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Issue 10.31 | Friday, July 16, 2010 | Forward to your friends!

Here's a traffic light in Shanghai, China....with a timer showing how many seconds are left before traffic is to stop. The picture was shot by Chuck Warbington when on the Gwinnett Chamber's trade mission to China. This is apparently the Chinese method aimed at the driver to make sure they don't run red lights, compared to some intersections in Gwinnett with red light cameras. Warbington also reports that “construction is everywhere in China. I stopped counting construction cranes at 75. There is no recession in China.”

:: Handy chart of our endorsements

:: Aurora announces 15th season

:: Some drawbacks on early voting

:: The pursuit of happiness

:: Letters on Bannister, schools

:: Tech Forum to have report

:: Adcock is new director, blankets


_:: IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Meet a sponsor
_:: RECOMMENDED: What are you reading?
_:: GEORGIA TIDBIT: Georgia's counties
_:: TODAY'S QUOTE: Welles on lunch
_:: ARCHIVES: Read past commentaries





Here's a list of GwinnettForum's primary endorsements

With the Georgia General Primary on Tuesday, you might like to review the list of candidates which GwinnettForum endorsed in this year's race. In addition, responses of the candidates to questions posed to them by GwinnettForum can be found in the Candidate Forum on the right side of the front of this issue.

Aurora Theatre announces ambitious 15th season
Special to

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga., July 16, 2010 -- The Aurora Theatre has announced its line-up of plays to be produced in the coming season, and offering discounted rates for season ticket holders.

The theatre, located just off the square in Lawrenceville, is Gwinnett's premier stage, bringing professional actors to the stage in well-acclaimed and often classic plays. The 250 seat theatre -- with nary a bad seat or obstructed view, is now in its 15th season, and its fourth season in Lawrenceville. Play-goers enjoy benefit from the free covered attached parking garage.

The performing season opens on August 5 through September 5 with Singin in the Rain, based on the MGM film of Betty Comden and Adolf Green, with songs by Nacio Herb Brown and Arthur Freed. It is one of the great movie musicals of all time. The musical is set in 1927, with Hollywood being in a panic over the transition from silent films to the newfangled "Talking pictures." This romantic comedy will thrill you with timeless melodies, Fit as a Fiddle, Good Mornin' and Make 'Em Laugh.

On stage from October 7-31 will be Robert Louis Stevenson's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Adapted by Jeffrey Hatcher, this chilling new version of the classic tale tips the scales with dangerous experiments, bringing forth Dr. Henry Jekyll's other self, the horrifying monster, Edward Hyde. And wouldn't you know it: only a woman can stop this vicious cycle. This fiendishly clever adaption reveals the many faces of Edward Hyde as each talented actor has a hand at portraying the monster himself.

An audience favorite of Aurora patrons, the annual Christmas Canteen 2010 is Gwinnett's longest running theatrical holiday tradition. Aurora's sentimental musical review harkens back to its jukebox roots to span the best of the wartime Canteens mixed with new Christmas standards. Soon it's a Winter Wonderland that just keeps getting better. Coupled with the awe-inspiring Festival of Trees, audience members will get themselves ready for The Most Wonderful Time of Year. This offering runs November 26-December 23.

The new year will see the southeastern premier of Sirens, by Deborah Zoe Laufer, on the Aurora stage from January 13-February 6. After 25 years, a couple's marriage passion had ebbed. The cure seems to be a romantic cruise to the mythical Greek Isles. But then a washed up songwriter hears a siren calling, chunking himself overboard, as the audience embarks on this captive comedy about finding one's muse.

Academy by John Mercurio, conceived and developed by Andrew Kato, was first suggested in Faust by Wolfgang von Goethe. The tensions as a school academy heats up as a short-sighted bet between two upperclassmen fails. Two seniors manipulate a naive freshman, resulting in a catastrophe for all involved. It's a story about the coming of age of boys learning to become men, and offers a lesson for all ages. The play runs March 14-April 10.

The final presentation for the coming season is Over the River and Through the Woods by Joe DePietro, scheduled for May 12-June 6. Sunday sinners at the Gianelli house is not to be missed. When the only grandson is offered a promotion that will take him to the West Coast, the family is in a panic, with no amount of cooking able to solve the problem. This heartfelt comedy about growing old allows one generation's struggle to understand another.

* * * * *

Those enjoying live professional theatre can save up to 45 per cent with discounts for performances. At the same time, season ticket holders sit in the best seats and get the most perks and privileges. For more on season ticket offers, go to

Many good aspects of early voting, but some drawbacks
Editor and publisher

JULY 16, 2010 – There are several reasons to participate in early voting. However, one aspect of early voting bothers us.


