Issue 11.60 | Tuesday, Oct. 25, 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.
NORCROSS, Ga., Oct. 25, 2011 -- In discussing the pros and cons of Peachtree Corners becoming a city, residents have given many reasons for and against becoming an incorporated city. But how many of these are not valid reasons for becoming a city?
Myth #1. "We will have more police protection."
Myth #2. "We can have Peachtree Corners as a mailing address."
Myth #3. "I will vote for it because of the schools and the kids."
Myth #4. "More sidewalks."
Myth #5. "It will keep the taxes down."
Myth #6. "It will keep out development and businesses we don't want."
Myth #7. "It will raise our home values."
Myth #8. "Voting No is no option."
Myth #9. "Peachtree Corners will disappear if we are not a city."
Myth #10. "Vacant buildings will fill up."
Myth #11. "We will be annexed into Norcross."
Myth #12. "We will get away from Gwinnett County."
Now, let's look at the facts.
Fact #1. "Taxes will go up."
Fact #2. "Another layer of government will be added."
Fact # 3. "We don't need a city."
an informed voter. Read the facts, and ignore the myths.
OCT. 25, 2011 -- Let's look at the upcoming E-SPLOST vote in another fashion. What happens if the E-SPLOST doesn't pass in Gwinnett County?
Two possibilities emerge, neither of them good. There would either be double sessions for some schools, or large scale re-districting to equalize students to match facilities. Either would be devastating, and most disruptive, to the point of damaging student achievement.
The last time the school district had a school in double sessions was from 1979-1981 at Parkview High. The opening of Brookwood High relieved Parkview at a time when double sessions were necessary. Shiloh High opened in 1984, offering relief again to Parkview.
In past years, Gwinnett citizens have recognized the benefit of collecting an extra one cent on taxable retail sales in the county to help fund education. The E-SPLOST proposals have passed overwhelmingly, by 71, 79 and 66 percent in 1997, 2001 and 2006.
Most recently, E-SPLOST III (2006) has brought in an average funding of $11,126,425 each month! And good as that has been, back when the economy was sizzling along in 2006 when vote was proposed, it was anticipated that the program would be bringing in $23 million each month! Gwinnett is now collecting educational tax revenues at 63.7 percent of anticipation, or $310 million less than projected. That shows how much the Gwinnett schools have been hampered and under-funded by the slowdown in the economy!
But now in 2011, we will get to vote on continuing the one cent sales tax for educational purposes. It's no new tax. At present, the estimates are that it will bring in $876 million over the five years. Buford City Schools would get $17.1 million, and Gwinnett County Public Schools would get $858.9 million.
But note: that is projected to bring in an average of $14.6 million PER MONTH to the local schools. That's not chicken feed.
What infrastructure would these funds pay for?
Since Gwinnett County continues to grow its school population, it would anticipate building 433 new classrooms in the next five years. But it would also pay for maintenance items, such as re-roofing classrooms, HVAC upgrades, painting, carpeting and similar upgrades, plus adding air conditioning at gymnasiums and activity buildings. If Gwinnett is required to put off maintaining buildings, this will also result in higher replacement costs eventually.
Some critics point out providing air conditioning in gyms and activity buildings is operationally costly. But these also are areas of learning, and operational costs for these buildings amount to less than one percent of the county budget.
Perhaps the most innovative aspect of the new E-SPLOST would be technology upgrades. This would boost Wi-Fi and bring on technology to allow access for student mobile devices, I-Touch and I-Pads, cell phones and laptops. As Alvin Wilbanks has suggested, E-SPLOST passage would allow current students to "power up" when at schools, where now many students "power down" compared with the access they have at home. Even students on reduced-prices lunches would benefit from reduced rates on Internet services.
This new technology can also lead to focusing more on digital content, and allow more use of digital textbooks at a much lower cost than providing conventional textbooks. Overall, technology upgrades would allow classrooms to be "more robust" and continue Gwinnett moving forward.
Forcing Gwinnett students to either double sessions or major re-districting is not the way to go. Gwinnett parents want the best for their students. Continuing to help pay for schools through the fourth E-SPLOST sales tax will keep the Gwinnett Schools at their top attainment level.
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SEVERAL PEOPLE recognized our Lagniappe Photo last week, realizing that the photo was from the campus of Washington University in St. Louis, Mo. Kellie Austin was the first to answer correctly and wins our very best wishes and an invitation for a Tour of Gwinnett. Thanks to all who entered!
