|Issue 9.74 |Friday, Dec. 18, 2009 | Forward to your friends!|
OPEN FOR BUSINESS: The scissors were snipped, and Keyworth Bank officially opened its Sugarloaf Financial Center Wednesday at 6515 Sugarloaf Parkway, across from Gwinnett Arena, surrounded by onlookers. In the center are Neil Stevens, executive vice president; Wanda Weegar, financial center manager; Jim Pope, president and CEO; and Butch Floyd, chairman of the board. The bank also has offices in Johns Creek and Alpharetta, and has been in business since 2007. (Photo by Kerr Studios.)
:: UPCCA: P'ree Corners at tipping point
ELLIOTT BRACK'S PERSPECTIVE
:: Remembering "Mr. Tubs"
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NORCROSS, Ga., Dec. 18, 2009 -- In 1968, Paul Duke established Peachtree Corners, Inc. with the goal of creating a planned community where people could live, work, and play. He envisioned a campus of low-rise buildings housing low-pollution, high technology industries to be called Technology Park/Atlanta. He coaxed top developers to work within a stringent set of covenants to assure high quality commercial and residential standards. Long considered a model for successful development, today the prosperous Peachtree Corners community of homes, schools, parks and businesses faces a significant challenge.
Recently, Norcross proposed the annexation of a large portion of Technology Park/Atlanta, traditionally considered part of Peachtree Corners. When the United Peachtree Corners Civic Association (UPCCA) strongly opposed the annexation, the Norcross city leadership was surprised. To them, unincorporated Peachtree Corners was simply a collection of subdivisions and Technology Park, and an available source of tax revenue.
To us, losing Technology Park meant letting Norcross control zoning decisions impacting property values in the heart of Peachtree Corners. Our local county commissioner has no input into Norcross zoning decisions, and UPCCA's watch dog role on land use issues would be lost. More fundamentally, the essential "work" element of the Peachtree Corners planned community would be significantly altered. But without legal boundaries defining our borders, what other conclusion was Norcross to draw? Although the annexation was prevented, we realized that Peachtree Corners was at a tipping point.
UPCCA had debated for years whether Peachtree Corners should become a city. The argument to become a city was always countered by the expected high cost of incorporation, leaving us at the status quo. Now the recent threat of annexation has refocused our attention on the future. How do we control our own quality of life without the possibly costly burden of a city? The answer is a Planning District.
A Planning District is a completely new form of government organization. It must be created by the General Assembly, enacted by the Gwinnett County Commission, and then approved by a majority of the registered voters in Peachtree Corners. The proposed legislation would establish legal boundaries and give Peachtree Corners citizens responsibility for land use, zoning, and code enforcement. All other government services would continue to be provided by the county.
The legislation would also allow an estimated half (0.5) mil tax increase (about $20 per year per $100,000 value of your home) primarily to fund zoning control and land use planning as well as signage and beautification of roadways and green space. Once enacted, the County Commission would appoint a five member Board, four Peachtree Corners residents and one representative of the commercial properties in the district. Our legislators will introduce this proposal in the 2010 session of the General Assembly.
Now over 40 years old, Peachtree Corners is at a tipping point. We can either plan our own future or we can allow others to determine it for us. UPCCA believes that a Planning District offers the best opportunity for legal borders and control of quality of life issues, but without the costly duplication of county services. The choice is ours.
DEC. 18, 2009 -- Jeff Calvin Henry ("J.C." to most everyone) of Buford, the successful tub manufacturer who died this week, was one-of-a-kind. He held numerous jobs in his career, building one upon the other. And he was always outgoing, smiling and cheerful. J.C. was fun to be around, working smartly, spinning tales, improving products, and easily keeping matters interesting
A born talker, he would mesmerize you with his tales. No doubt he polished some of that talent back when we first knew him, when he was selling used cars in Duluth.
