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SHIMMERS UP YOUR SPINE? Go inside the Suwanee City Hall and you can see hanging the initial public art display which the city council purchased. It’s called Shimmering Echoes by Seattle Artist Koryn Rolstad, who has designed environmental public art for a multitude of locations around the world. Mounted in two areas, Suwanee’s cascading sculpture includes 12 groupings suspended from railroad-inspired aluminum track frames; 1,900 elliptical-shaped eco-resin elements in shades from translucent white and rose tones to yellow, green, and aqua as well as a reflective holographic radiant; and about a mile of 1/32-inch stainless steel cable – all held together with some 4,000 clips and another 4,000 washers. Altogether, the sculpture weighs in at 240 pounds (120 pounds per grouping). For more on Suwanee’s public art effort, see Councilman Dick Goodman’s comments below.

Issue 12.67 | Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012

:: Suwanee show how to do public art

:: Who stole American dream?

Fiscal cliff

Send your thoughts

GGC speaker; Cardinal Lake garden

:: Have a big idea? Park hours


:: Brand Banking Company

:: Larry's Giant Subs

:: About hard-to-pronounce hero

:: Beautiful outdoor tree

:: Lots of events on tap

:: Living life, respecting God


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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Suwanee takes the lead in funding public art in its boundaries
City councilman, City of Suwanee
Special to GwinnettForum | Permalink

(Editor’s note: With the City of Suwanee funding public art, we asked one of the city’s council members to explain how the effort to showcase public art in Suwanee came about. Here is his report.—eeb)

SUWANEE, Ga., Dec. 11, 2012-- In 2007 the then-Suwanee Mayor, Nick Masino, noted that communities of distinction have monumental architecture and memorable art. For the first part of that, Suwanee was already building a new city hall that might be described in terms like post-modern railroad station. Today it is an icon for Suwanee’s unique approach to creating community.


The mayor’s comment five years ago kicked off a process that would address the second part. It began with a committee of citizens and business people who looked around the country to learn what others were doing to introduce art to their communities. Their recommendations to city council ultimately resulted in Suwanee’s 2008 public arts ordinance, which in turn created the Public Arts Commission (PAC).

In a fit of optimism, the PAC decided it could bring art to Suwanee by tapping the community spirit of the real estate developers. The developers, who were then covering much of the city with strip shopping centers, office parks and residential communities, were given a simple message: “Be good citizens and voluntarily devote one percent of your development cost to art.”

Before the first developer could step up with his one percent, however, the real estate bubble burst. The few developers who walked in with plans under their arms quickly let the PAC know they couldn’t spare even just one percent to be good citizens.

Photo of SculpTour from our Jan. 31 editon.

But the city decided to put its money where its mouth was and committed to spending one percent of the new city hall cost to acquire original art for the building. The PAC then went ahead to commission the original sculpture that now hangs in the lobby of City Hall.

Two years later the PAC launched SculpTour, an annual exhibit of sculptures from artists across the country. Each year from May through the following March, 15 or more sculptures are installed at locations in and around Suwanee’s Town Center Park. Now, in its second year, the SculpTour is funded entirely by private donations. No tax money is involved.

In the meantime, developers returned, installing art or making cash contributions for art. Voluntarily! Advance Auto Parts purchased a sculpture from last year’s SculpTour for its new site, while Ultra Car Wash commissioned a steel sculpture from famed Atlanta artist Andrew Crawford, for its new facility. Meanwhile, QT made a generous cash contribution when it built its new station in Suwanee. And a Suwanee couple purchased another SculpTour piece, donating it to the city in memory of a family member.

Most recently the city commissioned a Georgia artist to create an installation for a piece of World Trade Center wreckage that the city obtained last year. It will be a memorial, a history lesson and another permanent piece of public art in Suwanee.

The keys to the success of a public arts program include:

  • Buy-in by citizens.
  • Keep the politicians out of the process.
  • Trust the appointed arts commission.
  • Expect not everyone will like the choices.
  • Be brave.

Here’s a call to arms for the middle class to revive the U.S.
Editor and publisher |

DEC. 11, 2012 – Trying to understand how the United States got to where it is now, how we can improve, and what we should be striving for, is a most complicated subject. One author, Hedrick Smith, has tackled the overall subject brilliantly in his new book, "Who Stole the American Dream?"


The author methodically walks the reader through the events from 1971 to the present. He even gives a rough outline of what needs to happen to move the United States forward in a bold and energetic manner.

