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NEW DEVELOPMENT: Here is an artist's conception of what a new 27,000 square foot development in Peachtree Corners will look like. This plot is across Peachtree Parkway from the Forum, with The Piedmont Bank being just north of this development. Among the firms taking space in this development will be Sprouts Market, a California firm opening four facilities in the Atlanta area this summer. That firm will be located at the far left in this concept. Other stores to open are Zoe's Kitchen, Verizon Wireless, Sleep Number Beds, PNC Bank and Piedmont Salon. (Rendering from Wakefield and Associates.)

Issue 14.07 | April 22, 2014

TODAY'S FOCUS
:: Peachtree Corners looks to CBD

ELLIOTT BRACK'S PERSPECTIVE
:: Minnesota senator taking on cable

FEEDBACK
::
Concerned about electronic billboards

UPCOMING
::
Gwinnett Tech gets interim president

NOTABLE
:: Jackson EMC Foundation gives $43K

IN THE SPOTLIGHT
:: Gwinnett Medical Center

QUOTE
:: Thoreau saw the future?

GEORGIA TIDBIT
:: State's secession vote was narrow

MYSTERY PHOTO
:: Three recognized Newseum

LAGNIAPPE
:: Bunten Road Park gets mega-play area

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ABOUT US 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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TODAY'S FOCUS
Peachtree Corners working on downtown central business district
By JUDY PUTNAM
Special for GwinnettForum
| permalink

PEACHTREE CORNERS, GA, April 22, 2014 -- The City of Peachtree Corners is about to embark on one of its most exciting phases in the young life of a city -- a comprehensive study to formulate a plan to guide the city in the development of a central business district and town center.

Through a Livable Centers Initiative (LCI) grant awarded in January, the city, together with its consultants, will embark on a study that focuses on creating a well-planned central business district as part of the effort to create a focal point and city hub.

Mayor Mike Mason says: "Creating a well-planned central business district is one of the steps in the creation of Peachtree Corners community identity. The study will focus on the area of Peachtree Parkway between Medlock Bridge and Holcomb Bridge roads and will be used as a roadmap for the development of the area."

The City Council announced at its April 15, 2014 meeting that the architecture and planning firm of Lord Aeck Sargent has been awarded the consulting contract to assist with the study. The design firm, which has six offices nationally including one in Atlanta, was recommended by the Downtown Development Authority. The DDA had made its recommendation after studying five firms that had responded to the city's Request for Proposals.

Matt Cherry, an associate with Lord Aeck Sargent, says: "We are tremendously grateful and excited to have been selected for this planning effort. This public visioning process is a key step towards creating a unique place that both celebrates Peachtree Corners new cityhood and embodies its already-strong sense of civic pride."

Through a series of community meetings, online surveys, mail and social media, residents and business owners and operators will have the chance to provide input into the study with the ultimate goal of developing a concept plan the city will use as a guide. The city expects to launch the study by June, 2014.

About the City of Peachtree Corners:
Gwinnett County's newest and largest city, Peachtree Corners was founded July 1, 2012 and is located along the riverbank of the Chattahoochee River in the southwest corner of the county, and extends easterly to Peachtree Industrial Boulevard, with some portions extending to Buford Highway, and goes to the DeKalb County line on the south. It touches Berkeley Lake on the north. The city is home to some 38,500 residents and over 2,300 businesses.

About Lord Aeck Sargent:
An architecture and design firm, Lord Aeck Sargent's services range from master planning and programming to design. The company's portfolio includes planning education and conference facilities and downtown and neighborhood plans.

ELLIOTT BRACK'S PERSPECTIVE
Hurrah for Senator Al Franken taking on the big cable TV bullies!
By ELLIOTT BRACK

Editor and publisher
GwinnettForum.com |
permalink

APRIL 22, 2015 -- We say pour it on, Al Franken.

The Minnesota Senator is concerned about big getting bigger.


Brack

We're not talking about human fatness, but corporate big boys who want to be much bigger boys.

The current cause of Senator Franken is Comcast, the television cable system, which is trying to become an even bigger operator by buying Time Warner cable.

Now anyone who has had dealings with the cable companies knows full well that these suppliers don't care a whit about customer service. Should you need to call them about some problem with your cable service, and they have to come to your home, they might say that they will be there.....at what time? Oh, some four hour span, such as between 8 a.m. and noon.

