6/30: On our faults; and 4th of July events around Gwinnett

GwinnettForum  |  Number 17.26  |  June 30, 2017  


GROUND WAS BROKEN this week on Solis Town Center, a new development in Suwanee, adjacent to the city hall. Set on six aces, it features 240 multi-family units and parking garage, plus 12,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space. For more details, see Upcoming below.

Next issue will be July 7

Editor’s Note: No edition will be published on July 4. The next edition will be published on July 7, 2017.

TODAY’S FOCUS: Our Faults Leave Us Vulnerable To Societal Breakdown  
EEB PERSPECTIVE: Gwinnett Cities Planning Activities for Fourth Holiday
SPOTLIGHT: Hayes Family Automotive Group
FEEDBACK: So It Now Appears This Confusion Is Ted Turner’s Fault
UPCOMING: Two Way Traffic Will Return in Front of Gwinnett Courthouse
NOTABLE: Norcross and County Will Collaborate on New Branch Library
RECOMMENDED: Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
GEORGIA TIDBIT: Sherman’s Field Order No. 15 Sought Redistribution of Land
TODAY’S QUOTE: Successful Technology Needs Reality, Not PR
MYSTERY PHOTO: This Tower May Be Familiar in Your Subconscious
LAGNIAPPE: Views of Beauty at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens

Our faults leave us vulnerable to societal breakdown

By Alan Schneiberg, Buford Ga.  |  It is indeed troubling that our traditional democratic institutions are now corrupted by systemic distortions and a failure of traditional moral standards.  In part, I believe, this is a long term process that goes beyond our present political problems.  Our schools have failed to maintain standards. Our families are overwhelmed by economic pressures.  Our social media are distorting fundamental truths.  Government is so conflicted as to be ineffective.  Our citizens seem to have lost their morality.


I did my dissertation at Kent State University about moral development.  It is understood that the development of moral reasoning follows a set pattern.  Historically the pattern of American morality has been based on our citizens using established societal rules to make moral decisions.  The next stage of this pattern of moral development would normally be based on moral decisions being founded on deeply held personal values. Unfortunately Americans seem to be reverting to a stage more associated with young children.  Moral positions now seem to be made based on what temporary gains we can achieve for ourselves and how we can make others lose.

This moral reversion is scary for some of us who believe we are better that this.  Our faults leave us vulnerable to societal breakdown.  Traditionally we believed that our American standards kept us safe and enabled us to lead the world.  We are now unsure and insecure.  Other countries question our position as a world leader.  We have lost our way.

Our moral dilemma, however, can be overcome.  I believe that moral reasoning can be taught. We, as a society, can change the direction of our moral decision-making in a number of ways.

  • Schools could offer opportunities for students to use rational thinking skills to examine American values.
  • Parents could spend time encouraging family discussions about values and current events.
  • Churches need to open their congregations to question how values are used in our daily lives.
  • Journalists need to fact check their sources and to debunk fake news.
  • Media should encourage quality dialogue about the moral questions of the day.

We all need to think before we spout off.

In our history, Americans have had to cope with periods of moral uncertainty.  Even though our leadership seems to have lost a moral compass, we can and must use this period of history as a lesson to grow.


Gwinnett cities are planning activities for Fourth holiday

By Elliott Brack, editor and publisher |  Most of the Gwinnett cities are planning activities around the July Fourth holiday. In some instances, the cities are presenting entertainment, so that local residents can stay near home on the holiday, instead of traveling to more distant Atlanta venues for their entertainment.

This is a partial list of local activities:


The City of Lawrenceville and United Community Bank will celebrate Independence Day with a host of musical talent that kicks off Friday, June 30th with the Summer Concert, then continues on Monday, July 3 with the 12th annual PRELUDE celebration to honor America’s Day of Liberty. These free events will be held, rain or shine, on the Lawrenceville Lawn at 210 Luckie Street, just off the Historic Downtown Square.

Friday Night (June 30) — the KICKS Country Night party will start at 7 p.m. with live performances by country music artists Dry Gulch, Broken Whisky Glass, and John Rhey. Bringing Nashville to Lawrenceville, Broken Whisky Glass focuses on old school country and southern rock, while John Rhey and Dry Gulch feature traditional country roots intermingled with the sounds of popular modern country.

