News for Wednesday, December 21, 2005

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James Austin

James Robert (Tad) Austin, age 62, of Winder, GA passed away December 20, 2005. Arrangements by Smith Funeral Home of Winder, GA, 770-867-4553.

Bonita Whitley

Bonita Griffin Whitley, age 87 of Lawrenceville, GA, formerly of Opelika, AL died December 21, 2005. She is survived by her daughter-in-law, Janice H. Whitley-Chapman of Grayson ...

Avery Graves

Avery A. Graves, 96, formerly of Norcross, Georgia, died December 20, 2005. He was predeceased by his wife of 60 years, Myrtle Dickens Graves, and his brother, Lawrence Graves. Funeral ...

Jack Baker

Mr. Jack S. Baker, age 72, of Gainesville, GA, passed away December 20, 2005. Service and Arrangements will be announced later by Junior E. Flanigan of Flanigan Funeral Home and ...

Thomas Schlinkert

Thomas John Schlinkert, 63, of Lilburn, passed to eternal life on Sunday, December 18, 2005. Arrangements by Bill Head Funeral Home, Lilburn/Tucker Chapel, 770-564-2726.

Dry red wine: An acquired taste?

I still remember my first real taste of dry red wine. At the time, I knew white zinfandel and asti spumanti, and that was about it.

Business Briefs

General Motors' woes drag down Dow

•NEW YORK - Stocks fell in a volatile session Tuesday, with a sharp decline in General Motors Corp. dragging down the Dow Jones industrial average, while broader indexes fell slightly in an end-of-year malaise.

Murder-suicide suspected in Lilburn

LILBURN - A 38-year-old Lilburn woman chased down and shot her boyfriend and then turned a gun on herself Monday at her home, according to police investigators.

A dish to share

Chico's expansion to add 182 jobs

WINDER - Chico's will add more than 180 new jobs to Barrow County with the expansion of its distribution center and the addition of a call center for processing catalog orders.

'X' hard to spot

BUFORD - Unless Santa Claus already has an Xbox 360 in his bag, he may not have one to put under your Christmas tree.

OBITUARIES

BUFORD

BOWMAN, LUCIAN W.

Mix it up this year with a potluck choice

You can only eat so much green bean casserole at the annual holiday potluck dinner.

Grayson council OKs sanitation rate hike

GRAYSON - The Grayson City Council on Monday approved a rate increase for sanitation services for all rate customers except for senior citizens.

Santa doesn't need to send any more gifts

Dear Santa:

Before you head out from the North Pole this year, I wanted you to know that there is no need to stop by my house this Christmas. Please don't take this the wrong way, Santa, but there is nothing you have that I need. My cup runneth over.

A year of highs and lows in fishing, hunting

More than a half century of perpetual motion on this Earth has revealed to me that you can't stop time, and despite your best hopes and wishes, dramatic changes are always possible. Such was the case with my lifelong friend Jerry Ballard.

Third period rally by Lynx defeats Gladiators

The Augusta Lynx used two goals in the first five minutes of the third period to get by the Gladiators 4-3 on Tuesday night at the Augusta Richmond County Civic Center.

In Brief

Man charged with treating patients with weed killer

•ATLANTA - Federal prosecutors say a Stockbridge doctor treated patients with cancer and other life-threatening diseases with weed killer and insecticide.

Buford wears out Hebron in second half

BUFORD - Quick and deep, Buford wore out a talented Hebron Christian team in the second half to collect a 70-48 victory on Tuesday.

Sports calendar

Baseball

Dec. 26-30: Renz Baseball Christmas camp runs Dec. 26-30 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information call 770-271-4554 or go to renzbaseball.com for discounts.

Letters to the Editor

Congress out of touch with ordinary people

With the U.S. House of Representatives passing $56 billion in new tax breaks targeted overwhelmingly to the wealthiest Americans and $50 billion in cuts to programs that help struggling working families, it's clear the leadership's priorities are out of touch with ordinary Americans.

Our nation is struggling with the fallout from natural disasters. We're worried about the threat of terrorism. Our federal debt is spiraling ever deeper. And working families are struggling with falling wages, rising fuel costs and out-of-reach health care. Now more than ever, it's important to keep our priorities clear and pursue an agenda that helps working families instead of punishing them.

- Ralph Greene

Snellville

Demands contradict spirit of Christmas

Carolyn Buckner ("Let Christians have our holiday, please," To the Editor, Dec. 15) writes: "I do believe that all Americans should be free to have their own religion, but not on Dec. 25. I am sick and tired of non-Christians trying to do away with God in America." Is she implying that Christians invented God? Those who practice Judaism might remind her that God was alive and well in their religion long before Christianity came on the scene. Nobody has a sole claim on the belief in the existence of God.

