Issue 12.88 | Friday, March 1, 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.
SUWANEE, Ga., March 1, 2013 -- By the time winter loses its grip on southern gardens, homeowners pine for beautiful flowers to celebrate the emerging spring.
One perfect native plant (a small tree to 25 feet) is the Fringe tree (Chionanthus virginicus), or Grancy Greybeard. Fragrant, delicate, white flowers cascade in 6-8 inch clusters around April. Fringe trees are "typically tough, trouble-free plants once established," according to Gil Nelson in "Best Native Plants for Southern Gardens." Female trees will bear olive-like fruits that turn from green to dark blue. Large, lustrous, dark green leaves are a handsome foil for summer perennials and smaller shrubs.
If two-season color suits you, plant a Serviceberry (Amelanchier spp.), a small tree (under 25') or shrub which erupts in "showy clusters of pinkish to bright white flowers . . . an eye-catching display in late winter gardens," writes Nelson. In fall, brilliant red, orange or gold foliage persists. "Serviceberries are easy to grow and can be sited in full sun or filtered shade."
An extra appeal of both spring beauties: nourishment for wildlife, including pollinators and birds. Serviceberry's fruits are a favorite of berry-eating birds -- cedar waxwings, robins and other thrushes, bluejays and catbirds.
A good tree to get rid of is the Bradford pear.
This tree, Callery pear (Pyrus calleryana), is native to China. In 1918, says the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, "seed was brought to the United States for potential use as rootstock for cultivated pears." One vigorous seedling without the spines typical of this species, was named 'Bradford,' and became a landscape hit.
According to Invasive.org, a collaboration of the USDA and the University of Georgia, "The Bradford, which produced sterile fruits, has been widely planted, but recent cultivars, bred to reduce the tree's tendency to split, have produced viable seeds and escaped to invade disturbed areas."
The verdict: Bradford pear is overplanted (Do you really want a plant that everyone else has by the dozens?); suffers damage easily; and now is degrading natural areas by reproducing and outcompeting native species. The fruit is rarely eaten by any wildlife except squirrels.
Douglas Tallamy, Chair of the University of Delaware Department of Entomology and Ecology, in "Bringing Nature Home," says: "Traditionally, we created our gardens with one thing in mind: aesthetics. Yet if we designed our buildings the way we design our gardens, they would fall down. Just as buildings need support structures -- girders, I-beams, and headers -- to hold the beautiful lines of fine architecture in place, our gardens need native plants to support a diverse and balanced food web essential to all sustainable ecosystems."
MARCH 1, 2013 -- In our lifetime, all of us have seen the tremendous advancement of science. One of the key ways science has changed our way of living was the advancement of television into our homes.
Its presence has dramatically changed our lifestyle.
No longer do people, at night in good weather, sit on their front porches and talk to one another and to neighbors. Instead, they have the television set on virtually all the hours people are in the household. Actually, they probably have several TV sets on at the same time, for different people in different rooms.
Nighttimes are now all too often taken up by watching television. At one time not too many years ago, most everyone watched one of the three major networks.
Then along came cable, with its multiplicity of offerings. This has significantly changed our viewing habits. In fact, where the next morning people were once talking about one of the three national networks, today there's not as much common watching. The proliferation of cable channels has changed what we talk about, since there are few common interests.
It takes a big event, such as a presidential address, or some major catastrophe, or the Super Bowl, for most Americans to watch a common story.
Now there is a new kid on the block, so to speak, also fighting for the audience time on the television. We refer to the growing phenomenon of "streaming." A new set of players come under this new vehicle, such names as Amazon, Hulu, YouTube and Netflix. These new players on television offer a wealth of movies, old television series and popular videos, all brought to your screen at the time you want to watch them.
All you need is some magic box to connect the television with your computer, and wham! Instantly you have a world of choices of what you want to watch, at a relatively low price. Netflix charges, for instance, $7.99 a month.
What makes these streaming services so viable these days is the continual disappointment many people have with the quality of what the big networks routinely supply: low quality television. There is one bright spot in regular television: the public broadcasting networks, which seem to have cornered good taste with high quality for the most part. The only drawback these Public Broadcasting Systems station have is their constant solicitation of public support, often called "Begging," for dollars.
However, where the televised western movies, the "shoot-em-ups," have given way to modern spy stories, criminal detection and special effect episodes, many people have tired of such shenanigans. They have taken refuge in the streaming services, where they can find comfortable programming to enjoy.
Recently Netflix developed a novel idea which is getting it new attention. It developed a new mini-drama of 13 episodes (concerning national politics in Washington, D.C.), and instead of sending it out episode-by-episode over 13 weeks, Netflix put up all 13 episodes at one time. This "House of Cards" series, starring Kevin Spacey, has proven most popular. It has something of a cult following, with many people viewing episodes virtually back-to-back, not waiting for one every week.
Those following the industry say immediate posting of the total series is a major change, certain to be adopted by others streaming video. It signals another key development in the way Americans watch television.
