News for Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Subscribe

All Stories

Graffiti less visible, but spreading

LAWRENCEVILLE - A concentrated effort to stop graffiti has been a success, officials said, with tags becoming less visible and residents more willing to report problems.

OBITUARIES

AUBURN

COLLINS, ELIZABETH

Mrs. Elizabeth Collins, age 87, of Auburn, Georgia, died March 20, 2007. Carter Funeral Home of Winder is in charge of arrangements, 770-867-1361.*

BUFORD

WELSH, KATHLEEN

Kathleen Helen (Dever) Welsh, age 74, of Buford, Georgia formerly of Darlington, Pennsylvania, passed away at her home with her loving family by her side Sunday, March 18, 2007. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10:00 am Wednesday, March 21, 2007 at St. Matthews Catholic Church in Winder, Georgia with interment to follow in Memorial Park South Cemetery. Father Jaime Barona will officiate. The family will receive friends 5-9 pm Tuesday March 20, 2007 at Memorial Park South, Flowery Branch. Mrs. Welsh was born in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania to the late Lawrence Vincent Dever and Helen Marie (Cavanaugh) Dever. She was a homemaker and a member of St. Matthews Catholic Church in Winder. Mrs. Welsh graduated from Beaver Falls High School, Garfield Business Institute, and was a former member of St. Rose's Catholic Church, in Darlington, PA. Survivors include her loving husband of 54 years, Mr. Charles Edwin Welsh, Buford, GA; sons and daughters-in-law, Mr. Robert C. Welsh (Becky), Petersburg, VA; Mr. Lawrence J. Welsh (Shawn), Dacula, GA; Mr. Shawn M. Welsh (Donna), Lula, GA; daughters and sons-in-law, Mrs. Karen M. Tkacik (Bernard), Dacula, GA; and Mrs. Colleen A. Ruff (Gregory), Royston, GA; grandchildren, Martha Welsh, Heidi Moreno, Kathy Welsh, Marisa Welsh, Michael Welsh, Vadim Tkacik, Alex Tkacik, Michelle Russell, Aiden Ruff; Johnathan Stuckey, Jessica Stuckey, and Zachary Welsh; lifelong friends, Mrs. Lila Balik, Brighton Township, PA; Mrs. Donna Rose Burian, Chippewa Township, PA; and Mrs. Mary Beightley, Beaver Falls, PA; nieces, Vicky Freed and Sue Freed, both of New Galilee, PA; and a host of other friends and relatives. Flowers are welcome or in lieu of flowers the family has requested that donations be made to the St. Matthews Building Fund 25 Wilkins Road Winder, GA 30680. Memorial Park South Funeral Home of Flowery Branch, Georgia.

DULUTH

HIDDING, RICHARD

Richard M. Hidding, age 76, of Duluth, died March 20, 2007. Arrangements are pending with Bill Head Funeral Homes and Crematory Duluth Chapel, 770-476-2535.*

LAWRENCEVILLE

JACKSON, OMIE

Omie Jackson, age 99, of Lawrenceville, died Tuesday, March 20, 2007. Tim Stewart Funeral Home, 300 Simonton Road, Lawrenceville, Georgia 30045, 770-962-3100. Please sign online guest registry at www.stewartfh.com .*

NIPPER, THEDA

Theda Ann Gann Nipper, age 66, of Lawrenceville, died Tuesday, March 20, 2007. Tim Stewart Funeral Home, 300 Simonton Road, Lawrenceville, Georgia 30045, 770-962-3100. Please sign online guest registry at www.stewartfh.com.*

STATHAM

FERGUSON, HAROLD

Harold Franklin Ferguson, age 74, of Statham, passed away March 19, 2007. Arrangements by Smith Funeral Home, Winder, GA, 770-867-4553.*

STONE MOUNTAIN

HANTHORN,

FRANCES

Frances Georgi Hanthorn, age 71 of Stone Mountain, died Tuesday, March 20, 2007. Memorial Services will be held 2:00 PM, Thursday, March 22, 2007 in the Snellville Chapel of Tim Stewart Funeral Home. Rev. Robert Woodall will officiate. A member of Mountain Park First Baptist Church in Stone Mountain, Mrs. Hanthorn was a native of Toledo, Ohio and had retired from Five Forks Middle School where she taught for many years. She was a graduate of Capital University in Columbus, Ohio. Mrs. Hanthorn is survived by: Children: Greg & Judy Hanthorn, Mableton, Gary Hanthorn, Stone Mountain, Gordon & Angela Hanthorn, Arlington, TX; Sister: Carole Allore, Orlando, FL; Brother & Sister-in-law: Frank & Barbara Georgi, Toledo, Ohio; Grandchildren: Greg, Jr., Stephen, & Alexis; Many Nieces and Cousins also survive. In lieu of flowers, memorials to Mountain Park First Baptist Church, 5485 Five Forks Trickum Road, Stone Mountain, Georgia 30087 or Embracing Hospice, 2160 Fountain Drive, Snellville, Georgia 30078. Inurnment Snellville Historical Cemetery. Family will receive friends from 1-2 PM, Thursday, March 22, 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 .

