WHAT COULD WELL BE a Mystery Photo is a building dubbed "The Beehive," which is the capitol of New Zealand in Wellington. Roving Photographer Frank Sharp took this when on a recent trip to that country and New Zealand. For more scenes from New Zealand, see Lagniappe below.

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Gwinnett Stripers release promotion schedule for 2018 baseball season

By Dave Lezotte, Lawrenceville, Ga. | The Gwinnett Stripers have announced a fresh Promotional Schedule for the 2018 season. The team's first year playing under a new bass fishing-themed identity will feature 12 post-game fireworks displays, four bobblehead giveaways and numerous other promotions and theme nights.

The night sky over Coolray Field will light up 12 times in 2018. Fireworks will follow games on April 12 (Opening Night), April 27, May 12 (Star Wars Night), May 28 (Memorial Day), June 9 (Superhero Night), June 22, July 4 (Independence Day), July 6, July 20, August 3, August 17 and September 1.

The Stripers are partnering with Coolray Heating and Cooling to give away four unique bobbleheads to the first 2,500 fans at these attending games:

  • Stripers "Fishtail" bobble (April 14) - A twist on the conventional bobblehead, this bass modeled after the Stripers primary logo features a bobbling tail.

  • Ozzie Albies "Star Wars" bobblehead (May 12) - The 2017 International League All-Star Ozzie Albies' bobblehead is the highlight of Star Wars night.

  • Ronald Acuña "Superhero" bobblehead (June 9) - The 2017 Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year and Atlanta Braves' No. 1 prospect, Ronald Acuña becomes truly incredible for Superhero night.

  • Mike Foltynewicz bobblehead (July 21) - Atlanta Braves' starter Mike Foltynewicz, a member of the Gwinnett pitching staff in 2015 and 2016, is immortalized in bobblehead form.

The Stripers have also announced a new fishing-centric set of weekly promotions:

  • Military Monday - Active or retired military members will receive two infield box seats for the price of one when they present their military ID card at the ticket office.

  • Reel Deal Tuesday - All Dugout seats are two for the price of one each Tuesday.

  • Worm Wednesday - All fans who present a valid state-issued fishing license at the ticket office will receive two Field Box seats for the price of one (excluding July 4). Stripers' players will wear the popular "Worm" alternate hat, and fans who purchase apparel featuring the "Worm" logo from the Team Store will be entered for a chance to win a prize pack.

  • Thursday Hook, Line and Sinker Special: Get four Infield Box tickets, hot dogs and four soft drinks for just $44 each Thursday, courtesy of Coolray Heating and Cooling.

  • Stripers Sunday: Fans are invited to play catch on the field before the 1:05 p.m. game and kids (ages 12 and under) are welcome to run the bases following the game.

(To see the entire promotional schedule, click here.)

Ticket plans, including the new "Stripers Fishing License" and the "Five and Dine" plan, are available for purchase now by calling 678-277-0340 or by visiting GoStripers.com. Single-game tickets will go on sale to the public at 10 a.m. on Saturday, March 10.

The Gwinnett Stripers open the 2018 season with a road game on Friday, April 6 at 7:05 p.m. vs. the Norfolk Tides. The Stripers' home opener at Coolray Field is set for Thursday, April 12 at 7:05 p.m. vs. the Rochester Red Wings.

Did you realize that it is only 61 days until the Opening Game at CoolRay Field?

Fewer traditional funerals or weddings now at area churches

By Elliott Brack, editor and publisher | You don't have to be a research scientist to realize that church attendance in this country is down. Not only that, but it seems that this is a problem which is getting worse.

Also: fewer weddings are in churches. Couples pick all sorts of sites, from mountain event venues, to the beach, country clubs, back yards, but less and less in church.

These two factors alone are enough to make us realize that the church is becoming less important in American lives.

Several national studies have shown this falling off of church attendance. Some point out that only about 40 percent of Americans consider themselves regular church attendees. Others think that a mere 23-25 percent are steady attendees.

The publication Church Leaders, says this:

".....more than 40 percent of people say they go to church every week, but statistics show that fewer than 20 percent actually attend.. Between 2010 and 2012, half of all churches in the U.S. did not add any new members."

Others point out that while lots of churches disband, there are also new churches springing up each year, though most of them are not from traditional backgrounds, but from individuals starting churches and seeking followers.

But, all in all, it's apparent that our nation is no longer deeply-churched as it once was.

We have found this in a distinctive way: by reading the local obituaries.

Many people in Gwinnett, who are not from "around here," seldom even glance at the obituaries, much less get a daily newspaper. They have few roots here. Knowing who died is just not important to them, unless it is one of their close friends. And these days, many will get that information by some social media.

