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"Looks like Hunley Submarine," a guy from Charleston said of this photograph. But it is obviously not that. But what is this photograph, where was it taken and what is its significance? If you think you know, send your idea to, and be sure to include your name and hometown.

Issue 14.33 | July 22, 2014

:: Suwanee's Cinderella to be July 25-26

:: Three times up for P'tree Crs mayor

On old photo, runoffs, appraisals

Japanese exhibit, STEM, At Kudzu

ARC survey available

:: Gwinnett Village CID

:: Mein Kampf

:: Why no bank account

:: Some Georgia Quick Facts

:: Shrubbery tells more

:: Some Georgia flower?


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


Be sure to vote in the runoff primaries today

Georgia will decide several primary runoff elections today (Tuesday). Our admonition to voters is to go vote, so that you can help decide who to nominate for the General Election in November.

Previously, GwinnettForum has endorsed candidates for the run-off. Here in a nutshell Here are its suggestions of candidates to be nominated:

Republican ballot:
For U.S. Senate: David A. Perdue
For 10th District U.S. Congress: Mike Collins
For State School Superintendent: Mike Buck
For Senate, District 9: P.K. Martin

Democratic ballot:
For State School Superintendent: Valarie D. Wilson

Let us also suggest to voters that they get re-acquainted with the views of these candidates by checking the 2014 Primary Candidate Profiles on the right side of this front page of GwinnettForum. There is also a place to look for a sample of the ballot you will face when you vote.

Your vote will carry more weight than normal, since fewer people vote in runoffs. Now, do your duty, and vote.

Cast of 70 on stage for Suwanee production of Cinderella July 25-26
Special for GwinnettForum
| permalink

SUWANEE, Ga., July 22, 2014 -- Shake the cobwebs off those magic wands and dust off your glass slippers for Suwanee Performing Arts' 2014 Broadway in the Park production. A cast of 70 young local performers and 30 backstage volunteers will bring Rogers and Hammerstein's Cinderella, as well as an original one-act play, Spellbound - the Musical, to the Town Center stage July 25 and 26.

At right, Cinderella (Emily Flower) shows off a glass slipper to her stepmother and stepsisters (from left to right: Brian Wittenberg, Abagail Medlin and Kayleigh Watson).

Broadway in the Park Director Patty Etherton says: "Cinderella is a timeless story. It offers the best story and the best music and it's so well put together." The Suwanee production is based on the 1997 Whitney Houston version, which, she says, is more condensed and funnier than the original 1957 musical starring Julie Andrews.

A classic fairy tale set to music, Cinderella is the story of a young woman forced into a life of servitude by her cruel stepmother and self-centered stepsisters; she dreams of a better life and a chance to attend the prince's ball. With the assistance of her fairy godmother, Cinderella's dreams come true.

Spellbound - the Musical, an original play created by Suwanee Performing Arts founders Etherton and Bernetta Bock Davis, provides the back story for Cinderella's magical godmother. The one-act play takes place at The Academy of Magical Arts, where a young Annabel is convinced that she is a failure because all of her spells turn to glass and don't last through the night.

Broadway in the Park performances will begin at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, July 25 and 26. Admission is free, but reserved premium seating is available for corporate and patron sponsors. Contact Suwanee Performing Arts at 678-482-6333 for more information about reserved seating. In addition, lawn seating in front of the stage is available on a first-come basis for $10 and is designed especially for young children. These tickets will be available at Town Center Park beginning at 4 p.m. on performance days. Magic wands and tiaras also will be available for purchase.

"This is a great opportunity to expose the entire community to quality performance art," says Etherton. "The kids who audition never cease to amaze us with how talented they are. And the costuming and staging are top-notch, too. We're proud to produce each year the kind of high- quality show that our audience wants to see."

Three times Monday, Mason outlines state of Peachtree Corners

Editor and publisher |

JULY 22, 2014 -- Peachtree Corners Mayor Mike Mason could have done it another way. But he chose to use Monday as his day to deliver the state of the city address….not once, not twice, but three times on the same day. So….that gives the mayor the record for the most State of the City addresses in Gwinnett on the same day. Congratulations!


