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JUNE 2, 2009 -- Gwinnett resident Brian Clayton, a client at the Center for the Visually Impaired (CVI) in Atlanta, was recently awarded the 2009 Sarah Woolf Spirit Award given in memory of Sarah Woolf, who demonstrated a joyous approach to life despite serious illness. The award is given annually to a CVI client who exemplifies CVI's mission of independence with dignity, performs selfless acts of service to others and rises above the challenges that come with vision loss.
A motorcycle accident in 2005 put Clayton in a coma and on life support for two months. It wasn't known whether he would survive. After seven months in the hospital and seven surgeries, he pulled through, but his ordeal left him without vision or the use of his right arm and left knee.
With the loss of both his eyesight and his mobility, Clayton questioned whether he would ever be able to fully function again. Over the past year, he has proved to himself and others that he can. Diane Colburn, CVI vision rehabilitation therapist, says: "He has risen above his vision and mobility challenges with courage, strength and a great sense of humor. He has excelled beyond both his, and our, wildest imaginations."
To maintain his everyday life, Clayton had to re-learn how to do many things with no sight and only one hand, his non-dominant one. He has learned how to sign his name, how to type, use a computer, cook, clean and even button dress shirts for interviews. He also cares for his three children. His teachers say that he has had to work twice as hard as anyone to compensate for both his vision and mobility loss.
In addition to working on his personal rehabilitation goals, Clayton also found the time to make himself available to his fellow clients, acting as a guide, friend and mentor. He also shares his positive and caring spirit by acting as a "buddy" for new clients when they first come to CVI for rehabilitation.
Clayton will graduate from CVI this July, and he's looking forward to working at his job as a tour guide at Dialog in the Dark. He's also planning on going back to school to earn his G.E.D. Throughout this process, Clayton has refused to give up or accept his limitations, and he has been an inspiration to his fellow clients and teachers alike.
adds: "Brian has given me faith that if he can achieve so much with
so many insurmountable challenges, then it is possible for all of us to
achieve our impossible dreams."
JUNE 2, 2009 -- Just how courteous is Gwinnett? Sometimes, you wonder, what with all the newcomers.
One of our sister communities, Savannah, has replaced Charleston as the most courteous areas in the nation, the Associated Press reports. For years Charleston held on to the title, but last year, those responding to the Internet poll put Savannah on top. (You can't help but wonder if the Savannah Chamber or some such organization wasn't "cooking" the Internet.)
Of course, we know well that Savannah is, indeed, a wonderful place, and yes, courteous. Best in the USA? Hmmm.
Anyway, congratulations to Savannah for its new lofty place among the courteous crowd.
It remind me of a story newcomers to Georgia might enjoy from Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. It's been said for years that when you meet someone in Metro Atlanta at a social gathering , the first question you hear, but still quite courteously, is something like this. "What line of work are you in?
Motor halfway down the state to Macon, and the question changes considerably. The courtly Macon residents, a little slower perhaps than in Atlanta, eventually bring up a probing question: "What church do you go to?" In Augusta, it's "Where's your family from?"
And finally in Savannah, our first city, the former capitol, the port city with its Coastal Empire, the county seat of what many throughout the rest of Georgia refer to as "the State of Chatham." They, too, bring a question to the visitor from somewhere else. But it's an entirely different question; "What will you have to drink?"
Maybe that's how Savannah won the "most courteous title." For sure, partying goes on and on and on in and around Savannah. Maybe it's the easy and slower life around the many magnificent squares that speak to the early days of Savannah. Maybe it's just because it's more southern, a little more warm, and there's no need to rush around. Maybe it's the wonderful seafood, cooked so many delicious ways. For whatever reason, Savannah has its own distinct charm.
Don't worry about Charleston losing the title (though they probably say temporarily). It's a place like no other, big enough to command attention, chocked full of history and heritage and beauty and the arts. But it is also full of commerce amid the tourism, its many industries and its magnificent rivers. (The city does not mind overstating matters either. They really believe that the Atlantic Ocean starts where the Cooper and Ashley Rivers come together.)
But it's the people of Charleston (and we suspect Savannah) that bring its message of courteousness. They ARE friendly, allowing people to hear about their city, and sometimes even open their hearts to outsiders, though I expect its always dearly earned. Yet this interaction with people is always civil, high-leveled, and usually with a smile.
to Savannah, and to Charleston, too, two cities known for their civility
* * * *
Gwinnett's getting on the map, more and more. For instance, think of all the cities around the nation which have baseball teams in the International League, all of a sudden seeing the name "Gwinnett" in the standings this year!
