Four year olds receiving great gifts
in Georgia pre-K program
DR. HOLLY ROBINSON
Commissioner, Bright from the Start
Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning
Special to GwinnettForum
ATLANTA, Ga., Dec. 19, 2008 -- As children's thoughts turn to candy
canes, ornaments, and festivities this season, many of the state's
four year olds are unaware that they are receiving a gift that will
impact their lives far more than any present they'll ever receive
-- a solid foundation for their academic careers through Georgia's
Pre-K Program. The program, established in 1993, provides the state's
four-year-old children with high quality preschool experiences to
prepare them for success in kindergarten and throughout life.
The Pre-K year is a crucial time in children's lives, an important
step in ensuring school readiness. This school year Georgia's Pre-K
Program is providing this important step for 79,000 children (1,000
more children than last year) in 3,900 classrooms in every county
in the state. The program is administered by Bright from the Start:
Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning.
Approximately $3.3 billion in funding from the Georgia Lottery
for Education has gone toward educating more than 860,000 children
in Georgia's Pre-K Program since its inception. The program emphasizes
high quality learning experiences for all children. To become a
Georgia's Pre-K Program provider, all applicants must meet strict
eligibility requirements related to the quality of their facilities
and classrooms. Pre-K teachers, who must hold credentials exceeding
those required for child care, undergo extensive training in early
childhood development every year.
Georgia's Pre-K Program operates as a public-private partnership.
The nationally renowned program partners with private child care
centers, public school districts, military bases, Head Start programs,
the Technical College System of Georgia, the University System of
Georgia, private colleges, and faith-based entities (though state
law prohibits religious instruction during the six hour classroom
time). Georgia's Pre-K Programs are funded based on the number of
children waiting to be served. Programs must meet strict eligibility
requirements based on the quality of the facilities and classrooms,
regardless of whether the program is publicly operated or privately
Georgia's Pre-K Program gives parents clear choices. Participation
in the program is voluntary recognizing that the needs and desires
of parents and children vary. Parents can enroll their child in
a Georgia's Pre-K Program that best fits their needs - perhaps they
prefer a certain Pre-K curriculum or a facility in a certain location
(a faith-based environment, a local elementary school that their
child will eventually attend or a program close to their work rather
than near their home).
Parents can easily search for Pre-K sites in their area by visiting
the Pre-K page on Bright from the Start's website at www.decal.state.ga.us.
Search results will show the number of available Pre-K slots at
each site, inspection reports, and other helpful information.
Nationally, prekindergarten programs are proving a wise investment
in the lives of children. Studies from other states have shown that
public investments in prekindergarten yield future returns far greater
than the cost of the program. A recent study from Oklahoma found
that children enrolled in their state's Pre-K program, which is
similar to Georgia's, possessed higher pre-reading and pre-writing
skills than children who did not attend the program regardless of
family background or economic circumstances. The program works for
Georgia's Pre-K Program continues to generate national attention
for the state, contributes to an increase in early learning and
development, improves the credentials of early childhood teachers,
and, most importantly, supports parents in their role as a child's
first and most important teacher.
Long after the wrapping paper has been discarded, and the holiday
is a distant memory, the children in Georgia's Pre-K Program will
retain the gift of a solid start to their education.
Snow Mountain will make great present for
kids and adults
Editor and Publisher
DEC. 19, 2008 -- Atlanta gets a different outdoor attraction on
New Year's Eve, as Stone Mountain Park opens its Snow Mountain area.
For 30 days this winter, weekends until March 1, there's little
doubt in my mind that Snow Mountain will be a win-win-win attraction.
1. It'll be a big win for the 70 percent of Atlanta children who
have never seen significant snow.
2. It'll be a big win for kids' physical education and outdoor
sports in general, as many will flock to the park and engage in
outdoor recreation, something besides sitting in front of a TV.
3. It'll be a major win for Stone Mountain Park, as it generates
a significantly larger attendance during what is normally their
Think, too, that families from not just Atlanta, but all over the
Southeast, will be attracted to the area. That's a big plus in these
tougher economic times, bringing more tourist dollars to the area.
Snow Mountain was proposed a year ago, but was halted after seen
as not sound environmentally, when it was to use municipal water.
Now in a revamped form, re-using Stone Mountain Lake water in a
closed loop, the project is a go, environmentally. The snow will
cover the area of three football fields. Snow-making jets can spew
200 tons of the white stuff on the area each day.
Appealing to all ages, those visiting will play on something like
24 inches of compacted snow. Situated in the lawn in front of the
mountain carving, the attraction includes 11 tubing runs, special
places to make snow men or snow angels, a snowball making zone,
and even a play area for younger kids. (To tube, kids must be at
least 42 inches tall.) Altogether, the play area measures 30,000
square feet. Adults can either play in the snow themselves, or view
the activities from various sites. There is an observation area,
a group of warming chalets, and even places for bonfires for roasting
marshmallows, or making s'mores. Reservations are now being accepted,
with many being given as Christmas gifts. For more info on tickets,
go to www.snowmountainpark.com.
