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CITIZEN Est. 1988 Covering Dacula, Buford, Sugar Hill, Braselton, Suwanee, Lawrenceville

Vol. 31 No. 5

Citizens take on MARTA page 4


N o rt h

gwinnett FREE

MARCH 2019

DRAKE conquers the South, goes Global “I never would have been able to do any of this without the support of my mam,” ~ Karl Drake By Julie Thompson

On top

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Before Riverdance, Feet of Flames, Celtic Women and other performance groups rose to popularity in the late 90s and early 2000s, a 16-year-old immigrant arrived in New York. He carried only his dance shoes and a goal to start his very own Irish Dance studio. More than thirty years later, Karl Drake, ADCRG, still has the distinctive Dublin accent, but he has acquired a new goal — going global with his trademark schools. The first goal took him less than five years to achieve. At first, Karl taught workshops in the homes of immigrant Irish families. And as the demand for classes grew, he relocated to Atlanta to

See DRAKE on Page 18


Photo By Julie Thompson

Students skip during a warmup routine at DRAKE School of Irish Dance in Berkeley Lake

A Role Model and a Lesson The Freeze Queen page 7

Today is the day! page 17 Photo by Auveed Bagheri Cawthon

Lilburn Resident, Joette Segars volunteering at Lilburn Daze in 2017.

INSIDE Citizen Connection 4 Gwinnett Pulse 6 Health & Wellness 12 Classifieds 15


By Julie Thompson It’s been two years since she retired from her position as Bookkeeper at Arcado Elementary, but Joette Segars has been as active as ever volunteering with Lilburn Woman’s Club and her church and serving on the City of Lilburn Boards. Most people who know her say she’s the kind of person you see everywhere — volunteering at events and engaging those she meets with a smile. For someone so active in the community, those who haven’t met

her would never guess that she was diagnosed with Cerebral palsy when she was just six months old. But even this, Joette embraced with a smile. “In life, we can do one of two things — we can focus on the positive, or on the negative. My son also has Cerebral palsy which is unusual, [and] we both choose to take the positive route.” In 1994, Barrier Free Gwinnett awarded her the person of the year Award in honor of National Disability Employment Awareness Month. “Joette always strived to be a

See JOETTE on Page 16

Special photo

The Freeze Queen, Jane Beaver Circa 1954

By Elizabeth Jane Franklin, In Memory of my Great-Aunt Everyone called her little, but number four was anything but. Jane Franklin Beaver was the biggest player on the basketball court. The “Freeze Queen” could out-play even the tallest girls with her expert dribbling moves and perfect shots. Beaver led her Dacula High Girls Basketball team to the State Semifinals in 1953, but they were

Special photo

Jane Beaver, Number 23 for Dacula High School, (Circa 1954)

defeated. However, in 1954, she was determined to claim the title of Class “C” state champions, so that’s what she did. Beaver’s time-wasting dribbling act in the final quarter of the 1954 semifinal game against Willacoochee led to a 48-40 win, sending Dacula High to the championship game against Bogart. Once again, Beaver worked her magic on the court, win-

See FREEZE on Page 14

Situational AwarenessA Personal Safety Essential Co-Publishers/Editors Auveed Bagheri Cawthon Chris Cawthon 107 W Crogan St • Lawrenceville, Ga 30046 • Office (770) 963-3699 • The mission of newspaper, a publication of Media Maker Group Inc. dba, is to provide our readers with stories about their communities and people. Our stories and photos bring to life the passion of living, working, playing, living healthy and worshiping in Gwinnett County. We help connect readers with local businesses to facilitate and promote shopping and buying local. The newspaper, a free publication, is direct mailed to 3 geographic zones in Gwinnett County containing hyper-local news pertinent to each community for a total monthly distribution of 60,000 printed copies in Gwinnett County.


Community news is our passion and we look to our readers for great stories. Email story ideas to


There’s no greater joy than to celebrate big accomplishments with our readers. (Weddings, Births, Anniversaries, Birthdays, etc.) Email announcements to info@ by the 25th of the month and we’ll weave them in where we can.


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Dave Emanuel

Cut to the Chase

You’re standing in a parking lot reading a text on your phone. You’re driving along, chatting with the person in the passenger’s seat. You walk out of a store looking at your purchases to make sure everything you bought is in the bag, After a very nice dinner, you leave the restaurant, lost in deep conversation with your dining companion. Each of these scenarios seem to be different from the others, amd each may seem innocent enough, but they have one, potentially dangerous aspect in common- they distract your attention from your surroundings. While you’re looking at your phone, chatting, checking your purchases or engaged in deep conversation, you’re not evalu-

ating your surroundings. You may not even be aware of them. And criminals in the area may be looking for people who are obviously not paying attention to what’s going on around them. Such people are the most desirable marks because they’ll be easily taken by surprise. This isn’t to suggest that you should develop a case of paranoia, (although it does bring to mind the old adage, “Just because you are paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you.”) only that you should always make an effort to be aware of who and what is in a position to do you harm. It’s almost impossible to avoid trouble if you are unaware that it’s brewing close by. Some tipsAny time you change environments, “look before you leap”. When you walk out of a store, an office your house or any other building, you’re moving from an environment that’s known to one that’s unknown. As you walk into or out of a building, look for anything (including people) that’s unusual or out of place. This is especially important if you’re transition from an area that’s well-lit to one that is dark. When preparing to enter of leave a vehicle, especially if it’s after dark, survey the area around the vehicle. If you see something that makes you uneasy, you may want to stay in your vehicle

and drive to another location. If you’re returning to your vehicle, you may want to walk past it and come back to whichever side puts your furthest from a potential threat. When, and if appropriate, use a remote to unlock the vehicle, get in and lock the doors. Whenever you’re driving, keep an eye on the rearview mirror and not the vehicles that are behind you. This is especially important as you near your destination. If a vehicle behind you continues to follow after you make a turn, or a series of turns, keep a closer eye on your mirror. In almost every case, the vehicle that appears to be following you will turn off at some point. If it doesn’t, you can simply drive past your destination, or call ahead to make sure you have a “welcoming committee” on hand when you arrive. If that’s no possible, another option is to drive to the nearest police station or call and explain your situation. (Make sure you have the dispatch number for the closest police facility stored in your phone. If you live in Snellville, the number is 770/985-3555.) There are a number of other steps you can take to minimize your chances of being a crime victim, but overall, making it a habit to consciously survey your surroundings is one of the best defenses.

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March 2019

How to Build a Time Machine

James Miskell

Estate Planning

You spend a lot of time trying to make life easier for your family. You care for them and try to protect them from trouble and pain. You know that no one lives on this earth forever. You know how difficult it is to deal with the death of a loved one and don’t want your family members struggling to wrap up your affairs. You wish there was a way to look out for them after you are gone. Build a time machine. A time machine so you can be there for your family, making all the important decisions and relieving their burden while they grieve. Build an estate plan to ensure that your wishes are followed and your loved ones are taken care of after your death. Your estate plan puts your last wishes,

March 2019

hopes, desires and choices in place for your family so that instead of difficult decisions to make, they have a clear path to follow. There are many estate-planning vehicles available, but two of the most common are wills and trusts. A last will and testament gives instructions as to how to distribute your property and nominates an executor to act on behalf of your estate. Once the probate court gives the go ahead, your executor will carry out the instructions in your will. The term living trust describes a trust that you establish while you are living and it can serve as a will substitute. You set up the rules for the trust and appoint a person to ensure that those rules are followed. That person is the trustee. In most situations, while you are living, you receive the benefit from the trust and can serve as the trustee. The trust can also contain instructions as to the distribution of your property upon your death and name a successor trustee who takes your place to make sure that your instructions are followed. A living trust can be revocable; however, when asset protection or Medicaid qualification may be issues, an irrevocable living trust is frequently more appropriate. A will may appear to be the more

“It’s a time machine that lets you make the decisions and arrangements that protect your family when they are most vulnerable.” straightforward solution, however, a living trust gives you advantages during your life that a will cannot, and a living trust can efficiently handle distributions at death without the delay and uncertainty of probate court proceedings. That said, living trusts require you to invest greater time and effort now. To be effective and work outside of probate, you must undertake the administrative burdens of creating your trust and re-titling assets now to relieve your loved ones of the burden of doing it when you die. It’s a time machine that lets you make the decisions and arrangements that protect your family when they are most vulnerable. An effectively crafted estate plan lets you travel to the future to be there for them even after you are gone. Everyone should have this kind of time machine that allows you to care and provide support for your family across the years. The question becomes: will your time machine be powered by a will or a living trust?

