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GENEROUS DONATION: A gift of $250,000 from Tammy and Greg Shumate has enabled Georgia Gwinnett College and its School of Transitional Studies to recently open a much-needed Advising Center. The center served 1,071 students in its first year. Greg Shumate says: "We wanted to provide support where it would make the greatest impact on student success, which is the hallmark of a GGC education. Georgia Gwinnett is uniquely dedicated to ensuring that all students are provided with the tools they need to complete their degrees. This not only transforms students' lives but supports Complete College Georgia goals." Shumate is at the right, and his wife, Tammy, is at the left with Dr. Stas Preczewski, GGC president. The Shumates are long-time residents and active leaders in the Gwinnett community. Greg is CEO and managing partner of Brand Mortgage, where Tammy also works in Corporate and Community Development.

Issue 14.27 | July 1, 2014

:: Sugar Hill mayor unveils EpiCenter

:: Old Man Sun shines on our street

Commission was toothless until Act

Foruth at GEHC, Norwood at Lenox

GACS soccer is #2 in nation; more

:: GMC award, New Leadership director

:: The Man Who Would Be King

:: Sevareid on dealing with TV execs

:: More on Chickamauga

:: Decorated house finds few sleuths

:: Early swim


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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Mayor Steve Edwards unveils plans for EpiCenter at Sugar Hill
Special for GwinnettForum
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SUGAR HILL, Ga., July 1, 2014 -- Over the past 10 years, the City of Sugar Hill has engaged its citizens to determine what investments or improvements would make Sugar Hill a better place to live. The city has listened and now boasts world class parks, a new city hall and a unique town lawn and amphitheater. The recently completed streetscape has also laid the foundation for future investments downtown. The next move is building a downtown. For the past few years, the city has systematically acquired strategic properties preparing for this moment.

Mayor Steve Edwards says: "There is an art to building a City. This strategic and methodical process is like a game of chess where there are nearly limitless outcomes to consider when making a major move. June 26th was the day that Sugar Hill made just that move."

Recently during the Mayor's Meet and Greet with businesses, residents, and community leaders, plans were announced changing the landscape and improving quality of life of Sugar Hill residents.

Sugar Hill's next step is to bring a mix of both commercial and residential properties into downtown. Edwards said: "To show our community how committed we are to bringing people to downtown, we are announcing what we are calling the EpiCenter at Sugar Hill. You are the first to hear these plans and City Council just voted to agree on the terms for this land purchase." The development of this project will take place in a series of planned phases.

Artist's renderings and images of the EpiCenter at Sugar Hill were unveiled with "oohs, and ahhs" echoing throughout the crowded room. The EpiCenter will consist of a sports gym, lap pool, and a community theatre wrapped with commercial space for restaurants, retail and offices, all to be managed by the city's Downtown Development Authority.

Mayor Edwards elaborates: "The timing is right for this investment considering the impact of the widening of Georgia Highway 20. We will see the City become a commercial hub and our goal is to keep commerce, jobs and spending in Sugar Hill. There are 30,000 vehicle trips a day on Route 20 and once the widening project is completed, the Department of Transportation is projecting 50,000 trips a day. This is not to mention the traffic currently traveling on Peachtree Industrial Boulevard. Downtown Sugar Hill sits at the epicenter of this commercial hub."

Taylor Anderson, Chairman of the Sugar Hill Downtown Development Authority, feels: "Life in Sugar Hill just got little sweeter, thanks to the plans for the EpiCenter. We are grateful for the leadership and vision of the mayor and council and look forward to being their partner in the years ahead."

  • For more information about the EpiCenter or the city's innovative plans for downtown, call 770-645-6716.

Old Man Sun shines straight down our street every June 21

Editor and publisher |

JULY 1, 2014 -- There's a regularity to the arrival of summer we detect as we walk our dog, Hercules, around the block. You see, on June 21, every year, and this year, 2014, we saw the sun rising straight down the street where we live, at 61 degrees northeast, in Atlanta. (That's figuring there are 360 degrees in the sun's arc.)


It happens every June 21. It's so regular! It says that the world has not turned upside down over the last year. It says that though we may be shooting at one another, that sports teams win and lose, that people come into life and leave…..that the world continues at a pre-determined, regular interval, no matter what. It's speaks that God is not a tricky God, and give us another reason we can believe in God.

