|Issue 9.60 | Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2009 | Forward to your friends!|
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NORCROSS, Ga., Oct. 27,2009 -- Chris Campos sells machines that count dollar bills. When he shows his machines, he anticipates that his clients will have an international accent.
Sadly, many people view immigration as a rising problem. In reality, the facts show that immigrants have overcome this stereotype by successfully contributing to the United States' economy, though this is not well understood by the public. According to Census 2000, immigrants constitute 12.5 percent of the total population of U.S. business owners. Immigrant-owned businesses represent 11.6 percent of all U.S. business income, with the majority of immigrants from Mexico. The total income generated by immigrants is about $67 million dollars and will continue to rise in the future.
are about 30 percent more likely to start a new business than non-immigrants.
Immigrants are responsible for $67 billion out of the $577 billion dollars
the United States brings in annually.
There are good reasons why selling to Hispanic businesses can be successful. On average, Hispanics have an estimated buying power of $452 billion. Half of the disposable income of Latinos is being spent at independent Latino businesses.
business owners make noticeable contributions to the U.S. economy in several
different industries. Immigrants contribute 15.9 percent to wholesale
trade, and is increasing yearly. Retail and wholesale trade accounted
for 35.9 percent of Hispanic-owned business revenue. There are about 29,168
Hispanic-owned businesses that obtain receipts of one million dollars
de Comerciantes is bridging the gap between Latino small businesses and
the whole supply chain in the United States. However, even with all of
this opportunity, many businesses and organizations do not know how to
reach the Latino demographic and businesses. Latino businesses generally
buy only from familiar relations and trusted sources. Small Latino businesses
seldom attend networking events and are unaware of formal networking methods.
OCT. 27, 2009 -- It appears that Gwinnett County will "bite the bullet" with increased county taxes for 2009, if county commissioners increase the budget on Dec. 1. Their proposal would raise $31.2 million in overall operational revenue, and require up to a $300 tax increase for most residential homeowners. A second tax bill would go out on March 15, 2010 to property owners.
We applaud the current proposal, to allow the county to continue services and improve services. In effect, the county is catching up from tight budgets in recent years with no tax increases.
Nearly half of the increase would go for public safety and fire services, a whopping $10.4 million to police, and $5.3 million to the Fire Department.
Other services getting major infusion of money would include:
The new proposal would return the service levels of many departments to what they had been before curtailment of services were announced earlier this year. For instance, it would restore funds to keep libraries open more, and also fund the operations of a new Hamilton Mill Branch Library, scheduled to open in 2010.
A total of 58 new police officers is called for in the new proposal, as well as the opening and staffing of three new fire stations.
All these features will require an additional 2.28 mill tax increase. County officials say that it means a tax increase of $160 for 63 per cent of county homeowners whose residences are assessed at $200,000 or less. Another 30 per cent, those with homes with assessed values of up to $350,000, would find their taxes jumping by $300 annually.
Three public hearings are scheduled concerning the tax increase. Two meetings are scheduled on November 23, at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. A third meeting will be at 7 p.m. on December 1. The commission is to consider the proposal following the December 1 meeting in a special called session.
The additional 2009 tax, if approved, is expected to be collected in the spring of 2010. Notices will be mailed to property owners on March 15, 2010 with their supplemental tax bills.
Interestingly, by that time the county commission will then be working on its 2010 budget, which would be expected to be as high as the overall 2009 final tax bill. Even the 2010 bill might need to have further tax increases, if the total tax digest (the value of all property in the county) does not meet the 2009 value.
What it means is that Gwinnett citizens, sliding through previous years with no tax increase, can expect to pay these higher property taxes in the near future.
In addition, the voter climate for taxes may cause problems for an anticipated SPLOST vote in the future. If Gwinnett wants to continue to fund major infrastructure improvements through sales tax funds, with a flat or slightly increasing tax digest, it must find a way to pay for the operations of new facilities in some novel way, or else a further tax hike can be expected.
Get used to it: the era of low property taxes in Gwinnett seems to be in the past.
The public spiritedness of our sponsors allows us to bring GwinnettForum.com to you at no cost to readers. Today's underwriter is The Gwinnett Center, home to three distinct facilities in Duluth: The Arena at Gwinnett Center, Convention Center and Performing Arts Center. The Arena at Gwinnett Center has had six years of tremendous success hosting countless concerts, community and sporting events, which includes being home to the ECHL hockey team, the Gwinnett Gladiators. Some past shows from the 2008-09 season includes American Idol, The Cure, Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood, Kanye West, New Kids on the Block, SEC Gymnastics Championship, So You Think You Can Dance and Van Halen. The Convention Center offers patrons the opportunity to host or attend a wide variety of events; from corporate meetings to trade shows, to social occasions. The Performing Arts Center has an intimate capacity of 700 guests, which is home to many local events, family shows and even the occasional comedic performer. For further information visit www.gwinnettcenter.com.