We can see that if you were going to be out of town on Election Day, or you were particularly busy that day, that you might opt to vote early.

It also allows people who want to take more time to vote and not to be rushed, to enjoy voting in this manner. We also see voting early if you were in some way incapacitated, were temporarily on crutches, or in a wheel chair.

Overall, we think early voting has meant more people participate in our democracy, and this is good.

But one aspect of early voting we worry about. We don't want to vote early for one major reason: we want to be aware of every aspect of the political races, and don't want to have voted early and find out something about one of the candidates at the last minute that might have changed our mind in a particular race. That's why we vote on election day, having seen all the rhetoric about all the many races.

Maybe we're just curious enough to want to hear all the hoopla that the candidates put out. On, sure, we realize that there will be last-minute attempts at smearing opponents. We hope we are sharp enough to recognize that for what it is, and not be influenced by it. But there just may be one or two new revelations that come out at the last moment we would judge to be critical, that might cause us to change our minds, in any race.

“But how about your endorsements you made earlier?” you ask.

We made them well in advance to get our readers to thinking about particular races. At the time we made the endorsements, we were secure in the belief that a particular candidate was the best person in that race. And while the election is several days away, so far nothing has come forth that has changed out mind. But....we realize, something could. So we wait to vote until the last day, while being happy with others who vote early.

* * * * *

Talking with Lori Hackney, absentee supervisor of the Gwinnett Elections Voter Registration Department, we find that early voting is popular in the county. Through July 14, there were 6,872 citizens getting an early ballot. A total of 3,357 voted in the office early, while another 3,279 had ballots mailed to them, and of these, still 69 percent have not yet been returned.

The totals are a little behind the 2008 primary, which through July 10, 2008, had 7,758 people getting ballots early. Through the entire 2008 season, 8,373 requested early ballots.

By the way, for 2010, Republicans are requesting early ballots far more so than Democrats. Only 21 percent of the early ballots were requested by Democrats. In the 2008 voting, by the same time, Democrats had requested 30 per cent of the ballots.

Lori Hackney tells us that in the Gwinnett 2008 Primary Early Voting, there were 9,498 citizens requesting ballots, and 8,373 valid returns. But in the 2008 General Election, 120,198 people in Gwinnett asked for early ballots, with 117,267 valid returns. That was amazing!

* * * * *

The year 2010 has turned out a large crop of candidates. Now you have until Tuesday (if you have not voted) to make up your mind on who you want to be the people who guide the fate of our state and county. Study hard and select your best candidates....and enjoy democracy.

* * * * *

RED-FACED: Oooops. We made an error in the last edition. The Gwinnett Jets football team plays its home games in Sugar Hill, all right, but at Gary Pirkle Park, not as previously reported. Our pardons!

Heaven & Associates, P.C.

The public spiritedness of our sponsors allows us to bring to you at no cost to readers. Today we welcome a new underwriter. It is Heaven & Associates, P.C., a certified public accounting firm, dedicated to being your partner in navigating a changing world.   They are located at 40 Technology Parkway South, Suite 250, Norcross, Georgia.  The firm works with clients to minimize their tax obligations, address the financial and accounting needs of their businesses and address the broader accounting needs of estate planning, business succession planning, and benefit and retirement planning.  They can be reached at 770-849-0078.  Their web site is

The pursuit of happiness

More on Bannister: But let's now await state probe

Editor, the Forum:

According to news stories, County Commission Chairman Charles Bannister admitted to having one beer.  Another story reports he had one or two.  In yet another, the waitress in the bar said three. But both the breath test and blood test showed 0.00 alcohol, after Bannister could not recite the alphabet. I’m told that taking a dose of cold medicine will register above .000, so something is amiss.
Why was the sheriff’s department called rather than 911? This does make politics look bad, especially since Sheriff Butch Conway pushed and swayed opinion until local approval of the Section 287(g) Immigration and Nationality Act in Gwinnett County. Bannister was reported as vehemently opposed.
Mr. Bannister proved that he is vindictive toward anyone who opposes him when Commissioner Beaudreau suggested budget cuts last year to some of Bannister’s pet projects. Bannister retaliated by cutting parks and the Grayson police precinct from Beaudreau’s district---items which Bannister, Lassiter, and Nasuti said should be expanded, not cut. Even if those three Commissioners believed that Beaudreau deserved what they did in that vote, the citizens of Gwinnett County did not. Watching the video on the County website, with Bannister gloating, is disgusting.  If the police precinct was not necessary, then why did they originally approve it? Voting against a needed police precinct for petty politics is dereliction of duty.
It sure would be great to have a commission chairman who knows the alphabet! It would save the County much embarrassment.

