Issue 12.28 | Tuesday, July 17, 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.
CORNERS, Ga., July 17, 2012 -- The July 31 ballot, both the Republican
and Democratic versions, are much less than they initially appear.
are running unopposed. For example, in my Peachtree Corners district,
Republicans are in 13 races, but only four have any opposition. And in
the non-partisan elections, only two (Superior Court and State Court)
have opposing candidates. Kind of makes it hard to bring in new blood
when in most offices, only the incumbent is running for re-election.
Question 5 is too wordy to present here, but whose grandiose wording of
the paramount right-to-life is vested in each innocent human being (is
there any other type?) from his or her earliest biological beginning,
is clearly an attempt to outlaw abortions for any reason. And what does
"without regard to function" mean?
all these silly questions and go to the T-SPLOST question at the very
end. Note that the introduction of the question concerning creating jobs
and reducing traffic congestion with citizen oversight, is a biased attempt
to sell the program. There is no future "citizen insight" and
the claim about job creation has been discredited by using the definition
of a job as "job years" so that a job lasting 20 years (which
most people would consider one job) counts as 20 jobs. And the question
we are voting on does not mention job creation at all.
JULY 17, 2012 -- Revelations that have shocked the nation, tarnished a great institution and opened up wounds for many people, threaten to continue. We refer to the Pennsylvania State University Sandusky affair, one sordid story that should not have been allowed to continue.
All of the United States is shamed by this story. Last week's report by the eminently respected former Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Louis J. Freeh cast even a wider lens on the scandal.
Now sportswriters and editorialists are pointing to the National Collegiate Athletic Association as the next step in the process, wondering if the college sports group will impose tough sanctions on the school.
This seems to be getting the cart before the horse.
What should happen, if the Penn State officials really want to reform their school, is for Penn State itself to impose sanctions. So far, the school has only shown that it would try to deflect the story, hunker down, protect high officials, and offer denials, when it had, it now appears, hard evidence that it should have recognized, and taken severe action.
Now to right itself, Pennsylvania State University trustees themselves or the Pennsylvania Legislature should take Penn State out of athletic competition for years. Perhaps ten years without football would help the institution. Perhaps it should also remove itself from NCAA competition for its other athletic teams. Maybe it should also remove itself from the highly-competitive Big Ten Conference, and join some less high-profile league, perhaps the Ivy League, where the state's other big college, the University of Pennsylvania, competes.
Penn State has greatly crossed the line, showing more interest in protecting university officials and its own sports program, than it has shown care, concern and protection of its students. People ought to be fired, and its athletic officials and others involved in the cover-up should not be hired by other universities. Perhaps by being removed from college employment, then they can begin to understand the harm they have done to children, to the university, to mankind and themselves.
All this may be hard for Penn State to understand. But in reality, it's simple: Penn State University has allowed horrible conditions to happen, to continue and to seek to deny that they were even happening in the face of overwhelming evidence. The school must be held up as an example of what not to do, and be severely punished.
If the university itself takes this step, it will be the first step to point the school in a far better direction.
* * * * *
For years, a continued parade of evidence should have shocked Penn State officials into action. In a far different field, a continued parade of evidence has not caused our nation's government to act, for which it should know better.
We refer to the continual signals from the banking field. Almost daily, some new shred of evidence is let out of the bag showing another banking irregularity. But the sad news is that our government continues to forgive banks, not spanking their hands, by allowing their leadership to escape without penalty, with no reform in the works.
Not unlike the Penn State scandal, banking needs serious reform, as we recognize from first one new unsavory tidbit after another. The best we can hope for now is for some elected official to have the strength and tenacity to take on not just the big banks, but banking in general, and gain serious reform. We'll vote for the man or woman for president who will take on banking reform!
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By MIKE BUFFINGTON
When government officials talk about "investment," what they really mean is more taxes.
That's the case with the proposed transportation sales tax vote coming up July 31. Known as "T-SPLOST," the measure asks voters to approve a new sales tax to fund a variety of transportation projects across the state. But unlike a true statewide sales tax, this one will be voted on by regions.
.there are several major issues to consider in whether or not to approve this new tax:
Of course, the reason we're voting on this is that state legislative leaders didn't have the courage to raise the gas tax in the state. If this money was as critical as leaders claim, why not just raise the gas tax and let those who use the roads the most pay more, especially those out-of-state drivers headed to Florida? That makes more sense than creating a whole new tax.
