News for Friday, January 6, 2006

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Frances Glenn

Evans Funeral Home of Jefferson announces the death of Mrs. Frances Wilkes Glenn, age 82 of Jefferson, Georgia who died Friday, January 6, 2006. Funeral services will be announced by ...

Jerry Powers

Mr. Jerry R. Powers, age 64 of Grayson, GA died January 5, 2006. He is survived by his wife of 44 years, Faye Powers; daughters and son-in-law, Donna ...

Oris Harris

Oris H. Harris, age 93 of Winder, GA, passed away January 5, 2006. Arrangements by Smith Funeral Home of Winder, GA, 770-867-4553.

Ruth Holcomb

Mrs. Ruth Holcomb, age 81, of Dawsonville, formerly of Forsyth County, passed away Friday, January 6, 2006, following an extended illness. She was a longtime member of Concord Baptist Church ...

Robin Marshall

Robin L. Marshall, age 46 of Winder, GA, passed away on January 5, 2006. Funeral services will be held Sunday, January 8 at 2:00 P.M. at Wages Lawrenceville Chapel. The ...

Annette Farmer

Annette Carver Farmer, age 76 of Stone Mountain, GA, died January 4, 2006. Arrangements by Tom M. Wages Funeral Service, Inc., Snellville Chapel, 770-979-3200, www.wagesfuneralhome.com.

Local in brief

Crews rescue man who fell into tank

•JEFFERSON - A painter was hospitalized Thursday after he was injured when he fell 30 feet to the bottom of a city water tank while painting it, officials said.

There's little to love in 'Casanova' tale

If for no other reason, one must give Heath Ledger credit for tenacity. He's had disappointing appearances in more than a dozen movies over the past 15 years, yet he's never thrown in the towel.

Ledger's pretty-boy looks would be easier to overlook if he displayed an ounce of acting talent, something he finally got around to showing in "Brokeback Mountain." With that one part, he erased a career of bad reviews. With "Casanova," it's back to the same old vacuous Ledger.

Two indicted in brutal assault during robbery

LAWRENCEVILLE - Two men this week were indicted by a Gwinnett County grand jury in connection with a brutal assault which left an 18-year-old in a coma.

Culture war looms large over America

Even though the war on terror dominates the headlines, the culture war in America is almost as intense. On one side you have traditionalists, people who believe the country was well-founded, does mostly good things, and has become the most powerful nation on earth by adhering to Judeo-Christian principles like generosity, justice and self-sacrifice.

Sports calendar

Baseball

Jan. 14: Berkeley Baseball Academy is holding a pitchers and catchers clinic with professional scout for the New York Yankees and former minor league pitching instructor Joe Caro from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Jan. 14. The clinic is for players age 10 to 18, costs $75 and includes a video analysis and personal evaluation checklist. To reserve a spot, call 770-441-2242.

'Pride and Prejudice' opens at the Alliance Theatre

"Pride and Prejudice," the classic love story by Jane Austen, will come to life on the stage of the Alliance Theatre. The play, based on Austen's novel, opens Wednesday and will continue through Feb. 12.

Getting to Know ... Seth Rhine

Seth Rhine is set to begin his fourth season as the head baseball coach at Grayson.

In this latest installment of "Getting to Know...," the 30-year-old Brookwood grad talks with staff writer Corey Clark on a variety of topics, ranging from how he got into coaching to his favorite fast-food meal to the best baseball movie.

'The Matador' a bleak spot for former Bond actor

It was during the making of this film that Pierce Brosnan found out he was being replaced as James Bond. Interestingly, Bond could easily have turned into Brosnan's character in "The Matador," Julian Noble, if Agent 007 had gone down the wrong path.

Dacula annexes, rezones horse farm for 264 homes

DACULA - Starlight Farms is gone and in its place will stand 264 new homes priced in the mid-$200,000s. Dacula City Councilmen voted unanimously to annex and rezone 46.3 acres on Harbins Road from residential/agricultural in unincorporated Gwinnett County to transitional residential district in Dacula.

Prep roundup: Norcross boys roll to region win

NORCROSS - Norcross' boys, No. 2 in the state's most recent rankings, cruised to a 76-47 Region 7-AAAAA win over Northview at home on Thursday.

Police reports

Man arrested after fight

•SNELLVILLE - A Snellville man was arrested Sunday after allegedly getting into a fight with his female friend in the middle of Huddersfield Drive.

Legislators mingle and meet constituents

DULUTH - Just four days before they will head to the Capitol, legislators spent Thursday getting last minute plugs from their constituents.

