2/3: No on casino gambling, this, that, and gerrymandering

GwinnettForum  |  Number 16.82  |  Feb. 3, 2017  

MORE CLOSE-IN HOUSING is coming to Duluth, as this drawing shows. The housing development will be done by Home South Communities, and is a $53 million development. For more details, see Upcoming below.


TODAY’S FOCUS: Say No to Casino Gambling in Georgia: the Social Costs Are Too High
EEB PERSPECTIVE: Bits and Pieces from All Over Including a Bumper Sticker with a Twist
ANOTHER VIEW: Rise Up, Like Falcons Will; Take Action To Halt Gerrymandering
SPOTLIGHT: Lail Family Dentistry
FEEDBACK: Time for Some People To Quit Being Sore Winners; Move On!
UPCOMING: New Duluth Development near City Hall Will Add Nearly 100 Homes
NOTABLE: Gwinnett Tech Enrollment Up 14%, Which Is Highest Ever
RECOMMENDED: Once Upon a Time in Mississippi by Merle Temple
GEORGIA TIDBIT: Moravians Find Early Disappointment in Pre-Revolutionary Georgia
TODAY’S QUOTE: Given time, The Psychic Can Be Proven Right
MYSTERY PHOTO: Clues in This Photograph May Give You a Start as to Its Location
LAGNIAPPE: Philadelphia Winn DAR Chapter Visits Chateau Elan for Lunch Outing
CALENDAR: Detention Pond Maintenance Workshop Coming Soon

Say no to casino gambling in Georgia: The social costs are too high

By Mike Wood, Peachtree Corners, Ga.  |  Let me say that I oppose allowing casino gambling in Georgia for several reasons, but the primary reason is that the social costs are too high.  Casinos entice and enable gambling addicts, as modern slot machines develop an unbreakable hold on many players, some of whom wind up losing their jobs because of  embezzlement of money for gambling.  Others lose their families; and others even lose their lives to suicide. The social costs are too high.

An article in the December 2016 issue of The Atlantic gives an in-depth look at the effects on gambling addicts of modern electronic gaming machines.  (Most of the facts and statistics presented are from this article, which is quoted in several places.) Casinos prey on people with a disposition to gambling addiction.  Many gambling activities lend themselves to addiction, but modern slot machines, in particular, are now designed to hook addicts and to keep them playing well beyond what they can afford.  Many get into such debt that they lose virtually everything, and not just their financial assets.

Why do electronic slot machines stoke gambling addition?  These machines are designed explicitly to lull players into a trancelike state that the industry refers to as “continuous gaming productivity.” The manufacturers know these machines are addictive and intentionally do their best to make them addictive to line their own pockets.

The National Center for Responsible Gaming estimates that about three million to four million Americans have a gambling disorder (i.e., a gambling addiction). Such addicts simply cannot stop themselves from continuing to gamble, regardless of the consequences.  Players who are active in their addiction lose all judgment.  They can’t control their behavior.

Gambling addicts are worth a lot of money to casinos, which track player activity while it is in process and take steps, such a providing free drinks and food at the slot machines, to keep them playing.  The business plan for casinos is not based on the occasional, recreational gambler.  It is based on the addicted gambler playing and losing more and more.

One of the techniques employed in electronic slot machines comes from a technological breakthrough called “virtual reel mapping.”  Instead of actual, spinning reels activated by the pull of a lever, these slots use virtual reels.  Virtual reels often include different quantities of the various symbols, thereby reducing the odds of hitting a big jackpot from 1 in about 10,500 to 1 in 137 million.  Another technique is programming the reels to deliberately show a “near miss” of winning a big jackpot.  Many players, especially addicts, mentally process a near miss as a win and are induced to continue playing, even though a near miss is a loss. Some machines show 150 to 200 of these ‘false wins” per hour.

Many of our states are addicted to gambling themselves. After all, gambling generates major  tax revenues.  But it is not worth it.  Gambling is predatory on people with addiction. The social costs are too high to allow casino gambling in Georgia.


Bits and pieces from all over, including a bumper sticker with a twist

By Elliott Brack, editor and publisher  |  Today it’s more Bits and Pieces collected from the last few days. Most recently, we spotted this decal when stopped at a traffic light on the bumper of an auto in front of me: “Do you follow Jesus this closely?”

