News for Friday, December 23, 2005

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Milton Allen

Milton P. Allen, age 45 of Lilburn, died Thursday, December 22, 2005. Arrangements by Tim Stewart Funeral Home, 300 Simonton Road, Lawrenceville, Georgia 30045, 770-962-3100.

Summie Hendrix

Summie “Buck” Hendrix, age 81, of Winder, GA, passed away December 23, 2005. Arrangements by Smith Funeral Home of Winder, GA, 770-867-4553.

Ronnie Wheeler

Mr. Ronnie Wheeler, age 52, of Buford, GA passed away on December 22, 2005. He was preceded in death by his Grandparents, Austin and Villie White and E. S. and ...

Estrea Reyes

Estrea Angeliea Reyes, age 7, of Snellville, died Thursday, December 22, 2005. Arrangements by Tim Stewart Funeral Home, 2246 Wisteria Drive, Snellville, Georgia 30078, 770-979-5010.

Clyde Adkins

Clyde E. Adkins, age 82, of Monroe, died Friday, December 23, 2005. Arrangements by Tim Stewart Funeral Home, 670 Tom Brewer Road, Loganville, GA 30052, 770-466-1544.

Vernon Davis

Mr. Vernon Davis, age 87, of Buford, GA passed away on December 23, 2005. Surviving are: Wife of 63 Years: Mrs. Frances Rainwater Davis, Buford, GA; Sister-in-Law: Virginia ...

Acting isn't pretty in 'Rumor Has It...'

The year 2005 has not been particularly kind to Jennifer Aniston. Everybody's all-American girl next door first suffered through a bitter public breakup with her husband, Brad Pitt, then starred in a high-profile thriller ("Derailed") that almost nobody liked.

Watching Aniston drag her way through a film she clearly wasn't right for was bad enough. We now have the joyless task of witnessing her crash and burn in a movie custom-suited to her unique light comedy talents.

Detective accused of assault

LAWRENCEVILLE - A Lawrenceville police detective was arrested this week after an ex-girlfriend alleged that he choked her and threatened her with a gun.

Great games make good gifts

It's a deluge. If you think there are a lot of games on the shelves of your local store this holiday season, you aren't seeing double. Not only does the fall see the release of most of the year's games, this year you've got the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation Portable, two new platforms.

I confess. Because of this torrent, I've overlooked some great games. So, if you're looking for some last-minute holiday gifts, don't forget to consider these.

There are some terrific box sets available. "Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy" (Xbox) puts together all three of the graphically superior and decidedly mature discs into a handsome set that includes big posters. "The Sims Complete Collection" (PC) takes all of Will Wright's groundbreaking, humor-filled human simulation games and puts them together on 4 discs. The inside of the package could be prettier, but the games themselves will yield hours of delight. "EverQuest Platinum," (PC) places the original online role playing game and big seven expansion packs (350 square miles of fantasy to explore) into one box. But beware; all of these games are extremely addicting.

"Ninja Gaiden Black" (Xbox) expands upon last year's critical favorite by adding better camera angles and a lengthy mission mode. It also includes a slew of angry, new enemies to vanquish and the original 8-bit "Ninja Gaiden" game from the days of yore.

"Animal Crossing Wild World" is a follow-up to the quirky and cute GameCube sim that features animals with human characteristics interacting in a virtual town. It takes a serious time commitment, so I like this better than the original because you can take it anywhere on your portable DS.

Long awaiting by its cultlike fans is "Wild ARMS: Alter Code F." It includes a nicely tweaked version of the original game (the first RPG for the original PlayStation) with an additional DVD, an anime episode of "Wild Arms."

If you don't have any video game hardware, try the reissue of the "Space Pirates" arcade game, a fun, full-motion video, sci-fi shooting game you can play via your DVD player and remote control. It's not as complex as a console game. Instead, it's more like an interactive movie.

"SmackDown! Vs. Raw 2006" is probably the best wrestling game of the past few years. With 100 types of matches, a full season mode and an improved fighting system, it's so immersive and realistic, you feel as though you're really doing the wrestling. You can even customize your own grand entrance to the ring.

