9/26: New Norcross mural; Pluff mud; more

GwinnettForum  |  Number 17.48  |  Sept. 26, 2017  

SOON TO CHANGE: What is now a brown cement wall along Mitchell Road in Norcross, once a target for vandalism and graffiti, will soon be a giant mural, decorated by students in the Norcross area. For more details on this project, see Today’s Focus below.
TODAY’S FOCUS: Students Plan Mural Turning Brown Wall Into Canvas of Community
EEB PERSPECTIVE: Rising Tides from the Ocean Will Produce Sticky, Oozy Pluff Mud
SPOTLIGHT: The Gwinnett AAA Baseball Team
FEEDBACK: Perhaps You Mean Like “I Was Most in a Sea of Nameless Faces?”
UPCOMING: New Business Accelerator To Locate Office in Peachtree Corners
NOTABLE: County Approves New Crossing Along Beaver Ruin Road
RECOMMENDED: One Hundred Spaghetti Strings
GEORGIA TIDBIT: McIntosh, Gwinnett Fight a Duel; Three Days Later, Gwinnett Is Dead
TODAY’S QUOTE: Compensation For When You Thought You Were Wasting Time
MYSTERY PHOTO: Few Distinguished Features on This Mystery Photo
CALENDAR: Chili Time in Suwanee This Saturday

Students plan mural turning brown wall into canvas of community

By Delaine Gray, Norcross, Ga.  |  It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words, but for City of Norcross community members the new “picture” that will soon transform the retaining wall on Mitchell Road will be worth much more.  In what began as a spark of creativity for local artist and Norcross Elementary Teacher Bobbie Adamczyk, has started a movement that goes far beyond art and cultural awareness.

With an expected completion date of March 2018, the community-led project will turn the brown wall into a pictoral canvas that celebrates community and nature. It will be a public art piece intended to cultivate community awareness, strengthen relationships and develop civic pride. Additional goals are to add beauty to a bland wall and to discourage graffiti.  Since the sandblasting of the wall was completed recently, the wall is now primed and ready for the transformation to begin.

Adamczyk says: “Although the lessons in art are important, the mural project represents a great deal more for the Norcross community. This project has offered a segment of the community to feel grounded, brought parents into the classroom and provided a connection point for students and the community.”

Norcross teachers, students and volunteers, young artists from kindergarten through the 12th grades are working together to transform the retaining wall on Mitchell Road with a mural.

As stated by the Chicago Public Art Group: “Community-generated public art builds social capital, the sense of connectedness among members of a community. Public art projects can transform bland public spaces into visually exciting places that encourage civic dialogue.  Collaborative public art projects create opportunities for intergenerational work and communication, for youths to contribute positively to their local environment, and for individuals to use their creative talents for the public good.”

Led by Norcross teachers, students and volunteers, young artists from kindergarten through the 12th grades are working together to create a mural approximately 60 feet in length. It will be comprised of five panels depicting nature’s seasonal colors, wildlife and plants in colorful mosaics and painted images.

The community-oriented project is made possible by the hard work of dedicated volunteers along with fundraising efforts. Donations such as the sandblasting provided by Precision 2000, are instrumental to the project’s success. To assist in the fundraising efforts, a Go Fund Me page was created to cover the cost of materials and supplies along with a finishing application to make the mural easy to clean should a “graffiti artist” tag the wall.

Adamczyk adds: “This project has been about meeting people where they are—in schools and in the community. It has allowed us to meet the needs of the community while pulling education from art and that is good thing for everyone.”

From now until its completion, those passing by the Mitchell Wall Project will notice a banner on the retaining wall that includes a picture of a Norcross Elementary sports team who have helped raise funds for the mural by going door-to-door in the Norcross community. For those that live in the local community, don’t be surprised if they come knocking again! Upon completion of the mural, a block party is being planned in the neighborhood near the mural where students and the community can celebrate their hard work.


Rising tides from the ocean will produce sticky, oozy pluff mud

Photos by Andy Brack.

By Elliott Brack, editor and publisher  |  Ever heard of “pluff mud?”  We had not. Turns out it’s a term describing that brown-gray, sticky and oozy mud with its distinctive smell that can be found in tidal and grass salt flats.

