Issue 12.60 | Tuesday, Nov. 13, 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.
WASHINGTON, D.C., Nov. 13, 2012 -- Hurricane Sandy was projected to hit my hometown with winds gusting between 60 to 80 miles an hour with a massive amount of rain. Predictions indicated that floods, power outages and transit systems were to be affected. Indeed, we had a massive rainfall, our subway system was down for 36 hours, power outages were sporadic and the federal government closed for two days. The storm was powerful, damaging many homes in its path, from the Bahamas to New York and New Jersey, but spared D.C. from much of its wrath.
As my daily news intake shifted from election coverage to Sandy updates, I realized I needed to hunker down and get prepped for the storm. The obligatory trip to the grocery store was made, though milk and eggs were not high on my list, as they go bad quickly with any power outage. I filled the car with gas. I filled a bathtub with water, in case the city water was not potable post-storm. I checked the roof, cleaned my gutters, and made sure all of the windows were securely fastened, and extraneous outside furniture and plants were secured against the wind. I had a ditch kit ready, with clothes, credit cards, a passport, life and house documents, blankets, emergency food and a tarp. I had my pet carrier ready, with extra food and foldable bowls for water and food. D.C. doesn't get many hurricanes, but this wasn't my first rodeo.
But for all this preparation, I forgot one key element that, in the case of a real emergency, would have made the difference between normalcy and victimization. I didn't have enough cash on hand. I had about $80 in cash at the height of the storm. If there had been a more extensive emergency, as we've witnessed from afar in New Jersey, ATM machines would not work, banks would not open, and grocery stores and other venues that accept checks would not be able to verify your identity.
It is incredibly tempting to spend a "stash" of cash that you keep for a rainy day fund. Yet it is a good idea to have some greenbacks in a secret location within your home for just these types of emergency. At this writing, it seems like $500 is a fair amount, but that number would vary depending on the size of your family. Some folks freeze credit cards to prevent themselves from spending, and in a waterproof pouch, you could keep cash that way. Hide it in a book, under your mattress, or in some place that makes sense to you. Regardless of your storage method, having cash on hand is a discipline we should all heed to have the best possible outcome in case of an emergency.
Here's an eight-point checklist you might print out.
NOV. 13, 2012 -- No matter what, Gwinnett County and Norcross will relatively soon become the home of a $1 billion gambling complex at the intersection of Interstate 85 and Jimmy Carter Boulevard, on part of the land no longer needed by the current occupant, OFS, the same land where Western Electric thrived for many years.
This casino will open under auspices of the Georgia Lottery, no matter whether the residents of Gwinnett want it or have a vote on the matter, perhaps even while the sitting governor Nathan Deal protests that he would not want a gambling casino in Georgia, and with no public body having any input in the decision except the independent Georgia Lottery Commission.
You see, the Lottery Commission will point to the passage of the Georgia Lottery constitutional amendment in 1992 as their authority for casino-style gambling. It will come as a surprise and to the astonishment of many Georgians that they were also voting for creation of a gambling arena when they passed the Lottery! But that's the interpretation that the Georgia Lottery will cite as the authority to bring casino-style "entertainment" to Georgia via video lottery terminals.
Of course, the Georgia Lottery will whitewash the establishment of the casino-complex as a bold attempt to "save" the Hope Scholarship. After all, it will point out, if something isn't done to bring in more revenue for Hope Scholars, the program will be significantly curtailed, and not be worth as much to the scholars now getting a free ride for their college tuition. This will allow their parents, the real beneficiary of the Hope Scholarship funds, to breathe a sign of relief, and in effect, be thankful that some way was found to provide the funds for their bright child's college that they might have had to fund without the new gambling program funding Hope.
Why do we feel that the casino is coming? And when?
First, the when. We suggest that it could come as early as the first of January, before the Georgia Legislature gavels into session. That would make the establishment of the casino a fait accompli, meaning that the Legislature could do nothing about it, since it had already been passed by the independent Georgia Lottery Commission.
And why do we think so strongly that the casino is coming?
Now just think: if you were being considered as a new president of the Georgia Lottery, as was Debbie Dlugolenski Alford of Conyers mostly recently, what questions would you ask of both the other members of the Georgia Lottery, and of the person pushing for you to get the job, the governor?
