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WOO-WEE!: More than 100 summer graduates of Georgia Gwinnett College got their college diploma this week. For more details on this graduation, visit Notable below.

Issue 14.38 | Aug. 8, 2014

:: On Great Gwinnett Corporate Games

:: Do corporate moves get dander up?

New service to help vets

GATEway grant, Sweetstakes

GGC's new grads, aquatic extras

:: Howard Brothers

:: Keeping insects out of homes

:: Communicate? Let's talk instead

:: Freed people's base of education

:: Jackson Hole photo got attention


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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Great Gwinnett Corporate Games to benefit Annandale Village
Chief Development Officer, Annandale Village
Special for GwinnettForum
| permalink

SUWANEE, Ga., Aug. 8, 2014 -- For individuals that may have never realized their dreams of hoisting a trophy in celebration or having a gold medal draped around his or her neck, it isn't too late. Throughout three weeks of competition this fall, organizations representing small businesses, large corporations, government entities, and educational institutions will take to the playing surfaces of athletic fields and event venues throughout Gwinnett County as they participate in The Great Gwinnett Corporate Games.


Sponsored by Kaiser Permanente of Georgia and Synergy Benefits, The Great Gwinnett Corporate Games, scheduled for October 11 - November 1, is an Olympics-style experience that brings together companies and their employees to compete in a collection of over 20 sporting events and bonus activities ranging from cornhole and bowling to coed flag football and softball. Although the overall goal is to win the coveted Corporate Cup, it is the journey through participation that will bring teamwork, health promotion, company pride and purpose to the forefront.

Aside from the fun, competition and camaraderie among the participants, the philanthropic purpose of the Corporate Games is to raise awareness and funds to support Annandale Village and individuals with autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, other intellectual disabilities and those that have experienced a traumatic brain injury. Proceeds from the Corporate Games will enable Annandale Village to provide a comprehensive range of programs that reflect an innovative approach to providing a full continuum of service and care, expand access to quality services, and address underlying conditions affecting the quality of life for people with developmental disabilities.

It is no secret that workplaces that encourage regular physical activity report increased productivity, reduced injury rates, better employee relations, and improved job satisfaction. Some of today's most successful companies understand the real business benefits of being involved in corporate activities like The Great Gwinnett Corporate Games. Well-structured events are an excellent way to encourage initiative, reward the commitment of staff, inspire cooperation and team spirit, and develop stronger relationships with clients and customers.

Event manager, Michelle Hackett says: "The Great Gwinnett Corporate Games will provide opportunities for everyone within a company, despite skill level or athletic ability, to participate and contribute to the team's overall success. In other words...there is something for everyone!"

The complete roster of events includes; basketball, billiards, bocce ball, bowling, cornhole, 3-D dodge ball, fishing, flag football, golf, horseshoes, go-kart racing, kickball, softball, table tennis, tennis, Texas hold'em poker, track and field, tug-o-war, indoor volleyball, and the amazing race scavenger hunt. Individual medals will be awarded to each team member for first (Gold), second (Silver), and third (Bronze) place at the conclusion of each competition. In addition, the Corporate Games have several ceremonies patterned after the Olympics, including an opening ceremony, parade of banners, and a torch relay that will be used to light the cauldron to declare the opening of the games.

The champions of the Corporate Games will be determined by a point system based on participation level, the results of each competition, and the total fundraising dollars raised by each team. There are no fees for companies or their employees to participate. Yet, the Corporate Games is a fundraising special event and participating organizations and individual participants are encouraged to put forth fundraising efforts to help reach the overall goal of $200,000.

  • To learn more about The Great Gwinnett Corporate Games or to register your team today, visit or call 770-932-4885.

Corporations trying to avoid taxes get my dander up

Editor and publisher |

AUG. 8, 2014 -- What gets your dander up?

A move in the last few years by corporate America, aided and abetted by greedy Wall Street financiers and foxy corporate accountants, bugs me.

Simply put, a bunch of American companies have officially moved their corporate office overseas, principally to tax havens in Ireland and the Netherlands, purely to avoid paying higher U.S. taxes.


That's not only ethically wrong, it's unpatriotic and virtually stealing from the U.S. treasury, while enjoying the benefits of being an American. The companies which have done this, and those contemplating such a move, should be ashamed of themselves.

