CITY HALL: Sugar Hill's new 33,000 square foot two-story (plus basement) city hall is well underway, with completion anticipated in December of this year. The $11 million project includes a retention-amenity pond, amphitheater and a two-story parking garage. City Manager Bob Hail says that there will be a lot of off-street parking, fertile for developers, to allow businesses, when they come in, to use as much of their land area, and not have to have retention ponds. Meanwhile, work continues on the streetscape, with traffic now allowed from Georgia Highway 20 to Church Street and south to Level Creek Road.
Issue 12.06 | Friday, April 20, 2012
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., April 20, 2012 -- Our recent 11 day trip to Taipei, Taiwan, for our son and daughter-in-law's wedding reception there was pleasurable, enjoyable, educational, and yes, tiring. We were hosted by Frank and Joanna Wu, her parents, and Kingdom and Emily Lu, parents of Joanne's sister's husband, all of whom had attended the wedding and reception last year here in Duluth. Their hospitality and gracious treatment in showing us around their country, including allowing us to experience various Chinese cuisines, was far beyond any expectations we may have had.
Probably the most striking aspect of Taiwan, the Republic of China (not be confused with the People's Republic of China), is their personal identification with their kin on mainland China, yet maintaining their own democracy and autonomy with a steadfast commitment to "The Three Principles of the People." Translated, that means "Nationalism, Democracy and the Livelihood of the People."
The pride in their heritage, as begun by their founding father, Dr. Sun Yat-Sen in 1911, and continued for many years by Chiang Kai-shek, is prominently evident. Our host proudly recited the facts of the various revolutionary efforts of the early revolutionaries, and toured with us the vast monuments they have erected to them both. They are now must-see for the tourists, including the mainland Chinese, who are now flocking to Taiwan since being allowed to visit for the past two years.
The other major attraction for us and particularly the mainland Chinese, who came by busloads, is the National Palace Museum, a grand structure which houses so many Chinese artifacts and historical pieces from the mainland, that only one percent is displayed at any one time. The pieces date back for many centuries, with many having been acquired later by the Taiwanese, and are displayed and treasured as part of their past.
Taiwan is about the land size of Maryland and Delaware combined, but with 23 million people, nearly the same population as Texas. The population of Taipei alone, seven million, approximates that of Maryland and Delaware.
We found Taiwan to be to be a very modern and progressive city with a most impressive transportation network of rapid rail, buses, vehicles. There are many motor scooters, which are prominent in most Asian countries. We also experienced a ride on their ultra-modern rapid rail system, with its 150 mile per hour train.
Perhaps the most unique feature in Taipei is the night markets, which are open every night selling any variety of their food and goods possible. (To be honest, I opted for the corn dog to be certain of what I was eating). In contrast, the Taipei 101 building, the world's second tallest structure, exemplifies the modern architecture and buildings, including beautiful shopping malls, which exhibit the talent and structural abilities of the Taiwanese.
our base in Taipei was a hotel operated by Ming Chuan University, which
labels itself as the first American university in Asia. We were surprised
to learn that the school, which until recently was an all girls college,
has founders with unique ties to Wesleyan College in Macon, Ga., which
proves you really can't leave home! (Madame Chiang Kai-shek attended Wesleyan.)
APRIL 20, 2012 -- Some people retire and do little.
Tom Forkner of Waffle House essentially retired early to the golf course.
Today at age 93, he's still wanting to play a round of 18 holes, but hasn't lately. "I wear out about the middle of the back nine," he says. He's been a senior champion Georgia golfer-winning four titles, the last in 1986. He still shot a round of 69 when he was 83! He was inducted in the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame the same year as Furman Bisher. He at one time was the fourth-ranked senior golfer-nationally!
His golfing has won him three holes-in-one. He seems more proud of a double eagle on a par 5 he hit in Waynesville, N.C.
It took a trip to the hospital back in the mid-1960s which eventually sent Forkner, one of the two founders of the Waffle House chain, toward a slower life. (The other founder of the chain is Joe Rogers Sr. of Norcross.)
"I was working too hard at Waffle House," says Forkner, plus running his realty business. "I had ulcers and high blood pressure." So he changed his life dramatically, giving up his busy real estate appraisal business, handing his realty business to his brother, and asked Joe Rogers to take over the Waffle House business altogether. Plus he adopted a good health plan, including lots of golf. Later he sold his Waffle House interest for a "lifetime interest" to Joe Rogers Jr., who by then was running the business. Forkner still has offices at Waffle House, as does Joe Sr., next to him.
