NOW RISING IN SUWANEE is Solis Town Center at Suwanee, a mixed-use facility with 240 multi-family apartments, plus lower level retail space. The entire center consists of 275,000 square feet. Opening will be in February 2019. The Solis company is based in Charlotte, N.C., and opened in 2013, an has had an Atlanta office since that time. The Atlanta office is headed by Ron Terwilliger, who was with Trammel Crow for 35 years. The company's Atlanta office is in Piedmont Center. In Atlanta it has new apartment centers now under construction in Decatur and Kennesaw, and has already opened apartments buildings in Buckhead and Chamblee. Its other major projects are in Nashville, Charlotte and Raleigh, N.C.

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Issue 16.79 | Jan. 23, 2018

TODAY'S FOCUS: Recent Arctic Blasts Mean That Your January Fuel Bills Could Double

EEB'S PERSPECTIVE:We Are Probably Already Well at War....on the Cyperwar Front

ANOTHER VIEW: Climate Change Denial Is Most Common Example of "Know Nothings"

SPOTLIGHT: Howard Brothers

FEEDBACK: The Cultural Divide Is My Wall, But How To Tear It Down?

UPCOMING: January 26 at Environmental Center Features Bicentennial Program

NOTABLE: Animal Shelter To Get Full-Time Veterinary Care Services

RECOMMENDED: Movie Review: Dekalog by Krzysztof Kieslowski

GEORGIA TIDBIT: Georgian Was First Person to Lead the United States Justice Department

MYSTERY PHOTO: Simple Statue Head Is This Edition's Mystery Photo

LAGNIAPPE: Here's a Different Perspective on Two Famous Landmarks

CALENDAR: Developmental Disabilities Resource Fair Coming Soon

 

TODAY'S FOCUS
Recent Arctic blasts mean that your January fuel bills could double

By Savannah Chandler, Monroe, Ga. | Frigid air from waves of Arctic cold fronts will cause consumers to take notice when they receive January energy bills.


Chandler

The average high temperature for Walton EMC customers for the first 18 days of the month was only 45 degrees, about 10 degrees cooler than normal. The lowest temperature during the same period was 14 degrees, with 12 of 18 mornings being below 26 degrees. The average low was 31.

That means it took a lot of heat to stay warm. The first 18 days of January required more than twice as much heating as the same time period in 2017.

That also means heating systems ran twice as much, sometimes for hours on end, causing consumers' energy bills to increase significantly. That's true no matter what fuel source - electricity, natural gas or LP gas - the heating system uses.

Greg Brooks, Walton EMC spokesperson, says: "Consumers should not be surprised when their energy bill covering January is up significantly. Heating costs may be double of what they were last year."

For electricity, heating can be as much as 60 percent of the total bill. For natural and LP gas, that figure could rise to as much as 80 to 100 percent.

Brooks offers these tips to take a bite out of the Arctic chill:

  • Make sure your home is properly insulated and weather stripped. The most cost-effective place to add more insulation is the attic.

  • Caulking gaps in the outside of your home is also an economical energy fix.

  • Open blinds and drapes facing south during the day to take advantage of solar heating.

  • Keep exterior doors closed as much as possible.

  • Wear heavier clothing indoors, like a jogging suit or thermal underwear and socks. That allows you to keep the thermostat at a lower temperature. Every degree lower can save three to five percent in heating costs.

  • Help your heating system run more efficiently. Change filters regularly and don't block vents with furniture or rugs.

  • If you are a Walton EMC or Gas customer, sign up for Walton EMC's and Walton Gas's levelized billing program. This program shifts some of the cost of higher months to lower months, making your bill a more even amount year-round.

  • Get detailed information on daily energy use by using the resources at mywaltonemc.com.

Walton EMC is a customer-owned electric cooperative serving 127,000 accounts in 10 Northeast Georgia counties between Atlanta and Athens. Walton Gas is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Walton EMC serving accounts statewide.

ELLIOTT BRACK'S PERSPECTIVE
We are probably already well at war … on the Cyberwar front

By Elliott Brack, editor and publisher | While at one time, nations "declared" war on one another, today that determination of when a nation is at war is probably by the wayside. They may be "at war" all the time these days......against every other country, though in a new way.

What mostly in the past has been the stockpiling of men, battleships, tanks, trucks, weapons and ammunition, today continues. Today they compete on the economic development front. They make sure that their youngsters have the best education so that they may compete around the world. Of course, countries continue to compete for sales of their products against those of other countries.

And now for years, though the average person may not have recognized it, countries compete on the intelligence front, seeking to know secrets going on in other countries, both militarily and commercially. Since the end of World War II in particular, the exploits of the Central Intelligence Agency in foreign countries has often led to spectacular revelations of espionage in all sorts of form.

