Metro Spirit 12.12.2002
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.
WHO BELONGS DOWNTOWN? THE METROPOLITAN WYCLIFFE GORDON THE IMPERIAL ARTS, ISSUES & ENTERTAINMENT December 12-18 | Vo l u m e 1 4 | ROCKING Issue 19 | THE P. 1 6 AT P. 2 8 S T O C K I N G P. 4 4 w w w. m e t s p i r i t . c o m Meet the New Boss By Brian Neill State Senator Don Cheeks 2 M E T R O S P I R I T Celebrate the Holidays at Azalea Inn D E C 1 2 2 0 0 2 New Years Eve Packages Gift Certificates King & Queen Suites Fireplaces Whirlpool Tubs 312-334 Greene Street • Augusta, GA 30901 • 724-3454 • 1-877-292-5324 Contents DUI The Metropolitan Spirit DECEMBER 12-18 ❘ F R E E W E E K LY ❘ M E T S P I R I T. C O M Get Ready for the Holidays at Ladybug's Free Phone Call Great Selection of Holiday Gifts, Decorations and Gourmet Baskets ON THE COVER ~ DELIVERY AVAILABLE ~ Meet the New Boss 405 Shartom Drive, Augusta 706-868-9318 www.ladybugsflowers.com By Brian Neill ...................................................20 William Sussman ———ATTORNEY AT LAW ——— 347 Greene Street • Augusta, Georgia Augusta Business Center behind Applebee's on Washington Rd. (706) 724-3331 Cover Design: Natalie Holle Photo: Brian Neill FEATURE Who Belongs Downtown? By Stacey Eidson ...................................................16 Women are from Venus; Santa Is from Mars By Roger Naylor ......................24 ANNOUNCING AMERICAN HONDA'S YEAR-END CLEARANCE SALE AT GERALD JONES HONDA Opinion Whine Line ......................................................................4 Words ..............................................................................4 This Modern World ........................................................4 Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down ..........................................6 Suburban Torture ...........................................................8 Guest Column: Clyde Wells .........................................10 Austin Rhodes ..............................................................12 ALL 2003 MODELS ARE ON SALE NOW! Metro Beat Commissioners Fight for Chief Few's History ............14 2003 Arts 8 Days a Week .............................................................30 Wycliffe Gordon Comes Home for the Holidays ..............................28 2003 Pilots Accord $1275 $1575 Off List Off List $1595 Save up to Wycliffe Gordon Comes Home for the Holidays ........28 “South Pacific” Comes to Augusta .............................36 Events 2003 Odysseys V-6 Save up to Save up to Off List Cinema Movie Listings .............................................................38 Review: “Maid in Manhattan” ....................................41 Preview: “Star Trek: Nemesis” ..................................42 Movie Clock ..................................................................43 Music Rocking the Stocking: Good Fun for a Good Cause ...................................................................44 Talented Teen Fills Days With Music ..........................46 Music by Turner ............................................................47 Nightlife .........................................................................48 Stuff 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 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 2003 Civics All Models Save up to $990 Off List 2003 CRV's All Models Save up to $1050 Off List List price includes dealer installed options and market adjustments. Plus tax and fees. LOWEST PRICES, LARGEST SELECTION & AWARD WINNING SERVICE ... SEE US TODAY! THE CSRA’S #1 HONDA DEALER BUY ONLINE www.geraldjoneshonda.com GERALD JONES HONDA 733-2210 2003 Gordon Highway Augusta Sale Hotline: 800-203-9371 3 M E T R O S P I R I T D E C 1 2 2 0 0 2 4 M E T R O S P I R I T D E C 1 2 2 0 0 2 Whine Line T hank goodness for state Representative Sue Burmeister. She defeated Robin Williams in the 2000 election to become state representative. Then, her 2002 proposed legislation to change Augusta government became giant footsteps sounding like rolling thunder. Jack Connell heard these footsteps and wisely chose retirement. Poor Joey Brush! With Senator Don Cheeks now a part of the Columbia County delegation, Joey will be relegated to the Colgate ads and youth song feasts. Efforts to change helmet laws and political sign ordinances, as well as giving county builders a bigger place at the trough, should be history. Instead, the 2003 (session) should be geared toward tax reductions and getting government out of the lives of Georgians. These adult bars downtown are about as trashy as I’ve ever seen. I’m almost embarrassed for the Masters patrons that go out looking for entertainment and wander into these hole-in-the-wall bars. It would be nice to have a gentleman’s club in Augusta with reasonable drink prices, topless even. Now the Augusta National is banning the sale of merchandise at Gate 6. Enough is enough. Hootie, have you gone nuts? Most of us aren’t lucky enough to receive Masters passes so we get our Masters merchandise via Gate 6. Augusta is getting a raw deal on public arenas? You bet! The (original plans for the current) center that the “voters” approved were supposed to be 12,000 seats and a public ice skating rink. After everyone finished lining their pockets, we got what we have now. The taxpayers still owe millions of dollars on the current structure and they want us to spend how many million dollars on a new one? Don’t get me wrong. I would gladly spend the money in order to get more real entertainment here, but will we get what we pay for? Also, who will manage the new facility, the same bozos that ran the old one in the red for so many years? Let’s watch these people very closely! I was admiring what a good job the paving contractor has done with some of these Words “The ANIC (Augusta Neighborhood Improvement Corp.) group is not a group he (outgoing state Sen. Charles Walker) can simply ride over, but he does have an awful lot of influence. But the director (of ANIC), Robert Cooks, totes Charles Walker’s water.” — Downtown businessman and former ANIC board member Julian Osbon, as quoted in The Augusta Chronicle in an article about Walker’s association with the publicly funded agency. recently repaved roads and streets here in Summerville and around town. I see they’re now working on Laney-Walker Blvd. Those machines they have really do a good job of grinding the old road bed smooth and level before they apply the new asphalt surface on top. The result of course is a way smoother, quieter ride. One day last summer I stopped to watch this process unfold over on McDowell St. and I will say I was very impressed that day with what those guys and their impressive machines are capable of. Here’s to ‘em! I work at a post office in Augusta, and I have personally witnessed such waste, that it’s unbelievable! We had an employee paid for overtime (at $30 an hour) and what they did during this overtime, was take a nap in the ladies’ locker room, while our three $40-an-hour supervisors never even noticed! Oh, by the way, I’ve notified higher-ups in the post office and they don’t care. After all, it’s only the taxpayers’ money. I’d like to vote on a new flag, but not one that contains the Rebel flag. Surely we can design new flags more pleasing to the eye. I would like to say excellent expose on the proposed $89 million arena (Stacey Eidson’s article on Nov. 28). It seems to me that whomever did the study was steered toward the I-20 location. They only considered one location downtown on a property that was obviously too small, and neglected to look at other possible downtown sites. Who owns that land out at I-20 and River Watch? The current site of the civic center was chosen because the property was owned by Georgia Railroad Bank, when there were many better locations downtown. Are politics and profit once again driving the location of a new arena despite what would be best for the community as a whole? Thomas Wyman, a 25-year member of Augusta National, resigned from the club in protest of its all-male policy. Question: Where has his sense of outrage about gender discrimination been for the past 24 years? Whew! I just got a whiff of hypocrisy in the air. Well, I was thoroughly appalled at the Martinez parade last Sunday. I have never in my life seen such a shoddy job at putting together a simple procession. The police were rude to the point of being unprofessional, and it didn’t take a genius to tell that they were a bunch