2/14: Gwinnett Village CID’s move; A “no” for Trump; more

GwinnettForum  |  Number 16.85  |  Feb. 14, 2017  

NINTH YEAR: For the ninth consecutive year, the Arbor Day Foundation has recognized Gwinnett Technical College with the Tree Campus USA designation in honor of its commitment to effective urban forest management. Currently, only 296 campuses across the United States have this distinction. Just 17 campuses in Georgia received this honor, and Gwinnett Technical College is one of only three technical colleges in the state named to the 2016 list. Scott Mitchell, Gwinnett Tech’s Grounds Manager and Campus Arborist (ISA SO-6003A) says proudly, “Through a great relationship between Gwinnett Tech Grounds and the Horticulture program, our campus landscape has truly evolved.  Through our commitment to a strong landscape management plan, we continue to plant more trees each year and remain dedicated to maintaining the overall health of our existing tree canopy. It’s something we are most proud to achieve.”
TODAY’S FOCUS: Gwinnett Village CID Moves to New Site at I-85 and Indian Trail Road
EEB PERSPECTIVE: Judges Give New President Perhaps His First and Only “No!”
SPOTLIGHT: Georgia Gwinnett College
FEEDBACK: Appreciates Article on Keyless Auto Entry
UPCOMING: Georgia Highway 20 Four-Laned from Forsyth to Walton County Lines
NOTABLE: Ten More Athletes Named to Dacula High Sports Hall of Fame
RECOMMENDED: Poems for Life; A Special Collection of Poetry selected by various celebrities
GEORGIA TIDBIT: Alliance Theatre of Atlanta Is Largest Regional Theater in the Southeast
MYSTERY PHOTO: Do These Trees and Pathways Identify This Photo?
CALENDAR: Citizenship and Naturalization Workshop Coming Soon

Gwinnett Village CID moves to new site at I-85 and Indian Trail Road

By Joel Wascher  |  The Gwinnett Village Community Improvement District has moved to a new location within the District. The new location is in Oakbrook Plaza office building, at the intersection of Interstate 85 and Indian Trail-Lilburn Road.

For years, the Gwinnett Village Community Improvement District was based on Jimmy Carter Boulevard, and for good reason, since Jimmy Carter is a critical corridor for the community and the region. Some 60,000+ cars passed in front  of that two-story building every day. Across the top of that building were the familiar blue letters reading Gwinnett Village.

Some may remember that another organization was housed in the CID offices for some time and the space was large enough to accommodate both quite comfortably. For the better part of the past two years the CID has been occupying the space by itself and it was not well designed to serve an organization of only four staff members.

The staff and board searched for a space that was right-sized to serve an organization of the CID’s size, but would still allow the hosting of community events. Last year, the CID found a space that was perfect for them in an office building at the corner of I-85 and Indian Trail Road. The CID had the opportunity to renovate the space and to optimize the layout.

In addition to the staff offices the CID built two separate meeting spaces; a big room to host board meetings and larger functions, and a collaboration space in the lobby to serve as a sort of studio and informal meeting space. Technology and a full-sized chalkboard wall are some of the features included to make this a great environment for all anticipated activities.

At the beginning of 2017, the CID began its move to a new space — on February 9, they hosted the first meeting of the CID’s board of directors. On March 13, the CID will welcome partners to celebrate the official ribbon cutting for its new home.

  • Event Details: Location- CID Offices, 1770 Indian Trail Road, NW, Suite 150, Norcross, Ga. 30093
  • Time: Monday, March 13, 10 a.m. The ribbon cutting will be held at 10, but guests are welcome to come early and stay after for refreshments and conversation. The CID is requesting RSVPs which can be submitted to this link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/gwinnett-village-ribbon-cutting-tickets-31762032093.

Meanwhile, Matt Gore has joined Gwinnett Village Community Improvement District as Project Manager. He will oversee the CID’s projects and planning, including project financing and grant submissions.

Previously, Gore was project controls coordinator for the Gwinnett County Department of Transportation and as a budget analyst with the Athens-Clarke County government. He is also a member of the Council for Quality Growth’s Emerging Leaders Initiative. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of South Florida, and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Georgia. He lives in Suwanee with his wife, Claire, and their two children.


