Issue 14.72 | Dec. 9, 2014
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LILBURN, Ga., Dec. 9, 2014 -- This past year's mural painted on a building on Main Street is much more than just another public art piece. For those who followed the project from the initial design on paper and then watched the days, weeks and months of work that transformed the rendering into a work of art have truly been amazed of the effect that the "Tunnel" has had on Lilburn.
The detail incorporated into the mural has become so much a part of our landscape that some in the City have been concerned that someone not familiar with Lilburn might actually try to drive through it! Residents and visitors alike have enjoyed photographing themselves in the back-in-time scene. One resident has even been inspired to envision the other side of the tunnel as a framework for a historical novel of old Lilburn. Isn't that what art does - inspire?
So who is the artist behind Lilburn's first public art piece? Did the City of Lilburn pay big bucks to acquire a mural that was recently recognized as best in its class by Signs of the Times trade magazine? No, not an artist from the outside, but one from right here in Lilburn - an artist, business owner and resident who understands the value in giving back to his community.
Sonny Franks, owner of Sign Creations, is the artist behind the mural. Residents for 32 years, Sonny and his wife Peggy spend time together traveling the country painting murals or getting together with other artists to improve their skills.
Sonny grew up in Columbia, S.C., painting signs at a summer job. Painting honed his talent by studying graphic arts at Clemson and advertising design at University of South Carolina. He started his business, Sign Creations while attending Clemson.
Sonny has been an avid member of the Letterheads, a group of sign professionals who gather in different places to share techniques, ideas, and fellowship. Sonny has traveled to England, Greece, Canada and Scotland. The Letterheads are dedicated to the altruistic theory that seasoned veterans pass their knowledge on to others, elevating the quality of everyone's work. He feels that he has learned from the best in the business.
One Letterhead mural that he is proud of can be seen in Suwanee on the back of their amphitheater. It has 47 members of the Georgia Music Hall of Fame featured in a concert setting. He is also a member of the Walldogs, who get together every summer to paint murals in a selected city. The group leaves a legacy of as many as 20 murals in a four-day span, with about 150 artists donating their time and talent.
Sonny's vision for art in Lilburn is that somehow we will harness the energy and tremendous abilities of the many artists living in the city. That vision fueled his motivation to put time and energy into helping to start Lilburn Arts Alliance, an organization dedicated to promoting art appreciation in our community. How fortunate for Lilburn that Sonny Franks located his family here to pursue his dream and give back to the community. He has made an impact on our City that is both inspiring as well as motivating.
Thank you, Sonny Franks.
DEC. 9, 2014 -- How do you enrich any community in its arts and culture and transform it into a vibrant and caring area?
Traditionally in this country, with its tax laws, it's been some individual making a lot of money in private business, then recognizing that he owes something to give back to the community. Based on the tax laws, this has usually meant the creation of a foundation to oversee the accumulated wealth of this individual, and determine how best to give his assets to improve his interests in philanthropic activities.
All this came to mind last week when the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation announced that it would give $38 million to the Woodruff Arts Center, the largest gift in the Center's 46 year history. Not only that, but the gift will begin an $82 million Art Center campaign to boosts its endowment by $50 million, and raise $32 million in capital improvements to the Center.
You don't get announcements like that every day, if you are in Atlanta. Locally, Gwinnett County's arts and culture charities have never had such a gift.
All this emphasizes what it takes to benefit any community's culture: it takes people making money in private business, and having the capacity to realize that all this was not accomplished by them alone, but with the help of others, and therefore, they need to "give back" to the community. Without significant extremely successful business ventures in any area, there's no financial wherewithal to make large cultural and charitable gifts.
That's why the South, in particular, has been bereft of capital to benefit its geography. Compared to the industrial center of the North and Midwest, the South has suffered from lack of financial resources.
There are few foundations benefiting Gwinnett. The largest is the Scott Hudgens Family Foundation, with assets exceeding $100 million, which annually contributes about $5 million to cultural and charitable activities, mostly in Gwinnett.
The next largest foundation in the county would be the Community Foundation of Northeast Georgia, which has $30 million in assets. We know of no more major large foundations in Gwinnett. (Other local foundations, such as the Gwinnett Medical Center Foundation and Georgia Gwinnett College Foundation, are not in the same activity as private foundations, but set up mainly to receive donations to benefit that specific institution.)
