|Issue 9.44| Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2009 | Forward to your friends!|
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GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga., Sept. 1, 2009 -- I have been a subscriber to GwinnettForum for a while now and enjoy reading it. I try to keep updated with what's going on in Gwinnett County. It's important to stay informed.
I have some comments that your readers may be interested in. Allow me to quote from an article earlier this year.
"In an effort to save local school systems money across the state, the Georgia State Board of Education granted districts permission to increase class size by up to two at the elementary and middle school levels for the 2009-2010 school year. Class size limits statewide will increase to 20 students at the kindergarten level, 21 students for grades 1-3, and 30 students for grades 4-8. High school core classes remain capped at 32 students. It is hoped that the increase will give districts the flexibility to forgo hiring new teachers to replace those departing or retiring, thereby saving as much as $200 million in education spending." Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution (1/8/09).
Another article: "The Board also approved Gwinnett County Schools' flexibility contract, allowing the district to determine optimal class sizes, teacher pay scales, and how to apply state funds. In return, Gwinnett promises greater student performance. The district will also be monitored annually by the Governor's Office of State Achievement and reviewed by the State Board of Education. Those schools that do not meet their accountability goals by the end of the contract period will be converted to charter schools." Sources: Atlanta Journal-Constitution (1/8/09).
Gwinnett County is the state's largest district with nearly 158,000 students. It employs about 12,350 teachers and support staff. So, I guess that means when you're the largest school district in Georgia you get your own flexibility contract from the state.
What does that mean for our teachers and children? Well my wife is a teacher at the new Archer High School in Lawrenceville, right by the Tribble Mill Park. She is currently teaching five classes and has over 200 students. Yep, that's right. She's averaging about 40 students per class and she can only dream of having the state's cap of 32. How in the world is Gwinnett County going to promise greater student performance with those numbers?
My oldest son is a sophomore in school. His Chemistry class with around 35 classmates is in a trailer. How do they fit those kids in there?
Surely you know about Sonny Perdue's bill to recruit more math and science teachers. Why's he doing this? Because there's a shortage of teachers. So, are they actually hiring more teachers or are they overloading the ones that they already have?
Would you stay in this career if your employer overloaded you like this? Seriously my wife works from the time she gets up until she goes to bed and on weekends too. It wasn't like this when she had less than 32 per class.
I believe that we need to raise a little stink with the Gwinnett County Board of Education and get them to do something about these class sizes. If anyone has a child in the Gwinnett County Public Schools and their class sizes are overloaded then they need to speak up and let the Board of Education hear it. It's absolutely ridiculous.
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SEPT. 1, 2009 -- It's ironic that Ted Kennedy was such a champion of the underdog. This privileged youngest son of a tremendously-wealthy family grew up pretty much the playboy, wanting nothing, carousing and playing, and not really finding his causes until later in life.
Yet he emerged not only as a champion of underdogs and the less fortunate, but also a person who could work with those with whom he had different views, and do it with good cheer, often without credit.
We met Ted Kennedy on May 4, 1974, when he came to the University of Georgia to deliver the Law Day lecture. Prior to the talk, several media people were invited to spend time with him.
He was about three years older than I, but seemed far more mature. His dress was most formal, like someone older: traditional dark blue suit, formal tie, and "old man" black wing-tips. He seemed out of place and uncomfortable, and would be much more at home on Wall Street, or some blue-blood function, rather than discussing issues (again very formally) in Athens, Ga.
His Law Day talk was direct and typical Kennedy: keeping the pressure on the Watergate story, talking about freedoms of the Constitution and how they had been violated by Watergate, and trying to build confidence in a violated Justice Department. All his remarks were very much aimed at making Republicans uncomfortable. Ted Kennedy didn't hold back.
The student newspaper quoted him directly: "In recent years we have passed through an era of profound abuse of freedom's basic principles. It is not too much to say at this point that America is emerging now from the most dangerous attack on our liberties and free institutions of our history."
Kennedy's far-reaching legislation changed lives of people in this nation
in major ways. Among them:
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As we read stories on Ted Kennedy's life, some items popped up of which we were unaware:
Who would have thought?
