|Issue 9.67 | Friday, Nov. 20, 2009 | Forward to your friends!|
HOLIDAY SHOW: Aurora Theatre begins its 14th annual Christmas Canteen musical on November 27 which continues until December 20. Among the cast in the upcoming performance will be, from left, Justin McGough, Kenya Hamilton, Jevares Myrick, Brandon O'Dell, Stacey Stone and Natasha Drena. For schedule and tickets, call 678 226 6222 or visit www.auroratheatre.com. (Photo Credit Aurora Theatre.)
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BUFORD, Ga., Nov. 20, 2009 -- People often think that life has to be one way or another: black or white. Sinner or saint. Technical or creative. Left or right.
reality, we all live in muted shades of gray.
This past week a group of orthopedic doctors and nurses went to Chinandega, Nicaragua to change lives, not only those of the poor, but the lives of those who went. We performed 41 surgeries, 71 outpatient procedures and 151 patient consults in a week.
People's lives were altered: an eight year old Cerebral Palsy child will walk for the first time in his life, enabling his mom to better care for him. A 40 year old woman's fractured arm, that never healed properly (after years) will be whole again, enabling her to work again and provide for her family.
And the doctors and nurses are changed. We come home to our country with a sense of gratitude. For as much as the talk radio would tell you, we have it good here. And we are blessed beyond measure.
Amigos for Christ helps these things -- concrete and solid life transformations -- happen for all who are involved. But it also does more.
I am an artist. It has taken me years to be able to say these words. I adore art and I feel happiest when I get to create something that makes people smile. A few years ago I was asked to paint a mural on the side of a club house for a school. Shy about my abilities, I almost refused. But the people of Amigos encouraged me, and I tackled the task, and am now hooked.
I have since painted five large murals on schools, health posts and libraries, in Nicaragua. The confidence I gained spurred me to open a studio in the Tannery Row Artist Colony in Buford, where I paint part time. Amigos for Christ recognizes that beauty can help the soul, and encourages artists like me to volunteer their abilities to give this gift to the rural people of Nicaragua.
Life is often a dichotomy. Artist and nurse. Volunteer and worker. One foot in this word and one in the next. Amigos realizes that all can serve. That has made many lives richer, those of the patients from last week, and the medical team from Maine, Colorado and Georgia, including my own.
And for this I am grateful.
NOV. 20, 2009 -- What do you want for your child's education? Should it be excellent, good, adequate or minimum?
As a parent, or grandparent, we suspect that you want today's child to get a solid education. Even if you don't have children of your own, you want the children around you to have through education the best chance possible to become intelligent, good and productive citizens to compete in the modern world.
Unfortunately, Georgia hasn't always advanced education to that point. In fact, pointing back to 1949, Georgia established a "Minimum Foundation Program" for education, and felt good about it. Politicians across the state bragged that Georgia was taking this big step to improve education with what they referred to as the MFPE plan. (I remember those talks about "MFPE".)
But consider: all you want is a minimum program for education? You don't want more than that? Adequate isn't enough, obviously. How about "excellent" program for education?
So far, Georgia hasn't taken this step toward excellence.
The Georgia Minimum Foundation Program codified and established the requirement of the 180 day school year. But think about it: students in other countries often go to school far more days than do US students. In Japan, they even attend school six days a week, for a total of 243 days a year. Germany has from 240-266 school days, and South Korea requires 220. Israel sets 216 days, the Soviet Union 211, and The Netherlands, Scotland and Thailand require 200. (For a list of other counties school day requirements, click here.)
Chinese children enter primary school at seven years of age for six days a week. The two-semester school year consists of 9.5 months, with vacation in July and August. That's about 220 days.
These days, with the state being short of funds during the economic downturn, there is even talk of reducing school days. The funds-engendered furlough days also do not help matters.
Georgia needs, for its future and especially for its children, is a sure-fire
effort not just to raise the minimum standard levels, but an ongoing and
determined decision to make Georgia's educational system as good as, or
even better, than those in other nations. We owe this to our children.
This education for the future needs to address not only student achievement as an outcome, but also to establish new best practices to introduce kindergarteners to learning, so that they may do far better than today's students.
By improving the educational achievement for students of tomorrow, the state will be making a sound investment which will pay handsomely for Georgia.
Our state has set a national standard, from the administration of former Governor Zell Miller, with the HOPE college program. Now we must turn to the entire public educational system, especially at the K-12 level, to make the Georgia system the envy of the nation.
To continue to fund a "minimum program" is a foray into an eventual disaster. By taking the bold and forward steps to adopt an "Excellent" program, Georgia will well serve its future.
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.
