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WOOFSTOCK TOMORROW: Look for tongues lolling and tails wagging on Saturday, May 7, at Suwanee's Town Center Park, as Woofstock returns. Dog Demonstrations, clinics and contests are features of this line-up for two and four legged attendees. The fun begins at noon with dog sports demonstrations in agility and lure coursing. Frisbee catching starts at 1 p.m. More than 30 pet vendors and 15 non-profit and rescue groups will be on hand. Contests for biggest dog, smallest dog, pet/owner look-alike, and best dressed pet will be held throughout the day. Admission to Woofstock is free, and dogs, cats, birds, ferrets, etc. are welcome. All animals must be on a leash, and owners are reminded to please clean up after their pets. The Gainesville, Fla. alternative rock band, Sister Hazel, will perform at 6:30 p.m. Also performing on the Town Center stage during Woofstock are Ingram Hill, a Memphis-based rock trio, at 4:30 p.m. and soulful Atlanta-based singer/songwriter Gareth Asher at 5:15 p.m. For updated information about Woofstock, visit www.suwanee.com.

Issue 11.11 | Friday, May 6, 2011

TODAY'S FOCUS
:: On Gwinnett Place CID updates

ELLIOTT BRACK'S PERSPECTIVE
:: Bin Laden celebrations worrying

McLEMORE'S WORLD
: :
Mooning

FEEDBACK
: : Using people like cows?

UPCOMING
: : Symphony, chorus to perform

NOTABLE
: : Steele sworn in, new play

ALSO INSIDE

IN THE SPOTLIGHT
: : Graphic Communications Corp.

GEORGIA TIDBIT
: : Heritage educaiton in Georgia

TODAY'S QUOTE
: : Pondering a lengthy subject

ARCHIVES
: : Read past commentaries

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ABOUT US

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.

 
 

TODAY'S FOCUS
New Gwinnett Place CID chair looks toward improvements
By LEO WIENER
Special to GwinnettForum

(Editor's Note: we asked Leo Wiener, new chairman of the Gwinnett Place CID board of directors, to give his views on what he sees in the immediate future. He is principal and partner with Glenwood Development Company LLC, a firm specializing in multi-tenant retail properties, with more than 15 years in commercial real estate. -eeb)

DULUTH, Ga., May 6, 2011 -- The business leaders serving on the Gwinnett Place Community Improvement District (CID) Board of Directors are focused on executing the goals of our diverse stakeholders in all of our efforts.


Wiener

As commercial property and business owners with long-standing interests in the continued success of greater Gwinnett Place, we know the importance of financial responsibility and accountability. We take that into account with all of the plans we create and every decision we make on behalf of the CID.

I am committed to continuing our fiscally responsible stewardship of the resources entrusted to us as we make sound long term decisions and leverage every dollar possible through available funding opportunities.

One of the CID's chief priorities is reducing travel delays in our area. In the very near future, everyone driving in the Pleasant Hill Road corridor will witness and benefit from substantial improvements addressing traffic congestion relief.

As 2011 progresses, the CID will continue its work with state and local transportation authorities to re-create the existing Pleasant Hill Road bridge over I-85 into the innovative traffic pattern called a diverging-diamond interchange (DDI).

Construction for the DDI interchange will start in early 2012 and will be completed in three to four months. Traffic congestion delays are forecasted to decrease by as much as 40 percent during peak travel time, and the improved levels of service will likely remain effective for the next 10 years.

Accompanying the bridge project are plans to redesign the intersection of Venture Drive at Pleasant Hill. Venture Drive will be widened to include five lanes, a new two-way center left turn lane and upgraded pedestrian crossings.

And the CID is now in its third year of maintaining optimal traffic signal timing throughout the area. This cost-effective method of relief produces a 45 percent decrease in the number of stops and a 31 percent decrease in delays along Pleasant Hill Road alone.


Landscaping around Gwinnett Place CID.