It's a bit of a pricey ticket: $25 per person for adults and kids
for all day to gain entrance to Snow Mountain. (Yes, you must pay
an additional $8 per vehicle to enter the park.) You get for this
two hours of tubing, and unlimited entrance to the rest of the area.
Gerald Rakestraw, vice president and general manager of Stone Mountain
Park, notes that "it is a first-of-its-kind snow park in the
Southeast." He suggests that families make reservations to
visit, since the capacity of the area is limited.
The one thing that worries Snow Mountain officials is not lack
.but rain, which can increase the speed of the snow
melt. During the time that the area is not open, the snow will be
covered with a tarpaulin, much like a baseball field, when it rains.
The covering will keep the snow from melting quickly, with the temperature
near the ground expected to stay below freezing.
Now, mothers and fathers, here's the idea: put an envelope for your
kids under the Christmas tree. Issue them an invitation to Snow
Mountain, for them to have fun in man-made snow. We bet you'll also
enjoy the outdoor venture in this white material that is not always
around in Metro Atlanta. Have fun at this new attraction!
The public spiritedness of our sponsors allows us to bring GwinnettForum.com
to you at no cost to readers. Today's underwriter is E.R. Snell
Contractor, Inc. of Snellville. Founded in the 1920s, ERS was
built on Christian beliefs with honesty and integrity leading the
way. Specializing in roads, bridges and culverts, its goal is to
build a safe and modern highway system while preserving our natural
environment. Through quality production and high safety standards,
it strives to be the best contractor possible, while continuing
to be a positive influence on its employees and the community. Internet
access is available at www.ersnell.com.
Lilburn Business Expo set for Feb. 15 at Berkmar
Business owners in the greater Lilburn area will have an opportunity
to promote their businesses to the community at the Greater Lilburn
Business Expo, to be held February 12 at Berkmar High School. The
event will be held from 5:30 until 8:30 p.m. in the school's commons
Expo organizers are renting exhibit space for an early bird rate
of $35 until January 15. After that date the rate goes up to $50.
The event is sponsored by the Berkmar Business Education Department,
the Lilburn Business Association and the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce.
During the expo, attendees will have an opportunity to meet neighborhood
business owners and win door prizes. School groups will provide
entertainment and food concessions. Berkmar High School is located
at 405 Pleasant Hill Rd. near U.S. Highway 29 in Lilburn.
Lilburn Business Association President Thor Johnson says: "The
event provides neighborhood businesses a low cost way to expand
their client base in a very cost effective manner." As an added
benefit for exhibitors, Gail Macrenaris, of the Gwinnett Chamber
of Commerce, will be conducting a business seminar on January 22
at Berkmar. Ms. Macrenaris will give advice gathered over 30 years
on how to maximize business exposure during the Expo. For more information,
check the event web site: www.lilburnexpo.com.
County awards contract
for next phase of Sugarloaf Extension
Construction of the second section of the Sugarloaf Parkway Extension
south of Lawrenceville officially will get underway soon as the
Gwinnett Board of Commissioners has awarded a $24.8 million contract
to begin building. Work will begin where the current construction
ends at New Hope Road.
Sunbelt Structures, Inc., of Tucker, the lowest of six bidders,
will build retaining walls and four bridges along the two-mile section
ending with a diamond interchange at Martin's Chapel Road. The four-lane
roadway with a 44-foot median is the first major entirely new limited
access road to be built in Gwinnett in a decade. A third section
will eventually continue the road to State Route 316 near Dacula.
It will take about 30 months to complete the second section.
in Braselton fund new library children's computer
From left, on the front row, are Valerie Cowan of the Village
Book Club, B. Gordy of Braselton Woman's Club, Mayor Pat Graham,
Library Manager Bev Adkins, Diane Lemaster of Friends of the
Braselton-West Jackson Library and Martha Martin Phil-Mart.
On the back row are Louise Higgins of Oxley Village Book Club,
Tony Funari of Braselton Rotary, Scott Snedecor of Ace Hardware,
June Smith of Oxley Village Book Club, Roy Fulkerson of Friends
of the Braselton-West Jackson Library and Mary Ann Morris of
Chateau Elan Book Club
Braselton Mayor Pat Graham and librarian Bev Adkins accepted a
gift of a new children's computer system for the town's library
A number of civic organizations and businesses contributed more
than $2,700 to purchase a new computer system for children. The
donors were Chateau Elan Book Club, The Villages Book Club, Oxley
Village Book Club, the Braselton Woman's Club, the Braselton Rotary
Club, Phil-Mart Corporation, Kathy Stone and Ace Hardware. The library's
volunteer arm and sponsor of year-round programs and projects, including
staffing the library's gift shop, is Friends of the Braselton-West
Mayor Graham says: "The town is fortunate to have such generous
businesses and organizations, especially for this computer-savvy
generation of younger library patrons. Our thanks go to the entire
community which rallied to support this cause."
