Issue 12.74 | Friday, Jan. 11, 2013
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.
|NEW HALL: The city of Sugar Hill will have a ribbon-cutting and grand opening of its new City Hall on Sunday, January 13, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The 33,000-square-foot facility, across the street from the present City Hall, cost $11 million, with officials proud as punch that "It's paid for!" Besides offices and council chambers, the first floor will display historical documents of the early days of Sugar Hill. An acre stormwater retention pond behind the building handles runoff from the future West Broad Street development, saving developers from building individual runoff ponds. A lighted path along the pond has landscaping, plants and trees around it. City officials will be bragging during the opening that there were no bonds, no loans for the city, and that there has been no tax increase in the city in 11 years. Precision Planning, Pond Engineering, Van Winkle Construction and Reeves Construction were instrumental in the design and building of the new facility.|
DULUTH, Ga., Jan. 11, 2013 -- The Hudgens Center for the Arts in Duluth will celebrate Black History Month with three new and exciting exhibits, sponsored by The Primerica Foundation. The exhibits open on Tuesday, January 22 and will remain on display through March 9. A reception for the new exhibits, and the artists represented in them, will take place on Saturday, January 26, from 2 until 4 p.m. The reception is free and open to the public.
"The Dream: Five Black Artists, Five Voices," features five Atlanta-based artists, including Paul S. Benjamin, Jerushia Graham, Henry Leonard, Lynn Marshall-Linnemeir and Nnamdi Okonkwo. Works by the five artists in this exhibit range in media from prints and sculptures, to collage and fibers. See below for more information about each of the individual artists.
Angela Nichols, programming and education director at the Hudgens, says: "Each artist has such a distinct visual 'voice' stemming from their own experiences, cultures and interests, and we think this exhibit exemplifies in a small way how very diverse contemporary black artists are in Georgia."
In addition to "The Dream," the Hudgens will present two complementary exhibits during the same time frame:
Nine Ben Shahn prints from the permanent collection are featured in "Reflections from 1965: The Civil Rights Movement," in the Kistner Atrium. This exhibition highlights a portfolio of fine art prints created by Shahn for the Lawyers Constitutional Defense Committee of the American Civil Liberties Union in 1965. Shahn (1898-1969) was a Lithuanian-born American artist best known for his works of social realism, his left-wing political views, and his series of lectures published as The Shape of Content.
Another exhibition, "The Atlanta Collage Society: SHARED VISIONS," is featured in the Georgia Gallery. The Atlanta Collage Society was formed in 2006 to foster appreciation, interest, and understanding about the medium of collage and to advance the stature of collage as a contemporary art medium.
There will also be a variety of programs at The Hudgens in February that relate to the exhibits, including a Free Family Day on February 9; "An Evening with the Artist, Larry Walker" on February 21; and a series of Artist Gallery Talks on February 23. Details about these programs will be available on the Hudgens' website, at www.thehudgens.org.
The Hudgens Center for the Arts is a non-profit organization that has been focused on supporting the arts in Georgia since its establishment in 1981. The Hudgens presents fine art exhibits year round, and offers art classes for adults and children through its Fine Arts School. It supports local community-based arts organizations through its programs, exhibits and partnerships. The Hudgens' mission is to bring art lovers, leaders and learners together through quality programs and exhibits.
Center for the Arts is located at 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway, Bldg. 300, in
Duluth, in the Gwinnett Center complex. For more information about art
exhibits, events and classes at the Hudgens, visit the website
or call 770-623-6002.
JAN. 11, 2013 -- After 36 years of guiding facilities and operations for the Gwinnett County Public Schools, Jim Steele has retired, spending many days on his farm in Stephens County. Steele was the chief operating officer of the system, responsible for the non-educational aspects of the sprawling system of 165,000 students, the 12th largest in the country.
In many school systems, management jobs like Steele's have been awarded to veteran teachers and principals. That was not the thinking of former Superintendent of Gwinnett Schools Alton Crews, who hired Steele, an engineer by profession, in 1976 to bring professionalism to school operations. His faith in hiring an outsider has proven correct.
Current Superintendent Alvin Wilbanks praises the work of Steele: "He's one you are proud to have on your team as a colleague. We need more people like him. He builds schools on time and under budget. And he would always tell you what he was thinking."
Steele says: "I'm proud to prove that school business operations can be run like the private sector. We felt that if you could measure it, you could improve it. So we did the metrics, and improved.
"At first, when we measured all sorts of activities, our system was short, and it woke us up. We spent 18 months going back to shore up where we were weak. That's the way engineers approach a problem.
