Issue 13.68 | Dec. 3, 2013
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.
LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga., Dec. 3, 2013 -- If you think your family has been living in Gwinnett County forever, you may be right. If you grew up hearing family stories passed down from grandparents and even great- grandparents about Gwinnett County in the old days, even before the Civil War, you may be a member of a First Family. The Genealogy Committee of the Gwinnett Historical Society has a program just for you, The First Families Program, provided that you are a member of the Gwinnett Historical Society (GHS).
Go to the GHS in the historic courthouse in Lawrenceville and pick up your application for the Gwinnett First Families Program. There you can also join the society if you are not already a member. Then, it will cost you just $5 to receive your application and folder with the items you need to begin your work. Or you can also call the office at 770-822-5174 to get the ball rolling.
You must prove the lineage from your early ancestors in Gwinnett to you in the present day. Such things as birth certificates, death certificates, marriage licenses, and census records are considered proof. Please know that information regarding living individuals will be protected and only requested as necessary to prove lineage. You will be entitled to a Gold Certificate if you have ancestors who were here by 1820. Primary sources of the information include the 1820 census, 1820 Land Lottery and surviving court records. Silver Certificates go to those who have ancestors who arrived after 1820 but by the 1850 Census. The certificate color designates when your pioneering family arrived in Gwinnett.
The final application fee is $20. Participants will be recognized at an annual award ceremony. Each proven member will receive a certificate, either Gold or Silver, and a First Family of Gwinnett pin that has been especially designed for the program.
The best place to do your research is at the Historical Society offices. With a library comprising of hundreds of volumes in addition to family histories, you may find just what you're looking for to pull together loose ends.
is open five days a week; Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at
185 West Crogan Street, on the second floor, in Lawrenceville.
DEC. 3, 2013 -- A beautiful new book has been released that commemorates the history of rural electrification in this area. It's Jackson EMC's 75th anniversary book, a 10x12 inch, 232 page volume, loaded with history, sprinkled heavily with photographs and a joy to read. It's entitled, People-Power-Progress: The Story of Jackson EMC.
The book was released during the co-op's annual meeting in September. President and CEO Randall Pugh says that more than 1,200 of the books were given to members at that meeting, with plenty of copies remaining if their customers want one. The total print order was 5,000 books.
Today Jackson EMC is the second largest electrical co-op in the nation, with 211,000 customers, almost exactly half of them in Gwinnett County. It was the explosive growth of Gwinnett starting in the 1960s and 1970s that propelled Jackson EMC to the forefront of co-ops in the nation, and at the same time to have some of the lowest electric rates in the state.
During its 75 years, Jackson EMC has pristinely preserved its records, including its monthly newsletter, which was used as part of the history book. Much of this history has already been archived at the Richard Russell Library at the University of Georgia. There are 352 photographs in the book, an amazing number, including identification of employees and customers going back to the beginning of operations.
Conditions were primitive for the first power pole settings. For instance, one photo shows it taking 11 men to set a power pole, into a hole dug by hand with shovels and "spoons." Mules and horses were often used to pull the poles to the site. Pugh, with 46 years in the electric business and to retire next spring, says: "On those depression times, workers were expected to dig eight holes a day, with plenty of others wanting to do the work." It wasn't until 1964 that the first bucket trucks were used. A-frames on the back of trucks were used before to hoist the poles.
Response to the book has been most positive. Pugh says that some families did not have photographs of their relatives, but found one in the book. "We made copies of photographs for several families. One guy left in tears at seeing his grandfather's photo." Another family found a photo in the book of their mother, who had won a range at a meeting of the co-op in 1950, and Pugh got them a photo, too.
The book was compiled by Jackie Kennedy of LaGrange. She got material from the Jackson EMC archives, with input from retired EMC employees. She also used information that in the 1980s Charles Dawson of the co-op had compiled of the early years of the co-op.
The book lists the five managers of the co-op for Gwinnett: Henry Pinion form 1952-1967; Dick Mills, 1968-70; O.L. Powell, 1970-77; Roger Willis, 1978-2009; and since 2010, Randy Dellinger.