The Mayor kicked off his triple address at the Peachtree Corners Business Association breakfast Monday at the Atlanta Marriott at Peachtree Corners to a group of about 85 people. At lunch, he was at the Norcross-Peachtree Corners Rotary Club in downtown Norcross making the same talk. And Monday night, it was the United Peachtree Corners Civic Association getting this talk, this time with cookies and coffee at Christ the King Lutheran Church.

Our hope is that some poor soul isn't a member of all three groups and had to hear the mayor three times, though it was a pretty interesting report.

The two ventures that Mayor Mason seemed most proud of was the city buying 20 acres on Peachtree Parkway across from the Forum Shopping Center for a possible Town Center, ("….part of the city that's missing in Peachtree Corners") and reducing the property tax millage rate to zero. All of us can see why the mayor is proud of no property tax.

The land purchased for the Town Center was done so for two reasons. First, to keep out "undesirable development," what he termed "garden apartments," on the site. The second reason for buying the acreage is for potential development of an active Town Center there on the highly-visible property.

With a Town Center, composed of business, living space and recreation areas, it will mean that Peachtree Corners "…has gone full circle from Paul's Duke's vision" of a community that has live-work-play elements in it, the Mayor maintains. Other highlights of the report included:

  • Possible re-development of the Holcomb Bridge Road corridor. "Some areas of this road are starting to look shabby, and not look like the rest of the community." A new owner of one apartment complex has indicated that they contemplate demolishing their units and replacing with retail or commercial, meaning an upgrade, he says.

  • Working with the City of Dunwoody to have a joint comprehensive plan for the Winters Chapel Road area. The two cities bump against one another in this area, with the limits often crossing the road. By working together, the area can be improved, the mayor feels.

  • The area formerly known as Market Square (the northwest corner of Holcomb Bridge Road and Peachtree Parkway) was cited, which one developer sees the property "as an ideal site for a mixed use development with new retail, office, restaurants and residential."

  • The hiring of a group for planning Economic Development for the city: "We need a Game Plan from them on how to go about this. The city has 2,400 businesses within the city, though most employ 15 or less."

  • The mayor anticipates that Technology Park/Atlanta will some day have additional uses. "We could see mixed use condo and high end apartments for millennials over new office space in Tech Park, which could help attract start-ups to this area."

  • Hearing from the U.S. Postal Services that as of July 1, Peachtree Corners is recognized as Zip Code 30092 for mailing services.

The mayor concluded: "The future is bright in Peachtree Corners, and with your help, it can only get brighter."

Gwinnett Village Community Improvement District

The public spiritedness of our sponsors allows us to bring to you at no cost to readers. The Gwinnett Village Community Improvement District was formed in 2006, and is a self taxing revitalization district that includes just over 725 commercial property owners with a property value of over $1 billion dollars. Gwinnett Village CID includes the southwestern part of Gwinnett County including properties along Jimmy Carter Boulevard, Buford Highway, Indian Trail, Beaver Ruin, and Singleton Road. Gwinnett Village is one of four CIDs to be created in Gwinnett County and is the largest of all CIDs in the state. Gwinnett Village's mission is to improve property values through increased security, a decrease in traffic congestion, and general improvements to the curb appeal of the area.

  • For a list of other sponsors of this forum, go here.

Photograph of building was from city hall/courthouse in Atlanta

Editor, the Forum:

That photo at the top of July 18 Forum looks to me to be the Atlanta City Hall / Fulton County Courthouse, in a photo taken about 149.8 years ago, more or less. A group of rowdy visitors were in town at the time and decided to camp out there on the lawn. Look at this picture for comparison.

Gen. W. T. Sherman had a photographer named George Barnard who traveled with his army and took a number of pictures of Atlanta and other sites during the campaign and occupation. See lots of photos here.

Below are a couple of different views of the camping on the lawn. These are probably taken by Bernard. The first one matches the one you included today, I think, but I don't see a direct attribution in that blog. Click here and here.

