Issue 12.86 | Friday, Feb. 22, 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.
LOGANVILLE, Ga., Feb. 22, 2013 -- Having grown up in Decatur, Ga., in DeKalb County, seems like on the other side of the world compared to where I live now, in Gwinnett, County.
Looking back, the streets and community of Decatur are the same as it was 30 years ago, old, dirty, and with a lot of pot holes, etc. I used to wonder why our little community couldn't look as nice as the areas farther north. I always wanted to know, was there more to the world than the look of abandoned communities?
The biggest difference then and now is the culture, atmosphere and visual structure of the community that separated us. Back then, there was no money for growth and not enough voices to make a difference. DeKalb didn't have the community leaders who we see today who have shaped the face of Gwinnett to what it is.
The statement, "There is money in DeKalb," has verbally floated around for decades, but not applied. Gwinnett has built platforms, such as the Gwinnett Coalition, that creates awareness to get more people involved by listening, supporting and empowering the community in which these people live.
Being that DeKalb County didn't show a wealth of opportunities that the counties farther north displayed, it had its own personal sense of development that is still evolving today. Today DeKalb and Gwinnett share similarities, such as the homelessness and foreclosures.
With DeKalb having far fewer cities then Gwinnett, each city looks the same compared to Gwinnett's endless possibilities as you cross from city to city and look toward the future. In Gwinnett, you see your tax dollars at work. You see new construction, you see new schools being built, you see clean roads, and you see community involvement.
DeKalb County focused on more-seasoned communities, such as Tucker, North Druid Hills, or downtown Stone Mountain, to created improvements that attracted growth. However, in the last decade, DeKalb has started changes that Gwinnett had already begun, so DeKalb made changes by building and refurbishing parks and recreation centers, and building newer homes in poverty area, to improve the overall community. The leading problem DeKalb faces now is in attracting money back into the community and getting residents of its communities involved in cleaning up and maintaining the area in which they live.
Gwinnett is several steps ahead of DeKalb because it has these plans already in motion and continues to strive for excellence within the community. The phrase, "It takes a village to raise a child," and "There is no "I" in team," are where the groundwork needs to begin in DeKalb.
Gwinnett has a reputation for stability, while DeKalb is struggling to rebuild their reputation. Change is never easy, but with community involvement, it can be rewarding. Gwinnett County citizens are passionate and they think beyond their own front door, by being at the frontline for positive growth and change. And this makes me proud of Gwinnett.
FEB. 22, 2013 -- The new City of Peachtree Corners Council has leaped over its first big controversy as it voted to buy the "Roberts Tract" on Peachtree Parkway recently. Just last night (Thursday) the City opened up to citizen input on what the best use of the property would be. It will take several such meetings before it is clear what direction this property takes.
The key element now is that the City has taken action for what it thinks is best: halting the possibility of the building of additional apartments on the tract.
No doubt there is a split among residents of Peachtree Corners if this decision by the Council was the correct one. Besides the knee-jerk reactions by those who opposed the incorporation of the area into a city (remember, 37 percent voted against forming a city), still some of the "aginers" were no doubt in approval of the halting of the apartment development. We would anticipate that most people who favored incorporation would be in agreement with the vote by the Council to buy the property. Either way: it's a done deal, with the City to become the new property owner.
We applaud the action by Mayor Mike Mason and his Council for making the quick decision to move forward with purchasing the 20 or so acres of the tract, cornered by Peachtree Parkway and Peachtree Corners Circle.
What makes their decision so ironic is that it moves toward a larger government, coming on the heels of forming the new city to be a "lite" model government. The three service proponents of cityhood proposed was for planning and zoning, code enforcement and sanitation services. It's ironic that purchasing land does not seem to fit into any of the three services originally proposed.
In a stretch, you might be able to say that the land purchase could be understood as under "planning and zoning." But to what use the City will put the land, and how it is done and paid for, is a big question. After all, the courts had ruled that the landowners could move forward with development, almost certain with apartments. All this was based on a 2001 court decision, which with appeals, halted development until the present.
The city, we understand, felt it had to take action immediately to purchase the land, so that destroying the forest of the tract and beginning of construction would not begin. In a very real sense, the City must have felt that its back was up against the wall. It was move now, or never get a chance to halt the construction. (By the way, the price is not announced yet, under Georgia law, since the city is in legal negotiation with the owner.)
So, the limited government that was promised is now moving to the establishment of more government in the form of a Downtown Development Authority to float bonds for the purchase of the property, and repay the bond over a 10 year period. City officials say this can be done without raising taxes. We'll see.
