Pervious Pavement: When it rains, it
drains, which is good
Special to GwinnettForum
(Editor's note: Today's author grew up in Lilburn,
graduated from Parkview High School, and has a degree in ecology
from the University of Georgia. After working for the Bureau of
Land Management, National Park Service, and a private engineering
firm, he is now back in Atlanta going to graduate school at Georgia
TUCKER, Ga., Nov. 7, 2008 -- Cleaning up our country's water pollution
is an interesting story of recent politics, regulation, and technology.
The Environmental Protection Agency got its start in the 1960s and
'70s by providing money to local governments to clean water by building
sewage treatment plants. In the 1980s, more stringent standards
for industrial discharges were placed. Soon after, we began to look
more closely at "non-point" source pollution, the stormwater
runoff from large areas such as farms and cities. Having mostly
cleaned up the worst pollution, we are now working on new strategies
to reduce stormwater pollution.
Stormwater pollution is hard to control because rainfall washes
dirt, oil, fertilizer, and other pollutants from big areas into
streams. Our environmental laws say that these streams should be
"swimable and fishable." This is hard to achieve in urbanized
areas where there are many roads, rooftops, and parking lots. The
stormwater runoff from these surfaces reaches streams through pipes
and is hotter than stream water, dirty from the pollution, and high
in volume eroding dirt creating sedimentation and cloudy water.
There is too much stormwater to be treated in a sewage treatment
plant, so it usually goes directly into the streams.
Learning from our experience, we are now concluding that when possible
we should be building systems that mimic the natural systems that
absorb, retain, and slowly release the rain water. This approach,
sometimes called "low impact development," includes things
like green roofs, native rain gardens, and pervious pavements. Pervious
pavement is particularly important because pavement, especially
surface parking, is such a large category of land use. In most parts
of our region, there is more land for surface parking than there
is for roads.
Water flows slowly through pervious pavement.
Parking lots are the largest single impervious surface in our region
with parking spaces sometimes outnumbering people. As a result,
pervious pavement for parking lots could really make a big difference
in protecting our water resources. Environmental benefits include
reducing stormwater pollution, conserving the rainwater that falls
in our area, restoring a more nearly normal stream hydrology, reducing
urban temperatures, and helping to reduce global warming.
Pervious pavement is relatively new to our region. While most pavement
is designed to shed water, pervious pavement is designed to have
a void content of 15 percent to 20 percent, which allows water to
quickly drain through the material. Water then collects in a gravel
reservoir underneath the pavement where the water can slowly seep
into the ground and/or slowly migrate into streams, creeks, or other
areas where water is needed.
Pervious pavement has come a long way, especially in the past few
years, as much has been learned about how to design, construct,
and maintain it correctly. With all the advantages and environmental
benefits, perhaps local government should be offering incentives
like tax reductions and impact fee waivers for using pervious pavement.
Similarly, important public projects, ranging from Gwinnett's new
baseball stadium to school parking lots, should be specified to
use pervious pavement.
Historic election indicates just how Gwinnett
Editor and Publisher
NOV. 7. 2008 -- The election of 2008 is over. ("Historic Time,"
says Gwinnett Daily Post. The AJC came back with "Historic
Win" which is a little more exciting. At least they agree the
day was historic.)
You could detect that something was unusual in the 2008 presidential
election. Well before the election, people were saying that the
candidacy of Barack Obama was not that of a "normal" candidate.
Some John McCain supporters compared him to a "rock star,"
in the way he drew crowds of adoring fans, black and white, old
and young, male and female.
This frenzy of Obama admirers, many of them new to the political
scene, made his election almost inevitable, people were saying prior
to the election. He seemed a throwback to other world-changing presidential
candidates, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton.
Obama certainly is not cut out of the same cloth of many other presidential
It fell John McCain's misfortune to be the candidate against Obama.
While people on both sides of the aisle appreciated McCain's record,
he ran an uninspired campaign, though catching more energy toward
the last days. But his candidacy may have been doomed by the mere
chance of who his rival was.
At least this election was no cliffhanger, but a solid victory
for Obama, both in the electoral college and in the popular vote.
