News for Tuesday, December 13, 2005

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Kay Chavis

Kay Chavis, age 67, of Auburn, passed away December 12, 2005. Arrangements by Smith Funeral Home of Winder, GA, 770-867-4553.

Charmiel Downing

Charmiel W. Downing, age 59 of Duluth, died December 12, 2005. Arrangements pending with Bill Head Funeral Homes and Crematory, Duluth Chapel, 770-476-2535.

J. C. Williams

J. C. Williams, age 77, of Toccoa, formerly of Sugar Hill, passed away Monday, December 12, 2005. Arrangements by Tapp/Tim Stewart Funeral Home and Crematory, 201 Morningside Drive, Buford ...

Evelyn Hill

Evelyn Roberta Hill, age 82 of Duluth, passed away December 13, 2005. Arrangements by Crowell Brothers Peachtree Chapel Funeral Home of Norcross, GA, 770-448-5757.

James Presley

James Clarence (J.C.) “Babe” Presley, age 84, of Tucker, passed away December 12, 2005. Arrangements by Wages & Sons Gwinnett Chapel, 1031 Lawrenceville Highway, Lawrenceville, GA 30045, 770-277-4550 ...

Jessie Freeman

Jessie B. Freeman, age 84, of Buford, passed away Monday, December 12, 2005. A Graveside Service will be held at 2 P.M. Wednesday, December 14, 2005 at Broadlawn Memorial Gardens ...

Charles Little

Charles Clifton Little, age 67 of Lilburn, died December 13, 2005. Funeral services will be held 2:00 Thursday, December 15, 2005 at Bill Head Funeral Home, Duluth Chapel with Rev ...

Katrina is a scrooge

All under one roof

No time to stop: Gladiators aim to keep rolling

When the Gwinnett Gladiators got down 4-1 in the second period of Saturday's game in Columbia, head coach Jeff Pyle mentally shrugged his shoulders.

Republicans fighting good fight against VotersRights Act

Rome News-Tribune:

It is very much in keeping with what constitutes being an ''American'' to fight the good fight, regardless of the odds, to stand up for a principle. Hence the Georgia Republican congressional delegation is to be commended for seeking to scrap Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which must be renewed by 2007.

Swimming roundup: Mill Creek relay sets school mark

Mill Creek's 400 freestyle relay set a school record with a first-place finish at this past weekend's Clody Memorial Swim and Dive Invitational.

Brookwood wrestling team wins Hardaway Invitational

The Brookwood Broncos placed 10 wrestlers en route to winning the 23-team Hardaway Invitational tournament on Saturday.

Prep roundup: Jukes leads Comets past Meadowcreek

NORCROSS - Alabama signee Avery Jukes led South Gwinnett past Meadowcreek Monday night 70-65.

Jukes led all South (3-2, 2-2) scorers with 24 points. Delano Howard also had a strong performance with 19 points.

Lilburn says goodbye to Barry after 18 years

LILBURN - The Lilburn Council said goodbye at Monday's meeting to one of its members after 18 years of service to the city.

Council member Bill Barry decided earlier this year to not seek another term and to retire from politics.

Four senators join new ethics panel

ATLANTA - The top-ranking member of the Georgia Senate on Monday named two Republicans and two Democrats to serve on a new committee that will examine conflict-of-interest complaints against legislators.

Senate President Pro Tempore Eric Johnson appointed Sens. Seth Harp, R-Midland; Jack Hill, R-Reidsville; Michael Meyer von Bremen, D-Albany; and Terrell Starr, D-Jonesboro, to the Joint Legislative Ethics Committee.

The four will join Johnson, R-Savannah, House Speaker Glenn Richardson, R-Hiram, and four yet-to-be-named House members on the panel, created by the General Assembly this year as part of an ethics overhaul.

"I wanted veteran legislators who are trusted by both sides of the aisle, who would not view this committee as a political playground,'' Johnson said.

As originally proposed by Gov. Sonny Perdue, this year's ethics bill would have empowered the State Ethics Commission to investigate conflicts of interest alleged against elected officials.

Democrats and good-government advocates complained when GOP legislative leaders replaced the commission in that role with the joint legislative panel. The legislative committee's critics argued that lawmakers wouldn't adequately police themselves.

But on Monday, Johnson said he has faith that the senators he is appointing will not hesitate to tackle complaints against their colleagues.

"They would not shy away from anything just because it might look awkward,'' he said.

Meyer von Bremen, a former chairman of the Senate Ethics Committee, said he would prefer to have at least one non-legislator on the new panel to give it a greater sense of independence.

He noted that a special committee he served on that heard ethics charges against former Sen. Van Streat, D-Nicholls, included a retired state Supreme Court justice.