If you've always wanted to be a star, "SpongeBob SquarePants Lights, Camera, Pants!" (Xbox) lets you compete for the lead role in "The New Adventures of Mermaidman and Barnacleboy." With 30 levels of humor and wackiness, it's a game kids won't tire of until well into the New Year.

If you mix zombies with Christmas in New York City, you'll get "Infected" (PSP), an unusual game that utilizes the PSP's wireless functionality. If you want to save Christmas, you have to blast the zombies, then inject them with blood to kill them, when their defenses are down. It's a darkly humorous game that will appeal to the same crowd who loved Billy Bob Thornton in "Bad Santa."

I'm not done yet, so stay tuned: I'll continue this holiday roundup next week with another batch of overlooked games that will make worthy stocking stuffers.

Harold Goldberg has written about games for Entertainment Weekly, Wired and The Village Voice. He is co-author of the bestselling book, "My Life Among The Serial Killers." You can e-mail him at mediaowl@aol.com.

Holiday Hoops Hotbed

North girls flourishing under new management

The North Gwinnett girls are four wins shy of last season's total.

Blasting leads to sewer spill into Alcovy

LAWRENCEVILLE - Sticks and stones may break your bones, but they can also cause a sewer spill.

That's what happened Tuesday when a land developer accidentally pushed rock into an open manhole near Lawrenceville while removing blasting debris.

Don't expect a howling good time at 'Wolf Creek'

Besides horror, what do the following movie franchises have in common: "Halloween," "Nightmare on Elm Street," "Friday the 13th" and "Scream?"

They always start with at least a half-dozen beautiful, nubile young people and end with most of them dead. The demise of the victims is spread out over the course of the movie, so there's little down time and always carnage just around the corner.

Grayson wins first tournament in school history

RUSSELLVILLE, Ky. - John Cheesman hit the game-winning shot with 20 seconds left to play and pulled down a rebound in the final seconds of overtime to lift Grayson to a 58-56 win over Barren County, Ky., to win the First Southern National Bank Tournament on Thursday.

Norcross man remembered for life's work

LAWRENCEVILLE - He had a road named after his family, was a minor-league baseball coach, high school principal, Baptist minister, military chaplain in World War II and was an appointed jury selector for Gwinnett County.

Avery Graves, 96, died Tuesday in his sleep, but his deeds are woven into the fabric of Gwinnett County.

Getting to Know ... Jim Rhodes

Jim Rhodes has been the public address announcer for South Gwinnett football games for the past 28 seasons. Since 1992 he also has been announcing the Comets' basketball games, including next week's Deep South Classic.

Seeing 'King Kong' worth the three hours

EDITOR'S NOTE - Film Fans runs in the Friday Weekend section of the Gwinnett Daily Post. It features local residents reviewing the film of the week: "King Kong." Want to be a Film Fan? E-mail features@gwinnettdailypost.com.

'Producers' should have stayed on Broadway

Remakes are nothing new to Hollywood. They figure if it worked once, it'll work again. The problem with "The Producers" is that not many people under the age of 30 care that the movie's being remade, and almost everyone over 30 is already familiar with the far superior original from 1968.

'Munich' shines, but Spielberg capable of even more

For the first 20 years of his career, Steven Spielberg worked to become the greatest action/fantasy director of all time, a feat he accomplished in spades. For the past 15 years, Spielberg has largely abandoned the blockbuster of his youth and gone the route of the "thoughtful filmmaker."

He sticks almost exclusively to "cause" dramas ("Schindler's List," "Saving Private Ryan," "Amistad"), and seems to be going out of his way to prove his artistic talents can live up to, or even surpass, his past commercial successes.

Police briefs

Norcross man charged with battery

•NORCROSS - A Norcross man was arrested Tuesday after allegedly having a fight with his wife in the shower.

Girls duke it out at Deep South

It would be tough to find anyone who would argue that Collins Hill isn't the best girls basketball team in Gwinnett. The Eagles are No. 1 in the state and may be tops in the nation.

Air marshal acted decisively in shooting

Sandusky (Ohio) Register:

When a federal air marshal shot and killed a man at Miami International Airport last week, it marked the first fatal shooting by an air marshal since their ranks swelled following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

North falls in finals

SUWANEE - Coming into the North Gwinnett Duals, Bulldog coach Steve Hassenger needed four dual wins to get to 400 for his career. He fell just short.

