11/21: Norcross celebration; On tax reform; Tax hoax; more

GwinnettForum  |  Number 16.64  |  Nov. 21, 2017  

TREE LIGHTING TIME!  Cities around Gwinnett are focusing on the Christmas season. The giant tree in Norcross will be lighted on Friday, December 1, at the beginning of the Sparkle! celebration in downtown Norcross.

Editor’s Note: Because of the Thanksgiving holiday, the next issue of GwinnettForum will be on Nov. 28, 2017. -eeb

TODAY’S FOCUS: Sparkle! Celebration of Christmas in Norcross Begins on December 1
EEB PERSPECTIVE: Efforts by Congress To Pass a Tax Bill Seem Close to Failure
ANOTHER VIEW: Proposals by Republicans on Taxes Are a Complete Hoax
SPOTLIGHT: Gwinnett County Public Library
FEEDBACK: We Have Gerrymandering in Gwinnett?  Can’t Believe It!
UPCOMING: Student Art Show To Be December 3 at Snellville City Hall
NOTABLE: Georgia Gwinnett College Fall Enrollment Continues To Increase
RECOMMENDED: Civility by Stephen L. Carter
GEORGIA TIDBIT: Women in Georgia Were Not Allowed To Vote Until 1922
TODAY’S QUOTE: One Indication That People Do Not Always Think Alike
MYSTERY PHOTO: It’s Red, It‘s Brick, Has Columns, But Where and What Is It?
CALENDAR: Lilburn Tour of Homes To Be Held Night of December 2

Sparkle! Celebration of Christmas in Norcross begins on Dec. 1

By Delaine Gray, Norcross, Ga.  |  Starting December 1, The City of Norcross will host its annual holiday celebration, ‘Sparkle! A Celebration of Kids, Creativity and Magic,’ which includes carriage rides, photos with Santa, a Christmas tree lighting in the park, holiday entertainment.
The “Sparkle” celebration includes a number of events. They include:

Santa’s coming again!

Christmas Tree Lighting: Come to Norcross on December 1 for the traditional lighting of the Christmas tree in Thrasher Park and enjoy music from Norcross United Methodist Church. A Norcross resident, Steven Howington, will officially light the Christmas tree, as he has for 30 years, Howington has Down Syndrome.

Santa will be busy checking his list in his workshop in the park and will be available for photos with all the good little boys and girls. Enjoy free hot cocoa and cookies (while supplies last), courtesy of the Norcross Masonic Lodge and the Norcross Lions Club, and s’mores courtesy of the City of Norcross.  Meanwhile, a movie, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, will be on the big screen while you wait in line to meet Santa. Chase’s Grille and Winery will be handing out free samples of soup during the event as well.

A local group of Disney princess performers will also be on hand to add to the Christmas magic. They will be available for photos and to visit with families during the event.
The First Friday Concert will be with Deb Bowman and the Big Love Band. The concert is in the Ballroom of the Norcross Cultural Arts Center from 7 – 9 p.m. with doors opening at 6:30 p.m. The performance is free, but seating is limited. Make your reservation by calling 678-421-2048.

Historic Tour of Homes: Open your imaginations and peer into homes from yesteryear and today during the magical Historic Norcross Holiday Tour of Homes on December 2 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Candlelight Tour from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The Artisan Gift Market, a new feature of the Historic Norcross Holiday Tour of Homes, awaits visitors with a wonderful array of handmade items just in time for the Christmas season. The Gift Market will be held in the Historic Rectory next to the Norcross Cultural Arts and Community Center from 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. on December 2. For more information, visit historicnorcrossholidaytourofhomes.com.

Photos with Santa and Carriage Rides:   Santa himself will be visiting downtown Norcross! Carriage rides will be dashing through Norcross December 1 through December 22 every Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday evening from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in front of Taste of Britain.  You can catch Santa at Remax on Jones Street (downtown Norcross) starting on December 5.

