Issue 12.65 | Tuesday, Dec. 4, 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.
Ga., Dec. 4, 2012 -- The Norcross
Cooperative Ministry (NCM) announces a Restoring Hope! initiative,
to underwrite a new five-year program to help those in need in the greater
Norcross area. Goal of the campaign is to raise $4.2 million in 60 months.
Through the Restoring Hope! Initiative, the Norcross Co-op will implement three programs to benefit the Norcross area:
Hope! campaign will also provide for the ongoing operations of the Co-op.
2012 -- Gwinnett is blessed with being the most diverse of counties within
the United States. Most of the time this means a diversity of people,
a great conglomeration of those from all over the world, bringing to us
their varied customs.
also mean Gwinnett is inhabited by a great diversity of thought, including
many great minds. Yet there is a flip side to this: Gwinnett has some
serious differences of opinion among its diverse residents, from positive
thinkers all the way to "nut cases."
this Gwinnett success, come people who see funds funneled from the Gwinnett
Board of Education and the Gwinnett County Commission for economic development
as a waste of taxpayer money. While we recognize that others are entitled
to their opinion, we think their way of thinking amounts to little more
Gwinnett Federal Credit Union
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First, we love your GwinnettForum and read every issue. We appreciate what you do and the evenhanded nature of the reporting.
However, we were dismayed to see the Burning Bush featured as the lagniappe in the latest newsletter, Issue 12.64. English ivy, Japanese privet, or even kudzu-the poster child of invasive plants-may just as well have been selected; they are all equally offensive and detrimental.
The winged burning bush (Euonymus alatus) is an invasive species of the woodlands of eastern North America and is on the list of "Invasive Plants in Georgia: Significant Threat," as determined by The University of Georgia Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health. It is also similarly listed in Connecticut and Virginia (and probably more states), and its importation and sale is prohibited in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
E.O. Wilson, probably the foremost living biologist, has said that "The two great destroyers of biodiversity are, first, habitat destruction and, second, invasion by exotic species." We should not endorse, glorify, and thus encourage, explicitly or implicitly, the use of invasive species.
I understand that many people are in the early phase of the learning curve on this topic, but like other environmental threats, we need to ramp up pretty soon or pay the consequences. For further information and enlightenment, suggest the reader peruse sites for the Georgia Invasive Species Task Force, www.gainvasives.org, the Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health, www.invasive.org, Georgia Exotic Pest Plant Council, www.gaeppc.org, and Georgia Native Plant Society, www.gnps.org, for an introduction to, yet thorough treatment of the topic.
Gwinnett Commission Chairman Charlotte Nash has formally presented her proposed fiscal year 2013 budget to the Board of Commissioners. The proposed budget totals $1.3 billion, which is 8.5 percent lower than this year's $1.43 billion.
Six county residents and business people helped craft the proposed budget by serving on the chairman's budget review committee. After hearing presentations from elected officials and department directors, the group studied departmental business plans and revenue projections to make recommendations for the budget.
Those included on the review committee included Houston Bass, BB&T; Mark Brock, Gwinnett County Public Schools; David Crews, View Point Health; Lois Love, retired capital budget manager for Gwinnett County; Marian Lucia, retired Executive Vice President of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta; and Herman Pennamon of Georgia Power Company.
The proposed budget preserves core services, maintains necessary reserves and addresses the impact of some legislated changes. It also adjusts for the loss of revenues resulting from a further drop in property values, changes mandated by the consent order that ended the Service Delivery Strategy (SDS) litigation between the county and its cities, and the creation of the new city of Peachtree Corners.
A major challenge for the 2013 budget preparation was the implementation of special service districts, as required by the SDS consent order. Three new service districts for fire, police and development provide services and collect revenues only within certain geographic areas of the County rather than countywide. For example, the police service district includes unincorporated Gwinnett and the cities that do not have their own police departments. A fourth district, funded through a contract with the County, will provide emergency medical services to residents of incorporated Loganville who live in Gwinnett.
The budget provides funding to handle the implementation of state legislation, including tax reform and judicial reform, but very little else in the way of improvements could be funded. Pay raises for county employees are not included in the budget for the fourth consecutive year, and the county will continue a policy of holding vacant positions unfilled for at least 90 days.
The proposed budget for daily operations in fiscal year 2013 totals $922 million, up slightly more than one percent from this year. The proposed capital budget is $385 million, down about 25 percent, primarily attributable to the completion of SPLOST projects in earlier years and the resulting decrease in SPLOST project budgets for 2013.
Under current estimates, the millage rate for residents who live in unincorporated Gwinnett County will increase by less than one mill, while residents in cities that operate a police department will experience a more than one mill decrease. Residents of cities that do not operate a police department should see a millage rate increase of less than half a mill. The greatest reduction in rates will occur within the city of Loganville, where property owners will pay county taxes only for the general fund, recreation district, and general obligation debt.
Brenau University will take possession of the Gainesville-owned Georgia Mountains Center December 15 as part of a long-term lease agreement with the Gainesville Redevelopment Authority. The move will pave the way for a $6.5 million expansion of the University's health care professions graduate programs.
