MARCH 2024: (BLUE) Our Town Gwinnett Monthly Magazine for Gwinnett/NE Dekalb

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Up Close with Seniors Helping Seniors Lilburn, see story on page 5. GWINNETT Our Town Lawrenceville Snellville Lilburn Stone Mountain Tucker Gwinnett/NE DeKalb Community & Family Magazine MARCH 2024
PAGE 2 Become an Advertising Partner: Info@OurTown Gwinnett.com or 678-825-2049
March 2024 Our Town Gwinnett PAGE 3 Take action now to plan for your financial future. Call 770.931.1414 or visit www.RogerSGreen.com to schedule your complimentary consultation today. Investment Advisor Representative offering securities & advisory services through Cetera Advisors LLC, a Registered Investment Advisor, Broker/Dealer, member FINRA, SIPC. Green Financial & Cetera Advisors are not affiliated. Awards are not to be considered a guarantee of future results, nor as an endorsement by any client. Best of Gwinnett & Best of the Best winners are chosen via voting and editors’ input, & opinions are vetted with the use of other available information. Pinnacle award rankings are based on growth, revenue, community service, & other criteria. Barron’s: based on total assets (AUM), revenue, & other factors. CFP Board owns the marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM, and CFP® (with plaque design) in the U.S. Since 1997, office located at 3700 Crestwood Pkwy, Ste 140, Duluth, GA 30096. Barron’s Top 1000/1200 Advisors 2009-2016 & 2019-2020 GG R E E N FINANCIAL Roger S. Green, MSFS, CFP® Green Financial Resources, LLC 770.931.1414 | www.RogerSGreen.com Call Green Financial at 770.931.1414 for a complimentary consultation - even if you only need a second opinion. More than 35 Years of Helping People with their Money - Investment decisions - Pension & retirement decision making - Tax reduction & deferral advice - Harvesting Plan for retirement assets - Small business financial planning - Timing of Social Security - Mortgage & real estate decisions - IRA/Roth contributions - Charitable giving planning
And much more.... We can help with the following: With today’s longer retirement periods, simply saving for retirement is not enough. you will likely need the potential for compounded growth as you save. Take a fresh look at your retirement planning
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On the Cover: Find the Care You Need with Seniors Helping Seniors Lilburn

We always want the best care for our family, especially our senior family members, who may need help with daily activities or remembering to take medication, or who simply need a companion to keep them company. For those in the Lilburn area and beyond, that need has been met in a spectacular fashion by Seniors Helping Seniors Lilburn.

You might be wondering what sets this home care apart from others. At Seniors Helping Seniors, the answer is right in the title: they hire older caregivers, many of whom are active seniors themselves, to meet the needs of each client.

“It’s like getting a little help from your friend,” said Priscilla Biney, who has owned this Lilburn facility for a year. “That’s where our caregivers stand out the most – they are seniors who want to help other seniors.”

This model provides ample opportunities for senior members of the community to both give and receive help as needed. It may be that older loved ones are looking for help walking their pet each day, or they might need assistance preparing their meals each day. That’s where the team from Seniors Helping Seniors Lilburn steps in – to provide the care and companionship needed by so many.

It’s important to note that Seniors Helping Seniors provides home care, which is not medical, as opposed to home health, which is medical. Priscilla finds that many potential clients are unsure of the difference, so she always emphasizes that Seniors Helping Seniors is focused on the non-medical side of care. However, Seniors Helping Seniors does utilize a registered nurse to assess the needs of each client and to supervise each caregiver. This practice ensures that every client and caregiver alike are able to receive the best resources possible for giving and receiving the needed care.

As for Priscilla, she describes her decision to start Seniors Helping Seniors Lilburn as an easy one.

“I have a background in healthcare and I always enjoyed working with

seniors,” said Priscilla. “So when this opportunity came our way when my husband and I were looking to start a business, it was a no brainer.”

With a love for helping others and a desire to make sure the community is aware of this valuable resource, Priscilla and her team have worked hard to create a high standard of care for every client that crosses their path. The Seniors Helping Seniors team also plans carefully to ensure that every client and caregiver are matched well and will be a good fit for each other, especially for the client’s needs. Of course, they can also use some back up from the community.

“Spread the word to friends, family, church members and to anyone who is a senior or has a loved one that could benefit from our service,” said Priscilla. “For seniors who want to help other seniors or seniors who need help, reach out to us at (678) 292-5020.”

So whether you need help, have a loved one who needs help, or want to help others, you have found your place at Seniors Helping Seniors. Give them a call or go online today to learn more about how this team can make your loved one’s life that much fuller.

More information at SHSLilburn.com

March 2024 Our Town Gwinnett PAGE 5

Our Town

Gwinnett/NE DeKalb Community & Family Magazine

— An EndResultz Media Company EndResultz.com

Our Town Gwinnett is published and direct mailed to select homes in the Gwinnett/NE DeKalb area. Opinions expressed by the writers and staff are their own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the publisher. Our Town Gwinnett reserves the right to edit and/or reject any editorial or advertising content. Our Town Gwinnett is not responsible for errors in advertising beyond the cost of the space or for the validity of claims made by advertisers.

Entire contents copyright 2024 by Our Town Gwinnett Reproduction in whole or in part is forbidden in any media without written permission from the publisher.

