sudden we're going to come up with an indictment, and I hope it isn't just because there is this other wrongdoing out there that isn't going to be investigated." Colclough said his decision to stay on top of the issue has more to do with public safety than a concern about a possible double standard in terms of which individuals are more apt to bear scrutiny. "I think pedophilia is one of the most hideous crimes that anybody can commit in these days and times, especially a grown man," Colclough said. "You know, if he has some sexual needs he needs to take care of, you've got plenty of ladies of the evening out there that can handle him. "My problem is, if this gentleman is a child molester and if he's not registered, even if it happened in Burke County, Columbia County, or even across the river, if he's not registered he can bounce from community to community and do the same crime all over again." Brassell, after much media attention about the issue, was required to register as a sex offender. Colclough said he also wanted to ensure that public officials don't intervene on behalf of others in criminal cases. "I don't want somebody to be able to call somebody and say, `Look, this is a buddy of mine and I want you to do me a favor,'" Colclough said. "This is a serious crime. "I think people should take more interest in it. I don't think this should be put to bed. I think it should be looked into and make sure there is something there so this won't happen again." Other commissioners, like Tommy Boyles, who voted against the motion, say they feel the issue is not a matter for the Augusta Commission to look into. Boyles thinks it might even be a matter for Columbia County, since that's where Brassell's offense occurred. Beard said he has heard that argument, but doesn't buy it. "You ought to have enough intelligence to come up with a better excuse than that -- that it's a Columbia County affair -- when all of the three people involved are located right here in the city of Augusta and it deals with the Augusta Judicial Circuit," Beard said. "So how can you divorce yourself, as citizens and especially the elected officials, from the mayor to county commissioners who stated that. How can they make such a justification?" Brown, the judge, has downplayed his involvement in the matter to the press, telling The Augusta Chronicle that he had left the sex-offender registry status up to prosecutors and the defendant's attorneys. Cheeks has publicly stated that he sincerely believed Brassell, a longtime acquaintance of the senator who had also done homeimprovement work for him, was innocent of the child sex allegations, even though the man had pleaded guilty to them. The Republican senator also maintained " I think I've been as forthcoming as I could with regard to a criminal case that was very successfully prosecuted. And even though I was approached by someone and asked to assist in the case, I simply said, `No.' Beyond that, I don't know how many different ways we can discuss it. I think that I have answered everyone's questions to the fullest extent that I can. -- Richmond County District Attorney Danny Craig " that he intervened on behalf of Brassell, a convicted criminal, prior to recent state ethics legislation being passed that prevents legislators from doing so. Craig, however, has stated that he and superior court judges are immune to any investigation by an external state entity. He told commissioners that in person at the Feb. 18 Augusta Commission meeting. "As our county commission found out, there is no outside party to investigate superior court judges or the district attorney's office," Craig said. "And so what we tried to do is, we tried to answer their questions in setting aside those jurisdictional issues." Asked if that meant judges and district attorneys could do virtually what they wanted without being scrutinized, Craig replied, "No, not at all." "Because," Craig added, "our duties and responsibilities are extremely detailed under the Constitution and our statutes and our codes of conduct that govern us as judges and lawyers. You have a Judicial Cannon of Ethics, and the standards of conduct that govern attorneys. "So, I've tried to be as informative as I could, but there's probably a limit as to the ability of a lawyer to fully educate the layperson about all of the duties and responsibilities that we have." Craig acknowledged that one entity that could look into the matter is the Georgia State Bar. "If there were a violation they could," Craig said. "There would have to be some basis for suggesting that." William P. Smith, III, general counsel with the Georgia State Bar, when contacted by The Spirit, said he was uncomfortable commenting on a situation about which he was unfamiliar. After being faxed news articles on the issue, Smith said he could only comment on normal procedure for the Georgia State Bar in such matters. "If somebody thinks that past conduct needs to be analyzed from a disciplinary point of view, the way to do that is to go through the process and file a complaint," Smith said. "But I just don't feel that I would be in a position to comment, because a lot of what I see has to do with the way the law would be interpreted. And also, again, I've only heard one side of the story and I wouldn't want to just give an opinion that somebody has done something that they ought not have done without hearing from them first." Not surprisingly, perhaps -- owing to the fact that the overwhelming majority of individuals singled out for scrutiny by the special grand jury were black -- most of the support to continue investigating the Brassell matter has come from black commissioners. In fact, Bobby Hankerson was the only black commissioner at the Feb. 18 meeting not to vote for a state investigation into the Brassell case. Instead, Hankerson abstained. continued on page 16 15 M E T R O S P I R I T M A R 6 2 0 0 3 more cardiac procedures performed than all other area hospitals combined * * Source: Annual State Hospital Questionnaire There's a certain comfort you get knowing the hands