For those who have to be away from home, that means nothing less than you having to take half a day from your normal pursuit and wait and wait, and hope that the people the repairman sees just before you have simple problems. For the cable truck just might not make it during that anticipated time. What's it to them?

Another way the cable company shows it loves you is in their efforts to squeeze every penny they can out of you. Simply put, they often raise prices with little warning, not at the end of a contractual period, but whenever they want. You want their service? Pay what they want, or else.

As to what channels you see, you can get one of the lower priced packages that carries little of what is high-quality content. (Even the lowest priced package will give you a plethora of shopping channels, which is another way the cable systems seek to get into your pocketbook.)

But significant channels at low rates? These are only offered at the higher end of the pricing formulas.


Franken

The best way local governments could show their strength is to require that the cable companies offer a true "Cafeteria plan," allowing subscribers to choose which channels they want. We would rather pay more per channel for those we want, and be able to dump perhaps 200-300 channels that we don't have any use for, if we had a lower overall cost.

Consider another element of cable TV: a bad signal, or poor reception. Call the cable guys, and after waiting a period on hold, you hear some lame excuse. A weak signal in any one area, by some accounts, must have at least 25 complaints in that vicinity before they even consider repairing the real cause.

How long will Americans wait to see the Congress or the Federal Communications Commission, take on these cable bullies and give them the comeuppance they deserve?

While cable TV isn't a necessity, so many families use this service that it is something of a utility. These families are supposed to have some protective agency having some oversight of these firms. But no agency acts with significant authority.

It may take another Ida Tarbell of breaking-Standard Oil-fame, to move the government to realize that cable television is getting too big for its britches. They hunker over us now; how much hunkering can we take? For they sure will not do better on their own and without significant prodding from an authority with significant oversight.

Be patient. Perhaps Senator Franken can nudge the cable industry into providing us with better service, maybe even at a lower price. Yet cable TV firms do pay lobbyists, and we are afraid even a U.S. Senator will find going rough up against these cable TV bullies.

Hang in there, Senator Franken!

SPOTLIGHT
Gwinnett Medical Center

The public spiritedness of our sponsors allows us to bring GwinnettForum.com to you at no cost to readers. Gwinnett Medical Center is a nationally-recognized, not-for-profit healthcare network with acute-care hospitals in Lawrenceville and Duluth. Offering cardiovascular, orthopedic and neuroscience specialty care as well as a full continuum of wellness services, GMC's 4,500 associates and 800 affiliated physicians serve more than 400,000 patients annually. Through services like the Concussion Institute and Strickland Heart Center, GMC is continuing to meet evolving community needs.

  • To learn more about how GMC is transforming healthcare, visit gwinnettmedicalcenter.org or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

  • For a list of other sponsors of this forum, click here.

FEEDBACK
Worried about billboards, especially new digital billboards

Editor, the Forum:

For once I find myself in complete agreement with George C. Wilson of Stone Mountain. Great point on the proliferation of billboards. To call them ugly is simply redundant.

Another thing to consider is the new digital boards and the light they add to the road, especially in the early morning. I carpool from Sugarloaf Mills and my exit off of I-85 south is at Sugarloaf. Most of the time the flashing arena electronic billboard is ok but when the image goes from lower contrast to high, think white background! It can be blinding.

I can't imagine the hazard this is causing. I've been on the exit ramp, heading towards the light and seen it go from dusk to what appears full daylight when the sign changes to an ad with a white background. That's dangerous!

-- Tim Sullivan, Buford

Rant, rave and send us your opinion

Our policy: We encourage readers to submit feedback (or letters to the editor). Send your thoughts to the editor at elliott@brack.net. We will edit for length and clarity. Make sure to include your name and the city where you live. Submission of a comment grants permission for us to reprint. Please keep your comments to 300 words or less. However, we will consider longer articles (no more than 500 words) for featuring in Today's Issue as space allows.

UPCOMING
Gwinnett Tech's interim president is David H. Welden

New interim president of Gwinnett Tech is David H. Welden, named by the Technical College System of Georgia. This follows the May 1 retirement of GTC President Sharon Bartels. Welden is currently executive vice president for finance and administration at Gwinnett Tech


Welden

As a member of the college's senior leadership team, Welden has managed the operational areas of the college for nearly a decade, including accounting and budgeting, facilities, human resources, information technology, and the college's Early Education Center. Welden joined Gwinnett Tech in 2000 as faculty member.

