Insert your email for free automatic delivery
guest commentary | elliott brack | feedback | archive | about | our sponsors | home

DAHLONEGA FESTIVAL: A blacksmith from the John C. Campbell Folk Center demonstrates his craft at last year's Bear-on-the-Square Festival in Dahlonega. The 15th annual festival will take place on Saturday and Sunday, April 16-17 starting at 10 a.m. Its mission is the preservation and celebration of the culture of the Southern Appalachians through the presentation of music, traditional crafts and folkways. The John C. Campbell Folk School of Brasstown, N.C. is sponsoring the marketplace for the third year. More than 30 artists will have their work on display for sale at the marketplace. Booths will contain a wide selection of work including pottery, wood crafts, fiber crafts, metal crafts, jewelry, painting and drawing, book binding, and multi-media, and some of these artists plan to demonstrate their work.

Issue 11.04 | Tuesday, April 12, 2011

:: Gwinnett native is hall of famer

:: Aviation school in Gwinnett

::Having cake, eating it at banks

::One view from Blairsville

:: Tech Camp, Aurora in Spanish

:: Freeman's Mill honor, board


_:: IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Meet a sponsor

_:: REVIEW: Send us a review

_:: GEORGIA TIDBIT: Civil War operations

_:: LAGNIAPPE: Savannah port wins award

_:: TODAY'S QUOTE: Jefferson on labor

_:: ARCHIVES: Read past commentaries


University inducts Lawrenceville native into Hall of Fame

Special to GwinnettForum

DAHLONEGA, Ga., April 12, 2011 -- Retired Army Colonel Gerald Lord, a native of Lawrenceville, was inducted into the Alumni Hall of Fame at North Georgia College and State University on April 9, at the NGCSU Alumni Association's annual awards ceremony.


Alumni Hall of Fame inductees have distinguished themselves through outstanding professional careers or outstanding contributions to community service. Colonel Lord is the recipient of the one award presented each year.

Lord is a 1956 graduate of Lawrenceville High School and graduated from North Georgia in 1961 with a bachelor's degree in physical education as a Distinguished Military Graduate. Upon graduation, he was commissioned into the U.S. Army as an infantry officer. He later earned a master's degree in history from Kansas State University. Lord also attended the Army War College and many other military schools throughout his career.

Lord served in the U.S. Army for 30 years in a variety of positions including commander of the 19th Combat Aviation Battalion, staff officer at the Pentagon, and commander of three military bases, including Fort McPherson in Atlanta. During his military career, he also served as professor of military science at North Georgia College. He served a two-year term in Vietnam.

His military awards and decoration include the Distinguished Flying Cross, Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster, Air Medal, Vietnam Cross of Gallantry, Master Army Aviator Badge, Ranger Tab, and other awards.

After his retirement from the military, Lord began his second career of 20 years of service to North Georgia College, serving as associate vice president for business and finance and director of auxiliary services. During his recent employment at the college, Lord re-organized auxiliary enterprises services for the college, which includes the print shop, dormitories, dining hall, bookstore and rental transportation fleet. He was also the head of physical plant and public safety.

Colonel Lord was deeply involved in the master plan and expansion of the campus, and with building Owen Hall, through the use of revenue generated by the enterprise funds. He also supervised the construction and privatizing of the parking deck and recreation center. (The parking deck was built under the recreation center.) Lord was responsible for purchasing smaller pieces of real estate in downtown Dahlonega and expanded campus parking. He oversaw the expansion of the campus of more than 200 acres across the Morrison Moore Parkway, and oversaw the development of recreational fields from private enterprises.

Lord currently serves as a member of the Dahlonega City Council and volunteers with several community organizations. In 2003, he was awarded the Dahlonega Nugget newspaper's Magnificent Seven Award, which recognizes citizens who give unselfishly of themselves to improve the quality of life for the community.

He is married to Kay Norton Lord. They have one son, Capt. Jonathan Lord, a graduate of the Air Force Academy, who is serving in the U.S. Army, most recently as a company commander at Fort Benning.

Gerald Lord is the brother of Mrs. Myron (Janice) Bullock of Lawrenceville and of Stanley Lord of Lawrenceville. His parents were the late Mr. and Mrs. Homer (Carlee) Lord of Lawrenceville.

Aviation maintenance school thriving at old Harry's
Editor and publisher

APRIL 12, 2011 -- You won't recognize what was once Harry's Fresh Market building on Satellite Boulevard. It's no longer a food outlet, and it's hard to imagine, but now it is a school of aviation maintenance.


