Miniature donkeys provide wonderful
companions for you
By Sharon Cassidy
Special to GwinnettForum
BETHLEHEM, Ga., Dec. 16, 2008 -- "Sweetly sings the Donkey
at the break of day
That song goes over in my mind everyday as I head out the door
to feed my miniature donkeys each day at 6:15 a.m. At the present
time I have six of the most adorable little creatures. The only
difference between them and a large dog is I can't seem to get them
to fetch --- yet!
Moving back to Georgia from Missouri led me to bringing home a
miniature donkey named Ezra Lewis that I purchased in the Ozarks.
I have had Ezra for two years, so he is like part of the family.
Ezra stands about 30 inches tall and is spotted with gray and white.
His personality is enough to make you believe that he understands
every word you speak. There is no need for a halter on him during
the summer, just open the gate and he will follow you around while
you are taking care of the flowers and yard. He sometimes gets "in
Arriving back with Ezra also came my Angus heifer. She and Ezra
are pasture buddies. Somehow I needed to find Ezra a friend that
he could relate to better than a 1,600 pound Angus. I searched all
over Georgia. Prices to buy him a buddy were more than I wished
to give, so I called a good friend of mine in Missouri. She found
for us a trailer load ---11 miniature donkeys -- delivered to my
farm in Harbins.
With a little advertisement, we have sold donkeys to people from
Gwinnett all the way to extreme north Georgia. Those purchasing
the donkeys have been fascinated over their friendliness, easy keeping,
and most of all, for the charm that each one has. It has been a
real joy to capture all the personalities of the little animals.
They are all different, just like children, and their behavior is
very similar to an average 6 to 8 year old child. They love attention
and when you stand out in the pasture, they inch up to you and each
one wants to be the closest. Before long, you are surrounded by
ALL of them wanting that "loving" pet on the ears and
scratch under the chin.
I hope to get enough breeders to start a Miniature Donkey Club.
Perhaps we can even get the Gwinnett County Fair Board to start
a Miniature Donkey Show. While I was in Missouri, I announced for
the Ozark Empire Fair Livestock Shows. My highlight of the week
was the Miniature Donkey Show. They are just so darn cute you can't
help but like them.
Many people use donkeys in the pasture with cattle and horses to
help chase away any dogs or unwanted creatures that might enter.
Some people assume that miniatures are not protectors, but they
do not tolerate strange animals out in the pasture. Miniature donkeys
have a great life span of 35 years old and come in a variety of
colors. I personally like the gray and white spotted ones, but some
people prefer the gray, the reds, and traditional browns. Each of
the donkeys have the little cross over the withers and down the
side. They are the traditional Mediterraneans. There is even an
association that registers them.
I will be getting more donkeys this coming spring to my farm and
many of them will have babies. Their scale is a lot smaller than
the Angus and Simmental cattle I use to show when my children were
at home. The donkeys don't take near as much feed and hay.
Who knows, bet you will be singing the "Sweetly sings the donkey"
song after reading this article. And, by the way, Ezra has a new
pasture buddy, named "Clarissa." He's so happy! If you
are looking for a miniature donkey, give me an email at email@example.com.
Halt sales tax talk by county and raise the
Editor and Publisher
DEC. 16, 2008 -- Proposals by candidates for the county commission
chair back last summer may come to haunt Gwinnett County as it decides
its new budget for coming years.
One candidate (Lorraine Green) proposed that Gwinnett initiate
a sales tax for help in paying for county operations. (She proposed
a HOST sales tax.) The idea would be to give homeowners a tax break,
but would not have added revenue to the county budget, since such
enactments require to increasing homestead exemptions to offset
The other major chairman candidate, the sitting chairman Charles
Bannister, came back with his sales tax proposal, a LOST sales tax.
This requires rolling back the millage in the amount of the sales
tax gain, again adding nothing to the operational revenue.
