Stand Down Event for veterans set for Saturday

The Hall County Veterans Coalition and American Legion Post 328’s Stand Down Event for veterans will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at St. John Baptist Church in Gainesville.

Federal, state, local and private agencies will be on hand offering free services and assistance. Among the offerings are Veterans Affairs benefit counseling, post-traumatic stress disorder counseling, health screenings, welfare and Social Security advice, food baskets, legal services, addiction services, housing and medical assistance, haircuts and clothing.

The Georgia Mountains Regional Commission Workforce Development Career Coach will also be on hand at the event at the church located at 757 E.E. Butler Parkway.

The Career Coach bus will be help local residents search and apply for jobs, write resumes and cover letters, and discern their career interests. Career Coach will also provide information about tuition assistance and on-the-job training programs.

Stand Down Event for veterans set for Saturday

Challenged Child and Friends getting new playground thanks to donation

Molly Abbruzzese walked into Challenged Child and Friends Wednesday morning $10,000 short of her goal.

She gave her pitch to a handful of the nonprofit school’s board members and local community and business leaders. She hoped they could spread the word about the school’s need for a new playground.

As she finished her presentation, Abbruzzese asked those listening if they had any questions. Jim Mathis, president of the North Georgia Community Foundation, raised his hand.

“I’ll give you $1,000,” he said.

Abbruzzese’s mouth dropped open.

Across the table from Mathis, Jerry Coker, vice president of sales for Wilheit Packaging Materials, nodded.

“Wilheit Packaging will pick up the rest,” he said.

Mathis and Coker made their donations for Abbruzzese’s daughter, Ada, a little girl they have never, and will never, meet.


Ada was born in 2009, weighing in at 3 pounds 12 ounces, with no known syndrome and numerous challenges, including a heart defect, kidney defect, chromosomal abnormalities, hearing impairment, optic disk malformations and growth hormone deficiency, to name a few.

“There was no child documented globally with her particular translocation,” Abbruzzese said of Ada’s chromosomal abnormalities. “At Challenged Child and Friends, the reality is you’re child is more than ‘one in a million.’ Ada was one in 6.8 billion.”

Molly and her husband, Tom Abbruzzese, relocated their daughters Ada and Emmie Rose from Florida to Gainesville for the services offered at Challenged Child and Northeast Georgia Medical Center.

On her first day at Challenged Child, 14-pound Ada had a specially-sized chair waiting for her at a classroom table with her peers.

“She’d never been able to sit in a chair before,” Abbruzzese said. “From the moment I placed her in the chair, Ada looked nervous. Then this little boy named Cameron pushed a block across the table to her and said, ‘You beautiful.’

“The remarkable thing was that Cameron did not talk.”

Included in a laundry list of what-ifs was the warning Ada would never learn to walk or talk, Abbruzzese said.

At Challenged Child, she learned to sign. She could sign, “I really love you,” and say “Momma” and “Dadda.”

Ada spent two years at the school. Two months before she died on Nov. 17, 2013, Ada was walking without a walker while holding a hand. She had just turned 4 years old.

“Most importantly, she was happy,” Abbruzzese said. “She lived an optimal life.”


Ada’s parents vowed to continue her legacy through continued support of Challenged Child.

Over the last two years, they fundraised to build a new, fully handicapped-accessible playground at the school.

“Ada’s Playground celebrates conquering the ‘what-ifs’ and allowing our children to use their imagination and play to build the confidence they need to begin their life successes,” Abbruzzese said. “To become more than one in a million.”

The playground will support child development, improve gross motor skills and increase muscle tone. It will be accessible to children of all capabilities, with a smooth surface for walkers and a wide ramp for children in wheelchairs.

“Ada couldn’t get her walker very easily through the mulch on the (current) playground,” Abbruzzese said. “It became difficult, so some days she had to be carried around, which was wonderful for her self-confidence, but she needed to build strength in her legs and to practice walking.”