Welden was appointed to Governor Deal's Higher Education Funding Study Commission in 2011 and also served on the board of directors for the Accreditation Council for Accountancy and Taxation. He is a graduate of the Technical College System of Georgia's Executive Leadership Academy and served as both president and vice president of the Vice Presidents of Administrative Services Council.

Within the community, Welden serves on the board of the Aurora Theatre, the Supervisory Committee for Peach State Federal Credit Union, and the Finance Committee of the Gwinnett Tech Foundation. He is a graduate of the Leadership Gwinnett Program.

Welden earned a Master of Business Administration and a Bachelor of Business Administration from Georgia State University, and is a CPA.

Now the state's second largest technical college, Gwinnett Tech serves more than 20,000 students annually in college credit, adult education and continuing education courses.

Chance for children to meet a scientist at GEHC in Buford

Does your child want to be a scientist when he or she grows up? The Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center (GEHC) invites guests to discover their inner scientist by participating in its annual Meet a Scientist event on Friday, April 25,from 5:30 p.m. until 9 p.m..

Scientists participating in the event represent a broad spectrum of professions including pharmacy, veterinary medicine, computer engineering, hydrology, global information systems and more.

Guests will enjoy looking at an animal's x-ray, testing water with an aquatic engineer, exploring the world of computers and capturing macro invertebrates! In addition, they will also enjoy learning about the physics behind the fun by experiencing the Amusement Park Science exhibit, which is currently on display at the GEHC.

  • The event is included with GEHC admission. For admission pricing and more information, visit www.gwinnettEHC.org.

NOTABLE
New Jackson EMC Foundation grants include $43,000 in area

The Jackson EMC Foundation Board of Directors awarded a total of $83,795 in grants during their March meeting, including $43,000 to organizations serving Gwinnett County residents. They include:

  • $15,000 to Project Adam, a non-profit focused on the prevention and treatment of alcohol and drug dependency, to help purchase a communications system for the agency's new facilities.


  • Jackson EMC Gwinnett District Manager Randy Dellinger (far right) presents a $10,000 Jackson EMC Foundation grant check to Place of Seven Springs representatives (from left) Rick Dowdin, Director Debra Dowdin, Dianne Ash, and Treasurer Jenni Branson-Edwards. The Snellville non-profit will use the grant to help provide Gwinnett residents in need with funds for emergency assistance such as housing, gas cards and prescription medicine.
    $10,000 to the Place of Seven Springs, a Snellville non-profit which provides food and emergency assistance to Gwinnett County residents in need.

  • $8,000 to The Potters House, an Atlanta Mission facility, to help feed, house, counsel and provide educational programs through an intensive residential program at this 570-acre working farm in Jefferson.

  • $7,500 to Project Safe, an Athens agency serving families in the counties Jackson EMC serves who are experiencing domestic violence, for a Transitional Housing Initiative support services to domestic violence survivors who need extra assistance to become emotionally and financially self-sufficient.

  • $2,500 to the Pantry at Hamilton Mill to purchase food.

RECOMMENDED
Free Air
By Sinclair Lewis

In early auto driving days, a trip to the West was a long adventure. As the automobile became more available to the overall public, it gave ordinary citizens an opportunity to travel widely, though roads were often little more than dirt tracks and hotels along the way were few. Free Air follows the journey of a young New York socialite, Claire Boltwood, and her stressed out father across the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains, finally reaching Seattle. Along the way, she finds a friend in Milt Daggett, a small town garage owner, who is quickly captivated with Claire, and vows to follow her to Seattle and win her for his own. For a taste of Sinclair Lewis before he became the well known writer of Main Street, this novel is an easy, root-for-the-good-guy, fun read.

-- Karen Garner, Buford

  • An invitation: What Web sites, books or restaurants have you enjoyed? Send us your best recent visit to a restaurant or most recent book you have read along with a short paragraph as to why you liked it, plus what book you plan to read next. --eeb

GEORGIA ENCYCLOPEDIA
Secessionists carry Georgia by slim total of only 2,520 votes

(Continued from previous edition)

The exact results of the January 2, 1861 [secession] election, in terms of total votes cast for each side statewide, will probably never be known: there were voting irregularities, and some of the candidates held ambiguous positions. Although the unofficial count released-not until April-by Governor Joseph E. Brown showed a lopsided victory for the immediate secessionists, the best evidence indicates that they won, at best, a tiny majority of the ballots cast, 44,152 to 41,632.

