Gwinnett taxpayers raised up, shouted and, in some instances, demanded that their county government shelve talk of raising property taxes to balance the 2009 budget.
At May public hearings, hundreds of residents turned out to express disdain with Gwinnett County Commission Chairman Charles Bannister and his lieutenants for proposing a property tax increase to prop up the $1.7 billion 2009 budget.
Naturally, no one supported the government’s answer to the budget crisis: more taxes. Their uproar proved successful. Commissioners backed down and authorized county departments to instead make cuts. Residents declared victory and called representative democracy a sweet thing.
But this week, we learned the (ongoing) budget reductions may cut deeper and hurt more than many realized.
We learned as much when someone leaked a county memo that outlined cuts to the media. The proposal calls for $225 million in cuts through 2014.
County officials are looking at cuts for Gwinnett’s
This Sunday, Selma Wood will perform in her first ballet recital.
And in a few days, she’ll celebrate her 4th birthday with a dinner in Cinderella’s castle at Disney World in Central Florida.
“She gets to get in free on her birthday,” said her father, Tommy Wood of Grayson.
Last August, Selma underwent her third heart surgery at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston. The operation, it is hoped, will improve her oxygen saturation, get it as close to normal as possible.
“The hardest thing we ever had to do was hand our child over and watch her go into surgery for about five hours,” said Wood, a married father of three in which Selma is the baby of the family. “The doctors think she will be close to 90, but we will wait and see.”
Wood owns Stimulus, Inc., a Grayson-based video production firm that does graphic design, small-scale videos and feature films. He recently co-wrote, directed and produced “Grilling Bobby Hicks,” a feature film set in
Chris Hudson has yet to attend a Gwinnett Braves game.
If he did, he’d love to load up the family and probably pack a cooler with snacks.
But that doesn’t fly at Gwinnett Stadium, a $64 million ballpark near Lawrenceville. Outside food is banned in the facility. The Gwinnett Braves web site says as much.
It states: “For the safety of fans, the following items are not permitted in the stadium: laser pointers, glass bottles or cans, weapons of any kind, lawn chairs, pets, banners and/or flags of any kind with a stick, alcohol or drugs, outside food and beverages, Frisbees beach balls and any other objects that can be thrown in the stadium.”
Hudson, an Emory University librarian who lives in Lilburn, doesn’t like the brown-bag ban. He learned about it on a Braves’ sports blog.
“It’s an insult,” said Hudson, a Cincinnati native who catches a few major league games every year at The Ted. “I am a huge Braves’ fan, but this is despicable. It will
If she were alive, Erica Paige Whitney would be a seventh-grader at Trickum Middle School in Lilburn. She’d probably be looking forward to turning 13, the start of her teen years.
May 10, Mother’s Day, is her birthday. When Erica was around 7 or 8 years old, her great-aunt donated hair to Locks of Love. That’s a Florida-based nonprofit that provides free hairpieces to financially disadvantaged kids 18 and younger. Donated tresses are used to make custom-fitted wigs and hairpieces for children who suffer from long-term medical maladies.
The benevolence of Erica’s great-aunt compelled the little girl to do likewise. She put her hair in a ponytail and with a few snips of the scissors, committed a commendable, self-less act.
A few years ago, a Locks of Love spokeswoman told me that young people like Erica account for nearly 80 percent of the organization’s hair donations. Kids will see another child who’s bald, she said, and ask their parents what, exactly,
The motorist was in the lane next to my car.
Both of us were headed east on Jimmy Carter Boulevard. Traffic slowed, then stopped at a light just before we reached the bridge over I-85. The young man, a 20-something, apparently liked the song playing on his car stereo. He bounced his upper body. He moved his shoulders. He nodded his head to the beat.
A Gwinnett County patrol cruiser was traveling in the far-right lane, one over from me and two lanes away from the jamming motorist in the tan Ford Taurus. When the traffic light turned green, the police officer let two cars pass. Without signaling a turn, he pulled ahead of my car. Soon as he could, the officer eased behind the Taurus. Patrol car lights flashed. The Taurus crossed over the interstate bridge and pulled into the parking lot of a title loan business.
This little slice of life that unfolded in the middle of a Sunday occurred within days of the now-infamous Ryan Moats incident. Moats, a running back for the Houston
Coming soon to your mailbox: 2009 property tax assessments. Homeowners will get to see just how much value has been lost in their homes, thanks to the foreclosure crisis and financial tsunami. It stands to be painful, but what is one to do? Does anyone out there in Gwinnett plan to appeal their 2009 assessments?
The woman said her boyfriend had slashed her arm with a knife and that she had a police report to prove it.
She faced eviction from her apartment, so she called Cindy Williams, founder of Women Are Dreamers, Too (WADT), a Norcross-based nonprofit that helps abused women. Perhaps you’ve heard of it. Maybe not. The woman who called Williams obviously had, and she lived in Burbank, Calif.
“They call us from all over the country,” Williams told me. “We check out the things they tell us to make sure they are legitimate. Most of them are sincere. And they need help.”
In 1998, WADT started as a volunteer job placement service for Atlanta-area women who lived in homeless shelters. When Williams would dig into the clients’ lives, she uncovered a recurring theme.
“Domestic violence. Domestic violence. Domestic violence,” Williams said. “They all were reverting back to the same cycle of abuse. And they were coming to us in droves.”
Williams, an economics professor on
“I need help.”
It can be a hard thing to admit. Especially publicly. Yet public servants at Duluth City Hall have done just that with its citizens budget committee.
If you missed the story, give it a read. Duluth city officials are seeking citizen input on ways to further slash the town budget. The city’s $17 million has already been sliced and diced. More is needed. An expected $4 million revenue shortfall is expected for fiscal year 2010.
Talk about civic transparency. Talk about solid leadership. Hard to find fault with this approach.
Our state lawmakers ended the 2009 legislative session early Saturday. We should be thankful they did. Have you ever seen much ado about so little that benefited the citizenry? Worse session I can recall, though I’m not as seasoned and as observant as some of you when it comes to state politics.
So what, exactly, do you think about the outcome of this year’s session? On a scale of one to 10, how would you rate it? I look forward to reading what Mr. Bob Griggs and the occasionally long-winded Mr. Michael Smith will say about a year when important issues — MARTA service, for example – languished.
“With all the challenges we faced, the biggest thing is we didn’t raise taxes on anybody,” Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle said in a story that appeared Sunday in the The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
While getting a haircut, Anthony Sorrow mentioned to the stylist that he owned a home security company.
She immediately asked for business cards.
“Everybody in her family wants a security system,” said Sorrow, who owns American Home Security in Douglasville.
The economy tanks. Crime shoots up. Safety and security become issues.
In days like these, Sorrow’s business thrives. Phones ring steadily as folk inquire about security systems for homes and businesses. Only nowadays, the people calling aren’t “just lookin’ ”.
“A lot of times when people give us a call they are still not sure what they want,” Sorrow told me. “We have to spend time to convince them on the value of a security system. The difference this time has been that, when people call, they want one. We are not having to convince anybody anymore. They are ready to go.”
Mentally, I’m ready.
Ready to take a firearms course and, perhaps, purchase a weapon for my home. Ready to add motion-detector