|Issue 10.22 | Tuesday, June 15, 2010 | Forward to your friends!|
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BUFORD, June 15, 2010 The present economic situation has many of us reaching out, often in ways we never thought of before. Necessity is the mother of invention. Those of us who live in Gwinnett County are fortunate that the county is taking certain progressive steps to insure its fiscal viability while adding to the overall quality of life as well as opportunities for its citizens.
One example is the recent program initiated by the county to help first time home buyers with a down payment. The guidelines are much stricter than in the halcyon days of old (prior to 2008), when anyone who was breathing could get a loan for a home.
Another emerging asset is the four year long development and evolution of the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center. The center is a shining example of what can happen when groups unite on a purpose, and come together with understanding, a strong vision, and a workable methodology. The Environmental Center is much more than a place for field trips for kids. It is an opportunity for the citizens of Gwinnett to learn about the countys history, effective ways to improve the environment and it also serves as a wonderful meeting place for various community groups.
The success of the center lies in the idea of it not simply drawing off the government trough. It has affiliation with Gwinnett Parks and Recreation, the University of Georgia at Athens, and a private foundation. This ensures maximum exposure of the facility, as well as multiple streams of revenue support. While the facility is open to all citizens and is essentially designed to be taxpayer supported (and well it should, as it greatly enhances the countys way of life), it is also generating income in the old-time capitalistic way because its being run as a business, not a bureaucracy.
I had occasion to meet with Jason West, who is director of development, as part of the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage foundation that supports the center. He was very enthusiastic about the ability of various government agencies and private enterprises coming together in an effective way with proper oversight, a careful eye towards not having duplication of services, and a willingness to engage the local community on events and exhibits of interest to local citizens.
The center is becoming a sought-after meeting place for businesses, community groups, and the occasional wedding, held in the beautiful Cisco Theatre. There are also the hundreds of acres of land it manages and shares with the Wayne Hill Waste Treatment Plant, as well as a wonderful labyrinth of walking paths and bike trails, making it the ideal place for people to meet, socialize, be outdoors, and get some much needed exercise.
Because many work indoors, this is a great place to go to be outdoors, socialize with family and friends, walk or ride about in a splendid setting, and ultimately feel better about yourself and the county you live in.
As everybody tightens their belts, local government included, the Gwinnett Environmental Center stands as a bastion of cooperative and sustainable management of a facility of which we all can be proud.
JUNE 15, 2010 During the time we have spent talking with political candidates recently, and so far we have spent 30 minutes each with 77 of them, we'll admit to trying to get in a few licks of our own.
Most of the time we've asked open-ended questions of the candidates, so that they could readily expound on what they think is important in their race. We start off by asking Why are you running and go from there. You get all sort of answer to that! Their answers can take many ramifications and directions.
We've also asked this question of those who will go to Congress, the statehouse or to the courthouse: Can you guarantee me that you will vote against every tax increase that comes before you?
The responses can be grouped into three answers:
To the second and third groups, we began our educational campaign.
That was a trick question, we say, And not the response I wanted. Here's why: I don't want you to go into a governmental chamber and have your mind closed or your hands tied. I want you as an elected representative of the people to be the best official you can. And if you tell people in advance that you will vote against every tax increase, you are boxing yourself into a corner. There could be situations that arise which would make even you, or any thinking official realize, that this tax hike was obviously necessary, for any number of reasons.
I want you to go into governmental deliberations and trade, compromise, do what you can, to come up with the best laws and ordinances we can get. You may have to hold your nose and vote for some things you don't like, and oppose in general, but you feel essential. Of course, I don't want you ever to compromise your ethics or morals. But to get a vote for one of your bills, you may have to 'trade' and vote for a bill you don't like. Go forth....and do what you can, within principle, to be as good a public official as you can.
When talking to a veteran legislator, who understood the logic of this thinking, he immediately told of a situation he came across. A constituent from another county approached him to introduce a tax bill, to which he was not opposed, but asked: Why don't you get your own official to introduce this?
