News for Thursday, March 15, 2007

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Gwinnett Gab

Snellville police

officers honored

SNELLVILLE - Officers Greg Perry, Jeff Manley and Andre Sullivan were all honored in a resolution passed by the mayor and council.

The three officers recently received individual distinction among their peers in the National Crime Enforcement Association, with members from the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Perry was honored for making 52 felony arrests and numerous drug seizures. Manley is responsible for the largest street-level U.S. currency seizure and Sullivan landed the largest street-level seizure of the drug ecstasy.

Pi not square for these sixth-graders

BUFORD - About 60 sixth-graders at Jones Middle School each enjoyed a couple of slices of pizza, a cookie and a piece of pie after school Wednesday.

Police briefs

Teens rob, assault ice cream man

•NORCROSS - A man selling ice cream at the Madison Ridge Apartments at 1121 Indian Trail-Lilburn Road on Monday said he was robbed by three teens.

According to a police report, the teens, believed to be 16 or 17, acted like they wanted to buy ice cream then punched the man in the face and took his cell phone, ice cream and a bag containing $5.

Police said they called the stolen cell phone and a teen with a strong Jamaican or African accent answered.

A witness who saw the robbery said one of the teens had a black bandanna wrapped around his head.

Thieves search man's car, take phone, cash

•LAWRENCEVILLE - A Lawrenceville man who parked his car at the Citgo gas station at 3522 Club Drive in Lawrenceville said he was robbed by two men Monday.

Two black men driving a tan Chrysler Plymouth pulled into the lot near the Lawrenceville man then pointed a gun at his head and demanded the keys to his vehicle, a police report said.

The man said the two searched his vehicle, taking his handgun, cell phone and $150 then fled in his car.

OBITUARIES

BUFORD

JAMESON, ALECIA

Alecia Jameson, age 63, of Buford, died Wednesday, March 14, 2007. Arrangements will be announced by Tapp/Tim Stewart Funeral Home and Crematory, 201 Morningside Drive, Buford, Georgia 30518, 770-945-9345. Please sign the online guest registry at www.stewartfh.com.*

LAWRENCEVILLE

CARMAN, ROBERT

Robert Anthony Carman, age 51, of Lawrenceville, GA, passed away March 11, 2007. Arrangements by Wages & Sons Gwinnett Chapel, 1031 Lawrenceville Highway, Lawrenceville, GA 30045, 770-277-4550.*

MORTON, CARL

Carl E. Morton, age 76 of Lawrenceville, died Wednesday, March 14, 2007. Funeral Services will be held 2:00 PM, Friday, March 16, 2007 in the Lawrenceville Chapel of Tim Stewart Funeral Home. Rev. Hoyt Huff, Jr. and Dayne Shannon will officiate. Burial Gwinnett Memorial Park, Lawrenceville. A member of First Christian Church of Lawrenceville, Mr. Morton was retired from General Motors, Doraville Plant as a cushion maker with 31 years of service. He is survived by: Wife of 57 years: Virginia Bramlett Morton, Lawrenceville; Daughter & Son-in-law: Kathy Louise & David Craft, Watkinsville; Brother & Sister-in-law: Rev. Marvin & Lynda Morton, Lawrenceville; Grandson: Jacob David & Andrea Craft, Johnson City, TN; Several Nieces & Nephews. Family will receive friends from 10 AM - 9 PM, Thursday, March 15, 2007 at the Tim Stewart Funeral Home, 300 Simonton Road, Lawrenceville, Georgia 30045, 770-962-3100. Please sign online guest registry at www.stewartfh.com .

LOGANVILLE

NEELEY, JOHN

John R. "Russ" Neeley, age 49 of Loganville, GA died March 12, 2007. He was preceded in death by his daughter, Mallory Neeley and parents, Frank and Rose Neeley, Sr. He was survived by his wife of 24 years, Jeanie Neeley; daughters, Jennifer Neeley, Erica Rose Neeley of Reinhardt College, Kayla Marie Neeley of Loganville; brother, Frank and Kathy Neeley, Jr. of Pelham, AL, Guy and Susan Neeley of Covington, GA; grandson, Landon, several nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts and uncles. Mr. Neeley, was a member of Snellville First Baptist Church and the service manager at Troncalli Infinity, Decatur, GA. He loved softball and was very active with his daughters softball team. Funeral services will be held Thursday, March 15 at 4pm at First Baptist Church of Grayson with Rev. Rob Brooks officiating. Interment will be held at Eternal Hills Memory Gardens. The family will receive friends Wednesday from 6 until 9pm at the funeral home. Tom M. Wages Funeral Service, LLC, Snellville Chapel, 770/979-3200 www.wagesfuneralhome.com

SNELLVILLE

BOBBITT, ROBY, SR.

