9/6: On the Lilburn Woman’s Club; Church diversity; Tele-townhalls

GwinnettForum  |  Number 17.42  |  Sept. 6, 2017  

ALL SMILES: Gwinnett Librarian Charles Pace, along with members of the Lilburn Woman’s Club, are all smiles after the Club announced the donation of $10,000 to the new library in Lilburn. For more details on the donation, see Today’s Focus below.
TODAY’S FOCUS: Lilburn Woman’s Club Donates To Library; Plans 44th Lilburn Daze
EEB PERSPECTIVE: Looking at Diversity Another Way Here, Along Church Lines
ANOTHER VIEW: How Do Politicians Rationalize a Tele-Townhall Meeting?
SPOTLIGHT: Infinite Energy Center
FEEDBACK: Without Electoral College, California Would Have Decided the Election
UPCOMING: Community Forum on Human Trafficking To Be Sept. 12 in Norcross
NOTABLE: Students, Officials Delve into Disappearance of Haley Hardwick in ‘92
RECOMMENDED: Founding Mothers by Cokie Roberts
GEORGIA TIDBIT: Trade in Deerskins, and Indian Slaves, Part of Georgia’s History      
TODAY’S QUOTE: What Democracy Requires in Its Being
MYSTERY PHOTO: Think Outside Georgia in Identifying This Mystery
CALENDAR: Lawrenceville Preparing for 10th Annual Rock’n Ribville Festival

Lilburn Woman’s Club donates to library; Plans 44th Lilburn Daze

By Patti Gabilondo, Lilburn, Ga.  |  The  General Federation of Women’s Clubs (GFWC) has a long history of helping libraries and children. In the 1930s they founded over 474 free public libraries and 4,655 traveling libraries nation-wide.


In the 1970s the Lilburn Woman’s Club (LWC) opened and operated the very first Lilburn Library which was located where the tennis courts are today in Lilburn City Park. Then, earlier this year, LWC members voted to continue this tradition of improving our local library.

On June 12 of this year, LWC presented the Gwinnett County Library Foundation with a check for $10,000 to be used in the Lilburn branch. The funds were earmarked to improve the Children’s Area in two phases:

  • Phase One (Art): to create and install a large mural where a 60 foot long blank wall with only one window loomed over bookcases, and
  • Phase Two (Education): to purchase a state-of-the-art interactive storytelling computer for the children

Click the image to see a larger view of the mural.

Special thanks to local artist and business owner, Mark Watkins of Good Day Studio of Lilburn, for serving as creator and project manager.  Heartfelt thanks, also, to the large number of volunteers who dedicated their time and talent this summer to bring the art mural to completion. We could not have completed the project in record time without the collaborative efforts of volunteers from the LWC, the Lilburn Art Alliance, local artists, local business owners, Gwinnett County Library Foundation employees and members of the Library staff.

The mural is entitled “Curiosity is the Ticket”. It is the first indoor 40 foot. long children’s mural in a Gwinnett County Library, and was unveiled on August 16, 2017.  The image depicts a train theme with historical Lilburn landmarks seen through the library’s new “windows.”

The original Lilburn library.

Phase Two is scheduled to be complete before the end of the year. Those who have not seen the mural in person yet, please do stop by. It’s a beautiful and thoughtful view of our community with reflections of both then and now.

MEANWHILE, the Lilburn Woman’s Club is participating with Good Day Studio as a vendor at our 44th annual Lilburn Daze Arts and Crafts Festival.

Good Day Studio has been operated by Mark Watkins and has been located in Lilburn for the past year.  Good Day Studio believes kids (and everyone else) should be free to be themselves and express who they are through art.  The Studio exists to serve the community and uses community art projects to bring this mission to life offering high quality arts instruction with a group of talented artists and educators to kids of all ages and adults.