So far, since 2011, a total of 11 companies have moved to Ireland, and another 11 have set up their operations in the Netherlands, all to avoid paying higher U.S. taxes. Some 13 of these firms are involved in the health and pharmacology business.

These corporations all have operations within this country, and sometimes also have factories in other lands. Up until now they have routinely paid U.S. taxes, but have found a quirk in the law that allows them to slip through paying the higher U.S. taxes, and reduce their tax bite by being officially headquartered in foreign countries.

Now think about this: these companies have been founded, struggled, flourished and made a profit in this country. They did this while enjoying the benefits of having their employees live and work in the safest country in the world. But they see a tiny wrinkle in the law to avoid a tax they would have to pay in this country, and through a sleight-of-hand of paperwork, slither away to another country.

Meanwhile, all otherwise remains the same: they employ people in this country, they make their profits here and they enjoy the benefits of living here, both as a company and for their employees. They now seek to bypass paying taxes here.

What if lots and lots of American companies decided to have their tax haven in another country? What would that do to our national budget? Could we remain as a safe haven for these companies, and for ourselves, with they paying a lesser tax to a foreign nation?

Such a program for these firms, as suggested by the greedy whiz kids and their cohorts who look at loopholes, is just bad business. It's not good for this country and in the long run, we maintain it's not even good for the corporate entities themselves.

We suspect many individual American stockholders of these public companies are uneasy that their corporate leadership would suggest such an outrageous policy. What happened to the American tradition of corporate responsibility? How about the public good? Why do the boards of directors of such companies accept the recommendations of their advisers? Do they have no sense of fair play, and ethical considerations? Far as that goes, is there a difference in these firms trying to evade the law, and the organized crime figures? Neither pay attention to the law.

Such antics aren't what we expect of America's "good corporate citizens." Such tactics don't bode well for us as a country. Good corporate firms understand that all of us must pay our fair share of taxes. It's ethically right, and it makes our country stronger. It's an outrage for corporations to act this way. Does it raise your dander a bit?

Howard Brothers

The public spiritedness of our sponsors allows us to bring to you at no cost to readers. Today's sponsor is Howard Brothers. Howard's is a family owned business that is locally and independently operated. The 'brothers,' John and Doug Howard, invite you to shop local and support small businesses. Howard Brothers has Hardware and Power Equipment stores in Doraville, Duluth and Oakwood, and they have a Power Equipment only location in Alpharetta. Howard Brothers is well known for the selection of hard to find Hardware items and premium grills such as Big Green Egg, Traeger and Weber. They are also one of the largest Outdoor Power Equipment companies in America selling brands like Exmark, STIHL, Honda and Echo.

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

New coalition committee seeks to help veterans in Georgia

(Editor's note: Doug Heckman is the Chairman of VetCorps. He is a retired Army officer and combat veteran of both wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.-eeb)

Editor, the Forum:

As military veterans return to communities around the US, reintegration into civilian society can be a challenge. The drawdown in both Iraq and Afghanistan has set the stage for a smaller military. Every month, thousands of veterans reintegrate into American life. In Gwinnett, we get our fair share. Soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines all come to Gwinnett for our family life, abundant jobs, and overall great quality of life. Sometimes things are not as smooth as they could be.

Gwinnett has no military base, nor a major VA presence. The Gwinnett Coalition for Health and Human Services has organized a Vets Corps Committee. This committee is tasked with helping present and returning veterans, and their families, from all eras. The committee identified three areas where Gwinnettians can make a difference.

In conjunction with the Impact Group, we can help with veteran housing issues. The second area is in the field of employment and training. The committee works with several organizations to include the Department of Labor. Finally, we help fight the stigma that veterans carry. This fight involves public relations and educational efforts with our communities.

Gwinnett County, in conjunction with the Coalition, has provided space and limited resources to give veterans a place to come and get information on employment and educational opportunities. The location is 750 S Perry Street in Lawrenceville on the third floor. This Veterans Resource Center (co-located with the local Disabled American Veterans chapter) welcomes veterans on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

If you are a veteran or family member, come visit us. We will hold a Grand Opening on Friday, August 22, at the 750 Perry Street office, with a ceremony and ribbon cutting at 12:30 p.m. Congressman Rob Woodall will be speaking. For more details, call the Veterans Resource Center at 770-828-8652.

-- Col. Doug Heckman, U.S. Army (Retired), Peachtree Corners

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.

