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Issue 14.39 | Aug. 12, 2014

:: Cannon to lead Gwinnett Tech

:: An interesting path to Gwinnett

Readers react to corporate moves

Author workshop, tax meetings

Phone cramming, Unterman

:: Crowell Brothers Funeral Home

:: Beyond the Next Hill

:: On successful people

:: Thousands flock to state for gold

:: Previous mystery easily solved

:: Taking a break


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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Buy the book on Gwinnett's history


Cannon to become third president of Gwinnett Technical College
Special for GwinnettForum
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LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga., Aug. 12, 2014 -- The new president of Gwinnett Technical College is Dr. D. Glen Cannon, a veteran of the Georgia Technical School system, who was most recently president of Chattahoochee Valley Technical College in Phenix City, Ala.


The announcement came from Commissioner Ron Jackson of the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG). Cannon's first day on the job will be September 1. He is the third president of Gwinnett Tech. Alvin Wilbanks and Sharon Bartels have previously served in this role.

Board member Michael Sullivan of Lilburn, who serves as the representative from the state's Seventh Congressional District, moved the appointment of Cannon. The position has been open since Sharon Bartels retired in May.

Jackson told the board that Cannon is no stranger to the technical college system and has a long and well-proven track record as a leader and executive. He said: "I've had the pleasure of knowing and working with Dr. Cannon for many years. He's a talented administrator and dedicated educator who wants to help his students discover their potential and find success in the workforce. He's been involved in every aspect of college operations during his career."

Cannon has been the president of Chattahoochee Valley Community College, which is part of the Alabama Community College System, since 2011. His previous experience includes 22 years working at Georgia's technical colleges, mainly as the chief financial officer of those institutions.

He was the vice president of administrative services at DeKalb Technical College (now Georgia Piedmont Technical College) in Clarkston from 2007 to 2011. He served in the same position at Central Georgia Technical College in Macon from 1994 to 2007, and at Moultrie Technical College in Moultrie from 1993 to 1994. He was the director of accounting at Carroll Technical Institute (now West Georgia Technical College) in Waco from 1989 to 1993.

Cannon earned his Doctor of Education with a concentration in occupational studies from the University of Georgia. He received his Master of Business Administration from Mercer University and Bachelor of Business Administration from West Georgia College (now the University of West Georgia).

Gwinnett Technical College serves Gwinnett and North Fulton counties. In addition to the Lawrenceville campus, the college is building a new campus in Alpharetta near the intersection of Georgia 400 and Old Milton Parkway. When fully built out, the new campus could serve up to 10,000 students.

Last year, GTC enrolled 10,013 students in certificate, diploma and degree programs, making it the second-largest credit enrollment of the 23 TCSG colleges. The college serves thousands more students each year through a wide variety of continuing education programs. In addition, GTC provides classes in adult basic education, adult secondary education, English as a Second Language, and GED preparation. More than 6,000 adult learners took part in those programs in 2013.

About the TCSG: The 23 colleges of the Technical College System of Georgia offer affordable education and excellent training in more than 600 certificate, diploma and two-year associate degree programs. Students of all ages take advantage of low tuition, outstanding instructors, hands-on learning and state-of-the-art equipment to gain the skills needed for today's in-demand jobs.

New Duluth city manager got here naturally -- by marriage

Editor and publisher |

AUG. 12, 2014 -- You often hear of couples living in Metro Atlanta who met and married here.


One recent addition of a couple to the Gwinnett scene met not here, but in California, even though one of them was a graduate of Parkview High.

James Riker, 41, the new city manager of Duluth, was very much a Californian, born in Arcadia, the site of the Santa Anita racetrack.

"Yep, we remember as a child visiting Barn 38, that of Seabiscuit," he says, thinking of that valiant champion horse beautifully depicted in a recent book and movie.

Later Riker graduated from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, Calif., majoring in urban planning. He had anticipation of going into development. He also enrolled at the University of Southern California, getting a master's degree in planning and development.