Good Day Studio will have a booth at the 44th annual Lilburn Daze on Saturday, October 14, at Lilburn City Park from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Watkins is planning to use some of the materials from the mural as art projects for sale.  He and his team will be available to discuss class opportunities for all ages.

Save the Date for Lilburn Daze and come and meet Mark and see some of his work. It is hosted by the Lilburn Woman’s Club and co-sponsored by the City of Lilburn.  Visit www.lilburndaze.org for more information.


Looking at diversity another way here – along church lines

St. Monica’s Catholic Church in Duluth.

By Elliott Brack, editor and publisher  |  It’s not everyday that you see something that just makes your heart feel good. Such sightings are usually not expected, and jump out at you.

Most of our Sundays are composed of reading newspapers, and being mighty lazy. But the other day I was to attend a funeral, and was on the road about 2 p.m.  As I drove down Beaver Ruin Road past St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, I saw the parking lot of the church most crowded with cars. It looked like another car could not fit in.

That’s where this thought hit me: when we talk about the diversity that we have in Gwinnett, we seldom put it in terms of religion.  Oh, we know that the white population of the county is now a minority, and that there are about 25 percent black, 20 percent Hispanic and 10 per cent Asian residents of Gwinnett, plus a wide segment of other ethnics. But we seldom think of it in terms of religion.

It thrilled me to see that St. Patrick’s church was overflowing with worshipers. Then I thought of the many Roman Catholic congregations in Gwinnett, and how just about all of them have overflow crowds—-and at multiple services.

We forget that these diverse people bring their religion with them, and those of the Catholic faith dutifully worship in their churches—-to a higher degree than do Protestants. They worship overwhelmingly more than perhaps half the rest of the population.

How extensive is this? We started counting, and found on the internet that there are 11 Catholic churches in the county.  But we looked deeper, and found that these churches had 58 different times for masses on the weekend..  And masses were also in Spanish, Korean, Vietnamese,  Chinese and Polish languages. Talk about diversity within itself!

(All this did not include the Prince of Peace Catholic Church, once located in Buford, but now in Flowery Branch, with six masses on the weekend.)   (See adjacent Table).

Now had these churches been formed in the way most  Protestant churches were developed, that would mean 58 congregations in 58 different locations, be they Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Lutheran or Episcopal.  But the Catholics recognize that a congregation can meet at a different times and use one church building. So they efficiently gather at time of their church on the weekends, and dutifully attend church in droves.

That’s good.

By the way, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints also recognizes the efficiency of having more than one congregation meeting in a building. Each of their different-timed congregations are called “stakes.”

We await the 2020 census to tell us just exactly how many Catholics are in Gwinnett. We know from the 2010 census that Catholics make up the second largest group of worshipers in Gwinnett, only outnumbered by Baptists. The speed of the development of the Catholic community could make it the largest denomination in 2020.

We also have noticed that more and more Protestant congregations are having a difficult time growing their churches. They are finding the modern world more difficult to reach people, and many congregations are losing people.  Not so the Catholic: they have instilled into members around the world, and especially those immigrating here, the need to make sure that they attend church. Would that all faiths had that same devotion to their faith!

So, overall, this idea of diversity of people brings positives, including the good attendance at church by many of those new to Gwinnett, who dutifully practice their religion in their new home.  Hurrah!  We all should emulate them!


How do politicians rationalize a tele-Town Hall meeting?

By Jack McClure, Buford, Ga.  |  I am proud to claim both Rob Woodall and Karen Handel.  These legislators are willing to engage and talk hard issues with folks who are trying to change their positions.

So, when I saw an article on GeorgiaPol this week about Karen Handel’s first tele-townhall meeting, I was a bit dismayed.  How do they rationalize a conference call with a qualified audience, when an event like this and in person town hall is also available?

The idea that town hall forums are fungible or analogous to virtual or remote gatherings is flawed. While there is a utility in communicating with your electorate, the meaning, emotion, and acknowledgement that comes from two-way face-to-face communication is completely neutered.

