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Issue 11.02 | Tuesday, April 5, 2011
ELLIOTT BRACK'S PERSPECTIVE
_:: IN THE
SPOTLIGHT: Meet a sponsor
Ga., April 5, 2011 -- In July 1977 soon after I took the position of director
of economic development for the Gwinnett Chamber, John Crunkleton, who
was then police chief for Gwinnett County, called. He wanted to have lunch.
he expressed his strong interest in the creation of jobs and capital investment
in Gwinnett. He knew and so stated that this program would help build
a substantial tax base, which would help fund his efforts to create Gwinnett
County's first professional police department. He pledged his complete
support for the economic development program. He also then went to work
to back up his statement of cooperation.
was used extensively by those of us with the Gwinnett Chamber to help
jump-start Gwinnett's business profile throughout the state. At that time,
we were the only community in Georgia with a helicopter that would be
devoted, almost exclusively, to business development. What a great advantage
not that many people knew this side of John Crunkleton! I'm glad, and
grateful, to tell of my association with him in this endeavor.
APRIL 5, 2011 -- Here's the "rest of the story" about land purchases by the Gwinnett Board of Education in recent years. The recent story in the Atlanta newspaper somehow omitted this part.
For this, we are reminded of the late Buford Ford dealer, Nicky Johnson. The 22 percent interest rate on his unsold fleet during the 1970s caused Nicky to ask me to visit him. When I got there, he told me: "I'm closing this dealership. And I owe the newspaper lots of money. But I'm telling you now, I'll eventually pay you."
We didn't hear from Nicky for perhaps two to three years. Then one day he came unannounced to the newspaper's front counter, and asked for me. When he came into the office, he said immediately: "I owe you money, and I want to pay you." The newspaper had already written off the debt, but found the amount, and Nicky started peeling off more than 40 bills of $100." Broke when he closed his dealership, Nicky had successfully turned to land purchases to make back much more than he had owed.
But he didn't use his own money to buy and sell land. He used a weapon that most developers use, the real estate option, to make land transactions. That's the element that is missing in the story in the Atlanta newspapers.
Land developers realize it's not smart to take substantial loads of their cash to tie up land. It's far cheaper to use the option, whereas the land owner gets paid a sum to keep open an offer for the sale of real estate for a certain period of time, at a fixed price, to that particular individual paying the option. For the person paying for the option, the price of the land is fixed for a certain period of time. If they can find a new buyer at a higher price, the developer benefits. The original land owner, meanwhile, is satisfied, for he sold the land to the developer at a price then considered fair when the option was granted.
When the developer finds a buyer, he'll close the sale with the original landowner, and in the meantime, does not have to tie up substantial cash. The final sale to the new owner often is near the time of the closing to the original seller, sometimes even the same day.
Nothing concerning real estate options was mentioned, or it was conveniently left out for story impact, in the Atlanta newspaper story.
Looking at Gwinnett school board land purchases for the last 10 years, the county had bought 95 properties. Out of these, 76 (80 percent) were bought at a price that was under the appraised value of the property. Eight parcels were bought at appraised value. Eleven purchases were taken to court, where the cost was raised 26 percent above the appraised value. Altogether, these properties bought were $37.5 million less than the appraised value. That's what the GwinnettForum investigation found.
We strongly suspect the developers employed options with the original landowners in these school board cases.
The intelligent use of options by real estate developers, who figured the school board or some other body would eventually become interested in the property, ended up bringing a higher price than the developers paid for the land. That's the way developers make money, and everyone, the original seller, the eventual buyer and the developer, end up pleased.
know the rest of the story concerning options. It's a tactic that developers,
such as the late Nicky Johnson, often use in their everyday operations.
The public spiritedness of our sponsors allows us to bring GwinnettForum.com to you at no cost to readers. Today's underwriter 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 www.heavencpa.com.
Editor, the Forum:
My family and I moved to Peachtree Corners in 1994, and we have always been delightfully challenged by the intellect of the community. I have been involved in the political campaigns of many of our leaders through the years and I have found that the best way to approach this community is to give them the facts or the primary sources, and let them do their own commentary or analysis.
has remarkable levels of achievement, and we can make up our own minds.
here) is the bill passed by the State Senate that will need the
Governor's signature. It is the instrument that will grant powers to the
Peachtree Corners city government, if voters approve it in November. I
have counseled with State Rep. Tom Rice and State Sen. Fran Millar about
this often. I have attended presentations about cityhood. I have chosen
to vote against it this November. But remember, you're smart and it's
really not that many pages to read.
Hard to believe GwinnettForum's been here 10 years
Editor, the Forum:
I, like you, can hardly believe the GwinnettForum has been around 10 years. As one of the "unofficial" media outlets for our community, you have contributed a huge and most valuable service to the people of this community. As most readers already know, you and I differ on many issues, but with the Forum as the vehicle of communications that you provide, we always seem to find common ground to discuss our differences in a civil and respectful way.
