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RENDERING: Here is the conception of what the new City of Lilburn City Hall and Library will look like. Visitors to both the City Hall and Library will enter through the center of the building, with the city activities on the left and library on the right. Work is progressing on the project, with the timetable for completion the fall of 2016.

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Issue 14.81 | Jan. 16, 2015

:: Gwinnett Village CID reports lowest crime rate

:: Buford City Schools become top metro district

Why aren't people as friendly?

Suwanee highway closing; MLK Parade in Snellville

Georgia 20 bridge construction; Duluth roadwork

:: Hayes Family Dealerships

:: Silence of friends speaks loudly

:: Publisher finds eventual success in Civil War

:: Several recognized Macon church

:: Snellville wins Keep Georgia Beautiful award


Gwinnett Village CID reports lowest crime levels in its history

Special to Gwinnett Forum
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NORCROSS, Ga. Jan. 16, 2015 -- The Gwinnett Village Community Improvement District (GVCID) has released annual crime statistics showing the lowest levels of targeted crimes since the CID's formation in 2006. This CID is the largest CID in the state of Georgia,

Statistics from 2014, provided by the Gwinnett County Police Department, continued a trend of declines in total robbery, commercial burglary and motor vehicle thefts by 37 percent, 14 percent and 46 percent respectively when compared to 2013.

Chuck Warbington, executive director for the Gwinnett Village CID, says: "The fact that we continue to make positive strides in lower crime rates year after year is an indication that our crime prevention initiatives are paying dividends. The real reason for this level of success is the strength of the partnerships we've formed with the Gwinnett County and Norcross Police Departments. I can't give them enough credit for the work they do on a daily basis to make this a safer community for local residents and business owners."

In April 2007, the GVCID board of directors voted unanimously to initiate a Targeted Enforcement Zone (TEZ) program to provide additional security coverage for commercial properties in the district. The program is a multi-pronged approach that includes consistent graffiti and litter removal, code violation sweeps, private security patrols, and additional Norcross police patrols- all funded by the CID. The patrols focus on suspicious activity, vehicles and persons in commercial areas of southwest Gwinnett County.

Mayor Bucky Johnson of Norcross says: "We've made significant investments in enhanced security in the City. From personnel and cameras to predictive software, we are ensuring that our police department has every tool at its disposal to enhance the safety of Norcross and the Gwinnett Village area."

The CID is also in constant coordination with the Gwinnett County Police Department through the Westside Police Precinct. If a trend is identified in a certain part of the district, the police notify the CID, and vice-versa, so resources can be focused on the areas that need them most.

District 2 County Commissioner Lynette Howard feels: "The tireless work performed by our officers is evident in these results. These statistics are a real success story of what can happen when jurisdictions, at different levels, work together to make a significant, positive impact on the community."

Since the inception of the TEZ program, the targeted crimes have seen significant reductions every year. From 2007 through 2014, total robberies have gone down by 65 percent, total commercial burglaries have seen a drop of 55 percent and motor vehicle thefts have declined by 71 percent. That makes for a decrease in total targeted crimes of 66 percent for that time period.

"This community is safer and consequently more attractive for new business and investment than it has ever been," says Warbington. "These results only serve to encourage us to try to sustain this positive trend for our community."

* * * * *

ABOUT THE GWINNETT VILLAGE CID: The Gwinnett Village CID is a special benefit district supported by area commercial property owners which aims to improve southwest Gwinnett County's aging infrastructure, security issues and property values. The mission of the Gwinnett Village CID is to increase property values, promote business development and improve the quality of life for all those who live, work and play in the village. Online at

Buford schools named top public district in metro Atlanta
Editor and publisher |

JAN. 16, 2015 -- Hats off with congratulations to the Buford City School System for being named as the top public school district in Metro Atlanta. This recognition comes from the website, which focuses on neighborhoods and education, grading 8,738 school districts.


Winning the top recognition is a mighty high honor, one which those acquainted with the Buford Schools have felt for years, and now are validated by the recognition.

