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The new lines of the Georgia Congressional Districts are still a work in progress, though it is anticipated that a vote on the districts in the Georgia Legislature could come late this week. Here is the current map as the committee approved it on Tuesday. Note that in this arrangement, Gwinnett would be composed of three districts, primarily the 7th District (in gray, currently represented by Republican Rob Woodall), and also currently partially in the 4th District, in pink, now represented by Democrat Hank Johnson. Part of Gwinnett would be in the 10th District, in blue, a seat now held by Rep. Paul Broun of Athens. Georgia gets an additional representative, its 14th, in the new Congress, because of the growth of the Georgia population. Click here to see the full state map with the draft lines.

Issue 11.42 | Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2011

:: Reader submits "Big Idea"

:: Buford has a new newspaper

Blacks in N. Georgia; big ideas

:: Ballet schedule; Watercolor show

:: New in Duluth; Parks: On TBN


:: Gwinnett County Public Library

:: More on the Bue Ridge Mountains

:: Lots of activities on tap

:: Jumping ahead


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.

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Has "Big Idea" of people guiding government on Internet
Special to GwinnettForum

(Editor's note: Last week GwinnettForum called for people to have "Big Ideas" that could substantially move this country into new directions. Steve Rausch of Norcross came forth with a "Big Idea." Here, without comment, is what Steve suggests. Readers are invited to send in their own "Big Ideas," or comment on Steve's approach. -eeb)

NORCROSS, Ga., Aug. 23, 2011 -- The founding fathers of our country decided that we needed representative style of government. It worked for many years as the country grew and matured.


I wonder if it is still the best method of governing? Between the huge changes in technology available today and the seemingly endless quest by our politicians for more power and lifelong incomes, I believe it may be time for change.

I fully believe in the common people of this country. They have made this nation great. We need to return to our own "common sense" and stop allowing a few from the far edges of both parties to guide us down their path.

With our nation almost instantly connected via the marvel of the Internet, we could actually use this tool to allow the people to be heard more clearly. Now I'm not naïve enough to believe that such a system would work without many safeguards against fraud and multiple voting problems. However, it has the prospects to actually hear sentiment far better than the 10-30 percent we currently get in our current elections.

Such a system could easily be started as an "advisory experiment," just to see how it would work. Eventually it could be the ultimate tool that could replace many elected representatives. Government would be forced to focus on the MOST IMPORTANT issues when using this system, or once again people would become disengaged.

If an issue that would be brought to the people would not get at least 51 percent of all registered voters participating, that issue automatically would fail. That would stop this huge budget waste of favoritism that we see today. Most powerful representatives get the want-to-be's vote by promising pork issues for their districts. There would also need to be a certain level of participation, i.e. you participate in at least "xx" percent of the ballots per month or year or you lose the right to vote for a period of time.

Propositions would also have to be written in plain, understandable language or else it would confound the people, and therefore, miss the 51 percent requirement. There may have to be a limit on how many issues could be presented per week from each level.

Today elected officials somehow are "above" the common folks and lose touch with those they are elected to represent. This proposition would keep them fully aware and at the same time keep us common folks aware of just how awful our elected representatives really are when they repeatedly bring issues to this new system that nobody cares about.

There could even be a section for citizens to propose new ideas and propositions that could go through a process to become a voting issue on the system.

This proposal even has merit at the local level.

Remember the President's proposal to post ALL legislation to the Internet for five days before voting? It was never enacted because the powerful politicians do not want the public eye to see the stupidity of laws before they are voted upon. Remember the healthcare debate where they said they needed to pass this bill so you could THEN read it? This system would stop all of that in Washington, as well as the state capital, the county seat, and even our local towns.

Please take time to think about this and consider the possibilities, then use this forum to express YOUR thoughts and opinions on this issue. After all, isn't public discussion what the Gwinnett Forum is all about anyway?

Grimes family bringing a newspaper back to Buford area
Editor and publisher

AUG. 23, 2011 -- Something new is happening in Buford, and being met with open arms.


Leave it to Millard Grimes of Athens. The veteran Georgia newspaperman has owned numerous small weekly newspapers, and even a few dailies, in his illustrious career which started out with the Columbus Enquirer over 60 years ago.

Earlier in 2011, he told people he was getting out of the business, and sold his remaining Grimes Publications, including newspapers in Manchester, Greenville, Hamilton, Talbotton and Hogansville.