The term is long associated with the Lowcountry of the Carolinas; it even has a local beer named for it, though in reality, we can’t see that as a positive marketing name. You can even detect the similar odor in the far reaches of New England, or anywhere ocean tides swell.

People across those hurricane areas in recent weeks have felt the impact of pluff mud, in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico or wherever rising tides have flooded an area. You often can tell how high the rising waters came from the horizontal line that the tide leaves on homes or walls. Anywhere below that line means that pluff mud effects are present.

After all, water in the tide has in it many different sea organisms, some very tiny, that often remain after the tide leaves, clinging to buildings, cars, the undersides of porches, street lights, or any other item that the water touched. And that means that these organisms, some of which need to be in water to survive, die….and then rot, which produces the strong odor associated with pluff mud. Newcomers may not think about an aroma that hurricanes and high waters leave, but are immediately greeted by this when they innocently return to an area. That’s the left over…..the pluff mud, doing its job.

It’s strong….and hangs around and around and around.

It’s essentially pluff mud that you smell during ordinary times at the beach when the tide has receded.

Edward M. Gilbreth, writing after the storm recently in the Charleston Post and Courier, described the aroma of pluff mud in this manner: “Quite honestly, it smelled like smoked herring (a great crab and shrimp bait, by the way), which is about as ‘ripe’ a product as can be found in any grocery store — only worse. This is what happens when your property and that of your neighbors’ gets briefly tsunamied by the Atlantic Ocean, with some of the organisms that live in it, and a heaping dose of sticky and gooey pluff mud. It wasn’t any one thing in particular, but a combination.”

Think of how difficult it would be to clean up your area after the waters of the ocean greeted your property in this manner!

Yet if you want to live by the beach, you have to accept that you will take the bad with the good. And anyway, there are many more good days than bad when you live on the ocean.  The tides and the flooding and the winds are all temporary, and though they can cause tremendous stress, and monstrous damage, people who live in seashore areas accept these situations. Of course, they pay higher insurance rates, but accept that, too!

One of the drawbacks to living in such areas is that many peoples’ homes are tucked away from the ocean and beach, and they may seldom go there. Yet they want to live in this certain area of the country, knowing full-well that perhaps even farther inland, they might feel the sprawling effect of the ocean and the tides.

And pluff mud, our new term of the day. We’ve smelled it before, but didn’t know that there was a distinctive term for that aroma.


The Gwinnett AAA Baseball Team

The public spiritedness of our sponsors allows us to bring GwinnettForum.com to you at no cost to readers. The Gwinnett Baseball team, the Triple-A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves, returns for its 10th season in 2018 and will play under a new, yet-to-be announced identity. Gwinnett opens the season on the road, playing at Norfolk on Friday, April 6. The 2018 home opener at Coolray Field is set for Thursday, April 12 at 7:05 p.m. vs. Rochester. The full 2018 schedule is available now at GwinnettBraves.com. For information on 2018 Season Tickets, call 678-277-0340 or visit GwinnettBraves.com/2018.


Perhaps you mean like “I was mostly in a sea of nameless faces?”

Editor, the Forum:

As we squeeze the pressure of our societal division ever tighter, we might all need to back off the use of metaphors.  In college, they often degrade into an argument.  Taken to their extreme, they always fail.

Intellectually, metaphors are for the lazy; they are for those without stats, facts, or the real stuff that supports a position.  They are a device for poets.

I am as guilty as anyone.  I use them.  They are fun and conversational.  But now they are weapons, and things are getting fairly serious.

Argue better.  Make better points.  We are confronting serious issues.  People want to have serious communications and positions.

— Byron Gilbert, Duluth

Appreciated article about the late Melvin Hunnicutt of Lawrenceville

Editor, the Forum:

Myles Godfrey’s comments concerning the late Melvin Hunnicutt were most deserved. Sad news is never welcomed, but I can say that I have many memories with Melvin to treasure.  Melvin was in my opinion, a rare edition, very focused on his mission. One of those friendships you can smile about forever.

Hartwell Wash, 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


New business accelerator to locate office in Peachtree Corners

Gwinnett’s largest city, Peachtree Corners, is fast becoming a breeding ground for support centers used by entrepreneurs to develop and launch their new businesses.

Currently there are two startup incubators in Peachtree Corners; Prototype Prime, the city -supported startup incubator that opened its doors last October in space below City Hall, and 22 Tech Park, an incubator for IT entrepreneurs owned by businessman Mark Metz which is located just around the corner.