In the end, the answer depends on your needs, the needs of your family, and the nature of your assets. Rather than assuming that a will is sufficient or assuming that a trust is required, begin your planning by assessing your situation and deciding what it is you want to happen. Only then can you assess which vehicle can best achieve your goals. Building your own personal time machine is not a do-it-yourself proj-

ect. Consult with competent legal counsel regarding the advantages and possible disadvantages to you with each approach. Working with a professional gives you the benefit of experience and insight to avoid pitfalls and ensure that the details are properly managed. James M. Miskell received his law degree from the University of Georgia in 1993. His Asset Protection, Estate Planning and Elder Law practice has offices located in Lawrenceville and Johns Creek. He offers educational workshops and free consultations to assist clients as well as fellow professionals in creating individualized solutions. Visit his website: www. For more information, see his ad in this issue.

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Will you be voting for Marta (rail and bus service) on March 19th (2019) and why? Citizen Connection is a random sampling of opinions regarding various subjects. Visit our Facebook page to add yours and see a whole lot more!

“No, I don’t believe in voting if you have not researched the facts and gone above and beyond what’s on TV and ads.” ~ Jessica Rabe, Buford, Ga (Mall of Georgia, Buford, Ga)

“I don’t want that in my county. I already deal with buses and don’t want Marta taking up traffic. Buford is full of traffic, and I don’t want trains in here.” ~ Christian Hanlon, Suwanee, Ga (Mall of Georgia, Buford, Ga)

“Yes, because that makes sense. Not everybody can drive. They have to use Uber or something to get somewhere.” ~ Valencia Atkins, Norcross, Ga (Mall of Georgia, Buford, Ga)

“Yes [I will be voting]. I don’t think we should do it. We won’t see anything for 20 years, so it doesn’t benefit a lot of us. A lot of us will be paying taxes for 20 years.” ~ Lissette Mathus, Lawrenceville, Ga (Mall of Georgia, Buford, Ga)

“Yes. It’s a serious topic, and it’s about time to consider public transit for Gwinnett County to ease access to the freeway and in downtown. I’m leaning towards yes.” ~ Tony Watson, Duluth, Ga (Mall of Georgia, Buford, Ga)

“Yes, I think Gwinnett could benefit from Marta coming up here. A lot of people are against it, but it would be easier to have some kind of public transit around here.” ~ Mandy Russell, Sugar Hill, Ga (Mall of Georgia, Buford, Ga)


“No, I don’t live in Gwinnett. If I did, I would vote no. I used to teach in this county for 21 years — I’m retired now. I just don’t think they need it [in Gwinnett].” ~ Jack Teague, Cumming, Ga (Mall of Georgia, Buford, Ga)

“I don’t travel to Atlanta that often, so I don’t know about all the changes. I have ridden the Marta, though, so it would be nice if they expanded.” ~ Taylor Halm, Dahlonega, Ga (Mall of Georgia, Buford, Ga)

“No. Probably not. It doesn’t affect my way of life.” ~ Curtis Bryant, Loganville, Ga (Mall of Georgia, Buford, Ga)

“Yes, I’d love to see it expand “Yes, definitely. We need it in this area. The amount of up here. A lot of people don’t like it, but we need it up here. traffic and congestion I think could be reduced significantly. [Traffic’s] getting crazy.” Less traffic, less stress.” ~ Karen Newberry, ~ John Watkins, Buford, Ga Dacula, Ga (Mall of Georgia, Buford, Ga) (Mall of Georgia, Buford, Ga)

“No probably not. I don’t vote like that — only for midterm elections and presidential elections.” ~ Jospeh Tatz, Lawrenceville, Ga (Mall of Georgia, Buford, Ga)

March 2019

“No, probably not. It doesn’t affect my life, really.” ~ Dontay Taylor, Norcross, Ga (Mall of Georgia, Buford, Ga)

Yes, but only if I can get [to the polls] before work.” ~ Pam Ooley, Buford, Ga (Mall of Georgia, Buford, Ga)

“No. I didn’t know there was something going on. But it could be useful if they do it right.” ~ Spencer Lovelady, Buford, Ga (Mall of Georgia, Buford, Ga)

“Yes, I vote on everything. I think it’s overdue. It needs to be done. Expansion needs to be done in Gwinnett.” ~ Bill Fokes, Braselton, Ga (Mall of Georgia, Buford, Ga)

“Yes, I will be voting for the Marta expansion because all the other major cities have better transportation than we do. It would provide people opportunity to get to their jobs better and more safely and eliminate some of that traffic.” ~ Addie Sagere-Gibson, Lawrenceville, Ga (Mall of Georgia, Buford, Ga)

“No. I just moved back three days ago from Maryland.” ~ Xavier Cassagnol, Lawrenceville, Ga (Mall of Georgia, Buford, Ga)

“I would if I could, but I’m not eligible to vote yet.” ~ Humberto Urdaneta, Duluth, Ga (Mall of Georgia, Buford, Ga)

March 2019

“I’m not sure. I don’t know much about it.” ~ Zeeshan Ali, Lawrenceville, Ga (Mall of Georgia, Buford, Ga)

“No. I don’t live in this area.” ~ Sam Stephens, Gainesville, Ga (Mall of Georgia, Buford, Ga)

“No. I’d rather keep the suburbs mass transit-free.” ~ Joe Mazzariello, Lawrenceville, Ga (Mall of Georgia, Buford, Ga

“No [doesn’t live in Gwinnett]. “Yes. I am in favor of it. It I would be inclined to vote yes might get a few cars off the if we were in Gwinnett.” road.” ~ Heather Shurtliff, ~ Marilynn Emmons, Flowery Branch, Ga Lawrenceville, Ga (Mall of Georgia, Buford, Ga) (Mall of Georgia, Buford, Ga)

“I won’t be here. I’ll be in Washington, but I probably wouldn’t vote for it.” ~ Michael Brown, Buford, Ga (Mall of Georgia, Buford, Ga)

“No, I have felonies. If I could vote, I probably wouldn’t because I don’t care. I don’t think it would affect me.” ~ Jarrett Brewer, Sugar Hill, Ga (Mall of Georgia, Buford, Ga)

“Yes. I’d like to get on the Marta train and take it to the airport. I don’t like traffic.” ~ Patrick Hawkins, Dacula, Ga (Mall of Georgia, Buford, Ga)

“Yes. I think we need more public transportation. We’re from New York, so we’re used to that.” ~ Dawn Isaac, Lawrenceville, Ga (Mall of Georgia, Buford, Ga)

“Yes. It’s my duty as a citizen. I’ve been voting every election since 1976.” ~ Daniel Johns, Lawrenceville, Ga (Mall of Georgia, Buford, Ga)

“Yes, I’m voting because I believe voting is a civil duty, and it’s important. I’ve looked at the issues. I’m from a more pedestrian city, and public transit in the country is interesting, to say the least. People aren’t sure about it. It’s encouraging to see people want to upgrade. It’s really going to come down to dollars and cents, though.” ~ Cheryl Murdock, Dacula, Ga (Mall of Georgia, Buford, Ga)

“Probably not. I’m not 100 percent sure. But it’ll save gas, so why not?” ~ Robert Ellison, Buford, Ga (Mall of Georgia, Buford, Ga)

“We will [vote]. Because it’s an important issue to us. We are not in favor of it.” ~ Art Clayton, Lawrenceville, Ga (Mall of Georgia, Buford, Ga)

“No. I don’t live here. Just visiting.” ~ Cynthia Cristobal, Montevideo, Uruguay (Mall of Georgia, Buford, Ga)

“No. Honestly, I don’t know anything about it.” ~ Melissa Travis, Loganville, Ga (Mall of Georgia, Buford, Ga)


