Issue 12.84 | Friday, Feb. 15, 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.
DULUTH, Ga., Feb. 15, 2013 -- Our son, Chip, was accepted into the Peace Corps and assigned to a post in Madagascar, a former French colony, in July, 2011.
Chip went to Madagascar because he speaks French, as his job was to teach high school English in a remote highland village. We had to educate ourselves to having one of our children literally half-way across the world.
Madagascar is an island nation off southeastern Africa in the Indian Ocean, separated from the continent by the Mozambique channel. Over 90 percent of the wildlife in Madagascar is found nowhere else on the planet.
The first settlers were from Borneo and the surrounding East Indies, followed by Bantus from the African mainland, and then Arabs and other groups who plied the seaways of the Indian Ocean. A native kingdom was overthrown by the French, who established a colony in 1895 and ruled until full independence for Madagascar was achieved in 1960. It now has a provisional administration that gained power in a coup in 2009. Elections are promised this spring.
When Chip first arrived in country, after attending Peace Corps "boot camp" and taking lessons in the native Malagasay tongue, he was assigned to teach English at a secondary school in a rural village with the intimidating name of Ambatofindranahana ("Ambato"). He was given a cleared out classroom for an "apartment," with an outhouse plus an attached room to bathe with buckets of water he paid someone to supply. Imagine!
This idea coalesced for our family to spend Christmas 2012 together in Madagascar. Our other children, Sarah and Scott, agreed so we could all be together at Christmas.
Scott arrived first on December 17 to hang out with Chip before we arrived. The rest of us left Atlanta for Paris on an Air France flight on December 21. Later we boarded for the 11½ hour flight to Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar, arriving on December 22 and finally got to hug Chip for the first time in 18 months!
Our travels were restricted to the central highlands, visiting "Ambato," where Chip was first assigned; then Antsirabe, where he now lives and works on English instruction at a textile factory; and at a national park, for a hike through the rain forest where we observed many giant lemurs. The countryside is dominated with terraced rice fields often worked by teams of cattle related to Brahma bulls. Inhabitants of sturdy rural abodes have no electricity or running water, and live and work their fields as they have for centuries.
In "Ambato" we had a wonderful Christmas Eve dinner with Zo's family, who run a bakery and rice mill. She took Chip under her watchful eye when he worked in her village. She and her husband have three delightful children. She worked for hours to produce a delicious dinner for all of us. The family had a small Christmas tree but there are no stockings or presents for the children. As we drove down a rutted road back to civilization on a sunny Christmas morning, we passed many people in their Sunday-best walking to country churches. That afternoon these same people were back in the paddies driving their cattle teams through the water-drenched terraces of rice.
As we bid adieu to Chip, we left Madagascar with an impression of an industrious, hard-working people striving to make ends meet in time-honored ways while coping with changing times in a far corner of the world.
FEB. 15, 2013 -- It was a surprise bombshell for Catholics around the world when Pope Benedict XVI announced that he is retiring. As always, the worldwide church faces unusual problems in selecting the next pope.
times, there is no precedent for a pope's resignation. It's been 598 years
since a pope has left the church while living, the last with Pope Gregory
XII in 1415 during what was known as the Great Schism.
117 cardinals, 53 percent of them are from Europe. Charge that off against
only 24 percent of Catholics worshipers are from Europe, and you get an
indication of perhaps one way the pope's election might go.
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Editor, the Forum:
I agree completely with Kathleen Allen on her complaint about the response (or lack thereof) from our elected Representatives (and Senators, for that matter.)
The times I've contacted any of my Senators or my Congressman on any issue (usually in opposition to their position), I've either received a non-response (not unlike the generalized "one size fits all" response Ms. Allen received) or no response at all.
All too frequently I received a reply that thanked me for my "support" of his position when I had plainly opposed it! Obviously he either had not read my e-mail or chose to insult me by ignoring its contents.
When this happens I choose to ignore that candidate when he runs for re-election.
Dares to suggest nothing goes well after midnight
Editor, the Forum:
On GwinnettForum's suggestion that establishments with alcohol permits be required to close earlier than 5 a.m., I dare say nothing goes well after midnight.
The Jimmy Carter Library and Museum invites residents to come and learn about the ways in which Georgia came to share many of the characteristics of the sugar islands, how Savannah developed as a "Caribbean" town, and much more.
