News for Sunday, January 7, 2007

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Last-minute budget cuts surprise some

LAWRENCEVILLE - The losers of controversial budget cuts orchestrated by government officials this week say they still believe commissioners are behind their efforts.

Suwanee Chick-fil-A opening boasts free food for a year contest

SUWANEE - The first 100 customers who show up at a new Chick-fil-A by 6 a.m. Thursday will be given coupons to receive free combination meals for a year.

Coming to a neighborhood near you

Tabled to May 15 A requested rezoning from M-1 light industry to R-TH single-family townhome and C-2 commercial for 30.71 acres south of Norcross to be developed with 140 townhomes and villas and 60,000 square feet of retail space. The property is at the 6600 block of Governors Lake Parkway and the 2700-2800 blocks of Jones Mill Road. The applicant is Asian Village Atlanta, Norcross. The property owner is MJE Corp. & WG-75, Atlanta. RZM-06-015, CIC-06-025

Approved with conditions A requested rezoning from agriculture-residence to commercial for 2.15 acres south of Buford to be developed as a 9,000-square-feet retail center. The property is at the 3300 block of Hamilton Mill Road. The applicant and property owners are Jay C. Farmer, Dina Leigh Farmer, Kenneth House and Joyce House, Buford. RZC-06-044

Tabled to Jan. 16 A requested rezoning from neighborhood business and residential to C-2 commercial for .72 acres south of Norcross for car sales and a special use permit to allow automobile sales. The property is at the 6900 block of Buford Highway, the 100 block of Lake Drive and the 100 block of East Lake Drive. The applicant and owner are Joseph and Barbara Asher, Atlanta. RZC-07-001, SUP-07-001.

Gladiators 'power' way past Ice Pilots

From staff reports

PENSACOLA - The Gwinnett Gladiators used three power play goals to knock off the Pensacola Ice Pilots 6-4 on Saturday night at the Pensacola Civic Center. Gwinnett improves to 19-11-4 on the season with the win.

Sweet Potato Queen talks about her first novel

On her latest book tour, Jill Conner Browne, known as the Sweet Potato Queen, is traveling in her own decked-out bus.

"I'm really excited about it," Browne said during a recent phone interview. "It can only be different. It can't be any worse than regular book tour."

Homicides, traffic deaths up in 2006

LAWRENCEVILLE - Homicides and traffic fatalities in Gwinnett County hit record numbers in 2006.

Stars, stripes & service

Commission considers boostings members' pay

LAWRENCEVILLE - After years of asking the Legislature to boost the salaries of county commissioners, Gwinnett's board members may take the matter into their own hands.

Company cuts ties to alleged prostitute

LAWRENCEVILLE - Lisa Taylor contends she's a real estate agent. Gwinnett District Attorney Danny Porter contends the former Penthouse Pet is a call girl who charged upwards of $10,000 for her services.

Snowboarding prodigy uses talents to help other children

Stickers adorned her snowboard and the name of a dear friend was scrawled on her helmet as Lindsea Lumpkin whizzed down the mountain, placing second at the USA Snowboard Association's Aspen/Snowmass Snowboard Series in December.

New year, new food

Engagement Announcements

Albanese - Bryant

Salvatore and Cecelia Albanese of Lawrenceville announce the engagement of their daughter, Lauren Marie Albanese of Lawrenceville, to Eugene Dudley Bryant of Lawrenceville, son of Dudley and Susan Bryant of Lincolnton.

Child's death too painful to 'get over'

"GET OVER IT!" my friend barked at me.

Friedman book popular among politicians

The most popular reading at the Capitol these days came from the shelves of a Gwinnett County developer.

Got an urge to cook? Check out a local school

As far as resolutions go, learning to cook is a multitasker.

Learn more about wine this year

Despite problems in the political and international landscape, I am thankful to live in the United States of America, where freedom still rings and dreams can still be pursued and made reality.

Life is far from perfect, and a glass of wine won't cure all that ails us, but when I really look from a step back, there is far more good than bad in the world around me.

GAC's Wood leads Spartans, county in scoring, rebounding

NORCROSS - There are few things in high school basketball Ron Bradley hasn't experienced.

