Issue 14.70 | Dec. 2, 2014
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PEACHTREE CORNERS, Ga., Dec. 2, 2014 -- Creating a vision for a walkable, connected downtown core, and fashioning a community identity is the focus of a study the city launched earlier this year.
Through a series of community meetings, online surveys, mail and social media, residents and business owners and operators had the chance to provide input into the study. The ultimate goal was to develop a concept plan the city would use as a guide.
The study was made possible through a Livable Centers Initiative (LCI) grant awarded by the Atlanta Regional Commission in January. The study focused on the area of Peachtree Parkway between Medlock Bridge and Holcomb Bridge roads. Lord Aeck Sargent were the consultants hired to conduct the study.
Mayor Mike Mason says: "We had a great response to the surveys and workshops. This public visioning process was key towards creating our community's identity." An Open House on November 20 presented the suggestions by Lord, Aeck, Sargent.
Bob Ballagh who attended the Open House, said: "I was dazzled by the work that has been done on planning for the Central Business District. The team has done a terrific job of laying out proposals to solve some of the issues that exist and to make the city a better place."
Elements of the study included finding ways to improve problem traffic areas, ideas for redeveloping aging strip malls, ways to integrate pedestrian and bike paths within the business district and ideas for creating safe, efficient ways for foot traffic to cross Peachtree Parkway.
Technology Park, which makes up the downtown district, was one of the focus areas. The architects presented a number of design improvement ideas for making the area attractive for foot and bicycle traffic. Also presented was the idea of constructing condominiums adjacent to office buildings within Technology Park and incorporating walking and bicycle trails for residents to enjoy.
Another area of focus was the aging shopping center on Holcomb Bridge Road and Peachtree Parkway that architects proposed could be redeveloped into a mixed use development that included a pedestrian bridge that connected to the adjacent shopping center.
The city is also working on gateway signs that will be located in entrance areas to the city to further help with creating the city's identity.
Gwinnett County's newest and largest city, Peachtree Corners was founded July 1, 2012 and is located the Chattahoochee River in the southwest corner of the county. The city is home to some 38,500 residents and over 2,300 businesses.
and design firm, Lord Aeck Sargent's services range from master planning
and programming to design. The company's portfolio includes planning education
and conference facilities and downtown and neighborhood plans.
DEC. 2, 2014 -- It was a significant day for Gwinnett with the announcement that the county and the City of Peachtree Corners are joining to purchase the beautiful Simpsonwood property on the Chattahoochee River and save it intact! The agreement to purchase the 227 acre site is the single best announcement coming out of Gwinnett County government for 2014. It will be a major addition to the Gwinnett public land holdings, and will no doubt be a shining star among the Gwinnett amenities for years to come.
Congratulations to the Methodists, and to both governments in voting this measure. We are thankful that the North Georgia Conference of the Methodist Church chose to sell to these two governmental entities, rather than cash in with a probably higher price by selling to private firms that would have developed the land and not have preserved it.
decision, the Methodists were true to the original intentions of the donor,
Miss Ludie Simpson. This move insures the land would not be broken into
smaller tracts or become commercial property.
Now the job is to figure out what is the best and highest use of the buildings on the property. It may be that Gwinnett County and Peachtree Corners governments should form some sort of joint objective entity to oversee the entire site, come up with ideas for the site's facilities, and how to manage it. Forward-looking individuals with no pre-determined agendas should be chosen for this oversight body.
The land itself should obviously be left in its current state as open, undeveloped land, making use of it for trails and wooden areas for long-term, intact preservation. It would be one of the largest tracts that the county parks system manages. (We presume the parks system, or a stand-alone non-profit under the system, would be the organization overseeing the land.)
The more difficult questions resolve around what to do with the improvements that the Methodists have made on the land. The key structures include the massive conference center, with its meeting rooms and dining facilities, plus the 170 hotel-type rooms in five large buildings that have housed and provided the meeting and eating facilities for attendees over the years.
Determining the best uses for these massive structures will go a long way toward just how well the facility will be used and guided.
Meanwhile, though the Methodists have indicated that they would relocate the Conference offices from the site, we would hope that somehow the offices of the North Georgia Conference of the Methodist Church could remain there, through a long-term lease in perpetuity. A reasonable lease would allow the church to continue to have a connection with the property. It would add to the luster of the county to have the Methodist Conference continue to call Gwinnett its home.
