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UPGRADE: Here's a peek inside the renovated Five Forks Library. The library is holding a re-opening of the library on Saturday, December 1 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. The library boasts several new features. See more details at Upcoming below.

Issue 12.63 | Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012

:: Questions commitment to arts

:: Scalawags: Best place is out of office

Remembering Thanksgiving

Library re-opening; schlarships

:: GOAL winner; recipe winner


:: Wages and Sons Funeral Home

:: Georgia vulnerable in War of 1812

:: Historic courthouse at holiday

:: Lots of events on tap

:: Think positively about job


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Raises questions about state of the arts in Gwinnett County
Special to |

DULUTH, Ga., Nov. 27, 2012 -- I grew up in an area where art was a part of life. Not so here. Gwinnett is a desert when it comes to art, with small oases that fight to survive.

My wife, Cindy, and I fought for the Down Right Theatre in Duluth and helped bring the Aurora Theatre out of the ashes to where they stand today. We started Barefoot in the Park, the only Fine Arts festival in Duluth. As a group, Barefoot works to raise scholarship money for students who wish to pursue art as their life calling.

We supported Duluth School of Ballet for 20+ years until its demise this year. We also support the Hudgens Center and truly appreciate their arts education programs and the outstanding exhibits they bring to our community. The Hudgens' community projects and the initiatives launched by individual cities is also a start, but the arts are hardly thriving.

The Gwinnett Chamber's Artworks! is the beginning of a promising arts initiative. The Chamber recognized some five years ago that the business model for the arts is truly different than other small business models. They recognized the importance of the arts in attracting new business to the county and the need to kick-start a county's art initiative. Time will tell if they are successful without the support of the county at large.

Our county government could do a great deal to elevate the importance of the arts in Gwinnett County by including a line item on the budget for the Arts. Even a modest investment by the county would send a message to the businesses and citizens that arts and culture are an important part of our growth. Other counties in the Metro area make it part of their mission to support the arts and far outshine Gwinnett.

Our strongest impetus must come from our county leadership. They need to recognize that they have a responsibility to elevate the importance of the arts in our community with more than lip service. Times are tight, but it is proven that the arts not only enrich the lives of the community but also work as an economic engine that brings tourism dollars and attract new business to our county. The arts is a sound investment.

We have a long way to go before we can say that art thrives in Gwinnett County. The arts in Gwinnett, after watching Ken Burns' Dust Bowl recently, compare to the grasses that are trying to take root in parched soil of the plains to provide us some stability and growth in this county. If all of the things GwinnettForum mentioned take root, we might have a chance. If the county steps up to nurture these efforts and encourage more art initiatives, we will have a better chance. But so far we are still in the dream and hope stage.

Voters have good sense to throw some scalawags out of office
Editor and publisher
| Permalink

NOV. 27, 2012 -- This thought is not scientific, or reasoned out, however, it appears there may be some good news out there. (We certainly get enough bad news.) Consider:

  • Brack
    about how little we are willing to put up with when it comes to public figures;

  • stories of malfeasance or investigations by people in public office; and

  • that some people caught up in ethical situations are getting their comeuppance.

As reported nationally, several members of Congress involved with questionable activities found that their constituents had enough of their "service," and turned them out of office in the most recent election.

Then consider the activities surrounding prominent figures in government and in business, who are having what turns into extra-marital sexual affairs, which turns into public discussion, to their detriment.

It makes you wonder if Americans aren't fed up with this type of disreputable conduct, and are taking action. Most us have "had enough."
Consider the members of Congress who lost in the recent election, as reported in the national media:

  • Rep. Laura Richardson, a California Democrat, who had been reprimanded by the House Ethics Committee for illegally forcing staff members to help in her re-election bid. On top of that, she obstructed such an investigation, even destroyed evidence.

  • Rep. David Rivera, a Florida Republican, who had, when a member of the Florida House, concealed a $1 million consulting contract with a gambling business.

  • Rep. Shelley Berkley, a Nevada Democrat, under investigation by the House Ethics Committee for using her office to benefit her husband's medical practice in Las Vegas. She intervened to prevent the closing of a kidney transplant center that her husband's practice helps operate.

  • Rep. Joe Baca, a California Democrat, whose family ran a charity that took donations from corporate groups that had appealed to him for help in the Congress.

  • Rep. Joe Walsh, Republican from Illinois, who had tax liens, a foreclosure, and who had failed to pay child support.

Note that all lost their recent campaigns.

Before the November elections, several other Congressional members were kicked out of office during the primaries. One, a Republican from Ohio, allowed a Turkish-American group to pay her legal fees. Another, a Democrat from Texas, paid nearly $600,000 to himself or his family from campaign funds. A Florida Republican, running for Congress, sought to bribe a political rival.