Yes, we read the obituary pages carefully, recognizing someone at least once a week who died, or find people related to someone who died, like a friend's parents who become deceased. It's another way to keep up. And yes, we attend all too many funerals.

Though the statistics are four years old, readers can follow the decline in attendance at churches in this country

Another fact we have learned: fewer people are being buried out of the church. Often the deceased has a service at a local funeral home. Many have no funeral at all. People have memorial services at all sort of places, a country club, open field, beach or some other public space. Funeral directors say that it's more unusual today for a funeral to be at a church.

Many deceased do not list themselves as having been a member of any church. (Rhonda Rich told us recently that when it says that a person was "of the Baptist faith" (or any other denomination), that means that they may have attended such a church, but that they were not a member of any church!)

Let me add a positive note here: most people who belong to liturgical churches (Catholics, Episcopalians, Lutherans, Greek Orthodox, etc.) tend to have their funerals within a church.

Add in too, that the growing Hispanic Americans tend to be buried out of a Catholic church. They are bucking this trend. And their church is growing in the United States.

So what does all this say? How can our nation, founded by people who were strong in religion, continue its course if we depart from our churchly background? Is this saying something about what course our nation will take?

Church membership and attendance may not be a panacea for our nation. Yet its decline worries lots of people. It may be a trend that continues steadily downward. And if so, that will not be beneficial to our nation. Lack of funerals and weddings in churches points that way.

Modern Southern control tactics remind us of "Jim Crow Lite"

By George Wilson, contributing columnist | W.J. Cash's The Mind of the South, first published in 1941, is a brilliant examination of how the Southern elite, even with slavery no longer possible, managed to extend the same economic and political philosophy and system to their own benefit for 100 years, using Jim Crow laws.

When I see the Confederate flags waved today, I always think about the social unfairness that existed in the South during the Civil War. Here are a few examples.

  • The food riots by starving people, in Atlanta, Richmond, Columbus, Macon, Augusta and other cities because the planter class refused to grow food crops, but persisted in growing cash crops, cotton and tobacco;

  • The Confederate Congress amending the draft law to exempt anyone who owned 20 or more slaves;

  • Above all, Southerners were about split between those who favored secession and those who wanted to stay with the Union. David William's book, A People's History of the Civil War, is a good place to learn how the only state to hold a secession referendum was Texas. The vote was 2-1 to stay in the Union. Secession conventions in the other states were won by the planter class largely through vote fraud, violence and threats of violence against anti-secessionists.

It would be hard for rich slave owners to get the non-slave owners to fight, hence they would wrap it in pretty words like "Slave Rights or States' Rights."

Today, I'm more interested in the political chicanery that Republicans and moneyed elites commonly implore to maintain control in the South. For example, wedge issues such as same sex marriage, guns, and abortion are used to play the same old shell game on the gullible. The latest is the so-called freedom of religion, a non-issue. Moreover, gerrymandering and voter suppression laws can only be characterized as "Jim Crow Lite" as they try to maintain control.

Finally, as the Georgia legislature meets, you can depend on these continual diversions from the real problems facing Georgia and the south. They are, raising the minimum wage, extending Medicaid to everyone, making it easier to vote, solving transportation problems and addressing educational inequality. These are examples of issues that could assist ALL Southern men.

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Truck road would be "subsidy" for industry if not a toll road

Editor, the Forum:

I just heard that the Georgia Department of Transportation has plans to build a "Trucks-Only Highway" between Atlanta and Macon. The anticipated cost, so I heard, is somewhere near $2 billion.

I cannot believe that an organization (GDOT) that shrieks "subsidy!" at anything that does not involve pavement (namely rail transit) is willing to build, with the taxpayers' money, a highway intended for the exclusive use by the trucking industry.

Can you say "subsidy?"

Having spent a number of years in the trucking industry, I can understand the supposed safety aspects of the road, but unless it is a Toll Road , it will amount to a $2 billion gift by the taxpayers to the trucking industry.

-- Robert H. Hanson, Loganville

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Tied up on Sunday

Two incumbent commissioners will seek re-election

The two incumbent Gwinnett County commissioners up for election this year have both announced their intention to offer their candidacy again. Both Lynette Howard, (District 2) representing the southwestern part of Gwinnett, and John Heard (District 4), representing a central area of Gwinnett, have announced their intention to seek office.

Lynette Howard said in her announcement: "I have been honored to work with Gwinnett's citizens, staff and fellow commissioners to build a stronger community-focused county. The past four years, we have acquired park space for trails such as Simpsonwood Park and have engaged more citizens in the planning process than any time in our history.

