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Hasan ready for District 6 runoff







MAY 22 - 21, 2014

Photo by Vincent Hobbs

Mayor-elect Hardie Davis speaks to reporters during an election party held a Fat Man’s Cafe. Davis secured over 75% of the vote for the Mayoral election. Photo by Vincent Hobbs

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District 6 race still undecided

UrbanProWeekly publisher Ben Hasan, the top vote-getter in a crowded field, must face former GOP chairman Bob Finnegan in a runoff election. By Frederick Benjamin Sr. UrbanProWeekly Staff Writer AUGUSTA Local newspaper publisher Ben Hasan has had time to reflect on his strong showing in Tuesday’s commission district elections. The District 6 candidate reported some minor glitches at the polling precincts in his district, but overall was pleased with how the process unfolded. “There was some confusion out there,” Hasan said. “One of my supporters called me and was upset that my name did not appear on the ballot and my home precinct at Gracewood Community Center, they couldn’t give me accurate breakouts of the number of people voting.” The Hasan name (while it couldn’t be considered a brand) is familiar to long-time Augusta voters. His brother, A.K. Hasan held city council posts in preconsolidation Augusta as well as having served stints on the Richmond County School Board. Ben, however, was on his own this time around. “This is my first time running a campaign. I’ll spend some time relaxing and then get back out there,” Hasan said. Hasan collected 33 percent of the vote (1103); Bob Finnegan collected 28.4 percent of the vote (948); Angela Harden collected 21.1 percent of the vote (706); Roger Garvin received 9 percent (311), and Tony Lewis received 7.7 percent (259). Hasan and Finnegan will meet again in a runoff in July. Hasan is the first African-American candidate to mount a serious campaign in the district since it was redrawn as a majority-black district in 2012 by U.S. District Judge Randal Hall. A Hasan victory in District 6 would have a profound impact on city politics for years to come. Despite the media attention and some of the more bizarre aspects of this year’s mayor’s race, the outcome of District 6 is considered far more important than who the next CEO of the city might be. A victory by an African-American candidate in District 6 would smash the “racial gridlock” that has plagued the Augusta-Richmond commission since 1995. With a Hasan victory the number of African-American commissioners would increase from 5 to 6 giving African Americans a 6-4/vote majority on the commission — and enough votes to pass any legislation of its choosing. That is the game changer represented by a Hasan victory. Since consolidation, District 6 has always been a majority(or “safe”) white district. African American candidates have run for office there before, but have never been close to succeeding. Hasan has picked up significant support from local police and firefighters and despite snubs from the GOP dominated daily paper, has garnered strong support from significant elements of the white community. The runnoff election is scheduled for July 22, 2014. Hasan has received encouragement from third-place finisher Angela Harden and the local Police Benevolent Association has pledged its continued support of manpower and financial assistance. Campaign volunteers with the “Elect Ben Hasan” campaign for District 6 Commissioner observe election results on a laptop at Villa Europa restaurant. Hasan, who received over 33% of the vote, will face candidate Bob Finnegan in a runoff election. Photo by Vincent Hobbs

District 6 Commission candidate Ben Hasan awaits election results at Villa Europa restaurant. Hasan, who received over 33% of the vote, will face candidate Bob Finnegan in a run-off election. Photo by Vincent Hobbs

UrbanProWeekly • MAY 22 - 31, 2014

The Vote •


The Vote •

UrbanProWeekly •MAY 22 -31, 2014



Mayor-elect Hardie Davis speaks to reporters during an election party held a Fat Man’s Cafe. Davis secured over 75% of the vote for the Mayoral election. Photo by Vincent Hobbs

Commissioner Alvin Mason makes a concession speech to his supporters after opponent Hardie Davis secured over 75% of the vote for the Mayoral election. Mason’s family is also standing on the stage with him. Photo by Vincent Hobbs