I have not heard any complaints from Jewish people of their not being greeted with shouts of "Happy Hanukkah" or "Happy Yom Kippur" every time they enter a Wal-Mart on their holy days. I don't believe it is in the spirit of Christian brotherhood to always demand top billing when it comes to recognition of faith. It smacks of arrogance and is contrary to the all inclusiveness expressed by Christ.

We are at war with religious fanatics who want to enslave others to their faith at the point of a gun. They too profess to believe in their God and are willing to die to deprive you of yours.

I don't think we want to come even close to embracing that philosophy. Those of faith can hold tight to that faith without the need to forcibly impose it on others.

- George Morin

Auburn

Grayson chorus invited to perform at Carnegie Hall

LOGANVILLE - The skyscrapers, sights and sounds of New York City aren't far for members of the Grayson High School chorus. Fifty-nine students will be visiting the city in February for the honor of performing at Carnegie Hall.

Suwanee creates design standards for downtown district

SUWANEE - Suwanee's historical Old Town area is now protected by design standards that will guide future upgrades and development.

City Council members voted unanimously to create the Old Town Overlay District that allows slightly different zoning standards specific to the area.

The overlay district encompasses roughly the old downtown area from Main Street to U.S. Highway 23, which includes the public library and PlayTown Suwanee city park.

Most retail, financial and personal service businesses will be welcome in town, except fast-food restaurants, fortune tellers, psychics, massage parlors, junkyards or auto wrecking establishments.

DeKalb commissioner to run against McKinney

Rockdale Citizen

ric.latarski@rockdalecitizen.com

Conyers - DeKalb County Commissioner Henry "Hank" Johnson Jr. kicked off his campaign for Congress on Tuesday in Rockdale County with a formal announcement followed by a question and answer session at the Welcome Center in Olde Town.

Gift cards help ease heat costs

MILWAUKEE - When Sandy Turk learned her 81-year-old mother set her thermostat at a chilly 65 degrees to save money this winter, she thought of the perfect gift - though it's about as much fun as a lump of coal in the stocking.

Apartment resident accused of setting fire

NORCROSS - A resident of Westwoods Apartments in Norcross was arrested Tuesday on charges he tried to set fire to his apartment.

Mill Creek tops GAC to advance to tournament finals

JEFFERSON - Four Mill Creek players hit for double-digits in points as the Hawks rallied from a seven-point halftime deficit to top Greater Atlanta Christian 64-56 in the semifinals of the Mountain Dew Jingle Jam Tournament at Jackson County High School on Tuesday night.

Buford QB Roper commits to Oregon football

Buford quarterback Justin Roper decided his college football future late Monday night, committing to Oregon with a phone call to offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Gary

Crowton.

Police Reports

House fire declared arson

•LAWRENCEVILLE - Police believe someone intentionally set fire to a vacant house at 3125 Windwood Trail on Tuesday.

A neighbor reported the fire to authorities at 12:57 p.m. and firefighters arrived to find heavy smoke showing from the garage of a one-story structure, according to Thomas Rutledge, spokesman for the Gwinnett County Fire Department. The blaze caused moderate damage to the garage and sent smoke throughout the rest of the house.

Norcross readies for tough tourney

Norcross head coach Eddie Martin wanted a challenge for his second-ranked and highly touted Blue Devils during the 2005 holiday season.

Collins Hill girls advance to semis

Collins Hill took another step in showing why it is one the top girls basketball teams in the country

The Eagles, ranked No. 1 in the state and No. 2 in the country by USA Today, followed Monday's 59-50 win over Forest Park (Va.) with an even more impressive win over Good Counsel (Md.), defeating the 15th nationally-ranked school 68-43 in the second round of the Nike Tournament of Champions in Phoenix, Ariz.

Snow on Christmas possible

LAWRENCEVILLE - Atlanta hasn't seen a white Christmas in nearly 125 years.

However, there is a small chance of snow Christmas night, according to the National Weather Service. It depends on several things, including whether enough moisture remains when cold air arrives later this weekend, said meteorologist Trisha Palmer.

Matyacs excelling for Brookwood wrestling

With the Matyac brothers, wrestling practice doesn't always end at school.

Foster kids get holiday wishes fulfilled

LAWRENCEVILLE - Local foster children are counting on generous Gwinnettians to play Santa this season and make their dreams come true.

KidsPeace, a nonprofit foster care center, has offered people a chance to give more than 40 foster children presents by setting up "angel trees" at five area restaurants. Each angel tree is decorated with paper ornaments listing a brief description of the child and his or her Christmas wishes.

No reason for Christmas war

Tell me more about this "war on Christmas." Where is it? I want to sign up before it's over. I've just looked at my wife's credit card bills.

Engineers have their friendships down to a science

We've all said it. At least once, when a co-worker quits or retires, we've said: "We'll stay in touch. We'll do lunch." But somehow, even though the thought is sincere, deep down inside, everyone knows no one really means it.