On another front, the CID will update the market assessment and action plans completed for the area as part of the Atlanta Regional Commission's Livable Centers Initiative. Incorporating fresh real-world economic and demographic data will help guide our long-range planning efforts as we continue to explore innovative solutions to keeping the area vibrant for the foreseeable future.

The CID is also reviewing the results from extensive studies of residential, business and consumer opinions and attitudes about the Gwinnett Place area. These findings will help to direct improvement projects and policy decisions aimed at benefiting the area as a whole and ensuring that we continue to meet the goals set forth by our board.

These and many other ongoing efforts are aimed at our overall objective -enhancing the vitality and economic development opportunities within Gwinnett County's central business district.

Please take a moment to page through our site at www.GwinnettPlaceCID.com to learn more about all of the initiatives underway. We welcome the opportunity to hear your ideas and have your participation as we work to keep Gwinnett Place the place to be.

EEB PERSPECTIVE
Manner Americans marked bin Laden's death is worrisome
By ELLIOTT BRACK
Editor and publisher

MAY 6, 2011 -- The way some Americans marked the death of Osama bin Laden worries me. Much of the outpouring of sentiment over his death was unseemly and barbaric to American values.


Brack

Don't get me wrong. The United States was right to hunt down this merciless renegade extremist. Osama bin Laden stood for the very worst in humans, trying to use terrorism and force to achieve his goals. He was the antithesis of a ideal person. He seemed to care little for human beings, and did not mind inflicting harm on others to get his point across.

Yet what really bothered us is the way in which many Americans actually "celebrated" his death. His death, we hope, is a turning point in the war on terrorism. We applaud the removal of a despotic leader. But crowds of people in many cities marked the occasion by chanting "USA, USA, USA?" Others reveled in this incident like it was a one-sided, totally American victory, where in reality, the bin Laden death benefited not only our nation, but all of mankind.

Such instances seemed to me far too celebratory. Relief at bin Laden's death…..yes. An inner feeling like his death was deserved…yes. Knowing that the world is safer because of the demise of this person….yes. But celebration?

Perhaps it's because we usually see such outpourings of emotion when people cheer in such fashion at victory in a sporting event. This was nothing like a sporting event, but a major turn of history that could mark the beginning of a new chapter, or the end, of one phase of history. It is significant, but far more serious an event that mere outpouring of raw emotion indicate. Chanting cheers seemed sophomoric at best, crude in nature, and claw at what most Americans believe and stand for.


Archer

Maybe it was simply the unleashing of inexperienced of youth. Perhaps we should not take this celebration so seriously. But it bothers me.

A freshman student from McDonough, Ga., A.J. Archer, writing in The Red and Black at the University of Georgia this week, may have hit the nail on the head:

"The rally outside of the White House…is a strong testament to our nation's unity. But it portrays us as a nation that preaches hate toward those who hurt us. Hate, when satisfaction, is just as rewarding.

"Take pride for the accomplishments of your country, and rejoice that you have the opportunity to live here. But do not lose your humanity in the process."

Thanks, A.J.

* * * * *

We give President Obama thumbs up on two aspects of this operation.

First, the body was buried at sea in the tradition of bin Laden's religion. The body was not allowed to be a centerpiece of emotional outpouring.

Secondly, the President is right not to release photographs of the body. We are told that bin Laden was hit in the face with a bullet. No doubt this was a high caliber round of military ammunition. What was not said is that such bullets create destruction, passing through the head, and then blowing open the back of a head in a bloody mess. Release of such a photographs would have caused an uproar in the Third World. It is best that this photograph never see the light of day.

