A WINNER: This painting by Lorraine Kimse is called California Dreamin', and won the latest exhibit prize at the Kudzu Art Gallery in Norcross. The current show, entitled Heart to Heart, will be on exhibit through March 9. The gallery is open Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m., and is located at 116 Carlyle Street in Norcross. A total of 34 paintings are on exhibit for this show. Also at Kudzu Art Zone. conjunction with Norcross' Valentine specials (roses for ladies at restaurants, horse and carriage rides, etc.) Kudzu will be open 6 to 9 pm on Valentine's Day, for an additional activity on the big date night.

MORE: Jan. 30 issue | Jan. 26 issue | Jan. 23 issue | Contact us | GeorgiaClips.com

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Norton list of 10 events which changed North Georgia

By Billy Chism, Toccoa, Ga. | Back in December, I received an e-mail from Frank Norton, chairman and CEO of The Norton Agency, based in Gainesville. This business is celebrating its 90th anniversary this year.


The e-mail contained a survey, asking to choose the 10 events "that forever changed our North Georgia region over the last 90 years - from 1928 to 2018." To make the job easier, Norton had included about 30 events to be pondered before filling out the survey.

Frank Norton is a force in the world of real estate in Northeast Georgia. His annual Native Intelligence report is anticipated each year by hundreds of business people, elected officials and those working in the nonprofit world.

Norton gave his latest business forecast last week - which included a summary of his survey results.

So, in ascending order, here is the Top 10 significant events that have forever changed Northeast Georgia, as voted on by area residents.

No. 10. The Gainesville tornado of 1936. Much of downtown Gainesville was destroyed, hundreds died and thousands were injured.

No. 9. The expansion of public colleges and private colleges in Northeast Georgia. These colleges, spread throughout Northeast Georgia, have provided our citizens with a broader educational opportunity. I would have ranked this one higher.

No. 8. Utility infrastructure. To put things in perspective, in 1928 only an estimated 5 percent of our region had electricity. Reliable telephone service in this region wasn't available until the 1950s. Think how far we've come.

No. 7. The Atlanta airport. The decision to make Atlanta's airport a major transportation hub changed everything. Atlanta's airport is the busiest in the world, and its impact definitely reaches into Northeast Georgia.

No. 6. The 1996 Olympics. Remember the excitement when the Olympic torch was carried through downtown Toccoa? Norton believes the "can do" spirit of the Olympics was its most lasting legacy.

No. 5. Atlanta's business and population growth. We have all witnessed it… as development moved first into Gwinnett County, then Hall, Barrow and Jackson counties and is now making its way into Lumpkin, White and Habersham counties.

No. 4. The birth of the chicken industry. Chicken houses and processing plants have brought plenty of jobs and economic growth to all parts of North Georgia.

No. 3. Northeast Georgia's healthcare system. The Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville and the North Georgia Physicians Group has put top-quality healthcare within the reach of many. I agree, and put this one as my No. 1.

No. 2. The Interstate Highway System. It now criss-crosses Northeast Georgia and has given all of us greater accessibility to everything. I'm not sure I would have ranked it No. 2, but you can't deny how these four-lanes have opened up our world.

No. 1. The creation of Lake Sidney Lanier. The creation of Lake Lanier changed everything for the many counties that border this huge body of water - all 38,000 acres of it.

As Frank Norton noted, it wasn't one event that moved Northeast Georgia forward and created these growth dynamics. It took them all.

And that's something to think about.

Only 2 months left before deadline for 2018 primary races

By Elliott Brack, editor and publisher | For the last six years, there has been little change in government in Gwinnett.

The Gwinnett Commission has brought stability to county operations, under the leadership of Charlotte Nash and her other commissioners.

The Gwinnett School Board has had the same line-up of board members now for 12 years.

There has been continued stability in the cities of Gwinnett, except for problems in Snellville. That city's operations now seem to run smoothly under Mayor Pro-tem Barbara Bender, awaiting the outcome of charges against former Mayor Tom Witts.

Yet you wonder, with 2018 being an election year, if could there be any upheaval in politics in the county. Even if new members were to come to the governing boards of the county, we would anticipate that few changes would be seen in the operations of its governments. After all, changing of a few members would not necessarily upset the applecart.

However, we all know, especially in Gwinnett, that change is on the way. The 2016 elections, where several candidates came close to upsetting incumbents, indicate that 2018 might see more close races, and might even see several newcomers elected.

