Issue 11.50 | Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2011
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.
DULUTH, Ga., Sept. 20, 2011 -- It's easy in the midst of Atlanta's urban sprawl to forget that it wasn't always so, to be so caught up in the everyday stuff of life that we seldom think about how we got here. We may briefly wonder while sitting at a stoplight why the road we're on, like McGinnis Ferry, or Abbott's Bridge, is named what it is. Then the light turns green and ends our musing that just a couple of centuries ago only Indians were here, until families moving around in search of prosperity settled in just because the soil was rich and the rivers flowed clear.
But Ann Parsons Odum has never forgotten. Great-great-granddaughter of Evan Howell, the founder of Duluth, she set out a few years ago to memorialize the landscapes and character of her hometown in paintings, first in batik and later in pastel.
I first heard of the "Parson girls," Margaret, Kathryn and Ann, in 2008. Though I'd had an office in the Duluth postal area earlier in the decade, a year or so before our company ventured into helping authors who wanted to self-publish produce and market their books, it wasn't until I worked briefly at Rainbow Village that I began to put the two together in earnest. So it was mere chance when Ann decided to move forward with the vision of putting a collection of her Duluth paintings into a book that I was around, and could assist her.
While choosing paintings to include, Ann and her daughter, Sharon, began telling me stories, not just about the houses and farms and rivers and trains, but of the people-of prosperity and hardship, celebration and tragedy, church and community. From that I suggested Ann put those stories in the book, beside the paintings. In the space of the year, we'd laughed and cried and gossiped a little, and by the time we were finished, I felt like Duluth was my hometown, too.
am excited and honored to announce the arrival of Duluth, Georgia:
Through the Eyes of One of Its Own by Ann Parsons Odum. A delightful
collection of over 80 paintings, historical facts, and personal stories
about the people and places of Duluth past and present, it will be a treasured
keepsake for Duluth natives and newcomers alike. I can speak from experience-you're
gonna' love the view.
printing is limited, so don't dawdle in getting your copy. The full-color
hardback book with dustcover is 92 pages, and retails for $39.95.
SEPT. 20, 2011 -- A hot topic these days is bullying. It isn't always limited to kids.
Trying to bully the American people these days is the U.S. Postal Service, threatening the nation with all sorts of problems unless Congress takes funding action.
Although the Postal Service is not directly under governmental operations these days, it appears to us that it still suffers the problems it did in the days when it was founded with Benjamin Franklin as its first postmaster general. If there was one thing from the very beginning that the Post Offices were recognized as having, it was a hearty case of political favoritism, a virtual garden of patronage, with an outgrowth of questionable delivery of services.
While the Service maintains it is a private corporation today, it appears still to reek with inefficiencies, particular at the top levels. Meanwhile, the individual postman is choked with heavy loads, little help from top management, and a low 'esprit de corps.' No wonder the rank-and-file workers are concerned. (How would you like to come to work to run your route, only to learn that another mail carrier did not come in today, so you must run two routes?)
It is getting more obvious to the everyday postal customer that something radical must be done to ensure that the nation has reliable and efficient postal delivery.
Another hot topic since the Reagan era are proposals to privatize many governmental services. Perhaps that could be done with the Postal Service.
Congress could request proposals from private industry to take bids on providing postal service to every nook and cranny in the United States. And should that be proposed, we suggest that two already existing and proven similar firms might at least consider offering to provide this service. We talk of the two giants in the parcel delivery industry, UPS and FedEx. Both companies are great examples of the American tradition of continually updating themselves, driven by good service, and fueled by efficiency.
UPS started in 1907 in Seattle, Wash., and was first known as the Seattle American Messenger Company. Its name was changed to United Parcel Service in 1919. Technological innovations have been routine for this company. It debuted the use of a conveyor belt system for handling packages, and today uses distinctive modern communications to ensure good service. It relocated its home office to Atlanta in 1991.
FedEx took another approach to its beginning. It was born in 1913 in Niagara Falls, N.Y. as C.J. Tower and Sons as a customs broker, and later started Roberts Cartage as a pick-up and delivery trucking company in Akron, Ohio. It located its corporate office to Memphis, Tenn. in 1973.
Now each of these companies might question taking on the delivery of mail, especially in view of the lower mail volumes because of e-mail these days. But there is no doubt in my mind that if either of these delivery giants took on the work of the current Postal System, they would do a better job than the service Americans get now.
And who knows, there might be other private firms willing to offer bids to run the Postal Service without the heavy load of inefficient top management, large pension obligations, and the imbedded and age-old problems of the Post Office.
Let the bullying halt. Congress should take action to see if there is interest in a privatized Post Office.