– John Cook, Lilburn

Dear John (and others): Taking the long view, many people in Gwinnett are simply tired of these arguments. So let's declare a moratorium from here forward on re-telling of these stories, at least until the state investigation is completed, or until some new development takes place. I think even you will agree that continuing to kick ourselves is unreasonable. --eeb

Overspeaking and what it can get you into quickly

Editor, the Forum:

This is written with the greatest of respect for our friendship and your wisdom in MOST matters. However, this morning in GwinnettForum, you referred to UGA as "the state's premier institution,  (which, of course, no longer employs Mr. Evans).”

The state's premier institution, which educated my son and also is his employer, is Georgia Tech!!! I know, that in your heart, you know that!!!   And hopefully, at the annual Georgia-Georgia Tech football game, our Tech students can come up with a fitting symbol of last week's "episode" and perhaps twirl red panties or some other significant item the way we do the "wave" at baseball games!

– Barbara Grastat Karnitz, Norcross

Dear Barbara: Yep, I transgressed, in the view of many. And what with me a Georgia Tech fan, too! Sometimes we all overspeak. But let me ask of your own transgression: how much of a Yellow Jacket fan are you? Why do you not refer to the Georgia Tech-Georgia football game? --eeb

SEND YOUR LETTERS: We encourage readers to submit feedback or letters to the editor. Send your thoughts to editor at 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.

Technology Forum to hear report on state of industry

The Gwinnett Technology Forum will hear a mid-year state of the technology industry report at its July 20 meeting at 7:30 a.m. at the Busbee Center of Gwinnett Technical College.

Speaker will be Melanie Brandt, who serves as Technology Association of Georgia's Chief Operating Officer. Before joining TAG, Brandt was part of the Gwinnett Chamber's Economic Development team.

The Technology in Georgia Report was created to be a useful tool for Georgia's many technology stakeholders. The report includes:

  • Facts, statistics, trends and other insights into the Georgia Technology Industry;
  • Important local industry information to be used by venture capital firms and other investors;
  • Information on the Georgia Technology infrastructure;
  • Large and small technology business owners and decision makers; and
  • A means to differentiate Georgia's tech sector from other states.

Adcock is new director of Gwinnett Community Clinic


Gwinnett Community Clinic's new executive director is Sheila C. Adcock. She initially took the position of Interim Director on December 1, 2009, and became the permanent directorship on June 30th. Her background includes over 30 years in management/leadership, as a health care and health insurance executive.

Adcock’s role will focus on increasing awareness of the Clinic and highlighting the need for more financial, in-kind and volunteer support. Last year Gwinnett Community Clinic treated almost 800 unique patients in nearly 3,000 visits. Clinic patients must be Gwinnett County residents, uninsured, and meet the U.S. Federal Poverty Guidelines to qualify for services. To offer financial support or to learn of volunteer opportunities, call the Clinic at 770-985-3640.

Group works on making blankets for those recently hospitalized

With the goal of providing comfort blankets to babies and young children who have been hospitalized or put into foster care, 100 women from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) gathered recently for a day of quilting . The women represented 12 LDS congregations from eastern Gwinnett, Rockdale and Newton counties.

Cecilia Galvez and her daughters Cendy, Steisy, and Dulce, work together to make baby quilts. They are members of the LDS Spanish-speaking congregation.

Many of the women had been working on blankets and quilts during the last few months. At the beginning of the day, there were approximately 200 completed quilts and blankets donated and more than 100 additional blankets were completed during the quilting bee. The blanket collection included pieced quilts, machine stitched quilts, tied quilts, crocheted and knitted blankets, fleece blankets, and others. These quilts will be given to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Gwinnett County Department of Family and Children Services (DFACS), Newton County DFACS, and other local church congregations.

Ardie Brackett, president of the LDS women’s organization known as Relief Society, says: “So many children have to be away from their families when they are in the hospital or when they are placed in foster care. Sometimes all they have for security is a blanket. We are excited to be able to share these blankets and quilts made with such love.”


  • 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

In Georgia, the county still key to governmental activities

In Georgia, unlike most states with large cities, the county is still the center of political and cultural life for a majority of the state's citizens. Counties carry out locally a variety of state programs and policies, including collecting taxes, overseeing elections, conducting courts of law, filing official records, maintaining roads, and providing for the welfare of citizens.

How many counties does it take to run a state?