Now a third support center — a business accelerator  –is opening. The new venture is located just blocks from the current two incubators and is set to open its doors on October.

Atlanta Tech Park, the business accelerator, will open October 2 and offer programs for enterprises that have passed the incubator startup stage. The new 43,000 square foot co-working endeavor, located at 107 Technology Parkway, offers coaching, mentoring, advising and software application development.

Accelerators and startup incubators assist entrepreneurs in the journey toward becoming successful companies, but each in their own way. Once a startup business is in an accelerator, the accelerator offers a large network of mentors, investors and professionals, investment along with workspace. Incubators provide services, advice and support network that allow early stage entrepreneurs to succeed.

The new Peachtree Corners accelerator’s owner Robin Bienfait, said the goal of her center will be to help local companies connect and grow with global companies. The space, which she calls a “Global Innovation Center,” will offer dedicated and open work space for members to connect with others, work productively and grow their businesses.

Hi-Hope Center to present Sprout Film Festival on Sept. 30

In its continuing effort to “make the invisible visible,” Hi-Hope Service Center will present its annual Sprout Film Festival, on Saturday, September 30 from 2-6 p.m. at the Conant Performing Arts Center of Oglethorpe University.  By presenting films of artistry and intellect by, for, and about people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, the Sprout Film Festival hopes to reinforce accurate portrayals of people with disabilities and expose the general public to important issues facing this population.

Hi-Hope is always looking for ways to highlight the extraordinary abilities of individuals affected by intellectual or developmental disabilities. The Sprout Film Festival shows their brilliance on the big screen. The goal of us bringing the festival to the wider community in Atlanta is to provide an enlightening experience that will help break down stereotypes, inspire meaningful conversation, and to promote greater understanding and inclusion of people with disabilities.

The Sprout Film Festival, founded in 2003 by Anthony DiSalvo, is the first and only festival to exclusively showcase films featuring people with developmental disabilities. Films showcased during the Sprout Film Festival allow individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to display their gifts and unique talents in film format to individuals across the country through the touring festival, as well as an annual three day festival in New York City.

By showing critically acclaimed films, the festival serves as an incredible opportunity to display the dignity and worth of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in their communities, in our state, and across the nation.

At the conclusion of the film screenings, attendees are invited to a moderated response panel with experts in the Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities field. Tickets are $10 in advance for general admission.

11th annual Governor’s Environmental Address coming on Oct. 11

The 11th annual Governor’s Environmental Address, featuring Gov. Nathan Deal, is scheduled for October 11 at the Infinite Energy Center Grand Ballroom starting at 11:15 a.m. This event marks the fourth time that Deal, the 82nd Governor of Georgia, has participated in GCB’s Environmental Address. More than 1,000 community and business leaders are expected to attend.


In years past, Governor Deal has addressed everything from Georgia’s waterways – including Gwinnett’s ties to the Chattahoochee River and Lake Lanier – to the impact the cleanliness of a community can have on the state’s economic viability. On the heels of Tropical Storm Irma and the historic effect it had on Georgia and the neighboring states of Florida and South Carolina, he is expected to speak about the importance of being good stewards of the environment, the influence those efforts can have on the state’s economy and the value that government agencies, local businesses and nonprofit organizations can bring to the process by working together.

Tickets to the event are currently available for purchase online and include a seated lunch. In addition to individual tickets, local businesses and organizations can purchase a table with 10 seats at the event.

  • To learn more or purchase tickets to the event, interested parties are encouraged to visit www.GwinnettCB.org or call (770) 822-5187.

Genealogy Day at Georgia Archives scheduled for Oct. 7

The fifth annual Archives and Genealogy Day will be held at the Georgia Archives on Saturday, October 7 from 9 a.m. to 4:50 p.m. Archives and Genealogy Day is a free event sponsored by the Georgia Archives and the Friends of Georgia Archives and History (FOGAH). This event offers two tracks.

Track 1, Beginning Basics of Genealogy by Laura W. Carter, focuses on the basics of genealogy and includes using resources such as census records, proper source citations, document analysis and evaluation, and filling out pedigree charts and family group sheets.  Track 1 begins at 9 a.m. and ends at 4:50 p.m. Prior registration for Track 1 is required. To register, go to www.georgiaarchives.org.