Roby Kelly Bobbitt, Sr., age 63 of Snellville, GA died March 13, 2007. He is survived by his wife of 41 years, Gail M. Bobbitt; daughter, Anita Hill of Baton Rouge, LA and partner, Cindy Bourgeois; son and daughter-in-law, Kelly and Deana Bobbitt of Snellville; sister and brother-in-law, Diane and Pete Ramey of Winston Salem, NC; brother, A.J. Bobbitt of Lambsburg, VA, brother and sister-in-law, Elwood and Becky Bobbitt of Woodlawn, VA; grandchildren, Che, Christian, Justin, Jeremiah, Sarah, James, Shannon; several nieces, nephews, cousins. Mr. Bobbitt was employed with Ewing Industrial Equipment as a Heavy Equipment Mechanic. He was an avid bowler and was on the Merchants Bowling League. He was a Drill Sgt in the US Army and was a loving husband, great father and grandfather. Funeral services will be held Saturday, March 17 at 11am at Wages Snellville Chapel with Pastor Roy Funderburk officiating. The family will receive friends Friday from 6 until 9pm at the funeral home. Tom M. Wages Funeral Service, LLC, Snellville Chapel, 770/979-3200 www.wagesfuneralhome.com

MARTIN, RALPH

Mr. Ralph Lee Martin, age 84, of Snellville, GA passed away on Tuesday, March 13, 2007. He was born on April 23, 1922 to his parents, Ester and Frank Martin. He was one of fourteen children, five girls and nine boys. By the Grace of God, he was the only surviving son and he has two sisters surviving, Sue Bailey and Frances Doster. He went to school at Gravel Springs and Sugar Hill High School. From there, he went to Trade School at Habersham College in Clarkesville, Georgia. He went from Trade School to work at Scripto in Atlanta and then moved on to Larkincoils in defense work. He was drafted into the Army in 1942 and served in Alaska and the Aleutian Islands attached to the Eleventh Air Force. From there, he was sent back to the States and was honorably discharged at Fort McPherson in Georgia in November, 1945. Shortly after being discharged, he was approached by his uncle, Austin White, and informed about the American Legion. He was then asked to join, which he did, and has been a member for sixty-two years, serving through the ranks of Post 252 in Doraville, GA. He also served the Fourth District as District Commander, and the Department of Georgia as Jr. Vice Commander. At present, He was a member of Post 233 in Loganville, GA. Going back to his employment history, he went to work for General Motors Corporation in Doraville, GA in 1948 as a metal finisher. In 1952, he went back into Skill Trades and worked there until 1983 where He retired with thirty-five years service. Since retiring, he had been working with his son, Mike. He was a member of Gravel Springs Baptist Church. He is survived by his: Daughters and Sons-in-Law: Ann and Frank Wolak, Dacula, GA, Paula and David Foster, Grayson, GA; Son and Daughter-in-Law: Michael and Anita Martin, Grayson, GA; 6 Grandchildren: Dana King, Jason Martin, Kelly Schmidt, Justin Hunter Martin, Matt Freeman, Michelle Stewart; 2 Great Grandchildren: Brittany Schmidt, Lochlain Martin; Sisters and Brothers-in-Law: Frances and Leon Doster, Buford, GA, Sue and Kenneth Bailey, Buford, GA; Sisters-in-Law: Mrs. Hulon (Ruby) Martin, Buford, GA, Mrs. Cline (Jack) Martin, Buford, GA; several Nieces, Nephews and Cousins. Funeral services will be held on Friday, March 16, 2007 at 2:00 p.m. at Gravel Springs Baptist Church, Buford, GA with Rev. Claud Smithmier and Rev. Frankie Southerland officiating. Interment will follow in the church cemetery. The family will receive friends at the funeral home on Thursday from 4:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. Arrangements by Junior E. Flanigan of Flanigan Funeral Home and Crematory, Buford, GA, 770-932-1133, www.flaniganfuneralhome.com.

SUWANEE

ROSS, DANIEL

Daniel P. Ross, Sr., age 64, of Suwanee, died Tuesday, March 13, 2007. Arrangements will be announced by Tapp/Tim Stewart Funeral Home and Crematory, 201 Morningside Drive, Buford, Georgia 30518, 770-945-9345. Please sign the online guest registry at www.stewartfh.com.*

Local family builds home around ancient design rules

A Lawrenceville couple who has spent more than a year building a new home that follows the ancient architectural rules of Vastu Shastra, which many Hindus follow religiously, closed on their house last week.

