6/6: Parsons Alley; Eerie moment; Vietnam story

GwinnettForum  |  Number 17.19  |  June 6, 2017  

WINS AWARD: The new development in downtown Duluth, Parsons Alley, has been awarded an Urban Design Prize.  See details Today’s Focus below.


TODAY’S FOCUS: Duluth’s Parsons Alley Wins Prestigious Urban Design Award
EEB PERSPECTIVE: An Eerie Moment After Reading a South Georgia Newspaper
ANOTHER VIEW: Sister Learns 50 Years Later What Happened to Brother in Vietnam
SPOTLIGHT: Eastside Medical Center
FEEDBACK: Even the British Were Slow To Learn about Afghanistan
UPCOMING: Gwinnett Parks and Recreation Offer Summer Camp through July 28
NOTABLE: North Gwinnett Arts Association Accepting Summer Show Entries
GEORGIA TIDBIT: Allman Brothers Band Continues To Be On Tour in 21st Century
TODAY’S QUOTE: Canadian Author Asks A Question about Summertime
MYSTERY PHOTO: Immediate Clue in Mystery Photo Is Snow on the Ground
LAGNIAPPE: Philadelphia Winn DAR Chapter Provides Welcome on Memorial Day


Duluth’s Parsons Alley wins prestigious urban design award

By Julie Herron Carson, Duluth, Ga.  |  Parsons Alley, a public-private redevelopment project in downtown Duluth, has won a 2017 Charter Award from the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU).  

Regarded as the preeminent awards for excellence in urban design, the annual CNU awards honor outstanding achievements in architectural, landscape and urban design and planning worldwide.  According to the CNU, winning projects represent major contributions to designing and building more equitable, sustainable, connected, healthy and prosperous communities.  The winning team for Parsons Alley included:

  • Bellfounder Consulting;
  • City of Duluth;
  • Fabric Developers;
  • Frederik Brauer;
  • Kronberg Wall Architects/Planners;
  • TSW Planning/Architecture/Landscape Architecture; and
  • Vantage Realty Partners.

Parsons Alley is a downtown Duluth arts and entertainment district featuring a variety of retail, entertainment and indoor and outdoor dining in new and re-purposed historic buildings including a 1904 bank and a circa-1940 church and parsonage.  The area fulfills a vision by city leaders, who retained TSW to develop a Downtown Master Plan, and later to provide landscape architecture services.  

Parsons Alley was a key recommendation of the Master Plan.  TSW developed conceptual design to construction documentation for the site, which also includes a large plaza to serve the downtown area and adjacent restaurants with seating, a bocce ball court, performance stage, public art, outdoor signage, outdoor lighting and redesigned surface parking.

Adam Williamson, senior principal of TSW says: “Parsons Alley is an exemplary project that integrates buildings and spaces in a way that draws people into the project.  TSW is proud to be honored by CNU along with the City of Duluth and its many partners who have worked together to help make Downtown Duluth a special place to be.”

Mayor Nancy Harris adds: “In Duluth, we recognize the aspect of urbanism that reflects local culture and encourages social interaction. Places that are culturally and regionally authentic almost always appeal to the local population and visitor alike.”


An eerie moment after reading a south Georgia newspaper

By Elliott Brack, editor and publisher |  Today is catch-up day, with a couple of items to write about.

But first: the day after writing last edition’s perspective, I got a jolt.

You may remember that the beginning of the last perspective, I mentioned a funeral for the first victim of the war in Viet Nam from where I then lived, in Jesup.

So it was somewhat of an eerie feeling the day after I wrote that item, that I picked up The Blackshear (Ga.) Times and read a front-page story about that same death. The deceased veteran’s family had moved to Jesup when the soldier went off to war. But he was a graduate of Pierce County High in Blackshear, where he had grown up.

It was such a coincidence of me first writing a column remembering the young man, and then the story that the Blackshear newspaper had, that I thought Gwinnett readers should know of the story. See Another View below by Robert Williams.

THE NEW NICKNAME of the Gwinnett Braves is something that lots of people in Gwinnett are talking about, with many sending in entries of suggestions for the team name.  Though the deadline has passed for suggestions for the new name, we all look forward with interest for the name, which will be announced in October.

There are some whoppers of names that other sports teams have adopted.  Perhaps the worst nickname we can think of is that of the Savannah, Ga., baseball team in the Coastal Plain League.  Some of you have shaken your head about this name: the Savannah Bananas!

Of course, some may think that the Bananas was a better choice than another name of the Savannah baseball team once had: the Sand Gnats!

How about some other unusual names?

