News for Friday, March 16, 2007

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Fun running out of Lilburn

Thirty years from now, a Monday night at Lilburn City Hall ...

Protesters 'fed up'

Country needs honest dialogue about troubles

As presidential candidates try to stake out an electable position on the war in Iraq, Americans are justified in wondering: Is it reality, or is it just politics?

Wanted Stone Mountain man turns himself in to police

LAWRENCEVILLE - A Stone Mountain man wanted on charges of child molestation and burglary turned himself in to authorities Wednesday at the Lawrenceville Police Department.

Police spokesman Capt. Greg Vaughn said James Edward Spurgeon III went into the Police Department on Wednesday afternoon and told officers he was wanted by the Gwinnett County Sheriff's Department.

Vaughn said Spurgeon remained in jail Thursday, but said he did not have any other information concerning Spurgeon or the incidents leading to the charges against him.

Tax break for seniors advances

ATLANTA - One of Gov. Sonny Perdue's top legislative priorities moved a step closer to becoming law Thursday when a House committee approved a bill to gradually eliminate state taxes on retirement income.

The legislation, a follow-up to a senior tax relief measure that took effect last year, would fulfill a campaign promise the Republican governor made to elderly voters last fall.

The bill, which now moves to the full House, would phase out state taxes on retirement income for seniors 65 and older, starting in 2009. The exemption would start at $65,000 and increase annually until 2013, when the tax would be abolished entirely.

Lower amounts of retirement income already are exempt for seniors 62 and older under the earlier law, which the General Assembly enacted in 2003, Perdue's first year in office. The exemption cap began at $25,000 last year and will rise to $30,000 this year and $35,000 in 2008.

Rep. Rich Golick, R-Smyrna, the governor's floor leader in the House, pitched the new bill as a way to use surplus revenue the state expects to generate to reward Georgia taxpayers who for many years have paid taxes into the system.

But Golick said the tax break also would boost the state's economy by persuading more seniors either to remain in Georgia after they retire or to move here.

"For every person who is here, approximately three jobs ... are created,'' he told members of the House Ways and Means Committee. "That's the lifeblood of our economy.''

The bill is projected to cost the state $142 million a year when it is fully implemented.

Testimony earlier this week to a Ways and Means subcommittee raised concerns over whether future surpluses would be enough to offset that impact.

"We'll be eliminating almost one-fifth of the tax base,'' said Alan Essig, executive director of the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute. "We're talking about a real budget hit down the line.''

During Thursday's debate on the bill, freshman Rep. Stacey Abrams, D-Atlanta, argued that the $142 million price tag doesn't take into account the additional costs of health care the state would absorb from an influx of senior citizens, even the affluent retirees the bill is designed to lure to Georgia.

"High-wealth seniors typically don't take out long-term care insurance or have catastrophic health insurance,'' she said.

Rep. Virgil Fludd, D-Fayetteville, questioned the lack of any provision in the bill for income that retirees earn, an omission that has lent ammunition to charges that the legislation is a tax break for the wealthy.

The 2003 law allows seniors who remain in the work force to exempt up to $4,000 in earned income each year, but this year's bill is limited to retirement income, including pensions and investments.

Golick said one goal of Perdue's bill is to influence Georgians to save money during their working lives by making investments.

"Right now, we're a debtor society,'' the floor leader said. "This measure provides an incentive for people to save ... so they can protect themselves upon retirement.''

In response to Abrams, Golick predicted that the legislation will generate more money for the state than it will add in health-care costs.

"I feel very confident in saying it will more than pay for itself,'' he said.

OBITUARIES

COBB COUNTY

HERNDON, JAMES

CLIFFORD

Cobb County

James Clifford Herndon, 72, died Wednesday, March 14, 2007. Funeral services will be held Saturday, March 17, 2007 at 2PM at Castellaw Funeral Home, Smyrna with the family receiving friends one hour prior to the services. Rev. Phil Holder will officiate. Burial will be in Crest Lawn Memorial Park, Atlanta, GA. Visitation will also be held tonight, Friday, March 16, 2007, from 6 to 8 at Lord & Stephens, Danielsville Chapel. Lord & Stephens, Danielsville, GA, is in charge of arrangements.