Edward Moore (Ted) Kennedy: 1932-2009: may you rest in peace.
The public spiritedness of our sponsors allows us to bring GwinnettForum.com to you at no cost to readers. The Gwinnett Village Community Improvement District was formed in mid-2006, and is a self taxing revitalization district that includes over 525 commercial property owners with a property value of over $1 billion dollars. Gwinnett Village CID includes the southwestern part of Gwinnett County including properties along Jimmy Carter Boulevard, Buford Highway, Indian Trail, Beaver Ruin, and Singleton Road. Gwinnett Village is the third CID to be created in Gwinnett County and is the largest of all 13 CID's in the state. Gwinnett Village's mission is to improve property values through increased security, a decrease in traffic congestion, and general improvements to the curb appeal of the area. For more information visit www.gwinnettvillage.com or call 770-449-6515.
Editor, the Forum:
It was a modern day miracle, an unbelievable story of the multiplying of loaves and fish! I'm referring to our Book Bag Bonanza and faithfulness. The Wednesday before our event, we barely had 300 book bags to pass out to our local students starting the new school year. Just three days later, on Saturday morning, we distributed 733 BOOK BAGS, Halleluiah!
The community's generosity is overwhelming! Each time I thought we must have no book bags left, more appeared! So much so, we even had a few left over and were able to give them to deserving students unable to attend the event.
"Thank You" just doesn't seem adequate. Perhaps it's best said in the 733 smiles we received in return.
does Congress justify pay and virtually ignore VA?
Editor, the Forum:
This is an open letter to Senators Saxby Chambliss, Johnny Isakson and Congressman John Linder.
Gwinnett County property tax bills for 2009 have been mailed, after being upheld by the county commission not setting a permanent millage rate. Payment installment dates are October 15 and November 15.
Gwinnett County Tax Commissioner Katherine Meyer says that the mailed bills are temporary bills. The temporary tax bills were required because a final millage rate had not been set by the County Board of Commissioners. Property owners must pay their temporary tax bills in full by November 15 to avoid interest and penalty charges. Once the final millage rate has been set, a re-billing may occur. Any difference in the temporary and the final millage rate may result in additional charges or refunds to property owners.
Homeowners across Georgia may see an increase in their 2009 tax bills unrelated to the County millage rate. Since 1999, the Georgia General Assembly and the Governor have provided a credit on property tax bills called the Homeowners Tax Relief Grant (HTRG). In recent years, that credit resulted in an $84 - $272 reduction to property tax bills Because of financial strains on the state budget, the Georgia General Assembly and the Governor did not fund this credit for 2009 property tax bills. While the HTRG credit may someday be reinstated by the General Assembly, it is not expected to be considered again until state revenues increase significantly. As a result, tax bills may increase accordingly.
Fall Festival on weekend at Vietnamese Martyrs' Church
Gwinnettians are invited to a Fall Festival to benefit the Holy Vietnamese Martyrs' Mission Catholic Church on the Labor Day weekend. The Festival will be on Friday, September 4, starting at 6 p.m.; on Saturday, September 5, and Sunday, September 6, both beginning at 11 a.m. The church is located near Interstate 85 at Timmers Way.
Proceeds will go toward expanding the mission, including language and religious programs, and a proposed Senior Activity Center.
Among activities will be entertainment by Vietnamese musical icons, a harvest moon lantern show; karaoke contest; and games for children of all ages. There will also be traditional Vietnamese delicacies, such as fall festival rolls, seven-color sweet pudding, autumn harvest cake and Asian kabobs of all kind. There will also be a raffle with prizes such as a 2009 Lexus ES350, two round-trip airline tickets to the Far East; and a 50 inch plasma high definition television; and an Apple Macbook. For more information, contact C.C. Nguyen by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
YesVideo, a leader in digital video publishing technology, has sealed the deal with Georgia Quick Start, finalizing a partnership agreement for the 300 jobs it plans to bring to Georgia and Gwinnett over the next three years.
