Issue 12.64 | Friday, Nov. 30, 2012
GwinnettForum.com 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.
NORCROSS, Ga., Nov. 30, 2012 -- No one said that redevelopment was easy, not in this economic climate, and not in a Metro Atlanta area that is facing a foreclosure crisis of epic proportions while slowly making its way out of the great recession. Yet there are signs of gradual regrowth along Jimmy Carter Boulevard in an increasingly urbanized section of Gwinnett County. This is largely thanks to a local international community that is living, working and re-developing the area - not surprising considering that according to the 2010 Census, Gwinnett is the most diverse county in the southeast.
Jimmy Carter Boulevard was the retail main street of a growing Gwinnett County in the 1970s and 1980s. As the population growth accelerated from 72,000 in 1970 to 350,000 in 1990, to well over 800,000 today, the center of the county continued to shift further north. The Carter Oaks Shopping Center on Jimmy Carter Boulevard once housed Circuit City and was the place to buy electronics.
As Gwinnett grew, eventually consisting of three regional shopping malls, the retail and office activity moved further north and the older suburban communities lost their luster. Fortunately, the international community has entered this market -- primarily the Vietnamese and Indian communities. They are injecting energy and capital, providing a key tax base for the area. When you visit the Carter Oaks Shopping Center today, you find a bustling Hong Kong Farmer's market, an array of ethnic shops, as well as regionally acclaimed Vietnamese and Chinese restaurants that attract crowds for lunch and dinner.
Tim Le, a local real estate developer, has worked in the Jimmy Carter Boulevard area for the last 10 years. He began his career as a mechanical engineer, but decided to become a full-time entrepreneur and sees continued redevelopment opportunities in southwest Gwinnett. Tim remarked that Gwinnett already has significant Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese and Indian populations - and he sees these groups significantly expanding.
He says: "As New York, California and Texas have filled up with foreign investment in real estate, they have been looking for other opportunities in the U.S. With the Olympics, there was recognition of Metro Atlanta as an international city. The U.S. remains a safe haven for foreign investment and I see that trend continuing."
Redevelopment is not solely commercial or retail based. A nearby former car dealership is now home to the Holy Vietnamese Martyr's Catholic Church. The church boasts 4,000 members and attracted 30,000 visitors to their annual Vietnamese Cultural festival. The church is raising funds to build a new facility. With a county that is now a minority majority, and with over a third of the households speaking a language other than English, it is safe to state that diversity has come to southwest Gwinnett.
Shiv Aggarwal is a developer who owns the Global Mall on Jimmy Carter Boulevard, which has primarily Asian-Indian restaurants and clothing stores. He noted that there are already 30,000 Indians in Gwinnett County. Defying demographic projections, Gwinnett County keeps on gaining population with 9,000 new residents even in last year's sluggish economy. Mr. Aggarwal states that the strategic location of southwestern Gwinnett -- both close to downtown, while a bit removed - is very attractive.
"Personally, I think that this area will continue to grow more and more. The area is becoming like a more in-town community which our international community wants to see happen - they want to be able to walk to shops and enjoy apartment life."
NOV. 30, 2012 -- The striking white-with-red-accented Hera Lighting building on Business Park Drive is being expanded, more than doubling, as the firm is on the roll with solid growth. The company creates high-end lighting solutions for cabinets, furniture and displays, using low-cost LED lighting connections, or other environmentally-sound methods.
Christian Bollrath, president of the firm, helped start the firm in 1991 in Tucker, moved to a 3,000 square foot facility in Peachtree Corners in 1995, and then opened their 14,300 square foot building in Norcross in 2001. Now Hera is in the first phase of an expansion, which when the second phase is finished in March, will more than double the size of the headquarters to 36,000 square feet. It's striking! Ninety percent of the private offices are on the outside of the building with windows.
engineering and distribution for North America, and the world, works out
of their building, while production of products are in Asia and Germany.
The company presently employs 23 at its only facility, while anticipating
eventually doubling of the work force.
The key idea of the Hera system is that modern LED lights are set in a connecting link system of lights which anyone can install. No electrician is needed; the links are just plugged into sockets. The LED connecting links give 10 times the light of conventional bulbs, yet at a fraction of the operating cost, since the LED will last for so long.
The company's heritage of European innovative lighting design and technology has grown out of an European company that developed the first fluorescent lighting for kitchen cabinets in the early 1960s. Hera lighting products are unique, stylishly designed and state of the art. They exemplify beauty as well as form and function, for example halogen spotlights and SlimLite Fluorescent lines. (To see their products, go to http://www.heralighting.com.)
The Hera expansion in Norcross comes after a record year for the company, with recent double digit growth. In 2010, its residential sales were down, but commercial revenue was robust. When completed, the company will be using virtually every foot of its land in Norcross.
