NEW WINERY: In their Hightower Creek Vineyards, east of Hiawassee, Liz and Sanford Green lift one of their wines. He is a Central Gwinnett graduate who opened the winery in 2009. They will have an open house on Saturday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. See Upcoming below for more details.
Issue 12.17 | Friday, June 1, 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.
LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga., June 1, 2012 -- The Governor of Georgia has signed into law legislation that re-establishes funding for state approved charter schools. HB 797 was signed at the Cherokee Charter Academy in Canton. The press release accompanying the signing says, "Georgia's parents want more options, and it is my duty as Governor to see that they have them. These schools help students trapped in under-performing schools and aid communities that want to invest in new and imaginative ways of learning for their children." HB 797 is the enabling legislation for HR 1162, the Constitutional Amendment on Charter Schools.
ironic that the bill was signed in Cherokee County, a school system that
year after year is one that leads the state in student achievement, a
place where student achievement has always been the strategic focus of
the board and the superintendent?
step in our attempt to improve the schools in Georgia was the Georgia
School Board Association and the Georgia School Superintendent's Association
Vision Project involving hundreds of folks across the state with the end
result being recommendations focused on student achievement and embraced
by 80 percent of our systems.
ballot question is very vague and has little to do with the issue. It
reads "Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to allow state
or local approval of public charter schools upon the request of local
communities." No additional rationale will be provided to voters
when they go to vote. Many people will see a "yes" vote being
a vote for their local schools, rather than one more attempt to neutralize
the authority of local boards and local control.
We need to send a very loud and clear message that we have had enough and vote NO on the constitutional amendment. The control of our schools need to remain at the local level not at the State.
JUNE 1, 2012 -- Glory be! The Democratic Party in Gwinnett is beginning to show some signs of life. For this to happen in a county which has been thoroughly dominated by Republicans since 1984, is a good sign.
Don't get us wrong. The Republicans have ruled almost unopposed since 1984, just as membership as a Democrat was about the only way to get elected prior to then. We just happen to want a true two-party system, where good candidates from either side have a chance to win in a face-to-face race.
(Some of you know that years ago, when in heavily Democratic Wayne County, one of our newspaper's goals was "Republican candidates for local offices." In Gwinnett in recent years, the opposite has been a goal: "Democratic candidates for local offices." That's the way to have effective two-party politics.)
So in 2012, several more Democrats have come as candidates. Granted, the way Gwinnett has voted in the past, doesn't always give the Democratic candidates an easy access to winning. Yet the Democrats must re-build their party with stalwarts if they are to be a factor. These new candidates now at least offer some hope toward moving toward parity.
In races for the Legislature, there are 17 Democrats running, though sometimes several seek the same seat. Three Democrats, including Incumbent Hank Johnson, seek the 4th District Congressional seat. Most surprising is Democrat Steve Reilly going up against two Republicans, including Incumbent Rob Woodall, for the 7th District Congressional post.
However, Democrats are still shy in seeking other-than-legislative seats in Gwinnett. Democrat Brian Whiteside has qualified against just-acceded Tax Commissioner Republican Richard Alexander.
Yet no Democrats are running for the county commission.
In an interesting turn, the longest serving Republican office holders in Gwinnett, Louise Radloff, has jumped to the Democratic Party to run again for the school board. Her Republican opponent is Hussein K. Dido of Norcross. And another Democrat, Jennifer Falk, will challenge Republican Mary Kay Murphy for a seat on the school board. In addition, Democrat Jennah Es-Sadan seeks to unseat Carole Boyce, a Republican, on the School Board.
Altogether, 25 residents are running in Gwinnett as Democrats. That's a major change!
* * * * *
Meanwhile, up in Hall County, as far a competitive politics between the parties, it is even worse than Gwinnett has been pretty much since 1984: no Democrats at all!
As the Gainesville Times said in a news headline, "Democratic candidates sitting out the primary." Not a single Democrat qualified for any of the Hall County posts.
Not only that, but other North Georgia counties have no Democratic opposition: Dawson, Forsyth, Jackson and Lumpkin Counties are all without any Democrats on the ballot.
* * * * *
Another way we see new life in the Democrats in Gwinnett is that they are asking non-binding questions of their party members in the upcoming primary.