"I am willing to serve (on the new committee),'' Meyer von Bremen said. "(But) I would hope that, as we progress, we will look for improvements to make it better.''

The new committee's jurisdiction will be limited to complaints involving legislators or members of their staffs.

Johnson and Richardson will be the panel's co-chairmen, Johnson to oversee cases involving House members and Richardson to handle complaints against senators.

Johnson said any sanctions the joint committee recommends would be referred to the ethics committee in the affected lawmaker's legislative chamber.

Board to consider rezonings

LAWRENCEVILLE - Gwinnett County commissioners have a full slate of rezonings to consider tonight, but the biggest are almost certain to be pushed back.

Immigrant bill tough but flexible

ATLANTA - Georgia's senior U.S. senator will introduce legislation today that would combine a get-tough approach toward illegal immigration with flexibility to allow some illegal farm workers to remain in this country temporarily.

Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss' bill has many of the enforcement provisions contained in other measures pending before Congress, including hiring more Customs and Border Patrol officers, building more border checkpoints and detention centers and authorizing state and local police agencies to enforce federal immigration law.

But the bill also would allow illegal immigrants working in farming or related businesses - including poultry production and landscaping - to remain in the country for up to two years at the request of their employers.

"This is not amnesty. Amnesty allows them to stay here illegally for an indefinite period of time,'' said Chambliss, chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee.

"(But) we can't stick our head in the sand and say, as a practical matter, that we can round up all these folks and send them back where they came from.''

Chambliss' bill takes a different tone toward illegal immigrants than legislation being pushed by other Republicans at both the state and federal levels.

Legislation sponsored by two members of Georgia's congressional delegation - U.S. Reps. Charlie Norwood, R-Evans, and Tom Price, R-Roswell - focuses strictly on beefing up efforts to prevent illegal immigrants from crossing the border into this country or arresting them after they're here.

In the General Assembly, Republicans are pushing various measures to deny taxpayer-funded services to people who cannot prove they are legal residents, including a ban on noncitizens enrolling in state colleges or universities.

Earlier this month, GOP Gov. Sonny Perdue ordered the state agency in charge of eligibility for Medicaid to take steps to ensure that no noncitizens receive benefits.

"That's a step in the right direction,'' Senate President Pro Tempore Eric Johnson, R-Savannah, said Monday. "(But) we still think legislation is required.''

Chambliss said he opposes such efforts.

"We can't deny health care to illegal immigrants,'' he said. "The law says we can't deny education to their children. I support that.''

Jerry Gonzalez, executive director of the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials, praised the portion of Chambliss' bill offering flexibility to illegal farm workers.

"I think Sen. Chambliss is trying to place back reality into the situation that we as a nation rely heavily on immigrant labor, particularly in Georgia with the agriculture industry,'' he said.

But Gonzalez said any push to empower local authorities to go after illegal immigrants would only make American communities less safe because illegals would go further into hiding.

"They're not going to report crimes, call the police when they're victims of crime or when they see suspicious activity,'' he said.

Chambliss said any illegal immigrants who take advantage of the two-year stay offered in his bill would be issued ID cards that would let authorities keep track of them. Also, the offer would not be valid for any job that an American worker wants to fill, he said.

Hurricane giving blamed for lack of donations at co-ops

LAWRENCEVILLE - Many Gwinnettians in need may find fewer toys under the tree and less food on the table on Christmas Day than in years past. Intense giving after Hurricane Katrina and an influx of displaced families have resulted in fewer donations and a higher demand.

"We had 43 new families in November," said Shirley Cabe, Norcross Cooperative Ministry director. "We are serving around 1,350 families and we have 233 families that are just Katrina (related) alone."

After the hurricane a lot of things changed, Cabe said. Normally the 17-year-old ministry restricts service to Norcross residents only, but Cabe expanded the service region to include all Gwinnett residents suffering from the natural disaster.

The Lawrenceville Cooperative Ministry has also seen a difference this month compared to last December.

Sports calendar

Baseball

Dec. 18: A 12-and-under Lanier Baseball League travel team will have tryouts at Alberta Banks Park in Flowery Branch from 1 to 3 p.m. Call Jim Harter at 770-271-2344.

Reeves to play for D-I East Carolina

It didn't take long at all for Kennard Reeves to realize he wanted to be an East Carolina Pirate.

Falcons flying high

Time to relax and enjoy the season

When I was a kid, I heard folks complaining pretty regularly about how commercialized Christmas had become.

