IN FORMATION: Members of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point line up in formation on Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia before the Army-Navy football game last weekend. Prior to the cadets marching on, midshipmen from the U.S. Naval Academy were also in formation on the field. For more on the Army-Navy game, see Elliott Brack's perspective below.
Issue 12.68 | Friday, Dec. 14, 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., Dec. 14, 2012 -- The holiday season is a boon for the U.S. Postal Service, with mailboxes stuffed with catalog offerings, packages from friends and loved ones and solicitations from nonprofits for support. Many of us take advantage of the shopping deals and are thrilled with the unexpected treats, but what do we do with those charitable donation appeals?
There are an estimated 2.3 million non-profit organizations operating in the United States, which boils down to one charity for every 175 Americans. These institutions contribute over $800 billion to the US economy, and represent 5.5 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product.
I have worked in the nonprofit environment for the bulk of my career, and volunteer with other organizations - folks who build houses, teach arts to kids and ensure that people with intellectual disabilities have the opportunity to compete in the Paralympics. As much as each individual nonprofit's mission differs from another, they all have one common element - the end-of-year appeal.
We Americans are generous. Each year, we donate $300 billion to charity, or two percent of our disposable income. But what does that $300 billion mean, really? Is it enough, or just enough to make us feel good?
Do you know what really makes us feel good? Stuff.
Every year, Americans spend $4 trillion dollars on dining out and shopping.
Don't get me wrong. I like a good meal out or night on the town, and, if we're working with stereotypes here, I have a hard time passing up a shoe sale. But FOUR TRILLION DOLLARS? Really? We're spending 13.3 times more eating out and on the latest sale than we are helping each other?
So, I got to thinking. What does $25, or $500, or $1,000 buy?
Now, look -- you may not care about any of the charities I've listed here, but that's not really the point. Every small donation can make a huge difference. As you make your decisions this year about your charitable contribution, could you give up a latte or the latest technological gizmo to help out others?
DEC. 14, 2012 -- Many December Saturdays, we've watched the annual Army-Navy football classic on television. It seems like the teams always play in cold, sometimes rainy and even snowy weather in Philadelphia. I remember thinking: "Why would you want to go to that game in that type of weather?"
Yet when an invitation came, via my son through the Secretary of the Navy, to attend the 113th meeting, we jumped at the chance. Some say the game is one of the 100 Best Sporting Events to attend. After being there last week in Philadelphia, I agree. It was fun, exciting and stirring. (By the way, though invited, each attendee pays for a ticket, at $75 each.)
First the weather: we hit a good day, 52 degrees and overcast, but with little wind and no precipitation! It was real "football weather," in the best sense.
The overwhelming aspect I took away was the stirring of pride I felt as both West Point and Annapolis marched onto the field in mass. These academies mold the leaders of tomorrow's military. These young men and women are the pick of the crop, physically fit, and beam with pride.
For the 3 p.m. game, the Navy began marching onto the field at 12:15. They were in dark blue long coats, with their white hats highlighting their appearance. The Army followed at 12:45 in their gray, cape-draped great coats. It took nearly 30 minutes each to march on in companies, and stand on the field facing their stands.
What really caught my attention was these burly-looking units in tight company formation sometimes led by a short, female company commander. It shows how far our country has come and it also tells me that that female company commander was sharp and smart, beating out the guys for leadership!
In particular, when the Army massed in their long gray overcoats and hats, from the stands the companies appeared as giant Army tanks taking aim at the crowd! (See photo above.)
Once the game got started, often when there was a TV timeout, there were short, patriotic presentations to various military groups. The 67,000 in attendance gave each one a rousting ovation.
The Navy had won the previous 10 games, but this year Army showed its mettle. The sides were evenly-matched, tied at 10-10 at the half, then led by the Army 13-10 late in the fourth quarter. But with the Army near the Navy goal and threatening to score again, alas, a fumble, with Army losing the ball. Shortly after, Navy drove for a final touchdown and victory, 17-13, to a stunned Army team.
Usually, either our country's president or vice president attends. This year it was Vice President Joe Biden, spending the first half with the Army, the second half with the Navy. We were on row 25, in section 119, about the 40 yard line, with the vice president and Navy Secretary Ray Mabus of Mississippi a couple of rows in front of us, to our right, about 10 seats away. Yep, Secret Service people were all around us. One guy said he saw the form of an automatic weapon outlined under a raincoat. Luckily, it wasn't needed this day.
We doubt we'll even attend another Army-Navy game. But we can tell you we enjoyed attending in 2012, in rather nice weather for Philadelphia in December.