Monday Night (July 3) – PRELUDE will kick off at 5 p.m. with hits from DJ Suspense, followed by live stage performances from country artist, Zach Seabaugh, as well as the popular soul band, R&B, Inc. Bring chairs or blankets, pack a picnic dinner, discover a new favorite food truck meal, or have dinner at one of the restaurants on the Square, then enjoy the one block walk down to the program and fireworks to follow.


Duluth Celebrates America is a family tradition for many and brings thousands to downtown Duluth for the annual event. Fireworks will ignite the sky once again at Duluth’s patriotic celebration.

This year it will take place on Monday, July 3 on Duluth Town Green from 6 p.m. until 11 p.m. The 116th Army Band and the Mike Veal Band will provide their rocking tunes.

Food trucks, children’s activities and other activities, including giveaways from 12Stone Duluth, will be a part of the event. A firework display with City Hall as the back drop will wrap up the night. This is an open zone event. For more information, visit: www.duluthga.net/events


In celebration of America’s Independence Day, the City of Norcross is throwing a pre-Fourth of July block party on July 3 from 3 p.m. until 11 p.m. with fireworks beginning at approximately 9:25 p.m. (or dusk). The 2017 edition of Red, White and BOOM! will include food trucks, fun and fireworks. Activities start at 3 p.m. with bounce houses (nominal fee), festive face painting and an assortment of food vendors.

The City of Norcross will not allow shade structures (tents or umbrellas). ADA parking will be available at City Hall (65 Lawrenceville Street) and Bostic Street. City staff will be available to transport seniors or anyone needing assistance that day via golf carts at each of the respective parking locations. A shuttle will also run continuously from the Norcross First United Methodist Church, 2500 Beaver Ruin Road. For more information, visit aplacetoimagine.com.


In downtown Braselton, activities begin on July 4 at 5 p. m, continuing until 10 p.m., with a food festival and kids activities. Then at 6 p.m., a parade along Georgia Highway 53 will really get things moving. The Fly Betty Band will entertain between 6:30 and 9:30 p.m. at the Gazebo. And of course, dusk will bring on a giant fireworks show.  For more information, go to www.downtownbraselton.com.


In Lilburn, activities begin at 5:30 on July 4 at Lilburn City Park. There will be a variety of food, children’s activities, music and lastly, of course, fireworks. Performing at 7:30 p.m. will be The Breakfast Club ‘80s tribute band. Fireworks begin approximately at 9:30 p.m.


Snellville’s Fourth of July activities revolve around its Towne Green. They start at 4 p.m. and last until the fireworks around 9:30 p.m. There will be a cake walk, watermelon eating contest, a blood drive, and entertainment. A water slide, inflatables, train rides, bungee jump and of course, plenty of music and food vendors all during the afternoon and night.

Kriss Johnson will begin activities with the National Anthem, and sing God Bless America just before the fireworks God Bless America. Bands to play include Rhythm Nation and the Stephen Lee Band.  For more details, visit www.SnellvilleEvents.com.

Berkeley Lake

The City of Berkeley Lake plans a traditional Fourth of July parade, beginning at 11 a.m. at the Elementary School, and continuing to the chapel in front of City Hall. A big city picnic will be held there after the parade.


In Auburn, their Fourth celebration will be July 1, with a festival in the downtown area beginning at 5 p.m. There will be activities, including bounce houses, food trucks and music. Fireworks begin at dusk.

Sugar Hill

Sugar Hill plans its Independence Day fireworks show, “Sparks in the Park,” on July 3 at E.E. Robinson Park on Level Creek Road. Activities begin at 6 p.m., and are anticipated to close about 10 p.m., after the fireworks show.

Event attractions will include inflatables, concessions and food trucks. There will also be live music to accompany the firework show provided by the cover band Electric Avenue. Guests are welcome to bring lawn chairs, blankets, coolers and food; however, please leave pets and glass containers at home.

“Sparks in the Park” has taken place annually for the past 15 years and has become one of the most highly anticipated events of the summer, attracting around 10,000 people each year.


Loganville will kick off its Fourth of July on Saturday, July 1, with a parade at 4:30 down Main Street. Fireworks will begin about dusk near the American Legion hall. Best place to see the fireworks in Loganville will any place between the Ingles and Kroger food stores.

There are no public events or fireworks for the Fourth of July in Peachtree Corners, Dacula, Grayson, Buford, Rest Haven or Suwanee.


