|NEW TAG: Here's a look at the new Georgia auto license plate, which is now available for vehicles with plates issued prior to Dec. 1, 2003. Your plate will be replaced when owners renew their registration or register for the first time. The new tag was designed by Linda Sosebee of Forsyth County, from among 500 entries. Effective March 1, 2013, new Georgia regulations removes sales tax and ad valorem taxes on new-purchased vehicles, to be replaced with a new title tax of 6.5 percent of the fair market value, says Anthony Buffum, head of Gwinnett Motor Vehicle Tax Office.||
Issue 12.11 | Tuesday, May 8, 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.
LILBURN, Ga., May 8, 2012 -- The United States is losing approximately 900 World War II veterans per day. It is the dream of one group to see that each veteran has the opportunity to make the Honor Flight to Washington, D.C. to see the memorials their service causes to be erected, all at no cost to the veteran.
A retired Air Force Captain and Physician's Assistant working in a Virginia clinic realized the WWII veterans were dying at a fast pace. Many were not physically able to make the trip to see the memorials.
This person, Earl Morse, found six small planes and pilots to take 12 veterans to Washington in 2005. It became evident to the founders the idea was something that needed to be offered to many others. Morse began organizing, and soon Honor Flight was off the ground. Now there are hubs in many areas of the country for such flights, with waiting list in most areas.
By the end of November 2011, approximately 80,000 veterans have been able to make such a flight. The estimated cost to Honor Flight per veteran is $400. Funding is a major issue.
It took me three years on a waiting list for the Honor Flight. I made my flight on April 19. We attended an orientation two weeks prior to the flight. Each veteran is assigned a guardian and a wheel chair. There is a nurse, EMTs and a photographer with each group. The guardians pay their own way ($400) and there are no spouses allowed.
Mine was the second flight from Conyers. It is surprising how well organized and timed the day went. To arrive at a particular site at a certain time and have all in place at that site, many miles apart, is a monumental task. We left the American Legion Post at 4:30 a.m. with motorcycle and police escort stopping traffic to lead the two bus caravan to the airport. In Washington, a group cheered us, with WWII music playing. Leaving Washington that night, we got a water arch salute by the fire trucks.
We visited the WWII Memorial, Vietnam Wall, Korean Memorial, Air Force Memorial, Arlington Cemetery and Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Unexpected tributes, such as handshakes and thank you from tourists at various places, were overwhelming. At the WWII Memorial, the photographer had a hard time lining up veterans and wheel chairs for the "official" picture because of tourists coming by to shake the veterans' hand and speak to them. Several tourists asked to have their picture made with us. I probably shook 500 hands. I, and many others now have our opinion of the younger generation restored.
Yes, I am still talking about this trip, especially all the little perks that were planned that made the day for us veterans. The following morning in the breakfast area the expressions on the men's faces spoke volumes. One son told me the first words his 96-year-old Dad spoke when he awoke was, "I'll remember this trip for the rest of my life."
We thank all from day one in 2005 that made this trip possible. We encourage all WWII veterans to take advantage and have a great trip, for them "to remember the rest of their lives."
* * * * *
Honor Flight transported 137 veterans to see the Washington, D.C. memorials.
By the end of the seventh year, 2011, some 81,000 veterans of World War
II, Korean and Vietnam have made this trip.
MAY 8, 2012 -- Oh, the many improvements we have seen in our lives. We still living in the world have seen so many real changes in everyday conditions so that many of them are taken with a grain of salt! It's amazing how the world has improved during our lifetimes.
But some so-called improvements bug you.
Does it seem to you that when out driving, you are waiting longer at red lights, er, excuse me, "traffic lights?" (Perhaps the reason we seem always to call them red lights automatically is that so much of the time we have to stop. Who ever thinks of calling them "green lights?" Of course, the proper title is "traffic signals.")
One of the reasons we enjoy traveling by Interstate highways is the lack of stop lights. Though many of us also enjoy driving on two-way, back country roads, any time you get to a city, even a small town, you can prepare to stop at several traffic signals. It's to the point that there are not many one-red-light-towns any more.
Especially if taking "surface roads" in always-moving Gwinnett, your trip is divided into two parts: half the time you are rolling toward your destination. The other half of the trip you are waiting and waiting at the numerous traffic signals. That's why it takes so long to go any place, even though it may be a short distance. You don't determine your arrival time by mileage. You also have to figure your trip by mileage plus number of traffic signals you must traverse.