There are beautiful scenes all throughout the book, including early photos of Lake Lanier. On Page 129, a young Carolyn Shackelford, daughter of Anna Shackelford and the late Wayne Shackelford, in 1976 shows off her grand champion steer, at a show sponsored by the co-op. On page 149, Developer Steve Hill is pictured with an early heat pump at Mount Moriah Heights in Gwinnett. The current EMC chairman, Otis Jones of Lawrenceville, is shown on page 227 and on several other pages. Other Gwinnett scenes are throughout the book.
This addition to the local scene is a great addition to telling the story of the development of Gwinnett County. Thanks, Jackson EMC, for commemorating your story for us.
The public spiritedness of our sponsors allows us to bring GwinnettForum.com to you at no cost to readers. Today's sponsor is Howard Brothers, which has retail stores in Alpharetta, Doraville, Duluth and Oakwood. John and Doug Howard are the 'brothers' in Howard Brothers. This family owned business was started by their dad, and continues to specialize in hardware, outdoor power equipment and parts and service. Howard Brothers are authorized dealers of STIHL, Exmark, Honda and Echo outdoor power equipment. They are authorized Big Green Egg and Traeger Grill dealers and have recently become an authorized YETI Cooler dealer.
Editor, the Forum:
I feel you mischaracterized the franchise fee in your response to a reader in the recent GwinnettForum. Basically, the franchise fee is a utility's cost or rent for using the public right-of-way to deliver its product...electricity, telephone and cable service. The franchise fee for the use of the right-of-way is broken out as a separate item on the customer's bill. But it is nothing more than a cost of doing business like another cost. How pleased would citizens be if their city allowed a business to use public property without paying for it?
Granted the cost is passed on to the customer, but so is every other operating cost of the utility. In this case at least the money finds its way back to the consumer in the form of municipal services. And for the most part, from what I've seen, the citizens of Gwinnett's cities are happy with the level and quality of services their local governments provide to them. By the way, I believe Georgia Power still hosts an event in which it delivers the checks to local governments.
Money is fungible. A million dollars collected in franchise fees can translate into property taxes lower than they would otherwise have to be to provide the same level of service to residents and businesses. Well managed municipal governments have diverse income sources: property taxes (residential and commercial) and various fees (business licensees etc., franchise fees, building permits) to spread the cost of providing services over different sectors of the local tax base. And, in some cases there are business fees or taxes that the county may collect that a city does not. If a city didn't have franchise fees it'd have higher property taxes (or other taxes/fees), or alternatively, it would spend less on services and amenities.
For various reasons, individuals (families) and businesses decide to locate in a particular city. It's often because of the level and quality of services and amenities that the city provides. That level and quality is a function of taxes and fees. It's a value judgment. People and businesses make that judgment every day.
Another bit of history that I can't confirm is that the franchise fee came about in part as an incentive from private utilities to convince municipalities not build their own electric utilities. "Let us build it, and we'll pay you a usage fee." Probably a good deal. I can't see Suwanee building a nuclear power plant.
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Santa Claus is coming to Historic Suwanee Old Town. The jolly ole elf is scheduled to arrive in Suwanee Friday, December 6.
In addition to providing face time with Santa, the City of Suwanee's annual Caboose Lighting and Holiday Festival will feature performances by local elementary school choruses, craft activities, and s'mores. Festivities begin at 6:30 p.m. on Main Street in historic Old Town.
Children from Level Creek, Riverside, Roberts, and Suwanee elementary schools will serenade the crowd and usher in Santa with a variety of holiday tunes. Traveling into town along Main Street, Santa will pause to magically light the red caboose before heading to the Burnette-Rogers Pavilion where children can share their wishes and get their photo taken. Parents, be sure to bring a camera with you.
Santa Claus says: "I always enjoy visiting Suwanee. There sure are a lot of good boys and girls who live there. The Caboose Lighting is a low-key, come-as-you-are way of welcoming my favorite time of year." Cookies, hot chocolate, and s'mores will be available while supplies last.
Modern setting for holiday story at New London Theatre in Snellville
New London Theatre will be presenting Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol from December 6-22 at its home in Snellville.