Even though it's ironic that the City's first big action was to expand in the face of why it was formed, we applaud the action. It appears to be in the best interest of the City. Now the new question becomes: will the City take additional steps soon to expand government even more?
The public spiritedness of our sponsors allows us to bring GwinnettForum.com to you at no cost to readers. Today's underwriter is Gwinnett Center, home to four distinct facilities in Duluth: The Arena at Gwinnett Center, Gwinnett Convention Center, Gwinnett Performing Arts Center, and The Hudgens Center for the Arts. The Arena at Gwinnett Center has had ten years of tremendous success hosting countless concerts, and community and sporting events, which include being home to an ECHL Hockey Team, the Gwinnett Gladiators. Some past concerts include American Idol, George Strait, Foo Fighters, Eric Clapton, Katy Perry, Jason Aldean, Kid Rock, James Taylor and Michael Bublé. The Arena at Gwinnett Center also hosts many family shows including Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey, Cirque du Soleil, Disney On Ice and Harlem Globetrotters. Gwinnett Convention Center offers patrons the opportunity to host or attend a wide variety of events; from corporate meetings to trade shows to social occasions. Gwinnett Performing Arts Center has an intimate capacity of 700 seats and is home to many local events, family shows and even some comedians. The Hudgens Center for the Arts showcases a range of artwork throughout the year along with offering a wide range of fine art classes. For further information visit www.gwinnettcenter.com.
Editor, the Forum:
to have once again corrupted good people. I'm speaking of the new City
of Peachtree Corners Mayor and Council. In their private, behind closed
doors vote they decided to well-overstep their charter of existence to
provide only THREE services, and purchase a tract of land across from
the Forum on Peachtree Parkway known as the Roberts property.
They all pledged no debt, and now voted to enter into a yet still unknown (publicly at least) amount of long term debt.
Once again, public officials' actions speak much louder than their words! This mess isn't Bush's fault, it isn't Obama's fault, it falls squarely on the shoulders of the initial officials of Peachtree Corners!
Feels area around Norcross looks blighted and plain ugly
Editor, the Forum:
An area of Gwinnett, in particular in Norcross, looks blighted. No, it is just ugly, and the politicians are too blind to see it. All the signage and auto places make the area look very unappealing.
I don't see why the City of Norcross can't look like the Crossville Road area of Roswell, where shrubbery and landscaping, as well as a well-placed white fence, unify and enhance the surroundings.
We have a few roads that already have the Roswell idea. However, most of Buford Highway all the way to Duluth looks bad and could imitate the Roswell model with a central treed divider, a long white fence, some well-chosen shrubbery, and the elimination of ugly signage, particularly auto signage.
There is, unfortunately, no unifying idea in the commercial area of Norcross proper, but that's why the Crossville Road model works so well, as it integrates nature, home-i-ness, and business. Architectural planning helps too--witness the uniform storefronts found in some towns in the county. And, in addition to its aesthetic effect, the center divider might facilitate pedestrian crossing, unlike the double-turn lane we now have.
Is there anyone out there with an interest in addressing this issue? Thanks.
of Lawrenceville, in conjunction with the Great American Clean-up Gwinnett
Challenge, will embark on neighborhood revitalization during the months
of March, April and May. The emphasis of this effort will focus on engaging
and encouraging residents to pro-actively clean-up their respective neighborhoods.
Arnold has next Art on the Wall project in Snellville
Sally Arnold is the next visual artist exhibiting artwork at Snellville City Hall as a continuation of the Art on the Wall program. The art will be displayed during February and March in the community room at City Hall.
Arnold has lived in Snellville and raised her family, with husband Terry, over the last 40 years. She has always been creative. She is a member of Southeastern Pastel Society, Blue Ridge Art Association, and the juried artist group Southern Colours; exhibiting in shows and galleries. After painting mainly in pastels, she became fascinated with encaustics, hot pigmented wax painted on board and fused in layers with a torch. Her encaustic paintings have depth and luminosity that are unique and beautiful. An artist reception will be February 28 from 4:30 to 7 p.m. at City Hall to give residents a chance to meet the artist and view her pastel and encaustic paintings.
and groups interested in having a solo show of their own at city hall
are encouraged to contact the Snellville art jurors. The application and
selection criteria can be found on the city website at www.snellville.org.