In today's times, that is important and maybe even critical. Never once have you failed to publish one of my letters that tend to oppose the viewpoint you expressed. You always do it without any disrespect shown, although you sometimes add your editorial comment of continued opposition.
Your commitment to our community doesn't just end there either, I was fortunate to be invited to participate on your "Tour of Gwinnett" last year and I must admit, after over 31 years of living in Gwinnett, I learned much more about our community from your guidance and background information on the tour. I highly recommend anyone, new or longtime resident, in Gwinnett to take the opportunity to go on the tour when you announce the next program.
Congratulations on your anniversary and I look forward to at least 10 more years of enlightenment and entertainment from the Forum.
Adds congratulations for 10 years of GwinnettForum
We remember when you were writing for the AJC. You were so excited to report about this newly formed playhouse called Aurora Theatre and our production of Bye, Bye Birdie. All these years later, we look back and see what a wonderful partnership has developed between Gwinnett Forum and Aurora Theatre. Thank you for your stalwart service to those of us who believe that we can make this world a better place just by being engaged citizens, working hard, and living the dream in Gwinnett County.
Theatre in Snellville will present The Diary of Anne Frank opening
Tickets are $12 in advance or $15 on the day of the show. Children and students with ID are always $10. Seniors' tickets for the Sunday performances are $10. Tickets can be purchased either online through the website or at the theatre box office. Shows are performed at 2485 East Main Street Snellville.
Special "Earth Day" celebration set for April 16
Help celebrate "Earth Day Around the World" at the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center (GEHC) on Saturday, April 16, from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m.
Visitors will find a wide range of activities, including games, guided nature hikes, crafts, solar t-shirt screening, face painting, and much more.
In addition, special programming will allow participants to dissect an owl pellet, meet a real life Great Horned Owl and discover the types of wildlife from your own backyard. Whole Foods Market from Duluth/Johns Creek will provide organic food cooking demonstrations. The Mill Creek High School Orchestra will also perform as it celebrates the beauty of music in the environment.
The date also marks the last day of Your House, My House, which is an interactive, hands-on exhibit exploring houses around the world. Special activities and crafts will showcase the exhibit as well as provide information about how other cultures recognize the importance of protecting the Earth. Your House, My House was created by the Children's Museum of Memphis and is sponsored locally by Holtkamp Heating and Air Conditioning.
In recognition of the day, there will be a $2 discount on regular admission for all ages. Boy and Girl Scouts and their leaders, and teachers, can attend for a $1 and a non-perishable food item if dressed in full uniform. (The non-perishable food items will be donated to the Holtkamp Can Challenge for local food banks.) As always, GEHC members are admitted free. There will be an additional $1 fee for special activities, including the owl pellet dissection and the Great Horned Owl presentation. For more details, visit www.gwinnettEHC.org.
Norcross offers clean-up, recycling, food drive April 9
calendars for April 9. That is Norcross' annual Clean-up, Recycling and
"CAN-Do-for-Hunger" food drive. This year there is a new event,
that of paint recycling.
Electronics recycling means pack rats can get rid of old cell phones, computers and keyboards without guilt! For a complete list of what can be recycled, visit the City website. This event is open to the public and will be held at Norcross Community Center, 10 College Street, from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. There is no cost and includes television recycling. (Console and projection TVs are $10.)
The shredding event is open to the public and is free at Norcross City Hall, 65 Lawrenceville Street, from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. American Security Shredding will again have two on-site shred trucks. Watch your materials being shredded on the video display monitor.
The new event, paint recycling, allows anyone to rid yourself of those cans that you still have but no longer use. This event is open to the public and located in the parking lot two doors from City Hall. The paint recycling fee is $1 for quarts and gallon and $5 for five gallon cans. Proceeds benefit the Norcross Co-op Food Pantry.
Do" for Hunger Campaign collects canned and non-perishable goods
for local food banks. Those participating in any of the events may bring
canned or non-perishable goods to each of the sites.. For information
on these five events and what materials will be allowed at each event,
or contact Philomena Robertson
Health System has taken full control of Snellville's Emory Eastside Medical
Center and will rename the facility to Eastside Medical Center, effective
Brillhart leads a global team of more than 500 employees worldwide responsible for delivering customer-driven quality and reliability solutions and infrastructure for Cisco products. Brillhart also leads his company's compliance and green engineering efforts.
Brillhart has bachelor and master's degrees in civil engineering from University of Illinois, along with a master's in polymers from MIT, where he was the recipient of the NASA Graduate Research Award and a Department Graduate Fellowship Award. A widely published author and speaker on process and materials engineering, Brillhart has also earned 10 U.S. patents.