Since no longer owning newspapers, Millard had time to cogitate. Looking around Georgia, he found a distinctive community, that, to his surprise, did not have a newspaper. So Millard Grimes began publication of a new weekly newspaper in Buford. The first issue of Buford Weekly Illustrated was out last week.

Newspapers have been in Buford nearly since the city was founded. The first newspaper was the Buford Gazette, published first in the late 1870s or 1880s, according to Handsel Morgan in his history of the city. In 1892, it became the colorfully-named Alliance Plow Boy, under W.W. Wilson. (One year's subscription was $2.75.) In 1895, came the Buford Herald, published by Ed A. Caldwell.

In 1903, Oscar Wozencraft changed the name Plow Boy to the Buford Enterprise, which folded in 1905. Alma Kirby began the Buford Journal in 1906 (she was only 18 years of age), and later sold to Arnie Hendrix. Her newspaper was succeeded in 1916 by the Buford Advertiser, published by Early A. Wilbanks, which lasted for 48 years. He erected a building on Moreno Street, and started Moreno Printing.

Mrs. E. A. Wilbanks sold the Advertiser to Charlie Smithgall of Gainesville in 1963. Then in 1964, Smithgall and Bob Fowler combined forces to produce the Gwinnett Daily News, and for the first time, Buford had no newspaper published in the city, as the Advertiser was a casualty of that merger.

No more. Now Millard Grimes has started a newspaper to serve this Buford community.

Buford is lucky. Millard Grimes is one of the most distinguished newspapermen of the state, and former president of the Georgia Press Association. Besides publishing many different weekly newspapers in Georgia, he has also owned dailies, such as the Opelika (Ala.) Daily News, Rockdale Citizen, News Daily in Jonesboro and Henry Herald. On two occasions, he owned and published Georgia Trend magazine.

Grimes is also the authority on the history of Georgia newspapers. He is the author of the major history of Georgia newspapers, The Last Linotype, a 673 page history that chronicles the newspapers in the state.

Now the Grimes family turns their attention on Buford. They were attracted not only because Buford has no newspaper, but because of the character of Buford itself. They saw the vibrancy of the community, the smooth-working city government with virtually little debt, and the city with the biggest budget in Gwinnett.

The Grimes' recognized the distinctiveness of the Buford City School system and its 3,200 students, excelling in all avenues of school life, whether on the athletic field, in literary events, in accomplishments of its students, or in the massive outpouring of support by the parents of these students.

We predict that the Grimes Publications and the people of Buford will be good for each other. Millard Grimes will insure that the day-to-day activities of the area are recorded and promoted for the benefit of its community.

Gwinnett County Public Library

The public spiritedness of our sponsors allows us to bring to you at no cost to readers. The Gwinnett County Public Library (GCPL) leads the state with over seven million items circulated in FY2011. It is the recipient of the Overdrive 2011 Digital Pioneer Award and the proud winner of over $45,000 of books from publisher John Wiley. The library is the only public community partner for literacy, curriculum support, lifelong learning and literacy based programs for all residents. Library branches provide wireless internet access and public workstations. GCPL brings the community two county-wide special events, Gwinnett Reads and Fall Into the Arts. The library system is comprised of 15 branches in Gwinnett County. More:

Brings up subject not often discussed in north Georgia

Editor, the Forum:

For several years I was able to make it out for football picture day at the University of Georgia. What I noticed was the absence of African American sports fans, adult and children, even though a good percent of African Americans make up the team!

I could not understand this until some African American friends told me 'why' they do not take themselves and their children out to UGA. It is because they know not to travel very far from of the Atlanta area. How sad.....especially since we are now into the 21st century!

About two months ago an African American woman told me what had happened to a male relative, who drives a delivery truck, when he went to a county located north of Fulton County to make a delivery. An 'official authority' asked him why he was there, even though he was wearing a company uniform and driving a company truck! He told this official why he was there. The man told him to make his delivery and then get back to where he came from!

When I travel to the North Georgia mountains, I notice quite a few Confederate flags, in which most are accompanied by another flag stating their devotion to the UGA Bulldogs.

So, I thought that it's time for UGA students and fans to start getting up some caravans, in which in each vehicle will be those with white AND dark skins who are on their way to enjoy a most special day in some of America's most beautiful mountains, that being those located in Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee.

Several African American male friends, who live in counties west of Atlanta, have told me that they wish they could live in Gwinnett County and plan to move here when they can. Why? Because they are accepted here and do not get pulled over just because they are African American. Since moving here in 1984, I have always considered myself most fortunate to live in Gwinnett County and NOW I have a better understanding of just ONE reason 'why'.