GATEway Grant to Gwinnett Tech to beautify campus along highway

Gwinnett Technical College has been awarded a $50,000 GATEway Grant from the Georgia Department of Transportation to beautify a portion of Georgia Highway 316 adjacent to the Gwinnett Tech campus. The project focuses on a narrow stretch of right-of-way that runs parallel to Gwinnett Tech's Life Sciences Center.

Gail Zorn, Gwinnett Tech grounds manager, says: "The plan, to begin this fall, includes a substantial amount of native material that should provide visual interest along that stretch of Route 316 that we have taken under our maintenance wing since the college opened in 1984. The plan includes a combination of over 1,000 trees, shrubs and grasses."

The selected plants include large hardwood canopy trees and smaller stature trees chosen specifically for their adaptability to the cultural conditions of the project site. The selections include native magnolia, yellowwood and persimmon with mass groupings of durable native or adapted shrubs and groundcover. Selections were chosen specifically for flowering, fruiting, beautiful fall color and long term visual and seasonal interest. The GATEway Grant program uses revenue collected from permit fees for vegetation removal in front of outdoor advertising signs.

Norcross church players plan Some Enchanted Evening Aug. 15-16

Join the Christ Episcopal Church Players for "Some Enchanted Evening" on August 15- 16 at 7:30 p.m. to celebrate the magic of live theatre! The church is located at 400 Holcomb Bridge Road in Norcross.

Enjoy replication of such acts as the Marx Brothers, George Burns and Gracie Allen, and Abbott and Costello, as well as scenes from South Pacific, The Sound of Music, Guys and Dolls, and many more. The talented actors, singers, and dancers of the Christ Church Players will transport you to faraway places and bring back enchanting memories. There will be a reception following the performances both nights.

Tickets are $10, and proceeds will fund upcoming productions. Tickets are available through the church office at (770) 447-1166.

The Christ Church Players have produced a variety of shows ranging from "A Christmas Carol" to Broadway-style revues to madrigal dinners. With investments of time, talent, and treasure, this theatre troupe continues to grow as members discover God's gifts within themselves.

  • For more information or interviews, contact Walt Thompson at (770) 263-8944, or call the church office at the number above.

City of Sugar Hill to award Wedding "Sweetstakes" for local couple

The City of Sugar Hill and Explore Gwinnett announce the "2014 Wedding Sweetstakes," in celebration of the city's newest event venue, The Bowl at Sugar Hill. The Sweetstakes offers a couple a free wedding package at The Bowl and a spectacular five-day, four-night honeymoon package to Cancun, Mexico..

Couples who are engaged are asked to fill out an entry form by August 31 and upload a one-minute YouTube video explaining why they should win. Starting September 1, videos will be added to the city's Facebook page for voting. The video with the most votes will be declared the winner. Voting ends October 17.

The venue, located on the grounds of Sugar Hill's City Hall and town lawn, can accommodate outdoor weddings of all sizes up to 3,000 guests. The 1,300 square foot amphitheater stage is a showcase for the bride and groom, with a water feature setting the stage.

Two firms, Wedding One and Bridal Ball, donated the honeymoon for the winning couple at either the Laguna Suites Golf or the oceanfront Ocean Spa hotel, both in Cancun, Mexico. Explore Gwinnett will coordinate discounted hotel rooms and complimentary welcome bags for the winning couple's out-of-town guests.

GGC summer commencement graduates 100 students

Georgia Gwinnett College awarded more than 100 bachelor degrees during its 2014 summer commencement, held Tuesday at the Gwinnett Center. This is the second year the college has held a graduation ceremony following its summer semester. About 1,500 were in attendance.

The ceremony's keynote address was presented by Henry "Hank" M. Huckaby, chancellor of the University System of Georgia. He said that while the world is not perfect, today's graduates are equipped with the education and human spirit necessary to make the world a better place.

"Coming up with the solutions and ideas to meet the challenges facing our world is not an easy task," Huckaby said. "Well-educated graduates are Georgia's most important resource for the future. We need you to use the power of your education to help us meet the challenges that lie before us."

Huckaby also encouraged the graduates to be life-long learners, and to focus not merely on having more, but being more.