A Norcross City Councilman is asking United States veterans who reside in Norcross to join a committee concerning the city’s new Veteran’s Park on South Peachtree Street.  Those who have served in the military or health services are asked to contract Councilman Craig Newton by calling 770 361 8039, or contact by email at cnewton395@aol.com.  The councilman is working toward enhancements at the park, and wants to gets ideas from those who have served their country.

There’s a new chair of the Gwinnett County Democratic Party. He’s Gabe Okoye of Lawrenceville, a retired engineer, who is a native of Nigeria. He’s lived in this country for over 30 years, and is a graduate of the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He’s 56 and a member of St. Edwards Episcopal Church in Lawrenceville.

Mr. Okoye has as his goal to field candidates in every election in 2018. “We’re also going to have people running in municipal elections, though of course, they are non-partisan races,” he says.

The way Mr. Okoye is getting the Democrats going reminds me of the enthusiasm we saw after 1984 among Gwinnett Republicans. Mr. Okoye is taking another cue from Republicans, by having regular breakfast meetings to move the party forward, similar to the tactics of a young Republican Party in the 1980s.

One of our goals is to have two strong political parties in Gwinnett. It’s great to see the Democrats getting more active as an alternate to the previous mostly Republican dominance in Gwinnett.

After 18 years in Norcross, the Taylor family is moving. Dr. Gary Taylor and his son, Blake, are returning to Blytheville, Arkansas, while Gary’s sister Janet is moving to Jacksonville Beach, Fla. We’ve enjoyed knowing the Taylors, and shared early morning walks around the block with Gary for several years now. Besides being a mountain of stories and ideas, Gary and I have enjoyed swapping books and thoughts. (And, by the way, Gary is a superb artist, working with Larry and Pam Smith’s studio in Duluth.)  We’ll miss these enjoyable times, and wish all the Taylors the best in their new environments.

Does this bug you like it does me, something you see almost weekly these days: stories that this person or the other is “stepping down.” It’s a worn-out phrase.  And often we bet that person isn’t always taking it on his own to “step down,” but more accurately may be leaving office by being suggested that he retire or move on “or else.”

Granted, some may be merely taking a new job and getting a promotion. But “stepping down?”  It’s not often the case!

The lead pastor of the Simpsonwood United Methodist Church is getting a promotion, come June. Dr. Brian Clark, right,  will be the new superintendent of the Athens-Elberton District of the North Georgia Conference, and will have offices in Bogart. He’s been at Simpsonwood UM Church for five years. Originally from Ringgold, Ga., he’s a graduate of Reinhardt College (now University), and the Candler School at Emory. Simpsonwood’s church has 1,800 members, and averages 400 in worship on Sunday.


Rise up, like Falcons will; Take action to halt gerrymandering

By Jeff Ploussard, volunteer, Georgia Redistricting Alliance  |  The stated mission of the National Football League (NFL) is “to provide our fans, communities and partners the highest quality sports and entertainment in the world.” In large part, the NFL continues to satisfy its stakeholders through the equal enforcement of league and game rules for all teams by independent, non-partisan officials. The result has been the development of one of the most “fair” and competitive sports leagues ever.  Twenty-seven of the thirty NFL teams have made the playoffs since 2008.  Of course, we all know that our Falcons hope to “Rise Up” on Sunday to bring Atlanta its first NFL championship!

It is a shame that we don’t have the same fairness and competition between candidates for congressional, state, county and city legislative seats.  In Gwinnett County, one can scarcely exaggerate the unfairness and lack of representation of minority communities.   Since 2010, minorities have made up more than half of the population of Gwinnett, but the county has never elected an African-American candidate to any county office. (Rep. Brenda Lopez is the only Latino elected official in Gwinnett. Rep. Sam Park was also elected by Gwinnettians last year.  He is the second Asian-American to serve in the Georgia State House. BJay Pak of Lilburn was the fist.)  With regard to the lack of competition, 190 or 80.5 percent of the 236 state legislative seats up for reelection were unopposed in the last election.

Why does the legislative playing field lack fairness and competition?

In the January 27 GwinnettForum, Elliott Brack makes a strong case that “gerrymandering” is the culprit.  Gerrymandering is a uniquely American practice in which the majority party redraws district maps after each population census to gain an advantage in elections. Brack aptly points out that the undemocratic result of gerrymandering is “politicians picking their voters, instead of the people picking their politicians.”

