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Issue 9.95 | Tuesday, March 9, 2010 | Forward to your friends!
DAFFODIL INDICATOR: You think the last two month's winter weather has been difficult for you? What if you were a daffodil trying to burst out? One or two of this clump finally made it out of the furls of the greenery, but others are still trying to absorb enough sunlight to break through. Note the leafless trees in the background, still without buds themselves. And it's nearing mid-March in Gwinnett, when it's supposed to be warmer! Luckily, Monday morning was the first day with no freezing temperatures in weeks, and the forecast is warmer this week. Look for daffodils enriching your area these days, with the promise of Shelly's Ode to Winter ("If winter comes, can spring be far behind?) perhaps finally signaling the warmer climes.


TODAY'S FOCUS
:: Norcross in 2010 Francophonie Fest

ELLIOTT BRACK'S PERSPECTIVE
:: Insurance co-ops needed for care

FEEDBACK
:: Letters on Census, government, health

UPCOMING
:: Hudgens classes, Braves auditions

NOTABLE
:: Affordable Duluth, Lilburn logo, more

ALSO INSIDE

_:: IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Meet a sponsor

_:: RECOMMENDED: Send us a review

_:: GEORGIA TIDBIT: Primerica

_
:: TODAY'S QUOTE: Hitchcock on antagonisms

_:: ARCHIVES: Read past commentaries


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TODAY'S FOCUS
Norcross is site of one unit of 2010 Francophonie Festival
By CLAIRE COLLOBERT
Special to GwinnettForum.com

ATLANTA, Ga., March 9, 2010 -- March is the month when French speakers and Francophiles from around the world unite to celebrate the French language and the diversity of francophone cultures. It is a time when they come together to celebrate their shared heritage. It is the Francophonie Festival, says Pascal Le Deunff, Consul General of France and Spokesperson for the Atlanta Francophonie Committee.

On this occasion, the Atlanta Francophonie Committee invites Atlantans to take part in the celebration March 19-25. From a Francophone Film Festival at the High Museum of Art and the Midtown Arts Cinema, to a Friendship Sunday brunch at Carlyle House in Norcross on March 21 at 12:30 p.m., and a business breakfast on "Doing Business with Francophone Countries" at Emory University, there'll be something for everyone. Tickets for the Norcross brunch are $35, available at the consul website (below).

However, in light of the tragic earthquake that devastated Haiti on January 12, 2010, the Francophonie Festival will carry an especially important meaning this year. It will not only be about sharing cultural experiences, business opportunities and language skills, it will be about sharing hope. Indeed, all proceeds from the Atlanta Francophonie Festival will be donated to Haiti relief aid. Also, the French-speaking country of Haiti, known for its rich culture and language will be honored throughout the festival. This includes a Québec film based on a novel by Haïtian writer Dany Laferrière, Le Goût des Jeunes filles (On the Verge of a Fever), which will be shown at the Midtown Arts Cinema on Monday March 22, at 7 p.m.

French language unites 200 million people present in more than 55 countries around the world. In the Americas, it is spoken in Quebec, French Guiana, Louisiana and the Caribbean. It is also a tremendously important vehicular language in most of Africa and in the Arab World. Here in Georgia, investments from French speaking countries are responsible for the creation of thousands of jobs. France alone, with about 80 affiliates, creates over 11,000 jobs. The French language and the Francophone cultures are also very present in the Peach State with more than 46,000 students studying French in the State and famous exhibits and cultural performances, such as "The Swiss Wind Quintet", "Louvre-Atlanta", "Cavalia" and many others.

Up-coming events and workshops:

  • March 5: "La Beauté des Maths": lecture en francais.
  • March 7: MathMagic spectacle.
  • March 11: Spring open house.
  • March 19-25: Francophonie 2010.
  • March 27: Les Wild Frogs en Concert.
  • March 28: Piaf- Her Story...Her Songs, film screening.

These events will be held at Alliance Française, 1197 Peachtree St. in Atlanta. Tickets are available through the web site at http://www.afatl.com/EventListing.htm. For a detailed program of the Francophonie Festival, visit www.afatl.com.

The Atlanta Francophonie Committee is represented by the Consulates of Belgium, Canada, France and Switzerland, the Québec Delegation in Atlanta, the American Association of Teachers of French, the Alliance Française of Atlanta, the French American Chamber of Commerce, Atlanta-Accueil and Ecole du Samedi.