  • Lehigh Valley (Pa.) Iron Pigs.
  • Wichita (Kan.)Wingnuts.
  • Orem (Utah) Owlz.
  • El Paso (Texas) Chihuahuas.
  • Modesto (Calif.)Nuts.
  • Fort Wayne (Ind.) Tin Caps.
  • Traverse City (Mich.) Beach Bums.
  • Norman (Okla.)Corn Belters.
  • Topeka (Kan.) Train Robbers.
  • Akron (Ohio) Rubber Ducks.
  • Toledo (Ohio) Mud Hens.
  • Richmond (Va.) Flying Squirrels.
  • Hershey (Pa.) Smores.
  • Albuquerque (N.M.) Isotopes.
  • Montgomery (Ala.) Biscuits.
  • Hartford (Conn.)Yard Goats.
  • Batavia (N.Y.) Muck Dogs.

Then there’s another sports name in Georgia that we must not overlook: in hockey, The Macon  (Ga.) Whoopees!

There are plenty of other sports teams names that confound you.  So, no matter what the Gwinnett Braves pick as their new team name, anything will have to be better than the Savannah Bananas!

MAJOR PRINCIPLES:  In our everyday life, we are constantly reminded of several time-tested ideas that have grown into recognizable “laws” that affect our everyday lives.  Here are a few we are constantly reminded of:  

Murphy’s Law  (1942) “If anything can go wrong, it will.” 

Newton’s Laws of Motion:

No. 1: “A body continues in its state of constant velocity (which may be zero) unless it is acted upon by an external force.”

No. 2: “For an unbalanced force acting on a body, the acceleration produced is proportional to the force impressed; the constant of proportionality is the inertial mass of the body.”

No. 3: “In a system where no external forces are present, every action force is always opposed by an equal and opposite reaction force.”

And then, perhaps one we all see in so many ways in our everyday lives, the famous:

Peter Principle: “In a hierarchy, every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence.”

Have a good day!


Sister learns 50 years later what happened to brother in Vietnam

Ralph (Buddy) Woodall, Jr., a popular member of the BHS Class of 1962 is shown in this photo at Johnson’s Drug Store soda fountain in downtown Blackshear with Marilyn Dowling Bowen for their selection as “Best School Spirit” superlatives. In the background left are Evan DeLoach and Betty Williamson.

By Robert M. Williams Jr., reprinted with permission  |  It’s been 50 years.

A half-century has passed since Western Union delivered the message no parent wants to receive to Ralph and Willie Mae Woodall:

“The Secretary of the Army has asked me to express his deep regret…”

Christie Woodall Patrick was only 19 years old, but her world was changed forever. Her big brother, Buddy, had been killed in Vietnam. Older sister, Margaret, and kid brother Charles, were just as devastated.

Click image to make larger.

Buddy was a well-known and popular member of the Blackshear High School Class of 1962. Word spread quickly across the community and a pall descended on the town. War had hit home. 


That pain may be five decades old now, but, some days it feels as fresh as this morning to Christie Patrick. The heart aches and the tears sting.

For Christie, the past fifty years have seen a struggle, not just with the pain of loss, but also with nagging questions. Did her brother suffer in death? Was his end swift and merciful? Did he know he was about to die?

For all of Christie’s adult life, she has devoted countless hours to pursuing information on her brother’s dying moments. His last day. His last hours.

But nothing could be found.

Until last December. 

It was Christmas time and no package could have contained a greater gift to make her heart soar, to equal the words she heard on a phone call from California.

“I was Private Woodall’s commanding officer. I was there when he died.”

On the other end of the call was Retired U.S. Army Capt. Nate Ward, now 76, and living in San Diego, California.

For 50 years, Buddy Woodall’s death had haunted him, too. Buddy was the first man lost in this young officer’s unit.

The 26 year-old lieutenant was traumatized. The sense of loss would not leave him, either.

Ward had spent the past half-century trying to find Buddy’s family, to tell them of their son’s bravery. To let them know Buddy was a well-liked friend to many and a respected soldier.

A series of flukes had kept Capt. Ward from ever being able to contact the Woodalls.

About the time Buddy went into the army, the family had moved from Blackshear. Army records listed Buddy’s hometown address as Jesup, but, in later years, the family moved back to Blackshear. Those 30 miles had, inadvertently, put up a roadblock that had stymied efforts at communication.

It was only through another fluke, a family friend of Christie’s husband, Ed, that a connection was ever made that led to Capt. Ward knowing Buddy Woodall’s family was still out there.

Still wondering.

Christie was caught by surprise by the call.

“He was emotional and I was, too,” she recalled recently. “I just couldn’t believe I was finally able to talk to someone who knew Buddy, who was there!”

Ward shared that, not only was he present when Private Woodall was shot by a Viet Cong sniper, he was also lying in the high grass and mud, scarce inches away, with only one soldier between them.

“It was a late night firefight,” Ward explained. “Our job was to secure some buildings in a village.”

The unit had barely gotten on the scene when shots rang out from the pitch-black night.