"For instance, our transportation operating costs were no where as good as we thought. We trained our drivers more, which resulted not just improving safety, but also gave us a better return on risk management. Our fleet maintenance has over 1,800 buses, saving $1 million annually from outsourcing mandatory monthly bus management."
This overall exemplary scoring system was recognized nationally, with the division winning a prestigious Baldrige Criteria Achievement award in 2001.
He adds: "We measure what we do in house with what it would cost to buy this service outside. It's how it should be done." Many activities Steele found done more efficiently by outsourcing to professionals: items such as design, construction, roofing, painting and floor covering.
The facilities and operational budget is no small item: more than $300 million annually. Altogether, the division has over 1,800 employees, mostly in transportation, while others are professionals in their own fields. Under Steele's guidance are such items as facility planning, fleet, building and grounds maintenance, public safety, risk management, transportation, environmental and supply services and contract engineering.
During his tenure with the system, Steele, an engineer by profession, has built 119 schools, perhaps more than any other Georgian. In addition, schools in the system have also been enlarged periodically, most doubling in size during this time. School construction was done by hiring pre-approved contractors and architects, who partnered with the system, and did work over the years.
All this professionalism measurement gave rise to other savings. By helping Gwinnett schools achieve the Energy Star certification, and energy management strategy, this saves Gwinnett schools $20 million annually. Effective building maintenance, three times lower than the national average, results in a $10 million saving annually. In a 10 year period, worker's compensation savings are $64 million through a self-administered plan.
What Jim Steele has done is leave for the county a program of non-educational services in the school system that is exemplary, recognized nationally. His is a professional career that becomes a legacy for continued efficient operations, saving taxpayers money, year after year.
retirement, Jim. You've earned it.
The public spiritedness of our sponsors allows us to bring GwinnettForum.com to you at no cost to readers. Today's sponsor is Howard Brothers, which has outlets in Duluth, Norcross and Oakwood. John and Doug Howard are the owners/operators of the Howard Brothers stores, which specialize in hardware, outdoor power equipment and parts and service. Major trade brands are a hallmark of Howard Brothers. And did you know that Howard Brothers is the largest seller of Stihl Outdoor Power products in the United States. Howard Brothers also carries Makita Power Tools. Visit the web site at www.howardbrothers.com.
of Purpose Preparatory Academy, Gwinnett, is hosting a grand opening,
Friday, March 1 ( from 6 until 8 p.m.) and open house, Saturday, March
2 (10 a.m. until 2 p.m.). For more information, visit LOPPA's
academy is located at 675 Pleasant Hill Road in Lilburn, at Berkmar United
Methodist Church. Its mission is to love and embrace the uniqueness of
each child and to help them evolve and achieve excellence. LOPPA focuses
on personal achievements, academic excellence, social and emotional development,
and spiritual enlightenment to develop the whole child in a unique and
Executive Director is Tarece Hassell, who says: "There is a need
for quality education for our children to compete on a global scale. LOPPA
will challenge children to do their best and create unlimited possibilities.
Our structured program focuses on cognitive stimulation, multiple areas
of intelligences and character development. We prepare our students for
a life full of purpose and excellence."
open Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. LOPPA accepts students
ages 2.5 to 5 years for their pre-school program and ages 5 - 16 for their
after-school program. LOPPA's primary school includes grades 1-3.
Rotary Players' party to benefit Rainbow Village
Rainbow Village, a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization, is a one-to-two year transitional program that provides temporary housing and support for homeless families with children in Duluth. To be accepted, carefully vetted applicants must demonstrate their willingness to work towards self-sufficiency and stability at home by undergoing job counseling and participating in various courses, like parenting classes.
Village provides afterschool programs but requires additional funding
for childcare during the summer months. Consequently, Rotary Club of Duluth
covers all fees for Rainbow Village kindergartners through eighth graders
to attend Bunten Road Park's day camp, operated by Duluth Parks and Recreation.
Theatre is starting an arts revolution! The theatre will open its
2013-2014 season with "Les Misérables." It will be the
first ever metro Atlanta area professional production of the musical masterpiece
seen by over 60 million people worldwide.
Governor appoints Pugh to Economic Development board
Randall Pugh, left, president/CEO of Jackson Electric Membership Corporation (EMC) has been appointed by Governor Nathan Deal to the Board of Directors of the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD), the state's sales and marketing arm.
