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BRITISH CARS. Scheduled for September 6, the annual British Car Fayre will be in downtown Norcross for the 13th year. This popular event draws British auto fans from all over the Southeast to see famous British-bred classics like Austin Healy or Rolls Royce, Land Rover, Jaguar, MG and Lotus. This year's show supports Soccer in the Streets, a program that empowers underserved youth through soccer, character development, mentoring, and employability programs. Bring the kids and while you're ogling the Jaguars, let them try out their soccer skills for free within the Panna Court. To enter a motorcycle (or a car) register online at

Issue 14.41 | Aug. 19, 2014

:: Gwinnett Transportation installs 700th traffic signal

:: Letter writer has really good idea about the Olympics

Letters on Sugar Hill birthday, War in Gaza

Holiday Tour of Homes, Scam involves jury duty

Lawrenceville announces Hammer award winners

:: Georgia Campus - Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

:: Salamander and Cedar Cove

:: MacDonald's definition of a person who is a bore

:: Franklin Raper's most important work

:: Now tell us where this one is?


ABOUT US is a twice-weekly online community commentary for exploring pragmatic and sensible social, political and economic approaches to improve life in Gwinnett County, Ga. USA.

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Gwinnett road timing improves; installs 700th traffic signal
Engineer V - Section Chief
Traffic Signal and ITS Section, Gwinnett County DOT
Special to GwinnettForum
| permalink

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga., Aug. 19, 2014 -- In the summer of 2014, the 700th traffic signal within Gwinnett County was turned on at the intersection of Georgia Highway 124 (Braselton Highway) and Lena Carter Road.


The Gwinnett County Department of Transportation (GCDOT) is responsible for the day-to-day operation and maintenance of those traffic signals. Part of those activities is developing and implementing the signal timings that determine when vehicles will get a green light and for how long.

Improved signal timing and coordination offer one of the most cost-effective and quickly-implementable ways to reduce congestion and improve traffic flow. Recognizing that, the GCDOT has implemented signal timing plans on the all the major roads in the county. Some roads like Jimmy Carter Boulevard, U.S. Highway 78 and Pleasant Hill Road have had coordinated signal timings for nearly three decades.

As the county's population increased and roads were widened to handle increased traffic, county traffic signal engineers would regularly conduct projects to update the signal timings. Starting in the mid 90s, engineering consultants were hired to assist with a countywide retiming project that looked at all the major roads to update the timings. Since then, GCDOT continued with regular updates and corridor wide retiming when needed. Additional corridors, such as sections of Old Peachtree Road and Old Norcross Road, have had continuous coordination plans to progress traffic as volumes grew.

Crews keep intersection signals functioning.

The goal of a timing optimization project is to improve traffic flow on the main road. It starts with collecting the existing traffic volume data and utilizing traffic analysis software to develop the timing plans for each time of day.

Improved traffic flow results in a reduced travel time for each driver. The final report compares the travel time and delay within the system before and after implementation of the new timing plans. Reductions of delay and travel time are documented to quantify the magnitude of the improvement in service. A benefit/cost analysis is conducted to quantify the improvements of the new timing plans.

One key component to good signal timing is to have the equipment in good working condition. For that reason, Gwinnett County has had a regular preventative maintenance program since the 1990s. It consists of inspecting every traffic signal for proper operation, correcting malfunctioning equipment and issuing work orders for any problems that can't be corrected quickly. The goal is to conduct these inspections twice yearly using both County staff and signal contractors.

Another valuable tool is the Traffic Control Center (TCC). The county has had a TCC since the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. In 2007, the TCC was moved from the Justice and Administration Center to a new facility allowing for a major expansion to better utilize the expanding Intelligent Transportation System communications network that continues to be built along the County's major roads.

Today county staff can monitor 420 of the 700 traffic signals in real time and perform regular operation and timing checks. The ITS network also includes nearly 200 traffic monitoring cameras. Now a timing engineer is able to check multiple locations in a short amount of time, allowing a quicker response to timing requests from citizens. This can range from adjusting the timing to reduce the delay from a malfunctioning vehicle sensor at an intersection, to changing the timing at multiple intersections during the afternoon peak period.