Davis drew on broad support By Frederick Benjamin Sr. UrbanProWeekly Staff Writer AUGUSTA In the first mayoral election to be held in May rather than the traditional November, state senator Hardie Davis avoided a runoff to win with a decisive 75 percent of the vote. The race was unique in another way because it was the first mayoral election in the city’s history where there was not a white candidate in the crowded field of four. Davis won every precinct and can claim a mandate to move the city in a

new direction. Before candidate Helen BlockAdams withdrew from the race amidst a firestorm of negative press about personal finances, it was widely felt that this race would end in a runoff. However, Davis, picked up the endorsement from The Augusta Chronicle, that had previously been given to Blocker-Adams. Davis proved, however, that he really didn’t need it. Davis received 74.58 percent of the vote (20,577); Augusta-Richmond Commissioner Alvin Mason received 18.78 percent of the vote (5,182); Lori

Myles received 4.35 percent of the vote (1200); and Charles Cummings received 1.69 percent (436). The turnout was 29 percent. In the 2006 election, mayor Deke Copenhaver received over 30,000 votes in a November election, but the turnout was 50.53 percent. Despite the strong showing, Deke did not carry every precinct. Davis distinguished himself from his strongest opponents, BlockerAdams and Mason by supporting the controversial SPLOST7 tax project, but that support didn’t seem to hurt him in the balloting. The SPLOST

vote was narrowly defeated by the public. Davis will assume the mayor’s post which also carries a $60,000+ salary in January of 2015 and will resume his duties as state senator from the 22nd District until a successor has been picked. Davis will inherit a commission that has been known for consistent bickering and infighting. He will also may not have the benefit of a permanent city administrator. The former city administrator, Fred Russell, was fired at the end of 2013 and a new one has yet to be hired.

Dennis Williams, Sammy Sias successful in Districts 2 & 4

Dennis Williams Sammy Sias

U W rban Pro

AUGUSTA Dennis Williams will become the new District 2 and Sammy Sias will occupy the District 4 seat when the new Augusta-Richmond Commission convenes in January 2015. Williams a retired government worker and former Augusta NAACP president easily out polled Cleveland Garrison in Tuesday’s District 2 election. Williams received 67 percent of the vote (1667).


UrbanProWeekly LLC Mailing Address: 3529 Monte Carlo Drive Augusta, Georgia 30906

Publisher Ben Hasan 706-394-9411 Managing Editor Frederick Benjamin Sr. 706-306-4647

Community activist Sammy Sias won 50.9 percent of the vote to narrowly miss a runoff in the District 4 four-person race. Sias had 1680 votes to defeat opponents Melvin Ivey, Thomasenia Jackson and Gwen Watts. Williams will be replacing term-limited commissioner Corey Johnson and Sias will be replacing Commissioner Alvin Mason, who is also nearing the end of his term. The two will be joined

Sales & Marketing Phone: 706-394-9411 Photography and Social Media Courtesy of Vincent Hobbs

by the winner of the District 6 runoff between Ben Hasan and Bob Finnegan. District 8 incumbent Wayne Guilfoyle and District 10 incumbent Grady Smith won their respective races. Both candidates have a history of strong community involvement and support and should be an important part of the “new administration” that will take the reins of city government on January 1, 2015.

email: Ben Hasan Frederick Benjamin Sr. Vincent Hobbs

What insight do you feel you have gained as a result of running for Mayor? Since I have run for Mayor before in 2005, the insight for this race is that I was quite surprised at the negative turn of events and attacks. In 2005, all four of the candidates were repeatedly complimented on keeping the campaign clean. The candidates in ‘05 were successful in doing that by running on their own merit. Many people have financial difficulties and can relate to your challenges. You have many supporters who have continued to stand by you through this personal crisis - what would you like to say to them? I am very overwhelmed and happy at the support from hundreds of people - even as recent as the completion of this questionnaire. They see me as ‘one of them’ - someone who can relate from personal experience and someone who is authentic, personable and sincere. I love them. They are absolutely amazing and helped me get through this hurtful, humbling and humiliating experience. 24 HOURS AFTER THE POLLS CLOSED ON THE 2014 MAYORAL CONTEST, HELEN BLOCKER-ADAMS, ONE OF THE FRONT RUNNERS IN THE CONTEST WHO HAD BEEN FORCED FROM THE RACE BY A TORRID MEDIA ASSAULT CONCERNING HER PERSONAL FINANCES, RESPONDED TO AN UPW Q&A BY VINCENT HOBBS.

What do you feel is the main issue facing the next Mayor? The main issue facing the next Mayor is helping to play a part in putting together a SPLOST VII package that includes much more infrastructure, especially for East and South Augusta. It is most important to get input from the Richmond County constituents.