"While we have made great progress, there is still work to be done on issues such as addiction, transportation, and homelessness that are impacting our community. If re-elected, I will not only work to improve upon these issues, but will continue my efforts in engaging our citizens and business owners to seek and identify opportunities and work towards solutions that strengthen our community."

Heard said in his release: "This Board of Commissioners, in the spirit of co-operation, has demonstrated a 'Can-Do' approach to government and a rare ability to work together in the best interests of the people of Gwinnett. We managed utilizing an economical and efficient use of resources.

"Since my first election to the Board of Commissioners, Gwinnett has weathered the most difficult fiscal crises since the end of World War II. We were able to navigate those difficulties while holding the line on taxes, maintaining essential county services and balancing our budget. This year alone we will add 65 new police officers, improve our award-winning parks, make common sense zoning decisions to protect our neighborhoods, help lower insurance rates by bolstering our fire department, add Emergency Services and keep Gwinnett business friendly by keeping taxes low.

"I am committed to open and transparent and neighbor friendly government. I look forward to a vigorous campaign."

World Thinking Day to be Feb. 24 at Environmental Center

The Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center (GEHC) invites residents to travel around the globe in less than two hours without the need for a passport at the annual World Thinking Day event on Saturday, February 24 from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m.

Conducted in partnership with local Girl Scouts from the Apalachee and Mill Creek service units, World Thinking Day is a learning opportunity that highlights international friendships and reminds everyone that we are a part of a global community. At World Thinking Day, each participating Girl Scout troop adopts a specific country, shares information, provides a taste of that country's cuisine and makes a "swap" that is reflective of the culture. With more than 30 troops planning to attend, visitors will travel to countries such as Cyprus, Hungary, Switzerland, Ghana, Romania, the United Arab Emirate, the Bahamas and more.

World Thinking Day may be organized by the Girl Scouts, but the public is invited to participate. GEHC's Director of Programming Jason West said, "You don't have to be a Girl Scout to enjoy this program as it is for everyone. With 2018 being Gwinnett's bicentennial year, World Thinking Day helps highlight all of the diverse cultures that call Gwinnett home." This year's event also features students from the Gwinnett Youth Commission who plan to celebrate the community's diversity though song, dance, crafts, poetry and special activities connected to Black History Month.

Admission to World Thinking Day is $2 per person for Gwinnett residents and $4 per person for non-residents. There will be a separate Girl Scout charge of a $.10 per beverage/food item and swap.

Lagom by Linnea Dunne

Reviewed by Karen Harris, Stone Mountain | Lagom, Swedish for balanced living aiming for 'not too little, not too much, just right.' The emphasis is in all parts of life, from acquiring material goods, preparing food, enjoying the outdoors and communing with both nature and friends. Sweden is one of the top ten countries in the world with contented, happy people. The author, Linnea Dunne answers the question, why would one adopt Lagom: that most people are under stress from staring at screens, feeling overloaded with toxins and missing out on communing with friends. The most enjoyable and educational feature of this book is her presentation of terms for Swedish activities. Example include 'Fredagsmys' or honoring downtime with loved ones; enjoying a 'Fika' culture or sharing coffee; and 'Kanelbullar,' or cinnamon buns; and 'Pyttipanna,; that is creating a meal with all the leftovers in the fridge! This is a delightful excursion through Swedish ways of living.

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

Columbus doctor shot among racial tensions in 1955

(Continued from previous edition)

Thomas Brewer was shot and killed in the midst of racial tensions late in 1955. Luico Flowers, who owned a clothing store beneath Brewer's office, said he shot Brewer in self-defense when Brewer, after a heated disagreement, entered his store and reached for a pistol. Police and a grand jury accepted Flowers's story.

Brewer and Flowers had witnessed from their places of business the forceful arrest of a black man by police. Brewer believed he saw a case of police brutality and wanted Flowers to witness accordingly, but Flowers disagreed, believing the man apprehended was resisting arrest. Feeling he had been threatened, Flowers called for police protection. An officer and two other men were in the store at the time of the shooting.

Those who believe the shooting was murder reason that Brewer would never have walked past two white police officers and pulled a gun on Flowers. (Police did find an unfired pistol in Brewer's left pants pocket; given the frequency of death threats against him, he had long carried it.) Almost exactly a year after Brewer's death, Flowers was found dead from a gunshot wound to the head. His death was officially ruled a suicide. For many, Flowers's death was evidence of a cover-up of Brewer's murder.

