|Issue 9.68 | Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2009 | Forward to your friends!|
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BRASELTON, Ga., Nov. 25, 2009 -- On November 16, I stood with thousands of others and watched the Space Shuttle (STS-129) blast into space from a launching pad at Cape Kennedy.
My wife and I had been invited down to view the launch by a distant relative, Capt. Barry "Butch" Wilmore, USN and pilot of the shuttle. I met Butch last spring at a family wedding in East Tennessee. I discovered he had cut his teeth flying off the flight deck of the USS John F Kennedy, which I also spent 11 months on in 1971. After a sterling career as a pilot, Butch was selected by NASA to spend the past five years preparing to fly the space shuttle. I was honored to get to know him and amazed at how unassuming he is considering his accomplishments.
When I said I had always wanted to see a launch, Butch took my card and said he'd invite me. Six weeks ago the invitation arrived, leading to my standing there last week as the shuttle ascended. The weather was chamber of commerce-perfect; we were surrounded by people of all races, ages and origins; and we were all breathless with anticipation as the countdown began on the launching pad, which we could see clearly across the three miles of water separating us.
When the rocket (actually the shuttle and two booster rockets all attached to an orange, blimp-sized tank of highly volatile fuel) finally ignited, the entire pad was consumed by an enormous cloud of smoke.
My first reaction? "My god, it exploded!", which of course, it had not. Within moments I could see the orange tip of the fuel tank and then the rest of the shuttle rising gradually from the smoke on a massive cushion of white-hot flames. Then I could begin to hear the continuous, rolling, cracking, thunder of the huge jet engines as the spacecraft rose. In that moment between seeing and then hearing the shuttle, the crowd around us rose as one and cheered wildly, in relief as well as jubilance.
Our eyes followed the spacecraft as far as we could, until it finally disappeared after a minute or so. The announcer continued to provide narrative as the booster rockets and then the fuel tank were discarded and the rocket gained speed, eventually reaching over 15,000 miles per hour. After five minutes or so he announced that the shuttle had passed "negative return", the point out over the Atlantic beyond which it could not return.
Later, as I collected my thoughts I realized this experience had touched me in three distinct ways, sensually, patriotically and spiritually. What a visual, physical and aural spectacle! And what a brave group of men and women this country has produced to travel in such a dynamic vehicle.
and most assuredly, God had to give man the intellect and thirst for knowledge
to conceive, create and launch such a massive, complex and beautiful instrument
of learning. As I stood there I realized for the first time in a long
time that no matter what our challenges, this country has also passed
the point of "negative return" and cannot, must not turn back
from its successful destination.
NOV. 25, 2009 -- You could not write a credible brief account of the life of Lt. Col.( ret) John Adams of Norcross. He did so much!
Norcross lost a distinguished and accomplished citizen with the passing of Colonel Adams on November 4 at age 89. He was a native of Norcross, who pitched a perfect baseball game as an Atlanta Cracker, joined the Air Force after the start of World War II, served for 31 years in the military, then spent a productive retirement in service to his native city and county.
He lived just outside Norcross on Reps Miller Road on an eight acre plot planted with eight varieties of muscadines. Those driving down North Peachtree Street may have seen in the fall a large battered home-made sign pointing toward his home with an arrow, with only one word: "Grapes."
Tall, rangy and affable, John Adams completed military pilot training after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. He was one of the last surviving three-war veterans, having been in World War II, the Korean Conflict and in Vietnam. His Air Force service would prove to be his life calling, as he remained a military pilot for 31 years, including 15 years as a flight instructor. He piloted some 20 different airplanes, from student trainers to jets. For his service piloting B-29s in Alaska as a member of the Arctic Aerial Expeditionary Force, mapping the arctic areas, he was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal by President Dwight Eisenhower.
Yet his service was much broader, serving in other military assignments in Turkey, North Africa, Okinawa, Nicaragua, Beirut, Panama and Japan. In Nicaragua, where he was chief of the Air Force mission, that country's president presented him with the Distinguished Service Medal, their highest award to a non-citizen of that country.
Once retired, John Adams never seemed to stay still. He was active in many various aspect of the community, whether it was the Norcross Baseball Museum; three times co-chairing the American Cancer Society with his wife, Martha; serving for eight years as a trustee of the Lake Lanier Regional Library System; director and past president of the Norcross Lions Club; a member of the board of trustees of the Norcross Woman's Club (can you believe it?); and he was a teacher of the Senior Bible Class at Norcross First Baptist Church since 1987. He was also a founder and director of First Security Bank, among his other activities.
For his many accomplishments, the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce named him as a winner of their Public Service Award in 1987.