Smith, a former reporter for The New York Times, shared a Pulitzer Prize for the Pentagon Papers series, and won another Pulitzer for reporting in Russia from 1971-74. His television reporting on systemic problems in modern American has been well received. Besides authoring books on America, he also won Emmy Awards as a producer.

In other words, Smith has studied the American scene for years, and has some ideas of what the country needs to do to right itself. Add that he writes with an easy style, which makes his most recent book easy to read.

Smith dates the ideas in the book from 1971, when he says that Corporate America got a “call to arms” on what it needed to do to get laws passed in Washington to help industry that set the course of history since then. Previously, Corporate America didn’t flex its muscles as much. Now American businesses routinely are power brokers on Capitol Hill, not always to the benefit of the country’s residents.

Smith argues that the country is economically divided….the one percent who are super rich versus the rest of us, the 99 percent. He calls this the “unraveling of the dream” for middle America.

One of his favorite topics is how Germany has reacted since 1985, as American piles up deficits in trade, while Germany has an export surplus. He notes that German worker’s pay has grown five times as fast as American’s pay in this time, while maintaining solid trade unions. The German high pay has eventually produced even higher profits for German firms.

Meanwhile in the USA we’ve had a reduction in the taxes on the rich, with the middle class left behind. All in all, this has resulted in a power shift toward an increasing super rich, and a dismantling of the American dream and middle class.

What the USA needs, he feels, is a Domestic Marshall Plan, one that he admits will be difficult to achieve because of the continued crisis in politics through partisan bickering. Smith proposes this 10 step Domestic Marshall Plan, which includes:

1. Infrastructure jobs to compete better.
2. Push innovation, science and high tech research.
3. Generate a manufacturing renaissance.
4. Make the U.S. tax code fairer.
5. Fix the corporate tax code to promote job creation at home.
6. Push China to live up to fair trade to generate four million jobs in the U.S.
7. Save on war and weapons.
8. Fix housing and protect the safety net.
9. Rebuild the political center.
10. Mobilize the middle class.

Hard? Yes. But achievable? Yes. One of the keys to doing this is to stimulate the middle class, Smith says, into a potent force. He sees comfort in the recent Tea Party movement, as it sought to press a national agenda in Washington. Hedrick Smith looks to such a “surge in civic energy” by the middle class as the hope for our nation in the near future.

Fiscal cliff

Brand Banking Company

The public spiritedness of our sponsors allows us to bring to you at no cost to readers. Today’s sponsor is Brand Banking Company, headquartered in Lawrenceville, where it has three offices, with additional branches in Snellville, Grayson and Flowery Branch. It is the largest privately held bank in Gwinnett, with assets of $1,400,000,000. The bank’s main office is in Lawrenceville on the Historic Courthouse Square, plus there is another branch on Hurricane Shoals Road. Other locations are in Grayson, Snellville, Flowery Branch, Buford, Duluth and Buckhead. Member, FDIC and Federal Reserve System. For more information, go to

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


  • 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.

Douglasville attorney, regent to address GGC commencement

Kenneth R. Bernard, Jr., of Douglasville, an attorney and member of the University System of Georgia Board of Regents, will present the commencement address at Georgia Gwinnett College’s December 20 winter ceremony, to be held at the Gwinnett Center. More than 250 students will receive their degrees at the ceremony, a full 100 more than last year’s winter ceremony.


Bernard represents the 13th Congressional District on the Board of Regents, the governing body for the University System of Georgia. Former Governor Sonny Perdue appointed him to the board in 2007 for a seven-year term. He is managing partner of Sherrod Barnard, a law firm in Douglasville.

He currently serves as chairman of the Audit, Risk, and Compliance Committee, and previously served two terms as chairman of the Organization and Law Committee, which oversees the legal affairs of the 35 public universities and colleges in Georgia. In 2010, 2011 and 2012, Bernard was named chairman of the University System of Georgia Foundation, Inc., which is a cooperative organization of the Board of Regents. The foundation administers scholarships, grants and awards in furtherance of the public universities and colleges of Georgia.

A former captain in the United States Marine Corps, Bernard graduated from the University of Georgia and the University of Georgia School of Law. He served as an officer in the Marine Corps Judge Adjutant General corps. Bernard formerly served as a special assistant attorney general, vice-chairman of the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority, and served on the Governor’s Development Council.