You made a statement on your Facebook page that you will no longer be involved in politics. Do you have any initial plans to continue to serve the community and what approach will you take? No, I have no intention of getting into politics again. I have served in so many capacities for over twenty years in this community. Serving is what I do. My involvement with youth will continue. I would love to work in an environment that involves youth, health and fitness or mental health. Opportunities are already presenting themselves and I am keeping all of my options open. What’s next for you? Healing from the hurtful attacks on me during the final seven days of the campaign; mending relationships with some of the members on my campaign, friends and family; writing and publishing a couple of books about this campaign experience; taking care of me; resolving the financial obligations and allowing God to guide me on where He wants me to be and what He wants me to do. After all I’ve been through, I am at peace because of the ‘quiet’ time I spent in the middle of the storm, which allowed me to read the Bible and hear from God. I will always love Augusta and the great people who live here. The next chapter in my life is already being written. Stay tuned.

Senate District 22

Jones, Johnson in July runoff By Frederick Benjamin Sr. UrbanProWeekly Staff Writer AUGUSTA In what was probably the tightest race of this election, Corey Johnson, the current mayor pro tem, and former solicitor Harold Jones were separated by only 315 votes. Johnson had 45.1 percent of the vote (7,403) while Jones picked up 43.1 percent (7,088). Both of the State Senate District 22 candidates were denied an

outright majority by the activity of the third-place opponent, Elmyria Chivers, who pulled down a respectable 12 percent of the vote (1,923). A weaker showing by Chivers could have thrown the majority to either Jones or Johnson. Both candidates are experienced campaigners. “The state Senate really needed someone to bring Augusta to the next level,” Johnson said on election night. “My Experience on the commission has prepared me to

do that.” Jones, who was part of Sheriff Richard Roundtree’s campaign ‘brain-trust’ has the top law enforcement officer’s support and trust. Jones said he will continue to meet with voters to explain his vision for Augusta. Both candidates are keenly aware of the challenges that await the next state senator in Atlanta where the Republican Party has a majority and control the agenda. HAROLD JONES



SPLOST Referendum rejected by voters AUGUSTA Despite a full court press by the daily newspaper, Mayor Deke Copenhaver and Sheriff Richard Roundtree, Augustans voted against funding a nearly $200 million special-purpose-local-sales-tax package. The measure was narrowly defeated by a vote of 14,691 (51.1 percent) to 14,027 (48.8 percent). A defeat of a SPLOST package in Augusta is rare. City leaders have grown so accustomed to the SPLOST packages passing that they have begun projects without proper funding with the expectation that the SPLOST funds would always be there. The current spending on the remodeled municipal building is a perfect example. This year, things worked a little differently. To begin with many sitting commissioners were not

happy about the way the measure was packaged and presented for a vote. Commissioners Bill Lockett, Marion Williams and Alvin Mason were opposed to the package and let their constituents know. There was widespread public unrest and indignation over the inclusion of too many nonprofit charitable organizations in the package and not enough infrastructure projects. In addition, for the first time ever, there was a citizen’s complaint filed in federal and superior court over the entire way that the city has been handling SPLOST expenditures over the past several years. Les Morton, the individual who filed the court complaints, says that the failure of the SPLOST 7 referendum on Tuesday does not alter his plans to go forward with the complaint.

“I’m happy that the information that I helped to put out there resonated with the public. My goal, all along has been to make sure that the public is informed. Morton has objected to the way the SPLOST program has been traditionally handled. “They haven’t been following state law,” Morton said. In his complaint, he has detailed instances of misuse of SPLOST dollars and has blasted the complete lack of transparency, lack of community input and nonexistent auditing which the state says must be provided on a consistent basis. Morton has also suggested that many quasi-public entities like the August Canal Authority has been receiving SPLOST funds improperly. The court date is set for May 30, 2014 at the John Ruffin Courthouse at 3 p.m.

