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HISTORIC CHURCH -- Christ Church, Frederica, on St. Simons Island, is one of the most picturesque churches in Georgia, today surrounded by stately old trees and one of the most historic cemetery in the state. Worship has been continuous since 1736 in Christ Church Parish, established by English colonists at Frederica under General James Oglethorpe. The church is open to the public for tours every day (except Tuesdays, Easter and Christmas) from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. The cemetery grounds are closed every Tuesday for routine landscape maintenance until 4 p.m. More details:

Issue 12.39 | Friday, Aug. 24, 2012

:: Casino at OFS site for HOPE

:: More robocalls on the way

Send us your thoughts

Duluth Music Fest, GGC soccer

:: Sewer improvements, GGC's 9,000th


:: LAN Systems

:: Ploughman's Pub, Jefferson

:: Georgia's marble thrives

:: Snake watch

:: Lots of events on tap

:: Water for liberals, conservatives


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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For the next two weeks, GwinnettForum will be posted on Fridays. The next edition will be on August 31. -- eeb

Saving HOPE by expanding the Georgia Lottery at OFS site
Special to GwinnettForum

(Editor's note: Speaking at the Gwinnett Rotary Club recently, Guy Griswold of Blue Ridge Strategies addressed the possibility that the OFS site in Norcross, formerly the Western Electric facility at Jimmy Carter Boulevard and Interstate 85, would make an ideal place for a casino and entertainment venue to benefit the Georgia Lottery. Here are ideas from that presentation. -eeb)

DULUTH, Ga., Aug. 24, 2012 -- The proposed redevelopment of Gwinnett's OFS site with a mega-entertainment complex has been in the news lately. There are a number of facts Georgians should understand about this proposal. Most importantly, without the significant new revenue that this project would bring to the Georgia Lottery, HOPE will be paying less that 50 percent of tuition within two years. The project creates at least 2,500 new jobs, while conservatively generating an additional $350 million annually for HOPE/pre-K by bringing a new player to the lottery - the destination gamer.

The complex would feature a 1,500 room, four star hotel, which would be the second largest in Georgia. There will be a 5,000 seat performance venue for shows. The facility would have fine dining and retail stores, including a sports-themed restaurant from UGA's Hershel Walker. The game floor would house 7,500 video lottery terminals (VLTs).

Artist's rendering

While the hotel and facility would be privately built and operated, the gaming equipment would be owned or leased by the lottery. Each VLTs would be connected to a Georgia Lottery central computer, where they would be monitored in real time. Minimal lottery funds are necessary to tap this new revenue.

VLTs look and play like a slot machine. The basic difference is that while playing a VLT, the player is playing the Georgia Lottery. VLTs are simply another means of delivering a play of the lottery, but one that is entertaining in a way to attract additional players.

Seven states have expanded their lotteries in this manner, as this is a method to add revenue to the conventional lottery. Georgia would not be alone in adopting this approach. But, Georgia is quickly becoming alone as only six states that have lotteries don't have forms of gaming greater than their lottery. As a result, an estimated $200 million leaves Georgia annually on two million person trips to destination facilities in other states. A failure to develop in this area only means that Georgians will continue to take their money elsewhere for this form of entertainment.

Recent polls, including the July 31 Republican primary, show support among residents to expand the lottery.

When you talk with the leaders in communities that have expanded with VLTs in a destination facility, they share information that debunks the myths. A casino with VLTs has less crime than other areas of town, as it is so well controlled, patrolled and surveilled. These are not places that prostitutes and drug dealers are welcome. Nor does the demographic (primarily older women) provide a customer base for those activities. It also is an environment where players are strictly monitored for being of appropriate age and where gambling abuse is not tolerated.

The proposed expansion of the Georgia Lottery with a destination facility at the OFS site in Norcross is about entertainment. It's also about jobs. But most importantly, it is about saving and preserving HOPE for the students of Georgia.

Hold on! There's more time for you to get robo calls!
Editor and publisher

AUG. 24, 2012 -- Though we have just been through two elections, the General Primary and on Tuesday, runoffs for three slots in Gwinnett, the local election year is far from over.


The big election in November will fill quite a few local offices, and of course, is also a year for voting for president.

To make sure you are up-to-date, here is the list of offices, and candidates, you will be voting on in November. So the yard signs, robo calls and other campaign diversions, will still be with us for more than two months! Note: some of the representative races represent only a small portion of the county, but will have a few Gwinnett precincts included on the ballot.

State Senator, District 9: Don Balfour (R) of Snellville vs. Scott Drake (D) of Lawrenceville.

State Representative, District 81: Chris Boedeker (R) of Atlanta vs. Scott Holcomb (D) of Atlanta.