S’mores, cocoa and wildlife will be at Discovery Garden Park on December 16 from 2 – 4 p.m.   In the spirit of giving, there will be those adorning a Wildlife Tree with raisin icicles and birdseed ornaments for furry friends.


Efforts by Congress to pass a tax bills seem close to failure

By Elliott Brack, editor and publisher  |  From where we sit in Gwinnett, and without any form of inside information, it appears to us that the efforts by the Congress to pass a tax bill will fail.

Here’s why: the bill keeps getting loaded down with added elements that could endanger passage. Why in the world our leaders in the Senate and House want to add to the tax rework a provision to change the Affordable Care Act is perplexing.

Already two Senators have voiced strong questions about the bill, with one saying that he (Ron Johnson of Wisconsin) would be against it as written. Sen. Susan Collins (and several more Senators) have also questioned the bill.

Then remember that Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky is recuperating from an attack by a neighbor……and may not be able to be in Washington for the vote. And Sen. John McCain has been attacked enough by President Trump to consider scuttling any of the president’s pet ideas.

So it’s getting hard to count to 50 Senators who would vote for this loaded-up “tax” bill. That’s the view from here.

AMID THE POLITICAL SHENANIGANS of the tax bill, the vote in Alabama for Senator keeps getting a major spotlight.  Georgia Sen. Johnny Isakson told the Atlanta Rotary Club last week that Roy Moore should withdraw from the Senate race.

That’s significant. After all, Senator Isakson is chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Ethics. Should Moore win the race, in the face of heavy Senate recommendations that he withdraw, it could have significant consequence. Doug Jones, the Democratic candidate, has a shot at gaining a Senate seat, which would upset the applecart in the Senate. The GOP would then have the Senate majority by one thin vote. And that could mean serious problems for the Republican Party. So the Isakson announcement suggesting Roy Moore withdraw from the race takes on major consequences. However, new revelations about Sen. Al Frankel which could come before the Ethics Committee, might also impact the party count in the Senate.


NOW TO A MORE LOCAL SUBJECT. A decision by the Georgia Ports Authority had a Gwinnett element to it recently. The Authority approved a $128 million mega-rail terminal improvement project. The terminal is named for former Authority Chairman Jimmy Mason of Gwinnett. The late Mr. Mason served for years as a member of the Ports Authority.

The project will reduce travel time from Savannah to an arc of inland markets from Memphis to Chicago by 24 hours.  The project benefits imports and exports, and it will also provide much needed relief for Garden City residents and travelers stopped at railroad crossings throughout the day.


STATE REP. BUZZ BROCKWAY (R-Lawrenceville) is proposing allowing the creation of special tax districts to fund transit expansion. His plan could raise money to expand mass transit, by letting property owners near existing transit stations tax themselves. (That’s not unlike a community improvement district.)  He presented the idea at a meeting of the House Commission on Transit Governance and Funding this week.

Brockway says: “If the people in [those areas] wanted to self-tax, they could self-tax, and that [revenue] would be given to a commission who would then dedicate those funds to expanding rail.”

In his bill, three-quarters of property owners located within a quarter-mile of an existing transit station – like a MARTA station – would have to agree to create the special tax district. The revenues collected in the “transit rail improvement districts” would go to expanding rail mass transit.


Proposals by Republicans on taxes are a complete hoax

By George Wilson, contributing columnist  |  The Orwellian language used by the GOP congress for their tax legislation is astonishing: words like tax reform, tax cuts, tax simplification, and death tax inaccurately describe the actual proposals being put forth. The proposed tax packages put together by this Republican administration are a giant fraud and are a payoff for the donor class. People like the Koch Brothers, Sheldon Adelson, and Robert Mercer, all large contributors to conservative think tanks and politicians, will benefit.

First, the GOP and conservative media conspire to mischaracterize the Federal Estate Tax into a social ill has been going on for a long time. The level of taxation in the 1990s would have legitimately brought small businesses and farms into play, true; but that problem has been solved, and reversed, for nearly 10 years. Indeed, only the best estimates suggest that only around 80 of such businesses and farms pay any estate tax annually. So, this is about making wealthy heirs even wealthier.