of young guys who didn’t get enough play in their days and were trying to make up for it with uniforms, guns, and motorcycles. Does anybody else have a sore arm from changing the radio stations in your car? Why don’t any of the local stations play some good music instead of the same old five pop songs? Why not play stuff that involves talent such as blues, bluegrass, reggae or punk? Anything that is more entertaining than the poop that we have to put up with now! Every time there is a ranking or a listing of where Georgia ranks compared to the rest of the states as far as education, health, income, or any other statistic that means something, Georgia is always at the worst end of the scale. So on what issue do we elect a new governor? The flag of course. Now that is an issue that should remain on top of everyone’s list as the No. 1 concern of our state. Augusta has no excuse for the sorry state that it’s in. Here you have a city that is full of talented people, good roadways with little traffic congestion, and a beautiful river downtown. It is the small-minded attitude that dominates this city that prevents it from becoming great. Achieving greatness for Augusta will require great thinking. It will require vision and hard work. You can’t attract new business and new ideas with a Podunk way of thinking. Act like you are continued on page 6 5 M E T R O S P I R I T D E C 1 2 2 0 0 2 WE SPECIALIZE IN CANCER CARE ... WE SPECIALIZE IN YOU. Pam Anderson, RN Breast Health Specialist CANCER TREATMENT AT UNIVERSITY. OUR EXPERIENCE MAKES A DIFFERENCE IN YOURS. If you have breast cancer, find a lump or detect unusual changes in your breast, University’s Breast Health Center can provide the treatment and support you need and experience you can trust. The Breast Health Center offers a philosophy of “care with dignity” and a focus on early detection of breast cancer that includes education, diagnostic testing, coordinated care and emotional support. One of our most recent advancements in diagnostic testing just rolled in. With the area's only mobile mammography unit, the center will make it easier for women to get a mammogram. Convenient access saves you time, and getting a mammogram could save your life. Your time is valuable. Your life, priceless. FOR MORE INFORMATION ON MAMMOGRAPHY AND BREAST HEALTH SERVICES AT UNIVERSITY, CALL 706 / 774 - 4141 W W W. U N I V E R S I T Y H E A L T H . O R G 6 M E T R O Style is in Full Bloom... ! New Monday • 7:30pm Channel 4 S P I R I T Groovy A Very D E C 1 2 2 0 0 2 Thumbs Up Aaron LeBlanc is going to jail for at least 54 years. This 20-year-old rapist, who thought he could get away with the unthinkable, has the rest of his adult life to think about the women he has hurt and the life he could have lived. Thank you Gastonia, N.C., for putting a dangerous man, who should have been convicted in Augusta, behind bars. Christmas Special The Forget-Me-Not The Half-Shirt Leroys 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. Platinum 420 Outback Laraine Stinson Magnolias Flowers Thumbs Down with performances by: Her four hand engraved petals reach for The Livingroom Legends TM Of The Old South See the entire Collection of Classic Hand Engraved Engagement Rings and Antique Reproductions in the Southern Tradition Priced from $1295 and available exclusively from.... Deathstar The Hellblinki Sextet Paul Gordon with Dawn Cornwell Russell Joel Brown Sheldon Wolfe & Lance Gollihugh That Augusta’s leading black newspaper, the Augusta Focus, has become so unsettled by its owner’s recent election loss that it seems there is no longer any clear delineation between its news and editorial content. First there was the brouhaha surrounding alleged election disparities that might have lead to the political demise of state Sen. Charles Walker, owner of the paper. Those allegations turned out to be a basket of fog. Then there was a news story that ran in the paper Nov. 28 that quoted “one outgoing legislator” as saying the African-American minsters who backed Walker’s opponent, Randy Hall, had “set us back 20 years.” Hmm. Wonder who that outgoing legislator was? And did “us” refer to the black community at large, or Walker’s vast political machine? Chuck & Chris Herndon Howard Merry Happy Holidays, Enjoy! Fine Jewelers & Diamond Merchants Since 1940 2820 Washington Rd. 10am-6pm Monday-Saturday Closed Sundays 733-6747 or 800-798-6747 Member American Gem Society For the person who has everything - GIFT CERTIFICATES *SHOW IS PRE-TAPED Replays: Daily at 12 Noon, 3pm, and 10:30pm on Channel 66 Exciting New Shipments ~ Hydrotherapy ~ Massage ~ Paraffin Facial ~ Manicure ~ Pedicure ~ Makeup Quality & Serenity Combined English & European Antiques Have Arrived Pine, Walnut, Oak, Mahogany, Porcelain and more Louise Mulherin 102 Shartom Drive Augusta, GA 30907 commercials and endorsing anyone. They need to make up their minds as to whom they are going to speak for: God or the government. We have listened to all the theories over the Republican win in the Nov. 5th elections. The truth is out there folks. We tuned in to Rush, Reagan, Neil, Sean and Austin and the truth was there. They were fighting back against the overwhelming outpouring of liberal media wash. A person who does not vote should not be in this paper or anywhere else talking about anyone or anything, especially politics. At least the person who complained voted and had the right to complain about the outcome. You don’t. Our Holiday Packages include: We have the perfect package for everyone on your list. continued from page 4 the second-largest city in Georgia, and do what’s necessary to become great. The sorry state of Augusta right now is completely ridiculous and unnecessary. classic garden & antiques Regarding the black ministers supporting Randy Hall over Charles Walker: As far as the ministers having integrity, they have none because if they did, as ministers they should not have been on television doing I wonder when Augusta’s most wellknown racial bigot and male chauvinist, Austin Rhodes, is going to devote some of his column space in The Spirit to the unethical and possibly illegal behavior of his buddy Linda Schrenko? Georgia law requires all Department of Education expenditures of more than $50,000 be approved by the state Board of Education, yet in an obvious attempt to circumvent that law, Mrs. Schrenko doled out 11 computer software contracts for about $49,000 each. Yet, we haven’t heard a peep from Rhodes and his Republican cronies. The answer to my question is never, because Schrenko is neither black nor Democrat. If she was either Rhodes would be blasting her every chance he could. continued on page 8 WE’RE MORE THAN YOU KNOW Wind Chimes, Coasters, Cape Cod Doormats, Tervis Tumblers, Fountains, Rocking Chairs, Benches, Hammocks, Pictures, Vases, Wine Racks, Candle Holders (behind Applebee’s on Washington Rd) 855-2855 WALK-INS WELCOME - All major credit cards accepted - SHOPPING HOURS: TUES-SAT 11-6 National Hills Shopping Center 2701 Washington Road • 706.738.8111 3315 Washington Rd. 860-1731 www.aarbor.com Season's Greetings THE CATHOLIC CHURCH OF THE MOST HOLY TRINITY Celebrate Music! From 2002-2003 SEASON 7 M E T R O S P I R I T D E C December 15 • 4 pm Advent Lessons & Carols Cooper Cliatt Carla James Tammy Tiroff The choirs of Most Holy Trinity herald the arrival of the Son of God through song and scripture. Free admission. All events take place at the Church of the Most Holy Trinity. and the rest of the staff at Augusta Telephone want to wish you and yours the merriest of holidays and a prosperous New Year! “Georgia's Oldest Catholic Church” is located at the corner of 8th and Telfair St. in historic Downtown Augusta AUGUSTA TELEPHONE One Call Does It All! 706-868-5100 722-4944 www.themostholytrinity.org 3845 MARTINEZ INDUSTRIAL BLVD (IN MARTINEZ) $199 2003 Volkswagen Beetle GL per month No money down at inception. 48 month Lease. $199 per month. 12,000 miles per year and leasee responsible for 20¢ a mile overage and excessive wear and tear. Value at lease end $9,099. Plus tax, tag, title. Subject to credit approval and dealer inventory. See dealer for more details. stk# 3450 NO MONEY DOWN G E R A L D J O N E S VO L K S WA G E N . . . 