Collins Hill girls fall to Christ the King in OT

A controversial call in overtime may very well have cost the Collins Hill girls a shot at a national championship.

'Monty Python's Spamalot' comes to Atlanta in 2007

One of Broadway's hottest shows is set to come to Atlanta - in 2007. "Monty Python's Spamalot," which won the 2005 Tony Award for best musical, will be performed Feb. 20 through March 4, 2007, at the Fox Theatre.

"Spamalot" also won the 2005 Tony Award for best director. The production opened on March 17 on Broadway. Tickets for it continue to sell out in New York.

Post-Christmas tourneys a blast for basketball fans

Plain and simple, Helen Williams loves sports.

Don't expect that much fun with 'Dick and Jane'

Within the comedy genre, there are a handful of sub-categories: romantic, slapstick, action, dark, satire, screwball, spoof. If you have a well-written script and a gifted director, there's no reason your movie should employ more than one of the above categories.

South grad Williams returns to Atlanta with 76ers

Louis Williams was catching up with some hometown friends last week when one of them said they were looking forward to their Christmas break from high school.

Salvation Army close to meeting Gwinnett goal

LAWRENCEVILLE - For more than 100 years, the Salvation Army's red kettles and jangling bells have been a part of the Christmas season.

Can't deny cultural reality: Season is about Jesus

An old saying tells us to avoid bringing up the subjects of politics or religion. So here's a novel idea - let's bring up both topics at once!

Nursing home to pay $2.5 million

ATLANTA - A Lawrenceville nursing home has agreed to pay $2.5 million to resolve federal and state allegations that the facility neglected elderly residents and failed to provide them with proper care.

Media shows true colors in coverage of holiday

Just when you think you have it figured out, life kicks you in the back of the knee. Over my 30-year career in journalism, I have tried to resist generalizing about the media. You know, that it is rife with left-wing loons bent on imposing a secular society on the country. In the past, I would have never said that. But that was then. This is now.

'Dozen 2' even cheaper than the first one

December is the time of year when Hollywood takes everything to extremes. You get an extremely high number of films featuring extreme drama ("Brokeback Mountain"), extreme action ("King Kong") and - to balance everything out - extreme silliness.

Sports calendar

Baseball

Monday- Dec. 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.

Wrap up the holidays with Christmas festivities

Staff correspondent

c_ruse@hotmail.com

With Christmas only a few days away, families have only a short time remaining to take part in the holiday events happening in and around Gwinnett County. For those who've been too busy shopping and baking cookies, the next few days provide a final chance to celebrate the Christmas season.

Letters to the Editor

Schools overwhelmed by illegal aliens

I am glad to see that Hugh Floyd is taking up the banner of fighting overcrowded schools ("Legislator to push overcrowding law in 2006," Local&State, Dec. 15).

For too long, schools in south Gwinnett have been overwhelmed by children who are not in the country legally. By supporting the deportation of more illegal aliens, we can reduce the strain on our schools. Schools should check the legal status of their students and employees. Colleges should not offer in-state tuition to non-citizens. HOPE should only be offered to citizens. This would save a great deal of money and generate a safer and more efficient learning environment. I do not know if Floyd is willing to go very far, but my hat is off to him if he does.

Cafe Aromas138 Crogan St.,Lawrenceville 770-995-0225

•Open since: Thanksgiving

•Capacity: The cafe seats about 75 people.

Bill targets employers that hire illegals

LAWRENCEVILLE - The way to solve the state's illegal immigration influx, one local legislator believes, is to make it harder for undocumented workers to find a job.

Collins Hill finishes second at tournament

SUWANEE - It is extremely rare to see Collins Hill head coach Cliff Ramos happy after a loss. But he was definitely pleased to see his Eagles, which many could consider to be in a rebuilding year, give the No. 12 team in the country everything it wanted.

In the end Collins Hill fell to Oviedo (Orlando, Fla.) 38-24 in the championship match of the Kyle Maynard Duals, but according to Ramos, Collins Hill's only loss of the tournament might have been its best showing.

OBITUARIES

BUFORD

WHEELER, RONNIE

Mr. Ronnie Wheeler, age 52, of Buford passed away December 22, 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.