Oh, he's got a closed mind, and we know it. He won't listen to us.
So we came to you. That person from another county had effectively
boxed himself away from his constituents. In effect, he could only say
No, regardless of how reasonable was the item in question.
* * * *
Most of the time when speaking with candidates, we listen. But every now and then, we try to get in a few jabs. But one wonders, especially with rigid candidates, if they, themselves, ever.....hear.
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.
Suwanees Harvest Farm at White Street Park will celebrate its grand opening Saturday, June 19, with a bountiful harvest of activities. The vegetables, fruits, and flowers currently blossoming and ripening in Georgia's largest organic community garden will offer a lush, green backdrop for the festivities scheduled from 1-4 p.m.
The City of Suwanee's newest park features the Harvest Farm community garden and is located at 752 White Street in historic Old Town. However, grand opening guests should plan to park at Town Center and ride the free shuttle to White Street Park. The event is free and open to the public.
There will be the official ribbon-cutting, with activities including cooking and organic lifestyle presentations and demonstrations, childrens activities and crafts, gardening guidance, and bird, ladybug, and antique farm equipment displays.
In addition to the Harvest Farm community garden, White Street Park includes a brightly painted and renovated red barn that houses picnic tables, a tool storage area, and small classroom/gathering space. Future phases of White Street Park include additional plots, trails, and, tentatively, a treehouse for children as well as a chicken coop. Next to the barn is a 2,600 gallon metal cistern, fabricated and donated by the Metal Products Company, to supply rainwater for the garden.
Walton EMC to hold 74th annual meeting Saturday
Walton Electric Membership Corporation will host its 74th annual meeting on Saturday, June 19, at the Walton County Agricultural Center off Criswell Road, south of Monroe. The day will begin at 8 a.m. with registration. More than 3,000 customer-owners and their families are expected to attend the 2010 meeting.
The first 1,000 customer-owners to register will receive a traditional annual meeting bucket containing this year's featured item, a Walton EMC paring knife. Even though the early birds get buckets, all customer-owners registered by 10 a.m. can be entered into a drawing for attendance prizes and meeting notice label prizes.
Entertainment will highlight the meeting. But the lineman's rodeo team will also be on site to demonstrate what they do to keep the co-op running smoothly. Walton EMC customer-owners are updated on the status of the company and are given a voice on how the co-op operates by electing board members. Walton EMC serves 118,000 accounts over its ten-county service area between Atlanta and Athens. Learn more about Walton EMC at www.waltonemc.com.
Group gets funding to upgrade corridor development
Economic Development Administration has awarded the Georgia Bioscience
Joint Development Authority a $50,000 short-term planning matching grant
to conduct an economic development study that will assist in the creation
and implementation of a vision, strategic plan, and short-term and long-term
goals for the development of the 316 Corridor.
Bannister, Chairman of the Georgia Bioscience Joint Development Authority
and the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners, says: We have the
potential to develop as a significant logistics corridor linking a network
that can provide world-class support of life sciences and technology-based
research, information and manufacturing. The study is critical in creating
a plan and process for setting development priorities and policy initiatives.
Mortgage name now has increased visibility in the Atlanta market with
a move to Peachtree Road in Buckhead and marquee presence on the former
Georgian Bank Building.
vice president and branch manager, leads a team of about 30 in the Buckhead
office. He says: Weve been ready to enhance our presence in
this market for some time. Moving our operations to premium space in a
class A building really speaks to our commitment to serving the community.
Brand occupies the buildings second floor.
growth story has more than one twist. Not only did the company post significant
growth in one of the toughest years the industry has known, the direction
of its growth is also unique. Brand Mortgage started in business outside
of the perimeter in Metro Atlanta and then turned its eye to the in-town
market. With the move, Brand Mortgage is boosting service capabilities
in Buckhead even more with an expanded office presence. Offering mortgage
loans in nine southeastern states, Brand Mortgage has office locations
in Buckhead, Duluth and Cumming in Metro Atlanta; Lake Oconee and Macon,
Georgia; Huntsville and Grant, Alabama; and Nashville, Tennessee.