The public spiritedness of our sponsors allows us to bring GwinnettForum.com to you at no cost to readers. The Gwinnett Village Community Improvement District was formed in 2006, and is a self taxing revitalization district that includes just under 600 commercial property owners with a property value of over $1 billion dollars. Gwinnett Village CID includes the southwestern part of Gwinnett County including properties along Jimmy Carter Boulevard, Buford Highway, Indian Trail, Beaver Ruin, and Singleton Road. Gwinnett Village is one of four CIDs to be created in Gwinnett County and is the largest of all CIDs in the state. Gwinnett Village's mission is to improve property values through increased security, a decrease in traffic congestion, and general improvements to the curb appeal of the area. For more information visit www.gwinnettvillage.com or call 770-449-6515.
Editor, the Forum:
Thanks to Rick and Sandy Krause for their thoughtful response warning readers about the plant called Burning Bush in the Forum on December 4, 2012. As they noted, "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."
This plant and others, introduced from other parts of the world, are used as landscape additions. But without the natural predators or controls of their homeland, they escape into Georgia's native forests and woodlands. There they may degrade the habitat that wildlife depends upon, crowding out native species and leaving the critters, birds and pollinators we all love without food, shelter or a place to raise their young.
What's the appeal of Burning Bush in the garden? In fall its foliage turns a brilliant pink or red, creating an eye-catching show at a time when much in the rest of the landscape is diminishing in color intensity.
Responsible gardeners and homeowners may want the show, but realize the folly of planting a species that adds to the degradation of our native places. For an alternative, try our native Winterberry holly (Ilex verticillata) or Possumhaw holly (Ilex decidua). These hollies, with handsome, smooth green foliage in summer, lose their leaves in winter, "to show off their exquisite red berries. The fruit display of deciduous hollies is quite often even more impressive than the evergreen counterparts because the leaves do not hide the fruit. During the winter, the striking red fruit are the main attraction against the dark brown, naked stems," according to Vincent A. Simeone in "Wonders of the Winter Landscape."
Winterberry is available at local garden stores, including Buck Jones Nursery in Grayson, which reports having such cultivars as Winter Red, Berry Nice and Sparkleberry. Woody's Wholesale Nursery in Duluth and Randy's in Lawrenceville stock Winterberry, as well. Be sure to ask for a female specimen to yield berries. Since these plants are dioecious, meaning male and female flower parts are carried on separate plants, the gardener must tuck a male plant -- Southern Gentleman is one -- in an out-of-the-way place to pollinate the showier female.
The Hudgens Center for the Arts is now accepting applications for the second Hudgens Art Prize. The winner will receive $50,000 and a solo exhibition at The Hudgens Center.
The competition is open to any individual artist living as a full time resident in the state of Georgia, age 18 and up. Visual artwork of any medium will be considered. There is a $30 non-refundable entry fee that entitles each artist to submit up to five entries. Four artists will be selected by the jury panel to display work in the Finalist's Exhibition. Each of these four artists will receive a $1,500 cash stipend to cover the expenses of the exhibition. All artist applications must be submitted online by February 1, 2013 at 11:59 pm (EST).
For 2012, the juror panel consists of Doryun Chong, associate curator of Painting and Sculpture, Museum of Modern Art, New York; Toby Kamps, curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Menil Collection, Houston, Tex.; and Heather Pesanti, curator, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, N.Y.
For eligibility requirements, more information and to access the online application, visit www.thehudgens.org.
The Hudgens Center is a non-profit organization that has been focused on the arts since its establishment in 1981. The Hudgens' mission is to bring art lovers, leaders and learners together through quality programs and exhibits. That mission is accomplished through visual arts initiatives, such as year round fine art exhibits and classes for all ages, and community arts initiatives, which reach out to underserved populations.
Solo performance of A Christmas Carol extended to Dec. 23
of Aurora Theatre's
newest holiday tradition cannot be contained in a mere 10 performances.
The run of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol has been extended through
December 23, 2012. Now in his sixth year, Anthony P. Rodriguez is delighting
audiences with his solo performance of the holiday classic, A Christmas
Carol. Similar to the way Charles Dickens performed his stories by the
fireside in Victorian England, Mr. Rodriguez focuses on the classic art
of storytelling. Using his voice and mannerisms, Rodriguez brings life
to: Ebenezer Scrooge, Bob Cratchit, Jacob Marley and the astonishing ghosts
found in the greatest Christmas story of all time.
that was established before Gwinnett was a county is being preserved,
after action by the Gwinnett Board of Commissioners this week. The county
approved the purchase of the 4.32-acre Fort Daniel historic site in northeastern
Gwinnett for the appraised value of $241,000 with funds from the 2009
SPLOST sales tax program. The property, sold by Ann P. Grant, includes
a 1,500-square foot house.
wins lifetime GARS Award
Norm Schklar of Norcross, a "ham" radio operator, has been named a Lifetime Member of the Georgia Amateur Radio Society (GARS), President Kyle Albritton announces.
