11/10: On the estate tax; Irma damage on coast; More

GwinnettForum  |  Number 17.61  |  Nov. 10, 2017

TEMPERATURES ARE STARTING to get cooler and for Sugar Hill that means its Ice Rink@Sugar Hill is open.  The “Sweet City” is bringing back the largest outdoor real ice rink in the southeast for the 2017-18 season. This is the  fourth season for the rink at Sugar Hill.  The rink brings around 15,000 people a year into Sugar Hill.  It’s located behind City Hall, adjacent to The Bowl Amphitheater.  The Ice Rink is a partnership between the city and Have an Ice Day Rinks, the company the city has worked with for the past three years. For information on the rink, tickets or hours, visit www.icerinkatsugarhill.com.
TODAY’S FOCUS: Thoughts About the Estate Tax And Who Really Benefits
EEB PERSPECTIVE: Hurricane Irma Caused Havoc on Georgia’s Golden Isles
SPOTLIGHT: Lail Family Dentistry
McLEMORE’S WORLD:  Put Something In The Collection Plate
FEEDBACK: Feels Class Warfare Is Hoax To Promote the Far-Left Ideas
UPCOMING: Purple Heart Recipient To Speak at Veterans Day Observance
NOTABLE: Walton EMC Foundation Round Up Passes $5 Million Mark
RECOMMENDED: Movie: I’ll Push You
GEORGIA TIDBIT: Tallulah Falls Dam Built To Supply Atlanta With Electricity
TODAY’S QUOTE: What People Are Wearing When They Have a Good  Idea
MYSTERY PHOTO: Statue Asks You To Figure Out Where It Is Located
LAGNIAPPE: Holtkamps Sponsor Good Taste Atlanta, Handing out Baked Goods
CALENDAR: Meeting to Feature Impact of World War I on Georgia

Thoughts about the estate tax and who really benefits

By Tommy Purser, Hazlehurst, Ga.  |  It must have been 15 years ago but it was an occasion I remember well.


Then-U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss was in a courtroom at the Jeff Davis County Court­house speaking to a small crowd gathered to hear what the Senator had to say and to take advantage of an opportunity to tell Senator Cham­bliss what they thought.

Most of the talking that day was done by Senator Chambliss as he repeated what he always said during his visits to Jeff Davis County. It was like a broken record as he spoke of helping hard-working Americans, protecting small family farmers, creating jobs for the needy, mom, Chevrolet and apple pie.

But this year he had a twist to his usual spiel — proclaiming how unfair the estate tax was because, in part, it forced the heirs of small family farmers to sell their land because they couldn’t pay the estate tax.

That didn’t ring true to me then and it still doesn’t today as Republicans forge ahead with their plans to eliminate the estate tax.

The estate tax did not 15 years ago nor now threaten small family farmers, but it sounds good to voters who don’t know the facts.

Here are a few:

  • If the estate is passed to a surviving spouse, the estate tax is not paid.
  • A maximum amount can be given by an individual, before and/or upon their death, without incurring federal gift or estate taxes. That amount, in 2016, was $5,450,000 (ef­fectively $10.90 million per married couple).
  • Because of those exemptions, it is esti­mated that only the largest 0.2 percent of estates in the United State will pay the tax.

There are plenty of good opinions on why the estate tax should be eliminated. None of them have anything to do with small family farms because, by definition, no small family farm is in the realm of the largest 0.2 percent of estates in the U.S.

Eliminating the estate tax will benefit the wealthiest Americans and no one else.

And when the estate tax is eliminated, guess whose taxes will go up to make up the lost revenue?

Tommy Purser is editor-publisher of the Jeff Davis County Ledger in Hazlehurst, Ga.


Hurricane Irma caused havoc on Georgia’s Golden Isles, here too

By Elliott Brack, editor and publisher   |  Fall is the perfect time to visit Georgia’s Golden Isles.

Some just love Tybee Beach, while others enjoy the more pristine and primitive Cumberland Island. For our family, St. Simons Island and Jekyll Island, both outer islands near Brunswick, are our choice. There’s something that seems to pull us back there from time to time. We’ve been going since in our teens.

Our recent visit was from curiosity: how much damage did Hurricane Irma do to the Islands?  Gov. Nathan Deal, you may remember, put the dollar figure of $4 million for cleaning up the state-owned Jekyll Island. That, we learned, was most from severe beach erosion on mostly the north side of the island.

When first driving onto Jekyll Island, the work crews had done an admirable job of removing the debris from the main thoroughfares. Now, understand, this was seven weeks after the hurricane, so they would have cleared most of the island.  We saw a good deal of limbs and trunks of trees down on the marsh side of the island.

