News for Friday, December 30, 2005


All Stories

Bernice Savage

Bernice America Savage, age 87, of Statham, GA, passed away December 29, 2005. Arrangements by Smith Funeral Home of Winder, GA, 770-867-4553.

Dorothy Page

Dorothy Frances Page, age 83, of Snellville, Georgia, died December 30, 2005. She was preceded in death by her husband of 63 years, Luther Herman Page, Sr. She is survived ...

Carolyn Mims-Smith

Carolyn Ann Mims-Smith, age 60, of Lawrenceville, GA, passed away December 25, 2005. Arrangements by Wages & Sons Gwinnett Chapel, 1031 Lawrenceville Highway, Lawrenceville, GA 30045, 770-277-4550.

Geraldine Brown

Mrs. Geraldine Brown, age 68, of Buford, GA, passed away December 29, 2005. Service and Arrangements will be announced later by Junior E. Flanigan of Flanigan Funeral Home and Crematory ...

Doris Waddell

Doris Waddell, age 77, of Decatur, GA, died Friday Morning, December 30, 2005. Arrangements are pending with The Bill Head Funeral Homes and Crematory, Lilburn/Tucker Chapel, 770-564-2726.




Mrs. Sarah Grissom, age 65, of Buford, GA passed away on December 29, 2005. She was preceded in death by her husband, Joil "Gene" Grissom, grandson, Craig Burel, granddaughter, Brittany Burel, and great granddaughter, Cassidy Hughes. Surviving are: Daughter and Son-in-Law: Marie and Stanley Burel, Buford, GA; Sons and Daughters-in-Law: Wayne and Dianne Grissom, Winder, GA, Jeff and Laverne Grissom, Hoschton, GA; Grandchildren: Scott Morris, Keith and Susan Hardy, Jonathan Hughes; Great Grandchildren: Taylor and Georgie Hardy, Taylor Hughes; Father: James Sweat, Winder, GA; Brothers and Sisters-in-Law: J. T. and Marilyn Sweat, Winder, GA, John and Jean Sweat, Winder, GA, Howard and Bonnie Sweat, Winder, GA; Several nieces, nephews and cousins. Mrs. Grissom was born in Barrow County, GA. She was a retired bus driver for the Gwinnett County School System after 40 years of service. She was a member of the Gravel Springs Baptist Church, Buford, GA. Funeral service will be held on Saturday, December 31, 2005 at 1:00 p.m. at the Chapel of Flanigan Funeral Home with Rev. Winfred Martin officiating. Interment in Broadlawn Memorial Gardens, Buford, GA. The family will receive friends at the funeral home on Friday from 12:00 Noon - 9:00 p.m. Arrangements by Junior E. Flanigan of Flanigan Funeral Home & Crematory, Buford, GA, 770-932-1133,



Harold L. Barrett, age 81 of Demorest, GA, passed away on December 28, 2005. He was preceded in death by his wife of 59 years, Loraine Barrett, and is survived by: Daughters & Son-in-Law: Linda Gail Cumbie, Clearwater, FL, Kathie & Henry Waters, Buford; Son: Bobby Barrett, Ft. Walton Beach, FL; Sister: Shirley Noe, Suwanee; 7 Grandchildren; 5 Great Grandchildren. Mr. Barrett retired from General Motors, Doraville after 33 years. He was a U.S. Marine Veteran of WWII, a member of the disabled American Veterans, a life-time member of the American Legion, and a charter member and life-time member since 1947 of the Lawrenceville VFW Post #5255, where he served as State Commander in 1973-1974. Mr. Barrett was a past member of Lawrenceville Lodge #131 F.&A.M. Funeral services will be held Saturday, December 31 at 2:00 P.M. at Wages Lawrenceville Chapel. Interment to follow at Shadowlawn Cemetery. The family will receive friends Friday from 2:00 to 9:00 P.M. at the funeral home. Tom M. Wages Funeral Service, Inc., Lawrenceville Chapel, 770-963-2411,



Myrtice Thelma Williams of Duluth, died December 28, 2005. Arrangements by Bill Head Funeral Home, Duluth Chapel, 770-476-2535.