Neither of these proposals is a good idea. After all, when you
impose a sales tax, you automatically stand the risk of having far
shorter revenue than anticipated if sales in stores drop, as they
have been doing during this economic slowdown the whole country
is going through. Anticipating sales tax revenue for day-to-day
operations is akin to going up in a single engine airplane without
The real problem is that neither the county commission candidates,
nor the county commission itself, wants to bite the bullet and impose
a higher property tax in the county.
That's understandable on the part of any sitting office holder.
And you add to it the fact that in the last 20 years, Gwinnett had
its highest ad valorem tax millage, 18.63 mills, in 1990. Since
that time, the tax millage has continued to either stay the same,
or drop each year, so that in 2008, the county tax millage for county
operations was 10.97 mills.
What commissioners since 1990 have been able to do is to take advantage
of the tremendous prosperity and growth in Gwinnett to make sure
that the millage did not increase. All the many new homes being
added to the tax digest, plus the many businesses locating here,
allowed a higher and higher tax digest, to the point where the county
could gain enough operating revenue without a tax increase.
That's the benefit of prosperous times on any governmental operation
that is based on property values for its prime revenue sources.
Everyone is positive, additional revenue comes in each year on the
same or lower tax millage, more services and staff members can be
added, and everyone is smiling.
But hard times that are here now require a different outlook. Budgets
must be cut, personnel reduced, fewer services given, and often
and with reason, the tax millage must be increased. Property owners
may holler, but what is the alternative?
Gwinnett commissioners should scuttle any added sales tax, since
it doesn't bring in additional revenue. Bite the bullet, raise the
millage slightly, and keep this county on sound footing. Though
smart property owners won't be happy, they will realize this is
the prudent action for the county to take in 2009.
The public spiritedness of our sponsors allows us to bring GwinnettForum.com
to you at no cost to readers. Today's sponsoring organization is
the Gwinnett Coalition for Health and Human Services. Serving
the Gwinnett community for 17 years, the Coalition is a non-profit
organization dedicated to addressing the health and human service
needs of Gwinnett County citizens. Its goal is positive child and
youth development, strengthening individuals and families, and strengthening
communities overall. Through collaborative community planning, applied
research, community education, membership diversity, consensus building,
advocacy and innovation, the Coalition works to make Gwinnett a
better place to live, work and play. The Coalition offers a helpline
when those in need don't know where to turn. Volunteers are needed
throughout the year to man various Gwinnett agencies. This is highlighted
each fall, allowing many Gwinnett citizens to participate in improving
the area during the Gwinnett's Great Days of Service. To learn more
about how you can be involved , get connected and make a difference
in Gwinnett through the Coalition, visit www.gwinnettcoalition.org.
Editor's Note: Cartoonist Bill McLemore, who has been
in the hospital in LaGrange, has been moved to Emory University
Hospital, in the Intensive Care unit.-- eeb
Raises questions about what to do with old garbage carts
Editor, the Forum:
We were told that the new garbage haulers will bring us the new
bins. We asked about the old ones and were told that the current
haulers will pick them up "at their convenience." With
this tied up in all kinds of ways, I think we could all be stuck
with more bins than our garages can hold and GC&B doesn't offer
a recycling alternative. We were told we could take them to our
old haulers. What is your take on this and how will folks feel if
they are left with large plastic bins from both companies and no
space to accommodate?
From: Resident who doesn't want to get involved.
Dear Resident: Here's what we learned. The new
garbage haulers will deliver the wheeled carts between mid-December
and mid-January. Beginning January 2, if a resident has not yet
received their new carts, they may put their trash and recyclables
in plastic bags by the curb and they will be picked up. After
January 1, do not use the older carts. The new carts should not
be used before January 2, 2009.
Current haulers are required to provide garbage
and recycling service until December 31, 2008. If between now
and December 31, any service is disrupted ( garbage not picked
up) the county plans to make claims against the hauler(s)' performance
bonds. If the old carts are not picked up by December 31, residents
should call their hauler and request their removal. If the hauler
does not pick up the old carts, residents should GCB Services
The plaintiffs base the current court case on the belief that
the process was unfair. In order to propose, criteria were to
consider providers who had the financial stability and the service
performance Gwinnett residents deserve. -- eeb
Eastside Hospital to get additional beds
Emory Eastside Medical Center has received approval from the Department
of Community Health to add 21 beds. This approval resulted from
the hospital's consistently high occupancy rate. Emory Eastside's
total bed count totals 231 licensed beds, representing growth of
nearly 16 percent during 2008.