The clean-up on St. Simons Island has been similar, as Kings Highway, the main entrance to the village, was essentially in good shape, with only a few and small piles of damage seen.  But then going back and forth several times along this way, we began to see trees downed behind the initial tree line and bushes. Many downed were huge.

Delving more into the interior of the island, the story changes. Get just a block off any of the main roads, and you see piles of trash of limbs in front of many, many homes.  Again, we’re not just talking about limbs, but often massive trees.

In effect, the trees in the interior of the island seem to bear the most damage. We ran across a work crew (from Atlanta) on North and South Harrington Drive, near Bennie’s Red Barn Restaurant, and could not believe how extensive the damage was.

From all the debris we saw, we thought it might take three or four months just to haul away the piles of trees and limbs. But Dave Austin of the Glynn County Public Works office says that he thinks most will be cleared by Thanksgiving.  In addition, the large “Johnson rocks” on the beach were moved around. One estimate of the total cost of the clean-up in Glynn County was between $9-10 million  Most of that is usually repaid to areas by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

We also saw lots of tall bodied trucks moving to and from these areas.  It appeared that those clearing the living areas were working their way northward, having cleared the more settled areas initially.

Though we are sure there was extensive damage to homes, we saw no blue tarps, indicating roof repair. Perhaps the roofers had finished their work.

HURRICANE IRMA also moved its destructive winds to our own area, though the winds were not as strong as near the ocean. Jackson EMC officials tell us that it was maybe their worst outages ever.

At the peak out the outage, at one time 123,600 homes were without power, some lasting days. Altogether, the EMC had to replace 178 power poles! If there was a good side to the storm, work crews tell us that when Jackson EMC normally has severe damage, it’s often in the winter, with iced trees causing the problem, plus having cold-harsh weather to work in. However, after the Hurricane Irma storm clean-up, the linemen tell us that at least it was warm, comfortable weather to work in to restore the power.


Lail Family Dentistry

The Lail Family Dentistry Team

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Dr. Slade Lail, Dr. Lisa Moss, and Dr. Devan Callaway are proud to continue the tradition of treating patients along with Dr. Wallace Lail. We utilize the latest techniques and procedures that are available today. As a patient, you can enjoy the fact that we are available for you

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Put something in the collection plate


Feels class warfare is hoax to promote far-left ideas

Editor, the Forum:

Your article continues the “class warfare” myth.

The non -taxpayers are concentrated in the far left political machine; they have nothing to lose. The left wing Democrats exploit these voters by creating a monstrous villain…. yes! The rich!

Refer to IRS records who report the facts on who paid the most in taxes:

  • One percent of the taxpayers pay 39.1 percent of federal income taxes.
  • The bottom 50 percent of taxpayers pay 2.8 percent of their earnings.
  • The Public Policy Center says that approximately 45.5 percent of households pay NO TAXES. These are the targeted voters exploited by the far left media outlets creating more hatred for “the rich.” (Source: The Daily Signal, an offshoot of The Heritage Foundation.)

The class warfare is a well-planned-out hoax to promote far left welfare programs. It’s “politically correct” to create a hateful image of those who are “rich”.

It’s a monstrous lie.

It’s a many decades old ploy by the liberals to identify an enemy “of the poor”…. Let’s falsely accuse these “rich taxpayers.”

The irony here: the massive welfare programs; 45.5 percent of households… who pay NO TAXES. Who’s paying for it “ Yes, the top wage earners, creating jobs, donating to charities, not rioting for more welfare benefits, or murdering police, threatening those who identify as conservatives by denying First Amendment rights to speak at colleges and other institutions of free speech.

Very interesting these accurate figures never seem to make the fake news outlets.

— Jim McGraw, Dacula

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Purple Heart recipient to speak at Veterans Day observance

Gwinnett County invites the public to recognize the men and women who served in the armed forces at the annual Veterans Day Ceremony Saturday, November 11 at 11 a.m. at the Gwinnett Fallen Heroes Memorial on the grounds of the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center, 75 Langley Drive, in Lawrenceville.

Col. Fred Van Horn, a Vietnam veteran and Purple Heart recipient, will be the keynote speaker at this year’s ceremony. Van Horn, also executive vice president emeritus of Georgia Military College, commanded Army units from company to brigade levels, and at the Army-school level. Van Horn is Special Forces qualified and a master parachutist.