State Representative, District 93: Christine "Tina" Hoffer of Snellville (R) vs. Dar'shun N. Kendrick (D) of Lithonia.

State Representative, District 95: Tom Rice (R) of Peachtree Corners vs. Brooke Siskin (D) of Peachtree Corners.

State Representative, District 96: Mark Williams (R) of Duluth vs. Pedro "Pete" Marin (D) of Duluth.

State Representative, District 101: Valerie Clark (R) of Lawrenceville vs. Timothy Swiney (D) of Lawrenceville.

State Representative, District 105: Joyce Chandler (R) of Lawrenceville vs. Renita Hamilton (D) of Lawrenceville.

U.S. Representative, District 4: J. Chris Vaughn (R) of Conyers vs. Hank Johnson Jr. (D) of Lithonia.

U.S. Representative, District 7: Rob Woodall (R) of Lawrenceville vs. Steve Reilly (D) of Lawrenceville.

Public Service Commissioner, Metro Atlanta: Chuck Eason (R) of Atlanta vs. Stephen Oppenheimer (D) of Atlanta.

Clerk of Superior Court of Gwinnett County: Richard Alexander (R) of Buford vs. Brian Whiteside (D) of Lilburn.

Gwinnett School Board, District 1: Carol Boyce (R) of Dacula vs. Jennah es-Sudan (D) of Snellville.

Gwinnett School Board, District 3: Mary Kay Murphy (R) of Peachtree Corners vs. Jen Falk (D) of Berkeley Lake.

Gwinnett School Board, District 5: Hussein Dido (R) of Norcross vs. Louise Radloff (D) of Norcross.

Whew! We've still got a lot of politicking to do until November. Don't leave your phone off the hook. You might miss a robo call!

* * * * *

No doubt in the July 31 primary, the one subject that brought many people out to vote was the question throughout the state of the T-SPLOST proposal. Perhaps that even influenced some elections, where with a lower voter turn-out, some incumbents may have survived.

Another statewide proposal may help influence the November election. One proposition has to do with Charter Schools. Now many people, including the Gwinnett School Board, are concerned about this proposition becoming law. What particularly worries them is the language in which the proposition is worded. In effect, you must vote AGAINST the proposed amendment to get the outcome that the Gwinnett School Board members would want, though the way it is worded, you might think otherwise.

You'll hear more and more about this in the coming weeks, we hope enough to educate the people sufficiently on just what is being proposed.

* * * * *

One story: A little girl asked her father, "Daddy? Do all fairy tales begin with 'Once Upon A Time'?"

He replied, "No, there is a whole series of fairy tales that begin with 'If elected I promise.'"

LAN Systems

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  • For a list of other underwriters of the Forum, go here.

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We welcome your letters and thoughts. Our policy: 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 Focus as space allows.

Duluth plans 3rd annual music festival this Saturday

The City of Duluth's third annual Music Festival begins Saturday, August 25, at 2 p.m. and continues until 10:30 p.m. at the Duluth Town Green and Festival Center amphitheater. Featured will be the Atlanta Rhythm Section as the headlining act.

Music of all genres will be celebrated on three stages. Performances will be on the Festival Center Stage, Main Street Stage and Open Mic Atlanta in the Gazebo. The festival will also feature a Kids Zone and Food Court with beverages on sale, to include beer and wine.

Downtown merchant, Luv for Art, is celebrating its one year anniversary in conjunction with the Music Festival and will be offering live music, art demonstrations and free art projects for the kids.

Premium tables with reserved up-close seating to the Amphitheatre stage are on sale until Friday, August 24. Concert goers are encouraged to bring lawn chairs/blankets! Admission is free but vendors will be charging a nominal fee.

Based in Atlanta, Atlanta Rhythm Section (pictured below) has been a part of the Southern Rock scene for more than 30 years. The group has put out 15 albums of original material, and consistently put on entertaining live shows, creating a broad fan base. They have been a major player in the Southern Rock scene.

Intercollegiate sports begins here with GCC soccer Saturday

The Gwinnett community will finally hear the roar of the Grizzlies.

Georgia Gwinnett College will open its first year of intercollegiate competition August 25 when its men's and women's soccer teams take the field against Tennessee Temple University, at the home field in Lawrenceville.

Action begins at 1 p.m. on the soccer fields adjacent to campus housing, with Head Coach Domenic Martelli's women's squad first battling the Crusaders. Then, at 3 p.m., the Grizzly men under Head Coach Steve DeCou, take on TTU. The games are the culmination of over two years of planning and development for varsity athletics.

Dr. Darin S. Wilson, director of athletics, says: "This kickoff has been a long time in the making and is the result of hard work from a lot of committed people. We are thrilled about what lies ahead for our programs and we can't wait to finally see our student-athletes in action in Grizzly green and gray."

