9/23: Remembering Melvin Hunnicutt; Funding natural disasters

GwinnettForum  |  Number 17.47  |  Sept. 23, 2017  

MURALS ARE ALL THE RAGE in Gwinnett this year. Here’s a historical mural on the wall at Dreamland Barbecue in Duluth. At this angle, you can’t tell it, but this mural consists of perhaps thousands of small tiles, with small bits of the total mural painted on them. This mural is in Parsons Alley, which garnered an Urban Land Institute award this week (see story below). Jennifer Freeman of Duluth created this design, with several other people contributing to the different colors of the tiles making the design.
TODAY’S FOCUS: Melvin Hunnicutt Kept the Gwinnett Daily News on Schedule
EEB PERSPECTIVE: USA Needs Permanent Way Out of Funding Natural Disasters
FEEDBACK: Doesn’t Find Pinto Beans and Corn Bread Booth at Gwinnett Fair
SPOTLIGHT: Gwinnett Medical Center
UPCOMING: Suwanee Opens Season for 76 Plots at Harvest Farm, an Organic Garden
NOTABLE: Duluth’s Parsons Alley Gets Award from Urban Land Institute
RECOMMENDED: Have a Little Faith by Mitch Albom
GEORGIA TIDBIT: Lachlan McIntosh Helped Organize Early Provincial Congress
TODAY’S QUOTE: Defend the Tolerant, or Toleration Is Destroyed
MYSTERY PHOTO: At Least Five Spires Could Help Identify This Mystery

Melvin Hunnicutt kept the Gwinnett Daily News on schedule

 (Editor’s Note: the following is written by Myles Godfrey of Winder, who worked for years with Melvin Hunnicutt at the Gwinnett Daily News. –eeb

By Myles Godfrey, Winder, Ga.  |  Daily newspapers probably have more deadlines than any other type of business.  Every department must meet at least one deadline each day in order to get each issue to the readers so they can read it before leaving for work or have it waiting when they return.

The advertising staff must sell and process all the ads on time; each member of the news staff must gather and write the news on time; the production department must finish their work on time; and the pressroom crew must print the edition on time — all so the circulation department can make sure the newspaper reaches the homes, racks or newsstands on time. That’s a lot of deadlines.


Who is the person who enforces them? The production manager — people like Melvin Hunnicutt, who kept the Gwinnett Daily News on schedule for almost all of that publication’s existence.

My experience in dealing with various production managers stretches all the way back to 1960.  I was just 18 when I got my first newspaper job at the Gainesville Times. I had been out of high school only a short time and knew nothing about the business. In fact, I knew very little about anything.

One of the first things I learned was that the production manager could make your life a little easier or a living hell.  I realized right away that I needed to have a good relationship with Buddy Carter, that newspaper’s production manager.

It wasn’t that hard if he knew you were trying your best. You also had to respect him and what he had to do to meet his responsibility to the newspaper.

Most important, you had to be sincere and truthful at all times. Buddy, like all the production managers I’ve known, had a finely tuned BS detector.

By the time I went to work at the Daily News ten years later, I had learned a lot and was pretty confident in my ability to function effectively in my new job as advertising manager.

But one thing had not changed. I still needed to have a good relationship with the production manager, now Melvin Hunnicutt.

He was, to use the PC term, “altitude challenged.” But his lack of height was more than overcome by grit and sheer force of personality. He was tough as nails.

Of course you are not “dead” if you miss a deadline, but Melvin could make you wish you were.

I am proud to say that we developed a strong relationship based on mutual respect. I am even prouder of our personal relationship. Melvin became one of the best friends I will ever have.

Melvin passed away August 24 and has gone to a better place. I feel sure he will help keep Heaven on schedule.

Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Gail, their two daughters and the entire family.  We all loved Melvin and share your grief. He will be missed by all who knew him.

Melvin Hunnicutt (1940-2017): May you rest in peace.


USA needs permanent way out of funding natural disasters

Waves from the Ashley River crash onto the porch of this Murray Boulevard porch in Charleston during Hurricane Irma’s storm surge. You can see the railing for the Lower Battery in the distance.  (Photo via StatehouseReport.com)

By Elliott Brack, editor and publisher

CHARLESTON, S.C.  |  People from all over the country, and internationally, love to come to Charleston, as we did last week. They come for the charm, the history, the rainbow houses, the carriage rides, the food…and the politeness. Among the tourists last week were 3,000 tourists poking around the downtown area from an enormous German ship.

