|Issue 9.75 |Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2009 | Forward to your friends!|
HOLIDAY WISHES: Putting his wish in the White House Wish Tree is Greg Nojeim of the Center for Democracy and Technology, a Washington non-profit. Paper for other to write their wishes is behind Noheim. For an explanation of other White House decorations, go to today's Focus below.
:: The White House's Wish Tree
ELLIOTT BRACK'S PERSPECTIVE
:: "Happy Holidays," more
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WASHINGTON, D.C., Dec. 23, 2009 -- This year is the first year that the Obama family will spend the holidays at The White House. They have celebrated throughout the month with 30 formal receptions, and invitations for some in the D.C. area to tour the decorations.
At the White House this year, with a focus on the state of the economy (bad) and keeping green, the decor has an overarching theme of "reflect, rejoice, renew." This is evident in the choice of lighting (LED); the use of found objects (taking magnolia leaves from The White House grounds, spray-painting them in a bright red lacquer and forming them into wreaths); natural elements in all of the rooms (from pepperberry garlands to fruit and flower centerpieces); and even the use of ornaments from past years on the many trees that adorn the hallways.
The official tree -- a Douglas-fir from West Virginia that measures 18 1/2 feet tall -- stands in The Blue Room, and is decorated with gorgeous wire ribbon, garlands, those LED lights, and state-themed ornaments (yes -- Georgia is represented there with a great peach orb).
But while this tree is impressive for many reasons, the tree that struck my fancy was the White House Wish Tree, a nine-foot slotted "tree" made from recycled cardboard. This tree, which stands at the entrance of the East Wing and is the first decorative element that visitors encounter, sits next to a simple table with brightly colored slips of paper. Visitors are encouraged to write a wish on one of these paper slips and insert their wish into one of the many slots on the tree. When I visited, the tree was full of wishes on the bottom, and the top had a few slots that remained available.
The remarkable thing about the Wish Tree is the look of wonder that everyone, from toddlers to those who have more grey in their hair than not, had in their eyes looking at the tree. It was a look of humility, combined with an amped up brightness in their eyes, as they envisioned their wish being granted.
This is a very simple, very effective idea that reminds you of the meaning of the holidays, regardless of which holiday you and your family celebrate. It's also an idea that is fairly simple to replicate in your own home: fashion a tree out of cardboard tubes left over from paper towels and toilet paper, and hang wishes written on brightly colored paper slips and rolled into a circle (secured with tape or glue gun) with paper clips fashioned into hooks. Or, you could forego the candy this year and fill each family member's stocking with good wishes for the new year.
Washington, D.C. is a remarkable town, and always offers visitors and residents alike new treats for the eye and imagination. The Obama White House decorations have lived up to this standard, demonstrating that there are festive ways to use natural elements, and creativity, to celebrate the season.
in 2009 from the Winter Wonderland of D.C.
DEC. 23, 2009 -- First, "Happy Holidays!" to all. We say this knowing that some people question the use of this term "Happy Holidays," saying that we are being super politically correct by saying that, and by omission, not saying "Merry Christmas."
That's not us. We've been using the term "Happy Holidays" on our Christmas cards for 45 years. Yes, it's inclusive. But there's another reason for using "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas."
It's akin to the cobbler's children who do not have shoes. In my past, I once published a weekly newspaper. In those days, most weekly publishers also had a print shop. And during the holiday season, the print shop had many "rush" jobs for customers. This meant that my own printing job of Christmas cards was often pushed aside. The effect was that often we did not get our cards printed, or have them mailed, until after December 25 itself.
mailing so late, it didn't seem right to say "Merry Christmas"
when you already knew that the actual Christmas day had passed even before
you mailed the cards. That's why our cards early on began saying "Happy
* * * * * *
Those of us in Metro Atlanta know something of heavy rainfalls in short periods. We counted 15 inches in a few days earlier this year at our house.
Yet we generally live atop the Eastern Continental Divide, meaning our rains flow to lower reaches from our property. But think what if it rained really hard in a flat coastal area?
We were in Charleston last week, where on Friday the rainfall downtown totaled 3.93 inches. Other nearby areas had over five inches. Most of the heavy rain luckily fell during the daytime, which was a blessing. You see, high tide was at 8 p.m.
In effect, low-lying Charleston had many, many flooded streets. If you are ever in Charleston during high water, just remember: the main downtown street, King Street, is higher than the adjacent streets. If may help you get around some day.