Forkner was born in Hawkinsville, but raised in Avondale Estates. His father was a Realtor. Tom went to Young Harris College, then studied law at night at the Woodrow Wilson College, and became a lawyer at age 23. His father used to kid him: "You're not making a $1,000 real estate commission for a $25 lawyer fee?"
It was real estate that brought Forkner and Rogers together, as Rogers bought a house from Forkner in Avondale Estates. Rogers was an executive with Toddle House then, and in 1955 they formed a partnership for a new restaurant, which they called Waffle House. Eventually Tom was overseeing the construction and making financial arrangements for Waffle House sites, while Joe ran the operations. Today there are more than 1,500 Waffle Houses in 25 states.
Besides his interest in golf, Forkner has retained an interest in real estate, which his son and son-in-law handle now. In 1969 he purchased 40 acres for development at $1,000 an acre in what is now Riverview adjacent to the Chattahoochee River off Medlock Bridge Road. A year later, he almost did not buy more adjacent land when it went to $1,900 an acre. At that time, there was a wooden bridge across the river.
Forkner met his wife, Martha Bishop of Gainesville, Fla., when both worked on the Manhattan Project at Oak Ridge, Tenn. during World War II. She was a secretary to the security chief, and Tom was an officer in military intelligence. Later, when married, they moved to New York with the project. He and his wife have two daughters and a son and live on the river in Johns Creek.
Forkner had no idea of what the Manhattan Project was when he got to Oak Ridge. "They briefed me for two days, figuring 'You can't guard something if you don't know what it is,'" he laughs.
life Tom Forkner is living
..happily admitting never doing any cooking
at a Waffle House!
The public spiritedness of our sponsors allows us to bring GwinnettForum.com 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 that supports economic development with early literacy opportunities, curriculum support, lifelong learning and literacy based programs for all residents. GCPL branches provide wireless internet access and public computers. GCPL further connects the community with two county-wide special events, Gwinnett Reads and Fall Into the Arts - for which it received first place recognition for Community Arts Programs, in January of 2012! More.
Editor, the Forum:
Metro Atlanta area residents receiving a robo "survey" presuming to be a legitimate survey on whether residents support the upcoming T-SPLOST sales tax should take heed. Results of this "survey" are of no value whatsoever, because before asking for a yes or no opinion on the tax, the automated voice delivers a spiel on why one should vote for it.
for good measure, it goes on to present a "yes" vote message
saying that "IF the results of all the new construction did reduce
traffic, would you vote for it or not?"
Feels airport proposal should follow normal routine
Editor, the Forum:
About the Gwinnett Commission keeping the airport privatization proposal confidential: good for the Commission. I see no reason why the Commission should publicize every proposal placed before it until it is ready to bring it up for consideration.
Propeller and other interested parties have been carrying this matter along without allowing the county to follow its normal routine. The airport is not the most important issue that the Commission has on its agenda.
Gwinnett Braves on the cable even for south Georgia fans
Editor, the Forum:
The other night, down here in Jesup, Ga., I came upon a game being played by the Gwinnett Braves and the Durham Bulls. Yep! We get it down here on cable, believe it or not.
First, the folks up there in your part of the state are very fortunate to have such a nice facility and a good AAA ball club. It's a really beautiful park.
I noticed: There seemed to be a lack of attendance. The seats behind home
plate were virtually empty, and the bleacher seats were not full. The
good part was that players on both teams didn't exhibit the usual maddening,
delaying tactics that the major league players do, such as constantly
adjusting the Velcro straps on their batting gloves, this usually after
each swing, stepping out of the batter's box just as the pitcher is starting
his delivery, or just finding some excuse to break the pitcher's rhythm.
I wonder if anyone who watches baseball feels as I do about this? Maybe the umpires can do something about it. No wonder some of the games take over three hours for nine innings!
Gwinnett County..................count your blessings.
Gwinnett commissioners recently sought to improve public safety in public places, including county parks and buildings. They approved a $240,000 contract with GC&E Systems, Inc. to install and maintain security cameras over the next year.
Community Services Director Phil Hoskins explained that Parks and Recreation will use about $170,000 of the contract to install new security cameras in various parks and park facilities. Support Services will use the remainder, mostly for repair and maintenance of existing cameras at county facilities. About two-thirds of the funding will come from the SPLOST sales tax program with THE rest from the administrative support and other funds. Police Chief Charles Walters described the contract as an extension of the Park Smart program that began in 2010 to improve park safety.
In other action, fiber-optic cables and traffic monitoring cameras will be coming along almost seven miles of Georgia Highway 124 from U.S. Highway 78 to the DeKalb County line. The new equipment will allow operators at Gwinnett's traffic control center to monitor traffic and make real-time adjustments to traffic signals based on actual conditions.