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Editor, the Forum:
The idea for a tax on stock transactions, in the last GwinnettForum, starts with the incorrect premise that this country needs more taxes to pay down the deficit. We do not have a revenue problem, instead we have a spending problem that no amount of new taxes can cure. The solution is to reduce spending so that no new taxes are needed.
The idea of taxing stock purchases probably comes from the mistaken assumption that only rich people buy stock so let's tax them more. This is not true. More than two-thirds of the households in the U.S. own stock, many through their mutual funds in retirement accounts. Logistically, exempting certain types of transactions such as those in IRAs would be a nightmare. In fact, such an exemption would help higher income households, not punish them as many people seem to want to do. Further, in many cases, the cost of collecting such a tax would outweigh the tax dollars received.
Just because there is an activity (stock purchase) that is not taxed is no reason to tax it. If we want to raise a lot of money through taxes, then there are other ways: for example, how about charging 10 cents to send an email, a two percent sales tax on new home purchases, or sales tax on haircuts and car repairs, and on and on. How about cutting foreign aid in half, or stopping "research" that has no meaningful benefit to taxpayers. An example would be a study to study how the creative mind writes music, or a $5 million study to study how democratic goldfish schools are, or how long it takes shrimp to get tired walking on a treadmill.
We cannot tax our way out of debt. Most states require a balanced budget and they do not raise taxes to do this. Perhaps we could learn from them rather than going around looking for new activities to tax.
Editor, the Forum:
into the tax the rich through a transaction tax: you fail to realize two
very important points. Most Americans have their pensions, IRAs, 401K's
invested in the stock market. A tax on stock transactions would be another
tax on every American citizen in this country. Lord help you if you have
a pension fund manager, or a financial consultant that likes to flip stocks
Feels Congress would "bump up" the rate on any tax
Editor, the Forum:
As I see it, there are two problems with your "transaction tax" February 23.
You said, "That idea is to tax stock market transactions with a small federal levy that could go a long way to getting our country out of its deficit." Do you really think this $35.2 billion will be given over to deficit reduction? I don't think there is any chance that any of it will be used to reduce out mushrooming deficit.
Second problem is they say the tax is proposed to be ONLY three hundredth of a percentage point. You better believe this tax will be raised because Congress will bump up the rate every chance they get and it still will not be used for deficit reduction.
In an unexpected turnabout, the new City of Peachtree Corners may not have to buy a 20.6 acre tract to halt apartment development. The Council approved a back-up contract for the land across from the Peachtree Forum shopping center this week.
The land is now under contract by a local developer. It is now anticipated that the developer will apply for a re-zoning on the property, to develop it at a higher use than apartments, because of the price of the land.
While the original plan was for the City to institute a Downtown Development Authority to purchase the land, this anticipated purchase by the city may now be averted.
The developer intends to create a mixed use development on the site that reflects the architectural design of the Forum. There will be a public meeting on the 2033 Comprehensive Plan on April 24 concerning the site.
County may buy Norcross water, sewer system for $2 million
The City of Norcross has reached an intergovernmental agreement to sell its water and wastewater systems to the Gwinnett County government.
Council is expected to hear public comment in March and act on the agreement
in April. If approved by both governments, nearly 2,200 city water and
sewer customers will be billed directly by the Gwinnett County Department
of Water Resources starting in May/June, at an approximate 10 percent
increase in rates.
Mayor Bucky Johnson says that a citizen-and-council task force had examined
the option four years ago. "They unanimously recommended that we
approach the county about purchasing the system. We are satisfied that
this deal makes sense for both the city and the county, but Council will
take additional time to hear from our customers before making a final
City of Lilburn plans to open community garden April 20
The grand opening of the Lilburn Community Garden is scheduled for Saturday, April 20. A Ribbon Cutting ceremony will take place at 10 a.m. in the field across from Lilburn City Hall parking lot.
Those interested in volunteering for the Garden or would like to rent a plot, should visit www.lilburncommunitygarden.org for more information. Rental Application and Garden Policy Forms are available for downloading on our website. Rental plots and costs are 4x12 feet for $60 a year, or are 4x8 feet for $40 a year.
The community garden was part of the vision to promote downtown Lilburn as a place to bring people together. Lilburn Mayor Johnny Crist, put out a call to the Lilburn community in 2012 asking for volunteers to work on creating a community garden for Lilburn.
Over the course of months, volunteers helped plan and design a garden. In addition, a formal organization, Lilburn Community Garden Inc., was formed. A board of directors was appointed to oversee activities of the garden and to provide direction for the organization. The City of Lilburn offered property for the garden.
Throughout March and early April an exciting aspect of those plans is coming to fruition, the actual construction of the Lilburn Community Garden. The ground will be prepared, water pipes will be installed, landscaping will be done and the rental plots will be built.
3rd annual Antique Road Show to be in Norcross March 9
The third annual Norcross Antique Road Show is planned for Saturday, March 9 at the Norcross Cultural Arts and Community Center, 10 College Street. The show will be from 12:30 p.m. until 3:30 p.m., with the doors open at 11:30 a.m. Persons may bring one item for the show. Items will be selected by 1 p.m. to be appraised.
appraiser and HGTV personality Selma Paul will evaluate each item's worth.