Buford City Schools received from an A for academics, an A for health and safety, an A+ for student culture and diversity, and a 4.6 out of 5 in the parent and student survey of overall experience.

The top ten in Metro Atlanta schools area:

1. Buford City Schools
2. Decatur City Schools
3. Oconee County Schools
4. Forsyth County Schools
5. Bremen City Schools
6. Gwinnett County Schools
7. Carrollton City Schools
8. Morgan County Schools
9. Marietta City Schools
10. Cherokee County Schools

The honor comes after the Buford Schools have worked diligently to achieve in all fields, from academics, to fine arts programs, to participation by parents, and by athletic teams. While the sports teams get lots of publicity, many people do not recognize that the Buford fine arts program is considered top notch. Its Literary Arts program has been state champs seven years in a row, and the Drama Team has been state champs two of the last three years. Its other fine arts programs are thriving, as they work in superb facilities.

Dr. Geye Hamby has been the superintendent of the system for the last nine years, with five previous years as an assistant superintendent in the system. He came to Buford after work in Floyd County and the Cartersville City Schools.

He says: "We are absolutely thrilled with the recognition in the academics. It mainly is because of the hard work of the dedicated faculty and staff and the students, as we have the best community support we could anticipate." He adds: "We've also been recognized by Advanced Education, (formerly the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools) by winning the highest commendation of any school in the state this past academic year."

There are 4,200 students and nearly 500 faculty and staff of the Buford City School program. The system transports about 2,000 students each day. About 25 percent of the students in the system are from outside the city limits, and pay a fee to be in the system. However, a majority of these paying students are only admitted at the kindergarten level, as Dr. Hamby says they are "nurtured through the years to graduate in consistency in the academic program."

Philip Beard, chairman of the Buford City School (and chairman of the City of Buford City Commission), says the school system works hard at being successful. "It's all coming together, as we mature in Buford, with a solid tax base, so that we have the money to pay a little more and hire the best of teachers and staff to ensure quality." Other members of the School Board include Pat Pirkle, Daren Perkins, Beth Lancaster and Bruce Fricks.

Already underway for the school system are several new facilities. That includes a new multi-purpose building with a 5,000 capacity, to be completed in 2017, which will have space for both athletic facilities and stages for the fine arts programs. Also a new high school will be completed in 2018.
Buford's winning at all levels.

A big congratulations to the school system and the city.

Hayes Family Dealerships

The public spiritedness of our sponsors allows us to bring to you at no cost to readers. Today's sponsor is Hayes Family Dealerships with Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac, and GMC. Mike, Tim and Ted Hayes of Lawrenceville and Gainesville with Terry Hayes of Baldwin and Stan Roberts of Toccoa invite you into their showrooms to look over their line-up of automobiles and trucks. Hayes has been in the automotive business for over 40 years, and is North Georgia's oldest family-owned dealerships. The family is the winner of the 2002 Georgia Family Business of the Year Award.

What happened to the friendliness of our neighborhoods?

Editor, the Forum:

Those funny neighbors! Isn't it ashamed that neighbors are not like they used to be?

Where did the time go that everyone would at least "throw up" their hand and wave at you when you passed the house or were out in the yard? Such times are gone in the past.

Now and then I think of how our little community where I live has changed. My neighbor now does not even speak when she is out in the yard. People are strange. When they move into a new area, they should take the time to get to know their neighbors. Who knows, they might learn something!

-- Sharon Cassidy, Bethlehem

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.

Buford Highway in Suwanee to be closed this weekend

Repair will take place of a 500 feet long section of Georgia Highway 13 (Buford Highway) in Suwanee this weekend, if weather cooperates. The asphalt will be removed and rebuilt from the dirt to the driving surface. The work will be around the clock from Saturday, January 17 at 7 p.m. until Monday, January 19 at 4 a.m.

Crews will close Buford Highway from just north of Sugarloaf Parkway to just south of Percival Drive. Work is scheduled to occur over the weekend to minimize the impact of the road closure and detour.

