Issue 11.61 | Friday, Oct. 28, 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.
LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga., Oct. 28, 2011 -- In the fall of 2003, several church-sponsored health fairs were held in Gwinnett County. Hundreds of people attended, and it became evident to the volunteer doctors there were many significant health issues going untreated among a certain group of people attending the fair. In fact, many adults and children were seeing a physician for the first time in years.
The idea for a medical clinic serving low-income and uninsured patients in Gwinnett County was conceived that day. The Good Samaritan Health Center of Gwinnett opened in Lawrenceville in June 2005. The goal of the Good Samaritan Health Center is to provide primary, non-urgent health care services to the uninsured indigent and working poor of Gwinnett County.
The Center strives to meet the physical needs but also the spiritual needs of its patients. To this day the Center continues to embrace its evangelical roots, offering a prayer service to patients during their visits as well as to the community each Friday morning.
Typically, the uninsured residents of Gwinnett County have few choices when in need of on-going medical care. Their frequent decision to go to the emergency room for treatment for non-emergent services is financially overwhelming for all involved, and imposes a heavy burden on a healthcare delivery system not intended for that purpose. Families that rely on emergency room care rarely see the same physician twice and lose the advantages of continuity of care that comes from being treated by a doctor who knows their medical history and personal circumstances.
Good Samaritan eventually provided for the physical and spiritual needs of more than 4,000 patients with more than 15,000 patients visits during its first five years of operation. Regrettably, the downturn in the economy and soaring unemployment, accompanied by the loss of health insurance, adversely impacted the Center. In spite of the obvious needs of a growing number of uninsured people, Good Samaritan was forced to temporarily suspend operations in July 2010.
However, after much prayer and demonstrations for support from the Christian community, Good Samaritan reopened its doors in November 2010. It now operates under a new staffing model, relying primarily on volunteer medical providers supported by a small part-time office staff. This new model has permitted the Center to significantly reduce its operating costs while increasing opportunities for the Christian community to serve the vulnerable and marginalized. In addition, Good Samaritan instituted a flat fee structure for its patients, enabling it to once again provide comprehensive health care services at predictable and affordable prices.
Good Samaritan has recently partnered with several healthcare teaching institutions which now send licensed providers and supporting faculty to the Center for advanced clinical training. Today, the Center receives a steady stream of healthcare interns who serve over the course of a semester, improving the continuity of care for returning patients. Presently the Center is open three days per week (Tuesday, Thursday and Friday), seeing patients by appointment and accepting walk-ins, and has plans to open additional days each week in early 2012.
OCT. 28, 2011 -- Ever been followed by a police car with blue and red lights flashing for 10 miles .and you never were pulled over? It happened.
Going to a funeral in Jesup, where I lived for many years, I stopped at a fast food place, and then turned left out of the parking lot headed for the funeral home. I saw a policeman turn into the road ahead of me, who was driving very slowly to the left lane of the four lane road. Meanwhile, going just a little faster myself, I drove past him in the right lane, to see him in the rear view mirror immediately cut into the lane behind me and throw on his flashing lights.
Now this is in broad daylight, so I got out of the car and walked back to the deputy sheriff. As he got out of his car, he said to me, seeing my out-of-county tag, "Bet you didn't know you couldn't turn left back there, did you?" I admitted my error and got to talking with him. He didn't pull out his ticket pad or anything, so soon I asked how to get to the funeral home, since it had re-located after I moved away. Then I asked about the deceased, and if he knew him. "Good friend of mine. Used to drink coffee with him." We talked about the late departed, and then he said he would probably be at the funeral.
Well, not only was the deputy, named Pat Ward, at the funeral, he was one of seven people who spoke during the service.
Later as I drove into line to go to the cemetery, my car was the last one in the long procession. Since Deputy Pat was holding back traffic for the funeral procession to enter the highway, after I joined the line, he pulled in behind me, his red and blue lights flashing, to keep others from disrupting the procession.
We passed through town on the way to the cemetery. At each major intersection, there were either Jesup police or deputy sheriff personnel halting traffic, with their hats over their hearts, showing respect.
So as we proceeded, the deputy's lights were still flashing behind me, all the way to the cemetery. When we got there, I told the deputy: "Never had lights flashing for 10 miles and didn't have to pull over."
He laughed, then Pat told me about a recent traffic infraction he had worked: "Two cars of guys from the University of Tennessee came through our county recently, going at a high speed. I pulled them over. They were headed for St. Simons Island to spend the night before a Tennessee football game that weekend in Florida. I reminded them of our local speed laws.
"So I says to them, 'since I am a graduate myself of Tennessee, I won't give you a traffic ticket if all nine of you will sing "Rocky Top" for me lined up here on the highway. And they did, singing loudly." No doubt passing motorists must have wondered what was happening!
If you ask me, that's positive traffic enforcement. For no doubt that incident was the talk of those boys during that trip, and will be a story they remember and tell the rest of their lives.
Attaboy, Deputy Pat for giving me and Tennessee students memorable policing, and later as you followed me for 10 miles with your lights blinking!