Ruth Ruark Griffeth, age 75 of Lawrenceville, died Thursday, December 29, 2005. Survivors include: Children: Gloria & Randall Dixon, Dacula, Emmett & Jean Griffeth, Loganville; Grandchildren: Joe & Kim Dixon; Great Grandchildren: Kaitlyn & Zack Dixon; Several Nieces & Nephews. A native of Walton County, Mrs. Griffeth was a member of Lawrenceville First Baptist Church and Phoebe Sunday School Class. She was preceded in death by her husband, Dewitt Griffeth. Funeral Services will be held at 2:00 PM, Saturday, December 31, 2005 at the Lawrenceville First Baptist Church with remains placed instate at 1:30 PM. Dr. Lamar Holley and Rev. Lamar Casper will officiate. Interment Hill Haven Cemetery, Monroe. Family will receive friends from 2-4 PM and 6-9 PM, Friday, December 30, 2005 at the Tim Stewart Funeral Home, 300 Simonton Road, Lawrenceville, Georgia 30045, 770-962-3100.


Albert Ray Thomas, age 92 of Lawrenceville, GA passed away on Wednesday, December 28, 2005. Mr. Thomas was employed by the U.S. Postal Service for 40+ years. He was a member of the Church of Christ. Albert was a U.S. Army veteran and a theater projectionist in motion picture theater. He was preceded in death by his wife, Evelyn Mullins Thomas and his daughter, Susan Claunch. He is survived by his sisters: Betty Shepherd of Shelbyville, TN, Barbara White of Lakeland, GA; 2 grandchildren: Barry P. (Chip) Denson of Hoschton, GA, Jeff Denson of Crawfordville, FL; 4 great grandchildren. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, December 31, 2005 at 10:00 a.m. at Wages & Sons Gwinnett Chapel with Deacon David Palmer officiating. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Georgia Chapter, Alzheimer's Association, 1925 Century Blvd., NE, Ste. 10, Atlanta, GA 30345-3315. The family will receive friends on Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. at Wages & Sons Gwinnett Chapel, 1031 Lawrenceville Highway, Lawrenceville, 770-277-4550.



Harry "Buck" Franklin Moore, age 90 of Norcross, passed away December 28, 2005. Arrangements by Crowell Brothers Peachtree Chapel Funeral Home, Norcross, GA, 770-448-5757.



Mrs. Helen Williams Fitzpatrick, age 81, of Snellville, passed away Tuesday, December 27, 2005 at the Emory Eastside Medical Center in Snellville, Georgia. Arrangements by Acree-Davis Funeral Home, Inc., Toccoa, GA, 706-886-3106.



Vivian Ruth Wyatt, age 87, of Statham, GA, passed away December 27, 2005. Arrangements by Smith Funeral Home of Winder, GA, 770-867-4553.



Stephen "Morris" Payne, age 49, of Winder, passed away December 28, 2005. Arrangements by Smith Funeral Home of Winder, GA, 770-867-4553.

Celebrate New Year's with array of events

Who says New Year's festivities have to mean champagne toasts and black-tie dress codes? This year, several celebrations in and around Gwinnett include events for children and adults alike. Instead of watching the ball drop on television this year, families can celebrate New Year's Eve together by attending a countdown close to home.

Lawrenceville rings again

Families will find activities for all ages beginning at 7 p.m. in historic downtown Lawrenceville, where the Lawrenceville Tourism and Trade Association will play host to its second annual "Lawrenceville Rings" New Year's Eve celebration. The alcohol-free family event will offer music, entertainment, food and attractions until midnight.

Pick up the games that Santa left behind this year

Now that the holidays are behind you, check out this list of games that might make a great gift for yourself.

"Mario Kart DS" lets you race within the crazy worlds of Mario. Sure, you can speed solo, but the most amazing feature about this game is the ability to play via Wi-Fi the world over. With the variety of 30 colorful courses, and one particular racing mode that makes you blow into the DS microphone, you can't go wrong.

"Sonic Rush" (DS), starring everyone's favorite hedgehog, makes very good use of the handheld's dual gaming screens. During 14 levels, Sonic meets up with new character Blaze The Cat. As they race through obstacles quickly, you'll feel like you're part of a roller coaster ride through the cosmos.