Up until now, most American citizens probably realized this was happening, but had no indication of the depth and scope of these highly-classified activities.

What has happened in the last two years has blown the cover on these activities.

Most of us probably never thought that Russia would seek to involve itself in the American election system. Most of us also probably never thought that the American intelligence agencies would seek to influence an election in say, Venezuela, or Poland, or other countries of the world. While US citizens may not always realize the extent of such activities these days, perhaps many more of us recognize that it's probable.

In effect, countries are not declaring official war on one another these days. But they are surely conducting secret surveillance on most other countries, even perhaps on countries that they may be "friends" of theirs.

It's the new cyberwar.

Countries don't always have guns pointed at one another. But they certainly have ears (listening posts) all around the world, seeking to know as soon as they can of certain activities going on in other governments, and even in business. And in reality, some of this "listening" may be going on not in far-flung places around the world, but some quiet individual American citizen may have a contract and do this listening at his own home or office. It reminds me of the books, Brave New World and 1984.

The United States' form of cyberwar cannot be spotted in a Congressional budget. While the funding for battleships and in general the military is easily determined, except for classified activities, cyberwar activities are nowhere openly discussed or budgeted for most Americans to see. Perhaps only a few Congressional and governmental officials may know the extent of the funding, something the Average Joe is not allowed to see.

We certainly strongly suspect that our cyberwar weapons are already active, as are those of other countries. As a country, we may someday invest more in hacking into the computer systems of other countries than we do in pure firepower.

Why train, arm, transport and send into action people to conquer another country when a nation can do it all from home? These "front line troops" never see the enemy. We suspect it's happening all around us. Our own Fort Gordon, Ga. cyberwar center is probably already deeply involved in this modern warfare right here in our state.

We live in different times, much different times. And yes, we are in a different sort of war. We can only hope that it is for the best.

ANOTHER VIEW
Climate change denial is most common example of "Know Nothings"

By Jack Bernard, contributing columnist | The term "fake news" has been thrown around much too much since President Trump started running for office in 2016. Before that, it was clear what the term meant: factually inaccurate news. Now, as defined by our president and his minions on the right, it has suddenly come to mean any reporting which stands in the way of the president's populist agenda.

Fed by the White House, public confidence in the traditional press (demeaned by the right as the "mainstream press") is at an all-time low. Instead, many of us get our news from subjective social media, going only to biased sources which fit our view of the world. Objective truth has been replaced by "alternate facts."

A similar process is going on in the field of science, which has also taken quite a beating in the last year. There is no longer universal acceptance of the scientific method and true, proven research. In its place, the extreme right has substituted opinion based on their own intuition ("It's snowing, therefore there is no global warming"). We have regressed to the medieval time when the Inquisition told Galileo that he must renounce science and declare that the world is flat.

If politicians do not like the results of climate change studies, they simply denounce the research as "fake science." Their brainwashed minions believe them without question. Unless they hear it from Hannity on Fox, they can't believe it.

Climate change denial is the most common example of this modern-day application of "know nothing" politics as applied to science. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), originally set up by that left wing radical Richard Nixon and expanded by every GOP President including that lefty socialist Reagan, has been decimated.

Scientists are being pushed out by Scott Pruitt, the radical climate change denying administrator appointed by Trump and confirmed by a GOP Congress that should have known better. At a Congressional hearing in December, Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY) stated that "The EPA has all the signs of an agency captured by industry" …little wonder given Pruitt's record.

Prior to his appointment, Pruitt was the attorney general of Oklahoma, opposing virtually all environmental regulation, stating that he was a "leading advocate against the EPA's activist agenda" and suing the agency 14 times. Yet, this is the man who is charged with heading the very agency that regulates our air and water.

SPOTLIGHT
Howard Brothers

Today's sponsor is Howard Brothers, which has retail stores in Alpharetta, Doraville, Duluth, Oakwood and Athens. John and Doug Howard are the "brothers" in Howard Brothers. This family-owned business was started by their dad, and continues to specialize in hardware, outdoor power equipment and parts and service. Howard Brothers are authorized dealers of STIHL, Exmark, Honda, Echo outdoor power equipment and Benjamin Moore paint. Howard Brothers is also an authorized Big Green Egg, Traeger Grill and YETI Cooler dealer.

FEEDBACK
The cultural divide is my wall, but how to tear it down?

Editor, the Forum:

Thanks for the thoughtful article about how we have forgotten the Statue of Liberty's message.

