News for Tuesday, March 14, 2006


All Stories

J. Patrick Williams

PATRICK J. Patrick Williams, age 35 of Duluth, GA, passed away March 13, 2006. Arrangements by Crowell Brothers Peachtree Chapel Funeral Home, Norcross, GA, 770-448-5757.

Evelyn Higgins

Evelyn G. Higgins, age 80 of Monroe, GA, formerly of Buford, died Tuesday, March 14, 2006 after an extended illness. Funeral Service will be held Thursday, March 16, 2006 at ...

Margie Leak

Mrs. Margie E. Leak, age 71, of Buford, GA passed away on March 13, 2006. She was preceded in death by her husband, Billy Leak. Surviving are: Son and Daughter ...

Gertrude Wells

Mrs. Gertrude Wells, age 86, of Winder, died March 13, 2006. Funeral plans will be announced by Carter Funeral Home of Winder, 770-867-6706.

Billie Wood

Billie (Patterson) Wood, our beloved mother and friend, died peacefully March 12, 2006 at the age of 75. She is survived by: sons, Charles, Sherman and Phillip; daughter, Natalie; her ...

Karen Petty

Karen Petty, age 38 of Oxford, died Monday, March 13, 2006. Arrangements by Tim Stewart Funeral Home, 670 Tom Brewer Road, Loganville, GA 30052, 770-466-1544.

Berge Balian

Berge Balian, age 81 of Lawrenceville, died Tuesday, March 14, 2006. Arrangements by Tim Stewart Funeral Home, 300 Simonton Road, Lawrenceville, Georgia 30045, 770-962-3100.

Robert Pittman

Mr. Robert E. (Bob) Pittman of Snellville, formerly of Doraville, died Monday morning, March 13, 2006. Bob, a member of Embry Hills United Methodist Church since 1966, was an Army ...

Ruby Stamper

Mrs. Ruby Ellen Mahaffey Stamper, age 74, of Jacksonville, AL, and formerly of Lawrenceville, GA, passed away on Monday, March 13, 2006. Mrs. Stamper was preceded in death by her ...

Tabitha Lancaster

Mrs. Tabitha Lancaster, age 90, of Buford, GA, passed away March 14, 2006. Service and Arrangements will be announced later by Junior E. Flanigan of Flanigan Funeral Home and Crematory ...

Jeanne Johnson

Jeanne Skelton Johnson, age 83 of Lawrenceville, GA, passed away March 13, 2006. Arrangements by Crowell Brothers Peachtree Chapel Funeral Home, Norcross, GA, 770-448-5757.

Bill Nash

Bill H. Nash, age 81 of Monroe, GA died March 13, 2006. He was preceded in death by his parents, Claude E. and Mamie Holland Nash; brothers, Summie Nash, Ernest ...

police reports

Lilburn man shot after hijacking

•LILBURN - Two men hijacked a car and shot its owner when he tried to escape, a police report said.

Smooth operator

Zamboni keeps Arena, IceForum in top shape

By Christine Troyke

Staff Writer

All Zamboni machines are not created alike.

Traffic slowdown scheduled for I-85

LAWRENCEVILLE - If you think driving the speed limit hurts, then Wednesday night on Interstate 85 will be torture.

Nurse prescription bill clears Senate

ATLANTA - The Senate on Monday approved legislation that would allow advanced practice registered nurses to write prescriptions in Georgia.

But the unanimous vote on the Senate floor belied a dispute still simmering over how much authority supervising doctors should have over APRNs.

The bill Sen. Don Thomas brought to the floor Monday would put advanced practice nurses more directly under doctors' supervision than a version of the legislation passed by the House early this month.

Thomas, R-Dalton, said his bill would prevent retail chain stores from opening clinics staffed by APRNs with little or no supervision from doctors.

"This is bad medicine,'' said Thomas, the only physician in the General Assembly. "We need to do what is best for patients.''

However, senators narrowly approved an amendment to Thomas' bill incorporating the less restrictive language of the House measure.

"They worked out a compromise bill,'' said Sen. Ross Tolleson, R-Perry, chief sponsor the amendment. "It's been worked on all session long and gone through a lot of negotiations.''

Georgia is one of only two states that don't allow APRNs to write prescriptions. Supporters of giving them that right say it would improve access to health care in Georgia, especially in medically under-served rural areas.

The Senate bill now moves to the House, where lawmakers will continue working to strike a balance that meets the goal of improving access while maintaining adequate physician supervision.