Most of the sales in the company are for display in illuminated shelving for retail operations, while hospitality work has been strong recently. Hera works with the major retailers of the country. Some 70 percent of its work is with LED lighting. The firm is the market leader in the USA in this unique line of work. Its initial operation was with kitchen cabinet lighting, still a solid component of its operations.
A major feature of the Hera system is that major retail companies can find a substantial savings when lighting their retail cabinets with LED fixtures. Bollrath says: "When you can get a 11 month return on your investment, this can amount to a major operational savings in electricity alone."
building has been a source of pride in its appearance, winning a Golden
Hammer award when it was completed. Now it will more than double its size,
while keeping the same overall appearance in its distinctive style. "We're
just stepping up a notch," Bollrath says.
It's great to see a local company staying ahead of its industry, and thriving, these days!
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Editor, the Forum:
Two observations. First, all the identified scalawags in the recent Forum were from outside Georgia, which lends credence to the phenomenon that everyone else's politician is corrupt, but mine is pure as the driven snow.
Second, your assertion that ethical corruption is allowed to exist in Georgia because government leaders don't fund ethics watchdogs adequately is flawed. All your scalawag examples were turned out by the voters. In the most recent election, Gwinnett voters returned an acknowledged ethical violator to office with 62 percent of the vote. The voter, not funding, is the real problem.
The Sugar Hill LDS Choir's eighth annual free, community Christmas concert will be held December 8, 9 and 16 at 7 p.m. and is themed "The Night the Angels Sang."
The December 8 and 9 concerts will be held at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' Church at 4833 Suwanee Dam Road, near North Gwinnett High School in Suwanee. The third night has been added on Sunday, December 16 at 7 p.m. at the LDS multipurpose building located at 1150 Cole Drive near Parkview High School, at the corner of Cole Drive and Five Forks Trickum Road. No ticket is necessary for the concerts.
Attendees from all over metro Atlanta have made the concert part of their holiday tradition. This year's performance will feature special musical performances by violinists as well as a variety of music sung by the choir that includes traditional and unfamiliar Christmas songs that will become new favorites.
resident Pamela Gates, director of the choir, says: "One of the purposes
of our concerts is to give families a chance to experience an evening
of live music together at a budget that anyone can afford, that is, for
free. We're excited to continue this musical tradition each year."
Civil War holiday tradition on tap Dec. 8 at McDaniel Farm Park
The Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center (GEHC) invites you to step back in time and participate in the holiday traditions of Christmas during the Civil War. Join the Union and Confederate troops on the front lines and on the home front at the fifth annual Civil War holiday program at McDaniel Farm on Saturday, December 8, from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.
The program will take guests back in time to December 1862 at McDaniel Farm as E.W. and A.W. McDaniel are on furlough to spend Christmas with the family. Participants will meet local Gwinnett citizens who participated in the war in nearby Atlanta and other locations, engage in a drill with Civil War soldiers, visit their camp sites, and participate in bayonet practice.
Guests can also make traditional holiday ornaments for the soldiers' tree and their own, learn about the McDaniel family history, have their photo made with Father Christmas, listen and participate in the singing of carols, as well as participate in a festive hayride!
Admission cost is $5 per person for Gwinnett County residents and GEHC members and $8 per person for out of county residents. Children ages two and under are free. Guests can pre-register online at www.gwinnettEHC.org or pay at the admission gate the day of the event. Event parking is available on site. McDaniel Farm is located at 3251 McDaniel Road, Duluth.
Aurora Theatre presents Christmas stories on Saturdays
Theatre assembles the best children's performers in the region, bringing
them to Gwinnett County to perform at the series Aurora Children's Playhouse.
This holiday season will be double the fun with an expanded schedule including
performances both at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. for the three Saturday's in December
leading up to Christmas. Parents are always looking out for inexpensive
activities that are fun for the whole family; Aurora Children's Playhouse
On December 8, audience favorite Wendy Bennett makes her holiday arrival with Sing Along with Santa. Join Wendy and the big green puppet as they ring in the Christmas season. Enjoy singing, guitar playing, storytelling, sled riding, jingle bell playing and even be a part of the show as there will be lots of opportunity for audience participation.
15, back for an eighth straight year with the holiday classic 'Twas
the Night Before Christmas, Aurora welcomes Piccadilly Puppets. The
story is told from the point of view of a mouse that was actually there
and saw what really happened on that very special night.
On December 22, the Aurora Children's Playhouse holiday finale will be Trouble in Toyland. There's big trouble at the North Pole this year! A blizzard is on the way, the elves are on strike, and Rudolph has a runny nose! Will Christmas have to be cancelled? Last year's world premiere puppet show returns with "That Puppet Guy"-- Lee Bryan.
