12/1: Hospice to change; Eagle Scout project; Obamacare attack

GwinnettForum  |  Number 17.66  |  Dec. 1, 2017

YULETIDE SCENES from the Historic Gwinnett Courthouse show the building beautifully decorated for 2017’s Christmas season, after Roving Photographer Frank Sharp visited recently.  For more view of this decorated gem, see Lagniappe below.
TODAY’S FOCUS: Peachtree Christian Hospice To Change Method of Operation
EEB PERSPECTIVE: Norcross High Senior in Eagle Scout Project Sending Books to Soldiers
ANOTHER VIEW: Here’s the Real Reason The GOP Attack on Obamacare Should Fail
SPOTLIGHT: Primerica, Inc.
UPCOMING: Georgia Gwinnett College Adds Degree Concentrating on Aging Services
NOTABLE: Walton EMC Customers To Notice Credit on December Bill
GEORGIA TIDBIT: Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank Created in 1913 to Serve the South
TODAY’S QUOTE: How She Developed a Sense of Humor in Kindergarten
MYSTERY PHOTO: Here’s One Way To Ensure that George Graf Is Frozen Out
LAGNIAPPE: Scenes at Christmas time at Historic Gwinnett Courthouse
CALENDAR: Open House at Historic Wynne-Russell House in Lilburn is Saturday

Peachtree Christian Hospice to change method of operation


By Paige Havens, Duluth, Ga.  |  After serving as an inpatient hospice for 17 years, Peachtree Christian Hospice (PCH) is changing its method of operation, and will be a home hospice facility, with a day health facility.

For the past 17 years, Peachtree Christian Hospice and PruittHealth have been community partners, sharing a common value of “commitment to excellence.” As the operator of Peachtree Christian Hospice, PruittHealth has provided exceptional care to over 10,000 hospice patients at the Duluth facility.

In light of increased regulations and requirements, as well as reductions in healthcare reimbursements, PruittHealth has made the decision that it will no longer continue operating the stand-alone hospice facility. While the provision of inpatient hospice services remains a strategic part of the PruittHealth Model of Care, their focus will shift to inpatient hospice care in their skilled nursing facilities.

Anne Mancini, president of PCH, says: “As soon as we became aware of PruittHealth’s plans, we began a due diligence process to explore our options. We had to face the reality that the inpatient hospice care model simply does not prove to be viable and sustainable moving forward, no matter what healthcare partner we choose.”

Determined to carry forth PCH’s chartered mission and the vision and intent of their major benefactor, the late D. Scott Hudgens, Jr., the hospice conducted an analysis of what service gaps there are in the community that they fill. They found a tremendous need for a day health facility that would care for home hospice patients, aging adults, and disabled veterans and young adults. Additionally, there is a real need for support services for caregivers.

PCH’s new business model proves to be far more flexible, sustainable and responsive to the ever-changing needs in the community. It also fulfills a dream of the PCH co-developer, the late William N. “Bill” Todd, to add an outpatient care facility to the campus.

The board of directors of PCH voted early this month to make this shift. The next year will be one of transition and change.

Neil Pruitt, Chairman and CEO of PruittHealth says, “Today, more and more patients and doctors are choosing home hospice care, and as such, the demand for inpatient hospice care has significantly declined.” PruittHealth announced the closing of the hospice to their employees on November 27.

Under the new operating system, the hospice will change its name to Peachtree Christian Health, operating a Life Enrichment Center that offers services such as:

  • Clinical and Personal Care (based on five levels of care)
  • Physical, Occupational and Speech Therapy Plans
  • Horticultural, Art, Music and Pet Therapy
  • Mind, Body and Spiritual Engagement
  • Caregiver/Family Support
  • Educational Programs and Community Partnerships
  • “We Honor Veterans” Program
  • Benevolence Program for Low Income Families

PCH will remain a faith-based, not-for-profit organization with a significant charitable purpose. In early 2018, PCH will launch a renovation phase to update their facility to meet the needs of the new business model. As part of this new business model, PruittHealth has offered to provide consulting support regarding licensing and regulatory compliance, as well as clinical services, to ensure a smooth transition. Peachtree Christian Health plans to reopen their Life Enrichment Center with exciting new purpose in early 2019.