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BEFORE AFTER SPECIALIZING IN MAKE-OVERS USING Repachage Skincare & Makeup Alterna Aquage Matrix Graham Webb Bio-Ionic Japanese Straightening System Register to Win a FREE Make-Over! Send you name & phone number to 4471 Columbia Road, Martinez, GA 30907 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org HAIR AND ESSENTIALS 869-0190 How stupid are we people in Augusta to allow administrator Kolb to bring all the people in the state of Virginia here for jobs? We have our own people who are qualified and need jobs. Kolb needs to go! I think Augusta needs to bring back a “Smooth Jazz Radio Station.” Once upon a time WAUG, the Breeze, they did an excellent job of playing cool jazz. Please, the powers that be, let’s have another smooth jazz station again. Augusta needs it. LARGEST SELECTION & LOWEST PRICES EVER IN THE CSRA W E If you have not seen Columbia County’s new bike trail, you should go see it. It’s the only road, bridge, or overpass in this area not bearing a politician’s name. Man, what are pizza places paying their delivery guys? I just saw one drive by in a Mercedes Benz. I need a job like that! TIGER RIVER In Ground Pools & Tanning Beds continued from page 6 To the sorry commissioner who said, “Be glad you have a job.” If it wasn’t for us (city workers) nothing in this city would get done or fixed. I’ve never seen him out in the rain or snow, or 100-degree temps like we are. Every city worker deserves an apology from the commissioners; they should not cut us down. Remember, we do the real work, not them. You will be able to buy presents this year for your family, but our families will get very little because you took our $50 Christmas bonus too. That’s what’s wrong with this city, having commissioners like him in office. Thanks. Thanks for nothing! I have an idea. Why doesn’t the Empty Stocking Fund help out the city workers? For what we get paid, we need help. I mean the real workers too, not the pencil pushers that get paid a lot more than the true workers. Why does the Christmas season bring out the worst in people? It’s supposed to be the season of joy and peace. Instead, people are more rude, in a hurry and will run you over with their vehicles as they head for a close parking spot. And let’s not forget: gimme, gimme, gimme, which seems to be the most important part of Christmas. This is so sad. I do not work for, nor do I know anyone who does work for, the city of Augusta. But when I saw one of the Augusta commissioners on TV telling the reporter (with no remorse or sorrow) how they had to cut out raises for the year of 2003 for their city workers and that they would not get their $50 Christmas bonus either, I was outraged. This money means a lot to them. The stuffed shirt on TV didn’t look like he shopped at Goodwill and I am sure that his family will not be doing without this Christmas. I’ll bet this commissioner will be the loudest about getting his raise when the time comes! — 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 email@example.com. Suburban Torture BY JULIE LARSON 9 M E T R O HYUNDAI RATED #1 Front & Side Air Bag on all 2003's. Why would you put your family in anything less? HYUNDAI Across the Board 2 0 0 2 Accent 10,990 $ With $1000 Holiday Cash Elantra stk#8832 Dare to Compare** $1500 below Honda Civic 189/mo. $ * With $1000 HYUNDAI Holiday Cash Sonata stk#8870 Dare to Compare** $2500 less Honda Accord 239/mo. $ * With $1000 HYUNDAI D E C 1 2 Thatâ€™s New Not Used! 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He says for openers that he will “stay the course” of a dismal fouryear tenure and that by his victory this tenure has been “redeemed”; and that racial unity in Augusta is “irrelevant” and, rather than act as a mediator in an attempt to bring the racially divided city and its governing commission together, he will be off to Atlanta to prompt legislation to give him more power. This is a highly speculative enterprise that could well be a dry run. The two state senators, Don Cheeks and Randy Hall, will not be anxious to alienate the black community by entering this fray. These inane remarks portend another four years of gridlocked government and racial divisiveness for Augusta, and continued stagnation for a city already on welfare. Oh yes, the ANIC program pumping some $30 million of state tax money into Augusta to repaint houses, clean up vacant lots and build a golf hall of fame is welfare. Augusta’s stagnant economy is on the dole while her sister cities Savannah, Columbus and Macon move into the 21st century on a sensible platform of economic growth and responsible government. Indeed, one has to look no further than North Augusta to find a community on a similar, sensible path. This is a far cry from the scenario Young’s moneyed campaign backers promised and are predicting for the next four years. Billy Morris’ Augusta Chronicle editorial page has already taken their lackey to task for his remarks and the downtown banking establishment, led by Monty Osteen, must be having second thoughts. You remember Monty, gushing at Morris’ knee a few years back over his concern over the overflowing traffic and huge crowds that would descend on Augusta upon the opening of the Morrisinspired golf gardens. It is generally agreed that if one factor could be singled out to be the root cause of Augusta’s continuing economic malaise, it would be the acrimonious divi- siveness between the races. And we have a mayor for the next four years who believes it is irrelevant! Young’s victory over Ed McIntyre could well be remembered as an event of monumental tragic consequence for Augusta. Certainly for the near term. Ed McIntyre could have pulled blacks and whites together as no one in this town could hope to do. And make no mistake: Augusta will not move forward while this problem festers. The present condition of local governance will not permit it. His election could well have stymied Charles Walker’s bid to return to power, for they are not allies, political or otherwise. McIntyre is deeply respected in the black community and with many whites as well. He is respected by whites for not being a race-baiter on the order of Walker, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and their ilk. Their power and influence depends upon convincing their constituent blacks’ belief that they have been anointed as a bulwark against the return of discrimination and injustice by whites. Divisiveness and distrust are the cornerstone of their power base. Ed McIntyre has never operated in that prejudicial, self-serving cesspool. Let’s cut to the chase. Twenty years ago then-mayor Ed McIntyre was indicted and subsequently convicted for bribery. He was set up and hung out to dry by three individuals who deserved jail time as much as he did. He paid his debt, returned to society and has since, and I stand to be corrected if anyone has information I lack, been a model citizen. I opposed his return to politics in 1993. 1 was ambivalent in his race against Bob Young four years ago, feeling that Young was a fresh face who deserved a chance. I was, however, somewhat queasy about his close relationship over a period of many years with longtime Chronicle editorial page editor Phil Kent and Kent’s brand of politics. Since that time I have taken stock of Augusta’s progress under the three men who have served as mayors since McIntyre stepped down almost 20 years ago. Let’s put it succinctly and move on: Augusta deserves better, much better, than it received from that office in those years! There is a sizeable segment of the local population, predominately white, that adamantly opposes McIntyre’s return to public office. Near universally their reason is his bribery conviction. They can’t fault his education credentials. He has a master’s in business administration, for God’s sake, compared with Bob Young’s high school degree! Ah, but he has a prison record. He has almost 10 years of competent public service as county commissioner and mayor compared with Bob Young’s, at best, mediocre record for four years as mayor! Ah, but he has a prison record. And he is black! And make no mistake: The two are all too often intertwined. And in too many cases, hopefully a minority, the former is a thinly veiled cover for the latter. How else can you explain the singlemindedness of these attacks while all but ignoring other legitimate concerns such as McIntyre’s age and health? How do you explain it in these times, in a society that cherishes its Judeo-Christian ethic of forgiveness as compared to the eye-for-an-eye, toothfor-a-tooth tenet that prevails in much of a troubled world today? In a society that believes in giving a man a second chance? We’re not talking about a child