6/9: On Concussion Institute; Duluth’s downtown; Russian advice

GwinnettForum  |  Number 17.20  |  June 9, 2017  

DULUTH ON THE MOVE: There’s a lot of activity going on in Duluth these days. Here’s a May aerial photo of a new apartment complex and garage, to be known as District at Duluth. Check out the city’s long-range 10-10-10 plan of how they anticipated sprucing up the downtown area, and what they accomplished, by reading Elliott Brack’s Perspective below.
TODAY’S FOCUS: Medical Center’s Concussion Institute Provider to Pro Football Players
EEB PERSPECTIVE: It’s Thrilling To See Downtown Duluth Plan Coming Together
ANOTHER VIEW: Listen to the Russians on Afghanistan: “Leave as Quickly as You Can”
SPOTLIGHT: Gwinnett Village Community Improvement District
FEEDBACK: Read Gwinnett Ethics Board Recommendations About Tommy Hunter
UPCOMING: Duluth Kicks Off Art Week 2017 on June 9 for Nine Day Run
NOTABLE: WES Foundation of Duluth Grants $100,000 to Leukemia Research
RECOMMENDED: Ray’s Donuts in Hamilton Mill and Lawrenceville
GEORGIA TIDBIT: Georgia’s Western Boundary Once Extended to the “South Seas”
TODAY’S QUOTE: One Way George Washington Might Have Shown His ID
MYSTERY PHOTO: Put on the Thinking Cap To Help Solve This Mystery Photo

Medical Center’s Concussion Institute provider to pro football players

By Beth Hardy, Lawrenceville, Ga.  |  Gwinnett Medical Center (GMC)-Duluth recently announced that the Concussion Institute has been named a provider for current and former professional football players who suffered concussions during their athletic careers.  Through this work, GMC-Duluth is improving access and providing a solution for growing issues surrounding concussions, involving diagnosis and management.


The hospital also announced that Dr. Saadiq El-Amin will serve as medical director of the Concussion Institute.  El-Amin is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon specializing in the shoulder and the upper extremity.

Most recently, Dr. El-Amin served as the team physician for University of Illinois Springfield (UIS) Athletics and was the director of shoulder and sports medicine for the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine. He was the Team Orthopedic Physician for the Springfield Foxes Semi-Pro Football Team, Quincy University and Robert Morris College. Additionally, he served as an Adjunct Assistant Professor for the Department of Electrical and Computer/Biomedical Engineering and Medical Microbiology, Immunology and Cell Biology at UIS.

El-Amin earned both his medical school degree and a PhD in molecular and cell biology from Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia. He received his orthopedic surgery training at the University of Virginia Health Sciences Center in Charlottesville, Va. He furthered his training and education by completing a fellowship in Shoulder and Sports Medicine Orthopedic Surgery at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City from 2009-2010. During that time, he served as the assistant team doctor for the New York Knicks and for St. Johns University.

PATIENTS TREATED at the Concussion Institute will meet with the staff to test for the following:

  • Pre-morbid intellectual ability
  • Dementia
  • Complex attention/processing speed
  • Executive functioning
  • Performance vitality
  • Learning and memory capabilities

In addition, the Concussion Institute will provide sports related medical evaluation.

Dr. El-Amin says: “GMC-Duluth’s Concussion Institute has the capabilities to provide the cognitive testing required for current and former professional athletes so they may obtain needed treatment. Accessibility to experts and convenience are critical when providing testing of this nature. This is an outstanding opportunity to make a significant impact.”

Gwinnett Medical Center Foundation Board Member Chuck Smith, a former professional athlete, adds: “It’s important athletes have a solution to address the growing concussion issues. GMC-Duluth’s facility provides what is needed for assessment and treatment,”

Gwinnett Medical Center’s Sports Medicine Program is nationally recognized for treating the whole athlete. Services include orthopedic medicine and surgery, sports psychology, concussion treatment, rehabilitation and physical therapy, and fitness and performance enhancement. Additionally, the program provides athletic trainer services for 17 local high schools and Georgia Gwinnett College, and is the official healthcare provider for the Atlanta Gladiators, the Gwinnett Braves and multiple recreational athletic leagues, such as lacrosse, softball and soccer.


It’s thrilling to see downtown Duluth plan coming together

This is a proposed conception for a new pedestrian bridge at Rogers Bridge Park. Duluth is working with other governments on this proposal.

By Elliott Brack, editor and publisher |  Good government doesn’t come easily. People have to work at it.