TUCKER

STRONG, HELEN

Helen Kinney Strong, 93, of Tucker, died Tuesday, March 20, 2007. Arrangements pending with Bill Head Funeral Homes and Crematory Lilburn/Tucker Chapel, 770-564-2726.*

SUTTLES, DREW

Drew W. Suttles Jr., 70, of Tucker, GA, died Monday, March 19, 2007. Arrangements by Bill Head Funeral Homes and Crematory Lilburn/Tucker Chapel, 770-564-2726.*

WINDER

CONNERS, SHERRY

Sherry Lee Conners, age 57, of Winder, died Monday, March 19, 2007. Arrangements by Tim Stewart Funeral Home, 300 Simonton Road, Lawrenceville, Georgia 30045, 770-962-3100. Please sign online guest registry at www.stewartfh.com .*

Teen accused of being in a gang denied bond

LAWRENCEVILLE - Dominic Montrez Thicklin, the oldest of four Snellville brothers that police say are involved in gang activity, was denied bond by Gwinnett County Magistrate Judge Gene Cantrell on Tuesday, said Snellville police Detective Kevin Sebring.

Bobby Bowden to speak about faith, football

LAWRENCEVILLE - University of Georgia fans will have to forgive North Metro First Baptist Church. Come Thursday night, Florida State University's head football coach, Bobby Bowden, will take the stage to speak at the church's annual Men's Night Out program.

Election reform legislation clears House

ATLANTA - Georgia would join a host of states moving next year's presidential primaries to Feb. 5 under legislation passed overwhelmingly by the House on Tuesday.

Region 7-AAAAA hands out hoops honors

After leading Collins Hill to its third straight girls basketball state championship, the Eagles' Tracey Tipton has been named Region 7-AAAAA's Coach of the Year.

5 arrested in assault on student

LAWRENCEVILLE - Gwinnett County police have arrested five people on aggravated battery charges in connection with an assault that sent a Collins Hill High School student to the hospital to get 17 staples in his head.

Book lover named county Media Specialist of the Year

LAWRENCEVILLE - When Susie Fancher was growing up, books such as "Mr. Popper's Penguins" and the Nancy Drew series helped cement her love of reading.

Fla. company buys Park Crossing Apartments in Lilburn

LILBURN - Ventron Management officials said little will change at the Park Crossing Apartments in Lilburn now that their $16.6 million purchase of the residences is complete.

Police arrest Winder home invasion suspect

WINDER - Winder police officers Monday arrested a man suspected of beating an elderly woman in her home Friday.

South AD Davidson resigns from post

After 16 years at South Gwinnett High, including the last three as athletics and activities director, Phil Davidson is leaving the school.

Burrows blows away Buford in 9-2 GAC win

NORCROSS - If Brent Burrows has pitched a better game in his high school career, he certainly doesn't remember it.

House OKs new rules for judges

ATLANTA - Judges would be allowed to impose the death penalty on convicted murderers, even if one or two jurors vote to spare the life of the killer, under legislation passed by the House Tuesday.

The bill, which passed 106-65 and now goes to the Senate, was inspired in part by a Gwinnett County case.

Wesley Harris was found guilty two years ago in the fatal shootings of Whitney Land, 22, and her daughter, Jordan, 2, during a carjacking in 1999.

After the jury convicted Harris in 2005, two jurors would not vote to recommend putting him to death, and he received a life sentence.

"One of the jurors would not even deliberate the question of whether the death penalty should be applied,'' House Majority Whip Barry Fleming, R-Harlem, told his colleagues from the well of the House, as a photograph of Land and her daughter was projected on a screen overhead.

"Another said that unless (Harris) had planned it weeks in advance, he wouldn't vote for the death penalty.''

"I followed the case, and it's heart-wrenching for me to stand here now,'' added Rep. Melvin Everson, R-Snellville.

The original version of Fleming's bill would have allowed juries split 9-3 on putting a convicted murderer to death to recommend the death penalty to the judge.

The House Judiciary Committee amended the measure to require the votes of at least 11 jurors to recommend capital punishment.

But lawmakers changed it again on the House floor to lower the bar to 10 jurors.