But Charleston has a problem, as evidenced last week: the sea. Combining Hurricane Irma, rising tides, being in the Lowcountry, and years of delay of no protective improvements…..flooding came.  The Lower Battery had water crashing over the seawall. The areas from the Battery to Lockwood Avenue, the lowest in the city, were underwater. The sprawling hospital complex off Calhoun and Lockwood was impossible to reach, with vast flooding.

In recent years, since Hurricane Hugo crushed the city in 1989 (on September 22), the city should have moved to confront the problems that flooding causes. But slow-go Charleston has almost resisted taking steps to abate these problem. Estimates now are that it will cost Charleston $2 billion to build a flood relief system.

Charleston, of course, is not alone in having problems (that many attribute to climate change.) We’ve seen the problems from Hurricane Harvey in Texas. Floridians were hit hard by Hurricane Irma, and the damage is heavy. The low-lying areas of Miami, et. al., at least missed the hardest impact. And now Puerto Rico has been tremendously devastated by the hurricane this week.

We all know that major devastation will occur again, whether it is forest fires in the West; flooding in mid America from melting snows; tornados or even earthquakes.  Why is it that these United States don’t have a thought-out plan to deal with these events? Why does it always seem a surprise?

A car buried in sand washed onto a street on Edisto Island during Hurricane Irma. (SCDOT photo.)

What it takes in the aftermath of flooding, hurricanes, and other extreme weather conditions is federal funds.  Yet it takes an action by the Congress to appropriate money for such catastrophes.

We think back to the days of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. His Administration saw opportunity in other forms….rural areas needing electricity. In FDR’s years came the Rural Electrification Act of 1936, (REA) enacted on May 20, 1936, to provide federal loans for electrical distribution systems to serve isolated rural areas of the United States. Thus we got the modern Jackson and Walton EMCs, and others, and the hinterlands had the powerful power of electricity.

It was foresight that paved the way for the REA.

Yet the USA seems to lack foresight in making sure there are immediate dollars for attacking natural disasters that continue to occur.

How about a plan for rebuilding of our infrastructure when disasters strike? How about an Infrastructure Relief Administration (IRA), where cities, counties, states could seek federal funds automatically when major catastrophes happen, without the need for immediate Congressional action. (No, on second thought, “IRA” is already in use. Better make it “IRB,” the Infrastructure Relief Bureau.)  Simply have in place the structure that local areas could borrow from an IRA fund (which would seek bonds from private investors, guaranteed by the government) for financing the re-building of major projects from these natural catastrophes.

Then perhaps major cities, like Charleston, would not dawdle like it has in the 25 years since Hugo. They could have taken advantage of a well thought-out and in-place governmental agency to have funded these super projects to protect its people.

Puerto Rico, Houston and other areas hammered by these disasters, would then at least have a financial route out of the disaster. And places like Charleston would continue to tout its charm, history and politeness.


Gwinnett Medical Center

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Doesn’t find pinto beans and corn bread booth at Gwinnett Fair

Editor, the Forum:

For the last couple of decades, I have made an annual trek to the Gwinnett County Fair for one purpose—to eat pinto beans, corn bread, relish, and a slice of onion–at a booth run by a local church.  I don’t know what church, but they were always in the same location, the same wooden structure, the same lovely people, and the same most delicious food ever.

I would sit, usually by myself, because only a couple of times was I able to persuade anyone to go with me.  I always went at dusk, when the lights, sounds, smells of the fair became a part of the experience.  I loved all of it.

Last year I went, and I looked and looked, and it WASN’T THERE.  Frantic, I ran to a security guard: “Where’s the church booth, the pinto beans???”  He responded with a sad face: “They didn’t come this year, something going on at the church.”  I briefly went to the Exhibit Hall and inspected the largest pumpkin and the beekeepers booth (it’s delightful), and left, almost without the strength to pick up some KFC on the way home.

I figured surely by this year…..  But a phone call to the Fair offices brought no happiness.  A man who shared my pain.  His voice modulated into somber tones.  “No, there would be no pinto beans this year or any year, at least not the way it used to be.”

So, my search for the lost pinto beans is over.  That past cannot be retrieved.  Perhaps when you read this you’ll be moved to organize your own group for the purpose of feeding people hungry for that special combination of flavors that, at least to me and many others, signifies Fall and the Fair.

Susan Northcutt, Lawrenceville

Dear Susan: We got details from Bill Baughman of the Gwinnett County Fair board.  He says that “….the church booth you miss was from Mt. Vernon Baptist Church, on Rockhouse Road just past Alcovy Road.  They had a division in the church and the older members couldn’t get the help they needed, so they quit. My favorites were banana pudding and pinto beans plate with cornbread and a slice of onion. Mmmmmm.”  Thanks, Bill: now we know—eeb.           

