Minor changes in household activity
can reduce energy bill
President, The Impact Group
Special to GwinnettForum
DULUTH, Ga., Dec. 9, 2008 -- Here are some tips for energy savings
in your home, which can reduce your overall cost of heating/cooling
Try them and see their effect on your savings. And everyone has
various ways to save. Send in your ideas, too!
- Turn out lights not in use to save energy and money.
- Unplug consumer electronics that draw energy even when not in
use. According to Energy Star, the average U.S. household spends
about $100 annually to power electronics while they are in standby
mode, which nationally accounts for more than 100 billion kilowatt
hours of annual U.S. electricity consumption and more than $10
billion in energy costs.
- Let Mother Nature light your home. Open your window treatments
and let free, natural sunlight brighten your rooms.
- Dress appropriately no matter the season, so you can keep your
thermostat at the lowest comfortable setting in the winter, and
warmest comfortable setting in the summer.
- Shut off the water when you brush your teeth, wash dishes by
hand, or do other chores. Turning off the water while you brush
your teeth alone can save as much as four gallons a minute, according
to Water - Use It Wisely.
- Plan meals so that you can cook more than one item at a time.
- Although gasoline prices have declined from highs seen this
past summer, combine your car trips to save fuel and money.
- Try cooking with the lids on your pots to conserve energy used
- Use a microwave or toaster oven to heat smaller portions, rather
than a conventional oven.
- Close the refrigerator door completely to conserve energy. The
refrigerator is one of the most used appliances; it runs 24 hours
- Do not leave doors or windows open when the heat or air conditioning
- Lower the temperature on your water heater to 120 degrees. Run
your washer or dishwasher only when they are full. According to
Water - Use It Wisely, doing so could save as much as 1,000 gallons
of water a month per household.
Now, what other ways do you use to conserve energy, and save money,
Just how well do runoff elections function
in a democracy?
Editor and Publisher
DEC. 9, 2008 -- Georgians trudged back to the polls last week to
settle runoff elections, including three statewide races.
Ask most of the voters who went to the polls if they like our requirement
in Georgia for having runoff elections. Many, we suspect, may not
have heard of perhaps a better way than we currently select our
The basic overall questions:
- Is it better to require a majority election than a "super
- Or is an "instant runoff" better than having a low
turnout return to decide a majority election?
The Georgia Legislature has fiddled with the super plurality since
Wyche Fowler was ousted from his U.S. Senate seat when he lost a
runoff to Paul Coverdell. The Legislature, dominated by Democrats,
passed a rule that would determine a winner, even though he didn't
have a majority, as long as he had at least 45 percent of the vote.
(In hindsight, the Democrats realized that Fowler could have kept
his seat had this rule been in effect, since Coverdell didn't gain
as many votes in the first election.)
However, once the Republicans were in control of the Legislature,
they changed back to requiring the 50 percent majority to win office.
Ironically, had the former 45 per cent super majority been in place
this year, Saxby Chambliss would have won re-election without a
Now to another alternative, the "instant runoff." Under
this provision, adopted by many local governments, you would not
only select your choice of candidates in any race, but would also
rank your choices if at least three people were running.
As one Web site explains the proposition:
"Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) is a system for a single-winner
election that guarantees majority winners in a single round of voting.
.voters (to) rank candidates in order of preference
eliminates the need for low-turnout, high-cost runoffs."
Then the first choices are tabulated, and if no candidate gets
a majority vote, the candidate receiving the fewest first choice
is eliminated. Ballots cast for the eliminated candidate are now
counted toward those voter's second choice. The process continues
until one candidate received a majority and is elected.
Hmmm. Something different. But some places have chosen this route
to go, along with many other cities. It's something to think about.
* * * * *
Let's take a look at the runoff totals. It was an unusual runoff,
in that 54 percent of those who voted in the General elections returned
to the polls, possibility because of the high-visibility Senate
race. There were 3.9 million ballots cast on November 4, and 2.1
million cast in the runoff.
Comparing that to 2004, there were 3.3 million votes cast for president
that year. Georgia had one runoff that year, for a Court of Appeals
slot, and only 243,967 people voted, or 7.3 per cent.
Gwinnett County Elections Manager Lynn Ledford estimates that the
cost to put on the runoff in Gwinnett County was at least $400,000,
and maybe $500,000. (Salaries were $200,000 alone!) Wow! What figures!
Makes you want either a 45 percent super plurality or an instant
* * * * *
One more runoff was in Norcross, for a city council seat, where
Ross Kaul defeated Michelle Crofton
.by one vote, 399 to 398.
Then came the candidate comments which got a lot of attention.
Asked if she would challenge the results, Michelle Crofton said
she would pray about it. Ross Kaul said he was going to have a drink
with friends to celebrate! What a contrast!
