12/5: More respect, less partisanship; New tech tricks at library

GwinnettForum  |  Number 17.67  |  Dec. 5, 2017

THIS SPECTACULAR PHOTO has nothing to do with the current season, or with Gwinnett. Yet it is a dramatic showing of the power of swift running water. The photo is from the area near Chester, Vermont, where in 2011, Hurricane Irene had a major impact on this area, with historic flooding. Note that this bridge is essentially being held up by the welded rails, as the bridge has slipped off its foundation.  Within three days, the bridge was repaired and trains were slowly maneuvering across this river.
TODAY’S FOCUS: Restoring Respect and Reducing Partisanship in Politics
EEB PERSPECTIVE: Learning New Technical Tricks for Checking Out Library Books
SPOTLIGHT: Heaven and Associates, P.C.

McLEMORE’S WORLD: Shop ‘Til You Drop

UPCOMING: Former President of Cornelia Credit Union Joins Peach State FCU
NOTABLE: Jackson EMC Members Get $9 Million Margin Refunds This Month
RECOMMENDED: It Rains in February by Leila Summers
GEORGIA TIDBIT: Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank Continually Sees Growth of Automation
TODAY’S QUOTE: Watch the Expiration Date on Your Prescriptions
MYSTERY PHOTO: Much Tougher Photo Is this Edition’s Mystery
CALENDAR: Lots of holiday offerings

Restoring respect and reducing partisanship in politics

By John Titus, Peachtree Corners  |  In Stephen L. Carter’s book, Civility, he noted that in accepting the Republican presidential nomination in 1996 Bob Dole reminded his supporters that Bill Clinton and Al Gore were “opponents, not enemies.”


President Clinton in his second inaugural address called for a cessation of the “bickering and extreme partisanship” in official Washington.

In George W. Bush’s first inaugural address, he said the following: “America, at its best, matches a commitment to principle with a concern for civility. A civil society demands from each of us goodwill and respect, fair dealing and forgiveness. … Civility is not a tactic or a sentiment. It is the determined choice of trust over cynicism, of community over chaos. And this commitment, if we keep it, is a way to shared accomplishment.”

Here we are 17 years later and the political atmosphere only seems to have gotten worse. Is there anything to be done about this situation.

My first suggestion would be that members of Congress and the administration work on their ability to be civil with members of the opposite party. Civility requires respect for the other person as a fellow human being. It does not require that you like the other person. It does not require agreement. There will always be disagreement in a democracy.

To move beyond disagreement requires dialogue – civil dialogue. Such dialogue requires us not to mask our differences, but to resolve them respectfully. But this only works if we are prepared to listen – to listen to the other side, even when it is so much easier to demonize. We must also listen to others with knowledge of the possibility that they are right and we are wrong.

Although U.S. Representatives and Senators are elected to serve all of their constituents, they go to Washington as members of two different clans, Republicans and Democrats. It seems that currently our elected representatives work and socialize mostly within those clans, not making much effort to broaden their working relationships and friendships with members of the opposition. “No Labels,” a citizens movement of Republicans, Democrats and Independents, has proposed several practical steps to break down these walls and make Congress work better.

Currently Congress basically works a three-day week, traveling home on Friday (or Thursday night) and returning on Monday. No Labels proposes that the House and Senate work on a coordinated schedule with three five-day work weeks and one week per month in their home districts. Such a work schedule is both more efficient and hopefully will promote better working relationships and maybe even friendships across the aisle because the members will spend more time together.

A second suggestion is that the House and Senate institute monthly, off-the-record bipartisan gatherings to get members talking across party lines.

A third suggestion is that at all joint meetings or sessions of Congress, each member should be seated next to at least one member of the other party.

Will these suggestions restore respect and reduce partisanship? I don’t know. What I do know is that as the Congress is operating now we are not making progress on the many serious issues facing our nation.

Why not give them a try?


Learning new technical tricks for checking out library books

A self check-out kiosk from Washington state.

By Elliott Brack, editor and publisher   |  Many of us are slow to use modern technology.  Yet it can really improve our lives if we just give it a chance.

We’ll admit that much of my generation is slow in this arena. And while we primarily use the iPhone for just that, simple telephone calls, we also have found it takes amazingly detailed photographs. And its small size easily can be carried out without a strap around your neck like those super-duper single lens reflect cameras, or even the smaller point-and-shoot cameras.

The new technology that has really excited us recently has been through the Gwinnett County Public Library system. While we’ve always enjoyed the easy access that the 14 Gwinnett libraries offer, we have in the past gone to one of the many Gwinnett libraries we were near at the time and picked our books, or CDs.

Yet there’s another way to benefit from the library and its technology, we have found in recent weeks. If there’s a particular item we want, we now access the library through our computer, click the “borrowing” button, then click “catalog.”

