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Aiken Standard (Newspaper) - February 22, 2011, Aiken, South Carolina *G-Force takes 1st in robotics regional NA residents Tuesday February 2Z 2011 Vol. 145, No. 53 Your Loral Source Since I8(>7 mmmm—mmmmi sssssss Tri ritm At Iftgn i ■tilit Todays weatner High 75° Low SSP Full forecast 16C 500 Officials: Fire danger continues By KAREN DAILY Staff writer Despite the lack of an official hum ban. South Carolina Forestry officials continued Monday to warn residents of the dangers of outdoor burning. State Forestry Commission spokesman Scott Hawkins said firefighters responded to 221 tires over the weekend, bringing the statewide total to 447 wildfires so far for February. The Forestry Commission and the National Weather Serv ice have asked residents not to do any outdoor burning because of stitf winds and low humidity. Although humidity will recover today, the National Weather Sen ice is reporting that grasses and other fuels will remain dry, increasing the potential for a fire to get out of control quickly. It is illegal to bum yard debris in the C ity of Aiken at all times, but residents living in the unincorporated parts of Aiken County where yard debris bums are allowed must still contact the S.C. Forestry Commission at (SOO) 895-7057 before burning. • Burning household trash is strictly prohibited throughout the state at al) times. Items that are illegal to hum include, hut arc not limited to, paper and cardboard, motor and waste heating oil, roofing materials like shingles and tar, tires and other rubber products, paint, electrical wire, plastic. Please see FIRE, page 14A •COOKIES ARE COMING* Girl Scout favorites arrive Thursday By ANNA BOLIAN ITIS    _    . . Stall writer    COOkfe    COUIlt: Thin Mints, Peanut Butter Patties, Caramel delights and the rest of the Girl Scout cookie varieties will be making their way into town later this week. Troop leaders will receive the cookie shipments on Thursday, and those who preordered from Girl Scouts can expect to see their cookies as early as Friday, said Katie Miller of the Girl Scouts’ Aiken Serv ice Unit. This year’s sale numbers for the initial cookie shipment, which includes preordered cookies and boxes ordered by troops to sell at area businesses in the next couple weeks, came out to almost 20,000 more boxes than last year’s initial shipment. Number of cookies sold during Aiken’s ordering period this year: •Thin Mints-13,416 • Caramel deLights -11,976 • Peanut Butter Sandwiches - 8,136 • Peanut Butter Patties - 7,848 • Shortbreads - 6,360 • Lemonades - 5,412 • Thanks-A-Lots -3,888 • Shout outs! - 2,832 Total - 59,868 Last year, 41,472 boxes were ordered initially, compared to 59,868 boxes ordered this year. “We have a lot of new troops this year, which I believe is why we’ve seen such an increase in our initial order this year,*’ Miller said. It was no surprise, Miller said, that Thin Mints were the best-sellers this year, with Caramel deLights coming in close second. Girl Scout cookie orders will be delivered by March 25 at the very latest. Miller said. Last year, Aiken Girl Scouts sold a total of 60,024 boxes Photo cou""    0f cook ies, and the girls arc already only 13 cases of cookie boxes away from meeting last year’s final numbers, Miller said. Those who missed out on the pre-order period don’t have to wait until next year to get their Girl Scout cookie fix, because troops order Please tee COOKIE, page 14A HI Aiken High-based M’Aiken Magic’s three Tech Challenge robotics teams thoroughly dominated a regional event in Cookville, Tenn. By ROB NOVIT Senior writer M’Aiken Magic's three Tech Challenge robotics teams thoroughly dominated a regional event in Cookville, Tenn., Saturday, taking three of the top four spots with their alliance partners. G-Forcc and its partner team took first place in the tense finals over an alliance that included Atomix, another M’Aiken Magic squad. The G-Force team apparently has qualified for the international Tech Challenge competition later this spring, which G-Forcc won with two alliance partners in 2010. The caveat, said Coach Kelly Russell, is that G-Force was selected for the final round by an Arkansas team, which, as the “captain’’ squad, automatically gets a berth in the international event. G-Force may have to go through a lottery, although that wasn’t necessary last year. The thud Aiken High-based