The Veterans Day Ceremony will be televised beginning at 8 p.m. on Nov. 11 on TVgwinnett, the county’s local government access cable channel. TVgwinnett programming is also available streaming and on demand at www.tvgwinnett.com.

Snellville to honor veterans on Saturday at 6 p.m. 

The City of Snellville  will honor military veterans during a special ceremony November 11, Veterans Day  from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in front of City Hall.

Luminaries in honor of veterans will be sold for $5 each and can be purchased at Snellville City Hall. Luminaries will also be sold on the day of the event from 4-6 p.m. near the Veterans Memorial in front of City Hall. Luminaries will line the walkway leading up the Veterans Memorial and stay lit on Saturday evening.

There will be patriotic songs played by the Gwinnett Community Band starting at 6 p.m. At 6:30 p.m., the program will begin and include the Button Gwinnett Chapter Militia, the South Gwinnett High School JROTC cadets, the Gwinnett Community Band and VFW Post 4180.

The program will honor SPC. Etienne J. Murphy, First Ranger Battalion with the 75th Ranger Regiment, who gave his life defending America. Murphy was a South Gwinnett High School JROTC member before joining the military.

Entries being accepted for 2018 Teen Film Challenge until Jan. 26

Gwinnett County Public Library (GCPL) is accepting entries for the 2018 Teen Film Challenge Presented by East2West Media Group through January 26. A total of $1,000 in prizes will be awarded by a panel of judges to teens who submit a short film between two and ten minutes in length.

A selection of films will premiere at an awards ceremony at the Lilburn Branch on March 3.  Teens can reserve time in the Learning Labs at the Five Forks, Hamilton Mill, and Lilburn branches to create footage and edit their film, or request an appointment to receive individualized instruction on movie making.


Walton EMC Foundation Round Up passes $5 million mark

Walton Electric Membership Corporation’s (EMC) Operation Round Up has just passed the $5 million milestone in donations that help local groups and families in need.

Even more amazing, this $5 million was raised 50 cents at a time. Participants in Operation Round Up from across the 10 counties served by the electric cooperative  allow their monthly bills to be rounded up to the next dollar. The resulting change goes to the fund, making the average monthly donation only 50 cents.

By August 1998, the program had raised enough funds to make its first donations. The Gwinnett Help Line, an information exchange that connects people in need with assistance, received $3,000 and a Morgan County family facing catastrophic medical bills received $2,000.

The latest round of grants total $50,026.21 and include:

  • Adventure Bags (entire service area), $10,000 for book bags containing personal hygiene items to displaced children in foster care.
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters (entire service area), $5,000 for a community-based mentoring project where at-risk children are matched to adults for mentoring relationships.
  • Council on Alcohol and Drugs (entire service area), $1,000 for a suicide prevention and intervention program.
  • Keeping Families Together, Inc. (DeKalb, Gwinnett, Rockdale, Walton), $3,000
  • to fund their Family Fitness Fun Day/Get In Shape Gwinnett.
  • Dream Quest Therapeutic Riding (Gwinnett, Walton),$10,000 for therapeutic riding for children and adults with physical and mental challenges.

Lawrenceville intersection to get upgrade to reduce congestion

Gwinnett County Commissioners in October approved a project to reduce congestion at the intersection of Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road at Georgia Highway 120/Duluth Highway by adding turn lanes and sidewalk and upgrading the traffic signal.

CMES was the lowest of six bidders on the intersection improvement. The project will upgrade the intersection by providing two left turn only lanes on both approaches of Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road. Sidewalks, curb and gutter, drainage improvements and traffic signal upgrades are included in the program. The CMES bid was $1,000,069. This project is funded by the 2014 Special Purpose Location Option Sales Tax program.

Snellville Drug Take-Back Day collects 243 pounds of medications

Over 243 pounds of unwanted or unused prescription medication were returned through a Snellville Drug Take Back Day recently. Along with the Snellville Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) National Drug Take Back initiative, pharmacy students from the Suwanee campus of the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine’s School of Pharmacy participated. From left are Lt. André Sullivan, Nandi Rosier, Ricky Ayoung-Chee, Wesley Fischer, Linda Nguyen, Nikki Dillard, Brad Allgood, DEA Diversion Investigator Nancy Flanigan and Officer M.J. Sonny.


Movie: I’ll Push You

Reviewed by Cindy Evans, Duluth  |  Recently we watched the movie, I’ll Push You, which is  based on a true story of friendship and caring. Patrick and Justin have been friends since childhood and Justin developed a rare disease in his adulthood and now can’t move his arms and legs. He wanted to do El Camino de Santiago (a long walk, often a pilgrimage) and Patrick went with him on this long journey of 500 miles, pushing him in his wheelchair. It’s a neat story of a friend going to incredible lengths in love to help make a dream come true for someone else.