Now here’s where it gets easy. While clicking “catalog” will result in three rows of book covers suggested to you which have been recently been reviewed or rated, we pay little attention to them.

We go to the “search by” box, and click the key word  (title, author, subject, series, tag, list, user).  If we want works by a particular author, we input the author’s name, and books by that author will be listed.  More likely if we are searching for a specific book, we put in the title, then click search. And bingo!

If the library has that title, the name of the book pops up.  It may have it in several ways, regular book form, e book, or even large print book.

If that’s the book I want, I check “checkout now.”  The system will then ask you for your user name or library card number, which you input.  (Previously the library had directed you to tell which is your principal library for picking up books. And if you have checked out before, it knows who you are!)  If the book is available, the library will send you an email notice (the next day) that it is ready for pick up. Then you go to the library in a particular pick-up area, and here books or CDs are arranged alphabetically with your name on it and you check out.  You’ve spent only a couple of minutes in the library, unless your want to browse for more.

One reason I’m writing about this is that Sunday afternoon I had exhausted my current reading material from the library, and needed another book, and the library was by then closed. I went through the steps above, found a couple of books I wanted, and since the library was closed, I sought eBooks by a particular author.

Two were available for check out, and within 10-15 minutes (I have some technical problems with my eBook since I don’t use it much), I had the two books downloaded for me to read. I was in business, and ended up reading 50 pages on the eBook that night.

And so convenient, done directly from home on my computer.   (The good part of downloading to an eBook is that you don’t even have to go to the library.)

See, even some of us in this elder generation can learn new tricks!  If you haven’t used the online library checkout, try it. You’ll like it.


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Shop ’til you drop


Former president of Cornelia Credit Union joins Peach State FCU

Peach State Federal Credit Union (FCU) is welcoming John Fair, former president/CEO of Southeast FCU of Cornelia, to the credit union’s executive team as the chief of staff.  The financial merger between Southeast FCU and Peach State, which has been approved by the National Credit Union Administration, was effective December 1.


Fair will join Peach State’s executive team this month, working out of corporate headquarters in Lawrenceville. He says: “Because both credit unions have similar values and cultures— putting members first and supporting local communities—we now have the ability to make an even greater impact on our members and our community. We’ll accomplish this through a shared commitment to exceeding the expectations of our member-owners.”

Marshall Boutwell, President/CEO of Peach State FCU, says:  “We’re excited to have John join our leadership team. The combination of our seasoned team with John’s more than 17 years of experience in credit union leadership will undoubtedly strengthen our entire staff and help us efficiently meet our goals for growth.”

This announcement follows the member vote that was held at Southeast’s Cornelia branch on November 1, 2017. Southeast FCU was chartered in 1976 to serve the needs of the employees of the Riegel Textile Corporation. Over the years, they have expanded their field of membership and currently serve more than 200 Select Employee Groups.

County operating budget to top $1.28 billion for 2018

Gwinnett Commission Chairman Charlotte Nash presented the Chairman’s Proposed Budget for 2018 to the District Commissioners last week. The $1.67 billion proposed budget is up about seven percent from this year, primarily because of transfers for capital improvements and increased costs for salaries and benefits. The proposed 2018 budget consists of a $1.28 billion operating budget and $390.0 million for capital improvements, including SPLOST-funded projects.

Nash pointed out that the budget starts with the base funding required to maintain core county services such as the jail, courts, police and fire protection, roads, transit and water. The base budget along with additions for new or ongoing initiatives reflects priorities set by the Board of Commissioners last spring and focuses funding increases on initiatives in those areas.

One priority, “mobility and access,” includes an additional traffic engineer, planning and design for two new Park and Ride Lots on Georgia Highway 316, funding to increase maintenance of roadsides, the addition of Wi-Fi on buses, and SPLOST-funded transportation projects. The “livability and comfort” priority funds libraries, parks and senior services, adds staff to manage cultural and natural resources and the new Lilburn Activity Building, and sets aside seed funding to apply toward addressing homelessness. An expansion of the civic center, a small business resource center, and more planning and development staff fall under the “strong vibrant local economy” priority.

“Communication and engagement” includes new public relations positions, an animal welfare program focused on community education, and funds for the Gwinnett Bicentennial celebration. The global water innovation center and pay-for-performance increases to maintain a quality workforce fall under the “smart and sustainable government” priority. Funds for additional days of advanced in-person voting have also been included in the proposed budget but will be held in a reserve until the ability to hire sufficient poll workers can be confirmed. Four positions were added to the Elections Office specifically to enable the County to meet expanded federal requirements.

