News for Thursday, November 17, 2011


All Stories

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Gunman shoots himself at FedEx center

BEDFORD PARK, Ill. -- A gunman walked into a Chicago-area FedEx shipping facility Thursday morning yelling for his wife, then fired several shots that sent panicked employees fleeing before he fatally shot himself, police said.. Nobody else was injured. The shooter, identified as 28-year-old Benyamin Robinson of

LETTER: NewRock sets record straight on a couple of facts

The NewRock Legal Society is committed to serving Rockdale and Newton counties by improving public trust in the bench.

LETTER: Thanks to those who give the gift of life -- blood

Please consider giving blood at a Red Cross blood drive.

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SIMPSON: Oh, my aching back

I'm now among the 80 percent of Americans with an aching back.

LETTERS: Newton jail food is praiseworthy

Inmates at the Newton County Detention Center are fortunate to receive such good food.

LETTERS: Creation of new county manager a power grab by commissioners

For Commissioners Ewing, Fleming and Henderson, any means justifies the end.

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HUCKABY: When the news is bad, just keep on going

It's time we woke up to some good news in the morning.

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Look who came to town early

The decorations are hung and the lights are twinkling, let the season commence! At the Lighting of the Newton County Historic Courthouse, hundreds of citizens braved the blustery wind and chilly temperatures to welcome Covington's favorite guest to The Square Thursday night. Among the well-wishers were (l-r) Charlie

Newton girls look to improve

COVINGTON -- With 10 players returning from last year's team, including six that were in the starting rotation, the Newton girls basketball team is in a position to grow in leaps and bounds.. "It's good because we didn't have to go that far back and refreshing. We were able to

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Hawkins named Region 4-AAA Offensive Player of the Year Signs with North Georgia College and State University

COVINGTON -- What a softball season it was Eastside's Amanda Hawkins. Not only did she earn a scholarship at North Georgia College and State University in Dahlonega, she also earned Region 4-AAA Offensive Player of the Year honors.. Hawkins led the team in five offensive statistics. She paced the

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Fallen police officer honored

Hundreds turn out for funeral of officer killed in wreck

Hundreds in the metro Atlanta law enforcement honored a fallen officer in Conyers Thursday as they paid final respects to Doraville Police Det. Shane Wilson.

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Gingrich lugs loads of personal, political baggage

Newt Gingrich is schlepping some supersized luggage along as his Republican presidential campaign takes off: He's got trunkloads of personal and political baggage.

Social Circle still wrestling with redistricting

Agreeing on new district lines after the 2010 U.S. Census has not been easy for the Social Circle City Council, but it could get even more complicated if the preferred map results in newly elected officials residing outside their districts.

Newton Sheriff offers driving course for parents and teens

A course to help teens and parents of teen drivers is planned by the Newton County Sheriff's Office.

Police: 8 Occupy Atlanta protesters arrested

A police spokesman says eight Occupy Atlanta protesters were arrested after they blocked traffic in downtown Atlanta.

Volunteers, donations needed for Thanksgiving dinner

Volunteers and donations are needed to help make Thanksgiving dinner for the needy.

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Middlebrooks ready to usher in new era in Mansfield

Estona Middlebrooks is the new mayor of Mansfield.

Nov. 18 Newton Blotter

Newton Blotter

Georgia secretary of state: Voter ID law stops fraud

Georgia's secretary of state has responded to a letter by U.S. House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer expressing concern about the enactment in recent years of state voter identification laws by saying tough rules are needed to prevent fraud at the polls.

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DISC SPOTLIGHT: 'West Side Story' 50th Anniversary

For the weekly disc spotlight, Michael Clark reviews "West Side Story's" 50th Anniversary 3-disc Blu-ray and DVD.

Film Fans learn some history with 'J. Edgar'

Film Fans review the weekly movie, "J. Edgar."

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MOVIE REVIEW: Movie shows insight into 'Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey'

Michael Clark looks at "Being Elmo."

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Winter Movie Preview: What's going to be heating up theaters

The following movies are thumbnails of the high-profile mainstream titles and a few of the interesting looking art-house productions that are due for release in December and into 2012.

MOVIE REVIEW: 'Melancholia' turns out to be director Trier's finest effort to date

Michael Clark reviews "Melancholia."

States ramp up use of teacher evaluations

Teachers and principals are worrying more about their own report cards these days, and they're being graded on more than test scores.

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LISA MCLEOD: Keep your employees from getting mired in the mundane

The human mind is a funny thing. We crave purpose and meaning, yet we get easily mired in the mundane.. For example, we volunteer for a project because we're inspired by the vision of better schools or a cleaner park. But as we start organizing the phone tree or sorting

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USPS may move Athens mail processing to Duluth

The U.S. Postal Service is planning a public meeting on its proposal to move mail processing operations from an Athens facility to its North Metro Processing and Distribution Center in Duluth.