The announcement of the saving of the property as an intact entity is for the City of Peachtree Corners to take its best step forward as a city. It bodes well for its becoming a mature and thoughtful city, as it helps save a beautiful tract for land preservation.
All in all, the recent announcement is positive, welcome news for the county, for the Methodist Conference, and the two governments involved.
There's more: Miss Ludie Simpson asked the Conference to build a chapel in honor of her mother. The Methodists are planning to move that chapel intact across the street to the Simpsonwood United Methodist Church. Another big plus!
Three cheers: Hip, Hip, Hurrah!
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Editor, the Forum:
I want to thank all our team for your work on this community project of saving Simpsonwood Retreat Center and more importantly, for preserving the wishes of the donor, Ms. Ludie Simpson.
I honestly think that our team's resolution at the Methodist conference in June may have planted a seed in each of the delegate's hearts. I also think that the change in their hearts was a God event between the annual conference in June and the special called conference in October. The leadership hoped for 1,000 folks to attend; over 1,500 were present.
The trustees only discussed the offer from the developer for the first 1.5 hours of the October meeting and said that they voted unanimously to sell to the developer. And then, one by one, folks outside of Peachtree Corners and Norcross started quoting scripture; and discussing pertinent sections in the UMC Book of Discipline, and stipulations from the will of Ms. Simpson and the memo of understanding from the North Georgia Conference lay leader in 1973 when the property was donated. To my knowledge, this data had never been discussed with all the delegates before our resolution was read in June.
that information in full view for a reason, and the delegates responded
to Gwinnett County's offer. Please also keep in mind that the Gwinnett
County offer was "sweetened" by the city of Peachtree Corners
at 8 p.m. the night before the October meeting. I believe that this was
all handled in God's timing to show us that His will was done.
The season of Advent means "coming," anticipating Christ's birth
Editor, the Forum:
If you were raised in the Anglican or Catholic traditions, you know we are now in the season of Advent, the four Sundays before Christmas. Advent, which means "coming," allows us to spend time in quiet reflection, anticipating Christ's birth. Advent is not a penitential season like Lent, because it is preparation for a joyous event. In the Catholic and Anglican traditions, Christmas comes on December 25, and it is not Christmas until then! So, it is not really correct liturgically or theologically to wish anyone "Merry Christmas" until the 25th. Therefore, if in your religious or personal tradition, it's okay to wish people Merry Christmas from now until December 25th, fine. But, recognize that there are others with different traditions. Please respect them.
The Lilburn Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints once again invites the community to join them in a "Christmas Nativity Celebration" to be held December 5, 6, and 7. Last year nearly 500 treasured crèche were displayed. The traditional three-dimensional artistic representation of the birth of Jesus, usually with the infant Jesus in a manger, surrounded by figures of Mary, Joseph, shepherds, animals, and the wise men were presented in a wide array of materials and represented countries from around the world.
Jim Brinkeroff, who is organizing the event, says: "This year we are expecting to reach 750 Nativity sets and many handmade Seasonal quilts." In addition, the Sugar Hill LDS Choir will perform their 10th annual Christmas concert, "Come Let Us Adore Him."
Each nativity scene offers a unique representation of the birth Christ, reflecting the culture and perspective of artist around the world. One of the more unusual sets is from Mexico City. "It took up about 100 square feet and included running water with fish!"
The Celebration of the Nativity will be held at 1150 Cole Drive SW, Lilburn on Friday, December 5 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday, December 6 from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday, December 7 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and again from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. with a special appearance of the Sugar Hill LDS Choir performing in the Annex Building. The celebration is open to all and free of charge.
McDaniel Farm Park offers candlelight tours during December
Escape the hustle and bustle of the modern holiday season and return to a more tranquil time when a brightly lit home full of family and neighbors made for a warm and festive winter's night. Enjoy candlelight tours of McDaniel Farm during the month of December.
Step back in time as costumed guides share historic customs and traditions from the Victorian period and provide guests with a glimpse of everyday life on a family farm. Guests will be treated to a cup of hot chocolate or apple cider as well as have the opportunity to make a special holiday craft.
The one and a half hour guided candlelight tour will be offered on various dates and times during the month of December, including December 5, 7, 11, 12, 13, 14, 19, 20, 21 and 22. Tours will begin at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. on each of the aforementioned dates.
fee for the candlelight tour is $5 per person. EHC members are free. Pre-registration
is required and can be done online at www.gwinnettEHC.org.
