|Issue 9.58 | Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2009 | Forward to your friends!|
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NORCROSS, Ga., Oct. 20, 2009 -- In 2003, the United Peachtree Corners Civic Association (UPCCA) partnered with Technology Park/Atlanta to develop a beautification program for Peachtree Parkway. This main thoroughfare through Peachtree Corners was designated as the Paul Duke Parkway in 1999 by the Georgia Department of Transportation and serves as a vital corridor to the county as it connects Interstate 285 to Georgia Highway 400.
The UPCCA Board decided that the twice a year mowing by Georgia Department of Transportation was not in keeping with the image desired by the residents of Peachtree Corners. Thus, the Peachtree Parkway Improvement Project (PPIP) was born out of visual necessity. As part of PPIP, a gateway monument sign (honoring Paul Duke) announcing Peachtree Corners was installed in 2008. It is located on the acreage at the "split," where Peachtree Parkway veers off from northbound Peachtree Industrial Boulevard and welcomes all who enter the Peachtree Corners Community. The maintenance of this triangle piece of property is also included in our program.
The property owners along the parkway have generously provided the majority of the funding for the project, which includes 17 medians, the gateway sign parcel, the access road shoulder from Woodhill Drive to Jaybird Alley, and the triangle area at Medlock Bridge on ramp to Peachtree Parkway. However, the current economic downturn has made it necessary to turn to the entire community to make this program successful. Our annual contract costs are $28,380, which include weekly mowing, trimming and trash pick-up. This also includes fertilizing three times a year. It became necessary this year to delete the medians located on Peachtree Corners Circle from Peachtree Parkway to Medlock Bridge which would have added an additional $2,760 per year.
Since our invoices were mailed in January we have, just recently, been able to meet the initial contract with the help of our entire Peachtree Corners community. We have been advised by experts to add an additional fall fertilization to improve the turf and prevent weed germination in the spring at a cost of $1,683. We are working on meeting that goal and possibly being able to add back the Peachtree Corners Circle medians as well.
As you can see, it is a "huge financial commitment" for UPCCA to undertake this task. All administrative costs are absorbed by UPCCA and serviced by dedicated volunteers from our community. We began a Peachtree Parkway Partner Program this year that provides a static window cling given to every donor with a minimum donation of $10. This has helped to fill some of the gap left by businesses cutting back because of the poor economy. If you would like to purchase a PPP Static Window Cling please mail your check payable to UPCCA, P.O. Box 922324, Norcross, Ga. 30010-2324.
We will continue our commitment to maintain the Parkway by mowing and trimming with weekly trash pickup to show the pride we have in our Peachtree Corners Community.
OCT. 20, 2009 -- If you think the current crunch in the Gwinnett County government's operational budget is something that will eventually impact all of us, you are wrong. It is already impacting us, perhaps more than you recognize.
Oh, sure, some decisions that are being made may affect us more next year than in this year's county budget. But then we are already seeing some consequences of the tight budget this year. You need look no father than the medians of many four lane roads in the county, as the maintenance of these roadways has been seriously cut back, and the grass and weeds grow taller. (Be careful: this can curtail your vision, so it becomes a safety concern, too.)
Law-abiding citizens may not recognize it, but the budget tightening also impacts the Gwinnett County Police Department. In effect, to stay within its budget, the county police has moved some of its officers from other duties back to the regular patrols to stay at full strength.
For instance, the department has transferred those in the Crime Prevention, Quality of Life and Parks units back to precinct duty to maintain its authorized strength of 687 officers. (In its proposed budget, the department was hoping to achieve 734 sworn officers, but budget cutbacks plus retirements forced the reduction.) It is supported by 310 non-sworn personnel, currently 290 on staff.
In effect, the police now concentrate on their number one priority, that is to maintain civil order. But in the meantime, it has lost its pro-active stance of having sworn officers on duty in these allied services. That included switching the 12 sworn officers on Quality of Life duty to precincts, while keeping the 13 non-sworn employees in this unit. Likewise, sworn officers in both the Parks and Crime Prevention units now are on precinct patrol duties. A police spokesman said that the Department "re-organized and restructured to take care of priorities. We concentrated to putting officers back on the road."
Other areas where the county government has significantly re-structured includes the county no longer paying for crossing guards at the schools. The guards are still present, though their payment now comes from the Board of Education. (This is in effect, for the School Board, something like an unfunded mandate, in that for the sake of the safety of children, the crossing guards are sorely needed. But now, payment comes out of the schools, not the county government, budget.)
Another way the county government has reduced their budget is also directed at schools: the county no longer provides support for the Community Schools Program. This is one of the more successful programs in the nation, as adults meet at 17 county high schools to take all sorts of improvement courses. At one time, the Parks Department paid 60 percent of the cost of each community schools director, approximately $900,000 a year, which it paid through June 30, 2009. No longer.
People attending the community schools enroll in various classes, such as credit recovery, driver's education, staff development, foreign languages, fine arts, nutrition, health, etc.. Though the community schools program is aimed at adults in Gwinnett, the entire budget must now be supported by the Board of Education. The shift in funding causes additional problems for the School Board, since it wants to continue this popular program.
Note, please, that we have not even mentioned one of the key quality-of-life issues, the under-funding of the Gwinnett Public Library!
The various changes and reductions cited here are the tip of the iceberg in Gwinnett's budget crunch. You will be seeing, and feeling, additional reductions, it appears, in the near future.