Sugar Hill to begin construction of park, gymnasium

SUGAR HILL - Every Wednesday evening, Brian Estrada, 17, meets with dozens of his friends at E.E. Robinson Park to play football. Add family and fans to the number of players, and the Wednesday night football crowd can amount to a hundred or more.

Morsberger closes deal on Atlanta land

LAWRENCEVILLE - A local developer and his business partners closed Monday on a $6 million parcel in Atlanta that will be used in a larger $375 million revitalization project.

Senate pushes tax cut

By Camie Young

Staff Writer


ATLANTA - Legislative Republicans moved to cut taxes and spending during Crossover Day at the General Assembly.

Two proposed constitutional amendments passed the state Senate on Monday, the day bills had to clear at least one chamber of the legislature to remain active for this year's session.

If the House accepts the tax bill and voters approve it at the polls this fall, Georgians 62 and older would not have to pay taxes on retirement income up to $75,000 a year. The measure also would cut all income taxes on seniors 70 and older up to $100,000.

"I believe Georgia has a lot to gain economically by moving in this direction,'' said Sen. Casey Cagle, R-Gainesville, the amendment's sponsor.

Tax cuts approved by the legislature in 2003 that gradually phase out income taxes for seniors will go into effect in 2009.

Originally, Cagle asked for a retirement cap of $50,000 for taxpayers 62 and older and the elimination of taxes on those 65 and older, but senators amended the provision in an attempt to draw wealthier retirees from Florida.

Meanwhile, shortly after Monday's vote, several influential Republican senators introduced a resolution to study putting spending limits on the state budget.

Across the country, 27 states have imposed tax spending limitations.

"It truly is the people's money,'' said Sen. Chip Rogers, R-Woodstock. "(This) will allow the citizens of Georgia to tell us how much of their money we can spend."

If the resolution passes, a five-member panel of senators would study the issue this summer and develop a proposal for the Senate to take up next year.

Herman Cain, a wealthy businessman who ran an unsuccessful race for U.S. Senate two years ago, joined the leaders at a press conference Monday to support the idea.

"This is an issue we need to get out in front of,'' he said, adding that taking a state-by-state approach could also put pressure on federal representatives to restrict spending in Washington.

Another proposal from Sen. David Shafer, R-Duluth, would restrict spending in the annual midyear budget except for the annual reallocation of education funds based on school enrollment growth. All other changes in spending would have to be accepted by a two-thirds majority of legislators in both chambers.

Shafer said the amendment would reduce "pork-barrel'' spending and force officials to make more accurate revenue projections when the original budget is devised.

"Now Republicans are in charge,'' Shafer said. "The supplemental budget should not be used for pork.''

Shafer's constitutional amendment passed the Senate Monday and now moves to the House. Like the senior tax break, the bill would have to get approval from voters before it becomes law.

Death of 'activist' doubly tragic

The death of ''peace activist'' Tom Fox, and the threatened execution of the three others held with him in Iraq, is doubly tragic.

Football finals switched back to host schools

Slightly more than six months ago, the Georgia High School Association's Executive Committee voted to move the 2006 state football championship games to neutral sites.

Senate OKs stem cell bill

ATLANTA - The Senate passed legislation Monday aimed at encouraging stem cell research in Georgia.

Senators voted unanimously to create a "bank'' to accept donations of umbilical cord blood, placental tissue and amniotic fluid, byproducts of childbirth that are rich in stem cells. The bank would be run by one or more of the state's universities.

While the measure generated little discussion on the Senate floor, it was embroiled in controversy as it made its way through the chamber's Science and Technology Committee.

The original version of the bill drew strong opposition from Democrats and some scientific experts who claimed a provision banning human cloning effectively would have criminalized embryonic stem cell research in Georgia.

Sen. David Shafer, R-Duluth, the committee's chairman and the bill's chief sponsor, said he didn't want the measure to address embryonic stem cell research because of the national controversy surrounding using days-old embryos left over from fertility treatment for research.

Shafer also argued that embryonic stem cell research remains a theory, while more than 65 treatments and cures have been developed through research using "adult'' stem cells from umbilical cords.

"For all the hype about embryonic stem cell research, not a single one of those treatments and cures has come from an embryonic stem cell,'' he said.

But Shafer agreed to remove the section on cloning from the bill to get it through the Senate.

The bill now goes to the House.

Johnson passes Kenseth for last-lap victory

LAS VEGAS - So far this season, Jimmie Johnson is doing just about everything right.