At some point soon in Gwinnett, many anticipate an even stronger shift toward Democratic contenders winning elections. The Republicans have held onto most offices since 1984. With the obvious diversity and continued growth, we would be most surprised if more Democratic candidates did not win several elections.

Then remember that in the presidential election in 2016, Gwinnett went for Democrat Hillary Clinton. That alone should make some Republicans, who won close races, to be alert. They might not fare as well in 2018.

Many state offices will also be in contention in 2018. That includes the governor's race, with new faces seeking that office. . That race always seems to attract the most attention. We can foresee the time, maybe not in 2018, when a Democratic might take the top spot, but the lower ticket statewide races remain in the hands of the Grand Old Party.

Another race that is being watched carefully in 2018 is that of the Seventh Congressional District. Incumbent Republican Rob Woodall some say faces a serious challenger for the Republican nomination. The winner then will have at least three Democratic candidates vying for the seat in Washington. With Democrats targeting that race as possibly winnable, this could be a stemwinder.

The year 2018 races might also have impact from the national political scene. In several special elections around the country in the last year, Democrats have shown remarkable strength in unseating Republicans. Some say that this is a reaction to the leadership of President Trump, with voters overwhelmingly rejecting his administration, and seeking to send a message that they don't like his style of administration. Therefore, they send more Democrats to office.

Yet right now this is only the start of the second month of the year. Lots can happen, outside the political arena, which might influence this year's politics.

All this interest in politics won't be settled until November. However, deadline for qualifying for political primaries in Georgia is on March 9, just five weeks away. The primary vote will be on May 22, 2018.

So people who might want to throw their hat into the ring have only about five weeks to make up their minds if they want to run. If you have friends who are thinking about running, now is the time to encourage good candidates.

Those people to seek political office this year....well, it's time to seriously consider it now.

Time's a'wastin!

Patients need more than raw data in health care pricing

By Jack Bernard, contributing columnist | Florida has moved to provide patients with more pricing information on their health.

As the former Director of Health Planning for Georgia, I fully support Florida's efforts at healthcare price transparency as a first step. I just wish Georgia would follow their lead. However, I would caution patients/consumers regarding the impact of this move.

An April 12, 2017 report from the respected Commonwealth Fund lists all of the impediments regarding pricing transparency, including: "determining in advance the health services any given patient will need. The wide variety of insurance benefit structures, a lack of standard formatting for reporting prices, and the difficulty of determining prices when charges originate from multiple providers is obvious."

Giving patients unintelligible raw data will not help them to make better decisions. Providing real intelligence in a simple, clear, usable format is another matter… but will take a lot more work than most lay people believe.

Plus, quality considerations must be accounted for. Three years ago, I was living in a rural area with a "hospital" with an average daily census of three (yes, you heard it right, three). Obviously, a "hospital" that size cannot be much more than an urgent care center which sends you elsewhere.

When my wife became seriously ill, I did not check their prices. I immediately moved to a suburb of Atlanta with a major hospital and specialists. It was the best decision, although it meant leaving many friends and political supporters where I was a two term County Commissioner.

The less obvious aspect of pricing transparency is on the provider side. For decades, I supervised over a hundred provider pricing studies. We studied how much major hospitals and physicians paid for supplies, capital equipment and pharmaceuticals. We found tremendous variation, so much so that the process reminded me of buying a used car.

For example, I ran a vaccine study for the Pediatric Association of Kentucky, consisting of all the pediatricians in the state, having a potential purchase of $52 million. We gathered data from all of their practices.

Not surprisingly, each of them was told by suppliers that they alone had the lowest pricing versus other practices. What we found was much different.

Prices varied tremendously and, surprisingly, even the smallest practices sometimes had the best pricing. We implemented a statewide group purchasing program and pricing immediately dropped 10-20 percent overall.

If government really wants pricing transparency, it also needs to work on the supply chain for providers.

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Flu shot?

Major changes coming to Lake Lanier Islands Resort

Virgil Williams and his family's LLI Management Company, which has leased Lake Lanier Islands since 2005, has announced a joint venture with Knoxville, Tenn.-based Safe Harbor Development. The partnership seeks to position the 1,500-acre lakeside resort and entertainment venue in north Metro Atlanta as the destination for the next phase of its growth and development.

Darby Campbell and Virgil Williams shake on Lanier Islands agreement.

Safe Harbor, in partnership with Margaritaville, the global lifestyle brand, will assume management of LanierWorld, its campground and marina. The firm already operates Aqualand marina on Lake Lanier. Safe Harbor President Darby Campbell has a longstanding relationship with Margaritaville, most recently developing a Margaritaville Hotel, opening next year in Downtown Nashville.