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Editor, the Forum:
posting on the Berkeley Lake web site of the mayor's comment on the repair
of the Berkeley Lake dam I view with mixed feelings. While I am happy
that the government is going to help bail out Berkeley Lake, what I should
be doing is taking out a full page advertisement in most national newspapers
thanking the American citizen who, while having a rough time of late and
having trouble putting milk on their tables, have once again had their
tax money put to use
..fixing other people's problems
The Gwinnett Place CID announces the upcoming Community Design Workshop for the Gwinnett Livable Centers Initiative (LCI) 10-Year Update. The two-day Community Workshop will take place on the evenings of Tuesday, October 4 and Thursday, October 6 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Ferguson Elementary, 1755 Centerview Drive, Duluth. Community members are invited to participate in the two-day interactive workshop.
Leo Wiener, Gwinnett Place CID board chairman, says: "The Gwinnett Place CID is proud to lead the 10-Year Update to the Gwinnett LCI in partnership with Gwinnett County and the Atlanta Regional Commission. The joint effort will identify implementable public and private investments that will strengthen the area moving forward."
Another property owner, Casey Coffey, Gwinnett Place Ford, feels: "The Gwinnett LCI Update represents the public's ongoing dedication and investment in the area - solidifying my confidence in the area's great possibilities. The anticipated transportation and public improvements to result from the study will provide new impetus for private investment."
Professional planners, designers, and market analysts will work with Community Workshop attendees to refine the needs of the study area through various interactive activities and educational sessions. The Thursday meeting will utilize findings from input received on Tuesday. The workshop will build upon the Gwinnett County Unified Plan, the 2001 initial Gwinnett LCI study, and other relevant studies. The findings from the workshop will play an important role in developing a new Master Plan for the area and will be incorporated in the final study area report.
Suwanee plans another Citizen's Police Academy
The next session of Suwanee's Citizens Police Academy will begin Tuesday, October 4. This eight-week, hands-on program allows participants a chance to get to know many of Suwanee's officers personally and provides a better understanding of the responsibilities and risks of being a police officer - plus it's a lot of fun!
Some of the topics covered include crime scene processing, traffic stops, building searches, crime prevention, and narcotics identification. Class sessions will begin at 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays at the Suwanee Police Department, 373 Buford Highway.
Consider these comments from two participants in last fall's program:
Gwinnett UGA graduates win Fulbright scholarships
Two University of Georgia students from Gwinnett -- spring 2006 graduate Caroline Strelitz of Lawrenceville and spring 2011 graduate Christopher Ward of Lawrenceville, are Fulbright travel scholarship winners.
They are among a record 11 UGA students who were named recipients of international travel-study grants from the Fulbright U.S. Student Program for the 2011-2012 academic year. This ties last year's record number. The U.S. Student Full Grants cover research, study and creative opportunities.
last 65 years, the Fulbright Program has provided students, scholars and
professionals an opportunity to complete advanced research, international
graduate study, university teaching and teaching in elementary and secondary
schools worldwide. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, the Fulbright
Program is the largest U.S. international exchange program. The Fulbright
U.S. Student Program awards approximately 1,700 grants annually to U.S.
undergraduate and graduate students.
who earned bachelor's degrees in Spanish and foreign language education
from UGA, has been an English teaching assistant at the Federal University
of São Carlos in Sao Paulo state in Brazil since the spring. She
has been to South America three times, having studied in Chile, Costa
Rica and Brazil. After finishing her Fulbright trip in November, she would
like to pursue a master's degree in education.
received bachelor's degrees in linguistics and Chinese at UGA, will be
serving as an English language instructor in Indonesia. Ward has been
exposed to multiple languages, having lived in Malaysia, Kuwait and the
United Arab Emirates as a child because of his father's job as an ESL
teacher. He also studied abroad in China last year. Upon his return to
the U.S., Ward plans to enter graduate studies in computational linguistics.
An historic train station, built in 1871 to serve the city of Duluth, is now restored and will soon be open to the public at the Southeastern Railway Museum.
Museum Administrator Randy Pirkle says: "This historic structure was once a major gateway to our region. After nearly a century of service to passengers and decades of use as an office, we are proud to have the opportunity to open the restored Duluth depot to the public once more."
The depot was built by a predecessor of the Southern Railway, part of today's Norfolk Southern Corp., and was one of several depots constructed in the area in 1871. The railroad primarily served the cotton trade, which was cultivated on a reported 50,000 acres in the area. At the time, Forsyth and Milton counties had no rail service, and the addition of the passenger station at Duluth made the city a center for shipping and commercial travel.