When you've been around the game for 50 years and won more games than any high school coach in the country everything just sort of happens to you.

But when the Greater Atlanta Christian coach began to compile this season's player stats he saw something that, in all his years of coaching, he had never seen - one of his players led his team in scoring and rebounding.

Travelers rediscovering the other side of Mexico

Oaxaca City, Mexico, the lively capital of the Mexican state that shares its name, was once overlooked by travelers who favored resort towns like Acapulco and Cancun.

Gwinnett Gab

Braselton names superintendent for water program

BRASELTON - Paul J. Mims was named Braselton's water superintendent.

The Week That Was

Prostitution arrests

Behind the gates of Sugarloaf Country Club reside corporate CEOs, physicians, airline pilots and professional athletes. But at 2800 Sugarloaf Club Drive lives a former Penthouse Pet who police say is a high-dollar call girl.

Youth Leadership Conference empowers students to lead

I will never forget the looks on the faces of the small group of high school students surrounding me as I asked them how they enjoyed the Youth Leadership Conference that day.

My exhausted mind flashed back to the early morning set up, last minute preparations and trouble-shooting tactics I employed throughout the day, yet their faces reflected a drastically different experience.

"I never actually realized that I could really make a difference in my community," explained one of the youths as others nodded in agreement. What seemed like a hectic day to me had apparently been an inspiring day to the youth who had been in attendance. There is only one word that I could use to describe these youth as they walked away from the Youth Leadership Conference that day: empowered.

The YLC is an annual event hosted by Gwinnett United in Drug Education, Inc., a nonprofit substance abuse prevention organization that has been serving Gwinnett County and the state of Georgia for 20 years.

Coming in for a landingNew navigation system to help makeBarrow airport more business friendly

WINDER - Jumbo jets may never take off from the 5,500-foot-long runway off Pickle Simon Road, but commuter and corporate flights might be the future of the Northeast Georgia Regional Airport. As Barrow County and the region continues to grow, officials are upgrading the airport's facilities, which they believe will attract future commercial and industrial business.

Schools offering new tool

WINDER - When a Saturday with friends hinges on a student's having finished their schoolwork, how is a parent to know if their child has really completed all of their assignments?

Hundreds donate Christmas trees to be turned into mulch

LAWRENCEVILLE - Joe Neely headed to the Home Depot on Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road Saturday morning to buy a ladder so he could pull Christmas lights off the trees in his front yard.

Prep Roundup: Dacula's Miller wins 100th career match

DOUGLASVILLE - Dacula's Frankie Miller won his third straight tournament on Saturday as the junior notched career wins 98, 99, 100 and 101 in the Alexander Invitational.

Police still seeking Bethlehem mom

LAWRENCEVILLE - Police are still searching for a Bethlehem mother accused of killing her two children.

That's entertainment: Preachy far-left radicals dominate show business

Here are two entertainment predictions for 2007 that you can immediately take to the bank. First, Al Gore's global-warming documentary, ''An Inconvenient Truth,'' will win an Oscar, and second, the Dixie Chicks will win a Grammy for their latest album.

Peachtree Ridge class project featured on Web site

A Peachtree Ridge business education teacher's recent lesson in financial literacy skills launched her into the spotlight as the featured educator on the Web site Practical Money Skills for Life.

Wedding Announcements

Holden - Falk

Julie Kay Holden of Atlanta and Capt. Jesse Leon Falk of Angola, Ind. were married July 1 at the Cadet Chapel in West Point, N.Y.

The bride is the daughter of Silas and Sara Holden of Atlanta. She is a 1994 graduate of Berkmar High School. She is a graduate of Berry College, where she received a bachelor's degree in family and community services. She is a graduate of the University of Colorado, where she received a master's degree in counseling and human services. She is employed as a high school counselor at Air Academy High School located at the United States Air Force Academy.

The groom is the son of Lois Falk of Okeechobee, Fla., and Dennis and Lorraine Falk of Ossian, Ind. He is a 1996 graduate of Angola High School. He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., where he received a bachelor's degree in economics. He is employed as the deputy director of Intelligence for Missiles for the North American Aerospace Defense Command and the United States Northern Command, stationed at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado.

The couple resides in Colorado Springs, Colo.