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Editor, the Forum:
It seems everyone is hot over the HOT lanes. All of this angst reminds me of Greek protesters petitioning their government for relief from austerity measures.
Technology has finally reached the point where we are able to efficiently implement the only method known to reduce congestion: put a price on it. The new HOT lanes are the latest example of "congestion pricing", which places a surcharge on a road during periods of peak demand. This surcharge affects people's behavior (we've certainly seen that), and they make decisions about when to access the road. The result: the peak demand period is spread out over a longer time, resulting in better levels of service for all users, and better use of existing road capacity.
Utilities have used this model for years, selling their product during peak periods for more money than off-peak periods. It will take several months for people to adjust their habits to match their price sensitivity. The governor's actions to reduce the price after only three days of operation will not accelerate that process, and there will always be a vocal minority that gripe about congestion and want it to go away. The alternative is to build new lanes just to handle peak demand, which would be prohibitively expensive, and sap scarce transportation funding that should go to other projects.
There are those who have argued that congestion pricing is not equitable, because some people cannot afford to pay the toll. In truth, commuters have many options that they need to explore over the coming weeks:
As people respond to the toll by trying these options, the level of service on I-85 will adjust accordingly. Our ability as a community to address transportation problems with the old gasoline tax financing model is coming to an end. More fuel efficient cars are reducing tax revenues, and the list of projects worthy of funding is four times the size of the proposed T-SPLOST revenue. Congestion pricing offers a way to better use existing road capacity by spreading the demand for the roadway over a longer period. I predict it's here to stay.
Her commute time increased 50% since HOT lanes opened
Editor, the Forum:
WOW! My guess is that you do not commute from Gwinnett County into Atlanta every day. If you did, you would see that the HOT lane leaves most of us COLD because it is largely empty!
You are correct in that people who are willing to pay for the option of travelling in an express lane to get to their destination more quickly can use the HOT lane. However, by pushing all of the two-person carpools out of the HOV lane, the Georgia Department of Transportation has created gridlock not only on I-85, but on surface roads such as Buford Highway.
As soon as the HOT lane opened, my normally 40 minute commute to North Druid Hills Road increased to 55-60 minutes. Punishing thousands of commuters to gain federal dollars and to provide convenience to a few people who are willing to pay the toll is not an appropriate solution to anything - least of all, the normal traffic congestion in Metro Atlanta.
When it comes to art, it isn't often that an artist successfully produces a sizable showing of new artworks each year for seven years running. However, that is the case at The Treasure Nest Art Gallery in Mount Pleasant, S.C. when it opened "Lowcountry VII - New Works by Karen Burnette Garner" on October 15. The exhibition continues Ms. Garner's tradition of creating Lowcountry landscape paintings, with over 35 new original works in acrylic on canvas. While Ms. Garner shows her work at the gallery year-round, the fall show has become a highly anticipated art event for area collectors.
Growing up as a Gwinnett County, Georgia native, Ms. Garner gravitated toward the eastern coast of the Carolinas from childhood. "It was a favorite destination for our family, and I quickly became enamored with the natural beauty of the area. I've been concentrating on the Lowcountry of the Georgia and Carolina coasts for over 10 years now, and I still find new ways to present the beauty of that landscape," she says.
Ms. Garner uses the proceeds of her show to provide support for Burnette Elementary School in Suwanee. Named for her family, whose homestead was part of the property where the school now stands, she believes in using personal resources toward the common good. Ms. Garner reflects: "The naming of the school and all that it represents was a watershed moment for me personally. I hope to continue to benefit the students through my donations to enhance the art experiences they have at school. Yes, my tax dollars go toward education, but sometimes you have to rise above that obligation. These students are our future; what better investment can we make?"
Ms. Garner has been represented by The Treasure Nest Art Gallery since 2002, and from the beginning, her work caught the interest of the public. Capturing the colors and moods of the Lowcountry has become one of her trademarks, and her original works offered through the gallery continue to attract attention. Ms. Garner's works have been collected by art connoisseurs worldwide. Her clients include AT&T, Wachovia, Thomas and Hutton Engineering (Myrtle Beach), Chateau Elan Winery, Holston Valley Hospital, University of Georgia, as well as Larry "Chipper" Jones of the Atlanta Braves. She is also a published illustrator and award-winning poet. Her work is regularly published in "The Reach of Song," a yearly anthology of verse published by the Georgia Poetry Society.
Stepping Stones assistance can help promote job skills
Looking for a job? Need assistance with interview skills and interview attire? Stepping Stones Career Assistance Program can help! Stepping Stones Career Assistance Program is designed to promote the job seeking skills of Lawrenceville residents.
Participants will receive an interview outfit at no cost while supply lasts. Additionally, sharpening interview skills, resume building, financial planning, and assistance with college and technical program applications will be areas of help available free of charge. Participants will receive copies of their resume in both paper and electronic form.