molester or a rapist here. We’re not talking about a murderer. This forgiveness thing does have its limits. We’re talking bribery by a decent man who made a serious mistake, apologized and paid his debt to society — a highly capable and decent man almost desperately looking for a way to atone for that mistake. Obviously, members of this group who oppose McIntyre feel a Mayor McIntyre would regress to his felonious transgression. Prudent thought would cause one to disagree. A Mayor McIntyre would avoid even the slightest appearance of impropriety. He would make Caesar’s wife look like a miscreant. Had he been returned to office, he would have been seeking atonement, not personal enrichment. My good friend Barry Paschal, publisher of The Columbia News-Times, has written that it is “mindboggling” that anyone could favor Ed McIntyre’s election. Allow me to respectfully offer some other BY CLYDE WELLS “mindboggling” instances. It is “mindboggling” that several black ministers in Augusta bad the courage to oppose Charles Walker. It is “mindboggling” that enough black voters heeded their cry and voted for a white man to narrowly defeat, arguably, the most powerful black politician in Georgia, along with his son in his congressional race, in districts carefully carved out by Walker himself to guarantee their election! It “boggles” the mind that several thousand white voters, seeing this, went to the polls in the runoff and switched their votes to a black man, making it one of the closest mayoral races in Augusta history. And here is a real “boggler.” Barbara Gordon, publisher of the plucky little Metro Courier, endorsed the elder Walker’s Republican opponent Randy Hall! Many blacks within their community consider Charles Walker a vindictive thug. Gordon and the ministers have little doubt that Walker will retaliate given the opportunity. And he could well get that opportunity. Walker is already running and running hard. He has been observed recently, since the It is generally agreed that if one factor could be singled out to be the root cause of Augusta’s continuing economic malaise it would be the acrimonious divisiveness between the races. And we have a mayor for the next four years who believes it is irrelevant! FREE massage ■ One week FREE ■ No enrollment fee, which is valued at $99 ■ December only – FREE health risk assessment, which will include a fasting lipid/glucose screening to gain insight into your: • Total cholesterol – HDL and LDL • Triglycerides • Glucose level ■ December only – FREE high sensitivity, C-Reactive Protein (hs-CRP) test measuring concentrations of CRP, which indicates if you are at risk for stroke, cancer, heart attack and peripheral vascular disease. Checking your hs-CRP level and your total and HDL cholesterol levels predicts your risk for heart disease better than cholesterol testing alone. What causes varicose veins? Why do they hurt so much? What can you do to ease the discomfort and improve their appearance? Presented by Steven M. Roth, M.D., a board-certified vascular surgeon and member of University’s medical staff Jan. 16 University Hospital dining rooms 1-3 Registration and dinner: 5:30 p.m. Physician presentation: 6-7 p.m. Tickets: $9 in advance; $10 at the door; $8 for University Seniors Club members To register, call 706/736-0847. E T OF • THE B EST O TH BES T OF • E B ES TH • • T HE B E S TO F Shepeard Community Blood Center reports critically low levels of all blood types, especially O positive and O negative blood. Blood donors are urged to respond immediately. For information on donating blood, call the Shepeard Community Blood Center at 706/737-4551. When you join Health Central, you have access to: F OR FREE 24- HOUR A whirlpool and a heated lap pool for swimming as well as water classes for managing arthritis, fibromyalgia and multiple sclerosis ■ Kickboxing and step aerobics classes held in aerobics studio with special Aerobafloor™ ■ Yoga ■ Tai chi ■ A sauna and steam room in each locker room ■ ■ A basketball/volleyball gymnasium with special flooring system Personal training by degreed, certified professionals ■ ■ Group cycling classes The latest in cardiovascular and weighttraining equipment ■ Child care by certified attendants ■ Body pump strength classes 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. Voted Best of Augusta for 18 years. Your resource for healthy living. Lunch will be served. Healthy Adults Seniors Club members: FREE; nonmembers: $5 Optifast® Weight Management Information Session Thursdays 5-6 p.m. University Hospital Nutrition Center Registration is requested. Healthy Women Registration is required. Call 706/774-4141 for information on the following classes or offers: Call 706/774-8917. FREE Mammograms Available Fresh Start Smoking Cessation Program Sponsored by the American Cancer Society Jan. 9, 16, 23, 30 6-7 p.m. University Hospital dining room 1 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. To register, call 706/774-8900. Breast Self-Exams Healthy Older Adults The following programs are held in the University Seniors Club, Daniel Village Shopping Center, unless otherwise stated. Lt. Leon Garvin Richmond County Sheriff’s Office Dec. 13 11:30 a.m. Augustino’s: An Italian Eatery, 2 10th St. Dutch treat lunch “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? Learning how to keep joy in the holidays” Chaplain Amy Mears University Hospital Pastoral Care Department Dec. 20 11:30 a.m. University Hospital dining rooms 1-3 HEALTH INFORMATION , CALL Second Monday of each month 5 p.m. University Breast Health Center No charge Lymphedema Education for Breast Cancer Surgery Patients “Staying Safe During the Holidays” www.universityhealth.org An indoor running track ■ F Registration is required. Call 706/738-2580 for information. 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. ■ E Give the Gift of Life this Holiday 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. H HealthMail, a new feature of University’s Web site, gives you the opportunity to receive e-mails about upcoming events, offerings, news and updates of interest. Visit www.universityhealth.org and click “HealthMail” under “Site Highlights” in the left margin. Choose which health topics interest you. S P I R I T D E C 1 2 E BE ST O F • T Subscribe to HealthMail Treat yourself or a loved one to a healthy gift this year. ■ OF “Varicose Veins: Causes, Prevention and Treatment” M E T R O Bring this ad with you to Health Central before Jan. 31 and receive the following when you sign up for a one-year membership: ST Tune in Monday, Dec. 23, at 8:30 a.m. to hear Jack H. Austin Jr., M.D., chief of medicine at University Hospital and a board-certified physician in infectious diseases, discuss antibiotics during the cold and flu season – Are they your best friend? A New Year – A New You! BE “HealthTalk” on WGAC-580 AM TH — The views expressed in this column are the views of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the publisher. Readers may reach Clyde Wells via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. 11 HEALTH PAGE Take care of yourself. Let University help. • election, at a large downtown restaurant. Upon leaving, he worked the room, pressing the flesh (including mine), as well as any politician could. (Sorry, Augusta Chronicle editorial folks, but he is at least Mayor Bob’s equal at working a room.) The major roadblock to Walker’s return to political power could be Walker himself. Reportedly, both the FBI and GBI are looking into Walker’s questionable machinations of the past few years. If true, their findings could well prove to be a major obstacle for the outgoing senator. These folks are not looking for ethics violations. The GBI and FBI are not into wrist-slapping $8,500 ethics fines! Radio talk show host Austin Rhodes’ post-runnoff comments came close to crossing the line of responsible public comment. Granted, this type of show depends on controversy and insulting briquets for its audience, but Rhodes stated on his show that whites who voted for McIntyre were stupid. “Stupid white voters,” he called them. One can infer that he is also calling blacks who voted for McIntyre stupid. That is 90 percent of black voters, which is close to being all blacks. As stated, Ed McIntyre’s perceived political burdens are intertwined. It is sad commentary that in this town, in this time, people can be categorized as stupid or irresponsible for supporting a candidate of their choice. At this juncture the pundit is no