GGC President Daniel J. Kaufman will commemorate both games and conduct the pre-game coin tosses.

Limited bleacher seating is available at the field. Fans are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets to enjoy the action. Ample free parking is available near the campus entrance off Tree Creek Boulevard (see map at right). Admission is free. Officials note that the GGC campus is a smoke-free environment, and ask fans to refrain from bringing pets or alcoholic beverages. Lawn chairs, blankets and coolers are welcome.

The Grizzlies' opening weekend marks the first of 18 games on the inaugural schedule for each of GGC's soccer teams. Both teams are slated to play nine home contests on campus. Games will be played on the college's intramural fields until construction is complete on its $13.5M Varsity Athletics Complex.

Commissioners approve contracts to improve sewer system

Two projects approved Tuesday by the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners will replace about four miles of break-prone water mains in four older neighborhoods near Snellville, Lilburn and Norcross. Two sewer line projects also received approval from commissioners.

Jeff Boss, field operations director with Water Resources, says: "We use data like the age and type of pipe and frequency of repairs and service disruptions to get the best return on investments in pipe replacements."

G.S. Construction, Inc. was the low bidder at about $1.1 million for work in the Forest Vale, Pebble Creek, and Johnson Estates neighborhoods. The second project, at Hermitage Plantation, went to The Dickerson Group, the lowest bidder at $675,087.

The two sewer projects will build new sections of gravity sewer lines following video inspection for roots, corrosion, grease and sediment. Low bidder Metals and Materials Engineers, LLC, received a contract for an East Park Place area project near Norcross at $312,624 and M.V.P. Piping Co., Inc. got a $230,929 contract for work in the Paper Mill Road area near Lawrenceville.

GGC registers 9,000th student


Like many college freshmen, Salina Orzikowski, is experiencing nervous excitement about going to college. But she is unique, in that she is the 9,000th student to register at Georgia Gwinnett College. She represents a milestone in the college's continued enrollment growth. She is also one of the institution's first student-athletes. She will play mid-field on the Grizzlies' women's soccer team. Salina began playing soccer at age three and running at five. She played soccer and ran cross-country at Central Gwinnett High School, where she won MVP awards in both sports. An honor graduate from Lawrenceville, Salina intends to obtain an exercise science degree so she can work as a physical therapist.

Ploughman's Pub, Jefferson

"Next time you are in Jefferson, or if you are on the way to Athens, you'll find great food at this restaurant in an old Victorian house just east of Jefferson. The restaurant takes special care to entice you with a great menu, and the ingredients are deliciously prepared. Several in our party of six ordered the Behemoth BLT, with their house-smoked bacon on a Kaiser roll. The bacon was tasty. The main event menu has steaks and salmon, and there's always plenty of beef in many ways. Prices seemed most reasonable. Great stop-over, or destination, for tasty dining. Click for menu.---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

Georgia Marble Company thrives under the Tate family

(Continued from previous edition)

In the late 1880s Samuel Tate's sons, Stephen Clayton Tate and William Tate, increased their landholdings in the area and assumed a more direct role in the management of the marble industry. The family signed a 25-year lease of the marble quarries with an option for renewal. Other companies attempted to capitalize on the industry with limited success, but the Tate family successfully expanded the markets for its Georgia Marble Company stone. In addition, Stephen and William Tate were on the board of directors of the Etowah quarry, which opened in 1890 and provided the first truly pink marble.

By 1900 there were 110 men employed in the marble industry in Tate. Over the next ten years, the number of workers increased to 182, and the Georgia Marble Company began to construct employee housing near the marble quarries and mills. Again, however, the company lacked the capital to make needed improvements in the quarrying and finishing operations, and the net profit in 1900 was a little more than $14,000.

Fortunately for the industry, Samuel Tate, Stephen's son, was named president and general manager of the Georgia Marble Company in 1905. With the help of family and friends, he acquired 6,791 shares of the stock. He immediately added equipment, changed procedures, cleared quarries, and built additional houses for the workers. By 1906 the company's profit had risen to more than $120,000.

In 1909 the 25-year lease on the quarries expired and was renegotiated with the Tate family. The resulting transaction made the Georgia Marble Company joint owners of certain marble properties with the Stephen C. Tate Estate, an arrangement that continues to this day. Between 1917 and 1920, Georgia Marble Company president "Colonel Sam" Tate, as Samuel Tate was called, bought out the surrounding finishing plants and hired many more employees to complete "finished" marble products in the mill. By 1924 the state geologist of Georgia reported that $1,867,000 worth of Georgia marble had been quarried in Pickens County.