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Editor's Note: GwinnettForum Cartoonist and retired priest
Bill McLemore is hospitalized in LaGrange. We ask your prayers
for his recovery and the return of his gentle humor.
smaller trash bins for many who are recycling
Editor, the Forum:
We are very much in favor of the new Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful
plan for county-wide refuse pickup.
For us, however, we shudder at the thoughts of having two monstrous
95-gallon containers. Guess one of the vehicles will have to be
relegated to the driveway to make room for the containers, each
nearly the size of a refrigerator, in our garage.
We personally recycle at Snellville and at Your DeKalb Farmer's
Market, compost all kitchen waste except meat derivatives, of which
there is little if any, and Freecycle, so much that our weekly trash
is considerably less than a couple pounds, much less than a gallon
in size. Accordingly, it would take us more than 95 weeks to fill
one container if that were the process.
Instead, I guess we'll roll that behemoth out weekly with our tiny
bag (smaller than a gallon milk jug) in the bottom, out to the curb,
effectively, using about one percent of its capacity
there are options? We sure hope there might be. Of course we'll
enjoy the curbside recycling; we may even cover the bottom of that
-- Rick and Sandy Krause, near Lilburn
Dear Krauses: You bring up an interesting point.
We have noticed that recycle seldom have overflowing trash containers.
Perhaps the Trash Haulers could come up with an alternative, smaller
(20-30 gallon) containers for those who wish them. Good idea!
Attacks in India can
serve to unite all against terrorism
Editor, the Forum:
Friends across India and the world are all feeling the shock of
the awful attacks in Mumbai. All our hearts go out to the victims
and their families.
The attacks were aimed at our people, our prosperity and our peace.
But their top target was something else: our unity. If these attacks
cause us to turn on each other in hatred and conflict, the terrorists
will have won. They know that hatred and chaos feed on division.
As radical extremists, their only hope of winning is by turning
the rest of us against each other.
Let's deny them that victory. We're launching a message to extremists
on all sides and all our political leaders, one that will soon be
published in newspapers across India and Pakistan. The message is
that these tactics have failed, that we're more united than ever,
united in our love and support to each other, determined to work
together against terror and call on our leaders to do the same.
If millions of people sign it, our message will be unmistakable,
click below to sign it and please forward this email widely:
It's time to speak out, let's do it together.
-- Mark Premji, Atlanta
Corners tag office to move its office in March
Gwinnett County Tax Commissioner Katherine Sherrington announces
that the Peachtree Corners license tag office will move into a new
state-of-the-art facility in March, 2009. Construction on the new
office is slated to begin in early December.
The new office is located at the intersection of Holcomb Bridge
Road and Peachtree Parkway at the Market Place shopping center,
6135 Peachtree Parkway, Suite 201-B. It will be 1.5 miles from its
current location at 5270 Peachtree Parkway in Norcross.
The tag office will feature eight frontline customer service work
stations, a handicapped-accessible work station and a customer service
desk all in a spacious 4,000 square foot facility.
The new Peachtree Corners tag office is another way that Ms. Sherrington
is providing tag and tax services that are accessible to Gwinnett
citizens. This project also had the support of County Commissioner
Bert Nasuti of District 2. The current location has been in operation
since 1990. The new location is expected to serve around 82,000
customers in its first year of operation.
Medical Center gala
to fatured married political pair
Two married political pundits, James Carville and Mary Matalin,
will be the featured speakers for Gwinnett Medical Center Foundation's
Cornerstone Society Donor Appreciation Gala on February 28, 2008..
The black tie event will be limited to donors of $1,000 or more.
Carville, one of America's best-known political consultants, has
a long list of electoral successes. He is an author, actor, producer,
talk show host, speaker and restaurateur. Matalin was the first
White House official to hold the double title of assistant to President
George W. Bush and counselor to Vice President Dick Cheney. She
hosted the critically acclaimed show, Crossfire, and was co-host
of Equal Time. The husband and wife team have co-authored the New
York Times bestseller All's Fair: Love, War and Running for President.
Lori Carnes, gala chair of GMC Foundation, says: "We are delighted
to have Mr. Carville and Mrs. Matalin spend an evening helping us
recognize and thank our donors. The Cornerstone Society is vital
to the success of the GMC Foundation's annual giving program. Our
donors have made it possible for Gwinnett Medical Center to bring
premium healthcare to our community and there is much more to do."
Tickets for the gala will not be available after December 31, 2008.
Those interested in attending must join, at the $1,000 level, the
Gwinnett Medical Center Foundation's Cornerstone Society by Wednesday,
Dec. 31, 2008. For additional information, contact the Gwinnett
Medical Center Foundation at 678-312-8500 or visit http://www.gwinnettmedicalcenter.org/
Underwriting opportunities are also available.
