News for Thursday, December 22, 2011

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Hawks close preseason with 92-75 win

Josh Smith scored 14 of his 21 points in the first half, and the Atlanta Hawks earned a 92-75 win over the Bobcats on Thursday

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Mercer snaps losing streak to Georgia Tech

Mercer defeated Georgia Tech mens hoops 65-59.

Improvement seen in area jobless rates

Georgia's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 9.9 percent in November, although jobless rates in Rockdale and Newton counties remain among the highest in the state.

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Covington Police make marijuana arrests at apartment complex

Covington Police investigated the source of an overwhelming smell of marijuana at an apartment complex, which resulted in three arrests and the confiscation of nearly 5 pounds of suspected marijuana.

Two Newton residents sue Citadel

Two Newton County residents have filed suit against The Citadel.

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His light shines on all

For a round up of local Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services, see the Citizen’s Religion web page for Rockdale and Newton or in the Religion section of Friday's print edition on page 8B.

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Local animal rescue group urges spay, neuter of new pets

A local dog rescuer recommends that people consider the type of breed, cost and the time commitment before making a dog part of their new year.

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Temptation of Callista Gingrich revealing

Callista Gingrich has done something she might come to regret — succumbed to the Twitter fairy and opened the door to unwelcome scrutiny.

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Citizen all-area volleyball team named

CITIZEN'S ALL-AREA VOLLEYBALL TEAM.

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Martin to sign with Georgia Southwestern

Heritage senior Jordan Martin has made a verbal commitment to play college baseball at Georgia Southwestern State University. Martin, who as a junior hit .319, led the Patriots in walks and was named a second-team all-Region 8-AAAA member, is expected to sign a national letter of intent

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Payroll tax deadlock ends as House caves

House Republicans on Thursday caved to demands by President Obama, congressional Democrats and fellow Republicans for a short-term renewal of payroll tax cuts for all workers.

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AAA predicts increase in travelers for holidays

The travel season, from Dec. 23, to Jan. 2, will see an estimated 91.9 million travelers, an 1.4 percent increase over the 90.7 million who traveled last year.

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MARK SHIELDS: Newt rewrites his Reagan connection

Candidate Gingrich's recollections of President Reagan differ from reality.

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JACK SIMPSON: Take the appropriate steps to prevent home burglaries

Take the appropriate steps to prevent home burglaries.

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DARREL HUCKABY: Comic books have come a long way since the '50s

The stories in comic book pages are about to take a strange turn.

LETTER: Newton BOE member Henderson-Baker should be reprimanded

Shakila Henderson-Baker's behavior at the joint Board of Education-Board of Commissioners meeting was unprofessional.

LETTER: Congratulations to Judge Horace Johson for prestigious honor

Congratulations to Judge Horace Johson for prestigious honor.

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Transportation company sponsors art contest for Sims students

A transportation broker, BAT Logistics specializes in lining up trucks and trains to move freight across the country and to Canada. But leave it to a group of elementary school students to imagine much more intriguing ways to travel.. BAT Logistics recently partnered with Sims Elementary School to hold an

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RECIPE BOX: Make a French toast Christmas tree for your holiday breakfast

The memories behind this week's featured recipe are just as sweet as the syrup that covers this homemade French toast recipe.. As a child, it used to amaze me how my grandmother would whip loaf bread into golden delicious squares of french toast, lightly sprinkled with powered sugar and drizzled with hot syrup.

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TERRI SCHLICHENMEYER: "Patients Kick and Bite" offers humor, charm, little heartbreak

Your job is no piece of cake.. You have to work hard at it. It requires serious thought, dexterous fingers, good eyes, and fast feet. You need tact, patience, negotiating skills, and the soul of a Zen master.. Your job takes practice. Not everybody can do it.

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RONDA RICH: Family, friends, faith and food add up to the perfect Christmas

If the experts are to be believed, then Christmas seldom lives up to our high expectations and that's why so many are stricken with depression and gloom during the holidays. It's a let down after a big build-up.