EEB PERSPECTIVE
Create insurance co-ops so doctors can deliver services
By ELLIOTT BRACK
Editor and publisher

MARCH 9, 2010 -- Gustave Flaubert, in his masterpiece, Madam Bovary (1857), describes the scene at a French county fair, back in the 1850s, when a county official was speaking to those attending the fair, among them servants:

"And you, aged servants, humble domestics, whose hard labour no Government up to this day has taken into consideration, come hither to receive the reward of your silent virtues, and be assured that the state hence-forward has its eye upon you; that it encourages you, protects you; that it will accede to your just demands; and alleviate as much as in it lies, the burden of your painful sacrifices."

* * * * *


Brack

We ask: just how far has our own nation advanced in providing protection for today's aged servants, humble domestics and others who toil on in their service to others? Or for that matter, what about the vast middle class, who themselves labor industriously all their life, being the very picture of a good citizen, only to see rising inflation, economic reversals, and other problems virtually wipe out their hard-earned life savings?

In the United States, all this, of course, is played against the background of perhaps the most aggrieved system for medical delivery in the world, often controlled by those in high positions at insurance companies and medical facilities. The hospitals and medical industry seeks to deliver high quality services, yet find themselves caught between a rock and a hard place, somewhat at the mercy of the "system," largely controlled by the insurance companies.

More and more, it's becoming clear to this corner that the problem of delivery of medical services doesn't so much center in the doctors and hospitals, as it does in the insurance industry.

T.R. Reid, in his book, "The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper and Fairer Health Care," points out that in many countries of the world, the insurance field is not run as a for-profit industry like in the United States, but one run as a non-profit entity. The insurance industry in many countries is principally a central operation for the payment of medical services. Insurance companies in these countries do not determine whether a person should have a certain medical care. In these systems, that is the focus of the doctors, who determine what care their patients will get. The insurance companies only pay the doctors, that's all.

The reason that medical delivery works in Japan, Germany France and many other countries is because the citizens of these countries are required to enroll in the insurance plan. That includes enrolling many healthy people, who in effect, help support those who are not so healthy.

It's not unlike the Social Security system in the United States. The younger participants by law help support those getting benefits. It's very much similar to insurance systems in other countries, where the big numbers of enrollees enable everyone to get served adequately.

Now President Obama is pushing for quick passage of a new medical program. It's overdue. But it is also overdue for the insurance companies to get their wings clipped, since they impede proper medical care in the United States.

Create a new cooperative insurance system, a non-profit entity in the United States. Allow the doctors to take control of the health of their patients, and halt today's mega-insurance firms from botching up today's most advanced country's health care. It would make a prophet out of Gustave Flaubert.

* * * * *

OUTLANDISH CREATIVITY: We couldn't pass up commenting on this one. Did you see where a Tennessee legislator wants to impose a new tax, that on the free breakfast that many hotels provide? Talk about creative taxation! A tax on something free! How will they ever establish the new tax on what you didn't buy?

ABOUT OUR SPONSORS
EMC Security

The public spiritedness of our sponsors allows us to bring GwinnettForum.com to you at no cost to readers. Today's sponsor is EMC Security, headquartered in Lawrenceville. EMC Security provides residential and commercial security with the same service and values that its parent companies, Jackson EMC, Walton EMC and GreyStone Power, have delivered for over 70 years. EMC Security's newest division, EMC Home Technology, delivers all of a home's technology needs, including entertainment networks, home theaters and whole house music/intercom. Call EMC Security at 770/963-0305 or visit their Web site, www. emcsecurity.com.

FEEDBACK
Do your duty of Constitution by answering Census questions

Editor, the Forum:

Although the decennial census is required by the Constitution, many view this as an intrusion or have some fear that it might impact them negatively.

The following is an overview to help address some of these concerns.

  • The census is a count of everyone residing in the United States. All U.S. residents must be counted, people of all races and ethnic groups, both citizens and non-citizens.

  • Census Day is April 1, 2010. Questionnaire responses should represent the household as it exists on that day.

  • The U.S. Constitution requires a national census once every 10 years. The census will show state population counts and determine representation in the U.S. House of Representatives.

  • With only 10 questions, one of the shortest Census questionnaires in history, it will be delivered or mailed to households via U.S. mail in March 2010. Census workers also will visit households that do not return questionnaires.