All of these people seem to be the type of persons you don't want to have to admit that they are your official representative to the U.S. Congress. Luckily, they will not be in such a job in the new Congress, thanks to the sagacity of the voters.

Interestingly, you note that these disreputable candidates are both Republican and Democratic. They come, then, in all parties, gender and sizes, it appears.

Meanwhile, here in Georgia, we are hearing more and more questions arise out of ethical charges against elected officials. What really worries us is that the current Georgia governmental leaders seem more intent on weakening Georgia's ethics laws, rather than spending the money it takes to get rascals out of office. That is not a good sign.

But overall, we are buoyed by the common sense ability of the voter to send scalawags to their proper destination: out of the hair of the voters. Yet it would be far better to see ethics reform before reprobates are elected to office.

Fork it over

By Steve Stegelin; reprinted with permission from Statehouse Report.

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  • For a list of other underwriters of this forum, click here.

Remembers those who came before Thanksgiving

Editor, the Forum:

In 1621, the Plymouth colonists and the Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast that is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies. It wasn't until 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November.

It is so simple to forget reasons to be thankful. Difficult times are not such that bring about joy and thankfulness as our first response. The Plymouth colonists suffered greatly in a treacherous ocean crossing, through harsh weather and ravaging disease. And I am certain Lincoln's heart was extremely heavy in the midst of that bloody conflict where every death was a loss of an American brother. Yet, they found a hope, a reason to celebrate in thanksgiving.

My hope is that we all find the spirit to unite in our time and give thanks for all of our blessings. Even in the midst of world and economic uncertainty and/or in personal trials and challenges, there are so many reasons to be thankful.

May our hearts find that joy in this special holiday and may we reflect on those who have come before us that laid their lives down for us to have this opportunity to celebrate.

-- Tim Koenning, Johns Creek

  • Send us your opinions. 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.

Remodeled Five Forks Library hosts re-opening with new features

The Five Forks branch of the Gwinnett County Public Library is hosting a reopening celebration for the community on Saturday, December 1, from 1 until 3 p.m. The celebration will feature crafts for kids, music courtesy of the Gwinnett School of Music, and demonstrations of several high-tech services that were introduced as part of this year's efficiency upgrade.

Gwinnett County Public Library Executive Director Nancy Stanbery-Kellam says: "The Five Forks project has given us the opportunity to increase efficiency through new technologies that will not only create a more cost effective building to operate, but also a better experience for the customer. TechStudio in particular takes what we offer to the citizens of Gwinnett County to the next level."

New services include:

  • TechStudio offers library customers access to professional quality software for image and video editing, design, and media creation. Software such as Final Cut Pro, Adobe Illustrator, and Photoshop will be available to the public.

  • An automated sorter processes books 24/7, as they are returned by customers.

  • An exterior vending machine for 24/7 access to customers who need materials when the library is closed. The machines will be about the size of a standard vending machine, holding up to 500 items. A variety of materials will be available for check-out with a valid library card.

Jackson EMC accepting applications for scholarship programs

Jackson Electric Membership Corporation (EMC) is currently accepting applications from full- or part-time students for three scholarship programs. All scholarship recipients must be a customer of Jackson EMC or the son or daughter of a customer, and must also be a resident of the home served by Jackson EMC.

Winners will be chosen by an external scholarship committee, which will review each application to select the most qualified candidates, based on academic ability, extracurricular activities, involvement, personal sketch and letters of recommendation.

Jackson EMC offers two separate types of awards through the A.T. Sharpton (ATS) Scholarship program, named in honor of a late chairman of the Jackson EMC Board of Directors. Three $1,000 scholarships from each of the two ATS categories will be awarded this year.

The ATS Restricted Scholarship Award is available exclusively to students attending or planning to attend Gainesville State College.

The A.T. Sharpton Unrestricted Scholarship Award is available to graduating high school seniors, undergraduates and/or graduates who are attending or planning to attend any accredited two-or four-year college, university or technical college in the nation.

Also available is the Walter Harrison Scholarship (WHS), administered by Georgia EMC and named for a leader in the state and national electric cooperative movements. Several of these $1,000 scholarships are awarded statewide to undergraduate students enrolled in or accepted by a Georgia college, university or technical college. ATS applicants may also apply for the WHS as long as the requirements are met.

Students interested in applying for any or all of these scholarships should contact their area high-school guidance counselors or complete the application online at or at Deadline for applications is January 24, 2013.

Lawrenceville's Horn wins Gwinnett Tech GOAL Award

Kimberly Horn, a business administrative technology student, is the winner of Gwinnett Technical College's 2013 Georgia Occupational Award of Leadership (GOAL). The Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) sponsors the GOAL program, which recognizes outstanding technical college students and honors excellence in academics and leadership. Local GOAL winners are selected at each of the state's 26 technical colleges.