It was in 2004 while at USC when his twin brother was dating a co-ed at UCLA, the two campuses being 13 miles apart. His brother's sorority sister was Parkview Grad Karla Bloodworth, whose mother is Diana Carson of Lilburn, and her dad is Wayne Bloodworth of Johns Creek. She was then a UCLA student studying communications. They were married in 2002, and in the meantime Karla graduated from law school at Vanderbilt. Today she raises funds for the Atlanta Girls School.

After their wedding, the couple moved to the Atlanta area, where Riker's first job was in Flowery Branch as the planning manager. He joined the City of Duluth as its planning director in January 2013, and officially became the city manager in May 2014.

We wondered what a native Californian would see as the difference in life in Metro Atlanta and in California.

Riker says: "Of course, the cost of living is higher in California, but the friendliness is what I find so nice in Atlanta. There's also an excellent quality of life here, and I feel much closer to nature here. This area has as much population diversity as LA, which contributes to the qualify of life also. Plus Atlanta is a big-league city, too. There's also a tremendous amount of resources in the arts, and also a far deeper connection to history than there is in California."

What Riker would miss from California is the proximity of the beaches. And, though Atlantans continually gripe about traffic, it is so much more challenging in Los Angeles. He adds: "Metro Atlanta may have traffic problems but it's nothing like in California. Not only that, but let me say also that the first five minutes I spent in Atlanta I saw more greenery than I ever did in Los Angeles!"

Now settling into his new job in Duluth, Riker is excited by the continual re-development of downtown Duluth. "We are seeing this re-development mature these days," he says. "There are new sites for re-development on tap. One thing we anticipate is that the old city hall block on Main Street across from the Town Green may be redeveloped as a restaurant district. One group has been working on that plan now for about 40 days, and it's due out in 90 days. It's exciting."

Welcome, James Riker, to Duluth and Gwinnett County!

Crowell Brothers Funeral Home

The public spiritedness of our sponsors allows us to bring to you at no cost to readers. Crowell Brothers Funeral Home is located on Peachtree Industrial Boulevard in Norcross, Ga. It has been a family owned and operated business in business for over 30 years, and prides itself on caring, individualized service. The staff at Crowell Brothers works to help families properly honor their loved one, according to his or her own personality and life experiences. Many families follow their own traditions when arranging services; others seek something different, a way to celebrate an extraordinary life. Crowell Brothers strives to personalize each service and help those affected begin their healing process. Whether you are currently in need of our services, or are simply educating yourself about your choices, this site was established with you in mind. Crowell Brothers is here to help you through any questions or concerns that you may have.

Corporate America tax essay was working on the wrong problem

Editor, the Forum:

Just finished your essay about American corporations leaving for other countries, and I had to toss in my two cents. It is obvious to me that you are working on the wrong problem!

These corporations employ attorneys and accountants whose sole purpose is to maximize shareholder returns and company value. These enterprising folks found a way to make the rules work to their advantage. Imagine that! The sheer audacity!

Here's a suggestion: instead of complaining that somebody found a way to save on taxes, why not ask what made that step necessary? The United States has the highest corporate tax rate in the developed world, by most measures. We can dither about the details, but the fact remains that we as a taxing authority do not value the goose over the golden egg!

Did you stop to wonder why so many companies have moved their corporate headquarters to Ireland? The corporate tax rate there is 12.5 percent. American companies have to compete for customers and profits in the global market, which most folks agree is necessary for our continued success.

Why then should nations not be able to compete for business in the same manner? Your argument is similar to the State of New York complaining when businesses leave the state for a lower-tax location in another state. Will you seriously argue that companies, or individuals, be prohibited from moving to the most advantageous location to pursue their dreams?

-- Rick Hammond, Duluth

Suggest problem, then realizes that he already knows the answer

Editor, the Forum:

In reading your piece on tax loopholes and lambasting those businesses who take advantage of them, I was struck by the following thought: is it stealing from another state or municipality when a tax break is granted (by a city, county or state) in order to entice a business to move its operations there?

