News for Sunday, March 19, 2006

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Perdue hauls in big catch with high-priced rod, reel

Gov. Sonny Perdue really needed to land a big fish, and he got one with last week's announcement that Kia Motors Corp. will build its first U.S. auto plant in Georgia.

Fire destroys mobile home

DACULA - A mobile home fire completely destroyed the home of two adults and a child, leaving them temporarily without a home.

Technology helping golfers pick out clubs, improve swing

DULUTH

Bobby Jones wouldn't be happy.

Georgia's thinking not out of whackBy Bill Shipp

National pundits sometimes regard Georgia as the Rodney Dangerfield of the red states. Georgia doesn't rate much respect as a pivotal political place. Just about everybody takes us for granted. They think they know who we are and precisely how we will react.

Birth Announcements

Jan. 26

Caylen Brooke Casey was born on Jan. 26, 2006, to Jaclyn Bowers Casey and David Todd Casey of Monroe. She weighed 9 lbs. 5 ozs., and was 20 inches long.

North Brown Road to get new hotel

"What's going on here?" is a weekly column that appears in the Sunday business section of the Gwinnett Daily Post. If you see a construction site and don't know what's being built, call Douglas Sams, business reporter, at 770-963-9205, ext. 1321, or e-mail him at doug.sams@gwinnettdailypost.com.

Homeless children's lives transformed at Rainbow Village

The mission of Rainbow Village is to provide families in domestic or economic crisis a healing environment to rebuild their lives through a community-based transitional housing program that promotes self-sufficiency.

Norcross High School wins national orchestra title

The Norcross High School Philharmonic Orchestra returned from a prestigious music convention with a first-place trophy, recognized as one of the county's best high school orchestras.

Sweeping Stars

County leaders to discuss economy

DULUTH - Think of its as the state of the county, except this time everyone offers a status report.

Prep Roundup: Griffin hits, pitches GAC to win

ATLANTA - Ryan Griffin pitched a complete game to lead GAC to a 9-5 against Pace Academy on Saturday.

Griffin also went 2-for-4 with an RBI for the Spartans (5-2).

Landon Bennett went 3-for-5 with a homer, triple, and three RBIs. Patrick Savage went 2-for-3 with a double and a pair of RBIs, while Lee Chapple went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI.

Completely mesmerized by the new novel 'Pretty Little Dirty'

I fell in love last weekend - with a new book. I couldn't help it. "Pretty Little Dirty" by Amanda Boyden (Vintage, $13.95) is one of the best stories I've read in quite a while. It's the kind of book that's so good, it almost hurts.

Gladiators get record-setting win

DULUTH - The Gwinnett Gladiators set two new franchise records with a 4-3 victory over Charlotte on Saturday in front of 7,478 at the Arena at Gwinnett Center.

Literary Calendar

Tuesday

Pearl Cleage, author of "Baby Brother's Blues" will discuss and sign her work Tuesday 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.

Marketplace

Honors

and Achievements

Kawneer North America will be celebrating its 100th year of operation March 27. The event is set for 5 p.m. Norcross Mayor Lillian Webb, Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin and Gov. Sonny Perdue have been invited. The event will include a presentation from President Glen Morrison and a tour of the test lab where Kawneer conducts tests before its aluminum building products are sent to the marketplace.

Global Employment Solutions, a Georgia-based commercial staffing company, held a grand opening for its brand new Training Center on March 14. The Hall County Chamber of Commerce and the Gwinnett County Chamber of Commerce took part in the ceremony.

The Prudential Georgia Realty Gainesville office recently announced its top sales associates for 2005. Top listing and selling: The Bryant Green Team. Top individual listing and selling agent: Debra Clark.

The Prudential Georgia Realty Duluth office recently announced its top sales associates for 2005. The top-producing real estate agent for listings and sales was Jill Wyatt.

On the Move

Realtor Joe Estafen is the latest to join Prudential Georgia Realty. He is based out of the company's Duluth office at 4390 Pleasant Hill Road.