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Suwanee opens season for 76 plots at Harvest Farm, an organic garden

Photo Credit: Amanda Myers, 2017 Snap Suwanee Winner

Registration is now open for the 2018 season at Harvest Farm, Georgia’s largest organic community garden. Located in the City of Suwanee’s White Street Park, Harvest Farm offers 76 plots that can be rented on an annual basis to grow veggies, fruits, flowers, and herbs.

Plots are available in three different sizes:

  • Small plots (approximately 5’x 5’) – $50 per year
  • Medium plots (approximately 5’x 9′) – $75 per year; and
  • Large plots (approximately 5’x 12′) – $100 per year.

There is an annual $15 registration fee. Annual fees include use of a raised bed, utilities, basic community tools, social and educational events, and compost (when available). Gardeners will incur personal expenses for seeds, plants, amendments, stakes, trellises, etc.

Plots are assigned on a first-come first-served basis with priority given to city residents/property owners/taxpayers. City of Suwanee residents/taxpayers also receive a 25 percent discount on registration fees. Since the success of the garden depends upon the support of its gardeners, each plot member is required to contribute 12 hours of volunteer service a year.

  • Applications can be submitted online at harvestfarmsuwanee.com. The 2018 season will open January 1 and run through December 31, 2018.

Electricity exhibit now open at Environmental and Heritage Center

Guests explore a Plasma Tube on a visit to the Electricity exhibit. The exhibit was created by the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, Pa. and will be on the campus of the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center until Jan. 3, 2018. (Photo courtesy of the Franklin Institute)

On a summer day in 1752, Benjamin Franklin, one of America’s first scientists, flew a kite during a thunderstorm and demonstrated the electrical nature of lightning.  While he may not have discovered electricity, Franklin’s interest in the subject led to numerous experiments and the invention of the lightning rod. In fact, he coined several electrical terms still in use today including: battery, conductor and electrician.

The Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center (GEHC) at 2020 Clean Water Drive in Buford, invites visitors to become scientists like Franklin and explore the fundamentals of the phenomena of electricity with a new traveling exhibit titled Electricity from the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, Pa. “Electricity” is on display now and will continue until Jan. 3, 2018, and is included in GEHC admission.

Electricity features hands-on, interactive stations that bring the science and history of electricity to life.  Visitors can safely examine concepts such as static electricity and live current, motors, batteries and wires, attraction and repulsion, sparks, charge and discharge, voltage, AC and DC, magnetic fields and magnetic motion, lights, telegraphs and more.

GEHC’s Director of Programming Jason West says: “This exhibit certainly sparks an individual’s curiosity for science and technology.  By seeing magnets float in the air, electric volts pass through a Jacob’s Ladder, and using a telegraph to send a secret message in Morse Code, visitors gain an appreciation for the amazing principles of electricity.”

Third Peach State Chili Cookoff coming to Suwanee soon

The third annual Peach State Chili Cookoff to benefit the Gift of Adoption Fund returns to the Suwanee Town Center Park on Saturday, September 30.   This year over 50 chili teams will be competing to win the $1,000 Grand Prize in the People’s Choice category, voted on by over 5,000 attendees.

In just two years the Peach State Chili Cookoff has donated over $10,000 to the Gift of Adoption Fund, which has gone directly to assist Georgia families with their own domestic and international adoptions.  This year’s event will also feature live music, an expanded kids area and arts/crafts and food vendors.

People’s Choice judging starts at noon, and all wristband holders can sample as many teams’ chili while supplies last.


Duluth’s Parsons Alley gets award from Urban Land Institute

Among those present for the award are Council Member Jim Dugan, Jerry Miller of Fabric Development, Mayor Nancy Harris, Eric Kronberg of Vantage Realty, Councilmember Greg Whitlock, Councilmember Marsha Bomar and Tyrone Rachel of the ULI jury.

A redevelopment project in Duluth has been cited for outstanding leadership in development award by the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Atlanta District Council.

Duluth’s 30,000 square foot restaurant and retail district Parsons Alley right in the center of Duluth was the winner of the Development of Excellence Award.  Last year’s ULI winners included Ponce City Market and the Porsche Experience Center. The ULI Jury comprised of about 20 development and design professionals reached outside the perimeter to recognize the blend of new design and respect for the oldest of Duluth’s downtown spaces.