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JAMES BEHRENS: The love, goodness of people shine like a light on a dark road

The Hanley family lived in Jersey City. I met them only once, while taking a parish census.. I was young then, in my mid-20s. The parish was very large -- thousands of family. I was not yet ordained a priest and part of my duties was going from house

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ORRIN MORRIS: Shepherd's needle can cover your pant leg before you know it

Sheep herders were the first mortals to hear the angelic announcement. Once I became old enough to learn what it meant to shepherd sheep, I wondered why they were chosen to first hear the good news. Theirs was a tedious and smelly job. Furthermore, sheep are among the lesser intelligent animals and require constant vigilance.

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JASON DEES: Soldiers reuniting with family at Christmas reminds us of our reconciliation with Christ

Whenever I have to travel there is a defining moment I look forward to every time. I call it the "TOTE," or Top of the Escalator, moment. If you have ever flown into Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, you know that all arriving passengers have to make their way up a long escalator on their way out.

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JULIE WELLS: Receiving the gift of 'Joy' at Christmastime is a blessing

"I've got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart. Where? Down in my heart! Where? Down in my heart!" Yes, the lyrics to "I've Got the Joy in my Heart" have been sung more than once at our house since my husband and I found out that we will be the parents of a little girl. And we are naming her Joy.

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FOCUS ON THE FAMILY: Take decisive steps to rein in doting grandparents and their overindulgence of grandkids

It looks like Christmas is going to usher in another avalanche of toys from Grandma and Grandpa. What do I do?

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Away in a manger

Conyers Presbyterian Church youth group members recently performed a live nativity scene as part of a dinner theater at their church.

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Silent night, holy night

Local churches prepare for Christmas Eve, Day services

Churches throughout Rockdale and Newton counties will host candlelight communion services as a time of reflection, praise and fellowship. Congregations open their doors wide this time of year to invite everyone to these Christmas Eve candlelight celebrations, which typically include a time of prayer, singing and a short message.

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JOHN PEARRELL: Peace promised by the angels on the first Christmas comes only if you accept Christ

Probably the most familiar words of the Christmas story are that of the angels who appeared to the shepherds and proclaimed, "Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good will toward men." (Luke 2:14 KJV).

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TONY ELDER: What would Jesus want for Christmas?

One of the local nursing homes has a Christmas tree in its lobby. I understand that there were some tags hanging on that tree, each one listing the name of a resident along with one gift that person would like to receive. Family, friends, or other visitors could pick one of those names and bring that gift for the appropriate person.

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JOE LAGUARDIA: Make Christmas a time to reach your greatest potential in Christ

Embedded deep in the book of Revelation -- chapter 12 to be precise -- there is a scene that paints a very different picture of Christmas morning and the birth of Christ. John, the recipient of Jesus' revelation, records a vision in which he sees what appears to be a woman clothed with the sun. She is pregnant and about to give birth.

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Covington UMC dedicates Annex

Covington First United Methodist Church held a dedication service for its sanctuary annex on Nov. 20, 2011.

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Fashion show raise funds for Project ReNeWal

“Christmas Through the Eras” fashion show raise funds for Project ReNeWal.

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Ga. Farm Bureau honors distinguished service

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LISA MCLEOD: How to get people to buy into your ideas

Stan was excited about his presentation. His proposal was perfect. He was confident the senior leadership team would quickly buy into the brilliance of his plan. He was envisioning a fat promotion. Imagine his surprise when five minutes in, the CEO said, "I don't think so, let's move to the next item." Was it Stan's idea? Or the way he presented it?

Newton Blotter Dec. 23

Newton Blotter

Cooper Road home burns

A Cooper Road home was destroyed by fire Wednesday evening.

Georgia's jobless rate falls to 9.9 percent

State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said the new jobless rate fell from 10.2 percent October, which is the largest one-month decline since 1977.

