5,000th graduate: Georgia Gwinnett College's 5,000th graduate is Micah Seibel, previously of Lawrenceville and now of East Atlanta, shown with Lori Buckheister, vice president for Advancement at Georgia Gwinnett College. She presents him with a special plaque recognizing the college's 5,000th alumnus, at a recent social event for GGC alumni. The former Lawrenceville resident graduated from GGC in December 2017, earning a bachelor's degree in political science with a concentration in international relations. Micah is operations assistant of Perimeter CID. He was born in Kansas, but has lived in Gwinnett since age 8. His parents are Connie and John Seibel, who have recently moved to Hillsboro, Kansas. For 15 years John Seibel was with the Gwinnett County Public School as a teacher.

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Don't be hornswoggled into believing in fake news

By Andy Brack, Charleston, S.C. | There is no such thing as #FakeNews.

There is, however, a cynical, national political strategy called #FakeNews. It is a continuing attempt by President Trump and his cronies to promote public disbelief in information that these politicos don't like or that makes them look bad.

The whole "#FakeNews" phenomenon is nothing more than a public relations ultra-spin to kill the messenger AND the message.

Before you shout #FakeNews or #RealNews, please realize neither exists. Something is news or it is not. That which is not news either doesn't measure up as something that's new, factual and interesting. Or it is something titillating that is simply made up, a fiction.

Here's a description of news given years ago to students in a college journalism class:

"News is anything that's interesting to people. It's information that one did not have previously. It's new data that helps one form new opinions. It's the unexpected. It's the weird, the bizarre, the odd. It's the description of conflict and the resolution of conflict. It's what somebody famous is doing. And it's stuff that affects people in communities."

In the news business, just like in any profession, reporters make mistakes. Similarly, chefs might have an off day and cook a bad meal. With tens of thousands of words churned every day by every newspaper, there are bound to be errors, misspellings and inaccuracies. But if an outlet or reporter makes a mistake, both have a responsibility to correct the record so truth prevails.

The incorrect information wasn't "FakeNews," but an error, which must be corrected.

It is in no one's interest in the news business for a falsehood to spread. It is also not in the public interest to label a story that you don't like to be #FakeNews when it is, in fact, true. Some politicos, however, are taking advantage of an often gullible public more often by saying what's true is false. That's wrong.

When determining whether something is news, reporters and editors rely on news values - criteria they use to assess whether they should publish a story on an issue of public importance. Here are some of the principal news values used every hour of every day:

  • Prominence. When a famous person does or says something, it often makes news. Because the president is prominent, his tweets make news.

  • Unusualness. Unexpected or odd happenings often make news, just because they're different. It's not news when 100 planes land safely at an airport in a day. But it is news if one crashes.

  • Proximity. Things that are local tend to be news locally.

  • Timeliness. It's called "news" for a reason - news is something that is happening or happened fairly recently. Last year's wildfires in California aren't news.

  • Conflict. Whenever there are two distinct sides to anything - a trial, a bill in Congress or even a baseball game - the conflict attracts reporters like white on rice. They must, however, report both sides to provide balance.

  • Impact. Reporters often focus on stories that make a big impact. For example, a middle-aged family might not care much about changes to Social Security. But reporters know a lot of seniors would care because changes could significantly impact their lives. The bigger impact a story has, the more likely it will get news coverage.

Don't get hornswoggled into believing real reporters are zealously pumping out #FakeNews. They're not. They're doing their jobs to provide facts and truth in an America saturated with constant partisan sniping and trash-talking.

Andy Brack is editor and publisher of Statehouse Report, where this piece first appeared.

Remembering an humble giant, Rufus B. Donnigan of Norcross

By Elliott Brack, editor and publisher | It was a proper and fitting way for the funeral for Rufus B. Donnigan of Norcross to be conducted Saturday at Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church.

The audience of church members and friends gave homage to a man who his entire 88 years had known Hopewell Baptist Church, his joining the church at age 6. He had been a solid stalwart of the church all his adult years. And just as Rufus Dunnigan appeared in public and at home in a proper and dignified way, so this service was just that. He would have been proud of the way it was conducted, and humbled to know that so many attended to honor his memory.