Hayes Family Automotive Group       

The public spiritedness of our sponsors allows us to bring GwinnettForum.com to you at no cost to readers. Today’s sponsor is Hayes Family Automotive Group with Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac, and GMC. Mike, Tim and Ted Hayes of Lawrenceville and Gainesville with Terry Hayes of Baldwin invite you into their showrooms to look over their line-up of automobiles and trucks. Hayes has been in the automotive business for over 40 years, and is North Georgia’s oldest family-owned dealerships. The family is the winner of the 2002 Georgia Family Business of the Year Award. We know that you have high expectations, and as a car dealer we enjoy the challenge of meeting and exceeding those standards each and every time. Allow us to demonstrate our commitment to excellence!


So it now appears this confusion is Ted Turner’s fault

Editor, the Forum:

You know it’s all Ted Turner’s fault.

When cable TV tried to make the news cycle a 24/7 item, then realized you can’t afford to create real news programming 24/7,Turner decided to fill time on the air with opinion shows rather than news shows, intermingling the two until the lines between them were lost.

Eventually, we ended up with a society that’ can’t separate news from opinion, with such outcomes that people think Sean Hannity is a journalist rather than a commentator.

— Norman Baggs, Gainesville

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


Two-way traffic will return in front of Gwinnett Courthouse

Drawing of new Courthouse entrance

The front entrance to the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center in Lawrenceville will be reconfigured soon under a $1.93 million contract approved by commissioners on Tuesday. Multiplex LLC of Duluth was the low bidder for the work.

The project will redesign Langley Drive to provide one lane of traffic in each direction in front of the building with a pedestrian drop-off area, improved entrances to the parking lot, and a handicap parking area closer to the building. The project will also replace sidewalks, walkways and pavers with concrete and add a new plaza in front of the building.

Construction at the front of the building will take about six months.

A concurrent, SPLOST-funded project is beginning at the back of the building on a new courtroom addition and parking deck. Gwinnett’s first SPLOST program raised $65.7 million for the original building that opened in 1988 when the population was about a third what it is today. County government had been headquartered in and around the Gwinnett Historic Courthouse in Lawrenceville for 103 years prior to 1988.

Suwanee breaks ground on mixed-use project adjacent to Town Center

Work has begun on a new 301 unit mixed-use apartment-condo complex adjacent to Suwanee Town Center .

The City of Suwanee Downtown Development Authority, along with developer Terwilliger Pappas and Carlyle Realty Partners, hosted a groundbreaking ceremony on June 27 for Solis Town Center. Set on six acres, the property will also feature 12,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, 71 for-sale townhouses, and a parking garage around which the mixed-use structure will be built.

Previous city master plans – dating back to the 2002 Old Town Master Plan and through the 2015 Downtown Suwanee Master Plan Update – created a vision for this property, which will have a similar look and feel to the current Town Center area. The project also addresses several goals in the 20/20 Vision strategic plan, including extending Town Center, ensuring lifetime housing, and promoting a mixture of housing types.

The City of Suwanee purchased a underdeveloped land adjacent to Town Center to be held for future growth. The elements of design, connectivity, community, and sense of place will extend down a pedestrian-friendly Buford Highway, setting the stage as to what is expected of future development for the updated Buford Highway corridor.

Suwanee Mayor Jimmy Burnette says: “In many significant ways, this project is a prime example of the forethought it takes to create an impactful and visionary project. The city has deployed multiple planning efforts, including several opportunities for public input, to arrive at the product we’re breaking ground on today. It represents another step our community is taking toward further realizing its vision of having a vibrant, connected, and pedestrian-oriented downtown with a clear sense of place.”


Norcross, county will collaborate on new branch library

Gwinnett County and the City of Norcross are collaborating to build a new Norcross branch of the Gwinnett County Public Library at Buford Highway (U.S. Highway 23) and Britt Avenue.

The city and county recently signed an intergovernmental agreement in which Norcross acquired the land, about 1.5 acres, and will deed it to the county. Per the agreement, Gwinnett County, using SPLOST funds, will construct the 22,000-square-foot facility, about double the size of the current library branch in Norcross. The project will also include a 128-space parking deck under the building, a pedestrian plaza, gateway stairs, and a traffic circle on Britt Avenue, plus streetscape improvements, stormwater detention and other improvements. The current library site will be deeded to the city of Norcross. City officials have indicated that it will be remodeled and become its Police Department.