That's right, the 111,000 square foot building now houses the Aviation Institute of Maintenance, one of 10 related schools around the country. Gwinnett is the largest of the for-profit firm that runs the schools, with nearly 500 students taking courses on the Duluth campus from 7 a.m. until 11 p.m. at night.

The firm first opened at Gwinnett's Briscoe Field initially in 1998, when there was no school of this type in the South. Eventually, the school was located in five different buildings at the airport, and its students' cars were jamming the airport parking. As the Harry's location was available, the school moved to the Satellite Boulevard site.

There's no need for the Institute to be at an airport, since it teaches aircraft maintenance, and doesn't need a runway. The high ceilings at the building allow for a hangar-type back entrance for the 10 airplanes or helicopters in varying stages of instruction readiness that are used as teaching tools.

Director Reggie Baker has been with the Institute since 2004, and moved the Institute to the Harry's location last November. Students, who are often in their 20s and 30s, come to the school from all over the nation, though about three-fourths live permanently in the Atlanta area. "Many of our students are filling up the available apartments near the Institute," he notes. He says that the Institute could eventually instruct a student body of 1,600 students at this location.

He adds: "We're the largest of our 10 aviation maintenance schools, and we are really growing. Our students get good jobs in industry, and people in the airline industry are constantly recommending us for training to those who want to work in the field."

The training is not inexpensive. The full 16-term Airframe course (of five weeks each) course takes 18 months to complete, plus there's an additional four terms (six months) needed to complete the Avionics (electronics and systems) component. The total cost is about $40,000. Students are eligible for Pell Grants, and the Institute is an accredited Title IV institution.

Graduates of the programs earn between $15-30 per hour, depending on their experience, locations and firms employing them.

We talked with Mark Stevens, who commutes to the school from Madison County, and is in his 12th term (of 20) at the school. He's the president of the Student Council, and directed us around the building. Also on hand was Jeff Campbell of Covington, vice president of the Student Council, in his 10th term. "Our classes are small," Mark told us, "Between 10-25 students, depending on the course. The instructors work closely with you." Jeff adds: "There's about a 50-50 split between lecture and hands-on instruction."

Other AIM campuses are located in Dallas and Houston, Tex.; Manassas and Chesapeake, Va.; Philadelphia, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Mo., Oakland, Calif. and Orlando, Fla.

Once students graduate, but before they can work on airplanes, the students are expected to get their Federal Aviation Administration certification. At least 98 per cent pass such tests.

Baker points out: "One person can clear for flying a big jet which carries 800 passengers. We take seriously this responsibility, wanting our students to excel in their work for the safety of the passengers."

Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce

The public spiritedness of our sponsors allows us to bring to you at no cost to readers. Today's sponsor is the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce. From answering your questions and providing a host of useful information, to promoting growth in our county, there are people working every day to help make Gwinnett a place where businesses thrive and success lives. For more detail, go to

Cake question

View from Blairsville is of bodies hiding under the bed

Editor, the Forum:

You failed to mention that Sen. Renee Unterman's appointment to the Budget Conference Committee by Lt.Gov. Casey Cagle was political payback for her help in the failed attempt to restore power to the lieutenant governor that is not granted through the Georgia Constitution. Achievement that is earned is the only achievement worthy of praise.

-- Patrick Malone, Blairsville

  • Send us your thoughts. Our policy: We encourage readers to submit feedback (or letters to the editor). Send your thoughts to the editor at We will edit for length and clarity. Make sure to include your name and the city where you live. Submission of a comment grants permission for us to reprint. Please keep your comments to 300 words or less. However, we will consider longer articles (no more than 500 words) for featuring in Today's Focus as space allows.

GGC offers 3rd annual science-tech camp this summer

Middle and high school students will explore computing careers, design their own games and mobile applications, and build robots as part of the third annual Georgia Gwinnett College School of Science and Technology Tech Camp -- a hands-on, experience-based week of exposure to the computing future.
Designed for middle- and high school students, GGC's Tech Camp program promotes creative thinking and problem-solving. No previous experience is required. Participants will use the popular LEGO Mindstorms to build their robots. They also will film and edit movies, and learn what life is like at a residential college campus.

GGC Tech Camp engages students in the exciting ways computing is used as a problem-solving tool, and provides a collaborative, fun environment for students to build teamwork and leadership skills. Campers have classes during the morning and participate in fun programs in the afternoon, including camper favorites like the scavenger hunt and recreation day, as well as some new activities.

College faculty and staff teach and supervise the campers. GGC students provide additional assistance during the program. The program fee is $185, and financial aid is available for a limited number of students with demonstrated financial need.