Business group proposes park beneath power lines

DULUTH - When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

OBITUARIES

DULUTH

PLOCHER, WINIFRED

Winifred Marie Snyder Plocher, age 64, of Duluth, GA, joined her parents and her husband's parents after a very brief illness on Friday, March 17, 2006. Funeral Services will be held 6 PM on Tuesday, March 21, 2006 at Bill Head Funeral Home, Duluth Chapel with Rev. Tony Griffin officiating. Mrs. Plocher was the daughter of the late, Roy R. and Marie Weitzel Snyder of Dayton, OH. Born in Dayton, OH, she graduated from Wilbur Wright High School and Magna Cum Laude from Miami Jacobs College. She married Peter H. (Pete) Plocher in 1965 and is survived by her husband, Pete; daughter, Lisa of Lakewood, OH; and son, Ryan of the home. Mrs. Plocher was an Executive Secretary for NCR Corporation early in her career. After the Plochers moved to Cambridge, OH, in the early 70's she was employed as a Legal Secretary in Cambridge, and as a Secretary for the Cambridge Board of Education. The Plochers were members of the Ninth Street United Methodist Church in Cambridge. After moving to Duluth in 1992, the Plochers joined Duluth First United Methodist Church. Mrs. Plocher worked as a substitute teacher at Duluth Middle School and Peachtree Ridge High School. The family will receive friends Tuesday afternoon from 4 until 6 PM at Bill Head Funeral Homes and Crematory, Duluth Chapel, 770-476-2535.

SNELLVILLE

DESANTIAGO, MARIA

Maria Esther DeSantiago, age 92 of Snellville, Georgia, died March 17, 2006. Memorial services will be held at a later date. The remains have been cremated. Tom M. Wages Funeral Service, Inc., Snellville Chapel, 770-979-3200, www.wagesfuneralhome.com .

FLOWERS, HOWARD

Howard Inman Flowers, age 80, of Snellville, GA , died Friday, March 17, 2006. Arrangements are pending with the Bill Head Funeral Homes and Crematory, Lilburn/Tucker Chapel, 770-564-2726.*

SOCIAL CIRCLE

BROCK, JAMES

James Brock, age 70, of Social Circle, died Friday, March 17, 2006. He was the son of the late Rudy C. and Florence Kraft Brock. Mr. Brock attended Mt. Pleasant United Methodist Church. Surviving Mr. Brock are his wife, Carol A. Brock; daughters and sons-in-law, Cindy and Gerald Hamilton of Monticello, Karen and Michael Walton of Mansfield, Linda and K.C. Phillips of Snellville; grandchildren, Jessie Walton, Daniel Walton, both of Mansfield; sister and brother-in-law, Paula and Bob Nehrkorn of New Boston, TX; brothers and sisters-in-law, Charles and Nancy Brock, Carl and Mary Brock, all of Thomson, IL; several nieces and nephews. A Memorial Service for Mr. Brock will be held at 2:30 PM, Tuesday, March 21, 2006, at Mt. Pleasant United Methodist Church, with Rev. Michael Wilson officiating. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Cancer Society, 2200 Lake Blvd., Atlanta, GA 30319 or to Mt. Pleasant United Methodist Church, 12862 Highway 278, Social Circle, GA 30025. Caldwell and Cowan Funeral Home, Covington, GA, 770-786-7062.

Thumbs Up

The Daily Post gives a thumbs up to Gwinnett citizens who have stood apart this week.

Lanes slated to close for Ga. 316 work

LAWRENCEVILLE - Traffic on both Interstate 85 and Ga. Highway 316 will be disturbed next week because of construction at the intersection of the two roads.

County seat targets nuisance homes

LAWRENCEVILLE - Fix it up or tear it down.

Sports Calendar

Baseball

April 3-7: Renz Baseball will be holding a baseball/softball Spring Break Camp April 3-7 from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. each day. The cost per camper is $125. Eight indoor baseball/softball cages and private lessons are available. For more information or to register, visit renzbaseball.com or call 770-271-4554.