Norcross High Senior in Eagle Scout project sending books to soldiers

By Elliott Brack, editor and publisher |  A senior at Norcross High is focusing his Boy Scout Eagle project on sending books to soldiers overseas.  Luke McGahren of Peachtree Corners, who has been accepted at the University of Georgia next year, wanted to do more than “build bird houses” for his Eagle project. He hopes to study business and law at the University.

Luke says: “I wanted to make a difference. Then I heard of the Books for Heroes idea, which George Scott of Peachtree Corners started in 2003. And so we started collecting books, and getting donations to ship the books. So far we have collected more than 1,000 books.”

He’s seeking to get enough contributions for postage to mail the paperbacks by early next  year. Depending on the thickness of the books, he can get 20-22 in each package. It cost $14 in postage to mail each CARE book package.

It was back in 2003 that George Scott of Peachtree Corners began collecting books to send to service personnel. He had heard of soldiers in Iraq who had nothing to read. He says: “That really floored me. I was working at Walden Books on Holcomb Bridge Road back then, and I turned to a friend and said, “We’ve gotta do something. Let’s figure it out.”


He remembers back then: “We thought it would be easy. We didn’t realize how crazy it  would become.”  Scott now works at Barnes and Noble in Peachtree Corners.

Scott told his idea to a customer, who wrote him a $100 check for the project. She came back later, saying “I told my husband about the project, and he wants you to have this.”  His check was for $400.  “He has served in the military,” she told him, “And he knows what it is like when you are overseas, and wants to help you out.”

In the four years of 2003-2007, Scott shipped about 12,500 books to soldiers, most of the postage for this out of his pocket. In 2007 the effort became a non-profit, organized as the Books for Heroes Charitable Foundation, a 501c3 organization.

Scott’s connections with authors and publishers kept new books going to the new foundation. Random House learned of it, and told him: “Let’s clean out some closets.” Author James Patterson has donated over 100,000 paperbacks.

Right now the main need is for warehouse space to house books before shipment. “We need space with a loading dock,” Scott says.” We’ve had to turn down books since we have no storage space.”

Scott knew Luke McGahren’s father, so that’s how the connection with Luke came about. While they are still collecting books, the main effort now is to get $14 per mailing box to send to the troops.  The shipping boxes usually have some space left over, and that’s where small items, such as Joey Wipes (unscented wipes), and hard candies, razor blades, deodorant and such items are often included.

If GwinnettForum readers want to participate in this project, books or checks for Books for Heroes may be sent to McGahren Law Firm, 6171 Crooked Creek Road, Peachtree Corners, Ga. 30092.


Here’s the real reason the GOP attack on Obamacare should fail

By Jack Bernard, contributing columnist  |  Some Americans, like Libertarians and most Republicans, want more freedom from government mandates. Others, like most Democrats, may not be as enthusiastic, but don’t mind so long as a clear public good comes of it. This difference is the basis for much of the political discourse over the last year.


To promote the general welfare of all, sometimes government mandates specific actions. For example, filing your taxes is an onerous burden for most of us, but almost all Americans do so. In nations where this is not so commonly accepted, there are dire consequences. Greece is a good example of a nation where tax collections were not supported by the population, leading to revenue shortfalls and economic catastrophe.

Although the Affordable Care Act (ACA, Obamacare) is at long last supported by most Americans, there is one provision that has been troublesome, the individual mandate. That is why, in a backdoor effort to dismantle Obamacare, the GOP has made repeal part of their tax package. Half of Americans resent being told that they have to buy healthcare insurance or pay a tax and want this provision changed. This is understandable.

Their thinking is that if you are young and healthy, why should you have to pay for insurance when you do not need it? Let the people who need it get it.

Here is the fallacy in that argument. If insurance is totally voluntary, only the sicker people and older people will get it. Therefore, since private insurance companies are in business solely to make a profit, the rates that they charge will be unaffordable for those in need. That is why in insurance parlance, they must “spread the risk to avoid adverse selection”.

