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Ga., July 31, 2009 With considerable rain this past spring, Lake
Lanier's residents, visitors and business owners have had a much more
enjoyable summer than in 2008. Though the Corps of Engineers-managed withdrawals
from Buford Dam are back to the amounts prior to the drought, the current
lower levels are mostly due to heat and evaporation, which is typical
for this time of year.
as the summer comes to a close, we must remember that the concern over
Lake Lanier isn't just about the "here and now;" it is about
long-term management that will ensure the lake's health into perpetuity.
That's why the non-profit 1071 Coalition remains focused on its
mission to advocate water releases necessary to maintain optimal levels
at Lake Lanier while meeting the needs of the entire Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint
River (ACF) river basin.
makes the need for science-based, updated management practices of Lake
Lanier more poignant than the July 17 court decision which ruled that
water supply is an illegal use of the lake. U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson
gave the states involved in the ongoing water wars---Alabama, Florida
and Georgia---three years to come to a resolution or risk drastic cuts
to Metro Atlanta's water supply.
Members of the 1071 Coalition are concerned about the ruling. Its executive committee has been conferring with leaders throughout the region over the last several weeks. Kit Dunlap, vice president of the coalition and president of the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce and I participated in a stakeholders meeting in July with Governor Sonny Perdue.
started discussions of a strategy towards a resolution to the ruling and
was attended by more than 100 local and state elected officials, business
leaders, and senior staff from several state agencies. We applaud that
Governor Perdue has asked Mike Garrett, chief executive officer of Georgia
Power, to lead, in his words, a "multi-pronged impact team."
meeting, the governor emphasized that the threat to metro Atlanta is a
threat to all of Georgia. He says he is resolved to use his influence
and the appropriate state resources to protect Georgia's interests in
the ACF river system.
The ruling makes the 1071 Coalition's immediate objective, to determine and convey the impact Lake Lanier has on the region, even more critical. With preliminary results by early October, the coalition-commissioned economic impact study will equip us and all Lake Lanier stakeholders with data supporting the fact that Lake Lanier is not just about recreation or even water supply. The study is looking at the economic consequences of businesses and residents that depend on Lake Lanier, but also its regional impact.
to Ken Bleakly, the lead consultant conducting the study, "there
will be a very significant story to tell regarding the number of industries
involved with Lake Lanier and the financial and economic impact those
industries have on the entire north Georgia region."We are concerned
about our lake, and realize we must work together to communicate its importance
as we remain involved in the state's effort to seek a resolution in the
water wars. We need to think bigger than our immediate needs.
need to maintain a watchful eye on the lake levels, but we believe that
there is enough water to satisfy all users of the ACF river basin - if
it is managed properly. Hopefully a responsible, science-based update
of the Corps' Water Control Manual will be one positive consequence of
our current struggle.
JULY 31, 2009 You might be surprised at the salaries that city governments pay their highest elected officials in Gwinnett County.
some of the salaries of the cities stunned us in two ways.
mayors of Gwinnett make between $5,000 and $10,000, there are two cities
where the mayors draw a "double digit" salary. Auburn pays Mayor
Linda Blechinger $18,000 annually, while Suwanee Mayor Dave Williams'
salary is $15,000. Auburn officials serve a little differently from other
cities, in that the mayor has a four year term; her council members have
two year terms.
members have four year terms, though two cities, Loganville and Norcross,
have two year terms and plan referendums on four year terms this fall.
Grayson and Lawrenceville also have two year terms.
more surprising: three cities do not compensate their elected officials
at all: Buford, Grayson and Rest Haven. All allow these officials reimbursement
for city business when out of town.
Gwinnett city council members draw salaries usually just a little under
what the mayor makes, if they have salaries at all.
Meanwhile, as a comparison, the Gwinnett County Commission pays its full-time chairman $62,587.10 annually while district county commissioners make between $30,470 to $32,462 annually. (Percentage pay raises account for the odd figures.)
