8/25: On Afghanistan; An eclipse wedding; Katrina comparison

GwinnettForum  |  Number 17.39  |  Aug. 25, 2017  

THE TOTAL ECLIPSE of the sun gave one Duluth High graduate an unusual wedding day. And everything went smoothly. See details of the story in Elliott Brack’s perspective below.
TODAY’S FOCUS: Why Are We Continuing To Pour Money and Blood into Afghanistan?
EEB PERSPECTIVE: Duluth High Graduate Gets Married During Total Eclipse
ANOTHER VIEW: Comparing 2017 Charlottesville with Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans
SPOTLIGHT: Mingledorff’s
FEEDBACK: Three Letters All Around Activities Out of Charlottesville
UPCOMING: Pleasant Hill Road in Duluth To Get Widening Project
NOTABLE: Centerville Scout Creates Drop Boxes to Honorably Retire U.S. Flags
RECOMMENDED: Sam’s on Main in Grayson
GEORGIA TIDBIT: Architect Thomas Bradbury Had Major Influence on Atlanta Skyline
TODAY’S QUOTE: What Is Needed in the Art of Leadership
MYSTERY PHOTO: The Key Clue in this Mystery Photo is the Design of the Building
LAGNIAPPE: Georgia Gwinnett College Had $451 Million Impact on County in 2016
CALENDAR: Norcross Farmers Market Offers Disposal of Tattered Flags

Why are we continuing to pour money and blood into Afghanistan?

By George Wilson, Stone Mountain, Ga. Sixteen years in Afghanistan, 2,403 American soldiers killed, tens of thousands wounded, $1 trillion spent and no end in sight.

Can you imagine $1 trillion spent on the United States’ infrastructure? How our bridges, roads, airports and harbor would look today? This folly must end, though President Trump breaks his promise of no more military adventures.

So Trump filled us in on his grand design for Afghanistan. Let’s see what he’s famously pronounced many times in the past.

March 2012: “Afghanistan is a total disaster. We don’t know what we are doing.”

August, 2012: “Why are we continuing to train these Afghanis who then shoot our soldiers in the back? Afghanistan is a complete waste of our money.”

January, 2013: “Let’s get out of Afghanistan. Our troops are being killed by the Afghanis we train and we waste billions there.”

Sixteen years ago, the U.S. attacked in Afghanistan. The reason given was to fight the Taliban as if they had attacked us. Was the real reason to create a U.S. pipeline to transport the Caspian Sea basin’s abundant fossil fuels through Afghanistan and Pakistan, to the Indian Ocean, and make a fortune?

Moreover, Afghanistan has extensive deposits of natural gas, petroleum, coal, marble, gold, copper, chromites, talc, barites, sulfur, lead, zinc, iron ore, salt, precious and semi-precious stones. In addition, rare earth elements used in all electronic devices and required by our military’s equipment are most important.

Finally, where are the required goals left out of Trump’s speech?

  • Reduce level of violence… counter terrorism efforts needed;
  • Regain 50 percent of the territory now occupied by the Taliban;
  • Eliminate corruption in Afghan government;
  • Seal the border with Pakistan; and
  • Handle the interference from Iraq and Russia.

The absence of these goals require nation-building and diplomacy, both in short supply with the Trump Administration. If we depend on the military alone and neglect the above means that we will continue to pour an endless stream of blood and money into a lost cause.


Duluth High graduate gets married during total eclipse

By Elliott Brack, editor and publisher  |  A graduate of Duluth High School got married Monday….yep, during the total eclipse near Sumter, S.C. She is Alexis “Lexi” Greenleaf Anderson and her husband is Terran Travis. She is the daughter of Marsha Bomar of Duluth and Walter Anderson of Sumter, S.C.

She is a 2008 graduate of Duluth High, who graduated from the University of Georgia in psychology. Lexi went to the Naval Officer Candidates School in Newport, Rhode Island, to get her commission.  She has served in a construction battalion in Port Hueneme, Cal., and in Guam.

It was in Guam that she met her future husband. Lexi is now a lieutenant junior grade attending the Naval Submarine School in Kings Bay, Ga. Her husband, a Naval lieutenant, is originally from Spokane, Wash, and is a graduate of Eastern Washington University, also in psychology. He will be returning to graduate school to pursue a Ph. D.