Also last week, library visitors were treated to holiday readings
and traditional songs from Santa Claus.
County purchases new
fire, police trucks via SPLOST
A new explosives ordinance disposal truck for the Gwinnett Police
Department and four new fire trucks were approved at the Gwinnett
Board of Commissioners meeting Tuesday.
The Fire and Emergency Services Department will obtain three new
ladder trucks for fire stations in the Hamilton Mill, Tribble Mill,
and Buford areas. They will come from the low bidder Sutphen Corporation
of Amlin, Ohio, for $3.4 million. Funds for the purchase are provided
by the 2005 SPLOST sales tax program.
Pierce Manufacturing of Appleton, Wis. will supply two vehicles.
One is a new air/light truck for Fire Station 9 in Lawrenceville,
which will cost $400,000. The lowest-bid supplier, will also build
the new explosives truck for the police, to cost $494,000. Designed
to respond to chemical, biological, radiological/nuclear and explosives
incidents, the police vehicle will have inter-agency communications
capabilities in addition to carrying robots and explosives disposal
equipment. A Georgia homeland security grant paid $300,000 of the
Commissioners also approved $214,000 for new rescue tools to help
get victims out of crashed vehicles. Another $606,000 will equip
five back-up fire engines, three ladder trucks and four medical
units with tools, lights and other equipment so they can be more
Gwinnett Tech is amoung
top 20 fastest-growing schools
Technical College is among the fastest-growing public two-year
colleges in the nation, according to an annual analysis by Community
College Week magazine. GTC ranks 20th in the country with 12.6 percent
Overall, six Technical College System of Georgia colleges have
been named in two categories of the top 50 fastest-growing public
two-year colleges in the nation. The magazine based its report on
the percentage of enrollment change among 1,153 colleges in the
two-year period including fall 2006 and fall 2007.
Sharon Bartels, Gwinnett Tech president, says: "Gwinnett Tech
has recorded double-digit enrollment growth for seven consecutive
quarters - almost two years. Although registration for Winter Quarter
is still on-going, it appears this strong enrollment trend will
continue into 2009. Most importantly, these trends tell us that
we're meeting our goal of providing relevant knowledge and real
world workforce education to ensure that our students are successful."
Five other Georgia technical colleges making the top 50 list, with
enrollments of between 2,500 and 4,999 students, include Griffin
Technical College (4th), West Central Technical College (8th), Middle
Georgia Technical College (28th), and Columbus Technical College
(47th). East Central Technical College was the 29th among two-year
colleges with enrollments of 2,500 or less.
- 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
first Georgian to win Pulitzer Prize for fiction
Miller published her first novel, Lamb in His Bosom,
in 1933 and became the first Georgian to win the Pulitzer Prize
for fiction. The 30-year-old housewife and author produced one of
the most critically acclaimed first novels of the Southern Renaissance
period. In addition to the Pulitzer, the novel earned France's Prix
Femina in 1934 and became an immediate best-seller.
Miller was born August 26, 1903, in Waycross. Miller's father died
while she was in junior high school; her mother died in her junior
year of high school. Shortly after graduation she married her high
school English teacher, William D. Miller, and the couple moved
to Baxley. In 1927, after six years of marriage, a son, William
Dews Miller Jr., was born. Miller gave birth again in 1929 to twin
boys, George and Harvey.
Described by literary critics as a work of regional historical
realism, Lamb in His Bosom depicts the struggle and hardships of
19th-century pioneer life on the South Georgia frontier, known as
the wiregrass region. With characters named after Miller's own family
members, Lamb in His Bosom grew out of her interest in local
research and genealogy. The stress of sudden fame and attention
strained the Millers' marriage, and in 1936 the couple divorced.
In 1937 Caroline Miller married a florist and antique dealer, Clyde
H. Ray Jr. The couple made their home in Waynesville, N.C., where
Caroline helped her husband in his business and gave birth to a
fourth son, Clyde H. III, and a daughter, Caroline Patience.
Her second novel, Lebanon (1944), received a lukewarm reception
from critics, and Miller herself was not satisfied with it. During
the following decades Miller wrote prolifically and completed several
manuscripts. Uncomfortable in the glare of the public spotlight
so many years earlier, Miller chose not to publish any additional
work. She remained in her mountain home in western North Carolina,
cherishing her privacy and solitude.
Caroline Miller died on July 12, 1992, knowing that she had received
what she once declared to be the true reward of a novelist--"the
knowledge that after he dies he will leave the best part of himself
behind." In 2007 she was inducted into the Georgia Writers
Hall of Fame.
Because USA is a democracy,
this is what we get
"On account of being a democracy and run by the people, we
are the only nation in the world that has to keep a government four
years, no matter what it does."
-- Will Rogers (1879 - 1935).
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