Track 2 does not require registration and offers several presentations.

  • Faith of Our Fathers: Using  Baptist Church Records for Family History Research by Kathryn Wright, Mercer University Special Collections, will be from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
  • Newspapers: A Treasure Trove of Information by Tamika Strong, Librarian and Genealogist, Georgia Public Library Service, will be held from 10:45 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.
  • Fleshing Out Your Family Tree:  Manuscript Collections at the Georgia Archives by Caroline Crowell, is from 1 to 2 p.m.
  • Resources for Genealogists in the UGA Map and Government Information Library by Hallie Pritchett, head of the Map and Government Information Library at the University of Georgia, is from 2:15 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.

The Friends of Georgia Archives and History (FOGAH) sponsors the morning and afternoon break.  Lunch is available for a donation. The Georgia Archives is located at 5800 Jonesboro Road in Morrow.


County approves new crossing along Beaver Ruin Road

The Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners earlier this month approved enabling the installation of a mid-block pedestrian crossing on Beaver Ruin Road within the Gwinnett Village Community Improvement District (CID).

Commissioners approved the use of $20,000 in SPLOST funds for the project and agreed to serve as the pass-through agency for the Georgia Department of Transportation grant funds.

Marsha Anderson Bomar, the executive director for the CID, says: “Along the Beaver Ruin Road corridor, we have most active communities, schools, churches and businesses. Gwinnett Transit Routes 10A and 20 also serve this area. The pedestrian activity is significant, and we want to ensure that there is a safe way to cross the road in the area between signalized intersections.”

While the location of the crossing is to be determined, the cost is estimated at $130,000. The Multimodal Safety and Access Grant provides $91,000 with a local match of 30 percent, or $39,000, required. The source of the matching funds is $20,000 from the 2014 special purpose local option sales tax and $19,000 from the CID.

The GVCID will manage all aspects of the project and will be responsible for funding all items not covered by state or County funds.

  • For additional information about Gwinnett County Department of Transportation and SPLOST, www.gwinnettcounty.com.

Foundation gives sunscreen dispensers for parks in Norcross

Impact Melanoma, formerly the Melanoma Foundation of New England, has provided four sunscreen dispensers to the City of Norcross for public use, part of the nonprofit’s Practice Safe Skin program. Impact Melanoma is a non-profit aimed at providing education, prevention, and support for the most serious form of skin cancer. The Brace Family Foundation donated the sunscreen stations to the City of Norcross.

Gary Brace of the foundation of Norcross says: “Our Foundation is pleased to support the City of Norcross in providing sunscreen stations to those using our city’s parks. The risk of Melanoma skin cancer can be reduced significantly with the appropriate use of sunscreen and other preventive measures.”

The dispensers are located in Thrasher Park, Discovery Garden Park, Rossie Brundage Park and Lillian Webb Park.

Deb Girard, executive director, Impact Melanoma of Concord, Mass., says: “We are pleased to expand on our successful program across the country and continue to offer sunscreen units for public and private distribution. We hope sunscreen dispensers will become as commonplace as hand sanitizers over the next few years.”

The specially designed dispensers, which are being purchased and installed across the country, are part of Practice Safe Skin, a program that offers sunscreen as an effective preventive measure to help avoid sun over-exposure year round. Each sunscreen dispenser is equipped with four 1000 mL bags of sunscreen and contains an all-natural blend of six percent zinc and six percent titanium SPF-30 sunscreen, safe for people aged 6-months and up. Ingredients are printed on the machines upon installation.

A recent study from The University of Colorado cited this program as an influencing force behind the decrease in melanoma rates in the Northeast. Melanoma is rising faster than any other cancer with one person every 50 minutes dying from the disease. Studies show that with daily sunscreen protection, the risk of melanoma is preventable. For more information, see http://ImpactMelanoma.org/practice-safe-skin/.


One Hundred Spaghetti Strings, by Jen Nails

Reviewed by Karen Harris, Stone Mountain  |  Stephanny Sandolini and her sister, Nina, lived with their Aunt Gina for as long as Stephanny can remember.  Aunt Gina provided a home for them both after their mom was in a car accident. Their Dad left soon after that.  Life was peaceful and consistent until their Dad moved back, and Aunt Gina moved away to the Northeast. After a cautious beginning the fragile bond with Dad unraveled. Stephanny, like her mom before the accident, loves to cook, and through the magic of her gift creates delicious meals designed to heal the wounds of the past. Through her perseverance, observation, talent, and loyalty, Stephanny nurtures her family through a year of changes including her own fear about ever having a stable family life.  This is an engaging story about moving through a difficult year with a special talent…for cooking.  This title is also filled with wonderful recipes!