We write in response to Louise Stewart's posting Has concerns for great apes, such as Wenka, now at Yerkes in GwinnettForum on October 16 and Charlie Allen's response. We represent Project R&R: Release and Restitution for Chimpanzees in U.S. Laboratories. Several of our supporters, including one of this letter's signatories, worked at and cared for Wenka at both the main center and field station of Yerkes.
First, we would like to clarify the difference between Yerkes' main center in Atlanta- - a laboratory which houses chimpanzees used in biomedical research -- and their field station in Lawrenceville, which houses chimpanzees assigned to behavioral research. It is true that chimpanzees at the field station (as opposed to the main center) are not confined to small cages and have greater outdoor access. However, from first-hand accounts, we can assure you that whether a chimpanzee resides at the field station or main center, it is an unnatural, stressful life in which they have no choices. Living at the field station is not a guarantee of a good life or exemption from being separated from your group and taken to the main center for biomedical research , or being shipped to another lab, never to see your family/friends again.
Such was the case with twins Hunter and Lyons, who for 21 years lived together until the day they were darted with anesthesia and woke up alone. Lyons, who suffered from a kidney condition, was sent to Chimp Haven, the government run sanctuary. Hunter was sent to Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research, where he died less than two years later. Lyons died five months after the brother he had known all his life died.
Dover, born at the field station, was taken from his family at around age 9 and sent to the main center to have invasive research done on him. Though it was a temporary separation, he didn't know that. Months later, while being transported back to the field station, he died of heat stroke in the back of the van.
Here is what we know about Wenka: She was taken at birth and put into darkness for the first 18 months of her life for a vision experiment. She was then sold as a pet until she was returned to the lab at age three. It is believed that she had six children, all of whom she had taken from her. She was used in alcohol and oral contraceptive studies, and likely others. Despite this history, and the fact that Wenka at age 55 is the oldest known chimpanzee held in a U.S. lab, Yerkes won't release her to sanctuary and instead has assigned her to aging and cognition studies. Such studies can be carried out non-invasively on humans without harm to them and with more valid and far reaching results for all of us.
While we believe that laboratory confinement and use is unacceptable for all chimpanzees, Wenka is running out of time. She deserves immediate retirement to sanctuary, and Yerkes has the power to make this happen.
The majority of Americans support efforts to release Wenka and all chimpanzees who have languished in U.S. labs for decades. For more information, visit www.releasechimps.org.
A special-purpose Grand Jury has been empanelled to study land acquisition in recent actions by the Gwinnett County Commission.
Maydel Masselli-Monter is foreperson of the special jury, while Will C. Aarleton-Warrick III is vice foreperson. Janice Nancy McCloskey is clerk and Oliver Bojarski is deputy clerk.
Other persons serving on this special Grand Jury include Emily D. Chesser, William K. Conklin Jr., Randall Cunico, Art Cuthbert, Tamara L. Delk, Dawn Fischer, Sandra Franklin, Kenneth Gauthier, Joseph Gentry, Brian Green, Sally Gustafson, Latonya Holt, Robert Johnston, Carole de la Cruz Jones, Ronald D. Miller, Holly Shelnutt, Randy Sneed, David Charles Steffes and Joseph Yeager.
The appointment of a special grand jury came after Porter said that the regular grand jury did not think it had the time to investigate the wealth of paperwork involved in the land deals.
Trial Jurors are selected from public lists. At one time, Grand Jurors were "experienced jurors." However, after a court ruling, today grand jurors are randomly selected from the overall trial juror roll. The trial juror list is composed of people from the voter registration list, driver's license holders and other lists of public records.
Lawrenceville tree lighting will be on Thanksgiving night
Gwinnett County Parks and Recreation, the City of Lawrenceville, and the Lawrenceville Tourism and Trade Association work to bring hundreds of lights and thousands of smiling faces together for a night of entertainment and cheer on the 21st Annual Lighting of the Tree on Thanksgiving night, November 26.
Enjoy this traditional outdoor festival beginning with holiday entertainment in the gazebo by the 'Class Act Band', trolley rides, dancers, other performances; and of course, Santa's big arrival. Located on the grounds of the Gwinnett Historic Courthouse (185 Crogan Street), the event will be held from 5:30 until 8:30 p.m. For more information, call 678-226-2639.
Suwanee teen safe driving program to be Dec. 5
Suwanee parents can give their teens the gift of safe driving a bit early this holiday season.
The City of Suwanee will offer Georgia Teens Ride with PRIDE (Parents Reducing Injuries and Driver Error), in cooperation with the Georgia Traffic Injury Prevention Institute, from 2-4 p.m. Saturday, December 5, at the Suwanee Crossroads Center, 323 Buford Highway. The two-hour program is designed to help parents model safe driving behaviors and attitudes in order for their new teen drivers to be more secure and confident behind the wheel.