Peach County sheriff cracking down on pecan thieves

Law officers in Peach County say they're cracking down on pecan thieves, which have been on the rise now that harvesting is in full swing.

Cox kills Sprint-based cellphone service

Cox Communications, the country's third-largest cable company, stopped offering cellphone service Wednesday, saying it's too small to compete with the big cellphone companies.

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MOVIE REVIEW: 'The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -- Part 1' caters to preteen audience

Michael Clark takes a look at the newest movie from the "Twilight" saga, "Breaking Dawn -- Part I."

Catherine Pearson

Catherine Pierce Pearson, age 73, of Stockbridge, died Tuesday, November 15, 2011. A graveside service was held Thursday at Hillandale Memorial Park. Arrangements by Henry Funeral Home, Lithonia, 770-482-4411,

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Inez Owens

Inez Cannon Owens, 88, formerly of Spartanburg, died Tuesday, November 15, 2011 in Covington, GA at the home of her son, Gene. Born May 30, 1923 in Spartanburg, she was the daughter of the late Lewis and Ruth Williams Cannon and wife of the late Dewitt “D.C. Owens. She retired from Drayton Mills and a member of Cannon’s Camp Ground United Methodist Church. Surviving are a son, Gene Owens and wife Bonnie of Covington, GA; two grandchildren, Bryan Owens and wife Niki of Kathleen, GA, Nathan Owens and wife Jennifer of Covington, GA; five great-grandchildren, Baily and Emma Owens of Conyers, GA, Katelyn Owens of Covington, GA, Madison and J. T. Daniel both of Kathleen, GA. Funeral services will be held at 2:00 PM Friday, November 18, 2011 at Floyd’s Greenlawn Chapel, conducted by the Rev. Kenneth Bobo and the Rev. Edward Rogers. Burial will be in Greenlawn Memorial Gardens. Flowers will be accepted and memorials may be made to Cannon’s Camp Ground United Methodist Church, 3450 Cannon’s Camp Ground Road, Spartanburg, SC 29307. An online guest register is available at Floyd’s Greenlawn Chapel

Lonnie Jones

Lonnie Faye (Sysk) Jones of Covington, GA, died Sunday November 13, 2011. Born November 29, 1928 in McKinley, Alabama to Jake Charles Sysk and Mary Downing. Ms. Lonnie Faye (Sysk) Jones passed away (age 82) at the home of her daughter Terri Pope at McGuire AFB, New Jersey, Sunday November 13, 2011. Her daughter Terri and son-in-law Mike were at her bedside. Lonnie graduated from Theodore High in Theodore, Alabama in 1946. She worked for U.S. Civil Service and retired as a finance & accounting clerk in 1988 after thirty years of service. After retirement, she settled in Covington, GA near her daughters and beloved grandchildren. She lived in many areas throughout her life, most recently New Jersey, but always considered metro Atlanta and Covington her home. Lonnie lived an exciting life filled with adventure, love and family. Lonnie enjoyed reading books of all genres especially educational and informational text, as well as, poetry. She also enjoyed researching the importance and benefits of healthy foods and herbal nutrition. She was an amateur vocalist with a beautiful singing voice and had a love for music. She was always walking around singing or humming something. She was born with a green thumb and enjoyed working in the yard tending to plants and vegetables. She was preceded in death by: Father, Jake Charles Sysk Sr., Mother Mary P (Downing) Sysk, Sister Paula Louise Sysk, Brother Bryant Barber Sysk, Brother Anthony Wilson Sysk. She is survived in life by: (Siblings) JC Sysk Jr., FL; Marybeth Russel, FL; Gerald Sysk, FL; Maxium Sysk, FL; Glenn Sysk Hicks, Emily Rumfield, TX; Gayle Sysk Hicks, TX. (Children) Terri Pope, NJ; Trudy Marksbury, GA; Donna Davidson, GA; James McWilliams VA; and Lonnie McWilliams, TX. She also is survived by nine grandchildren and sixteen great-grandchildren. Memorial services for Ms. Jones will be held at Harvest Baptist Church (2075 Hwy. 212 - Covington, Georgia 30016) on Friday, November 18th, 2011 @ 3:00 pm with a reception following the services. Family & Friends will gather in the fellowship hall 1:00-2:30 to view a photo story.

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THOMAS: Puerto Rico's two-year revival from $3.3B debt

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Since the congressional super committee appears unable, or unwilling, to take a lesson from Indiana or Virginia -- where Republican governors have made spending cuts and delivered budget surpluses without damaging the social safety net -- members might wish to consider Puerto Rico and what its governor, Luis Fortuno, is doing.Fortuno is Puerto Rico's first Republican governor in 42 years. In 2009 when he took office, the U.S. territory had a $3.3 billion budget deficit. Three years earlier, Moody's Investors Service downgraded the commonwealth's bond rating to junk status while in deep recession.