Business in brief

IBM moves away from pensions

•BOSTON - Furthering corporate America's move away from pensions, International Business Machines Corp. said Thursday it will freeze its $48 billion pension plan in 2008 and instead enhance its 401(k) benefits for its 125,000 U.S. workers.

Rates on 30-year mortgages dip

•WASHINGTON - Rates on 30-year mortgages dipped this week, mortgage giant Freddie Mac reported Thursday. Its weekly survey showed that rates on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages dropped to 6.21 percent for the week ending Jan. 6. That was down slightly from last week's average rate of 6.22 percent and was the lowest since late October.

Rolling Gladiators set for marathon

DULUTH - January has not been kind to the Gwinnett Gladiators in the past.

Man gets life for shooting mailman

ATLANTA - A Snellville man admitted to investigators that he shot his U.S. Postal Service carrier so he could receive free health care in a federal prison and escape mounting medical debts.

Smith makes commitment to play for Florida

When you're sure what you want, sometimes there's just no point in waiting around.

Wesleyan sophomore Betsy Smith, a first-team all-county volleyball performer this past season, publicly committed to the University of Florida on Thursday - 22 months before she will be able to sign a letter of intent and officially become a Gator.

Lawrenceville man among 12 pleading guilty in firearms case

ATLANTA - A 50-year-old Lawrenceville man is among a dozen defendants who pleaded guilty this week in a conspiracy to illegally make and sell machine guns.

Brookwood mourns deaths of two students

SNELLVILLE - Brookwood High School had a somber start to a new semester, as students, teachers and administrators mourned the loss of two of the school's students.

Over the school's two-week winter break, freshman Andrew Sezonov and sophomore Chun Xiao "Leo" Huang died in separate traffic accidents.

Kind words rare in age of anonymity

As I opened my year-end e-mail, I was greeted with a letter that caught my attention - and my breath. So rare, it was. So simple, and so stunningly disarming.

It was an apology from a reader, who wrote:

"In going through my 'out' file the other day I came across an e-mail I sent you concerning something or other that I was obviously exercised over. I said to you, 'I used to think you were worth reading, etc., etc.' That was uncalled for and rude. I apologize."

I quickly wrote back: "What a nice way to begin the new year. Apology accepted. Thank you."

Few are the apologies I receive or extend, and the launch of a new year seems a good time to correct that oversight. But first a few observations about the nature of offense and the value of making amends.

I'm not sure how we became so rough or why, as a nation, we decided that manners don't matter. I'm not lecturing here. As with most of my columns, I'm really talking to myself. The fact that others read and react to my thoughts will always be a source of wonder to me.

When you sit alone in a room with a keyboard and think aloud, as it were, it is never with the idea of an audience. At least not for me. The thought of actual readers probably would render me wordless, a result many doubtless would applaud. Wait, I have their e-mail addresses right here!

Despite my newspaper affiliation, I've worked essentially alone the past 20 years, mostly from home (a pajamahadeen in the pre-blog era), tweaking the culture based on decades of reporting, experience and observation. For reasons that continue to baffle as well as humble, I've been granted a forum over time by readers who still take newspapers with their morning coffee. Bless their hearts.

Of all my mistakes through my years, the ones I regret most were errors of judgment and civility more than matters of fact, which are more easily corrected. As H.L. Mencken put it (and as Paul Greenberg recently reminded us in his lovely New Year's column): "Anyone can be accurate and even profound, but it is d----- hard work to make criticism charming."

The temptation of clever cruelty is seductive. Oh, that turn of phrase that makes you slap your own thigh in delight. La Perp, at times, c'est moi.

But the arena calls for it, no? The masses want sangre! Or do they?

In searching for an answer, it is helpful to be on the receiving end of invective. Nothing like a taste of one's own blood to resurrect interest in the Golden Rule. It is equally bracing to be treated with respect, if only to recognize how rare it is and how little most of us contribute to the cause of civility. Charming criticism is, indeed, art.

If one were to plot the decline of civility in discourse, I suspect the parallel line would represent technology, especially the Internet, e-mail and the blogosphere - all too fast, too easy and too anonymous. E-mail, most of all, is fraught with the potential for imminent regret. "Do not drink and send" should be the sticky note attached to many home computers. As a rule, I delete hate mail as soon as I recognize it to thwart my own reflexive tendency to lash back. Sometimes nature wins:

"Oh yeah? Well, you and your cocker spaniel, too!"