-- Gene Ramsey, Norcross

Editor, the Forum:

The old photograph and building are Union Army huts used as a temporary camp built by taking materials from surrounding Confederate houses.

-- Jim and Etta Miller, Peachtree Corners

Editor, the Forum:

This is a George N. Barnard photograph of the Atlanta City Hall and camp of 2nd Massachusetts Infantry on the grounds in 1864 during the Yankee occupation. Erected in 1854, the building also served as the Fulton County Courthouse. After surviving the war, the building was demolished in 1884 to make way for the current state capitol.

-- Richard Lux of Trickum, who added this below:

The Siege of Atlanta lasted until September 2, when after weeks of shelling, the mayor surrendered the city. Captain Henry Newton Comey of Hopkinton, Mass. recounted the scene in his memoir:

"Our Third Division entered the city in the morning and was met by the 'City Fathers,' carrying a white flag of surrender, and led by Atlanta Mayor James. M. Calhoun. The Mayor presented a letter which read: 'The fortune of war has placed Atlanta in your hands. As Mayor of the City of Atlanta, I ask protection of noncombatants and private property.'

"The Second Massachusetts Infantry Regiment marched into the City to the music of our fine band. I was appointed Officer of the Day, and my first duty was to remove the rebel flag from the spire of the Atlanta Court-house and replace it with the Star and Stripes. I was given the task of having our camp set up in the park area around the court-house.

"After 129 days of marching and fighting, the 2nd was able to rest. They were assigned the role of provost guard, to keep order in the city and defend public and private property. The Massachusetts men remained in Atlanta until November 16, and were the last regiment to leave the city. Years later, Comey recalled the scene as they left. "Looking back at the ruins was a melancholy sight, but it was war; prosecuted in deadly earnest."

Asking citizens to vote twice is an exercise in futility

Editor, the Forum:

You are correct to state that run-offs are an inefficient way to elect officials. I wonder how many voters realize there is a run-off on July 22. Many are involved in last minute vacations and preparations for students returning to school or headed off for college.

Americans tune out on vacation, and we are more likely scouring ads for the lowest price on school supplies than thinking about run-offs. If we pay attention at all, we are further detoured to crisis headlines: tens of thousands of illegal immigrants crossing the southern border, a passenger plane shot down in the Ukraine, and the startup of a war between Israel and Hamas.

Sadly, asking citizens to vote twice for the same political seat is an exercise in futility.

-- Debra Houston, Lilburn

Have good evidence when you see appeal to county's appraisal

Editor, the Forum:

Hate to hear about some property owners getting a huge bump in their appraisal, and an increase in their tax bill.

A county tax valuation really does not provide for a higher selling price. I was in real estate through the majority of housing crash, and can tell you agents routinely discourage hanging your hat on the concept that a higher tax value helps you. Tax records and what is published as tax records on various web sites are notoriously inaccurate. I've seen many a home with the wrong bedroom count or the wrong square footage listed. One site which is wrong 90 percent of the time is Zillow. Their Zestimate is more than double my actual home value.

Think your tax rate is too high? Then appeal. If the county denies, then take it another step further and continue your appeal. Do be honest in your value estimate though. You will need evidence to back your claim. Don't simply appeal and say your $350,000 Valued home is only worth $175,000. You won't get anywhere with an outrageous claim like that. (I suspect this is why those that get turned down, get turned down). I've appealed several times over the last 20 years and have had my assessment lowered every time.

Don't have a real good idea on what your house is worth? Contact a local Realtor, don't accept the word of any "Agent." They will do a market analysis for you for free. While this isn't a true appraisal, it uses the same techniques and source data.

Don't know a good agent? Have a real appraisal performed. They cost around $400 to $450 for an average home. Some of the better firms will actually defend their work in front of the appeals board as well. This past year the county increased my value approx. four percent. I thought the prior valuation was too high to begin with and I had an appraisal from July of 2013 that I used as evidence. The appraisal had my value a good 10 percent lower than the county did. The county accepted my appraisal and lowered my valuation to the appraisal price.

An appeal can work out in your favor; you just need to know how to go about it.

-- Tim Sullivan, Buford

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.

