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Just looking at this breathtaking view of falls at Freeman's Mill Park in Gwinnett County makes you feel cooler. This photo and others by North Georgia landscape photographer Mark Hewatt highlight the majesty of our waters. To see more photos by Hewatt, visit his HueCycle Web site here.

Issue 11.32 | Tuesday, July 19, 2011

:: Gwinnett architect wins big for design

:: Traveling by many modes in U.K.

:: Send us your thoughts

:: Gwinnett Village's wayfaring plan

:: DeSilva promoted; Layne hired


:: Precision Planning, Inc.

:: Daniel Pratt, NH native

:: Drop in the ocean is immense


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.


Local architect wins Eisenhower Memorial counterproposal
Special to GwinnettForum

NORCROSS, Ga., July 19, 2011 -- A Gwinnett County architect has won a competition to present a counterproposal for the design of a memorial in Washington, D.C. to honor the late President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Daniel W. Cook is the designer of the counter proposal, and the winner of the competition. He is a 2007 graduate of the University of Notre Dame with a Master of Architecture degree. Prior to attending Notre Dame, he received his bachelor of science in Architecture degree in 2003 from Georgia Institute of Technology. He is employed full time by Foreman Seeley Fountain Architecture in Norcross.

Dan Cook stands besides his winning concept in the counterproposal to a memorial in Washington, D.C., to honor the late president Dwight David Eisenhower.

The original proposal to honor the 34th president of the United States was nationally-famous architect Frank Gehry, who was selected to design a national monument to President Eisenhower. The result of the Gehry design, rather than being a distinguished memorial to one of the greatest heroes of the 20th century - is rather, in the architect's own words "a theater for cars" that would depict images of Eisenhower's presidency on enormous metal mesh screens between unadorned columns reminiscent of those one might see on an interstate overpass. Apparently Gehry used this design motif since President Eisenhower is considered the "father of the interstate highway system" in the United States.

Needless to say, many people found problems with the Gehry proposal, which, in Washington, one of the most pedestrian friendly cities in the United States, seeks to create a memorial meant to be viewed from a vehicle speeding by. The proposal blatantly ignores our nation's capital history of civic architecture.

This spring, the National Civic Art Society and Institute for Classical Architecture and Classical America Mid-Atlantic Chapter in response to the Gehry proposal, held a competition to "design an appropriate, meaningful, and timeless memorial to Dwight D. Eisenhower" that would be designed in the classical idiom, appropriate to the subject as well as to the tradition of civic art in Washington, D.C. that would be able to "speak to future generations without explanation in the form of placards or signs". These designs were set to be a counterproposal to the Gehry design, to show to the public that one does not have to choose a star architect in order to achieve excellence in design.

Daniel Cook submitted an entry to this competition and took first prize for his proposal. His design is a simple, yet elegant memorial, that honors President Eisenhower. An appropriately scaled and proportioned triumphal arch is the main focus of the memorial, containing statuary of Eisenhower as general and president with the small inscription "PEACE THROUGH UNDERSTANDING." The monument throughout honors Eisenhower in an entirely American manner - from the seal of the president and U.S. Army, recognizing his military career with five stars, and commemorating his military victory in World War II with winged victories, and laurel wreaths. The arch says little, yet speaks volumes.

Flanking the arch on either side are plazas with statues of Freedom and Liberty, surmounting fountain-based monumental Doric columns, all evoking Eisenhower's strength of character, and providing a peaceful memorial to the values for which he fought.

Though it is likely that Gehry's $100 million proposal will still be built, at least some citizens have taken noticed and voiced their opinions through design and shown what an appropriate memorial would look like.

The winning entry, as well as other entries can be found at the competition website, here:

Planes, trains, automobiles ... and feet in friendly Britain
Editor and publisher

LONDON, England -- What a nice welcome to this country. Arriving downtown off the subway (The "Tube") around midnight, a short taxi ride to the hotel produced a tab of five pounds. As we were pulling out the pounds to pay the fare, the taxi driver said, "No charge. No charge. Welcome to London." He wouldn't even take a tip! Even Southern hospitality has a hard time topping that!


Then came two more incidents of good breeding and hospitality. Returning from Cambridge on a day trip via train, we never thought that the 4:15 Friday direct non-stop to London would be that crowded! (Many students were headed the 50 minutes to London at the end of the term.) Literally, we were the last two past the sliding door, jammed up against it. Later the passageway opened up a bit, but there were at least 20 people, including us, standing in the aisle. After about 15 minutes, a 20-or-so muscular young man in a T shirt caught my eye, offering his seat. I deferred to my wife, Barbara.