Gwinnett County District 2 Commissioner Lynette Howard says: “The taxpayers are the big beneficiaries when two governments commit their combined resources on a common project. We have worked successfully on similar projects with other cities, and now we’re pleased to be partnering with Norcross on this needed and important facility. I like the thought of library patrons being able to check out a book and enjoy it at the fountain or waterfall at the nearby Lillian Webb Park. I think Mayor Webb would be proud that the city and the County are working together.”

Mayor Bucky Johnson expressed gratitude to Gwinnett County for working with the city on the new library, which will be an asset to Norcross residents and promote economic development.

Johnson says: “Designed to be a 21st century library, this development represents the city’s dedication to meeting the needs of community members as well its continued commitment to attracting families and businesses to the Norcross area.”

Gwinnett County will take the lead on design and construction of the library with input from the city. Parking will be dedicated for library use during regular hours but will otherwise be available to the general public.

Suwanee issues $21.4 million in bonds for urban redevelopment

The City of Suwanee’s Urban Redevelopment Agency issued approximately $21.4 million in bonds Tuesday at an 3.31 percent interest rate for urban redevelopment projects such as parks, transportation, and administrative facilities. The primary project associated with these bonds will be the development of a large, 25-acre extension of Town Center Park.

Suwanee City Manager Marty Allen says: “With this AAA rating and bond issuance, we are able to access capital while also enjoying low interest rates. We are leveraging the recently-approved SPLOST money we will receive over the next six years to implement long-standing projects that we are ready to begin today.”

Because of the structure of the bond, the city does not anticipate a property tax or millage rate increase in relation to the issuance of these bonds. Mayor Jimmy Burnette adds: “Construction rates are currently rising faster than interest rates. It just makes sense to do these projects now.”

The series 2017 bond proceeds will finance the costs associated with projects identified in the 2017 Urban Redevelopment Plan Update, including public parks and quality-of-life amenities and transportation improvements made to Town Center.

Eastside Medical opens second emergency department

Eastside Medical Center has expanded services to meet the growing needs for high quality and convenient emergency care close to home with the opening of a newly renovated full-service Emergency Department (ED) at their South Campus location at 2160 Fountain Drive in Snellville, its former hospital location.  The South Campus Emergency Department is now officially open to see patients as of June 26. The new addition to Eastside’s South Campus hospital includes the renovation of 7,800 square feet of existing space. The South Campus ED will complement Eastside’s existing 41 bed full-service ED at the hospital’s Main Campus location at 1700 Medical Way in Snellville. The South Campus ED is a $2.8 million investment to expand emergency services to the surrounding communities of Snellville, Loganville, Grayson, and Stone Mountain.


Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow

Reviewed by John Titus, Peachtree Corners:  Alexander Hamilton is one of those Founding Fathers that we know something about – but not much. I knew he was of illegitimate birth in the Caribbean, became an aide to George Washington during the Revolutionary War, an author of the Federalist Papers, and the first Secretary of the Treasury. This biography describes him as ‘the Father of the Federal Government’ and explains why he deserves that title. Some argue that he is the most important figure in American history who never attained the presidency, but had a far more lasting impact than many who did. Chernow describes in detail how he rose from humble origins by hard work and exceptional talent to attain great fame before being killed at age 49 in the duel with Vice President Aaron Burr. This is a marvelous portrait of a brilliant, but very human, man.

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


Sherman’s Field Order No. 15 sought redistribution of land

On January 16, 1865, during the Civil War (1861-65), Union General William T. Sherman issued his Special Field Order No. 15, which confiscated as Union property a strip of coastline stretching from Charleston, South Carolina, to the St. John’s River in Florida, including Georgia’s Sea Islands and the mainland 30 miles in from the coast. The order redistributed the roughly 400,000 acres of land to newly freed black families in 40-acre segments.


Sherman’s order came on the heels of his successful March to the Sea from Atlanta to Savannah and just prior to his march northward into South Carolina. Radical Republicans in the U.S. Congress, like Charles Sumner and Thaddeus Stevens, for some time had pushed for land redistribution in order to break the back of Southern slaveholders’ power. Feeling pressure from within his own party, U.S. president Abraham Lincoln sent his secretary of war, Edwin M. Stanton, to Savannah in order to facilitate a conversation with Sherman over what to do with Southern planters’ lands.