Within GARS, Norm has served as president, board member, activities director, field day band captain, Aluminum Overcast participant, Techfest organizer and many other duties. He is a founding member of the Greater Atlanta Ham Council. This year he focused some of his energy on HamJam, which is a fundraising activity that provides scholarships and activities for youth.
Meanwhile, local "hams" are pointing to January 12, 2013, when GARS, in association with the Gwinnett Amateur Radio Emergency Service, will hold the 16th annual TechFest at the Gwinnett Medical Center in Lawrenceville. The hours are from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m.
Unlike Field day, or the typical "ham" swap meet, this is not a contest or race. It is a chance to experience modes of our hobby that you might have never seen. Or to show your friends and family what Amateur Radio is about. For more information, send an email here.
Gwinnett Fire Department gets swift water rescue equipment
fire service will get a new swift water rescue truck to be based at Fire
Station 14 in Buford. It is specially designed to transport rescue crews
and equipment to emergencies on the Chattahoochee River or Lake Lanier.
Funding comes from the 2009 SPLOST sales tax program.
Commissioners have approved a major renovation of the 15-year-old Bogan
Park Aquatic Center. The project includes new roof panels, new HVAC and
filtration systems and locker room renovations to improve operational
and energy efficiencies.
"The rotation of the earth had suddenly started to slow down in a California suburb. Days grow to 20, 30, then 40 hours. Life changes radically. The environment is a major testing ground for relationships and stability. Has gravity shifted? Is it day still at 10 p.m. or night at 3 p.m.? Do a.m. and p.m. still exist? Over time the suburb becomes split between those who live by clock time and those who try to adjust to the 'new' earth. This story is told through a sixth grade girl, who valiantly navigates changes within her family, her friendships and her own coming of age. I could not put this book down and continue to ruminate over the questions it raises. The author leaves questions unanswered thus freeing the reader to wonder just how little we really know about life, existence and the 'miracle' of living each day."
from previous edition)
Taliaferro's most notable role as an upcountry leader came with his opposition to the 1789 and 1795 Yazoo land bills. Both statutes involved a legislative effort to sell Georgia's western territories to private land companies. Taliaferro's stand against the 1795 sale and the widespread bribery engaged in by its supporters attracted the attention of James Jackson, a U.S. senator from Georgia. Jackson resigned from the Senate and organized an anti-Yazoo faction to repeal the land sale and remove its supporters from office.
Taliaferro briefly considered an appointment from Governor George Mathews (his friend and former commander) to replace Jackson in the Senate but declined. His decision to remain in the state prompted the Jackson-dominated assembly to extend Taliaferro an appointment as superior court justice to stop Yazooists from exerting their influence in the state courts. Supporters of the Yazoo bill challenged Taliaferro's authority and accused him of violating his standards of Republican independence in favor of factional interest. Taliaferro resorted to at least one duel to defend his character against the abuse of his political enemies.
In 1798 Taliaferro agreed to submit his name as a Congressional candidate. He won the election and worked with Georgia's federal legislators to arrange a settlement concerning the state's western lands. Their efforts paved the way for an 1802 land cession to Congress. Illness forced Taliaferro to retire from office in 1802. Although upcountry leaders approached Taliaferro in 1813 to serve in the U.S. Senate, he refused. Taliaferro died at his Broad River plantation in September 1821 at age 71.
GwinnettForum is provided to you at no charge every Tuesday and Friday. If you would like to serve as an underwriter, click here to learn more.
Send your thoughts, 55-word short stories, pet peeves or comments on any issue to Gwinnett Forum for future publication.
We hope you'll keep receiving the great news and information from GwinnettForum, but if you need to unsubscribe, click here.
We encourage you to check out our sister publications:
© 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.
"I've read the last page of the Bible. It's all going to turn out all right."
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
Dual Book Signing: 11 a.m. To 3 p.m., Dec. 15, Books for Less, 2815 Buford Drive, in Buford. Three authors will be present Sue Cass, author of Pursuit, a novel set in Georgia; Jonathan French, The Exiled Heir, a fantasy novel; and Elliott Brack, who wrote the history: Gwinnett, A Little Above Atlanta.
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.
© 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.