The value of town hall meetings is not the actual messaging or communication, but in the emotional and fully expressed dialogue.  To deny people that outlet is to have these emotions fester until a moment of catharsis.

That catharsis should be the regular dialogue between elected officials and the public.

There may be disrespectful indivisible people talking over the rest of the constituency, without a care in the world for civility and manners.  But, that’s the First Amendment in action.

Obvious logistical issues conflict with district events while Congress is in session.  However, Congress is not in session.

Emotional baggage created by tele-town halls is equivalent to debt, which must be serviced if you want to use the asset.

I want my community to realize its full potential.  To do that, elected officials at all levels must engage the public directly and the public must engage them fully.

If Congress isn’t in session and emotions run high, how are conference calls preferred to in person meetings, when there is measurable and distinct differentiation?


Infinite Energy Center

The public spiritedness of our sponsors allows us to bring GwinnettForum to you at no cost to readers. Today’s underwriter is Infinite Energy Center, home to four distinct facilities in Duluth: Infinite Energy Arena, Infinite Energy Theater, Infinite Energy Forum, and The Jacqueline Casey Hudgens Center For Art and Learning. Infinite Energy Arena has had 14 years of tremendous success hosting countless concerts, family shows and sporting events, and is home to the ECHL’s Atlanta Gladiators and the NLL’s Georgia Swarm.  Some past concerts include George Strait, Carrie Underwood, Beyoncé, Foo Fighters, Eric Clapton, Katy Perry, Kid Rock, James Taylor and Michael Bublé. Infinite Energy Arena also has hosted many family shows including Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey, Cirque du Soleil, Disney On Ice and Harlem Globetrotters.  Infinite Energy Forum offers patrons the opportunity to host or attend a wide variety of events, from corporate meetings to trade shows to social occasions.  Infinite Energy Theater has an intimate capacity of 708-seats and is home to many local events, family shows and even some comedians. The Hudgens Center For Art and Learning showcases a range of artwork throughout the year along with offering a wide range of fine art classes.


Without Electoral College, California would have decided the election

Editor, the Forum:

The GwinnettForum letter attacking the electoral college got my attention. I think the founders did a pretty good job.

In 2016 Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by 64.8 million to 62.5 million for Donald Trump, a difference of 2.3 million votes (according to an AJC Q&A on the news). That sounds like a decisive victory. The electoral college went to Trump 306-232. Each state gets two votes in the Electorate College. Voting is not based on population.

Clinton won California 8.3 million to 4.4 million to Trump, a difference of 3.9 million votes. If you take away the California differential from the total (3.9-2.3 million), Trump came out ahead by 1.6 million. Should we give the presidency based on California? The electoral map shows that the vast majority of the states are red with the West coast and New England, very populous states, blue. That Trump was able to get a majority of popular votes without California is significant.

The 2000 election was similar. Gore won the popular vote 50.999 million to 50.456 for Bush. In California Gore won 5.861 to 4.567 million. That means that, without California, Bush won the popular vote by 751,000 votes. Do we really want California to determine our president?

Let’s keep a good system.

— Wendell Dillon, Lilburn

Donald Trump is our president; Give him the support he needs

Editor, the Forum:

After reading the letter from Jack Bernard, I felt compelled to respond.  I consider him a “RINO” I’m sure you know what that stands for (Republican in name only).

I am also certain that Mr. Bernard knows why we have an electoral system.  However, to refresh his memory, it is to keep large population centers such as New York and Los Angeles from dominating the political scene.  It has worked for a long time and continues working.

Don’t like it?  Propose something better to replace it.

I admit I voted for Donald Trump, much to my chagrin.  But the choices were not great: On one hand a career politician who has managed to slime her way out of graft and corruption charges, on the other a Ga-Zillionaire who probably has stepped over a lot of bodies to make his fortune.     As far as Trump having wealthy and successful business folks in his cabinet, who would you rather have, career politicians?