Gwinnett Tech's GOAL Finalists (from left, on the front row) are Jordan Bollander, Kimberly Horn, Chris Dilday and Terri Patterson. Nominating faculty members on the back row are Dr. Phil Gibson, Sue VanLanen, Sam Delgado and Dr. Priscilla Smith.

Horn, from Lawrenceville, was nominated by Sue VanLanen, business administrative technology program director. She says: "As a student, Kimberly is very conscientious and meticulous, and as a person, she is always positive and encourages those around her to aspire to higher goals. She is one of the college's best 'cheerleaders' and engages others to participate in student activities and groups. She understands that an education from a technical college can be beneficial to so many people. I look forward to her future as she changes the world, one person at a time."

Horn is currently a Student Ambassador, the vice president of the GTC Student Leadership Council and president of the campus Toastmasters Club. She was the 2012 Outstanding Student for the Business Administrative Technology program.

Gwinnett Tech's other GOAL finalists are:

  • Chris Dilday, Commercial Construction, Suwanee;
  • Jordan Bollander, Bioscience, Loganville; and
  • Terri Patterson, Early Childhood Education, Lawrenceville.

As Gwinnett Tech's GOAL winner, Horn will continue on to the statewide GOAL competition. The state's GOAL winner serves as the student ambassador for technical education in Georgia.

Snellville resident is one of 25 winners in recipe contest

Pattie Page, a Snellville resident, had five minutes in Stone Mountain last year to sell her product in front of two New York judges. When they took a bite of her pie, one said, "Wow!" She is one of the 25 winners of the "Pitch Your Product" contest, sponsored by Country Living magazine.

You can see the recipe in the current edition of the magazine. Pattie says the recipe is one that originated in the Deep South, that her family has used since she was a small child. Pattie named the pie after her sister, Debbie, who died from breast cancer at age 58, since her sister always made the caramel pecan pie for the holidays. More information is at Pattie's web site at

By Lauren Redniss

"Definitely not a dry, boring science book, Radioactive is a quirky presentation of the story of Pierre and Marie Curie, who accidentally discovered radium. Creative and innovative, the book mixes modern science information with historical information plus throws in some whimsical sketches. Not the least bit afraid of radium, the Curies took it to parties and even slept with a container of it by their bed at night! Madame Curie routinely carried test tubes of radium in her pockets and stored them in her office desk drawer. While the Curies won the Nobel Prize in physics and were being celebrated by the world, the toxic radiation was slowly and steadily corroding their bones, straining their breathing and burning their skin. I think anyone interested in history or science might enjoy this quirky book. The full name is Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie, A Tale of Love and Fallout."

-- Susan McBrayer, Sugar Hill

  • 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 coast, ships vulnerable to British blockade in 1812 war

(Continued from previous edition)

One of the concerns of Americans who voted for war against Britain in 1812 was the British navy's heavy-handed enforcement of trade restrictions to continental Europe. This was, in part, due to Britain's long-running war with Napoleonic France. Britain had established a strict blockade of French ports in continental Europe and as a result was short of ships and men.

Consequently, the British seized American ships suspected of trading with French ports and conducted the impressment of American sailors. When war broke out, Georgia, with its long coastline and prosperous coastal cities, once again was on the front line.

Georgia had been subdued, for the most part, by the British in the American Revolution. Its coastal cities had been occupied, and in 1812 it seemed possible that a powerful British force could do so again. Little protection was forthcoming from the federal government because of its serious deficiency in ships and sailors. British warships hovered off Georgia's coast, snapping up coastal trading craft and disrupting the livelihood of Georgians. Georgia's citizens and leaders clamored for help. That help arrived in the form of a naval expedition to Sunbury, Georgia, in the summer and fall of 1812.

The navy decided to use Sunbury's deep harbor as a staging area for several shallow-draft barges, or gunboats. These small craft were to ply the intercoastal waterway between Savannah and St. Marys and disrupt British attempts to capture and destroy American coastal trading ships.

Unfortunately for the government and the people of Sunbury, the expedition came to a disappointing end because of poor planning, negligent leadership, and a serious lack of supplies. The failure of the Sunbury expedition left the Georgia coast open for British attack. To forestall this, the state set about building batteries at key locations, including the old Fort Morris at Sunbury (rebuilt and renamed Fort Defiance), the battery at Point Peter in St. Marys, and many other strong points on the coast. During the next year and a half no serious British threat emerged to endanger the Georgia coast, due in part to British efforts against Napoleon. In 1814, however, all that changed. Napoleon's defeat in Europe freed thousands of hardened British regulars to move across the Atlantic and threaten the United States.