The public spiritedness of our sponsors allows us to bring GwinnettForum.com to you at no cost to readers. Today's featured sponsor is Mingledorff's, an air conditioning distributor of the Carrier Air Conditioning Company. Mingledorff's corporate office is located at 6675 Jones Mill Court in Norcross Ga. and is proud to be a sponsor of the Gwinnett Forum. With 32 locations in Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Florida, Mississippi and South Carolina, Mingledorff's is the convenient local source with a complete line for the quality heating, ventilating, air conditioning, and refrigeration parts and supplies you need to service and install HVAC/R equipment. Product lines include Carrier, Bryant, Payne, Totaline and Aeroseal. For all of your HVAC needs, and information on the products Mingledorff's sells, visit www.mingledorffs.com and www.carrier.com.
The head of the planning organization for the 10-county, 68-city region, Atlanta Regional Commission Charles "Chick" Krautler, will speak October 21 to the general membership meeting of the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce at the 1818 Club.
directs regional planning programs in the areas of transportation, air
quality, the environment, land use, water supply and quality, as well
as aging services and workforce development.
is expected to present thoughts on how infrastructure is critical to the
long-range viability of the region. In addition, he will discuss ways
that the ARC is working to assure that water supply, water quality, and
transportation systems are in place to meet the region's demands.
Gwinnett Village Services Center opens Thursday afternoon
Area residents are invited to join the Gwinnett Village Community Alliance and United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta to mark the Grand Opening of the Gwinnett Village Financial Services Center. The opening is scheduled from 1-3 .m. Thursday, October 22 at the new Gwinnett Village offices at 5855 Jimmy Carter Boulevard.
The Center offers programs aimed at assisting Gwinnett Village residents, entrepreneurs and business owners with financial stability, career connections, employment and homeownership, says Letycia Pastrana, executive director of the Gwinnett Village Community Alliance.
Workshops and classes will be offered on various topics ranging from Career Options to Financial Fitness to Starting a Small Business and more. Services offered at the Center can help people find a way to a brighter financial future.
Grayson tamale chili cook-off to be held Oct. 24
If you think you have the best chili recipe in town, then come to the fifth Annual Hot Tamale Chili Cook-Off in Grayson City Park on October 24. There will be chili tastings from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. Chili judging will take place around 2:30 p.m. Prizes will be awarded to winners.
who don't cook and want to be a taste tester, there will be plenty to
sample. They won't go home hungry! For $5 you can taste all the chili
you can handle. Children 5 and under are free!
Gwinnett Tech plans horticulture sale Oct. 21-22
Right at the peak of the fall planting season, Gwinnett Technical College's Horticulture program is hosting its annual Fall Plant Sale, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., on Wednesday and Thursday, October 21-22 at the Gwinnett Tech Greenhouse, adjacent to Building 600 on campus.
Aaron Poulsen, Horticulture Program director, says: "It's the perfect time for fall planting and we have some great options for our community gardeners to consider. We always have a strong community response to the sale and we enjoy the chance to showcase the outstanding work of our students."
Plants in the sale will include: Pee Wee Hydrangea, Chuck Hayes Gardenia, Pansies, Snapdragons, Ornamental Kale, Ornamental Grasses and many other varieties.
The newest board member of Rainbow Village is a person many in Duluth know -- she's the mayor. But though she is new to the board, Nancy Harris isn't new to Rainbow Village itself.
When she was the principal at B.B. Harris Elementary, which many Rainbow Village children attended, she learned about the organization. Last year she presided at the council meeting in which the rezoning of Rainbow Village property was accomplished.
Mayor Harris' involvement in the world of non-profits goes back to the days when she witnessed her father, once the superintendent of schools in Gwinnett, help people. She has followed in his footsteps, while blazing her own trails.
Village is a 1-2 year transitional housing program for homeless families
with children, serving north metro Atlanta. In operation since 1991, Rainbow
Village provides comprehensive support to homeless families. For more
information, visit www.rainbowvillage.org.
Flowery Branch is located in Hall County on the shores of Lake Lanier in northeast Georgia, just north of Gwinnett County. The town, incorporated in 1903. According to the 2000 U.S. census, the population of Flowery Branch was 1,806.
Once the site of an early Indian trading post, Flowery Branch was originally called Anaguluskee, a Cherokee word that translates as "flowers on the branch [stream]." A few white settlers lived in the area before 1874, the year the town was officially founded as a railroad stop on the newly completed Atlanta to Charlotte, North Carolina, section of the Atlanta and Richmond Air Line (later Norfolk Southern).
The town became the center of the northeast Georgia cotton market, and as it grew, it attracted new businesses, including the furniture and leather industries. By the turn of the 20th century, the town's most prosperous years, thousands of bales of cotton and crates full of locally manufactured furniture were shipped annually from the Flowery Branch Depot. The decline of the cotton market in the 1920s signaled the end of the town's importance in the region, and Flowery Branch went into a period of decline. The town's fortunes began shifting around the turn of the millennium.
In 1985 Flowery Branch's Main Street was listed on the national and state registers for historic places, due to its many 19th-century and early 20th-century buildings, including the historic train depot. The depot was rehabilitated through federal and city funding and is now used as a community center, welcome center, and museum.
In the 1970s Wrigley, the chewing-gum manufacturer, located a plant in Flowery Branch and is still a major provider of jobs in the region. In 2004 the Atlanta Falcons football team announced that it would move its training facility to Flowery Branch, where the team is headquartered. A $20 million training campus was completed in time for the 2005 training season. Notable residents have included the National Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Phil Niekro and the self-taught artist Carlton Garrett, whose work is displayed in the High Museum of Art.
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"We are at the very beginning of time for the human race. It is not unreasonable that we grapple with problems. But there are tens of thousands of years in the future. Our responsibility is to do what we can, learn what we can, improve the solutions, and pass them on."
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. Get yours before they're gone. Go to www.elliottbrack.com to order, or buy the book at a local bookstore shown on the site.
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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 770-497-1888, or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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