Yogesh and Zarna Dhruv worked with Keller Williams Realtor Jodi Blume-Hamby to draw up blueprints and find a builder for the house. Vastu Shastra is similar to the Chinese idea of feng shui. Rooms are placed in certain areas of the house, and doors and windows face certain directions, to help improve the flow of energy through the house.

Dearth of affordable housing in Gwinnett

ATLANTA - Gwinnett's planning director said Wednesday that as the county transitioned from rural to suburban, very few people gave any thought to affordable housing, which was considered an urban problem.

Groups plan war protests

LAWRENCEVILLE - For years, Dot Shaw has driven outside her home county to march in protest of the war in Iraq.

School choice could keep kids ahead

Congress will soon decide whether to renew President Bush's signature education program No Child Left Behind, the goal of which is to bring every public school student to grade level in reading and math by 2014.

what others are saying

Kidney bill would save money, lives

Rocky Mountain News, Denver, Colo.:

The death last month of Rep. Charlie Norwood, R-Ga., may serve as a blessing for some of the estimated 70,000 kidney patients whose lives depend on receiving transplanted organs.

Panel puts brakes on red-light bill

ATLANTA - Legislative supporters of red-light cameras won a narrow victory Wednesday when a House committee defeated a bill that would have cut in half the fines imposed on motorists caught in the act.

The House Transportation Committee voted 12-11 against reducing the penalty from $70 to $35 per offense, a change the bill's backers were pushing as a way to discourage local governments from using the fines as a revenue stream.

Before the vote, Rep. Tom Rice, R-Norcross, held out an alternative bill already approved by the Motor Vehicles Committee as a better way to achieve that goal.

The second measure would keep the fine at $70. Cities and counties would get 25 percent of the revenue beyond their costs to install and operate the cameras.

The other 75 percent would go to a proposed state fund being established to improve trauma care in Georgia.

"It's a much more comprehensive approach to managing red-light cameras,'' said Rice, who chairs the Motor Vehicles panel. "In my estimation, this bill will kill red-light cameras.''

Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Cassville, sponsor of the bill reducing the fine, said officials in some cities have installed red-light cameras more as a moneymaker than to improve safety on their streets.

In an extreme example, he cited Marietta, which takes in $2.2 million a year from cameras at just two intersections.

"If we're improving public safety, we shouldn't be looking at the revenue stream,'' he said.

Loudermilk and several members of the Transportation Committee also raised concerns that red-light cameras represent an intrusion into privacy rights by the government, something conservative lawmakers should oppose.

"This is sort of a gut-check bill,'' said Rep. Mark Hatfield, R-Waycross. "Are we going to continue taxing people who are in the unfortunate position of being caught on camera, or are we not going to allow our government to be used that way?''

But House Majority Whip Barry Fleming, R-Harlem, said essentially imposing a tax on a lawbreaking motorist does not conflict with conservative philosophy.

"When you know you're going to run a red light and get a ticket, it's kind of a voluntary tax,'' he said.

Rice acknowledged that local governments use fines from red-light cameras to boost their revenues. But he said they're primarily intended to make the streets safer.

"Accident rates go down ... particularly accidents where there's high injury,'' he said.

Rice also suggested that lowering the fine would encourage drivers to run red lights, something they already do with alarming frequency.

"If you lived in my section of Gwinnett County, you would understand that people run these lights simply to get an edge on traffic,'' he said.

The bill that passed Rice's committee still awaits action by the House Rules Committee before it can reach the floor for a vote.

It picked up a huge boost recently when Speaker Glenn Richardson, R-Hiram, appeared before the panel to endorse it.

Richardson was particularly enthusiastic about steering most of the fine money toward trauma care.

"I think it's a great concept,'' he said.

Two running for GOP chairman

Gwinnett Republicans will have a choice as to who will lead the party into the next presidential election.

Things to consider when choosing a landscaper

As we move into the warmer weather months, many homeowners will want to hire landscape contractors and lawn-care services to improve the appearances of their home landscape.

But with so many contractors available, the choice can be difficult. Knowing the right questions to ask should make choosing a contractor or service easier.

Beware the Ides of March

Today marks one of my favorite holidays.

It's not a particularly festive day. There aren't presents exchanged or any days off work. Honestly, it's not even a real holiday. Mainly, I celebrate because I grew up in an education-centered household, where we played The State Capital Game on car trips and had self-induced summer reading projects.