He's come about as close as any recent presidential candidate in
his first effort at unifying the country. He was helped by the gracious
concession words of John McCain late Tuesday night.
Now it falls to Mr. Obama to show that in his presidency, he will
bring the same vibrant energy and acclaim that he showed in the
campaign. Certainly in these unusual times, when economies, unrest
and terrorism are with us, we all want his governing success.
* * * * *
Meanwhile, Republicans, many greatly upset over the election, should
take heart. Those who believe that the country is headed to doom
and disaster should merely look back. It was the same in the founding
fathers days. And most recently, this republic has survived the
likes of two presidents the other side detested: Richard Nixon and
Bill Clinton. The very nature of the structure of our government
allows us at a change of leadership to move ahead, tackle the issues,
and get the job done, with continued peace. The country has come
through many difficult times in the past; it will continue to do
so in the future.
* * * * *
In Gwinnett, it appears that the county is divided along political
lines similar to before, with one major change. Where the split
in most races for Gwinnett was once 65/35 in favor of the Republicans,
this year in most races there is at least a 60-/40 split. Democrats
scored at least 41 per cent in every race, compared to low scores
in the 20's in 2004. Yes, this means a slight shift to the Democrats,
though the Republicans still are very much in control.
Look at these Gwinnett races, with the split mostly in favor of
Republicans by this margin:
The big surprise winners are Toney Collins and Lee Thompson, who
both won for the Democrats additional House seats. Collins easily
upended Erick Hunt in an open seat, while Lee Thompson upset Republican
incumbent John Heard to win another Democratic seat in the House
* * * * *
The race outcomes show that Gwinnett's changing population will
eventually result in a more even balance between the parties in
the different races of the county.
Perhaps the most surprising races were those of the School Board,
which had far-stronger Democratic challengers than in the past.
It could point to a Democrat on the School Board in coming years.
It's also interesting to note that Democratic County Commission
candidate Vince Passarellio polled 44 per cent of the vote while
spending very little money with limited campaigning. Does this mean
that in the relatively near future there could be a Democrat on
the county commission?
We feel that the county will be in better shape when there is near
parity between the parties. It appears that though ever so slowly,
such parity will be real in a few years.
COMING TUESDAY: about voting early and those long lines.
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Another great cartoon from Bill McLemore:
Obama: Get your girls a dog from an animal shelter
Dear Mr. President-elect Barack Obama:
Let me take this method to suggest a direction to you. First, congratulations
on your victory. The whole country now has great hopes for you to
unite us and lead us back to more vigor and esteem throughout the
Now to my subject: a dog. You have told your girls that you will
have a puppy in the White House. If so, let me suggest that you
do not get an over-bred pooch with papers. They don't make the best
animal friends, we maintain.
Instead, take the girls to an animal shelter. It may take several
trips before you decide which dog to adopt. Perhaps before you go,
have them write down the characteristics they want in a dog: large
or small, long or short hair, color, personality, etc. That way,
when they see the dog that fits this description, they will know
it is "their" dog.
We say this from experience with dogs. Our current pooch, Hercules,
is from a shelter here in Georgia. We picked him for the way he
stood back in his cage at the shelter, and sized me up, not too
sure he wanted to go off with just anybody. We've been friends now
for nearly four years. All we know of his background is that the
back half of him looks like a Jack Russell terrier. We can't figure
out from which line the front part resembles. But he's wonderful,
as I am sure your girls will find that a rescued, shelter animal
can be. Good luck in your quest.
-- Elliott Brack, Norcross, Ga.
in Braselton festival coming this Saturday
The Braselton Business Association announces its traditional ushering
of the holiday season with "Christmas in Braselton" festivities
Saturday, November 8.
Forty gift and shopping booths will be in Braselton Park, in the
downtown area from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Food vendors will sell seasonal
delights with proceeds benefiting local families in need. At 10:30,
the traditional holiday parade will march through the town featuring
this year's grand marshal, Scottie Mayfield of Mayfield Dairies.