McClatchy to buy Knight Ridder for $4.5 billion

NEW YORK - The McClatchy Co. has reached a deal to buy Knight Ridder Inc., the second-largest U.S. newspaper publisher, for about $4.5 billion in cash and stock, the companies announced Monday. McClatchy will also assume about $2 billion in Knight Ridder's debt.

Sports calendar


Through April: A new 18-and-over men's baseball league in the North Gwinnett/South Barrow County area is looking for players. All experience levels are welcome and games on Sunday from April through August. Open workouts starting soon. Call Lee at 770-873-4790 or Tony at 404-202-9694 for additional information.

Campbell sets Gladiators' points record in victory

Jeff Campbell capped a record-filled weekend by setting an impressive team mark on Sunday during the Gwinnett Gladiators' 4-3 overtime win over South Carolina.



Prep roundup: Cash leads Comets past Harrison 7-4

SNELLVILLE - John Henson pitched seven strong innings and had six strikeouts to pick up his second victory of the year as South Gwinnett defeated Harrison 7-4 on Monday.

House OKs crackdown on gangs

ATLANTA - Gangs could become easier to prosecute under a measure passed by the House Monday.

While some legislators expressed concern that any group that engages in criminal activity could be labeled a gang, the bill's sponsor, Rep. David Casas, R-Lilburn, said current law makes it too difficult to prosecute gang members.

In fact, prosecutors in Gwinnett and DeKalb counties have never used the state law even though gang activity is on the rise in those counties.

"Overall, this bill strengthens the law in order to help our young people,'' Casas said.

The bill, if approved by the Senate, would strip the current requirement that prosecutors prove a history of two or more gang-related crimes to make a case. The legislation also makes it illegal to loiter on school property.

An amendment added Monday would set up a fund to provide rewards for those who help solve crimes such as drive-by shootings.

"Our young people need to be safe, and we've got to do what we've got to do to protect them,'' said Rep. Gail Buckner, D-Jonesboro, who introduced the amendment.

But Rep. Alisha Thomas Morgan, D-Austell, said she was concerned that kids who wear popular urban clothes such as white T-shirts would be labeled gang members if they get into a fight. She said she was involved in a situation in her district with a group of kids who were wrongly accused after a fight over a girl.

"We certainly have a gang problem in this state, and we've got to deal with it,'' she said. "But it casts too wide of a net that allows overly zealous officers to racially profile. ... I think we have to be careful of what we're doing. We need to not criminalize children.''

Rep. Tom Bordeaux, D-Savannah, said protesters could be labeled as gangs under the proposal.

"Under this bill, the Republican Party is a gang. Your Sunday School class could be a gang,'' he said.

In the end, though, the bill passed by a vote of 124-45.

"Frankly, I could care less if your pants are low if your morals are high,'' said Rep. Melvin Everson, R-Snellville. "I could care less if your hat is tipped to the side, if your head is on straight. What I do care about is the safety in our community.''

Duluth to move church

DULUTH - The City Council has picked a company to move the former home of Duluth United Methodist Church, a nearly 133-year-old building that has stood on a city hilltop for generations.



Norcross' Meeks on Countdown to Signing Day

Norcross basketball player Jodie Meeks, fresh off leading the Blue Devils to the Class AAAAA state title, is an in-studio guest this week on Countdown to Signing Day, a Fox Sports Net South TV program on college recruiting. The Kentucky signee will be on the live show Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. and the show will air again on Friday at 6:30 p.m.

Senate rejects death penalty study

ATLANTA - The Senate on Monday defeated a proposal to study the use of the death penalty in Georgia at a time when other states are considering moratoriums on capital punishment.

Sen. Vincent Fort, D-Atlanta, appealed to his conservative colleagues by taking language out of his resolution that could have allowed a moratorium in Georgia.

In the well of the Senate, Fort described three Georgia cases where men were sentenced to die before the charges against them were thrown out when it was found that evidence had been tampered with or witnesses had lied.

While the Democrat said he is against capital punishment, he argued that those in favor of the death penalty could still vote on his bill "with a clear conscience'' because it simply would work to ensure that the right people are convicted of crimes.

"Making a mistake is an irreversible error," Fort said.

In Illinois, former Republican Gov. George Ryan declared a moratorium on capital punishment several years ago after discovering that more people on death row had been exonerated of their crimes than had been executed since the state reinstated the death penalty in 1977.

While no one debated Fort, his measure failed by a vote of 17 to 33.