Luckily, we were inside most of Friday. But others had difficulty negotiating the city. The high water got to the point that law enforcement authorities took the extreme measure of closing off Charleston to incoming traffic. The police said that additional cars, whose drivers might not know the area, could become stranded, causing loss of property and possibly lives.
We applaud those authorities for their quick and unexpected action. In our way of thinking, that was a responsible position to take for Charleston. They didn't dawdle.
* * * * *
On Monday we crossed the hump toward longer days. Haven't you enjoyed the few moments on the slide toward the longest day of the year? If you didn't catch it, on Wednesday, the day was five seconds longer than on Tuesday! Doesn't that excite you, as you look forward to a longer day taking place each day toward June?
Officially, Wednesday will have 9 hours, 54 minutes and 35 seconds of daylight! That will grow to the longest day in June when Atlanta will have a full 14 hours, 24 minutes and two seconds. We're on a roll!
The public spiritedness of our sponsors allows us to bring GwinnettForum.com to you at no cost to readers. Today's sponsor is Howard Brothers, which has outlets in Duluth, Norcross and Oakwood. John and Doug Howard are the owners/operators of the Howard Brothers stores, which specialize in hardware, outdoor power equipment and parts and service. Major trade brands are a hallmark of Howard Brothers. And did you know that Howard Brothers is the largest seller of Stihl Outdoor Power products in the United States. Howard Brothers also carries Makita Power Tools. Visit the web site at www.howardbrothers.com. And finally, Merry Christmas from Howard Brothers to you!
Editor, the Forum:
with interest your piece and the reader's rebuttal on "licensed concealed
carry" of firearms. Two thoughts come to mind.
County Public Library is conducting a survey of its customers. It asks
questions related to preferred hours and days open.
Suwanee to shred Yule trees through Jan. 16
When the needles on your Christmas tree start shedding at an alarming rate, the lights are unplugged one final time, and the ornaments are placed in storage, there's just one thing left to do with the tree: Bring One (or more) for the Chipper.
The City of Suwanee will accept unadorned former Christmas trees for recycling from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily December 26-January 16 at Sims Lake Park, 4600 Suwanee Dam Road. The designated tree drop-off area is in the right-hand parking lot. Suwanee will provide seedlings to area residents who drop off their trees from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, January 9. For more information about Suwanee's program, contact Tammy Hiler at firstname.lastname@example.org or 770/945-8996.
County to save $400,000 with new energy program
County has a new energy management system for its drinking water production
plants and the ancillary distribution system that will soon cut the electricity
cost to run the complete drinking water system by about 10 percent.
Four University of Georgia undergraduates from Gwinnett, Eric Ekwueme and Amanda McKenley, both of Snellville, Rachel Johnson of Dacula, and Akil Piggott of Suwanee, are among 30 first- and second-year students in the 2009-2010 Apprentice Program sponsored by the Honors Program's Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities (CURO) at UGA.
Through faculty-mentored research partnerships, the students are engaged in inquiry-based research in a variety of disciplines ranging from infectious diseases and kinesiology to music and international affairs. Their environments range from the lab to the library to the field.
Ekwueme, a graduate of South Gwinnett High School, is a freshman pursuing a bachelor's degree in business. His project is focused on marketing techniques and trends used in social media.
McKenley, a graduate of Saint Piux X Catholic High School, is a sophomore pursuing a bachelor's degree in psychology. She is studying how four-year-old children bond with their mothers and how that attachment affects their development.
Johnson, a graduate of Central Gwinnett High School, is a freshman pursuing a bachelor's degree in Spanish (with a pre-med emphasis). She is investigating the genetic behavior of a particular strain of a mosquito-transmitted parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, which attaches to the placenta in pregnant women and causes malaria.
Piggott, a graduate of Peachtree Ridge High School, is a freshman pursuing a bachelor's degree in management. He is focused on studying the effects of exercise on women's anxiety and pain.
The Apprentice Program provides further engagement and support through weekly seminars and special workshops that focus on pedagogy practices or guest speakers who share their latest academic and research activities. The students also receive advice and guidance from three teaching assistants, all former CURO apprentices, who facilitate small group discussions and share their own research experiences.
ChemFree in Norcross has won the 2009 Georgia Distinguished Exporter Award for innovation and excellence in international trade. The award honors a small- or medium-sized company with the most potential for creating employment in Georgia though the export of a unique product or service produced in Georgia
ChemFree provides an alternative method to cleaning vehicle and maintenance parts without harming the environment or humans with its patented SmartWasher® Parts Washing System. These products allow the user to eliminate or dramatically reduce waste streams, the expense of hazardous waste removal and associated liabilities. The ChemFree product line is sold in more than 40 countries worldwide. ChemFree Corporation is a subsidiary of Intelligent Systems Corporation, with its head office and main factory located in Norcross.