The new traffic cameras also will be added to GC Smart Commute, live traffic feeds of heavily-traveled intersections and corridors that help Gwinnett residents plan their daily commutes. Feeds are available 24/7 at www.gcsmartcommute.com and on TVgwinnett, the government access cable channel, weekdays between 6:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. and again from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. The installation contract of $677,377 went to the low responsive bidder, Midasco LLC. Funding comes from the 2009 SPLOST program.
Archer High School students will get new sidewalk, curb and gutter and drainage improvements for a third of a mile on the north side of New Hope Road from the high school to Tribble Walk Drive. This work is expected to be complete by the beginning of the school year this August. A related project on the same contract will rebuild the intersection of Grayson New Hope Road and Chandler Road with a half-mile of widening, turn lanes, a new traffic signal and upgraded storm drainage. The intersection work is expected to be completed by this fall. ISC, Inc., the lowest of 10 bidders, received the $769,361 construction contract. Funding for the safety project also comes from the 2009 SPLOST program.
Get set for Tomatoes 101 class Saturday morning in Suwanee
Area residents are invited to Suwanee's Harvest Farm Community Garden at White Street Park Saturday morning, April 21, for a free class and an opportunity to purchase starter plants.
Harvest Farm Education Chairperson Julie Chahboune will present a free "Tomatoes 101" class at 9 a.m. at the garden's demonstration plot. The class will focus on growing, fertilizing, and harvesting beautiful tomatoes.
In addition, as a fundraiser for the garden, starter plants, grown by Harvest Farm master gardeners, will be available for purchase. Plant selections include herbs, heirloom tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and squash.
Woody's Nursery also will be on hand, selling organic vegetable and herb starters. Woody's will offer a 10 percent discount on companion and pollinator plants.
"You don't have to be a Harvest Farm gardener to come out and get helpful gardening tips and some great plants," says Harvest Farm Communications Chairperson Cris Koenigs. "So come out and be inspired to start your own garden or vegetable container on your patio."
The event is from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. During this time, many Harvest Farm gardeners will be planting spring gardens in their plots. Harvest Farm at White Street Park is located at 752 White Street; additional parking is available at the church across the street.
new Yellow River Water Reclamation Facility has replaced six old, inefficient
water treatment plants. On Tuesday, commissioners learned the actual cost
of construction, $245 million, is $5 million less than planned.
The Kiwanis Club of North Gwinnett is in the middle of its annual Vidalia Onion Sale. For over 20 years, the club pre-sells 10 pound bags of Vidalia onions during the month of April and early May, with the onions arriving in mid May. Proceeds benefit scholarships for local high school seniors or other community charitable needs. The club has awarded $50,000 in scholarships over the past five years and has a goal of awarding $17,000 in scholarships this year.
To purchase Vidalia onions, contact a member of the club or call David Williams at 404 386-4782. Price is $12 per 10-pound bag or three 10-pound bags for $30.
"This book gives a view of life in Berlin in the critical 1933-37 period, as Hitler amalgamated his power, as seen through the family and work of the American ambassador appointed by President Roosevelt to Germany. It shows how the German people were mesmerized by the rise of Hitler, never standing up to his outrages, and never realizing his yearning to grasp more power. It particularly paints a picture of the early atrocities against Germans of all kinds, particularly Jews. It also shows that many Americans were nonchalant and unaware about the rise of the Hitler state."
The USS Water Witch, part of the Union fleet assigned to carry out a naval blockade of the Georgia coast during the Civil War (1861-65), was captured by Confederate naval troops in 1864. This rare Confederate naval victory ultimately had minimal significance, however.
Constructed in 1852 in the Washington Navy Yard at Washington, D.C., the USS Water Witch, a wooden-hulled, side-wheel gunboat, spent years surveying South American rivers before being called to duty in 1861 for the Union blockade of the Confederacy. In 1863 the vessel joined the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron, which operated mostly in Georgia waters around Ossabaw Island.
In June 1864, while anchored in the placid waters south of Savannah, the Water Witch was surprised in the early morning hours by a Confederate raiding party comprising 11 or 12 officers and 115 men from the crews of the Georgia, Savannah, and Sampson. Led by Lieutenant Thomas Postell Pelot and Moses Dallas, an ex-slave paid a salary for his service as a ship pilot, the Confederates boarded and, after winning a pitched battle on deck, captured the Union ship. The Confederates lost both of their leaders, however, and without a pilot the surviving troops had difficulty navigating the Water Witch to shore.