Judges give new president perhaps his first and only “No!”

By Elliott Brack, editor and publisher |  Finally, and maybe for the first time, someone has said “No” to Donald Trump.

About the only other time he may have heard the words “No” was from his two previous wives, who finally divorced him.  For sure, it seems that he has never heard the words from his parents, who must have given him his every wish. For sure they staked him with vast sums to start his fiefdom.

It took three justices of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, to end the years and years, some 71, of “Yes” that our new president expects to hear.

Suddenly, our president learned what the “checks and balances,” on which our country is based, actually means. He does not have the right to lord his every decision over the people  — nor did any other American president. After all, this is a republic with measures in place so that no man or no department of government can independently run the country. He’s not King.

The justices in San Francisco, two from one party, and one from another, were unanimous in their decision that President Trumps’ immigration executive order was beyond the law. They rejected his thrust that the president has no limits. ““It is beyond question,” the decision said, “that the federal judiciary retains the authority to adjudicate constitutional challenges to executive action.”

Did anyone else except Donald Trump think that his every action was not reviewable by the courts of the land?

What the 45th president is finding these days is that the United States has in place laws, standards and mechanisms that work to insure that the “rule of law” remains paramount. No one else in our government has even thought otherwise. Even when President F.D. Roosevelt attempted to pack the Supreme Court by raising the number of judges form nine to 11, even FDR accepted that court’s decision.

President Trump seems to feel the “No” from the Circuit Judges is only a temporary setback. He’s all set to move the question to the U.S. Supreme Court. We tend to think that even that court won’t give him the “Yes” that he wants. We think these Supreme jurists might even send him a unanimous 8-0 decision that will affirm the Circuit Court decision. After all, the new president has unceremoniously impugned every court in the nation when he maintained that the original Washington (state) federal judge that halted his executive order was a “so-called” judge. We suspect every judge in the nation cringed at such language.

The president’s initial reaction was simply to Tweet his feelings once again. “SEE YOU IN COURT” is the short version. We look forward to the next court action.

Oh, for the days of Calvin Coolidge, remembered as a tight-lipped president. We would only hope that some members of the new White House staff can bring a realization to the part of the new president that he is not required to Tweet on every jab at him.

Yet his Tweets may serve the president’s own backers with reassurance that Mr. Trump is right every time. Many of them, we suspect, pay no attention to many other developments other than Mr. Trumps’ Tweets.

Most of the time our nation is pleased to hear from the views of the president. We never imagined that hearing less from a president would be our prayer.

Grow up, Mr. President. Most of us have learned to accept a “No” before our 71st year.


Georgia Gwinnett College

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Appreciates article about problems with keyless auto entry

Editor, the Forum:

Thanks for your recent article about potential problems with starting a automobile with keyless entry.  I have a keyless car, and it never crossed my mind about the situation you described.  Now I will know what to try if it happens to me!

— Gail Davis, Peachtree Corners

Send us your thoughts:  We encourage you to send us your letters and thoughts on issues raised in GwinnettForum.  Please limit comments to 300 words.  We reserve the right to edit for clarity and length.  Send feedback and letters to:    elliott@brack.net


Georgia Highway 20 four-laned from Forsyth to Walton county lines

Hurrah!  Hurrah!

All lanes of the Georgia Highway 20 widening project near Sugar Hill are now open to traffic.

Alan Chapman, director of the Gwinnett County Department of Transportation, reports: “We, along with Georgia DOT, are pleased to open the project to traffic. Motorists have been patient with our construction and we are happy to deliver.”

The project to create four lanes with a median stretched about four miles, from Peachtree Industrial Boulevard to Burnette Trail. With its opening, this route will provide at least four lanes of traffic all the way through Gwinnett County from Sugar Hill to Walton County.

The widening, which was funded by federal, state and local dollars, illustrates partnerships between government agencies. In addition to teaming up with Gwinnett on this section of Highway 20, the Georgia DOT is widening the bridge over the Chattahoochee River and partnering with Forsyth County to widen the road from James Burgess Road to Samples Road.  It is anticipated that the new fully-laned bridge will be open in mid-March, weather permitting.