OBITUARIES

AUBURN

FAUST, DON

Mr. Don Faust, age 50, of Auburn, GA passed away Friday, January 5, 2007. He was preceded in death by his parents, Floyd Shaffer Faust and Esther Marie Faust. He is survived by his: Wife of 28 years: Mrs. Carol Jane Faust, Auburn, GA; Sons and Daughter-In-Law: Adam Faust, Chamblee, GA, Joseph and Aimee Faust, Keller, TX; Grandchildren: Julia and Carson Faust; Sister: Elayne Faust, Everson, PA; Brothers: Jim Faust, Normalville, PA, Terry Faust, Mount Pleasant, PA; Several Nieces, Nephews and Cousins. Mr. Faust was born in Westmoreland County, PA on September 30, 1956. He was a 1974 graduate of Mount Pleasant High School, Mount Pleasant, PA. He attended M.T.A. Truck Driver School. He worked for (Watkins) Fed Ex National in Lawrenceville, GA. He was a member of Hebron Baptist Church, Dacula, GA. Funeral service will be held on Monday, January 8, 2007 at 2:00 p.m. at Hebron Baptist Church, Dacula, GA with remains placed in state at 1:00 p.m. with Dr. Billy Britt officiating. The family will receive friends at the funeral home on Sunday from 2:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. and from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Carol J. Faust in memory of Don Faust. Arrangements by Junior E. Flanigan of Flanigan Funeral Home and Crematory, Buford, GA, 770-932-1133, www.flaniganfuneralhome.com.

BUFORD

BEARD, MELVIL

Mr. Melvil Beard, age 82, of Buford, GA passed away on Saturday, January 6, 2007. Mr. Beard was born in Hall County, GA on September 4, 1924. He was a graduate of Flowery Branch School, received his Bachelors Degree from North Georgia College and received his Master's Degree from the University of Georgia. He was an Army veteran of World War II and was a member of Buford American Legion Post No. 127 where he was Chaplin. He was a retired schoolteacher with the Hall County School System. He was a security guard with Phillips Correctional Institution. He was a member of New Bethany Baptist Church where he once was an active deacon. Funeral service will be held on Monday, January 8, 2007 at 3:30 p.m. in the Chapel of Flanigan Funeral Home with Rev. Danny Ashworth officiating. Interment will be in New Bethany Baptist Church Cemetery, Buford, GA with military honors. The family will receive friends at the funeral home on Sunday from 3:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. Arrangements by: Junior E. Flanigan of Flanigan Funeral Home and Cremator of Buford, GA, 770-932-1133, www.flaniganfuneralhome.com.*

LAWRENCEVILLE

SHELNUTT, MARY

Mary J. Shelnutt, age 78 of Lawrenceville, died January 6, 2007. Arrangements by Wages & Sons Gwinnett Chapel, 1031 Lawrenceville Highway, Lawrenceville, GA 30045, 770-277-4550.*

WHARTON NEE

SHELTON, EVELYN

Evelyn Julia Wharton Nee Shelton, age 81, of Lawrenceville, GA passed away Saturday January 06, 2007. She is survived by: Daughter & Son -in-law: Mildred & Larry Barkey of Houston, AL; Sons & Daughter-in-law: Max & Melinda Wharton of Lawrenceville, Harry Wharton of Chamblee; Two Grandchildren: Julia Wharton & Amanda Henley; One Great Grandchild: Bradley Jake Kee; and several nieces & nephews. Mrs. Wharton was a loving mother, wife, grandmother & great grandmother. Funeral service will be held 1:00 PM on Monday January 08, 2007 at Wages Lawrenceville Chapel with Rev. Ernest Dahn and Rev. Bob Duvall officiating. Interment will follow at Greenlawn Cemetery. Family will receive friends on Sunday from 6:00 until 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, www.wagesfuneralhome.com.