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UPS, FedEx holiday package volume up from 2010

FedEx attributed its recent record day to steady growth in online commerce, spokeswoman Carla Boyd said.

LETTER: Newton BOE member Henderson-Baker should be reprimanded

Recently at a Board of Commissioners meeting something happened that should not have happened. District 4 Commissioner J.C. Henderson was speaking and Board of Education member Shakila Henderson-Baker called him a liar. Commissioner Henderson stated that he did not have a chance to provide his input on the proposed District 4 redistricting map. Mrs. Henderson-Baker interrupted him in mid-sentence and said, "I cannot allow you to continue to lie like that!" It was irresponsible and irrational.

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Covington UMC dedicates Annex

Covington First United Methodist Church held a dedication service for its sanctuary annex on Nov. 20, 2011.

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Betty Jo Griffin

Betty Jo Griffin, 81, of Canton, GA and formerly of Conyers, passed away peacefully Wednesday, December 21, 2011. A beloved wife, mother and grandmother, she was born in Eastman, GA as the only child of Joel Edward and Mattie Dykes Rawlins Butler. She was a graduate of Middle Georgia College in Cochran, GA and attended Georgia State University. She met her future husband, Hollis, while at Middle Georgia College. Married in 1950, they had celebrated 61 years of marriage. She taught school in Chauncey, GA for one year before beginning a long career with the State of Georgia. Her employment began with the Department of Labor, Education, Teachers Retirement System and in 1954 began work with the State Department of Defense. She retired in 1983 with 34 years of State service. Upon her retirement she was named one of two State Employees of the Year from the Department of Defense and was honored with other State employees at the State Capitol in numerous events. Mrs. Griffin was a member of Holly Springs UMC in Canton. She was a former member of Heritage Hills Baptist Church in Conyers and Glenwood Hills Baptist Church in Lithonia where she taught Sunday School for many years. Betty Jo is survived by her husband, Hollis, who is a native of Ocilla, GA. She was especially proud of her family and grandchildren. Their two sons are Richard and Reg. Richard resides in Woodstock with his wife, Karen and their twin sons, Zachary Hollis and Tyler Jackson. Reg resides in Canton with his wife, Lori and their daughters, Holli Elizabeth and Emily Lauren. A memorial service will be held Monday, December 26, 2011 at 3 p.m. at Scot Ward’s Green Meadow Chapel with Pastor Joe Hughes officiating. The family will receive friends from 2 until 3 p.m. prior to the service at the funeral home. At the request of the deceased, the body was cremated. Betty Jo and Hollis wish to thank all their friends and relatives who have been so kind and supportive through the years during her long illness with congestive heart failure. In lieu of flowers, the family is asking for contributions to be made to Holly Springs United Methodist Church, 2464 Holly Springs Pkwy., Canton, GA 30115. Condolences may be submitted on-line at www.scotward.com. Scot Ward Funeral Services, 699 American Legion Road, Conyers, GA 30012, 770-483-7216.

Sylvia Edge

Sylvia Christine Hooten Edge of Covington, passed away December 21, 2011, at the age of 90. Mrs. Edge retired from The Bibb Manufacturing Company after 45 years of unbroken, commendatory service. She was a phenomenal cook and enjoyed fishing, yard work, reading the newspaper, puzzles, and listening to gospel music. Mrs. Edge was beyond exceptional, and succeeded as an amazing mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. Her unconditional love and countless contributions to her family and this world are unsurpassable. She was preceded in death by her husband, Edward Edge; and her son, James Edward Edge, Jr. Survivors include her grandson, James Randall Edge and his wife, Donna; granddaughter, Abbie Gail Edge, all of Covington; great-grandchildren, Nicole Scott Palmerton of Jacksonville, NC, Keleigh Jade Millett of Covington, Neyland Cotton McGhee of Conyers, Emersyn Hope Edge of Covington; sisters, Ethel Piper, Mary Lena Sims; brothers, Eddie B. Hooten, Bernard Hooten, all of McDonough. Funeral Services for Mrs. Edge will be held Friday, December 23, 2011, 4:00 PM, at the Chapel of Caldwell & Cowan Funeral Home, 1215 Access Road, with Pastor Todd Sweat officiating, and interment following in Lawnwood Memorial Park. www.caldwellandcowan.com to place online condolences 770-786-7062

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JULIE WELLS: Receiving the gift of 'Joy' at Christmastime is a blessing

"I've got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart. Where? Down in my heart! Where? Down in my heart!"

