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WINNERS: The Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada has awarded a Distinguished Budget Presentation Award to the City of Duluth for its annual budget document for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015. This award is the highest form of recognition in governmental budgeting. In order to receive this award, a governmental unit must publish a budget document that meets program criteria as a policy document, as an operations guide, as a financial plan, and as a communications device. Budget documents must be rated "proficient" in all categories, and the fourteen mandatory criteria within those categories, to receive this award. Those helping with the documents are, from left, Kim Deaton, senior accounting technician; Beth Reeves, accounting officer; Karen Konsowitz, accounting specialist; Ken Sakmar, finance manager; Alisa Williams, public information and marketing manager; Teresa Lynn, city clerk; and James Riker, city manager. Not pictured is Sarah Yamada, accounting financial assistant. Ken Sakmar received a certificate of recognition for being the person primarily responsible for the award.

Issue 14.80 | Jan. 13, 2015

TODAY'S FOCUS
:: Aurora to stage Les Miserables for second time

EEB'S PERSPECTIVE
:: California thinking could help Georgia legislature

FEEDBACK
::
A 55-word story

UPCOMING
::
Kiwanians plan fete again; MLK Parade set

NOTABLE
::
Gwinnett C&B to present awards of decade

IN THE SPOTLIGHT
:: Walton EMC

RECOMMENDED
:: The Roosevelts, an Intimate History

QUOTE
:: Why you should wear clothes

GEORGIA TIDBIT
:: More on John Houstoun, state's 2nd governor

MYSTERY PHOTO
:: Recognizing a cathedral in Havana

LAGNIAPPE
:: Looks like wonderful dining from New Orleans

MORE
:: Contact us | Subscribe for free | GeorgiaClips.com

 
 

TODAY'S FOCUS
Les Miserables returns Jan. 15 to Aurora stage for second run
By CHELSEA BOHANNON

Special to Gwinnett Forum
| permalink

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga., Jan. 13, 2015 -- "Will you join in our crusade? Who will be strong and stand with me?"

Audiences are invited to celebrate the global phenomenon of the French novel turned award-winning musical and motion picture Les Misérables. The revolution returns to the Aurora Theatre stage January 15 until March 1. Winner of five Suzi Bass awards for its 2013 performances, including "Best Musical," audiences will be immersed into Victor Hugo's heart-wrenching tale of passion, sacrifice and betrayal - a testament to the strength and survival of human spirit. Aurora's Mainstage theatre provides an intimate setting for audiences to become engrossed in one of the world's most popular musicals.

Aurora Producing Artistic Director Anthony Rodriguez says: "Les Misérables speaks to generations of audiences, through musical genius and stories of vulnerability and passion. After waiting 30 years to do this show in 2013, it exceeded all expectations. I'm thrilled for another opportunity to work with these amazing artists on this magical show. To those who did not get a ticket to our sold-out run in 2013, don't miss this second chance at an extraordinary theatrical experience."

Under the award-winning direction of Justin Anderson, Les Misérables follows the intertwined lives of several characters reeling from the legacy of the French Revolution, specifically the notorious convict Jean Valjean and his road to redemption. When met with the unexpected duty of raising the orphaned Cosette, Valjean vows to create a life of good will and peace, leaving the horrors of his soiled past behind. Emotionally charged and uplifting, this tale of how far one man will go to protect his loved ones produces a powerful production that resonates throughout the generations.

With award-winning musical direction by Aurora's Co-Founder and Resident Music Director Ann-Carol Pence and brilliant choreography by Sarah Turner Sechelski, the talented and creative team of Phil Male (set), Alan Yeong (costumes), Mike Post (lights), Scott Sargent (props) and Daniel Terry (sound) help audiences feel like a part of the action.

Les Miserables is a musical by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg, based on a novel by Victor Hugo with original French text by Alain Boublil and Jean-Marc Natel. Music is by Claude-Michel Schönberg and lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer, additional material by James Fenton, orchestration by John Cameron and adapted and originally directed by Trevor Nunn and John Caird.

Recommended for audiences with an appreciation of culture and music, Les Misérables is presented January 15 - March 1, 2015. Discount weekday matinees will be offered on Wednesday, February 4 and 25 at 10 a.m. for $20-$30 per person. Regular show time tickets can be purchased for $30-$50 per person online at tickets.auroratheatre.com or by calling the Box Office at 678-226-6222.