A “safe and healthy community” is supported by 65 more police officers, two new 24/7 ambulance crews, an additional ladder truck crew, construction of a new Bay Creek Police Precinct and alternate E-911 center, two new positions in the District Attorney’s Office, and a dozen part-time Sheriff’s deputies.

In discussing the increase in staffing for various County functions, Nash noted that Gwinnett’s population has grown by 20 percent since 2008 while county staff has only increased five percent. In many cases, the additional positions represent the restoration of positions cuts that were made during the economic downturn.

City of Lawrenceville Christmas Parade will be Dec. 8

The City of Lawrenceville’s Hometown Christmas Parade will be held Friday, December 8 at 7 p.m. Presented by United Community Bank, along with Gold Sponsor, Consolidated Pipe and Supply Company, the chosen theme for this year’s parade is “What Christmas Means to Us!” With  proceeds from the parade directly benefiting Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA), the City is proud to welcome CHOA’s distinctive mascots, Hope and Will, as the Grand Marshals for this year’s event.

The evening parade will feature a traditional Honor Guard, City of Lawrenceville elected officials, light-up floats, local marching bands, walking civic groups, decorated cars and trucks, as well as the star of the show – Santa Claus! Live reindeer, restaurants, seasonal refreshments, food trucks and other special features will be onsite up near the square for the enjoyment of all patrons during the course of the event.

The parade will begin just south of the Downtown Square near the intersection of Clayton Street and Branson Street. The parade will then travel north on Clayton Street, turn left onto Pike Street, left on Perry Street, left on Nash Street and then left again onto Clayton Street.

Commuters and parade attendees are advised to expect heavy traffic delays throughout the day on Friday. Access in and around Downtown Lawrenceville will be extremely limited and parking in the immediate Historic Square will not be available. For those planning to park in the Downtown District, be advised that roads into and around the Square will close and detour plans will go into effect at 6pm.

There are several options for parade parking throughout the Downtown District including:

  • Downtown Parking Deck – 153 East Crogan Street;
  • Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center (accessible only after 6pm) – 75 Langley Drive;
  • The Lawrenceville Lawn – 210 Luckie Street;
  • City of Lawrenceville Fleet Maintenance Shop – 20 South Clayton Street; and
  • City of Lawrenceville City Hall – 70 South Clayton Street;

Parade attendees are encouraged to arrive early – before 5 p.m. to ensure a decent parking location and seat along the route before roads close starting around 6 p.m. Enjoy dinner at one of the restaurants or food trucks on the Square, visit our retail locations, enjoy the lights and settle in to experience the magic of Lawrenceville’s Hometown Christmas Parade!

  • For the latest parade information and all of the happenings in Downtown Lawrenceville, visit LawrencevilleGa.org.

Jackson EMC members get $9 million margin refunds this month

Approximately 211,000 Jackson EMC members will receive a check in the mail this month. Both members and former members will receive their share of a total $9 million in margin refunds in December.

Board Chairman Chuck Steele says: “As owners of a not-for-profit cooperative, members are entitled to a portion of the funds left over each year after all of the cooperative’s expenses are paid, which we call margin refunds.”

Margins are refunded for a combination of years so both longtime and newer members, as well as former members, benefit from belonging to an electric cooperative. This year, margin refunds will go to those who received electric service from Jackson EMC in 1990 and/or 2016. The sum of each member’s refund check is calculated according to the amount each member paid for electric service during those years.

After this December’s refund, Jackson EMC will have refunded $124.5 million in margin refunds to our member-owners since our cooperative was founded in 1938.

Historic site offers grants for research on prisoners of war

Andersonville National Historic Site, home of the National Prisoner of War Museum, seeks applicants for an annual grant program which will provide financial assistance to support original research and writing leading to interpretive works on the history of American Prisoners of War.

This grant is open for application to academic scholars (including graduate students), independent scholars, professional writers, and non-professional writers. It is intended to promote interest in the American Prisoner of War experience and encourage scholarly research that leads to documentation of the prisoner of war experience in a variety of media including theses, publications, and audiovisual productions.

Guidelines and application materials can be found online at nps.gov/ande/learn/historyculture/pow-research-grant-program.htm. Applications must be received by December 31, 2017.

These research grants are made possible through the generosity of the Friends of Andersonville, a 501[c][3] organization fostering public understanding of the role Andersonville National Historic Site plays in our Nation’s History.


It Rains in February by Leila Summers

Reviewed by Karen Harris, Stone Mountain  |  Leila Summers plumbs the depths of commitment and grief in this moving memoir about the slow disintegration of her husband’s mental health. We see his slow slide into chaos and depression and the valiant efforts of Leila first to save him, and then gradually to accept his decision to his way in his own time.  The beginnings of the relationship between Leila and Stuart are ripe with promise.  The addition of their two daughters seems like it would have given his life meaning though his obsession with another woman and his preoccupation with death derailed any chance he might have had for a long and happy life. Leila experiences the knowledge that she will be a widow and juggles this with the need to provide realistic support and nurturance to her children who will lose their beloved father. The memoir is difficult to read because the pain grows on each page.