Fleming emphasized that judges still would have the final say over death sentences.

He also argued that modern DNA testing makes it less likely that a wrongfully convicted defendant would be executed.

And he pointed to support for the measure among prominent black officials, including Attorney General Thurbert Baker, as evidence that the legislation is not racist.

But Rep. Joe Heckstall, D-East Point, said allowing split juries to recommend death sentences would give judges too much discretion in an era when racism remains prevalent.

"I would feel more comfortable with this if we had a society that was color blind,'' he said.

Rep. Robert Mumford, R-Conyers, a former prosecutor, said the bill would contradict centuries of Anglo-Saxon common law, which requires that 12-member juries reach verdicts in unison.

"Unanimous juries are a cornerstone of our republic,'' he said. "I implore our House to tread lightly on this fundamental principle.''

But Rep. Tim Bearden, R-Villa Rica, a former police officer, said some murders are so heinous that the state needs to make it easier for juries to bring those killers to justice.

"Some people deserve to die,'' he said. "When they do these types of crimes, they deserve to die.''

No. 2 Brookwood upset by Grayson for first loss of season

LOGANVILLE - Grayson goalkeeper Sarah Beth Anderson wasn't nervous when Tuesday's game against Brookwood came down to penalty kicks.

Letters to the Editor

No slavery apology necessary

How many times does someone have to say they are sorry? I agree with Gov. Sonny Perdue about issuing a public apology for slavery on behalf of other people.

Police reports

Woman charged with underage drinking

•DACULA - A Dacula woman was arrested Monday and charged with underage drinking after police found her sitting in a vehicle outside the Blockbuster video store at 3400 Old Peachtree Road in Dacula.

According to a police report, officers found 20-year-old Melissa M. Lavellee of 2582 Wisper Court sitting in a truck with a 25-year-old Gainesville man. The report lists both as Blockbuster employees.

After smelling alcohol on the man's breath, police tested both for alcohol consumption. The legal blood alcohol limit in Georgia is .08 or below.

Lavallee's blood alcohol level registered as .102 on a Breathalyzer test. She was arrested and taken to the Gwinnett County Jail. The man, whose blood alcohol level registered .008, was not arrested.

Man steals from Girl Scouts

•DULUTH - A Norcross woman selling Girl Scout cookies Saturday at the Kroger grocery store at 3093 Steve Reynolds Blvd. said she was robbed outside the store.

Planting the seeds

Broncos bucked

Date of primary more important than you'd think

This is a one-question IQ test for Georgia's legislative leadership: When should our state hold its 2008 presidential primary?

Hopkins Elementary trailers vandalized

LILBURN - A weekend burglary at Hopkins Elementary School left nine trailers in disarray, causing a few classes to be moved Tuesday, school system officials said.

County seeks ethics-law assessment

LAWRENCEVILLE - County commissioners are taking a look at the ethics ordinance that governs Gwinnett's leaders, prompted by a controversy-ridden 2006 election season.

Interstate 85 work to require lane closures

LAWRENCEVILLE - Crews will close a lane of Interstate 85 this week in preparation for a traffic shift Saturday.

Keppinger breaks tip of finger

Jeff Keppinger had six hits in his first eight Grapefruit League at-bats for the Cincinnati Reds.

Unfortunately for the former Parkview High School and University of Georgia standout, those are the only at-bats he'll get this spring.

Landscaping first step to changing perceptions in Gwinnett Village

LILBURN - Southern Gwinnett is ready to roll out its welcome mat.

Prep roundup: Tucker's sac fly gives Wesleyan win over Centennial

NORCROSS - Ben Tucker's sacrifice fly to left in the bottom of the ninth lifted Wesleyan 8-7 over Centennial on Tuesday. Tucker finished the night with three RBIs, including a solo home run.

19-year-old arrested in shooting death

LAWRENCEVILLE - A Lawrenceville man is charged in connection with a weekend home invasion and shooting in which a 17-year-old Central Gwinnett High School student was killed and another teen wounded.

Primping video could kill Edwards' presidential bid

"Il n'y a pas de grand homme pour son valet-de-chambre."

Senate passes stem cell bill

ATLANTA - A philosophical dispute between two veteran senators Tuesday threatened to derail legislation encouraging adult stem cell research.

But after a lengthy debate, the Senate passed a bill creating a blood bank to accept donations of postnatal tissue and fluids rich in adult stem cells.

The measure, approved 39-15, now moves to the House.

The bill is similar to legislation pushed through the Senate last year by Sen. David Shafer, R-Duluth.

The 2006 bill cleared the Senate. But after the House made some minor changes, the amended measure died the last day of the session before the Senate could take it up.