Show times are as follows: Wednesday - Friday: 8 p.m. (No Wednesday performance on February 4); Saturday: 2:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.; and Sunday: 2:30 p.m.

Now in its 19th Season, Aurora Theatre produces professional live entertainment to suit everyone's taste. Aurora Theatre is home to over 600 events each year.

ELLIOTT BRACK'S PERSPECTIVE
Georgia needs leaders who will cut spending and raise taxes
By ELLIOTT BRACK
Editor and publisher
GwinnettForum.com |
permalink

JAN. 13, 2015 -- Georgia's General Assembly began Monday. Watch out! Few of us are safe from its machinations!


Brack

You can be sure with the super majority that the Republican Party now has in the Legislature, we will see many proposals aimed at reducing taxes, that will give the rich more power, and forget the underprivileged. In other words, more of the same.

It's a wonderful day, say those of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), as it licks its chops anticipating that Georgia will join other states in tearing down progressive legislation and moving our state even in a more backward direction through adoption of ALEC measures.

For years many of us have seen new legislative initiatives from California, which has over the years been in the forefront of adopting laws that eventually other states have adopted. It's to the point that both conservative and progressive factions take a dim view of California legislation, which always seems to be a step ahead of the curve, and not of their liking. It worked in California for years, as California led the way for much of the progressive legislation.

However, as a backlash, California began to bring on the less progressive era, as they elected , beginning in 1967, several people who had more reform and less progressive ideas, Ronald Reagan, George Deukmejian, Pete Wilson and Arnold Schwarzenegger. In there in 1975-83 was Democrat Jerry Brown, son of a former governor, who was more aggressive in seeking kinder legislation.

Now Jerry Brown is back again, after heading the Democratic Party in 1989, then serving from 1998 until 2007 as mayor of Oakland, Calif., then being elected as attorney general of that state. In 2010 he became governor again, and has just been re-elected as the state's chief officer at age 76.

Know how he was re-elected for the fourth term? Yes, by cutting spending but also by raising taxes! He gained 57 percent of the vote!

What? He was elected on the basis of proposing raising taxes? You betcha. But note that he also cut spending in many areas, gaining the confidence of the people of California that he knew what he was doing.

Meanwhile, this balanced yet unusual approach made the state more healthy. One reason he won re-election: after having a $27 billion budget deficit, Brown ended his first term with a $850 million budget surplus. He must have done something right, as Californians re-elected him to run the state once more.

Our state of Georgia needs a leader of the likes of Jerry Brown to come our way. Seems that both the electorate, and many of its largely-unthinking voters, accept the mantra that cutting taxes is the way to go, while watching the state slide more and more into new programs that cost more money. You hear very little from the politicos in charge about their ever-increasing budgets, while they fail to fund education as they should, as they try to foist more programs toward consumer taxes, and as they see nothing but horror if they should raise the abysmally low gasoline tax.

California may not be the most popular state, but right now it has a leader in Jerry Brown who is being proven wise by raising the taxes to get the state moving, while curtailing unworthy governmental programs.

What a refreshing political stance! It may be years before Georgia sees such a leader.

SPOTLIGHT
Walton EMC

The public spiritedness of our sponsors allows us to bring GwinnettForum.com to you at no cost to readers. Today's sponsor is Walton EMC, which provides electric service to 70,000 Gwinnett homes and businesses in the Lilburn, Snellville, Grayson, Loganville and Dacula areas. Because its customers own the company, service -- not profit -- is Walton EMC's primary focus. Walton EMC is ranked "Highest in Customer Satisfaction Among Midsize Utilities in the South" by J.D. Power (click here for details).

SPOTLIGHT
Here's a 55-word story that appears up-to-date

Over the years, GwinnettForum has offered space for 55 word stories. Here's one from Chris Collins of Norcross:

"The morning paper contained a story on government possibilities for creating a $1.5B revenue windfall. Taxpayers, unsure they agreed with the idea of taxing for transportation without a plan, stormed the Capitol building that afternoon shouting demands for inaction to prevent taxation without preparation. Oh, these are the times that continue to try men's souls."