He was born December 14, 1929 to Deacon Esters Dunnigan and Annie Trimble Dunnigan. He was raised in Norcross, attending the public schools of Gwinnett County, and graduated at nearby Chamblee High School in 1947.


When the Korean War broke out, he enlisted in the U.S. Army in March of 1951, and spent two years on active duty, before being transferred to the Army Reserve in 1953, then was honorably discharged in 1957.

Something significant happened to him in 1955, when he met Barbara Hood of Doraville, and they were married. The couple had three sons, DeRick, Ronald and Donald.

Working to support his family Rufus Dunnigan was employed for over 40 years at Westvaco Company, as an warehouseman until his retirement. He also had part time jobs at the Big Apple grocery store, and later at Northside Baptist Church.


Early in life he learned to play the piano. His favorite hymn was by Charles Wesley, A Charge to Keep I Have. Many remember being in his presence when he played, often for the children. People, especially remember him often baking pound cakes, and giving them to others. He would show up on many occasions with his cakes, which he made the old-fashioned way, from scratch. People say his cakes were delicious. He also enjoyed gardening especially in retirement , and preparing Sunday dinner for his family and anyone who came by his home.

People of Hopewell remember him as a deacon and clerk of the church for over 30 years, to his dying day. He was a member when it was the small Rock Church prior to the 1980s. Later it became the massive City of Hope congregation led by an especially spirited minister, William Sheals. Mr. Dunnigan was named an elder of the church. He had served in all the lay duties of the church, Sunday School teacher, musician, and minister of music. He was also a leader of a Boy Scout troop.

Through all this, Rufus Dunnigan was a quiet, tall and slim man who did not seek the spotlight, but was a mighty fortress behind the scenes of the success of his church, and of other churches. He always presented himself with dignity and graciousness, glad to meet and talk with people. We need more people like him.

Rufus Bernard Dunnigan, 1929-2018: May you rest in peace.

Here are some predictions for the USA for the year 2020

"As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron." ... H.L. Mencken

By George Wilson, contributing columnist | The winning of the election by President Trump may prove to be a poisoned chalice. A one-term administration is likely as the new president struggles with high unfavorability ratings. Indeed, we have already seen many street demonstrations.

There is a still ideologically divided Congress and a predicted mild recession as the business cycle comes to an end. With his cabinet picks and hands off management style, we are likely to see scandals and maybe even impeachment proceedings. Policy decisions based on right-wing ideologies will result in some negative consequences for the nation. One only has to examine the state of Kansas and how the implementation of these right-wing policies has on a state.

Nonetheless, the unpopularity of Trump means that he will start from a position of weakness and a divided Congress will make passing key pillars of his unrealistic agenda even more difficult. Without possible concessions on immigration policy and the toning down of nativist and racist rhetoric, a Republican victory is therefore unlikely in 2020.

Trump's plans for a huge wall on the southern border with Mexico and mass deportations of millions of undocumented workers are unrealistic. The predicted attacks on promoting clean energy and healthcare reforms will not go over well with the educated suburban voter, especially women. The increase in violent deaths by guns will increase and the lack of will to tighten gun control laws will start to corrode support for the NRA's radical positions.

Trump's filling the vacancy in the Supreme Court will be the most consequential act of the new president. But it is likely to create even more animosity, again, especially among women.

Lail Family Dentistry

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Church on television

Duluth offers "meaningful conversations" with city officials

Duluth's newest outreach program seems to already be a popular one among Duluth residents. Connect Duluth was introduced during "The Be Duluth Show" by Mayor Nancy Harris. Seats have already been filled with residents eager to talk about Duluth.

Mayor Harris says: "We realized there is a need for community members to get in touch with city leaders to discuss ideas or concerns related to Duluth. This program lends itself to just that and we are excited to get it started."

Connect Duluth is a program designed to spark meaningful conversations between members of the community and city officials over dinner. It is a nod to the very popular Gwinnett County program "Dinner and Dialogue with Chairman Charlotte Nash," where residents meet with their county commissioner over dinner.