longer contributing to a solution, but becoming part and parcel of the problem — divisiveness. A problem exacerbated by McIntyre’s defeat is the mood of blacks in Augusta. With their contribution to Charles Walker and his son’s defeat, and thereby stripping their strongest leader of his power, they had hoped and even expected the white electorate to reciprocate and support the leader they most respect and admire, Ed McIntyre. That didn’t happen, and the mood is not good. McIntyre’s defeat by a man whose chief attribute for the office is looking good while leading the annual Masters Red Carpet tour around town, has seriously eroded black support for Augusta’s two state senators. Randy Hall and Don Cheeks, as well as Congressman Max Burns, could well face defeat to qualified Democrats in two years. If that happens you can look back to Mayor Bob Young’s narrow victory as the catalyst. Closer to home, black commission members will probably be in an even less cooperative mood than they have been in the past. Young is on record as not being amenable to promoting unity on the commission. “Racial unity doesn’t matter,” he said. “It is irrelevant. Voters are more interested in keeping their government functioning.” Government! Functioning? Incredibly, the fellow still doesn’t get it! Ed McIntyre does. Maybe citizen McIntyre can be persuaded to step up and do what the voters deprived him of the opportunity to do and what the Augusta Chronicle editorial page is now piously asking him to do: unify the black and white communities and get Augusta moving again! He’s apparently the only one who can do it! Ah, but he has a prison record. Presented by Nicole Spiro, OTR/certified lymphedema therapist First Tuesday of each month 5 p.m. University Breast Health Center No charge Women’s Center Tour Dec. 12 7-9:30 p.m. No charge Weekender Childbirth Preparation Class Fri., 6:30-9:30 p.m.; Sat., 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Dec. 13, 14; Jan. 10, 11 $100 Introduction to Infant CPR Dec. 16 6:30-8:30 p.m. $5 Sibling Birthday Party Dec. 19 3-4 p.m. No charge Childbirth Preparation Class Six-week series Mondays, Jan. 6, 13, 20, 27, Feb. 3, 10; or Wednesdays, Jan. 8, 15, 22, 29, Feb. 5, 12 7-9:30 p.m. $75 Women’s Center Tour Jan. 9 7-9:30 p.m. No charge Healthy Parents All classes are held in the Women’s Center classroom on the third floor unless otherwise stated. Baby School Jan. 9, 16, 23, 30 7-9 p.m. $50 Registration is required. Call 706/774-2825 for information or to register for the following classes: ASK•A•NURSE AT 737-8423 (SER-VICE) OR 800/476-7378 (SERV) TODAY ! 2 0 0 2 12 M E T R O S P I R I T D E C 1 2 2 0 0 2 YES, WE'RE OPEN Christmas Eve & Christmas Day 5pm-Until AUGUSTA’S BEST D O O F SEAUFFET B FRESH SEAFOOD BUFFET 2510 Peach Orchard Rd 790-7556 OPEN WED-SUN - LUNCH & DINNER Wed is Senior’s Day Opinion: Austin Rhodes Marion Williams the Fool I t is a “chicken and egg” type question: Who is dumber, Marion Williams, or the people who elected him? Easily the most volatile and intellectually challenged Augusta city commissioner, this week Williams broke new ground throwing a hissy fit over an informal three-page written history of the local fire department. He actually claimed the document was grounds to question Fire Chief Al Gillespie’s fitness to lead his department. What a maroon. He was upset for two reasons: 1. Augusta’s first black fire chief, Ronnie Few, was left out of the informal report. 2. There was no specific mention that he, Marion Williams, was the department’s first black firefighter. Whoop-de-doo. The “oversights” (which were sadly later “corrected” by Gillespie) were fairly easy to explain. The history chronicled moves in the department until 1996. That was before Few, Bernard Mack, or Gillespie, served as chief. None of the three made the report. The fact that Williams was not mentioned as the first black firefighter was in keeping with the fact that there was no mention of the first female firefighter, or any other such personnel firsts. Allow me to correct that today. Little-Known Augusta Fire Department Groundbreakers: First Gay Firefighter: 1938 Marion “Betsy” Peters: Served from the Central Avenue station with distinction until he was caught in an indelicate moment with the stationhouse brass pole. His dismissal was protested by his coworkers, who were hooked on his lemon tarts and creme broule. First Fire Department Dog: 1891 Marion the Dalmatian: Served as mascot for the 6th Battalion until it was discovered it was actually he who was treeing the cats the department was being called to rescue. First Asian Firefighter: 1902: Marion Lo Mein: Mein was honored for heroism many times over the course of his long career. His 2nd Battalion commander also noted that when it came to cleaning uniforms, no one ever did it better. First Italian Firefighter: 1925: Marion “Fast Fingers” Sarducci: Sarducci served as a driver for the 3rd Battalion, and was noted for his ability to get to fires before anyone else. His supervisor noted, “It is an amazing sense Guido has; he knows where the fires are almost before the alarm sounds.” Sarducci’s fam- ily made its fortune in the olive oil import and waste management industries. First Polish Firefighter: 1952: Marion Dumkowski: Dumkowski’s short tenure ended tragically while taking a cigarette break during his first fire. The incident occurred at a local petroleum plant. First Female Firefighter: 1972: Marion “Double D” Parton: Created quite a stir as a buxom addition to the department during the height of the women’s movement. First act of heroism came as she single-handedly put out a huge brush fire. It was not reported at the time, but the blaze began when women celebrating Parton’s hire ignited nearby woods with their burning bras. First Irish Firefighter: 1872: Marion O’Grady: Noted for inventing the technique known as “back blowing.” During one of his first fires, a flask in O’Grady’s back pocket ignited and “blew out” the house fire he was battling. From that time forward O’Grady was never seen on duty without his flask. First Jewish Firefighter: 1909: Marion Greenbaum: Invented the most effective firehose in history, the “Menorhose.” It has nine nozzles. When asked why he favored so much water delivery at once, Greenbaum said, “Why not so much? It don’t cost nothing.” So you see, there have been many “firsts” in local fire department history, none of which were discussed in the simple little document Marion Williams was screeching about. If you listen to Williams, every slight is based on racism, or some conservative conspiracy to “get him” or his people. In a year when virtually every heavyhanded, controversial political leader was shown the door, you have to wonder if Williams was paying attention. It has been speculated that the “screwloose” won’t run for re-election next year. We can only hope. While it would be great to see him go down in flames at the polls, if Lee Beard can be re-elected as easily as he was, sensible people can only hope Williams doesn’t put it to the test. In the meantime Williams will likely continue to yell “fire!” where there is none, and God forbid a real crisis erupt; no one will be paying attention to this sorry excuse for a public servant. — 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. www.metspirit.com ANDY JONES MAZDA ISUZU FUEL INJECTION SERVICE Dear Customer, We’d like to re-introduce you to a special kind of auto service…Andy Jones Mazda Isuzu. When you need service for your Vehicle, think of Andy Jones Mazda Isuzu first. Once you have your Vehicle serviced at Andy Jones Mazda Isuzu, we know you’ll want to come back. So to get re-acquainted, we’re sending special offers that will save you money when you visit. Just give our Service Department a call at 803-279-2366 and schedule an appointment, and then bring your coupon with you to receive our “Get Re-Acquainted” special offer. At Andy Jones Mazda Isuzu, we’ll treat your Vehicle like it was our own. More importantly, we want to prove to you that a relationship with Andy Jones Mazda Isuzu will be a lasting one. Your complete satisfaction is our goal, and we’ll do everything possible to guarantee that you’re always satisfied. Our business is not just about Vehicles. It’s about people…people like you. Our service department is very good at servicing Vehicles, but what we’re best at is pleasing customers. Why not try to get to know us? Please take advantage of our “Get Re-Acquainted” specials now. These offers are only good through January 6, 2003, but your satisfaction is guaranteed at Andy Jones Mazda Isuzu for many years to come. We look forward to serving you soon. • Cleans injectors & improves mileage • Improves emissions • Helps eliminate hesitation • Improves high speed performance $99.95 + Tax Cannot be combined with any other specials. Some vehicles slightly higher. 