It is easier to understand if we use the example of car insurance. Currently, if you drive, you must have liability insurance (spreading the risk). If you were not required to have it, but could sign up after an accident occurred and receive retroactive coverage, only those in accidents would obtain insurance (adverse selection). Obviously, car insurance would then be unaffordable for the accident-prone people wanting it.

Similarly, health insurance is only viable if healthy people are in the pool, voluntarily or not. For the tens of millions with Obamacare, let’s all hope the GOP’s latest efforts to undermine the ACA fail.


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Primerica, Inc.

The public spiritedness of our sponsors allows us to bring GwinnettForum.com to you at no cost to readers. Primerica, Inc., headquartered in Duluth is a leading distributor of financial products to middle-income families in North America and is Gwinnett’s fourth largest employer, with 1,700 employees. Primerica representatives educate their Main Street clients about how to better prepare for a more secure financial future by assessing their needs and providing appropriate solutions through term life insurance, which it underwrites, and mutual funds, annuities and other financial products, which it distributes primarily on behalf of third parties. In addition, Primerica provides an entrepreneurial full or part-time business opportunity for individuals seeking to earn income by distributing the company’s financial products. It insures approximately 5 million lives and had over 2 million client investment accounts at December 31, 2016. Primerica is a member of the S&P MidCap 400 and the Russell 2000 stock indices and is traded on The New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “PRI.”


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Georgia Gwinnett College adds degree concentrating on aging services

In response to local needs and changing demographics, Georgia Gwinnett College (GGC) has introduced a new bachelor of science degree program in human development and aging services (HDAS). The new major, focused on preparing graduates to work with intergenerational populations, offers a wide range of career options in the government, business or non-profit sectors through the arenas of education, social work, counseling, advocacy, health and human services, criminal justice and criminology, research and more.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected that jobs in the social and community services sector will grow 21 percent between 2012 and 2022. With growing national issues in the aging population, social pressures on young adults and the rapidly changing profile of the American family, employment opportunities in this field are anticipated to experience above average growth.

Dr. Adolfo Santos, dean of the School of Liberal Arts, says:  “This degree will help meet a community demand for trained professionals in the HDAS field. Graduates of this program also will be prepared to pursue graduate degrees in gerontology, social work, sociology, psychology and other disciplines. They should be well-positioned for adapting their education and skills to our community’s changing needs.”

The sub-population of individuals in Georgia age 65 and over will increase by about 142 percent between 1990 and 2030, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.  Continued growth in the population of the Gwinnett and greater Atlanta region should ensure a healthy job market for years to come, Santos said.


Walton EMC customers to notice credit on December bill

When most Walton Electric Membership Corporation (EMC) customer-owners review their bill this December, they’ll notice a nice credit. That’s because the cooperative is returning another $6 million in the latest capital credit refund.

The cooperative’s board of directors recently approved this year’s distribution, bringing the all-time total returned to $93,571,000. Customer-owners who had accounts in 1991, 1992, 1993 and/or 2016 are included. That means more than 95 percent of current customer-owners will get a refund.

CEO Ronnie Lee says: “Walton EMC is a cooperative, owned by the same people who receive its services. Showing a profit is self-defeating and is why we return leftover revenues. The individual amount returned to customer-owners is based on their electric bills, or, in other words, the amount of business they did with their company.”

After paying off debt and establishing a reserve for unexpected events (like a catastrophic ice storm), the board determines if it’s financially prudent to issue a refund. If so, most refunds are distributed by a credit on electric bills. This saves the cooperative and its customer-owners tens of thousands of dollars in check printing and postage costs.

Lilburn 2017 Night Out ranks among best in the country

The Lilburn Police Department says that Lilburn’s 2017 National Night Out, held August 1,has been ranked among the best events held by a smaller city. It ranks No. 22 among small cities nationwide that held the event. This is the fourth year in a row that the Lilburn event has been recognized by the National Association of Town Watch (NATW).