Road Closures

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

Gwinnett Village plan on agenda

LAWRENCEVILLE - A struggling corner of western Gwinnett could become the county's third community improvement district if commissioners agree to landowners' desires to tax themselves.

Way down the road

County hopes to woo defense facility

WINDER - Officials in counties along Ga. Highway 316 are counting on the jobs.

Advanced instruction

International missions group moves headquarters to Norcross

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.

Last pancake breakfast held at longtime lodge

DULUTH - Nearly 300 people showed up for the last pancake breakfast fundraiser in the city's old Masonic Lodge, which housed the Masons for the past 45 years.

The building will be moved later this year from its cemetery-hilltop site overlooking Main Street and the Town Green. The relocation is necessary to make room for Duluth's new City Hall.

The nearly $1,500 raised by Saturday's annual breakfast went toward a scholarship fund for Duluth High School students who struggle to afford college.

The 101-year-old Duluth Masonic chapter has been using the building - the former home of the Duluth United Methodist Church - since 1961.

The Masons are building a new lodge about a mile away on Ga. Highway 120. It could be finished by November.

"I think we'll miss it, but in the long run it is better for us because we're getting a new home," said Masonic Lodge No. 480 Secretary Clinton Thompson.

At least the Masons won't have to worry about the challenges of maintaining a building around for more than a century.

"Termites," Thompson said. "They seem to hatch every year. I guess we won't have to redo the floor. The roof's about to go, too. We've had a guy out here to put shingles on it during the past year."

Thompson is part of a 154-member-strong Masonic lodge that over the years has raised money for a number of local charities, including the Masonic Home of Georgia, cooperative ministries and the Shriners Hospital.

Thompson joined the lodge in 1977.

"My father was a Mason, and so were my grandfathers," he said. "I was always taught it made a good man a better man."

Natural Attraction

Spirits surge as damaged church receives facelift

DULUTH - All the tell-tale signs of spring cleaning were there: Rugs hung out to dry over a chain-link fence, freshly planted flowers that brightened the entrance and a new coat of paint to make the place shine.

Lawrenceville teen drowns in lake

LAKE LANIER - A 17-year-old Lawrenceville boy drowned in Lake Lanier early Saturday morning.

Medicare meeting to be held Monday

Gwinnett leaders have partnered together with the Gwinnett Coalition for Health and Human Services to provide information to help with the Medicare Prescription drug plan process.

Engagement Announcements

Ayers - Hall

Becky Ayers of Lawrenceville announces the engagement of her daughter, Kelli Rebecca Ayers, to Erik L. Hall, son of Steve and Mischelle Hall of Cumming.

Burton looks to stay on upswing in Atlanta

HAMPTON - Will it be another photo finish? Will Carl Edwards win yet again?

'Ms. Life Care' contestants know what's important

Turns out, life's most difficult stage is the one you end up missing the most.

When our kids were young, there were times I honestly wondered if I was going to make it. Just ask my wife about all the crying, the whining, the clinging, the late-night feedings. And she had to deal with the children, too.

Little did we suspect, back then, that as our "married with children" stage began to wind down, we would look back on those years as some of our best.

Not that we've quite reached the end, mind you. Our daughter has left the nest, but we still have three boys at home, including a teenager and a soon-to-be teen. So there's plenty of whining and late nights left to enjoy.

But we can clearly see the beginning of the end. With one in college and another coming up on his final year of high school, we're faced with the prospect of soon seeing our brood cut in half. Once, I might have welcomed such an idea: half the headaches, half the work. Now, the thought fills me with dread and a curious sense of loss.

Who knew?

I'll tell you who knew: the residents of the Life Care Center of Lawrenceville, where I recently had the privilege, for the second time, of judging the annual "Ms. Life Care" pageant. The seven contestants ranged in age from the mid-70s to the early 90s, and when asked about their fondest memories, nearly all responded, "raising my children."

(There was one whose favorite memory involved dancing on the captain's table after imbibing one cocktail too many during a vacation cruise. But I'm sure raising her children was a close runner-up.)