A tax is a tax is a tax. And all the perfume in the world can't make this T-SPLOST pig smell any better.
In an effort to bring together local children in Grades 2-5 in a musical learning and performing environment, Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church will be offering training in choral music during the school year from August to the end of April. Auditions for the Shepherd's Sacred Children's Choir (SSCC) will be held now through September 5 at the church in Lilburn at 1400 Killian Hill Road.
The first semester will be held August 22 through December 12, with the second semester January 9 through April 24, 2013. Regular rehearsals will be on Wednesdays from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. SSCC will perform in a variety of venues as well as church worship.
The mission of Shepherd's Sacred Children's Choir is to provide an environment where children glorify God through the development of musical skill and high quality presentation of sacred choral music. The Celebrating Grace Music Curriculum provides the academic foundation for the SSCC and through it singers will become creative, hands-on musicians.
Emphasis will be placed on expanding vocal range and singing, while combining the elements of melody, rhythm, harmony, text and movement to create significant musical experiences. Following the melody and text of hymns and anthems will also be explored as well as growing in the fundamentals of music by learning to recognize, then sing and play, melodic and rhythmic notation. The songs and activities will guide children to connect music and worship.
Artistic Director, Jennifer Langley is passionate about teaching children to sing. She says: "I'm excited to be part of such a wonderful opportunity for the musical training of children." Her prior experience includes service as artistic director of the Atlanta Youth Choir from 2000-2005, during which time the choir gained national recognition through an acclaimed performance on Public Radio International's From the Top.
Langley has worked as the Children's' Chorus Master for the Atlanta Opera from 2001 to 2010, where her choruses consistently received outstanding reviews by the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Having taught singing on elementary, secondary and collegiate levels, highlights of her teaching career include positions at Woodward Academy, The Wesleyan School, Brenau University and Agnes Scott College. She has served as director of music at Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church since February 2010.
Langley holds the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Music from Agnes Scott College and a Master of Music degree from Georgia State University. Over the last several years, Jennifer has been active as a consultant and clinician for treble choirs.
Good Shepherd members and non-members alike are invited to be part of this groundbreaking children's choir experience. There is a $30 registration fee that covers uniform and music for church members and non-members, and $100 tuition ($50 a semester) for non-church members. To set up a placement interview/audition, email to SSCC@goodshepherdpc.org.
Lionheart plans Disney musical, The Jungle Book, July 20-22
Theatre Company will present an all-youth version of the Disney musical,
The Jungle Book. July 20 through 22. A portion of the proceeds will
benefit the Norcross Cooperative Ministry's back-to-school effort. Patrons
are also encouraged to bring in school supplies such as backpacks, lined
notebook paper and composition books.
Determined to earn scholarships for her education, Georgia Gwinnett College sophomore Keila Diaz-Ramirez found an unusual way to meet her goal: beauty pageants.
"I never thought I'd be a beauty queen," Diaz-Ramirez said. "But I've tried every sport you could name in high school and I wasn't good at any of them, and that was where a lot of college scholarship money was coming from. But then I saw that if I entered my high school pageant and won, there was money for school."
And win, she did. Along with the sash, crown and the title of Miss Mill Creek 2010, she won a $1,000 scholarship for college. From there she's won six titles: Miss Buford 2010, Miss Southern Belle 2011, Miss Southern States 2011, Top 10 Miss Teen America 2011, Miss Georgia Coed 2011 and her current title of 2012 Miss American Teen.
Diaz-Ramirez also had some help from her mother, a former runner-up to the Miss El Salvador title in 1977. "She showed me how to do the walk and she instilled in me the sense that beauty goes deeper than the skin. But winning money for college is what makes me want to continue doing pageants," she said. "I've also learned that pageant work helps build strong character, poise and responsibility. I see my role as a queen in that I can inspire other young ladies. You don't have to be economically high up there or extremely beautiful to do beauty pageants. It's who you are that makes you beautiful and not what you have."
Her pageant experience has also taught her how to be responsible in managing her work and how to focus on what she wants, she said. Therefore, goal-setting is one accessory she keeps tucked in her handbag.
When not preparing for upcoming competitions, such as the Miss Georgia USA title in November 2013, Diaz-Ramirez focuses on her biology classes at GGC. She plans to continue her studies once she graduates and is considering a career in anesthesiology.