Donald Trump is now President.  That makes him my President!  Instead of harping over past issues, let’s all try to give him the support he needs to get the job done!

— Dave Robertson, Flowery Branch

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


Community forum on human trafficking to be Sept. 12 in Norcross

At just 15 years old, Tajuan McCarty was homeless and forced into prostitution by a man in his 30s. More than a decade later, she finally escaped the sex trade and since then established two safe houses that have provided security for more than 200 trafficking victims.

McCarty will tell her story of escape and survival at an upcoming community forum on domestic human trafficking at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, 2140 Beaver Ruin Road. in Norcross on September 12 at 7 p.m.

The forum, sponsored by the Gwinnett County Human Relations Commission and St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, will feature McCarty, who is the founder of The Wellhouse, a Birmingham-based rescue and rehabilitation organization for victims of sexual exploitation, and other experts on human trafficking in Gwinnett and metro Atlanta.

Also on the program will be:

  • Mary Frances Bowley, founder and executive director of Wellspring Living, an Atlanta-based organization that provides housing, trauma-care and education for sexual exploitation victims;
  • Michelle Anderson – coordinator of Georgia Statewide Human Trafficking Task Force;
  • Tami Wilder, executive director of Positive Impact International;
  • Bob Rodgers, president and CEO of Street Grace; and
  • Sgt. Austin Godfrey, Gwinnett County Police Department Vice Unit

Godfrey emphasizes: “The problem is real. People don’t want to think that it’s happening but it is, and it’s happening right here in Gwinnett County. The more we can educate the public, the better prepared we are as a community to keep people safe, especially those of us who are most vulnerable.”

An estimated 374 girls between the ages of 12 and 14 are commercially sexually exploited monthly in Georgia, according to the Center for Public Policy Studies. On April 24, Gwinnett County authorities conducted a sting that netted 23 men on charges related to underage sex trafficking.

Godfrey adds: “This speaks loudly to the fact there are people actively looking for children to take advantage of. There’s a lot of education that needs to be done to help protect these kids.”

Established by the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners in 1990, the Human Relations Commission is composed of 13 people of different ethnicities and backgrounds, and is charged with the mission to encourage, promote and develop fair and equal treatment and opportunity for all persons regardless of race, religion, creed, color, age, ethnicity, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation or disability


Students, officials delve into disappearance of Haley Hardwick in ‘92

Many of us cannot recall exactly what we were doing in the heat of a Georgia summer in 1992.  Four Gwinnett high school students were asked to revisit that summer in the context of a true crime story that occurred 25 years ago in July and August of 1992.

From left are Angelic Showalter, Judge Pam South, Jay Byrd, Judge Ronnie Batchelor, Michael Woods, Author Jackie White, District Attorney Danny Porter, Jazlyn Jackson, teacher Rebecca Streetman, and Judge Joe Iannazzone.

Gwinnett State Court Judges Pam South and Joe Iannazzone, along with South Gwinnett High School teacher Rebecca Streetman and Lead Assistant Solicitor Dana Pagan, invited current students and student alumni of a summer mentoring program in law (Gwinnett S.M.I.L.E.) to read The Empty Nursery, written by Jaclyn “Jackie” White.  She is a former Gwinnett police officer and Juvenile Court administrator, who published the chronicle of the disappearance of Haley Hardwick, an infant girl, in Lawrenceville in 1992.

The book, still available in Gwinnett’s libraries and through Mercer University Press, sets out in detail the allegations and investigation that swirled around the missing child.  The Gwinnett County Police Department handled the criminal investigation and mustered immense police and volunteer resources to attempt to locate the child and solve the criminal case that followed.

These four students, Michael Woods, Angelic Showalter, Jay Byrd, and Jazlyn Jackson, were further treated to lunch with the author, Jackie White; District Attorney Danny Porter, who prosecuted the case; and Superior Court Judge Ronnie Batchelor, who, prior to his election as judge, served as defense counsel for the man accused in the crime.  The lunch provided a rare opportunity for the students to obtain an inside view into the progression of a murder investigation and criminal prosecution.

