Issue 14.49 | Sept. 16, 2014
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NORCROSS, Ga., Sept. 16, 2014 -- "Timing is everything," though August was a very bad time to visit the Middle East. We were headed to Israel to attend our niece's wedding and for a homecoming for my wife, Ruthy, who is Israeli. Ruthy was leaving three weeks before me to set me up with Diet Coke and Wi-Fi. Turmoil seemed to be everywhere including our destination, Israel.
With battles raging in Gaza, a Malaysian airliner being shot out of the sky two weeks before and a rocket landing close to Ben Gurion Airport, things didn't look good. Sadly, Ruthy has been through this before, including 1991 when scud missiles landed in Israel and she had to wear a gas mask.
I also knew that she would go no matter what. Four hours after she landed, the air raid sirens and missiles started again.
While it was my decision to go, Ruthy told me to ignore what I saw on television because "You really don't feel it here." Many people said don't go. But one friend asked how I would feel if something happened to Ruthy while I stayed behind. She was right. But if I go and something happens to her, it happens to me too. By the way, we did our wills before she left. So in the end, I decided to go.
Why? Because it is family and they came to our wedding in 2005, albeit under calmer conditions in New Jersey. And how does it look if the only American invited chickened out.
I'm happy to report that despite two air raid warnings and one intercepted rocket, it turned out to be a great and uneventful vacation.
It's always nice to travel with a local. Ruthy knew where and where not to go. The best thing though was the people who went out of their way to make us feel at home. We always had a place to sleep, good food and someone who spoke English. One night we stayed with Ariella, who lived modestly in a kibbutz, but insisted that we sleep in her bedroom while she slept on the sofa. The wedding and reception were great and we even met friends of ours visiting from the U.S.
We visited the Holocaust Museum, Yad Vashem, which is emotional for most, especially for Ruthy, whose father survived Auschwitz.
One night, we stopped at a store in an Arab town to buy a gift for Ruthy's close friend, Wahed. We were greeted by two young Muslim girls and Ruthy asked if they preferred that we'd spoke Hebrew or English. The expression on their faces was amazing when they said English. They don't get a lot of tourists there and relish a chance to practice their English. The youngest spoke with absolutely no accent, (to a northerner like me). She wants to be a doctor and I wanted to hug her but knew it wasn't permissible in their culture.
My biggest complaint about Israel is crazy drivers. They cut each other off and motorcycles pass going highway speeds between cars.
recommend visiting Israel, not only for the history but the beauty of
the land and its people. How many places can you visit and say you walked
on the same path as Jesus?
SEPT. 16, 2014 -- Georgians will see an unusual twist to the 2014 General Election. There are four "legacy" candidates running for statewide political office.
You probably know of three. There is David Perdue, cousin of the former Governor Sonny Perdue, seeking the U.S. Senate position. Opposing him is Michelle Nunn, daughter of the former long-serving Senator Sam Nunn, and Jason Carter, grandson of the former President and Governor Jimmy Carter, running for governor.
But the fourth? That would be Chris Irvin, grandson of the longtime Agricultural Commissioner Tommy Irvin, who left office four years ago. Chris Irvin is counting on many Georgians remembering his grandfather's 42 year tenure in office to swing some votes his way. Tommy Irvin holds the record as the longest-serving commissioner of agriculture in the United States, and the longest-serving statewide official in Georgia.
Chris Irvin likes to bring out the fact that when last running, in 2006, Tommy Irvin handily beat his opponents. He polled 1,168,371 votes, some 56 percent of the race against Republican Gary Black's 40.6 percent and Libertarian candidate Jack Cashin's 3.4 percent.
Will a majority of voters remember Tommy Irvin and support his grandson? No doubt some will. However, that last Irvin race for Agricultural Commissioner was in 2006, some eight years ago. And current Commissioner Gary Black was on the ballot in 2006, and again in 2010, when he won.
Chris Irvin is counting on that legacy, among other ways, to win. We'll see.
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The first two years of Peachtree Corners being a city has gone down as pretty easy and peaceful. As the city and its elected officials settled into their routines, there was not much controversy facing the Council. Other than setting up procedures and getting a functioning government in place, perhaps the biggest item to come before the Council was a decision to purchase 20.8 acres on Peachtree Parkway across from the Forum for a future center-city site. We presume that eventually that will include a center piece, a city hall. But that decision is way down the road.