JEFFERSON

O'SHIELDS,

BARBARA

Evans Funeral Home, Jefferson, Georgia, announces the death of Mrs. Barbara Jean O'Shields, age 71, of Maysville, who passed away on March 15, 2007. Services by Evans Funeral Home, Jefferson, GA, 706-367-5467.*

LAWRENCEVILLE

ARRINGTON,

JACQUELINE

Jacqueline K. Arrington, of 2070 Sun Sweet Ct., Lawrenceville, GA. Services will be held Saturday, March 17, 2007, 1:00 PM., in state at 12:00 PM, at the Pleasant Hill Baptist Church, 797 Moon Road, Lawrenceville, GA, with Pastor Ronald Dunnigan Officiating. Family will assemble at 4205 Platinum Court, Hoschton, GA at 11:45 AM. Internment will be at Gwinnett Memorial Gardens Lawrenceville and visitation is today 9-9 PM; family hour 7-9 PM. Mrs. Arrington is survived by her husband, Robert Arrington, a daughter, Lollita (Michael) Carter of Carson, CA, Her mother, Curley Nelson, of Hoschton, GA, 2 brothers, Alvin (Trina) Kirkwood and Earnest Kirkwood, both of Bloomington, IL, and 3 sisters, Lana Hill, Cathy Sullivan, both of Athens, GA, and Bernice Sullivan of St. Louis, MO, along with many other family and friends. Arrangements entrusted to Gregory B. Levett & Sons, Inc. Gwinnett Chapel, 914 Scenic Hwy., Lawrenceville, GA 30045, 770-338-5558.

COUCH, SAMUEL

Samuel Elkin Couch went home to be with his Lord on March 15, 2007. He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Kathleen Garmon Couch. He is also survived by his loving daughter and son-in-law, Rena and Craig Hanson, Lawrenceville, Georgia; granddaughter and her husband, Alyson and David Clifford, Ft. Bragg, North Carolina; and a precious great-grandson, Logan Clifford, Ft. Bragg, North Carolina; Sisters and brothers-in-law, Venelle and John Stanley, Valdosta, Georgia, W. T. and Edith Kemp, Lawrenceville, Georgia; sister, Mary Ann Simonton, Lawrenceville, Georgia; brother and sister-in-law, Roy and Lynette Couch, Snellville, Georgia; sister-in-law, O'Reese Couch, Lawrenceville, Georgia, and a host of nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by parents, Jimmie Bell Garner Couch and Isham Nesbit Couch; sisters, Evelene Greeson Burton and Margie Williams; brothers, Neal Couch, M. G. Couch, Marlyn Couch, and Edgar Couch. A lifelong resident of Gwinnett County, he was born May 22, 1926. He was a devoted member of Lawrenceville First Baptist Church for 58 years. He worked for General Motors in Doraville for 30 years before retiring in 1978. After his retirement he began working at Sosebee Auto Parts in Lawrenceville where he worked repairing small engines/lawnmowers for 28 years until January 2007. Elkin was a World War II veteran where he served in the U.S. Army as a paratrooper and proudly served his country in the Philippines. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. He loved his church, his family, his friends and his country. Funeral services will be Sunday, March 18 at 3 p.m. at the Lawrenceville First Baptist Church with Dr. Lamar Holley officiating. Interment will be at Gwinnett Memorial Park. The family will receive friends Friday, March 16 from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. and Saturday, March 17 from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. Those desiring may make donations to the Lawrenceville First Baptist Church Building Fund, P.O. Box 228, Lawrenceville, GA 30046 or to the American Cancer Society. Wages & Sons Gwinnett Chapel, 1031 Lawrenceville Highway, Lawrenceville, GA, 770-277-4550.

SNELLVILLE

BARBER, RUFUS

Rufus R. Barber, 88, of Snellville, died March 13, 2007. He is survived by his five children: Stephen Barber, Rita DeCook, Robert Barber, Rufus R. ("Sonny") Barber, Jr., and Vicki Bannister; eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Visitation will be held from 1 pm until 3 pm on Saturday, March 17th at Meadows Funeral Home. Graveside service followed at 4:00 pm at Mount Vernon Christian Church Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, please make contributions to your favorite charity.

