BREAKING NEWS: Half of bridge at Jones Bridge Park falls into river

In an unknown way, what was once a half a bridge at Jones Bridge Park in Peachtree Corners has unexpectedly collapsed into the river. This photograph by a local resident who was out walking came in late Thursday. That's all known at this time.

The popular story of a half a bridge is part of Gwinnett's folklore, in that in during World War II, in 1945, unknown workmen disassembled half of the unused bridge before authorities realized it. The bridge had been closed during the Depression because it was unsafe after the floorboards rotted out. , The road at both end was bulldozed so that no auto traffic could pass. Later it was determined that the scrap metal was sold in Charleston, S.C., though no one was ever identified as selling it.

MORE: Jan. 23 issue | Contact us |

Issue 16.80 | Jan. 26, 2018

EDITOR'S NOTE: We're still having technical difficulties with our usual method of publishing and delivery. We're continuing to work on the problem and appreciate your patience.

TODAY'S FOCUS: Gwinnett Medical Center Offers Concussion Testing on Saturday

EEB PERSPECTIVE: New City Hall in Peachtree Corners Is Beautiful and Fiscally Sound

ANOTHER VIEW: Do Not Forget Who You Are and Where You Come From

SPOTLIGHT: Aurora Theatre

FEEDBACK: Two Different Writers Take Issue with Recent Forum Letter Writer

McLEMORE'S WORLD: Love Your Neighbor

UPCOMING: County Seeking Community Input for 2040 Unified Plan

NOTABLE: GEHC To Offer Free Camp-A-Palooza On Sunday, January 28

RECOMMENDED: Grant by Ron Chernow

GEORGIA TIDBIT: Attorney W.T. Wofford Becomes Brigadier General for Confederates

TODAY'S QUOTE: Prolific Writer Explains How It Came About

MYSTERY PHOTO: Wrap-Around Porch Is Key Element in This Mystery Photo Building

LAGNIAPPE: Massive buildings are under construction


Gwinnett Medical Center offers concussion testing on Saturday

By Kelsey Weiss, Lawrenceville, Ga. | On Saturday, January 27, Gwinnett Medical Center's Concussion Institute will host its fourth annual Concussion Baseline Testing Day. From 9 a.m. to 4p.m., GMC welcomes interested participants to visit one of the 19 locations offering testing to receive their concussion baseline profile at no cost.

GMC will also offer the ImPACT Pediatric test at two locations (see list below). These exams provide very important baseline information about cognitive function to guide the most effective treatment options in the event a tested individual later suffers a head injury.

The recently unveiled Sports Medicine and Concussion Care-A-Van, a first-of-its-kind in Georgia, will be onsite at two area locations. The Care-A-Van is a sports medicine and concussion testing and treatment unit, and a mobile classroom for schools, community groups and other organizations interested in learning about injury care and prevention. The locations will be Good Samaritan Health Center of Gwinnett in Norcross from 9 a.m. to noon and at Graystone Church's Main Campus in Loganville from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Determining a baseline of brain functions on a normal day helps doctors better diagnose and treat individuals who suffer impacts to the head that may cause concussion. It's a free, simple, computer-based test that requires about 30 minutes to complete. Informational sessions will be offered so that people may ask questions and learn more about concussion signs and symptoms and what to do if an injury occurs.

For more information or to register, visit for times and availabilities at a testing site convenient to your home or place of work. Registration is required and space is limited. Testers age five and up may register online. The first 500 individuals to complete baseline testing will receive a gift courtesy of Gwinnett Medical Center and the Concussion Institute.

Testing locations include:

  • Brookwood High School
  • Buford Academy
  • Buford Middle School
  • Hebron Christian Academy
  • Marist School
  • Norcross High School
  • North Gwinnett High School
  • Sugar Hill Christian Academy
  • Forsyth County Family YMCA
  • Robert D. Fowler Family YMCA
  • J.M. Tull Gwinnett Family YMCA
  • Centreville Library (Pediatric Testing Site)
  • Collins Hill Library (Pediatric Testing Site)
  • Hamilton Mill Library (Pediatric Testing Site)
  • Lilburn Library (Pediatric Testing Site)
  • Peachtree Corners Library (Pediatric Testing Site)
  • The Concussion Institute at Gwinnett Medical Center (Pediatric Testing Site)

The ImPACT Pediatric test offers concussion data for patients ages 5-11. It provides valuable insight into cognitive changes if an injury is sustained and helps establish a treatment plan for younger patient.