Class space is limited and advanced registration is required. A parent is required to accompany participating teens. To download an application, visit the Hot Links section at www.suwanee.com or contact Officer. Elias Casanas at email@example.com or 770/945-8995. Deadline is November 25.
There will soon be a new Ivy Creek Greenway access trail from Buford Drive/Georgia Highway 20 near the Mall of Georgia.
2.7-mile long greenway trail starts at the Gwinnett Environmental and
Heritage Center and ends near Gravel Springs Road. The 12-foot wide asphalt
multi-purpose trail will be 960 feet long, running roughly parallel to
the Interstate-85 southbound exit ramp.
Walton EMC offering up to 22 college scholarships
If you're looking for money for college and you're a Walton EMC customer-owner, you could be in luck. Walton EMC has scholarships available to both high school seniors/incoming college freshmen and United States veterans whose primary residence is served by Walton EMC.
Up to 22 scholarships of $2,500 each will be awarded during the 2009-2010 school year. Applications are available at area high schools and online at www.waltonemc.com. They must be received by February 19, 2010.
Graduating seniors and veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces looking to further their education at an accredited college, university or technical school may apply for a Walton EMC - Operation Round Up scholarship. Applicants must demonstrate a dedication to community, a commitment to academics, a strong work ethic and extracurricular involvement.
Funds for the Walton EMC - Operation Round Up scholarship were donated by Walton EMC as a result of a law which allows EMCs to donate unclaimed refunds toward community uses.
Ann Sechrist is Georgia Work-Ready Administrator of the Year
Governor Sonny Perdue and the Governor's Office of Workforce Development have selected Ann Sechrist, director of economic development, Gwinnett Technical College, as a Georgia Work Ready Administrator of the Year.
Sechrist leads Gwinnett Tech's Work Ready program with Gwinnett businesses and employers and is instrumental in expanding the Work Ready initiative throughout the county.
Sharon Bartels, president, Gwinnett Tech, says: "Ann has been invaluable in bringing the Work Ready program to both Gwinnett job seekers and employers - helping job seekers earn a competitive edge in the marketplace and helping employers find and hire the best qualified candidates for their jobs. She brings great insight into workforce development and a passion for education and training to every aspect of her role." Sechrist was honored at the second annual Work Ready Awards luncheon last week.
Kelly McCutchen Is new President-CEO of GPPF Board
Kelly McCutchen, executive vice president of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, has been named Foundation President and Chief Executive Officer of the Foundation's Board of Trustees.
McCutchen, a native of Ellijay, and a graduate of Georgia Tech, was previously an Assistant Vice President in the Trust Department of Trust Company Bank in Atlanta before joining the Georgia Public Policy Foundation in 1993.
McCutchen replaces Rogers Wade, who originated the GPPF and is to become chairman of the board. Wade, a founding member of Leadership Georgia, was a senior partner in the public affairs firm of Edington, Wade and Associates before joining the Georgia Public Policy Foundation.
Georgia offers a diverse group of living history museums, which are museums that offer a three-dimensional pilgrimage into a particular historical era. Since Colonial Williamsburg in Va. opened to the public in the 1930s, living history museums have become a popular and effective means to both educate and entertain the public. Buildings, artifacts, demonstrations, and hands-on activities, along with the assistance of costumed interpreters, combine to re-create for visitors the experience of a historical moment. Although all living history museums operate under a similar premise, each museum presents its own theory of how to bring the past to life.
The first living history museum, Skansen, appeared in Sweden in 1891 and served as the archetype for those that later appeared in the United States. During the 1930s, American philanthropists John D. Rockefeller and Henry Ford used their prestige and wealth to preserve, reconstruct, and/or relocate historic buildings for both Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia and Greenfield Village in Michigan. The success of these two museums helped set the standard for heritage tourism today.
Soon after World War II, curators took living history a step further by advancing the idea of living historical farms. With agriculture modernizing at a rapid pace in the early twentieth century, the purpose of such museums was to preserve disappearing farming methods and to promote the values associated with rural life. The movement grew over the next few decades, and in 1970 the Association for Living History, Farm and Agricultural Museums was formed.
During the 1960s and 1970s, historical scholarship began to focus on the lives of average people, a development that both encouraged and drew from the growing popularity of living history museums. Visitors to living history museums in previous decades witnessed only the lives of those at the top rungs of the social ladder. Colonial Williamsburg, for instance, focused on such prominent men as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and the royal governors. Since the 1970s, however, living history museums have striven to illuminate the lives of not only affluent citizens but also ordinary farmers, merchants, servants, and in the case of antebellum museums, slaves.
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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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