  • 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 continually sees growth of automation

(Continued from previous edition)

Expansion and new processes were the hallmark of the 1950s for the Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank. Check volume increased throughout the district, and the Atlanta Fed branches in Jacksonville, Nashville, and Birmingham built new buildings to accommodate this growth. In 1954, after a policy change, the Atlanta Fed ceased shipments of unfit currency to the Federal Reserve Board in Washington, D.C., and began to incinerate unfit currency in Atlanta.

The 1960s saw the growth of automation, a trend that continues to this day. Machines were purchased to assist the check-clearing process for the Sixth District, reducing the personnel required to process checks while enabling the bank to process an ever-growing volume of checks. The Atlanta Fed built a new headquarters building at the same Marietta Street site in 1964, and a New Orleans branch expansion was completed in 1966. Continued growth in Florida’s economy led to the creation of the Atlanta Fed’s Miami branch in 1975.

In the 1970s the Atlanta Fed began developing electronic payments systems and point-of-sale transaction systems. Working with the Georgia Institute of Technology, the Atlanta Fed developed and introduced an automated clearinghouse (ACH) in 1973. This became a prototype for ACHs in other reserve districts. Machines that verified, counted, and sorted currency were introduced in 1978. These machines increased currency processing from 760,000 bills a day processed by 21 employees to 2 million bills a day processed by 15 employees.

In 1980 Congress passed the Monetary Control Act (MCA), which made reserve requirements—or funds that banking institutions must put aside in reserve—mandatory for all depository institutions. The MCA also required the Federal Reserve System to provide check-clearing and electronic funds transfer services to all depository institutions and charge fees for these services, instead of providing these services free to member banks.

During the 1980s the Atlanta Fed continued to increase automation and to innovate its financial services in an effort to remain competitive while responding to changes in the district. Meanwhile, by 1989 the supervision and regulation division at the Atlanta Fed counted 103 examiners, reflecting the increased complexity of banking, and had begun to participate in bank examinations in other countries.

In the 1990s the Atlanta Fed became the headquarters for the system’s Retail Payments Office, which was established to direct the strategic retail payments activities of all reserve banks. The importance of bank supervision increased with new federal regulations for commercial banks. The research function not only supported monetary policy deliberations but also conducted research into wide-ranging topics like financial derivatives, the changing southeastern workforce, and emerging markets in Latin America. By the mid-1990s, with employees working in three Atlanta buildings, the Atlanta Fed made plans to consolidate its staff into a new building in midtown Atlanta.

With the completion of new headquarters at 1000 Peachtree Street in 2001, the Atlanta Fed continues to meet the needs of the banks and the public in the region in the 21st century.


Much tougher photograph is mystery for this

After a relatively easy Mystery Photo, this edition’s mystery may test your searching. Figure out in what city this corner is, and you’ll be the winner. Send your answer to elliott@brack.net, and be sure to include where you live.

What we thought might be an easy Mystery Photo found only three people getting the correct answer in the last episode.  Lou Camiero of Lilburn identified the “Guido Gardens, Metter, Ga., Chapel of the Gardens.”  The photo came from Brian Brown in Fitzgerald, as part of his Vanishing South Georgia series.

Also recognizing it was Bob Foreman of Grayson: “This looks like the little wedding chapel at Guido Gardens, near Metter.  I have never been there, but I have heard about it.  The chapel appears to be a design inspired by the late Fay Jones, the architect of Thorncrown chapel and other chapels in Arkansas. However, I do not see it listed as one of the buildings designed by Jones.”  Several other people thought it was one of the Arkansas chapels. (By the way, Bob Foreman also guessed the previously mystery correctly, the light house at Vorupor, Denmark. though we did not give him credit.)

George Graf of Palmyra, Va. also correctly identified the photo, him saying: “Looks like a nice place to spend a sunny afternoon. The Guido Gardens with the sparkling waterfalls, shimmering fountains, babbling brooks, lovely gazebos, inspiring music and beautiful Prayer Chapel is the production home of The Sower’s telecasts.  Guido Gardens is a testament to the vision of Michael Guido, who was better known as “The Sower” through his syndicated newspaper column and radio and television broadcasts, Seeds from the Sower. His wife, Audrey, was responsible for the design of the gardens.”

He adds: “The Nights of Lights celebration is  part of the holiday tradition for many families. The lights are on from 6 to 9 p.m. nightly at Guido Gardens during the holidays. The dates for the Nights of Lights in 2017 are December 15-25. Admission is free.”


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.

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.

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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