-- White in Gwinnett (Name withheld by editor)

Dear White: You raise touchy but very valid points. If any white person were black, I expect they would feel uncomfortable in some North Georgia areas. And yes, we are in Gwinnett more tolerant than others, though we have our own bigots, too. --eeb

Some people yearn to be led in our system of government

Editor, the Forum:

Concerning your comment on the Big Idea. Indeed, some people yearn to be led. Our system of government, however, is designed to be a do-it-yourself operation, in which the people govern and our agents do what we (via our representatives) tell them.

Unfortunately, almost since the start, a goodly number of our representatives have wanted to be rulers (petty potentates) rather than stewards. So, they off-loaded the nation's resources and assets to their supporters, in hopes of securing a cushy tenure for themselves.

And the off-loadees, apparently suffering under the misconception that the cupboard would never empty, wasted our resources, including our people. So, now they're sick and everybody's wringing their hands wondering what to do about the bill that's come due.

Fortunately, since somebody's willing to do just about anything in exchange for enough money to keep body and soul together, all it takes is money. And, even more fortunately, money doesn't "grow on trees" but, thanks to Richard Nixon, is now made out of trees. So, we can make as much money as we need -- if we can just get the hoarders, those fellows with the big idea that money is actually worth something, to let got of it.

That the best money is worthless is not my idea. That was John K. Galbraith's contribution, at least, in the modern age. The Native American peoples already knew that when they used sea shells as tokens of confidence that they would get as good as they gave. But, that's a big idea that has no sparkle.

-- Monica Smith, St. Simons Island, Ga.

Understanding is the key to moving our country forward

Editor, the Forum:

The Big Idea... goes way beyond what to do with Medicare, taxing the rich, and all the current discussion going on. The fact is, our world bears almost no resemblance to the one of 1970, 1980, even 1990: technology, more people, the evolution of the "global economy."

I think we need discussion, not rhetoric, with a mindfulness of each of our "agendas," based on our age, upbringing, income bracket, race, gender, etc. We will never have any real agreement unless we have understanding. This is hard when everything goes non-stop, with high volume, force, and pressure.

-- Will Nelson, Buford

  • 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.

Northeast Atlanta Ballet announces schedule for new season

The Northeast Atlanta Ballet has announced its 2011-12 season. All performances are at the Gwinnett Performing Arts Center. Tickets available through Ticketmaster or the Gwinnett Arena Box Office.

The program for the coming seasons shows:

The Nutcracker: Friday through Sunday, Nov. 25-26-27, 2011, at multiple performance times.

Ring in the Holidays with the Northeast Atlanta Ballet's classic rendition of E.T.A Hoffman's tale, "The Nutcracker." This family friendly production features the familiar classical music of Tchaikovsky played live by our resident orchestra, the Gwinnett Symphony. This elaborate production is sure to please audience members of all ages.

Sleeping Beauty: Friday through Sunday, March, 16-17-18, 2012.

"Sleeping Beauty" blends the beautiful music of Tchaikovsky, played live by our resident orchestra, the Gwinnett Symphony, with the sumptuous costumes and lavish scenery making the imaginary world come to life on stage. Filled with fairies, a nasty witch, a fairytale princess and her handsome prince, "Sleeping Beauty" is a magical story of love conquering all.

Beauty and the Beast, Friday and Sunday only, May, 18-20, 2012.

This new three act ballet is choreographed by award winning choreographer, Allison Geary. "Beauty and the Beast" will feature all new colorful costumes, an enchanted castle full of dancing teacups, forks and spoons, and a serene French village. Don't miss this family-friendly ballet about the redemptive power of love.

Watercolor Society's 32nd exhibition to be in Athens

The Georgia Watercolor Society 32nd Annual Members' Exhibition will feature more than 70 paintings by some of today's top watercolorists. The show hangs from August 20 through October 15, at the Lyndon House Arts Center in Athens.

"Green Apple Kaleidoscope"by Marsha Chandler, is included in the show.

The society was founded in 1975 and now boasts 500 members. Stan Miller, a popular watercolor artist and instructor, judged the show. He is teaching a three-day workshop in conjunction with the exhibit from October 12 - 14. Mr. Miller will present a painting demonstration to the members on Saturday, October 15 from 10 a.m. until noon. Non-members are welcome to attend for a $5 fee. The demo will be followed by a reception from 12:30 p.m. until 2:30 p.m. The reception is free and open to the public.