that treat you are experienced, qualified and accomplished. A multidisciplinary team of cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons on University Hospital's medical staff provide expert prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of cardiovascular disease. We performed more than 4,000 cardiac catheterizations and more than 600 open heart surgeries in 2002 -- more than all of the other area hospitals combined. These are distinctions you won't find at any other area hospital -- numbers you can count on when you need them. WWW.UNIVERSITYHEALTH.ORG 16 M E T R O S P I R I T M A R 6 2 0 0 3 Loft Living at the Enterprise Mill Featuring Unique Loft Apartments, Contemporary Office Space, Retail & Restaurant Opportunities, Public Exhibits and Courtyards 1450 Greene Street � 706.262.4001 � www.enterprisemill.com Within walking distance of MCG and the medical complex ENTERPRISE MILL Come in hungry anytime. Leave happy every time. " continued from page 15 Although Craig has repeatedly stated that he only empaneled the special grand jury, and that its members work independently of him to arrive at their own conclusions, some commissioners have had difficulty separating the two. One exception to the predominantly black push for the investigation is Commissioner Andy Cheek, who said he favors such a move. Cheek voted for further investigation into the matter when the motion to do so came before the commission in February. "We should not be in the business of directing or requesting special favors for people," Cheek said. "And if that's going on, that is something that certainly needs to be curtailed or looked into to make sure that it is not going on." Like Beard, Cheek said he saw a double standard at work. "Why investigate one branch of government and ignore a potential problem in another area? It just doesn't seem to be consistent to me," Cheek said. "I think Don (Cheeks) has been beat up fairly well over this," Cheek added. "Danny, I don't know. He's kind of stepped forward and taken credit for it, but he's kind of like, I don't know, put it off on other people and not taken as much responsibility for this practice going on, which, apparently, it has gone on for a long time." Craig, however, denied that he was getting off easy when asked if he thought that was the case. "Not at all. I think I've been as forthcoming as I could with regard to a criminal case that was very successfully prosecuted," Craig said. "And even though I was approached by someone and asked to assist in the case, I simply said, `No.' Beyond that, I don't know how many different ways we can discuss it. "I think that I have answered everyone's questions to the fullest extent that I can. The roles of the judges and the roles of prosecutors in our system are not easily Augusta Commissioner Lee Beard understood. But to the extent that we can answer the questions, I have tried to do so." While acknowledging that Judge Brown, one of the alleged participants in the Brassell debacle, is black, Beard said he still thinks that Craig and Cheeks' explanations are only acceptable because they come from white mouths. "I think if they (Craig and Cheeks) had been black, we would have had an investigation and we wouldn't be sweeping it under the rug," Beard said. "I think a good example of that is (former state) Senator Walker and (state Senator) Don Cheeks. Don Cheeks has done something that everybody wants to forget about. When Walker does it, everybody wants to hang him up, string him up high. "So that's the difference right there." Come hungry. Leave happy. 2525 Washington Road 738-0554 "I would hate to think that they've waited all this time just because people are caught up in a situation, that they (the district attorney's office) bring an indictment in to kind of circumvent the other thing that's on the table at this time. Do you understand what I'm saying? I hope that after three and a half years, and all the sudden we're going to come up with an indictment, and I hope it isn't just because there is this other wrongdoing out there that isn't going to be investigated." -- Augusta Commissioner Lee Beard " Clipped Wings: Augusta Regional Airport's Scaled-Back Future By Stacey Eidson "I hate to use the phrase, champagne taste on a beer budget, but that's about what we are looking at." � Augusta Regional Airport Director Ken Kraemer 17 M E T R O S P I R I T M A R 6 2 0 0 3 A shiny, black limousine pulls up to the curb at Augusta Regional Airport. Within minutes, the Godfather of Soul, James Brown, dressed in a bright, red shirt, black blazer and dark sunglasses, casually exits the airport. He cheerfully waves at gawking passengers toting their luggage toward the terminal and stops to take a few quick photos with fans. "God bless y'all and God bless this airport," Brown exclaims, as he jumps into his limo. Inside Augusta Regional Airport's terminal, bright yellow and blue balloons are tied to every available chair and country music can be heard playing in the background. Characters such as the Phantom of the Opera, a Texas cowboy and the Statue of Liberty are roaming the airport, eagerly greeting guests and directing them to the day's main attraction: The celebration of Continental Express' inaugural flight into Augusta. The who's-who of Augusta's government, area businesses and local tourism industry are on hand to congratulate the Augusta Aviation Commission on successfully enticing Continental Express to the CSRA. It's been more than a two-year struggle for the aviation commission to get this new airline to enter the Augusta market -- a market that is currently dominated by Delta Air Lines, the parent company to Atlantic Southeast Airlines (ASA). On March 3, aviation commissioners were all smiles as they proudly cut the enormous red ribbon in front of Continental Express' new ticket counter, announcing the beginning of the airline's non-stop air service to Newark, N.J., and Houston, Texas. There didn't seem to be a worry in the world facing Augusta Regional Airport. But that carefree photo op was about as genuine as the Texas