News for Sunday, August 6, 2006

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Cingular to charge for using old phone

If you have an older Cingular phone, it may be time to budget a little bit more for your cell phone bill.

The Recipe Box

Fall fashions may have rolled into the department stores and school may start next week, but don't be fooled into thinking autumn is almost here. We still have several months of warm weather ahead, and summery salads are a great way to keep cool at lunch and dinner. Debra Brown of Suwanee sent in her recipe for an Asian inspired summer salad featuring ramen noodles, almonds and sesame seeds. A soy-sauce flavored vinaigrette rounds out the offering, but if you want to spice up the salad even more, Brown recommends adding mandarin orange sections, diced fruit or nuts."Try it," Brown said. "You won't believe what people will say."

- Compiled by staff writer Shelley Mann

Summer Salad

2 bunches romaine lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces

2 bunches scallions, chopped

2 packages ramen noodles, broken

1 cup sliced almonds

1⁄2 cup sesame seeds

6 tablespoons butter or margarine

For dressing:

1⁄2 cup olive oil

1⁄2 cup sugar

1⁄4 cup vinegar

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1⁄4 teaspoon black pepper

Saute ramen noodles, almonds and sesame seeds in butter until lightly browned. Let cool. Whisk together all ingredients for dressing. Add dressing, browned ramen mixture and any optional additions to torn lettuce just before serving.

Officials ID victim, suspect

NORCROSS - Police identified the victims of an apparent murder-suicide that included the Friday kidnapping of a young girl.

Water supply solid despite sweltering summer heat

LAWRENCEVILLE

Despite a statewide watering ban and lower lake levels in the reservoir that provides Gwinnett its water, officials in both Gwinnett and Barrow counties say residents are in good shape during this drought.

Many in U.S. don't take full advantage of vacation

LAWRENCEVILLE - August is vacation month for many, the last opportunity for a trip before school starts, college classes resume and football practice returns.

But once again, many Americans don't embrace time off despite complaining of the constant pressures of work. Nearly 40 percent of employees say they put in more than 40 hours a week, yet one-third of employed U.S. adults don't take all their vacation days, according to Expedia.com.

Road Closures

n Arnold Road at U.S. Highway 29 will require intermittent lane closures from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. through August for road widening and alignment improvements.

Sports calendar

Baseball

Aug. 4-5: Tryouts for 10U to 18U Berkeley Academy travel teams begin Aug. 4-5. For more details, call Lou Llerandi at 770-441-2242.

Combine summer vegetables with whole wheat pasta

During the summer, it's easy to let healthy eating slide off your priority list. Who can resist the food at parties and barbecues, not to mention all of those ice cream cones?

Bannister to receive two national awards at conference

The good news just keeps on coming for Gwinnett in terms of awards.

Facility to centralize police firearms, driving training

LAWRENCEVILLE - When Gwinnett police candidates want to practice driving, they head to the state public safety center in Forsyth County. When they want to practice their weapons skills, they have enough room for 10 shooters at a firing range inside the police headquarters in Lawrenceville. And for classroom learning, there's an old elementary school in Buford.

OBITUARIES

BUFORD

BURNETTE, CLIFTON

Clifton "Doc" Burnette, age 92 of Buford, died Saturday, August 5, 2006. A Funeral Service will be held on Monday, August 7 at 2 P.M. in the Chapel of Tapp/Tim Stewart Funeral Home. Burial will follow at Broadlawn Memorial Gardens. Mr. Burnette was preceded in death by his wife, Ethel Burnette in 2000. He is survived by Son: Wayne Burnette; Daughter: Linda Greenwood; Grandson and Granddaughter-in-Law: Kelly and Amy Greenwood; Great Grandchildren: Preston House, Breanna, Baylee, and Riley Greenwood, all of Buford; Brother and Sister-in-Law: Holland and Ruth Burnett of Lawrenceville. Sister: Dorothy Roberts and Sister-in-Law: Elsie Hood, both of Buford, also survive. Mr. Burnette was a member of New Bethany Baptist Church and retired in 1976 a after 30 years in the Radio and Television Repair business. The family will receive friends Sunday, August 6 from 2:30 P.M. to 9 P.M. at Tapp/Tim Stewart Funeral Home and Crematory, 201 Morningside Drive, Buford, Georgia 30518, 770-945-9345. Please sign the online registry at www.stewartfh.com.