(To be continued.)

Fully decorated for the season

The big tree on the lawn at the Historic Gwinnett Courthouse tells us that the Christmas season is well here. Meanwhile. local communities are marking the holidays with their own tree lightings and celebrations. All this means it's time to make merry with the "Ho-Ho-Ho" refrain! Photograph by Frank Sharp.


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Especially important to think positively about your job

"Think enthusiastically about everything; but especially about your job. If you do, you'll put a touch of glory in your life. If you love your job with enthusiasm, you'll shake it to pieces. You'll love it into greatness."

-- Positive Thinking Champion Norman Vincent Peale (1898-1993), via Lowell Douglas, Atlanta.

Gwinnett history book is perfect holiday gift

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.





Canvas Café Painting for the Cure: From 8:30 p.m., Nov. 28, Pinckneyville Park Community Center, 4650 Peachtree Industrial Boulevard, Norcross. This is to embody the creative spirit through still life painting. Presented in partnership with the American Cancer Society of Gwinnett. For more information on our facility visit our website at

Photo Exhibit: Through Nov. 28, George Pierce Park Community Room, Suwanee, during Community Center hours, Monday through Saturday. Frank L. Sharp presents "Israel, the Holy Land," while Wendell Tudor features "Images of the Sea," coastline and landscape images, including photographs from Canada.

Stitched Art Show by Adele Steele: Through Nov. 30, Chocolate Perks in Duluth.

Groundbreaking of Phase 2 of the Gwinnett Senior Center: 10:30 a.m., Nov. 30, 567 Swanson Drive, Lawrenceville. For more information, call 770 822 7180.

Santa in Suwanee: Arriving 6:30 p.m., Nov. 30, on Main Street in historic Old Town. There will be music, hot chocolate, and wish lists awaiting all. Choruses from Riverside, Roberts and Suwanee elementary schools will perform. Santa will be at the Burnett-Rogers Pavilion, while parents snap their own photos. There is no cost to this event.

(NEW) Lilburn Christmas Parade: 10 a.m. Dec. 1, beginning at First Baptist Church at 10 a.m. and marching to Lilburn City Park. Don't miss Santa's Elf as he parachutes into City Park at the end of the parade! Marching bands, 100 decorated floats, tractors, and classic cars. Free photos with Santa, music and children's activities in the park following the parade. More details.

(NEW) DVD Launch Party and Signing at recently-restored Old Norcross Library: 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., Dec. 1. On the DVD, local historians take viewers through the turn of two centuries of history, lore and personal experiences. More details.

(NEW) 30th Annual Tree Lighting in downtown Duluth: 6:30 p.m., Dec. 1. Other activities begins at 4 p.m. at the City Hall, with craft activities, games and food on the Town Green. There will be caroling, and the arrival of Santa with real reindeer. Visit for more information.

(NEW) Water Conservation Tips: 7 p.m., Dec. 3, Gwinnett Justice and Administration Auditorium in Lawrenceville. Sponsored by the Department of Water Resources, this workshop will focus on leak detection, installing water efficient fixtures and increasing water-saving behaviors. Register for the workshop by sending an email here or calling (678) 376-7144.


(NEW) Artists in the Home Tour in Duluth: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Dec. 8. Tour begins at City Hall. Four homes are included, one condo, one town home and two historic homes on West Lawrenceville Street, both dating to the mid-1800s. Tickets are $20 each and may be purchased at the City Hall. This is an event of the Duluth Fine Arts League.

(NEW) Holiday Concert by the Band of the U.S. Air Force Reserve: 7 p.m., Dec. 10, Long Forum at Greater Atlanta Christian School. For tickets, contact the band's web site.


12/21: Fort Daniel, Chambliss
12/18: Ban assault weapons
12/14: Army-Navy game
12/11: Who stole American dream?
12/7: Lock 'em in a room
12/4: On Partnership Gwinnett

11/30: Hera Lighting
11/27: Voting out scalawags
11/20: Arts alive in Gwinnett
11/16: Hope Clinic needs help
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


12/21: Wiggins: Recycle trees
12/18: Two canal cruises to take
12/14: C. Brack: Give a little
12/11: Goodman: Suwanee's art
12/7: Duke: Director of Encouragement
12/4: Dorough: Food co-op

11/30: McHenry: CID redevelopment
11/27: Sutt: Gwinnett arts' questions
11/20: Urrutia: Grad wins award
11/16: Collins: Las Vegas
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?


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 local offices
  • Transparent operations to restore faith in Gwinnett's County Commission
  • 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
  • Approval of Educational SPLOST in 2013
  • 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


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