News for Saturday, December 24, 2005

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Melba Farmer

Melba Rea Suit Farmer, age 82, of Lilburn, GA, died Christmas Eve morning, December 24, 2005. Arrangements are pending with The Bill Head Funeral Homes and Crematory, Lilburn/Tucker Chapel ...

Evelyn Price

Mrs. Evelyn R. Price, age 86, of Jefferson, passed away on December 23, 2005. Arrangements by Evans Funeral Home of Jefferson, GA, 706-367-5467.

Ernest Born

Ernest W. Born, age 70 of Lawrenceville, died Friday, December 23, 2005. Funeral arrangements will be announced later by Tim Stewart Funeral Home, 300 Simonton Road, Lawrenceville, Georgia 30045, 770-962-3100 ...

Evelyn Turk

Mrs. Evelyn H. Turk, age 79, of Buford, GA, passed away on December 24, 2005. She was preceded in death by her son, Joey Turk, a daughter, Cuma Turk, and ...

Mary Payne

Mary Gwendolyn Payne (affectionately known as “Mema”), age 77, of Snellville, passed away Friday, December 23, 2005 after a courageous battle with cancer. She was preceded in death ...

Rick Ainsworth

Rick Ainsworth, age 30, of Loganville, GA, passed away December 23, 2005. Arrangements by Wages & Sons Gwinnett Chapel, 1031 Lawrenceville Highway, Lawrenceville, GA 30045, 770-277-4550.

George Brown

George W. “Bill” Brown, age 80 of Snellville, GA, died December 22, 2005. He was preceded in death by his son, James Randall Brown and is survived by ...

Police reports

Man robs Duluth Fuddruckers

•DULUTH - An unidentified man on Tuesday robbed Fuddruckers restaurant at 2180 Merchants Way in Duluth.

Jolly in any language

The truth about old St. Nick

Well, it's finally Christmas Eve. It may be just me, but it sure does seem to get here a lot quicker than it used to. Wow! What a special night!

Kentucky junior rolls through double major, working on master's degree

His father's a psychology professor at Mercer, where his mother also is a part-time teacher. So it seems like Hayden Lane was destined to be a teacher.

Police investigating causes of two fatal wrecks

LAWRENCEVILLE - Police believe drunken driving and speeding may have contributed to two wrecks that occurred this week in Gwinnett County.

Teachers have thankless job

This is as good a time of year as any to thank public school teachers for doing a tough job well. There are two high school science teachers in my family. Both are at work early, and both stay late. When at home, they are calling parents about their kids' schoolwork, or fielding calls from parents about anything and everything.

I suspect my son and son-in-law are fairly representative of public school teachers across the state and nation. They are good people trying to do good things in a tough environment.

Are all teachers perfect? No. Neither are all CEOs, preachers, doctors, politicians or newspaper columnists. I have no data to back up my theory, but I suspect public school teachers fall into the same proficiency curve as most any other profession: Some are outstanding, most are well-qualified, and a few need to be doing something else.

What separates teachers from most other professions are the obstacles they face daily - government bureaucracy, red tape, second-guessing by the media, political meddling, social engineering, know-it-all school boards, lawyers, out-to-lunch consultants and parental apathy.

All the while, trying to force-feed knowledge into a group of adolescents - some who will quit the day they turn 16 because they would rather have a dead-end job than an education. Everybody, from the president of the United States to some doofus on the local school board who probably couldn't pass freshman English let alone supervise those who teach it, has an oar in the educational waters.

Sadly, teachers don't have the respect that they had when I was growing up. That is because the inmates are now running the asylum. My parents backed my teachers to the hilt. Today, parents seem more concerned that their children be able to express their "individuality." They seem to think if their child wears weird clothes and has purple hair, they will have a distinct advantage when they hit the real world. Little do they know.

Teachers hear a local radio talk show host railing about pitiful government schools, but the critic wouldn't accept an offer to debate my grandson, a public school student, on the subject of economics just to see how pitiful his public education was. (It's a good thing. Zack would have eaten his lunch.)