Kaiser Permanente has opened its third medical office in Gwinnett in Lawrenceville. Along with its Sugar Hill-Buford and Duluth locations, the new medical office is located at 455 Philip Boulevard.
The Lawrenceville location brings to 20 the number of Kaiser Permanente medical facilities in the organizations 28-county Metro Atlanta service area.
Peter Andruszkiewicz, president of Kaiser Permanente of Georgia, says: The new medical office in Lawrenceville will provide more convenience and access to our members. The property is in an ideal location, which enables us to better serve members in this ever-growing city and county.
The 5,700 square foot Lawrenceville medical office employs 15 health care professionals and includes exam and procedure rooms, a laboratory, a pharmacy and basic radiology services.
The internal medicine physician is Dr. Charles Curry; Dr. Jamie Griffin is the centers pediatrician, and Dr. Linda Brownlee is the OB/GYN physician at the new medical center. They all are from The Southeast Permanente Medical Group. Additional specialties may be added. Kaiser Permanente invested about $1.8 million in interior construction, furniture, and medical and IT equipment.
During the grand opening, Kaiser Permanente presented a $10,000 grant to the Lawrenceville Co-Op Ministry, which will help fund access to drugs by seniors as well as access to fresh foods and vegetables in local farmers markets.
the organization presented a $50,000 check to Partnership Gwinnett, the
community and economic development initiative led by the Gwinnett Chamber,
in support of its nationally-recognized community and economic development
Considered the most popular ball game in the world, soccer has developed in Georgia primarily as a suburban sport with vast numbers of children taking part. Soccer spread mainly from the Atlanta area, which since the 1960s has been home to more than a dozen professional men's and women's teams.
It is unclear when organized soccer first came to Georgia. Amateur players played in Atlanta's Piedmont Park as early as 1912, and an amateur league played there in the 1920s and 1930s, consisting in part of employees from the John H. Harland Company. Harland had played soccer in Northern Ireland before immigrating to Atlanta in 1906.
The international influence has continued to prove vital to the sport's development. When Emory University started the state's first collegiate program in 1958, few of its physical education instructors knew how to play, and games had to be scheduled in North Carolina because there weren't enough opponents in Georgia.
The 1966 World Cup in England, however, spurred interest in the sport nationwide. The Atlanta Braves, shortly after their arrival from Milwaukee, Wis., in the same year, purchased a team in a newly launched professional soccer league. The Atlanta Chiefs played their first season in 1967 with a coach, Phil Woosnam, from Wales and with the core of the roster from overseas.
The Chiefs won Atlanta's first professional sports championship in 1968 by claiming the North American Soccer League (NASL) title. At the same time, the team's players and administrators helped galvanize interest in soccer by staging clinics, organizing youth teams, and inviting well-known international clubs to play at Atlanta Stadium (later AtlantaFulton County Stadium). On August 28, 1968, the Brazilian club Santos, featuring the world-famous player Pelé, played the Chiefs in Atlanta before 26,713 spectators, the largest crowd at that early point in the NASL's history. Santos won the game, six to two. The Chiefs team folded in 1972. A second Atlanta Chiefs franchise competed in the NASL from 1979 to 1981, under Ted Turner's ownership. Both incarnations of the team played at Atlanta Stadium.
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I have just returned from Boston. It is the only sane thing to do if you find yourself up there.
We regret misidentifying a photograph in the last issue. Hope Rogers of Lilburn was wrongly identified in the name under her photograph. We apologize.
we've found out that it was Todd Evans of Hamilton Mill who took that
beautiful wintry picture of the Elisha Winn House in the Forum last week.
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