Mayor Nancy Harris along with Council Members Marsha Bomar, Greg Whitlock, Billy Jones, and Jim Dugan accepted the award with development partners, Kronberg Wall, Vantage Realty, Fabric Development, and Weissman.  Also present was DDA Chairman Rob Ponder and Economic Development Manager Chris McGahee.

The ULI Awards for Excellence program recognizes an outstanding real estate development project or initiative that exemplifies the ULI’s mission of providing leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities. The awards recognize the full development process of a project—construction, economic viability, marketing, and management—as well as design.

PMOC’s Bickett named academic librarian of the year

Georgia Campus – Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (GA-PCOM) students, faculty and staff members know they have a gem on their hands in Skye Bickett, assistant director of Library Services for the Georgia campus. Now the southern region knows it too.


Recently, Dr. Bickett was recognized as the Academic Librarian of the Year by the southern chapter of the Medical Library Association.  She says: “I am deeply honored to receive this award and to be held in such high esteem by my peers. I’m grateful to those who nominated me and to my colleagues at PCOM who have supported me in my professional endeavors by collaborating on projects or offering encouragement.”

Dr. Rebekah Thomas, Georgia assistant physician Assistant Program Director who nominated Dr. Bickett for the award says: “Skye is a highly effective librarian who is enthusiastic about helping educators integrate new teaching methods into courses and identifying learning resources that address the needs of the students and program… Students consistently praise her enthusiasm and willingness to provide assistance and guidance.”

The southern chapter of the Medical Library Association is a professional organization made up of health sciences librarians from the states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands..

Dr. Bickett recently earned a Doctor of Health Science degree from Nova Southeastern University, and also completed tenure as Chair of the Library and Information Science Section of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP).

Annandale Village names new chief development officer

Annandale Village at Suwanee has a new chief development and marketing officer. She is Danika Vause, who will be responsible for directing Annandale’s fundraising and outreach efforts, building on the solid foundation and momentum achieved in the last several years.


Vause comes to Annandale by way of Citizen Schools based in Charlotte, N.C., where as the regional director of external engagement, she led that school’s development and implementation strategy. She previously served with the American Red Cross, having over nine years of experience.

Adam Pomeranz, CEO and President of Annandale Village, said “We are very excited to welcome Danika to our team at Annandale Village. She brings a commitment to donor-centered fundraising which will not only expand our capacity at Annandale, but also allow us to better serve our current stakeholders.”

Georgia Gwinnett College gains a notch for its ethnic diversity

For the fourth consecutive year, Georgia Gwinnett College (GGC) was ranked number one for its ethnic diversity by the US News and World Report (USN&WR) annual College Compass rankings of U.S. colleges and universities. The institution held steady as the single most ethnically diverse liberal arts college among both public and private in the Southern region.  GGC’s status as a top public school in the Southern region also advanced one slot to  Number 9.

President Staś Preczewski  says: “We continue to focus not just on recruiting a diverse student population, we also draw a diverse pool of faculty and staff to serve the inclusive community of Gwinnett County. The rich culture and harmony at GGC is reflective of a progressive county. Those differences resonate throughout Gwinnett’s neighborhoods, schools and businesses, bringing a global prospective to a local community. I would like to thank Gwinnett County elected officials, donors and volunteers for being a part of our progression and for making our improvement an obtainable reality.”

The 2018 rankings citied the importance of Georgia Gwinnett’s diverse student population as a characteristic sought after by students who want to study with individuals of varying ethnic and racial backgrounds.


Have a Little Faith by Mitch Albom

Reviewed by John Titus, Peachtree Corners  |  This book, by the author of Tuesdays with Morrie, tells of an aging rabbi asking Albom to deliver his eulogy. Albom is astounded. The rabbi was the leader of his family synagogue when Albom was a child. Over a period of eight years Albom and the rabbi meet to allow the author to really get to know him as a person and man of God. Meanwhile, Albom encounters Pastor Henry Covington, a reformed criminal and drug addict, whose decaying Detroit church helps the homeless. Albom is skeptical at first, but as he gets to know Covington he is convinced that here is truly another man of God. The author moves between two worlds – Christian and Jewish, African-American and white, rich and poor – and discovers the profound similarities between these two men as they serve the people in their care. These experiences changed Albom’s life. This gentle book feeds the soul.

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


McIntosh helped organize early Provincial Congress

Lachlan McIntosh, a member of a prominent 18th-century Scottish Highland family that was among the earliest settlers of the Georgia colony, played an important role in the cause of American independence. He distinguished himself in a career that evolved over three critical periods in the state’s early history—from colonial to revolutionary to statehood. McIntosh County, on the Georgia coast, was named in honor of his family.