Originally, the playground was going to cost more than $130,000. The Abruzzeses raised more than $70,000 through their own efforts, and the school secured a grant for $30,000. Pledges of more than 50 volunteers will waive thousands in construction costs, which left only the $10,000 need.

Abbruzzese profusely thanked Mathis and Coker for their generosity. She said she was going to stop by Ada’s grave Wednesday to bring her balloons and tell her the news.

“The fact that they didn’t raise Ada, that the gentlemen in that room never even met her,” Abbruzzese said, “and yet her story impacted them enough that they are willing to make those donations, it’s amazing.”

Challenged Child and Friends getting new playground thanks to donation

Chuquisaca patrocina a Wálter Nosiglia con medio millón de bolivianos

El gobernador de Chuquisaca, Esteban Urquizu, entregó el miércoles medio millón de bolivianos a Wálter Nosiglia como patrocinador del piloto boliviano que participará en el Rally Dakar 2016, categoría cuadriciclos.

Chuquisaca patrocina a Wálter Nosiglia con medio millón de bolivianos

Report: Man shot after fight over card game at Buford home

A woman shot in the arm Saturday in Buford said she recalled an argument over a card game before hearing gunshots, according to a Gwinnett County Police report.

Regina Franklin, 45, suffered a gunshot wound to her upper left torso after a shooting around 2:55 a.m. Saturday on Vintage Lane in Buford.

Timothy Thornton, 31, of Buford, was found dead at the scene. Thornton is also listed with a Flowery Branch address in the police report.

Franklin reportedly told police there was an argument “over a card game and then she heard gunshots.” She also said she did not know who did the shooting.

“She stated as soon as the gunfire occurred, everybody fled the residence,” according to the report.

Seven children were inside the home at the time of shooting. All of them were released to family members.

Another witness said he was “dozing off on the couch” and ran outside at the sound of gunshots.

The officer opened the door of the house and found Thornton laying face down on the floor.

“There was a large amount of blood coming from the head area of the body,” the report states. “(The officer) also observed what looked to be a table covered in a red cloth turned over on its side next to Thornton.”

No suspects have been identified by police.

Report: Man shot after fight over card game at Buford home

Sancionados jinete argentino y propietario venezolano por dopaje de caballo

El jinete argentino Mariano Ossa, que fue sancionado con dos años de suspensión por dopaje del caballo ‘Up Date 2’, ha visto reducida en cinco meses su suspensión por colaborar con la Federación Internacional de Hípica (FEI).

Sancionados jinete argentino y propietario venezolano por dopaje de caballo

Bolívar mira con buenos ojos obtener un empate frente al Tigre

Bolívar piensa en sumar en el clásico paceño y ven con buenos ojos conseguir un empate frente a The Strongest. La idea es no perder para darles la posibilidad de luchar por el título del Apertura. El clásico está programado para este domingo, en el estadio Hernando Siles.

Bolívar mira con buenos ojos obtener un empate frente al Tigre

Business says its litter trap could clean up Chattahoochee in Helen

Gary Hopkins didn’t need the Georgia Water Coalition’s “Dirty Dozen” list to know how bad trash was along the Chattahoochee River in Helen.

But the president of Cleveland-based Storm Water Systems took the chance Tuesday to let the Helen City Commission know about his company’s Bandalong Litter Trap and how he thinks it could alleviate the problem. He said his company put a test site for the trap in Helen in 2008 and successfully caught litter.

Hopkins said a lot of people that fish and live below Helen are upset because they’re getting remnants of the trash.

“It’s easy just to let it go downstream and be Lake Lanier’s problem,” Hopkins said.

He’s hoping the city will take a more proactive approach.

While Jimmy Harris of Unicoi Outfitters said he supports Hopkins’ idea, he said keeping litter out of the water to start with is a more pressing concern. Unicoi Outfitters leads guided fishing trips.

“We’re picking up litter every week by the truckload,” Harris said.

The Water Coalition’s report pointed to tubers in Helen as a major reason the Chattahoochee landed on the “Dirty Dozen” list.

