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GETTING INVOLVED. Lots of people get involved with the Gwinnett Great Day of Service, as these students did last year in an horticulture project. To learn more about the 13th annual activities, read Today's Focus (below).

Issue 12.40 | Friday, Aug. 31, 2012

:: 75,000 expected for service day

:: Another view on gun control

One way to clean up college sports

Several new activities underway

:: Local hospitals providing experience


:: Gwinnett Federal Credit Union

:: Norcross, by Toole and Awtrey

:: Georgia Marble owned by Canadians

:: Boardwalk repair

:: Lots of events on tap

:: On conflicting vices


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 week, GwinnettForum will be posted on Friday. The next edition will be on Sept. 7. -- eeb

Nearly time for the 13th annual Gwinnett Great Days of Service
Gwinnett Coalition for Health and Human Services
Special to GwinnettForum

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga., Aug. 31, 2012 -- Gwinnett Great Days of Service is around the corner.


Over the past several years, I have been witness to people and organizations from all walks of life joining together to strengthen Gwinnett County, including businesses, non-profits, churches, schools, neighborhoods and politicians, in the annual Gwinnett Great Days of Service.

The level of involvement for each is different, but everyone has an impact...young and old alike engaged, empowered and gaining a heightened sense of their value to the community.

I have seen friendships form and flourish and families reconnect over their unified efforts to help those in need. I too have experienced the joy of helping others, and I have complained less and given thanks more often from having watched this response.

In a time when we all have much less to give in terms of financial resources, we can give something more meaningful-time. This is one activity, one weekend, for one purpose which is to serve those in need.

On October 5 and 6, Gwinnett Great Days of Service will be celebrating its 13th annual event! My hope is that everyone will join us in this incredible effort to make a difference, one day at a time.

Last year some 75,000 volunteers joined in working on 126 school projects and assisted 78 non-profit agencies to complete 315 projects over the two-day weekend!

Now some facts about this event.

When did Great Days of Service start? Back in 2000. So this is the 13th year of making a difference in Gwinnett!

Can I volunteer as an individual or do I need a team? Great Days of Service accepts individuals, corporate teams, families and anyone who wants to participate. As an individual, you may be put with a volunteer team.

What's the cost? There is no cost to participate. We provide the supplies for the projects and accept in-kind and cash donations to accomplish our work. We do encourage volunteers to bring their own work gloves and get ready to get dirty and enjoy yourself at the same time

Can children volunteer? Many of the agencies we work with allow children to volunteer. We ask that they be accompanied by an adult.

Is it an all day event? Most of the projects start at 9 a.m. and finish by 1 p.m. on both days. A few may go longer, depending on the work required. But remember, you are having fun, too, and accomplishing something good.

What happens if it rains? Most of the projects can be completed even if it rains. Others that are outside will have a make-up session.

Where do I sign up? You can visit and click the link and it will take you to the site where all the projects are listed. For any other questions, call 770 995 3339 and ask for Suzy.

* * * * *

Volunteering is generally considered be an altruistic activity intended to promote good or improve quality of life. It is considered service to the community through personal skills or learning, and is intended to be fun! Volunteering takes on many forms and can be performed by anyone, young or old! Don't miss out on the 2012 Great Days of Service volunteer opportunities. You can make a difference, make new friends, learn a skill and share your enthusiasm. We look forward to having you on this year's team.

Thoughts about the gun problem in the United States
Special to

(Today we loan this space to my son, Andy Brack, who is publisher of Statehouse Report out of Charleston, S.C. His views on this subject correspond to mine. -- eeb).

CHARLESTON, S.C., August 31, 2012 -- Today's column is about guns. After the tragic, deadly July 20 shooting in Colorado, it's pretty clear Americans need to have a national conversation about weaponry, even though the presidential candidates seem to want to avoid it like a hot poker.

A. Brack

Before you get worked up, please know this: I believe there are too many guns, particularly handguns, in America. But there just are too many to get rid of them completely. Furthermore, there are a lot of people like me who believe sportsmen should be able to own shotguns and rifles to hunt, a great American pastime. Consider these facts:

Numbers: There are about 300 million guns in the United States, including 100 million handguns, according to the 2012 Firearm Fact Card by the National Rifle Association. The number of guns grows by about 4 million a year, the organization says. A 2007 British study estimated the U.S. to have 270 million guns. With the nation's population being 308 million in 2010, that's just under one gun per person in the country.

Compare these numbers to Great Britain, which has some of the world's toughest gun control measures. The country, which started firearms licensing following World War One, made it illegal for private citizens to own handguns after a 1996 Scottish massacre in which 16 students and a teacher died. Since then, some critics have said the Brits went overboard, but the fact remains there are just over 4 million privately-owned firearms (mostly shotguns and hunting rifles) in Great Britain -- about 6.7 per 100 people -- 13 times fewer guns per person than in the U.S., according to the 2007 study.