Gwinnett County was responsible for overseeing the engineering, right-of-way acquisition and construction of the project. The County used 2005 and 2009 SPLOST funds, along with general capital funds, to cover these costs. State and federal funds provided utility relocations, reimbursement to Gwinnett County for land costs associated with right-of-way acquisition and reimbursement for construction. Gwinnett County DOT also oversaw the engineering and right-of-way acquisition on the state’s bridge project.

Hoffman to read from upcoming book on Feb. 19


Eve Hoffman, a lifelong Gwinnett resident, will be reading from her third book of poetry, SHE, and from work to be published in 2018 by Mercer University Press on Sunday, February 19, at 3 p.m. at the Peachtree Corners YMCA, 5600 W. Jones Bridge Road. In her reading, she will include describing the Norcross dairy farm where she grew up. A portion of book sales at this event will go to the YMCA program. SHE is also available on Amazon.

Eve Hoffman is a former chairman of the Gwinnett Board of Education, has been recognized by Georgia Trend as one of 100 most influential people in the state and as a Remarkable Woman by her alma mater, Smith College.

Paula Bevington, an attorney, civic and business leader in Atlanta, says of the book:

SHE is a compact memoir tracing the steps of a diffident child as she becomes a confident woman who simultaneously follows the rules and pushes the boundaries.”


Ten more athletes named to Dacula High School Sports Hall of Fame

Ten more people have been named to the Dacula High School Sports Hall of Fame.  The newest members of the Hall of Fame include:

Corey Etheridge, 1998, baseball; Brittany Jarrard, 2006 girls basketball; Chuck Warbington, 1989, football; Andy Peevy,1988 and Sandy Ramey, 1981, football and basketball; Nathan Rau, 2005 golf; Joe Aaron, 1997, soccer; Lindsey Weider, 2006, volleyball; David Braschler, 1993-2008, head coach, girls track and field; and Kevin Maloof, 1992-2010, football head coach.

The Hall of Fame was started in 2012, and the first year, 50 people were inducted. Others have been added over the years, so that nearly 100 persons are now enshrined in Dacula’s Hall of Fame.

Snellville’s Scout’s Eagle project provides steel for 9/11 remembrance

A piece of steel from the World Trade Center will be permanently displayed at City Hall and serve as a memorial to those who perished on Sept. 11, 2001. The monument was dedicated during a ceremony. Monday on the front lawn of City Hall, 2342 Oak Road.

The monument was created by Eagle Scout Keval Parag Amin of Troop 506 with the help of volunteers. Amin, who was born nearly two years after the attacks, wrote in his project description: “I will lead the building of a 9/11 Memorial for the City of Snellville to pay tribute to the victims of the 9/11 attacks on the country.”

The monument is made up of actual aluminum and steel from the World Trade Center, acquired from the Port of Authority of New York/New Jersey. Amin and Mayor Tom Witts spoke at the ceremony.

The steel is affixed to a pole embedded in a concrete base surrounded by foliage and a mulch bed with a walkway leading to the structure coming off the existing walkway.

Lawrenceville’s McKnight now on board of Georgia 811 Association

McKnight and friend

The City of Lawrenceville announces that Lisa McKnight, director of Damage Prevention, has been elected to the Georgia 811 Board of Directors and is currently serving a three-year term. Board Members represent all members of Georgia 811 to bring a constituency and community perspective to the organization.

Georgia 811 is a nonprofit corporation dedicated to preventing damage to Georgia’s underground utilities and promoting public safety. 811 is the national phone number designated by the Federal Communications Commission that connects professionals and homeowners who plan to dig with their local call center.

McKnight’s experience includes nine years with the Georgia Public Service Commission where she led efforts to prevent third party damages to underground utilities. With emphasis on Community Safety and Damage Prevention, she served as Lead Investigator to enforce both state and federal gas pipeline safety regulations.

  • For more information about Georgia 811 and the ‘Call Before You Dig’ campaigns, please visit http://georgia811.com/.

Jackson EMC Foundation gives $30,000 to agencies serving Gwinnett

The Jackson EMC Foundation board of directors awarded a total $103,750 in grants during their January meeting, including $30,000 to organizations serving Gwinnett County.