To register, visit this site. The priority registration deadline is April 18. High school students may attend a coed program the week of June 13-17. Camp week for middle school boys is June 20-24, and June 27-July 1 for middle school girls. For more information, contact Nannette Napier or Kristine Nagel at 678-407-5458, or via e-mail.

Aurora Theatre offering GGC Lab Series play in Spanish

Aurora Theatre continues the 2010-2011 GGC Lab Series with a Spanish-language performance produced through our Spanish language theatre initiative Teatro del Sol. Written by Elaine Romero, Barrio Hollywood the show runs April 14 through May 1.

Aurora Theatre's production of Barrio Hollywood marks the world premiere of the Spanish language version. In the play Alex Moreno, a Mexican-American boxer, dreams of fighting his way out of poverty. When Alex is injured, the Moreno's dreams are deferred in this gritty drama about bi-racial romance, family loyalty and the true pursuit of happiness. Barrio Hollywood will be presented in Spanish with English supertitles. For native speakers, it will be a rare opportunity to enjoy a live professional play in Spanish. For those who do not speak the language, they can follow along with supertitles, just like when attending a foreign film. A detailed synopsis will also be offered for those patrons who wish to read the story beforehand.

Performances are Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $15. Call 678-226-6222 for more details, or visit

Norcross Farmer's Market open May 17 through mid-October

If you're ready to "get fresh", come on out to the 2011 Norcross Farmer's Market, opening on Tuesday, May 17 at 4 p.m. The market was voted one of the best top five markets in Georgia in 2010.

Over 35 original producers have signed up so far, offering local, regional and artisanal treats. Comparison studies have shown that overall, shopping at a local farmer's market costs the same or less, with the added benefit of being fresh and produced using natural or organic practices and ingredients.

Many of last year's favorite vendors will be on hand again with fresh breads, baked goods, granola and yogurt, plus a smattering of new faces bringing everything from gluten-free popsicles to organic popcorn. Nine farmers are signed up this year; plans are to have lettuces, herbs and other spring veggies ready to sell (Mother Nature permitting).

The market will be held every Tuesday, May 17 through the middle of October, from 4 p.m. until 8 p.m. in Thrasher Park, in Downtown Historic Norcross. For more information about the market, visit it online at

Restoration of mill wins historic preservation award

The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation presented 23 awards recognizing the best of preservation in Georgia during its 34th annual Preservation Awards ceremony in Macon on April 1, including one award for a Gwinnett program.

Gwinnett County's Freeman's Mill project was given an Excellence in Restoration award. Other Georgia projects winning this award included : the Coweta County Courthouse, Newnan; Hardman Farm, Helen; Old Fort Jackson, Savannah; and Hills and Dales, LaGrange.

Excellence in Rehabilitation winners were: Campus Theatre and Bookstore, Milledgeville; Clarence Thomas Center for Historic Preservation, Savannah; E.M. Rogers House, Adel; New College at the University of Georgia, Athens; Hallock Cottage, Augusta; Plaza Arts Center, Eatonton; Pulaski County Board of Education, Hawkinsville; the Rock Building, Chatsworth; and the Wynne-Claughton Building (Carnegie Building), Atlanta.

The Hardman Farm in Sautee, Ga. received the Marguerite Williams Award, presented annually to the project that has had the greatest impact on preservation in the state. The Italianate style house also received an award in the Excellence in Restoration category.

For more than 30 years, the Trust has recognized preservation projects and individuals in the state who have made significant contributions to the field of historic preservation. Awards are presented on the basis of the contributions of the person or project to the community and/or state and on compliance to the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties.

Community Foundation names 8 new board members

Eight new members have been added to the board of directors of the Community Foundation of Northeast Georgia (CFNEG). The new members are Doug Bridges of Suwanee; Wayne Hill of Suwanee; Barbara Howard of Norcross; Jim Pack of Lawrenceville; Greg Shumate of Atlanta; Ruth Strickland of Norcross; Sandra Strickland of Lawrenceville; and Kathryn Willis of Duluth.

Long time CFNEG Board Member Mary Louise Stark recently relocated and will no longer be able to commit her time to serving the region. Judge Chung Lee, because of other community obligations, moved to the CFNEG Advisory Board. This will enable his expertise to remain available to the Foundation.

Braselton moving site for annual 4th of July activities

The Fourth of July fireworks in Braselton, one of the town's most popular events, is changing venue this year. Traditionally, the event has been held on Georgia Highway 211 behind the Publix across from the entrance to Chateau Elan. However, that tract of property is primed for development and the location needed to change.