When the Bratz doll craze began about five years ago, the hip, detailed toys were so scarce, you had trouble buying them, even on eBay. Finally, there's a Bratz game that lets you live the Bratz life. "Bratz Rock Angelz" lets you start your own fashion magazine, have fun with other Bratz and travel the world with your own rock band.

If you want to go old school and show your kids the '80s-era Atari games, try "Atari Flashback 2." You get two Atari 2600 joysticks, the console and 40 games, including "Pong," "Pitfall," and "Centipede." Just plug it into your TV and go retro wild.

For mystery fans with an older PC and a Pentium 3 processor, "Agatha Christie: And Then There Were None" takes a group of 11 on a mysterious island where people just keep on dying. The nicely written, graphically intense adventure game also includes a copy of Christie's bestselling book.

If you're a fan of tinseltown and you have a PC, you can become "the ultimate Hollywood power player" with "The Movies." Created by Peter Molyneux, the creative mind behind "Fable," the game lets you create your own studio and any kind of movie genre you'd like. But if your stars have scandals (and they will), you'll have to go into serious spin mode to save your flick - and your shirt.

The Disney fan in you will love "Toontown Online." If your computer has online capabilities, the game, which comes with a free two-month subscription, lets you create your own cartoon character in massive, Disney-like environs. It's a humorous game that promotes the idea of community: You'll defeat the evil Cogs and gain powers a la "EverQuest."

Should you have an N-Gage phone, don't pass up "One," a multi-faceted urban fighting offering with many virtues, including admirable graphics. After putting together your own fighter, the brawling that ensues includes a story mode during which you move up through the ranks. For a cell phone game, this is one deep experience that includes hundreds of fighting moves.

Fans of H.P. Lovecraft should flock to "Call of Cthulu: Dark Corners of the Earth," a survival horror game for the Xbox that, when played by the light of a Christmas tree, will scare you. You'll find yourself flinching and starting when your detective character begins to go insane. Think of it as your own "Nightmare Before Christmas," albeit very dark.

E-mail Harold Goldberg at

Official: 'Eight is Enough' law not causing stir

LAWRENCEVILLE - Three months after officials ordered that eight was enough people leaving in a house in Gwinnett, there has been no surge in cases or variance requests.

North boys defeat Houston County for fifth place at Powerade

SUWANEE - Ebuka Anyaorah scored 19 points as the host Bulldogs knocked off Houston County 64-60 for fifth place in the Powerade Basketball Festival.

Year in reviewA look back at notable restaurant newcomers in 2005

New restaurants come and go faster than we can profile them in this spot. This week, we're taking a look back at some of our favorites that opened this year. We hope they stick around.

Police reports

Man charged with disorderly conduct

•DULUTH - A 23-year-old Duluth man was arrested on Christmas Eve after he allegedly tried to take Christmas presents from his girlfriend's children.

Business Briefs

Mortgage rates down a bit

•WASHINGTON - Mortgage rates edged down this week, good news for people looking to buy a slice of the American dream - their own home.

Effects of Hurricane Katrina define business in '05

LAWRENCEVILLE - The top business story in 2005 broke in the aftermath of what is likely to become the costliest hurricane to hit the United States.

Briarcrest girls earn championship matchup with Wesleyan

SNELLVILLE - What looked to be a very entertaining semifinal turned out to be a blowout as Briarcrest (Tenn.) beat Northwest Whitfield 66-50 on Thursday to advance to the championship game of the Deep South Classic.

Film critic names best and worst of the year

n Best cinematography: "Brokeback Mountain"

Howard's 20 points lead to South win

SNELLVILLE - Delano Howard scored 20 points and Avery Jukes finished with 19 points and six rebounds as South Gwinnett defeated Buford 75-59 at the Deep South Classic on Thursday. Michael Chatman added 14 points and grabbed five rebounds for the Comets.

'Sanders Family Christmas' continues this weekend

This weekend offers one last chance to celebrate the holidays with the Sanders family at Theatre in the Square. "Sanders Family Christmas" will be performed at 8 p.m. today and Saturday at the theater, which is located at 11 Whitlock Ave. in Marietta.

The show, which is a sequel to "Smoke on the Mountain," follows the singing Sanders family as they return to North Carolina for Christmas. Set in 1941, "Sanders Family Christmas" includes more than two dozen holiday songs.