Significant decreases in crime continued throughout the Gwinnett Place Community Improvement District (GPCID) in 2012. This decrease has occurred as the GPCID strengthened its working relationship with the Gwinnett Police Department. The GPCID additionally led record cleanup efforts of the District, strengthened code enforcement and contracts with a private security firm to conduct regular vehicle patrols.
The Gwinnett County Police Department Crime Analysis Unit reports that crime in the Gwinnett Place area decreased 23 percent over the last year. Gwinnett Police also report that overall crime incidents in the Gwinnett Place District have decreased by nearly half since 2007.
The community also saw a reduction in the number of traffic accidents, down 56 percent in 2012 from the GPCID baseline year of 2007. The Gwinnett Place CID contracts with a private security firm to patrol the district to supplement public safety efforts and enforce codes and standards.
ArtWorks! plans annual Fusion Awards program on Feb. 25
arts council serving Gwinnett County, ArtWorks! Gwinnett, will recognize
stellar contributions made in the arts in Gwinnett at the second annual
"Fusion ArtWorks! Awards" on Monday, February 25, at the Buford
Community Center. The awards celebrate the artists, arts administrators,
and citizens who support the arts county-wide.
"Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse stories are beyond silly. They are wonderfully wacky, foppishly foolish and really ridiculous. Quintessentially English idealistic tales of innocence, they are sometimes called "fairytales for adults." Set in England's Edwardian era when people dressed formally and followed ridiculous rules of conduct, this book is about upper class young men who belong to the "Drones Club," where they do nothing but drink and make mischief. I actually like Wodehouses's world (think a comedic "Downton Abbey") more than I like his plots because the plots can sometimes get so convoluted I can't keep track. But the best part about Wodehouse is his use of the English language and how he mixes quirky, youthful slang with elegant, drawing-room English. If you've never read a Wodehouse book, I recommend that you start with this one about Bertie Wooster and his famous valet, Jeeves."
In 1822 Oliver H. Prince and family moved to Bibb County, and the following year Prince was one of five commissioners who selected the site and platted the streets of Macon. He bought a lot at Fifth and Plum streets and opened a law office there. In 1824 he served in the General Assembly as a state senator, and in 1828 the legislature elected him to fill the unexpired term of U.S. Senator Thomas W. Cobb, who had resigned. Prince served in the 20th Congress from November 1828 until March 1829.
In 1831 Prince presided over the state's first railroad convention, in Eatonton, which met to devise a plan for bringing railroads to Georgia. He was one of the first stockholders and directors of the Georgia Railroad Company.
After residing in Bibb County for a decade, Prince gave up the practice of law in 1832 and moved to Milledgeville, where he purchased and edited an influential newspaper, the Georgia Journal. In 1835 Prince sold the newspaper and retired. The following year he moved to Athens, where he had recently purchased a 450-acre farm. He lived there for only 16 months, from February 1, 1836, the day of his arrival, until May 25, 1837, the day he departed on a journey to the North to arrange for publication of the new edition of his Legal Digest.
On Oct. 9, 1837, while on their way back to Athens, Prince and his wife were lost at sea off Ocracoke Island, N.C., when the steam packet they were aboard foundered after entering the path of Racer's Storm, one of the most monstrous hurricanes of the century. A cenotaph for Oliver and Mary Prince was erected by their children in Rose Hill Cemetery in Macon. Although it has fallen over and lies face-up, the cenotaph remains in the family plot of their daughter Sarah Virginia (Prince) Green.
Prince was a trustee of the University of Georgia, and after their deaths a memorial service for him and his wife was held in the University Chapel. Prince Avenue in Athens and Prince Street in Macon are named after Oliver Prince.
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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.
"Wouldn't it be silly if we got wiped out (by a meteor) because we weren't looking. This is a wake-up call from space. We've got to pay attention to what's out there."
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!
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Homestead Exemption deadline is approaching. Deadline is April 1 for property owners living on their property as of January 1. They may apply for this exemption to save on their ad valorem (property) tax. Once granted, the homestead exemption is automatically renewed each year. To find out more about the 14 exemptions available and eligibility requirements, visit this site, contact the Tax Commissioner's Office by email or call 770-822-8800. Applications for 2013 exemptions will not be accepted after April 1.
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.
(NEW) Art show: March 2 to May 21, George Pierce Park Community Recreation Center, 55 Buford Highway, Suwanee. Two artists are featured: June Gotthardt, showing landscapes of the North Carolina mountains; and Karen Device, whose work is described as "embodying a child-like sense of wonder." Admission is free. Open each day of the week and Saturday. Call 678-277-0910 for details or visit online.
"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.
"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
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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