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Here's an artist's concept of what the Interstate 85 bridge at Pleasant Hill Road will look like once the diverging diamond concept is installed. CID Chairman Leo Wiener said special nighttime lighting, colors and landscaping will increase pedestrian and driver access while branding the bridge as the gateway entrance to greater Gwinnett Place. The project is anticipated to be completed in early 2012.

Issue 11.31 | Friday, July 15, 2011

:: Voting for favorite Suwanee art

:: Keep alert for next driver you meet

:: Can-A-Thon, Neptune Park

:: New green courses at Gwinnett Tech

:: New booster seat law in effect


:: Gwinnett Village CID

:: Alexander Brook

:: I-85 bridge at night

:: Wondering whether it's worth it

:: Read past commentaries


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.


Suwanee residents excited in voting for favorite art piece
Special to GwinnettForum

SUWANEE, Ga., July 15, 2011---Will it be the oversized sun at which people are snapping photos with heads peeking through the hollow middle? Could it be the totem pole made of car bumpers, which some think is a subliminal safe driving message? Perhaps it will be the free-spirited lady whose open arms many have imitated.

Suwanee residents and visitors now may vote for their favorite art piece among these or one of a dozen other sculptures that comprise the inaugural Suwanee SculpTour. The sculpture with the most votes at the end of the exhibit in March will be deemed the "People's Choice" and purchased for permanent display.

Suwanee's Economic and Community Development Director Denise Brinson says that "People are talking about which ones they like and which they don't. The Public Arts Commission is going to buy one of these sculptures for the City's permanent art collection so we really encourage people to vote for their favorite."

Residents and others may vote for their favorite sculpture in a variety of ways:

  • Visit and click on the green "People's Choice Vote for Me" button beside the description.

  • Those with smart phones and, if necessary, a free downloaded application, may access the Web site and vote.

  • Paper ballots are available in a box just outside City Hall on Charleston Market Street.

A printed guide/map of the exhibit is available at City Hall as well as in the box on Charleston Market Street and at Ippolito's Italian Restaurant.

Suwanee resident Chris Dolgetta sent an email to the City of Suwanee in June, stating: "I absolutely LOVE seeing all the pieces! I didn't realize what a nice effect the sculptures give - it's a beautiful added dimension to our already amazing Town Center."

City officials are encouraged to note that the SculpTour pieces are indeed getting noticed, provoking reactions, and drawing attention to the Suwanee community.

"It's really cool to see people of all ages going up to the sculptures, studying them, imitating them, and having their picture taken with the art," says Brinson. "Through programs like SculpTour, what we're building is Suwanee's unique tourism draw. Combined with our interactive fountain, community garden, greenway, and Town Center, Suwanee is really becoming a destination, offering fun, educational, outdoorsy, and cultural amenities.

"We've got enough great things going on now that Suwanee makes not just a great place to live or to come for special events but also a great weekend getaway for people in the region."

No City tax funds were expended to bring the 2011 Suwanee SculpTour to the community. The exhibit is funded by generous private sponsors, including Georgia Natural Gas, Law Offices of Richard Yoon, and Peoples Bank and Trust.

The 15 art pieces, created by a dozen artists, in the Suwanee SculpTour include:

  • Amne and Dreams of Flying by Harry Zmijewski, Buford, Ga.;
  • Arachnid by Damon Lusky, Dawsonville, Ga.;
  • Bright Ideas 2 by Lori Sturgess, Roswell, Ga.;
  • Catching the Wind by Gregory Johnson, Cumming, Ga.;
  • Deconstructed Bolt by Andrew T. Crawford, Atlanta, Ga.;
  • Free Spirit and Ribbon Dance by Jennifer Freeman, Johns Creek, Ga.;
  • Intrusion by Harry McDaniel, Asheville, N.C.;
  • Magic Rain and Sunset by Gus and Lina Ocamposilva, Clearwater, Fla.;
  • Mother and Child by Eluisa Altman, Bogota, N.J.;
  • Prayer Booth by Dylan Mortimer, Kansas City, Mo.;
  • Sticks 7 by Dennis Primm, Buford, Ga.; and
  • Sunbeam II by Sydney Atkinson, Woodstock, Ga.

The most dangerous person on the road: A driver near you
Editor and publisher

JULY 15, 2011 -- Seeing a SUV up head about to pull out of a diagonal space on South Peachtree Street in Norcross, I halted, and waited for the vehicle to back up. I was a little south of the Station Café, just north of the entrance to its parking lot.