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Graphic Communications Corporation

The public spiritedness of our sponsors allows us to bring GwinnettForum.com to you at no cost to readers. The public spiritedness of our sponsors allows us to bring GwinnettForum.com to you at no cost to readers. Today's sponsor is Graphic Communications Corporation of Lawrenceville, a WBENC and a NWBOC certified female-owned and managed company. Graphic Communications is a dynamic full-service print, large-format inkjet and photographic output, fulfillment, point-of-purchase and multi-media communications company. The firm has a digital media and graphic design department for both print and Internet use. Graphic Communications has been awarded the Chain of Custody certification by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), the Sustainable Forest Initiative (SFI) and the Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes (PEFC). Only a select group of printers in Georgia can provide eco-conscious customers with paper with the FSC, SFI or PEFC logos, which ensure that the paper is from a well-managed, certified, sustainable forest and that the chain of custody from forest to pulp and to paper manufacturer to merchant---has not been broken. Graphic Communications' biggest strength is its ability to meet tight deadlines along with the ever-present demands for high quality and attention to detail. This ability makes the printing process seamless for its clients. Three of its greatest competitive advantages are: 1) listening, 2) being organized for speed, and 3) being detail fanatics. All of its associates are committed to giving customers exactly what they want, when they want it. Simply, at Graphic Communications, the customer's needs are the driving forces behind everything it does, from investment in technology to the friendly voices that still answer the telephone. For more information, go to http://www.gccprint.com.

McLEMORE'S WORLD
Mooning away

FEEDBACK
Are people to be exploited like milk cows; human husbandry?

Editor, the Forum:

Concerning your recent item about funding of higher education: in the long run, any society that doesn't transmit its culture and traditions and acquired skills to subsequent generations, is destined for the dustbin of history, like the Mayans. All individuals die; only societies survive.

So, if society wants to survive and survival is a benefit, society ought to pay for education. Expecting parents, who already procreate, rear and nurture the next generation for free (they have no expectation of getting a return), to also pay for education and training is a gross injustice. Expecting the next generation to indenture themselves to the financiers in hopes of getting employment is also exploitive, but not inconsistent with the perception that's what people are for, to be exploited like milk cows--human husbandry.

The privatized financial sector sees itself in competition with and beholden to the public sector. That is, they want to have influence at the same time that they want to suckle at the public teat. Public programs are seen as source of both influence and steady income, as long as the public "beast" can be neutralized and doesn't have to be served.

Everything was going along so well, as long as public officials were drawn from the self-anointed ruling class. The universal franchise threatens that cozy relationship, so the beast has to be leashed and financial indenture helps accomplish that. The thing about a monetized society is that the potential for equality is great, but money is also a handy tool with which to subordinate.

The re-assignment of servicing the higher education loan program to the Department of Education from the banks has soured a lot of people who looked upon higher education as a cash cow, a steady trickle of interest income and a steadily increasing addition to human husbandry.

-- Monica Smith, Savannah

  • Send us your thoughts. Our policy: We encourage readers to submit feedback (or letters to the editor). Send your thoughts to the editor at elliott@brack.net. 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.

UPCOMING
Gwinnett Symphony and Chorus presents 2 concerts soon

Gwinnett Symphony Orchestra and Chorus will present Masterworks III -- "Something Old, New, Borrowed and Blue: A Mothers' Day Celebration -- 7:30 p.m. Monday at the Performing Arts Center at Gwinnett Center. The performance will showcase this year's winners of the Rising Star Concerto Competition along with a special guest performance by pianist David Watkins and the premier choral presentation of Rene Clausen's "Memorial". Moms are invited to attend for free!

The Gwinnett Symphony Orchestra and Chorus annual presentation of their Rising Star Concerto Competition winners has always drawn a big crowd and this year's presentation of the five winning performers will be no exception. Yannie Tan will perform Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 20, Movement 3 and Eric James will perform Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue at the May 9th concert. Another key component in this music programming endeavor is their development of the GSOC Youth Orchestra which, through an ongoing partnership with local high school orchestras, rehearses and performs with the Gwinnett Symphony Orchestra and will be onstage for the May 9 performance.

Another concert on May 14 at Hebron Baptist Church will feature Vivian Cheng and Judy Li performing the first and second movements of Mozart's Concerto No. 20.