Following is the story from television station WCNC in Charlotte, N.C. about the wedding:

Long before Alexis ‘Lexi’ Greenleaf Anderson married Terran Travis under the bright corona of a solar eclipse, she had a conversation with her father about the convenient location of the family home, The Borough House Plantation.

A South Carolina historic site and national landmark, the Borough House Plantation has been in Lexi’s family since it was built in the early days of American history, around 270 years ago.

Lexi remembered her dad joking during that conversation years ago about an eclipse going right over the house in 2017. She recalled him saying, “You can get married right here under the eclipse.”

She didn’t put much thought into the notion.

But that was before she met Terran. Lexi and Terran met while both serving in the Navy. According to Lexi, they were both separately deployed to Guam when Terran was active duty and ended up working on the same small base. And when they decided to get married, Lexi brought up the convenient location of their family home and the timing of the solar event. Terran, whom Lexi called, “A bit of a nerd,” was excited about the idea.

“We can get married under an eclipse that is happening right over your house?” he asked. And the idea for a once-in-a-lifetime photo-op was born.

But it would take a photographer who was up to the task.

So they hired Nicholas Gore Weddings to capture their special day, and they let the photographer know exactly what they were asking of him.


Comparing 2017 Charlottesville with Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans

By Debra Houston, contributing columnist  |  In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, killing some 1,245 people along the Gulf coast (Wikipedia). The Left blamed President George W. Bush for New Orleans’ devastation despite the fact that its mayor, Ray Nagin, and its governor, Kathleen Blanco, both Democrats, failed to secure the safety of their citizenry before the storm hit.

In his book, Decision Points, President Bush wrote, “That photo of me hovering over the damage suggested I was detached from the suffering on the ground. That was not how I felt. But once that impression was formed, I couldn’t change it.”

Are you listening, President Trump?

On August 12 in Charlottesville, Va., white supremacists gathered in protest against bringing down a Confederate statue. Leftist counter-protestors arrived with rocks and water bottles to hurl. After some taunting, the two groups sparred. Normally police break up two opposing groups. Instead, the violence escalated. A car barreled through the crowd, killing Heather D. Heyer, a young activist. Police have charged a white supremacist with her death.

When asked to condemn the white supremacists, Mr. Trump said he blamed both sides for the violence. The supremacists had a permit to protest; the other group didn’t. He said he needed more information before casting judgment.

For once, I thought, Mr. Trump had given a measured response to a reporter’s question. His enemies disagreed. They accused him of drawing a moral equivalence between the racists and the Leftists.

So how is Charlottesville like Katrina? Well, you have Mayor Mike Signer and Governor Terry McAuliffe, both Democrats, and a Republican president. Signer and McAuliffe are innocent, although the violence happened in their city and state. Witnesses told the British press that law enforcement stood by as the two groups fought. Were the police ordered to stand down? Perhaps Signer and McAuliffe wanted to avoid another Ferguson-type riot in case the police over-reacted.

Like Nagin and Blanco before them, Signer and McAuliffe seem virtuous. It’s easier to shift blame to the president and label him a racist.

The president finally condemned the supremacists, but the die was cast. Maybe New Yorkers like Mr. Trump have never witnessed the KKK’s heinous bigotry. I grew up in Georgia during Jim Crow and I’m more than happy to condemn them.

I can only imagine what Mr. Trump will write in his memoir one day. “I failed to condemn the supremacists without all the facts. They called me a racist. That’s not how I felt. But once the impression was formed, I couldn’t change it.”

Mr. President, you got Katrina’ed.



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Perhaps the South will finally address statues to Confederacy

Editor, the Forum:

Thank you for your take on the Charlottesville controversy. I found it very thoughtful and did give to me a reason to pause and think about this topic.

Normally the winner of wars write the history from their point of view, but in this case the loser through organizations like the Daughters of the Confederacy with statues and plaques, changed that approach to history. The result of their works has brought our country to this point of history.

Taking them down without regard or discussion has led to a feeling of estrangement to many who have or had a heritage here in the South. In the years after the Civil War many in the South felt an oppression coming from the victors. These statues and plaques gave them an outlet for their fears and dejection, while at the same time reminding the former slaves that these individuals, who lost the war, were still in charge.

With the migration of jobs and people coming to the South from other regions of the country, there is a questioning of the need of continuing to honor that vision along with the actions of extreme fearful groups. It looks like we are going to address this issue, finally.