The Jackson County Comprehensive High School Band is the featured
The Braselton Rotary Club will light the town's official Christmas
tree at 5:45 p.m. in front of the Antique Mall, and the Braselton
Visitors Bureau Authority will present "Fred Claus" as
a free, outdoor movie for families at dusk in the park. The movie
will be preceded with music, face painting and a visit by Santa
Norcross Garden Club
marks 50 years on Nov. 9
The Norcross Garden Club is celebrating its 50th anniversary with
an open house. It is scheduled for November 9, from 2-5 p.m. at
the clubhouse at 33 College Street.
Parking will be provided at the Norcross Community Center (across
the street from the Garden Club). The clubhouse may be entered from
either College of Lawrenceville Streets. Refreshments and a tour
of the garden are planned.
New London opens auditions
for new play Nov. 11-12
New London Theatre will hold Open Auditions for "The Mystery
of Edwin Drood" on November 11 (5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.) and
November 12 (6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.) with callbacks on November 14.
Auditions will include a monologue and singing of an "upbeat"
song. Monologues can be found on our website www.newlondontheatre.org.
All who wish to audition must be 16 years old or over. Those under
18 must have written parental approval and parental accompaniment
for the audition. New London Theatre will present "The Mystery
of Edwin Drood" opening on February 13 and continuing through
Duluth court offers
amnesty period on outstanding arrests
The City of Duluth Municipal Court is conducting an amnesty period
for unpaid "Failure to Appear" warrants. This amnesty
period will run from November 3-26, 2008. During this period, anyone
who voluntarily pays an outstanding warrant, in full, will receive
a discount in the amount of up to $150. All cases receiving this
discount will have their case re-scheduled for court within 30 days
In order to determine the amount needed to clear a warrant, persons
should contact the clerk's office at 770-623-2771, Monday through
Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Warrants must be paid in
full by cash, money order, or credit card. Payments must be made
during the business hours listed above at Duluth Municipal Court,
3276 Buford Highway, Duluth, Ga. 30096. Those making payment will
be given paperwork to clear a license with the Department of Driver
Services once the warrant is cleared.
Buford Business Alliance
kicks of yule fet on Dec. 6
Come celebrate the Holiday Season at Historic Main Street on Saturday,
December 6. The festivities start at 11 a.m., culminating with the
lighting of the tree at 5:30 p.m. A parade will proceed down Main
Street at 2:30 p.m.
Tim Koenning, president of the Buford Business Alliance, the sponsor
of this event, says: "This is by far our biggest event of the
year. With the aid of the local schools, the city and our membership,
we are certain to bring out the crowds to celebrate this special
time of the year in a memorable fashion."
Festivities include stage performances, children's activities,
food and merchant booths. All of this will take place at and around
the amphitheater area at the end of Main Street (Historic Buford)
in front of the Bona Allen Mansion.
Unless you are a parade participant or dropping off a participant,
please avoid driving for any length of time on Moreno St. Main Street
will be closed to traffic beginning approx 2 p.m. and remain so
until parade is complete. For more information, go to www.VisitBuford.com.
Suwanee opens competition
for original artworks
Through its Public Arts Commission, the City of Suwanee has issued
a call to professional artists or artist teams for design, execution,
and installation of original artwork in up to three locations at
its new City Hall.
The request for qualifications is open to professional artists
residing in the United States, though preference may be given to
Georgia-based artists. The deadline for submitting qualifications
is November 19.
Suwanee's new two-story, 23,600 square foot City Hall is expected
to be completed early next year. Suwanee's Public Arts Commission
has identified three specific art projects for interior and exterior
locations of the new City Hall:
- A pair of kinetic sculptures to be suspended from exposed rafters
on the barrel-vaulted ceiling in the two-story lobby.
- A static or kinetic sculpture for outside the building's entrance.
- A pair of pieces in any medium to be installed on facing walls
on either side of the second-floor lobby.
The complete call to artists/request for qualifications is available
on the Business Matters/Requests for Proposals page of the City
of Suwanee website, www.suwanee.com.
For additional information, contact Denise Brinson at 770/945-8996.