An invitation: We encourage readers to submit feedback (or letters to the editor). Send your thoughts to the editor at elliott@brack.net. 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.

UPCOMING
North Gwinnett Kiwanians offer 7th Father-Daughter Dance

Building on the success from their previous six efforts, the Kiwanis Club of North Gwinnett is poised to host their 7th annual Father-Daughter Dance on February 6-7. The dance will be held at Buford's newest venue, the Buford Community Center and Theatre.

Also different this year is the number of dances. Since their inaugural dance in 2009, the annual dance has been limited to Saturday evening. Receiving strong response from the community, the dance was expanded to two dances in 2011. The 6 p.m. dance has sold out the past four years.

This year they will continue the tradition with dances on Friday Evening starting at 6 and 8 p.m., then also dances on Saturday at 6, 8, 9 and 11 p.m. The Saturday dances will offer a horse drawn carriage ride for an additional cost. Carriage ride tickets will be available on a first come, first serve basis.

Fathers, stepfathers, significant father-like figures, grandfathers, uncles, or role models are invited to bring their special young ladies out for an evening of dance and fun! Past attendees have ranged in age from infant to mid twenties, all enjoying a wonderful evening of music and dancing! The dance is open to daughters of all ages, young to adult!! Family friendly music will be provided to satisfy the musical taste of our guests. All proceeds from the dance and other Kiwanis Club fundraisers are reinvested into the community in the form of scholarships for area high school seniors or for other community charitable needs.

To date, the dances have returned approximately $30,000 to our community and have drawn attendance from a five county area.

With a limited number of tickets available and our past sell-out history, those interested are encouraged to purchase their tickets immediately. Tickets can be purchased online at: www.northgwinnettkiwanis.com. Refreshments will be served, affordable professional photography will be offered, and memories of a lifetime will be created! The dress is Sunday Attire.

Buford Community Center and Theatre is located at: 2200 Buford Highway, Buford, Ga. 30518. Due to limited capacity, only paying guests may attend. For more information, visit the Kiwanis website or call David Williams at 404 386-4782.

United Ebony Society plans 15th MLK Parade in Lawrenceville

The United Ebony Society of Gwinnett County, Inc. will host the 15th annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration on Monday, January 19, in Lawrenceville. The theme, "Uniting in Faith and Perseverance: Celebrating 15 Years in Gwinnett," underscores how faith and perseverance enabled the United Ebony Society to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King through the vision of creating the first MLK Annual Parade in Gwinnett County.

The kick off will be held on Langley Drive in front of the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center at 75 Langley at 9:30 a.m. The parade concludes at Moore Middle School at 1221 Lawrenceville Highway at the intersection of Johnson Road.

A free health and wellness fair will take place after the parade at Moore Middle School. Attendees of the health and wellness fair will benefit from free preventative health screenings and educational opportunities. There will be artwork on display and varied performances from Gwinnett elementary, junior high and high school students.

NOTABLE
Gwinnett C&B to honor community partners of the decade

The 35th annual Environmental Consciousness and Stewardship Awards Dinner is set for January 23 at Gwinnett Center, a key function each year of Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful (GC&B). The dinner will start at 6 p.m. with hospitality, while the awards dinner beginning at 7 p.m. Tickets are $100 per person.

The organization seeks to help Gwinnett be America's greenest, cleanest, most livable community.

Connie Wiggins, executive director of Gwinnett GC&, says that "Our ongoing success is due in large part to the unwavering support we receive from our volunteers and community partners. On January 23, we will honor a group of outstanding environmental stewards." They include:

  • Green Business Leader of the Decade: Marsha Anderson Bomar;
  • Green Industry of the Decade: Okabashi Brands, Inc.;
  • Green Community Group of the Decade: Lake Lanier Association;
  • Recycling Partner of the Decade: Eagle Rock Distributing Company;
  • Green Government of the Decade: Gwinnett County Government;
  • Public-Private Partner of the Decade: Gwinnett Village Community Improvement District; and
  • Green Educator of the Decade: Mason Elementary School.