Gwinnett Pulse 100th Birthday Celebration! The family of Francesca Galiano Russo honored her with a party in celebration of her 100th birthday on December 22, 2018. Family members present consisted of son, Thomas Russo, daughter and husband, Jesse and Debra Cox, grandchildren: Clay Cox and fiancée Jenny Trayer, Garrett Cox, Lindsay Cox Gecsy, husband Nick Gecsy and great grandchildren Sloan, Brooklyn, and Gaetano Gecsy. Close friends of the family and neighbors also attended the celebration, along with owners of Living Treasures. Francesca was born in Pittsfield,

Massachusetts, on December 28, 1918. After raising her family, she became a clothing buyer in the sixty’s for several large department stores until she retired in 1983. Her husband of 65 years, Thomas Russo, was a safety engineer who left Pittsfield and brought his family to Florida in 1952, where they lived for 43 years. In 2005, Francesca and Tom moved to Lawrenceville, Georgia to reside with their daughter and husband. We wish her much health and happiness in the 21st century. Love, the Cox, Russo and Gecsy families

Special photo

Francesca Galiano Russo

Coming out on top

One of the millions of amazing things about living in Gwinnett County is the multitude of sports opportunities available to our youth. This year, high school girls across the county were able to try out something new – Flag Football. The Atlanta Falcons and Nike got together and sponsored a team from each high school (as long as they were able to meet the requirements). Teams played during the fall season and it all culminated in the County Championship in the Mercedes Benz Stadium. Peachtree Ridge Lady Lions came out on top, but I do think that ALL the teams were victorious in being the pilot programs for


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what is sure to become a huge deal. The next weekend showcased local singing, dancing and musical acts with the Talent Show. Every act was spectacular, but burning down the floor was 5th grader Denise Keeton with her rendition of “Disco Inferno.” Denise is a multi-talented student as she not only danced, but showcased her vocal range while belting out those crazy runs. She later joined perennial favorites, “The Grayson Five” to bring down the house with a group number. Lawrenceville based Southern Ballet Theater and Southern Performing Arts Academy recently had a weekend running of “Moana’s Voyage.” Highlighting the talent of local high schoolers, the show had fantastic sets, beautiful costumes and magical dancing. Pictured here are Hei Hei, (Moana’s sidekick), Moana’s mother, and Pua the pig.

March 2019

Gwinnett County Trail Blazers intendent in Georgia having held the top job in Buford for almost ten years. The Pearls of Service Foundation with the Kappa Alpha Chapter of Upsilon Alpha Omega established the Beauty Baldwin Scholarship to

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honor Beauty who is a Golden member of Alpha Kappa Alpha. Baldwin Elementary School in Norcross is named in her honor. We salute these citizens for their continued service to Gwinnett County.

Share your community news by emailing BUSINESS PROMOTIONS OR PRESS RELEASES? We offer promotional space for purchase in our printed edition, including a non-profit discount. Email us at or call 770-963-3699 for a quote.

Photo by Emmett Clower

Bill Atkinson and Wayne Mason at Hometown Barbeque in Lawrenceville

Photo by Auveed Bagheri Cawthon

Beauty Baldwin

By Mary Frazier Long Bill Atkinson, Beauty Baldwin, and Wayne Mason were recognized as Trail Blazers for their many contributions to Gwinnett County at the 200th celebration of the founding of the county. These three citizens have made significant impacts on Gwinnett as the county has grown and changed. Bill Atkinson and Wayne Mason were born and raised in Gwinnett; Beauty Baldwin has spent most of her life and career in Gwinnett. It is impossible to name all the ways the three Trail Blazers have impacted Gwinnett County. Bill Atkinson was born near Lawrenceville, Atkinson Road on the northwest side of the county is named for Bill’s family. Bill attended grammar school in Lawrenceville and high school in Bethesda. He was Lawrenceville City Councilman, Chairman of Gwinnett County Commission and has volunteered in many capacities in Lawrenceville and the county. Bill and his wife Betty are parents of four children. Wayne Mason went to grammar school in Centerville where he was a member of the historic Zoar Methodist Church. Mason was a member of the first class that graduated from South Gwinnett High School in Snellville. He was Chairman of Water and Sewage, District Commissioner and Chairman of the Gwinnett County Commissioners. Wayne and his wife Ann are parents of four children. Beauty Baldwin, born in Baldwin County, Georgia has spent most of her career as an educator in Gwinnett County. She is the first African/ American woman School Super-

March 2019


Your Green: Who will get my money when I die?

Roger Green, MSFS,CFP ® Green Financial Resources

The best way to make sure assets go to the right people is to list them as beneficiaries. By law, the beneficiaries designated for an account or policy will receive the assets in that account or payable under that policy upon your death. Most people think of life insurance when they think about beneficiaries, however, retirement and investment accounts require an assignment of a beneficiary or a Transfer on Death (TOD) agreement to designate how your assets should be distributed for each account. This method of transferring assets is the most powerful, as it supersedes the instructions in a will and may facilitate a faster transfer of assets. This may be very important in some situations. A contingent beneficiary is a


back-up or secondary beneficiary who receives the assets/money when the primary beneficiary has passed away before the account owner dies. If you do not have contingent beneficiaries designated, please make sure you have a valid will in place to provide direction for your estate and to prevent the need for a court to decide who receives your assets. It is important to note that assigning a will as beneficiary is not advised and is often not accepted. If you do not have beneficiaries designated, then in some cases a surviving spouse will become the default beneficiary and in others, the assets will be paid to your estate. When assets are paid to an estate, a will becomes very important in specifying how the money is to be distributed. In the absence of a valid will, usually a court will decide where your assets go. Minor children generally cannot collect as beneficiaries until they are 18 in most states. If you need to provide for a minor child, you will need to assign a custodian or establish a trust to manage the money until the child turns 18. You should also probably establish a desired guardian for the child. If you fail to do so, then again a court will likely be making decisions, and dif-

ferent parties may end up fighting over what is best for the children in the absence of your guidance. It is important to review your beneficiaries regularly, particularly when your life circumstances change; such as a marriage, a divorce, the birth or death of a child/grandchild, or the death of a spouse. Beneficiary designations can be much more complex than most people realize because of the many curve balls life may throw us at any given time. It is often difficult for us to think about all the possibilities, but something you should give careful consideration to when making beneficiary designations.

Some of those difficult “curve ball” questions to consider:

•My beneficiary is my spouse, but what happens if my spouse predeceases me and I have no will? •I am leaving my assets split equally amongst my three adult children. If one of my children predeceases me, will my assets then be divided between only my two remaining children? Will my grandchildren from my deceased child end up excluded from any inheritance? •My husband and I have “his,

hers and ours” children due to prior marriages. How can we ensure all of our children will be taken care of until they are adults if one of us dies? •I am leaving my assets to my only child, who is in an unstable marriage with children. If I die, will my child’s spouse then potentially receive, through divorce, half of the assets I intended for my child and grandchildren? •How can I ensure my minor children will be provided for until they are adults in any given situation, upon my death? •Will my children be mature and responsible enough at age 18 or even at points thereafter to manage a sudden inheritance, or will my lifetime of accumulated assets be spent frivolously or to enable bad behaviors following my death? What can I do to protect my legacy and still benefit my heirs? •Can I use my assets to incentivize certain milestones or goals I believe are important for my children to achieve even after my death? These are just a few examples of the many challenging and sometimes uncomfortable questions you may need to be asking

when thinking about to whom and how your beneficiaries should be designated. This is also why we strongly recommend everyone spend some time on estate planning, and on working with their heirs to do some “intergenerational planning” where that may make sense. If you need guidance on these types of decisions, or wish to clarify your current beneficiary designations, please feel free to contact our office at 770.931.1414 to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation meeting to discuss your situation. We also strongly suggest you seek the advice of an estate planning attorney to create a valid will and/ or trust, and guide you through the options available to solve for these types of potential situations. For useful information on these and other important financial and investment planning topics please visit our website at www.rogersgreen. com As always, we are here to help. Roger S. Green is a Registered Representative providing securities and advisory services through Cetera Advisors LLC, a broker/dealer and a Registered Investment Advisor, member FINRA/SIPC. Roger’s office is located at 3700 Crestwood Parkway Duluth, GA 30096.