Rigorous scientific thinking claims it is hard-to-impossible to prove something based on experiments. It is easier and possible to disprove something. If we cannot disprove that Trump is a racist, it gives me pause.

I recall a philosophy class where the professor, a leftist by any measure, said "I am a racist because I was born and raised in a racist society." And so do I have some racist residue that cannot be completely removed.

I had black friends in the Peace Corps, and Bahamian friends at church in Stone Mountain. But it seems impossible to have black friends that were born and raised in the USA. The cultural divide serves as my wall, and I don't know how to tear it down.

Suggestions are welcome.

-- Don Lundy, Tuscon, Ariz. (formerly a Georgian)

Throws out own views about the DACA program and causes

Editor, the Forum:

DACA FACTS (to share with your liberal friends):

1) DACA was unconstitutional. That's a simple fact.

2) DACA was an executive order, not a law.

3) Trump did NOT end DACA, Barack Obama did! Obama placed a sunset date on his executive order, so if you're upset about someone ending it, be upset at Obama.

4) Trump did a BRILLIANT THING: Trump is FORCING Congress (who is NOT working together, no one can deny that!) to actually WORK TOGETHER to come up with a solution to the immigration problem that BOTH SIDES claim is a problem. Trump put the ball in their court, let THEM be the ones who will sink or swim on this!

Now, of course, watch the MEDIA place blame for this on Trump! Immigration was (supposedly) a mess before Trump; you cannot blame him for this.

-- Steve Rausch, Peachtree Corners

Send us your thoughts: We encourage you to send us your letters and thoughts on issues raised in GwinnettForum. Please limit comments to 300 words. We reserve the right to edit for clarity and length. Send feedback and letters to: elliott@brack.net

UPCOMING
January 26 at Environmental Center features bicentennial program

Join the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center (GEHC) and help kick off Gwinnett County's Bicentennial celebration with the special Night @ the Museum event on January 26 from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. Designed for families and those young-at-heart, participants discover some of Gwinnett's historical and natural treasures though interactive games, crafts and activities under the cover of darkness.

Travel back in time to meet historical figures, such as Gwinnett's namesake, Button Gwinnett, and Mayor Alice Strickland of Duluth, Georgia's first female mayor, as well as everyday people who helped create the great community that we know today. Relive the earliest days of Gwinnett with a guided trail hike and traditional Native American stories around the campfire. Experience the GEHC's exhibits as they come to life and explore the only sensorium in the Southeast. Take a moonlit tram ride through the woodlands and test your nocturnal powers as you play glow-in-the-dark games.

GEHC Director of Programming Jason West says: "The Night @ the Museum event aims to inspire visitors to discover the hidden gems and treasures of Gwinnett as we kick off the County's 200th birthday. During the cold winter evenings, folks are always looking for fun family activities. The GEHC has so much to offer and this event provides guests the rare opportunity to experience it in a unique format."

Program fees for Night @ the Museum are $8 per person for Gwinnett residents and $10 per person for non-residents. Children age 2 and under are free. Preregistration is strongly encouraged and can be done online at www.gwinnettEHC.com. Guests may also pay at the door on the night of the event.

21st North Atlanta Home Show coming in February to Duluth

Egypt Sherrod

More than 200 home remodeling experts will gather together at the Infinite Energy Center on February 9-11 for the 21st Annual North Atlanta Home Show and Outdoor Living Expo. New this year, the popular annual home remodeling showcase has expanded to include an outdoor living expo featuring landscape design, outdoor living, fire pits, outdoor lighting and much more.

It will be the largest home improvement event ever held at the Infinite Energy Center. The three-day show at 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway in Duluth will include expert speakers, buyer discounts and product demonstrations. Realtor Egypt Sherrod, host of HGTV's "Flipping Virgins", "Property Virgins" and "Urban Oasis", will speak at 1 and 3 p.m. on Saturday, February 10 on "Real Estate Investing and Smart Upgrades for your Home Improvement."

A team of experts will be on hand to discuss services and products ranging from grass to fire pits, sunrooms to hardscapes, patios, walkways and much more. Live radio shows, including Belinda Skelton's "Atlanta Living", will broadcast from the garden. The Georgia SPCA will also have adoptable animals at the North Atlanta Home Show and merchandise for sale to benefit the SPCA Adoption Center.

Friday, Feb. 9 is "Trade Day" sponsored by PMCPros.com. On Friday only, anyone who works in the home industry will receive free admission to the Show, simply by showing his or her business card at the show's main entrance.