Their four questions:
While recently, this corner called for settling the airport question by ballot, we had no idea that the Democrats would be polling themselves on this question!
The public spiritedness of our sponsors allows us to bring GwinnettForum.com to you at no cost to readers. Today's sponsor is Brand Banking Company, headquartered in Lawrenceville, where it has three offices, with additional branches in Snellville, Grayson and Flowery Branch. It is the largest privately held bank in Gwinnett, with assets of $1,300,000,000. The bank's main office is in Lawrenceville on the Historic Courthouse Square, plus there is another branch on Hurricane Shoals Road. Other locations are in Grayson, Snellville, Flowery Branch, Buford, Duluth and Buckhead. Member, FDIC and Federal Reserve System. For more information, go to Brand Banking Company online.
Editor, the Forum:
Corners and Norcross residents Jim Nelems and Steve Rausch commented negatively
about the incorporation of Peachtree Corners in the May 30 Forum. While
I understand their viewpoints, I would like to offer my own comments to
try and swing the rhetoric back from the far poles of repeal and "I
told you so" toward a more centrist view.
Sanford Green, a Lawrenceville native and a graduate of Central Gwinnett High School, moved to the North Georgia Mountains after purchasing a NAPA auto parts store in 1994. While still managing the store that brought him to the area, he and wife Liz recently embarked on a new business venture: opening Hightower Creek Vineyards in rural Hiawassee.
After many wine tasting tours, Liz, Sanford, and some friends tossed around the idea of starting a vineyard. One Saturday, they decided to go for it. Land was cleared for the project by the following Wednesday, and vines were planted on approximately five acres. The Greens' dreams have come true thanks to the hard work of family and friends.
The tasting room, which is visible from U.S. Highway 76, east of town, is located in a renovated farmhouse. Not only does it display the usual wine accessories, t-shirts and hats, but the gift section of the tasting room also offers locally crafted items like bird houses, benches, wooden bowls, bottle stoppers, and cheese trays created by melting wine bottles.
The winery opened on Wednesday, May 16, 2012 and will continue to be open to the public Wednesday-Saturday from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Sunday from 12:30 p.m. until 5 p.m. Not only can you enjoy tastings of wine, but Sanford and Liz encourage you to bring a picnic, purchase a bottle of wine, relax, and enjoy the park-like premises.
Hightower Creek Vineyards will hold its grand opening on Saturday, June 2, from 1 until 5 p.m. There will be light refreshments, live music by native Nashville songwriters Scott and Gandy, and giveaways, along with free tastings of their six Georgia wines.
Snellville to test CodeRED Emergency Notification on June 7
The City of Snellville will be employing the CodeRED Emergency Notification System on June 7 to call the entire community. The calls will begin around 3 p.m. and will continue until the entire database has been attempted. This call will give City of Snellville personnel the chance to test the system as if there has been a community wide disaster.
The message that is being delivered directs recipients to the City website to add additional contact numbers, and it also asks that recipients spread the word by mentioning the system to family, friends and neighbors.
Roy Whitehead, Snellville police chief, urges citizens to log onto the city website at www.snellville.org and follow the CodeRED link at the top of the main page. Those without Internet access may call 770-985-3500 Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Required information includes a street address (physical address, no post office boxes) for location purposes and a primary phone number. Additional phone numbers, email and text addresses may also be entered.
Norcross Police Academy grads to seek local partnerships
The Norcross Police Department Foundation is seeking residents who have completed the Norcross Citizens' Police Academy. The NPDF is currently working with the police department to establish several partnerships within the community and other public safety organizations in Gwinnett County, and need your assistance and input as they move forward. Learn more.
The University of Georgia bestowed First Honor Graduate distinctions on 20 students, including three from Gwinnett County, at commencement ceremonies on May 11 at Sanford Stadium.
The honor is presented to students who have maintained a perfect 4.0 cumulative grade point average throughout their undergraduate studies as well as in all college-level transfer work attempted prior to or following enrollment at the university. This year's students graduated summa cum laude and ranked in the top one percent of their 4,250-member class.
The local honorees, their degrees and majors, parents, and hometowns are:
GGC professor wins national award for mentoring students
Dr. Lissa Pollacia's efforts as a mentor and student organization adviser were recognized recently by the 2012 Going the Extra Mile Award from the Association of Information Technology Professionals (AITP).