Japanese calligraphy, paintings are new exhibit at The Hudgens

The Hudgens Center for the Arts in Duluth presents a new exhibition, Hiroshima International: Japanese Calligraphy and Paintings, which is now on view. The exhibit features over 90 works on paper created by a group of artists from Hiroshima, Japan. Presented in partnership with the Japan America Society of Georgia, Japanfest and the Japanese Consulate, this exhibition will be on view through September 27, 2014.

Keiichi Marutani, participating artist and Secretary General of the Artist Delegation from Hiroshima, says: "The theme of this exhibition is painting brush culture shown through calligraphy and paintings. Hiroshima, which produces 80 percent of total Japanese brush production, is not only a place unique brushes are made, but is also a place that sends a message of peace to the world, something we take much pride in."

The August 23 Family Day features free admission from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and guided hands on art activities and demonstrations during the day.

Also currently on view is Beyond Words: Calligraphic Work by the Atlanta Friends of the Alphabet. This exhibit features over 50 works on paper by local calligraphy artists. The Atlanta Friends of the Alphabet will also host an Illuminated Letters Program on Thursday, September 11 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Illuminated Letters is a calligraphic performance event in which visitors can see artists at work in the fine art of lettering.

Environmental Center offers STEM Saturday on weather Aug. 2

Summer is quickly coming to an end, and it will soon be time for area students to return to class. The Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center (GEHC) encourages everyone to enjoy its first ever Back To School Science-Technology-Engineering-Math (STEM) Saturday event on August 2, from 11a.m. until 3 p.m.

The event will feature a number of STEM focused activities, including the opportunity to meet a real weather scientist. Dr. Marshall Shepherd is the director of the University of Georgia's Atmospheric Sciences Program and was the 2013 President of the American Meteorological Society. Shepherd will offer a special presentation for visitors at 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. as well as be available to sign copies of his book.

Participants will also get a chance to make their own weather barometer, experience extreme weather in the Discovery Dome Theater, utilize LEGO EV3 robots to survive the challenge of Nature's Fury, and discover the physics behind the fun with the Amusement Park Science exhibit. Program fees for the event are $5 for ages 13 and older, $3 for ages 3 to 12 and free for children two and younger as well as EHC members.

Various elements of printmaking subject of new Kudzu exhibit

Multiple Impressions is Kudzu Art Zone's next exhibit, celebrating the fine art of printmaking, which is described as any artwork originating on metal, Plexiglas, linoleum, etc., then transferred to paper using pressure by hand or print making press. The participating artists are Debra Barnhart and the students in her printmaking classes.

Ms. Barnhart's own works have a common theme: narrative, hinting at a story which provokes questions in viewers' minds. Art lovers are invited to come and learn more about fine art printmaking. See also the ongoing "Wall of Small" which features small affordable original works of art.

The exhibit runs from Tuesday July 22 through Saturday August 2, with an opening reception on Thursday July 24 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m..

Kudzu Art Zone and Gallery is located at 116 Carlyle Street in Norcross and gallery hours are Fridays and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

  • For more information about exhibits, classes and workshops, call 770-840-9844 or visit the website Kudzu Art Zone.

Atlanta area residents invited to participate in survey

How often do you think about the future of your community? Which attributes do you love? Are there things that you would improve upon?

A new regional survey being conducted by the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) poses these questions and more to find out exactly what is important to regional residents when it comes to ensuring that metro Atlanta remains globally competitive, attracts and retains the best workforce possible and continues to be a great place to live.

The survey is visual, interactive and brief. It allows for open-ended comments throughout, including the ability to suggest new priorities not yet identified. This is the first of three surveys that ARC will conduct over the course of updating the Regional Plan, set to be adopted in the spring of 2016.

The survey offers a chance for citizens to prioritize six important goals identified by the ARC Board: developing a highly skilled workforce; ensuring a secure water supply; building a comprehensive transportation system; creating walkable, vibrant neighborhoods; becoming an innovation and technology hub; and improving access to arts, recreation and a healthy quality of life.

