BIG PARADE: Memorial Day in Dacula commemorates the USA's veterans, but is much more. Besides a festival, there is always a big parade, with many antique automobiles, seemingly to always include Model A and T Fords. As this picture by Frank Sharp illustrates, people in Dacula line the streets to watch the parade. Dacula has carved out its own niche for Memorial Day with this distinctive celebration.
Issue 12.16 | Wednesday, May 30, 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.
NORCROSS, Ga., May 30, 2012 -- On June 9, Norcross citizens are invited to participate in the first event organized through a local grassroots movement dubbed "Norcross Together." It is an effort to create a broader sense of community after a January 1, 2012 annexation expanded the City of Norcross' boundaries across Buford Highway to the I-85 corridor.
The free event will be from 3 to 9 p.m. at Gwinnett County's Cemetery Baseball Field. It includes a soccer invitational. Before the big championship game, author and speaker Joe Kissack will present The Fourth Fisherman, a story described by Men's Journal as "one of the most remarkable odysseys of survival ever recorded."
To paraphrase Norcross' Imagination Proclamation, "Norcross will continue to flourish if we recognize our diversity and celebrate our similarities." 'Norcross Together' has been created to accomplish this, and while it's facilitated by the city, it's really a concept that the whole community owns and is organizing.
For instance, several area churches and the Robert D. Fowler YMCA are working together to organize the soccer tournament, while the City of Norcross is organizing food trucks to provide event concessions, tournament prizes and promotional support.
James Rowell, a Norcross resident and pastor of Generations Church, says: "We each have our own vision of how to make a positive difference. If we pool resources, we can help each other succeed. A number of us felt a soccer tournament would be a great way to bring people together by giving neighbors a chance to engage. There is some great athletic talent around here, so expect some really good soccer."
At 6 p.m., Kissack will present the story of three fishermen who were rescued near Australia after drifting 5,500 miles across the Pacific Ocean for nine months in an eight-meter boat. They survived on "raw fish, rainwater and their faith in God." Kissack brings this incredible and inspiring story to life.
invitational includes skill competitions for all ages and tournament-style
games for youths and adults 17 and older. While the skills competition
is open to anyone who wants to participate, the teams that will be competing
for a championship title are being selected from the Greater Norcross
community. For more information about the event, and about the "Norcross
Together" concept, visit www.aplacetoimagine.com
or email this address.
MAY 30, 2012 -- Oh, my! How the Gwinnett political pot boils in ways many did not think possible. Several incumbents have unexpected opposition in the July 31 primary and even for the November General Election, while other incumbents may have been themselves surprised that they drew no opposition at all and will waltz back for another term in office.
And wonder of wonders, several local candidates have jumped into the fray as Democrats, giving that long-fallow party at least a chance at winning by doing what they have not done much before, fielding opposition candidates in Gwinnett.
Perhaps the most notable aspect of the qualifying process is that County Commission Chairman Charlotte Nash is automatically going to serve a full term as commissioner, after winning the remaining term of former Chairman Charles Bannister, who resigned while in office. Since her assumption of the office, Ms. Nash has calmed matters down and generally moved the county forward. This was most seen in her successfully resolution of the city-county dispute about overlapping service delivery, which was solved quickly under her oversight.
Several others drew no opposition: District Attorney Danny Porter; Sheriff Butch Conway (and his wife, State Court Judge Carla Brown); new Tax Commissioner Richard Steele; plus four state senators and eight House representatives.
But, also somewhat surprising, 7th District Congressman Rob Woodall drew not one, but two opponents, one David Hancock, within his own party. The winner of the GOP primary will face Democrat Steve Reilly, an attorney and former chairman of the local party, in November.
In the 4th congressional District, incumbent Democrat Hank Johnson drew two Democratic and two Republican opponents. Remember, also, that Gwinnett is part of the 10 Congressional District, now, where incumbent Paul Broun of Athens drew Stephen K. Simpson as a Republican opponent.
More fire will fly in the two Gwinnett Commission races. In District 1, currently held by Shirley Lasseter, who will not seek re-election, two Republicans vie: Jace Brooks and Laurie McClain. In District 3, incumbent Mike Beaudreau faces three Republicans, Tommy Hunter, Mike Korom and Jerry Oberholtzer.