McDaniel Farm is located at 3251 McDaniel Road, Duluth.
became the latest city in Gwinnett County to officially undertake a public
arts program recently. At the October meeting, City Council members approved
the creation of an Arts Commission, which is charged with planning, implementing
and regulating arts initiatives in the city. Also, the city named seven
residents to the panel. Sugar Hill is thrilled to have another program
to bring the community together, this time via the arts.
about time we did this," Mayor Steve Edwards says.
Tem Marc Cohen, who will represent City Council on the new panel, said
that the council will "help manage and promote the arts" as
well as act as an advisory board for proposed public arts projects. Suwanee
and Duluth also have similar arts panels that have implemented projects
in those cities.
Cohen, others on the new panel are Susan Brown, Victoria Kesler, Wendy
Green, Joyce Cutchins, Terry Mulligan, and Charles "Buzz" Alford.
The council will hold regular monthly meetings, and special meetings as
needed, according to city documents.
Duluth UGA student wins School of Social Work scholarship
A University of Georgia student from Duluth, Kacey Ardoin, has been awarded the Helen Elizabeth Huey Scholarship, a new scholarship in the School of Social Work that annually supports students who demonstrate a strong desire to protect the interests of children, particularly children growing up in foster care. She, along with Tonia Dalton of Martinez, Calif., will receive $2,000 each while they complete social work degrees with a focus on children and families. The scholarship was endowed by UGA alumnus John W. Huey Jr. and his wife, Kate Ellis Huey, in memory of Huey's sister, Helen Elizabeth Huey, and is awarded annually to two social work students.
Ardoin and Dalton, who anticipate graduating in 2015, were chosen based on their interest in working with children, academic and employment history, letters of recommendation and personal essays.
Ardoin, from Duluth, has been taking coursework related to the care of abused and neglected children and youth. She is currently interning in the children and adolescents unit of Advantage Behavioral Health Systems in Athens, where she conducts intake screenings and therapy sessions, and coordinates physical and mental health services for clients under the age of 18 and their families.
GA-PCOM confers traditional white coats on 254 students
The Georgia Campus of the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine's pharmacy and osteopathic medicine students symbolically transitioned from the classroom to clinicians at White Coat Ceremonies held at Gwinnett Center recently. These rites of passage were attended by not only the students, faculty and staff, but also by proud family members and friends of the 109 first year pharmacy students and the 145 first year osteopathic medicine students.
Richard Chase, DO, representing the Georgia Osteopathic Medical Association which supported the symbolic event, says: "It's a privilege, a sacred calling to wear the white coat."
By wearing the white coat, Dean of Medicine H. William Craver, DO, said, "We are holding ourselves to the practice and ethics which are far beyond reproach. You are on an exciting journey ahead." Two of the first year medicine students at the ceremony included Nisarg Patel and Zach Kopelman.
Sugar Hill making great strides with youth intern program
The City of Sugar Hill has made great strides in engaging youth the past few months with the addition of the Youth Council, Youth Ambassador, and internship opportunities. The City staff has seen incredible progress with the assistance of interns.
Over the past three months, the City of Sugar Hill has brought on six interns to assist with tasks of many levels. These responsibilities have grown as trust has been established. The current interns consist of Lanier High School students Jonah Urquhart, Andrew Roland, Francisco Martinez, Brent Hernandez, Giovanni Manno, and Meena Noori.
is pleased to work with local college and high school interns, and has
volunteer positions available in several key areas. For more information
on getting involved, contact Scott
Andrews at 770-945-6716.
In 1923 Charles Lindbergh flew his first solo flight at Souther Field in Americus. He visited Georgia again in 1927 as part of his triumphal tour in the Spirit of St. Louis, the plane in which he made his record-breaking nonstop flight between New York City and Paris, France. Lindbergh's Atlanta visit became a stimulus for commercial aviation in Atlanta and the development of Candler Field.
Lindbergh was born in Detroit, Mich. in 1902 and spent his early childhood in Little Falls, Minn. His father, a U.S. congressman, was well known as an opponent of America's involvement in World War I (1917-18). Lindbergh enrolled in the engineering program at the University of Wisconsin. Neglectful of his studies, Lindbergh flunked out midway through his second year.