$15,000 to the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center, a multi-use science, history, culture, heritage and environmental facility, to allow students from low-income families in Barrow, Clarke, Gwinnett, Hall and Jackson counties to attend interpretative, hands-on field studies and educational programs.

$15,000 to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Georgia Chapter to help cover copayments for qualified blood cancer patients in the 10 counties Jackson EMC serves. The society provides co-pay assistance from $2,500 to $10,000 per year per patient, depending on their diagnosis, in Jackson EMC’s service area during the first three quarters of 2016.


Poems for Life; A Special Collection of Poetry selected by various celebrities

Reviewed by Karen Harris, Stone Mountain:  This collection of poetry was compiled as a service to benefit the Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children. The idea was conceived by two fifth grade classes at a New York grade school. Fifty celebrities contributed to this volume including Allen Ginsberg, Joyce Carol Oates, E. L. Doctorow, Tom Wolfe and Kurt Vonnegut and many others.  Anna Quindlen, in the introduction speaks to how poetry has seemingly been “shunted” onto a siding in time, so in need of brevity and truth.  She also reminds us that many grew up reading books such as The Cat in the Hat, Goodnight Moon and Where the Wild Things Are that are written in free verse.  In addition to the beautiful poems themselves, this volume is laced with letters from the contributors explaining why their poem is a favorite.  It serves as a validation of a wonderful idea.

  • An invitation: what books, restaurants, movies or web sites have you enjoyed recently? Send us your recent selection, along with a short paragraph (100 words) as to why you liked this, plus what you plan to visit or read next. –eeb

Alliance Theatre of Atlanta is largest regional theater in the Southeast

The Alliance Theatre, the largest regional theater in the Southeast, is recognized nationwide as a great critical and commercial success. More than 255,000 people attend Alliance productions each season at the theater’s home in the Woodruff Arts Center on Peachtree Street in midtown Atlanta, adjacent to the High Museum of Art.

The company shows 11 productions annually: each season the Alliance Stage produces six plays, the Hertz Stage produces three plays, and the Alliance Children’s Theatre produces two plays. In addition, the company offers a yearly playwriting competition for graduate students and a summer workshop, known as the Collision Project, for teenagers to learn about the components of theater and then create and perform their own play.

The Alliance Theatre debuted in October 1968 as the Atlanta Municipal Theatre with a production of King Arthur. The company was restructured during the next two years and in 1970 became the Alliance Theatre Company.

In the 1970s the company began a strong period of growth under artistic director Fred Chappell and managing director Bernard Havard. Such well-known actors as Jane Alexander, Richard Dreyfuss, Morgan Freeman, and Paul Winfield appeared in Alliance productions during this time, and in 1978 Tennessee Williams’s play, Tiger Tail, was produced for the first time at the Alliance.

In the 1980s there was a “changing of the guard,” and Bob Farley became artistic director and Edith Love became managing director. Notable productions during this decade include the world premiere of So Long on Lonely Street by Sandra Deer, which led to a run on Broadway. Driving Miss Daisy, by Atlanta playwright Alfred Uhry, ran for two seasons (1988-90) at the Alliance following the play’s successful off-Broadway run in New York.


Kenny Leon joined the Alliance staff in 1988 as associate artistic director and became artistic director two years later. During his decade of leadership, Leon made significant changes that transformed the company into its current incarnation.

Leon focused on diversifying not only the Alliance staff but also its productions and artists. His unusual casting transformed the Alliance’s image as a rather stodgy institution. Commenting on the biracial cast of the early 1990s production of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, Leon recounted that, “The first couple of years, people said, ‘Well, why do you have those black folks in Dickens?’ And I said, ‘But the play is not about race.’ And that play, A Christmas Carol, was about transforming from evil to good. That’s what it’s about, and it should reflect the way our community looks.”

(To be continued)     


Do these trees and pathways give you clues for this mystery?

What a delightful looking site.  Look at one bridge over a pathway. But where could this be? Send in your thoughts to elliott@brack.net and be sure to include your hometown.