Business Briefs

OPEC keeps output steady, hints

of possible reduction next year

•KUWAIT CITY - OPEC decided Monday to keep its crude-oil production steady at record levels for now and to meet next month to consider reducing output - a strategy meant to keep markets calm but prices firm.

Dacula girls off to sizzling start

Since his predecessor won 481 career games, Travis Young knew he wasn't going to match that total for quite some time, if ever.

Not such a Silent Night

The effort by some cable TV hosts and ministers to force commercial establishments into wishing everyone a ''Merry Christmas'' might be more objectionable to the One who is the reason for the season than the ''Happy Holidays'' mantra required by some store managers.

Snellville backs uniform plan for South Gwinnett

SNELLVILLE - Monday night, Snellville City Council members adopted a resolution to support administrators' and teachers' proposed uniform policy. If educators have their way, South Gwinnett high school students will be wearing school uniforms in the 2006-2007 school year.

Councilman Bruce Garraway said, "The purpose of this resolution is to support a uniform code of dress. We need to show teachers and administrators we are behind them."

Councilman Robert Jenkins agreed, suggesting the city clerk send Gwinnett school superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks a letter stating the council's support.

The resolution was adopted 5-0, with Mayor Jerry Oberholtzer abstaining from the vote.

"I believe in uniforms. It's a good idea on a voluntary basis. I'm concerned, though, about the government getting involved in this," Oberholtzer said.

Council adopts

Christmas Tree resolution

By unanimous vote, council members voted Monday night to officially identify the city's annually decorated tree as a "Christmas tree."

"There's been a lot of dialogue about this on a national and local level," Garraway said. "There's been a great push to be politically correct. This (resolution) is not intended to be bigoted toward any other religions."

Jenkins agreed with Garraway's comments stating, "We've carried this political correctness to the point of stupidity. We're preserving this (tradition) for the children, really."

Oberholtzer added that city officials are planning to plant a tree at the new city center. "We can watch this one grow over the years," Oberholtzer said.

The next City Council meeting will be held Jan. 9 in the new City Hall building.

Two teens killed in Highway 78 crash

SNELLVILLE - Two teenagers who were not wearing seat belts were killed over the weekend in a wreck on Stone Mountain Highway in Snellville.

Lawrenceville's junked cars to be towed for free

LAWRENCEVILLE - City residents in neighborhoods targeted for cleanup will get their junked cars and trucks towed away for free.

Police reports

Men rob Lawrenceville pizzeria

•LAWRENCEVILLE - Two men robbed the Buck's Pizza restaurant Thursday at 850 Dogwood Road in Lawrenceville.

Six arrested in gang shooting

NORCROSS - Seven teenage gang members have been arrested and another is wanted in connection with drive-by Saturday at a Norcross house.

Schools' staff moves into new headquarters

SUWANEE - Moving boxes, crates and furniture fill the huge new Instructional Support Center, the new administrative headquarters for Gwinnett County Schools. But once everything is assembled, moved and unpacked, many school system employees will enjoy the benefits of new offices in the impressive facility.

OBITUARIES

BUFORD

MAPLES, TOM

Mr. Tom H. Maples, age 86, of Buford, GA, passed away December 11, 2005. Service and Arrangements will be announced later by Junior E. Flanigan of Flanigan Funeral Home and Crematory of Buford, GA, 770-932-1133, www.flaniganfuneralhome.com.

GAINESVILLE

BURKHALTER, BILL

Mr. Bill Burkhalter, age 67, of Gainesville, GA, passed away December 10, 2005. Service and Arrangements will be announced later by Junior E. Flanigan of Flanigan Funeral Home and Crematory of Buford, GA, 770-932-1133, www.flaniganfuneralhome.com.

LAWRENCEVILLE

BYERS, CATHERINE

Catherine Byers, age 80 of Lawrenceville, died Sunday, December 11, 2005. Funeral Services will be held 2:00 PM Tuesday, December 13, 2005 in the Lawrenceville Chapel of Tim Stewart Funeral Home. Rev. Loyd Ferguson & Rev. Bill Byers will officiate. Burial will follow at Believers Baptist Church Cemetery, Lawrenceville. Mrs. Byers was a member of Crossroad Baptist Church, Lawrenceville. She was preceded in death by her husband, Robert T. Byers & Grandson, Jeremy Cox. She is survived by her Children: Robert T. & Sandra Byers, Waco, GA, Bill & Mary Byers, Dacula, Alfred & Barbara Byers, Dacula, Donald & Janice Byers, Lawrenceville, Jimmy & Virginia Byers, Lawrenceville, Kathy & Bill Cox, Commerce; Brother: Hubert Parks, Dawsonville; Sister: Shirley Lee, Commerce, Mary May, Greenwood, SC; 13 Grandchildren & 7 Great Grandchildren; Several Nieces & Nephews also survive. In lieu of flowers memorials to: Peachtree Christian Hospice, 3430 Duluth Park Lane, Duluth, GA 30078, 770-232-7725. The family will receive friends from 11:00 AM til 9:00 PM Monday, December 12, 2005 at Tim Stewart Funeral Home, 300 Simonton Road, Lawrenceville, GA, 770-962-3100.