UrbanProWeekly • MAY 22 - 31, 2014

Blocker-Adams ponders future moves


UrbanProWeekly •MAY 22 -31, 2014



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AUGUSTA Paine College basketball player Ashley Watts has been named a finalist for the Collegiate Star category as part of the 23rd Annual Greater Augusta Medals for Excellence in Sports (G.A.M.E.S.) Awards hosted by the Augusta Sports Council (ASC) for the second year in a row. Watts will be recognized on Thursday, June 12 at the Augusta Country Club.   The Augusta native is coming off a strong basketball campaign where she was named the 2013-14 Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) Player of the Year. The mathematics major also earned spots on the 2013-14 Daktronics NCA A Division II All-South Region Second Team and the All-SIAC First Team. Most notably, Watts led Division II in points per game and surpassed the 1,000-point mark after two seasons as a Lady Lion. The Butler High School graduate finished the year averaging 26.5 points per game and with 1,312 career points under her belt.   Jaiden Brandt, a distance runner from Georgia Regents, is the second finalist in the Collegiate Star division. Brandt is a native of North Augusta, S.C. who just completed his senior year at GRU.   This year’s G.A.M.E.S. Awards Banquet will feature Pro Football Hall of Famer and Thomson, Georgia native, Ray Guy, as the guest speaker. Guy will be enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on August 2 as

the first punter ever selected to enter. He was also the first punter ever drafted in the NFL’s first round when he became the 23rd overall pick for the Oakland Raiders in 1973. The 2014 G.A.M.E.S. Awards are presented by the ASC, Augusta Coca-

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Cola, The Augusta Chronicle and WRDW News12. The banquet starts with a check-in and social hour at 6 p.m. with the dinner and program to being at 7 p.m. Members of the ASC can purchase Ticket for $45 and non-members

can buy tickets for $50. Tables are also available for $450 for ASC members and $500 for non-members. To purchase tickets contact, Michelle Naval at or by phone at 706.722.8326 ext. 235.

UrbanProWeekly • MAY 22 - 31, 2014

Ashley Watts named a 2014 G.A.M.E.S. Awards finalist

UrbanProWeekly •MAY 22 -31, 2014


A model gets some final hairstyling before the start of the BASE Awards, held at the Legends Club. The hair and fashion show, sponsored by Spice of New York Salon, featured hairstyling competitions, student-designed fashions and awards for CSRA innovators. Photo by Vincent Hobbs

Make-up artist Curtoria “Queen Tori” Robertson (L) of Royalty Beauty prepares a model for the runway before the start of the BASE Awards, held at the Legends Club. Photo by Vincent Hobbs

BASE AWARDS 2014 May 17 The Legends Club Make-up artist Curtoria “Queen Tori” Robertson (L) of Royalty Beauty prepares a model for the runway before the start of the BASE Awards, held at the Legends Club. Photo by Vincent Hobbs

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A model walks the runway in a “Super Heroes” scene during the “Hair Boss” competition at the BASE Awards, held at the Legends Club. Photo by Vincent Hobbs

Soirée: Jazz and Wine at the Jessye-Norman School of the Arts Every 4th Saturday at 7:30 PM and features classic jazz music performed by the area’s top artists, various wines selected by the host, and light eats provided by Augusta’s finest chefs. All presented with state-of-the-art sound and lighting in a beautiful, historic building. • May24: Soiree - 4 Cats in the Doghouse RSVP Required due to limited seating. Dial 762.233.JAZZ (5299)

UrbanProWeekly •MAY 22 -31, 2014


It’s here…Summer Explosion 2014… Summer Explosion 2014 is a six week academic and cultural program presented by Beulah Grove Community Resource Center and taught by certified teachers from around the CSRA. The program focuses on assisting students in preparing for the grade to which they are being promoted.  

June 2 - July 11, 2014

HOURS: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm EXTENDED HOURS in the morning and afternoon at no extra cost—6 am to 6 pm Grades: K-5 through 8th Grades Cost:  $70.00 per week and $40.00 registration fee For more information visit or call 706-722-4999.