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Coupon Expires 01/06/03 021B • Factory-Trained Technicians • Free Shuttle Service TIMING BELT REPLACEMENT Sincerely, FIVE GOOD REASONS YOU SHOULD TRUST ANDY JONES MAZDA ISUZU TO BE YOUR SERVICE PARTNER 15 % OFF ANDY JONES MAZDA ISUZU Service Hours Monday-Friday 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM Saturday 8 AM to 4 PM Service Department: 803-279-2366 Other: Checks (803) 202-0002 Santa to be at all Shepeard Community Blood Centers (Augusta, Martinez and Aiken) Friday, December 20th 11-2 There will be refreshments, pictures and babysitting for the children. For more information call 737-4551 or visit our website at www.shepeardblood.org The best gift you can give this season is the gift of life. 13 M E T R O S P I R I T D E C 1 2 2 0 0 2 14 M E T R O S P I R I T D E C 1 2 2 0 0 2 MetroBeat Commissioners Fight for Chief Few's History T welve different fire chiefs led the Augusta Fire Department from 1886-1996, according to a historical section of the fire department’s recently developed strate- gic plan. But, according to several Augusta commissioners, it was a lot more than superstition that caused the city’s 13th fire chief, Ronnie Few, to be left out of the department’s history lesson. According to the fire department’s report, Augusta’s first fire chief was H.M. Young and the last fire chief to serve, prior to consolidation, was Bill Maddox. “Chief Willie Maddox had the longest tenure for fire chief, having served over twenty-one years,” the department’s historical report states, adding that he began as fire chief in 1975. After consolidation, Maddox continued to lead the fire department in 1996. “In the first year (following consolidation), sixteen new employees were added to bring the staffing level to 307,” the report states. The very next line of the fire department’s history made several Augusta commissioners want to throw the strategic plan out the window. “In the year 2001, at the recommendation of the city administrator, the fire department became known as the Augusta Fire Department,” the report states. “The Augusta Fire Department of today is a fire department on the move as they progress into the year 2002 under the leadership of Fire Chief Al H. Gillespie.” The question several irate Augusta commissioners had of Gillespie was, what happened to the years 1997 through 2001? According to the plan’s section labeled, “History of the Augusta Fire Department,” the city’s leadership went directly from Maddox in 1996 to Gillespie in 2002. There was no mention of the three-year tenure of Augusta’s first black fire chief, Ronnie Few, who, because of the highly crit- “ ical findings of the special grand jury, has now also become one of the most controversial figures in Augusta’s recent history. This simple, three-page historical write-up was meant to give firefighters a brief synopsis of the fire department’s past, but instead, it was about to wreak havoc on the department’s future. “When I read this and saw this I was really upset,” said Augusta Commissioner Marion Williams, chairman of the commission’s public safety committee. “How can you write a history about the Augusta Fire Department and leave out Chief (Bernard) Mack and Chief Few?” Mack accepted the position of Augusta fire chief for only a few short months after Few left Augusta for a fire chief position in Washington, D.C. Gillespie explained to the commission that he developed the strategic plan this year to outline the fire department’s goals and the purpose of the history was only to serve as a brief introduction to the plan. Included in the history were 18 historic photographs of the department dating back more than 40 years ago. “I asked that we put something together that reflected the history of our organization,” Gillespie said. “Not to be comprehensive and all-inclusive, but something that would give us a little background of where we came from. “And I don’t disagree with you. I think it was wrong to leave those people out for their contribution and we already have an addendum to correct that.” But Williams said there was no doubt in his mind that whoever wrote the three-page history for the strategic plan purposely left out Few. “I think we’ve got some deliberate people who want to tear this government up, who want to tear this city up, and I think as elected officials and as a department head we need to find those people and they need to be thrown out of this government,” BY STACEY EIDSON Williams said. “I just don’t see how we can sit there and act as if it was nothing.” The history was written on the city’s stationary, Williams said, therefore he believed it was the city’s responsibility to get to the bottom of the poorly written history report. “It was probably even done on our time,” he said. “We are probably paying folks to do stuff like this. And I’d like for the chief, or anybody that’s got any way of finding out those people who are responsible, and, in my mind, they need to leave this government. They need to be fired.” Gillespie said if anyone is to blame for the errors in the history, it should be him. “This is an oversight by me,” Gillespie said. “I’m the one who is responsible for anything that comes out of my department and I take full responsibility for that.” Gillespie’s explanation only seemed to further anger Williams. “Chief, I’m sorry, but are you standing here telling me now that you were the author or the inspirational person behind what was written?” Williams asked. Gillespie said, while he was not the author, he did approve the history written by one of his staff members. “This is what was brought back to me,” Gillespie said. “I didn’t recognize that there was an oversight.” Williams said he could not understand how such a blatant oversight could occur. “I’m at a loss for words,” Williams said. “How can you leave out the three years or four years up until the present time? “Now, evidently Chief, you didn’t look at it at all.” Augusta Commissioner Lee Beard stepped in and told Gillespie that, if the city is going to write a history of the Augusta Fire Department, it needs to be all-inclusive. “What I saw, I didn’t like,” Beard said. “It appears that everything dealing with certain ex-members of the fire department is trying to be eradicated from our government. And that just doesn’t sit well with me.” We just had our first black fire chief. I mean, if that ain’t history, what is history? – Augusta Commissioner Marion Williams ” In order to resolve the matter, Augusta Commissioner Andy Cheek suggested that the city turn to local historian and author, Ed Cashin, to write the introduction. “I would suggest if we wanted to really get a good idea of the total history that we would go back to one of our own local resources, Dr. Cashin, who has written many, many pages about Augusta history,” Cheek said. Gillespie quickly responded by saying, “We certainly didn’t intend on writing a whole book. Just a background.” Cheek said he suggested Cashin only because he didn’t want the department’s current opinions about the special grand jury’s accusations against Few to cloud its history. “I will say this: If you go back and read the history of the fire department in the late ‘30s and early ‘40s, the things that have been much publicized in our special grand jury are peanuts compared to what was carried on in the fire department back then, it being the seat of the old Cracker Party in the city of Augusta,” Cheek said. Williams told Gillespie that he must understand that an accurate history means a great deal to many firefighters in Augusta. “In Oct. 1, 1968, there wasn’t a black fireman at all on the Augusta Fire Department in this town,” Williams said. “I, myself, was the very first black man to work for the Augusta Fire Department in 1968.” Williams said he worked for the department for approximately nine years and the fact that Augusta recently had its first black fire chief means something to him and many in the black community. “We just had our first black fire chief. I mean, if that ain’t history, what is history?” Williams said. “I’ll tell you what, I thought I had seen some stuff or heard some stuff, but I see now that we are still doing the same things. “I said it before. This town is still thinking in the 1940s. We have got to come out of that. This is the year 2003, almost.” 