The mystery photo of last edition drew several answers, but only two were correct. Georg Graf of Palmyra, Va. immediately identified the Basilica of the Annunciation (aka Church of the Annunciation), Nazareth, Israel, which was sent in by Roving Photographer Frank Sharp of Lawrenceville on a trip there a few months ago.  Susan McBrayer of Sugar Hill also recognized it.

Graf wrote in addition: “The church was established at the site where, according to Roman Catholic tradition, the Annunciation took place. Greek Orthodox tradition holds that this event occurred while Mary was drawing water from a local spring in Nazareth.  The Annunciation is the Christian celebration of the announcement by the angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary that she would conceive and become the mother of Jesus, the Son of God.  Many Christians observe this event with the Feast of the Annunciation on March 25, an approximation of the northern vernal equinox nine full months before Christmas, the ceremonial birthday of Jesus. In England, this came to be known as Lady Day. It marked the new year until 1752.’


Internal Revenue Service Coffee and Questions will be Saturday, February 18 at noon at the Centerville Branch of the Gwinnett County Public Library, 3025 Bethany Church Road, Snellville.  IRS Manager Lonnie  Melancon will be on hand to take questions. For more information, visit www.gwinnettpl.org or call 770-978-5154.

Wine About the Issues on February 21 at the 1910 Public House in downtown Lilburn to two legislators, Sen. P.K. Martin and Rep. Clay Cox. Sponsored by the Lilburn Woman’s Club, attendees can enjoy a complimentary beverage and light hors d’oeuvres. Seating is limited. For more details, contact to lilburnwomansclub@gmail.com.

Free Photography Workshop at Collins Hill Library Branch, 455 Camp Perrin Road, on February 21, at 6:30 p.m. Join the Georgia Nature Photographers Association for this informal talk and Q&A photography workshop.  They will provide information about cameras, editing software, and tips for getting better photographs with the equipment you already have.

(NEW) Oil and ‘Cold Wax’ is the focus of a new class at Kudzu Art Zone in Norcross. Expand your personal vocabulary and vision through a series of exercises that will loosen you up and help you discover techniques of moving paint. The class explores cold wax and other media to create expressive, richly surfaced paintings, using pigment sticks, graphite, ink, pastels and oil paint. This runs from  February 22-25, from, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For details, supply lists or to register for classes, go www. kudzuartzone.org or phone 770-840-9844.

(NEW) Looking for information on citizenship and naturalization?  Let the Gwinnett County Public Library help you!  Learn about the requirements and resources available to prepare for the naturalization test.  Get help finding the forms you need, learn how to prepare for the interview, find free or reduced rate legal assistance, and learn how to avoid potential scams.  In partnership with the U.S. Immigration Services, Gwinnett County Public Library is offering this free Citizenship Information Workshop on Thursday, February 23 at 6 p.m. at the  new Lilburn Branch, 4817 Church Street, Lilburn, GA 30047. For more information, call 770-978-5154 or visit www.gwinnettpl.org.

(NEW) Genealogy interest has exploded with the ease and availability of online research.  Learn how to get started in this fun hobby and explore free genealogy databases, including the Library Edition of Ancestry.com and HeritageQuest. Join Gwinnett County Public Library, in partnership with the United Ebony Society of Gwinnett County, Inc., for this free Trace Your Roots:  An African American Genealogy Workshop.  This event takes place on Saturday, February 25 at 11 a.m. at the Centerville Branch, 3025 Bethany Church Road, Snellville. For more information, visit www.gwinnettpl.org or call 770-978-5154.

World Through the Lens Photo Show at the Tucker Library, 5234 LaVista Road. Photographer Frank Sharp’s images ae on display through February 25. The library is open on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. and on Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Cartooning for Teens and Cool Adults, with Lawrence Hardy. Drop-ins Welcome. Have you ever wanted to learn how to draw from your imagination? Want to learn how to draw action figures, faces and more? Welcome artist Lawrence Hardy as he shows you the fundamentals of drawing. The class is for the beginning to intermediate artists. Come sharpen your skills and pencil at Kudzu Art Center!  Through March 11, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. To register for classes, go to www.kudzuartzone.org.   Kudzu Art Zone is located in Norcross at 116 Carlyle Street, Norcross, phone 770-840-9844.


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