After another 10 minutes, a young co-ed with a backpack, sitting behind us, tapped the shoulders, offering a seat. Given the difference in our ages, why not?

Two days later, it happened to me a third time (must be looking much older) on a Tube ride when returning from buying tickets for a play. It happened with only five stops to go, but again, why not?

It's been more than 10 years since last visiting in London. This time we find it much more expensive than the USA, much younger than we remember it, and much more teeming with many, many different nationalities.

The Hyatt Regency where we stayed was heavily booked with people from the Middle East. You see old and younger Arabic women dressed entirely in their sweeping, black burkas. Some covered their hair with the burka, others show a portion of the face, and still others only have a slit showing their eyes, often encased in glasses.

The visitors come to shop, and shop they do, coming back to the hotel with armloads of colorful, name-brand shopping bags. They often lavishly order from the hotel room service. Autos in the hotel entryway show that some Arabs import temporarily their own cars by air transport to drive when vacationing in England. It's a big show of the opulent wealth that the Arab counties have.

* * * *

While Atlanta likes to think of itself as an international city, it has a long way to go to match places like London, and no doubt many other top-flight international ports.

For instance, there is no mention of Atlanta in the weather charts of London newspapers. But the Atlanta newspaper lists the temperature in London each day.

Or another example: On the hotel television guide, there are 19 programs listed in English. Other languages on the room television list include Japanese, Russian (2), German (4), Italian, French, Spanish, Turkish, Hebrew, Chinese (2), Greek, Dutch, Portuguese, and…..realize the impact of this, nine channels in Arabic! Many Arabic guests also have an Arabic language newspaper hanging on their door handle each morning.

We knew London has long been an international city. For sure today, it's even more international than we had imagined!

* * * * *

Traveling can be tiring. So far we've traveled by personal auto, plane, tube, taxi, train, bus, elevator, escalator, ferry ... but mostly by foot. That's one reason traveling is tiring! Yet ... traveling is fun!

Precision Planning, Inc.

The public spiritedness of our sponsors allows us to bring to you at no cost to readers. Today's underwriter is Precision Planning, Inc., a multi-disciplined design firm based in Lawrenceville, Georgia with a 28-year history of successful projects. In-house capabilities include Architecture; LEED® Project Management; Civil, Transportation and Structural Engineering; Water Resources Engineering; Landscape Architecture; Interior Design; Land and City Planning; Land Surveying; and Grant Administration. PPI has worked diligently to improve the quality of life for Georgia communities through creative, innovative planned developments, through the design of essential infrastructure and public buildings, and through promoting good planning and development principles. Employees and principals are involved in numerous civic, charitable and community based efforts in and around Gwinnett County. For more information, visit our website at or call 770-338-8103.

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 Village seeks input for its wayfinding plan

The Gwinnett Village CID is seeking to enlist the help of key stakeholders throughout the community in developing their signage and wayfinding master plan.


Stakeholders will be asked to participate in two planning charrettes and to provide their input on potential signage designs as well as the architectural design for the Jimmy Carter Bridge.

The CID sees the importance of creating a sense of place in the community and the aesthetic appeal of the bridge design and the look of any future signage will play a key role in developing the character of the community.

In a letter to stakeholders, Chuck Warbington, executive director of the CID, says that "The Gwinnett Village CID is coming of age. We are no longer a fledgling organization with big dreams. Well, we're still dreaming big, but the difference is we are making real progress on some of those long term visions."

Among the accomplishments Warbington cites includes:

  • Landscaping is in place at most of our major gateways. We've consistently heard from businesses that it makes a world of difference.

  • We've never been closer to seeing light rail rolling through the district. Partnering with Gwinnett County and Gwinnett Place CID, we recently received a grant from the Federal Transit Administration to assist in funding the necessary alternatives analysis and that process is underway.

  • Some of our major projects like the Diverging Diamond Interchange at Jimmy Carter Boulevard and I-85 and the access management enhancements on Indian Trail Road will be rolling out in the coming months.

He adds: "It is our goal to keep you informed of the progress we are making and we hope that you like what you see so far. Just know that our doors are always open and our staff is just a phone call away, so please don't hesitate to reach out to us for information on any of our initiatives."

Chamber promotes DeSilva to senior vice president

The Gwinnett Chamber announces that Vince DeSilva has been promoted from vice president of membership services to senior vice president of membership services effective July 15. In his new role, DeSilva will work more closely with the Chamber's executive team to drive the long-term vision and future of the Gwinnett Chamber organization.