15 M E T R O S P I R I T D E C 1 2 2 0 0 2 16 M E T R O S P I R I T D E C 1 2 2 0 0 2 Who Belongs DOWNTOWN? BY STACEY EIDSON S “ANYTHING THAT IS GOOD FOR DOWNTOWN AUGUSTA IS GOOD FOR THE CHURCH. I THINK IT WILL BUILD EXCITEMENT FOR DOWNTOWN.” – Richard Sanders, rector at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church tan Fink is fed up with downtown Augusta. For the past eight years, Fink has owned and operated his downtown business, Antique World, located at 1140 Broad St. As a native Augustan, he has watched downtown Augusta grow and change with the times. But lately, Finks says, he doesn’t like what he sees. “My grandfather had a business on Broad Street. My father had a business on Broad Street. And this is my second business on Broad Street,” Fink said. “But I’m giving up. Antique World will be closing its doors on Jan. 15, for real. I’ve done all I can do. I’ve fought for too many years. No one is willing to listen.” Fink says his ongoing battle has been to keep Broad Street an area made up of mainly family-oriented businesses. But, in the last few years, he says it’s clear that the city of Augusta has a different vision for Broad Street. “All the city seems to want down here are bars and liquor,” Fink said. “And that’s what it’s becoming. Nobody is interested in anything else.” Fink says he was outraged when he heard that the city was proposing to turn the downtown area, from the Savannah River to Ellis Street and from Fifth to 13th streets, into an “entertainment district.” “One of the reasons we are closing is, customers are saying to me all the time, ‘We don’t want to go downtown,’” Fink said. “You can’t drive downtown in the morning without seeing a dozen beer bottles or liquor bottles on the sidewalk, used prophylactics and syringes. And this is on every block on Broad Street.” Fink believes if the city changes downtown into an entertainment district, it will only make matters worse. On Nov. 25, City Administrator George Kolb recommended to the Augusta Commission’s administrative services committee that the city create an entertainment district in the downtown area. This new designation would bring about two main changes in the city of Augusta. First, Kolb proposed that the consumption of alcohol in public places – including sidewalks, parks, alleys and streets – would be prohibited throughout all of Augusta. The only exception would be if an organization applied for a oneday special events permit that would allow the public to drink alcohol in specifically designated areas within the proposed entertainment district, such as the Augusta Common. Secondly, Kolb proposed that bars within the entertainment district would no longer have to meet the 100-yard distance requirement from churches, synagogues, libraries, schools or parks. Instead, bars under the proposed entertainment district, would only be required to be at least 25 feet, or approximately 8 yards, from the property lines of buildings such as schools or places of worship. Kolb has asked the Augusta Commission to send his proposal to the Augusta-Richmond County Planning and Zoning Commission for further consideration and public review. However, on Dec. 3, Augusta commissioners requested more time to consider Kolb’s proposal. Fink believes Augusta commissioners should think long and hard before they decide it’s better to have bars than churches on Broad Street. “It’s pathetic and sick that liquor is more important than God,” Fink said. Such sentiments will not come as a huge surprise to many commissioners. Ever since a downtown synagogue on Broad Street fought a local bar to prevent it from opening up right next door, commissioners realized downtown Augusta was experiencing some growing pains. The new bars and the trendy restaurants are thriving downtown. As a result, some more traditional storefronts are beginning to feel a little cramped. Barbara Sheahan, part owner of the Downtown Antique Mall at 1243 Broad St., said she doesn’t understand why alcohol has all of a sudden become a huge necessity downtown. “Personally, I think that the city is totally undoing what we were trying to build downtown and I don’t know why,” Sheahan said. “We have worked very hard to promote something good for our city and we don’t want to see that destroyed or have a city that is unsafe for people to come downtown.” Sheahan’s vision for Broad Street is a place where mothers can feel comfortable taking their young children downtown to shop. She’s afraid that making downtown an entertainment district will destroy that vision. “I personally think that we are getting too much alcohol downtown and it is keeping families from coming downtown,” Sheahan said. “I know I would not want my daughter to take my granddaughter downtown if she has to walk by bars to go to antique shops. I don’t care whose antique shops they’re going to.” Sheahan said she didn’t want to give the wrong impression. She says she’s not against alcohol in restaurants. “I don’t mind people having a drink. That’s OK. But a bar is a lot different than people going into a nice restaurant and having a cocktail or a glass of wine,” she said. “I think if you want to get soused, you need to stay home.” Sheahan says it’s a shame to look across the river and see North Augusta developing its main street into a friendly, family-oriented downtown, while Augusta seems to be headed in the exact opposite direction. “North Augusta is so cute and wonderful and that could be a real asset for downtown Augusta,” Sheahan said. “But instead, it’s like we’re fighting a losing battle here.” However, not all owners of long-time businesses on Broad Street feel the same way. Steven Kaplan, the current owner of Sunshine Bakery located at 1209 Broad St., said he thinks making downtown into an entertainment district is a progressive move on the city’s part. “I think anything that helps promote the development of downtown is a good idea,” Kaplan said. “Sunshine Bakery has been downtown for over 55 years, so we’ve been here through the period of time that it was very, very quiet downtown. “So, to us, any kind of proposal that breathes life into the area, I think is useful and helpful. We see it as a very positive development.” And Kaplan’s not the only one. To the surprise of many people downtown, Richard Sanders, rector at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church located at 605 Reynolds St., says he fully supports Kolb’s proposal to turn downtown Augusta into an entertainment district. “Anything that is good for downtown Augusta is good for the church,” Sanders said. “I think it will build excitement for downtown.” Sanders chuckled, saying he realized that many religious citizens in Augusta won’t understand, and may even strongly object, to his position on the matter. However, Sanders said he is trying to encourage what’s best for downtown. “If downtown is a dumpy place and nobody wants to go there and nothing is happening, that’s not good for us or the city,” Sanders said. “And, I think, if you bring more people continued on page 18 17 M E T R O S P I R I T D E C 1 2 2 0 0 2 “IT’S PATHETIC AND SICK THAT LIQUOR IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN GOD.” – Stan Fink, president of Antique World Happy Holidays from the staff of Advanced Services Thanks to you, we are growing at a record pace! Are you enthusiastic, motivated & career oriented? Due to recent advancements in our staff, we currently have 3 positions available in our Sentricon Monitoring Division. 