This presentation is set in modern-day New York, as Scrooge is finishing up work at his restaurant on Christmas Eve. After bah-humbugging his way and giving Bob Cratchit the next day off, Scrooge is visited by the ghost of Marley, his now-dead partner, and three spirits. This version of A Christmas Carol is likely to please both lovers of Dickens' original work and those wanting a new view of this old favorite alike.
The performances are on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $12 in advance or $15 on the day of the show. Children/students (3-19) and seniors (55+) are $10. Tickets can be purchased either online through the website or at the theatre box office. Shows are performed at New London Theatre: 2338 Henry Clower Boulevard, Snellville, Ga.
Season tickets are also now on sale online. Guarantee a seat for the best season in New London Theatre history and secure advance pricing for all shows. This year, season ticket holders can choose their own reserved seat and enjoy each show with a bottle of water and popcorn!
For additional information about this and future performances, auditions, ticket purchases, volunteering, or donations, visit www.newlondontheatre.org, or call 770-559-1484.
City seeking photographs depicting life throughout Suwanee
You've been snapping away, and the City of Suwanee wants to see your best photos taken throughout the year about Suwanee at parks, events, home, school, special occasions, and anywhere a little photo magic has occurred. The City is accepting entries to its annual Snap! Suwanee photo competition through December 31.
Public Information Officer Lynne DeWilde says: "This competition is a fun way for residents to share their vision and personal photographs that help demonstrate why national publications continually name Suwanee as one of the country's best places to live. The old saying that a picture's worth a thousand words certainly remains truer than ever in our go-go, digital world."
Photos submitted to the competition should represent the Suwanee community in some way and ideally will be taken within the City of Suwanee limits. Additional guidelines and applications are available at www.suwanee.com. Winning photographs will be exhibited, beginning in March, for an approximately one-year period at City Hall.
Annual holiday activities underway in Lilburn with parade next
The annual Lilburn Christmas Parade is just around the corner. Make plans now to be on Main Street in time to get a good viewing spot for the parade on Saturday, December 7 at 10 a.m. This year promises to be bigger than ever with Mrs. Claus as Grand Marshal and of course Santa will be there as well taking down the wishes of all good children. Don't forget to bring your canned goods for the Lilburn Co-op. Check their website for suggestions.
of Lilburn Annual Tree Lighting took place on November 30 at City Hall.
In addition to announcing a coloring contest winners, children's activities
included holiday stories read by Mrs. Claus and Mayor Johnny Crist and
a performance by the Declaration Ringers handbell choir.
The Faith Community Nurses of Gwinnett Medical Center (GMC) extends an invitation to its Lights of Love and Remembrance on Thursday, December 5 from 6 to 7 p.m. The event will be held in the Strickland Chapel just off the main lobby at GMC-Lawrenceville.
Come enjoy a special performance of holiday music by harpist Debra Peterson and an opportunity to learn more about the caring health ministry the parish nurses/congregational nurses provide to Gwinnett County and surrounding areas.
Lights of Love and Remembrance is a program that offers an opportunity to honor or remember a loved one or someone special by making a donation in their name to the Faith Community Nursing program at GMC.
Proceeds directly benefit the Faith Community Nurse program, from which parish nurses of congregations in partnership with GMC may request funds for use in their congregation. The funds raised also will go to establish new partnerships with community congregations and to reach out to the community through this caring practice of nursing.
will be lit in honor or memory of persons for each $20 donation made to
the Lights of Love and Remembrance Fund. A moment of silence will be observed
during the program for those being remembered.
Historic Wynne-Russell home to be managed by new partnership
The City of Lilburn has entered into an agreement with the Lilburn Community Partnership (LCP) to occupy and manage the Wynne-Russell historic home. The home is one of the oldest in Gwinnett County, and was restored in previous years to its former setting.
The LCP will be responsible for paying utilities and maintaining the home. Plans are to make the home available for small events, meetings and tours. The home is suitable for groups no larger than 75. Anyone interested in volunteering to help maintain the house and grounds or in renting space, should contact Diana Preston through firstname.lastname@example.org.