Tickets for any of the productions are $7. For reservations, call 678-226-6222 or visit www.auroratheatre.com.
One-man show of Christmas Carol now open for 3-week run
Anthony Rodriguez is back for a sixth year with his solo performance of the holiday classic, A Christmas Carol.
Not unlike what Charles Dickens himself did in the 1800s, Rodriguez focuses on the classic art of storytelling, using his voice and mannerisms to bring to life Ebenezer Scrooge, Bob Cratchit, Jacob Marley and the remarkable ghosts found in the greatest Christmas story of all time. The one-man presentation returns for a limited three week engagement.
Nestled in the intimate 80-seat Gwinnett Federal Credit Union Studio, the theatre is transformed to make you feel as though Mr. Dickens has personally invited you into his parlor. The story is adapted for the stage and directed by Tony Brown. Performances are Friday and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. beginning November 29 and continuing through December 16. Tickets are $15. For reservations, call 678-226-6222 or visit www.auroratheatre.com.
Aspiring to bring a new form of art entertainment to Lawrenceville, two sisters-in-laws are about to open Painting with a Twist of Lawrenceville, where friends come together to paint, enjoy their favorite beverage and snacks and to discover their inner artist in a lively fun atmosphere. The studio will officially open its doors on Friday, December 7.
A pioneer in the art entertainment industry, Painting with a Twist is located at 178 East Crogan Street, Suite 230, and is part of a growing national franchise, based in based in Mandeville, La., that provides guests a unique 'getaway' allowing residents the option to bring in a beverage while exploring their creative side. Led by local art instructors, budding artists will paint on bare 16" by 20" canvases using paint and brushes provided by the studio. During each instructional painting session, guests recreate an existing painting to produce a personal piece of artwork that they can leave the studio with that same day.
A local resident of Lawrenceville, Suzette Riley proposed the idea of opening a Painting with a Twist in Lawrenceville to her sister-in-law, Felicia Riley. Together, the sisters-in-laws look forward to introducing this creative concept to the area.
In keeping with the founders' fundraising roots, Painting with a Twist of Lawrenceville looks forward to supporting the local community. With the Painting with a Purpose program, Painting with a Twist of Lawrenceville donates 50 percent of their proceeds to local non-profit organizations every month.
Painting with a Twist of Lawrenceville also offers private parties for corporate outings, bachelorette parties, sorority functions, date nights and special events. The studio is able to accommodate up to 80 people per gathering, making painting accessible for a few friends or a private party.
Painting with a Twist is open daily from 12:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and during scheduled class times, and can be reached at (678) 226-4970. For more information, visit www.paintingwithatwist.com/Lawrenceville.
Be alert to keep in touch with senior citizens during holidays
The holiday season is a time of sharing with family and friends. When traveling becomes difficult for seniors, the holidays may become depressing and lonely. Farnece Roberts, executive director of Plantation South Duluth, an assisted living and Alzheimer's care residence, helps seniors combat holiday depression by offering advice to seniors and their families.
She says: "The holidays are a great opportunity to spend time with loved ones, but it may be a difficult period for seniors with debilitating medical conditions. Holiday depression is fairly common among seniors living away from their families, making it important to take the right precautions to prevent emotional distress."
Personalized gifts are an excellent way to help your senior combat holiday depression. Consider giving your senior a digital frame, which can store and display hundreds of photos. Before sending, load the frame with photos that remind your senior of family gatherings and past holidays. Similarly, create a photo collage or scrapbook to display a variety of photos with positive memories.
Roberts also says that Skype can be used to connect families living apart. The easy-to-use online technology is often considered more personal than a phone call due to the video chat capabilities. Many senior living facilities offer Skype capabilities for their residents.
seeks chocolates for Hugs for Our Soldiers in 2012 drive
Gwinnett Convention and Visitors Bureau (GCVB) announces a community-wide Candy Bar Drive to benefit the 501(c)(3), Hugs for Our Soldiers. It is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to support troops (soldiers, marines, sailors or airmen) serving overseas by sending care packages, letters and cards.
Lisa Anders Minter, GCVB Executive Director, says: "Each year the GCVB leads a hospitality industry drive for a charity. This year we chose to support Hugs for Our Soldiers to show support for the military during a time when they can't be with their families. The troops love receiving chocolate bars, because they are a small treat that reminds them of home."
Hugs for Our Soldiers requests full-size chocolate bars and M&Ms only. No mini candy cars or other candies will be accepted. The individual who brings in the most candy bars or M&Ms will win an overnight stay in an authentic family teepee in Lula, GA at the North Georgia Canopy and Ziplining Tours, Three Adventure Tours and a $75 Visa Gift Card. The prize package is valued at $545.