On June 21 the sun moves most northward each year, and is the beginning of summer. It also means that it sets in the most northwestern arc, at 299 degrees northwest in Atlanta, a difference of 238 degrees, giving us the longest day of the year at 14 hours 24 minutes in Atlanta. Though it rises right down our street, it sets at about 57+ degree angle to the street in summer.

The difference in where the sun rises in Atlanta, and where it sets, is 57 degrees, summer and winter. In the winter, the sun rises at 118 degrees, and sets at 242 degrees, producing the shortest day of the year in Atlanta, nine hours, 54 minutes, 32 seconds.

All this may sound super technical, and can be found on the internet at (

Now another astrological significance comes when spring and fall arrive, in 2014 on March 21 and September 21. On March 21, the sun rose at 7:40 a.m., and set at 7:50 p.m., a day length of 12:10:01. Come September, the sun will rise at 7:25 a.m. and set at 7:36 p.m., a day length of 12:10:40.

Here's the interesting point for the arrival of spring and fall. On both these days, the sun will rise at 89 degrees, almost directly east in Atlanta, and set at 271 degrees, almost directly west.

That's also the day you can try that old suggestion and see if you can stand an egg on its end, if you are careful. Some say that you should be on the equator to pull this off, because of the sun's equidistant position between the poles of the earth. At that time of the equinox, special gravitational forces apply, so the story goes.

But we find that David Emery, writing in's Urban Legends, says this: "I'm not saying it can't be done - standing raw eggs on end, I mean - it certainly can, but it takes patience, eggs of just the right shape (trial and error is the only way to find them), a pinch of salt, if all else fails. And - here's the biggest "secret" of all - it works equally well any day of the year."

Hmmm. Better take that with those grains of salt, right?

But for the sun shining straight down Dogwood Circle on June 21…you can take that to the bank.

Primerica, Inc.

The public spiritedness of our sponsors allows us to bring to you at no cost to readers. Primerica, Inc., headquartered in Duluth is a leading distributor of financial products to middle-income families in North America and is Gwinnett's fourth largest employer, with 1,700 employees. Primerica representatives educate their Main Street clients about how to better prepare for a more secure financial future by assessing their needs and providing appropriate solutions through term life insurance, which it underwrites, and mutual funds, annuities and other financial products, which it distributes primarily on behalf of third parties.

In addition, Primerica provides an entrepreneurial full or part-time business opportunity for individuals seeking to earn income by distributing the company's financial products. It insures more than 4.3 million lives and approximately two million clients maintain investment accounts with them. Primerica is a member of the S&P MidCap 400 and the Russell 2000 stock indices and is traded on The New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "PRI."

Interstate Commerce Commission was toothless until Hepburn Act

Editor, the Forum:

I agree with you about the total non-productiveness of Congress. The quickest way to get the House of Representatives to NOT pass a bill is for the Senate to pass it. (And to a certain extent, vice versa.)

One error in your article: the Interstate Commerce Commission was created in 1887, not by the Hepburn Act of 1906. By 1906, the ICC as it was originally created was more or less a toothless tiger as the Supreme Court nullified item after item of the Interstate Commerce Act (Sound familiar?) The Hepburn Act reinstated the Commission's power to regulate railroad rates, among other things. This was monumental, as railroads were the primary form of transportation - both freight and passenger - in 1906.

In reading the list of accomplishments of the 59th congress, I get the feeling that none of these acts would pass today, as the Republicans in the House would be extremely reluctant to pass legislation that had any possibility of putting a crimp on the ability of their corporate masters to make a profit, no matter how many members of the general public die from food poisoning or tainted medicines.

-- Robert Hanson, Loganville

Rant, rave, send us a letter

An invitation: 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 Issue as space allows.

GEHC offering new way to enjoy Fourth of July activities

Looking for an affordable and fun way to spend July 4th with your family? The Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center (GEHC) invites you to celebrate the nation's birthday at its Fabulous Fourth Family Fun Night on July 4, 2014.

Guests will enjoy patriotic music, trivia and the sounds of summer as they mark the 238th anniversary of the nation's independence on the GEHC's new Festival Field. In addition, there will be a special showing of the Disney smash hit "Frozen" on an outdoor movie screen provided by Marquee Events. Guests will also enjoy a view of area fireworks.

Concessions will be available for purchase during the event. J and J Culinary Sensations will sell burgers, hotdogs, street tacos and sides. Daddy O's Irish Ice Cream Pub will sell various flavors of ice cream. Also, your typical movie concessions will be offered throughout the night.