Sitting in my car quietly, I felt a jolt. I turned to my right, and saw that another vehicle, parked diagonally, had backed into the right rear of my vehicle. It was a blue sedan, with a female driver. She immediately pulled forward in her parking space, no longer in contact. In the meantime, the SUV backing out of the parking space in front of me had vacated the space, so I pulled in.

The jolt was not a major one, but as I got out of the car, running through my mind was what information I needed to get from the lady who had backed into my car. As I exited the car, turned left and started toward the street, her car by then had easily backed out of the space. As I was about to confront her, she rolled south on South Peachtree Street, never giving me the mind.

Realizing that she was leaving the scene, I tried to focus on her car license plate, but could not. It appeared that she did not halt at the stop sign at Holcomb Bridge Road, and easily sped away from the area.

A guy who had pulled into the lady's empty spot was exiting his vehicle.

"Did you happen to see the tag number of that car?" I asked.

"No. I realized she had hit you," he said, "But I did not get it."

The damage was not so much, though the heavy plastic bumper's right rear panel had a dent in it. There was considerable scraping of a portion of this section, obviously hit by a blue car. The panel was separated perhaps a half inch from the one above it. The damage was not extensive, though it marred the year-old car.

Talking to the insurance people, they suggested that since the driver had left the scene, and we had no way of knowing who she was, I needed to file an accident report. The insurance firm would then process the claim as an "Uninsured motorist" causing the damage. That, I learned, meant that my deductible under this effort was $250, instead of $1,000.

"A claims agent will call you tomorrow," I was told. "And then an adjuster will inspect the damage."

In reality, it was no big deal, though the lady by leaving the scene put herself in much more jeopardy by leaving the scene, except that we'll never know who she is.

What this tells me, more than anything else, is that no matter how safely you may drive, that is only one part of the risk you take every time you go out onto the highway.

For you can control your own driving far better than you can control the next person. The "other party" is far more important than you are when driving, assuming you are not texting, drinking, or otherwise acting foolishly.

In my case, I wasn't even moving. So watch out for your fellow drivers…..those ahead, behind, besides……..and to the right rear of you.

Gwinnett Village Community Improvement District

The public spiritedness of our sponsors allows us to bring to you at no cost to readers. The Gwinnett Village Community Improvement District was formed in 2006, and is a self taxing revitalization district that includes just under 600 commercial property owners with a property value of over $1 billion dollars. Gwinnett Village CID includes the southwestern part of Gwinnett County including properties along Jimmy Carter Boulevard, Buford Highway, Indian Trail, Beaver Ruin, and Singleton Road. Gwinnett Village is one of four CID's to be created in Gwinnett County and is the largest of all CID's in the state. Gwinnett Village's mission is to improve property values through increased security, a decrease in traffic congestion, and general improvements to the curb appeal of the area. For more information visit or call 770-449-6515.

Salvation Army seeks churches, firms for 2011 Can-A-Thon

Editor, The Forum:

I wanted to share a little Christmas in July with your readers today!

For the past 28 years, The Salvation Army has been recipients of the food collected through the 11Alive Holiday Can-A-thon. The goods collected from this effort help us stock our food pantries and provide food to families all over the Metro Atlanta area.

Our food pantries are in high demand as the need continues to increase and we struggle to keep food on the shelves. This will be the 29th year and we are now sending packets to churches and firms wanting to participate.

The date is December 2 and the locations for drop-offs are still being finalized.

11Alive reports on this event all day long and even tracks the number of cans on their website. This is also an exciting volunteer event and we could use as many hands as possible.

Thank you for serving alongside us as we continue in "Doing The Most Good!"

-- Christina Faine, Salvation Army, Lawrenceville

Learned who St. Simons Island park was named for in Forum

Editor, the Forum:

That was an interesting story on Neptune Small from the Georgia Encyclopedia. I remember reading about him in Burnette Vanstory's book, Georgia's Land of the Golden Isles.

In the book, page 151, second paragraph, there is a mention of Neptune and Cuyler ("Tip") on the battle field, both homesick for their peaceful land. Neptune looks at the moon and says, "High water on the bar, Marse Tip!"

What a great man! And, until I read from Georgia Encyclopedia, I didn't know that Neptune Park on St. Simons Island was named for him. Thank you for bringing this out!

-- David E. Tyre, Jesup

  • Send us your letters. 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.

Gwinnett Tech now teaching courses in green practices

Gwinnett Technical College (GTC), recently honored with the county's first Green Reach Award, is now registering for a range of courses, seminars and workshops on energy conservation, sustainability and green building practices for business professionals in construction and related fields.