also implies that the Yerkes Primate Research Center Field Station near
Lawrenceville is an animal experimentation laboratory where Chimpanzees
"live a nightmare, injected with drugs, infected with diseases they
would never contract, and subjected to painful experiments. When not strapped
down, they live in tiny cages with nothing to distract them from fear,
boredom, and loneliness." While I have no direct knowledge of the
conditions and activities at the main Yerkes Primate Research Center facility
on the Emory University campus, I do know that none of this is true of
the Field Station near Lawrenceville.
adopting soldier overseas to cheer them up
Editor, the Forum:
Tears came to my eyes recently when a close relative shared with me that when he was overseas in the Army that he only received two letters - EVER - over a period of three years from his family, and he came from a good home. I just could not understand how a young man in the service could not get mail (letters, packages, something) from moms, dads and siblings. I asked him why, and he just shrugged and said, "Out of sight, out of mind."
It seems that there are many of our young people out there right now serving in the Iraq war that do not get very much mail and we have a way to brighten their days. There is a non-profit organization called "Hugs for Our Soldiers" (www.hugsforoursoldiers.org) where we can adopt a soldier. We can do this as an individual, a family or a group. We are matched up with a soldier who has also signed up with this organization and asked to be adopted. We send cards or notes (hopefully at least every two weeks) and a package of goodies about once a month.
How neat to have this opportunity! My husband and I just signed up and recently received the information on our "adopted soldier." His home town is Athens, Ga. and maybe one day, we'll even get to meet him. But for now, we're just excited to be able to write to him and send him some "care packages."
We understand that there are about 50 soldiers from Fort Benning (men and women) that were just deployed to Iraq and have requested to be adopted. The mission of the group is to support the troops serving overseas by providing a touch of home. God Bless these fine folks who are serving our country.
Sees non-alcoholic venue for dress up Halloween party
Editor, the Forum:
many young adults living in Gwinnett County, who are under 21 and over
the age of 18 that still live at home and go to college. Some, such as
my daughter, don't drink alcohol and would love to find a safe place to
Utility relocation on U.S. Highway 78 means that one lane of the road will be closed for about two weeks, the Georgia Department of Transportation reports.
The outside westbound lane of the road will be closed frorm Knollwood Drive to Georgia Highway 124 for this period. An unknown utility main was found in the footprint of the highway. The utility line will be moved while construction is underway. The overall $31 million widening project is on schedule for its Nov. 31, 2009 completion date, weather permitting.
Atlanta History Center open free for Day of Dead exhibition
On November 1 from noon to 5 p.m., admission to the Atlanta History Center's 33 acre Buckhead campus will be free, as the museum offers Atlanta's largest annual Day of the Dead celebration and exhibition, Through the Lens of MundoHispanico: Georgia's Hispanic Community.
This free day of cultural exploration begins with smiling faces, swirling brilliant colors, storytelling, elaborately decorated altars, and authentic Mexican food, music, and performances. Visitors of all ages can learn about this ancient festival rooted in Mexican heritage which serves as a way for families to remember their deceased loved ones while celebrating their children and the continuity of life. Presented in collaboration with the Instituto de Mexico and the Mexican Consulate with support by Fulton County Arts Council, this festival draws nearly 2,500 guests every year.
a highlight of the festival will be the elaborately decorated altars showcased
in the Grand Overlook Ballroom. Visitors enjoy observing these displays
and learning more about the tradition by speaking with the people who
have created them.
Special-needs Halloween program set at Parkwood Farms
If you are a parent of a child with special needs such as autism, you know how difficult it can be to participate in holiday events. All the noise, extra stimulation, and the temptation of treats forbidden by dietary restrictions can be too much to manage and many times parents just have to forgo such activities. Halloween can be an especially tricky time of year, and many parents choose to shield their child who may not understand the blood, gore, and deathly images around this holiday.
These are the reasons that Aid4Autism founder Tia Severino came up with the idea of a sensory friendly, safe, non-scary Halloween Party at Parkwood Farms, a fundraiser event to benefit the Parkwood Farms Therapy Center. It will feature therapeutic riding and many additional services for children with autism spectrum disorder and other special needs. Proceeds will benefit Parkwood Farms, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization.
A Safe Halloween at Parkwood Farms" will be held on Saturday, October 31, from 3 until 6 p.m., at 2519 Parkwood Rd, Snellville. Parkwood Farms is dedicated to enriching the lives of physically, emotionally, and mentally challenged children and adults by offering a spectrum of therapeutic services in one, safe, and loving environment.