It’s been thrilling to me recently to learn more about several Gwinnett municipal governments and their plans for the future. We’ve written about some cities, including a capsule compilation of what several of the governments are up to. (GwinnettForum, May 19, 2017).

Here’s why Duluth is making such terrific progress now. It all started in 2009, as the city had little monies to spend on improvements. Mayor Nancy Harris says that after the recent recession, “We didn’t do much spending on public works; we had to hold on to what we had, and make sure we didn’t lay anyone off.”

So, what happened?  “We did a lot of studying of what was happening in other cities. After a Robert Brooks webinar, we visited other cities. Brooks had researched 400 towns and cities across the U.S. and Canada, trying to figure out the characteristics of successful cities.”

From that came a Duluth “10-10-10 Plan.”  It means that Duluth wanted to see in its downtown area:

  • 10 places that served food within three lineal blocks.
  • 10 destination retail shops.
  • 10 places that were open after 6 p.m., preferably entertainment areas.

The mayor continues: “We wanted an authentic downtown, a real place to gather. We also worked hard to get our staff working toward that vision, from people in the City Hall to public works and police. Let me credit our city manager, James Riker, who was a real mover and shaker and team player on working with the staff.”

The city also learned a big lesson. “If a city invests in its own infrastructure, the sidewalks, street lights, roads, signage, trash recycling….then it’ll see the private businesses start to pay attention to the city, and will follow with investment.”

The current Rogers Bridge across the Chattahoochee River, no longer used for vehicular traffic.

And what has happened?  Look at this list of accomplishments in three categories:

Capital Projects: Main Street parking; Georgia Highway 120 realignment, and Main Street improvements.

Art and Music as a Brand: Red Clay Music Foundry; Public Art Master Plan; Downtown Events.

Citywide Developments: Sugarloaf Marketplace (14.9 acres); Marketplace Village (15 acres) in planning stage; Glens at Sugarloaf (10.43 acres), Rivers Edge at Abbots Bridge (19 acres).

New wrinkle: The city invested $1,200 in a drone camera to capture bird’s eye photographic scenes all around Duluth. This fits beautifully in with a slide presentation the mayor shows to those interested.

And what’s coming: A total of 186,000 square feet of retail space; some 1,271 new residential units, including 229 single family attached; 213 single family detached; and 702 multifamily units, including 128 senior focused multifamily units.  (Of the total new residential units, 505 are within downtown, and 767 are outside of downtown, principally in the Sugarloaf-Peachtree Industrial Boulevard area.)

What does all this mean?

That the Duluth downtown revitalization plan is working beautifully. And that new development and redevelopment opportunities still exist in Duluth.

Put it another way: the dollar figure associated with all this activity in Duluth?

Economic Development Manager Chris McGee says that the total dollar value in downtown amounts to $127 million, with the overall total for all of the city at $300 million in new investment.

Mayor Harris puts it slyly: “Yes, that says we are truly open for business.”

It’s beautiful to see such careful, detailed long-term planning, cooperation and hard work come together for the benefit of Duluth citizens.

Attaway, Duluth!


Listen to the Russians on Afghanistan: “Leave as quickly as you can”

By George Wilson, contributing columnist  |  The war in Afghanistan has become another example of inherent absurdity and futility.  This is what happens when America tries to expand the mission from “Get Bin Laden” to building an U.S.-like modern democracy with a modern, high-tech military from scratch, in an impoverished, corrupt third-world tribal society, with no experience or interest in national-level government and no national military to rebuild.

Consequently, it is not for nothing that Afghanistan is the “graveyard of empires.” It was sheer hubris that sent us there and keeps us there.

If Russia’s Red Army, with clear and short lines of supply, left Afghanistan with its tail between its legs, how is the United States supposed to succeed? The tragedy is that our soldiers and hundreds of thousands of innocent Afghans have had to die.

Admittedly, the Taliban are extremely bad guys, but Vietnam should have taught us that we can’t solve everything with soldiers, tanks, and bombs. Today, we are spending over $3 billion per month and contemplating sending over again thousands of troops.

According to a study by Brown University, “….the wars have involved opportunity costs to the U.S. economy. Although military spending does produce jobs, spending in other areas such as health care could produce more jobs. Additionally, while investment in military infrastructure grew, investment in other, nonmilitary, public infrastructure such as roads and schools did not grow at the same rate.”

As a final thought: never forget that it seems America was doing pretty good until the Republicans took over under George Bush. They are squarely to blame for this long term current mess in the Middle East.