HUTTO, SARA

Sara McCurley Hutto, age 78 of Snellville, passed away Wednesday, March 14, 2007. Funeral Services will be held 2 PM Friday, March 16, 2007 in the Snellville Chapel of Tim Stewart Funeral Home. Tony Robinson will officiate. Burial Westview Cemetery, Atlanta. Ms. Hutto moved from Douglasville, GA and has lived in the Gwinnett County area for the past 10 years and is a member of Church of Christ, Lawrenceville. She was preceded in death by her Brother: James Irwin Gibson and Sisters: Evelyn Gibson, Hazel Gibson Baker & Doris Gibson Blume. Ms. Hutto is survived by Children: Sheila & Jimmy Mervin, Michael Alan McCurley, Bobbie & Joel Jackson, Freida & Dewayne O'Dell; Sister: Agnes Gibson Hyatt; Grandchildren: Kathy & Todd Corbin, Roger & Dawn Lee, Richard & Sherry Lee, Alan & Tracy McCurley, Tammy & Ross Drummond, Kim & Robbie Whiting, David & Natalie Jackson, Jennifer & Brian Deal, Olivia O'Dell, Katie O'Dell; 13 Great Grandchildren & several Nieces & Nephews. Tim Stewart Funeral Home, 2246 Wisteria Drive, Snellville, GA 30078, 770-979-5010. Please sign online guest registry at www.stewartfh.com.

MITCHELL, DIANE

Diane Mothershed Mitchell, age 60 of Snellville, died March 14, 2007. Funeral Services will be held 3:00 PM, Sunday, March 18, 2007 in the Snellville Chapel of Tim Stewart Funeral Home. Rev. David Dills will officiate. Burial Floral Hills Memory Gardens, Tucker. A homemaker and member of Annistown Road Baptist Church, Mrs. Mitchell was preceded in death by sister: Debby Smith and is survived by: Husband of 43 years, Jimmy Mitchell; Children: Tonya & Michael Underwood, Monroe, Lee & Marie Mitchell, Loganville; Parents: Bryan & Gaye Mothershed, Waleska, Myrna O'Shields, Stone Mountain; Grandchildren: Crystal Underwood, Jessica Underwood, Hunter Mitchell; 2 Nephews and 1 Niece. Flowers accepted or memorials to the American Diabetes Association, Georgia Affiliate, 3 Corporate Square, Suite 120, Atlanta, Georgia 30329. Family will receive friends from 2-4 & 6-9 PM, Saturday, March 17, 2007 at the Tim Stewart Funeral Home, 2246 Wisteria Drive, Snellville, Georgia 30078, 770-979-5010. Please sign online guest registry at www.stewartfh.com .

STONE MOUNTAIN

ASWARNAUTH,

SABITRI

Sabitri Aswarnauth, age 61, of Stone Mountain, GA, passed away March 13, 2007. Arrangements by Wages & Sons Gwinnett Chapel, 1031 Lawrenceville Highway, Lawrenceville, GA 30045, 770-277-4550.*

SUGAR HILL

JAMESON, ALECIA

Alecia Jameson age 63 of Sugar Hill died Wednesday, March 14, 2007. She is survived by her husband of 39 years James C. Jameson, Sr.; son and daughter-in-law- Janice and William Jones, of Flowery Branch; son- James C. Jameson, Jr., of Lawrenceville; sister and brother-in-law- Ann and Frank Wilt, of Durham, North Carolina and 2 grandsons- Matthew and Ryan Jones. Alecia has been cremated and no services are planned at this time. Arrangements 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

WINDER

MANN, CORRIE

Corrie Frankie Mann, age 64, of Winder, GA, passed away March 15, 2007. Arrangements by Smith Funeral Home, Winder, GA, 770-867-4553.*

Evermore CID holds workshop to determine design rules

SNELLVILLE - Tony Angerami didn't feel like he had much to contribute to a design workshop that pictured the future for the Park Place area.