The Joint and Spine Pavilion at Emory Eastside, which opened in
September, 2008, has seen immediate success and is regularly operated
at near capacity. A portion of the 21 additional beds will be used
to expand the Joint and Spine Pavilion. Other new construction totaling
a cost of $1.2 million is underway and expected to be completed
in early January, 2009. Ten additional beds were added recently
to the Joint and Spine Pavilion.
Kim Ryan, chief executive officer, says: "In conjunction with
the additional 31, inpatient beds, our emergency department is receiving
several upgrades to reduce wait times, improve care and patient
satisfaction.. Before the end of the year, Emory Eastside's Emergency
Department will be adding a seven-bed, low-acuity, "fast track"
to greatly improve emergency department efficiency." Along
with the improvements, Eastside is installing a new $700,000 state-of-the-art,
cardiac monitoring system.
Emory Eastside Medical Center is a 231-bed acute care hospital,
with 1,365 employees and a medical staff of almost 450 physicians,
located in Snellville. For more information go to www.emoryeastside.com.
Suwanee seeking 100
creative pieces to go on tree limbs
The City of Suwanee is seeking artists who are willing to go out
on a limb with their creativity. The City is hosting a design competition
for artwork to be featured in its annual Art on a Limb program.
Samples of proposed artwork must be submitted by Monday, Feb. 16,
Art on a Limb is a month-long initiative designed to celebrate
and bring attention to the arts as well as the natural beauty of
Suwanee's parks. Through the program, two pieces of original artwork,
especially created for the City of Suwanee, are placed along the
Suwanee Creek Greenway or at other Suwanee parks each day throughout
the month of May. Those who find the art pieces get to keep the
Previous Art on a Limb pieces have included ceramic orbs, original
paintings on small pieces of Suwanee's old water tower, nature-themed
ceramic tiles, and gourds painted to resemble birds.
Submitted artwork must be original, able to be placed outdoors
(on a limb or on the ground), and be reproducible. Artwork may include
paintings or drawings on a variety of materials as well as sculptures,
glasswork, ceramics, or any other suitable medium. At least 100
pieces of the selected artwork will need to be produced; the winning
artist will receive compensation for the pieces.
For more information and an application form, visit the City of
Suwanee website, www.suwanee.com.
Or, contact Events Coordinator Amy Doherty at firstname.lastname@example.org
moves quicker now through Gwinnett Place CID
Drivers are experiencing a greatly improved commute - and saving
much more on their fuel costs - thanks to work facilitated by the
Gwinnett Place Community Improvement District (CID).
The Gwinnett Place CID contracted Wolverton and Associates to perform
a traffic signal timing and optimization program throughout greater
Gwinnett Place. Wolverton worked in conjunction with the Gwinnett
Department of Transportation to complete the improvements.
According to Jeff Legg, project coordinator with Wolverton and
Associates, a before-and-after analysis in the CID shows reduced
congestion and improved traffic flow in and near the District.
"During peak travel times, drivers will now save about 98,000
hours and nearly 59,000 gallons of gasoline annually because of
these improvements," Legg said. "We conservatively estimate
lessened trip times and lowered fuel usage for area travel will
generate savings of more than $1.3 million per year for the useful
life of the new signal timing, which is estimated to be two years."
More projects added
to Evermore CID improvement plan
The Evermore Community Improvement District (CID) and Georgia Department
of Transportation (DOT) held a second public information open house
last week that focused on a pending transportation improvement project.
The proposed project will build a connector street from Hewatt Road
to Britt Drive near Snellville. The project objectives are to improve
mobility, enhance safety and provide interconnectivity for property
owners along the U.S. 78 corridor.
