Issue 14.28 | July 3, 2014
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DULUTH, Ga., July 3, 2014 -- Wes Smith, a young college student studying architecture at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), was a son, brother, friend, artist, music lover, and automotive enthusiast. A graduate of Greater Atlanta Christian School, as an otherwise healthy young man who was studying architecture, he came home from the Savannah SCAD campus to see his doctor after he was unable to get rid of what he thought was a cold.
On Feb. 13, 2004, Wes and his mom, Claire, went to see their family doctor only to be rushed to the emergency room after Wes' blood work reported cancer. Over the next several months the Smith family watched as Wes struggled for life with extreme highs and difficult lows through his journey. Less than a year after learning his diagnosis, at only 22 years of age, Wes passed away on Feb. 2, 2005, a victim of leukemia.
Since losing Wes in 2005, W.E. "Bill" and Claire Smith have been fighting to find a cure by funding leukemia research through the When Everyone Survives (Wes) Foundation, a Gwinnett County-based 501c3 not-for-profit charitable foundation, established in memory of their son Wes. With imagination, hope and courage, the Smith family has made it their mission to help others who are fighting leukemia and other blood cancers, having funded $1,150,000 in leukemia research grants around the world in only eight funding cycles.
The Foundation was initially funded by the Smiths. It has seen growth through its investment policies. Bill Smith says: "It's a loaves and fishes story. There have been many very generous donors over the years, the largest of which has been the Metro Atlanta Automobile Dealers Association who consistently funds upward of $25,000 each year. Other donations have consisted of $50 to $5,000 per year, but rarely in a year have the individual contributions been greater than $60,000."
He adds: "From the outset, we didn't want to be a "feeder foundation", collecting money with our own expense structure and then donating to a larger concern that had their own set of administrative expenses. We wanted more of the money to go directly to research. That's why we have our own Medical Advisory Board and fund directly to the research centers 'incubator' funding so they can generate the data necessary to promote their findings with the National Institute of Health (NIH) for Clinical Trial funding. The results of one recent $50K grant was picked up by the NIH and awarded a $2M clinical trial grant by them."
So far, the Foundation has funded more than $1 million in research grants.
Clair Smith says: "The Foundation's mission is simple. When we find a cure, we'll stop." Until that day comes, the Foundation will continue to search.
The When Everyone Survives Foundation provides funds for laboratory-based leukemia research. An Advisory Board of medical professionals has been selected to determine the most productive research recipients. The Medical Advisory Board provides insight into the research request submitted to the foundation and chooses the most promising and hopeful for funding. From January 1 - April 1 each year, the Foundation accepts grant applications. The Foundation provides $50,000 grants to the applicants chosen by the Medical Advisory Board.
Members of the Advisory Board are Drs. Edmund K. Waller, Amelia Langston, Mary Jo Lechowicz, Leon Bernal-Mizrachi and Zaid Al-Kahdimi of Emory University/Winship Cancer Institute.
JULY 3, 2014 -- Georgia's abysmally poor turn-outs for runoff elections is moving our thinking into areas we never would have thought reasonable previously.
The July 22 runoff primaries are to nominate Republican candidates for the U.S. Senate, 10th District Congressman, Superintendent of Schools for Georgia, and Republican Senator from District 9. The only Democratic race is for nominating a candidate for superintendent of Georgia Schools.
In the initial primary voting on May 20, Gwinnett County had 13.98 percent of those registered who voted. That in itself is not a high percentage. Of the 387,983 people registered, only 54,228 people actually voted. As a comparison, in the 2012 General Election, 75.22 percent voted!
For the July 22 runoff, we suspect that if 5 percent vote in the runoff, that will be amazing!
So we have almost come to this conclusion: Do away with runoffs entirely, if the leader in ballots in the primary gets 45 percent of the vote, or maybe as little as 40 percent. That would make the winner get a wider representation of the vote of the people than a runoff election, where often no more than 10 percent vote their choice, which means a person can be elected with 5.01 percent of the vote!
we're not to the point of advocating minority elections just yet
the poor turnouts make us question the results of such turn-outs.
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Now we turn to the GwinnettForum's endorsements in the upcoming primary.
U.S. SENATE: Two qualified persons are seeking this office. In fact, they are our top two choices among those who ran. We stick with newcomer David A. Perdue, 64, for this post, looking forward to having a senator who is not from the political establishment seeking the office. We feel that as a senator Mr. Perdue will bring fresh insights, particularly with his extensive business background, to the office, and heartily endorse him for the Senate.