When I'm occasionally smarter, and return fire with butter instead of the always-tempting bunker buster, voila, the most amazing thing happens. Humanity returns to the ecosystem. Invariably, the person who wrote to assert my canine ancestry or to impugn my husband's masculinity is suddenly Aunt Bee extending a warm apple pie. No longer hostile, she offers gratitude for the response and apologizes for the nasty missive.

Not because she doesn't still disagree with whatever I wrote that initially set her off - or because I'm so dadgum adorable - but because we're no longer anonymous.

We're just people - fellow and fallible human beings tangled in the same sticky web we call life - while Technos is revealed as the cold-blooded provocateur he is.

In which spirit, and in gratitude to the e-mailer who went first, I'd like to begin the new year with an apology to those whom I've offended or hurt with careless words or poor judgment. I'm s-, sss-, soh. (I must be a guy, this is so hard) ((That's a joke.)) Sorry. I'm sorry. No, really. I am.

Onward, then, here's to health, prosperity - and greater civility - in the new year. And all you bloggers out there? I love you, man.

Peace.

Kathleen Parker, an Orlando Sentinel columnist, welcomes comments via e-mail at kparker@kparker.com. Her column appears on Friday.

Many happy returns

Pearl Lian Bistro, Bakery and Bar11600 Medlock Bridge Road,Duluth678-205-1326

•Owner: Andy Fang

•Open since: Dec. 14, 2005

•Capacity: The restaurant seats 160.

Senate measure aims to boost less affluent counties

ATLANTA - Rural counties that struggle to pay for roads, water and sewer lines and other services would have a new way to finance those improvements under legislation unveiled by a Senate Republican Thursday.

The Rural Georgia Economic Development Act of 2006 would allow smaller counties to create community improvement districts, already found in the state's larger counties, to raise money for projects necessary to foster growth.

"This is an economic development bill that is targeted at Georgia's least developed counties,'' said Sen. Cecil Staton, R-Macon, the measure's leading sponsor.

"Infrastructure can be created and the costs borne by the people who come in and use it in the future, rather than putting the burden on the existing tax base.''

Community improvement districts are created when a group of property owners in an area files an application with the county.

Districts borrow money to fund the projects the participants wish to pursue and pay back the bonds either by taxing themselves or through fees imposed on new purchasers of property.

The community improvement districts operating in Gwinnett and other populated counties are located primarily in deteriorating commercial areas in need of revitalizing.

But the Georgia Constitution limits the districts to the 18 counties classified as "Tier 4'' by the state Department of Community Affairs, mostly affluent suburbs near Atlanta, Augusta, Savannah, Columbus and Albany.

Staton is proposing a constitutional amendment extending the concept to Georgia's other 141 counties.

He said most of the new community improvement districts probably would be formed in residential areas similar to the retirement communities established in Florida after a community improvement district law was enacted there.

He said one of those areas - near Leesburg, Fla., - has grown to about 55,000 residents.

"Many people I've talked to find South Georgia to be a very attractive area for development,'' Staton said. "Those counties need development. They need the jobs that come with development.''

Jim Grubiak, legislative counsel for the Association County Commissioners of Georgia, said the concept is sound but probably would take some time to catch on in Georgia, as it did in Florida.

"It will probably start with one county taking a chance,'' he said. "Then, a second one will do it and it will spread.

"That's how things tend to work in Georgia.''

Grubiak said the ACCG's members like the idea because counties would have the final say on whether to allow a community improvement district within their borders.

"It respects home rule,'' he said. "The concept here is to work closely with the county governments.''

Auburn councilman takes oath of office, then resigns

AUBURN - Auburn City Council member David Hawthorne,was sworn in after his re-election to the board and then immediately resigned from the position in order to apply for the open Public Works director position.

While reading his resignation letter, Hawthorne cited the city's inability to hire anyone for that position since February 2005 as his reason for choosing to give up his newly re-elected council spot.

Because of the city's pending plans for an improved water system, economic development of Ga. Highway 8, and a refurbished town center, Hawthorne said that his "services would be better utilized in the public works."

After his resignation and application for the new position, Mayor Harold Money accepted both motions and his new assignment as the Public Works director was approved by the council. The position pays $55,000 per year and Hawthorne will begin his new job on Monday.

Council member Billy Parks was also sworn in after being re-elected.

Fountain to be built in Suwanee

LAWRENCEVILLE - Move over Mall of Georgia. Watch out Centennial Olympic Park. Suwanee is building a fountain at its Town Center Park that will rival your water spouts.