The Atlanta SMTA EXPO is a free, one-day event that features suppliers to the electronics industry displaying products and services for the high technology and surface mount markets, as well free technical presentations. This must-attend event for electronics industry professionals includes learning and networking opportunities such as free technical presentations throughout the day, lunch on the show floor. There will be a charity raffle with proceeds to benefit Just People, (justpeople.org), a private, non-profit organization serving adults with developmental disabilities and mental illness. For more information, visit http://www.smta.org/expos/#atlanta.
The opening in 1924 of the Brunswick-St. Simons Highway, today known as the Torras Causeway, was a milestone in the development of resorts in the area. St. Simons' beaches were now easily accessible to locals and tourists alike. More than 5,000 automobiles took the short drive from Brunswick to St. Simons via the causeway on its opening day, paving the way for convenient residential and resort development.
In 1926 automotive pioneer Howard Coffin of Detroit, Mich., bought large tracts of land on St. Simons, including the former Retreat Plantation, and constructed a golf course, yacht club, paved roads, and a residential subdivision. Although the causeway had brought large numbers of summer people to the island, St. Simons remained a small community with only a few hundred permanent residents until the 1940s.
The outbreak of World War II (1941-45) brought more visitors and residents to St. Simons. Troops stationed at Jacksonville, Fla.; Savannah; and nearby Camp Stewart took weekend vacations on the island, and a new naval air base and radar school became home to even more officers and soldiers. The increased wartime population brought the island its first public school. With a major shipyard for the production of Liberty ships in nearby Brunswick, the waters of St. Simons became active with German U-boats. In April 1942, just off the coast, the Texas Company oil tanker S. S. Oklahoma and the S. S. Esso Baton Rouge were torpedoed by the Germans, bringing the war very close to home for island residents.
Due in large part to the military's improvement of the island's infrastructure during the war, development on the island boomed in the 1950s and 1960s. More permanent homes and subdivisions were built, and the island was no longer just a summer resort but also a thriving community. In 1950 the Methodist conference and retreat center Epworth by the Sea opened on Gascoigne Bluff. In 1961 novelist Eugenia Price visited St. Simons and began work on her first works of fiction, known as the St. Simons Trilogy. Inspired by real events on the island, Price's trilogy renewed interest in the history of Georgia's coast, and the novelist herself relocated to the island in 1965 and lived there for 31 years. St. Simons is also home to contemporary Georgia writer Tina McElroy Ansa.
Since 1980 St. Simons' population has doubled. The island's continued status as a vacation destination and its ongoing development boom have put historic landmarks and natural areas at risk. While such landmarks as the Fort Frederica ruins and the Battle of Bloody Marsh site are preserved and maintained by the National Park Service, and while the historic lighthouse is maintained by the Coastal Georgia Historical Society, historic Ebos Landing has been taken over by a sewage treatment plant.
coastal organizations have formed in recent years to save natural areas
on the island. The St. Simons Land Trust, for example, has received donations
of large tracts of land and plans to protect property in the island's
three traditional African American neighborhoods. Despite its rapid growth
and development, St. Simons remains one of the most beautiful and important
islands on the Georgia coast.
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First Pitch: 7:05 p.m., April 7, Gwinnett Braves Stadium. Braves vs. Durham Bulls. Former Atlanta Braves Manager Bobby Cox will toss out the first pitch at the Class AAA Gwinnett Braves home opener. For more info, call at 678-277-0340, or go online.
Civil War Talk: 2:30 p.m., April 10, sponsored by Snellville Historical Society at Snellville City Hall. Author Barry Brown, author of Crossroads of Conflicts, will be the speaker.
Fifth Annual Plein Air Festival: April 15-16 at Tannery Row Artist Colony in Buford. Artists will begin painting on April 15 and 16. Judging will be April 16, and the show will be open to the public at 7 p.m. The artists' work will be available for purchase.
Gwinnett Technology Forum: 7:30 a.m., April 19, at Gwinnett Technical Colleges Busbee Center. The focus will be display technology. Presenters include Rick Cope, CEO of NanoLumens and Clif Parker, CEO of Reach 3D.
(NEW) 17th Annual Plant Sale: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., April 20 and April 21, Gwinnett Technical College campus greenhouse, Lawrenceville. In addition at this sale, on April 20, Gwinnett County Public Library will sponsor a slate of gardening experts and authors from 10 a.m. to noon.
Art Show, "Walk Like a Gwinnettian: Through April 25, at Gwinnett Historic Courthouse, Lawrenceville. Features work of T. J. Haugh. Reception for artist is Jan. 19 at 7 p.m. at the site.
Flora and Fauna Art Exhibit: Kudzu Art Zone, Norcross, through April 30. There will be a flower arranging workshop April 30 from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m., led by Chris Sherry, noted Atlanta instructor. For more info, go to www.kudzuartzone.org, or telephone 770-945-4896.
GwinnettForum.com 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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