News for Sunday, March 5, 2006

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Connecticut clinches share of Big East title with victory

The Associated Press

STORRS, Conn. - Marcus Williams went 6-for-6 from the free throw line in the final 48 seconds and No. 2 Connecticut clinched at least a share of the Big East regular season championship with an 84-80 victory over Louisville on Saturday.

High Rollers

GOP talks reform, does otherwise

"Watch what we do, not what we say," John Mitchell, President Nixon's attorney general and most trusted confidant, once advised Washington observers.

Mitchell was speaking of Nixon's early administration. Nearly 40 years later, the late attorney general's words seem more appropriate for a host of other matters involving a new generation of elected officials. In fact, Mitchell's admonition appears most apt for keeping track of the overall performance of Georgia state government in 2006.

Consider the contrast between the rhetoric and the deeds of the first GOP-controlled statehouse in recent times:

"Local schools and parents know best how to reach (local school) standards. Republicans will give local school systems more discretion in how education dollars are spent as long as standards are met." - GOP platform, "Declaration for a New Georgia"

Fifth hotel to be built near arena

DULUTH - Work is about to begin on another Sugarloaf-area hotel.

OBITUARIES

AUBURN

HAYWOOD, JEAN

Jean Haywood, age 62 of Auburn, GA, died Friday, March 3, 2006. Funeral Services will be held 3:00 PM Sunday, March 5, 2006 in the Lawrenceville Chapel of Tim Stewart Funeral Home. Rev. Marvin Morton will officiate. Entombment will follow at East Shadowlawn Memorial Gardens, Lawrenceville. Mrs. Haywood was a member of Resurrection Baptist Church. She is survived by her Husband: Bobby Haywood, Auburn; Children: Shelia & Henry Hanson, Dacula; Jamie Haywood, Auburn; Mother & Step Father: Lula Mae & Harmon Roberson, Shelby, AL; Brothers: Dexter Blackmon, Childersburg, AL, William Blackmon, Columbiana, AL; Sister: Patricia Ann Blackmon, Columbiana, AL; Half-Sister: Sandra Manning, Opelika, AL; 6 Grandchildren; 2 Great Grandchildren; Several Nieces & Nephews. Flowers will be accepted or in lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to: Childrens Healthcare of Atlanta Egleston, 1405 Clifton Road, Atlanta, GA 30322. Tim Stewart Funeral Home, 300 Simonton Road, Lawrenceville, GA 30045, 770-962-3100.

MCKNIGHT, BOBBY

Bobby Eugene McKnight, age 44 of Auburn, GA, passed away March 2, 2006. Arrangements by Smith Funeral Home, Winder, GA, 770-867-4553.*

DULUTH

PALMER, NOEL

Noel Fulton Palmer, Jr., age 58, of Duluth, GA, died Wednesday, March 1, 2006. Arrangements by Bill Head Funeral Homes and Crematory, Duluth Chapel, 770-476-2535.*

JEFFERSON

SMITH, FRANCES

Evans Funeral Home of Jefferson announces the death of Mrs. Frances Rachel Smith, age 53 of Jefferson, Georgia who died Friday, March 3, 2006. Arrangements by Evans Funeral Home, Jefferson, GA, 706-367-5467.*

LILBURN

GUICE, ROBERT

Robert O. Guice, age 58, of Lilburn, GA, died suddenly Saturday morning, March 4, 2006. Arrangements are pending with The Bill Head Funeral Homes and Crematory, Lilburn/Tucker Chapel, 770-564-2726.*

SUGAR HILL

RICHARDSON, LEWIS

Mr. Lewis M. Richardson, Sr., age 93 of Sugar Hill, GA, passed away Friday, March 3, 2006. Service and Arrangements will be announced later by Junior E. Flanigan of Flanigan Funeral Home and Crematory of Buford, GA, 770-932-1133, www.flaniganfuneralhome.com.*

Community rallies around boy hurt in lawn mowing accident

The Hamilton Mill community is banding together to help raise money for the family of a young boy who was severely injured in a lawn mowing accident, but the family still needs more help.

All grown up

Method gives students freedom to learn

A 6-year-old girl stacks cylindrical blocks into towers of equal height, while her 3-year-old classmate counts pebbles and divides them into two piles. Across the room, another student puts individual countries into a puzzle map of South America, proudly identifying Brazil and Chile.