A program titled "A search for Identity: Colonial Georgia and the British Caribbean" will be held at 7 p.m. on March 5 at the Carter Center in Atlanta. There is no charge for admission.
How did colonial Georgia make its way into the burgeoning Caribbean and Atlantic worlds where trade spilled over national boundaries, merchants operated in multiple markets, and the transport of enslaved Africans bound together four continents?
The colony's rapid growth holds a larger story: how a frontier where Carolinians played so large a role earned its own distinctive character. Paul Pressly, author of On the Rim of the Caribbean, Colonial Georgia and the British Atlantic World, will speak on the ways in which Georgia came to share many of the characteristics of the sugar islands, how Savannah developed as a "Caribbean" town, and the impact of trade in the larger British Atlantic on institutions and people within the colony.
Pressly is director of the Ossabaw Island Education Alliance, a partnership between the Department of Natural Resources, the Board of Regents, and the Ossabaw Island Foundation, near Savannah.
Pressly grew up in Atlanta, earned his Ph.D. in history at the University of Oxford, and served as head of an independent school in Savannah for many years. As director of the Ossabaw Island Education Alliance, he organized a symposium on African American life in the Georgia Lowcountry, researches traditional African American communities on the coast of Georgia, and interprets the connections between Ossabaw and its descendant community on the mainland, Pin Point. In 2009, he received the Governor's Award in the Humanities for his work on coastal history.
Downtown Norcross to get new woman's boutique today
Dress Up Boutique is expanding to a new location in Norcross this week. The business opens today in downtown Norcross. It will offer fashion clothing and accessories with over 60 new and trendy styles weekly.
Dress Up Boutique started in 2009 in Dahlonega. Since its inception, Dress Up has opened four additional storefronts in Gainesville, Suwanee, Woodstock and Alpharetta, with two more planned for later this month in Town Brookhaven and The Avenue Webb Gin.
They are also operating online at ShopDressUp.com. They carry only 2-3 quantities in every style, and never reorder, so customers have to get the styles while they're hot, or they'll be gone! They strive to keep shoppers at the top of the latest fashion without having to spend a fortune to do so.
Dress Up Boutique, Derrick Case expresses enthusiasm about the new launch
in Norcross, stating "We are excited to bring our store to another
affluent, up-and-coming, historic downtown area, as the majority of our
current stores are in similar communities." He continued by saying,
"We pride ourselves in truly becoming a part of the local communities
in which we have our store locations."
OTC Comedy Troupe returning to Lionheart Theatre on Feb. 23
The OTC Comedy Troupe is returning to the Lionheart Theatre in Norcross with its own Improvelution Games - it's like the Hunger Games but adding a sense of humor. Well, actually, it's nothing like the Hunger Games. It's just two teams of very silly people improvising together to make the audience laugh as they vie for the coveted Golden Comedy Guy Award. The OTC takes audience suggestions and creates scenes on the spot which insures that no show is ever the same.
The next show will be Feb. 28 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10.
Kelley Cody-Grimm, OTC Artistic Director, says: "We love performing at Lionheart Theatre - Jason and Tanya Caldwell are wonderful to work with. The Norcross audiences are so much fun, we do some of our best shows there."
Comedy Troupe received the Community Impact Award for Arts Ensemble or
Collective in 2012 from ArtWorks! Gwinnett which promotes arts and culture
in the county. The OTC was recognized for its innovative performances
and as well as OTC-TV. This summer the group will also be performing at
the Decatur Arts Festival.
South Gwinnett Rotarian Mark Abrams is the owner of Aspen Information Systems, a growing Gwinnett information technology-managed services business. He also feels fortunate to have been selected to be a part of the current class of Leadership Gwinnett, a program with a mission of educating, equipping and engaging leaders to serve and strengthen Gwinnett and the region.
He says: "What I gain from each learning day is insight into the tough issues we face as a county, the opportunity to interact with the very committed leaders who have taken on these challenges and a sense of the role I can play. My goal is that while we may have differences in personal experiences and beliefs, we find common ground for inclusion around a core set of common-sense values and the passion to do what it takes to keep Gwinnett in the leadership position we now enjoy."
Leadership Gwinnett is a nine month educational and networking experience in its 28th year. The program includes seven all-day sessions, a fall and spring weekend retreat and small group discussion sessions. To date, 912 graduates have participated in the program which covers such topics as becoming a world class community, infrastructure, economics, education, health and human services, justice and regional relations. Participants also study the qualities that make an effective leader, analyze individual leadership roles, and develop personal leadership styles and skills.