Bernard is youth baseball coach with two Georgia Pony Baseball State titles (Mustang 2008 and Bronco 2009) and a USSSA Georgia Travel Baseball 12U (AA) State Championship (2010).

Cardinal Lakes Community Association offers garden spots

The Cardinal Lake Community Association (CLCA) announces the opening of a Community Garden to public membership. The garden is to be located on Cardinal Lake Circle, about a half mile past the community club house.

The Garden will be on grounds that the Association owns. Approximately 30 plots, mostly 5x6 feet, will be offered for a annual fee (plus $15 service fee for all). The lots will be available to Cardinal Lake Association members first, but there will probably be space for others, too. Association members get a 50 percent discount. The overall dimension of the Garden is approximately 100x70 feet.

Plot sizes and rentals:

  • Small (5' x 6'), fee = $50 plot rental + $15 application fee = $65  ($32.50 if a CLCA resident and member);    
  • Medium (5' x 9'), fee = $75 plot rental + $15 application fee = $90 ($45.00 if a CLCA resident and member);  and
  • Large (5' x 12'), fee = $100 plot rental + $15 application fee = $115 ($57.50 if a CLCA resident and member).

The Atlanta Community Food Bank says, "Community gardening stimulates social interaction, encourages self-reliance, beautifies neighborhoods and produces nutritious foods, while reducing family food budgets."

A portion of the fresh fruits and vegetables grown in the Garden will be donated to the Duluth’s Hands of Christ Food Bank.

Anyone with an interest in growing their own fresh food in a garden plot should contact Tom Stricker, or phone 770-476-8581.  Application forms for the plots are available for download at

Good business idea could put money in originator's pocket

A solid Gwinnett business idea could be worth money in the originator’s pocket!

For the third year, an Amazing Entrepreneur Contest is being sponsored in the county. Gwinnett Chamber Economic Development, in partnership with the University of Georgia Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and Jackson Electric Membership Corp., are funding the contest.
Designed to cultivate new business development in Gwinnett County, contestants enter a business plan summary for the opportunity to win cash and prizes.

This year, the contest entry has been simplified to allow a business plan summary, rather than a traditional, full-length business plan, to be submitted.Additionally, the contest now offers two categories: an Established Business category for small businesses less than 36 months old and with a current business license and a Pre-Venture category for businesses not yet in operation.

The overall winner of the Established Business category will a total of $8,165 in prizes for the winning idea. That includes $2,500 in cash; consultation with attorneys Arnall Golden Gregory ($2,500 value); a trip to Sage Software’s customer conference; a one-year Gwinnett Chamber membership ($500 minimum value); passes to attend four sessions in the Chamber’s Gwinnett Business Institute program ($180 value); three copies of Microsoft Office 2010 ($1,500 value); and a scholarship to the SBDC Grow Smart program ($985 value), among other prizes.

The winner of the Pre-Venture category will receive a scholarship to the SBDC Start Smart program ($495 value) and accounting services from John Dillard, CPA ($300 value). All contestants receive a free Business Plan class at the SBDC.

Applicants will be judged based on the business plan summary. Full contest rules and details are available on the Amazing Entrepreneur Contest website.

Holiday hours for memorial park of American war prisoners

During the winter holiday season, the National Prisoner of War Museum at Andersonville National Historic Site will be closed on Christmas Day, December 25, 2012; and New Years Day, January 1, 2013. The park entrance, prison site, and picnic area will also be closed on these two days.

The Andersonville National Cemetery will be open to the public each of these holidays. On other days around the holidays, the park will be open to the public from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Holiday access to the National Cemetery will be through the Cemetery gate, located just north of the city of Andersonville on Georgia Highway 49.

Andersonville National Historic Site is located 10 miles south of the city of Oglethorpe, and 10 miles northeast of Americus, on Georgia Highway 49. The national park features the National Prisoner of War Museum, Andersonville National Cemetery and the site of the historic Civil War prison, Camp Sumter.
Andersonville National Historic Site is the only national park within the National Park System to serve as a memorial to all American prisoners of war. Admission is free.