One of the first shots hit Buddy. Another soldier was also killed and two wounded. A medical helicopter was called in but it was thought that Buddy had probably died, if not instantly, before he was ever loaded onto the chopper.

Ward remembered Buddy as a “friendly guy who liked to talk,” popular with his fellow soldiers. Having spent some of his military time in Georgia, they shared that connection. The captain told Buddy that Fort Benning in Columbus, Georgia was “hot as hell” but winter ranger training in Dahlonega would “freeze your a– off!”

“It touched my heart so much to know a little more,” says Christie. “To talk to someone who knew Buddy… to know he cared really means a lot.”

Christie, now living in Barnesville, also appreciates the fact her brother has not been forgotten in his hometown 50 years later.

“Mama and all of our family have been touched that she was always recognized as a ‘Gold Star’ mother and so many of Buddy’s friends have shared memories of him,” says Christie wistfully.

It’s been said that people die twice. First, when the heart stops beating. The next, when people no longer remember them.

After 50 years, in that sense, Buddy Woodall still lives.

Robert M. Williams Jr. is editor and publisher of The Blackshear Times in Blackshear, Ga.


Eastside Medical Center

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, Eastside Medical Center, which has been a healthcare leader for more than 35 years providing quality care to patients in Gwinnett and surrounding counties. Eastside is a 310-bed, multi-campus system of care offering comprehensive medical and surgical programs as well as 24-hour emergency care. Eastside Medical Group provides primary care for patients of all ages in Snellville, Grayson, and Loganville. Specialty surgical services and gynecology and maternity services are also offered by Eastside Medical Group in Snellville.  Eastside Medical Center now has three Eastside Urgent Care centers located in Lawrenceville, Centerville, and Lilburn. Our exceptional medical staff of 500 board certified physicians, 1,200 employees and 400 volunteers is committed to providing our community a healthcare system of excellence.

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


Even the British were slow to learn about Afghanistan

Editor, the Forum:

Americans are not the only ones slow to learn about Afghanistan.  I was reminded of the British East India Company’s foray and Elphinstone’s disastrous 1842 retreat.  The British thought they were playing The Great Game with Russia over Afghanistan, but they were really playing against the Afghans.

John Haeger, Lilburn

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


Gwinnett Parks and Recreation offers summer camp through July 28

Summer camp offered by the Gwinnett County Parks and Recreation (GCPR) allows children the opportunity to be physically active and helps build self-confidence and self-esteem through a variety of activities. Children make new friends at camp and learn social skills that will last a lifetime. GCPR summer camps offer children a chance to unplug from technology and discover their creative powers and engage in the real world. The most important aspect of summer camps at parks is that children reconnect with nature through a variety of outdoor activities exploring parks and trails.

GCPR offers a multitude of adventures including separate junior adventure camps for ages 5 and 6, and general day camps for 7 to 13, with different activities tailored for each age group. Special guests are brought in to share their skills and knowledge to enhance the campers’ experience and enrich each week’s theme.

GCPR camps are inclusive and staff makes every effort to assist individuals with disabilities. Specialty camps feature sports, art, dance, drama and more. All general day camps offer the opportunity to swim and explore the outdoors, while learning the importance of personal responsibility and environmental stewardship. Camps are $126 per week for Gwinnett County residents and $146 per week for non-residents. Camps run June 5 until July 28.

The staff is selected based on experience, interview and merit. All potential staff members must pass a background check, and train in First Aid/CPR/AED before the beginning of camp.

Lilburn Urgent Care will host open house on Wednesday, June 8

Eastside Urgent Care, in affiliation with Eastside Medical Center, will be hosting a community open house for their new Lilburn location at 976 Killian Hill Road on Wednesday, June 7 from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

The Lilburn clinic will be the third Eastside Urgent Care center to open this year, complementing the clinics in Lawrenceville and Centerville. 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.

The Eastside Urgent Care centers are equipped with x-ray, laboratory services and licensed providers are always available to perform minor procedures like casting and suturing. All three centers have received the Accredited Urgent Care Designation, the highest level of distinction for urgent care centers by the Urgent Care Association of America.

The Eastside Urgent Care Lilburn location will be open to see patients the following day, June 8, at 8 a.m.

Duluth Arts Festival coming to Town Green this weekend

The Duluth Arts Festival on Duluth Town Green is right around the corner, scheduled on June 10-11. This festival is a Fine Artist Market with local and regional artists and performers.  This two-day outdoor festival is sure to have something for everyone. 

This festival is an art festival for Artists by Artists, letting the artist have a voice in the creation and operations of the festival. This event will feature painters, photographers, sculptors, metalwork, glass artists and jewelers. The Festival will also offer artist demonstrations, live music, children’s play area, plus gourmet food trucks with healthy alternatives.