program already underway in YesVideo's 30,000 square foot site on Oakbrook
Parkway facility, Quick Start has developed a fully customized training
program for YesVideo's initial hires and will continue to provide training
support as the company grows. Already, over 70 employees have been trained
in just six months. Gwinnett Technical College is a third partner in the
training, and will provide ongoing workforce development support to YesVideo
The Callaway family has changed the face of Georgia by building and operating textile mills, developing and maintaining gardens, and supporting cultural, humanitarian, and religious projects. Callaway family members founded what became Callaway Mills in 1900 and operated them until 1968. They established Callaway Gardens in 1952 and remain active in its management. The family has also given millions of dollars to a wide variety of projects through the Callaway Foundation and the Fuller E. Callaway Foundation.
Members of the Callaway family have lived in west Georgia since the mid-19th century. Fuller Earle Callaway (1870-1928) was born in Troup County. His mother died when he was eight years old. At age ten, Fuller received a nickel for bringing water to men at a barn raising. The next day, he walked eight miles into LaGrange.
After realizing that the nickel would not buy the boots he wanted, he chose three spools of thread and went back to the country. He soon found three housewives who paid five cents a spool, and he thereby made a dime on his first commercial transaction.
Young Fuller continued to peddle and to farm his own tract of land. His formal education was limited to about a year in public schools in Troup County. At age 18, he opened a five-and-ten-cents store with $500 he had saved. He later opened four other stores and entered the wholesale business. In 1895 Callaway invested in LaGrange's first modern textile mill. Dixie Mills opened with local fanfare and New England management; nonetheless, the mill began to struggle financially within a couple of years. Other investors convinced Fuller to take over management. They threw out the secondhand equipment and brought the mill onto solid economic footing. After Fuller got his money back, he decided to leave the textile industry.
Soon, however, the lure of the industry called again, and townspeople, including Fuller, invested in a new project. Unity Mills shipped its first cotton in 1901. Fuller served as secretary-treasurer of the company, a position he would hold in other mill projects as well. Between 1900 and 1920, Fuller and others opened several mills located within 100 miles of LaGrange.
Fuller stressed the importance of the social and educational development of employees as well as their economic well-being. However, Fuller did not open company stores that would have competed with existing businesses. Fuller also established a variety of businesses, including banks, warehouses, and an insurance company. He was president of the American Cotton Manufacturers Association. He also served as a railroad commissioner of Georgia from 1907 to 1909 and was appointed by U.S. president Woodrow Wilson to the Conference on Industrial Relations in 1919.
Fuller said that one of his greatest accomplishments was marrying Ida Jane Cason of Jewell in 1891. They met while she attended Southern Female College in LaGrange and after their marriage lived frugally on what Fuller termed "cash street rather than mortgage street." Between 1914 and 1916, he engaged architect Neel Reid to design their home on Vernon Road in LaGrange. The Italian style of the home complemented the gardens that Sarah Coleman Ferrell had planted on the site beginning in 1841. Fuller and his wife had two sons, Cason Jewell Callaway and Fuller Earle Callaway Jr.
(To be continued)
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>> SPECIAL NOTICE TO GWINNETT
Those interested in the history of Gwinnett need to know that the recently published book: Gwinnett: A Little Above Atlanta, has sold fast, with the first editions about sold out. There are less than 50 books remaining unsold. If you want the book for yourself, or to buy for a present for someone this year, you need to take action. Go to www.elliottbrack.com to order, or buy the book at a local bookstore shown on the site.
(In full disclosure, the book is authored by the publisher of this Forum, and this notice is intended not so much to hawk, but to inform, those who have delayed purchase. -eeb)
The books are available at these sites:
This is just the way the cookie crumbles
"You can't be a smart cookie with a crummy attitude."
MORE RECENT COMMENTARY
ON THE BOOKSHELF
Here are some other good reads that you might want to consider reading:
FOR CHARITY. You can give "A Gift of Laughter," a great book of cartoons by Bill McLemore, to help raise money for Rainbow Village. At just $20, it's a fun way to help. To order, call 770 840 1003, or 770 446 3800, or email to email@example.com.
We encourage you to check out our sister publications:
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