team, M’Aiken Tech Magic, reached Ok semi-finals That team and Atomix will have another chance to make the international contest at a regional at S.C. State University in Orangeburg March 5. Russell and longtime team mentor Clyde Ward were Ruth Evans Fro rn mer Aiken Batty i. Hightower, Olmsted Falls, Ohio Mite Calendar SC Classifieds 4B Comics SC Dear Abby AC Markets 12A Movie Listings SC Nation/World UA Obituaries 6A Opinions 13A Puzzles 4C Sport* IB TV Listings 2C impressed with the perseverance by members of all three squads. “This tournament was so poorly organized,’* said Russell. “It took 16'£ hours, the longest one-day event I've ever attended. The kids were tired, but they kept going mentally. It was gratifying to see them crane hack, so it was worth it in the end.” All three squads were beset by technical problems throughout the day - parts not working and has mg to be repaired, the planning field for the small 'bots not conforming to the configuration that the teams anticipated. G-Force captain John Fogarty wasn’t entirely surprised “This is the hardest game I’ve ever seen,” he said. After the preliminary rounds, Tech Magic was fifth, Atranix sixth and G-Force 11th. Only the top four at that stage were assured spots in the finals, but three of those teams selected the Aiken teams as alliance partner* Ironically, Fogarty had to deal with double-duty Saturday. The judges had trouble with the software fra the contest, said Russell, so Fogarty spent much of his tune assisting that effort. There was also a scoring glitch from the referees, and M’Aiken Tech Magic’* alli- Chester Meade Parry, Aiken kU4l Scott New York City, N.Y. discuss new complex plan anet may have crane out ahead of the Atranix alliance. But Brittany Wackcr of Tech Magic brushed off the results. “It’s all about working together,” she said. “We got plenty of practice and now know how we need to change our strategy.” All three teams had been Platte see ROBOTS, page 14A By HALEY HUGHES Staff writer NORTH AUGUSTA — A date has been tentatively set for the first meeting of a citizens ad hoc committee, which among other things, will make a recommendation to Aiken County Council on the location of a new administrative complex. Aiken County Administrator Clay Killian said he has penciled in Monday as the date for when the 18-pcrson committee will first meet. The committee is expected to meet at least twice. “Once the advisory committee meets and puts their heads together to come up with a recommendation, we’ll make a decision,** said Council Chairman Ronnie Young, who was also at the public input session in North Augusta. As they sat in the Palmetto Room of the North Augusta Municipal Center, several in the audience Monday could not help but make comparisons of certain aspects of the building that opened in 2009 to the complex Aiken County anticipates building. Want to go? ► What? Fetal public input session on new administrative complex ► Whan? Today from 6 to 8 p.m. ► Where? AAen Technical Coiege n the auditorium of Braiding 100, located on Afcerv Augusta Highway North Augusta’s facility is 66,000 square feet and sits on about 6 acres, while projections put Aiken County's new building at 125,000 square feet. Architects and contractors have 9 acres to work with if the complex > remains at its current site on Richland Avenue. Preliminary numbers indicate it w ill cost between $25 million and $30 million and will accommodate about 250 staff members. It was unclear how many North Augusta staff members w ork rn the Georgia Avenue building. Mayra Lark Jones, City Administrator Sam Bennett and members of North Augusta C ity Please sea COMPLEX, page 14A Gitas Dania! "Danny" Gregory, Mount HollyDeaths and Funerals I SA The ii. We Accept Southlawn Cemetery & Mausoleum , t ikon s limier ( vmeten Voted Aiken 6 Best ('emetory For '/\*o (bliaut ive I burs! Two Spaces for the price of Ona (Valid im |-f--r-n>nMr"iii-ifi*- oui)    (!><*»►    <*4>|4y.    infer uui> eijnr* vuImhiI uutuw) Provide you nod your loved erne Pviu e of Mind through Ptmrmogement Save Today! (HOT) 6416800 4534 Whiskey Hoad, Aiken, SI NOHUI Stall photo by Rob Novit Two days after a regional Tech Challenge competition with small robots, M Aiken Magic members were working to get the big 'bot ready to send off to a regional competition in Charleston next month. From left are Dustin Snelling, Larsen Scott John Fogarty and Brittany Wicker. ;