In April 1922 he enrolled in flight school and began flying lessons in Lincoln, Neb., though he never flew solo (without an instructor). In the summer and fall of 1922 he worked as an assistant to a Nebraska stunt pilot during the "barnstorming" season.
In late April 1923 Lindbergh traveled to Souther Field in Americus, where John Wyche of Macon was selling surplus Curtiss JN-4 "Jenny" biplanes still in their crates. (Souther Field was a pilot training facility for the U.S. Army during WWI.) Lindbergh paid $500 for one Jenny, a Curtiss OX-5 engine, an extra 20-gallon gas tank, and a fresh coat of olive drab dope. At night he slept in one of the vacant hangars on the deserted field; the last of the U.S. Army personnel had departed before Lindbergh's arrival.
His plane was assembled a week later. Though not a pilot (but only he knew that), Lindbergh strapped in, started the engine, throttled forward into the open grass field, and lifted off. The day was windy, and as the plane ascended, its right wing dipped. Sensing he was about to lose control, Lindbergh brought the plane back to earth, grazing the right wing-skid. Lindbergh taxied his Jenny back to the hangar, where a pilot who had been watching offered to take him back up. They executed numerous take-offs and landings together.
Later that afternoon, with the winds calmer, Lindbergh lifted off easily and climbed to 4,500 feet, where he looked down on the town of Americus. Later he recalled the elation of flying alone for the first time, the sound of the wind, and the far horizons of southwest Georgia visible wherever he looked. After landing, he was congratulated by a lone African American man, the only witness to Lindbergh's solo flight.
For the next few weeks Lindbergh continued to practice take-offs and landings until he perfected his technique. Ready to set out on his own, Lindbergh decided to head home by way of Alabama, Mississippi, and Texas, where he would barnstorm. On the morning of May 17 Lindbergh rolled up his belongings in his blanket, strapped into the backseat of his Jenny, and departed Souther Field for a future that nobody could have foretold.
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"When I first heard that Humpty Dumpty fell off the wall, I immediately wondered: Did he fall - or was he pushed?"
Anne Byrn, the bestselling author of The Cake Mix Doctor series of cookbooks, is the Gwinnett Library's Meet the Author series next presentation. She will appear on Wednesday, December 3 at 6:30 p.m.. at the Peachtree Corners branch, located at 5570 Spaulding Drive The event is free and open to the public, with books available for sale and signing.
Lilburn Parade Route Change: Because of construction on
Main Street, the City of Lilburn has changed the route of its annual Christmas
Parade, which will be at 10 a.m. on December 6. The parade will
still occur on Main Street, but it will begin on Poplar Street instead
of at First Baptist Church of Lilburn.
Duluth's 36th Annual Tree Lighting will be Saturday, December 6, near city hall and will kick off at 4 p.m. There will be activities including arts and crafts and other events before the lighting at 6 p.m. BB Harris Elementary and Duluth High School Chorus sing holiday classics. Santa and his reindeer will be present.
Sugar Hill's Tree Lighting will start at 5:30 p.m. on December 6 at the Bowl, behind City Hall. Anticipated among the activities will be ice skating, trains, music, food, hot drinks and the annual Tree Lighting, plus of course, Santa. The event will last until 8:30 p.m.
(NEW) Dinner Theatre in Sugar Hill, Thursday and Friday, December 11-12 at 7 p.m. at the Community Center, 1166 Church Street. Presenting The Crudgemuffin's Christmas Traditions is a humorous look at the silly traditions families can perpetuate, as directed by local playwrights Ane Mulligan and Michael Wright with revisions by co-directors Bob Seelig and Marty Snowden. The dinner theater is catered by Catering for Atlanta, and is a fundraiser for Players Guild @ Sugar Hill, one of the City's newest arts groups. Tickets are $35 and are available at www.playersguildsugarhill.net.
(NEW) Marry or Re-Marry at 10:11 a.m. on Dec. 13, 2014, (that's 10:11 on 12.13.14, FYI) by registering to take part in a free mass wedding ceremony at Pinckneyville Park Community Center. The ceremonies will be conducted by Chief Magistrate Kristina Hammer Blum and Gwinnett Probate Judge Christopher Ballar. Couples must have a valid marriage prior to the wedding, or bring their original license and identification. More info: 770 822-8250.
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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