Starting this year, the fireworks display will move to downtown right off of Highway 53 at the West Jackson Intermediate School. This new venue will allow viewing from both the Braselton and the Hoschton parks as well as Braselton Town Hall.
Prior to the fireworks, there will be a parade and festival and music in the park. Additional information on this and other events in the Braselton area can be found at

The Son, Silas Rising, by Doug Dahlgren

"Let's put it this way: I finished the book at 12:08 a.m., well past my normal bedtime, and in three days, simply because the book is so compelling. Though self-published by a Decatur resident, it's as good a read as those by major thriller authors. The story line focuses on the death of four members of Congress over several months….all from apparently natural causes. Not so, as we learn from one uniquely talented person, with innovative techniques that go undetected. And now a fifth member of Congress is being targeted…..and people all over the nation are getting worried. The book is hard to put down. The author has already written a sequel, The Only Constant, which I've not had time to read yet. But will. These paperbacks are available at Amazon, etc., and well worth it." -- eeb

  • 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

Civil War occupation and coastal operations in Georgia

The battle between ship and shore on the coast of Confederate Georgia was a pivotal part of the Union strategy to subdue the state during the Civil War (1861-65). U.S. President Abraham Lincoln's call at the start of the war for a naval blockade of the entire Southern coastline took time to materialize, but by early 1862 the Union navy had positioned a serviceable fleet off the coast of the South's most prominent Confederate ports. In Georgia, Union strategy centered on Savannah, the state's most significant port city. Beyond Savannah, Union forces generally focused on securing bases of operation on outlying coastal islands to counter Confederate privateers.

Confederate defensive strategy, in turn, evolved with the Union blockade. After the fall of Port Royal, S.C., in November 1861, Confederate President Jefferson Davis appointed General Robert E. Lee to reorganize Confederate coastal defenses. Lee quickly realized the impossibility of defending the entire coastline and decided to consolidate limited Confederate forces and materiel at key strategic points. He countered Union naval superiority by ensuring easy reinforcement of Confederate coastal positions along railroad lines. In this way, Lee minimized reliance upon the fledgling Confederate navy and maximized the use of Confederate military forces in coastal areas, including both Georgia's Sea Islands and mainland ports with railroad connection.

On the night of November 11, 1861, a daring Confederate blockade-runner, Edward C. Anderson, escaped under Union eyes and piloted his ship, the Fingal, into the port of Savannah. A native of Savannah, Anderson was the first of many who attempted to assist the Confederate cause by breaking through the Union's extensive coastal blockade, which stretched from Virginia to Florida. However, in Georgia none would match Anderson's success. The landing of Enfield rifles and cannons, as well as sabers and military uniforms, at the state's major port marked the high tide of the South's ability to penetrate the North's naval forces stationed along the Georgia shore.

But Anderson's remarkable feat also signaled to the Union that it needed to bolster its blockade and close off access to Savannah, which, like Charleston, S.C., to the north, offered an access point readily able to provide Confederate armies with necessary war materiel. If the Union hoped to wear the South down by cutting it off from the outside world, then it had to put a stop to incidents like the Fingal's arrival at Savannah. Because Union forces took control of the seas around Brunswick and St. Simons Island in the war's beginning stages, the virtual closing of Savannah's port to privateers like Anderson greatly contributed to eventual Union success in Georgia.

Confederate leadership and the people of Savannah came to pin their hopes of resisting Union occupation and breaking the blockade on a handful of gunboats. Three of these, the Atlanta, the Georgia, and later the Savannah, were ironclads patterned after the CSS Virginia, famous for its battle against the USS Monitor at Hampton Roads, Va., in 1862. The Macon, the Sampson, the Resolute, and the Isondiga, wooden gunboats of varying designs, constituted the remainder of the Confederate fleet in Savannah. In addition, Georgia's coastal defenses included innovative torpedoes, developed by Commodore Matthew Maury, which caused the Union navy periodic concern. Despite these innovations, the Confederate naval forces paled in comparison to Union naval strength. Despite fleeting successes by Southern naval forces, the increasingly potent Union navy ultimately enabled complete Union control of the Georgia coastline.

(To be continued).