Pugh, a native of Buford, began his career in the power industry at Walton Electric Membership Corporation (EMC) in Monroe, in 1968, where he served as General Manager from 1977-1984. He became head of Jackson EMC, the second largest EMC in the country, in August 1984. Pugh earned a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree, with a Major in Accounting, from the University of Georgia. Jackson EMC serves nearly 207,900 meters and more than 195,400 individual accounts in 10 northeast Georgia counties, with 86 substations and more than 13,500 miles of energized wire.
New Lawrenceville YMCA director is Suwanee resident
Tull-Gwinnett Family YMCA on Sugarloaf Parkway in Lawrenceville has named
Kim Nelson its new executive director. Nelson brings 12 years of professional
Y experience to the position. Since 2007 she has served as associate executive
director of the Ed Isakson/Alpharetta Family Y.
says: "Because we believe everyone deserves an equal chance to reach
their full potential, the Y has a strong commitment to meeting the needs
of local communities. My focus will be opening doors and opportunities
for all. We will continue to make a positive impact on children, teens,
adults, and local neighborhoods served by the Tull-Gwinnett YMCA."
Serving as president of The Stone Mountain Barbershop Chorus in 2013 is Scott Phillips of Dacula. He and other officers were installed December 18 at Duluth United Methodist Church.
officers include Mark Hyde of Lilburn, Bill Banks of Suwanee, and David
Naddor of Duluth as vice presidents; Secretary, Bernie Polentz of Stone
Mountain; Treasurer, Greg Arthur of Lilburn; and Dixie District Delegate,
Charles Robinson of Lilburn. Also serving the 50 man singing group as
board members at large are Mark Kuettner of Lilburn, Bill Rigdon of Atlanta,
Phil Guy of Lilburn and Darroll Maul of Demorest. The Immediate Past President
is Bob Shurbutt of McDonough.
Call the chorus information line at 770-978-8053 or visit the chorus web site at www.stonemountainchorus.org for more information.
"You soon realize 'quirky' is the word for this odd but delightful and educational book. Written in first person from the viewpoint of Christopher, a 15-year-old autistic boy, the story opens with his discovery that someone has murdered his neighbor's dog. He determines to find out who killed the dog but, to do this, he has to go outside his comfort zone -- speak to strangers, go places he has never been, be touched, and so on. It doesn't take long to understand that this is not a story about a murdered dog. In fact, that mystery is cleared up halfway through the book as the more important story starts coming out. The author has worked with autistic children and does a great job of putting you inside the head of someone who has a different take on life. I recommend this book for anyone wishing to understand how other people can think."
department in shambles due to the poor financing of the War of 1812,
Crawford found himself running against John Quincy Adams of Massachusetts, Andrew Jackson of Tennessee, and Henry Clay of Kentucky. (John C. Calhoun was in the race briefly, before withdrawing to run for the vice presidency instead.) At that point, Crawford was as prominent as any of his rivals, but the effects of a stroke in 1823 put him at a disadvantage the following year, despite a nearly full recovery. He ultimately finished third, behind Jackson and Adams. Despite a substantial majority of popular votes, Jackson received less than a majority of the electoral votes, which threw the vote into the House of Representatives. In what Jackson's supporters later labeled the "Corrupt Bargain," Clay gave his support to Adams in exchange for appointment as his secretary of state.
Crawford refused reappointment as secretary of the treasury under President Adams and returned home for a long-awaited retirement. In 1827 he was appointed judge of the Northern Circuit of the Superior Court of Georgia.
near Elberton on September 15, 1834, while on the judicial circuit. Crawford
County, the town of Crawford in Oglethorpe County, and the town of Crawfordville
in Taliaferro County are all named for him.
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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.
"True, a little learning is a dangerous thing, but it still beats total ignorance."
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
Birding at the Chicopee Woods will be the focus of the January 14 meeting of the Southern Wings Bird Club, to be held at 7 p.m. at the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center. Peter Gordon, education director of the Elachee Nature Science Center near Gainesville, will be the speaker. More information available at www.southernwingsbc.com.
(NEW) MLK Celebration in Gwinnett, Monday, January 20-21, put on by the United Ebony Society of Gwinnett County. On January 20 at 3:30 p.m. at Meadowcreek High School, there will be a program, with a theme of "character and service." On January 21 at 10 a.m., a parade will wind from the Gwinnett Historic Courthouse to Moore Middle School. For more information, phone 678-856- 7602.
"Flesh eating bacteria" is the subject of the Health To You general meeting at the Snellville Senior Center, on Wednesday, January 23, at 2 p.m. Presenting the program will be Dr. Karuna Kusan, chairperson of the Infection Control Committee at Eastside Medical Center.
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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