Monthly Archives: November 2016

Francisco Cruz


Francisco CruzFort Gordon Fisher House Manager

Number of years in position: 19

Family: Wife, Suvimol; a stepson, and a granddaughter

Why I’m Passionate About What I Do: I enjoy being able to continue serving our military — especially helping out when it is needed the most such as during a medical crisis of a military loved one.

Community Groups and Charities I Love to Support: First is the U.S.O. because it was the first organization that supported my Army National Guard Unit when it was activated in the war on terrorism in February 2003. Second is the American Red Cross. Its disaster teams helped my National Guard unit in humanitarian missions after hurricanes Hugo and Andrew. I also support groups like the American Legion, American Legion Riders, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, Fisher House, Association of the United States Army and wounded warrior organizations. They ensure that veterans and their families get support and assistance and are not forgotton.

Biggest Career or Life Obstacle I’ve Overcome and How: The loss of loved-ones. On my mother’s side, there were 11 brothers and sisters. On my father’s side, there were 14 brothers and sisters. After joining the military, I was unable to be part of their lives and connect with them as I did when I was younger. Later, I found that the true meaning of life is the love of family and friends. Their love helped me overcome and deal with the loss of family.

Accomplishment I’m Most Proud Of: Spending nine years in the U.S. Army and more than 10 years with the Georgia Army National Guard as part of the best Armed Forces in the world 

Favorite Christmas Carols: “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “Little Drummer Boy”

Favorite TV Shows: “Person of Interest,” “Blindspot,” “Supernatural,” “CSI” shows, “Lucifer,” “The Strain”

Favorite Movie: Orignal Superman movie with Christopher Reeve

Favorite Sports Team: NY Yankees – but I have to give it up for the Cubs this year.

Favorite Comfort Food: This is a hard one for me since I like a variety of dishes from several different countries, but Spanish and Thai food are my favorites. If I have to choose just one, then it would be pasteles, a Spanish dish.

Favorite Apps: Local News App, Accu-Weather and Facebook

Last Book Read: The Return: A Field Manual for Life after Combat by David J. Danelo

Something That Has Changed My Life: My father’s death from cancer in 2001. We were fortunate to have him with us for an additional five years after he was given less than six months to live when he was diagnosed. It gave me and my brothers an appreciation of life and death and prepared us for the loss of our mother later in life. 

Best Thing I Ever Learned: Listen and try not to prejudge

Favorite Hobbies: Viewing new movies, flying small remote control helicopters

Best Christmas Present I Got as a Kid: A Big Wheel

Secret Aspiration: I’ll keep it a secret. 

Reality Show I Would Totally Win: “The Price is Right” 

Something People Would Be Surprised to Know About Me: I learned how to ride a bicycle by riding the edge of a flat two-story roof top in my youth. It’s not something I would recommend doing, though.

What person do you think we should know? If you’d like to suggest someone we should meet, email and tell us why.

Salvation Army Angel Tree


Salvation Army Angel TreeThis year more than 650 children will have a Merry Christmas because of the Salvation Army of Augusta Angel Tree program. Through the generosity of corporate sponsors and individual donors, the Angel Tree program brings the joy of Christmas to local children whose families otherwise would have difficulty providing gifts for them.

“There are many families that are in need this time of year, and we want their children to have a wonderful Christmas,” says Captain Elaine Canning of the Salvation Army. “Those of us who have been blessed can provide blessings for a child in need. As a nonprofit, we rely on the generosity of our donors to make Christmas happen for these children.”

Angel trees are located at the Kroc Center, Augusta Mall and area Subway restaurants, and gifts for angels are due by Friday, December 2. However, additional donated gifts will be accepted the following week at the Kroc Center, 1833 Broad Street, Augusta, as well. Volunteers also are needed to sort, organize, bag and distribute food, toys and stockings at the Salvation Army Christmas Warehouse. Various shifts are available. 

Salvation Army Angel TreeAngels range in age from birth to 12 years old, and each angel tag includes the child’s first name; age; gender; shoe, clothing and coat size; and three toy suggestions. Popular gifts include arts and crafts supplies, balls and other sports equipment, dolls and board games.

Parents completed an eligibility form to apply for the program, and each family picks up the gifts by appointment.

Salvation Army Angel TreeThe Angel Tree program was started in 1979 in Lynchburg, Virginia, and this program, along with the familiar red kettles, is one of the Salvation Army’s highest profile Christmas efforts. 