  • For more information on the park, call 229 924-0343, or visit on the web at

Larry’s Giant Subs, Peachtree Corners

“My husband and I recently had sandwiches at the just-opened Larry's Giant Subs on Peachtree Parkway (close to The Flying Biscuit and Dreamland Barbecue). I definitely enjoyed my eggplant Parmesan hot sub and the customer service was very good. My husband liked his meatball sub and we settled into our booth and enjoyed viewing the location's fun decorations. When we go back, we may try the chicken or turkey cold subs or one of their natural, organic selections. They are located at 5270 Peachtree Parkway, Suite 118, Norcross. Web site:”

– From Cindy Evans, Duluth

  • 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

Hard-to-pronounce Georgia county named for Revolutionary soldier

Benjamin Taliaferro served as a Continental soldier during the American Revolution. He moved in 1784 from Virginia to Wilkes County, Georgia, where he established himself as a planter and an upcountry political leader. Taliaferro served as a trustee for the University of Georgia, a state representative, a president of the Georgia senate, a member of the anti-Yazoo faction, a superior court judge, and a member of Congress. Taliaferro County, in east central Georgia, is named in his honor.

Benjamin Taliaferro (pronounced "Tolliver") was born in 1750 in Amherst County, Va., to Mary Boutwell and Zachariah Taliaferro, both members of prominent Piedmont families. During the American Revolution Taliaferro avidly supported the American independence, or Whig, cause. He served in two local rifle companies before transferring with his unit to the Sixth Regiment of the Continental army in March 1776. Taliaferro distinguished himself at Trenton and Princeton, N.J., and as one of Colonel Daniel Morgan's 500 crack riflemen at Saratoga, N.Y. By June 1779 Taliaferro had joined Colonel Richard Parker's First Virginia Battalion to aid Georgia Whigs in their fight to end the British occupation of Savannah.

Parker's regiment resided in Augusta before and after the Siege of Savannah in October 1779. The Virginia troops arrived at a time when conservative and radical leaders jockeyed for control of the remnant Whig government. Taliaferro had a chance to observe Georgia Whig politics firsthand before his regiment marched to reinforce Benjamin Lincoln's Southern Army defending Charleston, S.C. After American forces surrendered the city on May 12, 1780, Taliaferro returned to Amherst County, Va., as a paroled prisoner of war. There he married Martha Meriwether in 1782.

Two years later Taliaferro joined a migration effort led by his former militia commander, George Mathews. A well-known merchant and land speculator of Augusta County, Va., Mathews served briefly in Georgia near the end of the war and brought news of its rich upcountry lands back to Virginia. As did most of Mathews's group, Taliaferro settled in Wilkes County, Ga. With his first wife he had a family of nine children: Benjamin, Mary Amelia (Emily), Louis Bourbon, Betsy, Martha, David, Thornton, Margaret, and Nicholas. A second marriage produced a tenth child, Zachariah.

Taliaferro worked to recreate the traditional planter-elite status maintained by his Virginia ancestors. He operated a thriving tobacco plantation along the Broad River and in the process became one of the largest slaveholders in Wilkes County. Taliaferro's activities quickly gained him recognition as an influential member of the Goose Pond community. He used this status to build a network of support from family, Virginia acquaintances, and upcountry leaders whom he had met while stationed in Augusta. Taliaferro's efforts garnered him legislative appointment as one of the first trustees of the University of Georgia and as a county magistrate. His coalition of Wilkes citizens elected him to the Georgia Assembly in 1786.

(To be continued)


Happily decorated in the Christmas colors, this tree graces the Forum on Peachtree Parkway in Peachtree Corners. Photographer Frank Sharp captured this scene with his Nikon Coolpix P510 camera. If you see particularly beautiful scenes, at any time of the year, please share with others through by sending to


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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.

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About one way to live your life with respect for God

“I would rather live my life as if there is a God and die to find out there isn't, than live my life as if there isn't and die to find out there is.”

– French Philosopher and Journalist Albert Camus (1913-1960), via Herb Hamby, Lawrenceville.

Looking for that perfect, unique gift?

Consider a book about Gwinnett history.

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
  • 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.

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!





Remembering Rich’s in the Atlanta Holidays: 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Dec. 11, Norcross Welcome Center and Museum. Author Jeff Clemmons will share stories from his newly-released book about Rich’s Department Store, and sign copies. Enjoy caroling and refreshments, including Rich’s famous coconut cake. For more details, dial 678 421 2048.

(NEW) Dual Book Signing: 11 a.m. To 3 p.m., Dec. 15, Books for Less, 2815 Buford Drive, in Buford. Three authors will be present Sue Cass, author of Pursuit, a novel set in Georgia; Jonathan French, The Exiled Heir, a fantasy novel; and Elliott Brack, who wrote the history: Gwinnett, A Little Above Atlanta.


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


12/7: 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


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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