Wouldn't you want some indication of how the Lottery was going to get past its anticipated shortfall? Wouldn't you want to know if you were going to be a "maintenance caretaker," always desperately trying to find new sources of revenue?
Or wouldn't you be far more willing to accept the job if you knew that there was going to be a major new source of Hope Scholarship funds through allowing new games of chance to be run through the Georgia Lottery? After all, wouldn't such a casino contribute as much as $350 million annually, and make the job of Lottery president much easier? Wouldn't you want to know the answers to these questions prior to accepting the presidency?
So look forward to an announcement from the Georgia Lottery soon, no matter the protests of citizens, politicians, and especially the governor. After all, Governor Deal's hands are tied .since the Lottery Commission is independent .even though the governor appoints this board. Don't you know?
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Editor, the Forum:
I've always enjoyed GwinnettForum's insights and wanted to share this bit of info I have been exploring regarding Gwinnett politics. I moved to this area in late 1997 and have been following the (never dull) political scene ever since.
First, in 2012 in Gwinnett, 91,823 people "early voted" (advance in-person). Of those, 43,959 voted for Romney and 47,388 voted for Obama. That same year 185,173 people voted on election day: 102,555 for Romney and 79,227 for Obama. I point this out because advance voting favored Obama, not something you might expect in Gwinnett.
Now, perhaps more interesting, is Gwinnett's Presidential voting over the past 24 years. While the current political leadership representing Gwinnett in Atlanta and Washington is overwhelmingly Republican, the change in the county's politics can be seen when you examine how Gwinnett votes in Presidential elections in comparison to how the state of Georgia votes.
For example, in the 1988 Presidential elections, fully 76 percent of Gwinnett citizens cast their ballots for George H. W. Bush and 24 percent voted for Michael Dukakis. The state of Georgia, as a whole, gave 60 percent of their votes to Bush and 40 percent to Dukakis in the '88 elections. This means that the spread between the Republican and Democratic vote in Gwinnett was 52 points; whereas the spread in the state vote was 20 points. The difference between the state spread and the county spread, in the 1988 election, was 32 points.
If we run
these numbers for every Presidential election between 1988 and 2012 we
begin to see a very clear pattern developing -- Gwinnett county citizens
are voting more like the rest of the state's voters. Looked at in a graph,
we can see that the spread between the state vote and the county vote
all but disappears by the 2012 elections. (See attached PDF titled "Gwinnett-State
Spread" for numbers.)
Feels 2 paragraphs recently hit the nail on the head about GOP
But, the GOP's problems with Latinos, women, and other minorities, also will box them out of future leadership of our nation, as those constituencies gain demographic ascendancy, if the GOP doesn't change. Republican leaders in general, and the TEA Party in particular, must move away from their reactionary, obstructionist agendas to policies and platforms that are action-oriented and appeal to the exceedingly intricate demographics that now constitute American voters. If they don't change, it will only get harder for them in four more years.
PugFest still seeking funds after 2012 event in Lawrenceville
Editor, the Forum:
2012, the largest fundraiser of the year sponsored by the Southeast Pug
Rescue and Adoption, Inc. (SEPRA), a 501 (c)(3) charitable organization
that rescues, fosters and adopts out "any and all pugs and pug mixes
in need", raised $19,428 last month. Expenses for the event ran $9,900,
meaning that PugFest 2012 only netted $9,528.
Independent films produced by several area filmmakers are being featured at the Third Thursday Arts Party, November 15 at 6:30 p.m. in historic Norcross. The Norcross Arts Party showcases local, metro and regional talent at downtown art venues.
The film screenings are free and will be divided up among local venues: the Norcross Arts Center, Kudzu Art Zone and Vargas and Harbin Studio Gallery.
Four area filmmakers will be screening, including David Hughes Duke, an EMMY-Award-winning producer whose work has been featured on national public television and at various film festivals; John Duke and David Porter, young filmmakers whose documentaries have already garnered exposure on public television; and Cuban artist Rey Vargas, who is part owner and full-time artist exhibiting at the Vargas and Harbin Studio Gallery in Downtown Historic Norcross, who explores an extra dimension of perception in several short art films.
range from the inspirational Summer Hill: A Story of Community (now
in its seventh year on national public television); to La'Teef, the profile
of an inner-city barber who mentors at-risk youth; and In Search of Prospect.2,
an art film shot in New Orleans; and City Garden, about a housing project
that blossoms into an organic community garden. Over 13 films are scheduled
for screening during this event. All are free, and the filmmakers will
be available for discussion after viewing. For a complete bio of the film
makers and a list of films, visit www.aplacetoimagine.com.
