|Issue 9.59 | Friday, Oct. 23, 2009 | Forward to your friends!|
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LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga., Oct. 23, 2009 -- According to an annual study released this week by the nation's leading independent healthcare ratings organization, HealthGrades, Gwinnett Medical Center is ranked among the top five hospitals in Georgia for overall critical care services. Among the hospitals assessed by Healthgrades, the overall quality outcomes and ratings place GMC among the top five percent in the nation for clinical excellence for two consecutive years.
The health system's hospital campuses in both Duluth and Lawrenceville also ranked among the top ten percent in the nation among the 5,000 hospitals HealthGrades annually assesses for patient outcomes - mortality and complication rates
According to the HealthGrades 12th Annual Hospital Quality in America Study(tm) top-rated hospitals had a 52 percent lower mortality rate than the U.S. national average when looking at the patient outcomes of 17 procedures and diagnoses ranging from bypass surgery to treatment for heart attack. When the top-rated hospitals were compared to the poorest performers, there was an even greater difference, 72 percent lower mortality.
Gwinnett Medical Center received high quality outcomes recognition in the following areas:
In its continuing vision to transform healthcare, Gwinnett Medical Center recently received the green light to move forward with developing an open heart program and opened an eight-story, 155-bed patient tower housing more than $13 million of new technology on its Lawrenceville campus. Gwinnett Medical Center - Duluth is also celebrating its three-year anniversary of providing top quality healthcare this month with the addition of Gwinnett's only robotic DaVinci surgical system, to serve several medical specialties. GMC - D ranked in the top one percent of all hospital's nationally (99th percentile) in patient satisfaction for orthopedic diagnoses in ambulatory surgery.
HealthGrades' hospital ratings and awards reflect the track record of patient outcomes at hospitals in the form of mortality and complication rates. HealthGrades rates hospitals independently based on data that hospitals submit to the federal government. No hospital can opt in or out of being rated, and no hospital pays to be rated.
For 28 procedures and treatments, HealthGrades issues star ratings that reflect the mortality and complication rates for each category of care. Hospitals receiving a 5-star rating have mortality or complication rates that are below the national average, to a statistically significant degree. A 3-star rating means the hospital performs as expected. One-star ratings indicate the hospital's mortality or complication rates in that procedure or treatment are statistically higher than average. Because the risk profiles of patient populations at hospitals are not alike, HealthGrades risk-adjusts the data to allow for apples-to-apples comparisons.
on today's HealthGrades study, including the complete methodology, can
be found at www.healthgrades.com.
OCT. 23, 2009 -- An item in the Atlanta Journal and Constitution (AJC) caught my attention the other day. The newspaper, which is obviously on hard times, announced that it would no longer endorse political candidates.
It made me sad. Here was a newspaper, the outgrowth of two fine newspapering institutions, taking itself off center-stage during political times. While I understand why the newspaper took this stance, still it is lamentable.
After all, many old-time newspaper leaders would follow the mantra of some old-time publishers: "Print the news and raise hell." This can include investigative reporting, often called muckraking by those being attacked; and political endorsements, where the newspaper seeks to suggest which of the available candidates would make the best elected officials. After all, a good newspaper has investigated the background and priorities of candidates, and is in a good position to suggest to the public who they think would make the better public official.
Sure, many readers are aghast that a newspaper would "tell them who to vote for." I maintain the newspapers when endorsing candidates, are not doing that. They are suggesting which person, in the opinion of the editors, would make the best official.
As to why the AJC took this move, it's relatively simple. They have so seriously reduced their news staff that they no longer has the manpower to interview all candidates from the Metro area and for statewide offices, to determine for themselves which candidate to suggest to voters. Such interviewing normally takes several staff members up to a month in major statewide primaries and elections.
Yet we maintain that in most races, where the voters really do not know the candidates, that the newspaper endorsement is essential to make sure that the best people are elected. In key state, city and county races, voters know the candidates and the issues. But in the secondary races, such as for public service commissioner, or district attorney, or the many statehouse races, many voters have no clue. The endorsement of newspapers in these lesser races can be far more important than in major races.
You might wonder what others newspapers do about endorsements in the state. We took a simple poll via an email survey the other day, asking Georgia editors if they endorsed candidates in local and presidential elections. We knew that most newspapers do not have the zeal that some have. Many do not want to catch the wrath of the subscribers. Many say that especially in small towns, you can't endorse.