Deaths. The United States has more gun homicides than anywhere else. Six of every 10 homicides in the U.S. are caused by guns, according to a 2011 report by the United Nations. Of the 15,241 homicides in the country in 2009, 9,149 were caused by guns. That's 0.22 gun deaths per 100,000 people -- far fewer than the 2.98 deaths per 100,000 people in the U.S.

Victims. Almost 100,000 people in America are shot or killed with a gun in one year on average, according to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. The organization, started after a 1981 assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan during which Press Secretary Jim Brady was shot in the head, says more than a million people have been killed with guns in the United States since the 1968 assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy.

Violent culture. Duke University sociologist Kieran Healy says America is a much more violent country than other first-world nations that are part of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Interestingly, the rate of assault deaths in the United States has dropped since the mid-1970s.

Gun ownership declining. Despite there being 300 million guns in the United States, surveys show the number of households with guns has dropped from about 50 percent in the 1970s to 40 percent to 45 percent today.

European handguns. Washington Post columnist Charles Lane in July outlined how Europeans export about 1 million handguns (Glocks, Sig Sauers, Walthers, others) a year to the United States. He suggested a tariff be put on them to "reduce the risk [of gun violence] at the margins."

Link between guns and violence. Studies by the Harvard Injury Control Research Center conclude, regardless of country, there's a link between more guns and more violence. In a similar vein, economist Richard Florida concluded last year that "states with tighter gun control laws appear to have fewer gun-related deaths. The disclaimer here is that correlation is not causation. But correlation can be suggestive," Ezra Klein wrote in The Washington Post.

On the other side of the debate, Jamelle Bouie of The American Prospect pointed to a 2004 study by the National Research Council that pointed to no causal relationship between guns and violence. He wrote, "Does high gun ownership result in greater violence, or are violent people more likely to own guns? Do guns reduce the barrier to committing violence, or would violence happen regardless, with a different weapon?"

Now, what would you suggest?

Gwinnett Federal Credit Union

The public spiritedness of our underwriters allows us to bring to you at no cost to readers. Gwinnett Federal Credit Union is a $225 million credit union that serves more than 41,000 members in Barrow, Clarke, DeKalb, Gwinnett, Jackson, Oconee and Walton counties. Operating as a not-for-profit financial cooperative, Gwinnett Federal's mission is to provide quality financial services that meet the needs and exceed the expectations of its member-owners. For more information about our products and services, or to find one of our 13 convenient branch locations, please visit

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

Suggestion on how to revitalize the clean-up college sports

(Editor's Note: Mark Murphy is a Savannah physician (and novelist of The Shadow Man) who is fed up with the current state of college football. Here is an excerpt from a recent article in the Savannah Morning News.-eeb)

Editor, the Forum:

Here's what I'd propose:

1. College football coaches' salaries should be capped. I think $1.5 million compensation is plenty of money.

2. Recruitment of high school football players before the summer prior to their senior year of high school should be prohibited. Any college that breaks this ban should be placed on immediate NCAA probation.

3. Any program (or affiliated booster) that offers a player an illegal inducement (gifts, jobs for family member, trips, cash, cars, etc.) should have an immediate loss of five scholarships per violation. And if a recruit accepts such a donation, either personally or through a family member, that recruit shall be permanently ineligible to play college football anywhere.

4. Any recruit that holds a press conference shall lose a year of eligibility to play college football.

5. Any college whose football players' graduation rates fall below those of the general student body should be penalized $200,000 per annum for every percentage point that their graduation rates fall below that general student body graduation rate.

6. Random drug tests should be conducted by the NCAA for all teams. Any player found to have a banned substance in his blood or urine will miss a mandatory two games with the first offense and will have to undergo outpatient drug rehab. A second offense will mandate inpatient drug rehab, paid for by the school, and a year's suspension from football.

If the sordid Jerry Sandusky situation at Penn State can teach us anything, it's this: college football should not be about money, prestige or power. It should emphasize the things that make it valuable - school pride, character, hard work and the value of sublimating individual goals for the sake of the team. Let's stop the madness. Let's take back college football, for the love of the game.

-- Mark Murphy, M.D., Savannah

  • 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.