The ImPACT Pediatric test offers concussion data for patients ages 5-11. It provides valuable insight into cognitive changes if an injury is sustained and helps establish a treatment plan for younger patients.

New city hall in Peachtree Corners is beautiful and fiscally sound

Auditorium in new Peachtree Corners City Hall.

By Elliott Brack, editor and publisher | The new Peachtree Corners City Hall is a beautifully impressive building, we found out this week as we toured its 30,000 square foot space. It's located in a two-story building on Technology Parkway, and has a second floor which will shortly be rented out to a technical firm. This additional 30,000 square feet space can, of course, be eventually used by the city if ever needed.

Overall, the city has built out its new facilities with modern décor in a dramatic fashion, with an attractive flair. The gray and light blue hues dominate the décor.

The building is also quite a financial coup, since the city left rented facilities of 12,500 square feet, yet with the 15-year payout, of the renovated building will only cost $500 more a month than the previous facilities.

Brandon Branham, the city finance director, gave details of the purchase of the building, which had sat vacant for three years.

  • The total cost of the building and renovations amounts to $4.593 million, with renovations costing $2 million, for 61,244 square feet.
  • There is parking front and back of the building, with space for 270 vehicles.
  • The Council Chambers consists of 3,800 square feet, and has space for 300 visitors.

Branham points that the cost of the Johns Creek City Hall was $9.4 million for 75,000 square feet, while Dunwoody's City Hall was $8.050 million for 45,000 square feet. (Neither includes renovation costs.)

Entering the building from the street, city offices are to the right, while to the left are public spaces. The Council chamber auditorium is on the immediate left, and has stackable chairs for seating, with a raised dais for city officials. It is permanently wired for televised recording of the proceedings. It has four flat screen monitors located at intervals along each side, to assist those sitting in the back to keep up with the proceedings.

Off the hallway outside the right-side wall are catering kitchen space for when the chamber space is used for social functions. Then, on the far side of the catering areas, there is a smaller meeting room, about half the size of the council chamber.

Walking through the offices for the current staff of 35, you see several spaces for small conferences. While the offices are not yet fully occupied, there is room for eventual growth.

One of the more innovative spacious rooms features a round conference table with monitors, open on one side for presenters. All this is also fully wired for recording and presentations. Branham anticipates that council work sessions will be held in this smaller space, which still has seating capacity for 20-30 visitors.

When officials from other cities of the county visit, they may be in awe of the beauty and spaciousness of this new City Hall. While some Gwinnett city halls are traditional and all of them are functional, Peachtree Corners has created a beautifully spacious and fiscally-sound public gathering space.

Mayor Mike Mason and his fellow councilmen are to be commended for coming up with such a stunning new City Hall, and one that is fiscally friendly. The mayor says of this new city hall: "We're pleased with how the new City Hall turned out. It's great space for the city to conduct the people's business. The staff did a great job finishing the project on time and under budget."

We look forward to Peachtree Corners having a formal open house that will inspire its citizens, and make them proud of the way the city has invested in this new City Hall which will be functional and efficient for years to come.

Do not forget who you are and where you come from

Editor's note: Readers of GwinnettForum will recall letters and articles from time to time from Alvin Leaphart of Jesup, Ga. He was an attorney, watcher of the world, author, and also an adventurer. He was the longest-serving member of the Board of Governors of the State Bar of Georgia for 40 years. We have enjoyed his company and his thoughts over the years. He passed away this week at age 80. His funeral will be in Jesup on Saturday. What follows is the last epistle we had from him.---eeb)

By Alvin Leaphart, Jesup, Ga. | I will never forget the first time I visited a foreign country. It was the Bahama Islands. When I passed through customs an official examined my luggage. I felt appalled. I was an American. Who did this person think he was, plundering through my effects?


He caught my expression, and took his time to remove about everything from my suitcase and stuff it back. Then he gave me a "go to Hell grin" and waived me through.

After traveling to several other countries, it finally dawned on me that people of other nations didn't care who I was. They were just as important as I, and they were not going to comfort me. I was in their country; they were not in mine.