Instead of standing on a soapbox and blowing in the wind, why don't we encourage (by voting) our elected representatives to close those loopholes within the tax laws? Oh yes, I forgot, we have a do-nothing Congress and a President who skirts around the edges of the law.

-- Dave Robertson, Lawrenceville

Wants less emotion and more facts concerning inversion

Editor, the Forum:

I think your perspective on the issue of corporate tax inversions would improve if you'll stop being emotional and discuss with your readers some facts about moving a corporation's domicile overseas (called "corporate tax inversion.")

  • It is perfectly legal and the description of how to do it is published in the US tax code (26 U.S. Code Section 7874).

  • Inversion doesn't change a company's tax rate. Companies pay the same tax rate on U.S. earnings after inversion.

  • Inversion does not relieve any pre-existing tax burden.

  • If U.S.-domiciled companies repatriate foreign earnings, it is taxed twice, once at the foreign rate and then again at the US rate. This isn't the case with their foreign competition, which then gains a competitive advantage in the resulting taxation difference.

What changes is a U.S. company's access to its future foreign earnings that were generated outside the U.S. tax system. Ironically, a company can use those earnings that otherwise would have been paid to the U.S. government for investment right here in the United States, which can help expand a company's business and employ more Americans. It also levels the playing field with their foreign competition, which isn't double taxed. That's a good deal for America, and it's nothing about which to get your "dander up."

-- Rich Edinger, Lawrenceville

Maintains firms fleeing U.S. for tax benefit have done nothing wrong

Editor, the Forum:

So you're driving down Interstate 85 and you're stuck in traffic. You could drive down the access lane on the side, but that would be illegal. You could take the next off ramp and take an alternative route suggested by your phone map app, and that would be legal.

So have these American companies done anything that is illegal? They are looking for a way to reduce their costs so they can afford to hire more employees. Reducing their tax liability allows them to hire more employees, who in turn pay taxes.

Maybe the problem is we have an administration who has outspent all others and does the one thing the individual does not have the ability to do - the government spends more than they take in. And continues to spend to the point where the interest on what they need to borrow is incredibly high. My grandson is about to celebrate his first birthday. His share of the national debt is over $157,000. Happy Birthday to the youth of America….

Evidently it's not just unpatriotic companies fleeing the U.S. retirees taking their Social Security checks and living abroad using the money to support other economies. Some even denouncing their citizenship so they can work abroad without having to be taxed by one of the only countries in the world that taxes its citizens no matter where they live.

Sad statement of where we are going as a nation as we continue to overtax a population because the government just can't live within a budget -- not that we've seen one in the last six years.

-- David M. Garramone, Berkeley Lake

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.

Suwanee library hosts book discussion, workshop on Thursday

A book discussion and workshop for aspiring writers will be held Thursday, August 14, at 6:30 p.m. at the Suwanee branch of the Gwinnett County Public Library. The free workshop will be led by Author Joe Samuel Starnes, and will focus on "Research: A Writer's Best Friend and A Writer's Worst Enemy- Using Research in Your Fiction."


Starnes was born in Alabama and grew up in Georgia, but has lived in New Jersey and Philadelphia since 2000. His parents continue to live in Cedartown. He is a journalism graduate of the University of Georgia, has a master's degree in English from Rutgers University in Newark, and a masters of fine arts in Creative Nonfiction from Goucher College. He was awarded a fellowship to the 2006 Sewanee Writers' Conference. He has taught writing courses at Rowan University, Saint Joseph's University, and Widener University.

Starnes first novel, Calling, was published in 2005. NewSouth Books published his second novel, Fall Line, in 2011. His third novel, Red Dirt: A Tennis Novel, is forthcoming in spring 2015. Articles by Starnes have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post and various magazines, as well as essays, short stories, and poems in literary journals.

Starnes will discuss how fiction can come alive with details acquired from research, giving short stories and novels a sense of verisimilitude. He will offer practical advice to aspiring writers about conducting research, and he will offer writers tips on avoiding the pitfalls and delays that doing research can bring to fiction writing. The Suwanee branch is located at 361 Main Street Suwanee.