Connect Duluth will consist of six meetings a year where community members are encouraged to meet for dinner and discuss concerns and/or ideas about Duluth with a council member and a city representative. Guests are responsible for the cost of their own meals.

United Way and Gwinnett Tech partner in Early Education Center

Continuing their legacy of commitment to strengthening communities, United Way of Greater Atlanta and Gwinnett Technical College announce a partnership designed to reach and teach young children ages six weeks to eight years.

As part of the partnership with Gwinnett Tech's D. Scott Hudgens, Jr. Early Education Center, United Way has provided a grant to help ensure the community has highly trained, well-qualified early education professionals to work with our youngest children.

Becky Olson, director of the D. Scott Hudgens, Jr. Early Education Center, says: "We are thrilled to be the recipi ent of this grant. We designed our program to be a model child development center for the state to give our youngest citizens a solid foundation on which to build a successful future.

"Our leadership and expertise in early childhood education is known across the state. In fact, this year alone more than 700 educators and community leaders toured the facility to carry our model into their communities. This United Way gift allows the Center to continue to ensure that the quality of education for our young people is of the highest caliber."

Etha Henry, executive vice president, United Way of Greater Atlanta says: "United Way of Greater Atlanta is proud to team up with the D. Scott Hudgens, Jr. Early Education Center, a key partner in the mission to improve child well-being in Greater Atlanta. Early literacy has a large impact on a child's ability to read on level by third grade, which is a critical milestone for future success. It's of vital importance to provide all of our community's children with access to high-quality early learning experiences. Together, we can lay strong foundations for our community's children."

The Hudgens Early Education Center has been already recognized as delivering a high level of education and care, recently earning a three-star quality rating from Bright from the Start. "This three-star rating is earned by only a small percent of the early childhood centers in Georgia," according to Olson. Quality Rated is Georgia's system to determine, improve and communicate the quality of programs that provide child care. From its opening, the Center has followed best practices in Early Childhood Education. The Center has been recognized by Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education for modeling best practices in early education.

Contributing to the three-star rating are the exceptional programs, faculty and facility design in the 26,000 square foot Hudgens Center. In addition to highly skilled, certified teachers, The Hudgens Center serves as a hands-on "apprenticeship" learning environment for students in the College's Early Childhood Care and Education degree, diploma and certificate programs. Following best practices in early childhood education, the Center often pilots programs for the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning.

Mary Beth Byerly, vice president, institutional advancement at Gwinnett Tech, celebrates the United Way and Gwinnett Tech partnership over the past decade around this child development center. "We have similar missions - to help ensure children are successful - and for Gwinnett Tech, to train teachers and influence the lives of these children."

The Hudgens Center was built in 2006 with private funds given by individuals, corporations and foundations who wanted to support exceptional excellence in education for children.

Secretary of State recognizes 2 sisters at GACS for award

The Robinson sisters

Greater Atlanta Christian School students, Kendall Robinson (12th Grade) and Kaylin Robinson (6th Grade) were presented with the Outstanding Georgia Citizens Award by Georgia Secretary of State, Brian P. Kemp recently at the Georgia State Capitol. This honor is one of the highest awards for service that an individual can receive at the state level.

The sisters were recognized for LOVE ROLLS, their non-profit which has distributed over 150,000 rolls of toilet paper in the past 15 months to the homeless. LOVE ROLLS was launched after Kendall encountered a homeless man who shared his greatest need was toilet paper. "I remember he had to ration one roll of toilet paper for an entire month."

Ms. Robinson was inspired to think of a way to help him and others with an item that most never speak about or take for granted. Her dreams to make a difference were never small, because she knew the need was so great. She created a business plan with her family's help, and launched LOVE ROLLS, which now has commitments for over 250,000 rolls of toilet paper to be distributed by area outreaches. The sisters' goal is to reach 1,000,000 rolls by 2019.

Both the sisters have high aspirations to transform needs into actionable solutions. Their passion to advance activism within the community is one of the many reasons cited for receiving this award.

LOVE ROLLS has received many corporate donations and multiple recognitions and awards, with CNN featuring Kendall's story during the MichaeLa show. LOVE ROLLS is a 501c3 non-profit and collects both toilet paper and monetary donations to purchase toilet paper for distribution.