Once I figured that out and got over being an ugly, arrogant, ignorant American, (not an American as the Bahamian official also was) but as a citizen of the United States, I got along well with everyone from government officials on down. This applies to our international government relations as well.

The president of Montenegro, a country of 700,000 people, is just as important as President Trump, President Putin of Russia or President Xi of China, or any other country's leader. These are "The Man" to deal with in each country, if any or all sets foot on the shores of their country.

We need to come to grips with the fact that the United States is one country among many in the world, and certainly not the oldest. For example: China has required the passage of a test to become a member of its government bureaucracy for over 2,000 years.

When I was in Spain, I visited a building constructed in the 1400s, in perfect condition, with the only modern modifications being glass windows and central heat and air conditioning. We just showed up.

My grandmother told me that when a person forgets who he is and where he comes from, he is headed for big trouble. This applies to nations as well. . I am afraid that with our nation's arrogance and air of superiority we are isolating ourselves, and driving our allies into the hands of our competitors, Russia and China.

Aurora Theatre

The public spiritedness of our underwriters allows us to bring to you at no cost to readers. Today's sponsor is Aurora Theatre, home of the best entertainment in northeast Georgia. With over 750 events annually, Aurora Theatre, now in their 22nd season, has live entertainment to suit everyone's taste. Aurora Theatre's Peach State Federal Credit Union Signature Series is comprised of Broadway's best plays and musicals alongside exciting works of contemporary theatre. Additionally, Aurora produces concerts, comedy club events, children's programs, and metro Atlanta's top haunted attraction, Lawrenceville Ghost Tours. Aurora Theatre is a world-class theatrical facility with two performance venues. It is nestled on the square in historic downtown Lawrenceville, with free attached covered parking and is surrounded by a myriad of restaurants and shops. Now showing: Maytag Virgin, a delightful romantic comedy, through February 11.

Two different writers take issue with recent Forum letter writer

Editor, the Forum:

Steve, Steve, Steve…where to begin? First off an executive order is just that, an order with the hopes that Congress will take up the issue and turn it into a law, which would then be constitutional. So Mr. Obama did the right thing by making DACA an executive order with a time limit, hoping it would pass before his term was up.

Congress, (which at the time both sides being Republican majority) decided to stone-wall this issue leaving it up to the next president to deal with. President Trump made this whole issue a toxic mess by insisting a "wall" had to be built and Mexico pay for it, then changed his mind and now the American people are on the hook for it. So if you are pointing fingers, you might want to check the three pointing back at you.

Don, the best way to make friends and to tear down walls, is hold out your hand and say: "Hello, my name is Don. Nice day today." Or "How are you doing this fine day?" So simple, so easy. Just be friendly, kind, and sincere and before you know it you have friends. Easy peasy…

-- Sara Rawlins, Lawrenceville

Editor, the Forum:

In response to Steve Rausch: "President 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.

This is another of those mystifying "facts" that, in real time, have no basis in fact. President Obama never set an end date for his DACA provision. What a silly idea to try to pass off as a fact. Must have come from Facebook or one of those other trusted news sources so many seem to get their "facts" from.

Attorney General Jeff Session said on Sept. 15, 2017: "President Trump last year ordered a six months end to DACA by March 6, 2018. I am here today to announce that the program known as DACA that was effectuated under the Obama administration is being rescinded."

-- Derby Waters, Screven, Ga.

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:

Love your neighbor

County seeking community input for 2040 Unified Plan

The Gwinnett County Department of Planning and Development is soliciting public input to assist in the development of the 2040 Unified Plan through several community open houses. The community open house events will feature interactive exercises to encourage people to imagine Gwinnett County in 2040 and share their vision of what it could be. The first was held Thursday of this week.

The Unified Plan, called a comprehensive plan in other jurisdictions, combines many different plans into a coordinated, working blueprint to help shape future policies by many County agencies. To better create a plan that reflects the community's desires, Gwinnett County will collect public feedback to produce a broad, long-term vision to guide growth and development over the next 22 years as well as a short-term list of projects and programs.

Throughout this process, the Planning and Development Department and its consultants, Pond and Company, will also seek input from elected officials, regulatory agencies, business and community leaders and others. Upon completion, the plan will be presented to the Board of Commissioners in October, and then be forwarded to the Department of Community Affairs and the Atlanta Regional Commission. Once the DCA and ARC review the plan and it is subsequently adopted by the Board of Commissioners, the County becomes eligible for state and federal funds.