Safe Harbor will also manage the destination's special events programming, including the popular annual Magical Nights of Lights, which just celebrated its 25th anniversary. Other short-term enhancements will include development of an all-new RV park, as well as the addition of new wet and dry slips at the resort's primary marina.

The Williams family will continue to operate the resort's accommodations, meeting and wedding sites, and on-site recreational venues such equestrian center and Legacy on Lanier Golf Club - the island's breathtaking 18-hole lakeside golf course.

Virgil Williams, chairman of the board for the management company, says: "Over the last 11 years, the Williams family has been committed to elevating quality, product and service standards at Lake Lanier Islands, in order to create a venue that Georgians can be proud of." It will be in charge of the resort's accommodations, meeting and wedding sites, and on-site recreational venues such equestrian center and Legacy on Lanier Golf Club, the island's 18-hole lakeside golf course.

Together, Safe Harbor and Margaritaville - along with LLI Management - are planning for a phased multi-million-dollar transformation of Lanier Islands over the next several years.

Campbell, adds: "We see huge potential working with Margaritaville to build upon what has been created here, while introducing new attractions, amenities, services and events that truly elevate the destination. We are excited to partner with the Williams family and to help position Lanier Islands for an incredible evolution."

Lawrenceville schedule of 2018 community events released

The City of Lawrenceville has announced the schedule of community events for 2018, including all of the city-sponsored activities and events happening in the Historic Downtown District. Lawrenceville will continue its annual tradition of bringing hometown favorite events to the Lawrenceville Square but will also feature some new events as well.

Two new events are planned in 2018. They include two Brewery Festivals (one in spring and one in fall) as well as the Bicentennial Bus Tours that the County is putting on.

Additional details about the movie titles and concert headliners will be available soon! To find out the latest news and updates for all of the Lawrenceville events, visit http://www.lawrencevillega.org/371/City-Events.

Suwanee seeking proposals for annual Art on a Limb project

The City of Suwanee is seeking proposals and samples from artists willing to go out on a limb for the city's finders-keepers art-in-nature program.

A Suwanee tradition, Art on a Limb is an award-winning, month-long program designed to celebrate and bring attention to the arts, as well as the natural beauty of the Suwanee parks and greenway. Since 2005, the city has hidden two pieces of original artwork daily throughout the month of May within City of Suwanee parks and along the greenway; those who find a piece of art get to keep it.

Past Art on a Limb pieces have included clay birds and orbs, small paintings on canvas, pieces of the City's old water tower, magnets, gourds painted to look like birds, the Suwanee S shaped from metal, and pottery pieces that include leaves found along the Greenway. This year, we're looking for something a bit more whimsical; think fairy doors, pot creatures, and the like.

  • Artistic proposals for this year's program will be accepted through February 23. Guidelines and an application are available at suwanee.com.

Snellville working on creation of master plan through 2040

A plan to map out Snellville's future through 2040 is under way. City officials have begun the process of creating the 2040 Comprehensive Plan, a guide to shaping Snellville's future for decades to come.

Three firms have been chosen as finalists to create the plan: Jacobs of Atlanta; TSW of Atlanta; and Amec Foster Wheeler of Kennesaw. These firms will be interviewed in the coming weeks and one will be chosen to collect public and professional input through community meetings, disseminate findings and ultimately write the plan.

The City of Snellville 2030 Comprehensive Plan was adopted Feb. 9, 2009. Since then, the city has worked to create a Towne Center in the downtown area. A major focus of the new plan will be to expand the Towne Center around a city market and library though a partnership with Gwinnett County. Officials believe that will spur commercial and residential growth in the areas surrounding City Hall and elsewhere.

The 2040 Comprehensive Plan could be ready for approval by the end of the year, city officials said, as the mandated state deadline is Feb. 1, 2019. To review the 2030 Comprehensive Plan, visit www.snellville.org/comprehensive-plan.

Primerica Inc. is winner of Scott Hudgens Humanitarian Award

From left are Randy Redner, Kelly Ling Herndon, Anne Soutter, Karen Fine Saltiel, Margaret Halbert and William Nemetz.

Primerica, Inc. of Duluth (NYSE: PRI), a leading distributor of financial products to middle income families in North America, has announced that the company's philanthropic arm, The Primerica Foundation, has been selected by The Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce as the 2018 recipient of the D. Scott Hudgens Humanitarian Award.