Police Chief Bruce Hedley says: “Every year, officers and members of the public gather together at National Night Out to build a stronger partnership. These types of fun, relaxed interactions break down barriers between the police and the community. We’re grateful to the businesses, nonprofits, and all of the neighboring police departments and county agencies that participate in the event each year.” SafetySmart Lilburn coordinated volunteers, sponsors, and vendors for Lilburn’s National Night Out, which drew 2,000 people to Lilburn City Park.

Wreaths Across America set at Andersonville site will be Dec. 16

Andersonville National Historic Site invites you to remember and honor our military veterans during this winter season by participating in our Wreaths Across America event on Saturday, December 16, 2017.

At noon the Civil Air Patrol will conduct a brief ceremony honoring America’s armed forces in the Andersonville National Cemetery. This ceremony is open to the public. Attendees are encouraged to bring a wreath for placement on a veteran’s grave. After the ceremony, attendees can help remember our fallen veterans by placing wreaths sponsored through Wreaths Across America on graves in the national cemetery.

Wreaths Across America is a national program that encourages individuals, community groups, and families to sponsor wreaths for placement in national cemeteries throughout the United States. These wreaths may be placed on specific graves, or left undesignated to place on one of thousands of unvisited graves. Each year, between 500 and 800 wreaths are donated through this program for placement at Andersonville National Cemetery.

The goal is to ensure that each of the more than 20,000 gravesites in the cemetery is decorated with a wreath at least once. To accomplish this, undesignated wreaths are placed sequentially and rotated from one cemetery section to the next each year.

Beginning December 1, 2017, wreaths no larger than 20 inches and floral blankets no larger than 2×3 feet are permitted in the cemetery. Wreaths should be brought in person, or delivered by a florist, directly to the gravesite. To find the location of a specific grave, visit http://gravelocator.cem.va.gov or stop at the National Prisoner of War Museum for assistance.


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


Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank created in 1913 to serve the South

Federal Reserve Banks, which serve as the operating arms of the Federal Reserve System, the nation’s central bank, are charged with a unique set of responsibilities.

Federal Reserve Banks participate in setting national monetary policy, supervise numerous commercial banks, and provide a variety of financial services, including cash, check, wire transfer, and automated clearinghouse transaction processing, to depository institutions and the U.S. government. While other organizations have roles in each responsibility, the Federal Reserve is the only organization with responsibility for all three.

The Federal Reserve System was created in 1913, when U.S. president Woodrow Wilson signed the Federal Reserve Act. Its original objective was to provide the nation with a safer, more flexible, and stable monetary and financial system, acting through Reserve Bank boards of directors and presidents. At the time, the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta was charged with serving the Sixth Federal Reserve District, encompassing Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and sections of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee, a territory it still serves today.

From rented space in Atlanta’s Hurt Building, the Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank opened for operation on November 16, 1914. During its first years the Atlanta Fed sought to strengthen the cotton economy of the Sixth District and minimize dependence on New York banks. Officials also sought to enroll banks in the Federal Reserve System. The Sixth District opened the first branch of the Federal Reserve System in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1915. Additional branches opened in Birmingham, Alabama, and Jacksonville, Florida, in 1918 and in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1919.

In 1918 the Atlanta Fed moved into its own building, located on Marietta Street in downtown Atlanta, where it remained until 1964. In the Sixth District, enrolling banks in the Federal Reserve System was initially a challenge. During the 1920s the number of banks enrolled in the system slowly increased, but it declined after the 1929 stock market crash. During the early 1930s the Atlanta Fed assumed the assets of many failed banks.

Some of the resistance that banks had to joining the Federal Reserve System involved its commitment to clearing checks at par, or at face value. Most banks in the 1920s and 1930s withheld a small fee when clearing a check. Federal Reserve Banks cleared checks at face value and supported eliminating nonpar checking, without much success. In 1941 almost 90 percent of the district’s nonmember banks did not clear checks at par. The Atlanta Fed supported a bill that moved through Congress in 1944 seeking to eliminate nonpar banking. The bill passed the House but was defeated in the Senate. The last vestiges of nonpar banking ceased in the district in the early 1980s, when Louisiana ended the practice.