During the attack, a former slave in the Union ranks leapt overboard, swam to shore, and warned other solitary blockaders that the Water Witch was no longer a friendly craft. Before the Confederates could pick off the ships one by one in the guise of a Union sloop, the Union mobilized its vessels and went on the offensive, forcing the Confederates to hide their new ship beneath a bluff on the Vernon River. In December 1864, as Union general William T. Sherman's troops bore down from the west on their march to the sea, the Confederates cut their losses and burned the Water Witch so that it would not fall back into enemy hands.
In 2007 a team of researchers, led by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, found what is believed to be the Water Witch shipwreck off the coast of Savannah beneath approximately 15 feet of sediment. In 2009 the National Civil War Naval Museum at Port Columbus completed a full-scale replica of the Water Witch, which sits anchored in full view along Victory Drive in Columbus.
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© 2012, 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.
GwinnettForum is introducing a new service to the people of Gwinnett County. It has started the publication of GwinnettObits.com, a site published each day that will announce the funeral arrangements of people who have died recently in Gwinnett County. The information is made available through the cooperation of local funeral homes.
Information on deaths is posted each day about 6 p.m. Readers can visit the site to learn of recent deaths, or GwinnettObits will automatically send you notice of deaths if you sign up to receive emails daily. Our hope is for you to benefit from this service to learn of all Gwinnett funeral notices at one convenient site.
Click here to see today's obituaries at the new site.
"Computers make it easier to do a lot of things, but most of the things they make it easier to do don't need to be done."
MORE COPIES AVAILABLE
Previously out of print, Elliott Brack's 850-page history, "Gwinnett: A Little Above Atlanta," is now available again. Since its original publication, the book was declared the winner of the 2010 Award of Excellence for documenting Georgia history by the Georgia Historical Records Advisory Board. It is also the winner of the Gwinnett Historical Society's Whitworth-Flanigan Award for 2011 for preserving the history of Gwinnett County.The book includes 143 demographic and historic tables, with more than 4,000 names in the index, and 10,000 names in the appendix.Two versions of the book are available. The hardback edition is priced at $75, while a softback edition is $40. Books are available at:
You can also order
books through the Internet. To do that, go to www.elliottbrack.com
to place your order. For mail orders, there is a $5 shipping and handling
fee. Purchases are also subject to the 6 percent Georgia sales tax.
SEARCH GWINNETT FORUM
IN THE COMING WEEK
Ribbon-cutting and blessing of new building of Rainbow Village: Noon, April 20, at 3427 Highway 120 in Duluth. An open house of the new facilities will continue until 7 p.m. A complimentary lunch will be provided by Sandra and Clyde Strickland.
Fourth Annual Senior Lifestyle Showcase: 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., April 21, Bethesda Senior Center, 225 Bethesda Church Road. The Showcase will have products and services specifically cater to senior's lifestyles. For more information call (770)-822-5147 or visit gwinnettcouncilforseniors.org.
(NEW) "A Knight in Vegas" fundraiser, for the Central Gwinnett Cluster Foundation: 7 p.m. to 11 p.m., April 21, Northwoods Country Club. Proceeds benefit the K-12 academic initiatives of the 10 cluster schools. More info.
(NEW) Free Family Day: 10 a.m., to noon, April 21, Hudgens Center for the Arts, 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway, Duluth. Bring kids or grandkids for hands-on activities plus a scavenger hunt.
(NEW) Silent Auction benefitting the Friends of Gwinnett County Senior Services: 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., April 26, Delmar Gardens on Club Drive near Lawrenceville. For more information, contact Jennifer Thilo at 770-923-3100.
SOON AND ONGOING
Car Show at Vines Botanical Gardens: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., May 5. This is the second annual show sponsored by St. Matthew's Episcopal Church, Snellville. There will be a Kids' Zone, vendors, and unique crafts and products from local artisans. Admission is free. Visit www.stmattscarshow.com for more details.
Snellville Days Festival: May 5-6, T.W. Briscoe Park on Lenora Church Road in Snellville. The annual parade will start from Wisteria Drive on Saturday at 9:30 a.m. For more details, visit www.snellvilledays.com.
Beauty and the Beast Ballet, presented by Northeast Atlanta Ballet at Gwinnett Center in Duluth: 7:30 p.m., May 18, and 3 p.m., May 20.
(NEW) Eighth Annual Beach Bash: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., May 19, Braselton. Festival to be in downtown Park, and features many activities, including arts, crafts and food vendors, plus musicians. Event is free. More info.
(NEW) Music Recital by two seniors: 7:30 p.m., May 21, Pearce Auditorium, Brenau University. Performing will be Tenor Jeff Akana, from Suwanee, and Trumpeter Matt Scout of Flowery Branch. The program is free and open to the public. More info.
MORE EEB PERSPECTIVE
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