March 2019

Voters are now deciding the future of Gwinnett

Charlotte J. Nash

County Business

There’s a special election underway to decide how people in Gwinnett will get around and make connections in the future. As the County’s new slogan says, we are a vibrantly connected community. Gwinnett has attracted businesses and residents from around the globe, and strong partnerships have helped us blossom into something exciting, colorful, and filled with life. I’ve seen an exhilarating spirit of cooperation and connection that has for many years elevated this community and continues to strengthen it. Examples include our Partnership Gwinnett initiative to create and sustain jobs through targeted economic development and our Volunteer Gwinnett program that enabled 90,000 people to donate 1.6 million hours to improve the quality of life in our community. Education is another pillar of Gwinnett’s success that also helps create, attract, and retain jobs in Gwinnett by providing a well-prepared workforce. I’m proud to say that all three bond-rating agencies gave Gwinnett a Triple-A rating last year for the 21st year in a row, placing us in the top two percent of counties in the nation. Our excellent credit rating lowers our borrowing costs while voter support of SPLOST sales tax programs lets us use pay-as-you-go financing for many capital improvements like roads, parks, and libraries.

While the County handles many fundamental services, Gwinnett cities have been able to focus resources on place making and nurturing a sense of community that makes each of them uniquely successful. Services that the County provides to almost all of Gwinnett include water, sewer, transportation, fire/EMS, courts, sheriff, and libraries, and the Gwinnett Police Department serves the majority of the County as well. We work with Gwinnett’s 16 cities to provide efficient, effective services throughout Gwinnett. Incidentally, about 25 percent of Gwinnett’s population and area is located within cities. Last year, we celebrated 200 years of history and the thriving community that we’ve become. Now it’s time to focus on the future. But what will Gwinnett be like decades or even a century from now? Your Board of Commissioners is guiding many important projects now, including the exciting developments underway at the Infinite Energy Center and the potential for the OFS property on I-85 recently purchased by the County. We are building public facilities that will serve Gwinnett over a long period of time. But in my opinion, transit is the next big decision for Gwinnett, akin to those made in the past regarding water, sewer and roads. As I write this, voters are already showing up for advance voting on a referendum to significantly expand transit options throughout the county. Election Day is March 19. Our road network today unites 437 square miles with more than 8,400 miles of roads and links us to our nearly one million neighbors here in Gwinnett and to the region. But tomorrow, roads alone cannot provide enough transportation choices for the extra 500,000 more people that we expect to call Gwinnett home in the next 20 to 25 years. We simply won’t all fit on I-85. So as we begin our third century, Gwinnett voters are determining the future of mobility in the county.

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Family of Five Generations By Mary Frazier Long Helen Lovin Wells is excited and proud to announce the newest addition to the family — her great, great grandson Waylon Stone Field. This marks the 5th generation to the family. Helen is a native of Gwinnett County who lived and worked in Gwinnett County until her retirement. Some may remember her as the bridal consultant and school supply contact at Wilson’s Gifts for many years. Those who know her will agree that Helen is a true southern lady who loves her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and now great, great grandson more than anything. She has devoted her life to caring and loving all her family, as well as those others, who have had the privilege of knowing her. Helen was married to Samuel E. Wells, also of Lawrenceville. Helen Wells was married to Samuel E. Wells, and their children were Jerry and Darlene. Helen’s parents were Cleveland and Ida Lovin who were parents of seven children. The Lovins lived in Harbins. Helen graduated from Dacula High School. Her siblings were Dorothy Spain, Horace Lovin, Runelle Clarke, Joe Lovin, Sibyl Samples, and Faye Sikes.

Special photo

Hayden Field, great grandson, Darlene Wells Lentini, daughter, Rhoma Lentini Mills, granddaughter, Helen Wells, seated and holding Waylon Stone Field, great, great grandson and son of Hayden and Kayla Field.

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March 2019


Southeastern Festivals and Events Association Awards Duluth with Event and Marketing Awards By Staff Reports The Southeastern Festivals and Events Association (SFEA) recognized Duluth as one of the Best in the Region for its event and creative efforts over the last year. On February 25th, at the SFEA Kaleidoscope Award Dinner, Duluth was awarded: Best Creative Idea GOLD Free Uber Thursdays Best Children’s Programming SILVER S’mores & Snores Best Vendor/Supplier SILVER Dustin Grau Photography Best Creative Idea BRONZE Tweet & Seek Best Social Media Marketing BRONZE Howl on the Green Best Event Website SILVER Duluth Fall Festival Best Print Ad BRONZE Duluth Fall Festival The awards were accepted in Pigeon Forge, TN by a City of Duluth staffer & representatives from the Duluth Fall Festival. The SFEA Kaleidoscope Awards, which recognizes the marketing, programming and overall event, acknowledges the highest level of achievement in the festival and event

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L - R: Herb & Beth Hoffman, Duluth Fall Festival; Talore Ruedt; Festival Center Manager, City of Duluth; Kay & Mike Montgomery, Duluth Fall Festival

industry throughout the southeast United States. The mission of SFEA is to strengthen, educate and unify the festivals and events industry throughout the Southeast. Comprised of festival and event planners, venues, and industry service providers, SFEA was founded to strengthen the festival and event industry throughout the southeast United States by hosting educational sessions, networking opportunities, award recognition, and additional events throughout the year; thus allowing for continued professional growth within the festivals and events industry. The 2019 event calendar is released and has tons of options for everyone. For more information about

Plantation Shutters You’ve decided on Plantation Shutters for your windows. Where do you begin? Not all Plantation Shutters are the same. Most shutters are wood. There are some composite and plastic shutters available, too. You’ll need to decide on a few options and configurations that will make a difference in how the shutters will look. Framed or unframed? Framed shutters offer a more finished look. The frames will cover light gaps more effectively when windows are out-of-square. If your windows tilt in for cleaning, frames will allow the sliding section of the sash to bypass the area inside the window frame where the shutter is mounted. Another common mounting option is the “hanging strip” which attaches to the inside of the window frame and is connected to the shutter panel with a hinge. It’s a simpler look but should not be used if you want to avoid hav-

Joan Miller

The Blind Ladies

ing more light gaps or you tilt your windows in to clean. Otherwise, it is a question of what is more appealing to your eyes. Louver sizes vary with the most popular choice being 3 ½”. 2 ½” louvers were widely used in earlier years and are still a good choice for older homes with small windows

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Talore Ruedt; Festival Center Manager, City of Duluth

events visit, like them on Facebook at www.facebook. com/cityofduluth or contact Talore Ruedt at or 770-497-5291.

or in keeping with a vintage décor. If your ceilings are high and your rooms large, then you may want to consider a 4 ½” louver for scale. The large louvers allow more light in and add a wow factor to your windows. They truly make a beautiful statement! All of the details in making your custom shutters just that: “custom” include how many panels in each window opening; whether you want divider rails across the center to separate the top section of the window from the bottom, or a clear view without the obstruction of the standard tilt rod on the front, and down to the paint or stain color and color of the hinges. We make your selections painless by guiding you through the process! Call Joan at The Blind Ladies today to schedule your consultation: 404 918-5288.

DO YOU HAVE A STORY TO TELL? Our stories come from our readers all across the community and we’d love to get ideas from you. If you know of an inspiring story about real people doing great things in our community, email us at 10

March 2019

Wills and Estate Planning- Why make a will?