Gwinnett Tech will offer the nationally-recognized Building Operator Certification (BOC) course at two locations, with sessions for both Level I and II now registering. Building Operator Certification promotes the use of energy management resources to improve a facility's energy efficiency. GTC is Georgia's only provider of BOC training. BOC Level I will be offered in North Fulton County beginning on July 14 and at GTC's Lawrenceville campus beginning October 5.

BOC Level II will be offered on campus starting August 11. Each course runs for four months, with eight sessions. For full information and registration details, visit or call 678-226-6502.

GTC's green curriculum also includes these courses now registering:

  • Introduction to LEED.
  • LEED Green Associate Exam Prep.
  • Erosion Control Level 1A Certification & Recertification.
  • IGSHPA Ground Source Heat Pump Accredited Installer.
  • NFPA 70E - Electrical Safety (Arc Flash Prevention).

Gwinnett Tech received the Green Reach Award this spring at the third-annual Sustainability Summit, hosted by the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce and Jackson EMC. The college was honored for its ongoing efforts to provide a green curriculum to Gwinnett's business professionals.

The college's continuing education program now offers LEED exam prep courses for those with an interest in advancing "green" construction technology. The college also offers as courses in erosion and sediment certification and ground source heat pump installer training.

For more information on all course offerings, visit or call 770-995-9697.

Gwinnett Tech also currently participates in the Governor's Energy Challenge, a program that encourages the promotion of energy efficiency and the reduction energy consumption by 15 percent in 2020.

Gwinnett Technical College offers a comprehensive range of seminars and workshops each quarter to improve job skills and provide specialized training. The seminars and workshops are available to companies and individuals that focus on sustainability, business and management, computer
skills and several specific occupational disciplines

New booster seat law aimed at 6-, 7-year-olds now in effect

In an effort to save more children's lives, a new law requiring six and seven- year-olds to be in a booster seat went into effect on July 1. The legislation was advocated by Children's Healthcare of Atlanta and Safe Kids Georgia.

James Fortenberry, M.D. Pediatrician-in-Chief, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, points out that "Within the last four years, 95 percent of the patients we saw for injuries resulting from a motor vehicle crash between the ages of six and eight were improperly restrained. This new law closes the gap between federal recommendations and state laws that protect children who fall in this age range. The medical community is hopeful that it will ensure a decrease in the number of children we see due to this type of incident."

In 2008, a total of 14,154 children ages six to eight years in Georgia were involved in motor vehicle crashes. Of those children, 1,755 were injured and 10 were killed. Only 12 percent of these children were reported to be using a supplemental restraint, such as a child safety seat or a booster seat, in addition to the adult seat belt. In the three-year period from 2005 to 2007, hospitalization charges for 248 children who were hospitalized due to motor vehicle traffic related injuries were about $7 million. An additional $5 million in charges was for the 5,111 emergency room visits for the same period.

The following outlines the parameters of the law applicable to six and seven year olds:

Children under age eight must be properly secured in an approved car seat or booster seat while riding in cars, Vans, SUVs and Pickup Trucks; however, exemptions include taxicabs and public transit vehicles. The car seat and/or booster seat must:

  • Be in the rear seat.
  • Be appropriate for the child's weight and height'
  • Meet all U.S. federal standards.
  • Be installed and used according to the manufacturer's instructions.

When installing car seats, individuals should consider using the vehicle lap belt to install car seats for younger children, leaving lap and shoulder belts for children needing booster seats or for others riding in the car. The following exemptions apply:

  • Children under age eight whose height is 4'9 or 57"; or
  • The child's parent or guardian has a written statement from a Physician that the child has a physical or medical condition that prevents placing or restraining them as required by law. Parents or guardians should keep this statement in their possession.

These exemptions were part of existing law and are not new requirements of Senate Bill 88.


  • 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

Alexander Brook, figurative painter, associated with Savannah

Alexander Brook, a leader among New York City's mainstream figurative painters during the 1930s, painted numerous scenes based on his observations in Savannah. Trained in the American realist tradition of painting, Brook's landscapes, portraits, and genre scenes are largely devoid of overt or hidden social meaning and are characterized by subdued colors and strong, weighty shapes.

Alexander Brook was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., on July 14, 1898. He was the youngest child and only son of Russian immigrants. At the age of 12, Brook contracted polio and was bedridden for almost one year. His formal education in public school essentially ended with his illness, and Brook became interested in painting.