In 37 states, the party in power directs mapmakers to draw district lines to protect their majority, divide communities and dilute the democratic principle that all votes count equally. This has led to more polarized legislative bodies with fewer moderates, especially in Congress.  Extreme legislators tend to produce legislation that is out of the mainstream, which takes time away from part-time legislatures, including Georgia, from the key challenges that most citizens care about.

For example, last year the Georgia legislature passed “religious liberty” and “campus carry” bills that would have harmed business and prevented Georgia colleges from recruiting the best and brightest students, if Governor Nathan Deal had not vetoed the bills.

There is momentum in Georgia’s current legislative session to join the ranks of 13 other states that have passed redistricting reform laws.  These states have improved election fairness and competition establishing independent or bi-partisan bodies responsible for district map making.

State Senator Elena Parent has introduced new resolutions (SR-6 and SR-7) that if passed would help stop gerrymandering in Georgia. The first step is to hold hearings on these bills before the Georgia State Senate Reapportionment and Redistricting Committee.  Please contact Governor Deal and your state legislators to ask the Senate Committee for hearings. You can also send a personal note to the Senate Committee Chair, Ben Watson, asking him and other Committee Members to call for hearings hold hearings on SR-6 and SR-7.

Rise Up and take action today!


Lail Family Dentistry

The public spiritedness of our sponsors allows us to bring GwinnettForum.com to you at no cost to readers. Today we welcome a new underwriter. Lail Family Dentistry is a family practice in Duluth, Georgia.  The doctors have been dedicated to serving the community whether in-office or through community involvement for the last 48 years.  Dr. Wallace Lail started his private practice in Duluth in 1969. At that time there were only seven other dentists practicing in Gwinnett County.  Dr. Slade Lail started his own dental practice in Duluth in 1997 and combined the two practices in 2011.  While Dr. Wallace Lail continues to work part time, Dr. Slade Lail’s cousin, Dr. Lisa Moss, has joined the team helping to treat their family of patients. The Lails’ family dental practice always puts the needs of the patients first. This tradition carries on as their “hometown” practice continues to treat, in some cases, several generations of local families and those families that have recently arrived to the community.

  • For a list of other sponsors of this forum, click here.

Time for some people to quit being sore winners; Move on!

Editor, the Forum:

Where to begin?  Okay, you won the election, quit being a sore winner and I’ll quit harping about this administration and how childish and petty they are. But I doubt you are going to stop whining about how your party won and mine didn’t. How you had to put up with President Obama for the last eight years. Think about how we had to put up with the insults and legitimacy of his Presidency from you for eight years.

So let’s start with the obvious.  The man can’t string two intelligent words together without sounding like a four year old who is throwing a temper tantrum. He appoints people who could ruin this country like Price, Sessions, Tillerson, DeVos and so on.  The only sane appointments are Sonny Perdue and Gen. James Mattis.

You complained about President Obama using the Executive Order when the need arose because Congress wasn’t in session. This guy uses the Executive Order like he is running a corporation and by-passes the Legislative Branch, which by the way, is in session.  He should try sending orders to Congress to be voted on instead of making laws. I realize he is trying to rescind Obama’s laws, but this isn’t the way to go about it. This is why we have checks and balances in our government. We, the tax payers, are the true losers because of all the lawsuits to stop him will clog the court systems and cost us millions.

So get over yourself and move on.  You won, we know, but just beware of the old saying: “Be careful what you wish for, you may not like the outcome.”

— Sara Rawlins, Lawrenceville

Who exactly is this secretary sitting before me? Oh!

Editor, the Forum:

Back in1974, when I was director of admissions at Marietta (Ohio) College, I was interviewing a family: mother, father, and daughter, sitting in front of me. For some reason, I was really enjoying talking to the father, since he was so affable and we were on the same wave length.

He was brought up in Greenwich, Conn. and had moved to South Carolina, and I had been brought up in South Carolina and had moved to Greenwich in my youth.

After establishing such a coincidence, I finally asked, “Sir, just was is it that do you do?” I think that he said, “I am the Secretary of Commerce,” a point in fact that I really didn’t get. I thought that he meant that he was a chamber officer in some Ohio town or something.

And I said, “just where?” And he said, “Washington, D.C.” And then I got it.