(To be continued)

Snake alert

Frank Sharp spotted this snake on the trail at Little Mulberry Park off Hog Mountain Road when out walking recently. "I could see that it was a small, one foot long snake. My wife, Pearl, almost stepped on it as the light was getting dim after the sunset!" Sharp found an identical snake on the Internet….and determined that it was a Copperhead. He adds: "There are many small kids that walk in that park that might not suspect that small snakes can be dangerous. I would highly recommend anyone walking there in the dark to wear shoes after sunset!"


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2012, 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.

IT IS HARD TO BELIEVE that the 30th annual Duluth Fall Festival is right around the corner. We hope to see you in Duluth on September 29th and 30th! There will be more than 350 vendors, a parade, music at two venues, entertainment, "Man's Corner", a carnival, a 5K road race and much more. All of the proceeds are used for improving Downtown Duluth, and as you will see, this mission is paying off!  The Historic Downtown has never looked better. For more information, visit

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One way liberals and conservative look at water

"A liberal is a person who believes that water can be made to run uphill. A conservative is someone who believes everybody should pay for his water. I'm somewhere in between: I believe water should be free, but that water flows downhill."

-- Presidential scholar Theodore White (1915-1986.)

Gwinnett history book in second printing

Previously out of print, Elliott Brack's 850-page history, "Gwinnett: A Little Above Atlanta," is now available again. Since its original publication, the book was declared the winner of the 2010 Award of Excellence for documenting Georgia history by the Georgia Historical Records Advisory Board. It is also the winner of the Gwinnett Historical Society's Whitworth-Flanigan Award for 2011 for preserving the history of Gwinnett County.The book includes 143 demographic and historic tables, with more than 4,000 names in the index, and 10,000 names in the appendix.Two versions of the book are available. The hardback edition is priced at $75, while a softback edition is $40. Books are available at:

  • Atlanta History Center, Atlanta
  • Books for Less, Buford
  • Gwinnett Historical Society, Lawrenceville
  • Parsons Gifts and Cards, Duluth
  • Vargas and Harbin Gallery, Norcross

You can also order books through the Internet. To do that, go to to place your order. For mail orders, there is a $5 shipping and handling fee. Purchases are also subject to the 6 percent Georgia sales tax.





(NEW) Community Crime Prevention Meeting: 11:30 a.m., Aug. 24, Gwinnett Village Community Improvement District, 5855 Jimmy Carter Boulevard, Norcross. This will address communication between law enforcement and Gwinnett County residents to implement strategies that result in decreased community crime, and will feature a special presentation on Emergency Preparedness.

(NEW) Fifth Annual Old Peachtree Road 5K, to benefit Rainbow Village: 9 a.m., Aug. 25. Sponsored by the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM), the race starts at the PCOM campus at 625 Old Peachtree Road in Suwanee. This is to be an official timed race with prizes for winners in each category. Entry fee: $25 day of race. Register at (Keyword: GA-PCOM).


11/13: Casino coming?
11/9: GOP and Georgia Dems
11/6: Early voting, more
11/2: Will Sandy impact election?

10/30: Georgia and GI Bill
10/26: Barge making name
10/23: Our 2012 endorsements
10/19: Pet peeves, more
10/15: Long plane flights
10/12: NO on Amendment 1
10/9: Elisha Winn Fair
10/5: Lots of construction
10/2: Texting while walking

9/28: WSB sets lower bar
9/25: State Archive fracas
9/21: Charter concerns
9/18: Benefits of living here
9/14: Continuing objectives
9/11: Trip to France, Spain
9/7: Community pride

8/31: Conversation on guns
8/24: More robocalls ahead
8/21: Newspaper museum
8/17: Seem easier to vote?
8/14: Western ridges, fall line
8/10: Runoff endorsements
8/7: New UGA health campus
8/3: Primaries raise more questions


11/13: Barksdale: Storm prep
11/9: Houston: Kettle Creek
11/6: Stilo: Christmas Canteen
11/2: Crews: View Point Health

10/30: Willis: Amendment One
10/26: Brown: Doc's research
10/19: Hudgens Prize jurors picked
10/15: Urrutia: $2 million gift to GGC
10/12: Young: Lilburn city hall
10/9: Long: Charter schools
10/5: Jones: PGA golf to return
10/2: DeWilde: Suwanee's red code

9/28: Stilo: Pinter's Betrayal
9/21: Love: Model for Nigeria
9/21: Walsh: Childhood obesity
9/18: Ashley promoted
9/14: Wiener: CID's initiative
9/11: Olson: $50K Hudgens contest
9/7: Stilo: Acting classes for all

8/31: Havenga: Great Days of Service
8/24: Griswold: Casino for OFS site
8/21: Brooks: Taking the Megabus
8/17: Summerour: Newspaper family
8/14: Sharp: Newport visit
8/10: Thomas: On schizophrenia
8/7: Carraway: Amendment wording
8/3: Willis: Ready for school parents?


2001-2012, 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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