Publisher/Owner Dr. Ryan T. Sauers Ryan@EndResultz.com

Creative Director

Elsie Olson

Elsie@EndResultz.com

Editor

Catherine L. Osornio Editor@EndResultz.com

Cover Photography

Emil Powella

Photography

Distribution Coordinator

Holly Cooks

Cover Story

Feature Writer

Kristen Eleveld

IN THIS ISSUE

Feature Writers

Victoria R. Crosby

Tana Poncsak

Traci Sanders

Contributing Writers

Jane Bishop

Bill Crane

Terie Hansen

Pam Walker

5 On the Cover: Find the Care You Need with Seniors Helping Seniors Lilburn

7 From the Publisher: Ryan’s Remarks

8 Getting to Know: Tickled Past Pink Foundation, Inc.

9 If it’s Not Goat Yoga: It’s Just Another Workout

9 Growing Leaders – Ready for Real Life

10 Spoil Yourself at The Beauty Experience

11 Sports Talk: Parkview High Football Head Coach Joey Sturdivant

13 Visiting Chip Wade’s Pinhoti Peak

14 Environmental Matters: Advocates Urge for More Protections for the World’s Oceans

14 Community Spotlight: Gwinnett Technical College’s Automotive Technology Program

14 Pet Perch: Dogs and Grief, How You Can Help

15 Quiet…A Word for Day

15 Spring Gardening Tips

15 Travel Tales: All On Board, A Floating City

16 One Man’s Opinion: This is ONLY a Test

PAGE 6 Become an Advertising Partner: Info@OurTown Gwinnett.com or 678-825-2049

From the Publisher: Ryan’s Remarks

I am writing this column for March 2024, and I would be grateful if you could consider a few things that began occurring over four years ago. February 25, 2020: CDC Says COVID-19 is Heading Toward Pandemic Status; March 6, 2020: 21 Passengers on California Cruise Ship Test Positive; March 11, 2020: WHO Declares COVID-19 a Pandemic; March 13, 2020: President Declares COVID-19 a National Emergency (https://www. ajmc.com/view/a-timeline-of-covid19-developments-in-2020).

Wow. Okay, I will stop there. It is difficult for me, and I am sure for you, to read this and see that these events were over four years ago. That said, it seems they were both yesterday and a lifetime ago. This time will be etched into our minds forever. However, time moves on. Time is a present, the present, and our present. Time is the great equalizer for all mankind. We cannot get more of it or get it back.

We are approaching the spring season and warmer weather. This means longer daylight hours and more fun. I predict we will all have a great spring and summer of 2024. Also, I may not know you directly, but your feedback and encouragement to me (directly or indirectly) are greatly appreciated. Your support helps me remain optimistic and encouraging in writing these columns, magazines, speaking, radio, TV, podcast shows, etc. Iron (indeed) sharpens iron.

Let me encourage us all to take a moment and reflect on the past four years so we can appreciate where we are now. It has been Tough. Unprecedented. Frustrating. Confusing. Overwhelming. Unknown, etc. No words are good enough to encompass or describe how historians will define this period. However, we have made it through this time together. Together indeed! We will do the same in this election year. Yes, it may be difficult to watch and listen to… but we shall prevail, and why not work to be positive and kind to each other in our local communities?

So, let us continue to give each other the benefit of the doubt, love more, listen better, judge less, care more, smile, and be patient. Simply said, we need to BE KIND. I do not profess to have mastered all these things, and I work on them daily. And please know we can only control what we can control. Or, said another way, control the controllables.

To all my family, friends, colleagues, and this community, you are the best. Please support all of the partners you see in this magazine, as each business owner is an amazing person, and each one runs a fantastic business. Your support and partnership mean more than I can ever tell you. I wish all of you the best, and thank you for continuing with me on the journey of my town, your town, OUR TOWN!

March 2024 Our Town Gwinnett PAGE 7
@RyanTSauers @RyanTSauers

Getting to Know: Tickled Past Pink Foundation, Inc.

Like many other women I have met who have suffered tragedy in their lives, Maxine McDaniel, a twelve-year breast cancer survivor, has turned grief into action by helping others, which in turn helps those who have suffered a loss in their own healing process.

Maxine grew up in a family of ten siblings: two brothers and seven sisters. All but two have had cancer. One sister died from breast cancer. Their mother died at age fifty-nine of breast and uterine cancer, and their father, a navy man, died of a heart attack at age forty-two.

Maxine and her siblings were born and raised on a Naval Base in Lexington Park, Maryland. The Naval Air Station Patuxent River, known as NAS Pax River, was commissioned in 1943 at the Patuxent River overlooking Chesapeake Bay, as a centralized air systems testing facility.

In 2011 Maxine had knee surgery, then went for her regular mammogram which showed some irregularities. Following a needle biopsy, she discovered that she had stage two breast cancer. She had the surgery, but had a serious

problem as her stitches opened and she was bleeding at her breast. Maxine had to undergo more surgery and suffered a staph infection during her hospitalization. Following surgery, she was told she didn’t need chemotherapy, but underwent thirty-eight radiation treatments.

In 2015 Maxine founded the Tickled Past Pink Foundation Inc., a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that is dedicated to working to support men and women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. Yes, breast cancer can also affect men. Maxine told of a thirty-eight-year-old man who passed away from breast cancer. Men don’t realize they also need to check for this disease. Also, there is no age limit, as many people in their thirties have been diagnosed with breast cancer, so early detection is paramount.

Maxine said, “It’s not just cancer awareness month, it’s all year round.” And she added, “I truly believe that there is a cure for cancer.”