The Duluth Arts Festival is organized by the Atlanta Foundation for Public Spaces, LLC and a board of experts in various artistic disciplines. The festival will uphold the highest standards supporting the arts, and offer participating artists the environment to nurture appreciation for their skills.

On June 10 hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on June 11 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the Duluth Town Green.


North Gwinnett Arts Association accepting summer show entries

Entries are being accepted to the second annual North Gwinnett Arts Association Summer 2D juried art exhibition in Suwanee. It will be held July 12 through August 19 at the Suwanee Town Center Art Gallery. All 2D work must have a maximum size of 48×48 inches, including the frame.

“Ode to summer” is the theme of the exhibition, and the memories, emotions, sights, and scenery that the warmest season evokes. Any fine art style and medium is considered, including representational, abstract and conceptual works.

All artwork must be for sale. Both amateur and professional artists will be considered for artists over 18 years old.


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


Allman Brothers Band continues to be on tour in 21st century

(Continued from previous edition)

After releasing Win, Lose, or Draw (1975) and their second live album, Wipe the Windows, Check the Oil, Dollar Gas (1976), the Allman Brothers Band broke up. Leavell, Williams, and Johanson then formed a new group, Sea Level. The Allman Brothers reformed in 1979 with guitarist Dan Toler and bassist Rook Goldflies to record Enlightened Rogues (1979), Reach for the Sky (1980), and Brothers of the Road (1981). The band separated again in 1982.

After the release of Dreams (1989), a boxed anthology, and Live at Ludlow Garage 1970 (1990), the band recorded Seven Turns (1990), its first studio album in nine years. Warren Haynes (lead guitar), Allen Woody (bass), and Johnny Neel (keyboards) replaced Goldflies and Toler. Except for Neel, the lineup continued with Shades of Two Worlds (1991). An Evening with the Allman Brothers Band: First Set (1992), their fourth live album, added Thom Doucette (harmonica) and Marc Quinones (percussion). All but Doucette recorded Where It All Begins (1994). Paul Riddle, the Marshall Tucker Band’s drummer, replaced Quinones on the fifth live album, Evening with the Allman Brothers Band: 2nd Set (1995). After the sixth live album, Peakin’ at the Beacon (2000), Betts was fired. Quinones returned, and Oteil Burbridge replaced Woody, who died in August 2000.

The band continued to tour in the 21st century with a lineup that featured Allman, Trucks, Jaimoe, Quinones, Burbridge, Haynes, and Trucks’s nephew, Derek Trucks (guitar). In 2003 the group released its final studio album, Hittin’ the Note, to critical acclaim. A live album, One Way Out, was released the following year. In 2014, after more than four decades of touring and recording, the Allman Brothers Band played its final show before a sold out audience at the Beacon Theater in New York. Tragedy struck the group once again in 2017, when founding member Butch Trucks took his own life. The band’s remaining namesake, Gregg Allman, succumbed to complications of liver cancer later this year.

In 1998 the band was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame. The house in Macon where various band members lived from 1970 to 1973 opened in April 2010 as the Allman Brothers Band Museum at the Big House. The museum contains photographs, musical instruments, gold records, and other memorabilia.

Gregg Allman died on May 27, 2017 and is buried at Rose Hill Cemetery in Macon, Ga.


Immediate clue in Mystery Photo is snow on the ground

Today’s Mystery Photo gives  you an immediate clue, what with snow on the ground. Now, go figure out this photo and then send in your thoughts to elliott@brack.net and be sure to include your hometown.

Really. We aren’t trying to print difficult Mystery Photos. However, for the past several issues, we have had few readers recognizing the mystery, other than the old reliable George Graf of Palmyra, Va. The entry in the past edition came from Wayne Hardy of Cleveland, Ga. Mr. Graf identified it as: “Johnson Mill in White County, Ga., was built in the late 1880s’ and is notable for its solid wood shaft which was carved from a single tree trunk that drives the large water wheel.  The mill was later restored and most of the original equipment is still in the mill.  The mill site has a small lake and a cabin.  Appointments are necessary to view the mill.”


Philadelphia Winn DAR chapter provides welcome on Memorial Day

Providing refreshments on Memorial Day was the Philadelphia Winn Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution of Lawrenceville. They welcomed guests at the Memorial Day activities at the Fallen Heroes Memorial in Lawrenceville. From left are Kathy Lobe, Treasurer Anne Lockhart, Librarian Becky Davenport, Regent Kitty Watters, Terri Tigh, Recording Secretary Valerie Craft, Ruby Craft, Vanessa Wynn, Mary Ann Grube, Marcia Robertson, Chaplain Linda Olson, Janet Perry, Corresponding Secretary Lee Schermerhorn, First Vice Regent Ann Story, Traci Zierk and Babs Richman.


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