Port of Savannah honor

ENGINEERING EXCELLENCE: The nation's largest single-terminal container facility, the Port of Savannah's Garden City Terminal, is the winner of an Honor Award for engineering excellence from the Georgia Engineering Alliance, for its two-mile Cross Terminal Roadway project. Completed in August 2010, the $6.6-million road separates traffic between the container yards and supports functions located behind the yards. Comprised of four, 12-foot-wide travel lanes, a 15-foot-wide center turn lane and 6-foot-wide shoulders, the road also includes a 145-foot-by-72-foot-wide concrete bridge over the Pipemakers Canal. In accordance with the GPA's environmental initiative, approximately 20,000 tons of crushed concrete were recycled for the new roadway base, 1,300 tons of asphalt millings were placed on-site and an estimated 2,300 tons of reclaimed asphalt were utilized in the asphalt pavement mix for the new roadway. Overall, more than five percent of the materials used for the project were recycled material. The worldwide engineering firm of Moffatt and Nichol assisted with planning, design and construction support for the two-mile corridor, which provides direct access across the 1,200-acre terminal from the north end to the south.


GwinnettForum is provided to you at no charge every Tuesday and Friday. If you would like to serve as an underwriter, click here to learn more.

Send your thoughts, 55-word short stories, pet peeves or comments on any issue to Gwinnett Forum for future publication.


We hope you'll keep receiving the great news and information from GwinnettForum, but if you need to unsubscribe, click here.


We encourage you to check out our sister publications:

Georgia Clips offers a similar daily news compilation for the scores of newspapers in Georgia's 159 counties.

SC Clips -- a daily news compilation of South Carolina news from media sources across the state. Delivered by email about the time you get to work every business day. Saves you a lot of money and time. -- an online community commentary for exploring pragmatic and sensible social, political and economic approaches to improve life in Charleston, S.C.

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

2011, 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.



Happiness for Americans if labors are not wasted

"I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them."

-- The third president of the United States, Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), via David Earl Tyre, Jesup.




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.

Spring Plant Sale, to benefit the Duluth History Museum: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., April 16 at 2956 Buford Highway. Partner for the event is Woody's Nursery. The Museum will have free admission on this date. Also available will be the Museum's hand-made birdhouses.

Genealogy Class, at Duluth History Museum: 7 p.m., April 19, 2956 Buford Highway. Fee is $15. Leah Gilbreath Gonzalez, a registered Genealogist, will be the instructor. Pre-registration is necessary at 770-232-7584 or via email.

Gwinnett Technology Forum: 7:30 a.m., April 19, at Gwinnett Technical College’s Busbee Center. The focus will be display technology. Presenters include Rick Cope, CEO of NanoLumens and Clif Parker, CEO of Reach 3D.

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.

Educational networking event: 4:30 p.m., April 21, at Gwinnett Chamber Education Room. The event will feature Ryan Garvel, founder of The Atlanta Belt Line. The event is co-sponsored by the Gwinnett Chamber and the Swedish American Chamber. Garvel will speak on urban design techniques and strategic investments needed in the Metro Atlanta region. Email Lindsay for details.

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, or telephone 770-945-4896.


6/14: Gwinnett, Polish credit unions

6/10: Immigration concerns global

6/7: Wally Odum Jr.

6/3: Gwinnett's redistricting

6/1: Tornado damages forests

5/27: Gwinnett will miss four

5/24: Briscoe Field and study

5/20: Classical evening model

5/17: The dogs of our family

5/13: OFS redevelopment

5/10: Berkeley Lake's lake

5/6: Worrying celebrations

5/3: Water plant surprise

4/29: Higher ed burden

4/26: Hog Mountain church

4/22: Briscoe Field

4/19: Ga's 2 senators

4/15: Mfg. improvements

4/12: Aviation school thrives

4/8: Unterman sets record

4/5: AJC missed land options

4/1: Celebrating 10 years

EEB index of columns


6/14: Sanders: Australia and business

6/10: Mechling: Dacula filmmakers

6/7: Pope: Road improvements

6/3: Ramey: New GGC alma mater

6/1: Chandler: Traveling with friends

5/27: Bolling: LanierWorld opens

5/24: Callina: For-profit school caution

5/20: Olson: Arts, Center join forces

5/17: Mabin: Reverse mortgages

5/13: Watson: Clean Air entries

5/10: Nelson: Change is good

5/6: Wiener: Gwinnett Place CID to improve

5/3: Perez: Long view of Gwinnett

4/29: Peterson: Sons of Union Vets here

4/26: Austin: Airport privatization

4/22: Sutt: Barefoot festival

4/19: Myers: Preventing blindness

4/15: Moore: Hidden homeless

4/12: Maine: Lord inducted

4/8: Willis: Cutting a chicken

4/5: Ruth: Aurora's camps

4/1: National Grandmothers


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.


2001-2011, Gwinnett is Gwinnett County's online community forum for commentary that explores pragmatic and sensible social, political and economic approaches to improve life in Gwinnett County, Ga. USA.

PHONE: 770.840.1003

Site designed and maintained by
The Brack Group.