The foundation has won many awards, including the 2022 R.I.C.E. (Rising In Community Excellence) Award, the 2021 Women of Honor Community Service Award, 2019 Gospel Choice Community Service Award, 2019 Atlanta Braves Diamond of Hope Award for Community Service, and the 2016 State of Georgia Outstanding Citizen Award for Community Service by now Governor Brian Kemp. She has just been nominated by the Atlanta Falcons as one of the Community Service Award winners for Breast Cancer.

Maxine has been producing clean comedy shows for many years, so it was natural for her to use her expertise to create fundraisers for her foundation. Survivors can attend for free at the shows, and the performers take a reduced fee. Maxine said that most people know someone with cancer, so they donate. The Security DeKalb Police Officers at events donate back their fees, too.

Some of the services provided for cancer survivors include providing blankets, medical supplies, counseling, wigs for women who have lost their hair through chemotherapy, and any other kind of assistance that is needed. The organization has also raised funds and sent money to hurricane victims, donated to Domestic Violence Foundations, and partnered with men’s foundations for prostate cancer. Volunteers from the foundation help drive patients to doctors’ appointments, provide clothing, school supplies, and Christmas Gifts, and help purchase food, pay for utilities, and pay for rent if they don’t have the resources. During the pandemic her organization made sure people had all their needs met.

On July 24, 2021, on her way to take food to a survivor, Maxine’s car was t-boned, and she had to be cut out of the car by the paramedics. The Georgia Injury Attorneys, a division of Brian Poe and Associates, Attorneys PC, have been very supportive of her and the foundation. She won her case and donated the proceeds to the Tickled Past Pink Foundation, Inc. When she was able to, she took dinner to the firemen who helped her during accident.

Maxine has over twenty years of experience in marketing. She has worked for Equifax, IRS, Phillips Ultrasound, and Action Printing Center. Retired now, Maxine currently serves as Director full-time for her foundation and her church, New Mercies Christian Church, in Lilburn where Dr. Jesse Curney III is the pastor.

Tickled Past Pink Foundation, Inc. partners with other organizations and

Continued on page 11

PAGE 8 Become an Advertising Partner: Info@OurTown Gwinnett.com or 678-825-2049

If

it’s Not Goat Yoga: It’s Just Another Workout

Some people are dog people, and others are cat people. But there are other pets, including goats. Take it from Dianne Cassara of Double Durango Farm in Loganville. She’s been breeding and raising goats for about twenty years now.

“They’re fun, and they’re great pets,” Dianne said, adding that goats are a little like dogs, but they don’t bark. She also says they’re very entertaining. In fact, many people have looked to goat yoga to add an element of cute and fun to an otherwise mundane or strenuous workout.

Initially, Dianne, who is first and foremost a goat breeder, wasn’t interested in adding goat yoga to the many activities already offered around her farm. But eventually, she gave in and joined forces with a yoga instructor to give goat yoga a try, and it was a success.

Now they hold classes on the farm where people can come and participate in a yoga class while goats roam the area and join in the workout. Those who take goat yoga classes are having more than just a workout. They’re having fun.

Continued on page 12

Growing Leaders – Ready for Real Life

Growing Leaders is a global non-profit organization that encourages and equips young adults to take on real-life opportunities and challenges in the classroom, in their careers, and in the community.

This organization was founded by Tim Elmore in 2003, who served alongside Dr. John C. Maxwell for over twenty years. Elmore has been featured in many national publications such as The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, USA Today, and Psychology Today, and has appeared on CNN’s Headline News and Fox and Friends.

The vision of Growing Leaders is to create a world improved, even transformed, by the next generations. Its programs use real stories, memorable images, and engaging experiences to help students discover their purpose, equip them for leadership, and prepare them to use their gifts to serve the world around them. The goal is to equip and mobilize one percent of the world’s population under age 25 (around 40 million students) to think and act like authentic, life-giving leaders.

The processes are grounded in research and a unique understanding of the emerging generations and recognize that leading others at any level begins with learning how to lead yourself.

The University of Michigan conducted a longitudinal study demonstrating that students are 40% less empathetic than ten years ago. It further provided that students have diminished self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management. Other studies have shown that Gen Y – Millennials (born 1984-2000) and Gen Z (born 2001-2015) are hungry to

Continued on page 17

We believe who children become is as important as what they know.
March 2024 Our Town Gwinnett PAGE 9 Each Primrose school is a privately owned and operated franchise. Primrose Schools is a registered trademark of Primrose School Franchising SPE, LLC. ©2023 Primrose School Franchising SPE, LLC. All rights reserved. Now Enrolling Primrose School of Five Forks 770.985.0028 | PrimroseFiveForks.com Our Balanced Learning® approach combines character development with play and academics to give children a strong, well-rounded foundation for learning and life.

Spoil

Yourself

at The Beauty Experience

Everyone deserves to be spoiled every now and then. Just ask Rhonda Knight and Amber Jones, the mother-daughter duo and owners of The Beauty Experience, boutique, salon, spa, beauty bar, and events, located on Hurricane Shoals Road in Lawrenceville. It’s all about taking time to relax and focus on YOU.

“It basically means come on out and forget about all your worries and everything that’s going on in life right now,” Amber says. “Just focus on yourself.”

Rhonda says The Beauty Experience reflects the elegant and upscale taste that the two share in a one-stop shop offering a number of services, a boutique, and life coaching and mental health sessions. You can also book affordable, elegant space for your upcoming events!

Starting out with events such as creating popup shops and more, it was only a matter of time when the two decided to open up a permanent location to feature their concept. They celebrated their first year in September of 2023.

“It’s been a really great experience working with Amber,” Rhonda says. “She’s amazing.”