RECOMMENDED
The Roosevelts, an Intimate History
By Geoffrey C. Ward and Ken Burns

This coffee-table size, 500-page book is a companion to the recent television series of the same name. Just reading the captions in the 796 photos, many of them never published before, is entertaining enough. But the detail that the 14-hour television series didn't cover gives even more meaning. Brilliantly documented are the lives of Theodore, Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt. This is called 'an intimate account,' as it straight-forwardly recounts the uneven life that sometimes befell these Roosevelts. It gives behind-the-scenes accounts, such as Teddy's aborted campaign seeking a third term as a Bull Mooser, Eleanor's unhappy childhood and difficulties as First Lady, and Franklin's overcoming polio, off-camera dalliances, and his wartime leadership. This book will be a welcome addition for people who want to understand this extraordinary family to whom our nation owes so much. ---eeb

* * * * *

An invitation: W hat books, restaurants, movies or web sites have you enjoyed recently? Send us your recent selection, along with a short paragraph (150 words) as to why you liked this, plus what you plan to visit or read next. --eeb

GEORGIA ENCYCLOPEDIA
Failure of invasion plans leaves early Georgia open to occupation

(Continued from previous edition)

In 1778 hundreds of Loyalists from Georgia and the Carolinas were making their way to the British fort at St. Augustine, Fla. On their way through Georgia, they robbed and plundered farms and towns. John Houstoun believed that the British were amassing an army in St. Augustine, which was known to many Americans as "that Pestiferous nest." He took the lead in organizing an invasion force consisting of troops under the commands of the Continental Congress and of the states of Georgia and South Carolina. In the spring and summer of 1778, Governor Houstoun (pictured below) personally commanded the troops of the Georgia militia in this campaign, hoping to drive the British out of Georgia and to invade Florida and take St. Augustine.

After the American troops succeeded in forcing the British out of Georgia, the commander of the Southern Department of the Continental army, Major General Robert Howe, determined that the British forces in Florida would not cross the St. Marys River to invade Georgia, and thus he opposed Houstoun's plan to capture St. Augustine. Without the support of the Continental army, Houstoun's plan to invade Florida failed. The Americans, suffering from disease, desertions, and dissension, returned to Savannah. The Continental Congress shared some of the blame for this failure. South Carolinian Henry Laurens, former president of the Continental Congress, observed that Congress was prevented from aiding Houstoun and the patriotic Georgians by the "venality, peculation, and fraud" that permeated that august body.

The failure of the military campaign to remove the British threat from Florida left Georgia open to invasion and conquest. On December 29, 1778, Savannah and Georgia fell to the British, and "one star and one bar" were removed from the American flag. Governor Houstoun's last official act was to flee the capital city of Savannah in time to avoid capture by the British troops.

The British left Savannah in 1782. Houstoun was elected governor of Georgia for a second one-year term in 1784. In 1787 he served on a commission to settle boundary disputes with South Carolina. Houstoun refused to sign the agreement reached by this commission, believing that it gave to South Carolina land that rightfully belonged to Georgia. Today's map reflects the legacy of this agreement: the boundary between the two states suggests that South Carolina did indeed take a small bite out of Georgia's northeast corner.

In 1790 Houstoun was elected as the first mayor of Savannah. He was reelected in 1791 but declined to serve. The same year, he was elected judge of the Superior Court of Georgia. In 1792 he was appointed president of Chatham Academy. On July 20, 1796, Houstoun, a lifelong defender of the liberties and interests of the citizens of Georgia, died at his home in White Bluff, near Savannah.

MYSTERY PHOTO
Where's this church?


CLUE:
For today's Mystery Photo, this is another church building, obviously. All required of you is to identify the church and where it is located.
Tell us where you think it is by sending an email to elliott@brack.net, and be sure to include your hometown.

Our veiled while written clues to the last Mystery Photo didn't stray some people from identifying the last photo, which came from Sandy and Rick Krause of Lilburn.

Ruthy Lachman Paul came with the right answer, saying: "At first I thought it Piazza della Signoria in front of the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, Italy, one of the most impressive town halls of Tuscany. Overlooking the square with its copy of Michelangelo's David statue. But it is Plaza de la Catedral of Havana one of 11 Roman Catholic cathedrals on the island of Cuba. The church was built in a Baroque style with several Tuscan elements and is considered one of the best examples of Baroque architecture in Cuba."

Harriet Nichols, Trickum, quickly identified it: "Catedral de la Habana - Havana Cathedral in Havana, Cuba. After the previous mystery photo, you made this one too easy."