That's where the sitting-in-the-car-doing-nothing arrives. Therefore, it makes it seem even longer, perhaps.
There're reasons why it seems like your trips in Gwinnett take longer. If nothing else, in the last 15 years, Gwinnett has gone from having 370 traffic signals to today's 683! We got that from Chuck Bailey of the Gwinnett Transportation Department, who heads traffic engineering and planning. The 683rd light went in last week at the intersection of Peachtree Industrial Boulevard and Chattahoochee Drive.
It's congestion, of course, that causes the problems and the proliferation of lights. It's up to Chuck Bailey to make sure that traffic flows as smooth as possible in a coordinated manner. "We seek the safe optimal cycle length of each traffic signal," he says.
The county has detailed information on each of the traffic signals, showing traffic counts, entering movement and timing. The Department seeks to go over details of each light at least every two years, or more often if needed.
Several corridors are synchronized, but Bailey says: "You take the software of the computer as a starting point, and then implement fine tuning, to keep the flow of the traffic smooth."
Overall, we're pleased at the way the county keeps traffic moving. Yet it sometimes seems that as much good as traffic signals do, they may impede the speed to your destination.
Watch out. The 684th traffic signals could be coming to your neighborhood, for better or worse.
* * * * *
Gwinnett DOT is responsible for 682 of the current 683 traffic signals in the county. The one signal not under Gwinnett DOT is on Thompson Mill Road, near Braselton at Georgia Highway 211. It is coordinated by Georgia DOT since they control other lights (not in Gwinnett) on that route.
The public spiritedness of our sponsors allows us to bring GwinnettForum.com to you at no cost to readers. Today we welcome a new underwriter. Flanigan Funeral Home and Crematory is a Buford based family owned-and-operated business. We serve all faiths and offer funerals, cremations, out of town services, as well as pre-arrangements. We also accept pre-paid funeral arrangements and insurance policies that were purchased at other funeral homes. We have parking for 150 cars at our site on South Lee Street in Buford. Our dedicated and caring staff's goal is to see that the needs of each family they serve have been met with distinctive, professional and compassionate service. Our web site is http://www.flaniganfuneralhome.com/. To schedule a private appointment, please call us at 770-932-1133.
Editor, the Forum:
I am writing because, once again, our state as been mentioned in the news because of racial perceived relations. The most recent concerns Atlanta actor and director Tyler Perry and two local police officers.
As someone with deep southern roots, (South Carolina and Georgia), I believe that it definitely would be helpful if ALL employees -- local, state and federal -- were required to watch, in the order below, four important and timely DVDs over a 6-month period.
Needless to say, far too often these employees are made to take redundant, as well as boring courses. After all, we are all responsible in this healing process concerning race, for our state, region and country.
The videos I suggest are:
Sad to say, but some of these movies are loaded with "real world" language. Listen to what's being meant by this, not particularly with what words are used.
The annual pet party in the park, Woofstock, is bringing tail-wagging fun in the form of dog demonstrations and contests, pet adoptions and vendors, live music, food vendors and a beer garden, and even a pet spa to Suwanee's Town Center Park on Saturday, May 12. The pet party is planned for 12-7 p.m. and admission is free. It is sponsored by Star 94 radio.
Ultimate Air Dogs will bring its dock jumping show to Town Center. Participating dogs will jump from a dock into a pool of water. Dogs interested in participating --- or their owners --- may sign up onsite or online by clicking the "Events" link at www.ultimateairdogs.com.
WOOF! Sports USA will present a Frisbee dog exhibition and workshop. Other dog contests include smallest, biggest, and pet/owner look-a-like. See schedule of shows and exhibitions below. Live music also will be part of Woofstock with The Electric Sons, Glow, and Mirror performing on the Town Center stage. In addition to the pet rescue groups, vendors, and adoptions available, inflatables will be set up for children.
Woofstock is open to pets of all kinds; dogs must be on a leash and owners are required to clean up after their pets.
The schedule shows:
Limited event parking is available at Town Center Park, located at the intersection of Buford Highway and Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road, and along Main Street. Look for the yellow "event parking" signs.