And it helps that the two are on the same page when it comes to the business, but they say they still bring unique and different perspectives. Rhonda says that Amber is great at social media, while she handles some of the other details. “We have our own little different things we specialize in doing,” Rhonda says. “The dynamic that makes it work with us is that we’re both very creative people and we share the same vision, so it’s fun.”

Amber describes their business as family oriented with great energy. “Most people come in and they don’t want to go home,” she says.

Clients can pick from different beauty packages, and it’s not just for the ladies. The Beauty Experience offers packages for men as well. Clients are offered wine and cheese.

“We’re all about pampering and making people feel special,” Rhonda says. And before they leave, clients have the opportunity to shop in the boutique.

Both Amanda and Rhonda love hearing clients say things like, “I feel so much peace when I come here.” Rhonda says this is the part that makes them both feel good, and they credit the staff for making clients feel welcome. “We’re blessed to have our experts working with us, and we’re thankful for each of them,” she says.

While much of a visit to The Beauty Experience is about looking your best and feeling your best, it’s also about your beauty within. Rhonda is also a Certified Peer Specialist for mental health in Georgia, and she holds individual

Continued on page 12

PAGE 10 Become an Advertising Partner: Info@OurTown Gwinnett.com or 678-825-2049

Sports Talk: Parkview High Football Head Coach Joey Sturdivant

Head Football Coach at Parkview High School, Joey Sturdivant, began his love of football while playing at Mountain Park at just eight years old. He grew up a Parkview Panther and finished his Parkview football career with 52 wins and 0 losses, as well as celebrating three state championships.

After graduation Sturdivant became a starter at Southern Methodist University (SMU) and enjoyed a football career that involved being named SMU Defensive MVP twice, 2006 Team MVP, Two-time All-Conference USA, and was recognized on multiple All-American lists.

Sturdivant finished his football career playing professionally in Europe, winning the 2011 IFAF World Championships for Team USA. His first coaching job was at SMU for a year, and he enjoyed several coaching opportunities over the next decade and a half. However, when Parkview High School called and offered him the Head Coach position in 2023, Sturdivant quickly accepted and now coaches around 140 young men in grades nine through twelve at Parkview.

it takes to achieve that outcome.”

Sturdivant doesn’t simply focus on the present moment in his coaching process, though. He measures his success as a coach by the caliber of the young men that come out of his football program, by who they become over the next five to ten years. “Watching a young man achieve his goals and being part of their journey from point A to point B is the most rewarding thing to me as a coach,” he says.

“I always knew I wanted to be a coach,” Sturdivant says. “I played for some fantastic coaches throughout my career, but I’m a Parkview Panther for life. I can’t think of another place I’d rather be.”

When asked about his coaching style, Sturdivant shared, “I’m a teacher of the game and would describe my coaching style as intense because I have a standard of performance that I expect my players and coaches to adhere to.” He added, “This is Parkview High School. We owe it to those who came before us to ensure the success of Parkview football.”

To keep his players encouraged during tough times, Sturdivant says, “I get them to focus on the things they can control, the simple steps they can take each day toward their goal. I teach them to not focus on the outcome but the process

It’s been said that behind every successful man is a patient wife. Sturdivant affirms this sentiment. “My family is very supportive of my career,” he says, “which is good because many people don’t realize just how much goes into running a football program. It’s all-consuming at times. As Head Coach there are no breaks when you’re running a 7A football program in Georgia.”

One of the things that drives Sturdivant to be the best coach possible is the huge responsibility he has to the parents of his players. “These parents entrust us coaches with their sons for four hours every day after school,” he explains. “Our job is to guide and mentor these boys, and every detail matters because we owe it to our young men to give them all we have.”

Life isn’t slowing down anytime soon for this dedicated coach. Somewhere between mentoring his students and raising a family, Sturdivant plans to obtain his master’s degree over the next year and has several community projects in the books for his team. “We want to be as involved in the community as possible,” he says.

More information at https://www.parkviewfb.com/coaches.

Tickled Past Pink Foundation

Continued from page 8

churches to help people in need. Funds are raised through Paint Parties, Walks, Fitness Events, Raffles, etc., and they support Making Strides Against Breast Cancer.

For more info visit https://www.facebook.com/tickledpinkfoundation

Grief Support Groups

In-Person Group

Every Tuesday

February 6th — March 19th

Time:

Location:

Every Tuesday

Time:

Location:

6th — March 19th

March 2024 Our Town Gwinnett PAGE 11 Lawrenceville (678) 500-8007 Stone Mountain (678) 500-8717 Wagesandsons.com Owned by the Wages Family Our support groups are open to anyone in need, not just the families we’ve served. If you or someone you know could benefit from attending one, please encourage them to attend or reach out. For more information on this group, contact Group Facilitator Vicki Parker: (770) 570-9437 Space is Limited. Registration is Required. Register at Wagesandsons.com/Grief-Support Everyone is welcome to attend any combination of these grief sessions.
10:30am - 12:00pm
Westside Baptist Church 2925 Main Street West | Snellville, GA
Virtual Group
February
7:00pm - 8:30pm
Zoom
PLEASE JOIN US AT OUR UPCOMING

Goat Yoga

Continued from page 9

“They laugh and make memories,” Dianne said. “You forget the stress of the week when these little goats are running around and jumping on your back.”

In her younger years, Dianne always had horses and never imagined owning and breeding goats until she met her mentor when she was working as a pet sitter taking care of dogs, cats, horses, and livestock. She first started feeding the goats and took a liking to them.