The Gwinnett Medical Center Foundation has been serving Gwinnett
County for over 60 years. Individuals, businesses and foundations
have donated funds to ensure that Gwinnett Medical Center can provide
the best healthcare to every patient we serve
of View" photo exhibit opens in Suwanee
A marketing communications writer by profession, Suwanee resident
Dick Goodman finds another medium for expression in an exhibit of
his photography. "A Different Point of View" presents
27 of Goodman's photographs; the exhibit is currently on display
through February at the Suwanee Crossroads Center, 323 Buford Highway.
The photographs represent several of Goodman's collections, including
Japan, Black and White with a Splash, Plantation Kitchen, and Green.
Says Goodman of his photography: "I'm attracted to the smaller
details and textures - and sometimes the feelings - of the visible
world that we often overlook in our hectic lives. In my photographs
I try to capture those elements so that others might see what they
may be missing."
Goodman discovered his passion for photography when at 13 his father
gave him his first 35 mm camera. His father's gift, says Goodman,
"opened a window onto photography as a way to record not just
events or people, but the special details, colors, and textures
of the world."
A metropolitan New York native, Goodman lived and worked in Miami
for nearly three decades before moving to Suwanee in 2006. For more
information about Goodman's photography visit www.photos.dickgoodman.com.
"A Different Point of View" exhibit is free and open
to the public. Photographs in the exhibit are available for purchase.
The Suwanee Crossroads Center, located at 323 Buford Highway, is
open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. The exhibit is in the court/meeting
Lake Lanier advocacy group to monitor pool level
An advocacy group with plans to become a major voice for Lake Lanier
has been announced. The 1071 Coalition is named for the full pool
level of the lake, 1,071 feet above mean sea level. The directors
of the coalition are a contingent of business people, lake homeowners
and executives of chambers of commerce.
Grier Todd, chief operating officer for Lake Lanier Islands resort,
has been tapped as president of the coalition. "We see this
as a broad-based effort to bring business, government and individuals
under one umbrella on behalf of Lake Lanier," Todd said.
Among its first goals is to complete an economic impact study of
the lake to counter information coming from other states
Organizers felt that there is no single entity whose sole mission
is maintaining healthy water levels in Lake Lanier and representing
lake interests. The coalition estimates that the three-year effort
during the development of the water plan for the basin will require
a budget of $700,000 for legal fees, research, engineering and public
- 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
Howard Coffin saw
potential for tourism, paper industry
Automobile racing first drew Howard
Coffin to Georgia. He considered racing as a means to test and
advertise early automobiles, several of which he had designed. At
a 1911 contest in Savannah he learned that Sapelo Island was for
sale. Coffin and his wife, Teddie, who had visited the coastal area,
jumped at the chance to buy 20,000 acres of the Sapelo Island land
and marsh for $120,000.
He constructed a palatial home on Sapelo Island, using the existing
tabby walls and foundation that had constituted Thomas Spalding's
antebellum mansion. What followed were numerous improvements to
the island: he had drainage ditches blasted, fields cleared, an
oyster-canning facility constructed, and roads cut. Soon Sapelo
was host to a number of dignitaries, including aviator Charles Lindbergh,
President and Mrs. Calvin Coolidge, and President and Mrs. Herbert
Hoover. During this period Coffin bought vast tracts of land along
coastal Georgia, and when paved roads began penetrating the area
he foresaw the potential for tourism.
This prompted Coffin to purchase several plantations on St. Simons
Island, where he began extensive development, including a golf course,
a yacht club, paved roads, electricity, and a residential subdivision.
Almost as an afterthought he purchased an adjacent island, which
he named Sea Island. This is where he eventually built the Cloister,
an exclusive resort.
A causeway constructed during the 1920s between the mainland and
St. Simons Island enabled tourists and day visitors to reach the
beach area easily. Coffin used his floating dredges to strengthen
the existing causeway and also to build a causeway between St. Simons
and Sea Island. This ensured the success of the Cloister, the only
major resort between Miami, Fla., and the golfing community of Pinehurst,
Coffin made another major contribution to coastal Georgia's economy
by recognizing the area's potential for growing pine trees that
could be used as pulpwood. In 1927 he invested $10,000 in an experiment
to determine if pine chips from Georgia trees could be processed
into paper pulp. The success of this led to the creation of the
Brunswick Pulp and Paper Company, one of the many pulp mills that
now dot the eastern seaboard.
Coffin died in 1937. His Sea Island resort, still run by family
members was re-built closer to the Black Banks River by 2006. His
Sapelo Island mansion is now owned and operated by the state of
Georgia. Georgia's vibrant coastal area is his most visible and
significant contribution, along with the pulpwood industry he foresaw
and actively supported.
Finds unusual way to
enjoy the pleasure of walking
"I like long walks, especially when they are taken by people
who annoy me."
-- Noel Coward (1899-1973), via Roy McCreary, Dacula.
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