BUFORD, Ga., May 10, 2011 -- I was asked recently what I thought was the biggest event thus far in the last decade. While I can't single out one particular event, one accumulative effect I have noted is the change in lifestyle and in the earnest desire to improve lifestyle management. People want to get back to basics, simplify, remove the clutter (in their minds and in their houses), streamline, and get on with life without dragging so much along with them.
When 9/11 occurred, it was like a shock, but its effects basically petered out in a few months. Most of us went back to the way we were living before and continued right along. Then, a few years ago, we started the "great recession." Partially a domino effect, partially handwriting on the wall, and definitely jump-started by Wall Street greed and subprime loans, this event has become the defining moment in the lives of millions of people.
The price paid in foreclosed homes, lost jobs (many of which will never come back), and the fundamental shift in people's day-to-day attitude, have been deep, impactful, and likely not to go away any time soon. But there have been some major silver linings.
While many of the now permanently unemployed are disenfranchised, many others have embraced the spirit of entrepreneurialism. The quintessential American "can do" attitude that built this country in the first place is starting to rebuild it again right now. It is causing people to work cooperatively instead of competitively. It is causing us to realize we are all in this together, and together is how we will get through it.
Years ago, I visited Yosemite six months after a wide-ranging and devastating fire. At once, I saw giant trees charred down to giant sticks dotting the landscape. But when I looked closer, I saw an explosion of new, young, and yes, fragile, life covering the forest floor.
I see the same picture again. Many of the old ways of living and thinking have been forever obliterated. In its stead lies new, fertile ground that many are seizing and building upon. This is creating a newfound sense of community, both in business and in our personal lives. In some ways we have been humbled; perhaps even a bit of our arrogance has been curbed. Within these changes lie the opportunity for relationships, starting with ourselves and extending to others.
also a movement afoot of going "green," and while $4 a gallon
for gas will really push that direction, we're going there none-the-less.
And we're recycling more, using less water. Thrift is no longer a dirty
word. More and more, people are living together and seeking to find harmony
in doing so. In time, this will transform our lives and our neighborhoods.
Yes, change is gonna do us good.
MAY 10, 2011 -- For perhaps two years, the town of Berkeley Lake won't have a lake.
The effect of the heavy rains back in September of 2009 is causing the city of 2,128 residents to re-build the dam. Work is expected to start this July. The initial phase of work will see the entire 88-acre lake drained to reduce the pressure on the dam, so that engineering on the dam can begin.
It's anticipated that the engineering project will take nine months to complete. Then, depending on nature, it's anticipated that it might take up to more than a year for the lake to return to its full water pool. Even now, the pool level is down about 10 feet, meaning that only the deeper part of the lake has water, with many reaches of the upper lake now entirely dry.
The town has had a lot of activity about the lake since the 2009 downpours caused the problems. The rains essentially wiped out the drainage systems of the lake, and caused two feet of water to pour over the 20-30 foot wide spillway. The water was rushing toward the Chattahoochee River, about a quarter of a mile away.
Chip McDaniel, who is president of the Berkeley Lake Homeowner's Association, said this week: "We believe the city has the problem solved on how to proceed, and will soon have the engineers working."
Altogether, the Association is made up of about half of the 600 homes in Berkeley Lake, with the majority of the Association members having homes around the lake. Members of the Association are active in the community, and work closely with the Berkeley Lake City Council.
The Association owns the lake itself, but the city owns the dam. Hence, the work on re-building the dam because of the damage from the 2009 rains falls on the city.
The City Council has been working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on funding the work on the dam. FEMA approved a portion of the work on the dam, but the Georgia Safe Dam Program did not give approval. At present the city is in the midst of appealing the overall funding by FEMA.
However, the City feels pressure to get the work done quickly, and is seeking to sell $2.8 million in bonds, to be repaid over 30 years. The city hopes to close on the bonds by mid June regardless, though it has hopes of being reimbursed eventually by FEMA.
Meanwhile, the city has pre-certified firms to work on the project, but not sent the job to bid yet. The City is anticipating that work could begin on the project in mid July. However, all work must gain the approval of the Georgia Safe Dam Program, though there is no indication if the approval will come in time for work to begin in July.
Mayor Lois Salter calls all the work required around the dam "unfortunate." She and the City Council have had to raise taxes to help pay for the engineering and sludge removal. "We feel like we must fund this work," she says.
So the City of Berkeley Lake struggles from the onslaught of the 2009 rains. The upshot will be no water in the signature lake in order to restore it to its previous beauty.