The repeal of the estate tax is merely a money-grab by people who already have more money than they know what to do with, but it is never enough. Even worse, it creates an aristocratic class that endangers the republic in the long term.

What is the other major goal of the Republicans? Their real objective  is that, by creating insurmountable debt, Republicans can finally say we can no longer afford Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, or funding for education, the arts or scientific research, and vast other programs that we all benefit from. That is the real threat that these ill-considered tax plans introduce.

Moreover, the proposals add $1.5 trillion to the national debt. In a few years a new Democratic president will be trying to get us out of another economic crisis brought on by this administration’s policies. You will hear, then, the same old refrain from Republicans about the need to cut programs and reduce spending. Déjà vu!


Gwinnett County Public Library

The award-winning Gwinnett County Public Library (GCPL) system was formed in 1996 after the dissolution of the Gwinnett-Forsyth Regional Library. For more than 20 years, GCPL has provided resources and services that enrich and inspire our community. The Library has 15 branches that offer free access to computers and Wi-Fi, classes, materials, and programming for people of all ages. In 2016, more than five million items were checked out at GCPL, more than any other library system in Georgia. In 2017, GCPL was recognized as a Top Workplace by the Atlanta-Journal Constitution.

  • For more information about Gwinnett County Public Library programs and services, visit www.gwinnettpl.org.
  • For a list of other sponsors of this forum, click here.

We have gerrymandering in Gwinnett?  Can’t believe it!

Editor, the Forum:

That was tactful to use North Carolina as an example of gerrymandering.

We have gerrymandering right here in Gwinnett.  Snellville and Buford in the same district ???? Makes no sense geographically. Makes perfect sense to keep Snellville from going Democratic ???

— Andy McClung, Snellville

Dear Andy: What’s that? Do you mean we have gerrymandering in Gwinnett? No, can’t believe it!  Amazing! How could that happen?—eeb

Use non-partisan voting boundaries, even rivers, creeks

Editor, the Forum:

Absolutely yes, I hate gerrymandering. I cannot believe that the courts do not see this as an awful form of voter disenfranchisement, and declare gerrymandering unconstitutional.

We need our legislators to create new rules. One simple method would be to ensure that all voter districts have boundaries—simply use existing county boundaries. If a county needs to be split into multiple voter districts, fine, then use some other non-partisan form of boundary definitions based on geography (such as rivers, creeks, etc). If a voter district needs to encompass more than one county, then the boundaries of multiple counties should be used.

As you noted in your article, it is shameful the way it is now. However, I believe it will require the courts to act, not the people, since we are now in a world where it does not matter what the majority of voters think or say, the legislators are going to do what is best for them. Sad!

— Allan Peel, San Antonio, Tex.

Looks like some legislator would step forward about gerrymandering

Editor, the Forum:

Let me agree with your recommendation for an independent commission to determine a fair process for drawing district lines- to eliminate gerrymandering.

Most of our legislators are driven by putting party issues before common good issues. Can you think of a particular legislator who has indicated a willingness to consider this idea?

— Alvin Johnson, Sandy Springs

Dear Alvin: Yes, indeed, looks like being a champion of bringing down gerrymandering would catch the attention of some up and coming legislator. But as someone said, “No, not one.” -eeb

Questions date of closing of Main Street store in Lilburn

Editor, the Forum:

In a recent article, it said that 93 Main Street in Lilburn closed about 1948. This store did not close until much later.  My family lived on Main Street next door to Dr. Kelly’s widow from March 1946 for 12 years.  My brother, Ray Jordan and his wife, Lydia, were managers. I worked with them as needed, as did Hardy Moon (no kin), who was a full-time employee.  I don’t remember when it closed, but it was later than 1948.   I was disappointed to read the comments.