Outside of the mountain counties (strongly cooperationist) and the coastal counties (overwhelmingly for immediate secession), voting patterns were mixed. Black Belt counties that had supported the Whig Party in the 1830s and 1840s and had voted against John C. Breckinridge, the southern Democratic candidate in the 1860 presidential election, tended toward cooperationism, while Democratic counties in the Black Belt that had supported Breckinridge generally favored immediate secession. Although only about 40 percent of white families in Georgia held slaves (a considerably higher percentage than in the South as a whole), no clear-cut divisions along slaveholder/nonslaveholder lines appeared at the polls.

The Georgia state convention opened on January 16, 1861. It was an august assemblage, including Alexander Stephens, Robert Toombs, Eugenius A. Nisbet, Herschel Johnson, and Benjamin Hill; former governor George W. Crawford presided. Despite the closeness of the election, immediate secessionists had a controlling majority. The crucial vote occurred on January 18, when Nisbet offered resolutions for immediate secession and Johnson countered with a proposal for a convention of the southern states. Johnson's plan embodied the cooperationist formula of seeking redress for grievances in the Union, while reserving secession as the ultimate remedy.

Georgia's conditions for remaining in the Union, as outlined by Johnson, included constitutional amendments opening all territories to slavery and providing for the unrestricted admission of new slave states, along with the repeal of personal liberty laws (laws that impaired the ability of slave owners to recover fugitive slaves) in the northern states. After debate, the convention passed Nisbet's resolutions by a 166-130 vote. The next day, January 19, 1861, the delegates voted 208-89 to adopt an ordinance of secession. On January 21 the ordinance of secession was publicly signed in a lengthy ceremony.

Georgians participated actively in the subsequent congress in Montgomery, Alabama, which wrote a provisional constitution for the Confederate States of America. Howell Cobb presided over the Montgomery congress, which also formed a provisional Confederate government, naming Jefferson Davis of Mississippi as president and Georgia's Alexander Stephens as vice president.

MYSTERY PHOTO
Geese-work


CLUE: Looks like this artistic bunch of geese are flying somewhere, but just where is this work of art? If you think you know, send your answer to this Mystery Photo to elliott@brack.net, along with your hometown.

Those newspapers shows through a sidewalk window was taken at the Newseum on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., Channing Haskell of Peachtree Corners was the first to tell us. "My brother and I visited there two years ago," he says.

Also spotting the mystery photo was Jeannie Haynes of Suwanee, who said that museum is her favorite in D.C., and Lynne DeWilde of Suwanee, who wrote: "As one of the last holdouts for a printed newspaper, I loved today's Mystery Photo! My best guess is that today's photo is taken at the Newseum in Washington, D.C."


LAGNIAPPE
Mega playground


On Saturday, April 26 at 10 a.m. the City of Duluth Parks and Recreation Department will mark the opening of the new mega playground at Bunten Road Park. The new playground was designed by Kidz Zone, built by Champion Recreation and funded by SPLOST. The city will recognize the Duluth Rotary Club prior to the 10 a.m. ribbon cutting. The Duluth Rotary instilled the "Spirit of Play" in 1999 when they funded and built playgrounds in two of the City parks, Church Street Park and Bunten Road Park.


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2014, Gwinnett Forum.com. Gwinnett Forum is an online community commentary for exploring pragmatic and sensible social, political and economic approaches to improve life in Gwinnett County, Ga. USA.

TODAY'S QUOTE

Could Thoreau Have Foreseen Computers and Our Use of Them?

"Men have become the tools of their tools."

-- Naturalist Henry David Thoreau (1817 - 1862)

SEARCH GWINNETT FORUM

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GWINNETT CALENDAR

(NEW) Vegetable Garden Tips from a Master Gardener, Wednesday, April 23, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Five Forks Branch of the Gwinnett County Public Library, 2780 Five Forks Road, Lawrenceville. Co-hosting the workshop with the library is the Cooperative Extension Service.

AGCO Corporation Annual Meeting, Thursday, April 24, at 9 a.m. at the company's headquarters, 4205 River Green Parkway, Duluth. The firm is an international producer of agricultural equipment, and is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

Annual Gala of Norcross High School Foundation, Friday, April 25 at 7 p.m. at The Fields Club in Peachtree Corners. This ninth annual Gala celebrates the success of the school and honors new member of the Hall of Fame.