  • The sisters welcome the opportunity to partner with other businesses and individuals. For details: www.loverolls.org

Robicheaux by James Lee Burke

Reviewed by Tim Anderson, Fitzgerald | Years from now, people will be reading it and discussing it. A blurb on the top of the book cover from the Denver Post claims James Lee Burke is 'America's Best Novelist.' For Burke repeat readers, the title is instantly attractive, because it is about Burke's most famous and carefully drawn character, Dave Robicheaux, a recovering alcoholic with many flaws. But he is as lovable a character as there is in modern fiction. This is all Burke novels. His narrative is genius. He writes about the Cajun people with great respect and tells of their lives of poverty and abuse with care and dignity. And humor. His bad guys are truly awful, and they almost have an odor to them. They sort of waft a sour smell off the page. They are that bad, and that richly drawn. Enjoy the feast.

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

Physician Thomas Brewer spearheaded drive for equality in Columbus

Thomas Brewer, an African American physician, spearheaded the drive for racial equality in Columbus from the 1920s until his assassination on February 18, 1956, which was widely believed to have resulted from his political activism. Brewer, whose death had considerable impact on local race relations, is recognized as a martyr of the national civil rights movement.

Thomas Hency Brewer was born in Saco, Ala., on November 16, 1894. He graduated from high school and college in Selma, and earned his medical degree from Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tenn. In 1920 he joined a thriving black medical community in Columbus, establishing his office on the 1000 block of First Avenue as other black doctors and dentists had done before him. In 1929 he and other black professional men created a service organization, the Social-Civic-25 Club; in 1939 Brewer led these same men in founding a chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in Columbus.

As the tactician for the local NAACP, Brewer orchestrated the attack on the all-white primary system in the state of Georgia, designating Primus E. King, a Columbus barber and minister, to challenge the system by attempting to vote in the primary election at the courthouse in Muscogee County on July 4, 1944. A generous donor himself, Brewer raised the funds for the subsequent Primus King legal case (King v. Chapman et al.),in which federal courts found in favor of King in 1945 and 1946.

Following this victory Brewer initiated successful black-voter-registration drives in Columbus in the late 1940s and early 1950s. He also campaigned successfully for the hiring of black police officers in Columbus; four were hired in 1951 to patrol the downtown black neighborhoods.

By the late 1940s Brewer was receiving death threats from such hate groups as the Ku Klux Klan. However, it was his support for racial integration of the public schools following the Brown v. Board of Education decision in May 1954 that brought him the opprobrium of more moderate white leaders and organizations. Even before the announcement of the Brown decision, Brewer's requests to the all-white Muscogee County School Board for more equitable funding of the black schools had been routinely shelved.

In 1955 two other issues raised local hostility to Brewer: his effort to integrate the golf course on Columbus's South Commons, and the allegation, which he steadfastly denied, that as a prominent Georgia Republican with national party connections he had used his influence to deny a popular white Columbus citizen the position of city postmaster, a federal government job. Racial tensions were also mounting late in 1955 as a result of publicity surrounding the bus boycott being carried out by the local chapter of the NAACP in Montgomery, Ala.
(To be continued)

Just a slice of a view of this Mystery Photo awaits you

Perhaps the greenery, the water and the building will help you identify this edition's Mystery Photo. This might be considered difficult, since it is an obvious only a slice of a picture of this building. Send in your thoughts about the identity of the photo to elliott@brack.net and be sure to include your home town.

It didn't take Bob Foreman of Grayson long to recognize the recent Mystery Photo, which came from Brian Brown of Fitzgerald. Bob said: "The mystery photo is of First United Methodist Church, Cordele, Ga., completed in 1914. I passed this building many times in my travels around the state." Also spotting it were Lou Camerio, Lilburn; Susan McBrayer, Sugar Hill; and George Graf of Palmyra, Va., who wrote: "According to the South Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church, Cordele First United Methodist was organized in 1887, in the Cordele Academy, where services were held until the first building was completed in 1891. It is the oldest church in the city. The first service was held on the third Sunday in January, 1887, with 75 people attending and Rev. John Wesley Conners officiating. The simple, white building was large enough to host the 1891 session of the South Georgia Conference. The present building was erected in 1914. It is one of the most architecturally unique Methodist churches in the state."