David Walker

Attorney at Law

Why make a will? A will allows you to plan the disposition of your property upon your death. In other words, it is your statement of who gets what. If you don’t have a will, or if you don’t take some other steps to plan your estate, your property will be divided upon your death according to the laws of your state of residence. If you are a Georgia resident, your spouse and your children will divide it equally, except that a spouse cannot end up with less than 1/3. If you have no spouse or children, under current Georgia law your parents would receive your property. If your parents are deceased at the time of your death, your brothers and sisters would divide your property. If you have no brothers and sisters, there are further rules about who are your next of kin. These rules can be altered by a will. A will done by a person of sound mind, not under duress, can in effect change the

law as to who inherits your property. It is a very powerful instrument. A will must meet legal requirements to be enforceable. A generally will must be in writing, and under Georgia law must be signed in the presence of two witnesses. Other states may require three witnesses, or a Notary Public. A person making a will has to be of sound mind when the will was made. That means a person has to have the mental capacity to understand the choices being made. If a court proceeding for construction of a will is required, the goal of the proceeding is to determine the intent of the testator and put that into effect. A will must be probated in order to put the will into effect after death. The processes of probate vary from state to state. In Georgia, the process is relatively efficient. If there are no objections to the will, and the witnesses can be located, probate can sometimes be accomplished in a few days. A will cannot be amended except by a written document that is witnessed as required for an original will. Problems are created when people have a will and strike out portions, then write changes in by hand without these changes being witnessed. These actions can void the will. A person who wants to amend a will can instead prepare a codicil, or a new will, or a “republication” of the old will can be done. Under Georgia law, certain actions can void a will. These include birth of a child, adoption of a child, marriage, or divorce, to a limited extent. (The Georgia Code treats your spouse as though (s)he predeceased you) However, if

the will provides that it is written in contemplation of such an event, then that event will not void the will. Often wills are drafted to plan for additional children. A will is not rendered void if it provides that any future children are to be included in the bequests. If a will does not contain such a provision, it can be rendered void if the maker has additional children. A number of people may have voided their will in this way, without knowing these rules. There are alternatives to wills such as revocable living trusts. This involves creating a trust, which is a legal entity separate from the maker. Then, all assets are transferred to the trust and owned by the trust. The trust can name beneficiaries, so after the death of its creator the property in the trust can go to the beneficiaries without having to probate a will. Such a trust involves more legal work up front than a will, but it can limit or replace the process of probate. Another alternative to a will is jointly titled property. Under Georgia law, if property is owned by persons as joint tenants with survivorship, after the death of the first owner to die, the survivor receives title to the property without the need for further legal proceedings. In estate planning, there are related topics such as advanced directives and powers of attorney. A will only takes effect at death. It is revocable until the maker dies. A durable power of attorney can be used for disability planning to have someone manage affairs when a person is unable to manage his or her own affairs during life. An advance di-

rective can be used to make medical decisions, including whether life support will be used to prolong a person’s life when he or she is unable to communicate these decisions. Estate taxes are one reason for estate planning. More accurately, avoidance of estate taxes is such a reason. Recently, Congress again increased the credits available against the estate tax so that only a few people have potential estate tax problems. The decline or advance of the stock market has also changed the net worth of people and can affect who needs estate tax planning. However, not everyone is aware of the assets that must be counted in the estate tax net worth assessments, such as life insurance. For instance, if a person carries a large amount of term life insurance, his or her taxable estate may be larger than believed. A detailed discussion of estate taxes is beyond the scope of this article and your estate planning professionals should be con-

sulted in this regard. Our firm has been assisting clients with wills and estate planning matters in Gwinnett County since 1976. We also handle numerous will contests and probates. Give us a call and you and your loved ones will be glad you did. David S. Walker Attorney at Law David Sinclair Walker Jr. PC Mailing address: P.O. BOX 871329, Stone Mountain GA 30087 Offices: • North Gwinnett- 6340 Sugarloaf Parkway, Suite 200 Duluth GA 30097 • South Gwinnett- 2330 Scenic Highway, Snellville GA 30078 Telephone 770-972-3803; Facsimile 770-921-7418 email Admitted in GA and D.C. UGA Law’76 Georgia Bar No. 731725



A recent client talks about our handling his divorce.... “Thank you very much for the compassionate, smooth and professional handling of a very sensitive procedure. I especially appreciate the extra steps you took in providing electronic copies of documents to help me simplify the logistics of working with a defendant residing in Europe. ... As I mentioned to Mr. Walker during our first meeting, I selected your firm for your business law expertise but am pleased with how the divorce was handled ... I will recommend your services for both domestic and business matters to my friends and associates.” – CW What our latest estate planning client had to say: “Mr. Walker was very professional. He was able to help us navigate through the will preparation process. The end result is that we will have the legal documents in place to handle our affairs as we enter life’s final stages.” – JS About our Staff, from a probate client : “Thank you, Sandy... you have been wonderful to work with and made this painful process easier on our family by being professional, comforting, and great communication keeping us aware every step of the way. We will be contacting David and yourself after the first of the year to manage our will.” – LT Our Firm handles wills and probate, all divorce-related matters, and small business matters.

March 2019

Licensed in GA and DC — Certified Mediator North Gwinnett office – 2330 Scenic Hwy., Snellville GA 30078 South Gwinnett office – 6340 Sugarloaf Pkwy., Duluth GA 30097 email: website:


Health, Beauty & Wellness Redefining the Colorectal Cancer Patient When you’re in your 20s, your biggest concerns should be what classes you plan to take during the spring semester of college, which awesome apartment you want to live in, or maybe whether or not you should ask your longtime crush on a date, etc.—not colorectal cancer. Yes, you read that correctly, colorectal cancer. Young adults—those ages 20 to 39—are now more likely than their parents were at that age to develop the deadly disease. To help shed light on this important issue, we sat down with Dr. Lord to get a better understanding of this growing health concern. What do the statistics say? Even though the number of colorectal cancer cases has been decreasing overall, one age group— individuals born after 1990—continues defying the odds. “In fact, one study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, shows that young adults, 28-years-old and younger, have double the risk of developing colon cancer and four times the risk of developing rectal cancer (than previous generations did at the same age),” notes Brad Lord, MD, a gastroenterologist affiliated with


Gwinnett Medical Center. “On top of that, all twentysomethings—who start out with an elevated risk for colorectal cancer—will only continue to add to this risk as they age.” What exactly does this mean? Beginning in 1950, the risk for developing colorectal cancer began to grow (and grow) with each passing year. “This means that for each generation born after 1950, their risk is just a little higher than the year before,” explains Dr. Lord. “The scariest part about this gradual rise is the fact that it’s difficult to identify one clear change or new risk factor that could be responsible for these growing statistics.” What are the potential culprits? Some of the typical risk factors for colorectal cancer don’t necessarily apply in this case—being over 50 years old, having a history of colorectal polyps or inflammatory bowel disease, or smoking for a prolonged period of time. So what makes early-onset colorectal cancer different? Some experts believe that this increase in colorectal cancer cases

has mirrored the rising number of young adults that are overweight or obese. “That’s because many of the same factors that contribute to obesity—sedentary lifestyle and eating heavily-processed foods—also contribute to colorectal cancer,” emphasizes Dr. Lord. “Yet another explanation may be the recent increase in the number of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) diagnoses,” describes Dr. Lord. This increase isn’t one that’s just happening in the U.S., either; it’s a change being felt worldwide. “The most common types of IBD are Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis—both of which can increase colorectal cancer risk,” adds Dr. Lord. To further complicate matters, the symptoms of colorectal cancer, IBD and irritable bowel syndrome, can be too close for comfort. “When only evaluating the symptoms, these conditions look almost identical,” says Dr. Lord. “The only way to really know what you’re dealing with is to perform additional procedures, like rectal exams, X-rays or colonoscopies.” Stop should-ing yourself. “The truth is being proactive

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about your colorectal health is no longer a choice, or something you should do, it’s something you need to do,” emphasizes Dr. Lord. It doesn’t matter how old you are. It doesn’t matter if you have a family history or not (75% of colorectal cancer patients don’t have a family history of the disease). The only thing that matters is that you get screened for colorectal cancer after age 50, whether or not you notice any digestive abnormalities or symptoms. The best place to start is simply by talking to your primary care provider—who may refer you to a specialist for additional support, information and insight. You can also utilize convenient resources, like

GMC’s free colorectal cancer screening kit, which detects the presence of blood in stool, and could indicate the need for additional diagnostics. Don’t put off prevention. This year alone, 140,000 adults will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer. But with an extensive array of resources available to you through Gwinnett Medical Center, you can learn more about colorectal cancer, screen for it and treat it—the sooner the better. Get started with colorectal cancer prevention today by ordering your free screening kit online by visiting kit or by calling 678-312-5000 and select option1.

