6/13: Lessons after burglaries; Dressing at airport; Medicare; More

GwinnettForum  |  Number 17.21  |  June 13, 2017  


GWINNETT’S HISTORIC FREEMAN’S MILL at 1401 Alcovy Road, Lawrenceville, will get a $406,052 renovation after awarding the project to low-bidder Lefko Development of Atlanta by the Gwinnett Commission. The plan calls for selective demolition, an ADA ramp, interior construction, structural renovations, landscaping, concrete and paver sidewalks, and construction of a building to house new fire protection equipment. The mill once used water to turn a waterwheel, which cranked a series of gears, which turned massive, precisely cut stones one on top of the other to grind corn into meal and wheat into flour. Ultimately, the mill will house interior and exterior exhibits that provide visitors with an interactive, immersive experience that will help bring the history of the site and related scientific concepts to life. Freeman’s Mill was built on the Alcovy River between 1868 and 1879. By 1996, it was the only working mill in Gwinnett County and reportedly one of 15 in the state. The County bought the mill in 2001, and in 2009 restored the mill and surrounding 12 acres for education and recreational use.
TODAY’S FOCUS: Homeowner Finds Ransacked House, then Plenty of Problems
EEB PERSPECTIVE: Viewing Dress at the Airport, and How to Present Georgia’s Weather
ANOTHER VIEW: Is Tide Finally Turning on Medicare; Unlikely, But Who Knows?
SPOTLIGHT: Gwinnett Medical Center
FEEDBACK: Vintage Gwinnett Law Required Cars Approaching Mules To Stop
UPCOMING: Lilburn’s BAPS Mandir To Mark 10th Anniversary Soon
NOTABLE: Suwanee Only Gwinnett City with S&P AAA Credit Rating
GEORGIA TIDBIT: Georgia’s Southern Boundary and That of USA Were Once the Same
TODAY’S QUOTE: A Plan Aimed at Hunger,  Poverty, Desperation and Chaos
MYSTERY PHOTO: Soaring Heights Is One Clue in This Mystery Photo
LAGNIAPPE: Two Festivals Got Roving Photographer Attention Last Weekend
CALENDAR: Art Is the Only Way at The Rectory in Norcross on June 16

Homeowner finds ransacked house, then plenty of problems

(Editor’s note: The following is presented anonymously because of the sensitive  nature of the article. We feel no benefit comes from identifying the writer, who suffered measurably from a recent incident in Gwinnett County. It is presented as a warning to other homeowners to be careful about the security of their home. –eeb).

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga.  |  One Tuesday night in May, I arrived home late to find my house much more askew than my typical messiness.  I checked on my back-door neighbors—they were safe!  The things taken from me were “just stuff.”   I went to bed, after the police left, grateful, having learned a lesson: No matter how tempting the weather makes it, no matter the window is hidden from view from passersby….do not leave a window open.

The next night, despite locked doors and windows, deja vu….another burglary, more stuff taken and broken. I was gratefully everyone was still safe and the things taken were again “just stuff.”  I’m not materialistic and don’t own much of financial value.  I said and believed: “It’s just stuff.”  A few days later, other items were taken from my yard, and a couple of weeks later, even something was taken from my workplace.

Sometimes, these items aren’t  “just stuff,” as in:

  • When IRS forms and medical records are saved on a stolen computer;
  • When Social Security card, checks and credit card information are now possessed by criminals;

When calendar and personal/work information are syncing with a thieved tablet, and;

  • When spare car keys are in the hands of hoodlums.

There are complications: hoops necessary to jump through to protect your identity and change all accounts and passwords. This requires more patience than any human should possess.  As common as Identity Theft is spoken of, there seems to be very little consensus as to what to do about it!

After precisely following the game plan I looked up on the Internet, still every phone call (after navigating the automated systems set in place precisely to keep you from a live person) was met with some variation of “What are you calling me for?  You need to contact ______!”

Other items taken isn’t “just stuff:”

  • When the paddle taken was how you connect with your community on weekend paddleboarding excursions. Now with no paddle, it means no way to be out with the group;
  • When the things stolen were valuable not because of their dollar value but because they were a gift from someone; and
  • When the hoop jumping takes time away from people that much more deserve your attention.