But the point is that Gwinnett has few other private foundations awarding major grants.
Atlanta is a prime example of what it takes to have a major charitable foundation. The major Atlanta foundations came as a result of one product: Coca Cola, and its bottling companies. These foundations and their assets include:
You can see how these four foundations, all run from basically one office, contribute mightily to Atlanta.
Individuals in business who realize they "owe back" have stepped up and given of their treasures to make life better for others. The top five foundations in the country and their assets are:
Accumulating wealth is not easy, as we all know. But some people find ways to do it, and the good ones find ways to spread their wealth and improve communities.
Who's ready to step up next?
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Editor, the Forum:
Your recent comment on Simmons Mattress made me remember back years ago, when I worked with Burroughs and installed the systems the Simmons team used to run their business. I had many opportunities in working with Bob Magnusson, their CEO, to learn about the building.
landscape architect, Robert Marvin, of Walterboro, S.C. did the exterior
property design. After Simmons was acquired by Gulf&Western, they
required the company move to Executive Park off I-85, with the comment
that no one could do serious work in such a pristine environment. This
was also a time when Gwinnett was a dry county with no restaurants nearby.
Simmons had to take their clients and executives to DeKalb county if they
wanted to entertain them with spirits after a long day of work.
Enjoy beginning of three stories taking off from same place
Three GwinnettForum contributors accepted the challenge to write 100 words off the start of a student's beginning words of a story, "The informant was late."
Enjoy these suggestions.
Now an additional challenge: Pick up the story from here, and we'll print those entries next week. Who knows? This serial writing could go on forever. Pick the story you want to continue in another 100 words.
* * * * *
The first is from Michael Wood of Peachtree Corners:
* * * * *
Now the start of a story from Beverly Lougher of Lawrenceville:
* * * * *
Finally, this entry from Karen Garner of Dacula:
Walton Electric Membership Corporation (EMC) is now accepting applications for Walton Electric Trust Scholarships. Up to 32 college scholarships of $4,000 will be awarded to graduating seniors and incoming college freshmen whose homes are served by Walton EMC electric power. Applicants must be 21 years old or younger, and the scholarships must be used at an accredited college, university or vo-tech school.
The scholarship award committee is looking for applicants who have demonstrated a dedication to community service, possess a strong work ethic, demonstrate extracurricular involvement and have triumphed over obstacles and hardships.
Applications are available at waltonemc.com. The deadline for submissions is Jan. 30, 2015. The money for these scholarships comes from unclaimed capital credit refunds. After all attempts to find the owners are exhausted, the money goes into a fund provided for by Georgia law.
Lanier High students plan first Winterfest in Sugar Hill
On Sunday, December 14, a team of Lanier High School students will be presenting the inaugural Winterfest in downtown Sugar Hill from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. to raise funds for the Gwinnett Children's Shelter.
There will be ice skating, face painting, a cake walk, cornhole tournament, and presentations from groups including the LHS Robotics Team. There will be performances from local bands, artists, and dance groups. Bobby Gueh, a counselor at Lanier, says "This is a great opportunity to get the band back together".
Although Winterfest started out as a simple school project for Lanier High School's new Academy initiative, it has now turned into a full-fledged community event thanks to Molly Kunkle, Lindsey Crawford, Frank Martinez, and Avery Evans. This group of seniors decided not to just talk about helping the Gwinnett Children's Shelter but bring the fundraiser for the amazing group to life.
Coach Ryan Proffitt says: "Events like this are the reason I love living in a town like ours." Sangeeta Solanki, manager of the Sugar Hill Tutoring Center, says she couldn't be more excited, "This is such a great idea! I can't wait to see how it brings our community together!"
Chapter of the March of Dimes announced that Pam Noonan of the Gwinnett
Women's Pavilion at Gwinnett Medical Center (GMC)-Lawrenceville received
top honors in the Women's Health category. The organization honored 16
outstanding local nurses at the 2014 Nurse of the Year Awards.
Through Nurse of the Year Awards, the March of Dimes recognizes nurses who demonstrate exceptional patient care, compassion, and service. Whether serving as a health care provider, educator, researcher, or chapter volunteer/advisor, these nurses have played a critical role in improving the health of Georgia's residents.