The students asked numerous questions of all three participants and heard the three guests recall fascinating details of the case.  Some time was also spent discussing locations in the county where events unfolded and the changes in those locations brought about by time and development.

At the conclusion of the lunch, White signed copies of the book for each student and talked briefly about her plans for her next book, a work of fiction. (Go to jaclynweldonwhite.com  for more information on her books.)


Founding Mothers by Cokie Roberts

Reviewed by John Titus, Peachtree Corners  |  The author ends this book citing a quote from George Washington in a letter to Annis Stockton, a writer and wife of Richard Stockton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. He was celebrating those men we now call Founding Fathers. Washington writes: “Nor would I rob the fairer sex of their share in the glory of a revolution so honorable to human nature, for indeed, I think you ladies are in the number of the best patriots America can boast.” This excellent history gives a glimpse into the everyday trials, triumphs and contributions of not only famous women such as Martha Washington and Abigail Adams, but also lesser-known figures such as Mercy Otis Warren, Catherine Littlefield Green, Eliza Pinckney, Deborah Read Franklin and others. Reading this book will give you a much deeper appreciation of the contributions made by these Founding Mothers.

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


Trade in deerskins and Indian slaves is part of Georgia’s history

When the English came to America, the Native Americans of Georgia encountered one of the most profound forces for change: the world economy. European merchants ushered in this new economic system with a commercial trade in dressed animal skins but even more so with a commercial trade in enslaved Indians. The slave trade began in northeastern America and spread quickly.

It had a profound effect on the Native Americans of Georgia from its beginning in the first half of the 17th century, through the full incorporation of Georgia Indians into the trade by the late 17th century, and until English trade interests turned to buying and selling the skins of white-tailed deer in the early 18th century.

de Soto

At the time of English settlement in present-day Georgia, the Native Americans of the South already were well into a profound process of transformation that had begun when they first encountered other Europeans. One of the first forces for change was epidemic disease. Within a few decades after the conquistador Hernando de Soto and his army of 600 made their way through the region in the mid-16th century, the powerful chiefdoms of the Late Prehistoric Period began to collapse. Archaeologists believe that the demise of these societies was due, in part, to the devastating population loss from disease.

In interior Georgia, Muskogee-speaking survivors of the collapse abandoned large areas and began joining together at certain areas of aggregation. One such area centered along the Piedmont stretch of the Oconee River and another along the Upper Coastal Plain section of the Chattahoochee River. Native Americans who lived in coastal Georgia and the barrier islands fell under another force for change: Spanish missionaries. After the establishment of St. Augustine, Florida, in 1565, Spanish Catholic missionaries labored among the Guale and Mocama of the Georgia coast and the Apalachee and Timucua of present-day north Florida.

Native Americans were transformed by the new trading system. It was a commercial trade in dressed animal skins—and Indian slaves. Slavery was not unknown to the indigenous peoples of the eastern woodlands, and they practiced a version of it at the time of contact with English traders. Once slaves became something to be bought and sold, however, a powerful new dynamic began shaping the lives of the Georgia Indians.

English traders would give European-made guns and ammunition to a group of Indians and demand that the guns be paid for with slaves. The armed groups would then raid an unarmed rival group for slaves with which to pay their debt. The unarmed group, now vulnerable to Indian slave raiders, would thus need guns and ammunition for protection and would have to acquire them. The Native Americans depended on the European trade for flintlock guns as well as for shot and powder. Therefore, anyone needing guns had to become a slave raider. In this way a cycle of dependency emerged.