Do your part by filling in your answers to these questions, to ensure as accurate a census as the United States can get. You will be helping your government with these answers. It's your duty as a resident of the United States.

-- Judy Waters, Snellville

Feels that we have far too much local government

Editor, The Forum:

When will Government stop? Enough is enough!

Yes, we need to dispose of garbage correctly. But do we need government to force us to use a particular service? NO! Government mandates always and only lead to price increases.

And you are right about the politicians: Maybe we can get rid of the anti-freedom-minded politicians who believe that government is the answer to all our needs, and begin to focus on personal responsibility.

Maybe, just maybe, people are waking up and we can get rid of the Big Government/Big Brother minded politicians.

-- Frankie Miller, Lilburn

Dear Miss Frankie: By its definition, government is an organized way for a community of people to agree on mechanisms to work together, and get along while allowing for dissent, too. On one point of your letter we take exception: the original proposal for the garbage solution by Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful two years ago would have LOWERED the price that many would have paid, since the fee was collected by the government, therefore wiping out potential losses that the garbage haulers were experiencing. We anticipate that this provision will be in the new agreement, thereby lowering costs more.-eeb.

Good Samaritan Health Center gets refreshing letter

Editor, the Forum:

We at Good Samaritan Health Center recently received a letter from a patient that gets to the heart of why we exist. The letter began, "I would like to inform you [Dr. Varghese] that I will not be able to continue my medical visits with you...I have to cancel all my future appointments." This appeared to be the start of a disconcerting letter from a patient turned out to be an inspiring Good Sam success story.

Like most of the Center's patients, Ms. C. came to our center during a difficult financial time in her life and needed affordable healthcare services to manage her diabetes. The high cost of health insurance premiums and her modest hourly wage made health insurance unfeasible at the time

Ms C. is a pleasant, middle-aged woman who works in the food service industry. As an established patient for over two years, Ms. C relied on the Center for her primary care needs. She received well-woman exams, annual mammograms and regular follow-up visits. Dr. Varghese, Ms. C's primary care physician, managed her diabetes through health education and a regimented medication program. Ms. C also utilized the Center's Eye Care Clinic for her yearly eye exams.

The grateful letter mailed to Dr. Varghese on January 13, 2010, was actually a praise report from Mrs. C. explaining that she had signed up for open enrollment for both medical and dental insurance on her job. Her financial situation has improved and she is now able to afford the health benefits offered by her employer.

Ms. C goes on to write, "I want to thank you and your staff for all that was done and for the friendly faces and smiles. God is good. Enclosed is a donation to say thank you and God bless you all as you serve Him." Ms. C.'s experience is a testimony to the fact that the account of the Good Samaritan parable told in Luke 10 is still happening on a regular basis here at the Good Samaritan Health Center of Gwinnett.

Visit our Web site (http://www.goodsamgwinnett.org) to learn more about volunteer opportunities or to make a donation to provide quality medical care to the uninsured in our community.

-- Kimberly Adams, executive director, Good Samaritan Health Center of Gwinnett

Send us a letter. We encourage readers to submit feedback or letters to the editor. Send your thoughts to editor at elliott@brack.net. We will edit for length and clarity. Make sure to include your name and city where you live. Submission of a comment grants permission to us to reprint. Please keep your comment to 200 words or less. However, if you write 500 words, we'll consider it for Today's Focus.

UPCOMING
Hudgens Center plans classes for both adults and children

Registration for fine art classes for adults and children is now open online at The Jacqueline Casey Hudgens Center for the Arts. Classes begin as early as Tuesday, March 23. The Hudgens offers a very wide variety of classes and workshops, on different days of the week and times of day, which makes finding something to fit busy schedules quite easy.

Currently available are classes in drawing, painting in oils, acrylics and watercolors, digital photography, multi-media, pottery wheel, clay handbuilding, fiber arts, jewelry-making and even Feng Shui. There is a daytime pottery wheel class specifically for homeschoolers as well.

The Hudgens has a 'Storytime Studio' class for children ages 4 to 7 to share with a parent, grandparent or special family member. Students will paint, draw, sculpt, print and collage artwork inspired by classic short stories read during class.

One-day workshops for adults include sessions in portrait drawing, studio lighting for photography, watercolors, and all-natural soap and lotions making.