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CONGRESSMAN FROM THE 10th DISTRICT: Our choice for this position is Mike Collins, 46, of Jackson, a trucking company operator. He led the voting on May 20, and we feel he will provide a middle-of-the-road type leadership if elected. He understands that as people live longer, entitlements will be huge, but he feels by elimination of duplication of government, great savings can be achieved. He will make a good Congressman, and we happily endorse him.
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SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS:
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STATE SENATE, District 9: In this Republican runoff, to fill the seat of the recently-defeated Don Balfour, our choice is former Lawrenceville City Councilman P.K. Martin, 37. He has proven to be an able elected official in his home town, and will serve we feel with distinction and integrity if elected. His relatively youthful age also speaks to him having the opportunity of serving for a considerable length of time, gaining seniority with each election, and thereby benefitting his constituents in this way. We happily endorse his candidacy.
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One more aspect for voters: Prove GwinnettForum wrong, and vote. Make the runoff a far better turnout that our county has made in recent run-off elections. This will help restore confidence in the voting process.
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Technical College will offer a Logistics Management concentration within
the college's Business Management program, helping train the workforce
for one of Georgia's fastest growing industries.
Perry Barton, program director for business management at Gwinnett Tech, says: "To find those employers you only have to think of all the companies associated with the Port of Savannah or Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Or, consider the trucking companies that travel Georgia's interstates, the CSX Rail System, UPS, FedEx, and all the distribution and warehouse centers built around Atlanta."
is all about delivering the goods. It's the business of moving raw materials
to manufacturers and products to retailers and customers in the fastest,
most reliable way. In today's global market, that's an industry that impacts
With this being the 150th anniversary of the Civil War's Atlanta campaign, the Civil War Heritage Trails Association is installing several new interpretive markers in the immediate Atlanta area.
The first of these installations will occur on the battlefields of Peach Tree Creek, Decatur, Ezra Church and Utoy Creek, at Fort Walker in Grant Park and along the Extended Siege Line. Additional marker installations will follow.
this by visiting the Atlanta Campaign Heritage Trail on the Association's
web site. Also on the website are 22 inspirational Civil War era songs
including the newest addition, "Wade in the Water," a popular
slave spiritual: Civil War Music.
The Lilburn Woman's Club (LWC) International Outreach program is hosting its annual Passport Game Night, July 11, at the Lilburn Farmer's Market, from 4 until 8 p.m. The market is located at 1400 Killian Hill Road at the Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church.
Unplug your kids for a couple of hours and bring them out for some fresh air, fresh fruit and veggies, and for a real live scavenger-style hunt for flags from around the world. LWC's International Outreach program was created to educate members and communities about global topics, to provide opportunities to support and contribute to world issues and to encourage "Unity through Diversity."
Flags of other countries will be attached to randomly selected market booths and any child who wishes to play the game can stop by the LWC booth, select their "Passport" Then they start their journey to every booth with a flag on it where they can have their passport stamped or stickered. Once they have traveled "around the world" and received all their itinerary confirmations, they can stop back by the LWC booth for their free prize.
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) Board of Trustees has reaffirmed Georgia Gwinnett College's 10-year accreditation.
Dr. Stas Preczewski, GGC president says: "This is a proud moment in the history of Georgia Gwinnett College. This reaffirmation demonstrates that the college complies with SACSCOC Principles of Accreditation and meets the organization's high standards. This accreditation is a testament to the teamwork of our faculty and staff, and their commitment to both academic excellence and student success."
GGC, which expects an enrollment of about 11,000 students in August, was first accredited by SACSCOC in 2009. An initial accreditation is valid for five years, and subsequent accreditation reaffirmations are valid for 10 years.
The process of accreditation takes about two years and involves representatives of every college division in preparing documentation and materials required for SACSCOC review. Eight representatives of SACSCOC spent three days at Georgia Gwinnett last fall for a site visit related to the process.
For reaffirmation, the organization also requires that institutions develop a Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), a program designed to enhance the learning environment or student instruction. The college's QEP initiative is "Internationalization of the Curriculum: Engaging the World to Develop Global Citizens." The QEP required college-wide research and planning, and the involvement of many students, faculty and staff. The plan aligns with GGC's overall mission to produce graduates who are prepared to anticipate and respond effectively to an uncertain and changing world, and it has been strongly embraced by the college.
County makes available park houses for veterans
located within Gwinnett County parks will be leased to veterans and their
families under an agreement approved by commissioners on Tuesday. The
agreement gives The IMPACT! Group sole responsibility for administering
the program and all operations and maintenance costs related to the properties.