“One thing led to another,” she said, “and instead of him paying me for pet sitting, I started working off the price of the little baby girl I wanted to buy from him. I was hooked.”

As a breeder, Dianne bottle feeds her goats, which means they’re used to people, so they’re people-friendly. Many people want them as pets because they are cute and have a fun and friendly demeanor. Dianne has also shown her goats in various shows and has won many awards. And while many people travel miles to see and spend time with her goats on the farm during scheduled farm tours, she said her goats travel as well – like the time they were featured on a television show and she had to take her them to the set, which was a house near Hartsfield Jackson International Airport.

Dianne has some help in the way of volunteers. Crazy Eddie of Crazy Eddie’s Craft and Flea Market helps out when he’s not running his flea market.

Dianne raises her goats and lives on the five-acre farm with her husband, John. It’s their personal residence and they are not open to the public, but they offer farm tours, goat yoga classes, and more, all by appointment only. Appointments are made by email at doubledurango@gmail.com. Goat Yoga tickets can be purchased through links on the Goat Yoga Georgia website. To get information on booking private events, email goatyogageorgia@ gmail.com.

More information at www.doubledurangofarm.com and www.goatyogageorgia.com.

The Beauty Experience

Continued from page 10

and group sessions using art, drama, music, dance, and more to help people who are dealing with a mental health setback by providing a safe environment where clients can talk about whatever they may be dealing with. “You can’t be physically healthy without being mentally healthy,” she says. “And our goal is to get people where they need to be.”

And they are active in giving back to their community in tangible ways through a number of initiatives such as an annual Winter Wonderland Toy Drive to support those in need during the holidays, and their Queen of the Month where they choose someone who has had a struggle or need and they treat that person to the whole beauty experience, including a shopping credit in the boutique.

“We bless that person and we have a red-carpet photoshoot, only it’s a pink carpet because our place is pink and black and gold and sparkly,” Rhonda says. “People just need to know that someone cares.”

More information at beautyexperience.beauty

PAGE 12 Become an Advertising Partner: Info@OurTown Gwinnett.com or 678-825-2049

Visiting Chip Wade’s Pinhoti

I had the pleasure last year of visiting the mountain retreat show home in Elijay of Designer and Producer Chip Wade, the Emmy Award winning host of HGTV. Chip’s parents, Jill and David Wade, have worked with Smoke Rise Baptist Church for over twenty years, and they invited a group of members to visit one of the homes that Chip had created. This house is called Pinhoti Peak, which is on the Pinhoti trail. Pinhoti means turkey home in the language of the indigenous people, as there are wild turkeys in that area.

Peak

For people unfamiliar with the name Chip Wade, as I was before this visit, he is a craftsman whose HGTV shows have won awards. Chip comes from a family of woodworkers and carpenters. His father taught him woodworking at an early age and Chip became interested in carpentry, landscaping, and renovation. He has a degree in mechanical engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology, and is certified in residential construction. In 2007 Chip began to work with HGTV’s team in Atlanta on Designed to Sell, then Curb Appeal: The Block, Showdown, and Wise Buys, all on HGTV.

He has also appeared on Oprah, Ellen’s Design Challenge, and CNN, and is regularly seen on Fox News. Chip is also host, designer, and executive producer of his Emmy Award winning series Elbow Room. He demonstrates how do-it-yourself viewers and homeowners can transform their homes themselves.

We first visited the historic town of Elijay and did a little shopping and browsing, ate lunch, then went to Pinhoti Peak. The house is very contemporary in style, has fabulous mountain views, and is near hiking trails. As you pull up the driveway, a huge lifelike sculpture of Big Foot stands off to the side of a small putting green where golfers can practice their shots. There is also a small swimming pool, and an outdoor wood burning fireplace and seating area. The outdoor living spaces also include a cooking area and a Bocce green. The house was built using no wood, and though the materials are made to resemble wood grain, they are concrete.

Jill and David acted as tour guides and took two separate groups around the house. My group was with Jill. The house has two separate sides, each group toured one side then the other. The house is very high tech. The High-Tech light switches don’t need to be touched; they work by just putting your hand near the switch – perfect for preventing the spreading of covid or any other virus.

To help create this fabulous mountain retreat, Wade Works partnered with many companies including Kohler, Mason Lite, Boise Cascade, Kichler, and many others that provided the materials.

Jill gave me her son’s business card, which lists his impressive areas of expertise that also include furniture sculpting, photography, produced digital experiences, styling, architectural plans, and marketing real estate.

More information at www.pinhotipeak.com or www.chipwade.com info@wadeworkscreative.com or call 770-312-5957.

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Environmental Matters: Advocates Urge for More Protections for the World’s Oceans

A new report has found that expanded industrial fishing, ocean warming, acidification, and pollution severely impact the health of the oceans and, in turn, the planet’s health. Oceans regulate our climate and make life possible for humanity on this planet.

The Greenpeace International report, 30x30: From Global Ocean Treaty to Protection at Sea, presents a new global analysis of the threats facing oceans and argues for urgent intervention, setting out a political roadmap to meet the United Nations’ goal of protecting 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030 under the new UN Ocean Treaty.

The report’s launch is just beginning a year-long campaign where Greenpeace ships will conduct research worldwide. This research will inform a science-based approach to the call on leaders to ratify the Treaty and protect the world’s oceans. The Treaty, which advocates say is one of the most important international conservation agreements in history, is the first to focus on conserving marine life on the high seas.

