College celebrates opening

Georgia has a shortage of doctors, but Gwinnett's newest and only medical school plans to help.

Tucked into a small office park in Suwanee, The Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine's Georgia campus held its grand opening earlier this week.

The inaugural class of 84 medical students includes Ivy League graduates, a former FBI man and other professionals interested in osteopathic medicine.

Among them is Johnathon Kerns, who turned down several larger medical schools, including the University of Tennessee in his hometown of Memphis.

"What strikes me is how down to earth everyone is," Kerns said. "You don't see the attitude of 'I think I'm God because I'm a doctor.' It's not that way. The students here are friendly, helpful, and that's the way they will approach their patients."

Osteopathy emphasizes understanding the entire body, rather than treating one specific symptom. Some 50,500 osteopathic physicians are practicing in the United States, including 664 in Georgia, according to the American Osteopathic Association.

Good news for Williams family

Virgil Williams got a scare.

A potentially cancerous spot discovered on the lung of former Georgia Force owner was not malignant after all, a family spokesman said. It seems the 66-year-old Gwinnett business leader and Suwanee resident handled lung surgery as deftly as his business deals.

Lab results on Thursday confirmed the area of the lung was benign, said Williams' spokesman Shawn Davis. Williams is recovering at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.

"The family's prayers have been answered, and they are relieved to say the least," Davis said.

Williams will probably need at least a month to recoup. He is expected to make a full


Work begins on senior subdivision

Developer Del Webb officially started construction Monday on the Village at Deaton Creek, a senior-oriented subdivision of 1,300-homes in Hall County near Braselton.

The $319 million development is on Thompson Mill Road in south Hall County.

It's the first project in metro Atlanta for Del Webb, which builds "active adult communities" nationwide, including in Florida, California and Nevada.

Happy holidays predicted

The Christmas decorations are going up. Will holiday spending also be on the rise?

The National Retail Federation is predicting the average consumer plans to spend about $738, or about 5 percent more than last year, despite record-high winter heating bills, soaring gasoline prices and the increasingly complicated war in Iraq.

"The holidays are important to (consumers) because they want to celebrate with their families, and they will set aside money in their budget so they can," said Scott Krugman, spokesman for the Washington, D.C.-based National Retail Federation.