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Professional engineer seeks Public Service Commission seat
By Bob Indech
Special to

(Editor's Note: The following is from Bob Indech of Norcross, who is a candidate for the Public Service Commission in the Fourth district. Mr. Indech is a graduate of Brown University of Rhode Island and has additional graduate degrees from Georgia Institute of Technology, Brown University, and Anna Maria College. His background, as a registered professional engineer, is in energy research and development.-eeb)

NORCROSS, Ga., July 1, 2008 -- I'm hopping mad, becoming poorer from misguided energy policy. Converting corn to ethanol increases prices along the food chain causing mass starvation across the planet. Our energy policy raises the cost of tortillas in Mexico.


Contrary to oil producers, no oil shortage exists. Libya decreases supply because of lowered market demand. Yearly price doubling is not normal supply and demand, but is oil contract speculation from Wall Street capital no longer invested in real estate. The solution follows a similar Federal response to the 1929 crash: require 50 percent collateral in dollars for margin contracts. Trading contracts with one to two percent of equity is gambling and consumers are forced into the game.

Abandon the myth that oil only comes from drilling. Oil is a long chain hydrocarbon, produced synthetically since the 1930's. Chemically identical to drilled oil, synthetic oil fueled the Nazi war machine. Passing steam over coal yields coal gas, which heated under pressure with a catalyst, yields aviation fuel, gasoline, and kerosene. Coal heating yields one dollar per gallon. Nuclear heating yields 60 cents per gallon. Consistently, Congress denies subsidies for initial costs of industrial scale plant construction. We built an atomic bomb at wartime when supplying troops and materials fighting Japan and Germany. Sixty years later we can synthesize oil to eliminate imports. This is no pipedream. China has an operating plant developing 15 million tons of yearly petroleum products, and plans seven more. Synthetic oil plants will allow termination of Iraq and Afghanistan war. War cost savings can partially fund this plan.

The sun irradiates about 136 watts per square foot. Solar cells directly convert light to electricity. Conventional silicon cells batch processed by the Suniva plant in Norcross are more costly per watt than coal or nuclear. In California and Germany, Nanosolar Company has 600,000 feet of manufacturing facilities and prints cells without silicon on long thin metal rolls, selling for less than one dollar per watt. A single bedroom sized machine can yearly produce 1,000 megawatts of solar cells. Why convert the Doraville GM facility to apartments, when state legislators could court Nanosolar for a Georgia manufacturing plant? Nanosolar has been shipping cells for the last six months only to commercial users due to years of backlogged orders.

Water: Lake Lanier is drying, not just from reduced rainfall. We drain massive waters downstream to the Gulf of Mexico. Saving mussels? Actually, we are supplying cooling water to antiquated coal-fired plants operating with single pass water-cooling. Modern power plants use ponds like Lake Sinclair or evaporative cooling towers, dissipating three heat watts per generated watt. If Georgia bought land around these plants, about 2,000 acres per 1,000-megawatt capacity, for lease to Southern Company for cooling ponds, then downstream Chattahoochee flow would be radically reduced. A financial model projects costs of about $50 per citizen.

America solves problems through technology. A registered professional engineer over 25 years, I'm overeducated with five graduate degrees. Not spending a lifetime working for failing government energy policy, I supervised technicians, managed business, and developed new energy solutions.

The Public Service Commission, regulating utility rates, and maintaining energy infrastructure, demands technical skill, political skill, and vision. Commissioners provide a forward pathway for Georgia. Better than other candidates, I will supply technical expertise the Commission currently lacks, as no current commissioner is an engineer. Living in Norcross over 20 years, I educated five children through public schools. Like you, I have a stake in a better Georgia.

Surprising reduction found in I-85 traffic in Gwinnett
By Elliott Brack
Editor and Publisher

JULY 1, 2008 -- There's an indication that we are traveling less, as we found right here at home. In talking with the Department of Transportation recently, we found that traffic has decreased on Interstate 85. Yes, decreased on the one portion of I-85 we asked about, in the last two years.


Take a look at this small table. We're looking at one of the busiest portions of I-85 in Gwinnett, between Indian Trail Road and Jimmy Carter Boulevard, considering traffic in both directions.

Note that the traffic has increased each year from 1990 from a low of 164,188, until it reached 2005, when it recorded 264,120. But lo and behold, by 2007, the traffic on Interstate 85 had fallen to 257,110, not falling much, but falling just the same.