The detour route goes from Buford Highway to Peachtree Industrial Boulevard to McGinnis Ferry Road to Buford Highway

Snellville MLK Day Parade starts Monday at 10 a.m.

For the fourth straight year, the City of Snellville will be the site of a march to honor the legacy of slain civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The march, the theme of which is "Pursuing the Dream," will begin at 10 a.m., Monday, January 19, at New Jerusalem Baptist Church, 1958 Dogwood Road. Participants will march down Dogwood to North Road, then down Wisteria Drive. Participants will then cross U.S. Highway 78 where the march will end at South Gwinnett High School.

Once at SGHS, the first 200 participants will be treated to a turkey dinner inside the school cafeteria and entertained by local choirs. The event is sponsored by New Jerusalem Baptist Church, Stone Mountain Volkswagen, Mayor Kelly D. Kautz and the City of Snellville.

Participants for this year's event are asked to bring canned food items to benefit the Overcomer's House, a local non-profit organization that feeds and clothes families in the Snellville community. The Overcomer's House Food Pantry will be open during the celebration in the Kmart parking lot on Wisteria Drive for those in need. The march is open to everyone. For more information visit

Gwinnett Extension Service taking orders for plants, fruits

The Gwinnett County Cooperative Extension office in Lawrenceville is offering varieties of blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, figs, apples, pomegranate, native azaleas and other landscape plants as part of their annual sale. Orders will be taken from January 2 thru March 11. Order forms may be obtained from:, or calling 678-377-4010.

A class on our fruit plants offered for sale will be taught at Gwinnett Annex Building, 750 South Perry Street on the second floor conference room, Lawrenceville on March 11, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Orders may be placed at this class with check or correct cash only. Pre-registration is required by March 9 by contacting Tim Daly at 678-377-4010.

All orders must be prepaid and picked up at the Gwinnett County Fairgrounds (Sugarloaf Parkway) in Lawrenceville on Thursday, March 26 between 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. No orders are shipped and all orders are pre-paid. New this year, the Extension Service will be accepting credit card payments (Visa, Mastercard and Discover) with walk-in orders to our office. This is a one day only plant pick up. Plants not picked up are considered a donation.

Construction resumed on Georgia Highway 20 bridge over river

Construction resumed this week on the State Route 20 bridge replacement project over the Chattahoochee River.

Work stopped on the bridge in late September since the construction permit had to be modified. The project was originally permitted for the contractor to use barges as working platforms on the river for construction and demolition. Because of the daily water releases from the Buford Dam, barges are not suitable, since water levels change frequently. Stone jetties will now be used. The change to jetties has required complex interagency coordination between Georgia DOT, National Park Service, Federal Highway Administration and the Army Corp of Engineers. The new permit was approved this week.

Brent Cook, Georgia DOT District Engineer, says: "Crews have resumed work on the concrete structures that support the new bridges on land. By early next week, work in the river will begin, with daily work on the bridge until April. Because the River is a National Park Service Recreation Area, no work is allowed in the River from April 1 to October 31 annually. Only one jetty will be in place at a time. The jetty will be removed during peak recreation season because jetties change the water flow."

The 1.07 mile long project widens Georgia Highway 20 from James Burgess Road in Forsyth to Burnett Trail in Gwinnett to a four lane divided highway with sidewalks and includes new bridges over the Chattahoochee River at a contract cost of $10.2 million. C.W. Matthews Contracting of Marietta is the contractor. The project completion date is May 31, 2016. The project is behind schedule.

The Route 20 corridor from Samples Road in Cumming across the Chattahoochee River to Peachtree Industrial Boulevard is under construction in three separate projects totaling 7.53 miles.

The speed limit in SR 20 work zone is 35 miles per hour around the clock. All fines are doubles in a work zone, up to $2,000, so slow down for safety and your budget!

Major transportation project slated to begin in downtown Duluth

A $3.5 million transportation project is slated to begin in Duluth on January 19. This project will be three phases, beginning with Main Street Parking for Phases I and II and ending with the Georgia Highway 120 realignment, with sidewalks and gateway improvements in Phase III.