The 1930s saw changes to the Federal Reserve System as the nation struggled through the Great Depression. In 1933 the scope of bank examinations expanded to levels similar to those used today. The Banking Act of 1935 centralized monetary policy formulation through the creation of the Federal Open Market Committee, which included the presidents of each reserve bank. The Atlanta Fed now had a stake in creating national monetary policy. Recognizing that analyzing economic information is vital to the formulation of monetary policy, in 1938 the Atlanta Fed hired an economist to manage a research and statistics department and to create a research library.

(To be continued)


Here’s one way to ensure that George Graf is frozen


It’s obviously a small chapel in what appears to be a garden. Now it’s up to you to figure from here.

See if you can figure this Mystery Photo out. Send your answer to elliott@brack.net, and be sure to include where you live.

There’s one way to ensure that of George Graf of Palmyra, Va. doesn’t get to answer the Mystery Photo in each issue. That’s to use one of George’s own photos as the mystery, as we did in the last edition. It is of a lighthouse in the seaside village of Vorupor, Denmark.  It sits on the west coast of the Danish Jutland peninsula overlooking the North Sea.

Lou Camerio of Lilburn was the only person to recognize the mystery.

George says: “Our son Mike married a Danish girl back in the 1980s and he still lives and works there with the three grandkids.  This all started when he was an exchange student in high school.  He lives near the city of Thisted which is just a very short drive from the coast.  On one of our visits there, we all went to the Vorupor beach one summer day where local Danes like to vacation.  Even in the height of summer, the water is far too cold for swimming, so the Danes hunker down in little basket type huts that face away from the prevailing wind.  The flying grains of sand can sting like the devil (I had firsthand experience).  You should go on a calm warm day to really enjoy a North Sea beach.”


More decorations of Christmas season from historic courthouse

Here are more scenes from the Christmas decorations around the Historic Gwinnett Courthouse –courtesy Roving Photographer Frank Sharp.


(NEW) Open House at the Wynne-Russell House in Lilburn will be Saturday, December 2 from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. Take a tour of the home while it’s decorated for the holidays and learn a little about the history of the house and family. The event is Sponsored by the Historic Wynne-Russell House Preservation Board and the City of Lilburn.

Holiday Punch at Lionheart Theatre, through 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.

Walk a Mile in My Shoes Charity Collection Event: through December 8, the second annual Love Circle Foundation of the Norcross First United Methodist Church Charity Event will be collecting items for the holidays. The event is designed to bring the community together to help those in need during holiday season, and encourage a spirit of philanthropy among young people. For more information, visit www.thelovecirclefoundation.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.

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.

Job Fair hosted by the Gwinnett County Public Library and Goodwill of North Georgia will be Wednesday, December 6 from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Five Forks Branch, 2380 Five Forks Rod, Lawrenceville. Bring a resume, dress professionally and get hired. For more information, visit www.gwinnettpl.org or call 770-978-5154.

What to do when a death occurs? Rick Johnson from Tom M. Wages Funeral Service will answer your questions and discuss topics such as: what’s necessary to administer an estate, who do you need to notify, what legal forms you should complete, and about veterans’ benefits. Join Gwinnett County Public Library for this seminar on Thursday, December 7 at 10:30 a.m. at the Lawrenceville Branch, 1001 Lawrenceville Highway, Lawrenceville.  This class is free and open to the public.

Holiday Potluck for the Southern Wings Bird Club will be Monday, December 11, at 6:30 p.m. at the Rhodes Jordan Park Community Center.  This night will include ta photo extravaganza and gift exchange. Details: www.southernwingsbc.com.

(NEW) Cookies and Cocoa with Santa Claus will be Saturday, December 16 from 10 a.m. until noon at the Red Clay Music Foundry in Duluth. Professional pictures will be taken on site and later posted on the City of Duluth’s Facebook page for download. The pictures are free of cost.

(NEW) Writing Workshop with Journalist Drew Jubera, a five-time Pulitzer-nominated journalist, will be Saturday, December 16 at the Lilburn Branch of the Gwinnett county Public Library. It is hosted by the Library and the Atlanta Writers Club, and is free. RSVP to events@gwinnettpl.org.

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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