There is a special Friday 'Lunch and Learn' Brown Bag Fine Art Series, which is a series of classes in oil painting, watercolor, ceramics, drawing and printmaking. The Hudgens has also added, by overwhelming demand, a companion 'Art in the Afternoon' Fine Art Series on Wednesday evenings, which is a further series of classes in acrylic painting, photography, pastels, collage and colored pencil.

Registration for Summer Art Camps for children 5 to 12 years old is now open online. Each camp session will focus on a different theme, and campers will rotate through four different fine art classes every day, focusing on drawing, painting, ceramics and drama, culminating in a dramatic production and art show on the final day of camp.

Camps run Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., with Before and After Care available for an additional charge. Art Camp dates and themes are: In the Forest, June 7-18; Go Global, June 21-July 2; Art Story, July 12-23; and Green Extreme, July 26-30. Two week sessions are $350 for members, and the one-week session is only $175 for members. For a full list of all classes and workshops, and to register online, visit the education pages at www.thehudgens.org.

Braves to hold audition for national anthem singers

The Gwinnett Braves are holding National Anthem auditions on Saturday, March 20 at Coolray Field at 10 a.m. Registration will begin at 9:30 a.m. and is limited to the first 100 singers. Those who are 2010 season ticket and partial plan holders for the G-Braves will have preferred auditions.

Singers interested in trying out will need to sing the National Anthem in under 90 seconds, A Cappella, and may not use a lyrics sheet while singing. Participants under 18 years old must have a guardian present in order to try out. Singers who are not among the first 100 fans to register are still encouraged to come and leave a recording at the audition.

NOTABLE
Magazine says Duluth most affordable suburb in Georgia

Bloomberg's BusinessWeek Magazine has named Duluth among its Best Affordable Suburbs in America for 2010. Duluth wins the distinction in Georgia. The magazine says: "Affordability is among the most important factors when selecting a place to raise a family, but it is far from the only consideration. In too many regions, low prices also translate to substandard services, poor schools, and high crime rates."

To identify those towns that offered both affordability and good quality of living, BusinessWeek evaluated 863 communities according to a range of metrics developed with New York-based real estate data company Onboard Informatics. These include living expenses, income, crime rate, schools, commute, local economy, racial diversity, and green space.

Among the attributes in Duluth, as one official put it: "Duluth has so much to offer. Combining great shopping, dining, entertainment, schools, housing, and that community bond you just don't find everywhere else. You get big city amenities with a small town atmosphere."

Teresa Lynn of Duluth named Georgia City Clerk of Year

Duluth's City Clerk, Teresa Lynn, center, has been named Clerk of the Year by the Georgia Municipal Clerks and Finance Officers Association. She has been city clerk for 17 years, and is a native of Alston, and was an employee of the City of Hazlehurst for 15 years, starting as a water and sewer bookkeeper. She is a graduate of Brewton Parker College, and attended Georgia State University. She lives with her husband, Steve, and has one daughter, Stephanie. She is currently treasurer of the Clerks and Finance Officers Association. Shown on the left is Susan Hiott of Smyrna president-elect of the Association, while Denise Jordan, current president from Gainesville, is on the right.

Lilburn's new logo and slogan: Small Town. Big Difference.

The City of Lilburn continues its centennial year with a new city logo and theme line that celebrate Lilburn's past history and future promise. The new City of Lilburn logo features a stylized burst of colors combined with a unique, hand-lettered "Lilburn." The new theme line "Small Town. Big Difference." appears below the new logo.

Diana Preston, Lilburn's Mayor, says: "We chose a design and theme line that captured the energy and vibrancy that is truly Lilburn today. This is a community that both honors the past and welcomes the future, and we wanted an identity that felt friendly, inclusive and true to our roots."

The City's new identity was officially unveiled at the Council meeting on March 8. The City plans to incorporate the new identity into signage and online and print materials that support initiatives such as this year's upcoming centennial celebration.

Deep Shah gets another honor: Soros Fellowship


Shah

Deep Shah of Duluth, who was one of the University of Georgia's two Rhodes Scholars in 2008, recently added to his honors by winning the nationally competitive Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans that will cover up to two years of graduate study in the United States. He is currently in his first year at Harvard Medical School after earning a master's degree in comparative social policy at Oxford University.

The Soros, who are originally from Hungary, established the fellowship program in 1997 with a $50 million charitable trust. The purpose of the program is to provide opportunities for "New Americans"---those whose country of origin is not the U.S. or whose parents immigrated to the U.S.---in attaining their goals and becoming leaders in their chosen fields. Shah's parents came to the U.S. from India and settled in Gwinnett County where he grew up.