They read that Gov. Roy Barnes lost his bid for re-election because he was trying valiantly to get rid of incompetent teachers. Bull feathers. Roy Barnes got beat because of a mean-spirited staff that could tick off Mother Teresa and a poorly-run re-election campaign. Incompetent teachers were the least of his problems.

Yes, Georgia's SAT scores are low and, yes, they should be better, but don't put all the blame on public school teachers. The teachers in my family tell me that when the parents are engaged in their children's education, the kids tend to do well. Where parents don't care - well, the kids don't care. Unfortunately, not enough parents care these days. Many consider school a convenient baby-sitting service.

Georgia has only recently made public education a priority, although we have talked like it was for as long as I can remember. For too many years we have been more concerned with getting some dimwit in college, so he could play football rather than whether he could read or write. If we worried as much about scoring on the SATs in this state as we do about scoring touchdowns, Georgia would easily be leading the nation in providing a quality education to our young people.

So, this holiday season, give our teachers a break and lay off the pot shots. Besides, most of us couldn't do their jobs even if they spotted us two of the three R's.

In the meantime, my thanks to all the hard-working and dedicated public school teachers in Georgia who are getting a few days respite before heading back to the education wars, especially Ken Yarbrough, a science teacher at Woodland High School in Bartow County, and Ted Wansley, a science teacher and coach at Chapel Hill High School in Douglas County. I could not be prouder of both and the profession they have chosen. It is a noble calling.

Contact Dick Yarbrough at yarb2400@bellsouth.net or at P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, GA 31139. Visit his Web site at www.dickyarbrough.com. His column appears on Saturday.

Barrow resident publishes fourth book of poetry

BETHLEHEM - Dana Wildsmith has burned her cardboard moving boxes.

Bilingual Santa Claus hears all wishes

LAWRENCEVILLE

Every child knows a few things about Santa: He lives at the North Pole, he flies a sleigh, he has lots of toys for good kids and coal for bad ones.

Late-night care facility to open

LAWRENCEVILLE - Gwinnett County's first late-night urgent care center will open in January as John Mason Primary Care expands its services.

Some Gwinnett churches won't hold Christmas Day services

It happens once or twice a decade - this year, Christmas Day falls on a Sunday. Many churches in Gwinnett will hold their Sunday services as usual or offer a modified Sunday schedule. But some larger churches are opting to celebrate the Holy Day on Saturday, giving pastors, staff and volunteers a day at home with their families on Christmas.

Crossroads Community Church in Lawrenceville is one of the churches that won't hold services this Sunday. Instead, the church will hold four Christmas Eve services.

"We usually hold three services every Sunday, and we're holding four on Christmas Eve," said Dave Ronne, pastor of worship and creative arts at Crossroads. "We have so many volunteers that work to bring these services together, and we decided to add that extra service Saturday and give the volunteers some much-needed family time on Sunday."

Crossroads is one of Gwinnett's so-called "mega-churches," with more than 3,500 people attending one of the three regularly scheduled Sunday services each week. Hundreds of volunteers work behind the scenes each week to keep services running smoothly.

"The volunteers were part of what factored into this decision, but the reality of the culture that we're in is that many people who don't regularly go to church are more likely to come to a Christmas Eve service rather than a Christmas Day service," said Norwood Davis, director of extension ministries for Crossroads. "That's who we are and how we lean."

Cross Pointe Church in Duluth plans to hold two Christmas Eve services Saturday and none on Sunday. With a membership of about 1,500, the church's leadership feels that Sunday should be a day spent in worship at home with family, a Cross Pointe spokesperson said.

Just a couple of miles from Crossroads church in Lawrenceville is North Metro Baptist church, which has between 2,500 and 3,000 people who attend each Sunday. North Metro will hold two Christmas Eve services and one service on Christmas Day.

Frank Cox of North Metro said it never occurred to him to cancel church worship on Christmas Day.

"For 25 years, we've always held Christmas Eve services, no matter what day of the week it fell on," Cox said. "When it comes to whether to hold services on Christmas Day, that was never an issue. Sunday is the Lord's day, and this Sunday has an added dimension. We celebrate the birth of our savior."