The public spiritedness of our sponsors allows us to bring GwinnettForum.com to you at no cost to readers. Today's underwriter is Garden Plaza at Lawrenceville, one of Gwinnett County's newest retirement communities. The 150-unit community boasts a full range of amenities, including an indoor swimming pool, spa facilities, fitness center, beauty/barber shop, Internet café, courtyard gardens and separate garages. The apartment homes (studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom) are leased on a monthly basis to senior adults 55 and older. The team at Garden Plaza is committed to providing extraordinary customer service. We believe our programs and services are operated at a level of excellence that exceeds our residents' needs and expectations. The action-packed recreational calendar includes outdoor excursions, as well as anything from movie matinees and shopping trips to educational seminars and live performances. Visit the Web site at www.lawrencevilleretirement.com.
Editor, the Forum:
You are seriously off base in your comments on the bin Laden issue. We live in a complacent country bordered by two oceans, Canada and Mexico. People are more worried about what to put on their Facebook page than what's going on in the rest of the world.
* * * * *
Editor, the Forum:
Perhaps what bothered you and me about are the bin Laden celebration was that the United States acted like a third world country. The only thing missing were AK 47s being shot in the air. If the situation was reversed, Americans would have been appalled. I am pleased that bin Laden can never hurt us again, but disappointed at the way we reacted.
* * * * *
Editor, the Forum:
Thank you for your comments about how some Americans celebrated the death of one of our most feared foes.
I am relieved that we have come to a turning point, hopefully, in the war on terrorism but celebrations over any death feels wrong to me.
You said it all well. Thank you.
The Norcross Arts Alliance is planning its first session of classical music, "A Classical Evening in May" on Sunday, May 15, at 5:30 p.m. at the Norcross Community Center.
The headliners of this evening will be Jenn and Greg Jordan, singing songs of Mozart, Handel, Gilbert and Sullivan, Debussy, and Schubert. They will also reprise their love duet from our Cabaret, "Wanting You," by Sigmund Romberg.
Craig Duke will reprise a Bach prelude and fugue and a Beethoven piano sonata. He is a recent graduate of the Florida State University School of Music.
John Cooper, a Norcross High School senior and member of the Atlanta Symphony youth orchestra, will play several pieces on viola.
Don Papenbrock, Tracey Rice, and Craig Duke will serve as accompanists for the singers.
Gwinnett Village Alliance plans second Spring Job Fair in June
The Gwinnett Village Community Alliance will hold its second annual Spring Job Fair on Tuesday, June 21, presented by AT&T, BB&T Bank and Victory World Church.
The event will be held at Victory World Church, 5905 Brook Hollow Parkway, in Norcross 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.
Letycia Pastrana, executive director of the Alliance, says: "With one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation, many Gwinnett families are experiencing job loss and significant financial stress. We are anticipating that more than 1,000 job seekers will be in attendance providing a great opportunity for companies to search for quality employees."
Job Seekers will have the opportunity to network with approximately 30 dynamic employers and recruiters from local businesses such as the Gwinnett Medical Center, Primerica, AARP, BB&T, RockTenn, Fed Ex, Bank of America and others. Industry experts from partner organizations will offer career and financial workshops every hour on Unemployment and Credit; Unemployment and Finances; Building Your Resume; and Job Search Skills. Additionally, the Fair will provide local businesses with a qualified pool of potential employees who can harness their company goals and meet the needs of new and expanding demographic demands within the community.
For more information, contact Elizabeth Minton by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by telephone at 770-449-6515.
Norcross Police sponsoring 5K run for cerebral palsy Saturday
Police Department and United Cerebral Palsy of Georgia are teaming up
to present a special event featuring family fun and celebrating kids of
all abilities on Saturday, May 14. The first C.H.U.K Run (Cops Helping
Unique Kids) will begin with a 5K Run through downtown Norcross at 8 a.m.
There is a $20 registration fee, with proceeds going to support United
Cerebral Palsy of Georgia services for children and adults with disabilities.
Participants can register online in advance at Active.com, with a guaranteed
T shirt size. Day of event registrations will be accepted with T shirt
sizes as available.
Attendees at the May 21 Arts in the Park Festival in Suwanee's Town Center Park will have an opportunity to appreciate, view, listen to, touch, and purchase art in a wide variety of forms. They'll also be able to watch art being created and even have a chance to create their own "masterpieces."