Lyndon House Arts Center is located at 293 Hoyt St, Athens, Ga. Hours are Tuesday and Thursday, from noon until 9 p.m. and Wednesday and Saturday, 9 a.m. until 5 p..m. For more information, visit

Several new businesses are arriving in downtown Duluth

Historic Duluth is taking off... come along for the ride!

The merchants on Main Street in Historic Duluth are hosting a Grand Opening to welcome seven new businesses Saturday, September 17 starting at 11 a.m. After several years of vacancies, it is time to cheer on the new merchants opening in time for the Duluth Fall Festival the last weekend in September.

Downtown Duluth has four retail clusters. The Old City Hall Block, Sphon Town, Historic Main Street, and Mathias/Street Smarts cluster. For the first time in 10 years, all retail spaces are occupied on Historic Main Street and Old City Hall block, leaving only four retail spaces available in downtown Duluth. Nine new businesses have announced or have located in the last seven months.

Jean Harrivel, Shelly Howard, and Lucille Walker with balloons for Duluth downtown fun.

The long awaited Pure Taqueria is under construction. To open soon are Tie Die 4 Bakery and Best of Beer Growler Tap Store. Already operating are Luv for Art, Snowbiz, This N That, Tie Die 4 Party and the Boiler Room Costume and Oddity Shop and the Work Spot.

The community is invited to join in the celebration by painting and decorating hot air balloon blank miniature replicas, which will be hung throughout Historic Duluth. Once completed, the artistic hot air balloons will become part of an outdoor art exhibit. The unveiling will be Saturday, September 17 and the hot air balloons will remain on display for 30 days and then be available for pickup.

Visitors attending the outdoor art exhibit are also invited into the shops on Main Street where participating merchants will host open houses and offer special shopping discounts to celebrate the new businesses in Historic Duluth!

Two parks near Grayson and Dacula get upgrades

New park facilities promised in the 2009 SPLOST sales tax program soon will be under construction near the Grayson-Dacula area.

New facilities are coming to the county's largest park, Harbins Park east of Grayson. CRS Building Corp. received a $5.9 million contract to build a multi-purpose (football/soccer/lacrosse) field on the Indian Shoals Road side of the park with bleachers, a concession/restroom building and a lighted walking track. There will also be a rental pavilion, a playground, a dog park, a three-acre lake and a 1.5-mile paved trail through the lowlands adjacent to Cedar Creek.

Rabbit Hill Park near Dacula will add two soccer fields, a concession/ restroom building and a trail extension. In a second area of the park, Astra Group, Inc. will build seven new baseball/softball fields, a multi-purpose field with a lighted walking track, playgrounds and a six-acre lake that will provide irrigation water from an on-site well. The nearly $9.6 million project also includes road improvements with a traffic signal and turn lanes at the intersection of Hurricane Shoals Road and Rabbit Hill Road. Commissioner John Heard received a commitment from the Mountain View Youth Athletic Association to assist the county in maintaining the Rabbit Hill park.

Lose Associates of Lawrenceville designed the new facilities at both parks.

Two Gwinnettians to appear on Trinity Broadcasting Network

Two Gwinnettians will appear on Trinity Broadcasting cable network within the next few days… odd times. Jim Maran of Duluth, head of the Gwinnett Chamber, will appear with Clyde Strickland of Lawrenceville, who founded Metro Waterproofing of Scottdale, on the "Joy in our Town" program.

The duo from Gwinnett will be talking about bringing manufacturing back to the United States, and also about the topic of "Buy Made in the USA" products.

The times for the broadcasts are:

  • Friday, August 26 at 1 p.m.
  • Saturday, August 27 at 4:30 a.m.
  • Monday, August 29 at 11:30 a.m.
  • Tuesday, August 20, at 4:30 a.m.

Strickland says: "We, the people of America, can help save America by changing the way we spend the money God has entrusted us with. Talk to our families and friends about purchasing American products.

"Paper, pens, shoes, clothes, food, cars, computers and just about everything we buy can be found from a company that made the product in America. But we have to look for it.

"Check labels; ask store managers and associates, for made-in-the-USA products. Research the internet."