Those of us caught up in the morning or afternoon commute will question this, of course. But the figures show a slight drop, perhaps because of higher fuel prices, or perhaps because of more savvy drivers realizing they need to make fewer trips. Who knows: this small drop in trips could even result in more of us tele-commuting! Or more people riding public transit, or car-pooling!

No matter what the reason, it may signal the beginning of Americans in general driving fewer miles in their automobiles. All of us are looking at way of driving less, experiencing the high price of gasoline.

We lifted a few driving tips from for you to consider. Here's what Edmunds says are the top ten ways to improve your fuel economy.

1. Follow your auto's recommended maintenance schedule.
2. Keep your tires property inflated.
3. Take a load off, by reducing excess weight.
4. Don't drive aggressively.
5. Use the highest gear possible.
6. Use cruise control selectively, mainly on flat roads. (In hilly country, cruise control works against you, since the car speeds up to maintain that speed.)
7. Think clean, as a washed and waxed car improves aerodynamics and fuel efficiency.
8. Avoid excessive idling
9. Think before you ventilate. Driving at higher speeds with the windows down increases the drag on the vehicle.
10.Combine your errands.

From another source,, we get these tips:

  • Reduce your breaking and quick acceleration. Cars use the least amount of gas when they maintain a reasonable speed. Use cruise control. Also, driving at slower speeds saves gas.
  • Remove all extra weight from your car. While carrying around the golf clubs in the back might be convenient, cars carrying extra weight use more gas.
  • Minimize air conditioning use. When possible, close the windows and use the vents to bring in outside air.
  • Combine errands into one trip. It sounds like a no-brainer, but think of the miles (and gas) you could save by stopping by the store on the way home from work instead of heading back out.
  • Carpool. If you and a co-worker trade off on who drives which day or week, you can both save gas and money

One more idea: when on the interstate highway system, reducing your speed can save gas, but reducing too much (below 60 mph) can make you the slowest on the highway, and put you in danger from someone going much faster ramming you from behind.

Be careful out there. And be pleased with the good news of the lower traffic count in Gwinnett!

The public spiritedness of our sponsors allows us to bring to you at no cost to readers. Today's sponsor is E.R. Snell Contractor, Inc. of Snellville. Founded in the 1920s, ERS was built on Christian beliefs with honesty and integrity leading the way. Specializing in roads, bridges and culverts, its goal is to build a safe and modern highway system while preserving our natural environment. Through quality production and high safety standards, it strives to be the best contractor possible, while continuing to be a positive influence on its employees and the community. Our Internet address is

Fourth of July is a good time to hug your heroes

Editor, the Forum:

When was the last time your hugged your hero? Well, Hug Your Hero Gifts wants everyone to hug their hero and honor those that make the world a better place. There's no better day than our nation's Independence Day.

We're not just about saying thank you and shaking some one's hand. We are about spreading hugs across the nation. I'm a new small business owner who is trying to make a difference in how we recognize our heroes. Heroes come in all shapes and sizes, from all walks of life.

My husband, Mike, and I will be celebrating at the City of Auburn's Fourth of July Festival. The festival takes place in downtown Auburn beginning at noon and finishing with a fireworks display. There will be great food, vendors of all types and a car show.

Hug Your Hero Gifts has introduced our new line of "Have you hugged a Hero today?" products. At this time, we are mainly T-shirts, but we are branching out into other products such as note cards, mouse pads, coffee mugs, can coolers, tote bags, hats and other patriotic items and apparel. We are proud to say that all of our products are made in the USA. We strive to help other small businesses in our community and want to show that we are proud to be American and buy American.

The mission of Hug Your Hero Gifts is to spread the spirit of mankind and the goodness we all feel in our hearts.

For more information about Hug Your Hero Gifts and their complete product line, visit and hug your hero today! What's stopping you?

-- Stephanie Dickerson, Lawrenceville

Clean and Beautiful lists other recycling locations

Editor, the Forum:

On behalf of the 50-member Citizen's Advisory Board and the staff at Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful, we would like to thank you for your support and encouragement in response to the recent fire at the Recycling Bank of Gwinnett. We have already begun planning for the future after a fire Wednesday night destroyed three buildings at the site on Satellite Boulevard in Duluth, which is now temporarily closed. GC&B has moved into action and is taking steps towards rebuilding and reopening the Recycling Bank of Gwinnett as soon as possible.

All curbside recycling operations throughout Gwinnett will continue as normal.

Citizens and businesses have several alternative locations for recycling during the temporary closure. Alternative locations can easily be found on the Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful website, Visitors to the site will be able to search by the type of recyclable they have and find the nearest recycling locations in their zip code.