March 2019

March 2019


FREEZE continued from page 1 ning the state final 51-41 and making her team the first and only Dacula Girls Basketball team to ever win the state tournament. She made the all-tournament team, alongside two of her teammates, and was ranked sixth among the point makers, having scored 48 points throughout the tournament. Although she did score numerous points for her team, Beaver was more famous around Dacula for her “Franklin Freeze,” like the one she performed in the semifinal game against Willacoochee. Because there wasn’t a shot clock, Beaver could dribble as long as she wanted to, and she couldn’t be stopped. The only way for the opposing team to get the ball was to foul her, and, because of her nearly flawless shooting record, inevitably gave Dacula another two points from the foul shot. Between her dribbling and shooting, Beaver

couldn’t be defended, making her an extremely valuable player. Only being a junior when her team won the state championship in 1954, Beaver got another chance to lead her team to the state finals. Dacula beat Roopville in the semifinals after a six-minute freeze by Beaver in the fourth quarter, sending them, once again, to the state championship, this time against the Pitts. They played their hardest, but Dacula gave up a shot with twenty seconds left to play, giving Pitts the win, 55-53. There is no doubt that “little” Jane Beaver dominated the court in

her time, but her accomplishments were still being recognized when she was inducted into the Dacula High School Basketball Hall of Fame with the entire 1954 State Championship team and then later as an individual in 2015. However, even after her reign as the “Freeze Queen,” Beaver was still a star in the hearts of her friends and family, leaving a long-lasting impression on so many people, even up until her passing on December 24, 2018. Jane Beaver will always hold her title as the “little Dacula playmaker” but she will be remembered as so much more.

Jane Franklin Beaver

April 30, 1937 – December 24, 2018 Jane Franklin Beaver, age 81, of Dacula, GA passed away on Monday, December 24, 2018. She is survived by her brother and sister-in-law, Rastus and Barbara Franklin; sister, Virginia Brogdon; sister and brother-in-law, Yvonne and Don Schubele; brother in law, Kenneth Sorrells; sister-in-laws, Syble Franklin, Christine Franklin, and Loraine Franklin; as well as many loving nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, Samuel and Hattie Higgins Franklin; brothers, Jewett, Andy, Hollan, and Felton Franklin; sisters, Kathleen Sorrells and Nell Duncan. Jane was born in Dacula, GA and graduated from Dacula High School where she was a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame. She was an instrumental part of the Dacula High School State Championship team of 1954. Jane was a member of Ebenezer Baptist Church since 1952. She retired from Heatcraft. Jane was a souvenir vendor for the Atlanta Braves. She was an avid fan of the Atlanta Braves, Georgia Tech, and NASCAR. Jane will be greatly missed by all those who knew and loved her. She was one of a kind, and had compassion and generosity for everyone who knew her. The family would like to thank Homestead Hospice for the wonderful care and compassion. A funeral service honoring Jane was held on Saturday, December 29,

Jane Beaver 1937-2018

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2018 at 2pm at Tom M. Wages Lawrenceville Chapel where Rev. Sam Davis officiated. Interment followed at Ebenezer Baptist Church Cemetery. The family received friends on Friday, December 28, 2018 from 2pm-8pm at Tom M. Wages Lawrenceville Chapel. Memorial donations were made to Ebenezer Baptist Church. Condolences may be sent to or viewed at www.wagesfuneralhome. com. Tom M. Wages Funeral Service LLC, “A Family Company” 120 Scenic Hwy Lawrenceville, GA 770-963-2411. Cemetery Ebenezer Baptist Church Cemetery 2570 Harbins Road Dacula, GA 30019

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March 2019

5 Reasons You Should Consider CoolSculpting

Chrissy Thomas

About Face Skin Care

1. It is safe. Cool Sculpting is the first of its kind that will actually freeze fat. Traditional techniques that we have used for fat reduction have been radiofrequency devices. Radiofrequency is great for skin tightening but has not proven to be as effective for fat loss. These devices would get so hot that clients would be too uncomfortable to tolerate the treatment for the amount of time required to effectively destroy fat cells. Cool Sculpting utilizes cold therapy to break down fat pockets while keeping the skin safe from damage. The cooled area becomes numb making Cool Sculpting very comfortable. Clients typically enjoy our Netflix programs, read or even nap while being treated. 2. It is for everyone. There are few clients who would not benefit


from Cool Sculpting. For those who have problem areas that seem to be immune to diet and exercise, Cool Sculpting is an excellent option. For those who are looking for a way to jump start weight loss and fat loss, Cool Sculpting is often the kick off to better habits. 3. If you can pinch it, we can freeze it. Cool Sculpting treats vir-


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ing schedule and our commitment to continuing education sets our practice a notch above the rest. 5. It is permanent. Cool Sculpting is one of the few treatments in the world of antiaging that we can actually use the words “permanent results.” With over nine years of supporting clinical data, clients find these treatments are well worth the cost. Low and no cost financing options are also available. As a former plastic surgery nurse and as a medical spa owner for 17 years, I have never been able to offer a treatment that works so well for fat reduction. The safety of the treatment and permanent results have created many happy clients within the About Face practice. As a special offer to our clients, we are offering a 15% savings on all Cool Sculpting treatments through the month of March. Come on in for a free consultation to see what Cool

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Sona Martinez, LE, Master Certified CoolSculpting Technician

Sculpting can do for you and feel great by this summer! About Face Skin Care is at Janmar Road and Scenic Highway behind Lowe’s in Snellville. Give us a call at 770-935-FACE(3223), visit us online at, or like us on Instagram (youraboutface) or Face Book for special offers. We look forward to meeting you!

tually any area of concern. Fat belly, love handles, muffin tops, double chins, bra fat, saddle bags, inner thighs, back fat, bat wings….. we have heard (and treated) it all! 4.We are qualified. Not only is About Face Skin Care a Cool Sculpting Certified Practice, we have a Master Certified Technician, Sona Martinez, LE. Our busy Cool Sculpt-


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Send Resume to: I Crucified Christ Lives Church, Inc. 45 Old Peachtree Rd. NW Ste 600 Suwanee, GA 30024


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March 2019


JOETTE continued from page 1


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Joette at home

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role model and use her disability as an “ability” for the large special education population of students at the school as well as the parents and other stakeholders,” said former Arcado principal Dr. Linda Anderson, who nominated Joette for the award. “She tried to show how a person can live out their purpose in life as a productive member of society, despite any disability they might have. “ When she was growing up, Joette had difficulty entering buildings. Because her school didn’t have the needed accommodations, she didn’t begin school until fifth grade. “My school years are not as fond memories,” Joette said in recollection. “I think that’s why God kept me at Arcado Elementary all those years. I wanted those kids to enjoy school.” Joette sees her employment at Arcado as an ordained coincidence. When she quit her job as a data transcriber for the Internal Revenue Service after four years, she said to her husband, “I won’t go back to work unless a place opens up [down the street], has handicap parking/ramp and a restaurant in it, so I don’t have to leave.” Then Arcado Elementary opened. It was close to home and had everything she needed — down to the handicap parking/ramp and the inhouse cafeteria. She sees her 35 years of employment at Arcado as one of her many ministries. “If I can make a difference in just one child’s life a year, my handicap is all worth it,” Joette said. Another program she holds

close to heart is DivorceCare at First Baptist Church of Lilburn. She and her son Wesley work together on the project as co-facilitators. “She basically leads the program,” said Susan Rumble, of Lilburn Baptists’ Member Care. “She does all the administrative work, enrolling people and facilitating. She does an excellent job keeping up with the students and following up with them.” Separation and divorce are among life’s most painful and stressful experiences, according to Joette; and because she went through a similar experience, she hopes she can help others to cope with theirs. Joette has been a member of the Lilburn Woman’s Club for eleven years. She serves on the Home Life Department and enjoys the opportunities it provides to get out and engage with others in the community. “She’s a wonderful and passionate person,” said Sandy McGuire who serves on the Home Life Department of the Woman’s Club. “HiHope Dance is one of the passion projects she works on,” McGuire continued. “She goes out of her way for that. She will go so far as personally buying items [for the dance] and will not submit the expense to the club. She goes above and beyond to make sure the kids [special needs adults] enjoy themselves. And she insists on greeting them at the door. She likes to be the greeter all the events she does.” In Councilman Eddie Price’s opinion, few are as dedicated to the city and the community as Joette is. He met her in 2003 when he registered his daughter at Arcado and got to know her better when he got involved in local politics. “When I got elected, she was appointed on the Merritt Board. I was happy — I knew her integrity,” Price said. “She loves our community on all levels, and she’s plugged in to what’s going on. And she’s a lesson to those who aren’t.” “She’s just a wonderful volunteer, and a tireless worker,” Susan Rumble said speaking to Joette’s work over the 60 years she’s been a member of Lilburn First Baptist. “She reads to children from Lilburn Christian Pre-School at least once a month . . . she’s a kind spirit, and she loves Jesus and the city of Lilburn.” Joette hopes that by getting out despite her difficulties and by being friendly and outgoing she will be an encouragement to others. “I try to live my life so people can see Christ through me,” Joette said.