On January 12 Sherman and Stanton met with 20 black leaders of the Savannah community, mostly Baptist and Methodist ministers, to discuss the question of emancipation. Lincoln approved Field Order No. 15 before Sherman issued it just four days after meeting with the black leaders. From Sherman’s perspective the most important priority in issuing the directive was military expediency. It served as a means of providing for the thousands of black refugees who had been following his army since its invasion of Georgia. He could not afford to support or protect these refugees while on campaign.

The order explicitly called for the settlement of black families on confiscated land, encouraged freedmen to join the Union Army to help sustain their newly won liberty, and designated a general officer to act as inspector of settlements. Inspector General Rufus Saxton would police the land and work to ensure legal title of the property for the black settlers. In a later order, Sherman also authorized the army to loan mules to the newly settled farmers.

Sherman’s radical plan for land redistribution in the South was actually a practical response to several issues. Although Sherman had never been a racial egalitarian, his land-redistribution order served the military purpose of punishing Confederate planters along the rice coast of the South for their role in starting the Civil War, while simultaneously solving what he and Radical Republicans viewed as a major new American problem: what to do with a new class of free Southern laborers. Congressional leaders convinced President Lincoln to establish the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands on March 3, 1865, shortly after Sherman issued his order. The Freedmen’s Bureau, as it came to be called, was authorized to give legal title for 40-acre plots of land to freedmen and white Southern Unionists.

The immediate effect of Sherman’s order provided for the settlement of roughly 40,000 blacks (both refugees and local slaves who had been under Union army administration in the Sea Islands since 1861). This lifted the burden of supporting the freedpeople from Sherman’s army as it turned north into South Carolina. But the order was a short-lived promise for blacks. Despite the objections of General Oliver O. Howard, the Freedmen’s Bureau chief, U.S. president Andrew Johnson overturned Sherman’s directive in the fall of 1865, after the war had ended, and returned most of the land along the South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida coasts to the planters who had originally owned it.

Although Sherman’s Special Field Order No. 15 had no tangible benefit for blacks after President Johnson’s revocation, the present-day movement supporting slave reparations has pointed to it as the U.S. government’s promise to make restitution to African Americans for enslavement. The order is also the likely origin of the phrase “40 acres and a mule,” which spread throughout the South in the weeks and months following Sherman’s march


This tower may be familiar in your subconscious

How about this Mystery Photo? Many of you may have seen it. Scratch your head and determine where you think it is located. Then send in your thoughts to elliott@brack.net and be sure to include your hometown.

What we thought would be a difficult Mystery Photo turned out to be relatively easy for some people. The photo was sent in by Jerry Colley of Alpharetta.

Among the early spotters was Jim Savadelis of Duluth, telling us that it was the statue of Athena in the Parthenon in Nashville, Tenn., near the Vanderbilt University campus. Others recognizing it include Hill Jordan, Sautee; Rosalyn Schmitt of Lawrenceville; and Bob Foreman of Grayson, who wrote: “That is the ‘copy’ of the statue of Athena which was in the original Parthenon in Athens, Greece.  This one is in the replica of the Parthenon in Nashville, Tenn.”

And of course, George Graf of Palmyra, Va., supplied even more information: “It’s a  replica of the Greek goddess Athena by Alan LeQuire which stands in the Parthenon in Nashville, Tennessee.  LeQuire specializes in work of great scale, usually large public commissions.  While the replica of Athena is his most famous work, LeQuire also created the Tennessee Woman Suffrage Memorial sculpture which is on display in Market Square in downtown Knoxville, Tenn.  He also created a large bronze relief for the Tennessee State Capitol in Nashville dedicated to the Women’s Rights Movement and commemorating passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1920.  Another large-scale work is Musica, a bronze statue grouping unveiled in 2003 that sits in a grassy knoll at the center of Buddy Killen Circle, a roundabout in the Music Row area of Nashville.  Musica is over 40 feet tall, and consists of nine colossal nude figures, male and female, dancing in a circle. It is the largest bronze figure group in the United States.”


Views of beauty at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens


Take a look through the lens of Robing Photographer Frank Sharp, who visited the Atlanta Botanical Gardens recently. Note the tall buildings close by, as captured by Sharp, and the other beauty he shows you through his photography.  Attaboy, Frank!


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