DACULA

WHIGHAM, RUBY

Ruby M. Whigham, age 80, of Dacula, passed away Saturday, August 5, 2006. Funeral services will be announced by Tom M. Wages Funeral Service, Inc., Lawrenceville Chapel, 120 Scenic Hwy., Lawrenceville, GA 30045, 770-963-2411, www.wagesfuneralhome.com.*

LAWRENCEVILLE

GOWER, OMIE

Mrs. Omie Lee "Omie" Mason Gower, age 93, of Lawrenceville, GA, passed away on Friday, August 4, 2006. She was preceded in death by her husbands, Mr. Clarence Mason and Mr. Herman Gower; parents, Isaac H. and Dover Phillips Simpson; and sister, Marjorie Simpson Gunter. She is survived by her: Sons and Daughters-in-Law: Jerry and Sylvia Mason, Oakwood, GA, Perry and Shirley Mason, Lawrenceville, GA; Step Daughter and Step Son-in-Law: Janice and Donnis Etheridge, Auburn, GA; Grandchildren: Gregory Mason, Lawrenceville, GA, Carla and Mark Tidwell, Lawrenceville, GA, Christopher Mason, Oakwood, GA, Eddie and Crissie Mason, Lawrenceville, GA, Kenny Mason, Lawrenceville, GA, Julie and Pierce Marlowe, Monroe, GA; 12 Great Grandchildren; 2 Great-Great Grandchildren; Several Step Grandchildren; Several Step Great Grandchildren; Several Nieces, Nephews and Cousins. Mrs. Gower was born in Gwinnett County, GA, on June 5, 1913. She was a retired seamstress and supervisor from R. R. Manufacturing Company in Auburn, GA. She was a member of Sunny Hill Garden Club. She was a long time member of the Hog Mountain Baptist Church, Dacula, GA. Funeral service will be held on Monday, August 7, 2006 at 2:00 p.m. in the Chapel of Flanigan Funeral Home with Rev. Barney Williams officiating . Interment will be in Gwinnett Memorial Park, Lawrenceville, GA. The family will receive friends at the funeral home on Sunday from 2:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. and from 6:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. Arrangements by Junior E. Flanigan of Flanigan Funeral Home and Crematory, Buford, GA, 770-932-1133, www.flaniganfuneralhome.com.

SNELLVILLE

BARBER, KATE

Kate Malcom Barber, 87, of Snellville, GA, died August 2, 2006. A native of Walton County, she was a daughter of the late B. Clarence Malcom and Kittie Eudocia Lowe Malcom. She was a homemaker and was a member of the Snellville Christian Church. Funeral services will be held at 11:00 A.M. Monday at the graveside in Mt. Vernon Christian Church Cemetery. Rev. Mike Portwood will officiate. She is survived by her husband: Rufus Barber; daughters: Vicki Bannister of Lilburn and Rita DeCook of Fayetteville; sons: Steve Barber of Stone Mountain, Rufus Barber, Jr. of Fairhaven, NJ and Robert Barber of Lawrenceville; sister: Berthalene M. Brown of Monroe; 8 grandchildren; 8 great-grandchildren; nieces and nephews. The family will receive friends at the funeral home from 4 to 6 PM Sunday. Arthur Bowick, Inc., Funeral Directors, Monroe, GA.

TIPPETT, MARY

Mary Hill Tippett of Snellville, GA, died August 4, 2006 after a short illness. Arrangements by Tom M. Wages Funeral Service, Inc., Snellville Chapel, 770-979-3200, www.wagesfuneralhome.com .*

SUWANEE

SURLES, RUTH

Ruth Surles, age 83, of Suwanee, GA, died Thursday, August 3, 2006. No services are planned. Bill Head Funeral Homes and Crematory, Duluth Chapel, 770-476-2535.*

Lawmakers to kick off car tax debate

ATLANTA - Property taxes are the least popular form of taxation, and the car tax is the most despised form of property tax.