To that, I say "Balderdash!" I have found over the years that readers respect newspapers which have strong beliefs, say what they mean, and endorse candidates. There's nothing wrong in NOT endorsing, if key candidates are all good people. But many times, an endorsement is called for.
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In our informal survey of Georgia newspapers, we got a 33 percent return to our questionnaire. This is good for a quick survey, which we tabulated after one day.
Of the daily newspapers, 39 percent endorse local candidates, and 33 percent endorse in presidential races. For Georgia weekly newspapers, 36 percent of weeklies endorse local candidates, and 26 percent endorse in presidential races. (We didn't ask about statewide races.)
What this says is that many newspaper officials around the state still feel that the newspaper is published not only to inform through its news columns, but has a responsibility to give its views on key issues, such as endorsements. However, it would appear that the trend toward chain-ownership of more newspapers, these days including weeklies, will almost certainly see a decline in old-fashioned endorsements.
As an old-school newsman, we lament that the AJC and other newspapers do not endorse. Oh, well! The First Amendment gives newspapers a right to publish as they see fit.
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.
Comedian Jeff Foxworthy will appear in Gwinnett County at a fundraiser for The House of Joy, a soon-to-open emergency homeless shelter for women and children. Foxworthy will be on stage at the Long Forum of Greater Atlanta Christian School on Thursday, October 29, at 7 p.m. Tickets are $30. Foxworthy will give a performance of his country-laden humor, with proceeds going to the House of Joy.
Also speaking will be Paul E Galanti, a former POW and retired U.S. Navy Commander, who has been featured on the cover of Newsweek magazine.
The House of Joy plans are to provide emergency crisis intervention services and support to individuals and families who are dealing with a host of life challenges such as physical and emotional abuse, housing problems, unemployment, divorce and more. Its founder, Bobbi Pack, says it will provide classes and services that will motivate and empower the women and children to embrace life and enable them to go back to their communities and leave a path of strength and success for others to follow. Currently there is no emergency homeless shelter for Gwinnett residents to go in a crisis situation. Tickets may be purchased on the website at www.houseofjoynorcross.org.
Four-pronged clean-up planned Saturday in Norcross
Norcross residents should mark their calendars for October 24. The city will have four events going on, including a community clean-up, shredding, electronics recycling and a canned food drive, all rain or shine.
For the Clean-up Day, throw out anything that's not a hazardous material in dumpsters located at the Public Works Barn on Lawrenceville Street by City Hall from 8 a.m. to 4.p.m. This is open to City of Norcross residents only. For electronics recycling, items accepted include old cell phones, computers and keyboards, at Norcross Community Center, 10 College Street, from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m.
Last year, the over 120 participants shredded 8,865 lbs of sensitive and confidential records. American Security Shredding will bring two on-site shred truck. After the secure shredding is complete, all materials will become recycled. This will take place at Norcross City from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. The canned food collection is for local food banks. For added information, visit www.norcrossga.net.
Howington bench dedication set Sunday in Norcross park
Another event in Norcross this weekend will be the dedication of a memorial bench in the name of the late Joyce Howington, a former Norcross city council member. She served as a councilwoman from 1997 through 2002. The ceremony will be held Sunday, October 25, at 3 p.m. in Betty Mauldin Park adjacent to the City Hall. Funds for the memorial bench came from friends of Ms. Howington.
Duluth, Buford, Braselton have festivals on weekend
Cities all over Gwinnett are hoping for good weather this Saturday, as several festivals and events are planned.
Historic Strickland House in Duluth will be the site of PoochFest
on Saturday, October 24, from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. This is a celebration
of four-legged friends. There will be free classes and demonstrations
on pet related topics, a children's activity tent, crafters and artists
for holiday shopping, food, entertainment and a Pet Parade at 1 p.m.
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Meanwhile, the same day in Duluth, October 24, on the Town Green will be a Community Fun Day from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. The schedule of events includes an appearance by Ronald McDonald and Chopper (Gwinnett Braves Mascot) at 11 a.m. and at 11:30 the Chick-Fil-A Cow will greet the children. Music will be by Déjà vu on the Festival Stage
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The merchants of downtown Historic Buford are hosting a Fall Festival and Car Show October 24 from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m.