Engagement Announcements

Hall - Drummond

Clifton and Cheryl Hall of Snellville announce the engagement of their daughter, Melissa Lynne Hall, to John David Drummond, son of Merrilyn Drummond of Conyers and Arnold Drummond of Tallapoosa.

Dacula raises annexation, rezoning and development fees

DACULA - City annexation fees more than quadrupled when councilmen voted unanimously to raise fees from $525 to $2,250 at Thursday's council meeting.

Work release program lacks inmates after first year

WINDER - When the county's work release center opened a year ago last month, Director Jimmy Terrell expected a few bugs before the building filled up and residents reached maximum capacity.

Community calendar

Upcoming

The Lilburn Girl Scout Day Camp is inviting every camper and staff member in the camp's quarter century of history to attend a reunion event from 5 to 7 p.m. June 8 at the Lilburn City Park Pavilion. Those interested can contact Deanna Simmons at 770-736-6321 or deasimmons@comcast.net with the phrase "Day Camp Reunion" in the subject line.

Awe-some hat-trick effort leads Gladiators past Pensacola

DULUTH - Defenseman Jon Awe had four goals in 30 games for the Gwinnett

Gladiators.

Stem cells turning into hot topic at General Assembly

Observers at the Georgia Capitol are used to heated debates between legislative Republicans and Democrats and among advocates for various organizations on opposite sides of the political spectrum.

Commissioners told to sell decisions at retreat

ATHENS - Barrow County commissioners are sympathetic.

New CEO found in California

Gwinnett's community hospital system went all the way to northern California to find its new CEO.

'Scout' visits Gwinnett to speak on 'To Kill a Mockingbird'

LAWRENCEVILLE - Sitting onstage before a sold-out audience, Academy Award nominee Mary Badham, who played Scout in the movie "To Kill a Mockingbird," talked about her life, the book and the importance of reading.

Barrow eyes speed humps

WINDER - Speed demons on Barrow's neighborhood streets may soon have reason to slow down.

Completely unable to resist the latest teen novels

I know that I am probably too old to get excited about new books for teens. Still, I couldn't help falling for the new MTV Books series, which goes on sale this week.

First of all, the books are really cute. I also love the size and weight of them. Each one is about one-third smaller than a regular-sized trade paperback. They're perfect for slipping into my purse, which works well for me, since I like to take at least one book everywhere I go.

County staff builds arbor for senior center

WINDER - A group of 30 county employees taking a management class have spent the past month pouring concrete and planting flowers.

Increasing poverty presents difficult future challenges

The Gwinnett Coalition for Health and Human Services is a nonprofit organization. Our mission is to be a private-public partnership to facilitate collaboration to improve the well being of our community. Started more than 15 years ago, the coalition is recognized as an outstanding model for positive community problem solving.

Famous alumni credit education for success

The founders of Google, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, attribute their Montessori educations as being a major factor behind their success.

Gwinnett Gab

Cub Scouts go camping

LILBURN - A local Cub Scout group went camping on a World War II aircraft carrier.

Coffee chain serious about morning food

SEATTLE - Once premium java percolated into the mainstream, it was only a matter of time before major fast-food and doughnut chains got more serious about their coffee.

Wedding Announcements

50th anniversary

Quinton and Betty Waycaster were honored with a 50th wedding anniversary reception on Jan. 22. They celebrated with friends and family at the West Buford Baptist Church Fellowship Hall in Buford. The bride and groom were married on Jan. 27, 1956. The Waycasters have five children, 11 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Wesleyan defeats GAC 75-56 for third straight state championship

MACON - In Georgia Class AA girls basketball, you can spell dynasty W-E-S-L-E-Y-A-N.

Prep roundup: Esmonde's grand slam leads Panthers in 4-1 win

LILBURN - Georgia signee Steve Esmonde's grand slam proved to be all the runs Parkview needed as it defeated state power Columbus 4-1 on Saturday.

Republicans finally get a couple wins under their belt

WASHINGTON

Ken Mehlman has not had an easy time of it in his first year as chairman of the Republican National Committee. As the point man for the White House's political team, he has experienced defeats at the hands of the Democrats in last November's two big gubernatorial races - and growing criticism from within GOP ranks about President Bush's policy stumbles. From Social Security to Katrina to the Dubai Ports deal, Mehlman has been on the receiving end of brickbats.