After the vote, Sen. Don Balfour, chairman of the Senate Republican Caucus, said Georgia's criminal justice system already ensures that defendants sentenced to death are guilty.

"I'm obviously for the death penalty. I think it's used appropriately,'' said Balfour, R-Snellville. "We do quite a bit right now to make sure we are following up with people in the right manner.''

GOP amendments fail in House


ATLANTA - Using a rare chance to flex their muscles, House Democrats united Monday to block two constitutional amendments sought by Republican Gov. Sonny Perdue and his GOP legislative allies.





Bennie Bedingfield., age 60 of Auburn, died Sunday, March 12, 2006. Funeral Services will be held 2:00 PM Tuesday, March 14, 2006 in the Lawrenceville Chapel of Tim Stewart Funeral Home. Rev. E.N. Brady, Rev. Chip Cranford & Rev. Rick King will officiate. Burial will follow at Pleasant Grove Baptist Church Cemetery, Lawrenceville. Mr. Bedingfield was a printer by trade, co-owner of Pioneer Label for 17 years & attended Hebron Baptist Church. He is survived by his Wife of 41 years, Brenda Roberts Bedingfield, Auburn; Children: Mark & Kim Bedingfield, Dacula, Robin & Kenny Rogers, Grayson; Grandchildren: Carleigh Rogers, Madison Rogers, Austin Bedingfield & Baylee Bedingfield; Brother: Willard Bedingfield, Lawrenceville; Sisters & Brother-in-law: Joan Compton, Dacula, Judy & Larry Fleeman, Dacula; Sisters-in-law & Brother-in-law: Grace Smith, Lawrenceville, Eunice & Claude Collins, Tucson, AZ; Several Nieces & Nephews. Tim Stewart Funeral Home, 300 Simonton Road, Lawrenceville, GA 30045, 770-962-3100.



Mrs. Margie Leak, age 71, of Buford, GA, passed away Monday, March 13, 2006. Service and Arrangements will be announced later by Junior E. Flanigan of Flanigan Funeral Home and Crematory of Buford, GA, 770-932-1133,*


Mr. Rodney "Rod" Thacker, age 73, of Buford, GA, passed away Monday, March 13, 2006. Service and Arrangements will be announced later by Junior E. Flanigan of Flanigan Funeral Home and Crematory of Buford, GA, 770-932-1133,*



Carol Frances Atkins, age 61, of Duluth, GA, passed away March 13, 2006. Arrangements by Crowell Brothers Peachtree Chapel Funeral Home, Norcross, GA, 770-448-5757.*



Peggy Sharon Savage, age 54 of Dunwoody, GA, passed away on March 12, 2006. She is survived by: Mother: Mary Savage, Lawrenceville; Sisters: Phyllis Turner, Brenda Miller, Linda Collins, all of Lawrenceville; Brothers: William Savage, Jr., Kenneth Savage, both of Winter Park, FL. Peggy was a native of Gwinnett County and a graduate of Central Gwinnett High School. She graduated from Dekalb College with a degree in Business Management. She also received a degree in financial planning. She was preceded in death by her father, William M. Savage, Sr. Memorial services will be held Wednesday, March 15 at 2:00 P.M. at Lilburn First Baptist Church with Dr. Paul Johnson and Mrs. Susan Rumble officiating. Inurnment at 4:00 P.M. at Zion Hill Baptist Church Cemetery. The family will receive friends Tuesday from 5:00 to 9:00 P.M. at the funeral home. Tom M. Wages Funeral Service, Inc., Lawrenceville Chapel, 120 Scenic Hwy., Lawrenceville, GA 30045, 770-963-2411,



Mrs. Ruby Ellen Mahaffey Stamper, age 73, of Jacksonville, AL and formerly of Lawrenceville, GA, passed away March 13, 2006. Service and Arrangements will be announced later by Junior E. Flanigan of Flanigan Funeral Home and Crematory of Buford, GA, 770-932-1133,*



Mrs. Docia Kirksey Carver, age 59, of Lawrenceville, passed away Sunday, March 12, 2006. She is survived by her only child Ms. Phyllis Carver, of Lawrenceville, and her Mother, Mrs. Polly Kirksey of La Porte, TX. The family will receive visitors at Bill Head Funeral Home, Duluth, GA from 6 - 8 PM on Wednesday, March 15th. "Have courage for the great sorrows of life, and patience for the small ones; and when you have finished your task, go to sleep in peace. God is awake. . ." Bill Head Funeral Home and Crematory, Duluth Chapel, 770-476-2535.