The public spiritedness of our sponsors allows us to bring GwinnettForum.com to you at no cost to readers. Gainesville State College has been educating the citizens of Northeast Georgia since 1966 and has an enrollment approaching 9,000. With 1,296 students during the fall of 2011, Gwinnett County is second only to Hall County in the number of students who attend GSC. The College awarded 892 degrees awarded during 2010-2011, students from Gwinnett County earned 202 of the degrees (22.6 percent). At GSC, students engage in a challenging learning experience in a supportive and nurturing environment. GSC offers associate of arts, associate of science, associate of applied science, certificates, and a limited number of bachelor degrees. Gainesville State College integrates academic and extra-curricular activities in order to emphasize development of the "whole person." GSC is a "student-focused, learning centered" commuter college where students can enjoy the "total college experience" by participating in student activities such as: intramurals, clubs and organizations, bands, chorus, publications, cultural affairs programs, fine arts offerings including theatre, extended orientation, and international-intercultural studies programs. The Gainesville Campus is located just off of Interstate-985 in Oakwood, and the Oconee Campus is located in Watkinsville. To learn more about GSC, visit www.gsc.edu.
Editor, the Forum:
I do not understand your efforts to discuss the Peach Pass rates on Interstate 85. Of course, they are too high, but more importantly, they are another tax increase.
The facts are that we already pay for the use of these roads via gasoline taxes. It is the misuse of those funds that are at issue. Those funds should be dedicated to roads and only roads as intended. You cannot argue that more fuel efficient cars result in less revenues because technology changes in highway construction should more than be offset by efficient design and construction techniques that increase the life of the roads.
These lanes are a simple reaction to obtain Federal Highway funds and make our state and local communities dependent on the federal government.
This tax is almost as ridiculous as those who vote and approved SPLOST dollars. Not that I dislike parks but the voters fail to realize that while SPLOST builds the parks, the operating revenues are taken out of the operating budgets that fund other county operations, such as police and fire.
What you should discuss rather than commute to Atlanta is what is Buford doing to attract jobs to Buford and provide incentives to Buford businesses to hire Buford residents for those jobs and keep Buford residents working in Buford.
County is taking action to improve housing. A new phase of the Neighborhood
Stabilization Program (NSP) will use approved asset managers to buy, rehabilitate
and sell homes that are currently in foreclosure on the east side of Lawrenceville,
one of the hardest hit foreclosure areas in the county. The three highest-scoring
asset managers are Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership, Inc.,
The Macallan Group, LLC, and Gwinnett Window and Door, Inc.
PugFest 2011 returns to Gwinnett Co. Fairgrounds on Oct. 29
On Saturday, October 29, PugFest returns to the Gwinnett County Fairgrounds at 2405 Sugarloaf Parkway, just in time for Halloween.
PugFest 2011, expect to see hundreds of pugs (and some of their owners)
don scary, crazy and cute costumes for one of the fundraiser's most anticipated
events--the costume contest. PugFest's entry fees are $8 per adult and
$4 for children under 12 (no charge for pugs and other small pets). The
event is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. After a pug parade with rescued pet introductions
at 12:30 p.m., the contests begin.
approximately 2 p.m., is a costume contest with two categories, homemade
and store-bought costumes. (Just picture all the little "Pugs Bunnies",
"lady pugs" and "hot dogs.") Many of the entrants
for the homemade costumes have spent a year since the last PugFest painstakingly
creating costumes that come complete with various props and/or elaborate
A new sports management master's degree will be taught at the Gwinnett campus of The University of Georgia, starting in summer 2012. The department of kinesiology is now accepting applications for the program.
The program is the newest of 10 College of Education graduate degrees offered at the Gwinnett campus. The non-thesis track of study consists of 36 class hours, including 24 hours of required courses, six hours of electives and a six-credit-hour internship experience.
The multi-disciplinary curriculum incorporates real-world issues, blends face-to-face instruction with online and distance learning, and promotes a dynamic learning environment, according to Billy Hawkins, associate professor in kinesiology and the sport management and policy program coordinator.
The sluggish economy is causing problems with non-profits, as evidenced by a plea from the New London Theatre in Snellville. Dawn Berlo, chair of its board, sent a message out last week saying that the financial position the board is now in "has now become greater than we can handle."