Of course, no matter what the pay, anyone who has been in office, or even been around city and county politics, knows that, as one mayor told us, "If you count up the hours we put in, we are probably not drawing minimum wage." These guys and gals all serve because they want to be of help to their communities. In effect, they "take a lot of abuse", including telephone calls at all time of day or night, in their positions. Yet most of them return to qualify to run for office time and time again.
* * * * * *
we generally have good, honest officials in Gwinnett. We know for sure
that Gwinnett has had far better government than some of our neighboring
cities and counties, since some area governments have had officials charged
and convicted routinely.
corruption scandal in another state, New Jersey, shows the depth that
crooked politics goes. New Jersey has the type of reputation that no government
wants. Read a comment from the July 27 New York Times, about overall
corruption in New Jersey:
* * * * *
reputation such as New Jersey has is not what citizens of any area want.
Yet it can happen if the people of an area are not alert to what's going
on around them.
yearn for good government. Unfortunately, sometimes bad government arrives
almost before you can realize it.
The public spiritedness of our sponsors allows us to bring GwinnettForum.com to you at no cost to readers. Today's sponsor is First National Insurance, located at 1689 Duluth Highway, Lawrenceville. The firm, with roots going back to its founding in 1995, offers multi-lines in insurance and financial services, including auto, home, recreational, commercial and group benefits programs. It is the representative of several old-line insurance companies, including Travelers, Hartford, Auto-owners, Allied, Blue Cross-Blue Shield and Zurich firms. Call First National Insurance at 770 513-2264. Check out our web site at www.fnins.net.
Nathan Deal, a 2010 candidate for Georgia governor, and Gwinnett District
Attorney Danny Porter will be the featured speakers at the Gwinnett
GOP breakfast this Saturday, August 1, Chairman Chuck Efstration says.
will be at 8 a.m. at the Sweet Tomatoes restaurant at 3505 Mall Boulevard
in Duluth, across from Gwinnett Place Mall. For more information visit
or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Georgia DOT proposes more Highway 20 four-laning
Department of Transportation will hold a public hearing on a proposed
widening of Georgia Highway 20 from Samples Road in Forsyth County to
Peachtree Industrial Boulevard in Gwinnett County. The project proposes
construction of a four lane divided highway including a new bridge over
the Chattahoochee River. The open house is scheduled at 4 p.m. Thursday,
August 6, in the Sugar Hill Community Center located at 1166 Church Street.
Georgia DOT engineers will be available to discuss the proposed project.
There will be no formal presentation.
Snellville fall soccer program needs more youth coaches
Parks and Recreation Department is winding down registration for its fall
youth soccer season for ages 4-18. Late registration are being accepted
on a space-available basis now. Children must turn 4 before August 1,
2009 to be eligible to play this fall or next spring. A birth certificate
is required for all new players.
Coaches are needed to continue accepting fall registrations for the Under 6, Under 8, and Under 10 age groups.
if enough coaches do not volunteer to coach, such leagues will not be
held.. Cyndee Bonacci, Snellville Parks and Recreation director, says:
"We never want to tell a child they can't play because we don't have
enough coaches." We rely on these volunteers in the community to
make our program successful."
Certification courses and training opportunities are offered for all volunteer coaches. A background check is required for volunteer consideration. For further information, please contact Robert Smith at 770-985-3535 or email@example.com. Visit www.snellville.org for more details.
of Georgia has awarded the Ramsey Honors Scholarship, one of the university's
premier academic awards, to incoming first-year students Glenn Ryan Branscomb
and Yiran Peng, who are both from Lilburn. Both are graduates of Parkview
High. Only six UGA freshmen are to receive the scholarships.
is the son of John and Lisette Branscomb. Peng is the daughter of Zhiping
Peng and Yuhuan Wang.
created by the UGA Foundation trustees in 2000, are named in honor of
the university's most generous individual benefactor, Bernard Ramsey.
A 1937 graduate of UGA's Terry College of Business, Ramsey served as chairman
of the board of Merrill Lynch for a number of years.
provides additional merit-based aid to the recipients as they pursue their
degrees while enrolled in UGA's academically rigorous Honors Program.