12Stone Church, Maxwell, team up to build leadership center
state-of-the-art Leadership Center is on tap for Gwinnett County. The
John C. Maxwell Leadership Center, 70,000 square-foot facility, will serve
as the Sugarloaf campus of 12Stone Church while also functioning as the
headquarters for John C. Maxwell's training organization, EQUIP.
Lilburn CID coordinating landscaping enhancements
Improvements aimed at increasing the visual appeal of the greater Lilburn area's U.S. Highway 29 corridor have begun this week. The Lilburn Community Improvement District (CID) is coordinating the installation of new landscaping enhancements within the highway medians. Eight median areas from Ronald Reagan Parkway to the U.S. Post Office will receive new plantings and ground cover.
The medians were added by the Georgia Department of Transportation. The CID worked with state transportation officials to have red brick areas and other upgrades included with the project in anticipation of the coming landscape work.
As CID Executive Director Gerald McDowell explains: "The CID is coordinating its efforts with the City of Lilburn and Gwinnett County as a means of raising the community's profile and overall attractiveness.
"Fresh landscaping will have a tremendous impact on the entire community by beautifying this gateway corridor into Lilburn," McDowell says. "We know that business and commercial property owners as well as residents have looked forward to seeing this effort take off. The CID is excited to see the project begin this week."
is being done at a cost of $20,000 by Patillo Ground Management of Stone
Mountain. Work is expected to be completed by May 18.
A Gwinnettian will be inducted into the Atlanta Sports Hall of Fame on June 9. He is Jackie Bradford of Duluth, former coach at the Greater Atlanta Christian School, who helped create the Naismith Awards for basketball when head of the Atlanta Tipoff Club.
The reception and induction to the Hall of Fame on June 9 at the Roswell Cultural Arts Center will begin at 6 p.m.
Besides Bradford, four other sports figures will be inducted. They include Bill Hartman, one of Atlanta most recognizable broadcasters, with a career spanning 35 years; Dr. Phil McCrary, coach of five high school basketball champions at DeKalb County's Columbia High; Mel Pender, Olympic Gold medalist sprinter who held five world records and is a former coach of the U.S. Military Academy; and Randy Rhino, three-time first team All American football player at Georgia Tech. These new inductees will join 38 others already members of the Atlanta Sports Hall of Fame.
Bradford, born near Lowndes County near Moody Air Force Base, Bradford began basketball at Pine Grove High near Valdosta, and later starred at David Lipscomb College in Nashville, Tenn., where he graduated in 1966. He also holds a master's in education from Georgia State College.
He has been a teacher and coach, beginning in 1966, and from 1968-83 at Greater Atlanta Christian School, where he won three state basketball championships. His record at GACS was 253-82. One colleague has said: "Jackie has done more for basketball in the state of Georgia than anyone else in the history of the game. Through his leadership, countless lives have been touched, not only athletically through basketball, but also through the positive wisdom he imparts to all."
From 1975-2001, Bradford was president and executive director of the Atlanta Tipoff Club. It was under his leadership that the Tipoff Club began the Naismith Awards to honor the men's and women's college basketball players of the year; the college coach of the year; the national high school players of the year; college official of the year; and an award for outstanding contributions to basketball.
Bradford is the owner and president of Atlanta International Real Estate Brokers, Inc., working in commercial investment real estate.
Annandale Village recognized among best places to work
For the second consecutive year, Annandale Village of Suwanee has been named one of the top 100 best places to work in metropolitan Atlanta, according to results of a survey published by the Atlanta Journal Constitution (AJC).
Village, a nonprofit organization that has enhanced the lives of men and
women with developmental disabilities for 43 years, was ranked among best
in the small-size company category.
"This history lesson is one which should be taught in America's classrooms. Philbrick recounts the voyage, not only of an old creaky ship named the Mayflower, but more importantly, of those 102 passengers who made the trip and their struggle to maintain - or not, in some cases - a living relationship with the Native Americans already in residence. Although 361 pages, followed by 90 pages of notes and bibliographies, the book is an easy, but sometimes disturbing, read. Never again will I sit at a Thanksgiving table and not marvel how both the Indians and the immigrants survived."
A national nonprofit organization based in Athens, the Jeannette Rankin Foundation awards scholarships annually to low-income women 35 years of age and older who seek financial assistance for undergraduate or vocational programs. The foundation bears the name of Jeannette Rankin, who in 1916 became the first woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.