An idea that makes sense: Hold Olympics in Greece every 4 years

Editor and publisher |

AUG. 19. 2014 -- One of the great benefits of letters to the editor is that we can be bombarded with ideas generated by people from many different disciplines, to be cast upon the public arena for consideration. The ideas can be from the great minds of the world, but can be significant constructive thought from even the Average Joe.


GwinnettForum thanks all its letter-writers for providing us with food for thought. They help make this a forum of ideas and innovation, and significantly contribute to the public discussion on a plethora of topics.

Recently we saw a short letter to the editor in the New York Times that stood out for its clarity of reasoning, and should be given wide consideration. It was from Gordon Hochberg, of Harrison, N.Y., which we quote it its entirety:

"I would like to suggest a different direction that might save money as well as return the focus to the (Olympic) Games themselves instead of to the showmanship of a different city every four years.

"I would like to suggest -- especially in light of the unique contributions that Greece has given the West and indeed the world going back thousands of years, its priceless gifts of democracy, philosophy, theater and history --- that the Summer Olympic Games return to their birthplace permanently.

"I cannot think of a better venue for the Summer Olympics than the polis of Athens."

* * * * *

Well said, Mr. Hochberg. His letter, though short, comes to the point quickly, and even gives background of why this would make a sensible possibility.

Those of us in Metro Atlanta remember the great preparation and expenditure of money for Atlanta to host the 1996 Games. Think of all the time, effort and money it cost to build all the different venues, often with the ballyhoo that such structures and sites would eventually become well-known places for competition in the years to come. It hasn't always worked out that way.

We need to look no further than the only venue that was even partially in Gwinnett, the 26-acre Tennis Venue at Stone Mountain Park. Built to seat 7,000 spectators with the idea that it could become a site for major tennis tournaments well into the future, instead it sat empty for nearly 10 years, and is virtually empty today. Its only use now is as offices for the Evermore Community Improvement District. Most of the sprawling outdoor venue has grown into weeds. Its stadium seats do not even get used for concerts, as once suggested.

And in other venues around Atlanta, what was envisioned simply never has come to fruition. Even the massive re-configuration of the main Olympic Stadium in downtown Atlanta into the Atlanta Braves stadium is now threatened with being torn down, as the Braves plan to move to Cobb County. Other 1996 Olympic venue sites are in under-use around eth Metro Atlanta area.

Should the Olympic Games be returned to Athens, permanent sites could be used every four years without the frantic construction of venues in cities awarded the Olympics. It would also help rejuvenate that economically-depressed Grecian economy. For each country's Olympic site, there is high cost to the host city, as in Atlanta, with hopes of using the venues for ages, yet often that is simply not the case.

Spending great sums on permanent facilities in Greece for all Olympic sports is economically wise.

Having the games in the same place adds stability and more distinction to the sports. This is an idea that is well before its time, but one we hope can grow and prosper.

Thank you, Gordon Hochberg, for your great idea for the benefits of future Olympics.

Georgia Campus - Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

Professional healthcare programs leading to doctorate degrees in Pharmacy (PharmD) and Osteopathic Medicine (DO) are offered at Georgia Campus - Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (Ga.-PCOM) in Suwanee Ga. A graduate degree at the master's level may be earned in Biomedical Sciences. Ga.-PCOM, which opened in 2005, is a private, not-for-profit branch campus of the fully accredited Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, a multi-program institution with a 115 year tradition of educational excellence.

  • To learn more about how Ga.-PCOM is educating tomorrow's healthcare leaders, visit or call 678-225-7500. For an appointment at the Georgia Osteopathic Care Center, an osteopathic manipulative medicine clinic which is open to the public, call 678-225-7489.

  • For a list of other sponsors of this forum, go here.

Sugar Hill officials appreciate those going to 75th birthday party

Editor, the Forum:

It has been a little over a week now since many people took the time to spend the evening with us in celebration of Sugar Hill/s 75th Anniversary as a city. Quite the party it was. The weather cooperated nicely and it turned out to be a delightful day and evening.