Enjoy the GwinnettForum, especially Debbie Houston’s articles, my niece.  Thanks.

Bernice Moon, Snellville

Dear Bernice: Thanks for your insight. We’re passing it on. –eeb

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Being too fat


Student art show to be Dec. 3 at Snellville City Hall

Mosaic Minds Art Academy students will present “A Cultural Mosaic” student art show and art auction 5 to 7 p.m. December 3 in the Community Room at Snellville City Hall, 2342 Oak Road.  Sponsored by the Snellville Arts Commission, the art show will feature artwork by students and instructors of Snellville’s Mosaic Minds Art Academy.

Summer King, owner of Mosaic Minds Art Academy, says will this bring the second annual art show to showcase student artwork for the first time to City Hall. “A Cultural Mosaic” art exhibit will showcase student talent and artwork inspired by the cultures that they have studied in the past six months, King says.

The event will also feature a silent auction. Proceeds from the sales from student artwork will go back to the students. Bids will start at $3 per piece and increase in $1 increments. Tickets are $5 per person and are available at www.MosaicMindsArtAcademy.com.

Mosaic Minds Art Academy is an art history-based art school with classes in both wet and dry media including charcoal, graphite, watercolor and acrylic. There are also classes available in comic book art, illustration and pottery. Mosaic Minds Art Academy is located at 2330 Scenic Highway.

  • For more information contact King at 404-271-0610

Duluth’s Deck the Hall Celebration will be on Dec. 2

It’s that time of the year again when Duluth puts on a holiday celebration for all to enjoy. Deck the Hall will help bring in the holiday spirit with a polar express train ride, a snow playground, Santa Claus and the return of the Duluth Tree Lighting ceremony.

All this takes place on Saturday, December 2 at 2 p.m. on Duluth Town Green. Children can stop by and say “Hi!” to Santa and share their Christmas wishes. Photos with Santa are welcome and will begin once Santa arrives. Arts and crafts will be available free of cost as well as live entertainment; a giant snow slide and City Hall Open House/Community Chat with Council. Kids can enjoy inflatables for a small fee. The event runs till 7pm.

  • The event is brought to you by the City of Duluth and Duluth Fall Festival. For more information, visit duluthga.net/events.

Gwinnett Place adds security patrols beginning on Thanksgiving

As part of its ongoing commitment to increase public safety in Gwinnett County’s central commercial core, the Gwinnett Place Community Improvement District (CID) will once again provide increased community security patrols for shoppers and visitors beginning on Thanksgiving Day night and throughout the holiday shopping season. These patrols are in addition to the CID’s seven day a week patrols.

Gwinnett Place will feature private security professionals contracted by the CID to help provide shoppers visiting the more than 170 retail establishments in the area with even greater peace of mind. The uniformed patrol officers work in cooperation with the Gwinnett County Police to notify law enforcement of potential criminal activity, and also provide motorist and commuter assistance.


Georgia Gwinnett College fall enrollment continues to increase

Since opening its doors in 2006, Georgia Gwinnett College (GGC) has experienced an enrollment increase every fall semester. Data recently released by the University System of Georgia (USG) lists GGC’s fall 2017 enrollment at 12,287 students. This total reflects an increase of 1.9 percent over last year, affirming GGC as the eighth largest of the 28 institutions within the USG.

Gregory Embry, executive director of Admissions at GGC says: “Georgia Gwinnett has become the ‘college of choice’ for local residents as nearly 73 percent of students reside in Gwinnett County. Everything we do ties back to the mission of GGC to meet the needs of this community and the northeast Atlanta metropolitan area. GGC students have access to support services and student success advisors to help them meet their graduation goals. In addition, all freshmen now have access to learning communities to help them kick-start their college career.”

A total of 536 high school students are participating in Dual Enrollment, which provides eligible students with the opportunity to earn college credit while satisfying their high school graduation requirements. Georgia Gwinnett also has become an important resource for 1,697 nontraditional students who are balancing work and personal lives while completing their degree.