What's so special about today? It's March 15, the Ides of March. As in, "Beware the Ides of March." You know, from "Julius Caesar," marking the day the Roman ruler was assassinated.

Back in ole Jules' day, kitchens were stocked with far less fare than modern pantries - olive oil and bread served as main staples in Roman diets. In celebration of Caesar's un-birthday, Nester's Needs will focus on bread and oil dipping trays, a kitchen essential the ancient Romans would have surely coveted.

Central grad Higgs finally gets to enjoy NCAA Tournament

She has been there for the dark times. She has endured the 2-12 seasons in the ACC and the 40-point losses to some of the nation's best teams.

Traveling museum to display American Indian art in Duluth

DULUTH - Artrain USA, a national traveling art museum on a train, will roll into Duluth's Southeastern Railway Museum on Friday for its first visit to Gwinnett County.

A special reception will be held Friday and the free exhibit opens Saturday through Monday. Tuesday is set aside for school tours.

Man robs Duluth gas station

DULUTH - A Chevron gas station was robbed Tuesday night by a man demanding money from the safe, police said.

Duluth Police Department spokesman Maj. Don Woodruff said the gas station at 2700 Buford Highway in Duluth was robbed about 10:15 p.m.

According to a police report, a black man wearing a baggy jogging suit with a scarf covering his face entered the station armed with a "cheap" gun, demanding the store clerk open the safe.

The thief was persistent about opening the safe after noticing a pair of keys hanging under the counter, but the clerk told him the keys opened gas pumps, the report said. The clerk was able to open the register and gave the man all the money, according to the report.

The clerk told police the man demanded he give him his wallet then fled from the store with more than $1,000 from the register and $300 from the clerk.

Chamber honors small businesses

LAWRENCEVILLE - For 25 years, the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce has honored the county's top small businesses.

Democrats shouldn't celebrate anytime soon

Months before the first votes are cast in the campaign of 2008, some in the media are conducting last rites for the Republicans.

Police ID man killed at landfill accident

melissa.wilson

@gwinnetdailypost.com

BUFORD - Lamar Ewing Trucking Inc. in Snellville was closed Wednesday after a 63-year-old employee was killed in a loading accident at the Richland Creek Landfill in Buford on Tuesday.

Chief Forensic Investigator Ted Bailey said Roby Bobbitt of Snellville was pinned between a Caterpillar compactor tractor and a trailer as the Caterpillar-836 was being loaded just before 3:30 p.m.

Rare feat a treat for golfer

Dacula High School golfer Murray Flint knew he had done something big on Feb. 15, although he couldn't fully appreciate how rare it was at the time.

In Brief

Public parks

conference

set for Monday

•A Park Pride conference will be held from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday at the Atlanta Botanical Garden, 1345 Piedmont Ave. N.E., Atlanta. The parks and greenspace conference will focus on how public-private partnerships can improve parks and quality of life. Visit www.parkpride.org.

Daffodil Show to feature exhibits, floral varieties

•The Atlanta Botanical Garden will host the Southeast Regional Daffodil Show from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday at the Garden, 1345 Piedmont Ave. NE, Atlanta. The show will feature various types of daffodils, horticulture and educational exhibits. An amateur daffodil judging will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Admission to the show is free with admission to the Atlanta Botanical Garden. Call 404-591-1550 or visit www.atlantabotanicalgarden.org.

Furniture gets spring update

•Metallics look to be big in spring fashions, and some furniture is beginning to adapt the look.

Following rules

When Irish 'ice' are smiling

With planning, gardens can be started on a budget

Between the abundant smell of soil, the long lines of azaleas and the rows of roses, a trip to the local nursery can be a bit overwhelming - especially after examining a few price tags.

For the amateur gardener, that initial 'planning visit can be doubly daunting. Will your floral undertaking bloom, or will this be an investment that never takes root?

Warzon leads Eagles to win over South

SUWANEE - Collins Hill's Daniel Warzon (2-0) registered the win, giving up two hits and striking out three in three innings of work as the Eagles beat South Gwinnett 12-2 in five innings on Wednesday.

Lawmakers balk at requiring local votes on commuter rail

ATLANTA - For the second year in a row, legislation requiring counties to seek voter approval before committing local money to commuter rail projects has been sidetracked in the House.

The lower chamber's Railway Subcommittee on Wednesday shelved a bill sponsored by Rep. Steve Davis, R-McDonough, an opponent of a proposed commuter line linking Atlanta with suburban Lovejoy in southern Clayton County.