In-state students receive an annual stipend of $4,500 along with the HOPE
Scholarship. Out-of-state students receive an annual $7,200 award and
out-of-state tuition waivers. Students in the program also are each eligible
for a $3,000 travel-study grant for additional educational opportunities
such as study abroad or international public service programs related
to the students' academic and/or professional goals.
To head Gwinnett Village Community Alliance
Pastrana is the new executive director of the Gwinnett Village Community
Alliance (GCVA). The GCVA works in tandem with the Gwinnett Village
Community Improvement District to foster collaborative programs that benefit
the area's schools, residents and businesses. The organization received
résumés from more than 90 professionals before making their
chairman of GVCA says: "The GVCA was created to increase the human
capital of the Gwinnett Village area. We feel that with Ms. Pastrana's
leadership and resourcefulness, GVCA will accomplish great things for
the community.Ms. Pastrana is charged with overseeing is the development
of a one-stop Financial Services Center in Gwinnett Village. The center
will offer educational and technical assistance services to residents
and small businesses, arming them with the financial tools and acumen
to foster a strong economic climate within the Village.
joining the GVCA, Pastrana spent five years as managing director of programs
and development for the Latin American Association. Ms. Pastrana was responsible
for securing a location for the Latin American Association in Norcross
and was instrumental in developing a summer academic enrichment programs
for students of schools in Gwinnett, DeKalb and Cobb counties.
Hill teacher included in four-county, UGA study
school teachers from Clarke, Barrow, Gwinnett and Rockdale counties and
four University of Georgia education researchers will collaborate in a
teacher inquiry community this fall to develop ways to help students engage
will conduct an in-depth study focusing on how members teach disenfranchised
students and the impact of social justice teaching. Members of the group
are teacher consultants from the Red Clay Writing Project, a collaboration
of UGA faculty and local K-12 teachers who work to help schools improve
the teaching of writing. The initiative is funded by a $4,500 grant from
the National Writing Project.
College of Education faculty members JoBeth Allen and Bob Fecho, of the department of language and literacy education, and Stephanie Jones, of the department of elementary and social studies education, will lead the program. Christopher
a doctoral student in children's literature, will assist.
Raphael Moses, who pioneered the commercial growing of peaches in
Georgia, was chief supply officer for Confederate general James Longstreet,
and ended up carrying out the last order of the Confederacy.
born on January 20, 1812, in Charleston, S.C. A fifth-generation South
Carolinian, Moses and his wife, Eliza, moved to Columbus, where he was
a lawyer, planter, and owner of a plantation.
Moses helped initiate the marketing of plums and peaches in the state
and is reputed to have been the first planter successfully to ship and
sell peaches outside of the South. In his history of antebellum Georgia,
James C. Bonner credits Moses with being the first to succeed in preserving
the flavor of shipped peaches, by packing them in champagne baskets instead
of in pulverized charcoal.
responsible for feeding and supplying up to 54,000 Confederate troops
and personnel, and his actions contrasted sharply with the Union policy
of looting and burning homes, farms, and entire cities full of defenseless
civilians. Moses had been forbidden by Lee to enter private homes in search
of supplies during raids into Union territory.
the last meeting of the Confederate government, at the Bank of the State
of Georgia (later the Heard House), in Washington in Wilkes County on
May 5, 1865. It was there that he carried out the Confederacy's last order.
Moses was ordered by Confederate president Jefferson Davis to take possession
of $40,000 in gold and silver bullion from the Confederate treasury and
deliver it to help feed and supply the defeated soldiers straggling home
after the war-weary, hungry, often sick, shoeless, and in tattered uniforms.
With a small group of determined armed guards, Moses successfully carried
out his duty, despite repeated attempts by mobs to take the bullion forcibly.
After the war Moses was elected to the state House of Representatives, becoming chairman of its judiciary committee. When he died on October 13, 1893, on a trip to Brussels, Belgium, his calling card still read, "Major Raphael J. Moses, CSA." He was buried at Esquiline, his old plantation, now a family cemetery in Columbus.
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