Shafer and Sen. David Adelman, D-Decatur, locked horns over language in the bill declaring adult stem cell research "nondestructive'' and research using embryonic stem cells "destructive.''

Their disagreement mirrors a national debate over embryonic stem cell research.

Many research advocates, including Hollywood celebrities and former first lady Nancy Reagan, argue embryonic stem cells hold more promise than adult stem cells in treating and curing a range of degenerative diseases.

On the other side are President Bush and pro-life groups, who object to any form of research that involves destroying embryos.

Adelman said "nondestructive'' is a pejorative term that would discourage promising research in Georgia using stem cells derived from days-old embryos discarded by fertility clinics.

"What's wrong with just calling it 'research'?'' Adelman asked.

Sen. Nan Orrock, D-Atlanta, said the bill as written would hurt the state's efforts to foster high-tech businesses.

"We are in fact sending a message to the biotechnical industry that Georgia is not going to be a friendly place to do world-class research,'' she said.

Shafer said nothing in his bill would prohibit any form of stem cell research.

But he said he limited the bill's impact to adult stem cell research to move it forward.

"We've lost a year setting up this blood bank,'' he said. "We should not load this up with research over which there is ethical controversy.''

Most senators sided with Shafer, defeating efforts by Adelman to take the references to "destructive'' and "nondestructive'' out of the legislation.

Shafer's bill is called "Keone's Law'' in honor of a young man from Gwinnett County who was cured of sickle cell anemia by a treatment discovered through research involving umbilical cord stem cells.

Norcross girls win in penalty kick marathon

SUWANEE - It took 12 rounds, but Brianna Meeks finally came out on top in penalty kicks.

Norcross' sophomore keeper already had suffered through a pair of PK losses this season - one to Parkview and one to Northview - so she did not lack experience, just a win.

That win came Tuesday when one of Meeks' teammates pointed her in the right direction and Norcross came away with a 2-1 (9-8) win over Region 7-AAAAA foe Collins Hill.

New Chick-fil-A to give away year's supply of food

LAWRENCEVILLE - A new Chick-fil-A will open at 4955 Sugarloaf Parkway in Lawrenceville on Thursday and the first 100 adults in line will receive a one-year supply of free food.

Richard Hidding

Richard M. Hidding, age 76, of Duluth, died March 20, 2007. Arrangements are pending with Bill Head Funeral Homes and Crematory Duluth Chapel, 770-476-2535.

Theda Nipper

Theda Ann Gann Nipper, age 66, of Lawrenceville, died Tuesday, March 20, 2007. Tim Stewart Funeral Home, 300 Simonton Road, Lawrenceville, Georgia 30045, 770-962-3100. Please sign online guest registry at ...

Helen Strong

Helen Kinney Strong, 93, of Tucker, died Tuesday, March 20, 2007. Arrangements pending with Bill Head Funeral Homes and Crematory Lilburn/Tucker Chapel, 770-564-2726.

Frances Hanthorn

Frances Georgi Hanthorn, age 71 of Stone Mountain, died Tuesday, March 20, 2007. Memorial Services will be held 2:00 PM, Thursday, March 22, 2007 in the Snellville Chapel of Tim ...

Elizabeth Collins

Mrs. Elizabeth Collins, age 87, of Auburn, Georgia, died March 20, 2007. Carter Funeral Home of Winder is in charge of arrangements, 770-867-1361.

Kathleen Welsh

Kathleen Helen (Dever) Welsh, age 74, of Buford, Georgia formerly of Darlington, Pennsylvania, passed away at her home with her loving family by her side Sunday, March 18, 2007. A ...

Drew Suttles, Jr.

Drew W. Suttles Jr., 70, of Tucker, GA, died Monday, March 19, 2007. Arrangements by Bill Head Funeral Homes and Crematory Lilburn/Tucker Chapel, 770-564-2726.

Omie Jackson

Omie Jackson, age 99, of Lawrenceville, died Tuesday, March 20, 2007. Tim Stewart Funeral Home, 300 Simonton Road, Lawrenceville, Georgia 30045, 770-962-3100. Please sign online guest registry at www.stewartfh.com .

Sherry Conners

Sherry Lee Conners, age 57, of Winder, died Monday, March 19, 2007. Arrangements by Tim Stewart Funeral Home, 300 Simonton Road, Lawrenceville, Georgia 30045, 770-962-3100. Please sign online guest registry ...

Harold Ferguson

Harold Franklin Ferguson, age 74, of Statham, passed away March 19, 2007. Arrangements by Smith Funeral Home, Winder, GA, 770-867-4553.