“We couldn’t have an Angel Tree or all of the programs that the Salvation Army offers throughout the year without the support of the community and our sponsors,” Elaine says.

For more information, visit

Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Rum Sauce


Pumpkin Bread Puddingpumpkin-bread-pudding-with-rum-sauce

  • 1 large loaf challah or French bread, cut into cubes (about 10 cups)
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups milk
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl, whisk together cream, milk, eggs, sugar, cinnamon and pumpkin. Add bread cubes and toss gently to coat. Let sit for 15 minutes. Lightly coat a 10-by-14-inch baking pan with butter or cooking spray. Pour bread and egg mixture into pan and press gently. Sprinkle pecans evenly over top. Bake 50-60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Serve warm or room temperature with Rum Sauce (recipe below). Makes 12 servings.

Rum Sauce

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons rum or 1 teaspoon rum extract
  • 1 cup sugar 

Combine all ingredients in saucepan over medium heat. Cook and stir until mixture is smooth and sugar is dissolved. Do not boil. Makes about 2 cups.

By Ginny McCormack Ehrhart, Georgia cookbook author, radio personality and business

Herb Roasted Turkey

  • herb-roasted-turkey1 (12-14 pound) turkey, thawed
  • 1 stick butter, room temperature
  • 2 handfuls fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 2 handfuls fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • 2 handfuls fresh sage, chopped
  • 2 handfuls fresh oregano, chopped (I love Greek oregano, if available)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 lemons, cut in half

Remove giblets from turkey. Rinse turkey well and pat dry with paper towels. Place turkey, breast side up, in large roasting pan. Set aside and allow turkey to come to room temperature, about one hour. Preheat oven to 450 degrees with the rack on the lowest level. In mixing bowl, combine butter with one handful each of rosemary, thyme, sage and oregano. Add salt and pepper and combine thoroughly. Using your hands, rub butter all over outside of turkey and pat down. Place remaining herbs and lemons inside the turkey cavity. Tie legs together with kitchen twine. Roast turkey for 30 minutes at 450 degrees. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue cooking for two more hours. Using a meat thermometer, check internal temperature at thickest part of turkey to make sure it is 175 degrees. If not, continue cooking until this temperature is reached and the skin is crispy. Remove turkey from oven and allow to rest for 30 minutes before carving. Makes 8-10 servings.

Fair Play


fair-1-main-photoGet ready for a whirlwind of entertainment as the 51st Columbia County Fair kicks off November 3 for ten days of pulse-pounding midway rides, outlandish stunt shows and wacky fair food. 

This year’s lineup includes returning favorites such as the Sea Lion Splash, Galaxy Girl Aerial Motorcycle Stunt Show, demolition derbies and petting zoo.

New attractions include Chase’s Racing Pigs, Farmily Feud Agricultural Game Show and sanctioned bull riding with the top 25 bull riders in the Southeast.

The Merchants Association of Columbia County, a non-profit organization of local business volunteers, presents the fair each year at its fairgrounds on Columbia Road across from Patriots Park. Special amenities include free parking with security, free golf cart shuttles, free nightly entertainment and free admission for kids 3 and under.

fair-carousel-horseProceeds from the fair benefit many local charities and provide scholarships to seniors from each Columbia County public high school. For more information, visit

2016 Fair Schedule:

Thursday, November 3
Hours: 4-11 p.m.
Admission: $7; free admission 4-5 p.m.
Unlimited Ride Special: $15
FFA Judging: 6 p.m.
Musical Entertainment: Donna Jo
Bull Riding: 7:30 p.m. 

Friday, November 4
Hours: 5 p.m. – midnight
Admission: $7
Unlimited Ride Special: $20 from 9:30 p.m.-midnight
Musical Entertainment: Tony Howard Motown Review
Bull Riding: 7:30 p.m. 

Saturday, November 5
Hours: Noon – midnight
Admission Special: $7
Kids’ Day Special: Kids ride free noon – 1 p.m.
Musical Entertainment: Will McCranie Trio 

Sunday, November 6
Hours: 1 – 11 p.m.
Admission Special: $7; $1 off with church bulletin
Unlimited Ride Special: $20
Musical Entertainment: Little Roy and Lizzie, 5-7 p.m. 

Monday, November 7
Hours: 5 – 11 p.m.
Admission: $7
Unlimited Ride Special: $20
Musical Entertainment: Brandon Shane Reeves
Demolition Derby: 7:30 p.m. 