We would like to extend a special thank you to the hundreds of firefighters and leaders of Gwinnett County Fire and Emergency Services for their valiant efforts in battling the fire and determination to have the site safe for us to begin rebuilding as soon as possible.

An outpouring of community support has already begun to ensure that recycling efforts will be kept alive in Gwinnett throughout the rebuilding of the Recycling Bank. Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful would like to thank everyone who has shown their immediate support including Gwinnett County Government, the private sector, individual citizens, and others. Gwinnett County Public Schools has stepped forward and offered a temporary staging area for the handling of curbside recycling materials.

Despite the current unfortunate circumstances, this community has come together to restore the Recycling Bank of Gwinnett and make certain that a better tomorrow begins today.

-- Connie C. Wiggins, Executive Director, Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful

Suwanee plans another Smooth Jazz concert July 11

The July Suwanee Smooth Jazz concert at Town Center Park offers three eclectic performers for the regular price---and the regular price is free. The performances begin at 7 p.m. Friday, July 11. Performing will be Brian Clay, Julie Dexter, and North "2unes" Woodall.

  • Brian Clay, a WJZZ on-air personality, has captivated audiences throughout the Atlanta area with incredible live performances and his blend of smooth grooves and urban rhythms.
  • Julie Dexter, a world-renowned singer/songwriter, has won numerous international awards. Her most recent release is Moon Bossa with Khari Simmons.
  • Jazz guitarist North "2unes" Woodall is a staple on the Atlanta music scene. In August 2007, he released Straight @ You.

Off-site parking will be available at the Shawnee North Business Center, 305 Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road. Free shuttle transportation between off-site parking and Town Center Park will be provided from 6:30-10:30 p.m.

Bring picnics, blankets, and low-back chairs to this free concert at Town Center Park. Food, beer, and wine will be available for purchase. No outside alcoholic beverages may be brought into Town Center Park. The park is located at the intersection of Buford Highway and Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road.

Suwanee offers residents name on beam in new City Hall

Suwanee residents are invited to put their name - literally - on the new City Hall currently under construction at Town Center.

Residents may stop by the lobby of the current City Hall, 373 Buford Highway, this week to sign their names to a five-foot steel beam that will be part of the clock tower in the new City Hall. Stop by from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. through Thursday; remember, City Hall will be closed Friday for the Independence Day holiday. Suwanee's new City Hall is expected to be completed early in 2009.

United Way volunteers spend day in four Action events

United Way of America declared June 21, a national Day of Action, and in Gwinnett County more than 70 volunteers participated in activities at four locations.

At Delmar Gardens several volunteers and their children spent time with the seniors and helped them with their scrap-booking.

Volunteers also spent time at Norcross Cooperative Ministry (NCM), an organization that provides food, clothing and other services to low income and homeless families. Shirley Cabe, director of the Norcross Cooperative Ministry, said: "Thank you to United Way and all the volunteers who participated in the Day of Action. Volunteers are the heart and soul of our outreach to this community. Working together we can make a difference, one family at a time!"

Volunteers went to the Rainbow Village Transitional Housing Facility in Duluth and cleaned three apartments, moved furniture and painted the inside of an empty apartment for a new tenant.

At Sheltering Arms Early Education and Family Center in Norcross, volunteers painted the interior halls of the early learning center.

Georgia Gwinnett graduates first class of 17 students

A total of 17 students have graduated in the first class of Georgia Gwinnett College. They include 11 students from Gwinnett County: Daryouch Aziz, Misty Mahan Chapman, Sharon McGregor and Diana Wolf of Lawrenceville; Margie Gill and Kelli Oglesby of Buford; Ric Torres and Randy Wirth, Grayson, Andrea Ide, Suwanee; Carrol Lewallen, Duluth, and Adam Underwood, Bethlehem.

The students made history as part of GGC's charter graduating class, just two years after the institution opened its doors on Aug. 18, 2006.

The pioneer students who have helped set the foundation and shape the future of Georgia Gwinnett College-the nation's first public, four-year college founded in the 21st century-graduated June 28, hearing Georgia Lt. Governor Casey Cagle deliver the inaugural commencement address.

  • 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

State constitution grants "home rule" for counties, cities

The Georgia Constitution specifically provides for "home rule" for counties and municipalities. While county home rule is constitutionally prescribed, cities may be granted the same right by the state legislature. In both cases the county or city is authorized to adopt "clearly reasonable ordinances, resolutions, or regulations . . . for which no provision has been made by general law and which is not inconsistent with" the Constitution of Georgia. They are prohibited, however, from acting in nine areas:

  • elective offices and salaries;
  • elections and appointments;
  • criminal law;
  • any form of taxation not authorized by the constitution or state law;;
  • activities otherwise regulated by the Georgia Public Service Commission;
  • restriction on eminent domain (taking of private property for public use);
  • the courts;
  • the public schools; and
  • private or civil relationships.