VIBANDOR, CHRIS

Mr. Chris Vibandor age 91, of Lawrenceville, GA passed away on Saturday, January 6, 2007. Service and Arrangements will be announced later by: Junior E. Flanigan of Flanigan Funeral Home and Crematory of Buford, GA, 770-932-1133.*

LULA

ROYSTER, BRENDA

Mrs. Brenda Michelle Royster, age 41 of Lula, GA died January 5, 2007. Arrangements by Smith Funeral Home Memory Chapel, Winder, 770-867-4553.*

sports calendar

Baseball

Jan. 7-Feb 4: Windward Academy is hosting its Winter High School Camp for grades 8 through 12. The camp meets twice a week and is split up into three groups according to age. Group 1 for seniors and juniors meets Wednesdays and Sundays from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Group 2 for sophomores and juniors meets Mondays and Thursdays from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Group 3 for freshmen and eighth graders meets Tuesdays from 7 to 9:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 2 to 4:30 p.m. Cost of the camp is $350. For more information send e-mails to windwardbb@adelphia.net.

John Cornetta: Sex sells in the suburbs, everywhere

LAWRENCEVILLE - If anyone knows that sex sells in Gwinnett, it's John Cornetta.

New leaders show increasing diversity in politics

It was, superficially, pure coincidence that Nancy Pelosi and Deval Patrick took their precedent-setting oaths of office at almost the same hour on Thursday.

Literary Calendar

Best Bet

•What: Annabelle Robertson will discuss and sign her book "The Southern Girl's Guide to Surviving the Newlywed Years: How to Stay Sane Once You've Caught Your Man,"

• When: 2 p.m. Saturday

•Where: The Grayson branch of the Gwinnett County Public Library, located at 700 Grayson Parkway in Grayson.

Water rates upset locals

AUBURN - A member of the Barrow County Water and Sewerage Authority has asked the board to examine how Auburn charges for its water.

Dramatic family relationships make interesting stories

There's nothing quite like seeing your relatives during the busy holiday season to make you think about family relationships. This Christmas, in particular, reminded me of how lucky I am to have a great family.

Barbecue joint dishes out hometown fare for USO

For Martha Kelley and George Richburg, it meant 400 hot dogs a month. But for the soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, it meant a comfort meal welcoming them home.

Since 2005, the owners of Hometown Barbecue in Lawrenceville have been donating hot dogs, buns and pots of chili every month to the United Service Organization's Operation R&R. The food is then served to soldiers passing through the Atlanta airport, heading home from the Middle East for two weeks' leave.

"They are not only serving meals, they are serving their country," said Max Torrence, a Vietnam War veteran and USO volunteer.

As one of two hubs - the other is Dallas - for passing soldiers, Atlanta's USO network stays busy, and volunteers such as Kelley and Richburg are treasures.

"They are a couple of great Americans, who are freely giving of their time and money out of their own pockets to support American soldiers," said Torrence, who presented the owners with their second USO Distinguished Service Award on Wednesday.

Humbly, Kelley played off the recognition and awards, noting that she and Richburg were merely doing their part. The restaurant owners have no direct connection with the military, and decided to volunteer supplies and time simply because "it is a little something we can do to give back to the community and the country."

Sitting on the mantle of Hometown Barbecue, the two plaques are on display. Though Kelley feels a pride for her work each time she walks by the awards, nothing compares to the dedication she feels to these soldiers.

"Some people have said that they think it's this great thing we are doing, but really, it's just us doing our part," Kelley said. "We are very happy to do it."

Dems one-up GOP with 100 hours

In 1995, Georgia's Newt Gingrich led newly ascendant congressional Republicans to pass the GOP's Contract with America in the first 100 days of that year's session.

A dozen years later, Nancy Pelosi's Democrats are vowing to go Gingrich's Republicans one step better.

The new speaker from California plans to ram through the "Six for '06" - last fall's platform for change that helped vault Democrats into control of the lower chamber - in 100 hours.

From ethics reforms to raising the minimum wage to cutting student loan rates, it's the most aggressive short-term agenda Congress has seen since the Gingrich-led Republican Revolution.

"It's typical when you have a change in party control," said Larry Sabato, director of the Institute for Politics at the University of Virginia and a longtime Congress watcher. "The out-of-control party has built up an agenda of popular items, which they then front-load."

The new Democratic majority began the process Thursday, the first day of the 110th Congress, by passing rules changes prohibiting members from taking gifts from lobbyists or free flights on corporate aircraft.