Councilman's last official visit to City Hall is for son's wedding

LILBURN - The man who started Bill Barry in politics is gone. Most of the issues that drove him have been determined. His children are grown - one getting married today and the other expecting a child.

Getting to Know ... Mike McCoy

Mike McCoy is currently in his sixth season as the head girls basketball coach at Parkview High School. In 2003, his Panthers won the Class AAAAA state


Convention offers fun for the whole family

This weekend, celebrate the new year by learning something new.

Instead of dozing off on the sofa while waiting to see the ball drop on TV, families can spend New Year's Eve learning to draw manga - a type of anime - or watching a professional comic sculptor at work.

Galactic Quest Comics is offering a unique way to celebrate the new year with its second annual Galactic ConQuest convention today through Sunday. Galactic ConQuest II will offer a variety of programming, games and entertainment for all ages. The $5 cost of admission allows entry to all three days of events.

Rowland gives Parkview OT win

SUWANEE - Parkview senior Ty Rowland was ice cold. He had hit just three of his 14 shots from the floor and had missed his last seven in a row.

Film critic Michael Clark names his top picks for 2005

After seeing hundreds of films released this year, I'm offering up my 10 favorite (though not necessarily the 10 best) movies of 2005:

1. "Syriana"

One trip left

Davis sworn in as ninth Superior Court judge

ATLANTA - Former Gwinnett County prosecutor Tom Davis vowed Thursday to bring the patience he learned as an assistant district attorney to his new job as a Superior Court judge.

"I know I'll make some people mad with my decisions,'' Davis said during a swearing-in ceremony inside a crowded House chamber at the


"But I want everybody who comes in that courtroom to feel they'll have a full, unfettered opportunity to say what they want to say and have someone listen.''

Davis, of Snellville, was appointed by Gov. Sonny Perdue last month to the newly created ninth Superior Court judgeship in the rapidly growing Gwinnett Judicial Circuit.

After landing on the short list of judicial hopefuls three times during the past decade, Davis was chosen among five finalists for the new


During Thursday's ceremony, Perdue said the contest was competitive and reaching a decision was difficult.

But he said Davis distinguished himself with his lengthy career in the legal profession, including 17 years with the Gwinnett district attorney's office and 23 years as a U.S. Navy judge advocate general, nine of which were spent on active duty.

District Attorney Danny Porter, who introduced Davis on Thursday, praised his knowledge of the law and hard work in managing the office's growing caseload.

"He'll bring the ability to make the difficult decisions, the right decisions, the just decisions,'' Porter said.

"He'll bring that personal integrity and personal compassion ... that makes the difference between someone who is a technician and someone who is an artist.''

Davis said he will continue to work hard as a judge because his appointment to the post, while a recognition, does not mark an


"The achievement comes in the way I sit on the bench,'' he said.

After fighting successfully this year for the ninth judgeship, Gwinnett's legislative delegation is gearing up to push for a 10th during the session that starts next month.

Lawmakers will argue that the county's continuing growth justifies another judgeship.

Letters to the Editor

Torture ban has consequences

The recent congressional resolution on torture has a fatal flaw that will make it operate to the detriment of our war on terror and our national image.

Media must be honest broker

It's no question that the two big stories this year were Hurricane Katrina and the continuing chaos in Iraq. Both contain lessons.

Katrina demonstrated just what can happen when the water hits the dam; no branch of government can save you from disaster. Those who didn't have the smarts or the wherewithal to flee the hurricane got blasted, especially in New Orleans. A metaphor for life: Get smart and depend on yourself. No bureaucracy can protect you from crisis or disaster.

Police look for clues in local death

LAWRENCEVILLE - Police were still searching for clues Thursday in the slaying of a mother of five who was found dead in her Norcross apartment earlier this week.

Eighth-grader receives violin in recognition of musical talent

When he was only a baby, Benito Thompson would dance to any rhythm. As a toddler, he would even use the sound of the washing machine as inspiration. When he was 3, he saw his future on television. Someone was playing a violin, and he was captivated.

Hollywood needs help bringing audiences back into the theaters

This is the time of year where I take the opportunity to look back on movies of the past year and offer my two cents.