Gates for the event will open at 7 p.m. and the approximate start time for the movie is 9 p.m. The event will take place rain or shine. Parking fees are $5 per vehicle for GEHC members, $10 per vehicle for non-members. Guests are highly encouraged to pre-order tickets online at

  • For additional information, call 770-904-3500 or visit the GEHC website.

Lawrenceville's Norwood wins talent search; to perform at Lenox

A Lawrenceville resident has been named the vocal victor by Lenox Square's talent search, "Atlanta Next Legend." He is Norwood, 23, who will perform a 20 minute set at 6 p.m. at Lenox Square's Fourth of July celebration. Norwood is the son of Nancy and Eric Norwood, previously of Lawrenceville and now residing in San Diego. Norwood, who was home-schooled, at age 16 began classes at Georgia State. He was born at Gwinnett Medical Center, where his father was an administrator.


Norwood grew up singing with his mother in church. After discovering his passion for entertaining through music classes and live performances, Norwood decided to make music his life focus and pursue a professional singing career. As a multi-talented singer, songwriter, musician, dancer and actor, Norwood has become one of the hottest pop artists in Atlanta.

Since the launch of his professional career in 2009, Norwood has performed as an opening act for B.B. King and played as a featured artist for the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards pre-party in Los Angeles, the 62nd Lighting of Macy's Great Tree, the famous Atlanta Peach Drop in 2011 and an Atlanta Braves pre-game concert. He was also named Macy's Rising Star of 2009 and became a national spokesperson and performer for the Boys and Girls Clubs of America's "Text with Respect" campaign.

Commission plans public hearings on proposed 2014 millage

The Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners will hold three public hearings to receive comments on the proposed 2014 millage rates. Two hearings will be held on July 7 at 11 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. and the third will be on July 14 at 6:30 p.m. All three hearings will take place in the auditorium of the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center, also known as GJAC, located at 75 Langley Drive in Lawrenceville.

The millage rate adoption is scheduled to take place on July 15 at 2 p.m. Commissioners are considering adopting the same millage rate as last year, which will result in more property tax revenue than last year due to an increase in property values.

Commissioners plan no change to the millage rates that were established in 2013 to support new service districts that fund specific government functions such as police, fire and emergency medical protection. If the county maintains the same millage rates, actual taxes levied on most properties should be approximately the same as the estimate of property taxes included on the assessment notices that were mailed in April. The proposed total millage rate for properties located in unincorporated Gwinnett County would remain the same at 13.75 mills.

Snellville asking for entries in ghost story writing contest

Snellville is asking for entries on writing a ghost story! Write the history and death of a Snellville Ghost!

Winning entries will be published in "Snellville Scene" will "Come to life" in the inaugural Snellville Ghost Tour in October. Submission period is through July 30, 2014.

Gwinnett Medical Center first in Georgia getting AHA award

Gwinnett Medical Center (GMC) has been recognized with an American Heart Association Mission: Lifeline Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award. The award recognizes GMC's success in implementing the highest standard of care for heart attack patients. GMC is the first hospital in Georgia to receive the Gold Plus performance distinction.

Each year in the United States, nearly 300,000 people have the most severe form of heart attack, a STEMI, known as ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction. A STEMI occurs when a blood clot completely blocks an artery to the heart. It's critical to immediately restore blood flow, either by opening the blocked vessel with an angioplasty or by giving clot-dissolving medication. Hospitals involved in Mission: Lifeline are part of a system that makes sure STEMI patients get the right care they need, as quickly as possible. Mission: Lifeline focuses on improving the system of care for these and other heart attack patients.

Phil Wolfe, president and CEO Gwinnett Medical Center, says: "Achieving exceptional results for our patients drives us to make the best life-saving decisions ranging from medical diagnosis to technology. This recognition reinforces our processes and the skills of our cardiac care experts."

Hospitals that receive the Mission: Lifeline Gold Performance Achievement Award have demonstrated for 24 consecutive months that at least 85 percent of eligible STEMI patients (without contraindications) are treated within specific time frames upon entering the hospital and discharged following the American Heart Association's recommended treatment guidelines.

The Plus Award is an additional award provided to receiving centers that meet bronze, silver or gold criteria and in addition are able to achieve first door to device time of 120 minutes or less (for transfers). Receiving centers must have an achievement score of 75 percent or greater for the plus measure.