The North Atlanta Home Show & All New Outdoor Living Expo will be open from 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 9, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 10 and 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 11. General admission tickets are $8, and are available at the Show's onsite ticket box office or online at www.AtlantaHomeShow.com. Children age 12 and under and adults age 65 and older (with I.D.) are admitted free. Onsite parking is free. http://www.infiniteenergycenter.com/

NOTABLE
Animal shelter to get full-time veterinary care services

Gwinnett's Animal Shelter will add full-time, on-site veterinary care under a new $360,000 contract approved by the county commissioners.

Planned PEThood of Georgia Inc. will provide a full-time veterinarian and veterinary technicians five or six days a week, depending on the season.

They will handle in-house evaluations and treatments including vaccinations and surgery for fractures, prolapses, cuts and wounds, and sterilization. Services will also include routine wellness care such as testing and treating heartworm and Feline HIV. Stray and unclaimed animals will be vetted, sterilized, and ready for adoption more quickly unless follow-up treatment is necessary.

Board of Commissioners Chairman Charlotte Nash said the goal is to help dogs and cats find a forever home sooner. "This contract increases the shelter's efficiency by promptly evaluating, testing and treating contagious or infectious diseases such as parvovirus, feline distemper, mange, ringworm and flu," said Nash.

The animal shelter is in Lawrenceville at 884 Winder Highway. It is open for adoptions from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Photos of some animals available for adoption are posted online at www.gwinnettanimalcontrol.com.

GC&B's "Plant It Forward" program producing blooming results

Gwinnett's Clean and Beautiful "Plant It Forward" campaign is in bloom throughout the county. It is designed to engage local volunteers to take action to benefit their community with projects that focus on critical needs. In August 2017, Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful was delighted to announce that it had received a $20,000 Keep America Beautiful/Lowe's Community Partners Grant. It represents a collaborative effort between Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful, Gwinnett County Public Schools, Monarchs Across Georgia, and the Captain Planet Foundation. The grant has funded the creation of edible and pollinator "learning centers."

Schelly Marlatt, executive director for Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful, says: "Above and beyond the fact that these gardens are all growing and producing phenomenal results, Plant It Forward represents an opportunity for us to foster a new generation of environmental stewards right here in Gwinnett County." These students are learning the value of conservation and sustainability, as well as the fact that growing your own food and protecting our pollinators can be both rewarding and fun!

"We love that Plant It Forward has touched so many lives - from the teachers and volunteers who helped build the gardens, to the students who helped plant and maintain the gardens, to the pollinators and families who get to benefit from the gardens. It's truly amazing what we can do when we all work together."

Participating schools in the Plant It Forward project include: Grayson and Meadowcreek High, Couch and Radloff Middle, Pharr, Grayson, Trip, Starling, Ferguson, Nesbit and Rockbridge Elementary Schools. The results to date represent over 5,100 volunteers putting in more than 10,500 volunteer hours to build, plant, maintain and harvest the gardens.

Since the project launch in September 2017, more than 1,200 pollinators - including bees, butterflies, moths, beetles, and wasps - have been recorded in the gardens at all 11 campuses, and over 86 pounds of edible produce have been collected. The edible gardens consisted of lettuce, radishes, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, kale, rainbow chard, cabbage and broccoli. All of the produce was harvested, weighed and tasted by the students. Any excess produce was donated to the local food co-op. To learn more about Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful, visit www.GwinnettCB.org.

RECOMMENDED
Dekalog by Krzysztof Kieslowski

Movie review by Karen Harris, Stone Mountain | This movie, by Polish filmmaker Krzysztof Kieslowski, is a complex but watchable modern-day interpretation of the Ten Commandments. The total production is ten hours long and features a storyline built around a different set of characters that dramatize each commandment. Though each of the stories is separate, he uses the same setting, a sprawling apartment complex in Warsaw, that creates the mood of stifled emotion ready to surface given the appropriate catalyst. Also featured is a young unnamed man who appears in most episodes as an angelic presence that seems to understand the angst of the main characters and their troubled journey to resolution. The underlying question Kieslowski subtly asks the viewer is: 'Is it possible to adhere to the Ten Commandments in the complicated world of today?' In Polish with English subtitles, this is a must see film for those who enjoy pondering the larger questions about life.

An invitation: What books, restaurants, movies or web sites have you enjoyed recently? Send us your recent selection, along with a short paragraph (150 words) as to why you liked this, plus what you plan to visit or read next. --eeb

GEORGIA ENCYCLOPEDIA
Georgian was first person to lead the U.S. Justice Department

Amos Tappan Akerman was a Georgia lawyer who rose to prominence as U.S. attorney general during Reconstruction.