The demographic breakdown tells the story of the population served by GGC.  Of note, two ethnic groups have increased dramatically in their representation since 2010. The Hispanic/Latino student population has increased by nine percent, and the black/African American population has increased by eight percent. Together, these groups make up more than half of the college’s student body.

As recognized by U.S. News & World Report for the past four years, GGC is the most ethnically diverse Southern regional college among ranked institutions.  The USG semester enrollment report for fall 2017 includes the following self-declared student race/ethnicity data for Georgia Gwinnett College.

  • Black/African American – 4,002 or 33 percent;
  • White – 3,893 or 32 percent;
  • Hispanic/Latino – 2,458 or 20 percent;
  • Asian – 1,368 or 11 percent; and
  • Other – 566 or 4 percent.

Civility by Stephen L. Carter

Reviewed by John Titus, Peachtree Corners  |  Carter begins his book as our first continental railroad was completed. Trains quickly became popular and coaches were divided by class. Most passengers traveled in groups and were closely packed in with strangers. Customers actually purchased guides to proper behavior like Politeness on Railroads. From this example Carter begins his discussion of civility, but goes far beyond good manners. He contends that civility has two central parts: generosity, even when it is costly, and trust, even where there is risk. With these two basics he explores the relationship of civility to many aspects of life, but principally to the marketplace and politics. He also examines civility and the internet, the teaching of moral values to our children, and the challenge to religious institutions in upholding moral values in the face of popular culture. This is not an easy read, but a most provocative and worthwhile one

  • 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

Women in Georgia were not allowed to vote until 1922

In the spring of 1914 a Georgia chapter of the National Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage, founded in 1895, was formed in Macon. Three months later, it claimed to have 10 state branches and 2,000 members, far more than the pro-suffrage organizations. The leadership included Mildred Lewis Rutherford, head of the Lucy Cobb Institute in Athens and president of the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

When the Georgia legislature first conducted hearings on the subject in 1914, sisters Mary Latimer McLendon of Atlanta and Rebecca Latimer Felton of Cartersville, Leonard J. Grossman, James L. Anderson, and Mrs. Elliott Cheatham of Atlanta all addressed the house committee for suffrage. Speaking for the opposition were Rutherford and Dolly Blount Lamar of Macon. The vote was five to two against suffrage, and the resolution did not pass. Hearings were conducted again the following year before committees of the senate and house, and both voted against it.

In March 1914 pro-suffrage women held their first rally in Atlanta, with urban reform leader Jane Addams as speaker. In 1915 a May Day celebration was cause for Atlanta suffragists to gather on the steps of the state capitol. The following November, a significant event in the movement occurred when pro-suffrage groups marched after Atlanta’s Harvest Festival celebration. Patterned after parades held in New York and Washington, D.C., the march included more than 200 students in caps and gowns, marchers wearing “votes for women” sashes and carrying banners, and decorated automobiles, all led by a brass band.

In 1917 Alice Paul formed the National Woman’s Party. Because of the party’s protest of Democratic President Woodrow Wilson‘s lack of support for a federal suffrage amendment, their attempts to organize in the South as early as 1915 had failed. In 1917, feeling that the “antis” were gaining too much of the South, the National Woman’s Party increased efforts to recruit in the South, and a Georgia branch was formed. Considered radical by other southern suffrage groups, the National Woman’s Party was a relatively militant organization. Although they did nothing unusual in Georgia, they were the first group ever to picket the White House for a political cause.

Two 1917 events were significant to the suffrage movement: the United States entered World War I (1917-18), and New York women won the right to vote. Although the NAWSA endorsed the war effort, not all suffrage organizations were in agreement. The same year, Georgia suffrage supporters again presented the resolution to the senate committee. Endorsement was finally achieved by a vote of eight to four in favor, but the senate did not act on that support. Elsewhere in Georgia, the city of Waycross allowed women, many of them property owners, to vote in municipal primary elections. In May 1919, women were allowed to vote in Atlanta municipal primary elections.