Indian slave raiders captured slaves, mostly women and children, by the thousands and sold them to English, French, and Dutch slavers, who shipped them to the sugar plantations in the Caribbean, although some certainly went to the new coastal plantations in Virginia, South Carolina, and French Louisiana. For most native groups, already seriously weakened by losses from disease, slaving was a serious blow. Wherever slaving penetrated, the same processes unfolded: many Indian groups moved to escape slave raiders; some groups joined others in an effort to bolster their numbers and present a stronger defense; some groups became extinct after losses to disease and slave raiding; and all those left became part of the slave trade.

(To be continued)


Think outside Georgia in identifying this mystery

Obviously to a native Georgian, this edition’s Mystery Photo is not from around here or in the Southeast. But it’s famous to some people. Figure out where it is and send in your answer, with hometown, to elliott@brack.net.

The Mystery Photo from the last edition was sent in by Paige Havens of Lawrenceville….and was taken inside the restaurant called Parkside District, 909 Parkside Walk Lane, Lawrenceville. We thought it would be a tough photo to identify, and only George Graf of Palmyra, Va. got it right. How?  He says: “I tried various search terms, but hit on a similar photo when I searched on “Georgia seafood wall murals,” figuring this place is probably a seafood market or seafood restaurant.” That gives you some insight into how George takes a challenge in solving these mysteries!


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.

Fall Vegetable Garden Workshop: Join Gwinnett County Public Library and Gwinnett County Extension Agent Timothy Daly for this workshop on September 7 at 6:30 p.m. at the Five Forks Branch of the Library. .  Daly will discuss the many vegetables that can be grown in our area and how to care for them to produce a bountiful harvest.  There is no charge but preregistration is requested by August 31 by contacting the Gwinnett Library at events@gwinnettpl.org.

Tours of Lilburn: Mayor Johnny Crist will host four tours in Old Town Lilburn on Saturday, September 9. These one-hour, air-conditioned bus tours will educate residents about future development sites in the city. The bus, provided by Providence Christian Academy, will transport 14 passengers on each tour, beginning at 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m., and 4 p.m. The tours begin at Lilburn City Hall-Library, 340 Main Street. To sign up for a tour, contact Public Relations Director Nikki Perry at nperry@cityoflilburn.com or 770-638-2223.

A service animal can make a difference in a veteran’s life. Join Pulitzer Prize Winner Ellis Henican and Musician Doc Todd, a combat veteran, on September 10 at 3 p.m. at the Norcross Cultural Arts and Community Center to hear of this program from these two people. Henican is the co-author of Tuesday’s Promise – One Veteran, One Dog, and Their Bold Quest to Change Lives, which is the follow up to the late Ret. Captain Luis Carlos Montalvan’s bestselling memoir Until Tuesday.  The book illuminates the disturbing reality of those living with PTSD and the hope and inspiration brought to so many by one man and one dog. Todd’s new CD Combat Medicine is dedicated to personal healing and restoration to give veterans a voice through music.  The program is presented by the Gwinnett County Public Library and is free to all.

Virtual Dementia Tour: Spend 20 minutes experiencing life as it is like for those experiencing dementia.  This powerful free simulation teaches how to better respond and support those with dementia. This Tour is hosted by Gwinnett County Public Library in partnership with Second Wind Dreams.  The program sheds light on the positive aspects of aging.  This event will take place at our Suwanee Branch, 361 Main Street, Suwanee, on Thursday, September 14 from 10 a.m. until noon. The event is free but registration is required at www.iswdd.org. For more information, visit www.gwinnettpl.org or call 770-978-5154.

Kudzu Art Zone’s annual 12×12 show begins on Sept. 15 and closes on 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.

(NEW) 10th Annual Rock’n Ribville Barbecue Festival will be Saturday, September 16 on the Lawrenceville Lawn. It will bring together local businesses, a Kansas City BBQ Society national competition and traditional Southern barbecue together with live music, arts, crafts and kid-friendly activities. Festivities will run from noon until 8 p.m. with live performances throughout the day from Mia Green, Laughlin, Adam Craig, and a special performance by country music artist Rodney Atkins!  For more details visit www.RocknRibville.com.


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