The theatre needs to raise $15,000 by the end of October to keep the doors open. She says: :"Please find it in your heart to help us continue to create wonderful shows for you to not only watch, but be in." The theatre has operated for 13 years in Snellville. A recent unexpected air conditioning emergency, to keep the facility up to fire code standards, drained the theatre's funds.
Georgia Gwinnett College part of national collaboration
Georgia Gwinnett College has been named to a cohort of colleges and universities led by the American Council on Education (ACE) that will collaborate to create more globally engaged curricula, opportunities and campuses for their students.
Along with seven other institutions, GGC will work to increase global engagement on campus by forming leadership teams to work on strategic planning and student outcomes, attending community meetings in Washington, D.C., and participating in site visits, peer reviews and other activities.
Barbara Hill, project director and senior associate for internationalization at ACE, says: "We are very pleased to welcome a very qualified and energized cohort this year. Though they represent diverse geographic regions, institution types and sizes, the cohort will be able to share practical ideas and solutions that will ultimately enhance the student experience."
The other selected institutions are: Fielding Graduate University, California; Montana State University, Montana; Monroe Community College, New York; Universidad Metropolitana, Puerto Rico; University of Wisconsin River Falls, Wisconsin; University of Wyoming, Wyoming; and Webster University, Missouri. ACE has hosted 59 schools in the Internationalization Laboratory since 2003. GGC is only the second Georgia institution selected to participate.
Romig joins Jackson EMC as mechanical engineer
Brittany Romig, an engineer with a background in building structures, mechanical systems and energy efficiency, has joined Jackson Electric Membership Cooperation (EMC).
Romig will support commercial/industrial members throughout cooperative's 10-county service area, providing assistance with energy audits, efficiency improvements, process optimization, HVAC design, lighting and more. A native of Cumming, Romig is a graduate of the University of Georgia with a B.S. in Agricultural Engineering. As a student, she received the University of Georgia's R.H. Driftmier Achievement Award for the Highest Academic Achievement in Engineering. Romig previously worked as a mechanical engineer with Setty and Associates, a Fairfax-Va.-based engineering consulting firm.
(From previous edition)
Despite the smaller forts and batteries located to the south and west, the town's citadel and the heart of the frontier defense system was Fort Frederica. In his Journal, John Percival (the earl of Egmont) remarked that the "bay within was very secure for shipping" and the southern mouth of the Altamaha River "land lock'd from the Winds."
Oglethorpe had observed a high bluff in January 1734 while reconnoitering Georgia's coastal Sea Islands in search of a suitable fort site. The bluff's elevation and location provided a commanding view of inland waterways and the salty sea marshes as well as protection from invasion. The fact that the land had previously been cleared for an "Indian old field" made this strategically important location even more attractive.
Accompanied by 30 men, Oglethorpe returned to this setting by February 18, 1736. He traced out a fort with four bastions, "dug enough of the ditch and raised enough of the Rampart for a sample for the Men to work upon." Grass was cut into turf from the Indian old field and used in sodding the fort. By September 1738 Oglethorpe's regiment consisted of six companies, each with about 125 men. An imposing barracks was constructed to house them.
A total of 44 men and 72 women and children had settled at Fort Frederica by mid-March 1736. Less than ten years later, the number had grown to 1,000. Most of the early residents were tradesmen and their families who had braved a two-month voyage across the Atlantic. They prospered, supplying the needs of the regiment.
After an unsuccessful siege of St. Augustine by Georgia soldiers in 1740 during the War of Jenkins' Ear, Spanish forces launched a retaliatory invasion of Fort Frederica in midsummer 1742. Oglethorpe was outgunned and outmanned but not outmaneuvered. Over a two-week period he and his men engaged the invading Spanish forces in a skirmish at Gulley Hole Creek and on July 7, 1742, at Bloody Marsh, ambushed them in a drizzling rain. As a result, the Spanish retreated, never again to present a threat to English designs in the Southeast.
The British regiment disbanded in May, 1749. With its departure, many of Frederica's townspeople relocated. Nine years later, in April 1758, a great fire swept Frederica, reducing much of it to ashes. Today the Fort Frederica National Monument ruins stand as a silent reminder of colonial military struggles.
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© 2011, Gwinnett Forum.com. 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.