All the while, for nearly 40 years, he and his wife spent time tending their grape vines, since it was something they could do together. It is one of the largest private vineyards in Georgia, and with its location within Metro Atlanta, ought to fetch a good price, with its mature and gnarled vines, which are most productive.
He is survived by two sons, Ronald Adams of Cumming and John Adams Jr. of Orlando, Fla.; four grandchildren; and one great-grandchild. He is buried besides his wife in H.G. Wright Cemetery in Norcross.
John Alfred Adams, 1919-2009: May you rest in peace.
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rest areas I've seen (and I've seen them in 42 states) have invariably
been cleaner than those in private establishments. I am totally opposed
to privatizing any service or facility that is currently public and feel
that some services should be de-privatized. (Trash pick-up comes to mind.
It has become far more expensive since privatization.)
To think vet school gave UGA VII clean bill of health!
Editor, the Forum:
We are all saddened by the untimely death of UGA VII yesterday. But given the kind of season it has been, maybe we should have anticipated something like this. To make matters worse, you may have read where UGA VII was recently given a clean bill of health by our vet school. Maybe things are worse than we imagined!
As with any loss, human, football or mascots, we must move ahead. Go DAWGS! Beat Georgia Tech and win one for UGA VII! After all, it worked for the Gipper!
many Georgia classrooms are still back in 1960s
Editor, the Forum:
agree with you more in your comments on education (date).
U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Georgia) is slated to give the keynote address to Georgia Gwinnett College students who graduate in December. Forty students are expected to receive their diplomas following the fall 2009 semester. The commencement ceremony will be December 19 at 1 p.m. in the atrium of Building B.
Winter Commencement 2009 will mark the college's fourth graduation ceremony since its doors opened in 2006. The college was accredited in June by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). Following the December commencement, GGC will then have more than 125 graduates.
Senator Isakson has been involved in Georgia politics for 35 years, serving 17 years as a member of the Georgia General Assembly in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. In a special election in 1999, he succeeded House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Georgia) for his congressional seat, and five years later was elected to the U.S. Senate, following the retirement of U.S. Sen. Zell Miller.
14th annual Christmas Canteen opens on Nov. 27
Theatre will brighten the holiday season with its original musical extravaganza
Christmas Canteen 2009. This living Christmas card is filled with
music that will evoke holiday memories for every generation. It is Gwinnett
County's longest running theatrical holiday tradition.
Christmas Canteen 2009 opens on November 27 and continues on Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m. each week, plus Saturday and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. There will also be a performance on December 2 at 10 a.m. and December 16 at both 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. A special performance is set at 8 p.m. on November 25. Tickets are $14-$30. For tickets, call 678.226.6222 or visit www.auroratheatre.com.
Graduate student studio showcase presents work Dec. 1
Graduate students in the learning, design and technology program at the University of Georgia Gwinnett Campus will present a Studio Showcase highlighting their multimedia projects at 5:30 p.m. on December 1. The showcase will be held in room 165 of the UGA Gwinnett Campus, located at 2530 Sever Road in Lawrenceville. The public is welcome and encouraged to attend.
For more information about the instructional design and development graduate degree offered at the UGA Gwinnett Campus, click here for more or call Lloyd Rieber at 706/542-3986.
commissioners approved two agreements with the Georgia Department of Transportation
to start planning automated traffic management systems (ATMS) for sections
of Georgia Highway 20 and Pleasant Hill Road. The cameras and remote controls
will give Gwinnett's new Traffic Management Center real-time control of
traffic signals along the busy arterials.
Duluth lands Medical Business Service with 120 jobs
Medical Business Service (MBS) Inc., one of the largest privately owned leaders in patient billing services for hospital-based physicians, is relocating to Duluth from DeKalb County and the state of Florida. To locate at 2905 Koger Boulevard, it will house over 120 employees, and will hire a significant number of local residents, adding to 20 existing employees from the previous DeKalb County location.
MBS provides revenue cycle management services to several hundred radiologists across 10 states. Although the company's corporate headquarters remain in Miami, Fla. where the company was founded nearly 50 years ago, their operations will be centered locally in Gwinnett County , says Bing Herald, MBS president.
Braselton DDA seeks entries for logo design
Deadline to design a logo for the Braselton Downtown Development Authority is 5 p.m., December 17, 2009 The winning design will appear on all materials printed for this Authority. This could include letterhead, business cards, posters, advertising, banners and T-shirts. The person designing the winning logo will be paid $500.
Logo guidelines include:
Electronic submission required. Electronic submissions must be in PDF or JPG format. Those interested should contact the Development office at 706-654-5720 or email email@example.com.