Things I learned from all this:

  • Android devices can be located or erased through a Google account;
  • Backup flashdrives should NOT be stored in the computer bag. When the computer (in bag) is stolen, so are the backups;
  • Everything should be password-protected, despite the annoyance, complication and time;
  • That “credit freeze” idea that I’d put off, might’ve saved me some concern and hoop jumping; and
  • Thieves don’t think like I do. I have no understanding of why someone in Russia would want to be on my Microsoft account, but they were, doing who knows what?

So, beware of dismissing yourself as a target.  I didn’t guess myself to be one.  Take steps of protecting identity, credit, and possessions along the way instead of playing catch-up all at once after a burglary.  Pray for those choosing to manage their difficulties in life through violating others.


Viewing dress at the airport, and how to present Georgia’s weather

By Elliott Brack, editor and publisher |   Spend time at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, and you get to see a continuing distinctive display of people walking by, decked out in all kinds of outfits for their travel. America’s clothing today is a far cry from the once common more formal apparel for airline travel. You see few people “dressed up.”

We’ll say this: it appears that many international travelers from distant lands dress for travel far better than their American counterparts. You see people from distant Africa and Asia in their ceremonial dress which is both colorful and distinctive, and covers most of their body.

All too often many Americans seems more dressed for travel more suitable for the beach or swimming pool, if you call what some wear “dress” at all.

We were among those at the airport welcoming nearly 40,000 Rotarians for their international convention last weekend.  About 10 of us at a time were stationed around the arriving areas of the airport seeking to be helpful to visitors.

One restaurant at Atlanta’s airport has a new gadget to summon your waiter. Press one button to call the waiter, another for your check, or another to disregard the previous communication!

Yet far more than helping the visiting Rotarians, we were being asked all kind of questions from everyday travelers.  While there is a plethora of signs directing travelers to various locations throughout the airport, Hartsfield-Jackson suffers significantly from “sign overload.” It confuses many visitors.

So, we directed guests to the Southwest, American or United or Delta counters. Or to the Starbucks, Post Office, or rest rooms.  Having been a traveler in unfamiliar airports, we could understand the frustration of some visitors. The day was tiring, but an interesting way to spend some time directing newcomers to the airport.

Well, here’s one way.  

During last week’s Rotary International Convention in Atlanta, the daily Rotary internet message of upcoming events featured a spot called “Local Weather.”

Here’s how they showed the temperatures for Atlanta during its convention:

  • Monday, 65 F., Partly Cloudy;
  • Tuesday, 73 F., Partly Cloudy;
  • Wednesday, 78 F., Partly Cloudy;
  • Thursday, 75 F., Partly Cloudy; and
  • Friday, 71 F., Partly Cloudy.

That was correct, of course. But it was only the daily low temperatures, not the high temperatures. Do you suspect that Rotary International got the information from the promotion department at the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce? After all, this is late springtime in Georgia, and the average daily high temperature is usually in the 80s. But Rotary’s daily calendar never mentioned that.

For early arrivals at the convention, stepping outside the Georgia World Congress Center later in the day may have been somewhat surprised about the daytime temperature.

Rotary’s convention has a big impact on the City, the eighth largest convention of the year, making a $57 million economic impact from the 40,000 Rotarians from 170 countries all over the world visiting Atlanta. It is truly a mini-United Nations, with 1.2 million members throughout the world.

The Rotary Club of Atlanta was founded in 1913, eight years after the 1905 founding of Rotary in Chicago, with 37 members. Today its membership is limited to 500 members. Today there are more than 10,000 Rotary members in Georgia. Gwinnett  County has seven Rotary Clubs, with about 300 members.

International president for the past year of Rotary has been John Germ, a resident of Chattanooga. While Seoul, Korea was the site of last year’s convention, the 2018 convention will be in Toronto, Canada.


Is tide finally turning on Medicare; Unlikely, but who knows?

By Jack Bernard, Peachtree City, Ga.  |  I retired as a healthcare senior vice president, but I was the first person on either side of my family to go to college at all. My uncles were all cops, soldiers, postmen, and construction workers. Many of my friends are blue collar.


When it comes to Obamacare  (ACA), blue collar people are conflicted. They know people who get insurance who couldn’t before because of pre-existing conditions. They like keeping their 25 year old unemployed son on their insurance policy.