The death of Brewer, affectionately known as "Chief" by his associates, shocked the Columbus black community. An estimated 2,500 mourners flowed out of First African Baptist Church onto Fifth Avenue for his funeral service. Brewer's widow, Lillian; their daughter, Thelma; and her husband, Dr. R. M. Haskins, left the city. (Brewer's son, Thomas H. Brewer Jr., also a doctor, had left the city years before.) Brewer's attorney, Stanley P. Hebert, moved his family out of town, as did Dr. W. G. McCoo and his wife, Mary, also a physician. (One of the McCoos' children, Marilyn, would later become a nationally known rhythm-and-blues singer.)

E. E. Farley, a Columbus Realtor, stayed on as president of the local NAACP but succumbed to a heart attack in late 1956. As a result of the Brewer shooting, the Columbus civil rights movement, although ultimately effective, followed a less confrontational course of action than movements in other Georgia cities in the late 1950s and 1960s.

Brewer is buried in Green Acres Cemetery in Columbus.

Some Mystery Photo clues are not always what they seem

Watch out for what you see in this Mystery Photo. Every clue doesn't lead you to the right answer. Figure out where this Mystery Photo is and send your entry to elliott@brack.net, including your hometown.

It was just a tiny slice of a much bigger vista, but Scott Mullennix of Peachtree Corners recognized the scene. He said: "It's Crystal Bridges in Bentonville, Arkansas. A visit to the buildings and grounds is as interesting as the art it houses. The town and area around Northwest Arkansas is also a very nice place to spend time exploring." The photo came from Molly Titus of Peachtree Corners.

George Graf of Palmyra, Va. also recognized the scene. He wrote: "According to arkansas.com, the museum houses a permanent collection of American art masterworks from the colonial era to modern day, and touring collections from national art institutions. Acclaimed collection includes such masterpieces as Charles Wilson Peale's and Gilbert Stuart's portraits of George Washington; Asher Brown Durand's Kindred Spirits; and Norman Rockwell's Rosie the Riveter. Other major works by artists such as John Singer Sargent, Thomas Eakins, William Merritt Chase, Thomas Hart Benton and Andy Warhol, are also featured. Temporary exhibitions program complements the permanent collection. The museum acquired Frank Lloyd Wright's Bachman-Wilson House in 2015 after it was taken apart in New Jersey and rebuilt on the grounds in Bentonville. Solar powered shuttles transport visitors."

More scenes from visit to New Zealand by Frank Sharp

Roving Photographer Frank Sharp captured two scenes from the Botanical Gardens in Wellington, New Zealand. The other picture is of old St. Paul's Church, an Anglican church in Wellington. The church was built between 1865-66 and constructed from fine native timbers. Spectacular lighting gives the interior a rosy glow, enriching the appearance of brass fittings, stained glass windows and exquisitely embroidered furnishings. It is one of the best examples of Gothic Revival architecture in the world.


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.

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.

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.

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.

(NEW) RIBBON CUTTING and Open House for new public works complex in Lawrenceville, from 2-4 p.m. on Monday, February 12. The complex is located at 435 Pike Street. It will serve as the new home to the city's gas, electric, damage prevention, fleet maintenance, streets and sanitation departments. This project not only provides a improved working environment for employees but also serves as a first-step toward completion of Gwinnett's largest redevelopment project currently underway - the South Lawn in Downtown Lawrenceville. Tours will be available following the ribbon cutting.

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 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.

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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 16.84 | Feb. 9, 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 Stripers Release Promotion Schedule for 2018 Baseball Season

EEB PERSPECTIVE: Fewer Traditional Funerals or Weddings Now at Area Churches

ANOTHER VIEW: Modern Southern Control Tactics Remind Us of Jim Crow Lite

SPOTLIGHT: Peach State Federal Credit Union

FEEDBACK: Truck Road Would Be "Subsidy" for Industry If Not a Toll Road

McLEMORE'S WORLD: Tied Up on Sunday

UPCOMING: Two Incumbent Commissioners Seek Re-Election

NOTABLE: World Thinking Day To Be February 24 at Environmental Center

RECOMMENDED: Lagom by Linnea Dunne

GEORGIA TIDBIT: Columbus Doctor Shot Among Racial Tensions in 1955

BICENTENNIAL FACT: County Airport Busy, with 85,314 Flight Operations in 2016

MYSTERY PHOTO: Some Mystery Photo Clues Are Not Always What They Seem

LAGNIAPPE: More Scenes from Visit to New Zealand by Frank Sharp

CALENDAR: Lawrenceville Plans Open House for new Public Works Complex

County airport busy with 85,314 flight operations in 2016

"The Gwinnett County airport, Briscoe Field, had 85,314 flight operations in 2016. It is serviced by a Level I - FAA Contract Air Traffic Control Tower, and has a full Instrument Landing System that allows aircraft to land in inclement weather."

-- Want more? Get 366 Facts about Gwinnett County


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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