Additional public input will be sought through a survey available online and at select community events and public locations. Residents can make their voices heard through one of several community open houses, online surveys or living room chats.

2040 Unified Plan community open house schedule includes:

  • January 29 - Dacula branch of the Gwinnett Public Library, 265 Dacula Road, Dacula;
  • February 1 - Lilburn Activity Building, 788 Hillcrest Road, Lilburn;
  • February 12 - OneStop Centerville, 3025 Bethany Church Road, Snellville; and
  • February 22 - Bogan Park, 2723 North Bogan Road, Buford.

To learn more about the plan, visit or email questions to the same address.

Competition now open for Suwanee Fest 2018 logo design

The City of Suwanee is looking for designers, artists, and creative people in general to submit logo designs for Suwanee Fest 2018. The designer of the winning logo will see his or her design on official festival t-shirts and marketing posters, as well as receive a $500 prize.

The competition is open to professional and amateur designers of all ages. Designs may be hand-drawn or computer-generated. Entries should be submitted in printed and electronic format. The deadline for submissions is April 13. In celebration of the bicentennial anniversary of the founding of Gwinnett County, this year's Suwanee Fest will have a vintage Americana theme. See for additional guidelines and an entry form.

Suwanee Fest is the City of Suwanee's annual two-day fall celebration on September 15 and 16. The award-winning festival includes arts and crafts exhibitors, children's rides and activities, and on-stage entertainment. Last year, approximately 55,000 people attended the festival at Town Center Park.

GEHC to offer free Camp-A-Palooza on Jan. 28

Fight the winter doldrums, get out of the house and participate in the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center's (GEHC) Summer Camp-A-Palooza on January 28 from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m. Explore the museum during this free event and get a sneak peek at its summer camp offerings.

At the Summer Camp-A-Palooza event, kids and parents will have the opportunity to view camp schedules, meet staff in themed costumes, play summer games, go on a scavenger hunt and make crafts.

GEHC will offer nine weeks of camps for kids ages three to 13. The camps cover a wide variety of topics and interests, including science, art, music, technology and more. The event will showcase camp favorites from the past, such as Harry Potter, Wildlife Forensics and Camper vs. Wild. It will also highlight several new themed camps for this summer including Sphero Heroes, Nerf S.T.E.A.M., LEGO: Water Journey, Eureka! Inventors Camp, Under the Sea and more. Parents will have the opportunity to take a short hike with staff to discover the sights and sounds their kids experience every day at a GEHC summer camp.

The summer camp season begins the last week in May and runs through the first week of August. For more information about the Summer Camp-A-Palooza event or the 2018 summer camp season, visit or call 770-904-3500.

Grant by Ron Chernow

Reviewed by Elliott Brack | This 900-page history of oft-misunderstood 18th president reads quickly, delving into U.S. Grant's full life, including his distaste and graduation from West Point, his military activities throughout his career, and during the war, his constant attacking Armies. "He'll fight," Lincoln said of him, eventually naming him in charge of all Union forces in the Civil War, and getting results. Grant's problems with alcohol are addressed (he finally conquered it), as is his continual trust of people (which often put him in financial problems). Finally there is his amazing effort to complete his memories of the war. He died at 62, only days after finishing the book, which is considered the best-written of any president. Mark Twain not only encouraged him but published the book, which allowed Grant's widow to live without financial worry. Chernow writes in tremendous detail, but the book is well worth it.

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

Attorney W.T. Wofford becomes brigadier general for Confederates

W. T. Wofford was a cavalry captain in the Mexican War (1846-48), a Georgia politician, and a Confederate colonel (later brigadier general) during the Civil War (1861-65). Though originally against secession, Wofford supported his home state when Georgia seceded from the Union, and he participated in several major battles during the course of the Civil War. In his later years Wofford was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and participated in the state constitutional convention of 1877.

William Tatum Wofford was born on June 28, 1824, in Habersham County, to Nancy M. Tatum and William Hollingsworth Wofford. He attended local schools before enrolling at the University of Georgia in Athens. He studied law and was admitted to the bar in Athens, in Clarke County, and then set up his practice in Cassville, in Cass County (later Bartow County). During the Mexican War, Wofford captained a battalion of Georgia mounted volunteers. He returned home in 1848 and decided to enter politics, serving in the Georgia state legislature from 1849 to 1853. Wofford decided not to run for the 1853-54 session of the legislature, but he was elected by the lower house to serve as clerk for that year. During this time Wofford edited the Cassville Standard and ran his plantation in Cassville, where he owned ten slaves.