PARENT MEETING: May 29, 2014 at 6:00 pm in the Beulah Grove Building of Opportunity   BONUS:  For $125.00 a week attend Summer Explosion in the morning and the Kingdom Sounds Music Program in the afternoon.  For more information contact Minister Kevin Staley at or staleymusic@


C. Laney 7th SUPER REUNION Laney grads, attendees, faculty (retired also) & Friends May 23 - 27, 2014 Augusta Marriott Hotel & Suites Call Betty Dunn @ 706796-0904 or

The Loving Story A film that is part of Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle Film Series   The second in the series that the Augusta Museum of History will be presenting is the film The Loving Story  on May 22, 2014 at 6:30 p.m. in the Augusta-Richmond County Public Library, 1st floor multi-purpose room.  Admission is free. This film is a documentary of Richard and Mildred Loving. Their interracial marriage led to their arrest and a Supreme Court case in Virginia in 1965. There were a number of Civil Rights laws passed during the early 1960s to reverse earlier 20th Jim Crow laws. The film screening will be followed by a discussion facilitated by William R. Coleman, Jr, Attorney.  Coleman  is an attorney that has served on Civil Rights panels and has practiced law for over 50 years.  Dr. Lee Ann Caldwell, Georgia Regents University Historian and Director of the Center for Georgia Studies will be serving as Humanities Scholar. The Created Equal film set is made possible through a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, as part of its Bridging Cultures initiative, in partnership with the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.

2014 Community Block Party

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Corner of Turpin St. and Martin Luther King Blvd. Festivities include free food, free drinks & prize giveaways for children ages 14 and under. For more information, please contact the City of Augusta Special Events at 821-1754 or JR’s Stop and Shop (706) 722-5613. Sponsored by the Augusta Recreation, Parks & Facilities Department , JR’s Stop and Shop and Perry Broadcasting

WATERBRANCH BAPTIST CHURCH, located at 5701 Wrightsboro Road in Grovetown, GA, opens the food pantry (charitable food assistance) on the 3rd and 4th Saturday of every month, from 1-2pm. All are welcome. Rev. LJ Tanksley is the pastor.

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U W rban Pro



Protesters target McD’s HQ in fight for higher wages By Jessica Wohl Tribune reporter

CHICAGO Hundreds of McDonald’s workers and community activists staged a protest Wednesday near the fast-food chain’s headquarters in Oak Brook, seeking a wage increase to at least $15 per hour for employees. The demonstration was peaceful, with 138 protesters presenting their IDs to police and allowing themselves to be arrested and led to a bus, one-by-one, on a hot afternoon. The Oak Brook Police Department said the arrests were made for “criminal trespass to property” and Protesters demonstrate outside of McDonald’s headquarters in Oak Brook Wednesday, May 21, 2014. Photo by Chuck Berman/Chicago Tribune) that those arrested could face a fine. The push to raise fast-food and retail employees’ wages has led to protests made is “a starting wage,” because work- a company-owned McDonald’s in Twenty-one states and Washington, nationwide since the movement took ers have the opportunity to advance in Chicago, said she earns $8.98 per hour D.C. have minimum wages higher than shape in 2012, with demonstrations their careers at McDonald’s. and works part-time despite requests the federal minimum wage, and 38 from New York to Los Angeles that are McDonald’s headquarters remained for more hours. Most of the protesting states have considered minimum wage organized by groups financially backed open Wednesday, but workers in one workers are employed by franchisees. bills during the 2014 session, accordby the Service Employees International of the five buildings on the company’s That makes them a hard group to orga- ing to the National Conference of State Union. Wednesday’s gathering marked campus were asked to work from home nize because the union would have to Legislatures. Robert Bruno, a professor of labor and the latest against McDonald’s, coming a in advance, according to a company launch a campaign with every employer day before the company’s annual meet- spokeswoman. and gain the support of the majority of employment relations at the University “That building is in a high traffic area, the workers at every location. of Illinois at Chicago, said civil disobediing. The meeting will go on as schedCherri Delesline, 27, from Charleston, ence is a long practiced and developed uled Thursday morning, a McDonald’s off a major highway and is next to a busy shopping mall and the pedestri- S.C., said that she makes $7.35 an hour form of resistance that groups without spokeswoman said. While waiting to be arrested, Marie an and vehicle traffic and congestion at a McDonald’s and has been working money or political clout use to drag out Sanders, a 25-year old McDonald’s work- would be unbearable,” spokeswoman there for 10 years. She said that her their “oppressor.” The fact that workers are willing to er from Kansas City, Mo., said that she Lisa McComb said in an email. “They flight had been paid for by a union. In Chicago, some McDonald’s workers travel and get arrested shows that the makes $7.75 an hour now after starting are working from home and the rest of are members of the Workers Organizing movement is getting stronger, Bruno at $7.25 in 2011. She said that her work- us are working as usual.” Shareholders will vote on whether to Committee of Chicago. For now, the said. The election season, he said, creing conditions are fair but “it’s not a living wage. It’s like a constant struggle approve the company’s executive com- group is educating workers on labor ates a platform for the McDonald’s workpensation at Thursday’s meetng. Chief laws and asking them to voluntarily ers’ campaign. every day.” On Tuesday, Speaker Michael Madigan Earlier, about 500 people clogged the Executive Don Thompson earned total join the group, which is registered as a entrance road to the company’s head- compensation of $9.5 million in 2013. union. The workers don’t pay dues but ushered through the House a bill that Fast food workers in Chicago make are asked to attend meetings and partic- would allow voters to weigh in on quarters, with some singing “We shall whether Illinois should raise the mininot be moved” as police warned them about $8.25 per hour, the state’s min- ipate in events. The movement began as a walkout mum wage to $10. The proposal, which they could be arrested if they did not imum wage, protest organizers have said. Many are part-time workers with- in New York in 2012 , and evolved would not have the force of law, still move back. “We think it was a peaceful demon- out benefits who don’t have a set sched- into one-day protests that have targeted needs Senate approval. As he campaigns for re-election, Gov. retailers and other fast food operators, stration,” McDonald’s spokeswoman ule. Pat Quinn has requested a minimum “We need to show McDonald’s that including Burger King and Wendy’s. Heidi Barker Sa Shekhem said. Since then, U.S. President Barack wage hike from the current $8.25 per She said the minimum wage is an we’re serious and that we’re not backing “industry issue. And like any company, down,” said Jessica Davis, a 25-year-old Obama has pushed Congress to raise hour. Democrats, however, are unlikely the federal minimum wage to $10.10 to have the votes this spring to pass such we have our eye on the debate.” She said McDonald’s crew trainer. an increase. Davis, a mother of two, works at per hour from the current $7.25. the low wage some fast-food workers