Eagles, Panthers favored at county wrestling tourney

Since Shiloh won the county wrestling title in 1996, the trophy has only gone home with two other schools, Parkview and Collins Hill.

'Lewis Grizzard Returns' opens at ART Station

The writing of the late Lewis Grizzard still lives on. In the one-man play "Lewis Grizzard Returns," Bill Oberst Jr. brings the Southern writer's work to the stage.

The show opens Thursday and continues through Jan. 15 at ART Station in Stone Mountain Village. It includes Grizzard's stand-up comedy, as well as selections from his books and newspaper columns.

Gwinnett has lots to offer arts lovers in 2006

New groups and events seem to pop up almost overnight in the ever-changing Gwinnett arts scene. That's a good sign: It reflects the energy and growing sophistication of the area's culture. It does mean, however, that a complete calendar of Gwinnett arts events for the coming year will always be a work in progress.

Finding help for heating

LAWRENCEVILLE - There's plenty of money to help keep Gwinnett's low-income residents warm this winter, but many families and individuals never ask for it.

In brief

local

Apalachee to retire Whatley's jersey tonight

• Apalachee High School will retire Tyler Whatley's No. 25 jersey during tonight's home basketball doubleheader vs. Winder-Barrow. The ceremony will be held between the varsity girls and boys games. The girls game starts at 7 p.m.

OBITUARIES

DULUTH

HARMON, DOROTHY

Dorothy W. Harmon, age 89, of Duluth, GA, formerly of Mountain City, GA, died January 3, 2006. She is survived by two daughters, Sally H. Brown of Richardson, TX and Mary Dakie Osbourne of Duluth, GA; six grandchildren: Jay Brown of Charleston, SC, Susan Brown of Dallas, TX, Lisa Ahart of Austin, TX, Michelle Myers of Flowery Branch, GA, Whitt Tindol of Duluth, GA, Michelle Smith of Charlotte, NC; and seven great-grandchildren. A Memorial Service will be held at 2 PM on Saturday, January 7, 2006 at Sugarloaf United Methodist Church, Duluth, GA. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to GHS Foundation/Gwinnett Extended Care Center, P.O. Box 1184, Lawrenceville, GA 30046. Bill Head Funeral Homes and Crematory, Duluth Chapel, 770-476-2535.

LAWRENCEVILLE

EISLER, IRVIN

Irvin Adolph Eisler, age 86 of Lawrenceville, GA, passed away on January 4, 2006. Arrangements by Wages & Sons Gwinnett Chapel, 1031 Lawrenceville Highway, Lawrenceville, GA 30045, 770-277-4550.

GORSKI, HEIDI

Heidi Gorski, age 44, of Lawrenceville, GA, died January 3, 2006, after a courageous battle with cancer. She was a member of Prince of Peace Catholic Church and worked with Rich's Federated Department Stores in Atlanta. She was survived by her loving husband, Daniel Gorski of twenty one years; daughter, Sammie Gorski of Lawrenceville, GA; and brother, Mark Waywood of Hebron, Ind. Funeral services will be held, Saturday, 9:00 A.M., January 7, 2006 at Prince of Peace Catholic Church in Flowery Branch. In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to Samantha Gorski/Care of Brand Banking Company, P.O. Box 1110, Lawrenceville, GA 30046. The family will receive friends Friday, January 6, 2006 from 3:00pm to 5:00pm and 7:00pm to 9:00pm at Memorial Park South Funeral Home, 4121 Falcon Parkway, Flowery Branch 30542, 770-967-5555.

OGDEN, ENEIDA

Eneida Ogden, age 64 of Lawrenceville, GA, passed away on January 4, 2006. Graveside services will be held Saturday, January 7 at 2:00 P.M. at Piney Grove Cemetery, Odum, GA with Rev. Jimmy Lord officiating. Tom M. Wages Funeral Service, Inc., Lawrenceville Chapel, 770-963-2411, www.wagesfuneralhome.com.