I hope all attending had a wonderful time as we truly enjoyed hosting everyone. All three musical acts were talented and entertaining. The Haley and Alexis Band, Andy Velo and the Bacon Brothers each provided a memorable musical performance. We are extremely proud of our City and even more passionate about its bright future.

Perhaps visitors had a chance to look at the various sketches and renderings our city placed throughout the rotunda of City Hall depicting the newest addition to our downtown: The EpiCentre at Sugar Hill. It is a bold new project the city will construct and once completed (in early 2016) will change the landscape of downtown Sugar Hill and Northern Gwinnett County for years to come.

The new construction will house a number of public facilities including a new 400-500 seat community theater, a gymnasium and upper level walking track along with an indoor lap pool. The theater and gymnasium will be wrapped with retail, restaurant, and commercial office space on multiple levels. The entire project will sit atop a 100 unit parking garage which will overlook our amphitheater We also anticipate another major private sector downtown development project which is expected to be completed in late 2015 or early 2016 and will accommodate additional commercial, retail, restaurant and housing inventory to our downtown.

On behalf of the Mayor and Council along with the entire city staff, please accept our appreciation for joining us at our 75th Anniversary celebration. We look forward to seeing each of you again and forging lasting partnerships in the months and years ahead as we begin the next chapter of Sugar Hill.

-- Paul D. Radford, city manager, Sugar Hill

Extends dialogue concerning Israeli-Palestine situation in Gaza

Editor, the Forum:

Thanks for allowing me to reply to a letter written by George C. Wilson regarding the recent events in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians in Gaza. Let me begin by reminding your readers that Hamas was founded to "liberate Palestine, including modern-day Israel…and to establish an Islamic state in the area that is now Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip." Hamas opposes the recognition of Israel and is committed to its destruction. Under this context, it is unreasonable to accuse the current, democratically elected government of Israel, as being opposed to peace or against a two-state solution. Israel's actions against Hamas are, quite literally, a struggle for survival as a nation.

Mr. Wilson compares Israeli actions in Gaza to Nazi's treatment of Jews in pre-World War II Germany. This statement is not only disingenuous, it is ludicrous. Rather it is Hamas who declares in their Charter their intent to kill all Jews.

The blockade that Mr. Wilson references is actually a trade embargo that was put into place only after Hamas came to power; one year after Israel unconditionally removed its civilian population and military forces from the territory. Israel allows basic goods, food, humanitarian supplies, and fuel into Gaza on a regular basis. This is no ghetto or concentration camp, as Mr. Wilson declares. He neglects to mention that Gaza shares a border with Egypt, which also employs a strategic trade embargo against Hamas in Gaza. Hamas' true intentions were exposed with the offensive tunnels into Israeli territory, tunnels that were built with money and supplies intended for building civilian infrastructure, rather than terrorist tunnels.

Mr. Wilson's letter makes clear his anti-Jewish views by linking Jewish money and lobbying to instability in the Middle East, focusing solely on Israel and ignoring the atrocities in Syria, Iraq, Libya, and elsewhere. Finally, Mr. Wilson accuses Israel of "giving up the moral high ground" when it is Hamas who uses human shields, stores weapons in U.N. facilities and launches attacks from civilian areas, including schools and hospitals.

Israel remains our country's closest ally in the war against global terrorism and remains the purest example of democracy in the Middle East.

-- Adam Pomeranz, Peachtree Corners

Rant, rave, send us a letter

An invitation: We encourage readers to submit feedback (or letters to the editor). Send your thoughts to the editor at We will edit for length and clarity. Make sure to include your name and the city where you live. Submission of a comment grants permission for us to reprint. Please keep your comments to 300 words or less. However, we will consider longer articles (no more than 500 words) for featuring in Today's Issue as space allows.

Historic Norcross Holiday Tour of Homes coming on Dec. 6

The Norcross Downtown Development Authority is hosting this celebration of the holiday season in Historic Norcross on Saturday, December 6. Six homes in the historic area have been signed up.

Volunteers are needed to participate on the organizing committee to lead several areas. The Authority is looking for:

  • Two Volunteer Chairpersons: This job involves volunteer recruitment with use of online volunteer recruitment software. They will coordinate with other chairpersons regarding their volunteer needs and work to fill open positions.