Speaking on behalf of the graduating seniors, biology major and former Marine Blaise Chamberlin shared a story illustrating the personal attention for which GGC is known. Facing a particularly difficult class that shook his confidence, Chamberlin dropped the course. His instructor immediately called him and encouraged him to re-add the course, which he did, with only two minutes to spare before the semester's drop-add course deadline. The decision enabled him to graduate this summer.

"I would not be here today without these great professors," said Chamberlin, who graduated summa cum laude. "My standing here in front of you today is evidence of my success, and it was literally two minutes away from not becoming a reality."

The ceremony also included recognition of GGC's second ROTC cadet to be commissioned as an second lieutenant in the U.S. Army National Guard, Jose Targa. He will soon move to his first duty station in Germany.

Bethesda Aquatic Center to get restoration in $408,107 contract

Renovations are in store for the Bethesda Park Aquatic Center at 225 Bethesda Church Road near Lawrenceville. Funds from the 2009 SPLOST program will pay for the $408,107 contract commissioners approved Tuesday with low bidder, Poolside Inc.

The year-round indoor instructional pool and outdoor leisure pool will both get new tile and new mechanical skimmers, grates, float assemblies and equalizers. Drains and HVAC ducts will be cleaned and a new system installed to remove chloramines from the air at pool level to improve air quality. The contract also includes replacing the outdoor play structure.

Project Administration Division Director Grant Guess said, "We're using SPLOST funds to renovate existing facilities like this one in order to extend their life and improve operational efficiency."

Gwinnett County Parks and Recreation, a finalist for the national Gold Medal Award presented by the National Recreation and Park Association after winning it in 2008, operates 17 aquatic facilities. Pool types include indoor competition, instructional, lap and indoor and outdoor leisure/water parks. General attendance at county pools numbered around 418,000 visits last year.

  • Information on hours, fees, swim lessons or facility rentals can be found at or by calling (678) 277-0880.

Avoiding insects in the house

To keep insects out of your home, seal any cracks and holes and make sure the doors and windows close tightly. Also:

  • Remove any piles of leaves, firewood, bricks, stones, or other materials that are next to your home.
  • Prune plant material that is touching the foundation of your home back 12 to 18 inches and pull the mulch away from the foundation the same distance.
  • Keep food material refrigerated or store it in sealed containers.

-- Tim Daly, Gwinnett County Extension Service

  • 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

Freed people of Georgia built foundation for education

(Continued from previous edition)

Native Georgians, black and white, along with northern teachers, shouldered the task of teaching in the freedmen's schools. Of the nearly 600 teachers in Georgia's freedmen's schools during Reconstruction, more than one-fifth were native Georgians, including nearly fifty white Georgians. A quarter of the teachers were African Americans. More than half of the black teachers were Georgians, while other black teachers hailed from the seaboard South, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, and Ohio.

Although contemporary teachers seldom had completed high school, many of the northern freedmen's teachers had graduated from post-secondary institutions, including Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, Yale University in Connecticut, Oberlin College in Ohio, and Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts. The black teachers had attended such colleges as Oberlin, Wilberforce University in Ohio, and Lincoln University in Pennsylvania.

Before the Civil War (1861-65), Georgia had no system of public education. Its school tax assisted poor white children with tuition at private schools. In 1870 the state made its first effort to create public schools and found that, in the black community at least, the rudiments of such a system were already in place.

Reconstruction-era legislation required segregated schools and allowed discrimination in the distribution of school funds to white and black schools.

Northern aid to freedmen's education declined just as Georgia began to develop a dual system of education. The Freedmen's Bureau closed its offices in 1870. The aid societies retrenched in that same year. They concentrated their efforts in Georgia's largest cities and shifted their attention to teacher education, convinced that the best means of assuring a future for southern black education was through the preparation of teachers for black schools.

From 1870 until well into the twentieth century, white Georgians sought to limit public funding for black education. Local districts refused to support public secondary education for African American students. Teachers in black schools received lower salaries than those in white schools, regardless of the teachers' race, and construction and maintenance of black schools were neglected. The state would not provide public higher education to its former bondsmen until it founded Georgia State Industrial College (later Savannah State University) in 1891.

By the end of Reconstruction, the freed people of Georgia had built the foundations of a system of universal schooling. Native and northern teachers had taught thousands of former slaves to read and write. Three colleges kept alive the promise of higher education. In the final analysis, however, the freed people were too poor, and the assistance from the federal government and northern agencies far too paltry, to have more than a token effect. It is unlikely that more than 10 percent of the state's African American population could find a seat in a schoolhouse during Reconstruction.