Maybe that's the first step----recognition---toward Gwinnett County getting even more known in the nation. And, to star-gaze a little, what if, what if someday Gwinnett was known as the most courteous county in the nation"? We can dream, can't we?
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, the Forum:
Isn't it interesting that the Gwinnett commissioners allow 30 minutes for us to speak in the "public hearings" while they take an hour for their "question and answer" session---in which they take no questions? We have to seek out a county employee to answer our questions. The commission chairman demonstrates his contempt for the public by herding us like cattle into a hallway with poor acoustics while the auditorium is empty. Some of our commissioners don't really want to "hear" from us. They will table the motion on tax increase for now, and then do as they please later. If they "listened to the people" they will vote "NO" to a tax increase.
The chairman is lying to us! We don't really "need" that many more police. Here's why.
Chairman Bannister and some other commissioners are trying to flex their muscles to punish the Gwinnett Municipal Association (mayors). The mayors went to the Gwinnett commissioners and said that cities are providing services to city residents, but city residents get no break on the county millage rate, which state law requires cities and counties to share based on services provided.
Bannister reacted harshly and is trying to punish them---just as he punished Commissioner Mike Beaudreau in the March 3 business session. (See the video on www.GwinnettCounty.com.)
So the new tax proposal charges residents of cities a HIGHER millage rate than the residents of unincorporated areas---just so Bannister can prove that he has more muscle than the mayors. (It's petty politics.)
City residents are currently charged the same millage rate as other county residents. The cities not only were refused the requested decrease; instead they are punished with an additional five percent increase above unincorporated Gwinnett. To make it appear legitimate, Bannister has to get an increase on the rest of the county.
Bannister's harsh reaction proposes to provide unwanted police protection to cities rather than give the sharing in millage rate that state law requires. Thus the manufactured "need" for additional police.
Scroll down the Dacula website under "Announcements" for a statement from Mayor Jim Wilbanks regarding this: http://www.daculaga.gov/default.asp.
Mayor urges transparency in county government operations
Editor, the Forum:
press conference on Thursday, Chairman Charles Bannister issued a call
to our county's civic and business leaders to help solve the county's
financial crisis. I trust that his invitation for others to assist the
county is sincere. He can demonstrate that it is by opening the county's
books and releasing the 2009 line item budget. Only then can taxpayers
learn what their taxes are funding and the value of the services provided.
and Algebra will be the featured performers at the June 5 concert at Suwanee's
Town Center Park. This free concert will begin at 7 p.m.
Parking is available at Town Center as well as on Main Street, which is located west of Town Center just across the railroad tracks on Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road. If parking on Main Street, use the new pedestrian tunnel to walk to Town Center
Three Gwinnett manufacturers up for state awards
The first Gwinnett Manufacturer's Appreciation Breakfast is scheduled at Gwinnett Tech's Busbee Center on June 9 at 7:30 a.m. It is sponsored by the Gwinnett Manufacturing and Logistics Council and Gwinnett Technical College.
The Technical College System of Georgia and the Georgia Department of Economic Development developed Manufacturing Appreciation Week to honor top manufacturers in the state, announcing winners at a luncheon. This will mark the 14th year of the awards.
three Gwinnett companies were nominated for these awards. They are:
Local students Rachel Johnson of Dacula, Eric Ekwueme of Snellville, Akil Piggott of Suwanee, and Eboni Vance of Norcross were four of 16 Georgia high school students recognized as Promising Scholars by the University of Georgia's Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities (CURO).
The students, honored for their stellar academic records by CURO, were invited for a two-day campus visit, which included attending the 2009 CURO symposium, where more than 210 UGA undergraduates presented their research projects in April.
Johnson, who is a senior at Central Gwinnett, Ekwueme, who is a senior at South Gwinnett, Piggott, who is a senior at Peachtree Ridge, and Vance, who is a senior at Norcross, have indicated that they will attend UGA this fall with CURO apprenticeships.
The Promising Scholars had the opportunity to interact with current UGA students who participate in CURO's apprentice program-freshmen and sophomores who conduct year-long projects in their fields of interest under the guidance of faculty. The students also attended informal and panel discussions about academics, research and campus life.
The Honors Program's Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities was created to foster a culture of inquiry by providing opportunities for undergraduates to be engaged in research guided and supported by faculty mentors. For more information, visit www.uga.edu/honors/curo.