Even the normally quiet Gwinnett Board of Education seat holders face challenges. In District 1, incumbent Republican Carole Boyce will be opposed by Democrat Jennah Es-Sudan. Then District 3's incumbent Mary Kay Murphy drew a Democratic contender, Jennifer Falk. And Republican Louise Radloff switched to the Democratic Party to run after 40 years on the GOP side, and drew a Republican opponent, Hussein K. Dido. Who would have thought!?
This year Gwinnettians are getting a chance to take a distinctive step in the primary, with two non-partisan judgeships open. It is distinctive since many judges often resign in the middle of a term, so that the sitting governor can appoint a successor for the balance of the term, which then gives the successor the "incumbent" title when they run, often almost automatically ensuring victory.
But not this year in two races, one for Superior, the other for a State, court judgeship.
For Superior Court being vacated by Dawson Jackson, there are five candidates: Tracey Mason Blasi, Charis McClung, Kathy Schrader, Giles Sexton and Robert Walker.
For the State Court seat currently held by Bob Mock, there are also five candidates: Emily Brantley, Pam Britt, Norman Cuadra, Greg Lundy and Richard Winegarden.
One more somewhat surprising development: Longtime powerful Republican State Senator Don Balfour has drawn two Republican opponents. Not only that, but the winner of this race will face a Democrat in the fall.
At least the Democrats are giving us a few unanticipated choices this go-around!
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Editor, the Forum:
It would be great to also put on the July ballot, in addition to the airport question, idea of de-incorporation of Peachtree Corners as a city. After all, the only services which the new city will cover are those already more than adequately covered by Gwinnett County.
The new mayor and council have already said they will adopt the county zoning codes, contract out trash collection which is now contracted out, as well as code enforcement which is also already well served by the county. I have forgotten, what IS the purpose of the new city except to enhance egos and spend millions of taxpayer dollars each year for that end?
Worries about voter apathy when deciding issues like airport
Editor, the Forum:
Your recent comment on letting the people decide the airport issue: once again we find ourselves in agreement. I read your piece while enjoying a beautiful day in Stuttgart, Germany.
My only concern is the mid-summer off year elections. Voter participation is pathetic at best. And off year summer elections never, in my mind, really present a true representation of what is going on in the minds of the constituents. And while I agree that the squeaky wheel gets the press, the silent majority often has a different opinion.
What we really need is electronic voting. With today's technology it is extremely doable. Companies have been using it for years.
is the elected officials would not favor changing a system where apathy
is their best friend.
Likes airport ballot; Peachtree Corners has wake-up call
Editor, the Forum:
Latest from the opposite view from yours: I liked your thought about an outright citizen vote on the airport, but the commissioners who stand to get their pockets lined from this deal will never allow it! As always, follow the money to understand their motive!
Another note, it appears the new city of Peachtree Corners is being hit with a wake up call that nothing worthwhile is really FREE! I can't imagine folks ever believed the new city would not cost at least some small increase in tax to pay for even limited services.
Suggests other questions should have been asked of voters
Editor, The Forum:
You proposed that this question be asked of primary voters: "Should Gwinnett County allow the privatization of Briscoe Field and the use of the airport for limited commercial air service?"
What if the following questions had been posed to voters?
These questions fail to fully inform the voter of the potential downside. Each of these projects resulted in burdensome costs to taxpayers and/or expensive lawsuits.
What if the primary voters were asked this question about Briscoe Field:
Should Gwinnett County allow commercial service at Briscoe, if the county would then have no control over the number of flights or the time of day or night that they occur, if two aviation consulting firms chosen by the county said it had virtually no chance of succeeding, if a nationally recognized consulting firm said it would negatively impact the value of tens of thousands of homes and subsequently decrease the tax base, if attorneys had been retained by opponents ensuring that taxpayers would be burdened with the cost of lawsuits and a possible judgment in excess of $100 million, and if the taxpayers were required to pay to operate the commercial airport in the event of the failure of the private operator?
Perhaps a vote on that question might deliver different results than a vote on the question that you posed.
Gwinnett County Public Library will host Author Jeffery Deaver at the Norcross Cultural Arts and Community Center on Thursday, June 14 at 7 p.m. Deaver's newest thriller, XO, is his third novel featuring heroine Kathryn Dance, to be released on June 12 in time for the book chat and signing.