Gwinnett Medical Center nurses Nicole Lescota, Melissa Johnson, Beth Timberlake, Beverly Vick and Susan Childs were also nominated in various categories.
Sheila Ryan, state director of the March of Dimes Georgia Chapter, says: "Dating back to the polio era, nurses have played a critical role in advancing the mission of the March of Dimes. Today, nurses serve as volunteers, fundraisers and advisors to the March of Dimes. Nurses are critical to the mission of improving the health of babies -and are key in comforting families. We are proud to give recognition to Georgia's nurses who are heroes in the medical community."
Nurse of the Year Awards are given annually in approximately 16 award categories. More than 800 nurses were nominated in Georgia and of those, 240 were selected as finalists.
Leadership Snellville creates gift boxes for city Christmas tree
The inaugural class of Leadership Snellville helped create the Christmas Gift Boxes which were part of the 33rd annual Christmas Tree Lighting event last week. The boxes are currently under the Christmas tree on the Towne Green in front of City Hall. The leadership class teamed up with the Snellville Arts Commission on the community service project.
are Kirk Buis, Judy Leavell, Mack Brannan, Alisa Boykin, Tony Wallace,
Beverly Powers and Brittany Washington. Not pictured are Constance Robinson
of Leadership Snellville and Kathi Mardis, Jean Baldwin and Nedra Bailey
of the Snellville Arts Commission.
Duluth seeking residents for focus group on Dec. 11
of Duluth is contracting with Rock Paper Scissors (RPS), a branding and
web development firm, to examine the current marketing efforts of the
city, and to map a strategy for the future. The goal is to join forces
to explore all avenues of opportunity for Duluth.
A one hour
focus group will be conducted at City Hall to gain a better understanding
of current city perception. Residents who can commit to participate in
this marketing initiative should contact Catherine
Kimbro at 678-466-7027. The focus group will take place Thursday,
December 11 at 6:30 p.m. in the Community Room at City Hall.
Can't make the focus group? No worries! Take just a few moments and fill out a survey by clicking here.
(Continued from previous edition)
Most major estuaries extend inland as far as 20 miles or more, to the point where the river water becomes fresh. An estuary's area may depend on the point of origin, the average flow, and the size of the river entering it. For instance, median flow in the Satilla River is one tenth that in the Altamaha. As a consequence, one typically encounters freshwater about 12 miles upstream in the Altamaha as compared with more than 30 miles upstream in the Satilla.
Although greatly influenced by the tides, many Georgia estuaries are protected from the full force of ocean waves, winds, and storms by the barrier islands. For all of their importance, however, estuaries are not outlined on regular maps and do not have well-defined borders. Unlike sounds, bays, rivers, and creeks, estuaries are not accorded proper names.
estuaries are alike. Each is unique in its biology, geology, hydrology,
and other characteristics. The circulation patterns and physical characteristics
of only a few Georgia estuaries have been well studied. The extent of
mixing between freshwater and saltwater dictates an estuary's most important
characteristic-its salinity, or the measure of salt in the water. Seawater
is about 35 parts salt per thousand parts water, roughly corresponding
to a tablespoon of salt in a glass of water. Freshwater is less than one-half
part salt per thousand parts water. If the salinity is less than sea strength,
but saltier than freshwater, the water is said to be brackish-the hallmark
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"In the United States there is more space where nobody is than where anybody is. That is what makes America what it is."
Water Conservation Workshop, at Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center, Tuesday, December 9 at 7 p.m. Residents who attend will receive a low-flow retrofit kit, outdoor water efficiency kit, do-it-yourself home water audit guide and information on how to apply for the County's toilet rebate program. Residents can register for the workshop by sending an email with their name, address and phone number or calling (678) 376-6722.
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.
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.
(NEW) Handel's Messiah in two performances by Goossen's Orchestra. Two different concerts: Saturday, December 13 at 7 p.m. at Christ the King Lutheran Church, 5575 Peachtree Parkway in Peachtree Corners; and Sunday, December 14 at 7 p.m. at First Christian Church of Atlanta, 4532 LaVista Road in Tucker. Admission is free. Guests are invited to attend receptions following the concerts. Produced by the Gwinnett Symphony Orchestra and Chorus.
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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