NOTE: The previous identification of Allan Peel as recognizing the James Cook house in Australia was incorrect. The person identifying it was Bob Foreman of Grayson. Our apologies.

Three legal aid workshops to be held in February

(NEW) Legal help? Gwinnett County Public Library and Gwinnett Legal Aid, an office of Atlanta Legal Aid Society, can help! Gwinnett Legal Aid helps low income people meet basic needs through free civil legal services and legal education. Areas of law focused on are consumer, education, housing, health, probate, employment, public benefits, family, and juvenile. Three information sessions are available:

  • Wednesday, February 7 at 6:30 p.m. at our Five Forks Branch, 2780 Five Forks Trickum Road, Lawrenceville.
  • Wednesday, February 21 at 6:30 p.m. at our Lilburn Branch, 4817 Church Street, Lilburn.
  • Wednesday, February 28 at 6:30 p.m. at our Norcross Branch, 6025 Buford Highway, Norcross. These sessions are free and open to the public. For more information, call 770-978-5154 or visit www.gwinnettpl.org.

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.

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 10 - Marshall;
  • February 17 - Southside with You; and
  • February 24 - Selma.

(NEW) Hear Dr. George Yancy at the Snellville Branch of he Gwinnett County Public Library on Saturday, February 10 at 7 p.m. He is a professor of philosophy at Emory University. He received his Ph.D. in philosophy from Duquesne University where he was the first McAnulty Fellow. His first M.A. in philosophy was received from Yale University and his second M.A. in Africana Studies from New York University where he received the prestigious MacCracken Fellowship. He has authored, edited, or co-edited over 18 books. .This event is free and open to the public. Books will be available for purchase (cash only) and signing. For more information, call 770-978-5154 or visit www.gwinnettpl.org.

(NEW) Meet Lauren Willig, the New York Times bestselling author and RITA award winning romance novelist of the Pink Carnation series. She will be joined by fellow romance writer and RITA award winner Deanna Raybourn. Raybourn is the author of the Lady Julia Grey series. Presented by Gwinnett County Public Library, Willig and Raybourn will speak at Books for Less, 2815 Buford Drive, # 108Aon Saturday, February 10 at 3 p.m.. This event is free and open to the public. Books will be available for purchase and signing. For more information, visit www.gwinnettpl.org or call 770-978-5154.

(NEW) Tracing African American genealogies has many challenges. This workshop will provide tips that will help you carry out such research. Learn how to get started in this fun hobby and explore free genealogy databases, including the Library Edition of Ancestry.com and HeritageQuest. In partnership with the United Ebony Society of Gwinnett County, Inc., this genealogy workshop will be hosted at Gwinnett County Public Library's Dacula Branch on Sunday, February 11 at 3 p.m. It is free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.gwinnettpl.org or call 770-978-5154.

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 16.83 | Feb. 6, 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: Don't Be Hornswoggled Into Believing in Fake News

EEB PERSPECTIVE: Remembering an Humble Giant, Rufus B. Donnigan of Norcross

ANOTHER VIEW: Here Are Some Predictions for the USA for the Year 2020

SPOTLIGHT: Lail Family Dentistry

McLEMORE'S WORLD: Church on Television

UPCOMING: Duluth Offers "Meaningful Conversations" with City Officials

NOTABLE: United Way and Gwinnett Tech Partner in Early Education Center

RECOMMENDED: Robicheaux by James Lee Burke

GEORGIA TIDBIT: Physician Thomas Brewer Spearheaded Drive for Equality in Columbus

TODAY'S QUOTE: What's Dangerous for a National Political Candidate

MYSTERY PHOTO: Just a Slice of a View of This Mystery Photo Awaits

CALENDAR: Three Legal Aid Workshops To Be Held in February

What's dangerous for a national political candidate

"It is dangerous for a national candidate to say things that people might remember."

-- -Former Democratic Presidential Nominee and Senator Eugene McCarthy (1916 - 2005).


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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