However, two items on the agenda for tonight (Tuesday's) meeting of the Peachtree Corners council are both somewhat controversial.
The first item concerns a request by Crowell Brothers Funeral Home to operate a crematory at their location on Peachtree Industrial Boulevard, under General Business category (G-2), within the existing business. At the meeting of the Planning Commission recently, a recommendation passed 4-0 to grant this request.
Operation of a crematory goes on in several Gwinnett cities, causing no problems at these locations. Modern crematory units are efficient, emit no odors, and cause no environmental problems. Not only that, but the Crowell Brothers have been in business for years, and have an exemplary record. We urge the Council to approve this permit.
It's anticipated that a proposal to hold a referendum on distilled spirits sales within the city will be put to the voters following action by the Council on Tuesday. This item was previously tabled at the August 19 meeting. Another item on the agenda is a request for alcoholic beverage license by one individual, which means only beer and wine can be sold until a distilled spirits referendum passes.
Peachtree Corners residents last year voted to have their own city to make such decisions locally. They are now employing this effort, and can look to their Council for this leadership.
The public spiritedness of our sponsors allows us to bring GwinnettForum.com to you at no cost to readers. Flanigan Funeral Home and Crematory is a Buford based family owned-and-operated business. We serve all faiths and offer funerals, cremations, out of town services, as well as pre-arrangements. We also accept pre-paid funeral arrangements and insurance policies that were purchased at other funeral homes. We have parking for 150 cars at our site on South Lee Street in Buford. Our dedicated and caring staff's goal is to see that the needs of each family they serve have been met with distinctive, professional and compassionate service.
Editor, the Forum:
The right-wing media propaganda from FOX, Limbaugh, The Wall Street Journal and talk radio have started to ramp up their attacks on the Democrats. Karl Rove is collecting millions of dollars from corporations. The Plutocrats and the Oligarchs such as the Koch brothers are pouring money into Senate and Governor Races.
It sometimes appears our democracy is for sale to the highest bidder. Some "dirty tricks" the Republicans are using this election cycle include, but not limited to, the following:
The minute Democrats try to fight back with increased voter registration in Georgia, the Republicans sound the alarm of voter fraud. An example of this is our Republican Secretary of State's attacks on a voter registration organization called the New Georgia Project.
Finally, Fulton and DeKalb came up with the idea of voting on Sunday. This idea was immediately attached by a Republican senator, who wants legislation to prohibit this in the future. This is a repeat of the last campaign and the way to overcome is to get out and vote.
Rant, rave, send us a letter
Local residents will soon be able to take a trip around the globe at a single festival.
The Gateway International Food and Music Festival, aimed at celebrating the rich culture of diversity in Metro Atlanta, will take place September 20 at Lillian Webb Park in Historic Downtown Norcross. It will feature top international talent. Purveyors of international cuisine and music will be on hand to provide entertainment for all ages.
Letycia Pastrana, executive director of the Gwinnett Community Alliance, the event organizer, says: "We want to establish an annual fundraising event that adequately represents the rich diversity we see every day in our community. We hope to provide people with a truly global experience that enriches their views of other cultures."
Admission is free for this all day event. Festivities will begin at 11 a.m. and conclude at 6 p.m. For additional information (770) 403-1002.
Two days for Suwanee Fest, starting Sept. 20; Author to speak
Come to Suwanee Fest Saturday, September 20, to shop, eat, bounce, smile, groove, and make memories. Then come back Sunday, September 21, and do it all again! For the very first time, Suwanee's annual community festival is going to be celebrated over two days.
The "Red, White & You"-themed parade will kick off the festival at 10 a.m. Saturday, September 20. Former U.S. Army Capt. and New York Times best-selling author Luis Carlos Montalván and his service dog, Tuesday, will be the parade grand marshals. Presented in cooperation with the Gwinnett County Public Library, Montalván and Tuesday will also appear onstage at Town Center Park following the parade, at 11:20 a.m. for a presentation and "meet the author" event.
Nearly 200 arts and craft exhibitors, food vendors, community organizations, and sponsors will have booths at the festival. Admission to Suwanee Fest is free; there is a charge for inflatable rides. Find more information about Suwanee Fest, including off-site parking and shuttle information, at suwaneefest.com.