The last commanding Soviet general in Afghanistan when asked his advice on what should we do. He said, “Leave as quickly as you can.”


Gwinnett Village Community Improvement District

The public spiritedness of our sponsors allows us to bring GwinnettForum.com to you at no cost to readers. The Gwinnett Village Community Improvement District was formed in 2006, and is a self taxing revitalization district that includes just over 800 commercial property owners with a property value of over $1 billion dollars. Gwinnett Village CID includes the southwestern part of Gwinnett County including properties along Jimmy Carter Boulevard, Buford Highway, Indian Trail, Beaver Ruin, and Singleton Road. Gwinnett Village is one of four CIDs to be created in Gwinnett County and is the largest of all CIDs in the state. The community is an economic powerhouse that helps fuel the regional economy. More than 3,600 companies (employing roughly 36,000 people) call Gwinnett Village home. The jobs in the district account for almost 12 percent of Gwinnett County’s total employment and support $2 billion in annual payroll. Gwinnett Village’s mission is to improve property values through increased security, a decrease in traffic congestion, and general improvements to the curb appeal of the area. The CID recently moved their offices to 1770 Indian Trail-Lilburn Road, Norcross.

  • For more information visit www.gwinnettvillage.com or call 770-449-6542.
  • For a list of other sponsors of this forum, click here.

Read Gwinnett Ethics Board recommendations about Hunter


The Gwinnett Ethics Board has released its final report on recommendations concerning Gwinnett County Commissioner Tommy Hunter.

  • To read the entire 18 page report, as released by Chairman David C. Will, click here.

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


Duluth kicks off Art Week 2017 on June 9 for nine-day run

Duluth kicks off Art Week 2017 with the unveiling of a towering art piece in Parsons Alley. Live performances, food trucks and more will accompany the grand reveal.

The nine-day art week kicks off during Duluth’s Food Truck Friday on June 9. It continues with the inaugural Duluth Arts Festival on June 10-11, hosted by the Atlanta Foundation for Public Spaces. The two-day juried event will feature up to 60 painters, photographers, sculptors, leather and metalwork, glass blowers, jewelers, and crafters!

June 12 will feature a community art project where residents are encouraged to come to Duluth Town Green’s parking lot to paint water barrels for future use of the City’s tent. The popular Tweet and Go Seek will take place on June 13. On June 14, there is a free event at Red Clay Music Foundry where residents can meet local bands at the “Get to Know the Locals” event.

Eat lunch on the Green and listen to live music on June 15 at “Eats and Beats” on Town Green and on June 16 enjoy lantern making and a lantern parade at the Food Truck Friday event in downtown Duluth.

The weeklong event will wrap up with a theatrical performance by Aurora Theatre. The musical play In the Heights will hit the Duluth stage. The show is free to the public with VIP tables available. For more information, visitwww.duluthga.net/artweek.

Four Gwinnett libraries offer summer meals to children

Four Gwinnett County Public Library branches will serve as site locations for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Summer Food Service Program. They will provide free, nutritious meals to children in low‐income areas so that they are better fueled with healthy food to learn and grow.

The meals will be served at the Buford, Lawrenceville, Norcross, and Snellville branches, Monday to Friday, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. There are no income requirements or registration. Anyone age 18 or younger may come to eat.

Children’s and teen programs will be offered throughout the summer to encourage culinary literacy and continued learning.


WES Foundation of Duluth grants $100,000 to leukemia research

A Duluth non-profit is making two $50,000 grants to medical schools to help fight leukemia.

WES Leukemia Research Foundation is funding two research grants to the following:

  • Jacalyn Rosenblatt, M.D., with the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center at Harvard Medical School Teaching Hospital, and
  • Glen Raffel, M.D., Ph.D., with the Department of Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

The WES Leukemia Research Foundation is a Duluth-based 501(c)3, nonprofit charity established by the William E. Smith and his late wife, Clair, and family, after their 22 year-old son, Wes, succumbed to leukemia in 2005. The Foundation’s primary purpose is that of collecting and distributing funds for leukemia research.

Funding for both initiatives will take place on July 1 and, at that time, the cumulative funding since inception will total $1.5 million.

The research the two grantees are conducting was judged by the WES Board of Trustees to be innovative and likely to be curative against the fight of leukemia and/or other blood related concerns. Full details of the two research proposals and their bios will be available on-line at www.wesfoundation.org under the Leukemia tab in the coming weeks.