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


Tallulah Falls dam built to supply Atlanta with electricity

(Continued from previous edition)

In addition to its many lodgings, the town of Tallulah Falls had three churches, a railroad depot, a telegraph office, a post office, a bar, and for a brief time in 1897, a newspaper, all largely supported by the tourist industry. Besides enjoying the beauty of the falls, visitors could go horseback riding, hunt, fish, bowl, or play tennis during the day; nightly entertainment included music, dancing, and card playing. While the tourist industry flourished, the hydroelectric industry was just beginning to expand in Georgia.

Soon after the turn of the century, several corporations vied for the right to develop Tallulah Falls. In 1909 the Georgia Power Company purchased a significant tract of land from Moss for $108,960 and began work on a dam. After experiencing financial difficulties with the project, Georgia Power merged with both the Morgan Falls hydroelectric plant on the Chattahoochee River and the Georgia Railway and Electric Company, forming the Georgia Railway and Power Company (GR&PC) in 1912.

As development of the dam continued, Helen Dortch Longstreet, the widow of Confederate general James Longstreet and a resident of nearby Gainesville, feared that its construction would destroy the falls and detract from the area’s beauty. In 1911 she organized the Tallulah Falls Conservation Association to stop the dam’s construction and turn the area into a state park. Her efforts launched one of the first conservation movements in Georgia. Longstreet’s successful lobbying of the state legislature in 1912 forced the attorney general to bring suit against GR&PC, but the power company prevailed the following year in a Rabun County jury trial and in a subsequent appeal to the state supreme court.

Completed in 1913, the dam was a masonry structure 116 feet tall and 400 feet long, and it created a lake with a surface area of 63 acres. An underground tunnel 6,666 feet long, blasted through solid rock, took water from the lake to a holding area above the powerhouse, where it fell 608 feet and was converted into electricity. The Tallulah project became the centerpiece of a multidam project on the Tallulah and Tugaloo rivers, which provided electricity for Atlanta and the rest of north Georgia. The dam, once the largest single producer of electricity in the state, is still in operation but is now a minor component in a huge system.

In 1992, nearly 80 years after the completion of the dam, the state, in partnership with Georgia Power, created Tallulah Gorge State Park, one of the most popular in the state park system. Visitors enjoy activities on the lake and hiking through the gorge, and controlled releases from the dam allow them to hear the roar of the falls on selected weekends in the spring and autumn. In 1999 the trail around the gorge was named for Helen Dortch Longstreet.


Statue asks you to figure out where it is located

Be careful. Things are not always what they seem, as entrants in the last Mystery Photo contest found out. The new mystery is somewhat shrouded in shadow and a dark background, but many no doubt will figure this out. Send your answer to elliott@brack.net, and be sure to include where you live.

A mystery photo we thought would be a creampuff turned into a big question for many who thought they had recognized the photo. Many thought last edition’s mystery was either the Arthur Ravenel Bridge in Charleston, S.C., or the Talmadge Memorial Bridge in Savannah. “Nope” we told many of them. The correct answer lay miles south, in Brunswick the bridge being the Sidney Lanier Bridge of U.S. Highway 17, which you take to get to Jekyll Island.

However, lots of people got it right, including Billy Chism of Toccoa, newly-elected Councilman Bob Foreman of Grayson; Eileene Morgan of Loganville; Ruth Lachman Paul of Norcross, Chuck Cimarik of Norcross and Cindy Hall of Snellville. Yep, lot of good guessers.

Allan Peel of San Antonio, Tex. Wrote: “I am pretty sure I recognize this bridge as being the Sidney Lanier Bridge in Brunswick, Ga. It looked familiar as I have been to Brunswick on a few occasions, and with the palm trees in the foreground, it suggests it is located in a southern climate. Sidney Lanier Bridge is a four-lane cable-stayed bridge that spans the Brunswick River. According to Wikipedia, the current bridge was built as a replacement to the original vertical-lift bridge, which was twice struck by ships. It is currently the longest-spanning bridge in Georgia and is 480 feet tall. It was named for Georgia poet Sidney Lanier of Macon.”