I couldn't help but admire the strength and resilience - not to mention the beauty - those ladies exhibited. They had been factory workers and seamstresses, school teachers and musicians, homemakers and Hollywood extras. For the most part, they began child-rearing during the Great Depression. Several had outlived a husband - or two. All had numerous children and grandchildren, even great-grandchildren, many in attendance.

But I also shared their evident amazement at the speed with which life had raced along, bringing them to this final stop on the way. I certainly saw myself in them a few short decades from now - except I don't think I'll be entering any pageants at that age. I'll feel good if I can still hold my own fork.

Oh, there are advantages to a shrinking family, sure. With one fewer girl in the house, the boys and I are roughly twice as free to emit rude noises without the risk of offending the gentler sex. Also, her vacant bedroom now constitutes the giant storage closet we never had.

But I'm not sure how I'll feel once the last one leaves home. Probably a lot like the ladies at the Life Care Center.

Just not as pretty.

Lawrenceville resident Rob Jenkins is associate professor of English and director of the Writers Institute at Georgia Perimeter College. E-mail him at rjenkinsgdp@yahoo.com.

New method tried to speed up jail construction

WINDER - Barrow County commissioners hope to knock as many as eight months off the construction of their new jail and courthouse facility.

Balfour, Senate defeat bill commending Jane Fonda

Sen. Don Balfour may not mind "Barbarella," but he sure doesn't like "Hanoi Jane."

New route could change Chandler community again

LAWRENCEVILLE - Hulon Kennedy remembers when all he could see for miles around were farms, when horse and buggy trails dotted the landscape and cows were greater in population than people.

Gwinnett Gab

New regent visits Georgia Gwinnett College

LAWRENCEVILLE - The newest University System of Georgia regent visited Georgia Gwinnett College earlier this week.

Penny sales tax on Barrow ballot

WINDER - Tuesday will be cloudy, but Barrow County Elections Supervisor Kristi Royston hopes a gray day won't keep people from voting on a penny sales tax on the ballot.

Wedding Announcements

25th anniversary

Debra and Doug Wetzler recently celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary. They were married March 14, 1981, at First Baptist Church in Moorsehill, Ind. The couple resides in Auburn. They have one son, Scott Douglas Wetzler. The couple celebrated with a trip to Pigeon Forge, Tenn.

Tennis center plan is music to the ears

Could the next great metro Atlanta concert venue be a world-class tennis center?

Georgia's parks celebrate 75th anniversary

While the State Parks and Historic Sites division was collecting Georgia residents' favorite memories of the parks as part of its 75th anniversary, a trend quickly became apparent.

Local walk raises $143,000 to combat heart disease

LAWRENCEVILLE - Tom Andersen didn't mind having a few pies chucked at his face in an effort to raise money for the second annual Gwinnett/North Fulton Heart Walk, celebrated Saturday morning.

Politics close door to high-skills immigrants

WASHINGTON

When the Senate comes back to work next week, it is scheduled to take up the issue of immigration. And that is what brought Bill Gates to Washington for a rare visit last week.

'Private cities' bill passed, but skeptics remain

ATLANTA - One of the most far-reaching changes in how to handle growth in Georgia to come along in years slipped through the House late one night last week.

Norcross center to hold job fair

NORCROSS - A job fair with up to 40 companies will be held Monday at the Gwinnett Career Center.

Sweeping Stars: Providence boys top GAC in OT; girls cruise 4-0

LILBURN - It had everything a heated neighborhood rivalry between Greater Atlanta Christian and Providence Christian Academy is supposed to have.

Players running into other players, bodies flying from hits, six yellow cards given out and two red cards resulting in ejections, and the added bonus of overtime in Saturday's boys soccer game.

Burton breaks through, wins Nicorette 300

HAMPTON - The Jeff Burton resurgence continues.

Officer moves into drug-laden area in Statham

STATHAM

Police in Statham are moving in to fight crime in a neighborhood known for its drug activity.