The other correct answer came from Charles Brack, Allentown, Ga.


LAGNIAPPE
A reason to get on a train


MOUTH-WATERING:
An anonymous reader was on holiday in New Orleans and sent in this mouth-watering photo, a typical New Orleans concoction which consists of toast, a tomato, crab meat, shrimp and garnish. Makes a person want to get aboard Amtrak and head for the Crescent City.


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2015, Gwinnett Forum.com. 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.

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TODAY'S THOUGHT
Here's One Reason Why You Should Get Dressed Every Day

"Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society."

-- American Humorist and Political Commentator Mark Twain (1835 - 1910).

SEARCH GWINNETT FORUM

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ON THE CALENDAR

(NEW) Community Fine Arts Festival at Lanier High School near Sugar Hill, on January 17 from 12:30 p.m. until 5 p.m. Admission is free, sponsored by the Lanier Educational Foundation. Performances and activities will include many entertainers plus the Lanier's Symphonic Band, Woodwind Ensemble, Chorus and Orchestra. This is the inaugural Festival.

Georgia Cares Presentation, Monday, January 26 at 10:30 a.m. at the Gwinnett Council for Seniors office, 196 East Pike Street, Lawrenceville. Learn more about health insurance information, counseling and assistance for senior adults, and their families as well as other eligible individuals when they need help understanding Medicare. Call 770 822 5247 to make a 45 minute appointment.

Photographing Your Own Work Workshop: January 31, 10 a.m. until noon at Kudzu Art Zone in Norcross. Are you an artist or business owner who uses images of your work/product online or on a business card? This two-hour workshop is the perfect way to start your weekend! Local photographer James Sims will lead the workshop (using any camera or phone!) Cost is $20 for Kudzu members, $40 for non-members. Register here.

MORE EEB PERSPECTIVE

2/20: Acrimony between UGA, GSU
2/17: Two school proposals
2/13: GSU once university stepchild
2/10: Deal's bus drivers' attacks
2/6: Great series: Foyle's War
2/3: Innovative thinking on boxes

1/30: Remembering George Black
1/27: Crummy radio content
1/23: Funerals are changing
1/20: Think on Simpsonwood
1/16: Buford schools top list
1/13: Ga. needs real leaders
1/9: Gov's inaugural party
1/6: Our continuing objectives

12/31: Fun board game
12/23: Good news on Cuba
12/19: CIA's atrocities
12/16: Muddy, hilly roads
12/12: Drop box regulation
12/9: On philanthropy
12/5: Humor, writing contest
12/2: Simpsonwood save is good

11/25: Snellville bell tower
11/21: Remembering Carl Sanders
11/18: Talmadge House
11/14: Churchill paintings
11/11: Hudson cruise
11/7: Why it was a GOP year
11/4: Another election a possibility

FOCUS ARCHIVES

2/20: Bohannan: Barbara Awards
2/17: Brown: Against domestic violence
2/13: Jones: GGC's 10th birthday
2/10: Durant: Jamaican restaurant
2/6: Norton: Excerpts from report
2/3: Myers: "Standardized patient"

1/30: Solomon: Black History Month
1/27: Myers: PCOM bans tobacco
1/23: Rawlins: Publishing a book
1/20: Arrington: Snellville marketplace
1/16: Wascher: Gwinnett CID
1/13: Bohannon: Les Mis is back
1/9: Jones: Black-eyed peas
1/6: Berlo: NLT's choreopoem

12/31: Leonard: Andersonville tour
12/23: Havens: Rotary club's charity
12/19: Aurora wins big
12/16: Yarber: Safe harbor bill
12/12: Arrington: Hunger challenge
12/9: Preston: Lilburn mural
12/5: Witte: Simmons Building
12/2: Putnam: PC's community study

11/25: Okun: Robotic bariatric surgery
11/21: Calmes: Special Nutcracker
11/18: Urrutia: Primerica scholarships
11/14: Jones: GGC's growth
11/11: Johnson: Tesla ownership
11/7: New Brenau joint degree program
11/4: Two shows of A Christmas Carol

CONTINUING OBJECTIVES FOR GWINNETT

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
  • More diverse candidates for political offices and appointment to local boards
  • 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

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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