The Gwinnett Symphony Orchestra and Chorus will have concert pianist David Watkins, an international Steinway Artist and former director of keyboard studies at Kennesaw State University, performing Sergei Rachmaninov's Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini. A key presentation of the evening will be the performance of Rene Clausen's Memorial, composed in 2003 with a "musical emphasis upon a possible spiritual response" to the events of September 11, 2001. Early this year as the chorus began working on the piece, Distinguished Concerts International New York announced that Choral Music Director Rick Smith and the GSO Chorus had been invited to participate in a performance of Memorial this coming September 11 at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall honoring the 10th Anniversary of 9/11.

The funding campaign activities for the trip to New York are wide and varied including raffles, yard sales, individual donations and of course, ticket sales. For more ticket information for the Masterworks III program on Monday, May 9, the Gala Concert at Hebron Baptist Church on May 14 and the "Symphony on the Green" Summer Concert Series in downtown Duluth, visit www.gwinnettsymphony.org.

The Gwinnett Symphony Orchestra and Chorus is a 501 (C) (3), non-profit musical arts organization comprised of talented adult and youth musicians and provides outstanding educational performances of classical and popular music for the diverse metro Atlanta community.

"Test Drive" surgical robot at Eastside Medical Center May 18

Get behind the controls of the surgical robot from Eastside Medical Center and see why robot technology is changing the experience of surgery.

Eastside Medical Center will exhibit the da Vinci Surgical System on Wednesday, May 18 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the visitor lobby of the medical center. Individuals will be able to "test drive" the robot. Get behind the controls of the surgical robot from Eastside Medical Center and see why robot technology is changing the experience of surgery.

Individuals will be able to move the unit's arms, play with the instruments and experience what surgeons see and feel when they use the robot to operate.

Kim Ryan, CEO at Eastside Medical Center, says: "We are excited about this state-of-the-art technology and want to share it with the Community. The da Vinci robotic system actually enhances the surgeon's skill with computer technology, enabling them to see vital anatomical structures more clearly and perform surgical procedures more precisely. It's exciting to have the first in the Atlanta Market."

For more information about the event or for a physician referral, contact Medline at 800-242-5662 or go to www.EastsideMedical.com.

NOTABLE
Steele sworn in as Gwinnett County tax commissioner

Richard Steele has been sworn in as the new Gwinnett County Tax Commissioner. Superior Court Judge Warren Davis presided over the swearing-in and oath administration. Tax Commissioner Katherine Meyer, originally elected in 1984, retired April 30.


Steele, left, with Judge Warren Davis.

Steele says: "I am looking forward to assuming the duties of tax commissioner. It will certainly be a new challenge, as for the last 26 years Katherine has set the standard for excellence in public service. With her lasting example and our staff of hardworking professionals, the transition to this position will be that much easier."

He previously held the positions of chief deputy tax commissioner, director of property tax and motor vehicles branch manager. Steele assumed the duties of tax commissioner on May 1 and will finish the term which expires December, 2012.

Before joining the Tax Commissioner's office in 2005, Steele was operations manager for the UGA Campus Transit System and as a budget analyst for the Centers for Disease Control.

Steele received a Bachelor of Science from the University of Georgia in 1996 and is a member of the Rotary Club of Lawrenceville. He lives in Buford with his wife and two children.

New presentation about Margaret Mitchell to open in June

In time to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the publication of Gone With The Wind, a play, Mrs. John Marsh - The World Knew Her as Margaret Mitchell will be presented at the Ansley Park Playhouse June 2 to 19.


Kandace Christian as Margaret Mitchell.

First presented in 1992, the one woman show has been updated to reflect more recent research and tells the story of the reclusive author's life before and after she became a publishing sensation. The play is based largely in Mitchell's own words, and on the author's one recorded radio interview. It also comes out of articles and books written about her and the thousands of letters she wrote, as edited and organized by Melita Easters of Atlanta.