I had a cabinet member sitting there in front of me with no grand entrance, no whistles or cheers, no limo. He rather enjoyed my embarrassment. Afterward I received such a nice letter from him, and, yes, his daughter did matriculate to Marietta.

— Ross Lenhart, Pawleys Island, S.C.

Modesty often seen in people from our Greatest Generation

Editor, the Forum:

Debbie Houston’s recent article of her “Dad” reminded me of my father-in-law, who also fought in World War II. He was seriously wounded and was awarded a Bronze Star with a V for valor, but he never talked about his experiences unless prompted. I agree we can learn much about modesty from the Greatest Generation, but do not expect our current president to set the example. Modesty is not his strongest character trait.

— John Titus, 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


New Duluth development near City Hall will add nearly 100 homes

The City of Duluth has given the go-ahead on construction of a new downtown community that will feature nearly 100 homes. The development will sit on 18.81 acres of land south of City Hall at the corner of Hill Street and Hardy Street.

Home South Communities (Home South), a Gwinnett-based developer, will be leading the project. Home South is also the lead developer for the 36-unit townhome project that is currently under construction directly west of City Hall. In total, this represents a $53 million investment.

Clint Walters, vice president of Home South, says: “We are happy to be a part of Duluth’s vision to create a vibrant downtown. The high quality of food, retail, and entertainment options nearby is one of the reasons why we chose downtown Duluth as our project location. It will definitely help us to generate interest and find buyers.”

The developer expects to build 59 townhomes and 39 single family homes, with the first residence scheduled to be delivered fall 2018.

This project is just the latest in a surge of both residential and commercial construction around Duluth’s downtown area. Parsons Alley, the city’s newest restaurant and retail district, will be fully built-out later in 2017. Dreamland Bar-B-Que and the sweet shop Chocolaterie are already open for business.

Other confirmed companies in Parsons Alley include Taiyo Ramen (formerly Makan), Simply Done Donuts (an Atlanta food truck opening its first brick-and-mortar restaurant), and Good Word Brewing and Public House (from the creators of Brick Store Pub in downtown Decatur). In the past year downtown Duluth has welcomed O4W Pizza (formerly near Krog Street Market in Atlanta), Epicurean Cafe, and Piatto Fresh Kitchen and Bar.

In this next year, other businesses slated to open downtown include a yoga studio as well as Truck & Tap, a restaurant/bar featuring a rotating selection of local food trucks and craft brews.

The other recent major downtown project is District at Duluth, the $64 million mixed-use residential and commercial development under construction at the corner of Buford Highway and Georgia Highway 120.

Together, all of this new downtown development represents nearly $120 million of recent and current investment in the downtown Duluth area.

ARC recognizes Norcross as second city with Platinum Green Label

The City of Norcross is one of three local governments recognized by the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) for leadership in implementing policies and practices that contribute to the efficient and sustainable use of resources in metro Atlanta.

Norcross was honored at ARC’s January board meeting for upgrading to the Platinum level in ARC’s Green Communities program. Norcross, which first earned Gold certification in 2011, becomes the second city in the region to be certified Platinum. The cities of Douglasville and Milton were also recognized for recertifying or upgrading their certification in the program in 2016.

The steps Norcross took to reach Platinum certification include:

  • Building the Norcross Community Garden at Discovery Garden Park..
  • Installing a level II electric vehicle recharging station at City Hall for public use.
  • Utilizing innovative measures to capture excess stormwater, including the construction of a large rain garden beside City Hall, installing bioswales along neighborhood streets and restoring a streambank that runs through downtown.
  • Promoting smart growth through its Conservation Subdivision Ordinance and its Livable Centers Initiative plans.
  • Earning designation as a Tree City USA Community for the past 12 years.

Gwinnett Tech enrollment up 14%, which is the highest ever

For the second semester in a row, Gwinnett Technical College has recorded the highest enrollment numbers in the College’s 33-year history. More than 8,000 students across the region are drawn to the classrooms at Gwinnett Tech for exciting educational programs and career opportunities.

Spring semester 2017 has taken a large jump, recording a 14 percent uptick in enrollment over a year ago. These numbers do not include the later spring mini-mester (term C) enrollment figures expected in late February, so the final enrollment for this semester will push even higher. This past fall, the College saw a 7.3 percent jump in enrollment over the previous fall enrollment.