SANTOVITO, ROCCO

Rocco William Santovito, age 86 of Lawrenceville, GA, passed away on December 11, 2005. He was the widower of Kathleen Santovito. He is survived by: Son: Nicholas D. Santovito; Grandson: Rocco J. Santovito; Grandaughter-in-Law: Kimberly C. Santovito; Great Grandchild: Brittni N. Dean, all of Lawrenceville; Several Nieces & Nephews. Mr. Santovito was honorably discharged in 1945 from the U.S. Army Air Corp and retired from the U.S. Postal Service in Atlanta. He was a master fisherman and a loving father, grandfather and great grandfather. Funeral mass will be held Wednesday, December 14 at 10:30 A.M. at Prince of Peace Catholic Church with Father Fred Wendell as celebrant. Interment to follow at Gwinnett Memorial Park. The family will receive friends Tuesday from 2:00 to 4:00 and 6:00 to 8:00 P.M. at the funeral home. Those desiring may make donations to Prince of Peace Catholic Church, 2300 Lee Road, Buford, GA 30518 in the memory of Rocco William Santovito. Tom M. Wages Funeral Service, Inc., Lawrenceville Chapel, 770-963-2411, www.wagesfuneralhome.com.

SNELLVILLE

SANDERS, ETHEL

Ethel Plunkett Sanders, age 84, of Snellville, passed away on Friday, December 9, 2005. Arrangements by Tom M. Wages Funeral Service, Inc., Snellville Chapel, 770-979-3200, www.wagesfuneralhome.com.

SUGAR HILL

BRADY, MARGARET

Margaret Walton Brady, age 102, of Sugar Hill, passed away Friday, December 9, 2005. Arrangements are incomplete and will be announced later by Tapp/Tim Stewart Funeral Home and Crematory, 201 Morningside Drive, Buford, Georgia 30518, 770-945-9345.

WILLIAMS, J. C.

J. C. Williams, age 77, of Sugar Hill, passed away Monday, December 12, 2005. Arrangements are incomplete and will be announced later by Tapp/Tim Stewart Funeral Home and Crematory, 201 Morningside Drive, Buford, Georgia 30518, 770-945-9345.

TUCKER

MORGAN, FRANCES

Frances A. Morgan, age 77, of Tucker, GA, passed away December 11, 2005. Arrangements by Wages & Sons Gwinnett Chapel, 1031 Lawrenceville Highway, Lawrenceville, GA 30045, 770-277-4550.

WINDER

BROWNBACK, MAE

Mae Amelia Brownback, age 96 of Winder, formerly of Colony Cove, Ellington, FL, passed away December 9, 2005. Arrangements by Smith Funeral Home of Winder, GA, 770-867-4553.

CLARK, DAVID

David Norman Clark, age 54, of Winder, formerly of Daytona Beach, FL, passed away December 10, 2005. Arrangements by Smith Funeral Home of Winder, GA, 770-867-4553.

It's a frame-up: Braselton PD work goes on

BRASELTON - The final steel beam of Braselton's $4.2 million police department and court facility is about to be hoisted into place.

Mayor Pat Graham and town council members hosted a ceremonial beam-signing event Monday, commemorating Braselton's first newly constructed municipal building in 89 years.

Lilburn chiropractor offers free services to Indian village

LILBURN - They arrive on the backs of animals from hundreds of miles away and have diseases ranging from autism to epilepsy. In a land with minimal health care, the residents from Pune, India, look to chiropractors to heal them and will stand in long, snaking lines for their services.

In brief

Gwinnett residents chosen as scholars

Three Gwinnett residents, Lisa Giles (Snellville), Stephanie Morton (Snellville) and Lynne Sycamore (Duluth), have been selected as three of 12 participants in the inaugural Piedmont Scholar program. The program is a new partnership between Piedmont Hospital and Mercer University meant to increase the number of nursing graduates in the Atlanta area given the recent shortage.

Phones for sight

Your old cell phone could help someone see and hear better. Georgia Lions Lighthouse collects old cell phones, sells them to an electronic recycling company and uses the money to help Georgians in need pay for eye surgery, glasses or hearing aids. Donations can be made at 3645 Lenora Church Road,

Snellville.