Buford Business Alliance organizing 10th annual holiday festival
Buford Business Alliance for the Historic Buford Holiday Festival and
Parade ~ a fun filled day of performances, vendors, shopping, giveaways,
holiday treats and a parade. This annual festival draws residents and
families in the City of Buford and the surrounding area together to showcase
the businesses, venues and people that make up the Historic Buford Area.
Next Suwanee Citizens Police Academy on October 7
Get a glimpse behind the badge and gain a better understanding of some of the complex situations that Suwanee police officers experience through this fall's Citizens Police Academy. Classes will be held from 6:30 until 9 p.m. weekly beginning October 7. The classes are usually on Tuesdays but sometimes on Mondays, depending on the week, at the Suwanee Police Training Center, 2966 Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road. Classes will end December 9; check the online application at suwanee.com for specific dates.
Registration is free, but notarized applications must be received by Friday, September 26. Priority is given to City of Suwanee residents or to those who work within the City.
Topics covered include crime scene processing, traffic stops, building searches, crime prevention, and narcotics identification.
of Suwanee Police Department offers this nine-week program to help strengthen
the bond of friendship and cooperation among citizens and police officers.
Through classes, citizens gain a better understanding of the risks and
responsibilities of Suwanee police officers.
Technical College, a Tree Campus USA college, is updating the tree inventory
for its urban forest on campus and is offering the community a chance
to participate. The initial inventory cataloged more than 800 trees on
the 90-acre campus.
Jackson EMC Foundation awards $40,500 to assist in Gwinnett
EMC Foundation Board of Directors awarded a total of $107,500 in grants
during their August meeting, including $40,500 to organizations serving
Gwinnett County residents.
I served from 1955-58 under General Bennett when he was a colonel. I was a member of his color guard at Fort Knox and later in Germany. No grander a man was ever born than General Bennett. In the 1930's, Donald Bennett was admitted to West Point. He flunked math and was washed out of West Point, but was tutored for a year, passed the re-entry exam, and graduated in 1940. Four years later as a lieutenant colonel, he led the 63nd Armored Artillery Battalion, at Normandy and was awarded the nation second highest medal for bravery at Omaha Beach. He was wounded twice. In 1966 he became superintendent of West Point for three years. He retired in 1974 as a four star general. I was slightly disappointed about the book, since it did not cover his entire military career, but only the World War II part. The general died at the age of 90 in North Carolina.
Norman Blake, a singer and instrumentalist, is a renowned performer of southern old-time, string-band, and bluegrass music. He has earned several Grammy Award nominations for his own albums and won fame for his performance on the influential soundtrack to the film O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000).
Blake, pictured at right, was born in Chattanooga, Tenn., on March 10, 1938, and spent his childhood in the Dade County communities of Sulphur Springs and Rising Fawn in northwest Georgia. He grew up listening to local musicians and to Grand Ole Opry radio broadcasts. Inspired by the old-time music of Uncle Dave Macon and the Carter Family, as well as the bluegrass music of Bill Monroe, Blake learned to play guitar, mandolin, fiddle, banjo, and Dobro (a guitar with a metal resonator). A versatile player of each of these instruments, Blake is most famous for his precise, rapid flat-picking of fiddle tunes on the guitar.
After quitting high school to play with the Dixieland Drifters on the "Tennessee Barn Dance" radio show on KNOX in Knoxville, Tenn., Blake then joined Bob Johnson to perform and record with the Lonesome Travelers bluegrass band.
The U.S. Army drafted Blake in 1961, but military service barely interrupted his music career. He formed a bluegrass band, the Fort Kobbe Mountaineers, while stationed in Panama and used his military leave time to continue recording with the Lonesome Travelers.
After his discharge, Blake moved to Nashville, Tenn., where his instrumental skills earned him work as a touring musician with June Carter and, later, as a regular musician for Johnny Cash's television show and touring group. He won praise as a session musician for his work on Bob Dylan's country album, Nashville Skyline (1969), Joan Baez's hit version of "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" (1971), and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's Will the Circle Be Unbroken? (1972). Blake also toured or recorded with such notable musicians as Kris Kristofferson, John Hartford, Tony Rice, and Doc Watson.
In 1972 Blake married fellow musician Nancy Short. Together, they returned to Dade County, Ga., where he began a successful independent recording career, starting with the album Back Home in Sulphur Springs (1972). His lengthy discography includes more than 25 albums, which feature traditional fiddle tunes ("Whiskey before Breakfast," "Forked Deer,"), pre-World War II (1941-45) string-band songs ("Democratic Donkey," "Poor Old Dad"), and story songs ("Lincoln's Funeral Train"). He is also the composer of many new tunes, including "Church Street Blues" and "Chattanooga Sugar Babe," within these genres.