A savvy businessman, he took advantage of the opportunities he created, becoming a world leader in the whirlpool tub field.
A compassionate generous spirit, he was also something of an enigma as a tightwad. But when he heard of employees in difficulties, he might quietly slip them $100. (Knowing his tightness, employees glued a penny to the floor, which J.C. attempted to pick up, would later forget, and try again, to the delight of those watching!)
Looking out for his workers, he declined big bucks from a competitor trying to buy his whirlpool tub company when he learned his sales staff would be terminated by the new firm. Instead, he sold the business in 2002 to his employees to continue what he had built and insure that the firm stayed in Gwinnett.
J.C. was 80 when he died Tuesday after his internal organs shut down.
He was a hands-on person, for years a machinist at Lockheed. Word is that union members didn't appreciate him, for he worked efficiently and fast. He did more than required, and when layoffs happened, guess what? J.C. didn't get laid off.
He held numerous jobs, from being a collection agent, to selling cars and whirlpool tubs. Later he would form a tub company of his own. Though unsophisticated, and not trained as an engineer, J.C. had an innate understanding of how the mechanics of his shop worked.
J.C. found a better way to make whirlpool tubs. In those days, tub manufacturers used corrugated plastic tubes to circulate water. Corrugated tubes were able to bend around the perimeter of the tub. J.C. saw problems of bacteria collecting in the ridges of the corrugated material. His changes made tubs more sanitary and attractive.
Here's how. Using a discarded 30 inch kitchen oven, J.C. configured metal pipes through the oven. He then inserted smooth plastic tubes through the metal pipe .and switched on the oven. As the tube heated, it could easily be bent to follow the contour of the tub. And smooth pipe was bacteria free, since the internal surface had no place for it to collect.
Later he developed a cleaning system for whirlpools, simply using a solenoid switch to keep water circulating when cleaning. He got a patent on his "fill flush" system, which other manufacturers use today. He called his company "Mr. Tubs, the Clean One."
At its height, MTI Whirlpool of Sugar Hill employed 180 people, though with homebuilding off, employment has dropped to 110 these days, and the firm remains profitable. Though he had no financial interest in the company, he continued to bring new ideas and consult. MTI President Kathy Adams says, "He really wanted us to do well. He was unselfish."
But it all goes back to J.C. His vision and determination to make this company gives us the impetus to continue."
J.C. Henry, 1929-2009, may you rest in peace.
The public spiritedness of our underwriters allows us to bring GwinnettForum.com to you at no cost to readers. Today's sponsor is the Aurora Theatre, Gwinnett County's first choice for professional theatrical entertainment. Celebrating their 14th year as Gwinnett's crown jewel for the performing arts located on the square in Downtown Lawrenceville, Aurora Theatre is committed to producing quality, professional theatre for all of North Georgia. The2009-2010 Season continues with the regional premiere of Tranced a new, suspenseful drama; A Catered Affair, winner of the 2008 Drama Desk Award for Best Musical; and Boeing Boeing, a high flyin' comedy. Aurora Theatre introduces the GGC Lab Series of edgier contemporary plays in the Gwinnett Federal Credit Union Studio with the comedy The Storytelling Ability of a Boy. Aurora also offers a club comedy series called Funny Fridays, Swing Nights at Aurora Theatre with the Metro Jazz Club and Lawrenceville Ghost Tours. For young children there is Saturday Children's Playhouse on select Saturday mornings at 10 a.m. and classes with Aurora Academy for students of all ages. To purchase individual tickets, season tickets or for more information: www.auroratheatre.com or call 678-226-6222.
Editor, the Forum:
this article would bring about a rebuttal from me, so, not to disappoint,
here it is.
of both the United States and the State of Georgia recognize the right
to keep and bear arms. How they are kept and born is a privilege regulated
by the states. A right is God-given and may not be taken away while a
privilege may be suspended or removed by government. By state law through
the preemption clause a few years back local governments cannot pass laws
more restrictive than the state's.