“This report shows that the threats to marine life pervade nearly every corner of the world’s oceans and makes it clear that immediate action is needed to stem the rising tide of destruction,” says Arlo Hemphill, Greenpeace USA’s senior ocean campaigner.

Here are some of the report’s key findings:

• Ocean temperature levels broke records in 2023. Heating acidification and deoxygenation are changing the oceans’ chemistry. This has wide-reaching impacts on ocean ecosystems and biodiversity and disrupts the vital role oceans play in regulating Earth’s temperature and climate.

• Using data from Global Fishing Watch, Greenpeace International investigators estimated that high-seas fishing hours in areas scientists have recommended for protection increased by a staggering 22.5% between 2018 and 2022. What’s more, much of the most common fishing gear is destructive, hooking anything in its path and putting many additional species at risk.

• Pollution, including plastics, continues to worsen. This is having

Community Spotlight: Gwinnett Technical College’s Automotive Technology Program

Gwinnett Technical College’s Automotive Technology program has been approved by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) for a five-year accreditation. This accreditation assures students receive a quality education in automotive technology which is current with emerging technologies and requirements in the automotive industry. In addition, the accreditation assures potential employers that graduates have completed the program and have the ability and knowledge to make immediate contributions to their organization.

Gwinnett Tech is one of eleven public colleges in Georgia to hold this level of certification. “The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence is recognized throughout North America and Canada for industry-leading technician training and certification,” states Automotive Technology Program Director Bob Baumann. “Our instructors are all Master ASE certified, which demonstrates our exceptional automotive knowledge and experience. Becoming an ASE Education Foundation Accredited program is a long and rigorous process that is difficult to achieve. Being ASE accredited ensures our students receive the most up-to-date and relevant automotive education. This gives our students the best opportunity to enter the automotive industry and enjoy a long successful career.”

Dr. D. Glen Cannon, president, states, “The automotive industry is consistently growing and looking for a highly skilled and trained workforce. Here at Gwinnett Tech, we are dedicated to providing our students with a quality education that will allow them to excel in the automotive industry. This accreditation will help students feel confident and assured they will be workforce ready upon program completion.”

More information at GwinnettTech.edu or call 770-962-7580.

devastating impacts on marine life and ecosystems. Shipping leads to chronic oil and noise pollution on the high seas, and there is always a risk of accidents and spills.

• Emerging risks threaten ocean health. For example, deep-sea mining, an industry still in the experimental phase, is particularly harmful to critical and fragile deep-sea ecosystems. While many governments support a global ban or a moratorium on deep-sea mining, many more still need to take action to stop the launch of this destructive industry.

• Fully or highly protected ocean sanctuaries, which provide a safe haven for marine life to recover and thrive, are a proven solution to the ocean crisis. Currently, less than 1% of the high seas are adequately protected. Three sites are presented as case studies for protection under the Global Ocean Treaty: the Sargasso Sea, Emperor Seamounts, and South Tasman Sea/Lord Howe Rise, all of which are critically important in terms of biodiversity and their vulnerability to the impacts of climate change and industrial fishing.

“Every year of delay, stacking pressures on the oceans grow,” says Hemphill. “Consequences worsen for marine ecosystems and the billions of people who rely on healthy oceans for their food, livelihoods, and a livable planet. By signing, ratifying, and implementing the Ocean Treaty, global leaders can usher in a new era of ocean health.”

More information at greenpeace.org/international/publication (StatePoint)

Pet Perch: Dogs and Grief, How You Can Help

Dogs, like people, have different personalities, each being an individual. When a family experiences the loss of a dog and they have another dog or dogs, the dog(s) left behind will grieve the loss of the passing pack member.

Some dogs grieve longer than others, but in general, compared to their human counterparts, their grieving process is less emotional and much shorter. However, if the human puts all their emotions into the dog or dogs left, it can certainly extend the grieving process and may even create some behavioral problems.

While it can be difficult for you, the best approach is:

• If possible allow the companion dog(s) to be present at the Euthanasia. A mobile veterinarian can typically perform an in-home euthanasia, allowing for a peaceful passing and the presence of the other family dog(s).

• Keep your emotions in check as much as possible. Easier said than done for sure! And yes, a little extra TLC goes a long way, but too much can do more harm than good.

• Keep a normal routine going. This helps dogs feel safe and secure, and helps to relieve or keep stress to a minimum.

• Some added exercise is in order, as this will get their feel-good chemicals (endorphins) flowing, helping them to be in a peaceful, happy state. The same will work for you as well, so get out and walk!

• This is a great time to introduce some training as a means of stimulating your dog’s brain in a positive way. Perhaps some agility, nose work, or some good old fashioned basic obedience is in order. Dogs thrive on learning new things. Remember, time heals, and you and your canine companion will feel happy again one day, maybe even enough to open your heart and your home to another dog in need of a family.

Terie Hansen is Owner of Good Dog! Coaching & Pet Care. More information at www.gooddogcoaching.com.

PAGE 14 Become an Advertising Partner: Info@OurTown Gwinnett.com or 678-825-2049

Quiet…A Word for Your Day

In certain public venues, it becomes necessary to utter, “Quiet, please.” Examples are tennis matches, golf tournaments, movie theaters, and libraries. For some, it is a challenge to be quiet for a few seconds or minutes. Our lives are filled with noise, and we have mistaken that as a necessity for living. Quiet may be uncomfortable for many because it is out of the “norm.”