George Graf of Palmyra, Va. added other information: “As you look south to the foot of Newcastle Street, you will see the Sidney Lanier Bridge, Georgia’s tallest cable-stayed suspension bridge. This beautiful structure is 7,780 feet long and 486 feet tall.  The current bridge was built as a replacement to the original lift bridge which was struck by ships twice.  It was named for Georgian poet Sidney Lanier who wrote the poem Marshes of Glynn, about the beautiful marshes that surround the area. At the foot of the bridge on the north side, a future park, Liberty Ship Park, will honor the men and women who worked in Brunswick’s shipyards in World War II, building the Liberty Ships that supplied the Allied troops around the world.”


Holtkamps sponsor Good Taste Atlanta, handing out baked goods

Holtkamp Heating and Air sponsored the Good Taste Atlanta show recently at the Infinite Energy Center. Attendees were encouraged to bring canned goods for donation to the Salvation Army. Almost half a ton of food was collected and will be immediately distributed to local families in need. The Holtkamps also sponsored a Special Kneads and Treats Bakery booth at the show and provided hundreds of free Carrot Cake, Red Velvet and German Chocolate cupcakes for attendees. Booth visitors also got a chance to meet some of the workers who lovingly craft cupcakes, cakes and more at this non-profit bakery in Lawrenceville which provides meaningful employment for special needs adults. Among those handing out the baked goods on the front row were Cody Southerland and Courtney Southerland and on the back row were Charisse Southerland, Matthew Holtkamp and Bradley Kohler.


Fraud Prevention Workshop: On Saturday, November 11, the Lilburn Woman’s Club Domestic Violence Program and Lilburn Police Department will host a Fraud Prevention Workshop for seniors to be held from 10 a.m. in the meeting room in the new Lilburn City Hall on the bottom level across from the library.  The presentation is free and open to the community.  Mike Johnson, Lilburn Police Community Outreach Liaison, will be the speaker and will be accepting questions at the end of his presentation.  Come and learn how to take protective measures against fraud.

Holiday Craft Market: Saturday, Nov.11, at 10 a.m. at Pinckneyville Park. Free Admission! Do some early holiday shopping for unique pieces that make fun gifts for everyone! Enter the cookie recipe swap for a chance to win a prize. Kid’s activities will make it fun for the whole family! Artists, food vendors, and crafters, call 678-277-0920.

Veteran’s Day, November 11 at 11 a.m., will be observed by Gwinnett County at the Fallen Heroes Memorial, in front of the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Building. Colonel Fred Van Horn, a Vietnam veteran and Purple Heart recipient, will be the keynote speaker. Veterans are encouraged to attend and be recognized.

(NEW) World War One’s impact on Gwinnett is the subject for the Monday, November 13, meeting of the Gwinnett Historical Society at 7 p.m. at the Gwinnett Historic Courthouse at 185 Crogan Street in Lawrenceville. Speaker will be Gene Ramsey of Norcross. During this year and through 2018, the World War One Historical Commission will coordinate event commemorating the Centennial of the Great War.

(NEW) A Free Diabetes Expo will be held on Tuesday, November 14 from 4 to 8 p.m. at the North Tower Classroom 1 of Eastside Medical Center in Snellville, at 1700 Medical Way. Attendees will be provided with diabetes education by guest speakers and vendors, hear from experts on food planning, and what is new in diabetes treatment, and more. The hospital will also be offering free blood sugar screenings.

Trafficking Forum (rescheduled): The Fall Community Forum on Domestic Minor Human Trafficking has been rescheduled for Tuesday, November 14 at 7 p.m. at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, 2140 Beaver Ruin Road, in Norcross. For more details, contact Muriam.Nafees@gwinnettcounty.com.

Ribbon Cutting of a fire training tower at Maxwell School of Technology will be at noon, November 14, at the school located at 990 McElvaney Lane, Lawrenceville. For more information, all 770 822 7180.

(NEW) The third annual Gwinnett County Public Schools’ Career Connections will be November 16, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Gwinnett Infinite Energy Arena. This allows the district’s eighth grade students to see what career opportunities are available in Gwinnett County. Businesses and organizations will have exhibits at the event.

(NEW) Songwriter Radney Foster will appear Saturday, November 18 at 8 p.m. at the Red Clay Music Foundry in Duluth. Foster is a prolific songwriter. His newest work, For You to See the Stars, is in both CD and book format.  The book is a collection of short stories and each is coupled with a song from the 10-track album. The performance is through the Gwinnett County Public Library. For more information, visit www.gwinnettpl.org or call 770-978-5154.

(NEW) Ribbon cutting of the Lilburn Activity Building, on December 5 at 4:30 p.m. The building is at 788 Hillcrest Road, and was formerly the Lilburn Library. It is now under the supervision of the Gwinnett County Parks and Recreation Department.


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