Sabotage of Blocker-Adams campaign limited freedom of choice It matters in a civilized and moral society how an election was decided. An election won under a cloud of suspicion is not a cause for celebration. Hardie Davis may have won the mayor’s seat, but the voters lost the election. Psychological voter tampering should not be tolerated by people of conscience who reside in a free

country. Augusta, Richmond County voters were manipulated by a malicious smear of Helen Blocker-Adams. The talebearers’ dagger was strategically inserted into Helen’s mayoral campaign at the last possible moment. Then, a lust for media ratings and sponsors pushed in the dagger far

enough to mortally wound BlockerAdam’s campaign. Let Helen’s supporters eat cake. Their choice for mayor eliminated. Let this be a lesson on what voter freedom is not. Not having freedom of choice is not freedom. Voters do not have freedom to choose when their choices are limited by intrigue,

subterfuge, and manipulation. Therefore, it would be wise to heed the warning of an unknown author who wrote, No man escapes when freedom fails. The best men rot in filthy jails. And, those that cried, Appease! Appease!; are hanged by those they tried to please. Kevin Palmer, Martinez, GA


UrbanProWeekly • MAY 22 - 31, 2014



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Concer t for the Jessye Norman School of the Ar ts AUGUSTA Two renowned singers and a top pianist/composer will join forces to raise money for the Jesse Norman School of the Arts at 5 p.m. August 24, 2014 at the Grover C. Maxwell Performing Arts Theater on the campus of Georgia Regents University Augusta. Tenor Lawrence Brownlee and Soprano Leah Partridge with perform with Damien Sneed in a lively and wide-ranging program. Tickets are $40 for adults and $20 for students under 25 with a valid student ID. Tickets can be purchased online at, www.TICKETS.GRU.EDU and at the Maxwell Theater Box Office. For more information call Carolyn Dolen at 706-294-8849. One of the most highly regarded tenors in the world, Lawrence Brownlee has thrilled audiences with the power and agility of his voice. Performing opposite the leading ladies of opera, and lauded everywhere for the effortless beauty of his voice, the Ohio-born Brownlee is the

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The CSRA's free weekly newspaper providing news, commentary, sports, arts and entertainment.

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