Birth Announcements

Dec. 12

Karly Elisabeth Balkcom was born on Dec.12, 2005, to Rhonda Leigh Balkcom and Allen James Balkcom of Loganville. She weighed 8 lbs. 8 ozs., and was 201⁄2 inches long.

Buford woman leads fight against abortion

LAWRENCEVILLE - Caryl Swift doesn't get to many protests these days.

Thumbs Up

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

Barrow County Little League teams draw hundreds

WINDER - More than 300 children have signed up to join the first countywide Little League teams.

The Montessori way

Water lines need to be moved for U.S. 23 project

LAWRENCEVILLE - Water and sewer lines will be moved so construction can begin at Pleasant Hill Road and Buford Highway, if commissioners OK a contract Tuesday.

Sports calendar

Baseball

Through April: A new 18-and-over men's baseball league in the North Gwinnett/South Barrow County area. 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.

Company pioneers microscopic technology for commercial testing

DULUTH - In this ordinary looking office building, 18 scientists, engineers and support staff use remarkable technology that improves everyday products.

Woman behind method was pioneer

The originator of the Montessori method was a pioneer not only in education, but also in the field of medicine.

Cyberfan is key to theory of devolution

Beware the cyberfan, that uber sports enthusiast who, lacking any semblance of a life, spends his days and nights skulking through cyberspace, searching out tidbits of information about his favorite team on the Internet and then firing off semi-intelligible, often obscene e-mails in response.

That's because your typical cyberfan has no sense of humor, at least where his own team is concerned. He's happy enough to laugh at somebody else's team, thank you very much - just don't joke about his. That much I've learned recently, putting the lie to the vicious rumor, started by supporters of a certain western-division SEC school, that I'm borderline uneducable.

For example, if I want to receive a slew of angry, vile, threatening e-mails this week - and who doesn't? - I just have to make one mildly humorous, relatively innocuous joke about an SEC football program, like so:

Speaking as a Vols fan, I can't believe the terrible season Tennessee had this year. For what we pay those players, you think they'd at least be able to go .500.

Now remember, that's just a joke. I don't really think Tennessee is paying its players. If they are, somebody's getting ripped off. Yet despite the disclaimer, despite the fact that I clearly identify myself as a Vols fan (and a Tennessee grad, I should add), I predict I'll get at least 20 e-mails this week calling me everything but a gentleman and threatening me with bodily harm. Half will accuse me of being a Georgia fan. (I told you they were vile.)

Which brings me to something else I've learned: A large percentage of any college athletic program's most ardent supporters have never set foot on that college campus except to attend sporting events. In fact, judging by their e-mails, I'd guess most of them never attended college anywhere. Or even high school.

Finally, I've learned just how crass our society has become. People who don't even know me spent two weeks threatening me personally - via e-mail, of course, brave souls that they are - threatening my family and calling me names that 20 years ago people wouldn't have used to describe a child molester. And all because I made one little harmless joke about their favorite college football team. Okay, maybe several jokes, but you get the picture.

Not that the e-mails bothered me. I was actually glad to get them. In this business, you'd rather have people saying terrible things about you than not saying anything at all. Mostly, I was just saddened, wondering what the heightened level of invective forebodes for our civilization.

More importantly, such nastiness has serious implications in terms of evolutionary theory. During my lifetime, at least, the human race actually seems to have DE-volved considerably. At this rate, in another six billion years, we'll all be monkeys again.

Or, even worse, we could all be cyberfans.

E-mail Rob Jenkins at rjenkinsgdp@yahoo.com.

Range of bills face extinction

ATLANTA - Majority Republicans in the General Assembly are delivering on promises to crack down on illegal immigration in Georgia, protect private property rights and lengthen prison sentences for sex offenders.

Literary Calendar

Today

Sam Heys and Allen B. Goodwin, authors of "The Winecoff Fire: The Untold Story of America's Deadliest Hotel Fire," will discuss and sign their work today at the Margaret Mitchell House and Museum Visitors Center, 990 Peachtree St. in Atlanta. A reception will be held at 3 p.m., and the discussion begins at 4 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.

Female skaters risk hard knocks for rich rewards of derby

Several nights a week, Maisha Smith leaves her Dacula home for a skating rink in Stone Mountain. There, her alter ego takes over.