He directed his own education by using the public library, visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art each week, and enrolling at the Art Students League in 1915. After marriage to artist Peggy Bacon in 1920, the couple left for Great Britain. From 1923 to 1924 Brook supplemented his income by writing articles for the journal The Arts. During those years he came to the attention of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, who had established the Whitney Studio Club in order to promote and exhibit the work of emerging artists. In 1923 Brook organized the first exhibition at the club's expanded facility. The club evolved into the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1931. During this period Brook painted portraits, genre scenes, and a widely exhibited series of canvases depicting women.

A Guggenheim Fellowship in 1931 enabled the Brook family to travel to Spain, Italy, Germany, Austria, and France, and his work continued to garner awards. In addition, Brook taught at the Art Students League from 1933 until 1936.

Around 1938 Brook moved to Savannah, establishing residence in a studio at Factor's Walk, a former cotton warehouse along the Savannah River. His visits included trips to the Yamacraw district, one of the city's oldest black neighborhoods. One of the paintings, Georgia Jungle, housed at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, Pa., was awarded first prize in 1939 at the Carnegie International exhibition.

During World War II (1941-45), Brook served as an army correspondent in Panama, providing sketches for the military. When the army released him, Life magazine commissioned him to continue his war effort as an illustrator and, later, to produce a series of portraits of Hollywood actresses.

In 1944 Brook returned to Savannah as a resident. During this time, Brook exhibited, wrote articles for journals, and produced two original covers for the Saturday Evening Post. He left Savannah in 1948 and purchased a home at Sag Harbor. N.Y., where he and his third wife lived for the rest of their lives. After a 1952 solo exhibition at Knoedler Galleries in New York, Brook withdrew from active participation in the art world. He gave up painting around 1966. He died on February 26, 1980.

Brook's work is found in numerous museum collections, including the Telfair Museum of Art in Savannah and the Morris Museum of Art in Augusta; the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Butler Institute of American Art in Ohio; the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C.; and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City.

New approach

NEW APPROACH: Motorists traveling on Interstate 85 at Pleasant Hill Road will see special lighting treating the intersection once the Diverging Diamond concept is installed at this bridge. A 16 member project steering committee developed this lighting concept as a way to spotlight the Gwinnett Place interchange. For other views, go to


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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.




Makes you wonder whether it's worth it

"Even if you do learn to speak correct English, whom are you going to speak it to?"

-- Famed Attorney Clarence Darrow (1857 - 1938).




Evening in the Tropics Fundraiser: 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., July 16, Duluth Art Gallery, 3530 West Lawrenceville Street. There will be hors d'oeuvres by Proof of the Pudding, wine, a silent auction and tropical live music featuring a steel drum musician.

Gwinnett Technology Forum: 7:30 a.m., July 19, at Busbee Auditorium of Gwinnett Technical College. Tino Mantella, president and CEO of the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG) will discuss the importance of technology to Georgia's economy and job outlook based on results of the 2011 TAG State of the Industry: Technology in Georgia Report. More.

Sierra Club meeting: 7:30 p.m., July 21, Berkmar High School, Lilburn. Speaking will be Ashley Robbins, President Citizens for Progressive Transit. Deciding on the project list for the Transportation Investment Act to be voted on in 2012 is now underway and Robbins will talk to this subject.

National Hot Dog Day: 10 a.m., July 23, 10 a.m., Bay Creek Park, Grayson. Bounce House, vendors, games, face painting/tattoos and food vendors (no admission fee.)

Intercamp Games: 10 a.m., July 28, Bogan Park, Buford. Competition between all the Gwinnett County Parks and Recreation summer campers.

Splash and Bash: 1 p.m., July 30, Rhodes Jordan Park Pool. Enjoy wacky games, prizes and cool treats. Regular admission fees apply


9/6: Summerour excels

9/2: College football reform

8/30: Meeting a Gwinnett

8/26: Watching power corrupt

8/23: Buford gets new newspaper

8/19: World needs big ideas

8/16: Redistricting out of our hands

8/12: Not much to trigger riots, market

8/9: Commission should stop dawdling

8/5: Peach Pass free for 300,000

8/2: 3 sales tax votes ahead

7/29: Pass will provide faster ride

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

EEB index of columns


9/6: Olson: Bunnen exhibit

9/2: Povah: Underground lines

8/30: Anders: Restaurant Week

8/26: Nelson: Duluth Ice Forum

8/23: Rausch: Big Internet idea

8/19: Morris: Duluth dealer reopens

8/16: Keane: Tuggle wins honor

8/12: Pritchard: Savannah places

8/9: Dodd: Privatize Briscoe

8/5: Urrutia: GwTech's nursing program

8/2: Ramey: GGC's 1st athletic director

7/29: Britt: Snellville tourism, trade

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



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