Village Community Improvement District (CID) has two new board of directors,
Michael Tuller and Phil Sadd. Michael Tuller filled the vacant post as
Gwinnett County's appointment, while Sadd is the first appointment from
the newly formed city of Peachtree Corners.
The City of Duluth, led by the Gateway Art Project Committee (GAPC) and Mayor Nancy Harris, has received 85 letters of intent from artists all over the country for its new public art project. The committee has now narrowed the field down to 18 semifinalists that are asked to submit their concept drawing or illustration.
will then be selected and given a honorarium to produce a mock up or model
of the concept before the final decision is made. The chosen design will
be a permanent piece of original art to be installed in the center of
the newly constructed roundabout located at the intersections of West
Lawrenceville Street, McClure Bridge Road and Irvindale Road. This historic
residential setting is considered a "gateway" into downtown
Duluth. This piece of art is expected to become a significant icon for
the City and an important symbol to welcome citizens and visitors alike
into the heart of Duluth.
for Gateway Art Project include:
Governor appoints Hutchison to Gwinnett Superior Court
Gov. Nathan Deal has appointed the Hon. George F. Hutchinson, III to the Superior Court judgeship within the Gwinnett Judicial Circuit. Hutchinson fills the vacancy created by the appointment of the Hon. William M. Ray, II to the Court of Appeals of Georgia in July.
Hutchinson has served as the Chief Magistrate judge of Gwinnett County since December 2007 and Magistrate judge from 2004-07. He previously served as senior assistant district attorney in Gwinnett County and assistant district attorney within the Coweta Judicial Circuit.
Hutchinson earned his bachelor's degree in Administration of Justice from Guilford College in North Carolina and his law degree from Emory University School of Law. He and his wife, Julie, have two children. They reside in Lawrenceville.
"Set in North Carolina, this murder mystery centers on the disappearance of a 13-year-old girl, the girl's family, a second disappearance, and an obsessed policeman. The protagonist is the girl's twin brother who is determined to find his sister when others have failed. The subject matter is rough (violence, child sex offenders, etc.) but the writing is fast paced, which is great for someone with a short attention span. The story picks up in the second half where there are more bodies and suspects, and it has many twists and turns. I had a stomachache when I finished it because of the tension, but it was a very good mystery and I recommend it!"
In 1932, at the age of 12, Dot Kirby entered the Georgia State Women's Golf Championship as the youngest golfer to compete for a championship. She advanced to the semifinals, and the next year she became the youngest female golfer to win a state championship. She was Georgia's women's golf champion five times during her career.
Mary Dorothy Kirby was born in West Point, in Troup County, on January 15, 1920, and moved to Atlanta when she was ten. Her new home on Piedmont Road was situated near a miniature golf course, where she first became interested in golf. Neither of her parents played, but by the time Kirby was in the sixth grade, she was playing nine holes before school and a full 18 after school.
Entering the Washington Seminary in Atlanta, Kirby polished her golf with the help of Howard "Pop" Beckett at the Brookhaven Golf Club. Kirby never turned pro, saying that she played golf for fun and that the men who played for a living did not appear to be having fun.
Her amateur career, however, was spectacular. Besides winning the Georgia State Women's Championship five consecutive times, she made more Curtis Cup appearances than any other U.S. team member, with a total of four (1948, 1950, 1952, and 1954). She also won two consecutive National Titleholders Championships (1941 and 1942) and one North-South Tournament.
Her most memorable win was sinking an eight-foot putt to capture the 1951 U.S. Amateur Championship by one stroke. Returning from that championship, she was welcomed home by the legendary golfer Bobby Jones, Governor Herman Talmadge, Atlanta mayor William B. Hartsfield, and hundreds of fans at City Hall, where the mayor proclaimed it Dorothy Kirby Day.
known for her good nature. Some observers doubted that she would ever
be a champion
Kirby worked for WSB-TV and WSB Radio as a sportscaster and sales representative for 35 years. She then entered the real estate business, where the persistence she learned on the golf course often qualified her for the Million Dollar Club. She died on December 12, 2000, in Atlanta.