Ackerman

He was born in Portsmouth, N.H., on February 23, 1821. After graduating Phi Beta Kappa from Dartmouth College in Hanover, New N.H. in 1842, he went south to teach, first in North Carolina, then in Richmond County, Ga. In 1846 Akerman accepted a position as tutor in the Savannah home of John Macpherson Berrien, U.S. senator and former attorney general. As he taught the Berrien children, Akerman studied law in the senator's library, and he was admitted to the Georgia bar in 1850. He practiced first in Clarkesville, then in Elberton. In 1864 he married Martha Rebecca Galloway, with whom he had eight children, one of whom died.

During the Civil War (1861-65) Akerman supported the Confederacy and enlisted in a home-guard unit. He joined the Republican Party after the war (he had not been politically active before) and served on the state convention that drew up the Constitution of 1868, with its guarantees of equal political rights for African Americans. That autumn, over Akerman's protests, the white majority in the state legislature expelled 28 duly elected black members.

President Ulysses Grant appointed Akerman federal district attorney for Georgia in 1869 and in June 1870 named him U.S. attorney general. The appointment was a surprise to everyone, including Akerman. He took office as head of the newly formed Justice Department, which had been created to handle all of the federal government's litigation (previously, each department hired its own lawyers on a case-by-case basis), and he began the department's first investigative unit, which later became the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

One of the biggest issues Akerman faced was that of federal land subsidies to railroad companies constructing lines in the West. Akerman's ruling that the railroads' commitments had to be fulfilled before the land could be granted earned him the enmity of the railroad "robber barons."

The problem that most consumed Akerman, however, was the Ku Klux Klan's efforts to deny African Americans their newly gained rights. Akerman prized the stability of the law above almost everything else, and he resented the fact that some southerners so easily disobeyed the U.S. Constitution, which by then, through the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments, recognized that blacks and whites had the same civil and political rights.

As attorney general Akerman strenuously investigated and prosecuted Klan activities, and under his leadership the Klan was effectively ended. According to the historian William McFeely, "Perhaps no attorney general since... has been more vigorous in the prosecution of cases designed to protect the lives and rights of black Americans."

Not everyone in the Grant administration shared Akerman's anti-Klan zeal, however, and some, such as Secretary of State Hamilton Fish, were actually put off by it. That, in addition to the criticism of powerful railroad interests, led Grant to ask for Akerman's resignation in December 1871. Earlier that year Akerman had moved his family from Elberton, where whites opposed his active support of black suffrage, to the milder racial climate of Cartersville, where he resumed practicing law.

Akerman died after a sudden attack of rheumatic fever on December 21, 1880, and is buried at Oak Hill Cemetery in Cartersville.

MYSTERY PHOTO
Simple statue head is this edition's Mystery Photo

It's a simple statue and bears some historical background as to where it is located. See if you can figure this Mystery Photo out, and send your idea to elliott@brack.net, and be sure to include your hometown.

LAGNIAPPE
Here's a different perspective of two famous landmarks


This scene of the Sydney, Australia Opera House and Harbor Bridge is taken from a distinctly different view, though it's no doubt about the focus of the photo. It's another of Roving Photographer Frank Sharp's views of the world, taken while on a tour to Australia and New Zealand. Look for more scenes from his trip in future issues, as Frank reports that he took more than 2,000 photographs on that tour. The bridge carries rail, vehicular, bicycle, and pedestrian traffic between the Sydney central business district and the North Shore.

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2018, 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 THOUGHT
Here's one way we should act all of the time

"Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does."

--- American Philosopher, Psychologist and Physician William James (1842-1910), via Cindy Evans, Duluth

ON THE CALENDAR

Developmental Disabilities Resource Fair: On January 30, learn about services for those with developmental disabilities in advance of summer. Meet vendors who provide specialized services such as camps, music therapy, equine therapy, and adaptive aquatics. The All About Developmental Disabilities Family Support staff will be present to discuss various options available to help support families in accessing the supports and services they need. Join Gwinnett County Public Library, in partnership with AADD, for this event on Tuesday, January 30 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Lilburn Branch, 4817 Church Street, Lilburn. This resource fair is free and open to the public. For more information, please visit www.gwinnettpl.org or call 770-978-5154.

Bogan Kids' Club will mark National Polar Bear Day with an evening of swimming, games, crafts and fun on Friday, February 2 from 6 to 9:30 p.m. Bring swimsuit, towel and change of clothes. Dinner and snack will be provided. Children ages 6 to 12 is $7 per person for Gwinnett residents, $14 per person for non-Gwinnett residents. Bogan Aquatic Center is located at 2723 North Bogan Road. Register at www.gwinnettparks.com using activity code BOP15900 or call 678-277-0853.

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
  • More diverse candidates for political offices and appointment to local boards
  • 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.

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2001-2018, 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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