What takes place when fall is in the air
"Listen! the wind is rising, and the air is wild with leaves. We have had our summer evenings, now for October eves!"
second printing of Elliott Brack's modern history of Gwinnett County,
entitled "Gwinnett: A Little Above Atlanta," is underway. The
book should be available about November 1. The first edition sold out
earlier this year.
Two versions of the
book will be available. The hardback edition will be priced at $75, while
a softback edition will be $40. The books will be available at selected
local book stores and also available by purchase through www.elliottbrack.com.
SEARCH GWINNETT FORUM
Colored Pencil Odyssey exhibition of six artists: Now through Nov. 25, St. Edward's Episcopal Church, 737 Moon Road in Lawrenceville. These 24 drawings are from members of the Atlanta chapter of the Colored Pencil Society. The gallery is free to the public, with viewing hours 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, call 770-963-6128.
Dracula: Through Oct. 30, Fridays through Sundays. The melodrama will be performed at the New London Theatre in Snellville. More.
PhotoMix Exhibit: Third Annual Kudzu/Atlanta Celebrates Photography Event Fridays and Saturdays, through Oct. 29 at Kudzu Art Zone in Norcross. This month-long exhibit of 12 Kudzu members seeks to expand the awareness of visual arts. The opening reception is Friday, October 14. Details here.
Open House to mark an expanded LEED Gold compute, data and recovery center: 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., Oct. 27, Corus360, 130 Technology Parkway, Norcross. Activities include a technology infrastructure leadership panel, educational sessions, hors d'oeuvres and door prizes. To register, visit online.
Fifth Annual Salvation Army Breakfast: 8 a.m., Oct. 28, Gwinnett Salvation Army Center, 3455 Sugarloaf Parkway. Speaker will be Jeff Foxworthy. This benefits the Army's "Home Sweet Home Gwinnett," an innovative program for emergency rapid re-housing of homeless families. Tickets at $125. More information via email.
Suwanee Trek or Treat: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Oct. 29, Suwanee Creek Park, 1170 Buford Highway. Costumed youth are invited to enjoy festival-style games, crafts and activities, and trek or treat along Suwanee Gateway. Event is free, with prizes and hot dogs available as supplies last.
Fall Historic Bus Tour to Snellville, Lilburn, Lawrenceville and Dacula, put on by the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Oct. 29. Cost: $20 per person. Narrators will be Elmer Nash and Mary Long. Tour departs from Female Seminary in Lawrenceville, and makes a stop for lunch in Lawrenceville (not included in price). Info: 770 822 5178.
Second Annual Fall Festival of Kingdom Now Ministries: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Oct. 29, 1805 Shackelford Court, Norcross. Games, food and entertainment are offered, as well as free health screenings. For more information, call 770 564 6792.
Take Back Day for prescription drugs: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Oct. 29, Norcross City Hall. This will be conducted by the Norcross Police Department as a venue for persons who want to dispose of unwanted or unused drugs. For more information call 770-448-2111.
(NEW) Suwanee "Take Back" unwanted, unused and expired prescriptions: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Oct. 29, Suwanee Police Station, 373 Buford Highway. For more information about Suwanee's participation in this program, contact Sgt. Bryan Hickey at 770/904-7609.
Masterworks Concert: Oct. 30. The first concert of the season by the Gwinnett Symphony Orchestra and Chorus (GSO&C) is scheduled for Sunday, October 30 at the Gwinnett Performing Arts Center. It will be a family concert entitled, "Masterworks 1: A Young Persons' Guide to the Orchestra and Chorus."
(NEW) Old Peachtree Road 5K, sponsored by Georgia campus, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine: 9 a.m., Nov. 5, to benefit Rainbow Village. The race will begin and end in the medical college's parking lot at 625 Old Peachtree Rd. NW, Suwanee. Click here for application.
(NEW) Celebrate America Festival: Noon to 5 p.m., Nov. 6, Catholic Church of Saint Monica, sponsored by the Knights of Columbus. The Festival will honor the military, community fire, police, emergency personnel and governmental workers. More info: firstname.lastname@example.org.
(NEW) Fourth Annual LaJazz: 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., Nov. 13 at Footprints Cafe in Lawrenceville and the same time Nov. 20 at Purple Rain in Duluth. Both events benefit Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and the Gwinnett Pearls of Service Foundation. More info.
© 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.