Atlantic, by Simon Winchester

Simon Winchester brings scholarly research into focus no matter what his subject. We've followed his writing about the eruption of Krakatoa, about how the Oxford English Dictionary came about (The Professor and the Madman). Now comes his latest book, Atlantic, which addresses the ocean between Europe, Africa and the Americas. Scholarly but easily readable and entertaining, the book explores subjects most people have never considered about this vast and constantly churning ocean. The book is not just about the Atlantic, but about explorers and settlers, the geologic origins, historic discoveries, the many tragedies of the sea and what we can expect of the Atlantic in the future. It is thoroughly engrossing. -- 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

Devastation of north Georgia forest helps spur preservation

After the Civil War, the copper industry developed along the Tennessee-Georgia border, causing great damage to the forests because of the large amounts of timber needed to fuel copper smelters. Even greater forest damage resulted from the lumber industry that emerged at the end of the 19th century. Mountain forests were stripped bare of trees by major logging operations centered near the towns of Dahlonega, Ellijay, and Helen, as well as by numerous smaller sawmills.

Similar devastations of other forests around the nation prompted the creation of a national movement to restore and preserve forests. Georgia's Blue Ridge mountain lands were some of the first acquired by the U.S. government for this purpose. The Chattahoochee National Forest was established in 1937. Since then, one of the most important benefits of the Chattahoochee forest has been a clean water source for metropolitan Atlanta.

It was also during the late 19th century that the production of illegal alcohol-particularly corn whiskey and apple or peach brandy-generated moonshine "wars" throughout the southern mountains. These wars extended well into the twentieth century and were particularly intense in Georgia's Blue Ridge, where Internal Revenue Service agents, or "revenuers," did battle with mountain residents who resented and resisted paying federal taxes on this traditional staple of mountain agriculture.

Georgia's Blue Ridge Mountains have a rich cultural heritage associated with the southern Appalachians. Out of that heritage came many varieties of folk art and music, including bluegrass. Bluegrass music is a unique sound that features mostly acoustic instruments and combines elements of both traditional Scottish and Irish folk music. Music and other aspects of mountain culture and folklife are celebrated at the Georgia Mountain Fair, held every August since 1950 in Hiawassee.

The Foxfire magazine and books, published by students since the late 1960s, first at Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School and today at Rabun County High School, have chronicled the history, culture, traditions, and daily life in Appalachia and the Blue Ridge Mountains. James Dickey's novel, Deliverance, published in 1970, conveyed a very different, and far more negative, image of the region and its people.

(To be continued.)


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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.

Some people jump ahead early on to their next thought

"There are people who, instead of listening to what is being said to them, are already listening to what they are going to say themselves."

-- French playwright Albert Guin (1863-1923).




More than 350 arts and crafts and food booths await you at the 29th annual Duluth Fall Festival. This family-friendly event includes a parade, music at three venues, dancers, puppeteers, "Man's Corner" (featuring wares for the man-cave), a 5K road race, a Town Green Sunday worship service, a carnival, etc. It is consistently voted one of the top festivals in the southeast. The carnival, Gold Medal Shows, opens Wednesday, September 21, and continues through the Festival end on Sunday, September 25, with specials prices Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. For more information, visit
(Paid Advertisement.)

(NEW) Town Hall meeting: 7 p.m. Aug. 25, Snellville City Hall Community Room, with Congressman Rob Woodall.

Brunch and Book signing with author Evelyn Coleman: Aug. 27 at California Pizza Kitchen in Norcross. Sponsored by Friends of Gwinnett County Public Library. Tickets are $25 for each child. For more information, visit

8th Annual Legacy Awards, honoring Gwinnett’s exemplary women: 10 a.m., Aug. 27, Gwinnett Place Marriott. Sponsored by United Way Leadership Council in Gwinnett. More info.

Cityhood discussion: 7:30 p.m., Aug. 29, Peachtree Corners Baptist Church. Sponsored by the Peachtree Corners Yes Committee, several speakers will share history and current status leading to the November 8 voting on Peachtree Corners cityhood. Info.

Taste of Duluth: 6:30 p.m., Sept. 15, Payne Corley House in Duluth. For more information, go to

Meet the Author: 7 p.m., Sept. 21, at the Norcross Cultural Arts and Community Center. Author Stuart Woods will discuss and sign his books. Sponsored by Gwinnett County Public Library. For more information, visit or call 770-978-5154.

Rainbow Village Gala: 6:30 p.m., Oct. 22, Atlanta Athletic Club in Johns Creek. Wilmington Trust is the presenting sponsor. Dinner, entertainment and a silent auction will mark the 20 years of celebration. Entertainment will be with Blue Sky Atlanta. Reserve seats.


9/20: Privatize postal service

9/16: Remembering W.C. Corley

9/13: Remedial education

9/9: Huntsman idea

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


9/20: Sharp: Owens' Duluth book

9/16: Wickham: Municipal courts

9/13: Tatarsky: Headed to Brazil

9/9: Kaufman: On David Petraeus

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



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.

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