But, they do not appreciate being told that everyone must have health care insurance or pay a fine. And, they do not like premium increases caused by the above (and having mandated comprehensive insurance policies).

Since they are not insurance people, working class people cannot be expected to understand the complexities of the insurance market. The ACA is like a gym. You can’t get the benefits of the ACA without the pain. And, that includes the mandate for everyone to have insurance so it can’t be “cherry picked” with only the sickest insured, driving up rates astronomically. It also means having a standardized set of minimum benefits so that insurance is affordable for those needing the broader coverage. “Community rating” is a self-explanatory term.

Blue collar folks are finally starting to see that although Obamacare has flaws, with over 20 million added to the rolls of the insured, the law is more positive than negative. According to a Gallup poll (3-17), a majority of Americans (55 percent) now want Obamacare preserved. Only 30 percent want it just repealed.

I understand why blue collar folks voted for Trump. But, per his campaign promise, Trump is now stuck trying to provide “affordable coverage” for everyone.

It would be good if Trump would do a reset, which he is famous for doing. A good start would be for him to pattern reform after what we know works in Europe and other developed nations, as analyzed in a 5-17 report by the respected Commonwealth Fund.

When we look at this document, it is obvious from quality, coverage and cost standpoints that the best solution is to expand Medicare… something Trump said as recently as 2015. But, he would have to fight the insurance and big pharma lobbies to do it.

Will Trump wake up to the facts and decide to finally fight the good fight and really drain the swamp?

Unlikely, but who knows.                                


Gwinnett Medical Center

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Vintage Gwinnett law required cars approaching mules to stop

Editor, the Forum:

I thought of you when I recently read this in a pictorial history called Vanishing Georgia. The caption of a photo of a vintage automobile taken on a dirt road in Georgia read, in part: “In Gwinnett County, for example, a 1906 law required that any driver approaching a horse or mule ‘shall bring his machine to a full stop at least one hundred yards from said horse or mule, and shall shut off all his machinery and stop all noise being made by same until said horse or mule has passed his machine and is at least fifty yards beyond.’ ”

I wonder what those who wrote this law would think if they could see Gwinnett’s traffic and system of roads today.

— Neal Davies, Decatur

Dear Neal: Good find. The book you mentioned was the inspiration for Gwinnett to publish the two Vanishing Gwinnett books. If anyone wants a copy of  one of those two editions, we found five copies available, at what we thought were reasonable prices, on Amazon.com.  –eeb

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


Lilburn’s BAPS Mandir to mark 10th anniversary soon

From June 21 through July 7 the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Lilburn will celebrate its 10th anniversary with a visit from His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj. An estimated 3-4,000 BAPS devotees will travel from different parts of the country to honor their spiritual leader and to take part in daily activities and conferences. His Holiness will be leading various spiritual events for volunteers, children, youth, and adults.

Of interest to the general community will be the 10th anniversary celebration with an awesome display of fireworks on July 1 from 7:30 pm until 9:30 pm.

Gwinnett tag offices to daily 8-to-5 schedule, with one deviation

Tax Commissioner Richard Steele announced that effective July 1 all Gwinnett tag offices will follow a five-day, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. schedule.

There will also be a change in the location offering Saturday services. Beginning July 1, the Lawrenceville tag office will be open on Saturdays, and the North Gwinnett tag branch in Buford will be closed on Saturdays.


Suwanee is only Gwinnett city with S&P AAA credit rating

The City of Suwanee is the only city in Gwinnett that has received a AAA long-term bond rating from Standard and Poor’s (S&P) Global Ratings with a stable outlook.  AAA bond rating is the highest rating attainable.

Only six other cities in Georgia have such a distinction. They are Alpharetta, Peachtree City, Roswell, Smyrma, John’s Creek and Milton. Suwanee previously received a AAA bond rating from S&P Global Ratings in 2014.

The city is in the process of issuing approximately $22 million in revenue bonds with the city’s Urban Redevelopment Agency that will finance the costs associated with redevelopment projects identified in the 2017 Urban Redevelopment Plan Update, including public parks and quality-of-life amenities and transportation improvements.

The series 2017 revenue bonds would be secured by contract payments made by Suwanee to the agency pursuant to an intergovernmental contract under which the city has agreed to make payments to the agency in amounts sufficient to pay principal and interest on the bonds.