COMMERCE

WHITE, JIMMY

Jimmy David White, age 49 of Commerce, died Wednesday, December 21, 2005. Arrangements by Tim Stewart Funeral Home, 300 Simonton Road, Lawrenceville, GA 30045, 770-962-3100.

JEFFERSON

STANIFER, PEARL

Mrs. Pearl Price Stanifer, age 88, of Jefferson, passed away on Thursday, December 22, 2005, after an extended illness. She was born on December 3, 1917 in Sullivan County, TN, a daughter to the late Mr. and Mrs. Joe and Offie Light Price. She worked for 19 years with Eastman Kodak and the Downtown Corporation in Raleigh, NC. She was a member of the Kingsley Methodist Church in Tennessee. Funeral Services will be held on Saturday, December 24, 2005 at 11:00 AM in the Chapel of Evans Funeral Home with Rev. Mike Phillips officiating. The interment will follow in the Peachtree Memorial Park, Norcross. Serving as pallbearers will be William Wallace, Mike Stanifer, Nelson Cain, Larry Tolbert, Brian Long and Larry Cox. Visitation will be held Friday evening from 6-8pm at the funeral home. Survivors include daughter, Dolores Fisher, Jefferson; son Bob Stanifer, Jefferson, sister in law, Pearl Price, Kingport, TN; 4 Grandchildren; 7 Great Grandchildren. Evans Funeral Home, Jefferson. (706)367-5467.

LAWRENCEVILLE

GUNTER, MARK

Mark William Gunter, age 44 of Lawrenceville, died Wednesday, December 21, 2005. Funeral Services will be held 11:00 AM, Saturday, December 24, 2005 in the Lawrenceville Chapel of Tim Stewart Funeral Home. Dr. Lamar Holley and Rev. W. C. Corley will officiate. Burial Prospect United Methodist Church Cemetery, Lawrenceville. A member of Hebron Baptist Church, Dacula, Mr. Gunter was employed with Collins Hill Wal-Mart as a Department Manager for 5 years. He is survived by: Mother: Mary Sue Gunter, Lawrenceville; Sister: Judy Danielle Gunter Ingram; Nephew: William Alexander Ingram, both of Lavonia; Uncles & Aunts: John Huscusson, Dacula, Gene Huscusson, Franklin, NC, Bernard & Jewel Gunter, Opal Thrasher, Lois Gunter, all of Lawrenceville; Several Cousins and many friends. Family will receive friends from 2-4 PM, and 7-9 PM, Friday, December 23, 2005 at the Tim Stewart Funeral Home, 300 Simonton Road, Lawrenceville, Georgia 30045, 770-962-3100.

MONROE

KOTH, WILLIAM

William C. Koth, originally from Pleasant Hills, PA, went home to be with Our Father on 12/15/05. Bill was in the Navy during WW-II, graduated from the Univ. of Pgh. (63) as an Electrical Engineer and he worked for Gulf Research, Mellon Institute, RCA and Scientific Atlanta. A memorial will be at St. Anna's Catholic Church in Monroe, GA 1/14/06 and interment in the National Cemetery in Marietta, GA. Bill is survived by his loving wife, Billie; 3 daughters, 1 son, 3 son-in-laws, 1 daughter-in-law, 6 grandchildren and 1 great grandchild. The family would appreciate prayers and in lieu of flowers, send donations to St. Anna's Building fund or any VA Hospital.

SNELLVILLE

BURCHFIELD, DEAN

Mrs. Dean Burchfield, age 75 of Snellville, GA died December 20, 2005. Arrangements by Tom M. Wages Funeral Service, Inc, Snellville Chapel, 770-979-3200, www.wagesfuneralhome.com.

SEZONOV, ANDREW

Andrew D. Sezonov, age 15 of Snellville, died Tuesday, December 20, 2005. Arrangements by Tim Stewart Funeral Home, 2246 Wisteria Drive, Snellville, Georgia 30078, 770-979-5010.

STATHAM

GRIZZLE, ELIZABETH

Elizabeth J. "Betty" McClain Grizzle, age 80, of Statham, passed away December 21, 2005. Arrangements by Smith Funeral Home of Winder, GA, 770-867-4553.