You learn a lot about fishing for lobsters in Maine in this book. The title refers to the way lobstermen naturally are (stern), and is also the name of the skipper's helper in the back of the boat. This novel tells a beautiful and tantalizing story of generations of people sparsely living on remote granite islands off the Maine coast, and the story of how one person successfully made it through this hard life on the remote islands. You'll laugh at some passages, and you'll smile a lot at the outcomes. Be careful: the language at times can get saucy. Yet the people are salt-of-the-earth and predictable, though the twists and turns are not. This book is a quick read because of the way it steadily moves, the reader not wanting to put it down. -- eeb
Vereen Bell wrote fiction and magazine articles set in the southern outdoors, and he achieved popular success with Swamp Water, a coming-of-age novel set in the Okefenokee Swamp. A World War II (1941-45) Naval officer, Bell was killed during the Battle for Leyte Gulf.
The son of Jennie Vereen and Reason Chesnutt Bell, a prominent Georgia Supreme Court judge, Vereen McNeill Bell (pictured at left) was born in Cairo on October 5, 1911. After graduating from North Carolina's Davidson College in 1932, he began his career under the tutelage of Frederic Litten in Lake Charles, La., writing for "Sunday school" and juvenile magazines.
In 1934 Bell married Florence Eleanor Daniel of Thomasville. They settled near Bell's family home in Cairo and had two sons, Vereen McNeill and Frederic Daniel.
Bell worked briefly as an editor at the Detroit, Michigan-based American Boy/Youth's Companion, but he preferred to write as a freelancer from his south Georgia home. In the late 1930s his outdoor stories and wildlife photography routinely sold to Collier's and the Saturday Evening Post. His two novels, Swamp Water and Two of a Kind, first appeared serially in the Post.
Swamp Water (1940) follows a defiant young man into the wild Okefenokee, where his friendship with a fugitive ignites a struggle within his backwoods community. The story inspired a 1942 Hollywood movie and a 1952 remake. Two of a Kind (1943) tells a similar story of a young man's conflicting loyalties against a backdrop of sporting dogs and field trials. Several of his stories about hunting dogs were published in a posthumous Armed Services Edition compilation, Brag Dog and Other Stories, which was republished in 2000 in an expanded form.
In World War II, Bell volunteered for navy air combat intelligence duty. He was a lieutenant assigned to the escort carrier USS Gambier Bay when the ship was sunk Oct. 25, 1944, near Samar in the Philippines.
In 1947, Bell's college roommate, D. Grier Martin, established the Vereen Bell Award for creative writing at Davidson College in his memory.
FOR THE HOLIDAYS
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Here's One Physical Feat You Cannot Do
"You can't wring your hands and roll up your sleeves at the same time."
SEARCH GWINNETT FORUM
Cookbook Author To Visit: 6:30 p.m., December 3, Suwanee branch of Gwinnett County Public Library. Christy Jordan, author of Come Home to Supper, will visit. The event is free and open to the public. Visit www.gwinnettpl.org to learn more.
(NEW) Art Exhibit: Opening at 9 a.m., December 5, George Pierce Park Community Recreation Center, 55 Buford Highway, Suwanee. The exhibit will continue through February 27. Free admission. This show features the husband-wife team of photographs and watercolors by Steve and Connie White of Sugar Hill.
5K Race and Fun Run: 8 a.m. registration with race at 9 a.m., December 7, Little Mulberry Park in Auburn. Proceeds benefit the Karina Miller UnBeLEAFable playground at Little Mulberry Park. Register online.
Flapjacks with Santa: 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., December 7, Applebee's, 2095 Pleasant Hill Road, Duluth. Tickets are $7 and can be purchased here. This is a project of Upsilon Alpha Omega chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Society and the Gwinnett Pearls of Service Foundation Inc. in their effort to curb world hunger and poverty.
Christmas Party for members of the Gwinnett Historical Society: 7:30 p.m., December 10, Historic Gwinnett Courthouse, Lawrenceville. Besides the party, officers will be installed and awards will be presented for 2012.
Winter Fest on Duluth Towne Green: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., December 14. Activities include live entertainment, Duluth Idol winners, as well as a winter market. For details, go to http://www.duluthga.net.
MORE EEB PERSPECTIVE
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.
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