  • Entertainment: Recruit musical performers for each home on the Tour. Coordinate logistics for musicians at each home and appropriate stops on the Tour.

  • Transportation/Shuttle: This position coordinates shuttle drivers and the route for the Tour. They also work with driveway guards to communicate issues with shuttles or parking.

Overall, the production of this event will require approximately 300 volunteers the week of the Tour and the "Big Day."

New scam involves making people feel they missed jury duty

The Evermore Community Improvement District reports that the Gwinnett County Sheriff's Office continues to receive reports from citizens who have fallen victim to telephone scams. Although this matter is under active investigation, Sheriff Butch Conway wants to ensure that the public is made aware of the current phone scam reports to reduce the likelihood of citizens being victimized. In particular, the scam often involves senior citizens.

The telephone scam begins with a citizen receiving a call from someone purporting to be from the Gwinnett County Sheriff's Office, usually identifying himself to be a sergeant or lieutenant. The caller says that you have failed to respond to a jury summons and that a warrant has been issued for your arrest. He then offers you the opportunity to avoid arrest by paying a fine over the phone using a pre-paid debit card, usually a Green Dot Moneypak card. Once you've purchased the card and relay the 14 digit code on the back of the card, this completes the scam and the chances of recovering your money are very slim.

These phone scammers are very skilled at what they do. They usually have extensive knowledge of the law enforcement agency they are impersonating and often provide a phone number where they can be reached. They sometimes use the names of staff members who actually work for the agency they are impersonating. They often have personal information about the victim they are targeting, which also lends them credibility.

These phone scams are not being perpetuated in Gwinnett County alone. Law enforcement agencies all across the country are receiving similar reports.

(Editor's Note: If you receive a phone call from a number you don't recognize, enter it into Google to see if it's associated with a scam before you answer it or return it. - eeb)

Lawrenceville announces winners of Golden Hammer awards

The City of Lawrenceville has announced the winners of the seventh annual Golden Hammer Awards program. The city honors local businesses for their contribution to the revitalization efforts and growth throughout the community.

Mark Mullin, president of the Lawrenceville Tourism and Trade Association, says: "We are fortunate to have a city in which our business owners take pride and continually invest in improvements, enhance the way they do business and work together to build a strong presence not only in Lawrenceville but throughout all of Gwinnett County and the metro Atlanta area. The Golden Hammer Awards provide an opportunity for the community to recognize and thank the businesses and their leaders for their dedication and hard work."

Golden Hammer Award Recipients:

Outstanding Commercial Downtown Project Award Winners:

  • The Bench Jeweler
  • Exhibit Ale
  • Iron Accents
  • Nancy's Candy & Spice
  • Sweet Tooth Ice Cream Café

Outstanding Commercial City Limit Project Award Winners:

  • Nash Chevrolet
  • Gwinnett Medical Center - Strickland Family Medicine Center

Outstanding New Renovation (Small Business/Organization) Award Winner:

  • All Pro Carts

Outstanding New Construction (Large Business/Organization) Award Winner:

  • Georgia Gwinnett College - Allied Health & Sciences Building

Build Up Community Winner:

  • Aurora Theatr

Salamander and Cedar Cove

"If you are a subscriber to Netflix or other streaming movie services, here are two series we have seen recently. Both series are well done. Salamander is a 12-part series set in present-day Belgium with plotters seeking to disrupt that entire economy, stemming from the chaos during and following World War II. Though in another language, with subtitles, this never seems to interfere with the quick-moving action. Cedar Cove is a much lighter, happier series set in Washington state's Puget Sound area, with stunning scenery from that area. Though it's much like a soap opera, it moves quickly and shows another window on life in these Untied States that we in the South know little about." -- eeb

  • An invitation: What Web sites, books or restaurants have you enjoyed? Send us your best recent visit to a restaurant or most recent book you have read along with a short paragraph as to why you liked it, plus what book you plan to read next. --eeb

Franklin Raper's most important work dealt with lynchings

(Continued from previous edition)

Franklin Raper made another mark on southern thought with his most important work, The Tragedy of Lynching (1933). In it he focused on the unusually high number of lynchings (21) that had occurred in the United States in 1930, the first full year of the Great Depression. Twenty took place throughout the South, including six in Georgia.