Despite global economic challenges over the last few years, DeSilva lead his team to not only accomplish all of its goals, but exceed them as well. His staff has been recognized numerous times through the American Chamber of Commerce Executives as one of the best in the business, and his dedication to regional representation among the Gwinnett Chamber membership is a standard for other local Chambers to emulate and work toward.

Jim Maran, president and CEO of the Gwinnett Chamber, says: "Vince is a recognized team player, a well-respected individual in the community and among our staff and a highly-regarded professional by the Chamber's Board of Directors."

Vince DeSilva has been on the Gwinnett Chamber staff since 2007. He resides in Suwanee with his wife, Rachel, and two children, Joey and Jake.

Marketing Workshop names Scott Layne as its new president

The Marketing Workshop Inc. (MWI) has named a new president. He is Scott Layne of Atlanta, a senior research marketing professional. The announcement comes from current president, Jim Nelems, who will remain with the firm, which he founded in 1972.


MWI is a national marketing research firm headquartered in Norcross. MWI is a full service research consultancy and provides custom qualitative and quantitative solutions for B2C and B2B customer segments among the nation's strongest and largest healthcare, travel and leisure, and consumer package goods companies.

Layne brings over 25 years of experience to the management team at MWI. Prior to joining MWI, Layne held leadership positions with three Top 50 research firms: president of Bellomy Research of Winston Salem, N.C.; vice president at Directions Research, Cincinnati, Ohio, and vice president, sales and marketing at M/A/R/C Research, Dallas, Texas.

He is a native of Jacksonville, Fla., a graduate of Winsalm College, where he majored in computer science. He is married and he and his wife have two children.


  • 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

New Hampshire native built many early houses in Milledgeville

Daniel Pratt was an industrialist who built Neoclassical-style houses in Milledgeville in the 1820s and then moved to Alabama, where he manufactured cotton gins and founded the town he named Prattville. Pratt was born in 1799 in Temple, N.H., to a poor family that provided him with an intermittent grade-school education. At the age of 16 he was apprenticed to Aaron Kimball Putnam, a carpenter from the neighboring town of Wilton. In 1819 he sailed from Boston, Mass., to Savannah, where he believed he would find greater opportunities. He remained in Savannah for nearly two years before moving to Georgia's new capital, Milledgeville.


Milledgeville was also the center of a growing economy based on cotton and the plantation system. In his ten years in Milledgeville, from 1821 to 1831, Pratt is credited with several large Neoclassical-style houses, often drawn from Asher Benjamin's popular The American Builder's Companion, first published in 1806. His houses were often two-story, Georgian-plan dwellings with a two-story classical entrance portico and an elaborately carved door surround. His interiors included plaster moldings, wood pilasters and wainscoting, carved mantels, and a graceful spiral stair on an axis with the main entrance.

Mount Nebo (1823), attributed to Pratt, was a Palladian design with a two-story entrance porch similar to early designs for Thomas Jefferson's Monticello in Virginia. Probably inspired by Robert Morris's Select Architecture (1755), Mount Nebo is among the few such designs built in Georgia. Westover (1822), Lowther Hall (1822-23), and Blount House (1828-33) were among Pratt's best designs.

In 1831 Pratt quit the building trade and moved to Jones County to manufacture cotton gins with his partner, Samuel Griswold. Two years later, he and his wife and two slaves settled in Autauga County, Ala., where he built a blacksmith shop for the production of gins.
In 1838 Pratt purchased a large tract of land in Autauga County, where he founded the town of Prattville. There he built a sawmill, gristmill, foundry, carriage factory, tin shop, woolen mill, cotton mill, and gin factory, which manufactured an improved model of Eli Whitney's cotton gin.

In 1842 Pratt built his private mansion, to which he added a gallery in 1845 to showcase the work of his friend George Cooke, one of the South's best-known painters. By 1860 Pratt had built two schools, four churches, a library, a town hall, and many houses for the town's residents. Pratt was elected to the state legislature in 1860 and was instrumental in establishing the iron and steel industry in Alabama after the Civil War (1861-65). He remained active in politics and industry until his death in Prattville in 1873.


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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.

Ah, yes, but that drop in the ocean is immensely vital

"We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean but the ocean would be less because of that missing drop."

-- Nun, humanitarian and advocate for the poor, Mother Teresa (1910-1997, via Cindy Evans, Duluth.




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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