Lots of beautiful brick, but where?

Today's mystery shows lots of beautiful brick, no doubt very old. There're also some other features here in this mystery photo that might give you a clue where and what this is. Send in your guess to, and be sure to include your hometown.

The elk photo in last edition's Mystery Photo came from Beverly Lougher of Lawrenceville, with the statues located at the entrance to the National Wildlife Museum, overlooking an Elk Refuge in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The first correct answer came from Mark Barlow of Peachtree Corners, who by coincidence was in Wyoming "am here for the opening day of the elk refuge fishing season." He adds that the elk statues "replaced four burnt-tree sculptures that were very controversial, and to me, ugly. "

Alexandria Huggins of Cary, N.C. writes that the statues are "……absolutely the most beautiful monument in this world! I hear Jackson Hole is gorgeous. I was only there one time in the Tetons for a wedding," who added of the last mystery photo: "I got the Provincetown, Mass. Mystery picture, but it was just a guess. I got lucky." Also recognizing the elk statue was Karen Burnette Garner of Dacula and Becky Panetta, Dacula.


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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.

Communicate? Let's Talk Instead

"Let us make a special effort to stop communicating with each other, so we can have some conversation."

-- American journalist, author, and etiquette authority Judith Martin, (nee Miss Manners)(1938 - ).




Paid advertisement

(NEW) Make your plans to be in Downtown Duluth on Saturday and Sunday, September 27-28, for the Duluth Fall Festival, which has something for everyone. There will be more than 350 booths, a parade, music and entertainment at two venues, "Man's Corner," a carnival, a 5K Road Race and much more.

The historic downtown area has never looked better, and several new businesses have recently opened their doors in Duluth. Proceeds from the Duluth Fall Festival are used for improving Downtown Duluth. And, as you will see, the mission is paying off!

(NEW) We're in Dog Days, so bring your dog to the Lilburn Farmers Market on Friday, August 8. The Lilburn Woman's Club will be giving away free doggie goodie bags and there will be a dog demo from the Atlanta Dog Obedience Club. Chef Stacy Maple will be making "Slow Cooked Farm Eggs over a Wilted Spinach Salad with Potatoes." The Market is at Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church, 1400 Killian Hill Road.

Herbs in the Garden class taught by Gwinnett County Extension Service. It will be held August 14 at noon (one hour) at the Extension office at 750 S Perry Street in Lawrenceville. Herbs are excellent garden plants that require minimal maintenance and come in a variety of scents, flavors, and colors. There is no cost, but register by August 12. Contact Timothy Daly or call 678-377-4010.

Workshop for Aspiring Writers, at Suwanee Public Library, Thursday, August 14 at 6:30 p.m. Leading the workshop will be Author Joe Samuel Starnes (author of Fall Line), using the topic: “Research: A Writer's Best Friend and A Writer's Worst Enemy- Using Research in Your Fiction.” For more details, visit

(NEW) Gwinnett Police Job Fair, Saturday, August 23, from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. at the Gwinnett Police Training Center, 854 Winder Highway in Lawrenceville. The department seeks candidates for police officer and E-911 Communication positions. Interested applicants are encouraged to apply before attending the fair on the Police Employment webpage.

(NEW) Re-Development Forum for 2014: Thursday, October 16, 7: 30 a.m. until 1 p.m. Studio Movie Grill, Duluth. Topics include maximizing re-development, financing and opportunities through Public-Private Partnerships. Keynote speaker will be Ellen Durham Jones of Georgia Tech, talking on "Sustaining vibrant communities." To register, click here.


10/17: Simpsonwood update
10/14: German student visits
10/10: GwinnettForum's endorsements
10/7: Why so few candidates?
10/3: Regents on smoking, USS Georgia

9/30: Ostracize women-bashers
9/26: Policing peril, disasters
9/23: Scottish referendum, more
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


10/17: Hacknett: Annandale race
10/14: Smith: Choral Guild concert
10/7: Dubin: Reducing recidivism
10/3: Hendrickson: T-shirt winner

9/30: Nelson: Move around
9/26: Buchanan: Keeping out the sun
9/23: Nichols: Hudgens Prize judges
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


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


2001-2014, 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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