Eastside Urgent Care opens 3rd satellite of Eastside Hospital

On June 7, Eastside Urgent Care, in affiliation with Eastside Medical Center, celebrated the ribbon cutting and community open house at their Lilburn location at 976 Killian Hill Road. The Lilburn clinic is the third Eastside Urgent Care location to open this year, complementing the clinics in Lawrenceville and Centerville.

With Eastside Urgent Care’s affiliation to Eastside Medical Center, patients seen at Eastside Urgent Care can be easily connected with the physicians within the hospital’s network of care should they need to be referred on to see a specialist for a chronic or more acute medical issue beyond the scope of urgent care.

For medical needs that do not require a visit to the emergency department, or in instances when a patient is unable to see their primary care physician, Eastside Urgent Care is here to fill the gap between primary care and emergency care needs.

Magazine recognizes top doctors at Gwinnett Medical Center

Physicians from Gwinnett Medical Center (GMC) were recently recognized in Atlanta Magazine’s annual list of top doctors.  Announced in July, the “Top Docs” are selected after peer nomination, extensive research, careful review, and screening by Castle Connolly, a healthcare research, information, and publishing company.

Thirty-one GMC doctors were included in this prestigious listing.  They are as follows:

  • Dr. Richard Abrohams,  Internal Medicine
  • Dr. Julius O. Ajayi, Internal Medicine
  • Dr. Roosevelt Allen, Jr., Urology
  • Dr. David B. Arkin, Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Dr. Dinesh Chatoth, Nephrology
  • Dr. Suiza Chua, Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Dr. Cheryl Copas, Family Medicine
  • Dr. Hugh DeJarnette Family Medicine
  • Dr. Charles Douchy, Dermatology
  • Dr. Jing Gill, Dermatology
  • Dr. Louis Heller, Interventional Cardiology
  • Dr. Gretchen Koontz, Maternal and Fetal Medicine
  • Dr. Kim Lipscomb-McDaniel, Maternal and Fetal Medicine
  • Dr. Shukri Makhlouf, Internal Medicine
  • Dr. Peter Mann, Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Dr. Fonda Mitchell, Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Dr. Phillip Nakano, Plastic Surgery
  • Dr. Milan M. Patel, Hand Surgery
  • Dr. William Paxton, Nephrology
  • Dr. Joseph Pohl, Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Dr. Robert Richard, Bariatric Surgery
  • Dr. Lisa Roberts, Pediatrics
  • Dr. Paul Rubin, Urology
  • Dr. Manfred Sandler, Cardiovascular Disease
  • Dr. Yvonne Satterwhite, Orthopaedic Surgery
  • Dr. Douglas Seeb, Diagnostic Radiology
  • Dr. Niraj Sharma, Cardiac Electrophysiology
  • Dr. Gary Stillwagon, Radiation Oncology
  • Dr. Neill Videlefsky, Pediatric Cardiology
  • Dr. Jonathan Weiss, Dermatology
  • Dr. Johnny Won, Otolaryngology
  • Dr. Julie Zweig, Otolaryngology

The review includes, among other factors, scrutiny of medical education, training, board certifications, hospital appointments, administrative posts and professional achievement.


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


Georgia’s southern boundary and that of USA were once the same

(Continued from previous edition)

The 1783 Treaty of Paris, which ended the Revolutionary War (1775-83), fixed the 31st latitude north as the southern boundary of the new United States. The line extended from the Mississippi River eastward to the Chattahoochee River, moved down that river to its junction with the Flint River, and then followed a direct line east to the headwaters of the St. Marys River. As a result, Georgia’s southern boundary was also that of the United States.

In a separate treaty between England and Spain, England ceded both East and West Florida back to Spain, which now gained control of the lower Mississippi River. This situation created tensions between Spain and the United States for the next dozen years because Spain refused to allow commercial traffic other than its own to descend the river.

After much negotiation, the two countries signed the Pinckney Treaty in 1795, which opened commercial access to the Mississippi River and the port of New Orleans. Equally significant, the treaty designated the boundary between the two countries as the 31st latitude north. Georgia’s boundaries were not affected.