Tuesday, November 8
Hours: 5 – 11 p.m.
Admission: $7 or free admission with 5 non-perishable items per person for the food bank
Unlimited Ride Special: $18
Apollo Talent Night: Ages 1-12 

Wednesday, November 9
Hours: 5 – 11 p.m.
Admission: $7
Unlimited Ride Special: $20
Musical Entertainment: Ippie Music
UGA Georgettes Dance Team: 6 p.m.
Student Appreciation Night 

Thursday, November 10
Hours: 5 – 11 p.m.
Admission: $7
Senior Night: $3 admission for adults 55 and older with ID card
Military Appreciation Night: $3 admission with military ID
Unlimited Ride Special: $20
Apollo Talent Night: Ages 13 and up 

Friday, November 11
Hours: 5 p.m. – midnight
Admission: $7
Musical Entertainment: Tim Cardiere
Demolition Derby: 7:30 p.m. 

fair-chainsaw-artistSaturday, November 12
Hours: Noon – midnight
Admission: $7
Kids’ Day Special: Kids ride free noon – 1 p.m.
Unlimited Ride Special: Buy unlimited ride stamp between noon-3 p.m. for $25 and come back later
Musical Entertainment: The BTUs
Chainsaw Carving Auction: 9 p.m. 

Sunday, November 13
Hours: 1-11 p.m.
Admission: $5
Unlimited Ride Special: $20

Show Time


annie-moses-bandIt’s not the same old song and dance with the variety of shows that Augusta Amusements is bringing to the area for the holidays.

On Monday, November 14 at 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., the Annie Moses Band pays tribute to the most treasured love songs of the last century in “The Art of the Love Song.” The epitome of old-school elegance, the band — which scores an impressive double chart entry on Amazon’s Classics chart and Billboard’s Classics/Crossover chart — performs music that is reminiscent of the Great American Songbook of the 1940s and 1950s and borrows from artists of the ’60s and ’70s such as Don McLean, Paul Williams and John Lennon.

The concert is a memorable collection of some of the greatest love songs written, including “Evergreen,” “And I Love You So,” “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,” “And I Love Her,” among many others.  The band’s corresponding 60-minute PBS Special has been airing on PBS stations across the country since early 2016. Tickets are $39 for the matinee and $49 for the evening performance.

The holiday season kicks off with “A Very Electric Christmas” by Lightwire Theater on Thursday, December 1. Performed in complete darkness, the show tells the story of a young bird named Max who tries to get home for Christmas after being separated from his parents while flying South for the winter.

The storyline features Nutcracker soldiers with candy canes, naughty rats, an electric Christmas tree surrounded by presents, glow worms, dancing flowers and other creatures that light up the stage. Audiences of all ages will enjoy timeless Christmas songs from Nat King Cole, Tchaikovsky, Mariah Carey and others. Shows start at 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $28.50 for adults and $14.50 for children under age 12.

“Merry Christmas Darling: Carpenters’ Christmas,” starring Michelle Berting Brett, celebrates the biggest hits of one of the most successful recording duos of all time. The performance, a natural offshoot of the “We’ve Only Just Begun: Carpenters Remembered” show, features a full complement of Karen and Richard Carpenter’s classic repertoire.

Brett takes center stage accompanied by her 7-piece Nashville band and performs songs like “Close to You,” Yesterday Once More” and “We’ve only Just Begun” along with holiday favorites. The show begins at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, December 8. Tickets are $39.50.

All performances will take place at Jabez S. Harden Performing Arts Center. For more information, call (706) 726-0366 or visit

Rockin’ the Country


big-richThere’s nothing shy about Big Kenny and John Rich. If you’ve ever been to one of their hard-hitting concerts you know what we mean. If that fortune has escaped you, here’s your Big — and Rich — break. The high-energy country music duo is bringing the party to Evans Towne Center Park on Friday, November 4. 

Along with a set list that includes crowd favorites such as their first No. 1 hit, “Lost in This Moment,” the duo will perform their most recent hits from Gravity, including “Look at You” and “Lovin’ Lately.” With any luck fans will also hear a tribute to our military with “8th of November,” a patriotic crowd singalong of “God Bless America” and a blistering version of “Rollin’ (The Ballad of Big & Rich)” before leaving the park.

Cowboy Troy will join the duo onstage for several songs that featured him, including “I Play Chicken With a Train” and — don’t you know it — “Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy).” DJ Sinister, who has the #1 Internationally Syndicated Country Remix program on radio, and hometown Southern rocker Eric Lee Beddingfield join the party and put the icing on the cake. 

For tickets or more information, visit