Experience the day filled with antique cars and fun fall festivities. Enjoy model trains, face painting, carriage rides, pumpkin decorating, local honey maker, funnel cakes, a kids' scavenger hunt and more. Local artists will showcase their art in outdoor booths, as well as throughout Buford's art galleries. For additional information about Buford visit www.visitbuford.com.
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in Braselton, more than 50 vendors will showcase antique and holiday wares
in this weekend's. "Antique and Holiday Festival." Antiques,
collectibles, holiday decor and gifts, nursery plants and trees, ironworks,
vintage tools, coins and more will be offered in the town's bi-annual
The possibility of extending Ronald Reagan Parkway to Interstate 85 has surfaced again. Gwinnett County Department of Transportation has launched a website and is inviting individuals to participate in a Citizen's Advisory Group for the Ronald Reagan Parkway Extension project. The idea is to relieve traffic congestion and to improve the accessibility to I-85.
A public meeting on the project is scheduled November 3 from 6-8 p.m. at Berkmar High School in Lilburn. Gwinnett County is working collaboratively with the engineering firm of Skanska to determine if the project is feasible from technical, environmental, financial and public perspectives.
To inform and involve the public, an interactive Web site has just been launched at www.ReaganExtension.com. In addition to providing project information, the site provides a timeline, a listing of team members, and provides the opportunity to submit questions and to join a subscription list for future updates.
Lawrenceville undergrad named as UGA McGill Fellow
Ashley Dronenburg, a senior magazines major, Lawrenceville, is among 12 undergraduate and graduate students who have been named McGill Fellows by the University of Georgia Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.
John F. Greenman, Grady's Carter Professor of Journalism, who chaired the committee, said the Fellows were selected by a faculty committee "for their strengths in academics, practical experience and leadership." They will participate in the upcoming McGill Symposium, which brings together students, faculty and leading journalists to consider what journalistic courage means and how it is exemplified by reporters and editors. The McGill Symposium will be held November 4.
The Fellows Scholars are named for Ralph McGill, who while editor and publisher of The Atlanta Constitution, was regarded as the "conscience of the South." McGill used the newspaper's editorial pages to challenge segregation in the 1950s and 1960s. McGill was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 1958 for "long, courageous and effective leadership."
"A one-word description: 'riveting.' This book by the author of the DaVinci Code is characterized by many short chapters. It holds your interest. Being a Master Mason and past master of my local lodge, I found the book particularly interesting. With a story set in Washington, D.C., Brown brings out the influence that Masons had on the building of our nation's capitol. Many of the Founding Fathers were Masons. I realize it's a novel, and some information is bogus, and must be taken with grain of salt. But watch out for the ending!"
In 1986 on St. Catherines Island off the coast of Georgia, after a methodical 12-year-long search, David Hurst Thomas, an archaeologist from the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, found what remained of the Mission Santa Catalina de Guale on the island. His find confirmed that Spanish missions existed in Georgia nearly two centuries before the Spanish missions in California. His discoveries also verified that Santa Catalina was the first planned settlement by the Spanish in Georgia.
The archaeological digs at the mission site, laid out by the Spanish, exposed the footprints of three kinds of buildings: a church, a friary or living quarters, and a kitchen. Thousands of artifacts were also found, including pottery, food scraps, and imported Spanish bowls, beads, and religious medals.
The project also documented the oldest known church in Georgia, and possibly in the United States. It showed that life at the mission was very different from life in the main Spanish settlements like St. Augustine, since compromises to accommodate Indian beliefs and customs were very important at remote outposts. Also, careful town planning, even at frontier settlements, was as important in the Spanish colony as it was for the English more than a century later.
Thomas's archaeological team also found Native American graves predating the Spanish. Ten burial sites have been dated to 1350 B.C.
In 2004 more than a million objects-known as the St. Catherines Island Foundation and Edward John Noble Foundation Collection-from the digs on the island were moved to the Fernbank Museum of Natural History in Atlanta. The varied artifacts include daub wall fragments and handmade religious medallions, thought to have come from the Vatican. Museum curators plan to assess the objects, evaluate the collection, and develop programs to display and conduct further research on them.
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