In previous years, my year-in-review pieces have focused on the artistic aspect of the movies; the general quality of films, outstanding performances, interesting trends, etc. For a couple reasons, I'm not going to do that this year.

Wesleyan back in finals with 54-50 win

SNELLVILLE - They were the kind of plays that might be expected from a team that has won two straight state championships.

Using turn signal makes roads safer

LAWRENCEVILLE - Driving down a busy street, a pickup truck suddenly cuts in front of several cars, forcing drivers to slam on their brakes and almost causing an accident. There was no turn signal, no warning. In Gwinnett County, incidents like this are all too common.

This year, motorists' best New Year's resolution may be to make an effort to use their blinker every time. The one-second maneuver could reduce accidents and save lives, said Bob Dallas, director of the Governor's Office of Highway Safety.

Humor in 'The Producers' doesn't satisfy everyone

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: "The Producers." Want to be a Film Fan? E-mail

Dacula fire ruled arson

LAWRENCEVILLE - Arson was the cause of the fire that destroyed a Dacula home Tuesday evening, said Gwinnett firefighters.

Chattahoochee knocks off Brookwood 53-46

SNELLVILLE - A night after upsetting Shelbyville (Tenn.), Chattahoochee knocked off host Brookwood 53-46 on Thursday in the semifinals of the Deep South Classic.

Senate unveils bills with new restrictions on sex offenders

ATLANTA - Three Senate Republicans unveiled a legislative package Thursday that would put even tighter restrictions on sex offenders in Georgia than the already-tough bill being crafted in the House.

Besides the stricter sentencing, registration and electronic monitoring requirements found in the House measure, the Senate bills would place additional limits on where paroled sex offenders could live - or even "loiter" - and make it a crime to have sex with a disabled person who is incapable of giving consent.

One of the measures also would require banks to set up ATM systems allowing customers who are being accosted at a terminal to trigger a silent alarm notifying authorities.

"There's a huge outcry across the nation to do something about (sex offenders)," said Sen. Judson Hill, R-Marietta, chief sponsor of one of the four bills. "Current Georgia law is simply not tough enough on sexual predators."

House Republicans first announced their bill last spring shortly after a convicted sex offender was arrested in Augusta and charged in the murder of a 9-year-old Florida girl.

The three Senate Republicans, all representing districts in Cobb County, said they were prompted by more recent events there.

Kimberly Boyd, a 25-year-old mother from Acworth, was kidnapped in September by an alleged sex offender and subsequently killed in a car crash.

Her attacker, who was gunned down by a passerby shortly after Boyd was killed, had been released from prison but failed to register with authorities as a sex offender.

"We believe that had he registered, he would have been apprehended prior to killing her," said Sen. Chip Rogers, R-Woodstock.

A bill Rogers is sponsoring would require sex offenders to register before they are paroled from prison. Current law gives parolees 10 days after they are released to register.

Also in recent months, authorities discovered about a dozen registered sex offenders living in an extended stay motel in Kennesaw, and another group of sex offenders turned up at a halfway house in western Cobb County.

Sen. John Wiles, R-Marietta, said one of the two bills he prefiled on Thursday would address the Kennesaw situation.

It would prohibit registered sex offenders from living within 2,500 feet of child care centers, schools or other facilities where children congregate. Current law sets the buffer at 1,000 feet.

"With a larger buffer, you get more protection for children," Wiles said. "Several of these hotels bump right against subdivisions."

A bill sponsored by Hill would go even further by forbidding sex offenders even from loitering near areas frequented by children, including bus stops and neighborhood pools.

"This is a very mobile society," Hill said. "It doesn't matter where you live. It really matters where you're hanging out."

During a committee meeting two weeks ago on the House bill, some criminal defense and sexual abuse treatment experts criticized such buffers as overly restrictive, particularly those that affect where a paroled sex offender can work.

"Every corner is a bus stop," Dr. Jim Stark, a therapist, told the House panel. "Where are these people going to work, and where are they going to live?"

The ATM bill, sponsored by Wiles, also drew concerns Thursday from the president of the Georgia Bankers Association.

Joe Brannen questioned how it would be possible for the General Assembly to require ATM cards in Georgia to contain an optional emergency PIN number along with a customer's regular PIN when those systems are international in scope.