Diaz-Ramirez, whose father comes from Puerto Rico and mother from El Salvador, also wants to be an inspiration to other Latinos. "Even though we're a minority, we can still make a difference and show young people that if you go for your dreams, you can reach them," said Diaz-Ramirez. "There's a quote that I use, 'shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars.' The idea is that it's important to try whatever it is you've set your mind on, no matter what everyone else is saying.
Georgia Gwinnett College has $211 million impact on area
According to an economic impact study released by the University System of Georgia (USG) Board of Regents, Georgia Gwinnett College produced an economic impact of $211 million on the Gwinnett region during the 2010-2011 fiscal year, an increase of 62 percent over last year's $131 million.
This impact included generating 1,433 jobs in the local community and 821 campus jobs for a total of 2,254 jobs. Last year, the college's total was 1,348 jobs, with 870 in the community and 478 on campus.
These significant increases can be directly attributed to the college's dramatic growth.
GGC President Daniel J. Kaufman says: "Higher education acts as an economic engine not only across the state, but in specific areas where such institutions are based. They generate significant local business, colleges and universities educate the workforce, create innovations through research, and help businesses become more competitive through collaborations. It supports the local economy through job creation and spending. In GGC's case, construction of campus facilities alone has generated about $300 million since the college opened in 2006."
"In Tony Blair's political memoir, the longest-serving Labour prime minister in British history talks about his challenges, crises, policies, election strategies and the personalities of his staff and advisers - particular Gordon Brown, who became prime minister after Blair. Very close friends at the beginning of their political careers, the two men ended up estranged, and Blair spends a great deal of time talking about Brown and comes across as needing to set the record straight. Although the bulk of the book is about Blair's political life, it is tempered with bits about his personal life, as well. Yes, Blair brags sometimes. But throughout the book he frequently points out his failings, his fears, his cowardliness and his mistakes. I recommend this book for serious Anglophiles and political junkies."
The first legislative proposal to make Atlanta the capital came in December 1847, but the General Assembly defeated the measure by a 68-55 vote. Seven years later, Atlanta proponents succeeded in getting lawmakers to place the proposal before the electorate. In the 1854 general election, the statewide tally was 49,781 for staying in Milledgeville; 29,337 for moving to Atlanta; and 3,802 for moving to Macon.
Milledgeville remained Georgia's official state capital throughout the Civil War (1861-65), though the statehouse was evacuated in November 1864 as Union General William T. Sherman approached the city. Many official state records were loaded on trains, which pulled out just before Sherman's troops reached the city. Sherman spared the capitol from burning, but the building was ransacked by Union troops.
With Union forces in control of Milledgeville, the state government fled to various other locations. The General Assembly held a special session from February 15 through March 11, 1865, at Macon's old city hall. In November the governor, Joseph E. Brown, fled Macon to escape Sherman's troops on their March to the Sea. He took refuge at his plantation in Cordele but was back in Milledgeville by December.
In May 1865, following the surrender of the Confederate army to the Union, Governor Brown called the legislature to convene later that month in Milledgeville at the statehouse, but he was arrested by Union troops, and the legislature did not meet. Subsequently, Union troops took charge of state government in Georgia. A new constitution was adopted, elections were held, and in December 1865, the legislature met at the Milledgeville capital.
In 1867 the U.S. Congress assumed control of Reconstruction efforts (1867-76) in the South, with Georgia and other southern states again placed under military authority. Major General John Pope was placed in command of Georgia on April 1, 1867, and shortly afterward took up his duties in Atlanta. A new constitutional convention was called for the state, and General Pope ordered the convention to assemble in Atlanta, reportedly because Milledgeville innkeepers had proclaimed that black delegates would not be welcome in their inns. The convention met in Atlanta from December 1867 to March 1868.
During this session, Atlanta city officials again made a bid for the city's designation as the state capital -- especially in light of Atlanta's recent population growth and better rail accessibility. In February 1868, the Atlanta City Council held a special meeting to frame a formal proposal to the constitutional convention. Essentially, the council's offer was that Atlanta, if designated as Georgia's capital, would provide suitable buildings for the legislature, the governor, other state officials, and the supreme court at no charge for ten years. Additionally, city officials offered the 25-acre fairground or the choice of any unoccupied ten acres in the city for a state capital.
The constitutional convention accepted the offer and included in the Constitution of 1868 a formal provision: "The seat of government of this State, from and after the date of the ratification of this constitution, shall be in the city of Atlanta, and the general assembly shall provide for the erection of a new capitol, and such other buildings as the public welfare may require." By a vote of 89,007 to 71,309 the new constitution was ratified in April 1868. Georgia now had a new capital-its fifth in less than a century.