Gwinnett Tech has new chapter of honor society
Gwinnett Technical College has inducted 142 students into a new chapter of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society recently chartered at the college.
The new inductees were honored at Gwinnett Tech's annual Awards Ceremony. The chapter's first officers will be Randall Litton, president; Pamela Graham, vice president; Dragana Zulfic, treasurer; Erin Harris, recording secretary; and Maria Seabolt, public relations secretary. Gwinnett Tech instructors Gregory Allen, mathematics, and Kelly Spillman, psychology, will serve as advisors for the new Beta Rho Rho Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa. Dr. Brooke Skelton, advisor of the Phi Theta Kappa chapter at Georgia Perimeter College in Dunwoody, served as the headquarters chartering representative.
Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, headquartered in Jackson, Mississippi, is the largest honor society in American higher education with 1,250 chapters on college campuses in all 50 of the United States, Canada, Germany, the Republic of Palau, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, the British Virgin Islands, the United Arab Emirates and U.S. territorial possessions. More than two million students have been inducted since its founding in 1918, with approximately 100,000 students inducted annually.
To receive an invitation to membership in Phi Theta Kappa students must have completed at least 12 hours of coursework that may be applied to an associate degree, must have a grade point average of 3.5; and adhere to the standards of the Society.
Jackson EMC's Mark Zoller wins LEED AP certification
Mark Zoller, commercial/industrial engineer at Jackson Electric Membership Corporation (EMC), has earned the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional (LEED AP) designation after passing the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) examination. LEED is an internationally recognized certification system that measures how well a building or community performs across metrics such as energy savings, water efficiency, CO² emission reduction, indoor air quality, and stewardship of resources. The LEED AP professional designation distinguishes building professionals with the knowledge and skill to successfully steward the LEED certification process.
Zoller joined the staff of Jackson EMC in 2008 and previously worked for Griffith Engineering. He earned his Bachelor's Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology.
novel is a cross between a love for baseball and kids growing up. In this
case, one of the key character, a young teen, is a rabid Boston Red Sox
fan, as was his parents. Lots of his world revolves around the BoSox,
such as answering test questions with detailed information about the Red
Sox when he doesn't exactly know the answer. (You will never forget his
name for the Sox nemesis, Bucky Dent.). This guy finds a "brother,"
who happens to be Asian, as they explain: "We had different fathers."
But in no way are they really related. Their shenanigans involve a deaf
six year old and the daughter of a Mexican diplomat, plus Mary Poppins
in ways that Julie Andrews never expected. The book reminds a person of
a young but more inventive Holden Caulfield. It's a great read."
(Continued from previous edition.)
More on Andrew's Raid: Pursuit began immediately, when three railroad men ran after the locomotive, eventually commandeering a platform car. Two of them, Anthony Murphy and William Fuller, persisted in their chase for the next seven hours and over 87 miles.
First suspecting the train thieves to be Confederate deserters, the pursuers acquired a locomotive at Etowah Station. Aware they were being chased, Andrews's men cut the telegraphy and pried up rails. Murphy and Fuller switched locomotives---they used three that day---picked up more men, and kept up the chase. The train thieves tried to burn the bridge at the Oostanaula River near Resaca, but the pursuers were too close behind, so close that at Tilton the General could take on only a little water and wood. At about 1 p.m. it ran out of steam two miles north of Ringgold, with the Southerners, aboard the Texas, fast upon them. The Confederates rounded up all the raiders. Only eight of the 20 (Andrews among them) were tried as spies and executed in Atlanta. The rest either escaped or were exchanged.
Though it created a sensation at the time, the Andrews Raid had no military effect. General Mitchel's forces captured Huntsville on April 11 but did not move on to Chattanooga. The cut telegraphy and pried rails were quickly repaired. Nevertheless, the train thieves were hailed in the North as heroes. The soldier-raiders received the Medal of Honor; one, Jacob Parrott, was its very first recipient. Neither Andrews nor the other civilian was eligible.
In the postwar years several raiders, notably William Pittenger, published thrilling recollections of their adventures. In Atlanta, William Fuller testily challenged Anthony Murphy over who was in charge of the train pursuit. The escapade made its way into film with Buster Keaton's silent comedy The General (1927) and Disney's The Great Locomotive Chase (1956). That a failed historical footnote should kindle such drama fairly attests to the Civil War's emotional spark.
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