Main Street Parking Phase I extends from Knox Street to Route 120. The redesign of Main Street consists of wider sidewalks, parallel parking and landscaping from Knox Street to Highway 120. This project will accommodate outdoor dining and community gathering to enhance the downtown experience. Several midblock crossings will be added to provide for pedestrian safety throughout the downtown.

The work from Route 120 to Brock Road consists of roadway improvements, curb and gutter, drainage, sidewalks, lighting, parking and landscaping that will create a safe pedestrian experience. A parking area along the railroad is also part of this project.

Route 120 in Phase III include the Abbotts Bridge Roadway and sidewalk project. The project creates a new intersection at Main Street and Abbotts Bridge, a new signal at Main Street and West Lawrenceville Street, upgraded signal at Buford Highway, curb and gutter, drainage improvements, sidewalks and landscaping.

Phase I will be complete by May 1, 2015 with the remaining phases complete by June, 2016. These projects are being paid out of SPLOST Transportation and SPLOST Parking funds.

Suwanee seeking vendors for Farmers Market for 2015

The season of fresh produce, flowers, and baked goods returns to Suwanee when the City's Farmers Market opens on Saturday, May 2. The market is in search of farmers, herb and flower growers, butchers, bakers, jams and soap makers, and others to participate in its 11th season. Vendor applications are due March 30.

Suwanee Events Manager Amy Doherty says: "The Suwanee Farmers Market has a loyal customer and farmer base. Our market is almost as much a social event as it is an opportunity to access locally grown produce and a variety of other items, such as salsa, honey, eggs and meat, and baked goods."

The Suwanee Farmers Market does not accept arts and crafts, non-licensed products, or produce re-sold from other markets. Visit for additional guidelines and an application.

Have a review or recommendation?

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

Publisher finds eventual success during Civil War period

Joseph Addison Turner was a writer, editor, publisher, lawyer, and planter. He is best known for publishing The Countryman, a weekly newspaper produced from his Putnam County plantation during the Civil War (1861-65). Despite his previous publishing failures, Turner's Countryman generated a wide southern readership during its four-year existence.

Born on September 23, 1826, in Putnam County, at seven years old, he suffered a bone infection that left him crippled for life and kept him homebound for several years. As a result, the family home served as the primary location for his early education. His father tutored him using the family's extensive library. His later education included six years at the Phoenix Academy in Eatonton and one term at Emory College at Oxford in 1845.

After a year at Emory, Turner (left) moved to Eatonton, where he taught for a year at the Phoenix Academy, then prepared for and passed the Georgia bar. In 1850 Turner married Louisa Jane Dennis. They had eight children. In 1855 he entered politics by running for solicitor general of the Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit. He lost the race but was elected to the Georgia senate two years later.

Throughout the 1850s, Turner pursued his literary passions. He published a wide array of poems, book reviews, articles, and essays under a variety of pseudonyms. Throughout the 1850s, he edited several other publications that failed. He moved back to his plantation in 1856, and there, only after the outbreak of the Civil War, did Turner achieve publishing success.

On March 4, 1862, Turner published his first issue of The Countryman, a unique venture that stands as probably the only newspaper ever published from a plantation. Declaring Turnwold's purpose to be the cultivation of "corn, cotton, and literature," Turner drew on the plantation's extensive library and built a full printing shop on the site. Despite difficulties created by shortages in ink, paper, and other materials over the course of the war, The Countryman circulated throughout the Confederacy from its inception through its final issue in May 1866.

Turner was a staunch advocate for slavery and the Confederacy. The original motto for The Countryman read, "Brevity is the Soul of Wit," but by 1863 Turner had changed it to "Independent in Everything, Neutral in Nothing." He used The Countryman to voice his pro-Confederate views through articles and editorials.

The venture was also distinguished for launching the journalistic career of yet another notable Georgian -- Joel Chandler Harris. Turner hired the 16-year-old Harris, an Eatonton native, as an apprentice and typesetter for The Countryman in March 1862. Under Turner's guidance and stern editing, Harris remained with the paper for its duration. He developed into an excellent literary composer and contributed a number of essays, poems, and book reviews to the paper himself.