  • To learn more about Gwinnett County Public Library programs and services, visit, or call 770-978-5154.

Suwanee plans 3 public meetings on proposed tax revenues

Three public meetings on proposed tax revenues in Suwanee are scheduled in the coming days.

The millage rate public hearings will be in Council Chambers on the second floor of City Hall at:

  • 5:30 p.m. Thursday, August 14;
  • Noon Tuesday, August 26; and
  • 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, August 26

The City of Suwanee has proposed a millage rate of 4.93 mills, the same rate used by the City over the past two years. That rate, however, is higher than the calculated rollback rate of 4.70 mills - this is the rate that would be expected to generate the same total revenue as the previous year.

City Council is expected to adopt a fiscal year 2015 millage rate at its August 26 meeting. Because the proposed rate is anticipated to generate a 4.89 percent increase in property tax revenues, due to rising property values, the City of Suwanee will hold three public hearings on this increase.

The proposed 4.93 millage rate will result in a tax increase of approximately $20.70 for a home with a fair market value of $225,000 and an increase of $50.60 for a nonresidential property with a fair market value of $550,000.

Watch out for "cramming" on your cell phone messages

If you have a cell phone, you've probably gotten a message that "You've Won a Free Gift Card." This spam text messages are so common; you may not think anything of them. But be careful, responding to these texts could accidentally sign you up for a $9.99/month charge.

Here's how the scam works.

You get a text message saying that you just won a $1,000 gift card from a major retailer. It sounds too good to be real, but you decide to check it out anyway. You follow the link in the text, and it leads to a legitimate-looking website with the colors and logo of the real company.

On the website is a form that prompts you to "claim your prize" by entering your name and address and confirming your cell phone number. When you enter your phone number, you receive a text message with a "secret PIN." You type the PIN into the form and hit submit. Your gift card is on the way… or not!

There is no gift card. "Winners" found themselves unknowingly signed up for $9.99 per month premium text messaging service. The scam, known as cramming, happens when a company uses your cell phone bill like a credit card, adding a charge for services that you never knowingly purchased. This scam is so prevalent that the FTC got involved and shut down six providers.
What can you do?

Just hit delete! Receive a suspicious text message? Ignore instructions to confirm your phone number or visit a link. Other scam text messages instruct you to text "STOP" or "NO" to prevent future texts. But this is a common ploy by scammers to confirm they have a real, active phone number.?

Read your phone bill: Check all charges on your phone bill each month for products and services you haven't ordered. Some charges may appear only once, but others might be monthly "subscriptions." Pay special attention to sections labeled "Miscellaneous," and the "third-party" charge sections on your bill.

Unterman on High School Athletic Overview Committee

State Sen. Renee Unterman (R- Buford) has been appointed by Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle to serve on the High School Athletics Overview Committee. This committee was created pursuant to Senate Bill 288 and is tasked with periodically reviewing the operations of Georgia's high school athletic associations. The appointment is effective immediately and will last until Jan. 1, 2017

Beyond the Next Hill
By Dwain Herndon

The author of this first novel from Grayson is to be commended for attempting the complicated story line, and multiple characters. In future endeavors, I would encourage him to develop characters that the reader can identify as their own, and develop the events that occur in a flow that connects one to the next. By the end of the book, I didn't care for any of the main characters. I had no emotional investment. Another distraction was the profanity-laced dialogue. Profanity has its place, and I am no prude, but it is more effective when used appropriately, and with discretion.

-- 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

Thousands through to North Georgia in 1829, seeking gold

There are several popular stories of the beginning of Georgia's gold rush; but in fact, no one is really certain who made the first discovery or when.

According to one anecdote, John Witheroods found a three-ounce nugget along Duke's Creek in Habersham County (present-day White County). Another says that Jesse Hogan, a prospector from North Carolina, found gold on Ward's Creek near Dahlonega.

Yet another finds a young Benjamin Parks kicking up an unusual-looking stone while on the lookout for deer west of the Chestatee River in 1828. Despite the popularity of these claims, no documented evidence for gold in Georgia is found until August 1, 1829, when a Milledgeville newspaper, the Georgia Journal, ran the following notice.