The annual Arts in the Park festival, organized by the North Gwinnett Arts Association (NGAA), will feature more than 40 juried artists who will exhibit their work and demonstrate their craft as well as a full entertainment line-up. Art forms represented include pottery, jewelry, painting, photography, writing, and elemental art.
Festivities begin at 11 a.m. and the show will conclude at 6 p.m. Entertainers - including a drum troupe, all-female barbershop quartet, and poets - will perform on stage as well as stroll and perform throughout Town Center Park. The headline performer, ZydeFunk featuring Charlie Wooton, will take the Town Center stage at about 5 p.m.
the May 21 Suwanee Arts in the Park Festival will include chalk art. The
ChalkWalk competition is open to self-styled artists of all ages and is
separated into four divisions: elementary (pre-K-5th grade), middle school,
high school, and advanced (18 years and older). Registration is $20 and
is available online at www.suwaneeartsinthepark.com
or at the festival (until spaces run out).
Air Campaign has named two Gwinnett County elementary school students
winners of its 2011 "Young Lungs at Work" art competition. Helen
Nguyen, 9, from Rebecca Minor Elementary School, placed first place for
her submission, and Chirayu Salgarkar, 8, from Simonton Elementary School
received third place recognition.
County Board of Commissioners recently got some good news: The County
will receive another $1.5 million in state and federal reimbursements
for emergency repairs to roads, bridges and drainage structures damaged
in the September 2009 flood.
Mormon missionary John Morgan traveled to Georgia from Salt Lake City, Utah, in 1876 in an effort to win converts for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church)..
John Hamilton Morgan was born on August 8, 1842, in Greensburg, Ind. He relocated to Illinois in the years leading up to the Civil War (1861-65), and in 1862 he joined the Union army as a private with the 123rd Illinois Infantry. Morgan participated in the battles of Chickamauga and Resaca, the assault on Kennesaw Mountain, and the siege of Atlanta.
He mustered out of service in 1865 and made his way to New York, where he completed a business curriculum at Eastman's Commercial College. Opportunity led him to Salt Lake City, and there he became acquainted with and devoted to the LDS Church. In January 1867, with the support of church authorities, he established the Morgan Commercial College for young men and women seeking careers in business. He was baptized in November 1867 and subsequently ordained an elder.
Morgan's reputation grew quickly within the Mormon community, and in 1875 he was called as a missionary to the newly organized Southern States Mission. He did not immediately go south; instead, he labored for many months in Indiana and Illinois before making his way to Georgia in 1876. His mission field, established in the rugged and mountainous counties of northwest Georgia (with a base in Rome), produced so many converts that locals soon dubbed the region "Utah." Morgan initially established small branches of the LDS Church in Georgia, then made plans to "gather" the new adherents to the West. In 1877 he led the first party of Georgians to Colorado, where southern Latter-day Saints established the cooperative settlement of Manassa in 1879.
In 1878, his first mission completed, the LDS Church called Morgan to resume his southern duties and gave him authority over the entire Southern States Mission. During the 1880s, Morgan effectively divided his time between the South and the West. From his headquarters at Rome, he supervised the work of hundreds of missionaries assigned to southern mission fields. But frequent visits to Salt Lake City allowed Morgan to pursue other church and political activities. He served in the territorial legislature in Utah and worked in the campaign for statehood and the establishment of Utah's Republican Party. His continuing efforts on behalf of the church-and his willingness to labor in the volatile southern states-were recognized in 1884 when he was chosen and ordained one of the First Seven Presidents of Seventies, an important position in the hierarchy of the LDS Church.
dedicated 12 years to the Southern States Mission. In 1888 he left his
office as president and returned to Utah. He died on August 14, 1894,
at the age of 52.
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"Any American who is prepared to run for president should automatically, by definition, be disqualified from ever doing so."
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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.
(NEW) Ghost Tour, Norcross Welcome Center: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., May 13. Sally Toole and Will Aynerich will provide a private preview of the 2011 Ghost Tour Season, a glimpse into new stories for the 2011 Halloween Tour. Tour begins at the Welcome Center, 189 Lawrenceville Street.
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.
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.
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.
(NEW) Norcross Open Car Show: 9 a.m. until 4 p.m., May 21, downtown Norcross. Mingle among the restored automobiles, and check out vendors, including a bake sale and silent auction. Proceeds benefit the Kristi Memorial Scholarship Fund and local charities. Info: email@example.com.
© 2001-2011, Gwinnett Forum.com 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.