Sarah Babrick of the WES Leukemia Research Foundation acknowledges the time, commitment and effort required by the Medical Advisory Board.  The chairman, Dr. Edmund K. Waller, M.D. Ph.D., FACP of Emory University/Winship Cancer Institute and the other members of the board are to be commended. She says: “We remain indebted to Drs. Edmund Waller, Amelia Langston, Leon Bernal-Mizrachi, Zaid Al-kadhimi, and Sharon Castellino and team for their years of counsel and evaluation of the research grant submittals. We could not do what we do without them.”

Four Gwinnett students win nomination to military academies

U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson recently held a reception in Atlanta to congratulate 31 high school seniors from across Georgia who now have earned appointments to the United States military service academies.

Isakson nominated 15 of the 31 students. The 15 students appointed to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and the U.S. Coast Guard Academy Preparatory School do not require a Congressional nomination. In addition, one of the 31 students received a presidential nomination to attend the U.S. Naval Academy.

The nominees accepted by the academies honored by Isakson from Gwinnett include:

  • U.S. Air Force Academy:  Jackson Harris – Suwanee; Sean McKendree – Norcross
  • U.S. Merchant Marine Academy:  Daniel Fry – Norcross
  • U.S. Military Academy:  Sara Scales – Braselton

Creative Enterprises gets a $5,000 grant from CoBank Sharing program

Creative Enterprises was awarded a $5,000 grant through a nomination by Jackson EMC to the CoBank Sharing Success Program. The grant will assist the Lawrenceville-based non-profit with adjusting to new programing needs.

In 2016, Jackson EMC provided Creative Enterprises with a $25,000 grant. The Jackson EMC grant made Creative Enterprise eligible for a nomination to the CoBank Sharing Success Program. The program matches contributions — up to $5,000 —made by its cooperative customers, which includes Jackson EMC.

CoBank is a $126 billon cooperative bank serving industries and utilities in rural areas of all 50 states.

Creative Enterprises, a non-profit organization offering a variety of programs and services to help adults with disabilities and employment barriers obtain an optimal level of social, vocational and economic independence.

Above at the check presentation are from left Randy Dellinger, Jackson EMC Gwinnett District Office Manager; Karl Heisman, Creative Enterprises board member; Leigh McIntosh, executive director; Sherry Patton, director of programs and production; and Lynn Price and Otis Jones, Jackson EMC Board members.


Ray’s Donuts in Hamilton Mill and Lawrenceville

Submitted by Alysa Schermerhorn, Dacula:  If you live in Dacula or Lawrenceville, you’re very lucky, because Ray’s Donuts is in your neighborhood!  This family owned and operated establishment has been serving the best, non-chain donuts for over a year.  Once you’ve tried them, you’re hooked.  They make them fresh daily, of course, and when they’re gone, they turn out their “open” sign and lock the door.  It’s best to go early if you need them for later in the day. Owners Masy Seng and Khim Chanvanna Pong  offer a wide variety of donuts including apple fritters, bear claws and even a bacon donut along with other breakfast items and coffee. They have two locations: in Hamilton Mill at  1955 Gravel Springs Road (actually, it’s right next to the Kroger on Braselton Highway) and  257 Scenic Highway in Lawrenceville. Don’t take my word for it, stop by and see for yourself, you’ll be hooked!

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 western boundary once extended to the “South Seas”

The boundary lines that define the state of Georgia are significant for a variety of reasons, such as ownership of physical territory, jurisdiction for the state’s laws, and the state’s rights within the federal system. The determination of Georgia’s boundaries over time has been fraught with conflict, controversy, and uncertainty.

King George II granted James Oglethorpe and the Trustees a charter in 1732 to establish the colony of Georgia. This charter provided, among other things, that the new colony would consist of all the land between the headwaters of the Savannah and the Altamaha rivers, with its eastern boundary formed by the Atlantic Ocean and its western boundary by the “south seas,” a reference to the Pacific Ocean. The latter designation encompassed a tremendous amount of land, most of which was unexplored and unclaimed.

As early as 1683 French explorers claimed land west of the Mississippi River, which they called Louisiana, but the boundaries of this territory were not fully delineated. Over the next several decades, the French were primarily active in Canada, developing a fur trade with the Indians there, and establishing settlements in present-day Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana. From the 1730s until 1783, they caused problems for the Georgia colonists by migrating eastward from the Mississippi River to claim additional land and to trade with the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Creek Indians.