The award is presented annually to an organization that best exemplifies the spirit of compassion and generosity of late developer and philanthropist, D. Scott Hudgens. The Primerica Foundation will be honored at the upcoming 70th annual dinner of The Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce on February 2.
Karen Fine Saltiel, chairman of The Primerica Foundation, says: "We are truly humbled to be selected for the D. Scott Hudgens Humanitarian Award, and we are honored to share in the legacy of a true community hero."

The Primerica Foundation was established in 2010, and to date, it has granted over $6,000,000 in funding throughout the state of Georgia, with Gwinnett County and Metro Atlanta benefiting from nearly $4,000,000 of this total. The Foundation's grant funding impacts over 200,000 people every year, and a majority of all funding has supported programs that help people towards self-sufficiency. The Foundation also funds local community programs that enhance the quality of life for all residents. "We feel strongly about giving back to our hometown community," said Saltiel.

The Primerica Foundation is led by Karen Fine Saltiel, founding Chairman and president, and Anne Soutter, founding vice-chairman and operations officer. The Foundation's Board of Directors also includes William Nemetz, treasurer; Margaret Halbert, secretary; and Kelly King Herndon and Randy Redner, community advisers.

Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak

Reviewed by Susan McBrayer, Sugar Hill | I finished this book in one night. Not because it was that great but because it kept pulling me in. Set in England, the story is about a family that includes a doctor who has been working with a deadly epidemic overseas. She is granted a week's leave to visit her family during the Christmas holidays on the condition they quarantine themselves. But don't go thinking all family gatherings are filled with joy. Throw into this a man who has discovered the identity of his biological father, a woman who is recently engaged to a man she senses she doesn't know, a mother who is keeping a sad secret and a cool and distant father and you have a bit of a page turner (once you get going). The author packs a lot of drama into a few days. Far-fetched? Yes. Gut wrenching? Sometimes. But poignant and entertaining.

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

Dean Rusk Center at UGA focuses on international law

The Dean Rusk Center for International Law and Policy serves as the principal focus for the international activities of the University of Georgia School of Law. The center was established in 1977 to expand the scope of research, teaching, and service at the University of Georgia School of Law into the evolving international dimensions of the profession.

The center is named for Dean Rusk, the U.S. secretary of state (1961-69) and Samuel H. Sibley Professor of International Law at the University of Georgia (1970-85), who provided the inspiration for the center's creation and its continuing role at the School of Law and the university. The Rusk Center merged with International and Graduate Legal Studies in 1999, and today the center plays an active role in international law and policy and comparative law projects, organizes conferences and colloquia, hosts visiting scholars, and undertakes international research and outreach projects.

The Rusk Center serves as a forum for the exchange of ideas and the development of concrete international projects among students, faculty, staff, practitioners, and alumni, and with diverse international partners on international and transnational legal and policy matters.

Through collaboration, partnership, and exchange, the Rusk Center integrates international scholarship at institutional, state, national, and international levels. Members of the center staff identify feasible research, outreach, and service projects; find appropriate partners at the University of Georgia and at other universities and national and international funding organizations; and make proposals for such projects and manage the projects when funded.

Nationally, the center cooperates with academic and professional legal institutions active in international and comparative law. It also plays an active role in international exchange and outreach in Europe, the Americas, and other parts of the world. Moreover, collaboration with foreign universities, judiciaries, and governments has the goal of furthering institutional reform, capacity building, and legal scholarship in Africa, Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East.

The Occasional Papers series publishes papers in connection with the participation of individual scholars in conferences, projects, research, and other activities of the Rusk Center. One set of Occasional Papers, published in 2003, contains a series of lectures by eminent legal scholars given in memory of Dean Rusk on the occasion of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the founding of the center.

The Rusk Center Monographs have published results of work done at the Rusk Center, conference proceedings, and other work on diverse themes. The LL.M. Research Theses, housed at the Rusk Center library, record the extensive comparative and international research work prepared by the graduate law students. The Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law has published the proceedings and papers of a number of international legal-studies conferences as well as articles on the international and transnational dimensions of law by faculty members who take part with colleagues at other universities in international and comparative law projects.

Stunning architecture of this building may signal its use

Look at the lines and the domes of this Mystery Photo. It's a stunning building. Just tell us what it is and where it is, and you will have solved this edition's Mystery Photo. Send your thoughts to elliott@brack.net and be sure to include your hometown.