The award was presented by Ken Stewart, commissioner of the state of Georgia's Department of Economic Development.
Gwinnett Community Clinic needs clerical volunteers
For 20 years, Gwinnett Community Clinic, a 501c3 charitable organization, has provided healthcare to the working, uninsured poor of Gwinnett County. The doctors, nurses and other clinical people providing care donate their time during Clinic on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, usually from 6 until 9 p.m.
Other clerical volunteers donate their time checking in patients, collecting their money, verifying records to be sure patient documents are ready when the patient is examined.
Now, the clinic is in great need of more of these heroic volunteers--clinical and clerical. Anyone who is interested in working with those who are in need and providing a much needed services should contact Sheila Adcock at 770-985-3640, ext. 1, for more details.
Former Braselton mayor Henry Braselton dead at 82
Braselton mayor Henry Edward Braselton died December 21 at age 82.
He served more than 40 years on the Braselton Town Council, including 14 years as mayor (1988-2001). His accomplishments are legendary, as he recruited high quality businesses and industries to the small town, including Chateau Elan, Sears Logistics, Haverty's, Panoz Automotive, Mayfield Dairy, Braselton Poultry and more. He personally directed the upgrade of the Town's public works including water tanks, water and wastewater plants and started the Town's first, full-time police force. Under his leadership, the Town purchased and renovated a Greek-revival home for its Town Hall and won national awards for historic preservation in the venture.
He was a Naval veteran, attended Emory University and graduated from the University of Georgia. He was married to the former Janice Martin of Gainesville for forty-eight years. They have three daughters, three granddaughters and two grandsons. He was a lifelong member of Zion Baptist Church where he served as Sunday School superintendent and president of the Mulberry Youth Organization for many years.
Mayor Pat Graham says: "We mourn the passing of Mayor Henry Braselton, the consummate mayor who embodied the good life of small town America. He served with high distinction as Mayor of Braselton for 14 years, carrying forth the honored tradition of his ancestors. His efforts to recruit business and industry for jobs for the citizens of Braselton are unparalleled. His love for the historic traditions of the Town will be long remembered. We express our profound sympathy to his family as he was a legendary Southerner with a wonderful sense of history and place and pride. Forever, we will remember his oft-spoken gentlemanly invitation, "come to see us."
The working-class Latin American immigrants who first came to Georgia in the late 1970s were mostly single men who worked temporarily within the state in urban construction or migrant farming, often returning to their families across the Mexican border after short terms of employment. During the 1980s two developments shifted migration patterns toward permanent, family-oriented immigration, and made the South a primary immigrant destination.
The first was the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA), which tightened security on the border between the United States and Mexico, while granting amnesty to undocumented residents who had entered the United States prior to 1982.
Second, of equal importance, the IRCA went hand-in-hand with two economic recessions, one in Mexico and another in the American Southwest, which was previously the destination of most Latino immigrants. As the southeastern economy boomed in the 1980s, Latinos on both sides of the border first heard of work in Georgia through informal immigrant networks and active recruitment by labor-hungry Georgia companies. In this period Latino immigrant employment was predominantly concentrated in a few enclave industries, such as suburban construction outside Atlanta, carpet weaving in Dalton, and poultry processing in Gainesville.
Preparation for the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta also provided numerous jobs, and the influx of immigrant labor was a boon for city planners, who worried about completing construction projects in time for the games.
Yet Atlanta was not the only area to attract Latino workers and families. The northeast Georgia poultry industry, based in Gainesville and surrounding Hall County, witnessed a massive influx of Latino labor during the 1980s and 1990s, and poultry processing was rapidly transformed from a black and white industry to one that was almost exclusively Hispanic by the turn of the 21st century. The carpet industry in Dalton and Whitfield County underwent a similar transformation, and by the year 2000 Whitfield County's population had the highest percentage of Latinos in the state.
As their numbers increased, Latinos began to open their own businesses as well. In 1984 the Atlanta Hispanic Chamber of Commerce was created to help facilitate the efforts of Latino entrepreneurs. In 1991 the organization, under the leadership of Sara González, became the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
(To be continued)
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Special Notice: We have an abbreviated schedule during the holidays. The next edition will be published on Wednesday, December 30, 2009.--eeb
"The earth has
grown old with its burden of care but at Christmas it always is young,
The heart of the jewel burns lustrous and fair and its soul full of music
breaks the air, when the song of angels is sung."
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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