That was the argument put forth by House Republican leaders last March when they vowed to make abolishing or at least reducing Georgia's car tax a top priority for next year's General Assembly session.

They'll start to make good on that promise on Monday when a study committee created to examine the issue holds its first meeting.

The panel will meet at 7 p.m. in Alpharetta, hometown of its chairman, House Speaker Pro Tempore Mark Burkhalter.

"Motorists shouldn't have to pay government to own a vehicle,'' he said in a statement. "We are going to explore whether the sentiment is there to eliminate this tax and whether the state can afford it now, over several years or sometime in the future.''

Property taxes on Georgia's 8 million motor vehicles are due annually on the birth date of the owner. The revenue goes to the counties where the tax is collected.

The tax brought in $627.3 million statewide in fiscal year 2004, according to a report published last month by Georgia State University's Andrew Young School of Policy Studies.

The report, compiled by the school's Fiscal Research Center, also found that counties' dependence on car taxes varies greatly.

Chattahoochee County gets nearly 24 percent of its property tax money from car taxes, the most of any county.

That's because much of the county's land is taken up by Fort Benning and, thus, is exempt from property taxes, said Clint Mueller, legislative director for the Association County Commissioners of Georgia.

At the same time, the county has a lot of cars because of the large number of soldiers who live there, Mueller said.

Burke County, on the other hand, barely gets 3 percent of its property tax revenue from the car tax, the report said.

Since the money goes to the counties, advocates for county governments and local school systems will be following the upcoming debate closely.

"It's really a significant amount of money,'' said Don Rooks, chief lobbyist for the Georgia School Boards Association. "Hopefully, if they go in this direction, they have a plan for replacing (the lost revenue).''

Georgia is among 26 states that impose a tax on motor vehicles. One state that doesn't is Virginia, the most recent to eliminate the car tax.

Virginia officials have been invited to Monday's meeting to talk about the state's experience with the issue.

The car tax became a hot campaign topic in Virginia in 1997 when Republican gubernatorial candidate Jim Gilmore made eliminating it the centerpiece of his platform and won largely on that pledge.

Since Virginia's car tax money also went to local governments, lawmakers either had to find a way for the state to pick up the cost of getting rid of the tax or force local schools and municipalities to cut services.

What Virginia ended up with was a law that phased in reductions in car taxes. To keep local governments from being affected, the state assumed the costs of the program.

Several years ago, the state's bean counters took a look at the program's escalating costs and estimated that by the time it was fully in place, the price tag would reach $1.5 billion a year.

By that point, the reduction had reached 70 percent, and that's where it stayed. In 2004, then-Gov. Mark Warner, a Democrat, worked with leaders of the Republican-controlled General Assembly to cap the state's annual share of the tax at $950 million.

Alan Essig, executive director of the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, said Georgia policymakers are going to have to weigh similar concerns if the Legislature is to come up with a responsible approach.

"It's not even a policy question,'' said Essig, a former budget aide with the state. "You can make an argument either way over whether you should tax cars ... (But) unless you broaden the tax base, you have to raise the revenue somewhere else or decide what (spending) you're going to cut.''

Police: Car break-ins on the rise

LAWRENCEVILLE - Lock your car doors, Gwinnett.

Nothing's certain in primary runoffs

LAWRENCEVILLE - Political indictments and arrests could lead to an excited electorate, or dirty twists and turns could mean people stay home during Tuesday's primary runoff.

Online music store raises money for Foster Children's Foundation

Are you aware of an event or project that benefits our community? Contact Shelley Mann at 770-963-9205 ext. 1305 or shelley.mann@gwinnettdailypost.com.

Carter looks good compared to Bush

Is President Bush unwittingly rehabilitating Jimmy Carter's reputation?

Teachers go tax-free: Governor sends gift cards to educators across state

DULUTH - Annie O'Buck, a third-grade teacher at Chesney Elementary School, usually doesn't spend any of her own money on school supplies.

Will dirty tricks play in Gwinnett?

The problem with dirty politics is too often they work.