Blake's influence as a southern musician is extensive. His work covers scores of traditional old-time and bluegrass tunes. His recordings preserve and reinterpret the musical past with an authenticity and authority that helped prepare the way for the public's renewed interest in American roots music during the 1990s.
Blake's prominent role on the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack and in the follow-up Carnegie Hall concert and national tour with his fellow O Brother musicians-including the Cox Family, Emmylou Harris, John Hartford, Alison Krauss, and Ralph Stanley-is a tribute to the stature and respect he has earned as a guardian and performer of southern traditional music.
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11th Annual Networking Fair of the Community Council of Gwinnett County, Wednesday, September 17, from 9:30 a.m. until 1 p.m., at Gwinnett Technical College, Building 100, Room 401. The 2014 fair will gather together the individuals and organizations that are committed to addressing the multi cultural and diverse needs of Gwinnett's citizens, with the theme, "Community Connections." For more information, contact Mary Williams at 770 925-1498.
Gwinnett Schools Are the Topic of the September 17 meeting of the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce, as Gwinnett School Superintendent Alvin Wilbanks makes the address. The event will be at 11:30 a.m. at The 1818 Club in Duluth. Come hear about the 173,000 students and how the county educates them. Contact Cally D'Angelo at 678 957 4958 for more details.
Fort Daniel Frontier Fair, Saturday, September 20 from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. at 2505 Braselton Highway, Hog Mountain. Sponsored by the Fort Daniel Foundation, and the Gwinnett Archaeological Research Society. There will be re-enactors, a trading post, food and demonstrations. The Skillet Lickers will entertain at 1 p.m., and there will be Native American storytelling at 2 p.m. There is free parking. More details here.
(NEW) VIP Reception for the Gateway International Food and Music Festival, Saturday, September 20, from noon until 1 p.m. at 45 South Cafe for the Festival, which is from 11 a.m. to until 6 p.m. that same day at Lillian Webb Park.
(NEW) Japan Fest will be held Sept.20-21 at Gwinnett Center, 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway in Duluth, from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Sunday. This will be the 29th annual Japan Fest, designed to promote understanding between Japanese and Americans in the Southeast. Tickets are $8. Children age 6 or younger free. Teachers can bring their students to JapanFest for free by applying online.
Suwanee Fest will be a two-day event for 2014, to be held on Sept. 20-21. There will be nearly 200 arts, craft, jewelry and food vendors on hand at Town Center Park. Activities kick off at 10 a.m. on Saturday and noon on Sunday. There's free off-site parking with shuttle transportation. For more info, visit suwaneefest.com.
Gwinnett District Attorney Danny Porter will be the featured speaker at the Philadelphia Winn Chapter of the National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution on Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014. Constitution Week, is Sept. 17 - 23, and his topic will be the U.S. Constitution. The meeting will be held at 2 p.m. at Ashton Living Center, 1155 Lawrenceville Highway. It is free and open to the public.
Market Extension: The Lilburn City Market on Main is extending its season until September 30. The market is opening evenings on Tuesday from 4-7 p.m. in the Greenway parking lot across from City Hall. For more information, contact Rozalyn Schmitt, City of Lilburn event coordinator, 770-638-2225
Re-Development Forum for 2014: Thursday, October 16, 7: 30 a.m. until 1 p.m. Studio Movie Grill, Duluth. Topics include maximizing re-development, financing and opportunities through Public-Private Partnerships. Keynote speaker will be Ellen Durham Jones of Georgia Tech, talking on "Sustaining vibrant communities." To register, click here.
Exhibit of eight
artists continues through December 2 at George Pierce Park
Community Center in Suwanee. Eight female artists will showcase their
talents, including watercolor, acrylic, oil, color pencil, mixed media,
collage, and pen and ink with color pencil. A reception will be held on
Sept. 4 from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. For more information, call 678-277-0910.
MORE EEB PERSPECTIVE
Gwinnett Forum publisher Elliott Brack suggests that Gwinnett County needs a long-range list of continuing objectives for improving the county. Read more.
GwinnettForum.com is a twice-weekly online community commentary for exploring pragmatic and sensible social, political and economic approaches to improve life in Gwinnett County, Ga. USA.
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