A look back at the Gwinnett Daily Post's top stories of the week.

Day of dreams

About 500 people attended a march for Martin Luther King Jr. Day held in Lawrenceville, which included a re-enactment of King's famous "I Have a Dream" speech in the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character," the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. said in 1963.

For some of the youngsters, the message rang loud and clear.

"I want to do the same things Martin Luther King did," said 12-year-old Blake Hicks. The Loganville boy has ambitions of being the first black president. "I think the nation will be ready for one, and I think I can make the world a better place."

A new Buford Highway

Say goodbye to Buford Highway. At least as you know it.

The multicultural shops and restaurants will still be there, but if a wide-ranging plan set forth by the Atlanta Regional Commission goes into place, not much else will remain the same.

The ARC's plan includes proposals to create an interchange with Jimmy Carter Boulevard, realign Buford Highway's intersection with Beaver Ruin Road, extending Peachtree Industrial Boulevard as a limited-access road to Sugarloaf Parkway, expanding Jimmy Carter Boulevard from four lanes to six and creating multiuse projects that would bring stores closer to sidewalks and hide empty parking lots.

"Mansion Madam" speaks

Although she says she is close to being too old to perform as an adult entertainer, 42-year-old Lisa Taylor of Duluth is taking advantage of her new celebrity status as the "Mansion Madam."

The Canadian-born entertainer's series of appearances in adult clubs in the U.S. and Canada will be under way, she told reporters at a Wednesday afternoon news conference.

"Business is good right now," said Taylor, a former Penthouse Pet and adult film star who moonlights as Melissa Wolf. "It's taking my mind off a lot of what's been going on."

Taylor, along with Nicole A. Probert, 30, of Lawrenceville, is accused of operating a high-end prostitution ring in Gwinnett County.


Gary Steven Krist, 61, of Auburn was sentenced to more than five years in prison Thursday for smuggling cocaine into the United States. Krist previously served 10 years in prison for kidnapping Emory University student Barbara Mackle and burying her alive in Berkeley Lake. ... A fire gutted the Mooring Plaza in Duluth, destroying businesses and St. Benedict's Catholic Mission, which served 1,000 people on the weekends. ... Laura Mallory, a Loganville mother of four who has fought to ban the Harry Potter series from Gwinnett County classrooms, is appealing the state's decision to let the best-selling series stay. ... A proposal that would have brought more than 300 residents to the aging Gwinnett Place Mall was denied by planning commissioners. ... The body of Barry Alan Helling, 61, of Snellville, who was last seen Dec. 9, was found in a field about 30 miles east of Birmingham, Ala. ... The county commission approved a pay increase and a purchase of land over the objections of Chairman Charles Bannister, whose pay won't increase. ... The Lake Lanier Association proposed adding 2 more feet of water to the lake as a solution to ongoing water wars and questions of sustained growth. ... Scott Morris, 34, of Covington, an official with the Gwinnett County Chamber of Commerce, has been arrested and charged with 20 felony counts of possession of child pornography. ... Schwan's Food Co. will be closing its office in Suwanee, relocating about 70 jobs.

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