Fashion ChallengeLocal designers talk about life beyond the 'Runway'

We know you've been watching "Project Runway" - who hasn't? We're also sure that at least once, you've thought "Wow, I could do that."

Wedding Announcements

Waters - Moore Joanne Bradberry Waters and Phillip B. Moore Jr. were married on June 14, 2006, at Always and Forever Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas. Juan M. Gutierrez officiated the ceremony.

Literary calendar

Monday

June Cross, author of "Secret Daughter," will discuss and sign her work Monday at the Margaret Mitchell House and Museum Visitors Center, 990 Peachtree St. in Atlanta. A reception will be held at 6 p.m., and the discussion begins at 7 p.m. The event costs $10. Reservations are requested. Free parking is available behind the Visitors Center on Crescent Avenue. Call 770-578-3502 or visit www.gwtw.org.

Fashion Challenge

Engagement Announcements

Lord - Cochran

Ronnie and Robin Lord of Buford announce the engagement of their daughter, Jessica Robin Lord of Buford, to Benjamin Heard Cochran of Alpharetta, son of Ed and Becky Cochran of Alpharetta.

Manilow plans to record '60s themed album

AP Music Writer

NEW YORK - Barry Manilow had so much success with the music from the 1950s, he's taking on another decade.

Gwinnett Gab

Boat regatta

to be held

BERKELEY LAKE - The Berkeley Lake Homeowner Association and the city of Berkeley Lake are presenting a boat regatta Aug. 26.

OFS plans put on hold

All that talk about new condos, stores and a hotel - part of a proposed mixed-use development in the Norcross area - appears to have stopped, at least for now.

Learning the ABCs of the job

When you tell your boss you're having a problem at work, which response do you hate the most?

A. "You're not trying hard enough," when you know darned well he's never tried it himself.

Explore diverse neighborhoods while visiting Chicago

There's more to Chicago than the Sears Tower and Navy Pier. Next time you pay a visit to this Midwestern metropolis, check out some of the city's diverse neighborhoods. Whether you decide to explore on your own or with a tour guide, the city's historic districts, parks, zoos and museums are a great way to experience the Windy City's sense of community.

Forget the mascot, GGC needs a sloganViewpointsRob Jenkins

When I wrote last spring that what Georgia Gwinnett College needs most is a mascot, I was dead wrong. And not just because I hacked off all four Arkansas fans in the county by suggesting "Razorbacks."

Given anemic application numbers and the fact that it will initially serve far fewer students than Georgia Perimeter, the community college it's supposedly replacing, what the new institution really needs is a catchy slogan. For instance: "A college of one." This line not only pays homage to the school's military roots - three top administrators hail from West Point - but may also describe its opening enrollment.

"Can you read me now?" About a third of the 7,000 students at Georgia Perimeter's Lawrenceville Campus take at least one learning support course, designed for students who don't yet read, write or compute at a college level. A surprising number of those students arrive via the Gwinnett County schools' "college prep" track.

Birth Announcements

Feb. 10

Charles Thomas Houston was born on Feb. 16, 2006, to Lillie Burch and Tommy Houston of Lawrenceville. He weighed 9 lbs., 13 oz. and was 211⁄4 inches long.

GUIDE offers alcohol awareness programs

In a recent survey conducted in Gwinnett County schools, 30 percent of high school students reported they get the alcohol they drink from their parents or other adults.

In a way, this shouldn't be surprising. Many parents believe if they let their teens and their friends drink at home, they will be safer than if they were drinking somewhere else. New research, however, makes it clear the damage alcohol does to the adolescent brain is significant. And it occurs whether teens drink at home, at the beach or anywhere.

Teachers go tax-free

Johnson, Shida place second at tourney

A pair of locals had runner-up finishes at this past week's Southeastern Junior Golf Tour Championship at FarmLinks Golf Club in Sylacauga, Ala.

Chicago neighborhood raises hopes for urban renewal

CHICAGO

What I saw here on a recent summer weekend was a sight I never imagined. I am not referring to two-year-old Millennium Park, the stunning mixture of greenery and architecture that has been built over the old railroad yards east of Michigan Avenue.