Using personal interviews and other research techniques, Raper (left) concluded that most of the lynchings occurred where community life was weak. (Other critics had argued that lynch mobs came from the South's more close-knit localities.) In addition he found that only one-sixth of the 3,724 lynchings that had taken place from 1889 through 1930 arose from charges of rape. Because its tone was sufficiently restrained, The Tragedy of Lynching received considerable praise throughout the South and became an important weapon for the anti-lynching campaign.

As to its overall significance, historian Daniel Singal commented, "Perhaps no other social science book written about the South during [the 1930s] received as much serious attention from southerners, and perhaps none has had a greater impact on changing southern behavior." For Raper this productive period in his life also involved a part-time job teaching sociology at Agnes Scott College in Decatur. He took the opportunity to show his all-white, all-female students the significance of the surrounding racial climate, but he went too far for parents and alumni when he took his classes on an overnight trip to the all-black Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama.

Bowing to the angry criticism that resulted from his controversial actions, Raper resigned from Agnes Scott in 1939 and returned to Greene County. There, he observed the effects of the Unified Farm Program, which, under the direction of the Farm Security Administration, attempted to improve health and farming conditions for local tenants. His continuing research resulted in two more publications, Sharecroppers All (1941) and Tenants of the Almighty (1943).

The former book, co-written with Ira De A. Reid, aroused considerable controversy in the South because it stressed that the economic exploitation of the sharecropper system was evident in all sectors of the southern economy, industrial as well as agricultural. Such exploitation indicated that all southerners, in one way or another, suffered the fate of the sharecropper. Tenants of the Almighty served as a sequel to Preface to Peasantry in its continuing emphasis on Greene County and the federal measures that were taken to speed the county's recovery from the troubles of the Great Depression.

Raper's later publications concerned life in Japan, Taiwan, Pakistan, and other parts of Asia. He died in 1979.

Where are these buildings?

CLUE: Surely many people will guess where this photographic scene was made. It's something of a famous location, and we'll give you a clue: this mystery photo does not come from Charleston, S.C. If you think you know the answer, send your name and hometown to

The last mystery photo was difficult, as we thought it might be. It was from Rick Krause of Lilburn, and was the Chamber of Commerce building in Allen Lambert Galleria, BCE Place, in Toronto Canada. Yes, that was a hard one, and though guesses ranged across several continents, no one got it.


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2014, Gwinnett Gwinnett Forum is an online community commentary for exploring pragmatic and sensible social, political and economic approaches to improve life in Gwinnett County, Ga. USA.

MacDonald's Definition of a Person Who Is a Bore

"A bore is a person who deprives you of solitude without providing you with company."

-- Gian Gravina, quoted by American Author John MacDonald (1916 - 1986).




Paid advertisement

The Duluth Fall Festival is less than two months away, and plans are well underway. The 400 volunteers are getting geared up, the over 350 Arts and Crafts and Food booths are almost all taken, and sponsors are coming on board daily. Also, the chairpersons of the over 50 festival committees are recruiting new volunteers.

If you are interested in volunteering, becoming a sponsor, or just knowing more about the organization visit the website:

Creative ways to harvest and grow Social Security benefits through retirement is the theme of an August 19 program at 9 a.m. at The 1818 Club in Duluth. The Community Foundation of Northeast Georgia is putting on this program, sponsored by Sugarloaf Wealth Management LLC. Maximize your Social Security income stream with significant tools, such as sound education, good planning and the application of smart decision-making tools.

(NEW) Chamber Tour of the proposed Atlanta Media Center Campus at Interstate 85 and Jimmy Carter Boulevard, is set for Thursday, August 21, at 11:30 a.m. The 100+ acre mixed-use development is expected to bring the highest budget films in the country to Gwinnett, providing local jobs and increased economic activity. Speaking will be Scott Condra, president of Jacoby Development, Inc., who is developing the campus. Registration is here.