— Jack Snyder, Norcross

Hungarians found usage for former Communist leaders’ statues

Editor, the Forum:

Let me strongly agree with your position of not destroying the Confederate statues.

I’ve been living in the area or the city limits of Charlottesville for many years.  When us locals were asked by Charlottesville City Council to express our opinion of what to do with the statues, I suggested to do what Hungary did with the Soviet statues after the wall came down.  The Hungarians created Momento Park and relocated many of the statues of communism and the Soviet leaders within that park.  It is now a money making tourist attraction in Budapest.

I thought Virginia could create a Confederate Park and move all the statues and symbols to that park along with a historical museum to tell the story.  As usual, I received no feedback from the City Council, though many I talked to thought it an idea with strong merit.

 — George Graf, Palmyra, Virginia.

Remembers Lee’s words in 1869 about the “sores of war”

Editor, the Forum:

In 1869, Robert E Lee, whose opinion is worth considering, said: “I think it wiser, moreover, not to keep open the sores of war but to follow the examples of those nations who endeavored to obliterate the marks of civil strife, to commit to oblivion the feelings engendered.”

What is most telling about the statues is that they were not erected right after the end of the war.  They were mostly erected during two periods:  1) Around the turn of the century through the 1920s, when Jim Crow was the law of the land in the South and the KKK was resurgent, and 2) In the 1950s and 1960s, when, as you recall, George Wallace’s cri de coeur kind of said it all: “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow and segregation forever!”

I think it is disingenuous to defend these monuments as “history.”  “History” almost by definition is about context.  The context of these memorials is hate.  As intelligent beings, we continually re-think and re-work history, as more information becomes known (whether it is in the Olduvai Gorge or the streets of small southern towns).  These monuments are a slap in the face to many American citizens.  It’s time for the statues to leave the public square and go to a museum, where their true story can be told.

Susan Northcutt, Lawrenceville

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


Pleasant Hill Road in Duluth to get widening project

Gwinnett County Commissioners recently accepted $1.5 million in state grant funds to widen Pleasant Hill Road in Duluth from four to six lanes from Howell Ferry Road to the Chattahoochee River.

Earlier this year, the Gwinnett County Department of Transportation applied for a Georgia Transportation Infrastructure Bank (GTIB) grant to supplement local funds from the 2014 and 2017 SPLOST programs. Construction will likely begin next year.

The GTIB was formed in 2009 when the State Road and Tollway Authority approved the policies governing the infrastructure bank in 2009. The GTIB was formed to provide grants and loans to state, regional and local governments and community improvement districts.

CPR class to be taught Saturday morning at Norcross Farmers Market

HandsOnly CPR can be taught to anyone in under two  minutes and is something that can save lives. Learn how from Gwinnett County Fire Community Risk Reduction and Education. This class is free and offered 10 a.m. to noon during Norcross Community Market at Webb Park, 5 College Street in Norcross on Saturday August 26.


Centerville scout creates drop boxes to retire U.S. flags honorably

Abercrombie with Vivian Gaither and the drop boxes he developed.

Centerville Community Center and Eagle Scout Ayden Abercrombie recently collaborated to produce drop boxes to honorably retire U.S. flags at three OneStop convenience centers in Gwinnett County.

Center Operations Manager Vivian Gaither says: “This young man approached us with such a desire and excitement to honor the flag and serve his community. Thanks to his hard work, we can offer a unique service to Gwinnett County residents for years to come.”

Abercrombie, 15, joined Boy Scouts of America Troop 548 in 2013. He has performed numerous flag ceremonies and taught flag etiquette classes. Over the years, he realized many people did not know what to do with their weathered and tattered flags or how to properly retire them. Abercrombie used his Eagle Project, a service project required to achieve Eagle Scout rank, to fill this community need.

His project required 16 volunteers and 224 hours to complete over the course of two months. Abercrombie will collect the flags from the four drop boxes as needed and continue to mentor other Boy Scout troops and adults through flag etiquette and disposal classes.

The flags collected in the drop boxes will be retired in a solemn ceremony. According to the U.S. Flag Code, old and tattered flags shouldn’t be thrown away; they should be destroyed, or “retired,” in a dignified way, preferably by burning.