I am talking about another of Mayor Richard Daley's legacies, the mixed-income townhouse and apartment developments south and west of the Loop that have replaced those 16-story monuments to drugs, despair and degradation that were the landmarks of Chicago's public housing for 50 years.

Travel briefs

Queen Elizabeth's dresses, diamonds going on display

LONDON - Dresses and diamonds fit for a queen - Queen Elizabeth II, to be precise - are going on display at Buckingham Palace.

Low turnouts bring runoffs into question

If you think the 22 percent voter turnout in last month's primaries was a discouraging sign of the health of Georgia's democracy, just wait until Tuesday's runoffs.

Only about 10 percent to 13 percent of registered voters statewide are expected to show up at the polls, and turnout is likely to be even lower in some counties, said Kara Sinkule, spokeswoman for Secretary of State Cathy Cox.

Part of the reason is that neither a gubernatorial nor U.S. Senate nomination will be decided in this year's runoffs.

Georgia has no Senate seat up for grabs this year, while Gov. Sonny Perdue and Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor wrapped up the Republican and Democratic nominations for governor, respectively, in the primaries.

The timing of the runoffs doesn't help, either, competing with the end of vacation season and the start of a new school year.

"It's very difficult to get on people's radar screens this time of year," Sinkule said.

With so few voters deciding party nominees, it makes sense to question why Georgia goes through the bother, not to mention the cost to taxpayers, of having runoffs.

In fact, most states don't feature that extra election. Instead, they award party nominations to the candidates who finish first in the primaries, whether or not they win a majority of the vote.

Only in the South are primary runoffs a fixture. Besides Georgia, runoffs are used to pick party nominees in Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Arkansas and Oklahoma.

It's no coincidence that all of those states were once part of the Solid South, where Democrats ruled and whoever won the Democratic primary in the spring or summer was a virtual shoe-in to defeat the Republican nominee in the fall.

"(Runoffs) are a leftover from the South's one-party days," said Larry Sabato, a political scientist at the University of Virginia. "Given that the primary was the election, it made sense to make sure to get a winner with the majority of the vote."

Because primaries and runoffs were so important in those days, they also tended to attract a lot of voters.

But with the two-party system now the norm, turnouts for primaries and runoffs have fallen precipitously in recent decades, as more and more voters opt to skip the preliminaries for the main event.

"People are increasingly independent," Sabato said. "They say, 'I'll wait to vote until November, when it counts.'"

Stuck in the middle of a mystery and a memoir

Sometimes I start books, but I just can't make an immediate commitment to finish them. Right now, I am in the middle of reading two books, a mystery and a memoir. While I am mildly curious about what might happen in each one, I don't plan on staying up late to finish either of them.

Kate Barber

Kate Malcom Barber, 87, of Snellville, GA, died August 2, 2006. A native of Walton County, she was a daughter of the late B. Clarence Malcom and Kittie Eudocia Lowe ...

Clifton Burnette

Clifton “Doc” Burnette, age 92 of Buford, died Saturday, August 5, 2006. A Funeral Service will be held on Monday, August 7 at 2 P.M. in the Chapel ...

Ruth Surles

Ruth Surles, age 83, of Suwanee, GA, died Thursday, August 3, 2006. No services are planned. Bill Head Funeral Homes and Crematory, Duluth Chapel, 770-476-2535.

Omie Lee Mason Gower

Mrs. Omie Lee “Omie” Mason Gower, age 93, of Lawrenceville, GA, passed away on Friday, August 4, 2006. She was preceded in death by her husbands, Mr. Clarence ...

Ruby M. Whigham

Ruby M. Whigham, age 80, of Dacula, passed away Saturday, August 5, 2006. Funeral services will be announced by Tom M. Wages Funeral Service, Inc., Lawrenceville Chapel, 120 Scenic Hwy ...

Mary Hill Tippett

Mary Hill Tippett of Snellville, GA, died August 4, 2006 after a short illness. Arrangements by Tom M. Wages Funeral Service, Inc., Snellville Chapel, 770-979-3200, www.wagesfuneralhome.com .