Matthew Mikkelsen is Executive Director of Quiet Parks International, a non-profit organization that is on a mission “to save quiet for the benefit of all life” (www.quietparks.org). During an interview on a national news show in November of 2023, he stated that Quiet Parks International estimates 90% of children won’t experience natural quiet in their lifetime. According to Mikkelson, for a space to qualify as a natural quiet place, it must have a “dependable noise-free interval of fifteen minutes or more.” Sit with that for a quiet moment.

Spring Gardening Tips

As the chill of winter fades away and the sun starts shining brighter, it’s time to start thinking about gardening in the spring. This is a great time to start planting, whether you’re a seasoned gardener or a newbie.

One of the first things you must do is prepare your garden beds. Start by removing any debris or dead plants from last year. This will help prevent diseases and pests from infesting your garden. Then, loosen the soil and add compost or other organic matter to improve soil quality. When selecting plants, choose those that are well-suited to your climate and the amount of sun and shade in your garden. Some popular choices for spring gardening include lettuce, peas, spinach, and radishes. These cool-weather crops can be planted as soon as the ground thaws and will be ready to harvest in just a few weeks.

Quiet space can be sacred and can allow us to hold a space for thoughts/ emotions that we cannot readily verbalize. Quiet space can be calming and freeing, and create brain space to move forward. Consider your environment while reading this article. Is it quiet or filled with noise? Do you know that 97% of the U.S. population is exposed to noise from aviation and highways, so quiet is nearly extinct (Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, United States Department of Transportation)? We are experiencing what Robert Koch, 1905 Nobel Prize Winning Bacteriologist, predicted: “The day will come when man will have to fight noise as inexorably as cholera and the plague.”

When was the last time you allowed yourself to step out of the noise of life’s traffic and simply be? What would you experience if you did? How would that help center you for the day? What is stopping you? Schedule? Work? Family? Permission? Excuses? What experiences are getting lost in the noise of your world?

I woke up early one morning to – quiet. No wind, no school buses, no birds in the woods. In the quietness of my home, the only sound was the pendulum swing of a clock. It was refreshing. It was dark so I could not enjoy the scenery of the woods, only of simply being. My mind could wander, or not. My senses could engage, or not. The enjoyment factor was remarkably high on the pleasing scale. In the quiet of the morning, I could hold space for my thoughts without the noise of the world! And it fueled me for my day.

Be courageous. Step out of the noise zone and into your quiet zone for fifteen minutes. It is a practice that will refresh your brain and reinforce your self-leadership.

More information at www.janebishoplive.com.

If you’re looking to add some color to your garden, consider planting some spring-blooming bulbs such as tulips, daffodils, and crocuses. These should be planted in the fall, but it’s not too late to plant potted bulbs already in bloom.

Travel Tales: All On Board, A Floating City

Have you heard the latest cruise news? Miami’s largest cruise ship has arrived. Royal Caribbean’s Icon of the Seas was just delivered after leaving its construction port in Finland. This ship weighs about 250,800 gross tons (which is huge) and is over 1,000 feet long. For a comparison, it is about four football fields in length. There is a debate about the exact number of people it carries, with some saying 10,000 (7,000 passengers and the rest crew), but the official statement by Royal Caribbean is 2,805 staterooms carrying 5,600 passengers and 2,350 crew members. There are twenty passenger decks. Ten thousand or 7,950 passengers is the size of a small city in the United States!

Like a city as well, there are numerous things to do. The ship’s centerpiece is the impressive Aqua Dome with its Aqua Theatre. Shows will feature aerialists, acrobatics, high dives, and the tallest waterfall at sea (fifty-five feet tall)! The

Another important aspect of spring gardening is pest management. While some insects are beneficial to your garden, others can be harmful. Look for aphids, caterpillars, and other pests that may try to feast on your plants. Consider using natural remedies such as neem oil or ladybugs to keep them under control.

Watering is also crucial during the spring months. Depending on your climate, you may need to water your garden daily or just a few times a week. Be sure to water deeply so the roots get the moisture they need to thrive. If you’re unsure how much water your garden needs, check the soil moisture level with a soil moisture meter, or stick your finger about an inch into the soil to see if it’s dry.

Finally, be sure to enjoy the fruits of your labor. There’s nothing quite like harvesting your own vegetables or admiring the beautiful blooms in your garden. Whether gardening for food or pleasure, spring is the perfect time to start.

Dome has over 600 glass panels looking up to the sky and reflecting on the beautiful park below it. Another open-air garden is called Central Park, lined with shops and restaurants. There is even a sushi bar and several nightclubs.

Aside from all the restaurants, there are seven pools, six waterslides, numerous spas and whirlpools, showrooms, and much more. Chill Island is a three-story pool area complete with a swim-up bar.

For the kids, Thrill Island is a waterpark on the top deck with thrills for all. Here is a list of the thrill rides available at sea:

• Frightening Bolt: The tallest drop slide at sea (Min. Height Requirements: 55” tall | Max Weight Requirements: 265 lbs.)

• Pressure Drop: The first open freefall slide at sea (Min Height: 55” tall | Max Weight: 265 lbs.)

• Storm-Chasers (2): The longest mat racing slides at sea (Min Height: 42” tall | Max Weight: 265 lbs.)

• Hurricane Hunter: The first family raft slide at sea (Min Height: 48” tall with parents and 55” tall without parents | Max Weight: 595 lbs.)

• Storm Surge: The first suspended family raft slide at sea (Min Height: 48” tall with parents and 55” tall without parents | Max Weight: 595 lbs.)

So, what is not to like on this behemoth of a ship? If you want to go, it is sailing now to the Eastern and Western Caribbean. It should be quite an experience!