Hopkins said the 11 litter traps Storm Water Systems has nationally have ranged from $113,000 to $300,000, though one in Helen would likely be pretty close to the lower price point because it is so close-by. The company is installing one of the traps in Flat Creek in Gainesville in the coming weeks.

Hall County spokeswoman Katie Crumley said Hall County is paying for 60 percent of the purchase and installation costs and Gainesville 40 percent. The total cost, according to Crumley, is $174,000. Gainesville will pay for maintenance of the litter trap.

Helen Town Manager Jerry Elkins said commissioners on Tuesday didn’t express one way or another their feelings on the litter trap. Elkins said there was discussion of visiting the Gainesville litter trap and seeing how it operates before making any decisions.

But Elkins said if the city decided to go with the litter trap, it would have to find partner entities to help offset the cost of purchase and maintenance.

“That’s a pretty expensive endeavor for a small town to invest in where there’s really no return,” Elkins said.

Said Harris: “We’ve been battling this for over 20 years now, and it’s getting worse as each year goes by. We need somebody to sit down with us and come up with a solution.”

He’s hopeful the city of Helen and some area businesses can make that happen.

Hopkins said tubing companies are already tasked with taking trash out of the waters in Helen, so there wouldn’t be a need to pay someone else to clean out the litter trap once it catches trash.

Storm Water Systems started in 2009 and is a licensee of Australia-based Bandalong.

Harris is still hoping to find a way to stop trash from entering the Chattahoochee in the first place.

“When you have an issue like this, that’s so impactful on one of greatest resources in North Georgia, the Chattahoochee River, you’re morally bound to find a way to stop this instead of let’s find the easiest way to clean it up,” Harris said.

Business says its litter trap could clean up Chattahoochee in Helen

Georgia, Florida mention mediation as step to solve water wars

Georgia and Florida may be inching closer to settling a water sharing lawsuit, as court records show lawyers for both sides are talking about mediation.

“I will say that we agree that it could be helpful to us and to Georgia in particular if our discussions on a potential settlement could be officiated by a sharp and effective mediator,” Florida lawyer Philip Perry is noted as saying in a Nov. 10 phone conference.

“Our concern is that it may take that type of help to actually make progress.”

Georgia attorneys don’t say much on the issue in the phone conference, but they mention it in a Nov. 6 “status report” on litigation between the states.

In that document, Georgia said it believes “the best way to advance the process is to engage a mediator acceptable to both sides who can create a framework for formal in-person discussions and periodic exchanges of information specifically directed to settlement.”

Also, Georgia is “willing to discuss mediator selection with Florida and is also open to suggestions from the special master on how best to proceed.”

Georgia was referring to suggestions from Ralph I. Lancaster, a lawyer from Portland, Maine, who was appointed by the U.S. Supreme Court to oversee the case between Georgia and Florida.

Lancaster said he was pleased to see mediation mentioned in the 2-year-old lawsuit, which is the latest in a string of legal battles over two decades about water shared by the two states and Alabama.

Florida has charged that Georgia’s “overconsumption” of water in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin, which includes Lake Lanier, is creating economic hardship, particularly on the oyster industry in Apalachicola Bay.

Georgia has denied the allegations.

“I’m delighted to see both the word ‘settlement’ and the word ‘mediator’ in the reports and to know that you’re moving towards that process,” Lancaster said, “because, frankly, your persistent refusal to narrow the scope of this litigation is going to result in astonishing expenses to the states’ taxpayers.”

However, Lancaster balked at helping to pick a mediator.

“I’m happy to get involved … but I think it’s better if the two states can agree between themselves,” he said.

Georgia, Florida mention mediation as step to solve water wars

Platini recurrirá ante el TAS la confirmación de su suspensión

Michel Platini recurrirá ante el Tribunal de Arbitraje del Deporte (TAS) la confirmación de su suspensión en la presidencia de la UEFA, al tiempo que acusó a la FIFA de estar “retrasando deliberadamente” su candidatura al frente de ese organismo.

Platini recurrirá ante el TAS la confirmación de su suspensión