Residents turn out for trash choices

SUWANEE - Texas and Arizona, Gwinnett residents seem to agree, do a better job of collecting the trash.

Buford's top teacher 'makes connections'

BUFORD - Jacob Travis doesn't spend a lot of time theorizing about his teaching philosophy.

Motorcyclist's body found off roadside

BUFORD - A 24-year-old Jefferson man was killed Thursday when he lost control of his motorcycle along Peachtree Industrial Boulevard.

Gwinnett County Police Department spokeswoman Cpl. Valerie Southard said Jeff L. Raughton was driving his 2003 Harley-Davidson south on Peachtree Industrial Boulevard near Shadburn Ferry Road in Buford when he lost control of his motorcycle then struck a curb, slid, struck a guardrail and was thrown from the motorcycle.

Southard said an employee of a nearby business found Raughton's body about 9 a.m. in a nearby ravine.

Business Briefs

Companies help repair car for 'NASCAR Angels'

Activists attend vigil to bring troops home

SNELLVILLE - As the cacophony of a half-dozen car horns sounded, Pam Chubbuck raised her fingers in a peace sign.

Corrections

Artrain USA, a traveling exhibit of American Indian art, will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday through Monday at the Southeastern Railway Museum, 3595 Peachtree Road in Duluth. Because of printing deadlines, an item in today's Weekend section does not reflect that the exhibit has been extended through Monday.

Police/Fire briefs

Men take snakes from Petco store

•DULUTH - Two men stole three python snakes valued at $80 each from the Petco store at 2131 Pleasant Hill Road on Monday.

According to a police report, two black men went into the store about 11 a.m. and took the snakes.

A manager said one of the men returned to the store later and took a snake kit with a cage valued at $200. The manager said he tried to stop the man who ran out of the store toward a gold SUV where three other black men were waiting.

Robber forces employee into walk-in cooler

•DULUTH - An employee at the Checkers fast-food restaurant at 2336 Pleasant Hill Road said she was robbed at the store Saturday.

The employee was closing the store about 1 a.m. when a man grabbed her by the throat, demanding money as he pushed her into the store.

Jacqueline Arrington

Jacqueline K. Arrington, of 2070 Sun Sweet Ct., Lawrenceville, GA. Services will be held Saturday, March 17, 2007, 1:00 PM., in state at 12:00 PM, at the Pleasant Hill Baptist ...

Corrie Mann

Corrie Frankie Mann, age 64, of Winder, GA, passed away March 15, 2007. Arrangements by Smith Funeral Home, Winder, GA, 770-867-4553.

Alecia Jameson

Alecia Jameson age 63 of Sugar Hill died Wednesday, March 14, 2007. She is survived by her husband of 39 years James C. Jameson, Sr.; son and daughter-in-law ...

Sabitri Aswarnauth

Sabitri Aswarnauth, age 61, of Stone Mountain, GA, passed away March 13, 2007. Arrangements by Wages & Sons Gwinnett Chapel, 1031 Lawrenceville Highway, Lawrenceville, GA 30045, 770-277-4550.

Rufus Barber

Rufus R. Barber, 88, of Snellville, died March 13, 2007. He is survived by his five children: Stephen Barber, Rita DeCook, Robert Barber, Rufus R. (”Sonny”) Barber, Jr ...

James Herndon

CLIFFORD Cobb County James Clifford Herndon, 72, died Wednesday, March 14, 2007. Funeral services will be held Saturday, March 17, 2007 at 2PM at Castellaw Funeral Home, Smyrna with the ...

Barbara O'shields

Evans Funeral Home, Jefferson, Georgia, announces the death of Mrs. Barbara Jean O'Shields, age 71, of Maysville, who passed away on March 15, 2007. Services by Evans Funeral Home, Jefferson ...

Sara Hutto

Sara McCurley Hutto, age 78 of Snellville, passed away Wednesday, March 14, 2007. Funeral Services will be held 2 PM Friday, March 16, 2007 in the Snellville Chapel of Tim ...