"Chair-ish the Arts" program contest entry due Sept. 30

As part of Gwinnett County Public Library's Fall Into The Arts program series, artists are invited to re-imagine a chair or bench and enter their creative works into the "Chair-ish the Arts @ Your Library" contest. The chairs or benches can be painted, cut, added to, collaged, stamped, drilled, built from scratch or otherwise decorated. Your imagination is the limit! Individuals, groups, and even organizations may create chair art. Chairs will be entered into the contest in one of two categories: "Individual" and "Organization." The deadline for contest entries is September 30. Participants will have their entries displayed in branches throughout the month of October.

Contest ballot opens online and in the branches October 8-31. Winners from both categories will be chosen by the Gwinnett County community and will receive one of the following prizes:


  • A picture of the winning chair will be featured on the library website's homepage for two weeks;
  • An individual webpage will feature the winning artist's picture, biography, and information on the winning design; and
  • A bouquet of gift cards valued at $100, courtesy of Georgia United Credit Union, the Friends of the Library, and Starbucks Coffee Company.


  • A picture of the winning chair will be featured on the library website's homepage for two weeks; and
  • An individual webpage will feature the winning design, information about the organization, and a live link to the organization's website.

This contest will be followed by an Artist's Meet and Greet on Saturday, November 3, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. To find out more about Fall Into The Arts, visit, or call (770) 978-5154.

Parks Foundation launches 25th anniversary campaign

Are you ready to fly? You can help citizens of Gwinnett County, young and old to soar as they experience park programs!

Gwinnett County Parks Foundation announces the Time to Fund pLaY (FLY) campaign designed to raise funds for scholarships and various park enhancements.

The Gwinnett Parks Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization whose mission is to assist the needs of Gwinnett County Parks and Recreation (GCPR). 2012 marks the 25th anniversary of GCPR as a county-wide park system. Dewey McClain of Gwinnett Parks Foundations says: "The Gwinnett Parks Foundation is encouraging all citizens and patrons of Gwinnett County Parks to join the celebration by contributing a donation of $25 in honor of the 25 year anniversary. As part of your donation, you will receive a commemorative decal and special mention in the Gwinnett LIFE program guide. All donations are tax deductible."

To donate or for more information on the Gwinnett Parks Foundation or the Time to FLY fundraising campaign, visit

Library to present U.S. poet laureate Oct. 7 at GGC

Gwinnett County Public Library will host Pulitzer Prize winner and the Poet Laureate of the United States, Natasha Trethewey, as this year's Gwinnett Reads author and Keynote speaker for Fall Into The Arts 2012. Her work combines free verse with more traditional forms like the sonnet and the villanelle to explore memory and the racial legacy of America. Her newest book, Thrall, will be released this fall. This event will take place on Sunday, October 7, 2012 at the Georgia Gwinnett College Student Center at 5 p.m.


Poet Natasha Trethewey was born in Gulfport, Miss. She is the author of three collections of poetry: Domestic Work (Graywolf Press, 2000), Bellocq's Ophelia (Graywolf, 2002), and Native Guard (Houghton Mifflin, 2006), for which she was awarded the 2007 Pulitzer Prize. She is also the author of a book of creative non-fiction, Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast (Georgia, 2010).

Trethewey has been the recipient of many other awards including the inaugural 1999 Cave Canem poetry prize, 2001 Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Book Prize, the 2001 Lillian Smith Award for Poetry, 2003 Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Book Prize, was a finalist for both the Academy of American Poets' James Laughlin and Lenore Marshall prizes, and was named a 2003 Notable Book by the American Library Association. Her work has appeared in several volumes of Best American Poetry, and in journals such as Agni, American Poetry Review, Callaloo, Gettysburg Review, Kenyon Review, New England Review, and The Southern Review, among others.

Stone Mountain barbershoppers welcome new chorus director

The 55-man Stone Mountain Chorus of the Barbershop Harmony Society has a new chorus director. He is Dylan Oxford, who brings a wealth of experience to this new assignment, having sung literally all over the globe with the "State Line Grocery" barbershop quartet. The foursome achieved the bronze medalist ranking at the 2009 International Barbershop Convention and Competition. Dylan is also a certified barbershop harmony society judge in the music category.


Under Dylan's musical leadership, the Stone Mountain Chorus is preparing to compete in the 2012 Dixie District Fall Convention and Contest in Tunica, Miss., on, September 29. Choruses and quartets from the Southeastern USA will be gathering to select the most talented barbershop harmony performers.

Next the chorus plans its 2012 Fall show program, "The SMC Radio Show" on Friday, November 9, at 8:30 p.m. and Saturday, November 10, at 3 and 8 p.m. The show location is the Gwinnett Performing Arts Center in Duluth.

The Stone Mountain Chorus extends an invitation to any man who would like to:

  • improve his singing skills;

  • improve his performing skills; and

  • experience the joy and fellowship of barbershop harmony singing.