Sports calendar

Baseball

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

Meals on Wheels more than food for seniors

LAWRENCEVILLE - Cereal and milk made up the base of 83-year-old Annie Phillips' diet, but now she feasts on meals like roast beef, English peas and mashed potatoes with gravy five times a week thanks to Meals on Wheels.

Authorities urge safety over holiday

LAWRENCEVILLE - Last winter in Gwinnett, holiday fires and flare-ups put a damper on what should have been a festive season, displacing more than a dozen families and injuring several people.

The worst reported incident left 14 families without shelter on Christmas morning 2004 and five people injured after a fire ravaged Adelaide Apartments at 2445 Beaver Ruin Road in Norcross. Investigators believe that blaze started in a Christmas tree.

State predicts 14 road fatalities

LAWRENCEVILLE - State officials predict 14 people will die and 743 people will be injured in motor vehicle accidents between Friday and midnight Monday.

Music sets the tone for your life

Does music soothe the savage beast?

Head to the chimney with care - and some great ideas

If you've blown your holiday budget on iPods and Xbox 360s, but still need to fill the stockings, don't despair.

Shiloh boys place third at tourney

DOUGLASVILLE - Shiloh cruised to a 72-44 win over Alexander on Friday to place third at the Kessler Holiday Hoops Classic.

OBITUARIES

BUFORD

DAVIS, VERNON

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 Reese, Lawrenceville, GA; Brother-in-Law: Jerry Rainwater, Seymour, TN; Several nieces, nephews, and cousins. Mr. Davis was a native of Buford, GA. He was a retired electrician and a member of the Buford Church of God. Funeral service will be held on Monday, December 26, 2005 at 2:00 p.m. at the Chapel of Flanigan Funeral Home with Rev. Lamar Hansard officiating. Interment in Broadlawn Memorial Gardens, Buford, GA. the family will receive friends at the funeral home on Saturday from 2:00-4:00 p.m. and on Monday from 12:00 Noon-2:00 p.m. Arrangements by Junior E. Flanigan of Flanigan Funeral Home & Crematory, Buford, GA, 770-932-1133, www.flaniganfuneralhome.com.

WHEELER, RONNIE

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 Bertie Wheeler; Sister, Shirley Wheeler Nelson; and Niece, Cindy Crabtree. Surviving are: Parents: Homer and Mildred White Wheeler, Buford, GA; Sisters and Brothers-in-Law: Sandra and James Bentley, Buford, GA, Sherry Jo and Kenneth Johnson, Hoschton, GA; Nieces: Erika and Richard Davis, Casey and Rev. Chad Roebuck, April and Steve Bussoletti; Nephews: Shannon and April Owens, Austin and Tammy Edmonds, Shawn Owens, Kim Ray and Darlene Nelson; Aunts: Margaret Taylor, Hoschton, GA, Evelyn White, Buford, GA, Mary Pate, Smith, AL; Several cousins, great nieces and great nephews. Mr. Wheeler was a native of Gwinnett County, GA. He was self-employed as a painter. He received his education at Peachtree High School, Doraville, GA. He was a member of Gravel Springs Baptist Church, Buford, GA. Funeral service will be held on Saturday, December 24, 2005 at 2:00 p.m. at the Chapel of Flanigan Funeral Home with Rev. Ralph Baker and Rev. Chad Roebuck officiating. Interment in Gravel Springs Baptist Church Cemetery. Arrangements by Junior E. Flanigan of Flanigan Funeral Home & Crematory, Buford, GA, 770-932-1133, www.flaniganfuneralhome.com.

LILBURN

ALLEN, MILTON

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.

MONROE

ADKINS, CLYDE

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.

SNELLVILLE

REYES, ESTREA

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.

WINDER

HENDRIX, SUMMIE

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

South grad plays in front of hometown

ATLANTA - The last time Louis Williams played in Atlanta was late February, when his No. 1 South Gwinnett Comets lost to eventual state champion Wheeler 84-80 in an epic Class AAAAA quarterfinal game.