Lisa Winton, a community volunteer and the chief financial officer of Winton Machine Company, graduated from Leadership Gwinnett last year. She acknowledges that the program was "one of the most educational and enjoyable experiences" she's had. "The friendships and contacts I gained through my participation are priceless," she noted.
What else did she gain? "I learned how diverse our community has become and how this can be both a blessing and a challenge," she said. "I learned how our court system is working hard to put programs in place to prevent convicts from re-admittance into the system. I had the opportunity to participate in the Principal for a Day program and learn that a Gwinnett County principal is similar to the CEO of a corporation," she said, adding that "a day at the capitol gave me a better understanding of how Gwinnett fits within the metropolitan Atlanta area and the State of Georgia. I love reading about things in the newspaper and actually knowing what is going on, "she added.
Nominations for the 2014 class of Leadership Gwinnett are now being accepted at www.leadershipgwinnett.com, according to executive director Lisa Zaken, and self-nominations are welcomed. Tuition for the nine month program for participants who live and/or work in Gwinnett is $3,000 and some scholarship money is available. Following the April 1 application deadline, 40 classmates representing diverse life experiences are selected from among Gwinnett's business, educational, and non-profit sectors. For more information about the Leadership Gwinnett experience, contact Lisa Zaken.
Lilburn Community Improvement District gets new logo
Lilburn Community Improvement District (CID) has a newly created logo.
The new logo design will provide a distinctive presentation connected with the CID's overall goals and objectives, and was designed by Shanna Weaver, left, who got a $500 check from CID Board Chairman Ed O'Conner for her winning design.
Weaver is originally from Birmingham, Ala. She is a freelance graphic designer, and she works as an instructional designer for the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.
"'On the Rim of the Caribbean, Colonial Georgia and the British Atlantic World' (University of Georgia Press) is a fascinating view of the ways in which Georgia came to share many of the characteristics of the sugar islands, how Savannah developed as a "Caribbean" town, and the impact of trade in the larger British Atlantic on institutions and people within the colony. Author Paul Pressly is a 2009 Governor's Award recipient and Georgia Humanities Council grantee."
Epworth by the Sea is a conference and retreat center on St. Simons Island owned and operated by the South Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church. Annually serving more than 125,000 persons from around the world, it is open to all denominations, state and local agencies, groups, and individuals whose goals are consistent with Epworth's purpose: "To provide a Christian place for worship, study and fellowship."
The 83-acre campus is located on Gascoigne Bluff, the one-mile riverbank tract stretching from the causeway bridge to the bend in the Frederica River. Named for Captain James Gascoigne, commander of the sloop-of-war Hawk, the bluff offered vessels the first landing place after entering the harbor. Captain Gascoigne escorted Georgia's first British sailors to the bluff, and they established Fort Frederica in 1735.
Along with General James Oglethorpe, the Anglican priests John and Charles Wesley arrived in 1736 to serve as missionaries at Fort Frederica under the auspices of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts. On returning to England, the brothers founded the Methodist movement.
More than 200 years later, Bishop Arthur J. Moore, the Methodist Episcopal leader of Georgia, along with friends and Methodist supporters, stood on the bluff overlooking the salt marshes immortalized by the Georgia poet Sidney Lanier and agreed that St. Simons was indeed the perfect location for a conference and retreat center. Assisted by the influential businessman Alfred W. Jones Sr., president of the Sea Island Company, the Methodists purchased part of the Hamilton Plantation in 1949 and named it Epworth by the Sea, after the Wesleys' boyhood home of Epworth, England. One of the four remaining slave cabins on St. Simons is located on the grounds.
Since opening in 1950, Epworth has grown from a small rustic camp facility with a few old plantation buildings to a comprehensive, first-class center. Epworth's staff of 100 is governed by a 40-member board of trustees and supervised by a superintendent who is a United Methodist minister appointed by the presiding bishop of the South Georgia Conference.