"GOLD.-A gentleman of the first respectability in Habersham county, writes us thus under date of 22d July: 'Two gold mines have just been discovered in this county, and preparations are making to bring these hidden treasures of the earth to use.' So it appears that what we long anticipated has come to pass at last, namely, that the gold region of North and South Carolina, would be found to extend into Georgia."

By late 1829 north Georgia, known at the time as the Cherokee Nation, was flooded by thousands of prospectors lusting for gold. Niles' Register reported in the spring of 1830 that there were four thousand miners working along Yahoola Creek, near Dahlonega, alone.

While in his nineties, Benjamin Parks recalled the scene in the Atlanta Constitution (July 15, 1894):

"The news got abroad, and such excitement you never saw. It seemed within a few days as if the whole world must have heard of it, for men came from every state I had ever heard of. They came afoot, on horseback and in wagons, acting more like crazy men than anything else. All the way from where Dahlonega now stands to Nuckollsville [Auraria] there were men panning out of the branches and making holes in the hillsides."

The sudden influx of miners into the Cherokee Nation was known even at the time as the Great Intrusion. One writer said in the Cherokee Phoenix, "Our neighbors who regard no law and pay no respects to the laws of humanity are now reaping a plentiful harvest. . . . We are an abused people." But there was little the Cherokees could do; it seemed the louder they protested, the more eagerly the miners came.

Gold rush towns sprang up quickly in north Georgia, particularly near the center of the gold region in present-day Lumpkin County. Auraria became an instant boomtown, growing to a population of 1,000 by 1832. The county seat, called Licklog at the time, in 1833 became known as Dahlonega, for the Cherokee word tahlonega, meaning golden. Within a few months after its establishment nearly 1,000 people were crowded into the settlement, with about 5,000 people in the surrounding county.

Brick mystery solved

Today's Mystery Photo is at the top of this issue, and may not be a mystery to many, but we like this photo and want to test our readers with it. Send your answers with hometown quickly to

After several difficult Mystery Photos, last edition's was spotted by several people. First in was James Pugsley of Atlanta, who told us: "It's the ruins of the New Manchester textile mill at Sweetwater Creek State Park in Douglas County. This was destroyed in Sherman's march." The photo was sent to GwinnettForum by Paige Havens of Lawrenceville.

Others recognizing the photo were Susan McBrayer of Sugar Hill; Libby Cromer of Lawrenceville and Bob Foreman of Grayson, who added: "The old ruins of the Civil War era mill are a great place for photos."

Then came James J. D'Angelo of Lawrenceville, adding: "It's the New Manchester Manufacturing Company Textile Mill on Sweetwater Creek, Lithia Springs, burned during the Civil War. " Also giving the answer were Rick and Sandy Krause, Lilburn, and Janice Rinaldo, of Dacula.

Taking a break on a hot day

A twig in the cypress swamp at Magnolia Plantation and Gardens outside of Charleston, S.C., provided the perfect place for this dragonfly to take a break on a hot August day. photo by Andy Brack with iPhone 5c.


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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.

Successful People Make Their Own Circumstances

"People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don't believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can't find them, make them."

-- Irish Playwright and a Co-founder of the London School of Economics George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1950), the only person who has won both an Academy Award and a Nobel Prize.




Paid advertisement

Downtown Duluth is a busy place with Eddie Owen at the Red Clay, all of our great Downtown restaurants, Thirsty Thursdays with the Farmer's Market, and Friday Food Trucks. And don't forget, the Duluth Fall Festival will be here before we know it. It is the last Saturday and Sunday in September, so mark your calendars now!

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) Creative ways to harvest and grow Social Security benefits through retirement is the theme of an August 19 program at 9 a.m. at The 1818 Club in Duluth. The Community Foundation of Northeast Georgia is putting on this program, sponsored by Sugarloaf Wealth Management LLC. Maximize your Social Security income stream with significant tools, such as sound education, good planning and the application of smart decision-making tools.

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.

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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