Stepping Stones Career Assistance Program will hold a kick-off event on Saturday, November 5 from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. at Lawrenceville Elementary School, 122 Gwinnett Drive in Lawrenceville. Free parking and free child care will be available for those attending. For additional information or to volunteer, contact Lawrenceville Elementary School at (770) 963-1813.
Suwanee installs nearly 5 miles of "sharrow" markings
The City of Suwanee has installed nearly five miles of sharrows -- street markings that remind motorists to share the roadway with bicycles -- as part of implementation of its 2011 Pedestrian and Bicycle Plan. The sharrows -- identified by a bicycle symbol with a double arrow above -- are intended to improve the safety relationship between cyclists and drivers.
Research has shown, says Suwanee's Director of Planning Josh Campbell, that these markings make cyclists more comfortable in their portion of the roadway and encourage drivers to give cyclists more space. However, unlike bicycle lanes, sharrows do not designate part of the road exclusively for cyclists.
"Sharrows," Campbell says, "don't create any additional rights for bikers nor diminish rights or responsibilities for drivers. They simply create an awareness to share the road."
"Suwanee wants to encourage alternative forms of transportation," says Campbell, who recreationally bikes 80 miles each week. "Sharrows give bikers the assurance that they're allowed to use those roads as well."
Brenau University enrolled five outstanding first-year students at the Gainesville, Ga.-based Women's College as the latest recruits to the Brenau Scholars program, which is designed to attract top high school academic prospects. Two of the five are from the Gwinnett area.
The three-year-old initiative has netted more than a dozen young women that Brenau officials say would have been successful in any university environment. Aimed at prospective first-year residential students at the Brenau Women's College, the historic nucleus of the 133-year-old institution, the Brenau Scholars honor includes a full-tuition scholarship for the freshman year, a value of more than $20,000. It can be renewed for subsequent years if recipients meet conditions of the contract for the first-year award.
The university selects Brenau Scholars for their past and potential academic success, leadership achievement and personal qualities. Students selected for this prestigious scholarship must reside on campus, participate in the Brenau Honor's Program and the Women's Leadership Development Program, complete a long-term community service project and maintain grade point average above 3.3 on a 4.0 scale.
Here is a partial listing of the 2011 Brenau Scholars:
QuikTrip wins accolades from United Way for leadership
QuikTrip Corp., with its regional headquarters on Old Peachtree Road, and all of its managers were honored by United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta recently for their role in helping to improve lives in their service communities.
company's last United Way campaign, QuikTrip raised more than $1,300,000
and had over 90-percent participation from employees. Each year, QuikTrip
also provides a Loaned Executive to United Way to support the organization's
In Georgia, people preserve historic buildings, districts, and archaeological sites as community revitalization and economic development tools. Since 1966, the National Historic Preservation Act, coupled with state and local legislation, has provided the framework of laws, programs, and incentives to assist citizens with their preservation goals and to protect historic and archaeological properties for current and future generations.
Rehabilitated historic buildings increase the community tax base, enhance property values, generate sales of goods and services, and create jobs. Preserving archaeological sites and artifacts provides valuable scientific, educational, and recreational benefits.
In Georgia, core preservation services are provided by the Historic Preservation Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, the office of Public Service and Outreach at the University of Georgia (UGA), the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation, and the state's Regional Preservation Services System.
The Public Service and Outreach office at UGA provides hands-on assistance and training through the Certified Local Government program for local designation and design review ordinances, information and education services, community planning, and design assistance.
The Georgia Trust offers a variety of services, including heritage education, neighborhood reinvestment, and Main Street design assistance. The Trust also maintains a statewide revolving fund for advocacy, grants scholarships and awards, and provides information and education.
Preservation planners in Georgia's network of 16 Regional Development Centers provide preservation assistance to local governments, organizations, and individuals. Working with the Historic Preservation Division, planners effectively bring a full range of preservation-related programs and services to regional and local constituents.
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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.
"(Thank) all of you for loving books, buying books, reading books and writing them so that the medium survives in a world that needs all the devoted attention, focused empathy and full-time neighbor love it can get. There may be other ways to get there, but here's one I'm sure of: if you want to change the world, read a book; then read another and another --- because if you keep at it like that, you'll never see the world the same way again."
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
(NEW) Opening of new art gallery: 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., Oct. 28, at Vargas and Harbin Studio Gallery, 27 South Peachtree Street, Norcross. Featured artist will be Grace Wever, a mixed media fabric collage artist from Westcliffe, Colo. The exhibit is up through November 13.
Take Back Day for prescription drugs: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Oct. 29, at these locations in Gwinnett: Norcross, Lawrenceville and Suwanee Police Departments, and at Gwinnett County Sheriff's Department, 2900 University Parkway, Lawrenceville. Dispose of unwanted or unused prescription drugs.
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.
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.
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."
Dracula: Through Oct. 30, Fridays through Sundays. The melodrama will be performed at the New London Theatre in Snellville. More.
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.
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) Harvest Homecoming Dance: 7 p.m., Nov. 12, Racquet Club of the South. To benefit the Norcross Cluster School Partnership. Tickets are $40. Order online at www.norcrosscsp.org.
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.
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.
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