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Evelyn Myers

Evelyn Hawkins Myers of Forest Park, GA died Wednesday November 16, 2011 at her residence. She was born on November 27, 1926 in Cordele, GA to John and Mary Roberts Hawkins. She attended the University of Georgia School of Journalism and loved the Bulldogs. She loved Gospel and Country music, the Atlanta Braves and enjoyed yard sales and flea markets. In her youth she was the spitting image of Vivian Leigh. She dearly loved her children, grandchildren and will be greatly missed by her family. Mrs. Myers is survived by son and daughter-in-law Jimmy and Cristy Myers, Jr. of Lawrenceville, GA; daughter Rosalyn Myers of Stone Mountain, Ga and friend Kathy Smith of Stone Mountain, Ga; daughter and son-in-law Janice and Lanny Herdt of Conyers, Ga, daughter and son-in-law Pam and Bobby Sigman of Covington, Ga, daughter and son-in-law Frances and Terry Kight of Senoia, Ga; grandchildren Billy (Pam) James, Jennifer (Rob) Thomas, Carrie (Robbie) Adams, Charlie (Emperor) Herdt, Lindsay Sitz and Adam (Meghan) Sitz; 9 great grandchildren; numerous nieces and nephews. She is preceded in death by her parents John and Mary Roberts Hawkins and her six siblings. Services will be held at 2:00PM on Thursday November 17, 2011 in the Chapel of Wheeler Funeral Home. Interment will be at 2:00PM on Friday November 18, 2011 at Rest Haven Memorial Gardens. The family will receive friends at the funeral home on Thursday, November 17, 2011 from 1:00 - 2:00PM prior to the service. Guest may sign the online register book at

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Look who came to town early

The decorations are hung and the lights are twinkling, let the season commence! At the Lighting of the Newton County Historic Courthouse, hundreds of citizens braved the blustery wind and chilly temperatures to welcome Covington's favorite guest to The Square Thursday night. Among the well-wishers were (l-r) Charlie Jesel, Mac Geoffroy, Avery Jesel and Taylor Jesel who are among the first to greet Santa each year when he visits Covington. Hosted by the Arts Association in Newton County and Main Street Covington, this year's theme is "2011 Southern Christmas."

LETTERS: Newton jail food is praiseworthy

This letter is my attempt to bring some well-deserved attention to the supervisors and staff of the kitchen here at the Newton County jail.

LETTERS: Creation of new county manager a power grab by commissioners

Merriam-Webster defines "Coup d'Etat" as: "a sudden decisive exercise of force in politics; especially the violent overthrow or alteration of an existing government by a small group." In "Coup d'Etat: A Practical Handbook," historian Edward Luttwak describes it as "the infiltration of a small, but critical, segment of the state apparatus, which is then used to displace the government from its control of the remainder."

HUCKABY: When the news is bad, just keep on going

I woke up Thursday morning with an appetite for some good news — which has been a rare commodity these days. I turned on the coffee pot, as is my custom, and the dog and I walked up our long driveway to pick up the morning papers. I could hardly wait to spread them both out — our local tome as well as the big city offering — and find something to lift my spirits.

LETTER: Thanks to those who give the gift of life -- blood

In the past, I have volunteered at local Red Cross blood drives held at the First Baptist Church of Covington. It was part of my community service as a member of The Service Guild of Covington. I had no idea how vital these pints of blood were until I had to be on the receiving end.

Elizabeth Alley

Elizabeth L. Alley of Covington, passed away November 14, 2011, at Newton Medical Center. She was 75 years old at the time of her death. She was preceded in death ...

Dorothy Gayles

Dorothy Mary-Alice Thomas was born October 1, 1922 at Magee Women's Hospital in Pittsburgh, PA to Carolyn and Robert Thomas. She and her siblings, Clarence and Bernice, grew up ...

Simone Richards

Simone Sunita Richards of Covington, GA died Sunday, November 13, 2011 at Newton Medical Center. She was born on March 9, 1971 in Georgetown Guyana, to Lloyd and Pamela Jewan ...

William Pettitt

William "Bill" Pettitt, age 82 of McDonough, died Monday, November 14, 2011. Condolences may be submitted on-line at Scot Ward Funeral Services, 699 American Legion Road, Conyers, 30012 ...

Andrew Kuffrey

Andrew Charles Kuffrey Jr. of Oxford, Ga. died Tuesday November 15, 2011 at his residence. He was born on December 31, 1944 in Atlanta, Ga. to Andrew Charles and Barbara ...

Marvin Pressley

Marvin T. Pressley, age 70 of Covington, GA passed away November 15, 2011. Arrangements by Caldwell & Cowan Funeral Home, (770) 786-7062, (770) 784-5582 (24 hr. obituary line)