Suwanee Outback proprietor offering lunch to seniors
On Thanksgiving Day, Yanis Latsis of Outback Steakhouse in Suwanee and Gwinnett Senior Services are inviting area seniors and grand families - grandparents raising grandchildren -- for a Thanksgiving Day feast at the restaurant located at 145 Gwinco Boulevard in Suwanee from 10 a.m. until noon.
Outback proprietor Yanis Latsis says: "This first started with a few of my staff having neither families in the area nor any special holiday plans. We just came together to spend the holidays. It has become a tradition for the staff, my brother, and I. Instead of cooking just one turkey, why not more?" Now this is the second annual Thanksgiving feast at Outback Steakhouse in Suwanee.
Amazingly in these tough economic times, Latsis is doing this on his own! He came up through the ranks at Outback. Yanis emphasizes that "Outbackers" (his staff) are "people who can make a difference. They live and breathe the Outback corporate culture, which is based on taking care of people." He adds that the Outback motto stresses "putting people first and everything matters." Latsis can relate to the daily living challenges of seniors based on the struggle he and his family faced after emigrating from Latvia as religious refugees.
Yanis Latsis has been the proprietor of Outback Steakhouse in Suwanee since 2007. He is committed to preserving the restaurant's community outreach traditions. He started with the franchise in Lilburn right out of high school as a dishwasher. Four-plus years later, Latsis moved to the Suwanee Outback location and was promoted to Opening Kitchen Manager. During this period, the Outback at Work Charity Lunch legacy with Gwinnett Senior Services began. Latsis fondly recalls the first year when the Outbackers volunteered their time to prepare and packaged hundreds of "sizzlin' off the barbie" meals to help support seniors that they had never met.
Latsis takes pride that he has been able to be part of the Outback at Work fundraising events from the beginning, giving back to the community to help provide meals to seniors. This special annual event has generated more than $90,500 in the past ten years. Funds from the Outback at Work Charity lunch help to subsidize the 135,000 home delivered and congregate meals which are prepared and delivered by the Gwinnett County Senior Services on an annual basis.
Three Gwinnettians are finalists in Jackson EMC Energy Bowl
Three Gwinnett students have been named finalists in Jackson Electric Membership Corporation (EMC) 2009 Energy Bowl Challenge. Winner of the competition was Jake Jacob, a junior at Flowery Branch High School, who won an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C. for the 2010 Washington Youth Tour. Jacob received a $2,000 scholarship, Apple iPod Nano® and Wal-Mart gift card.
Other finalists included: John Brawley, first runner-up, Grayson High School; Crystal Perkins, Gwinnett School of Math, Science and Technology; Natalie Dixon, Hebron Christian Academy; and Tyler Stephens, North Hall High School. All finalists received a Wal-Mart gift card, Apple iPod Nano, gift bag and a certificate of achievement.
(Continued from previous edition)
Today hundreds of living history museums across the United States actively promote the public's understanding of history and historic preservation. Many offer workshops and special activities for school groups and educators. These museums often illustrate events and causality more effectively than a textbook and, by virtue of their entertainment value, draw in thousands of visitors who might not otherwise be interested in history.
Located in Tifton, the Georgia Agrirama contains 95 acres of agricultural museum space dedicated to illustrating the history of the state's wiregrass region from 1870 to 1910. More than 35 structures were relocated to the site, and costumed interpreters help bring South Georgia's rural culture to life. Opened in 1976, the Agrirama features an 1870s farm community, an 1890s progressive farmstead, a rural town, and such late-19th-century industrial buildings as a gristmill, sawmill, and steam-powered cotton gin. Visitors can ride an 1890s logging train before roaming a fully stocked barnyard or catching a whiff of the turpentine still. Annual events include a folklife festival, an old-fashioned Independence Day celebration, cotton ginning, sugarcane grinding, and a Victorian Christmas. The museum also provides workshops for children.
Georgia's premier living history museums, Westville opened in 1970 and
depicts an 1850s village, with rural businesses, a church, a school, and
the Chattahoochee County Courthouse (ca. 1854), one of only two surviving
wooden courthouses in the state. Visitors to Westville, located near Lumpkin
in Stewart County, can also tour the Moye House, a Greek Revival mansion,
and the Patterson-Marrett farmhouse, a traditional dogtrot cabin. In 2002
a rare animal-powered cotton-baling press was restored. Like the Agrirama,
Westville hosts several annual events, including a spring festival, an
Independence Day celebration, and a Yuletide celebration, as well as numerous
special events, including a reenactment of an 1836 battle between Creek
Indians and white settlers, and vintage baseball games with the Westville
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"In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit."
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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