The first state constitution in 1777 created eight counties: Burke, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Richmond, and Wilkes. These were carved out of the coastal areas that were settled when Georgia was a British colony. Since then, each revision of the state Constitution has increased the number of counties, until the total reached 159, the limit specified in the Constitution of 1983.

Only Texas, which is considerably larger in area, has more counties than Georgia has. According to anecdotal history, Georgia established enough counties so that a farmer traveling by mule-drawn buggy could go to the county seat, take care of business, and return to his farm in the same day.

Politically, it served Georgians, the majority of whom lived on farms in rural areas, to have smaller counties. Each county has at least one representative in the General Assembly, the state's governing body. Moreover, many towns wanted to be a county seat, the location of the courthouse and jail and the center of local political activities, social gatherings, and trade. Having a large number of counties gave Georgians more representation in state government and more business in towns.

(To be continued.)


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2010, Gwinnett Gwinnett Forum is an online community commentary for exploring pragmatic and sensible social, political and economic approaches to improve life in Gwinnett County, Ga. USA.

Words of wisdom from the great Orson Welles

"Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what's for lunch?”

– Actor and director Orson Welles (1915-1985).


For the 2010 primary season, GwinnettForum asked all candidates facing primary opposition in Gwinnett County to provide answers to a few questions. You can read their answers below by clicking on the links.

Candidates with no primary opposition are noted. They'll be asked in the fall by us to fill out issues surveys, which we'll publish before the November election.


  • (DNR) indicates a candidate did not respond to our survey
  • (+) indicates a candidate has received GwinnettForum's endorsement. Statewide and commission endorsements will be published in forthcoming issues.


U.S. Congress, District 4


U.S. Congress, District 7



Georgia Governor



Georgia Lieutenant Governor


  • Tricia Carpenter McCracken (DNR)
  • Carol Porter (+)

    Republican Casey Cagle faces no primary opposition.

Georgia Attorney General



Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture


Democrat J.B. Powell faces no primary opposition in the Agriculture Commissioner race.

Georgia Commissioner of Insurance


Democrat Mary Squires faces no primary opposition in the Insurance Commissioner race.

Georgia Labor Commissioner


Georgia Secretary of State


Georgia State School Superintendent


Georgia Public Service Commission


Democrat Keith Moffett faces no primary opposition in the race for Public Service Commission.


Georgia State Senate, District 9


Democrat Rashid Malik faces no primary opposition in this Senate race.

State Senate, District 40


State Representative, District 51


State Representative, District 88


State Representative, District 95


State Representative, District 96


State Representative, District 98


State Representative, District 101


State Representative, District 102


Democrat Porter D. Deal faces no primary opposition in this House race.

State Representative, District 103


Democrat Allan Burns faces no primary opposition in this House race.

State Representative, District 104


Democrat Lee Thompson faces no primary opposition in this House race.

State Representative, District 106


Democrat Steffini Bethea faces no primary opposition in this House race.


Gwinnett County Commissioner, District 2


Democrat Robert Lee Byers faces no primary opposition in this commission race.

Gwinnett County Commissioner, District 4



9/3: Governments, ancestry

8/31: Grand jury findings

8/27: Coveting artifical turf

8/24: N. Ga. to control House

8/20: Salvation Army ties

8/17: Civility and society

8/13: Good ole boys got pick

8/10: GGC opens new facilities

8/6: Sophisticated scam

8/3: Howington celebrates

7/30: Humor in books

7/27: Runoff endorsements

7/23: Looking beyond primaries

7/20: What price freedom?

7/16: Early voting concerns

7/13: UGA headline-maker

7/9: On Bannister incident

7/6: On classic movies

7/2: Malcolm Gwinnett

EEB index of columns


9/3: Thomas: Great Days of Service

8/31: Severino: Tucker crematory

8/27: Regan: Anti-privatization

8/24: Pope: HOT lanes info

8/20: Stilo: Aurora kids' theater

8/17: Morrison: Artistic collaboration

8/13: Pirello: Culinary center

8/10: Mock: Sharing worthwhile

8/6: Sherman: Opp zone

8/3: Morrison: Brenau's plans

7/30: Heaven: Federal tax info

7/27: Nelems: Media surveys

7/23: Urrutia: Fish vaccines

7/20: Paul: Norcross group

7/16: Stilo: Aurora's 15th season

7/13: Jackson: PCOM's new school

7/9: Jones: Energy audit

7/6: Callina: Vacation rentals

7/2: Williams: Gwinnett Place


ABOUT US is a twice-weekly online community commentary for exploring pragmatic and sensible social, political and economic approaches to improve life in Gwinnett County, Ga. USA. Contact us today.


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