Leadership Gwinnett taps Hill-Rodriguez as new director


Leadership Gwinnett has announced that Dr. Shenila Hill-Rodriguez, director, Program Management of Fiserv, Inc. has been appointed to the organization's foundation board of directors.

Her career spans 25 years with various leadership roles at BellSouth, Travelport, and Fiserv As an active member of the Gwinnett County Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Hill-Rodriguez has served as its president. She received a bachelor of science in mathematics from Johnson C. Smith University, a master's degree in technology management from Mercer University and a doctor of philosophy, organization and management with a specialization in leadership from Capella University.

The Man Who Would Be King
By Rudyard Kipling

Picture India in the 1880s, during the English domination, and add in a bit of historical precedent and you have a pretty good story! Kipling loosely based his tale on the adventures of James Brooke, an Englishman who became the first White Rajah in Borneo, and American traveler Josiah Harlan, who was named Prince of Ghor, in Afghanistan. Two ragged ex-military rogues, Daniel and Peachy, meet with a young newspaper writer (styled after Kipling) by chance and find a common bond through their Freemason backgrounds. The meeting is fleeting, but is soon followed by another, this time asking for use of the writer's maps and information. Daniel and Peachy have decided to take their modern artillery and become kings in northern India/Afghanistan. The novella tells of their successes and royalty until a fateful event brings death and destruction.

-- Karen Garner, Dacula

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

Chicamauga is much more than just a Civil War site

(Continued from previous edition)

Gordon Lee served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1905 to 1927 and is considered to be the father of education in Chickamauga. Upon his death in 1927, Lee left $250,000 and 15 acres for a new high school. Previously, post-Civil War education in Chickamauga had been limited to a simple log cabin near the Lee home. The Gordon Lee Memorial High School is one of the more highly rated academic institutions in Georgia.

In 1888 the first railroad was built through Crawfish Springs. A syndicate bought the land and used some of it to develop a summer resort, complete with the Park Hotel, which opened in 1891. Around this same time the Central of Georgia Railway built a stone depot for visitors to the hotel, and both the tracks and depot remain today. After passenger service ceased in the 1950s, the city schools, library system, and recreation department used the depot, which now houses the Walker County Regional Heritage and Model Train Museum. Occasional tourist train excursions stop at the Chickamauga depot.

The Durham Iron and Coal Company used coke ovens on Chickamauga's north side to transform coal into coke for iron and steel foundries in Chattanooga. Beginning in 1891, coal was transported by train twice daily from Lookout Mountain to Chickamauga. Production peaked in 1904 at about 700 to 1,000 tons of coal per day and ended during the Great Depression. The coke ovens were restored in the 1990s for exhibition.
Since the early 1900s Chickamauga has been a textile-mill town. New England native Daniel Ashley Jewell, who had moved to middle Georgia prior to the Civil War, purchased land in Chickamauga in 1907, and he and a consortium built the Crystal Springs Bleachery Company in 1909 and a cotton mill in 1914. Jewell liked the location because of the abundant water supplied by Crawfish Springs. The mill remains in operation today.

Like many other Georgia towns, Chickamauga is growing steadily. According to the 2010 U.S. census, the population was 3,101, an increase from the 2000 population of 2,245. Chickamauga has a city school system, a library, a visitors' center, recreation facilities, and a variety of merchants and eateries. Annual festivals include the Down Home Days celebration in May, and the War Between the States Day and the Arts and Crafts Festival in September.

What's over there?

Today's photo is of a statue overlooking a harbor. Perhaps the setting gives you a clue of who this is, and where. But tell also the significance of this person. Send your answers to and be sure to include your hometown.

The home decked out in patriotic colors in the last edition got only two correct answers. The first was from Denise Auger of Duluth, who wrote: "Connecticut is home to a valuable piece of history. The beloved house of Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) and his family is in Hartford and has been restored and preserved so the public may visit and learn about the famous author. The beautiful Victorian building was constructed in 1873 and owned by the Clemens family until the death of their daughter in 1903. The extravagant 11,500 square foot home cost $45,000 to build in the 1870s and was moderately decorated on the interior. In 2003, the Mark Twain Museum Center opened to give visitors the opportunity to learn more about Mark Twain, his family, house and legacy." Also spotting the Twain house was Mark Barlow of Peachtree Corners. The photo came from Susan McBrayer of Sugar Hill.