Business owners in the greater Lilburn area will once again have an opportunity to promote their businesses to each other and the community at the Second Annual Greater Lilburn Business Expo to be held March 4 at Berkmar High School from 5:30 until 8:30 p.m. in the school's new gym.
Exhibitors can rent space for as low as $35 until January 28. Event sponsorships are also available for premium spaces. Last year the event was a huge success with over 100 businesses participating. This year event organizers are planning for an even larger crowd. The Expo is produced in partnership with the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce, the Lilburn Business Association and the Lilburn Community Partnership
Reflecting on the success of last year's event, Berkmar Principal Ken Johnson said, "We are happy to host this event once again. We have the space, the location and most importantly talented teachers and students who apply what is learned in the classroom to produce a first class business event that connects our neighborhood businesses with our large parent and student community."
The program is expected to attract business people and parents in the surrounding Berkmar, Meadowcreek and Parkview school clusters. Debra Irving, property manager for Beaver Ruin Village Shopping Center, said, "We are not only returning this year, we have signed on as a sponsor for this event. This is a cost effective way for our small businesses to gain added exposure in the community."
As an added benefit for exhibitors, Gail Macrenaris, director of Leadership and Education for the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce, will be conducting a pre-event seminar on February 11 at Berkmar. Ms. Macrenaris will give advice to exhibitors on how to maximize their business exposure during the Expo. For more information, check the event Web site: www.lilburnexpo.com.
the U.S. House and Senate approved a transportation appropriations bill
that includes funds to assist in replacing two bridges over Interstate
85 in Gwinnett County at Jimmy Carter Boulevard and Pleasant Hill Road.
Three road projects totaling $20 million get construction OK
projects funded by the 2005 and 2009 SPLOST programs received construction
approvals from the Board of Commissioners recently.
familiar with Horace Rumpole, the stimulating character in the novels
of John Mortimer, later brilliantly portrayed by Leo McKern on public
television, will recall that Rumpole often referred to his very first
case in the London courts. He won this case, the Penge Bungalow murders,
without a leader, something unheard in the Old Bailey circles. This earned
him being selected as the defending lawyer for an array of criminals,
and even some who were not. Yet the details of the Penge Bungalow murders
were never detailed in previous stories. If you want a nice, quick read,
and have enjoyed Mortimer in the past, you'll love this book, which tells
the story of Rumpole's most famous case..and even how he got married to
She Who Must Be Obeyed. It is delightful, amusing and satisfying."---eeb
Beginning in the late 1960s, Georgia, like many of its Deep South neighbors, witnessed an unprecedented wave of immigration from abroad. In 1970 Georgia's foreign-born population was approximately 33,000, or 0.7 percent of the total state population; in 2006 the foreign-born population totaled more than 860,000, or 9.2 percent of the population. Of the various and diverse immigrant groups that relocated to Georgia during those decades, the largest and fastest-growing group was Latino (or Hispanic, an older term that similarly refers to persons of Latin American birth or descent).
Of all recent arrivals, Latino growth has been the most dramatic: in 1980 Georgia's Latino population was approximately 61,000, or 1 percent of the total state population. By 2006 Georgia's Latino population had grown to a little more than 700,000, or 7.4 percent of the population, a number that may be lower than the actual figure, as the U.S. Census Bureau has had difficulty tallying undocumented immigrants. While Georgia's Latino population represents nearly every nation in North, Central, and South America, a large majority of the state's Latino immigrants are from Mexico; in 2006 Mexicans accounted for 65 percent of the state's total Latino population.
For many contemporary observers it seems that the "Latinization" of Georgia occurred overnight, but in truth it has been a gradual process that evolved over several decades, influenced by factors inside and outside the state. The arrival of Latino immigrants has dramatically transformed Georgia's culture, economy, and self-image, and must be explored further.
(To be continued)
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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.
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