After the Revolutionary War, the new states began ceding the western portions of their territories to the United States in exchange for the federal government repaying their war debt. In 1802 Georgia became the last state to cede its western lands, compelled to do so in the wake of the Yazoo land fraud, one of the most egregious land scandals in the history of the United States.

The Yazoo land fraud occurred in 1795, when the Georgia General Assembly sold millions of acres along the Yazoo River (in present-day Mississippi) for pennies to Georgia legislators, state officials, and other investors, many of whom resold the land for huge profits. When news of these misdeeds reached the public, the outcry was huge and the sale was overturned, but not before hundreds of people had purchased the disputed land. Swamped with claims, the state decided to give up all its land west of the Chattahoochee River to the federal government.

In the 1802 Article of Agreement and Cession, the U.S. government agreed to bear all expenses for settling the claims of those who owned land in the Yazoo River country and to pay Georgia $1.25 million.

Following this agreement, the state’s new western boundary began with the juncture of the Chattahoochee and Flint rivers in southwest Georgia and proceeded north to the great bend of the river (at present-day West Point, Ga.) From there it stretched for 160 miles to the Indian village of Nickajack on the Tennessee River and continued from there up to the 35th latitude north. (Nickajack no longer exists; the Tennessee River was dammed in 1913, creating a lake that covers the abandoned site.)

(To be continued)


Soaring heights is the key in today’s Mystery Photo

In the last few years, many of our readers may have viewed this area in today’s Mystery Photo. While it reminds us of the Marriott Hotel in downtown Atlanta, guess again.  Send in your thoughts to elliott@brack.net and be sure to include your hometown.

Come readers, snap it up!  You need to be more alert about the Mystery Photo, especially when it is right here in Georgia. The most recent mystery photo was that of the Signers Monument, located in Augusta, on the 500 block of Greene Street with the DeLaigle House and old Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in the background. That’s what the reliable George Graf of Palmyra, Va., researched the mystery, send in by someone who we have lost account of.  (Who did send in the photo?  Please let me know!)

George adds: “According to the text on the obelisk’s historical marker, it was Dedicated July 4, 1848, in honor of the signers of the Declaration of Independence for Georgia: George Walton, Lyman Hall and Button Gwinnett. The first two lie buried in crypts beneath this shaft. The burial place of Gwinnett, whose body was to have been reinterred here, has never been found.


Photos from two festivals in Gwinnett last weekend

Roving Photographer Frank Sharp was busy last weekend, visiting two festivals, in Peachtree Corners and the other in Duluth. Enjoy his art work from these festivals. By the way, check out the bounce house with the snake’s head from the Duluth Art Festival! Gives us the creeps!

Scenes from Peachtree Corners festival

Lots of activities at Duluth Art Festival


(NEW) Opening Reception of “Art Is the Only Way” at The Rectory in Norcross on June 16 from 5-8 p.m.  Featuring the art of Sherry Needle, Lisa Gleim and Fran Miller, the program takes the theme of a quote from Twyla Tharpe: “Art is he only way to run away without leaving home.” The exhibit continues through July 21. Join the artists for light refreshments and music. RSVP: 678-421-2048.

Meet the Genealogist in Braselton on June 17 at the Library. If you think there is a Revolutionary War patriot in your ancestry, come between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. to learn more about the Daughters of the American Revolution. If you have done any research on this possibility or have any documents you want to share about the Revolutionary War, come and join us for a short introduction to this part of history for our nation.

(NEW) Bluesberry and Beer Festival will be June 17 from 3-10 p.m. in Norcross’ Betty Mauldin Park. This year’s lineup of blues musicians will entertain into the evening and will feature bands from the local blues scene. In addition, Norcross’ downtown merchants and restaurants will be creating signature “Bluesberry” cocktails, desserts, specials and more! The festival is free to attend with special ticketing and pricing for the beer tasting. For more information, visit http://bluesberrybeerfestival.com.

Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting of Eastside Medical Center South Campus Emergency Department, June 22 from 4-7 p.m., 2160 Fountain Drive, Snellville. Take a tour of the new campus department after the ribbon cutting. More info: hope.moeck@hcahealthcare.com.

Free Photography Workshop at Lilburn Library Branch, 4817 Church Street, will take place on June 24, at 2 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. Preceding this in the Lilburn Library, GNPA member Steve Wilkerson will give a talk on macro photography at 10:30 a.m. on June 20.


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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