Dr. D. Glen Cannon, president of Gwinnett Tech, attributes this surge in enrollment to a few factors:

  • Opening of new and expanding academic programs designed to feed high demand careers such as engineering, cybersecurity, computer programming, business and accounting, criminal justice, early childhood education, welding and health care programs.
  • Opening of the Alpharetta-North Fulton campus last year. That campus just celebrated its one-year anniversary January 6 and enrollment on the new campus continues to climb with more than 1,000 students taking classes on this campus.
  • Increased awareness about programs and support services for Veterans and their families. The College’s Office of Veterans Affairs earned the 2017 Military Friendly® School designation and ranked 19th in the nation on the 2017 Best Colleges for Vets
  • A dramatic increase in the number of high school students enrolled in the Move on When Ready program. This semester, 1,290 high school students from public, private and home schools across the community are actively enrolled in Gwinnett Tech, while in high school, taking classes both online and on campus.

Two active senior citizens to make 100th birthday in February

Friends and family will gather to join in the celebration of turning a century. Louise Williams and Mary Jones who attend Centerville and Lawrenceville Senior Centers respectively, will be honored in the month of February.


Ruth Sullivan from the Red Hat ladies society is excited to participate in the celebration for her friend Mary Jones, “It’s an honor to know a young woman who has lived for a century.” Jones is the life of the party and loves to get up and “shake a leg” when there is music. “She loves to dance. It’s great to witness such a beautiful moment,” expresses Senior Center Manager Lesha Thomas.

Louise Williams is a retired elementary school teacher and plans to set up a scholarship for students to continue their education. Originally from Alabama, she taught students in Cincinnati. Williams moved to Gwinnett County to be with her daughter, Mala Flennoy. Williams will be surrounded by her sorority sisters from Alpha Kappa Alpha, church members from Salem Missionary Baptist Church and friends at Centerville Senior Center on Friday, February 3 at 10:30 a.m.


Mary Jones was born in Adamsville, Ala. on November 6, 1916. She is a member of the Red Hat Ladies Society, Women’s Sunday School Class and Mother’s Ministry of Friendship Baptist Church in Duluth. Her favorite shows are Family Feud and Andy Griffith. Jones lives in Lawrenceville with her daughter, Gayle Jones-Johnson. She has 7 children (one deceased), 17 grandchildren, 28 great-grandchildren, and 10 great-great-grandchildren. Her passion was to promote education and leadership amongst the young adults. After raising her seven children, Jones received her degree for Elementary Education from University of Illinois and became the director of St. Timothy Daycare in Illinois. She was married to her late husband Charles Jones, Jr. for 48 years.

Gwinnett Senior Services operates three active senior centers in Norcross, Buford and Lawrenceville and one satellite center in Snellville.

Trinidad and Tobago native to represent Gwinnett Tech at institute

Mrs. Raquel Mohammed of Lawrenceville has been chosen to represent Gwinnett Technical College at the statewide EAGLE Leadership Institute March 13-15, 2017. The Leadership Institute recognizes and honors students who have demonstrated superior achievement in adult education classes and programs.


The Technical College System of Georgia, through its Office of Adult Education, sponsors the annual Exceptional Adult Georgian in Literacy Education (EAGLE) Leadership Institute.

Raquel Mohammed’s story exemplifies all that this program is about. She grew up on the Caribbean island of Trinidad and Tobago but could not finish school. Thirteen years ago, she started a GED program at Gwinnett Tech, but with three small children ages nine months to five years old, demands of life were just too overwhelming. Eight months into the program she had to withdraw.

Many years later when her oldest son Isaiah, now 21, decided to explore engineering and computer programming classes at Gwinnett Tech, she returned to campus to support him.

Shortly thereafter, Raquel learned that her job would be transitioning across town to College Park. Knowing her dream to one day get her GED, it was Isaiah who encouraged her to follow her dreams. At 45 years old, she did just that. She’s fallen in love with the learning environment at Gwinnett Tech and wants to continue on with her studies to pursue a degree in business management and communications.