Shah was valedictorian of his graduating class at Greater Atlanta Christian School. He is the son of J.J. and Meena Shah.

RECOMMENDED
Send us a review

  • An invitation: What Web sites, books or restaurants have you enjoyed? Send us your best recent visit to a restaurant or most recent book you have read along with a short paragraph as to why you liked it, plus what book you plan to read next. --eeb

GEORGIA ENCYCLOPEDIA
Duluth's Primerica started by former football coach

Primerica Financial Services helps families achieve financial independence by providing solutions for income protection, debt management, asset protection, and asset management. In 2003, from its international headquarters in Duluth, Primerica's staff of nearly 2,000 employees supported a base of six million clients and a sales force of some 100,000 representatives. Primerica distinguished itself in the life insurance industry with its "Buy Term and Invest the Difference" philosophy, a concept crucial to the company's success since it began operations in 1977.


Williams

Established by Arthur L. Williams, a former high school football coach and insurance businessman from Columbus, the A. L. Williams Company (ALW) sold term life policies to middle-income families, expanding operations nationwide in the 1980s. Throughout its history, the company has embraced its role as the underdog in an industry once dominated by conventional insurance companies. ALW grew rapidly during the 1980s, breaking ground for its Duluth headquarters in 1984, the same year the company sold $38.3 billion in life insurance, more than any other company in the United States. ALW continued to prosper, merging with Primerica in November 1989.

The new Primerica venture realized large gains in the 1990s, and in 1998 it became part of Citigroup, the world's largest financial services company, with more than $1 trillion in assets. At the start of the 21st century, Primerica stands as an industry leader, with more than $450 billion of term life insurance in force and an expanded international presence serving Canada, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Today, in addition to its mainstay term life insurance products, Primerica also sells securities and lending products.

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TODAY'S QUOTE
One reason why television produces antagonisms

"Seeing a murder on television... can help work off one's antagonisms. And if you haven't any antagonisms, the commercials will give you some."

-- Movie Producer Alfred Hitchcock (1899 - 1980).

MODERN HISTORY OF GWINNETT
Only five copies left!

If you have delayed ordering the history of Gwinnett published in 2009, there are only five copies left. Most fast to secure your copy of Gwinnett: A Little Above Atlanta. Call 770 840 1003 to reserve your copy!

Hurry. No second printing is anticipated. Get this local bestseller before the supply is exhausted!

Go to http://www.elliottbrack.com/ to order, or buy the book at a local bookstore shown on the site.

The books are available at:

  • Books for Less in downtown Snellville and Lawrenceville (Highway 20 near the Braves park);
  • Labaire Pottery, downtown Norcross

MORE EEB PERSPECTIVE

5/4: Governor's race

4/29: New math-sci school

4/27: Asian temple to open

4/23: Airport delay

4/20: Red Cross building

4/16: Grand openings

4/13: Congressional races

4/9: Gwinnett in great light

4/6: About flag lapel pins

4/2: Starting our 10th year

3/30: Perdue and history

3/26: Bishop Sheals' 30th

3/23: Health, waste issues

3/19: On Cox' lottery proposal

3/16: Gwinnett is BB hotbed

3/12: Big schools save money

3/9: Health insurance co-ops

3/5: Politics, garbage, more

3/2: "43" takes on meaning

EEB index of columns

MORE RECENT COMMENTARY

5/4: Olson: Hudgens' contest

4/30: Corley: Golf tournament

4/27: Malcolm: Health care, taxes

4/23: Grant: New iPad great

4/20: Trujillo: Jazzy Thing

4/16: West: Earth Day celebration

4/13: A. Brack: Civil War and today

4/9: Bolling: Lanier venues

4/6: Ebner: 5 things about Gwinnett

4/2: McDowell: Lilburn CID

3/30: Brown: Market terminals

3/26: Spitzler: Native plants

3/23: Millsaps: Campus innovation

3/19: Hoffman has poetry book

3/16: DiLeonardo: Counselors noted

3/12: Freyer: Turnkey jail needed

3/9: Collobert: Francophone Fest

3/5: Seupersad: Corruption study

3/2: Boyce: Vietnam trip


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ABOUT US

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Statehouse Report -- a weekly legislative forecast that keeps you a step ahead of what happens at the South Carolina Statehouse. It's free.

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