Pollacia, a professor of information technology at Georgia Gwinnett College (GGC), received the award recently at a conference in San Antonio, Tex. The award is given annually to a faculty adviser who has worked hard to promote a student chapter of the AITP. In their nomination, Pollacia's colleagues praised her energetic leadership style and mentorship of students.
"The GGC AITP chapter started with only 10 members, but through Dr. Pollacia's leadership, the chapter has grown to 35 members and now is viewed by students and administration as one of the most effective student organizations on campus," says Dr. Dan Kaufman, president of GGC.
Georgia Gwinnett host educators from London program
Georgia Gwinnett College recently hosted a 14-member group of higher education executives from Great Britain and Ireland as part of a four-day program through the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education, based in London, England.
The Leadership Foundation for Higher Education provides support and advice for leadership, governance and management for United Kingdom colleges and universities. The program encompasses developing and improving management and leadership skills of existing and future higher education leaders through a variety of initiatives, including international programs.
Georgia Gwinnett's portion of the program, "Room for Improvement: The Rise of New Higher Education Models," was highlighted in a presentation by GGC President Daniel J. Kaufman, in which he provided a comprehensive overview of the college's evolution. The visit also included a question and answer session, luncheon and campus tour.
The Okefenokee Swamp and environs are a distinctive folk region, shaped by Celtic ethnicity, geographic isolation, and Primitive Baptist religion. The swamp alone covers more than 700 square miles of southeast Georgia and northwest Florida. Indian peoples occupied the "land of the trembling earth" through the early 1800s, when most were driven out or forcibly removed by Europeans. From the early 19th through the mid-20th century, the swamp was home to an independent, self-sufficient community of "crackers," most of whom came to Georgia from North Carolina and were of Scottish and Scots-Irish origin. They scratched out a living through livestock herding, subsistence agriculture, and naval stores.
For periods in its history, the Okefenokee Swamp was a refuge for Indian people, escaped slaves, deserters during the Civil War (1861-65), and others seeking concealment. Various traditional narratives deal with these topics, including accounts by present-day descendants of Indian people who fled to Fort Moniac on the St. Marys River during the Indian removals. In contrast to the widespread view that "there are no Indians in Georgia," family folklore among these descendants suggests that some Indian people stayed in the Okefenokee area, hiding their heritage and intermarrying with early European American settlers.
During the 1800s this region had one of the smallest African American populations in the state. After the Civil War more blacks were drawn to the interior of southeast Georgia by jobs in farming, turpentining, logging, and the railroad industry. Oral accounts describe the work songs of gandy dancers (crews of black railroad track layers), sacred music of black churches, and the blues and juke joints of the black turpentine camps. Of these only the sacred music traditions continue in the region today.
From 1912 to 1951 naturalist and folklore collector Francis Harper documented the traditions of European Americans living in and around the Okefenokee, including the region's distinctive folk speech, tales, music, customs, home remedies, and beliefs. Harper's work with the "Okefinokee folk" (the spelling harks back to early maps) was completed by his widow, Jean, and folklorist Delma Presley with the publication of Okefinokee Album (1981). The Harpers were instrumental in the establishment of the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge in 1937, which ultimately resulted in the relocation of the swamp's human inhabitants and ironically marked the end of the historic period of Okefenokee folklore that Harper had worked so hard to record.
Although people no longer live in the swamp, many Okefenokee folk traditions continue in nearby communities. Fishermen and hunters, for example, serve up "duck rice" and fried fish at camps and reminisce about the days of alligator hunting and frog gigging in what is now a federal wildlife refuge.
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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.
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.
Click on the names below to see details of their funerals.
"We can stand here like the French, or we can do something about it."
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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IN THE COMING WEEK
(NEW) Discussion on transportation and upcoming referendum: Noon, June 5, at the Snellville Commerce Club meeting at the City Hall. Moderator will be Trey Ragsdale, with speakers from the pro and anti-referendum sides.
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
(NEW) Book signing: 6 p.m., June 12, Norcross Welcome Center by Carole Townsend, author of Southern Fried White Trash. She is a former reporter for Gwinnett Daily Post. The Welcome Center is at 189 Lawrenceville Street in Norcross.
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.
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.
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© 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.