The community identified the project through the Highway 78 Livable
Centers Initiative Corridor Study completed with significant public
input in December 2005. In addition to a new roadway alignment (approximately
0.91 mile) that will terminate at Britt Drive, the project would
also encourage pedestrian safety by providing sidewalks and pedestrian
Based on the public input received at the earlier open house, Georgia
DOT added the following to the project:
- Sidewalk removal from the residential side of connector street
and replaced with landscaped screening buffer (after construction)
- Intersection of connector at Parkwood shifted approx 200 feet
for adequate sight distance for vehicles entering Parkwood Road
- Connector from Parkwood to Britt modified to utilize Westside
Court and properly maintain landscape buffers.
Project details and additional information can be located on the
Evermore CID website at www.evermorecid.org
or by calling the field office at (770) 979-5800.
Carol Guse to head
Northeast Atlanta Realtors in 2009
Carol Guse is the new president of the Northeast Atlanta Metro
Association of Realtors, for 2009 and was installed by Van Johnson,
Georgia Association of Realtors' president, at their annual Holiday
breakfast. She is with Harry Norman Realtors of Johns Creek.. Other
new officers for 2009 are John Slappey, president-elect; Karen Loftus,
treasurer; while Tim McFadden is immediate past president and will
be the secretary. McFadden will also serve as President of the International
Real Estate Council of Georgia for 2009. For more information, call
770-495-7300 or visit www.NAMAR.org.
- 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
exhibits paintings in North America and Europe
Choate Jones, a Georgia native, embarked on an artistic career
when she was in her 40's, and she spent the rest of her long life
painting, exhibiting, and sustaining an active involvement in the
arts and in women's organizations.
Born in Hawkinsville, in Pulaski County, in 1879, Nell Hinton Choate
was four when her father died, and the family then moved to Brooklyn,
N.Y. Educated at Adelphi Academy in Brooklyn, Jones was a kindergarten
and elementary school teacher in the New York public school system.
Upon her retirement from teaching, and with the encouragement of
her husband, the artist Eugene A. Jones, she established a second
career as an artist.
Jones began painting the flowers and landscape of Prospect Park,
near her home in Brooklyn. Although she had left her native Georgia
as a young child, Jones considered herself a southerner, and she
ultimately returned to the region of her birth for much of her artistic
inspiration. Her approach to painting evolved from early impressionistic
landscapes into an expressionistic, vividly colored, and simplified
style that may be best described as American Scene painting of southern
In 1925 three of her paintings were exhibited in Atlanta at the
annual exhibition of the Southern States Art League. Less than two
years later, she and her husband exhibited work at the Holt Gallery
in New York City. In 1929 she was awarded the first of two scholarships
to attend the Fontainebleau School of Art in France, and she later
traveled to England for additional study. Jones exhibited actively
from 1925 until 1979 in museums and galleries in the United States,
Canada, and Europe. Among the highlights of her career were the
inclusion of her work at the 1939 New York World's Fair; her 1945
solo exhibition of Georgia scenes at Argent Galleries in New York,
the headquarters of the National Association of Women Painters and
Sculptors; and her exhibitions at the Brussels World's Fair in 1958,
the National Academy of Design, and the New York Watercolor Society.
Jones, through philanthropic gestures, helped to bring American
art to her home state. In 1941 she corresponded with Martha Berry,
the founder of Berry College in Rome, concerning the donation of
paintings by prominent American artists to start an art museum at
the college. Jones made a personal donation of more than a dozen
paintings the following year. In 1979 she donated nineteenth-century
portraits of her parents to the Pulaski Historical Commission, the
county historical society located in Hawkinsville. Jones died in
Brooklyn on April 15, 1981. After her death, they placed her ashes
in the Georgia clay of the Hawkinsville city cemetery.
Here's a new one on
the benefits of those long walks
"I like long walks, especially when they are taken by people
who annoy me."
-- British Man of Letters Noel Coward (1899-1973), via Roy
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