They are granted specific "supplementary powers" in sixteen areas.

On the simplest level, home rule is just local self-government. What constitutes this self-government, however, is a matter of some dispute. The core principle is that local authorities or populations seek a measure of freedom from the state legislature. Since states are unitary systems (all powers reside at the state level; cities, counties, and special districts are mere tools of the state), such freedom often is an illusion. States may require local governments to perform certain duties and revoke the charters of those who refuse to fulfill these directives. At its most basic, then, home rule is only the ability of local governments to draft and adopt their own charters.

Home rule is one of several proposals of "good government" groups that originated toward the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth. State legislatures in particular were seen as hopelessly corrupt and controlled by predatory business interests. Home rule was seen as a way to break this power and corruption and provide at least some services to local populations. Beginning in the state of Missouri in 1875, cities gradually were granted home rule. Shortly afterward, counties also were granted home rule.

(To be continued)

Bad things help build you up to be what's intended

"Things don't go wrong and break your heart so you can become bitter and give up. They happen to break you down and build you up so you can be all that you were intended to be."

-- Samuel Johnson, via Roy McCreary, Dacula.

  • Another invitation: What's your favorite saying? Share with others through GwinnettForum. Send to

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© 2008, 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.

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Number 8.27, July1, 2008

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NOTE: Because of the Fourth of July holiday coming on Friday, the next edition of GwinnettForum will be on Thursday, July 3. - -eeb

TODAY'S FOCUS: Professional Engineer Wants Seat on Public Service Commission
ELLIOTT BRACK: Driving Suggestions for Better Mileage for Your Automobile
FEEDBACK: Suggest Anytime OK to Hug a Hero; List of Other Recycler Locations
UPCOMING: Suwanee Plans Another Concert in Smooth Jazz Series
NOTABLE: Get Your Name on I-Beam; Day of Action; Georgia Gwinnett Graduates 17
GEORGIA TIDBIT: State Constitution Provides Cities, Counties with Home Rule
Bad Things Happen, But This Should Build You Up

PINK AND GREEN. Wearing lots of pink and apple green clothing, hundreds of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, sorority sisters of Upsilon Alpha Omega Chapter (Gwinnett County) and Phi Phi Omega Chapter (North Fulton County) walked 1,908 steps (approximately two miles) to raise awareness of Emotional, Spiritual, and Physical Health. The members are celebrating 100 years of sisterhood of the founding at Howard University in Washington, D.C. The walk culminated at Thrasher Park in Norcross.

FOR CHARITY. You can give "A Gift of Laughter," a new book of cartoons by Bill McLemore, to help raise money for Rainbow Village. At just $20, it's a fun way to help. To order, call 770 840 1003, or 770 446 3800, or email to

Click above image to find
lowest gas prices in Atlanta

"Things don't go wrong and break your heart so you can become bitter and give up. They happen to break you down and build you up so you can be all that you were intended to be."

-- Samuel Johnson, via Roy McCreary, Dacula.

8/22: Presidential quiz

8/19: Early infrastructure

8/15: More school uniforms

8/12: AJC Gwinnett gone

8/8: Remembering an amazing Grace
8/5: Gwinnett's 200th
8/1: Philharmonic says no season
7/29: Gwinnett schools lead
7/25: MARTA vote results
7/22: Recent runoff elections
7/18: AJC changes coverage
7/15: On Martha Miller Adams
7/11: Vote yes for TAD
7/8: State has great places to visit
7/3: Watch out for super patriotism
7/1: Getting better mileage
EEB index of columns

8/22: Brantley: GGC dorms coming

8/19: Granger: Missionary outreach

8/15: Jackson EMC ranks high

8/12: Norton: Housing at bottom

8/8: Curry: Centerville community
8/5: Cantrell: New Mormon leaders

8/1: Helton: WIKA saves on water

7/29: Krautler: Feds to blame on water
7/25: Holley: Parish nurses help
7/22: Lane: Gwinnett newspapering
7/18: Urrutia: Gwinnett Tech nursing
7/15: Hall: Hudgens Center secret
7/11: Dickey: Saving dogs
7/8: Loeber: Teaching math better
7/1: Taste: Cutting fuel costs
7/1: Indech: Better energy policy

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