Pam Walker, owner of Walker Adventures, is a Virtuoso Travel Advisor. More information at pam@walkeradventures.com

March 2024 Our Town Gwinnett PAGE 15

One Man’s Opinion: This is ONLY a Test

“This is a test... This is ONLY a Test...” – followed by a series of sharp, pitching squeaks and clicks on your typically AM radio dial. That was the weekly test of the Emergency Broadcast System (EBS). The EBS was in place from 1963 to 1997, ostensibly to provide a president of the United States with an expeditious way to broadcast emergency alerts in times of war, natural disaster, or any other grave national crisis.

In the early morning hours of Thursday, February 22, 2024, as a significant cellular phone system outage blanketed multiple metropolitan areas and took down part of the global GPS satellite directional systems and reportedly several major government call centers, we did NOT hear of that first from the EBS or any other major alert network.

The breaking news, primarily impacting the AT&T mobility network, reportedly impacted several million customers. AT&T later said 1.5 million customers were affected. At the same time, other industry experts put the number in excess of 3 million, between the outage which began at 3 a.m. Eastern time on Thursday, February 22, and continued in some places into early Friday.

I do believe in AT&T’s more than occasionally proven incompetence to not correct or to honestly admit to service errors and problems. I do NOT believe this problem was entirely of AT&T’s own making. America led the modern world in plumbing, wiring, later fiber optics and satellite transmissions, and still later in a variety of wireless transmission communications platforms. However, none of those systems were designed or developed with espionage, hacking, or vital infrastructure protections from bad actors in mind.

Today’s AT&T took nearly two days to fess up to causing

Continued on page 17

PAGE 16 Become an Advertising Partner: Info@OurTown Gwinnett.com or 678-825-2049

One Man’s Opinion

Continued from page 16

its own outage with a vague statement about “upgrading” the security and performance of its vast network. During 2003, the largest black-out in American history impacted 50-million Americans from Maine to Michigan, lasting for several days, and was eventually blamed on one falling tree and a squirrel.

Our way of life – including the electrical grid, internet, and water delivery systems – is as fragile as the next major solar flare, a really good hacker, or perhaps a really rambunctious squirrel. Along with greater population density, the vast majority of our 48 states and Canada are interconnected. A major outage in one place overloads other parts of the network, and whether denied service or due to system overloads, those outages cascade.

But imagine that outage TODAY and the significantly higher reliance we place not only on the devices that run our lives, but the data and critical documents we have exclusively placed “into the cloud.” Electric utilities in most states have spent the past few decades improving grid resilience and reliability. Yet, a series of winter storms a few years ago took out most of the transmission grid in the state of Texas, which remains the only state in the continental U.S. fully energy independent and not connected to the grid. In California, sparks from an aging transmission grid have caused or started several multi-millionacre forest fires in Northern and Southern California for several years in a row. In addition to the resulting air pollution, property damage and occasional loss of life, Californians have endured rolling brownouts and black outs to manage the shortfalls and demand peaks on their remaining, damaged transmission grid.

We are not a household of preppers, but we do maintain a roughly 30-day supply of rations and canned goods, have a couple of freezers and smaller generators, and I have been boning up on some of my scouting survival skills. I am not trying to alarm or scare anyone, but I think it is wise to have a plan with your family, and to have some degree of readiness for the likelihood that one day, in the not terribly distant future, we can expect major nationwide outages in our grid.

AT&T, in addition to underplaying the significance of this outage, caused real challenges for millions of families, including digital-first millennials or Generation Z young adults freaked out by a world that temporarily did not include access to their smartphone or mobile device of choice.

The multi-billion-dollar global communications giant is offering impacted

customers a $5.00 bill credit to appear across the next two billing cycles. However, for thousands of AT&T customers, the inconvenience was much more significant than that. The telecom industry and its share prices live and die by the “churn rate” – the acquisition costs of new customers and the number of customers leaving a specific carrier each month. For AT&T, this is really ONLY A TEST.

Bill Crane owns the full-service communications firm CSI Crane. More information at www.CSICrane.com

Growing Leaders

Continued from page 9

change the world. This program arms them with the tools to begin that journey.

Some of the ways Growing Leaders empowers students include helping them break out of the herd mentality to influence others in a positive way, creating an environment conducive to higher grades, raising empathy and minimizing bullying, and capitalizing on personal strengths to be career-ready upon graduation. Students also receive guidance in developing critical thinking skills that allow them to produce better life choices concerning choosing healthy friendships, improving study habits, and setting meaningful goals.

Growing Leaders has created more than forty leadership training resources and is partnered with over 8,000 schools and organizations, such as Boys and Girls Clubs of America, the National FFA Organization, Purdue University, and the Georgia Department of Education. They have also trained over 500 thousand educators, athletic staff, employees, coaches, youth workers, and parents with tools and resources to understand and connect with this generation by sparking conversations and creating life-changing experiences with them.

The idea behind Growing Leaders is to prepare the child for the path rather than the path for the child. Some of the values its programs boast include leaving things better than you found them, always adding value, turning up the fun, beginning with belief, fostering teamwork, and taking pride in your work.

Elmore’s philosophy is that teens need to learn leadership skills to thrive in the real world – solving problems and serving people. Growing Leaders is doing its part in this mission by providing speakers, curriculum, and training opportunities to empower adults and students alike to ensure a brighter future for all.

More information at https://growingleaders.com/

March 2024 Our Town Gwinnett PAGE 17
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