Born in Montana in 1880, Rankin was a longtime resident of Watkinsville. Upon her death in 1973, Rankin, a lifelong activist for women's and children's rights, bequeathed her estate in Watkinsville to assist mature women workers. The organization's founders-Susan Bailey, Gail Dendy, Margaret Holt, Heather Kleiner, and Reita Rivers-used $16,000 from the estate to create the foundation.
Rankin Foundation was officially chartered in 1976 and became a 501(c)(3)
charity in 1977. It awarded its first scholarship of $500 in 1978 to a
nursing student at Athens Technical College. The foundation has grown
considerably since that time, increasing the value of the scholarships
to $2,000. In order to alleviate many of the obstacles that women face
when returning to school, use of the scholarship money is not restricted
to tuition. Recipients may use the funds to pay expenses that other,
Originally operated out of the founders' homes, the Jeannette Rankin Foundation acquired its first office in 2001 in Athens and hired its first staff members, an executive director and program coordinator. The organization continues to expand, and in 2005 the office moved into a larger space and hired a program assistant.
Given its small staff, the foundation depends heavily on volunteer support. Each year hundreds of women and men from Athens and Atlanta read and review more than 1,000 grant applications. The organization also relies on fund-raising groups, called Circles of Support, that friends of the foundation have created in various cities across the United States. The Circles of Support raise funds both to support the work of the foundation and to help publicize the foundation and recruit members locally.
Since it was first established in 1976, the Jeannette Rankin Foundation has awarded scholarships totaling more than $1 million to more than 500 women from all over the United States. The foundation's motto, "Women Succeeding through Education," is reflected in the award recipients' achievements. More than 80 percent of recipients have graduated from or are still attending school, and many have donated their time or money to the organization. The first award recipient became a nurse and sent her children to college; in 2004 she volunteered with the Jeannette Rankin Foundation to help pass along the gift of higher education to more women.
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"It's a strange world of language in which skating on thin ice can get you into hot water."
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
Picnic at the VIC (Visitor's Center) in Lawrenceville: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., May 10. Bring your lunch and blanket and enjoy ice cream cones and sundaes provided by the Lawrenceville Tourism and Trade Association.
Gwinnett Leadership Organization for Women (GLOW): 7:15 a.m., May 11, Sugarloaf Country Club. Speaker will be Ann Stallard, CEO of Graphic Communications of Lawrenceville. For info, call 770 232-3000, or send email.
Jazzy Thing: 19th annual Annandale Village fundraiser, will be held May 12, at Wild Bill's in Duluth. Experience an evening of distinctive cuisine, games, silent auction, live entertainment, dance, music, and an Arts Bazaar. For more info, call (770) 932-4887 or go online here.
SOON AND ONGOING
"Artificial Intelligence" speech: 7:30 a.m., May 15, Gwinnett Technology Forum, Busbee Center of Gwinnett Technical College. Dr. Steven Vicinanza, president and CTO of BlueWave Computing, will speak. Email for more info.
Striped Bass Fishing Tournament: 6 a.m. to 3 p.m., May 18, Harbor Pavilion at Lake Lanier Islands. Includes breakfast and lunch. Sponsored by The Cross Group of Merrill Lynch. Proceeds benefit Gwinnett Children's Shelter. Info: Call (678) 474-1817.
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.
Boat Show and Sugarloaf Leisure Living Tour: 10 a.m to 4 p.m. on May 18 and 19. Hosted by Sugarloaf Country Club Charities; among the beneficiaries will be the Duluth-based Foster Children's Foundation. The Tour will showcase the outdoor living spaces and indoor terrace levels of four homes. The boat show will be at the TPC Sugarloaf Country Club! More info online.
15th Annual Norcross Car Show: 8 a.m. until 4 p.m., May 19, in downtown Norcross. Proceeds benefit medical scholarships. For more info, call Liz or Dodger DeLeon at 770-448-2664 or send email.
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.
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.
Memorial Day Parade in Dacula: 10 a.m., May 28. Bill Tiller, a Korean War veteran of the U.S. Navy, will be the Grand Marshal. Theme for the 19th annual parade is "Their Sacrifice, Our Gratitude." A one-mile Fun Run begins at 8 a.m. and a 5K run starts at 8:30 a.m. For more information, send email.
MORE EEB PERSPECTIVE
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