The drop boxes are located at Buford OneStop Human Services Center, 2755 Sawnee Ave., Buford; Centerville OneStop Community Center, 3025 Bethany Church Road, Snellville; Lawrenceville Senior Center, 225 Benson St., Lawrenceville; and Norcross OneStop Human Services Center, 5030 Georgia Belle Court, Norcross.

Mock joins Lawrenceville to lead Public Works division

The City of Lawrenceville has hired Barry Mock to become its public works director. Mock will spearhead efforts to manage the maintenance and growth of the city’s robust utilities, fleet and streets and sanitation departments while overseeing major municipal construction projects.


Chuck Warbington, city manager, says: “Barry comes with a proven track record in project management and execution. We are pleased to have attracted him and his level of expertise to this critical role for the City and look forward to what his leadership will bring to Lawrenceville and its future.”

Mock has worked for Gwinnett County Public Schools as the director of business solutions, managed operations for Hollandsworth Construction and has experience in entrepreneurial business development. He has also held engineering and planning management roles with Precision Planning, Vintage Communities and Lucent Technologies.

Mock says of his new position: “Lawrenceville’s infrastructure and support services are a significant resource to the community and I am excited to be part of such an impressive operation. I look forward to working hand-in-hand with Lawrenceville’s people to support and lead the growth of the city in the years to come.”

Mock began with the City on August 4, 2017. He is a graduate of Georgia Institute of Technology and holds a B.S. in mechanical engineering. For more information, visit the City’s new website at www.lawrencevillega.org.

Gwinnett mails first official bilingual mass mailing to some voters

The Gwinnett County Voter Registrations and Elections Division mailed its first official bilingual mass mailing Friday, August 18, sending approximately 12,000 bilingual letters to Lilburn and Snellville voters advising them of city polling location changes.

The Voter Registrations and Elections Division provides voter registration material and oral assistance in Spanish and continues to seek input from the public about ways to better serve the Hispanic community. The division created an online feedback form, and its staff is attending community events to publicize these new changes and recruit for bilingual poll officials.

Gwinnett County is the first county in Georgia to be named a language minority jurisdiction under Section 203 of the federal Voting Rights Act.


Sam’s on Main in Grayson

Reviewed by Marlene Buchanan, Snellville  |  My family and I have discovered a wonderful Mediterranean-American restaurant  in Grayson,  Sam’s on Main.  Sam and Nicole Bazid are the owners and Sam is the chef. My family and I are working our way through the menu, but so far everything has been wonderful. We have been so pleased with everything that we haven’t found a favorite.  Besides traditional American meals, there are a number of Mediterranean dishes.   Prime rib is served only on Friday and Saturday.  Be sure to try the marinated Country Potatoes, gyros and fried flounder. Sam’s is open seven days a week, serving from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. Monday –Wednesday; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday and to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.   On Sunday, they serve breakfast, from opening at 9: a.m. to 4 p.m..  Lunch service begins at 11 a.m. and closes at 7 p.m. They are at 420 Grayson Highway, in Grayson.

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


Architect Thomas Bradbury had major influence on Atlanta skyline

A. Thomas Bradbury’s credentials as both architect and lawyer influenced the professional circles in which he operated and helped mold his career as perhaps the most prominent architect of government buildings in the mid-20th century.

Abraham Thomas Bradbury was born on April 4, 1902, in Atlanta to Hannah Marco and Abraham Bradbury, a contractor. From 1921 to 1923, while a student at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Bradbury worked for Robert and Company. He received a certificate from Georgia Tech in 1923. When John Llewellyn Skinner, who had served from 1923 to 1925 as head of architecture at Georgia Tech, left Atlanta for Florida, the young Bradbury followed him, seeking to establish a practice in Miami, but a hurricane in 1926 prevented it.

Georgia Archives

Bradbury next found work with Warren, Knight, and Davis in Birmingham, Ala., in 1927. He lived in Chattanooga, Tenn., in 1930 and returned to Atlanta during the early 1930s to study law. In 1933 Bradbury was admitted to the bar, and three years later he married Janette Lane, who held both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in law.

Bradbury returned to Robert and Company around 1934 and had several partners. In 1943 he established A. Thomas Bradbury and Associates.

Bradbury’s 1940s work shows him to be interested in the progressive functional style of modernism, as evidenced in his Seventh Street Candler Professional (Dental) Building (1946). Among the building that Bradbury and Associates added included West Hunter Street Baptist Church, Rock Spring Presbyterian Church, and Venetian Hills Elementary School in Atlanta during the 1950s.