We'll admit to playing with your mind in the last Mystery Photo, taken straight from Frank Sharp's recent tour to Down Under. Spotting the mystery immediately were Susan McBrayer, Sugar Hill, Bob Foreman of Grayson and Lou Camiero, Lilburn. It was, of course, Cook's Cottage.

As George Graf of Palmyra, Va. told us: " Built in 1755, Cooks' Cottage is the oldest building in Australia and a popular Melbourne tourist attraction in Fitzroy Gardens. Originally located in Yorkshire, England, and built by the parents of Captain James Cook, the cottage was brought to Melbourne by Sir Russell Grimwade in 1934. Astonishingly, each brick was individually numbered, packed into barrels and then shipped to Australia. Combining a history of the evolution of the cottage and how it came to be in Melbourne, centuries-old antiques, a delightful English cottage garden and volunteers dressed in 18th century costumes, Cooks' Cottage is a fascinating step back in time."

Allan Peel of San Antonio write: "When I saw the mystery photo, I immediately realized it was not a house anywhere in America. It may have a slight resemblance to houses in Williamsburg but I have been there, and that house is not in Williamsburg. I had read the entire issue of the Forum and realized you had already given us the answer in the article by Frank Sharp who is your roving photographer. There it was, as Sharp wrote: "Norwegian Jewel bound for Melbourne. We choose the Botanical Gardens land excursion option to see Captain James Cook's cottage owned by his parents where he stayed when not at sea."

Duluth recognizes 6 citizens with Spirit of Good Living Award

As part of the "Be Duluth Show" on January 22, six community volunteers, business owners and citizens were recognized with Spirit of Good Living Awards. Mayor Karen Harris began this tradition at the 2014 State of the City Address and the awards continue to honor citizens at the annual event. Each Councilmember selects a recipient of the award. This year's recipients have volunteered on numerous City boards, committees, nonprofit organizations and so much more. The winners, from left, are Anthony Smith, Mark Williams, City of Duluth Staff (represented by City Clerk Teresa Lynn), Katrina Stone, Chip Sweney and Leonard Barze.

Aurora Gala

Aurora Theatre welcomes the community to join them for their biggest party of the year at the Eighth Annual Aurora Gala on Friday, February 9 at 6 p. m. This evening of live entertainment, food, drinks and fun will benefit Aurora Theatre's programs, including the theater's productions, educational programs and cultural events to enrich the community. New this year, ticket price includes a sit-down dinner where individuals or companies can purchase a table for ten to host friends, clients or family. Individual tickets are $100 each and can be purchased online at auroratheatre.com.

Also on the calendar:

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.

Films for Black History Month. In celebration of Black History Month, join Gwinnett County Public Library for a film screening and discussion surrounding the plight of the Civil Rights Movement. A different film will be shown each Saturday in February at 2 p.m. at the Five Forks Branch, 2780 Five Forks Trickum Road, Lawrenceville. All viewings, discussions, and popcorn are free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.gwinnettpl.org or call 770-978-5154. The film schedule is below:

  • February 3 - Fences;
  • February 10 - Marshall;
  • February 17 - Southside with You; and
  • February 24 - Selma.
(NEW) Southern Wings Bird Club will meet Monday, February 12 at the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center. The topic will be Birding the Mayan Ruins, presented by John Shauger, showing exotic birds of that area. For more information, visit www.southernwingsbc.com.


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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.

Issue 16.82 | Feb. 2, 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: Norton List of 10 Events Which Changed North Georgia

EEB PERSPECTIVE: Only Two Months Left Before Deadline for Primary Races in 2018

ANOTHER VIEW: Patients Need More Than Raw Data In Health Care Pricing

SPOTLIGHT: Georgia Campus - Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine


UPCOMING: Major Changes Coming to Lake Lanier Islands Resort

NOTABLE: Primerica Inc. Is Winner of Scott Hudgens Humanitarian Award

RECOMMENDED: Seven Days of Us By Francesca Hornak

GEORGIA TIDBIT: Dean Rusk Center at UGA focuses on international law

TODAY'S QUOTE: Jack London Thinks of a Dog and a Bone

MYSTERY PHOTO: Stunning Architecture of This Building May Signal Its Use

LAGNIAPPE: Duluth Recognizes God Spirit Award Winners

CALENDAR: Aurora Theatre Planning Gala for February 9

Jack London thinks of a dog and a bone

"A bone to the dog is not charity. Charity is the bone shared with the dog, when you are just as hungry as the dog."

-- American Author Jack London (1876 - 1916)


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.


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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