ROLAND, VICTORIA

Victoria Lynn Roland, age 52, of Lawrenceville, GA passed away on Wednesday, January 4, 2006. She was employed with Bowen Family Homes. She is survived by her husband: Duane Roland of Lawrenceville, GA; children: Jacob Daniel & Kristina Brown of Lawrenceville, Matthew Langley Brown of Jefferson, GA, Lyndsey Alyssa Lippert, Mason Dean Lippert, both of Lawrenceville, GA; father & step mother: Richard Victor & Lois Irene Atkins of Jacksonville, FL; mother & step father: Virginia & Paul Carr of Lawrenceville, GA; sisters and brother: Tasha Irene Keeble of Decatur, GA, Donna Angie Bryant, Kinter Donnelle Rivers, Joel Weston Atkins, all of Jacksonville, FL; 2 grandchildren: Jacob Brown, Jr. & Ashley Brown; numerous aunts, uncles, brothers and sisters in law, nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. A funeral service will be held at 6:00p.m. on Saturday, January 7, 2006 at Wages & Sons Gwinnett Chapel. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Lynn Roland Blessed Fund, c/o Bank of America. The family will receive friends from 4:00p.m. to 6:00p.m. at Wages & Sons Gwinnett Chapel, 1031 Lawrenceville Hwy., Lawrenceville, 770-277-4550.

SIMS, TONEA

Tonea A. Sims, age 34 of Lawrenceville, GA, passed away December 29, 2005. Arrangements by Wages & Sons Gwinnett Chapel, 1031 Lawrenceville Highway, Lawrenceville, GA 30045, 770-277-4550.

LILBURN

FITZGERALD, JAMES

James J. Fitzgerald, age 49 of Lilburn, GA, passed away Thursday, January 5, 2006. Arrangements by Wages & Sons Gwinnett Chapel, 1031 Lawrenceville Highway, Lawrenceville, GA 30045, 770-277-4550.

SNELLVILLE

KILPATRICK,

ROBERT

Robert H. Kilpatrick, age 95 of Snellville, GA, passed away Thursday, January 5, 2006. Arrangements by Wages & Sons Gwinnett Chapel, 1031 Lawrenceville Highway, Lawrenceville, GA 30045, 770-277-4550.

ROUNTREE,

RICHARD

Richard L. Rountree, age 58 of Snellville, GA died January 4, 2006. He is survived by his wife of 34 years, Sandra Rountree; son, Elliott and wife, Shenley Rountree of Marietta; brothers, K.W. "Butch" Rountree of Atlanta, Vince and Diane Rountree of Lithia Springs; and several nieces and nephews. Mr. Rountree was an Army Veteran of the Vietnam Conflict and a GA State University graduate. He was a member of Snellville United Methodist Church, retired January 2002 from Delta Airlines as a Pricing Analyst and was treasurer for the Brookwood Academic Team Boosters. Memorial services will be held Friday, January 6 at 2pm at Wages Snellville Chapel with Rev. Owen Skinner officiating. The family will receive friends Thursday from 6 until 9pm and Friday from 12 noon until service time, at the funeral home. Those desiring may make donations to the American Cancer Society, 6500 Sugarloaf Pkwy., Suite 260, Duluth, GA 30097, in memory of Richard L. Rountree. Tom M. Wages Funeral Service, Inc., Snellville Chapel, 770-979-3200, www.wagesfuneralhome.com.

SUWANEE

TAYLOR, EARLY

Early B. Taylor Jr., age 88, of Suwanee, GA died Wednesday, January 4, 2006. Funeral Services will be 3 PM Saturday, January 7, 2006 at Bill Head Funeral Home, Duluth Chapel with Rev. Judy Taylor McCalla officiating. Interment will be in White Chapel Memorial Gardens, Duluth. Mr. Taylor, a native of Gwinnett County, was a Mechanic for the Gwinnett County School Systems and a member of Suwanee Parish United Methodist Church. He was a longtime member of Antioch United Methodist Church and Prince Hall Masonic Lodge. He was preceded in death by a son: Stephan Taylor. Survivors include: Wife: Catherine Taylor of Lawrenceville; Son: Roger W. Taylor Sr. of Lawrenceville; Daughters: Susan Taylor of Lawrenceville, Peggy E. Johnson of Suwanee, Judy Taylor McCalla of Suwanee, Lenora Taylor of Lawrenceville; Sisters: Martha Ingram, Ira Dean Williams, Vivian Jennings, all of Lawrenceville; Brother-in-law: Eugene Emerson of Monroe, NC; Special Cousin: Harold (Bertha) Powell of Monroe, GA; 11 Grandchildren; 2 Great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews. The family will receive friends from 12 until 2 PM and 6 until 8 PM on Friday, and from 12 until 3 PM on Saturday. Bill Head Funeral Homes and Crematory, Duluth Chapel, 770-476-2535.

WINDER

BEDDINGFIELD,

GLADYS

Mrs. Gladys Beddingfield, age 93, of Winder died January 5, 2006. Funeral arrangements will be announced by Carter Funeral Home of Winder, GA, 770-867-1361.