Kingdom Now Ministries plan festival on Halloween
Church supporters of Kingdom Now Ministries, located at 1805 Shackleford Court, Norcross, will host its First Community Festival on Saturday, October 31 from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m.
This event will allow a safe and friendly environment where friends and families of all denominations, races, and cultures can come together and have fun, fellowship, and increase the sense of belonging to the neighborhood. The event will be for all ages and will include live entertainment, ministry showcase, youth showcase, dance, mime, games, face-painting, balloons, give-a-ways, food, candy and fun, fun, fun!
Bishop Jerry F. Hutchins has been a pastor for over 22 years. Kingdom Now, "A church with a Kingdom Focus," was launched in November 2008 and now serves the greater Gwinnett community.
On October 27, the 1071 Coalition will hold its second annual meeting. Keynote speaker will be Harold Reheis, former Georgia Environmental Protection Department director. Reheis is expected to discuss Georgia's response to U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson's decision that water supply is an illegal use of Lake Lanier. Meeting attendees will also hear about progress made by the 1071 Coalition since it launched just over a year ago. The meeting will be at the Legacy Lodge and Conference Center on Lake Lanier Islands.
The 1071 Coalition is currently conducting two surveys. The information and data collected from these surveys will be important to determine the economic impact of Lake Lanier and its changing levels on the region.
and Gwinnett Federal Credit unions announce merger
Community Federal Credit Union Board recently agreed to merge with Gwinnett
Federal Credit Union of Lawrenceville. The merger will provide Clarke
Community members with access to Gwinnett Federal's full range of financial
products and will give Gwinnett Federal a presence in Clarke County.
Boutwell, president of Gwinnett Federal, says that "The merger of
our two credit unions demonstrates a shared commitment and vision on the
part of both Boards to grow and remain highly competitive in today's financial
marketplace. There will be no layoffs", Boutwell said, "and
Clarke Community will retain its name, operating as a division of Gwinnett
Gwinnett Federal Credit Union has $148 million in assets and serves 27,000 members in a five county area. Operating as a not-for-profit financial cooperative owned by its members and operated with the purpose of promoting thrift through convenient, competitive savings opportunities and providing low cost loans to our members. For more information about Gwinnett Federal Credit Union, visit www.gwinnettfcu.org.
NAMAR new Web site focuses on avoiding foreclosure
Millions of American families are struggling to keep their homes and not sure where to go for help. The Northeast Atlanta Metro Association of Realtors (NAMAR) wants to help those homeowners learn how to avoid foreclosure and keep their home, and have launched www.UnnecessaryForeclosure.com to do so.
site offers a list of nonprofit organizations dedicated to helping consumers
avoid foreclosure, warning signs of predatory lenders and information
on mortgages that could lead to trouble for homeowners. Detailed information
on short sales and the short sale process and the tax implications of
foreclosure is also available. Among the most useful pieces of information
on the site is a list of common solutions that can be reached with a lender,
such as repayment or loan modification. The site also offers references
for consumers, which includes a series of informational brochures to educate
homeowners and consumers on today's mortgage options. Lastly, the site
provides information on how a Realtor can help. Realtors are in the business
of homeownership, and can offer invaluable guidance and options for a
homeowner in need.
year a board of judges awards the Townsend
Prize for Fiction to an outstanding novel or short-story collection
published by a Georgia writer during the past two years. The award is
named for Jim Townsend, the founding editor of Atlanta magazine, the associate
editor of Atlanta Weekly Magazine (of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution),
and an early mentor to Atlanta writers.
The prize was conceived by a group of Atlanta writers in 1981. From 1981 to 1997 Georgia State University sponsored the award. In 1997 Georgia Perimeter College and the Chattahoochee Review assumed sponsorship. In 2000 the Margaret Mitchell House and Museum and Atlanta magazine became additional sponsors.
The Townsend Prize consists of a $2,000 award and a silver tray of commemoration. On the occasion of the award's presentation to Ha Jin in 2002, the Chattahoochee Review editor Lawrence Hetrick explained that the prize is intended to recognize two accomplishments by a writer: "First, we're looking for excellence and originality in language. Second, we're looking for human insight."
The prize has served an important role in encouraging and promoting Georgia writers. Philip Lee Williams, who received the award in 1986, explains its importance to him: "Winning the Townsend Prize was extremely important for my career because it brought me to the forefront of Georgia media as a writer. . . . The day I won the award is still one of the happiest days of my professional life because my parents and wife were there for the award and because the novel for which I won it, The Heart of a Distant Forest, was my first book." Mary Hood, the 1988 winner of the prize, describes it as "a harvest celebration of the whole state's writing, not just the winner's. This is fertile ground, and there is much to celebrate."
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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.
The books are available at:
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