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"Part of the problem, I think, is the profusion of right-wing radio and television programs. Democrats complain furiously that Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck or Sean Hannity smear the left, but I wonder if the biggest loser isn't the Republican Party itself. Those shows whip up a frenzy in their audience, torpedoing Republican moderates and instilling paranoia on issues like immigration."
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
THE WEEK AHEAD
Buford Business Association Afterhours: 5:30 p.m., Nov. 13, Mirko Pasta, 3265 Sardis Church Road. Information on the holiday season will be presented. BBA board election results will be announced.
Open House at Gwinnett Village CID offices: 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Nov. 15, 5855 Jimmy Carter Boulevard. Visitors will learn of anticipated improvements at the Jimmy Carter Boulevard-Buford Highway intersection.
Population explosion will be the subject at the Sierra Club meeting: 7 p.m., Nov. 15, Berkmar High School. Todd Daniel will be discussing the relationship between population and the environment in his program, "The Global Population Explosion - Here We Grow Again." For more details, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gwinnett Economic Development Summit: 7:30 a.m., Nov. 16, Gwinnett Technical College. Speakers include Dr. Christopher Ray, principal of Gwinnett Online Campus; Dr. Mark Iken, Georgia Gwinnett College; Matt Hyatt, CEO of Rocket IT; Jeff Spence, COO, Innovolt; Stephen Fleming, Ga. Tech Innovation Institute; and Mayor Nancy Harris of Duluth. More info.
15th America Recycles Day: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Nov. 17, Recycling Bank of Gwinnett, 4300 Satellite Boulevard, Duluth. Come for free paper shredding, cash for aluminum cans, free recycling of foam food containers, cash prizes, and recycling of newspapers, cardboard, etc.
Another America Recycles Day: 9 a.m. to noon, Nov. 17, Coolray Field, home of Gwinnett Braves. Sponsored by Gwinnett County Solid Waste and Recovered Materials Division. This event will have paper shredding, electronics recycling, and tire recycling. Kid's activities, free food and giveaways are on tap.
Fourth annual Johns Creek Poetry Festival: 10:15 a.m. to 1 p.m., Nov. 17, Northeast Spruill Oaks Library, 9560 Spruill Road, Johns Creek. Featured speaker will be Judson Mitcham, new poet laureate of Georgia. Details: 770-876-2904.
Basket Weaving Workshop: 10:30 a.m. to noon, Nov. 17, McDaniel Farm Park, 3252 McDaniel Road, Duluth. Ideal for those 10 and older. Admission is $10 per person. Participants must pre-register at www.gwinnerrehc.org. Organized by the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center.
Book Signing: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Nov. 17, Books for Less, 2815 Buford Drive, Buford. Doug Dahlgren of Decatur will be signing Four Samaritans, the fourth in The Son series.
(NEW) Fall Art Scholarship Fundraiser: Noon to 5 p.m., Nov. 17, Artists' Open Studio in Suwanee. Funds will benefit the Rosemary Benavides-Williams Scholarship Fund, honoring the artist who passed away last spring. Fifteen businesses are participating.
Southern Wings Bird Club: 7 p.m., Nov. 19, second floor of the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center. Author John Yow of The Armchair Birder will speak on coastal birds. More info.
ONGOING AND COMING SOON
Wink Art Exhibit: Through Nov. 24, Tannery Row Artist Colony in Buford. Shown will be resident art with a hint of humor, a turn of the phrase or visual twist to make you smile. Details: 678-428-4877, or visit www.TanneryRowArtistColony.com.
Photo Exhibit: Through Nov. 28, George Pierce Park Community Room, Suwanee, during Community Center hours, Monday through Saturday. Frank L. Sharp presents "Israel, the Holy Land," while Wendell Tudor features "Images of the Sea," coastline and landscape images, including photographs from Canada.
Stitched Art Show by Adele Steele: Through Nov. 30, Chocolate Perks in Duluth.
MORE EEB PERSPECTIVE
CONTINUING OBJECTIVES FOR GWINNETT
Gwinnett Forum publisher Elliott Brack suggests that Gwinnett County needs a long-range list of continuing objectives for improving the county. Read more.
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