"If it's a bank in Missouri not covered by Georgia law ... it's going to be a rejected transaction," he said.

Wiles said he hopes to work with the bankers to iron out any potential technical obstacles.

All three senators emphasized that their bills are not an attempt to usurp the issue from House Majority Leader Jerry Keen, R-St. Simons Island, who is shepherding the House legislation.

"Jerry Keen has taken the lead on this," Rogers said. "We stand behind him, not in front of him or even beside him."

Sports calendar


Tuesday: Windward Baseball Academy's winter high school preseason camp runs from Tuesday to Feb. 5. The camp is twice a week and costs $325. Coach Howie McCann brings 20 years of Division I experience and his sons, Atlanta Braves rookie Brian McCann and Florida Marlins Minor League Player of the Year Brad McCann, will be available throughout the camp. For more information call 770-619-3303 or go to the Web site

Starting Tuesday: Performance Training is hosting a preseason baseball clinic designed to enhance your athletic abilities through speed, agility and quickness. The clinic runs Jan. 3-26 on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7 to 8 p.m. and costs $125. Register online at or e-mail with any questions.

R&B singer Ciara celebrates the new year with concert

At just 20 years old, R&B singer Ciara has already conquered the music world. Since breaking onto the scene in 2004 with her debut album "Goodies," the Atlanta resident has sold 3 million records and received 30 award nominations.

Internet polluted by bloggers writing without responsibility

Of all the stories leading America's annual greatest-hits list, the one that subsumes the rest is the continuing evolution of information in the Age of Blogging.

Not since the birth of the printing press have our lives been so dramatically affected by the way we create and consume information - both to our enormous benefit and, perhaps, to our growing peril.

What is wonderful and miraculous about the Internet needs little elaboration. We all marvel at the ease with which we can access information - whether reading government documents previously available only to a few or tracking down old friends and new enemies.

It is this latter - our new enemies - that interests me most. I don't mean al-Qaida or Osama bin Laden, but the less visible, insidious enemies of decency, humanity and civility - the angry offspring of narcissism's quickie marriage to instant gratification.

There's something frankly creepy about the explosion we now call the Blogosphere - the big-bang "electroniverse" where recently wired squatters set up new camps each day. As I write, the number of "blogs" (Web logs) and "bloggers" (those who blog) is estimated in the tens of millions worldwide.

Although I've been a blog fan since the beginning and have written favorably about the value added to journalism and public knowledge thanks to the new "citizen journalist," I'm also wary of power untempered by restraint and accountability.

Say what you will about the so-called mainstream media, but no industry agonizes more about how to improve its product, police its own members and better serve its communities. Newspapers are filled with carpal-tunneled wretches, overworked and underpaid, who suffer near-pathological allegiance to getting it right.

That a Jayson Blair of The New York Times or a Jack Kelley of USA Today surfaces now and then as a plagiarist or a fabricator ultimately is testament to the high standards tens of thousands of others strive to uphold each day without recognition. Blair and Kelley are infamous, but they're also gone.

Bloggers persist no matter their contributions or quality, though most would have little to occupy their time were the mainstream media to disappear tomorrow.

Some bloggers do their own reporting, but most rely on mainstream reporters to do the heavy lifting. Some bloggers also offer superb commentary, but most babble, buzz and blurt like caffeinated adolescents competing for the Ritalin generation's inevitable senior superlative: Most Obsessive-Compulsive.

Pre-employment background checks spark worries

STAMFORD, Conn. - Jessica Smith thought she was a shoo-in for a cashier's job at an Office Depot in Minnesota last summer. The store manager was encouraging, saying he just needed to run a criminal background check.

Piedmont Scholar program addresses nurse shortage

LAWRENCEVILLE - Three Gwinnett residents have been selected for the Piedmont Scholarship program in an attempt to tackle the critical nurse shortage in Georgia.

In a cooperative move between Mercer University's nursing college and Piedmont Hospital, 12 participants from the metro Atlanta area will begin clinical training in January. Three Gwinnett residents - Lynne Sycamore, Lisa Giles and Stephanie Morton - are among the 12 nursing students participating in the program.

North girls top Parkview for championship

SUWANEE - Six tournament titles and