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Joette Segars was presented the Person of the Year Award by Gwinnett Barrier Free for using her disability as an ability and being a great role model to the students at Arcado Elementary during her time as Bookkeeper at the school.

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A drawing of Arcado Elementary where Joette Segars worked as the bookkeeper.

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Joette Segars’ maiden name is Clark, and her family has been in Gwinnett for five Generations.

“I’m hoping and praying I can be an encouragement to others, especially those with disabilities.” Although she’s stayed busy after retirement, Joette is a family-oriented person and now has more time to spend with her son, Wesley, daughter-in-law Glenda and granddaughter, Sarah.

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March 2019

Today is the Day!

Marlene Ratledge Buchanan Hey Y’all

I am a nervous wreck! And I have to get an article in for my Hey Y’all column today. I had several other stories that I have been developing for this month’s Hey Y’all, but terror seems to be my theme of the day. I am writing to you on the morning of my book launch. With several people pushing from behind, I have written a book. Life is Hard. Soften it with Laughter. I have stood in front of a gymnasium of hundreds of people and talked. NO sweat. I can do financial aid programs and graduation requirements without blinking an eye. Actually, I have been under general anesthesia in the recovery room and helped a nurse plan her ninth grader’s entire high school course schedule. Never remembered it, but, apparently, what she brought to show me was right on! I have to stand in front of a room of people and talk today. I don’t know how many will be there. Those who are there may not see much of me. I am so nervous that I have to go to the bathroom every seven minutes and all I want is coffee, so I will be a trembling, dehydrated pulp with damp underpants in the front of the room. Mark Pitt, one of students and now friend from Duluth High School days, is

an Elvis tribute artist. If you get to see one of his shows, you will be amazed. I remembered him in my art classes humming. Mark told me one time that he could not eat before a show. He said he was too nervous to do anything but focus on the upcoming program. That must be where I am. Except, I can always eat!!! As nervous as I am today, it may be dangerous for our Horace, our resident sunroom lizard, to come sit on the computer table. I understand they are quite tasty with a little honey mustard. (Funny. In the background, Elvis is singing the Battle Hymn of the Republic/Dixie. Okay, this must be a message. I can do this.) I was a school counselor and worked with families and teenagers for many years. Truth be told, I still do. People call me and we talk or meet to discuss issues. That is the purpose I was placed on this earth, I think. To listen and support people. Snell and I have only one child who was deprived of oxygen during birth. And as many times as I have threatened to paste a stamp on his fanny and hang him off the mailbox, he is my hero. Most of the time. Sometimes he is the bain of my existence. But don’t anyone get between us! A long time ago, I was shy. Then I figured out you just smile and speak first. That’s the secret. You say “Hey, how ya doing?” first. Spend a million dollars on therapy, but the secret is smile and speak first. And when you leave them, be sure they are smiling. Sometimes it is hard with what is going on in your life to smile, but you can do it. Throw the world off-guard with a smile, a compliment and a funny. George M. Cohen knew of what he wrote in 1903 — Always leave them Laughing. Laughter, I think, is the most unifying, life affirming thing we can do for ourselves and each other.

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Always Leave Them Laughing. George M. Cohen (1903)

Well, I got to go make a decision on the four outfits I have chosen to wear today. I narrowed it down from 17. Y’all think I am having a melt down? Yeah, I am. I just realized something. I will know all the people there. And I know their stories — good and bad. I can do this. Smile. “Hey Y’all. How ya doing?” Better go pee one more time. Always Leave Them Laughing George M. Cohen (1903) “Always leave them laughing when you say goodbye. Never linger long about, or else you’ll wear your welcome out. When you meet a fellow with a teardimmed eye, You can leave him laughing if you try. When he tells his troubles, interrupt him with a joke. Tell him one he’s never heard, and he’ll declare that it’s a bird. When he’s giggling good, you know That’s the time to turn and go Always leave them laughing when you say goodbye”


Katie Hart Smith From the Heart

Last night I tossed and turned and prayed to God for His guidance about this column and asked the question, “How do I write about such a troubling subject matter? What words am I to use?” I let go. And, the answer came to me in early morning hours, “S.O.S.” With the nightly news and the leading headlines – murder, death, and tragedy – and a myopic focus on what’s wrong in this world, it tends to overshadow the good things that are happening every day, by you. In a phone call with my sister, Julie said, “I’m so thankful for you and people like you who choose to write and focus on the “good” news stories

March 2019

and of the accomplishments and successes of the people in your community.” I was touched. I told her that I chose to carry the lantern, to shine the light on others and to be the bright light in the darkness with the hope that people can find their way. However, after watching the news last month, I was sickened by the events unfolding in New York, who joined other states to include the District of Columbia, to celebrate the passing of legislation allowing for later-term (full-term) abortions (Source: Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation for a complete listing of states). When did human life become disposable? I have a saying, “Jesus and sticky notes help keep me straight.” (It sounds like the title for a country song, right?) As many of you know, I pray before I write and I use a boatload of sticky notes (you can find them in my purse, car, office, and kitchen) to jot down random thoughts, ideas, or words of inspiration. A long time ago, I penned the following Bible verse, unsure of where I would ever use it...until now. “Without wise leadership, a nation is in trouble; but with good counselors, there is safety.” – Prov-

erbs 11:14. Be a good counselor. Pray for our leaders. Be a free-minded, not a sheep-minded thinker. Shine the light. Be the bright light in the darkness. I am signaling the lamplight with three short flashes, three long flashes, and three short flashes and am sending out a distress call to save our souls, to save the unborn and the delivered babies from the atrocity of infanticide. There are always other alternatives to include adoption. We have federal laws protecting animal’s lives, why not our children’s? We, as a country, must choose to value human life. If this kind of thing is possible now, then what stops the unthinkable from happening when a politician decides to write genocidal legislation to manage the elderly population? S.O.S. About Katie Hart Smith Katie Hart Smith’s column, “From the Heart,” touches the heart, inspires, and entertains. Smith, a published author for over twenty years, believes that words, written or spoken, have power. To learn more, visit www.


DRAKE continued from page 1

Photo By Julie Thompson

L-R: Piper Marsingail, Genevieve La Pierre, Molly Canty, Olivia Lanford, Isabel Mendoza, Ashlea Del Favero, Sydney Swift, Karin Del Favero, E’owyn Dimattia, Jillian Rose, Conner Canty, Grace Hauck, Domino Weir, Damon Griffin

open his first studio in the Peachtree Corners/ Norcross area in 1990. As the Irish population grew in metro-Atlanta, many flocked to the School of Irish Dance. The Berkeley Lake studio is off Peachtree Industrial and features weekly lessons for both adults, as well as workshops and authentic dance competitions —“ Féises”. More information is available at Karl partnered with Grahame Wood and his pioneering DRAKE dance family to hold the first Peach State Féis at Oglethorpe University where close to 180 dancers competed. The school is now training for the 29th Peach State Féis and for the World Championships, which will be held in Greensboro, N.C in April. “We’re all so excited to have the World Championships not only in the U.S, but [in the South], which is great for our dancers who can drive for the first time,” Karl said of the event which is usually held overseas. “We always had a huge expense traveling to Ireland or the U.K., so this year is just amazing, giving all dancers the opportunity to attend. Even those who haven’t qualified to compete can come see the caliber of some of the top dancers in the world.” Come St. Patty’s Day, Karl’s already busy schedule gets packed with performances at schools, nursing homes, local Irish pubs, corporate events, and local festivals. Recently, he visited Berkeley Lake Elementary. “One of the fun things I do is go into schools. I do a demonstration and a Q&A . . . and one of the most exciting parts is when I call the teachers up, and they learn a dance,” Karl said. The St. Patrick’s Day Parade on March 16th is one of the school’s biggest events of the year. Typically, dancers from all of his Peachstate locations including Norcross, Alpharetta, Decatur, Carrolton and Rome participate in the procession that winds through Midtown. “The St. Patrick’s Day parade is one of largest and oldest in the South, and it’s always a very exciting