Once Upon a Time in Mississippi by Merle Temple

Reviewed by Helen Breier, Duluth:  This book re-enacts the beginnings of a lawman in the 1960s and 1970s, when our country had not only the Vietnam War, but a war within America’s borders. The author was one of the first Drug Enforcement Agents before Nixon established the agency, and saw the country unfold a new era that would forever change America. The Dixie Mafia were thugs with authority. There was no way to know who was behind the badge or the gavel. Ride with the agent as he goes into the world of thugs, narcotics, bootleggers and murderers to bring justice to a fallen world. You will have the inside scoop on the stakeouts. The only sound is your own heartbeat as the anticipation builds.  It’s like watching a scary movie.  You know something is coming but you never know when.

  • 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

Moravians find early disappointment in pre-Revolutionary Georgia

(Continued from previous edition)

After these disappointments the Georgia Moravians began to concentrate on converting Native Americans and also slaves across the river in Purysburgh, S.C.. The war with Spain that began in 1739, however, undermined the former mission, while disease, lack of interest among the slaves, and distaste among slave owners for missionaries quickly ended the latter.

Though recruited and welcomed by the Georgia Trustees in London, the Moravians became involved in tense religious conflicts with the Lutherans at Ebenezer and with the evangelist George Whitefield and his supporters in Savannah. John Wesley, who came to the colony with a group of Moravians in 1736, thought highly of them and attempted to mediate between them and the Lutherans, but relations between the two groups deteriorated once again after he left Georgia. Thus, in spite of their promising start settling in and around Savannah, the Moravian mission was not a success.

The ultimate cause for the dissolution of the pacifist Moravian colony was not the pressure to bear arms in the war against Spain, as some have suggested, but rather a crisis within the Moravian community. The group, which lived in communal quarters in Savannah and maintained no individual, private property, was plagued by quarreling, lack of cooperation, and other internal problems. These tensions drove many individuals and married couples away from Georgia; they either returned to Europe or scattered into Pennsylvania, never to rejoin the group.

Others went to Pennsylvania and helped build what became the very successful communal settlements at Bethlehem and Nazareth. The communal ideal seemed to work better for Moravians and other German pietist groups when they moved into the backcountry and separated themselves from other colonists.

Moravian settlement and activities in Georgia after 1745 were limited but not insignificant. One of their bishops, Johann Ettwein, returned to Savannah in 1765 to check on the property the colony had left behind and found it in a dilapidated condition. Three missionaries arrived in 1774 and 1775 to preach to slaves and to recover some of the Savannah property, but their efforts were disrupted by old enemies, disease, and the Revolutionary War (1776-83), and the mission ended in 1779.

In 1800 the Moravians resumed mission efforts in Georgia, and missionaries from the Wachovia settlement in North Carolina reopened a Native American mission. By this time the group had earned a reputation as successful missionaries to the Native Americans, and their Georgia missions to the Cherokees at Spring Place, in present-day Murray County (near the Tennessee border), and at Oochgelogy, in present-day Gordon County (begun in 1821), did well until federal removal policy led to their closures in the 1830s. The Creek mission on the Flint River, near Reynolds, was founded in 1807 but closed in 1813.

A single Moravian congregation exists today in Georgia, at Stone Mountain.


Clues in this photograph may give you a start as to its location

This handsome building is throwing a few clues at you about where and what it is. Check it out carefully and tell us where you think it is located. Send in your thoughts to elliott@brack.net and be sure to include your hometown.

The most recent Mystery Photo had a lot of people confused. Several decided that the photograph was that of the inside working of a piano. Nope. By the way, the photo is framed at the house of Dick Goodman of Suwanee, and he even says many think it looks like piano workings.

Sara Rawlins of Lawrenceville immediately identified the photo: “It’s the Atrium at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis, which is the headquarters for Dragon Con every Labor Day, where geeks and freaks gather in Peace.  I went to several many years ago, but never had the nerve to dress up like some folks. One particular Dragon Con that I remember most was the time the Salvation Army had a major conference at the same time as Dragon Con. I remember both groups marching down Peachtree Street together, God’s Army arm in arm with Star War’s Storm Troopers, and other assorted comic book and Si-Fi characters. It was a sight.”

Others making the identification include James Pugsley, Atlanta and Logan Dent of Atlanta, who said: “It is definitely a John Portman designed atrium, and I think its the Marriott Marquis in downtown Atlanta.”