Beginning in 1954 with the Agriculture Building and the Law and Justice Building, Bradbury and Associates constructed the precinct of modern classic state office buildings that today surrounds the Georgia state capitol in Atlanta. Bradbury soon added buildings for the departments of labor, human resources, and transportation. Bradbury also served as lead architect for renovations to the Georgia state capitol, which began in 1957.

Bradbury also built the Rich Electronic Computer Building (1954-55) at Georgia Tech. A major complex of the next decade was the Georgia Mental Health Institute (1962-63), now Emory University‘s biomedical campus.

Bradbury’s most conspicuous government commission was the Governor’s Mansion (1964-67) on West Paces Ferry Road in Atlanta. It was built in the image of Tara, the home of Scarlett O’Hara in Margaret Mitchell‘s novel Gone With the Wind (1936), an unusual choice for an architect who had specialized in modern design during the previous decade. At the same time, Bradbury designed the Yaarab Shrine Temple (1963-65) on Ponce de Leon Avenue in the romantic, indeed exotic, image of the city’s original Yaarab Temple, which was designed by the Atlanta firm Marye, Alger, and Vinour in the late 1920s. (The original temple later became the famous Fox Theatre.)

By the mid-1960s, still building around the capitol, Bradbury added the Trade and Industry Building to his state office complex, and in 1962-65 he built the most minimalist of all these stripped-classic structures—a monumental box-on-pedestal housing the Georgia Archives, which has since moved to a new facility in Morrow.

Bradbury sold his firm, which had remained in operation for 35 years, and retired in 1978. On November 14, 1992, he died in Atlanta at the age of 90.


The key clue in this Mystery Photo is the design of the building


Does today’s Mystery Photo remind you of a bug?  It does to some, and it’s the design that is the story here. Figure out where this Mystery Photo was taken, then send your idea to elliott@brack.net, and include your hometown.

The last edition proved far harder than we thought. It is a simple picture of a dock at Aqualand Park on Lake Lanier. We figured all those of you familiar with the lake would easily get this one. The photo came from Susan McBrayer of Sugar Hill.

But the only one who came close was George Graf of Palmyra, Va., and he did not hit it on the head.  He guessed:  Holiday Marina on Lake Lanier. At least he got the lake right. He added: “Couldn’t get a good confirmation look on this one, so it may have been another marina.  Took my best guess.”


Georgia Gwinnett College had $451 million impact on county in 2016

Georgia Gwinnett College (GGC) generated more than $451 million into the local economy of Gwinnett County during fiscal year 2016, an increase of nearly $35 million from the previous year, according to a recent economic impact study commissioned by the University System of Georgia (USG). “GGC has become a catalyst for job creation in the county,” said GGC President Stas Preczewski. “Expanding our reach within the community we serve allows for positive and sustainable economic development.” The research, conducted by the University of Georgia’s Selig Center for Economic Growth at the Terry College of Business, attributes the impact to economic activity including 4,596 jobs created by the College, spending by the institution and spending by students who attend the institution.


(NEW) Book Talk and Performance by the Dan Random Band, Friday, August 25 at 8 p.m. at the Red Clay Music Factory in Duluth. This event is free. Grammy nominated Dan Cowan is the author, composer, and producer of the unique reading and listening experience weaving science fiction with original music.  Seating for the show is limited and is first-come, first-serve.  For reservations, visit https://public.ticketbiscuit.com/EddieOwenPresents/Events/310140.  Tickets not picked up by 7:30 p.m. will be given to the public. Presented by the Gwinnett County Public Library and Eddie Owens Presents.

(NEW) TATTERED FLAGS: Retire your tattered and torn flags at the Norcross Community Market on Saturday, August 26. In partnership with Advanced Disposal, worn out flags will be respectfully retired. Nylon flags will be recycled and cotton flags will be burned per U.S. Flag Code.  Drop off your old flags at the welcome tent Saturday August 26 between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. at Lillian Webb Park. The August 26 market is the last of the regular season. Two specialty markets are planned for September 16 and 23.

Fretting the Foothills Songwriters and Music Festival will be August 26 from 6 to 10 p.m. on the Braselton Town Green. The festivals are free for attendees and the musicians play without receiving compensation for all the local community to enjoy. Another all-day Festival is planned on the Town Green on October 24. For more information, visit http://frettingthefoothills.com/.


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