On August 1, 1859, Wofford married Julia Adelaide Dwight. They had four daughters, only one of whom, Helena D. Wofford, survived to adulthood. In 1861, as a member of the state convention, Wofford voted against seceding from the Union. However, when the Georgia order of secession was signed on January 21, 1861, Wofford volunteered for military service.

Wofford began his service as colonel of the Eighteenth Georgia Infantry, which comprised volunteers from Bartow, Dooly, Dougherty, Gordon, Jackson, and Newton counties. It was organized on April 22, 1861, at Camp Brown in Cobb County. After serving in North Carolina and Virginia, the regiment was assigned to General John Bell Hood's Texas Brigade. While with the Texas Brigade, Wofford and his men fought in Virginia at the battles of Yorktown and Second Bull Run, and in Maryland at South Mountain, Sharpsburg, and Antietam.

There is some disagreement about who commanded the brigade at the Battle of Second Bull Run. Regimental commanders were not sure to whom they should address their after-action reports, because no one knew exactly who was in charge. Reports were directed at Major W. H. Sellers (Hood's adjutant), Hood, and Wofford. In the casualty report Wofford is listed as commander of the Texas Brigade; as the next ranking officer under Hood, it is possible that Wofford took command at one point. Following these engagements in November 1862, the Eighteenth Georgia Infantry was transferred to the Georgia Brigade under Thomas R. R. Cobb. After Cobb fell at the Battle of Fredericksburg, Wofford assumed command; on January 17, 1863, he was promoted to brigadier general.
(To be continued)

Wrap-around porch is key element in this Mystery Photo

Today's Mystery Photo seems to be a relatively small, but one with porches all around it. Where is it and what was its use? Send your ideas to and be sure to include your hometown.

The most recent Mystery Photo found two eagle-eyed readers quickly identifying the photo. Both George Graf of Palmyra, Va. and Allan Peel of San Antonio, Tex. were quickly on target. The photo came from Jerry Colley of Alpharetta. Graf wrote: "That the bust of Johann Henry Jules Alexandre von Robaii, Baron de Kalb (born Johann de Kalb) located in Decatur. The son of a Bavarian peasant farmer, he received military training in a German regiment of the French infantry in 1743. He served in the War of the Austrian Succession and the Seven Years' War. In 1768 the head of the French Foreign Ministry sent DeKalb to America on a secret mission for France to determine the extent of colonial discontent. He returned with detailed reports, and in 1776 won a promise of a commission in the Continental Army. He was appointed a major general by the Continental Congress second in command to the Marquis de Lafayette. On August 14 the Americans marched against the British at Camden, S.C. During the battle, DeKalb's horse was killed under him, and he was himself wounded 11 times. DeKalb was carried from the field and died three days later."

Peel found: "The mystery photo from 1/23 is of a statue (bust) of Baron Johann DeKalb (1721-1780) who was a German soldier and volunteer who served as a major general in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783). He was at Valley Forge, Pa. for most of the 1777-78 winter, and commanded a division of Patterson's and Learned's Brigades. He died while being held as a prisoner of war in Camden, SC, where he is now buried. He died fighting for American independence and was greatly honored by his contemporaries. Several towns and counties in the U.S. are named DeKalb after him. This statue is located in Decatur Square, near the DeKalb History Center Museum and the DeKalb County Courthouse. The bust was presented to the county of DeKalb by the Federal Republic of Germany in 1985."

Massive buildings are under construction

Massive buildings are going up in Duluth, Suwanee, Sugar Hill and Buford. Here's an update on the massive work east of the Sugar Hill City Hall. The nearest building will house the city's recreation department, and include a gymnasium. It'll have space for basketball, volleyball and pickleball, plus walking track and department offices, all in 75,000 square feet. Behind it are to be an office building and retail restaurant facilities, in 40,000 square feet. Nearest the City Hall will be a Performing Arts Center with theatre seating for 400. All these Sugar Hill operations are expected to be on schedule and open in mid to late June.


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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


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 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 using activity code BOP15900 or call 678-277-0853.


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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