A similar measure introduced last year by Rep. John Lunsford, R-McDonough, also failed to make headway in the House.

During a hearing before Wednesday's vote to table Davis' bill, he pitched it more as taxpayer protection than an effort to thwart either the Lovejoy line or a second planned commuter rail line linking Atlanta and Athens via Gwinnett and Barrow counties.

"This bill is not anti-commuter rail,'' Davis said. "It's about taxpayers having a say in whether their local funds can go to a regional and state commuter rail project.''

The Clayton County Commission agreed in 2005 without a voter referendum to cover the Lovejoy project's operating shortfalls after its first three years in service, a 50-year commitment projected to cost about $4 million a year.

While commissioners rescinded that decision two months ago in hopes of getting a better deal from the state, Davis said the 2005 agreement should have been run by local voters.

But on Wednesday, several members of the subcommittee said there may be better ways to give voters a say in transportation funding than Davis' bill.

Rep. Jill Chambers, R-Atlanta, suggested that lawmakers wait to see what happens with two other funding bills now making their way through the House.

One of those measures, which would allow two or more counties to fund transportation improvements with a regional sales tax, cleared a Ways and Means subcommittee Wednesday.

The other bill, calling for a statewide 1 percent sales tax dedicated to transportation projects, was introduced into the House early this month.

"We don't want to do anything that would impact the major transportation funding initiatives,'' Chambers said.

Rep. Barry Fleming, R-Harlem, the subcommittee's chairman, also questioned whether the state Constitution's Home Rule provision allows the state to require county governments to seek voter approval to spend local money.

Rep. John Heard, R-Lawrenceville, a supporter of the Atlanta-to-Athens line, attempted to amend Davis' bill to permit - but not mandate - such local referendum votes but was ruled out of order because the motion to table the bill was on the floor.

"This goes overboard,'' Heard said of Davis' bill. "We're not asking them whether to go to their voters. We're dictating that they go to their voters.''

Police, firemen to raise money for camp for heart patients

DULUTH - There are more than 100 young heart patients that want to go to Camp Braveheart in Rutledge this year. It costs $500 per child to attend the camp for a week, but proceeds from a Sunday hockey game in Gwinnett will help the children attend the camp for free.

This weekend's "Battle of the Badges" marks the third year the Metro Atlanta Police/Fire hockey team will team up with the Gwinnett Gladiators to raise money for Children's Healthcare of Atlanta's Camp Braveheart.

Sports calendar

Baseball

March 24: The Auburn Dixie Youth baseball and softball teams will host their opening day March 24. Activities provided by Braves Around Town. Activities are only for Auburn Dixie Youth players and their siblings only. For more information call 678-887-5702, e-mail auburndixieyouth@yahoo.com or online at www.eteamz.com/auburndixieyouth.

Carl Morton

Carl E. Morton, age 76 of Lawrenceville, died Wednesday, March 14, 2007. Funeral Services will be held 2:00 PM, Friday, March 16, 2007 in the Lawrenceville Chapel of Tim Stewart ...

Robert Carman

Robert Anthony Carman, age 51, of Lawrenceville, GA, passed away March 11, 2007. Arrangements by Wages & Sons Gwinnett Chapel, 1031 Lawrenceville Highway, Lawrenceville, GA 30045, 770-277-4550.

Roby Bobbitt, Sr.

SR. Roby Kelly Bobbitt, Sr., age 63 of Snellville, GA died March 13, 2007. He is survived by his wife of 41 years, Gail M. Bobbitt; daughter, Anita Hill of ...

Daniel Ross, Sr.

Daniel P. Ross, Sr., age 64, of Suwanee, died Tuesday, March 13, 2007. Arrangements will be announced by Tapp/Tim Stewart Funeral Home and Crematory, 201 Morningside Drive, Buford, Georgia ...

John Neeley

John R. “Russ” Neeley, age 49 of Loganville, GA died March 12, 2007. He was preceded in death by his daughter, Mallory Neeley and parents, Frank and Rose ...

Alecia Jameson

Alecia Jameson, age 63, of Buford, died Wednesday, March 14, 2007. Arrangements will be announced by Tapp/Tim Stewart Funeral Home and Crematory, 201 Morningside Drive, Buford, Georgia 30518, 770-945-9345 ...

Ralph Martin

Mr. Ralph Lee Martin, age 84, of Snellville, GA passed away on Tuesday, March 13, 2007. He was born on April 23, 1922 to his parents, Ester and Frank Martin ...