Lane Chapel, St. Simons' oldest standing church building, hosts Sunday services and is available for weddings. Constructed in 1880, it is named after the site of the 1784 founding conference of American Methodism in Baltimore, Md. Epworth's facilities accommodate up to 1,000 and include motel rooms, family apartments, and youth cabins. Auditoriums seat from 300 to 900, and meeting rooms and classrooms have audiovisual equipment available. An in-season swimming pool, athletic fields, covered basketball courts, tennis courts, bicycles, and fishing piers provide sports activities for all ages.
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"Oh, if it be to choose and call thee mine, love, thou art every day my Valentine!"
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
Mind/Body Health Fair: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Feb. 16, Norcross High. Presented by the Georgia Psychological Association, the Fair is free and is a collaborative venture between Norcross High School and GPA and is sponsored, in part, by the City of Norcross and Trader Joe's. More: www.gapsychology.org/events or call (404) 634-6272.
(NEW) "The Southern Strategy in the American Revolution:" 2 p.m., Feb. 17, Ashton Senior Living, 1155 Lawrenceville Highway in Lawrenceville. The speaker will be Robert M. (Skeet) Willingham Jr., who will speak in commemoration of Georgia Day, when Gen. James Oglethorpe landed for the first time in Savannah. Mr. Willingham is from Washington, Ga., and is a research historian and author. More details.
(NEW) "Peanuts Naturally:" Exhibit showing now through April 28, Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center, 2020 Clean Water Drive in Buford. The exhibit takes a light-hearted look at Charles Schulz's exploration of the natural world through Peanuts comic strips, videos, objects, and interactive stations. More": call 770-904-3500 or visit www.gwinnettEHC.org
Event for Quilters: 10 a.m., Feb. 19, Cannon United Methodist Church, 2424 Webb Gin House Road, Snellville. Meet Marie Bostwick, a quilter who is author of the Cobbled Court Quilt novels. The event is put on by the Gwinnett County Public Library and the Gwinnett Quilter's Guild. There is a $5 charge to attend for non-members of the Guild. For more information, visit www.gwinnettpl.org.
Breakfast Networking of Buford Business Association: 8:30 a.m., Feb. 19, Springhill Suites, 3250 Buford Drive (across from Mall of Georgia).
Open Meetings and Records Workshop: 7 p.m., Feb. 19, Holy Martyrs of Vietnam Catholic Church, 4545 Timmers Way, Norcross. Speaking will be Stefan Ritter, senior assistant attorney general. The event is free. Details: 678-632-3255.
Legislative Update at the Sierra Club meeting: 7 p.m., Feb. 21, Berkmar High. Speaking will be Lobbyists Mark Woodall and Neill Herring, updating about environmental measures being considered by the General Assembly. For more information, contact Dan Friedman.
Meet the Author Series: 7:15 p.m., Feb. 21, Norcross Cultural Arts Center, 10 College Street. Featured will be bestselling author Brandon Sanderson and Robert Jordan's widow and long-time editor Harriet McDougal. They will be celebrating the conclusion of Robert Jordan's epic fantasy series, The Wheel of Time. They will discuss and sign the new book, A Memory of Light. For more information about library events, visit www.gwinnettpl.org, or call (770) 978-5154
Gun Violence Reduction program: 7:30 p.m., Feb. 21, Northwest Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 1025 Mount Vernon Highway, Sandy Springs. Join Alice Johnson, Gun Safety Georgia; Kathryn Grant, The Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus; attorney Michael Manely; and the Rev. Terry Davis, Northwest Unitarian Universalist Congregation for a discussion on strategies for "Gun Violence Reduction, a discussion on where we go and what we do post-Sandy Hook."
Caregiver's Conference: 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., Feb. 23, First United Methodist Church of Lawrenceville, 395 West Crogan Street. Guest speaker will be Maria Greene, a consultant with the National Association of States United for Aging and Disabilities. Cost, including breakfast and lunch, is $10. This is a program from the Gwinnett Coalition of Health and Human Services supported by Gwinnett Neighborhood Leadership and Friends of Gwinnett County Senior Services. For more information, call 678 964 4838.
Working on Purpose is the title of a talk in the GLOW series at the 1818 Club on Sugarloaf Parkway on March 1 at 7:15 a.m. Speaker will be Lori Billingsley, vice president of Community Relations for Coca-Cola Company. For more details, send email here.
"Doors and Portals" is the title of the new exhibit at the Kudzu Art Zone, 116 Carlyle Street in Norcross. Juried art work in a variety of styles and mediums will be on display. The gallery is open Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. The current exhibit continues through March 23.
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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