On June 4, 1919, with the support of only one southern senator, Georgia’s William J. Harris, the U.S. Congress passed the Woman Suffrage Amendment, and it was submitted to the states for ratification. On July 24 Georgia became the first state to reject the ratification of the amendment, and both houses adopted resolutions to that effect. Georgia women did not vote until 1922.


It’s red, it’s brick, has columns, but where and what is it?


Today’s Mystery Photo is simple and straight forward, though not very well known. Put on your thinking caps and give us an answer. Send your answer to elliott@brack.net, and be sure to include where you live.

A long-distance submission was last edition’s Mystery Photo. It came from Larry Zani, in Kaiserslauten, Germany.  First in with the answer was Lou Camerio, Lilburn, recognizing Castle Thun, in the  province of Trento in north Italy.

Allan Peel, San Antonio. submitted: “My first thought was that this might be a chalet up in the Blue Ridge Mountains, but then decided that you would not select such an easy target! So I started looking further afield. It is the Thun Castle at Ton, Trentino, Italy. Sometimes called simply “Castle at Ton,” it is located majestically on a small hill near the hamlet Vigo-di-Ton in Val-di-Non (Trentino, Italy). The Thun Castle was built in the middle of the 13th century, and it served as the seat of a noble family called “Thun,” mighty feudal lords who acted on behalf of the bishop. Castel Thun is a half civil, half military building, featuring a sophisticated defensive system with strong towers and solid walls. You can see a satellite view of this on Google maps at the following co-ordinates: 46°16’23.9″N 11°05’25.0”E.”

George Graf of Palmyra, Va. also recognized Thun. He reports “Built in the middle of the 13th century, it served as the seat of a noble family called Thun, mighty feudal lords which acted on on behalf of the bishop. Castel Thun is an impressive half civil, half military building, and once you have passed the drawbridge, you will enter a stunning courtyard with 18 stone pillars and two medieval towers. With its precious furniture, the comprehensive library, the venerable halls and rooms, the collection of arms and the numerous tiled stoves the castle holds a great architectural and historical value. Moreover it boasts a rich green park, also used for organizing concerts and other cultural events.”


30th Annual Tree Lighting on the ground of the Historic Gwinnett Courthouse will be Thanksgiving Day, November 23, at 5:30 p.m. Some 30,000 lights will illuminate the30 foot Norway spruce tree. Food vendors and family-friendly activities will also take place.

Holiday Punch at Lionheart Theatre, November 30 to December 3. An adult night out or Christmas Party with friends.  See seven ten-minute plays to put you in the holiday spirit. Tickets are $20 each (no discounts for this event.) House made and gourmet meats, cheeses, pates and assorted breads and crackers, too, plus a beverage. For reservations, see lionheartre.org.

The Food for Thought Conference of the Georgia Farmers Market Association will be held November 30 to December 1 at Gwinnett Technical college. .The conference is an interactive two-day conference that will propel forward the vision for those in agriculture businesses. The conference is designed to equip and empower those in the sustainable agriculture community through a host of workshops and demonstrations. To register visit: Food for Thought Conference. Cost is $175 for members and $225 for non-members.

(NEW) Walking Tour of Homes in Lilburn will be Saturday, December 2 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online at www.lilburnwomansclub.org. Homes on the tour are those of Alicia and Scott McCready; Rowan and Hugh Wilkerson; Anne and Johnny Crist; Catherine and John Calhoun; and Joann and Brad Rosselle. Proceeds benefit the Lilburn Cooperative Ministry.
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.

Christmas Gala Holiday Pops will open the 2017-12018 subscription season by the Johns Creek Symphony Orchestra on December 16 at 7:30 p.m. at the Johns Creek United Methodist Church. Tickets for this public performance are $32 for adults; $27 for seniors; and $16 for students. For tickets, call (678) 748-5802 or visit www.johnscreeksymphony.org.


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