GCVB collected over 6,500 diapers for the Norcross Co-op and in 2011 it
donated over 2,000 books to the Norcross Cluster Schools Partnership.
This year, it has a goal of 10,000 candy bars. Donations must be dropped
off by Friday, December 7 at the GCVB office (6500 Sugarloaf Parkway,
Suite 200, in Duluth) during business hours.
"My husband and I had a delightful dinner at Moondance Restaurant in Suwanee recently. The owner and host, Mark, was most hospitable and our waiter, Michael, was great and attentive. I enjoyed Georgia Trout and spinach (after great sampling from the bread basket). Mark liked his Mahi Mahi. The restaurant has just celebrated its one year anniversary and has several upcoming events including a New Year's Eve party. We would certainly recommend it. The location is 300 Peachtree Industrial Boulevard. Check out the prix fixe menu Tuesdays through Thursdays at $19.95. Their website is www.moondancelounge.com."
On December 24, 1814, American and British representatives meeting at Ghent, Belgium, signed a preliminary treaty that would end the War of 1812, but the combatants, far from Europe, knew nothing of it.
Along Georgia's coast American forces fared poorly. On January 10, 1815, British forces under the command of Admiral Sir George Cockburn landed on Cumberland Island in an effort to tie up American forces and keep them from joining other American forces to help defend New Orleans, La., and the Gulf Coast. But bad weather and lack of materials and ships delayed Cockburn until it was too late to produce any effect on the outcome of the battle for New Orleans. The occupation of Cumberland Island, however, left the British with a strong base of operations that they consolidated on January 13 by effecting a landing near the American battery at Point Peter on the mainland. There they encountered an ambush by a small force of Americans. The British quickly drove off the attacks and occupied the town of St. Marys.
Cockburn, by the end of January 1815, had solidified his base of operations and was under orders to await the arrival of Major Edward Nicolls, leading a joint force of British soldiers, Native American allies, and freed blacks. Suitably reinforced, Cockburn was then to attack along the southern coast, liberating slaves and fomenting rebellion, thus holding down large numbers of American troops from other theaters of the war. Nicolls's force, which was supposed to strike into Georgia from the Gulf Coast, never materialized, although it did succeed in disrupting communications between Georgia and Mobile.
The threat of Nicolls's impending arrival also forced the Americans to hold back in Georgia many reserves that could have been sent to aid in American defenses at Mobile and New Orleans. While Nicolls's force hampered efforts on the Gulf Coast, Cockburn planned to move north and strike at Savannah. General John Floyd stationed some 2,000 men near Savannah and awaited the British thrust, but Cockburn's operation was halted by news that the Treaty of Ghent had been signed. The British finally evacuated St. Marys after the ratification of the treaty on February 17, 1815.
The War of 1812 had lasting effects on Georgia. The freeing of slaves by the British occupation became a legal issue for years after the treaty ratification. Towns like Sunbury suffered a tremendous decline because of the damage inflicted on Georgia's coastal trading fleet by the British blockade, and the question of what to do with lands ceded by the Creeks and other tribes would lead to major debates over state land policy.
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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.
"I grew up in a very large family in a very small house. I never slept alone until after I was married."
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:
You can also order books through the Internet. To do that, go to www.elliottbrack.com 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.
Or call me (Elliott
Brack) at 770 840 1003 and tell me how to dedicate a book to a friend
(or to you) as he adds his signature!
SEARCH GWINNETT FORUM
THE WEEK AHEAD
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) Buford Holiday Parade and Festival, downtown Buford: Starting 11 a.m., Dec. 1. The parade lines up at Tannery Row and travels along Main Street. More details.
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.
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.
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 www.duluthga.net for more information.
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) Quilt on View: Sections of the AIDS Memorial Quilt, a handmade tapestry made as a memorial to 92,000 AIDS victims, will be on display at the University of Georgia Gwinnett Campus, at 2350 Sever Road in Lawrenceville through December 4 from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. For more information on the display in Lawrenceville, call 678-985-6767.
(NEW) A Christmas Carol, via the Southern Gwinnett Community Arts (SGCA), presented one time: 6 p.m., Dec. 4, Snellville Senior Center, 2350 Oak Road. Performing will be members of "The World's Our Stage" Division of SGCA, directed by Kathleen L. Mardis. Cost, including dinner, is $15. For information phone 770-402-6669, or send email.
ONGOING AND COMING SOON
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.
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.
MORE EEB PERSPECTIVE
CONTINUING OBJECTIVES FOR GWINNETT
Gwinnett Forum publisher Elliott Brack suggests that Gwinnett County needs a long-range list of continuing objectives for improving the county. Read more.
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