Rail travel offered convenient access to Atlanta for business and shopping. The evening arrival of "Belle," one of the daily trains to and from the city, became a popular gathering time for local residents.
Declines in passenger service and changes in rail freight led to the closing of the Duluth depot by the early 1950s. Eventually, the Southern Railway, which then owned the property, encouraged the City of Duluth to find a use for the building. The city lacked the resources to do so. However, in 1975 the building was moved by the late Scott Hudgens, a local developer, to the site on Pleasant Hill Road near the Joan Glancy Hospital. The depot was used as an office for a major development project in progress at the time.
In 1986, Mr. Hudgens again moved the depot, this time across Pleasant Hill Road to the W. P. Jones Park. There, the City of Duluth used the building as a police substation and an office for city parks personnel and related recreation programs.
In August 2008, the depot was moved to a prominent position at the entrance to the Southeastern Railway Museum on Buford Highway. Under a lease agreement between the City and the museum, the City retains ownership of the depot and the museum is responsible for restoring the building and operating it as an historic exhibit.
The Southeastern Railway Museum, in operation since 1970, is Georgia's Official Transportation History Museum. Occupying a 35-acre site in Duluth, the museum offers exhibits dealing with the history and importance of transportation in the development of the state and the region. The collection includes roughly 90 pieces of railroad rolling stock, including historic locomotives, passenger and freight cars, and maintenance vehicles. The museum also exhibits historic automobiles, firefighting equipment, and buses from MARTA and its predecessors.
Gwinnett property tax bills due by Nov. 15
Property tax bills for 2011 have been mailed to Gwinnett county taxpayers, with payment due in a single-installment by November 15.
There are several options for property tax payment:
owners with an escrow account, tax information will be made available
to the mortgage company; however, it is ultimately the responsibility
of the property owner to ensure taxes are paid by the due date. For more
information, contact the office at Tax@gwinnettcounty.com
"My husband and I were happy to try the new Gino's on Peachtree Parkway. They have a tempting menu. I enjoyed my Ziti Broccoli pasta meal and my husband liked his specialty pizza. The items were reasonably priced and they also had heros, calzones, soups and salads to try. Next time I may get one of the eggplant entrees or the New York Cheesecake! The eatery is at 5975 Peachtree Parkway, Norcross. Their phone: 770-263-7000."
He confided to his friend John Lord Viscount Percival that he intended to help released debtors begin a new life in America. In fact, Oglethorpe had received a grant of £5,000 to carry out his plan. In 1729 Dr. Thomas Bray chose trustees to administer his estate. In addition to Oglethorpe, the trustees, called the Associates of Dr. Bray, included several future members of the Georgia Trust. Oglethorpe and his friends decided to add the Bray legacy to the funds in hand for the purpose of establishing a new colony between the Savannah and Altamaha rivers, in territory claimed by both the province of South Carolina and the Spanish colony of Florida.
On September 17, 1730, the associates presented a petition for a charter to the Privy Council, Parliament's executive body, headed by the chancellor of the exchequer, Robert Walpole. The petition was routinely passed on to the notoriously inefficient Board of Trade, which dawdled for a year without acting. Walpole, the prime minister, was less than eager to challenge the Spanish, who had a prior claim to the region requested by the petitioners.
Walpole needed the support of the influential members of Parliament who supported the charter, however, and he managed to bring the charter before the Privy Council. After going through several revisions, the notion of helping debtors gave way to a more pragmatic plan to send over "the deserving poor" who would protect South Carolina while producing such goods as wine and silk for England.
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"The instinct of stand-patters under attack, after all, is to stand even more pat."
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Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, at Lionheart Theatre, Norcross: Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through September 25. Reservations recommended at www.lionhearttheatre.org. Not recommended for children.
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 www.gwinnettpl.org or call 770-978-5154.
(NEW) Cruise-In in Suwanee: 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., Sept. 22, Town Center Park. About a dozen stylish cars are anticipated for the Cruise-In, featuring antique cars and hot rods. This is a regular fourth Thursday event, with merchants offering special prices, in-store events and entertainment.
Gateway International Food and Music Festival: September 24 at Lillian Webb Park in Norcross. This festival will showcase the region's multicultural talent and highlight the rich contribution (and food) of Gwinnett's diverse community. It is sponsored by Gwinnett Village Community Alliance.
Book Signing: 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Sept. 24, 1 until 4 p.m., at Books for Less, 2815 Buford Highway, Buford. Doug Dahlgren of Decatur, author of The Son, Silas Rising, will sign and discuss his novel.
Book Signing by Atlanta native Haywood Smith: 2 p.m. Sept. 24, Eagle Eye Book Store, Decatur. The author of the Red Hat series, her latest book is entitled Wife In Law. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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