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, Gwinnett fight a duel; Three days later, Gwinnett is dead

(Continued from previous edition)

Lachlan McIntosh served during the Revolutionary War (1775-83), and by January 1776 he had been appointed to the command of the Georgia Battalion with the rank of colonel. He organized the defense of Savannah and repelled a British assault at the Battle of the Rice Boats in the Savannah River. Promoted to the rank of brigadier general in the Continental army, McIntosh laid plans for the defense of Georgia’s southern flank from British incursions from Florida. He became embroiled in a political dispute with Button Gwinnett, who wanted the command of the Georgia forces and was resentful of McIntosh’s success and advancement.


The animosity between McIntosh and Gwinnett came to a head on May 16, 1777, when both men were wounded in a pistol duel in Sir James Wright‘s pasture outside Savannah. McIntosh recovered, but Gwinnett died of his wound three days later.

Although McIntosh was acquitted at the ensuing trial, feelings among Gwinnett’s supporters ran so high that McIntosh was forced to leave Georgia. He served with General George Washington at Valley Forge, Penn., in the difficult winter of 1778, then was assigned to the important command of the Western Department. With Washington’s support, McIntosh was entrusted with leading an expedition against Britain’s Indian allies in the Ohio Valley. McIntosh established two forts, Fort Laurens and Fort McIntosh, which helped solidify American control of the Northwest after the Revolution.

After returning to Georgia in 1779, McIntosh helped organize the unsuccessful attempt to retake Savannah from the British in October. Then, in the spring of 1780, again with a major command, he was taken prisoner during the failed effort to defend Charles Town.

McIntosh was relieved of duty by the Continental Congress but was later cleared of all charges. Despite financial losses due to the war, McIntosh returned to his planting and business activities near Savannah. He was an organizer of the Georgia Society of the Cincinnati, a delegate to the Continental Congress from Georgia in 1784, and a commissioner representing his state during the settling of the boundary dispute between Georgia and South Carolina in 1787. He died on February 20, 1806, shortly before his 80th birthday.


Few distinguished features on this Mystery Photo

Today’s Mystery Photo is relatively difficult, since it doesn’t have man distinguishing features. Do your best at figuring out where this photo was taken, and send your info to elliottt@brack.net and include your hometown.

Though the most recent Mystery Photo was also difficult, several people took a crack at the answer. They are our experts.  Among them was Sherwin Levinson of Lawrenceville, who identified the photo as the Rathaus in Frankenberg, Germany.  The photo came from Chuck Paul of Norcross.

Jon Valentine of Atlanta wasn’t as specific, though he wrote: “That HAS to be in Germany!” Others on target included Lou Camerio of Lilburn and Susan McBrayer, Sugar Hill.

George Graf of Palmyra, Va., explained further: “It is the historic Rathaus (Town Hall), Frankenberg an der Eder, Germany.

“The current town was built in 1233-1234 by the Thuringian Landgrave and quickly earned economic importance for its location at the junction of two trade routes. The downtown core consists of the renovated Old Town and the likewise renovated New Town with many half-timbered houses. On May 9, 1476, a fire broke out that burnt the whole New Town and Old Town down. Even the Liebfrauenkirche was destroyed. Although the townsfolk promptly tackled the job of building their town over again, Frankenberg, which had hitherto been among Hesse’s most important towns, never fully recovered from this catastrophic fire. In 1507, half the New Town burned down again.  The 10-towered town hall  was built in 1509 between the Upper and Lower Markets. The first town hall was torn down in 1421 to make way for the forerunner to today’s town hall. This second town hall already had ten towers representing the ten guilds in the town. The current building is a reconstruction of that second town hall, which burned down in the Great Fire of 1476.”


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.

(NEW) Peach State Chili Cookoff will be in Saturday, Sept. 30 in Town Center Park in Suwanee. Some 50 teams will compete for a $1,000 grand prize. Detail: www.peachstatechili.com

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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