Mein Kampf
By Adolf Hitler (the Ford translation)

This is a 550-page detailed analysis of the failure of German culture, government, and economy from 1910-1923. Hitler examines the struggles of farmers, factory workers, housing, pay, family and living conditions, media, and the corruption inherent in this democracy. Written in a time of rising race awareness and nationalism, Hitler was concerned singularly with Germans and their condition. He dissects the corrosive role of the media, the stock market, banking, and international finance. WWI overlapped the Bolshevik revolution going on next door. Hitler blames the allure and toxicity of Marxism that ultimately led to the 1918 German Revolution with ending WWI in tragedy for Germany which resulted in the punishing Versailles treaty. He equates these latter influences to Jews because of their leadership in those fields. Reading this book will expose you to some surprisingly astute observations on the weaknesses of the post-Versailles German social-economic system, and the relevance of some of his solutions to our current decade-long recession.

-- Joe Briggs, Suwanee

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

How many of these Georgia Quick Facts do you know?

(Editor's Note: Today we feature a page from the Georgia Encyclopedia, "Quick Facts." See how many of these entries you knew about!-eeb)

COLONY: Founded by James Oglethorpe on February 12, 1733; 13th colony

STATEHOOD: January 2, 1788; fourth state

CAPITAL: Atlanta, since 1868

MOTTO: "Wisdom, justice, and moderation"

NICKNAMES: Empire State of the South; Peach State

TOTAL POPULATION: 9,687,653; Ninth most populous in United States (as of 2010 census)

LAND AREA: 57,513 square miles (as of 2010 census); 24th largest in United States

COASTLINE: 100 miles

HIGHEST POINT: Brasstown Bald, 4,784 feet

LOWEST POINT: Sea level at the Atlantic Coast


ELECTORAL VOTES: 16 (as of the 2010 U.S. census)

U.S. CONGRESS: 2 senators; 14 representatives (as of the 2010 election)

GOVERNOR: Nathan Deal, 2011-

LATITUDE: 30° 31' N to 35°

LONGITUDE: 81° W to 85° 53' W

LENGTH & WIDTH: 300 miles long and 230 miles wide

GEOGRAPHIC CENTER: in Twiggs County, 18 miles southeast of Macon

HIGHEST RECORDED TEMPERATURE: 112°F, July 24, 1953, at Louisville

LOWEST RECORDED TEMPERATURE: -17°F, January 27, 1940, at CCC Camp F-16, near Rome, Ga.

AVERAGE TEMPERATURE: from a high of 92.2°F to a low of 32.6°F

No one got past mystery

CLUE: See the photo at the top for today's mystery.

Though several jumped on an old photo from the Civil War era (see Feedback), no one recognized this coke kiln used to make bricks at the Heritage Park on the Columbus Riverwalk in Columbus, Ga., submitted by Tom Merkel of Berkeley Lake.

Georgia flower?

This flower from the Chicago Botanical Garden may interest some of you. A friend, the Rev. Bill McLemore, was visiting the gardens recently, spotted these blooms, and really got interested when he realized the name of this variety of Dahlia: "Junkyard Dog Dahlia." There must be a reason, perhaps cultured at the University of Georgia. Thanks, Bill, for your sharp eyes.


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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.

Why She Doesn't Have a Bank Account

"I don't have a bank account, because I don't know my mother's maiden name."

-- Comedian, Actress, Author Paula Poundstone (1959 - ).



Meet the runoff candidates

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 July 22 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.)


  • (DNR) indicates a candidate did not respond to our interview request.

  • (NoQ) means the candidate visited with GwinnettForum, but did not send answers to six questions.

  • indicates a candidate has received GwinnettForum's endorsement.



Republicans (click on link for answers)

J.H. "Jack" Kingston
David A. Perdue


Republicans (click on link for answers)

Mike Collins
Jody Hice



Democrats (click on link to see answers)

Alisha Thomas Morgan (DNR)
Valarie D. Wilson

Republicans (click on link for answers)

Michael L. "Mike" Buck
Richard L. Woods



Republicans (click on link for answers)

Mike Beaudreau
P.K. Martin



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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