McIntosh arrived in Georgia from Scotland at eight years of age, part of a group of Scots settlers led by his father, John McIntosh Mohr, who established the town of Darien in 1736. The young McIntosh came of age in a time of almost constant warfare as the Darien Scots helped defend the Georgia colony in England’s commercial war with Spain, which lasted from 1739-48.


When his father was captured by the Spanish and imprisoned in 1740, McIntosh lived at Bethesda, the orphanage near Savannah under the direction of the Reverend George Whitefield. Two years later, he left Bethesda on orders from General James Oglethorpe to serve as a cadet in the military regiment at Fort Frederica. It was Oglethorpe who convinced McIntosh and his brother William that their future lay in Georgia after they attempted to return to Scotland to join the rebellion led by “Bonnie Prince Charlie.”

In 1748 the 21-year-old McIntosh established residence in Charles Town (modern-day Charleston), where he was employed by South Carolina merchant Henry Laurens, the individual who played the most influential role in guiding McIntosh’s business career. Laurens was also a leading player in Georgia’s movement toward independence.

In 1756 McIntosh married Sarah Threadcraft of South Carolina. McIntosh then returned to Georgia, where he acquired acreage in the Altamaha River delta, planted rice in partnership with Laurens, and in 1767 surveyed the town of Darien established by his forebears 30 years earlier.

By 1770 McIntosh had solidified his political sympathies with the American protest movement. This was exemplified in January 1775 when he helped organize delegates to the Provincial Congress from the Darien District of St. Andrew Parish.

(To be continued)


At least five spires could help identify this mystery

Some Mystery Photos are easy, others difficult. We term this one difficult. See if you can lick the experts and identify this photograph. Send your ideas to elliott@brack.net, and be sure to name the town where you live.

Last edition’s Mystery came from reliable Jerry Colley of Alpharetta, with the photo on the grounds of the Parthenon in Nashville, Tenn. It is of a statue to the women of Tennessee who helped pass the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote.

George Graf of Palmyra, Va. was dead on it: “It is Alan LeQuire’s sculpture in Centennial Park, Nashville, Tenn. Woman Suffrage Monument.  The final dramatic showdown over the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote played out in 1920 in the Tennessee State Capitol. Suffragists, identified by wearing yellow roses, needed one more state to ratify the amendment and Tennessee was their last chance. The Senate approved, but the House was thought to be evenly split. Harry Burn, the youngest legislator, was against ratification and wore a red rose until he received a note from his mother urging him to vote in the affirmative. His ‘yeah’ for the amendment was the deciding vote.”

Others recognizing this significant statue included Molly Titus, Peachtree Corners; Lou Camerio of Lilburn; Bob Forman of Grayson; Bobbie Thacik of Lilburn; and Susan McBrayer of Sugar Hill.


(NEW) TACOS AND TALK with Gwinnett County officials, Friday, Sept. 29 at 6 p.m. at St. Patrick Catholic Church at 2140 Beaver Ruin Road in Norcross. Come to this town meeting organized by Gwinnett County government and hear a panel of elected and church officials, headed by Chairman Charlotte Nash. See exhibits and special performances of Hispanic heritage.

Favorite Places, Favorite Things is a new art exhibit now open at the Pinckneyville Community Center at 4650 Peachtree Industrial Boulevard. The works reflect each individual artist’s depiction of objects and locations that bring them joy, and this is evident in their glowing imagery. Ranging from small, precious still life paintings to an enormous landscape of red rock mountains of the southwest, this is an eclectic exhibit. Hours of the exhibit are from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m. Monday through Thursdays; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Saturday. This exhibit closes on October 3.

Ribbon cutting for Phase II of Rock Springs Park will be at 4:30 p.m. on October 3at the park. It is located at 310 Old Peachtree Road in Lawrenceville.

Kudzu Art Zone’s annual 12×12 show runs through October 8. The original art is all 12×12 inches original works. The paintings are an eclectic group of work on canvas.  Proceeds will support Kudzu’s efforts to bring art to the community through exhibits, classes, workshops and art camps for deserving children. A silent auction, with bidding closing at 2 p.m. on October 8, is part of this show. It is open during his year’s Norcross Art Splash. Kudzu Art Zone is located at 116 Carlyle Street in Norcross and is open Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., also open for the reception on October 8. For details see website: www.kudzuartzone.org or phone 770-840-9844.


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