The chorus meets each Tuesday evening from 6:45 p.m. to 9:15 p.m. at its new rehearsal location, Duluth United Methodist Church. For more information, call 770-978-8053 or visit

Hospitals give work experience to cardiovascular students

Students in Gwinnett Tech's new Cardiovascular Technology associate degree program are taking their classroom knowledge into a clinical setting, applying theory in real-world situations at local area hospitals.

Eastside Medical Center, Gwinnett Medical Center, DeKalb Medical Center, Piedmont Henry Hospital, North Fulton Hospital and Northside Hospital are welcoming Gwinnett Tech's students into their cardiac catheterization laboratories to complete their clinical study rotations.

Kristen Buoy, RRT, RCIS, program director, Cardiovascular Technology, says: "We're excited for the students to work alongside many of Gwinnett and the metro area's top heart specialists. These learning opportunities will not only allow them to apply everything they've learned in class, but also prepare them to be work ready."

Gwinnett Tech's Cardiovascular Technology associate degree program offers three concentrations: Cardiac Catheterization, Echocardiography and Vascular.

By Sally Toole and Kate Awtrey

"Norcross, a new book from local authors Sally Toole and Kate Awtrey (part of the Arcadia Press "Then and Now" series) tells the colorful history of the city in words and photographs. The book features more than 200 vintage and modern images that document the growth and history of one of Gwinnett County's most vibrant cities. The common theme is a historic photo that's accompanied by a similar photo of the current scene. The contrasting images allow the reader to visualize the changes. Toole, who lives in the historic Norcross area, wrote the text. Awtrey, raised in Gwinnett County, took the modern images. The book is available at locations in downtown Norcross, including the Welcome Center. It can also be purchased online at"--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 now owned by firm in Canada

(From previous edition)

During the marble boom of the 1930s, Georgia marble was utilized for the Longworth House Office Building in Washington, D.C., the Puerto Rican capitol, the New York Stock Exchange, and the Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank and Public Library in Ohio. The value of the Georgia Marble Company was reported to be more than $3.7 million. The company's success continued through 1932. In 1933 losses were reported to be $225,000, and an attempt to sell the company for $3 million failed. By the time Colonel Sam Tate died in 1938, the company was struggling for solvency again.

In 1941 the board of directors developed an extensive financial restructuring plan to keep the company solvent, a plan that also improved working conditions and increased employee benefits. The electrical plant was sold to the Rural Electrification Administration, and some holdings were liquidated, but monument sales continued to be strong, due to the expertise of the personnel in the design and finishing plant.

By 1942 sales for monuments totaled just less than $1 million, and by 1950 they accounted for 51 percent of gross sales. The Calcium Products Division was created in 1947, developing a market for ground and pulverized marble products. Utilizing "waste" marble in the beginning, this section of the industry became the primary product by the late 1980s.

Between 1940 and 2003, the Georgia Marble Company changed hands several times. The Jim Walter Corporation purchased the company in 1969 for $23 million. Succeeding owners were Kolberg, Kravis,
Roberts and Company; Hillsborough Holdings Corporation; First Chicago Corporation; and IMERYS. In 2003 Polycor Inc. of Quebec City, Canada, purchased the company. Polycor sells approximately 75 percent of its Georgia marble to governments all over the world. The company spent $5 million to upgrade the plant and equipment, and in July 2005 it announced that Tate would be Polycor's U.S. headquarters.

Native Georgia marble has been used within the state on such structures as the state capitol, Lenox Square Mall in Atlanta, and several buildings on the Emory University campus.

Park repair

Work started last week on installing the new flooring on the Boardwalk at Rhodes-Jordan Park in Lawrenceville. This area of the park was heavily damaged by large trees that fell upon it after a severe wind storm a few weeks ago. When finished, the park will even be better since heavy undergrowth will be removed between the boardwalk and the road, making it visible from the road and thus safer for walkers. With the undergrowth is gone, this will be a great place for birdwatching. Note, in the distance, the boardwalk is still blocked off for walkers and joggers. (Photo by Frank Sharp.)


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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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Visit this site to see details of the upcoming funerals of Gwinnett Countians from local funeral homes. On the site, sign up at top right and we'll send you GwinnettObits each day.

Click on the names below to see details of their funerals.

Don't let conflicting vices get to you

"Here's a rule I recommend: Never practice two vices at once."

-- Actress and Prima Donna Tallulah Bankhead (1903 - 1968)"

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) APPRECIATION LUNCH honoring the Duluth Police Department: 11:30 a.m., Sept. 6, Epic Faith and the Epic Family Life Center, 2650 Olde Towne Parkway, Duluth. For information contact Stephanie Wolfe at 770.623.8109 or visit


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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