Georgia author Terry Kay says of the play: "Proving it is possible for aura to emanate from words, the presence of Margaret Mitchell has been wonderfully resurrected in Melita Easters' compelling one-woman theater piece. The two-act play, vibrant with personality, is both compelling story-telling and revealing history. Melita Easters masterfully celebrates one of America's most famous literary figures by giving her the spirit of life that gave us the book -- Gone With the Wind."

The play was first produced 18 years ago and returns to the stage for this anniversary summer starring Kandace Christian, who is a former Miss Mississippi with a long list of stage credits in the Nashville, Tennessee area. She has twice won recognition as Regional Best Actress for her work and is featured as a vocalist on several Disney albums.

RECOMMENDED
Send us your reviews

  • 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
Heritage education becoming more important in Georgia

Heritage education has evolved and matured over many years. Teachers and students employ local historic sites, primary resource documents, artifacts, photographs, and oral histories to learn about the past, the present, and the future. Many local and statewide programs form the foundation for heritage education in Georgia, a state that is diverse not only in its ethnic groups and geographic features but also in its range of historic properties---high-style architecture treasures, ancient Indian mounds, downtown commercial buildings, rural farmsteads, and urban neighborhoods.

Heritage education grew out of the nationwide historic preservation initiative that began in the late 1960s, when people began to realize the importance of the built environment, its ability to provide people with a sense of history and place, and its importance as a tangible link to our history. Preservationists saw the need to educate people about their past by using the built environment as a classroom. This early desire to save the built environment has been extended over the years to other aspects of American society, including archaeological and personal artifacts, oral histories, documents, photographs, and cemeteries. Yet the educational premise remains the same: people will not appreciate and protect unless they understand the importance of these tangible remains of the past.

Educators who have incorporated heritage education into their existing curriculum have come to realize not only the importance of teaching students about their past but also the ways in which local and community history helps students better to understand state and national history, mathematical and scientific concepts, art, music, and the humanities. From a very early age children are interested in their immediate surroundings. By channeling such natural curiosity and interest in tangible surroundings, educators can help students understand theories and ideas of a more general or far-reaching nature and at the same time teach them to appreciate and understand the past.

Heritage education programs in Georgia, at the local and statewide level, generally fall into two categories: programs for teachers and programs for children. Such organizations as the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation, the Atlanta History Center, the Georgia Historical Society, the Society for Georgia Archeology, and the Georgia Humanities Council provide staff development opportunities to teachers across the state.

Locally, such organizations as Historic Columbus Foundation, Historic Augusta, Historic Savannah Foundation, Coastal Georgia Historical Society, Bartow History Center, Thomasville Landmarks, and the Atlanta Preservation Center, among others, provide opportunities for children in their communities, as do numerous house museums throughout the state. National Park sites such as the Ocmulgee National Monument and the Jimmy Carter boyhood home offer quality programming for students, and at least two schools systems, Troup County and Morgan County, offer elective classes in local history to high school students.

Some organizations, such as the Massie Heritage Center in Savannah and the Historic Chattahoochee Commission, a bistate agency of Alabama and Georgia, provide programs for both teachers and students. The primary philosophy driving all of these organizations is to connect teachers and children to their communities through local historic resources. Many of these organizations cooperate to provide quality programming across the board. Successful heritage education in Georgia relies on all of these partnerships, for each organization offers a unique component that strengthens the effort statewide.

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TODAY'S QUOTE
Wondering about a mighty long subject

"Eternity's a terrible thought. I mean, where's it all going to end?"

-- British dramatist and screenwriter Tom Stoppard (1937 - ), Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (1967).

SEARCH GWINNETT FORUM

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GWINNETT CALENDAR

Health Forum: 7:30 a.m., May 6, at Gwinnett Technical College's Busbee Center. The subject will be "Stroke: Every Second Counts." Presented by Gwinnett Medical Center and Partnership Gwinnett. The program will highlight signs and symptoms of a stroke, risk factors, treatment and rehabilitation. There is no cost. Registration.