By the 1730s the Spanish were organized in Florida and had claimed land as far west as the Mobile River in present-day southwest Alabama and had missions west of the Mississippi River in what is now Texas and New Mexico. They caused a constant military problem for the British colonies by moving north from St. Augustine, Fla., but after Oglethorpe’s victory in 1742 at the Battle of Bloody Marsh, on St. Simons Island, they no longer posed a threat.

Georgia’s original boundary remained the same from the founding of the colony until 1763, when the French and Indian War ended in a major territorial victory for the British. England, France, and Spain signed the Treaty of Paris in 1763, and for the first time since Christopher Columbus discovered the New World, England gained complete control of all the land in North America east of the Mississippi River, from Canada to the tip of the Florida peninsula.

Georgia took on a new shape as a result of that treaty, with its western boundary becoming the Mississippi River rather than the Pacific Ocean. The rivers in colonial America were the superhighways of the time, providing routes for commerce and transportation. Having a presence on the Mississippi River opened up the western part of the colony to new settlers, facilitating trading with Indian tribes in that region.

In 1763 the British divided what had been Spanish Florida into the two new colonies of West Florida and East Florida, with the Apalachicola River serving as the dividing line between them. West Florida, with Pensacola as its capital, extended west to the Mississippi River. East Florida included all the land east of the Apalachicola River, with St. Augustine as its capital. At the same time, Georgia’s royal governor James Wright received permission from the king of England to expand the boundaries of Georgia to include the territories between the Mississippi and Chattahoochee rivers not granted to the Florida colonies. As a result, Georgia’s southern boundary was extended down to the northern boundary of East Florida.

(To be continued)


Put on the thinking cap to help solve this Mystery Photo

This Mystery Photo may be a little more difficult for our readers, for a reason you’ll understand next time around. Two kinds of guns might help you. Send in your thoughts to elliott@brack.net and be sure to include your hometown.

Susan McBrayer of Sugar Hill sent in the last Mystery Photo, which George Graf of Palmyra, Va. easily identified. He told us it was at the “University of Vermont, Burlington, the ‘Old Mill’ Building. Officially The University of Vermont and State Agricultural College, it is a public research university founded in 1791, and is also listed as one of the original eight Public Ivy institutions in the United States.  The citizens of Burlington helped fund the university’s first edifice, and, when it was destroyed by fire in 1824, they also paid for its replacement. This building came to be known as ‘Old Mill’ for its resemblance to New England mills of the time. The Marquis de Lafayette, a French general who became a commander in the American Revolution, laid the cornerstone of Old Mill.”


Historic Wynne-Russell House dates from year 1826

Roving Photographer Frank Sharp captured an image of the Wynne-Russell House in Lilburn on one of his many ventures around Gwinnett.  We particularly liked this angle, showing some of the trees around the house, and an old shed, most useful in pioneer days, in back. From the house’s web site: “The Wynne-Russell House, built in 1826, is on the Registry of Historic Places and is a pristine example of ‘Plantation Plain’ architectural style of the upper Piedmont region.  The interior floors, walls and fireplaces are original and largely untouched by modern finishing. The site also includes a family cemetery.  The home is located at 4684 Wynne-Russell Drive in Lilburn.   Tours are free and donations to the Lilburn Community Partnership which maintains the house are welcomed.”


Seventh Annual Peachtree Corners Festival will be Saturday and Sunday, June 10-11. Come celebrate summer the Peachtree Corners Festival way! Located on tree-lined The Corners Parkway and Woodhill Drive, the festival offers free admission and on-site free parking, accessed from Crooked Creek Road between Holcomb Bridge Road and Jay Bird Alley. No shuttle buses needed! Enjoy a pre-festival concert at 7 p.m. Several food trucks will be on site. For more information visit www.peachtreecornersfestival.org.

Duluth Art Festival will be June 10-11 on the Duluth Town Green. Saturday the hours are 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Sunday the hours are 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. This festival is an art festival for artists by artists and features painters, photographers, sculptors, metalwork, glass artists and jewelers, plus live music, gourmet food trucks and children’s play area. For more information about the event go to www.duluthartsfestival.com.

Annual Picnic of Southern Wings Bird Club, Monday, June 12 at 6 p.m. at Rhodes Jordan Park in Lawrenceville. The club will provide the main dish and tableware. Bring a side dish, salad or desserts to share. Bring drinks for yourself. The event will be in one of the pavilions. Open to club members and friends.

(NEW) 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) 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.


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