Those practices became increasingly common during the years of Republican rule, making the GOP vulnerable to charges that Congress was becoming mired in a "culture of corruption," a phrase frequently uttered by Democrats in recent years.

Starting Tuesday, the House is expected to take up legislation to:

• Adopt the recommendations of the Sept. 11 commission, a bipartisan panel created to investigate the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon

• Increase the federal minimum wage from $5.15 an hour to $7.25

• Expand the use of federal funds for embryonic stem cell research

• Require the government to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies to reduce prices in the Medicare prescription drug program

• Cut student loan rates for college undergraduates

• Foster the development of alternative energy by creating a fund to be financed by the oil industry.

While all of the bills are expected to clear the House easily, some could face tough sledding in the Senate, where the November elections gave Democrats a razor-thin majority of one vote.

And whatever manages to get through both houses of Congress would go to President Bush's desk.

The president has only vetoed one bill since taking office six years ago. That was a stem cell measure that Congress passed last year.

"The Senate is there to slow things down," Sabato said. "The president can veto anything he wants."

Sabato and other political analysts say the minimum wage bill is the most likely of the Democratic package to make it into law unscathed.

It has consistently polled well with voters, hasn't been increased in a decade, and the president has been supportive.

"It's needed," said Rep. David Scott, D-Atlanta. "This has been the largest stretch of time we haven't raised the minimum wage since we created a minimum wage in the 1930s."

The bill died last year when Republicans sought to tie increasing the minimum wage to repealing the federal estate tax, and Democrats wouldn't go along.

Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., said he would support the same approach this year when the bill reaches the Senate.

"A minimum wage increase, with the appropriate tax concessions, will find support in the Senate," he said.

But Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Albany, predicted that Republican senators won't try to link the two issues because a stand-alone minimum wage bill would be too popular to oppose.

"The American people are strongly in favor of it," he said. "I don't know who would want to stand in the way."

The biggest complaint among Republicans about the 100-hours agenda is that Democrats are pushing it through the House with limited debate. In November, after the Democrats swept into power, Pelosi and other leaders vowed to give minority Republicans more input into legislation than Democrats enjoyed during the years they were out of power.

"In 1995, every bill the Republicans pushed through went through the regular order," said Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, R-Grantville. "These are not going through subcommittees or committees, no input or sunshine."

But Bishop said there is no way Democrats could get so many bills passed in 100 hours of legislative business without streamlining the process.

"The leadership has made a firm commitment that as soon as we get through this 100 hours, we'll allow people to be heard on all of our business," he said.

While the pace of the House undoubtedly will slow after the first 100 hours, Scott said Democrats should continue pursuing their agenda with a sense of urgency as the year unfolds.

In a two-year election cycle, governing gives way to politicking all too quickly.

"We may have only six to seven months," Scott said. "Once we get to July or August, everything will shift to the 2008 election."

Birth Announcements

Oct. 2

Peyton Bethany Antwine was born on Oct. 2, 2006, to Andrea Dianne Antwine and Scott Daniel Antwine of Dacula. She weighed 7 lbs., 3.9 oz. and was 19 inches long.

Community Calendar

Send items for the Community Calendar to calendar@gwinnettdailypost.com or the Gwinnett Daily Post, P.O. Box 603, Lawrenceville, GA 30046. The fax number is 770-339-8081. Please include event name, address, phone number and cost. Deadline is two weeks prior to the event.

Man's stabbing charges upgraded to murder

LAWRENCEVILLE - A man who allegedly slit a Snellville man's throat at the Yellow River Park earlier this week has been charged with murder.

Columnist offers more resolutions for the new year

Last week, the Daily Post printed a few of my New Year's resolutions in its special section entitled "Resolutions from people who really need to make them," or something like that.

For me, though, those were just the beginning. I have a lot more changes to make if I truly want to become a better person in 2007 - and I do want to become a better person. The 2006 version of me was sarcastic, irreverent and often cynical. In 2007, I hope to add politically incorrect as well.

Here, then, are the rest of my New Year's resolutions. You're free, of course, to check up on me throughout the year to make sure I'm following through. But if you do, I hope the first two resolutions on your list for 2008 will be "See psychiatrist about obsessive-compulsive disorder" and "Get a life."

'It's better to recycle'