Out for a family swim

This 11 members of a geese family toddle along on an early morning swim at the lake at Rhodes Jordan Park in Lawrenceville. This tranquil setting was captured by Photographer Frank Sharp of Lawrenceville. The parents look mighty proud of their brood…


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2014, 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.


The next GwinnettForum will be published Thursday, July 3, one day earlier than the normal schedule. -- eeb

Sevareid On Dealing With Network Executives

"Dealing with network executives is like being nibbled to death by ducks."

-- The distinguished radio and television commentator Eric Sevareid (1912-1992).




Sparkle in the Park, the Fourth of July celebration in Lilburn, is from 5:30 p.m. until 10 p.m. Face painting, balloon makers, food, music and family photos will be on tap. Fireworks will begin at 9:30 p.m. shuttles will transport attendees from parking lots at the International Farmers Market, Salem Baptist Church, First Baptist Church, and Lilburn Middle School.

(NEW) Meet Author Karin Slaughter on July 10 at 7 p.m. at the Peachtree Corners Barnes and Noble store. Slaughter will discuss her new book, Cop Town, her first stand-alone novel. This will be Slaughter's exclusive Metro Atlanta appearance on her national book tour. She is being presented by the Gwinnett County Public Library.

Free Brown Bag Concerts on the lawn at the Gwinnett Historic Courthouse in Lawrenceville. Bring a lunch and enjoy music and other activities. Dates for the 11 a.m. Brown Bag concerts are on July 11 and August 1, all sponsored by the Gwinnett Parks and Recreation Commission.

(NEW) Peachtree Corners State of the City Address by Mayor Mike Mason will be July 21 at 7:30 a.m. at the Atlanta Marriott Norcross. The breakfast event is hosted by the Peachtree Corners Business Association. Admission is $5 for Association members and $20 for others. For details, send an email here. Reservations are required.


9/19: Gwinnett's special weekends
9/16: Four legacy candidates
9/12: Remembering Jim Cowart
9/9: DeKalb to offer Sunday voting
9/5: The 2014 elections
9/2: Police personnel raids

8/29: Little Free Library
8/26: Buford's Michael Brown
8/22: Oh, for Braves of past
8/19: Good idea about Olympics
8/15: Churchill and battlefronts
8/12: New Duluth manager
8/8: On corporate moves
8/5: Club recognizes bus drivers
8/1: On better candidates

7/29: Good week for Atlanta
7/25: Can GOP keep control?
7/22: Peachtree Corners update
7/18: On election runoffs
7/15: Gwinnett's water use
7/11: Georgia Guidestones
7/8: 40 years in Gwinnett
7/3: Primary runoff endorsements
7/1: About the shining sun

6/27: A busy Congress
6/20: Property mystery solved
6/17: Civil War, tanning, more
6/13: On cleaning your plate
6/10: Fairness cuts several ways
6/6: Obama's carbon emissions plan
6/3: "Community Through Diversity"


9/19: Hendrickson: Great Days of Service
9/16: Paul: Recent visit to Israel
9/12: Hassell: Land Trust
9/9: Varga: Peace Corps novel
9/5: Szabo: Solicitor's caseload
9/2: Foreman: Phone hacking

8/29: Waters: Consider liberalism
8/26: Swanson: On an internship
8/22: Stewart: Dog-tethering law
8/19: Sever: Road timing improves
8/15: Brill: Helmet sensors
8/12: Light: Cannon heads GTC
8/8: Fenton: Corporate Games
8/5: A. Brack: Summers to be hotter
8/1: Starnes: Enjoy writing

7/29: Lail: House fire, part 2
7/25: Lail: House fire, part 1
7/22: DeWilde: Suwanee's Cinderella
7/18: Zaken: Glance Gwinnett
7/15: Callina: Gift card scam
7/11: Cochran: Closed meetings
7/8: Lang: On health care act
7/3: Miller: Leukemia grants
7/1: Andrews: Sugar Hill's EpiCenter

6/27: Georgia Cup criterium
6/20: Gross: L'ville's 4th
6/17: Gardner: Senate bid
6/13: Adcock: Clinic openings
6/10: Wilson: GGC's top athletics
6/6: Waters: Leadership Gwinnett
6/3: Myers: GA-PMOC graduation


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 county offices
  • 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
  • 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
  • Requiring the legislature to meet once every two years.
  • Development of more community gardens.

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.

:: Contact us today
:: Subscribe for free
Buy the book on Gwinnett's history


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