Attendees can use this time as a free opportunity to find out if their
belongings are of museum quality!
DOT announces a project milestone is planned for overnight Saturday, March
2, if weather permits. Georgia Highway 316 traffic at Highway 20 will
be moved out from its current location to temporary lanes on the outside
of the current lanes.
* * * *
Georgia Department of Transportation will install a new traffic signal that will begin flashing February 28 at the intersection of Highway 120/Duluth Highway and Meadowbrook Parkway/Legacy Parkway. If weather permits and testing goes well, the signal will be operational Thursday, March 7.
Duluth group to present "History Comes Alive" series
Several events are on tap during the month of March at the Duluth Historical Society, at 2956 Buford Highway, as it presents a "History Comes Alive" series.
March 2, at 10 a.m., "Barefoot" Bill Pacer, an Atlanta actor
at right, will present Benjamin Franklin, His Life, His Politics and His
Inventions. Most people forget Franklin was an inventor; however everyone
knows he was influential in helping to shape our nation's founding documents.
A donation of $5 at the door will help defray travel expenses.
ArtWorks! Gwinnett recognizes key people with awards
Gwinnett, the non-profit council serving Gwinnett County, named winners
for contributions made in the arts in Gwinnett at the second annual "Fusion
ArtWorks! Gwinnett Art Awards" last week at the Buford Theatre and
Community Center. The awards celebrate the artists, arts administrators,
and citizens who support the arts county-wide.
Here is a list of other winners:
Medical Center names new directors for oncology services
Gwinnett Medical Center (GMC) recently tapped Anthony M. Landis, DO, as medical director and Katherine Michaud, MPA, as director for oncology services.
As a member of the GMC medical staff, Dr. Landis has served cancer patients for more than three decades and brings years of clinical research experience and leadership to the hospital system's oncology services department. He has been a pharmaceutical trial investigator in more than 50 studies and has been affiliated with the Atlanta Regional Community Clinical Oncology Program, the National Cancer Institute and the Georgia Oncology Partners Research and Education Foundation. Dr. Landis has been an active member of the board of directors for the American Cancer Society, eastern chapter since 1984. He is also a member of the Translational Oncology Research International (TORI) network.
Michaud's career includes 10 years in health administration and operating specialty physician practices including oncology, pulmonology, nephrology, diabetes and nutrition center management and more. Most recently Michaud led oncology operations for the third largest health system in Maine. Her administrative experience allows her to focus on the further expansion of GMC's oncology program and its integration into existing services.
Phil Wolfe, president of the Medical Center, says: "Ms. Michaud's knowledge of all aspects of practice administration and her strength in managing the coordination between the hospital, medical staff and the individual will help us reach our goal of expanding oncology's offerings to comprehensively address needs regarding cancer prevention, treatment and ongoing care for patients."
Georgia ranks third in the United States in acreage of watermelons (Citrullus lanatus). Yearly production of watermelons in Georgia ranges from 24,000 to 36,000 acres. Other melons, primarily cantaloupe (Cucumis melo), account for an additional 3,500 to 6,800 acres. Melons collectively contribute $26-$57 million in farm gate value (the value of the commodity when it leaves the farm) to the state's economy each year.
Most melons are produced in the southern half of the state as a spring/summer crop and require 85 to 110 days to mature. Only a handful of melons are produced in the fall and then only in southern Georgia. The peak harvest season is from late May through mid-July. Although Georgia-grown melons are available locally throughout the season, the majority of the state's melons are exported to northern states and Canada. Cordele, in Crisp County, has the largest melon market in the state and is considered the heart of the Georgia watermelon industry.
Georgia producers primarily grow the Allsweet, Crimson Sweet, and Jubilee varieties of watermelon and the western shipper type of cantaloupe (western shippers are medium-sized to small melons with shallow or no ribbing and light to coarse netting). An increasing portion (still less than 50 percent) of the watermelon acreage has been shifted to the production of seedless melons. Although these melons contain some seed coats, they are generally free of the hard seed usually associated with watermelons.
The use of improved hybrid varieties, in combination with plastic mulches and irrigation, has allowed Georgia growers to produce greater yields and to harvest earlier. Average yield of watermelons in the state is around 35,000 pounds per acre, although yields of more than 50,000 pounds are not uncommon.
Watermelons originated from the Kalahari Desert in southern Africa. Every part of the watermelon is edible, including the rind, which is used to make pickles, and the seeds, which are often baked. Although watermelons are 92 percent water, they are rich sources of vitamins A and C.
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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.
"O Lord, help me to be pure, but not yet."
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
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.
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.
(NEW) How To Avoid Getting Scammed will be among subjects covered at the March 5 noon meeting of the Snellville Commerce Club at the Community Room of the Snellville City Hall. John Sours, administrator of the Governor's Office of Consumer Protection, will be the speaker.
(NEW) Hiking Trails and Birding Trails of North Georgia will be the subject of the March meeting of the Southern Wings Bird Club at 7 p.m. on March 11 at the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center. Speaker will be Eddi Minche. More.
"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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