Allene Weatherly Kirby, age 85 of Lawrenceville, died Saturday, March 11, 2006. Funeral Services will be held 3:30 PM Tuesday, March 14, 2006 in the Lawrenceville Chapel of Tim Stewart Funeral Home. Rev. Karl Hunter will officiate. Burial will follow at Oakland Community Cemetery, Lawrenceville. Mrs. Kirby was retired from National Biscuit Company with 40 years of service and was a member of New Hope Christian Church. She was preceded in death by her Husband, Curtis Kirby. Mrs. Kirby is survived by: Daughter-in-law: Bessie E. Kirby, Lawrenceville; Grandson: Kevin D. Kirby, Atlanta; 2 Nephews: Eddie Weatherly, Redan, Mike Weatherly, Stone Mountain; 2 Nieces: Peggy Baxter, Ft. Walton Beach, FL, Beverly Merriam, Cumming; Several Great Nieces & Nephews & Great Great Nieces & Nephews. Flowers accepted or memorial may be made to: New Hope Christian Church, 1982 Old Norcross Road, Lawrenceville, GA 30044. The Family will receive friends from 5:00 PM - 8:00 PM Monday, March 13, 2006 at Tim Stewart Funeral Home, 300 Simonton Road, Lawrenceville, GA 30045, 770-962-3100.


Mrs. Billie Patterson Wood, age 75 of Lawrenceville, Applewood Community, passed away Sunday, March 12, 2006. Arrangements by Wages & Sons Gwinnett Chapel, 1031 Lawrenceville Highway, Lawrenceville, GA 30045, 770-277-4550.*




Dr. Marshall Hinton Everett, age 82 of Loganville died Sunday, March 12, 2006. Funeral Services will be held 2:00 PM, Thursday, March 16, 2006 at Mountain View Baptist Tabernacle, Snellville with remains placed in state at 1:30 PM. Rev. Carl Leach, Jr., Dr. Thurman Wade and Dr. Don Richards will officiate. Burial Gwinnett Memorial Park, Lawrenceville. Dr. Everett was a loving father and grandfather and was respected and honored by all his family as a man of God. He always lived what he preached to others. He started preaching in August of 1951 and pastored 14 churches over the years. He founded and pastored Fellowship Baptist Church, Stone Mountain and Gwinnett Hall Baptist Church and Bible College, Lawrenceville. He also began Macedonia World Baptist Missions and was a member of Mountain View Baptist Tabernacle. He is survived by: Wife of 63 years: Dovie Irene Everett, Loganville; Children: John & Brenda Everett, Suwanee, James & Linda Everett, Jesse & Deborah Everett, all of Lawrenceville; Brother & Sister-in-law: Bernice & Evelyn Everett, Buford; Sister: Sara Casper, Statham; 9 Grandchildren 10 Great Grandchildren Several Nieces & Nephews. Flowers accepted or memorials to Macedonia World Baptist Missions, P.O. Box 519, Braselton, Georgia 30548. Family will receive friends from 2-4 PM and 6-9 PM, Tuesday, March 14, 2006 and Wednesday, March 15, 2006 at the Tim Stewart Funeral Home, 300 Simonton Road, Lawrenceville, Georgia 30045, 770-962-3100.



George Lawrence DeMore, Sr., of Stone Mountain, Georgia died March 12, 2006 of bacterial pneumonia. Arrangements by Tom M. Wages Funeral Service, Inc., Snellville Chapel, 770-979-3200, .*



Alice Ruth Garrison, age 77 of Winder, died Sunday, March 12, 2006. Arrangements by Tim Stewart Funeral Home, 300 Simonton Road, Lawrenceville, Georgia 30045, 770-962-3100.*


Troyce J. Price, age 75, of Winder, GA, passed away March 12, 2006. Arrangements by Smith Funeral Home of Winder, GA, 770-867-4553.*

Loganville woman sees bear

By Rubina Madan

Staff Writer

LOGANVILLE - When she went to her bedroom to turn off her TV, Loganville resident Elaine Gray saw something startling: a 250-pound shape sitting and eating outside her house. It was 12:30 a.m. on Sunday - too dark to tell immediately that it was a young black bear.

The hungry animal started walking back and forth between her hanging bird feeders, snacking on their contents.

Investors oppose rezoning

LAWRENCEVILLE - Usually landowners whose property is being rezoned lobby for the change.