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Away in a manger

Conyers Presbyterian Church youth group members, from left, Forrest Freeman, Ray Brown, Thomas Hodges, Caroline LaMalva, Matt Barget, Walden Brown, Lily Jackson, Madelyn Principe, Camille Johnson, Meg Gourley, Alex Barrus and Jack LaMalva recently performed a live nativity scene as part of a dinner theater at their church.

LETTER: Congratulations to Judge Horace Johson for prestigious honor

On behalf of the State Bar of Georgia, I offer congratulations to Superior Court Judge Horace J. Johnson Jr. of the Alcovy Judicial Circuit on receiving the 2011 Clarence Cooper Legacy Award, presented Dec. 7 by the Gate City Bar Association Judicial Section.

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Silent night, holy night

Candle flames will flicker as church-goers bow their heads Saturday night in remembrance of the Christ child born in Bethlehem.

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RECIPE BOX: Make a French toast Christmas tree for your holiday breakfast

The memories behind this week's featured recipe are just as sweet as the syrup that covers this homemade French toast recipe.

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Bella Mackenzie Page

Bella Mackenzie Page July 3rd 2004 - December 20th 2011 Our sweet angel Bella has gone to Heaven. Bella was a gift from God that came to deliver a message of peace, kindness, compassion, love and the importance of every day of life. She delivered this message with radiant beauty and without speaking a word. She was in charge of bettering her families life and leading us down the path to goodness. She did that gracefully without ever taking a step. Bella blessed the lives of those that knew her and all that knew her story. Thank you lord for the time you gave us with our wonderful Bella. Thank you Bella for being the strength of our family. Mommy, Daddy, your sister, your brother and all of your family and friends are better because we love you. Go run and play sweet heart for now you can. Keep watching after us as we will always follow your lead. “ Fly baby bird, fly” Contributions may be made to Peachtree Academy, 1801 Ellington Road SE, Conyers, GA 30013. Condolences may be submitted on-line at www.scotward.com. Scot Ward Funeral Services, 699 American Legion Road, Conyers, GA 30012, 770-483-7216.

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Payroll tax deadlock ends as House caves

WASHINGTON — House Republicans on Thursday caved to demands by President Obama, congressional Democrats and fellow Republicans for a short-term renewal of payroll tax cuts for all workers. The breakthrough almost certainly spares workers an average $20 a week tax increase Jan. 1.

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AAA predicts increase in travelers for holidays

AAA projects a small increase in travel in the U. S., during the year-end holiday travel season, said a spokeswoman for AAA’s The Auto Club Group.

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ORRIN MORRIS: Shepherd's needle can cover your pant leg before you know it

The Gospel writer Luke includes in his account of the Christmas story the announcement to the shepherds.

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Ga. Farm Bureau honors distinguished service

The Georgia Farm Bureau presented its 2011 Distinguished Service Award posthumously to Henry County Farm Bureau member Jack Elkins, below, who was well known in the GFB’s 3rd District, which encompasses Rockdale and Newton counties.

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JACK SIMPSON: Take the appropriate steps to prevent home burglaries

The months of November and December are well known for important holidays. They are also known as big months for home burglaries. Thieves like to kick in your door and steal your merry Christmas.

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Fashion show raise funds for Project ReNeWal

Models line the steps at Villa Serena, the home of Nancy and Denton Smith who donated the event space, in Conyers as part of a fundraiser for Project Renewal, a battered women’s shelter which serves Rockdale, Newton and Walton counties.

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