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Largest Selection of Collegiate, Golf and Southern Art in the Southeast Augusta Golf Art and Custom Framing 1116 Reynolds St 722-8229 Across from Augusta Golf & Gardens WHAT THE CITY DOES.” – Judy Tyler, owner of the Garden City Bar & Grille continued from page 17 downtown, more people will walk by and see the church and maybe think about coming and worshiping here.” Terry Phillips, the senior minister at St. John United Methodist Church located at 736 Green St., doesn’t quite feel the same way. “We certainly want downtown Augusta to develop, but in a wholesome way,” Phillips said. “I’m against bars anyway, but I think the present restriction of 100 yards is fair and I think to lower it to 25 feet is just encroachment upon the sacredness of church property and also the safety of church members.” Phillips said he believes that many people who frequent bars often become unruly and he would hate to see members of his congregation subjected to such misbehavior. “This might happen sometimes when a meeting is going on at the church and might endanger some of our members,” Phillips said. “I just think such behavior is disrespectful to houses of worship.” Because his church has been located in the downtown area since 1798, Phillips said he would hope that the city would ask the church’s opinion on establishing a downtown entertainment district. “I would hope they would listen to what we have to say,” he said. “However, no one from the city has approached the church, or at least, they haven’t approached me. But I’m strongly opposed to it.” Judy Tyler, owner of the Garden City Bar & Grille located at 1124 Broad St., said she’s not surprised that some churches oppose making downtown an entertainment district. After all, two years ago, Tyler had to go to court to fight for her legal right to open a restaurant on Broad Street called Off Broadway. In October 2000, the Augusta Commission turned down Tyler’s request for an alcohol license after more than 200 members of Curtis Baptist Church, located at 1326 Broad St., came to the commission meeting in opposition to Tyler’s wish to serve alcohol in her restaurant. A local superior court judge eventually forced the city to award Tyler an alcohol license, but within a year after receiving its license, Off Broadway closed. Based on that experience, Tyler said she has a hard time believing that the city will stick to the 25-foot rule for bars if the new entertainment district is established. She thinks that as soon as a large church objects to an alcohol license request, the license will be rejected. “I don’t think the city is fair,” Tyler said. “They’ve hurt every business downtown. My request for an alcohol license was legal, but I didn’t get my license anyway. So, I really don’t care one way or the other what the city does.” Tyler does, however, have a message for churches that are trying to oppose the entertainment district. “When churches are located in a business district, I don’t think they should cause people not to be able to open restaurants or bars,” Tyler said. “The city shouldn’t allow them to do that.” Scott Levine, owner of The Playground, a bar at 873 Broad St., said the key to the future success of Augusta’s downtown will be in the planning. “It all depends on what’s in the final analysis and how the city defines the entertainment district other than no drinking on the street and changing the distance requirement to 25 feet,” Levine said. “I think there is more to an entertainment district than that. “If we’re going to call it an entertainment district let’s make it what it says, an entertainment district.” Levine said that the city needs to seriously consider utilizing the Augusta Common more and even possibly closing off Broad Street during street festivals like First Friday. “They seem to have a hard time in Augusta being willing to close off Broad Street,” Levine said. “And I understand that the sheriff has valid safety concerns, but if other cities in America can make it work, why can’t Augusta?” He also believes the city needs to start thinking about including all segments of the community, including teenagers, who currently appear to have no place to go or nothing to do downtown other than to congregate on the sidewalks. “I’m not an advocate of letting 18- to 20year-olds in bars, but if you are going to make this an entertainment district, then you need to have some sort of facilities for all age groups to participate,” Levine said. “Apparently, there is nothing downtown or anywhere in Augusta, that I know of, for young kids to go and hear music and hang out. “Augusta needs some sort of facility for them also. You can’t exclude that group.” But, so far, Levine said he has found it discouraging that the city doesn’t appear to be interested in hearing any new ideas for the entertainment district. “To be honest with you, I went to a couple of meetings the city held about the entertainment district and then I stopped because I didn’t think the city was going in the right direction,” he said. “I was at one meeting when I think the city administrator, George Kolb, and a few of the commissioners kept saying, ‘We want your ideas, we want your ideas.’ But when I gave an idea saying, ‘Why don’t you close off Broad Street and make it a festival?’ People didn’t even let me finish what I had to say. “So, they say that they want ideas, but they don’t brainstorm. And if it’s not an idea they like immediately, it’s like, ‘Get it off board, we don’t want to even consider that.’” Levine said, in order to make the proposed entertainment district work, the city needs to get everyone downtown involved in the decision-making process. “Alcohol downtown is a touchy subject anyway, so I think it is easily being blamed for the overall problems downtown,” Levine said. “They say, ‘Alcohol is the problem, so we shouldn’t let people drink on the streets.’ “Well, that’s not fixing the problem and that’s not an entertainment district. If we’re going to be an entertainment district, we need to be more than just an entertainment district in name only. We need to come up with a plan that everyone can live with.” H E A V E N L Y H A M 19 M E T R O S P I R I T D E C 1 2 2 0 0 2 Share peace, goodwill and Heavenly Ham 速 this holiday. LOCALLY OWNED AND OPERATED www.heavenlyham.com 2825 Washington Road in Fairway Square 738-4267 Meet the New Boss 20 M E T R O S P I R I T D E C 1 2 2 0 0 2 By Brian Neill I n recent weeks he’s been called everything from a turncoat and Benedict Arnold to a conspiring hawk, out to undermine any semblance of an equitable black sharing of political power. For certain, state Sen. Don Cheeks added even more waves to the turbulent sea — that being the one created by a Republican coup that installed the state’s first GOP governor in more than 100 years and saw the demise of ever-powerful black state Senate Majority Leader Charles Walker — when he recently announced he was switching parties. At the same time, it seemed Cheeks, now with an “R” behind his name, was there to gloat as the buzzards circled Walker’s carcass. Cheeks even gave an extra nudge to Walker’s political fall with a peppering of publicized comments alleging that the Democrat from the 22nd District had a habit of intimidating and shaking down his constituents. Although Cheeks, who represents the neighboring 23rd District, says he is not out to grab hold of the power Walker was said to wield locally and at the state level, he seems perfectly positioned to get it. First, there’s his recent election to chairman of the local legislative delegation, a position that Cheeks downplays as merely ceremonial, yet still places him in the driver’s seat regarding the body’s agenda and allocation of discussion time. Then there is the close relationship Cheeks says he shares with incoming Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue, whom Cheeks considered an ally in a push to dismantle Walker’s so-called network of influence. “Very, very close,” Cheeks said, describing his friendship with Perdue, while seated comfortably in a blue leather chair inside his home off Walton Way, a fire burning in the fireplace and his wife and quasi-secretary, Betty, fielding phone calls and setting her husband’s calendar. “Sonny and myself discussed Charles Walker early on when he was showing and exerting his so-called power over other senators. Sonny and myself were the two that rebelled openly. Others were mouthy, but wouldn’t stand up and be counted within the Democrat Party. So Sonny and myself discussed how we would stop that.” Walker and Cheeks Cheeks seems to take great pleasure in talking about former state Senator Charles Walker’s recent defeat by newcomer Randy Hall in the Dist. 22 race. It’s no secret Walker and Cheeks have no love lost between them. But Cheeks says it wasn’t always that way. As Cheeks tells it, he and Walker were once even close. “When he first started running we were best of friends,” Cheeks said. “In fact, I paid his qualifying fee the first time he ran.” Cheeks said he first met Walker when they were on the courthouse steps, bidding on the former Lenox Theater, once a pinnacle of entertainment in the black community. “I didn’t realize he was interested in it and I