(NEW) Gwinnett Relay for Life: Today from 6 p.m. until Saturday, at Gwinnett County Fairgrounds in Lawrenceville. (Survivors walk at 7 p.m.) Relay benefits the American Cancer Society with Gwinnett County having the world record for the most money raised during a relay. Come out and enjoy the activities. More details: send email or call 770-814-0123.

(NEW) 7th annual Barefoot in the Park Festival: May 6 to May 8, Town Green in Downtown Duluth. Many activities on tap, including art walk, fashion show, artist's market, children's art, and lots of entertainment. For more information, visit this site.

Master Gardener Plant Sale: Starting at 9 a.m., May 7, CoolRay Field parking lot, sponsored by the Gwinnett County Cooperative Extension Service. Items available for purchase will include perennials, annuals, and vegetable, blueberry, raspberry and blackberry plants.

Gardening Workshop: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., May 7 at Mary Kistner Nature Center, 2689 Lenora Road, Snellville. Master Gardener Shannon Pable of Buford will conduct a workshop on translating garden design concepts to a workable plan. Lunch will be served. More.

Sustainability Summit: 9 a.m. To 1:30 p.m., May 13, presented by Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce at the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center. Sessions will focus on case studies that make sense, plus provide information on smart grid technology. Participants are representatives from local firms.

Learning Collage Workshop: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., May 13-15 at Kudzu Art Zone in Norcross. John Morse will lead the workshop, teaching technique and how to collect and use found paper. Cost is $225. Call Kudzu Art Zone at 770-840-9844 to register and get supply list online.

Basket Weaving Class: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., May 14, Berkmar High School. For more information about the Gwinnett Basket Weavers Guild, call 770-757-9146.

Spring Festival, Historic Buford: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., May 14, on East Main Street. (Rain date is May 21.) Highlight of the day will be a barbecue cook-off, with all contestants preparing pulled pork barbecue for tastings.

(NEW) Book Signing, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., May 14, The Little Shops of Arts and Antiques on Main Street in Lilburn, with Decatur's Doug Dahlgren, author of The Son, Silas Rising.

(NEW) Ice cream social: 7 p.m., May 17, Norcross Community Center. Norcross Neighbors hosts, and is seeking board member nominations.

State of County Address: 11:30 a.m., May 18, Gwinnett Civic Center Ballroom. Hear Charlotte Nash, newly-elected chair of the Gwinnett Commission, give her views on where the county stands and her outlook for the balance of the year. Hosted by the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce and the Council for Quality Growth. To register, contact Rachel Jeffers at 770-232-8816.

Gwinnett Golden Games: Continuing through May 20. For a list of the places and times, click here.

MORE EEB PERSPECTIVE

7/26: Watch Murdoch's empire

7/22: Channel Islands cool

7/19: Traveling in Britain in lots of ways

7/15: Keep alert to drivers

7/12: Gem Shopping Network

7/8: Careful on nuke plants

7/5: The airport wars

7/1: County, Buford's garbage fee

6/28: Hurrah on snarl solution

6/24: Something good from e-cig?

6/21: Best crab cakes around

6/17: Time to exit Afghanistan?

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

EEB index of columns


MORE RECENT COMMENTARY


7/26: White: Duluth actress stars

7/22: Hanson: Old No. 750 locomotive

7/19: Foreman: Gwinnett architect wins

7/15: DeWilde: Suwanee art voting

7/12: Callini: Home burglaries

7/8: Saputo: Gwinnett job growth

7/5: Bland: Nicaraguan mural

7/1: Tyler: View from Afghanistan

6/28: Callina: Elder abuse reports

6/24: Allen: Fighting graffiti

6/21: Langley: Trip is student incentive

6/17: Whitaker: Hi-Hope's 50 years

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

COMMENTARY INDEX


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