cowboy and his silver toy gun. The fact of the matter is, Augusta Regional Airport is facing an uncertain future in an unstable airline industry that is desperately trying to survive the worst economic times it's seen in decades. "Grim Realities" Just in the last three weeks, the aviation commission has come to the realization that Augusta Regional Airport can't afford to build the $64 million midfield terminal many commissioners have so enthusiastically promoted the past year. The state of Georgia, under its current budgetary crunch, doesn't appear to be able to commit even a dime to Augusta Regional Airport's new terminal, let alone the $22.3 million requested by the aviation commission for the project. And while the Federal Aviation Administration has earmarked $1.8 million for Augusta's airport through its fiscal year 2003 entitlement funds, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration is also currently tapping into the aviation trust fund revenues to support the nation's homeland security efforts. As more and more federal aviation money is given to the TSA, the result is, fewer airport improvement programs across the country are receiving financial support. Therefore, the $17.2 million that Augusta requested from the federal government to help pay for a new terminal also appears highly improbable. The only money that the airport can currently count on is approximately $1.8 million earned in 2002 through passenger facility charges, about $9.2 million from the airport's savings -- which many aviation commissioners don't advocate spending in its entirety -- and the $1.8 million from the FAA's 2003 entitlement fund. That leaves the airport with a grand 18 M E T R O S P I R I T M A R 6 2 0 0 3 CONTACT LENSES? � Contact Lenses Are Our Specialty � Over 30 years experience with all types of contact lenses THINKING ABOUT DR. E. JACK MOOMEY PC Caring for Augusta's Eyes since 1978 127 S. BELAIR ROAD MARTINEZ � 869-1800 Looking to Buy or Sell an Automobile? SEE PAGE SEE PAGE 42 57 continued from page 17 total of $12.8 million in available funding. The airport also planned to seek approximately $12.2 million in bond revenues. "So, that falls woefully short of the $64 million that was suggested for the midfield terminal," said Augusta Regional Airport Director Ken Kraemer. "Nobody likes to talk about these grim realities, but they are real. "I hate to use the phrase, champagne taste on a beer budget, but that's about what we are looking at." During the campaign for governor of Georgia last fall, Kraemer said, he soon realized that the state would be facing a fiscally conservative budget in 2003. "With all due respect to the state of Georgia, I quickly learned that the state has got bigger fish to fry," Kraemer said, sitting in his office at the airport. "They currently are $600 million in the hole." With such financial constraints, Kraemer said Augusta's terminal needs aren't even on the state's radar. And for those Augustans who remember Kraemer once telling the aviation commission in December 2001 that he believed he could convince officials in Washington, D.C., to provide Augusta with $71 million for a new terminal and roadwork, that goal now appears almost laughable. "On the federal side, those nice rascals at TSA have really got their hands in the pocket of the aviation trust fund," Kraemer said with frustration. "My question is: Why should the flying public be burdened with paying for the expense of the extra security to guard this country? "National defense should be a national expense. But instead, national defense is being paid on the backs of airline passengers. And it's not fair. We've federalized the function, yet we haven't federalized the funding." Unfortunately, available funding is what's going to dictate the future expansion of Augusta Regional Airport, Kraemer said. "Our most pressing need is a terminal building," Kraemer said. "This terminal at the airport was never truly designed as an airport terminal building." In fact, Kraemer said, he's been told that the current 50-year-old terminal was constructed from a former military morgue, some barracks and a mess hall. "So, the aviation infrastructure in Augusta has been sorely lacking for years and years," Kraemer said. "But I think it is time for this aviation commission to take a serious look at how much we can afford and continue to be wise stewards of these public funds. "There's no doubt that, ultimately, a midfield terminal is the best option for Augusta. It makes the most efficient use of space. So, ultimately, that should still be Augusta's goal. But that goal must come face-to-face with our funding reality. And it's a harsh reality." Gold Dome. This day is Augusta's best opportunity to make specific funding pleas to the governor, legislators and state departments such as the Georgia Department of Transportation. This year, Aviation Commission Chairman Cedric Johnson told the board that local legislators sincerely listened to the airport's terminal needs, but couldn't provide the aviation commissioners anything more than a pat on the back. "They were very supportive of what we are trying to do at the airport," Johnson told the aviation commission during a Feb. 13 meeting. "But they told us no funds were available at this time." Johnson explained to the board that he felt the airport had no other option than to look at a less ambitious terminal project. "We really need to determine what we can afford," he said. "Once we find out what we can afford, then we can go ahead and structure what we are going to build." While Johnson said he did not want to prejudge the board's ultimate decision for a new terminal, he did, however, was serving his fifth consecutive term as chairman of the aviation commission and had been a member of the board for 24 years. There's probably no one in Augusta who cares more about Augusta Regional Airport, or Bush Field as he still calls it, than Skinner. So, when the 2000 aviation commission voted 5-4 to delay LPA's westside terminal plan, Skinner predicted that the airport was headed down a