Of course, George Graf of Palmyra, Va. gave more details: “The Atlanta Marriott Marquis is the 14th tallest skyscraper in the city. The building was designed by Atlanta architect John C. Portman, Jr. with construction completed in 1985, and because of its bulging base, it was often referred to as the “Pregnant Building.”  One of the defining features of the Marriott Marquis is its large atrium, which was the largest in the world upon completion in 1985, at 470 feet (143 m) high.  The record was later broken by the Burj Al Arab in Dubai.”


Philadelphia Winn DAR chapter visits Chateau Elan for lunch outing

When the Daughters of the American Revolution are mentioned, most think of patriotism, preservation and education.  These have been the founding principles upon which the organization was built 126 years ago!  It’s been a winning formula with over 180,000 members today in the United States and abroad. Recently eight Daughters from the Philadelphia Winn Chapter NSDAR met at Chateau Elan in Braselton,  for lunch.  Their membership committee plans a monthly outing to bring new and established members together just for fun!  From left are State Chair Constitution Week and Past Regent Lydia McGill, Vivian Wiegand, Michelle Grudzien, Historian Randi Minor, Corresponding Secretary Lee Schermerhorn, Regent Kitty Watters, Miriam Machida, First Vice Regent Ann Story.


Second annual Gwinnett Historical Society Scavenger Hunt will be Saturday, February 4. Enter as an individual for $10 or a group of two or more for $20. For more details and to register, go to GHScemhunt@yahoo.com.

Third annual Chocolate Walk in Braselton will be Saturday, February 4, from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., rain or shine. Present your bag and get a treat from each participating business. Tickets are limited at $5 each, so advanced purchase is recommended. Walkers should be at least 16 years old. Contact Downtown Director Amy Pinnell at 770-684-0369 or apinnell@braselton.net.

(NEW) Detention Pond Maintenance Workshop will be February 9 at 6 p.m. at the Collins Hill Branch of the Gwinnett County Public Library. By capturing and retaining runoff during storm events, detention ponds control both stormwater quantity and quality.  The pond’s natural physical, biological, and chemical processes then work to remove pollutants. Join this free workshop. For more information, visit www.gwinnettpl.org or call 770-978-5154.

(NEW) 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! February 10 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.

Georgia Backroads magazine Editor and Publisher Dan Roper will speak at noon on Friday, February 10 at the Georgia Archives in Morrow. His talk will be on “Searching for Beulah Buchanan.” She died suddenly on Thanksgiving Day 1917.  By chance, the author came across her abandoned grave in the pine woods one day in 1991 and wondered who she was, what had caused her death, what had become of her family, and what had happened to the little community that had once existed there.  It took him more than 20 years of research to find the answers to these questions. After the talk, join in at the Archives for a special celebration in honor of Georgia’s 284th birthday. Georgia State Senator Valencia Seay and Archives Director Christopher Davidson will speak briefly, and refreshments will be served.

Author Amber Brock will visit Barnes and Noble in Peachtree Corners on Wednesday, February 11, at 3 p.m. as part of the Gwinnett County Public Library’s author series. She writes historical fiction novels set in the glamorous 1920s.  She teaches English at a girls’ school in Atlanta,.  Brock will speak to fans and aspiring authors about the writing and publishing process and book promotion strategies as well as her book, A Fine Imitation. This event is free and open to the public.  Books will be available for purchase and signing.

Plant sale: The Gwinnett County Cooperative Extension office is offering varieties of Blueberries, Blackberries, Raspberries, Figs, Apples, Pomegranate, Goji Berries, Native Azaleas and other landscape plants as part of their annual sale. This year Pecan Trees and the big Titan blueberry, which produces blueberries the size of quarters, have been added to the list of pre-ordered options. Supplies are limited so please order early. Orders will be taken through March 7, 2017. Order forms may be obtained from: http://www.ugaextension.org/gwinnett, or by calling 678-377-4010 to request a form be mailed to you.


HANDYMAN SERVICES: Whatever your home maintenance problem is, Isaias Rodriguez can help. An experienced painter, he is dependable in installing or repairing siding, gutters, ceramic tile, plumbing, garage doors, or any other problem around your home. He’ll even fix your bike! He is originally from Mexico and has been in Georgia since 1996. He is legally allowed to work in the United States and is insured.

Give him a call at his home in Norcross at 404-569-8825 or email him at rodriguez_isais@yahoo.com. Visit his Facebook page at Neza Construction and home repair to see some of his past work.


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