Gwinnett Police Job Fair, Saturday, August 23, from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. at the Gwinnett Police Training Center, 854 Winder Highway in Lawrenceville. The department seeks candidates for police officer and E-911 Communication positions. Interested applicants are encouraged to apply before attending the fair on the Police Employment webpage.

(NEW)Health and Wellness Fair on the Sugar Hill City Hall lawn, Saturday, August 24, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Free group fitness classes, physical, mental and financial wellness information, plus vendors and blood donations accepted. For more information, call 770 945 6718.

(NEW)Fall Vegetable Gardening class, Wednesday, August 27, at noon at the Gwinnett County Extension Office, 750 Perry Street in Lawrenceville. This class will show you how to start a fall vegetable garden and the various types of vegetables that you can grow in it. There is no charge, but pre-registration is required by August 25. To register, contact Timothy Daly at 678-377-4010.

Re-Development Forum for 2014: Thursday, October 16, 7: 30 a.m. until 1 p.m. Studio Movie Grill, Duluth. Topics include maximizing re-development, financing and opportunities through Public-Private Partnerships. Keynote speaker will be Ellen Durham Jones of Georgia Tech, talking on "Sustaining vibrant communities." To register, click here.


8/15: Churchill and battlefronts
8?12: New Duluth manager
8/8: On corporate moves
8/5: Club recognizes bus drivers
8/1: On better candidates

7/29: Good week for Atlanta
7/25: Can GOP keep control?
7/22: Peachtree Corners update
7/18: On election runoffs
7/15: Gwinnett's water use
7/11: Georgia Guidestones
7/8: 40 years in Gwinnett
7/3: Primary runoff endorsements
7/1: About the shining sun

6/27: A busy Congress
6/20: Property mystery solved
6/17: Civil War, tanning, more
6/13: On cleaning your plate
6/10: Fairness cuts several ways
6/6: Obama's carbon emissions plan
6/3: "Community Through Diversity"


8/15: Brill: Helmet sensors
8/12: Light: Cannon heads GTC
8/8: Fenton: Corporate Games
8/5: A. Brack: Summers to be hotter
8/1: Starnes: Enjoy writing

7/29: Lail: House fire, part 2
7/25: Lail: House fire, part 1
7/22: DeWilde: Suwanee's Cinderella
7/18: Zaken: Glance Gwinnett
7/15: Callina: Gift card scam
7/11: Cochran: Closed meetings
7/8: Lang: On health care act
7/3: Miller: Leukemia grants
7/1: Andrews: Sugar Hill's EpiCenter

6/27: Georgia Cup criterium
6/20: Gross: L'ville's 4th
6/17: Gardner: Senate bid
6/13: Adcock: Clinic openings
6/10: Wilson: GGC's top athletics
6/6: Waters: Leadership Gwinnett
6/3: Myers: GA-PMOC graduation


Gwinnett Forum publisher Elliott Brack suggests that Gwinnett County needs a long-range list of continuing objectives for improving the county. Read more.

  • Development of a two-party system for county offices
  • Moving statewide non-partisan judge election runoffs to the General Election
  • Light rail for Gwinnett from Doraville MARTA station to Gwinnett Arena
  • Extension of Gwinnett Place CID area to include Arena and Discovery Mills Mall
  • Banning of tobacco in all Gwinnett parks
  • Making Briscoe Field a commercial airport for jet-age travel
  • More diverse candidates for political offices and appointment to local boards
  • Physical move of former St. Gerard's Catholic Church in Buffalo, N.Y., to Norcross
  • Creative efforts to support the arts in Gwinnett
  • Advancement and expansion of city and Gwinnett historical societies
  • Stronger regulation of late-night establishments with alcoholic licenses
  • Requiring the legislature to meet once every two years.
  • Development of more community gardens.

ABOUT US is a twice-weekly online community commentary for exploring pragmatic and sensible social, political and economic approaches to improve life in Gwinnett County, Ga. USA.

:: Contact us today
:: Subscribe for free
Buy the book on Gwinnett's history


2001-2014, Gwinnett is Gwinnett County's online community forum for commentary that explores pragmatic and sensible social, political and economic approaches to improve life in Gwinnett County, Ga. USA.

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