In June 1865 Union officials placed Turner under military arrest for "publishing disloyal articles," and publication of The Countryman was suspended for several months. After the suspension ended, Turner managed to revive The Countryman for four months before, exhausted, he shut down the operation for good in May 1866. Turner died almost two years later, on February 29, 1868, in Eatonton at 41 years of age.

Where's this structure?

This structure is distinctive, with its flag and palm trees. If you recognize it, tell us where you think this edition's Mystery Photo is located.
Tell us where you think it is by sending an email to, and be sure to include your hometown.

Last week's magnificent structure was recognized by several people. First in was Joseph Hopkins of Norcross, who said it "looks like one of the churches on the top of the hill in downtown Macon." Gary Yetter of Lawrenceville pinpointed it exactly as "St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Macon, at the intersection of High Street and I think, Hardeman Avenue It is just north of the City Hall building."

Others getting it right included Karen Burnette Garner of Dacula, Bob Foreman, Grayson; Tom Payne, Wayside, Ga.; Sandra Moore of Loganville; and Christina Faine of Lawrenceville, who said: "It's a beautiful church!! Many years ago I photographed a wedding there."

A little more of the history, from the church's web site: St. Joseph's Catholic Church was established in 1841, 17 years after Macon was founded. This old Romanesque, Neo-Gothic church was the realization of an earlier dream of 50 Catholic parishioners and their first priest, Father James Graham. In 1841, this small group of Catholics had bought a Presbyterian church and started the first Catholic parish in Macon, a town incorporated as a city only 17 years earlier.

The foundation of the church was laid in August, 1889. On June 16, 1892, the basement of the church, which was used for services until 1903, was blessed by Bishop Becker. Fourteen years after work on St. Joseph's Church had been started, the edifice was dedicated on November 11, 1903. The November 15, 1903, edition of the Macon Telegraph began its coverage of the Church's dedication with, "If architecture may be fittingly described as frozen music, St. Joseph's Church, to be dedicated today, is a symphony."

Winning again

For the second straight year, the Snellville Public Works Department has brought home an award from the Keep Georgia Beautiful Foundation, this time the top prize in the Waste Reduction and Recycling Awards Category for a government agency. Last year the department took the third place prize. The awards recognize the efforts of organizations and businesses that provide environmental education or other conservation messages to change attitudes and promote responsible waste handling, according to KGBF officials. Since opening in 1991, the Snellville recycling center has seen a 1,000 percent increase in the amount of material recycled with them and has grown into one of the finest facilities of its kind in the Southeast. From left are Jennifer Jehn, president and CEO of Keep America Beautiful; Greg Rucker, Snellville recycling supervisor, Ryan House, the recycling attendant; and Sarah Visser, executive director of the Keep Georgia Beautiful Foundation.


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2015, 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.


Prime professional office space

If you're wanting to relocate your professional office to the Peachtree Corners, Norcross or Johns Creek area, you need to see this space. It's located in Technology Park, offers 4,770 square feet, and has its own easily recognized, private entranceway in a well-maintained, attractive office location. There's plenty of parking, and the building is situated well back from the street, with the office overlooking a beautiful wooded area with lake. This office space should go fast, so call 770-925-0111 before someone else grabs it. Ask for Lisha Stuckey.

The Silence of Our Friends Speaks Loudly

"In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."

-- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (1929 - 1968)




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.

(NEW) An Engaging Affair, a bridal and fashion show, will be at the Gwinnett Historic courthouse on January 18 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. in Lawrenceville. Local wedding professionals will be on hand to discuss their services that include catering, wedding cakes, bridal photography, event planning, floral arrangements and DJ services. The event includes a fashion show. Admission is charged. For more information, call 770-822-5450 or visit

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.

(NEW) Fiddler on the Roof, the musical will be presented at Greater Atlanta Christian School on January 29, 30 and 31 at 7:30 p.m. at the Williams Fine Arts Center. Read more online.

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.


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


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


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 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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