Spring Fundraiser and Winetasting at Niko's Wine Corner, Friday, April 25, at 6:30 p.m. benefiting the Snellville Arts Commission. Tickets are $15 for a couple, or $10 for singles. The commission fosters the development of and participation in the arts of the community.

(NEW) Spring Work Day at Sustainable Norcross Community Garden, Saturday, April 26 from 9 a.m. until noon. The garden is located at 10 College Street, behind the Norcross Cultural Arts and Community Center. For more information, please contact us by email.

Recycling in Lilburn, in the overflow parking lot (76 Main Street), Saturday, April 26, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Items accepted include electronics recycling, bulk trash (no construction materials), cell phones, clean towels, washcloths, socks and t-shirts for animal shelter, tires, and scrap metal, plus there will be secured paper shredding. All is free of charge, with exception of paint recycling.

Student Pottery Creations on sale at Pickneyville Park Recreation Center, 4650 Peachtree Industrial Boulevard, Norcross, Saturday, April 26, 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. See handmade gifts by local artists. For more information, call 678 277 0920.

(NEW) Rain Barrel Workshop, Saturday, April 26 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. at the Norcross Community Garden at 10 College Street, behind the Norcross Cultural Arts and Community Center. Sign up today by email. Cost is $60 per rain barrel for materials.

Stone Mountain Barbership Chorus in concert, Saturday, April 26 at 3 p.m. at Mountain Park United Methodist Church, 1405 Rockbridge Road. Featured will be A Mighty Wind, the 2013 International Bronze Medalist Quartet. Tickets are $15 at the door, or $12 in advanced sale. Details: Visit online or call 770-978-8053.

(NEW) Understand Problems concerning the widespread use of Methamphetamine, Tuesday, April 29 at 9:30 a.m. at the 1818 Club, 6500 Sugarloaf Parkway, Duluth. Speaking will be Jim Langford, executive director of the Georgia Meth Project. Sponsored by the Community Foundation of Northeast Georgia. Call (770)-813-3380 for admission, as there is limited seating.

MORE EEB PERSPECTIVE

4/18: Two new restaurants
4/15: Two missionaries
4/11: Five great local schools
4/8: Endorsements coming soon
4/4: A look at state politics
4/1: Forum's 14th year starts

3/28: Better recruiting needed
3/25: Why meet so much?
3/21: Be careful of wishes
3/18: GGC's Buildings A - D
3/14: What if legislature met less?
3/11: When Brits fired on French Navy
3/7: Sutts to get Aurora award
3/4: Tests not best predictor

FOCUS ARCHIVES

4/18: Dahlgren: Internet radio
4/15: Stilo: Aurora's 19th season
4/11: Jones: Jackson EMC's 75th
4/8: Nichols: Hudgens Prize winner
4/4: Fenton: Kiss-A-Pig coming
4/1: Eberle: The White Castle

3/28: Wilkerson: Valor Awards
3/25: Callina: Scholarship scams
3/21: Mays: Water for Ghana
3/18: Fitch: Linen Closet collaboration
3/14: James: United Way to honor 4
3/11: Erdy: Simpsonwood property
3/7: Wiggins: Cleaning up Gwinnett
3/4: Fenton: Annandale at top


CONTINUING OBJECTIVES FOR GWINNETT

Gwinnett Forum publisher Elliott Brack suggests that Gwinnett County needs a long-range list of continuing objectives for improving the county. Read more.

  • Development of a two-party system for county offices
  • Moving statewide non-partisan judge election runoffs to the General Election
  • Light rail for Gwinnett from Doraville MARTA station to Gwinnett Arena
  • Extension of Gwinnett Place CID area to include Arena and Discovery Mills Mall
  • Banning of tobacco in all Gwinnett parks
  • Making Briscoe Field a commercial airport for jet-age travel
  • More diverse candidates for political offices and appointment to local boards
  • Physical move of former St. Gerard's Catholic Church in Buffalo, N.Y., to Norcross
  • Creative efforts to support the arts in Gwinnett
  • Advancement and expansion of city and Gwinnett historical societies
  • Stronger regulation of late-night establishments with alcoholic licenses
  • Requiring the legislature to meet once every two years.
  • Development of more community gardens.

CONTACT US TODAY

2001-2014, Gwinnett Forum.com is Gwinnett County's online community forum for commentary that explores pragmatic and sensible social, political and economic approaches to improve life in Gwinnett County, Ga. USA.

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