Jackson EMC Foundation awards local grants
The Jackson EMC Foundation Board of Directors awarded a total of $81,955 in grants during their June meeting, including $42,000 to organizations serving Gwinnett County residents.
A new family
activity has come to the Gwinnett Place mall, Fantasy Magicworld. Complete
with shows and Ferris wheels and carnival food, it will be open every
night through September 1 for date nights and family fun. There is also
a laser tag ride, an arcade and other attractions. The lights at night
are especially distinctive. We went right after it first opened and definitely
enjoyed the double-decker Ferris wheel and our lamb gyros. There are different
prices/packages, including the option of a season pass. Their website,
Whitewater paddling is one of the fastest-growing outdoor recreational activities in the United States. Whitewater enthusiasts by the thousands have discovered that Georgia, blessed with a multitude of navigable rivers, abundant rainfall, and marked changes in elevation, is in many ways a whitewater paradise.
Whitewater paddling is a general term that may be used to describe a variety of activities.
Using paddles, whitewater enthusiasts navigate non-motorized boats through swiftly moving, or "white," water. Several types of whitewater craft are commonly seen on Georgia's waterways, including rafts, canoes, and kayaks. In addition to the inherent excitement offered by the sport, paddlers are drawn to whitewater paddling because it offers rigorous exercise, a chance to enjoy the spectacular scenery along the rivers, and the opportunity to observe rare plants and wildlife.
The American Whitewater Association lists more than 20 Georgia rivers, primarily in the northern mountains, as suitable for whitewater paddling. A wide range of difficulty levels is represented, from gentle ripples and occasional shoals appropriate for the novice to sheer drops of thirty feet or more, navigable only by experts. Georgia's mild climate also makes the state an ideal paddling destination, since boaters can enjoy the sport year round with minimal protective clothing.
a handful of hardy individuals have been canoeing difficult whitewater
since the 1940s and earlier, whitewater paddling did not emerge as a sport
until the development of durable rafts designed for use by the military.
Surplus rafts became available for civilian use after World War II (1941-45)
and began to be used by recreational boaters shortly thereafter. Rafts
were ideally suited for whitewater paddling because of the resiliency
of the materials used in their construction-primarily reinforced rubber
and plastic. These boats could withstand powerful impacts with rocks and
Rafts remained the primary boat of choice for southeastern whitewater until the 1950s.
At that time fiberglass and other materials developed for the national space program began to be used in the construction of canoes and a "new" type of boat adapted from a Native American design, the kayak. Fiberglass had several advantages over materials previously used in boat construction: it was easily formed into a variety of shapes, and it was relatively strong and extremely lightweight. Unfortunately, fiberglass often cracked upon impact with rock. After improved plastics and plastic-molding techniques were developed in the 1970s, durable and inexpensive whitewater boats became available.
Beginning in the late 1970s whitewater clubs sprang up at the University of Georgia and the Georgia Institute of Technology. These clubs, among others, served to introduce many people to the sport, and they continue to do so. The 1972 movie Deliverance, adapted from a novel by James Dickey, was filmed on two Georgia rivers, the Chattooga and the Tallulah, as well as on the Chauga in neighboring South Carolina. This movie sparked much interest in the new sport, and greater numbers of people began paddling Georgia whitewater. Outfitters also began establishing businesses to accommodate people interested in rafting, canoeing, or kayaking in the state.
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SEARCH GWINNETT FORUM
For the 2014 primary season, GwinnettForum asked all candidates facing primary opposition in Gwinnett County to provide answers to six questions.
You can read answers of candidates who are in the runoff by clicking on the links for each race. (Candidate answers are provided by race; scroll down the document if you don't immediately see the candidate you want to read about.)
U.S. CONGRESS, DISTRICT 10
GEORGIA STATEWIDE CANDIDATES
SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS
GEORGIA LEGISLATIVE CANDIDATES
SENATE DISTRICT 9
(NEW) July 3 Celebration in downtown Duluth begins at 6:30 p.m. July 3 on the Town Green. America's 116th Army Rock Band and Funk/R&B Group will rock the house as residents dance the night away. Food vendors will also be available along with children's activities. A firework display with City Hall as the back drop will wrap up of the event at dusk.
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.
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) Southern Wings Bird Club meets Monday, July 14 at the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center at 7 p.m. Speaker will be Emily Jo Williams. She is the Migratory Bird Chief/Assistant Regional Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the Southeast Region. Her presentation is entitled "You had me at Hello .... how birds can inspire us to save the natural world and the breathable air and drinkable water that come along as a bonus."
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.
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.
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.
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