Brenau President Ed Schrader said that Brenau's occupancy of the building means that it can start work in January 2013 on major internal renovations to the property. Pending approvals by various academic and professional standards accrediting boards, the university plans to offer graduate programs in physical therapy and other professional health care disciplines in 2014.
Although the lease technically commences December 15, the ceremonial hand off will occur on December 17.With the execution of the lease, the university assumes responsibility for managing all aspects of the facility, including renting the theater, ballroom/meeting rooms, commercial kitchen and other public use areas in the building.
A major change, which takes place immediately, is that the 2,500-seat arena will no longer be available for rent. The redevelopment design calls for doubling usable floor space in that portion of the building by using it for classrooms, laboratories and other academic-oriented space.
Although the Mountains Center has been an asset for the city, the 30-year-old facility has been losing money steadily in recent years, primarily because of the availability of newer, larger convention and meeting centers that have emerged in North Georgia to accommodate the size audiences that are required to keep such a facility vibrant. Ironically, one of the remaining major events in the arena each year has been Brenau's May commencement exercises, which will now have to find a new home.
investment in the project totals about $6.5 million. That includes costs
of renovations, building technology infrastructure, equipment for high-level
health-related graduate programs and research, and other costs associated
with starting new professional health care programs. Funding will come
from the university with monies raised through donations, grants and possibly
bonds. Schrader says Brenau already has commitments and cash on hand representing
about two-thirds of the projected costs.
Granite outcrops are exposed granitic rocks, found in the Piedmont and Appalachian Mountain regions, that weather in characteristic patterns and provide unusual habitats where a unique set of plants and animals have adapted. It is estimated that more than 90 percent of the approximately 12,000 acres of exposed granite in the Southeast is located in Georgia, including Stone Mountain, the largest of the Piedmont outcrops.
Geologists estimate that most of the granitic rocks that outcrop in the Piedmont of the southeastern United States are approximately 300-350 million years old. These outcrops were formed by the intrusion of molten granite into preexisting country rock at a depth of about sixteen kilometers below the surface. Over millions of years, erosion removed thousands of feet of overlying rock, exposing the more resistant bodies of granite.
Granitic outcrops vary tremendously in size, shape, and position in the landscape. Some consist of small, flat-lying exposures (or flatrocks) only a few square feet in area. At the other extreme, Stone Mountain is a steeply sloping outcrop that covers nearly 600 acres and rises approximately 825 feet above the surrounding countryside.
Granite itself is often very heterogeneous in mineral composition and texture. Often neighboring outcrops that would appear to have developed as parts of the same rock actually occur on distinctly different types of rock intrusions. For example, Stone Mountain, Panola Mountain, and Arabia Mountain all occur within about 15 miles of each other, east and southeast of Atlanta. Yet each represents a distinct and separate rock type: Stone Mountain granite, Panola granite (above right), and Arabia Mountain gneiss, respectively.
composition and texture of various rock units may have their greatest
significance as evidence of weathering patterns that produce distinctive
rock outcrop habitats. The rock surface is commonly subject to exfoliation,
with "shells" of rock sloughing away to create crevices and
talus piles at the base. Uneven weathering of the rock surface results
in shallow depressions, called weathering or solution pits. It is in these
depressions that the most distinctive granite-outcrop plants and animals
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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.
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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.
Or call me (Elliott
Brack) at 770 840 1003 and tell me how to dedicate a book to a friend
(or to you) as he adds his signature!
SEARCH GWINNETT FORUM
THE WEEK AHEAD
A Christmas Carol, via the Southern Gwinnett Community Arts (SGCA), presented one time: 6 p.m., Dec. 4, Snellville Senior Center, 2350 Oak Road. Performing will be members of "The World's Our Stage" Division of SGCA, directed by Kathleen L. Mardis. Cost, including dinner, is $15. For information phone 770-402-6669, or send email.
(NEW) Lights of Love and Remembrance: 7 p.m., Dec. 4, Duluth's Gwinnett Medical Center Gallery. Faith Community Nursing of the Hospital offers this program to honor or remember someone during the holiday period. Luminaries will be lit in honor of persons for a $20 donation. For more information, send an email or call 678-312-2423.
Two Christmas Concerts by the Gwinnett Symphony Orchestra and Chorus: 5:30 p.m., Dec. 9, Johns Creek Christian Church, 10800 Bell Road in Johns Creek; and 6 p.m., Dec. 17, at the Performing Arts Center, 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway, in Duluth, with the Youth Orchestra in a pre-concert. Both are free. Those attending are asked to bring non-perishable food items to support the local food bank. For more information, visit www.GwinnettSymphony.org.
Artists in the Home Tour in Duluth: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Dec. 8. Tour begins at City Hall. Four homes are included, one condo, one town home and two historic homes on West Lawrenceville Street, both dating to the mid-1800s. Tickets are $20 each and may be purchased at the City Hall. This is an event of the Duluth Fine Arts League.
ONGOING AND COMING SOON
Holiday Concert by the Band of the U.S. Air Force Reserve: 7 p.m., Dec. 10, Long Forum at Greater Atlanta Christian School. For tickets, contact the band's web site.
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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