A former journalist, folksinger and attorney, Deaver is an international number-one bestselling author of 27 novels, two collections of short stories and a nonfiction law book. His novels have appeared on bestseller lists around the world. His novel, The Bone Collector, was made into a film starring Denzel Washington, Angelina Jolie, and Queen Latifa.
This event is free and open to the public. Books will be available for purchase and signing. The Norcross Cultural Arts and Community Center is located at 10 College Street in Norcross. For more information about library events, please visit www.gwinnettpl.org, or call (770) 978-5154.
Center seeks to host world's largest swimming lesson
Bethesda Park Aquatic Center will be a host location for the 2012 World's Largest Swimming Lesson on June 14 from 11 a.m. to noon. The cost for this event is $3/person for Gwinnett County residents and $6 for non-residents. This world-wide event builds awareness about the vital importance of teaching children to swim in order to help prevent drowning.
With the opening of all Gwinnett County Parks and Recreation (GCPR) pools on May 26, the public is reminded to protect and prepare for the upcoming swim season. Through various swim classes, public service announcements and distribution of water safety information, GCPR seeks to provide citizens with the tools they need to prevent water-related injuries.
GCPR offers swim lessons for those as young as six months to adults of all ages. Group, private and semi-private swim lessons are available in a variety of class levels to benefit everyone from learners to advanced swimmers. In addition to swim lessons, GCPR has a number of summer events planned to promote water safety.
On July 7 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at West Gwinnett Park Aquatic Center, GCPR will host "Splash and Bash," where families can learn swim safety tips while enjoying wacky games and prizes.
Steps Saves Lives campaign, which educates the public about pool safety,
reminds citizens to:
Two new honor societies, a new athletics website, and approval of enrolling international students came out of Georgia Gwinnett College last week.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has approved Georgia Gwinnett College's request to enroll international students, beginning with the fall 2012 semester.
With a waiting list of more than 150 interested students, the college expects to enroll about 100 students from other nations, according to Dr. Anthony Pinder, director of GGC's Office of Internationalization.
Kappa Omicron Nu (KON), the honor society for scholars in the field of human sciences, has chartered a chapter at Georgia Gwinnett College, inducting six exercise science majors into its ranks. Admission into KON is reserved for students majoring in a human science who are in the top 25 percent of their class. Formally established in 1990, Kappa Omicron Nu consolidated two other honor societies, Kappa Omicron Phi and Omicron Nu, which have roots dating back to 1912.
Kappa Delta Pi, the international honor society for students majoring in education, has chartered a chapter at Georgia Gwinnett College, approving 110 students for membership. Membership in Kappa Delta Pi is offered to students by recommendation of a faculty member. Candidates must also be accepted into the GGC teacher education program and have at least a 3.0 grade point average. Established at the University of Illinois in 1911, Kappa Delta Pi now has more than 45,000 members in 582 chapters worldwide. The GGC chapter was given the name Alpha Zeta Pi.
Georgia Gwinnett College has launched its official Web site for Grizzly Athletics. The site is designed to provide comprehensive information about all facets of the college's new intercollegiate athletics program, which debuts in fall 2012. The athletics Web site may be found at www.grizzlyathletics.com..
Primerica Foundation grants $385,000 to Gwinnett non-profits
Twenty-six Metro Atlanta and Georgia non-profits received a total of over $600,000 in 2011 through grant funding from The Primerica Foundation, the new philanthropic arm of Duluth-based Primerica.
of 26 grants, ten were specifically for Gwinnett County and five were
nonprofits who served the county, as well as other counties and the entire
state. So, total of 15 out of 26 non-profits received PRIF funding, with
funds totaling $385,000, serve Gwinnett County.
Karen Fine Saltiel, chairman of the Primerica Foundation and executive vice president of Primerica, adds: "Primerica's Foundation and community mission is focused on helping people who are in need gain the skills and confidence that help them become self-sufficient. Through company grants combined with the incredible spirit of volunteerism of our 1,700 employees, Primerica is among the top 10 companies supporting the annual Gwinnett County Relay for Life."