County approves four
new road improvement projects
New traffic-management systems will be under construction soon
on Old Norcross Road and Beaver Ruin Road following contract approvals
for nearly $2 million recently by the Board of Commissioners.
There will be 10 cameras monitoring traffic at 14 intersections
along 6.6 miles of Old Norcross Road between State Route 120/West
Pike Street and Breckinridge Boulevard. The low-bidding firm, Brooks-Berry-Haynie
and Associates, Inc., got the contract for just over $1 million
to install the cameras and fiber optic cables.
On Beaver Ruin Road between Norcross and Lilburn, The Com-Tran Group,
Inc., will bury 6.4 miles of fiber optic cable and connect it to
13 cameras at signalized intersections. The contract for about $986,000
will cover the road from Buford Highway to Lawrenceville Highway.
The two contracts are part of SPLOST-funded transportation projects.
Other projects approved include safety and alignment improvements
at Hewatt Road and Brownlee Lane. That contract went to E.R Snell
Contractors, Inc., for just over $1 million. Another major improvement
project on Old Peachtree Road was awarded to G.P.'s Enterprises,
Inc., for $1.8 million. It includes widening, alignment, turn lanes
and a new traffic signal on 1.5 miles near Bunten Road and Meadow
- An invitation: What
Web sites, books or restaurants have you enjoyed? Send us your
best recent visit to a restaurant or most recent book you have
read along with a short paragraph as to why you liked it, plus
what book you plan to read next. --eeb
Atlanta's Fox Theatre
a unique structure since 1929
Fox Theatre, an awe-inspiring brick structure of mixed architectural
motifs, has towered over the corner of Peachtree Street at Ponce
de Leon Avenue in Atlanta since 1929. Its unique cream- and buff-colored
ribbons, arched doorways, minarets, and domes all combine to make
the Fox an architectural illusion-lending it the appearance of a
cluster of small buildings. In reality, the Fox is one cohesive
building, broken up by balconies and stairways leading to various
zones of the theater, which occupies the larger part of a midtown
city block. A lone minaret guards the southwest corner, styled after
the prayer towers of Islamic mosques.
Repeated in miniature, it flanks the Fox's dazzling marquee. The
south arabesque façade (along Ponce de Leon Avenue) is topped
with three domes. The largest is a copper onion-dome laced with
a ribbed latticework and crowned with the Islamic half-moon crescent.
The 140-foot theater entrance arcade off Peachtree Street resembles
a magic Arabian carpet-transporting patrons out of the mundane cityscape
into a land of dreams. The loggia is embellished with filigreed
lamps, tile, terrazzo flooring, and elaborate stenciling and plasterworks.
Inside, the 65,000-square-foot auditorium has been designed to
resemble a weathered desert tent. The Fox's cantilevered balcony
was engineered to relax some three inches at full capacity. The
whole interior is a masterpiece of trompe l'oeil, with false beams,
false parapets, false tents, and a false sky that replicates the
designer's idea of the night sky in the desert-spangled with tiny
illuminated "stars" (eleven-watt lightbulbs shining through
four-inch crystals) and veil-like clouds projected onto the ceiling.
Virtually every modern heating and cooling convenience is camouflaged
with faux grillwork.
The fortresslike walls of the auditorium are connected on the west
side by a stately bridge lit by eight flickering lanterns. This
imposing bridge forms the top of a seventy-nine-foot proscenium
that frames the main house curtain, which depicts mosques and Moorish
rulers in a mosaic of hand-sewn sequins and rhinestones.
Since the Great Depression, the Fox has dominated the performing
arts scene in Atlanta. The Atlanta Opera (1995-2003) and Metropolitan
Opera (1948-68), Mick Jagger, Gypsy Rose Lee, and Beverly Sills,
among other performers, have appeared on the very wide (135 feet)
yet very shallow (38 feet) stage. Many films have also been shown
in the theater. Today the Fox is home to the Atlanta Ballet, the
oldest professional dance company in the United States.
(To be continued.)
Humor loses punch when
you try to dissect it
"Humor can be dissected as a frog can, but the thing dies
in the process and the innards are discouraging to any but the pure
---Distinguished Essayist and Stylistic Author E.B. White
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