one, now, since the route through Midtown has grown immensely in the past five to ten years. There’s always a great buzz, great excitement always, and the parade is a way for the younger generation of dancers to connect with older generations of dancers, and we’ve always had a fun time doing it,” Karl said. Earlier in the year, Karl was invited to instruct a master class workshop in Mumbai, India. The success he found in Mumbai has catalyzed Karl’s vision to expand globally. “It’s taking Irish Dance to another level,” Karl said of his current vision. “My next goal in this particular phase of my life is opening other schools of Irish Dance and giving the world exposure to Irish Dance.” Already, Karl has established schools in both Mexico and China. He visits Mexico City several times a year, and at the end of March, he will make his sixth trip to Shanghai where he has trained native professionals to instruct weekly Irish Dance lessons. The prestige of the school is highlighted in the success of its alumni, and not only on the dance floor. “Most of my students have gone on to have very professional careers,” Karl said of his former student Catie Foley was one of my top dancers, and now she’s a graphic designer at Coca-Cola. Anne Reilly is now a lawyer in Florida, Sean Wilkes is a doctor in Hawaii . . . Amanda Tucker Poole has her own division of the School in Auburn AL. as does Christina Deacy in Ft. Lauderdale, Fl., Anna Johnson teaches at the Peachstate locations, Maddie Hane who has her division of the schools in Houston Texas and Moira Fischman, and Fernanda Cajiga- Mexico.” According to Karl, “School is not just a dance school, it’s a family” and their time at the school provides much more than just technical training. “Dancing, I think everyone would agree, definitely changes your life,” said Isabel Mendoza, 23, a current student at the Berkeley Lake studio. “We’ve all definitely ma-

Photo By Julie Thompson

Karl Drake

Photo By Julie Thompson

Longtime DRAKE students Isabel Mendoza and Damon Griffin, both 23, will compete at the 29th Peach State Fèis at the Avalon in Alpharetta at the end of May, as well as at the World Championships to be held in Greensboro, N.C.

tured, and we’ve all grown together — you learn you’re not always going to win. You learn to be humble, and we’ve just grown a lot with dance. I wouldn’t dance with any other school or teacher. “ On top of his busy schedule, Karl now fits in judging competitions — Féiseanna — around the world. He has successfully obtained the prestigious ADCRG certification/ license from CLRG, Dublin, Ireland.

March 2019


Bill York

Nonagenarian Expecting an invasion of Europe by Allied Forces a concrete wall was built by Adolf Hitler, beginning at the border of Spain, along with the French coast, the English Channel and then along the Danish coast continuing the length of the Norwegian west coast. After immigrants arrived on this continent and began moving west, the army built forts surrounded by stockade fences, to ward off Indian attacks and protect the army units. Without the walls, America might still be a land of Hogans and Teepees. According to a report in USA Today building walls for protection increased since WWII, many of them built after the destruction of the twin towers.


A large wall was built in Berlin in 1961 in the early stage of the cold war to prohibit relatives in the Russian sector from visits in other sectors. It lasted until 1989 when Ronald Reagan said: “Mr. Gorbachov, tear down that wall.” It happened. Google indicates 30,000 walled and gated communities have been built in America, many with security guards for additional safety. The Great Wall of China is an example of a massive wall intended to stop raiders from the aggressive Mongol neighbors. Israel began building a wall in 2007 after suffering deaths from the Palestinians and Hamas terrorists whose expressed intention was to force Jews out of Israel. If their wall had not been built there likely would not be a country of Israel today. National Geographic did a study along the Nile Valley in Egypt and found remnants of huge forts with walls built to protect the Egyptians from invaders. In medieval periods castles were built atop mountainous terrains with archers stationed upon parapets to defend against approaching enemies. In lowlands, a deep moat surrounded the castle with access by a drawbridge that was raised when danger was detected.

Saudi Arabia is currently building a wall on their border with Yemen to keep out the Yemeni rebels trying to enter Saudi Arabia. In our enclave of homes, more than half have a wall or a fence around the property. After the 1944 invasion of Southern France, my boat was assigned to Marseille, France for a goodwill tour. Entering the channel into Vieux Port Harbor, we passed massive fortifications, built by conquerors over the centuries; Goths, Moors, and Romans. I expected to have cauldrons of flaming tar poured down on my deck. I recall Marseille as a quaint community on the Mediterranean coast. A friend sent me a photo taken in Marseille of violent rioting since being overrun by immigrants. The newcomers have built a barrier of burnt vehicle, effectively dividing the citizens. The photographs are graphic reminding me of riots in India and other foreign countries. Because of the danger I would not take vacation in Marseille today. Bill is a 92-year old WW II Navy veteran and retired President of York Furs in Buckhead. You can contact him by email at

Nash explains Transit Contract Referendum By Staff Reports In her 2019 State of the County Address, Gwinnett County Chairman Charlotte Nash told an audience of about 900 business and civic leaders that Gwinnett County voters soon will decide the future of transit and the county for decades to come. “Transit expansion is the next big decision for Gwinnett, akin to those made in the past regarding water, sewer, and roads,” Nash said. “We have a unique opportunity before us to strengthen one of the most important foundations for a vibrantly connected Gwinnett — transportation and mobility.” She called the upcoming vote on transit expansion a “trailblazing moment – one that will set the path for Gwinnett’s future.” Advance voting on the transit contract referendum begins Monday at the Main Elections Office, 755 Grayson Highway in Lawrenceville. Election Day is March 19. Additional advance voting locations will be open March 4 through March 15 in seven county parks. Officials expect Gwinnett to add half a million more residents over the next 20 to 25 years, Nash said, “and roads alone cannot provide enough mobility choices now and in the future.” She described how the County developed its Connect Gwinnett: Transit Plan last year that would guide future transit service if voters approve the proposed transit expansion contract. “The plan adopted by the Board last summer balances transit needs across the county with projected funding that includes proceeds from a one-cent sales tax

that will be implemented on April 1 if the transit referendum is passed,” Nash said. Major components of the transit plan she discussed include 50 miles of bus rapid transit operating in dedicated rights-ofway, 110 miles of rapid bus service that operates partially in normal traffic, plus expanded coverage and frequency of local routes, door-to-door flex service in less-populated areas and expanded paratransit service. “And, yes, the plan includes an extension of rail from Doraville to Jimmy Carter Boulevard and a multimodal transit hub that can easily accommodate transfers among rail, BRT, bus and other modes of transportation,” Nash said. She stressed that “our agreement allows us to leverage access to MARTA’s expertise and overall system while protecting Gwinnett’s interests.” Nash said the funds collected in Gwinnett must be spent for the benefit of Gwinnett, the transit projects built and operated for Gwinnett will be based on the Connect Gwinnett: Transit Plan and Gwinnett will have three seats on the MARTA board. “As we begin Gwinnett’s third century, the future of transit in the county will be determined by Gwinnett voters,” Nash said. “In my opinion, transit can give this great county the final competitive edge we need, especially among younger age groups, to keep your businesses successful and Gwinnett vibrant.” More details about the proposed transit contract referendum and voting are available online at

Gwinnett County Fairgrounds



April 20, 2018 • 9 am - 6 pm Presented by NAPA AUTOCARE CENTER



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Gwinnett Citizen North March 2019  

Gwinnett Citizen North March 2019 covering hyper-local​ community news in Dacula, Sugar Hill, Suwanee, and Lawrenceville!

Gwinnett Citizen North March 2019  

Gwinnett Citizen North March 2019 covering hyper-local​ community news in Dacula, Sugar Hill, Suwanee, and Lawrenceville!