"I spent the last couple of days at a country estate in England. What fun. If you would like to join me, start reading Cynthia Harrod-Eagles' Country Plot. I didn't think I was going to like this book because too many characters were introduced at the start and I was expending a lot of energy keeping them sorted. But they soon settled into their allotted roles and I settled into a time and place I've always cherished. Jane Austen it's not, but it does give one a wonderful sense of being there with excellent character development and place descriptions that make you want to hop the next plane. All-in-all, a fun read and it may even give you some ideas for money-raising projects. I had forgotten what a delight this author is. I must check out some more of her books."
poet and novelist, Judson
Mitcham, was named poet laureate of Georgia in 2012 by Governor Nathan
Deal. His writings, which examine basic human themes within the specific
landscape of Georgia, are both poignant and powerful.
Cofield Mitcham was born in 1948 in Monroe, where he grew up and where
much of his work is centered. His parents, Myrtle and Wilson Mitcham,
figure prominently in his poetry. Mitcham was not formally trained as
a writer. Instead he studied psychology at the University of Georgia,
where he earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees. He received his
Ph.D. in 1974. From then he taught in the psychology department at Fort
Valley State University until his retirement in 2004, with the rank of
Mitcham began teaching workshops in poetry and fiction at Mercer University
in Macon. He has also served as adjunct professor of creative writing
at the University of Georgia and at Emory University, where he has directed
the Summer Writers' Institute. He resides in Macon with his wife, Jean.
They are the parents of two children and have three grandchildren.
poetry has been widely published, appearing in such journals as Chattahoochee
Review, Harper's, Georgia Review, Gettysburg Review, Hudson Review, Poetry,
Southern Poetry Review, and Southern Review. His first poetry
collection, Somewhere in Ecclesiastes, earned him both the Devins
Award and recognition as Georgia Author of the Year, an honor bestowed
annually by the Georgia Writers Association.
collection A Little Salvation: Poems Old and New, comprising forty
new works as well as previously published poems, was released by the University
of Georgia Press in 2007.
Mitcham's first novel, The Sweet Everlasting (1996), won him the Townsend Prize for Fiction and a second Georgia Author of the Year award. Sabbath Creek (2004), his second novel, also won the Townsend Prize, making Mitcham the first writer to receive the award twice. Both novels were published by the University of Georgia Press.
In both his novels and his poetry, Mitcham's elegiac voice looks backward with fondness and discernment on a personal and regional past slipping rapidly beyond reach.
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Visit this site to see details of the upcoming funerals of Gwinnett Countians from local funeral homes. On the site, sign up at top right and we'll send you GwinnettObits each day.
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"Whenever you have an efficient government you have a dictatorship."
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.
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THE COMING WEEK
(NEW) Art on the Wall at Snellville City Hall: Starting June 5. The inaugural exhibit's hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The art features local artist John Duke, nest known for water colors and acrylics. A reception for the exhibit is June 4 at 7 p.m. Work was selected by Snellville Art Jurors Committee, which recently was activated.
SOON AND ONGOING
Success Lives Here Breakfast: 7:30 a.m., June 15, 1818 Club, 6500 Sugarloaf Parkway, Duluth. Featured speaker will be Norcross Mayor Bucky Johnson. For more details, call 770 232-3000.
Career and Job Fair at Gwinnett Village Community Alliance: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., June 22, Victory World Church, 50905 Brook Hollow Parkway, Norcross. Approximately 30 employers will be there. This is the Alliance's third Fair. Learn more by email or call 770-402-4697.
Miles-4-Smiles Race/Walk: Beginning 9:30 a.m., June 23, Tribble Mill Park, Lawrenceville. This second annual Amanda Riley Foundation event consist of a 10K, 5K and Mile Walk/Run, with the course certified as a Peachtree Road Race qualifier. Details via email.
(NEW) Field Day of the Gwinnett Amateur Radio Society and Gwinnett Amateur Radio Emergency: Starting at 2 p.m. June 23 and lasting for 24 hours. The event is at Sweetwater Park, 800 Bethesda School Road near Lawrenceville. The public is invited to attend and see ham radio's new capabilities. For more details, go to www.gars.org or call 770 840 9664.
MORE EEB PERSPECTIVE
© 2001-2012, 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.