Subsequently, the Milledgeville capital building served as Baldwin County's courthouse for several years. In 1879 it was converted into the Middle Georgia Military and Agricultural College (later Georgia Military College). Though severely damaged by fire in 1941, the building was rebuilt and continues to be used by the school today. In 2000 the Old Capital was restored. And in 2001, it once again served as the state capital-although only for a day. To recognize the 250th anniversary of representative government in Georgia, Governor Roy Barnes addressed a joint session of the General Assembly in the Old Capital.
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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.
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"In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is."
For the 2012 primary
season, GwinnettForum asked all candidates facing primary opposition
in Gwinnett County to provide answers to a few questions. You can read
their answers below by clicking on the links.
Candidates with no
primary opposition are not listed. Those with opposition in the General
Election will be asked questions, which we'll publish before the November
Look for endorsement:
2012 FEDERAL CANDIDATES
U.S. Congress, District 4
Congress, District 7
Congress, District 10
Public Service Commission, District 3
Public Service Commission, District 5
State Senate, District 9
Georgia State Senate, District 55
Representative, District 81
Representative, District 93
Representative, District 94
Representative, District 96
Representative, District 97
Representative, District 103
Representative, District 105
State Representative, District 114
2012 COUNTY CANDIDATES
Gwinnett County Commission, District 1
Gwinnett County Commission, District 3
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
Camp for ages 8 to 12: 10 a.m. to noon on July 16 to July 20,
Centerville Community Center, 3025 Bethany Church Road, Snellville. Cost
is $20 per child ($5 sibling discount). For camp information, call The
Little Red Math and Grammar School, 404-826-6818. For pre-registration
and payment information, call 770-985-4713. Children with learning disabilities
Business After Hours: 5:30 p.m., July 17, Red Sky, 2033 Buford Highway, Buford (across from Buford Post Office). Hosted by Buford Business Alliance. Guests are welcomed.
Gwinnett Technology Forum: 7:30 a.m., July 17, Busbee Center of Gwinnett Technical College. Speaker is Ken Caird, senior Smart Grid Systems for GE Business-GE Energy Services, telling of major challenges facing the Smart Grid system.
Scout Dog Remembrance, with Stan Stockdale speaking: 6:30 p.m., July 18, Norcross Cultural Arts and Community Center. Hear Stockdale talk about America's lost heroes, the Scout Dog Platoons of Vietnam, which were attached to the 101st Airborne Division. Sponsored by the Norcross Welcome Center.
(NEW) Emerging Green Jobs in Georgia will be the subject of the Greater Gwinnett Group of the Sierra Club meeting July 19 at 7 p.m. at Berkmar High School. Seth R. Gunning will be the speaker. He will point out how green jobs relate to clean energy and energy efficiency. Info: 770 710 9555.
Bark for Life Dog Day at Pinckneyville Park: 9 a.m., July 21 (National Hot Dog Day), Medlock Pavilion,. The park is located at 4758 South Old Peachtree Road in Norcross. Pre-registration is $10; day of event: $15.
Mural Artist Talk: 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., July 21, at ART Station
at 5384 Manor Drive in Stone Mountain. Eric Grohe, foremost 3-D muralist,
will be making a presentation. To see the artist's work, visit
Beyond Rosie, Women in World War II: Through July 31. This traveling museum is now on display at the Norcross Welcome and History Center. The museum is located at 169 Lawrenceville Street.
Mathematics Workshop for Grades 5 to 8: 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., July 23, Norcross Human Services, 5030 Georgia Belle Court. Cost is $50 which includes supplies. Pre-register and make payment at Norcross Human Services Center, 770-638-5661.
(NEW) Judicial Meet and Greet: 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., July 23 at Christ the King Lutheran Church, 5575 Peachtree Parkway. Come meet all 12 candidates vying for the three court vacancies. Candidates will be at tables to meet the citizens. Sponsored by the United Peachtree Corners Civic Association.
(NEW) Creating Public Art: From Artist Application to Art Installation: 6:30 p.m., July 26, Suwanee City Hall. The talk will be presented by Ayokunle Odeleye, an artist and professor of Art at Kennesaw State University. Sponsored by ArtWorks! Gwinnett, a non-profit arts alliance serving Gwinnett County, in conjunction with the City of Suwanee and North Gwinnett Arts Association.
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